GoodLayers is actually a team of two and is Envato’s first designer/developer duo to become Power Elite authors*. They have been members of the Envato community for a mere 2 years. In that time they have been hard at work creating a portfolio of 24 items that has sold over $1,000,000 worth. We think that’s pretty impressive.
Happy GoodLayers Day!
We asked John from GoodLayers a few questions about their journey to the $1,000,000 milestone. Read on to find out the secret behind their success, what makes GoodLayers special and how it feels to be the very first two person team to reach a $1,000,000 worth of sales!
Hi John, thank you so much for chatting with us. Can you tell us a little about GoodLayers and how you got here?
In April 2010, when I was doing my design internship, I accidentally found aThemeForest banner on a web gallery. This was the beginning of everything. I played around on ThemeForest and was really surprised, I didn’t even know that this kind of business existed. I saw that people were creating templates, selling them and that it was making them really good money. I saw this as a good opportunity to earn some money while I was studying but it was not that easy.
Because the WordPress category was the most popular, I decided to create one. At that time, I didn’t even know what WordPress was. I only knew HTML/CSS/PHP. I had to study WordPress and create everything from scratch.
It took a long time to get my first approval which was on Feb 2011. After that, I kept releasing WordPress themes. I loved doing this and realised it was my dream job. Everything started changing and I decided to form a team on November 2011.
I heard that my very close friend from university (Matt) was going to quit his job. He’s a very clever coder, so I asked him to join me and we had a GoodLayers team! We divided our duties into design and development. When he first came on board, he didn’t even know what WordPress was either but he’s a very quick learner. We decided to change the whole framework and it took only 2 months to finish our first theme together.
The theme we created was ‘Modernize‘. We were really surprised at what a success it has been, ever since it was approved it has been selling like crazy. We had no idea it would go so well and would sell so much.
How does it feel to have sold over 1 million dollars worth of items?
It’s truly amazing. Honestly, the Power Elite Level didn’t even cross our minds before. It’s like a dream. It’s only one and a half years since we graduated from University, we never expected that we would be able to reach this milestone at this age.
This will change the attitude about ‘Working at home’ for many people around me, especially our parents
What does this milestone mean for your team?
It’s very difficult to choose the job you want to do for life, especially when it is a self-employed one, which naturally is more risky than a 9-5 jobs. My parents used to push me to find a regular job after I graduated but I asked them to let me prove that I could do this. Reaching this milestone confirms our belief that we chose the right path and it is absolutely the best thing we’ve ever done. This milestone also encourages us to improve our products in the future and we will also try harder to serve our customers when they have problems.
How many hours do you both spend on designs for the Envato marketplace?
We work about 14 hours a day. We both spend the first 2-3 hours on customer support and we get huge amount of support tickets each day. After that, we will focus on the latest project and then spend the last 3 hours on customer support.
Usually, it takes about 1 week to finish a PSD template (sometimes up to 2 weeks! depending on our mood and how inspired we are at that time). After that the coding process which takes about 1-2 weeks and when we finish coding it takes another week to finish and make sure that the theme is perfect. Usually it takes 3 weeks to create 1 theme.
Have you had any designs rejected and what did you do about it?
Of course! After the first rejection I felt so discouraged because I put so much effort in and thought that it would be approved for sale. I was really depressed and stopped doing any more work for a couple of months. Then one day when I was about to graduate and I thought ‘I need to do something for the future.’
I looked back and thought that there was still a possibility of creating themes for ThemeForest, so I decided to continue the project. I got another rejection, but I decided no, I’m not giving up again. I tried so hard, I tried to understand why the theme was rejected and why my design was not good enough. I put much more effort into the design to improve it. After 7-8 rejections I got the first approval, I felt so relieved and that first approval pushed me to improve my skills for the future.
We still get rejections on our themes, we’ve had about 6-7 items that have been rejected before being approved. We have to give thanks to reviewers for those rejections, they made our themes much much better, seriously!
What words of encouragement do you have to any budding authors who want to reach Power Elite level?
Firstly, for people who want to be a ThemeForest author, please do not give up. When you get rejections try not to let it get you down. You have to accept it and take it as suggestion to help improve your work.
As for new authors on the Envato Marketplaces and other Elite authors who want to reach this milestone, right now, we can say that you are on the right track. Try to find the strongest point of your work. Give each of your projects your care and attention. The most important thing is to not copy the others. If you follow this advice we believe that one day you will reach this milestone too!
What is your office space like?
It’s just a small room, it’s actually a renovated storeroom. We mostly work from home, so our room is filled with our personal and comfy stuff. We usually take a nap or play a musical instruments to relieve our stress. It really helps when you have been continuously working for a long time.
Recently, we have just decorated our room with a small christmas tree and some christmas stuff
How do you both get inspiration for your designs?
There are many sources for the inspiration, mostly from ThemeForest. Many authors here inspire us A LOT. You guys are so amazing
It motivated us a lot to see that many authors here have been successful. Since before we started, we saw many successful authors, especially Christian (Kriesi) and Peerapong. They’re really clever coders and designers. I was really amazed… “How could they do that!?” It’s very inspiring.
Many authors here can work from home, choose their own time to work, have no boss and still have enough money to take care of their family. Most importantly they can have more time with the people they love. It’s such a great job. It feels really good to be a part of this great community. We also love to dig into dribbble, Forrst, some web galleries and Twitter too.
What is the best thing about your job?
I think the best part is that we can actually put our ideas into products and show it to people around the world. We’re really appreciative when someone praises or likes our work. It’s truly worth our effort. It’s fantastic to be able to do what you like, anytime, anywhere, whilst being able to earn a living too.
There are many good things working as a team. You can share your ideas together and work on the area you are specialized in. When you find some problems or are stuck with something, you have someone to help you get through it.
We do have a few conflicts, but we usually solve it by talking it out reasonably. We also respect each other’s opinion and work, which is why everything goes smoothly.
If you could choose any space in the world and create a design, where would it be and what would you make?
We would like to create a very nice GoodLayers sticker and sneakily stick it on every Envato staff laptop! ?
What is the hardest part about your job?
I think it’s the responsibility. You have to constantly put yourself to work and motivate yourself because there’s no one to order you around.
Work life balance is hard to manage when you are self-employed. We sometimes find ourselves working insanely until the early hours of the morning and waking up in the evening. Sometimes it is completely the opposite and we barely get anything done in a day.
Thanks for inspiring us with your experience, is there anything you’d like to say to the Envato community?
We’re glad to be a part of this warm community. When I first started on ThemeForest I often had problems and questions and every time I couldn’t find the answer I would ask people here. They always gave me a lot of help, for that I’ve got to say thanks to the many cool people in this community.
We would also like to give many thanks to our customers for choosing our themes. We truly appreciate your support and hope our themes will be useful for you. You’re a big part of our success.
Thanks to the reviewer for all rejections and approvals. It pushes us to improve our works. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to make it this far.
Thanks to all Envato staff for hard working and keep improving this place. You make this place the greatest home for all web creators.
Last but not least thanks to Collis, Jun and Cyan for deciding to start this Marketplace, 6 years ago and making it possible for everything today.
On behalf of everyone at Envato and in the community we want to congratulate Goodlayers on their amazing success! Happy GoodLayers day everyone!
*As Power Elite authors, GoodLayers receive a day in their honor and a special Power Elite care pack including a Power Elite ring.