Startup story: How I made made more than $500,000 in four years selling WordPress themes

Here is an inspiring story of a startup that generated half-million dollars for its creative entrepreneur-founders.

I quit my job 4 years ago and started selling WordPress themes with a friend. We have since made more than $500,000. Hey, guys! I’ve been wanting to write a story about our journey for a very long time, but I’ve never got around to doing it until today.

A quick look at my backstory:

I have been working for about 3 years for 2 different digital studios as a web designer. Towards the end of 2012, I decided that I had enough of the 9-5 routine. Waking up at 7 in the morning and going to work till 5:30 all the time with 20 days off for the whole year. I was tired of my routine, and as a result, I felt de-motivated at my job. I was always researching and finding ideas online on businesses. I wanted to run my own business that would help me earn a living. I’ve always loved playing games ever since I was a kid and that interest helped lead me to where I am now.

One day, while I was creating a website for a Counter Strike clan, I discovered that there weren’t a whole lot of gaming themes for WordPress. I saw this as an idea that could be profitable as there were a lot of people coming up with clan and gaming sites at the time despite a lack of themes, and I believed that I could fulfill this demand.

I started by selling a PSD (Photoshop) file of a theme and which made around $500 the first month in themeforest . I asked a friend for help in converting the PSD files to WordPress themes, and he agreed. It took us around 2 months to complete. In the first month or so, we made around $2000 and he became my partner in the business. After releasing a couple of new themes, we started to earn around $10,000 a month, which is roughly what we still earn today from Themeforest.

Unfortunately, Themeforest changed its policies a lot in the past year or so. Instead of taking 2 weeks for a theme to be reviewed, it now takes up to 3 months, which made me feel like it isn’t really worth it anymore to publish our themes there. In early 2016, my partner and I opened a office in Belgrade (Serbia), where we run our studio. We have expanded our business to accommodate more clients and more work and we started to pickup on sales of our themes in our website.

Now we are focusing into a more client oriented work, while still supporting and developing new themes.

Problems we faced:

One of the major issues we have faced through the years is finding good employees (web developers and designers). This continues to be a challenge. We generally look for talent in Upwork, so finding folks online is not too difficult. However, finding local talent to work from our office is still a challenge. Another big problem we face is that our product is not too easy to market. This is a niche product that needs to be marketed to people that like gaming, know what wordpress is, AND want to build a site. We have invested a lot of resources in marketing, but the returns are somewhat poor.

Author: In the words of XXX of skywarriorthemes (website)

Leave a Reply