Congratulations to our newest Power Elite author hogash, a small team of designers, developers and support staff founded by Hogas Marius. The secret to his success was discovering it’s not enough just to have items on the Marketplaces—you need to constantly develop your skills, and put the needs of the buyer first.
The best thing about templates is that with something good, you can make something extraordinary.
Marius began by developing themes for WordPress, but quickly moved over toJoomla. That seems to have worked well for him, but it doesn’t stop there. By carefully building his team, he aims to cover more platforms in the future.
Happy hogash Day Everyone!
We asked Marius a few questions about the journey to the $1,000,000 milestone. Read on to discover how to use rejection to improve your items, how to build an effective team, and how it feels to reach a $1,000,000 worth of sales!
Happy Power Elite Day, and welcome to the club. So, how does that feel?
Whoa guys, what a ride! It’s surreal. Like every author, I’ve dreamed of this day. Those badges, those milestones. I loved them and found ’em so motivating.
I did put lots of efforts and ambition in this, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have got this far without them. I’m a modest guy, and I know this doesn’t sound like that, but I’m really proud of myself. At the right time, I made some serious life-changing decisions which turned out to be best thing that ever happened to me.
The feeling is purely awesome, and I hope this is just the beginning. Also, knowing I sold items worth of $1M—geez that’s unreal!!
How long has it taken you to get to this level of achievement on Envato Marketplaces?
Well, the ride started around three years ago. Like many authors who started here, boy I wanted to get rich. I started with some items that even at that time weren’t great at all, and found out it’s not as easy as I thought it would be.
I got so many rejections, and was constantly frustrated. The truth is, looking back, not only did my skills improve, but I began to see things differently. At first I just wanted to be present on the Marketplaces, but afterwards I learned that just being present doesn’t sell. So I formed a different strategy, and tried building better stuff, thinking about the buyer first.
Of course, we’re all subjective when it comes to our designs, but in the last few years I learned to criticize myself, and tried to build better stuff.
I took a little break after my latest best-selling item, but now I’m preparing some new awesome items!
Tell us a bit about your workspace and team.
Until the beginning of last year, I worked as a freelancer alone in a one room flat, dedicated to work. After that, I wanted to build a team, so I rented a fully operational office where I built a staff, partnered with great people, and co-founded a web agency.
Currently, we’re a bunch of young guys hoping to build great stuff, and also to support our buyers to have a wonderful business relationship.
The team is composed of four after-sales support guys Laurentiu (Joomla, HTML), Daniel (Joomla, HTML), Danny (WordPress and a future designer) and Nodarik (WordPress). They’re doing an amazing job, and I want to thank them for joining us on this journey. So far we have thousands of satisfied buyers and successfully closed tickets.
On WordPress development there’s Stefan, who’s an amazing developer, eager to build and learn new and modern stuff. He’s the reason that our latest WordPress item was so successful. His dedication is intense, and our reputation and success wouldn’t have reached the same heights without him. He’s currently working on a mind-blowing WordPress Framework—it’s cutting-edge, with some of the best features seen in this niche. (Sorry, no modesty here.)
You’re awesome dude!
Then there’s me (Marius). So far I designed all of my items, and coded the HTML and Joomla templates.
My current setup is a 32GB Asus G55V I7 laptop with two 24″ screens. I’m thinking of switching to a Mac, but that would be a huge change for me. So I constantly chew on this, and want to make a decision this year. I’ll also have to brag a bit about my Herman Miller’s Embody chair which is one of the best investments I made. I recommend it to anyone who works at a desk.
My plans for the near future include expanding the team and adding value to our reputation. We’ll try to release new cutting edge items, with a rich variety of platforms and new exciting communication improvements.
Do you design for a niche?
No, so far I haven’t. I tried to use general and multi-purpose designs that can be used in all sorts of niches. It’s amazing how many areas I’ve seen my items being used in—areas that I never even considered.
So I came up with a principle: the buyer is the designer, not me. I just arrange a bunch of things that I consider fit together, while the buyer is the actual designer, and his imagination makes the website stand out and look great. The best thing about templates is that with something good, you can make something extraordinary.
Now although I haven’t designed for a niche so far, the market is constantly evolving, and I want to keep up with it. I have amazing ideas for different niches which I will apply soon. I do believe this is the next step of shaping our portfolio becoming a complete author.
How do you think design changes globally? Do you notice different trends between countries?
To be honest, I haven’t noticed any different trends. There might surely be exceptions, but in general I don’t think there are any differences.
One of the best things about selling items on ThemeForest is that our items are purchased by people all over the world. It’s such a great feeling!
