Congratulations to authors Luke Beck and Muhammad Haris of ThemeFusion, who have reached Power Elite status by making one million dollars worth of sales from a single item. Though they live on different continents, have totally different skills, and didn’t know each other at all, they have forged an impressive partnership that stands as an example for other authors to emulate.
Happy ThemeFusion Day!
We asked Luke and Muhammad a few questions about the journey to the $1,000,000 milestone. Read on to discover how they became a team, what makes ThemeFusion special, and how it feels to reach one million dollars worth of sales!
Congratulations. Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got here?
Thank you. We are both humbled and honored to have reached this milestone and be apart of the Power Elite group. ThemeFusion consists of myself (Luke) and Muhammad Haris. Our born-and-raised ThemeForest partnership has been an amazing experience!
Let me give you a little history about myself. I’m a big family guy, and have been married since 2004 to the most amazing woman ever. We have two beautiful girls who keep me on my toes at all times! I am very blessed to have them in my life and cannot fathom where I would be without them.
I’ve been a designer for over 10 years, mainly working for a few creative firms in the Tampa, FL area until a few years ago, when I decided to trek on my own and freelance full-time. I fell in love with idea of working for myself, and have not turned back since.
Muhammad is currently living in Pakistan. He has been a full-time freelance developer since the start of his career around five years ago. His projects were mainly focused around WordPress themes and plugins.
During that time he discovered FreelanceSwitch, and eventually ThemeForest. He loved the idea of working together with a designer to build a business around selling WordPress themes.
On Becoming a Team
Here’s how ThemeFusion was born. After a few years of freelancing I discovered the Envato Marketplaces. In December 2011 I decided to sign up and submit a few files to GraphicRiver. Over the next year I submitted several files and was amazed at the opportunity the Marketplaces provide.
Eventually I started to create PSDs of fully-designed websites to sell on ThemeForest. That’s when everything changed with one email from Muhammad. He saw one of my PSDs on ThemeForest and contacted me with the idea of forming a partnership—I would design and he would develop.
Things felt a bit unfamiliar at first, since we didn’t know each other. But soon we realized how well we worked together, and knew that we had something special.
We were both committed to our work 100% and worked very hard to keep up with the amazing standard here on ThemeForest. In August 2012, Avada was born, and as they say, the rest is history.
We truly love this work—it’s definitely been a dream come true. We are so thankful for Envato and our amazing users who put their trust in us. We both work full-time for ThemeFusion, and cannot imagine anything better.
How does it feel to have sold over $1,000,000 of items?
Very hypnagogic to be perfectly honest. Yes, hypnagogic means surreal. I had to look up synonyms for surreal to try and be different.
In all seriousness, it feels absolutely 100% hypnagogic. It all happened so fast. When you first start making sales, hitting 100 or 200 is a big deal, and it certainly should be—it’s a great accomplishment.
Then you get to your first colored paw badge and it feels amazing. But even at that point it’s hard to imagine selling a million dollars worth of items and reaching the Power Elite level.
It’s truly amazing, and we are humbled that users have decided to buy our item. It takes a full commitment to our product and our users, which we believe go hand in hand.
What does this milestone mean for you?
It proves the old cliche: “Hard work pays off.” We work very hard each and every day for our users and our product. Hitting this milestone is confirmation that it pays off.
Being able to do what you love while working from home or the coffee shop, and earn a living while having a great time, is an amazing feeling. This milestone also gives us confirmation that working full-time on the Envato Marketplaces is exactly where we need to be.
On a side note, the milestone is even better due to the awesome Envato Power Elite Care Package! Its very cool guys, fantastic job. It makes you want to wear the Power Elite t-shirt and matching gold ring all day when working. Somehow it makes everything feel better. ?
How many hours do you spend on designs for the Envato Marketplace?
It’s hard to answer, as the time involved can vary so much. Currently we have one theme in the Marketplace, but I design each and every day. Whether it’s new design options for the theme, an entirely new website, or items for GraphicRiver, it’s important to get your design fix each day to hone your skills.
Some items or projects have come together in a day, or even less. Others can take several weeks until I get to the point where I’m able to put it down with satisfaction. There are times when you need to scratch a project, or take some time away from it.
