An Interview with Envato Power Elite, gljivec
Recently gljivec crossed the $1 million threshold to become a Power Elite. To celebrate, we bombarded them with questions about how they work, why they do what they do, and which Envato community members they admire and are inspired by. Enjoy these answers from Ales Krivec and the team!
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?
We are from Slovenia, a small but beautiful country full of natural wonders. Obviously, we develop Themes for a living.
Is there anything unusual or special about how you work?
We are a team of individuals who work from their home, so we don’t have an office and all communication happens over Skype. Even though we don’t live far apart, we have always preferred this sort of workflow as it gives us more freedom.
Why are you doing what you are doing? What do you love about it?
We always had a passion for the internet and computers since our childhood, when we started playing games on Amiga.
It was an obvious choice to go to Computer Science college, and then get a programming job. My regular job as a PL/SQL developer was rather boring, so I started learning Flash. I discovered a neat marketplace called Flashden, and managed to get my first file published after a few weeks of trying. It was a very simple Slideshow, but it netted 3 sales overnight – leaving me excited to develop even more sliders 🙂 It was time to try something new, and I suggested to my friend that we should make a Theme for Themeforest.
What’s the most challenging thing about your work?
I think the hardest and most challenging part of our journey was publishing our first theme on Themeforest. I had little clue about web design back then so it was all about trial and error at the time.
Our first theme was a complete disaster if I take an objective look at it now. It looked fine to me back then, showing how perspective changes when you gain more knowledge and experience. We gave up on Themeforest for the time being and started developing WordPress Plugins for Codecanyon. The main reason for this decision was, that the design didn’t play such a crucial role in plugin development as the functionality and usefulness.
After a year of plugin development, we decided it was time to give WordPress Theme development another shot. I had worked pretty hard on improving my design skills in the meantime and had some designs approved on Graphicriver. My feeling for typography had also improved dramatically, and we felt that it was possible to get on Themeforest.
We started working on a Theme called Radial. After every upload, we were certain that we improved the Theme enough to be accepted. Naturally, that was not the case: it got rejected time and time again. We didn’t want to give up, but after six or seven rejections, you start to feel pretty frustrated.
We kept going because the reviewers started giving more positive feedback as to what still needs to be improved.
On our 8th attempt, we got a soft rejection, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was finally happening, we were inches away from acceptance. We made some further (and final) adjustments and Radial finally saw the light of day. We both expected to sell at least decently, but we didn’t expect for it to sell that well. We even made it to the weekly bestsellers list. This was the best possible incentive to keep going and to keep learning.
Name a few people who inspire you and why?
Back in the day of Flashden I always looked up to DigitalScience and his big sale numbers from Slideshows. It just seemed so unbelievable. Later on, when we moved to Themeforest, Kriesi was the man who inspired us the most (and I think most of us who started back in that time).
What is your advice to other authors regarding how to create a successful portfolio?
This is a very hard question to answer. I think each of us has a different story to tell about how to succeed. And there will always be the same cliche line, “nothing happens without hundreds of hours invested”. No amount of talent will help if you can’t also invest a lot of time in your work, to improve and learn.
Is where you live a good place to be a creative professional? Why?
I think so, yes. For me, being surrounded by nature and a beautiful landscape with big mountains is very inspiring. Observing a sunrise in the mountains always fills me with extra energy for work 🙂
What do you do to market your files?
We use Google Adwords and some niche WordPress blogs which posts reviews, and lists of best themes and articles. We also use social media to some extent, but so far the best results came from a few of the most popular WordPress blogs.
Apart from yourself, who is your favorite marketplace author, and why do you like them?
Kriesi was such a big inspiration when we were trying to publish our first Theme – his sales were a huge motivation to keep going. Also, Anps were the first team from Slovenia that we met on Envato. They started with WordPress a few months after us, and we motivated each other – with a little healthy competition also 🙂
What do you do in your spare time?
Relax! For me personally, photography is taking most of my spare time (and lately most of my working time also). As for the others, it’s the sea and the sun.
How do you feel about your achievement?
It’s a milestone that evaluates all the work we’ve put in over the years.