An Interview with Envato Power Elite TommusRhodus
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?
I’m Tom Rhodes, known as TommusRhodus on Envato Market, and I create WordPress Themes and HTML templates for ThemeForest. I author for the marketplaces full-time now, in a previous life I was a sign maker.
Tell us one thing about you no one else knows.
Something that no-one else knows? That’s a tough one. Something that no-one else knows from Envato is that I actually started life out of university as a photographer, but realized pretty quickly that I’d spent more time in that career designing and building my website than I had taking photos!
Is there anything unusual or special about how you work?
I actually partner most of my themes with HTML developers also on ThemeForest. My strength lies in development so I leave the design portion to the experts. Since I run TommusRhodus by myself, I’ve found that partnerships are by far the most profitable avenue for me, and the result is that our buyers get a product that’s been designed and built by people who are perfect for the job, rather than a developer trying to design. The outcome? Buyers are really happy with the products.
“My strength lies in development so I leave the design portion to the experts.”
Why are you doing what you are doing? What do you love about it?
Around three years ago now, I was working as a sign maker and graphic designer at a signage company. In that time I discovered GraphicRiver and started to produce a few business card templates. During the time I found ThemeForest and saw so much potential, not just for earning but to carve out a job which I would be totally satisfied with; creative freedom as it were. If you’ve ever worked a creative job under limitation, you’ll know just how much that freedom means toward total work satisfaction!
“I found ThemeForest and saw so much potential, not just for earning but to carve out a job which I would be totally satisfied with; creative freedom as it were.”
What’s your most memorable client/customer story on Envato?
The buyers on Envato are absolutely fantastic, but I do have one favorite. In the time I’ve been selling on ThemeForest he’s bought basically every one of my items, some even multiple times! Further to that we’ve started doing some client work together, which is great. Met for a beer at one of the Envato Meetups a while back. He’s a great guy. Cheers to you Charlie!
What’s the most challenging thing about your work?
I work from home running TommusRhodus as a one man band mainly. Recently, I’ve been lucky enough to take on a full-time second hand, Danny, who is an absolute legend. The main difficulty in this is mainly the isolation, working from home is many people’s dream, but few realize just how lonely it can be. The hardest part is learning how to combat that: going for walks, going for coffee, talking on the phone etc. But, you need to keep it up!
“Working from home is many people’s dream, but few realize just how lonely it can be.”
Name a few people who inspire you and why.
My main inspiration is my wife. She’s studying a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and every day I wish I was that smart! When I’m not admiring her intellect I spend all my working time remembering that I work so that we can have the best life together possible.
What is your advice to other Authors on creating a successful portfolio?
Play to your strengths! If you’re a designer, find a developer. If you’re a develope, please, find a designer! There’s only a select few that can do both and do it well, and they deserve a big pat on the back. For the rest of us, we should recognize our weaknesses and work around them. Your portfolio, products and buyers will thank you for it. Realizing you have a weakness is not a bad thing as long as you address it properly!
Is there you live a good place to be a creative professional?
I live in York, UK, one of the oldest cities in the country. To me there’s nothing more inspiring than walking down a street that’s over a thousand years old, or walking down the side of a river that the Vikings used to invade centuries ago. There’s an amazing creative scene here with some of the bigger companies hosting get-togethers for all creative professionals in the area.
Apart from yourself, who is your favorite Envato Market Author and why?
I have far too many to mention, so I’ll just rattle off a few usernames! MediumRare, Elemis, MeanThemes, DistinctiveThemes, Hogash, WeibergMedia, Parrallellus, Jonathan01 etc. etc. etc.
What do you do in your spare time?
Archery, weightlifting, video gaming, drinking coffee, decorating my house, more video gaming, surfing, eating far too much, drinking (responsibly), driving, motorbike restoration, gardening, wishing I had sales like Avada, cycling, skateboarding, watching Formula 1 and relaxing. Phew!
How do you feel about your achievement?
It’s absolutely unbelievable! When I started this, I honestly never thought I’d even make it to Elite. So, when that happened I knew I had to be determined to get further. Two years later and here I am! I’m really grateful to all the Authors I work with and to Envato for providing the platform on which I’ve built my success.
“When I started this, I honestly never thought I’d even make it to Elite. So, when that happened I knew I had to be determined to get further.”