An important element for me is to never stop until I’m 100% satisfied. Most of the time I can always do better. And that motivates me to keep on designing.
On a regular ThemeFusion workday, Muhammad and I both spend anywhere from 8-14 hours. We are constantly improving our theme and adding new features for our users, as well as running a support forum with 16,000 members. And thats aside from multiple new projects we have been working on. It’s a lot of hard work, but we love it.
What words of encouragement do you have to any budding authors who want to make Power Elite level?
First, anything is absolutely possible with hard work and dedication. Second, always try to create something different and give your best 100% of the time.
Take your time, do quality work, and put your own unique stamp on the Marketplace. And always be open to criticism, whether it’s good or bad. Ultimately it’s going to make you a better author!
Have you had any designs rejected and what did you do about it?
Yes, I have. The very first item I submitted to GraphicRiver was rejected, and I’ve had a few others in between there. Muhammad had a theme rejected ten times before we partnered up as ThemeFusion, and it ended up being a Top 10 theme for a good period of time!
So trust us when we say that we’ve been through the frustration. As an author, your first instinct is to get upset, and maybe throw the half cup of latte sitting on your desk at the rejection email. Or to retaliate by posting up a ranting forum thread about the review team. But please, don’t do that. ?
In the end you realize that it’s all for the best. It will make you a better author, provide you with better items, and ultimately give you more sales. Your project can always be better. Never settle, and always look for improvement!
What is your office space like?
My office is in the back spare bedroom of our house. I use a Mac Pro decked out with fast SSDs, 32GB RAM, and a 27″ monitor, I’m a bit of a tech geek.
The room itself is spotless. I have to have a clean, organized desk to work effectively. Clutter affects my mood, and makes me cranky. Everything has a place, and there’s a place for everything!
Muhammad is currently building a new home—very exciting! Since everything is under construction, his office has taken up residence on his couch.
He’s an improviser, and can tune everything else out except for those clean lines of code. He uses a slick MacBook Pro, and his favorite code editor is Sublime Text 2.
How do you get inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration comes from all over, and can be from any source. Sometimes I’m out and see something inspiring, and I take a picture of it. Other times it’s something I see online or in a magazine.
It’s important to be inspired, and to save things that give you inspiration. Just always be sure to use the inspiration to create something new and exciting, and not simply copy it.
What is the best thing about your job?
I speak for both Muhammad and myself when I say helping our users is the best part of our job. It’s such an amazing feeling to witness a satisfied customer.
We’ve had several first-time WordPress users on our support forum who admit they have no experience and have no idea what to do next. Guiding them with our documentation, videos and hands-on tech support is very rewarding, because they quickly realize that they can easily do it, and are off to the races building their own website with our theme.
We also have an amazing support staff to help us: John and Mark, as well as Umair, who is a brand new hire.
Very interesting fact: Each of our staff members were regular users on our forum who bought Avada and showed a love of helping others and improving our overall support community. When we realized that about them, and had grown enough to need more staff, we offered them jobs. They love going their jobs as much as we do.
Our support forum is the place to be if you use our theme. Our staff and users are all wonderful to be around, and love to help each other.
What is the hardest thing about your job?
- being able to stop working,
- and being able to say “no”.
It’s very hard to stop working sometimes. Before I know it, the entire day has gone by. When you love what you do and are committed to your work, you want to always be moving towards your goals.
And this is where working from home can be a difficult thing, because at any time we can walk back to the computer and start working. It’s a learned skill to be able to shut that off and give yourself a break. We’ve not quite mastered it yet.
The other thing is being able to say “no” to user customizations. We have a large user base on our support forum. Some users have customization requests, and do not realize that a decent amount of work might be involved to achieve what they want. It can be difficult to explain that extra custom work would be required.
We actually do provide minor customizations to our users, and many times do even more than that, but it’s on a situational and time basis.
But we love our users. So telling them “no” sometimes is a very hard thing to do.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Both Muhammad and I are humbled, and we want to thank all our users for supporting us over these last 12 months. We thank and love you all, and will continue to work hard for you each and every day. We have some great new stuff coming down the pipeline. It’s a very exciting time!
And a big thank you goes out to Envato for creating such a wonderful Marketplace that can change your life. Everyone here is very blessed, and it will only get better and better. Thanks Envato!