An interview with Envato Power Elite, UpSolution

Recently UpSolution crossed the $1M threshold to join the ranks of our Power Elite Authors. We asked them about how they got started, and their top five tips for new authors.


Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?

We are a group of six young passionate web developers from Russia, Ukraine and Germany. Our headquarters are located in Moscow, a place where you can taste some great coffee and some of us meet up, while the others work remotely.

We started our journey 8 years ago as a small web studio, developing both clients’ and our own web projects. Since then we have created hundreds of great web sites, 2 content management systems, a dozen startups and even received a flattering testimonial from the President of jQuery Foundation, Dave Methvin. Despite this, our venture wasn’t always successful, as always strived to create something really good, meaning we often spent more on development than we received from our clients. Yet we believed in the power good quality products and hard work. So, when we discovered the Envato community shared this sentiment, we felt like we’d found the right place to be.

Tell us one thing about you no one else knows.

Nobody yet knows that in our spare time we develop a free Open Source WordPress plugin. We believe that websites are all about spreading ideas and messages, so we create high-end web elements (like flipbox and counter), each of which will be really special and customisable like nothing before, so web developers and entrepreneurs could make their ideas look even more expressive and exciting. Having really sophisticated algorithms inside, these elements are amazingly simple and natural in editing and their behaviour. And, of course, they will be available as an add-on with all of our themes and will be 100% compatible with all current clients’ websites.

Is there anything unusual or special about how you work?

UpSolution isn’t just about web – it’s also about self-improvement and professional development. Some time ago we invented and conducted some of our own company training activities, jogging each morning and doing other useful and educational activities for a month together (though not in a same location). Also, each of us is able to choose one idea that will pull him/her forward, and can order a mug and stickers with it at the expense of the company, so this idea is in front of their eyes whenever they need it. The same stands for useful books, educational programs, trainings and certifications.

Is there anything unusual or noteworthy about your life experience?

Long ago, even before we started the joint company, our lead designer tried to get a job as a … storekeeper. Frankly speaking, he wasn’t good in it, felt nervous and failed the interview. Looking back we can say that we were very lucky about that.

Why are you doing what you are doing? What do you love about it?

We believe that life, in a certain sense, is about serving others, which nowadays is about creating as much value for others as one can. We also believe that now we create the best value we can, and we are grateful to Envato for providing some outstanding opportunities to spread this value to so many people who can ultimately do their work better, start their ventures faster and create even more value for others.

What’s your most memorable client/customer story on Envato?

Each of our Clients is memorable in their own way, but there is one story worth mentioning. One of our clients purchased our Impreza WordPress theme, created the website for his venture in three hours, made a presentation and got a preliminary agreement on investment. And all of this happened in the very same day! Makes you wonder, what an amazing time we live in!

What’s the most challenging thing about your work?

Hiring new people. Partly because of our high demands, and partly because we compete with top technological companies that tend to offer more comfortable working environments with plenty of enjoyable activities. In contrast we support the spirit of a startup, flavored with great abilities for self- and professional development.

Name a few people who inspire you and why?

Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, both created outstanding high-quality products, moving the industry forward. Jack Dorsey and Tim Cook, whose hard-work moves mountains. Tony Hsieh and Markus Persson, which forgot about their own “I” to share success and happiness with the whole team.

What is your advice to other Authors regarding how to create a successful portfolio?

Focus on what you do best. At the moment there are about 50 different teams and individual that have achieved Envato Power Elite status, creating incredibly different types of digital products, so there’s no need to copy someone else. It’s better to create something special.

Is where you live a good place to be a creative professional?

We believe that nowadays the matter of a place became secondary when you have freedom of Internet access. We work from different locations and we created our joint venture even though we never met face to face. The things that really matter are one’s passion, work-ethic and willingness to create rather than consume.

What do you do to market your files?

We tried Google Adwords, banners on various websites, reviews on blogs and some other things. All of them had really small ROI, so at the moment we’ve decided to focus on the products’ quality to provide better improvements and create more outstanding features.

Apart from yourself, who is your favorite marketplace Author, and why do you like them?

Kriesi – he initially created numerous products that have become the standard features for premium WordPress themes. He’s moving from zero to one, not from one to one-hundred; creating from scratch. That’s the thing we try to do in our work.

What do you do in your spare time?

We spend time with our families, travel, take photos, play video games and board games, dance, go for walks, meditate, volunteer and do other kinds of activities.

How do you feel about your achievement?

Before this there was nothing, everything is just beginning.

Check out UpSolution’s portfolio