Note: This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.
Congratulations to TrueThemes, the latest team to reach Power Elite status by selling an incredible one million dollars worth of items. Since April 2009 they have amassed over 34,000 sales and 1,194 followers while traveling the world, working in coffee shops, and focussing on quality rather than quantity. Well done!
Happy TrueThemes Day!
We asked the man behind TrueThemes a few questions about the journey to the $1,000,000 milestone. Read on to learn how he realized that one man wasn’t enough, how to work effectively without a “proper” office, and how it feels to reach a million dollars worth of sales!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got here?
Sure thing. My name is Sean Corey. I’m a 28-year-old (American) web designer currently living in Thailand.
My career as a web designer started in 2003 as a student at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. I studied for four years, and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia and Web Design.
During my time at university I worked on a handful of freelance projects, and worked a six-month internship at a boutique design agency. After graduation I landed a job at a Marketing and Advertising firm, where I spent the next four years as their lead front-end developer and UI designer.
I discovered ThemeForest during my time working at the agency. I’d never used WordPress at that time, and really wanted to give it a go. So I put on my big boy pants, got elbow deep in code, submitted the (now retired) Sansation theme, and that’s where this amazing journey began.
I started off on ThemeForest as a one-man-band (FiveSquared). After about six months on the Marketplace I discovered how much I truly enjoyed being part of this community, and decided to make it my full-time career.
I left the security of my agency job, and took the plunge into becoming a full-time ThemeForest author. I launched our super-awesome Karma WordPress Theme and my ThemeForest career took a massive turn for the better. Sales started pouring in, support tickets were racking up, and I suddenly realized I could no longer do this alone. This is where TrueThemes was born.
TrueThemes is a three-man team comprised of myself, Miguel Gomes, and Denzel Chia. Miguel is our support manager, and is an absolute rock star at keeping our day-to-day business running smoothly and efficiently. He’s quick on his feet, super smart, and leaves our customers feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
Denzel is our lead back-end developer and is the absolute muscle on our team. He thinks in zeroes and ones, and can program nearly everything my crazy brain can throw at him.
I’m currently the jack-of-all team member, and do a little bit of everything within the company – UI designer, front-end programming, product marketing, and the oh-so-lovely business and accounting side.
How does it feel to have sold over $1,000,000 of items?
It feels absolutely amazing. It was only four short years ago that I wrote my first ever line of WordPress code. Never did I imagine that I’d be sitting here today writing about reaching the Envato Power Elite milestone. The money itself is really just a number to me, but the journey it took to get here has been a truly amazing ride.
It means that my bills will get paid and there will still be food on the table. Lol. No, but really, this milestone truly confirms to me that I’m on the right path in my professional career and that my amazing team members are the absolute right men for the job.
How many hours do you spend on designs for the Envato marketplace?
Hmm… tough question. The initial build of our Karma WordPress Theme took approximately six months from concept to completion. I was only a one-man show at the time, and was still learning the WordPress ropes, so this had a much longer completion time.
Our focus these days is product improvement and customer satisfaction, so we don’t spend much time developing completely new products. Our business model is very much structured around quality over quantity. With all of that being said, “Excellence takes time.”
Actually each and every one of our products has been rejected on the first pass. Mostly small tweaks were needed, but we took things in stride and made the adjustments to receive approval. We’ve gained invaluable insight having our products reviewed by a completely impartial third party, and the approval process is something that we have been truly grateful for.
What words of encouragement do you have to any budding authors who want to make Power Elite level?
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
Many of the top ThemeForest authors have years of industry experience being elbow deep in code, working face-to-face with clients, and learning from our past mistakes.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other and always do your best – you will absolutely make it wherever you want to go.
Believe in yourself. You can do it!
What is your office space like?
Ah, the million dollar question (no pun intended). These days my office space generally comes with a lovely barista serving up delicious caffeinated beverages, and my trusty MiFi device.
Coffee shops are truly one of my favorite places to work. Just me, my MacBook Pro and a trusty pair of headphones, and I’m off and running. Combine that with the seemingly endless flow of caffeine and the never ending people-watching material, and it’s an environment where I truly thrive.
Back in the States I also have a ‘proper office’ which has a super-comfy office chair, 27″ Apple display, and a killer surround sound setup.
Interior design is my favorite place to find inspiration. There’s something about good interior design, with its powerful combination of colors, textures and patterns, that really gets my design juices flowing.
What is the best thing about your job?
Here’s a word from the whole team…
Miguel: The best thing about my job is the satisfaction we receive from helping our customers achieve the maximum potential with our themes or any of our products.
Denzel: The best thing about my job is that I can do what I like in the comfort of my home office, and at the same time make money without missing out on watching my children grow!
Sean: The best thing about my job is getting paid to do something that I absolutely love. I love the flexibility and remote nature of the web design industry. Being ‘wireless’ affords me the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most amazing talent located all across the globe.
If you could choose any space in the world and create a design for it, where would it be and what would you make?
Branding and corporate identity have always fascinated me, but my career only offered me the opportunity to dabble very little in this area. I would love to work alongside a branding/logo guru to develop a complete corporate identity package for a company.
How do you keep motivated and inspired?
My early career consisted of a daily overkill of active work hours followed by my ‘down time’ of reading articles, following tutorials and furthering my coding and design skills. After a few years I was completely burnt out.
These days I take a much more balanced approach by including a variety of non-technical activities in my life. My favorite hobbies away from my computer screen are drawing, yoga, surfing and swimming. It’s during these times away from the computer that I recharge my motivation and gain new insights and ideas about whatever I’m working on at the moment.
What is the hardest thing about your job?
The balance I just spoke about is truly one of the hardest things about my job. I love what I do, I can do it from anywhere, and there’s no such thing as ‘normal business hours’. This trifecta of awesomeness makes it very challenging to unplug, step away from the computer and truly enjoy all the beauty that this world has to offer.
Is there anything else you would like to add or say?
Thank you to every single one of our customers. It’s only through your support that we’re able to continue on this amazing journey. You absolutely rock!
Thank you Collis. Thank you Cyan. And thank you to the entire Envato team.
Your vision, hard work and persistence has made the Envato Marketplaces what they are today and you guys have literally changed the entire landscape of my life. You guys are a huge blessing in my life, and I truly thank you for all that you do.