At the moment ThemeForest is the leading global market, and has modern items that are top notch, with trending designs and cool product features. I always consider applying trends to our items, and considering the huge variety of buyers, there aren’t borders in this line of work. The trends tend to be global, and in the field of web design we’re all connected, sharing ideas that are eventually applied in every corner of the world.
I think that’s one of the things that I love so much about my work: We all “speak” the same language, and no matter where we are, our communication through design is fluent, and well understood by every one of us.
What is the next big thing for Hogash?
Well, personally, it’s to lose some weight!
Now seriously, the next big thing I’m planning is to expand my team, covering most of the popular platforms, thus providing a rich variety of items. I feel we have so much to offer, and so many written ideas that need to be created.
I’m very careful about our reputation, so I’m planning to invest many resources in communication and overall relationship with our buyers, who are the core of this business.
Looking at the big picture, I noticed we have many loyal and returning customers who appreciated our work, and I want to repay them through a top quality customer experience.
You are a multi-disciplinary designer/developer working in Joomla and WordPress. Did you switch from one to another at one point, or did it just sort of happen?
Looking back, I was frustrated with the fact that I did both design and development. The problem was that I wasn’t an expert in either of them. I really wanted to know one of them perfectly from A-Z, so tried to choose one and dedicate myself to it. The truth is that I loved them both, and I eventually accepted that, which turned out to be perfect for me as a template author.
In terms of development, I’ve been a huge fan of WordPress since its beginnings. I was actually preparing a WordPress item when I first discovered ThemeForest. But then, due to joining a wonderful team at a web agency, I discovered Joomla, and fell in love instantly. I could easily create anything, and I chose it as the base of my future projects.
It turned out to be a great decision, and my Joomla items were and still are very popular on this site. I also want to thank the other Joomla authors for their dedication, and adding value to the platform.
Now, the truth is that I did want to switch to WordPress due to its popularity, but seeing such huge competition and amazing items on the Marketplace, I wanted to keep the same level of quality. So I knew I couldn’t do it by myself.
With careful thinking, I partnered up with Stefan, who did an amazing job. This turned out to be another great decision, and now we have over 10,000 satisfied customers for a single item. Whoa!
In the end, I love both platforms, and I’m very grateful that I had the chance to work with them. I don’t have a personal favourite, I just choose to do a better job by sticking with what I do best.
Tell us about a typical day in the life of Hogash…
A typical day in my life is very simple, although I would’ve spiced it up a bit.
I arrive early at the office and read the news and emails while enjoying a coffee. Afterwards, there’s work. I enjoy working so much that I often think I’m gaming. It’s a huge part of my life, and with dedication I fill up my day doing stuff that satisfies me. So basically I open the crib, and close it in the evening.
I’m a big football (soccer) fan, and I often go out with the wild bunch to kick the ball and lose some of the work stress.
I recently adopted the thinking of keeping work at the office, and not bringing it home. So I rarely stay home and work. In the evenings I try to go out for a drink, or just watch some of my favourite series.
If you could travel back to the start, which was 2009 for you, what advice would you give yourself back then?
To be honest, in 2009 I joined this wonderful Marketplace as a buyer. It was at the end of 2010 when I started to actually upload my items here. So the first advice would’ve been to start adding my items immediately. I don’t really know why it took so long to do it.
Another piece of advice I would’ve given myself was to adopt team thinking. Back then, I was a bit paranoid when it came to assigning jobs to others. I had the impression that only I can do a good job. Later, I learned that as long as you keep an eye on the assigned job, and supervise, things go pretty good.
And how about aspiring new authors? Any advice you’d care to share?
I remember how I chose my role models here on the Marketplaces. They were at the top of the list, and I thought there was no way I could get that far, but I did. With the right attitude things can go unexpectedly well.
Persevere, stop blaming the review process, try building better items, and improve your skills. If you’ve been rejected “n” times, it means there isn’t enough, and you have to do better. Just being present with an item on the Marketplaces won’t put food on your table, so you’ll have to do better. Consider partnering up with a designer/developer, and focus on what you’re good at. Also don’t quit your day job yet. Have patience—you still need money.
Also remember, quality will always stand up first, so start your projects knowing this.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
These last few years changed my life completely. I’ve been invited to many corners of the world, experienced countless emotions, and have seen my work spread all over the world.
I want to thank my partner Stefan, my awesome colleagues, and my future wife Christina, for standing by me and supporting my work.
An immense and sincere, “Thank you so much!” to Envato and the amazing team behind it.
Photo credits: Rares Craciun (www.crmdesign.ro)