Themesberg / Design / Romania / $ 1500 MRR

How I Made $1.5K MRR Themes Design Business - Story of Themesberg

Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on?

My name is Szőgyényi Zoltán and I am a web developer & designer. Currently I am working on a couple of new free and premium products on Themesberg and drafting new marketing strategies for this year.

What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?

Our motivation came from the simple fact that we love creating beautiful user interfaces and websites. Both of us have been working in web development for more than 5 years and we decided why not leverage our experience by offering website templates for others?

I must say that Themesberg is not an entirely new idea or market, however we are quite different from the other websites because of the quality of our templates and the cleanliness of our code.

Currently we offer free and premium Bootstrap themes, templates and UI kits.

Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?

Well the idea was initially to create some templates and sell them on Themeforest and the official Bootstrap website, however because of huge commission these websites take for each sale we decided to create our own website and brand, namely Themesberg.

It took us a long time to constantly update our main website (which by the way already has more than 500 commits in less than a year) but here we are. As the number of sales go up we try to make the necessary updates for our system to keep up with the growing amount of customers.

We have quite a lot of ideas regarding new features that in fact most of the theme selling websites do not have. We already have such features, for instance, on our product page we show the exact folder structure the project has.

So from idea to where we are now has been a huge leap, but there's still so much to do.

What has been your biggest failure or struggle?

Our biggest failure was sending an email to our subscribers saying that we launched on Product Hunt and the link in the button leading to the website did not work. It was quite a failure, but it was good to see that many subscribers replied to the email and then we helped them out with a relevant link. Never again!

And what has been your biggest achievement or success?

Our biggest achievement is the constant dialog and support that we offer to our customers. They are the backbone of our business. We take their feedback into account and in fact most of the updates are based on the feedback of our customers.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We attract customers by offering some free versions of our paid products so that they can actually try out the product before deciding to purchase the paid version. We retain our customers by talking with them and continuously offering them support. Of course this currently happens only through email, but we have in plans of integrating an in-house chat support system where they will be able to talk with the theme creators themselves.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Launching the business meant that we finished our first 2 products (Pixel Lite and Pixel Pro) and that we created the first version of Themesberg where we listed our products and offered online demos and the ability to download the templates.

Did you use Betalist or PH or other Startup Launching Platform for Launching ? How was that experience ?

We launched both on Betalist and PH and I must say we had more success with Betalist. We were actually trending for a couple of days. Product Hunt launch was okay, but there's so many great products out there that you need a community to back you up with your launch. All in all though I wouldn't suggest relying on PH or Betalist to be the only way to promote your startup. Sure, it can give you a significant boost, but try to find ways to drive traffic and interest to your business through other ways as well.

What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?

Our main business model is Fremium, whereas we offer a free version of most of our templates by default but we also offer the possibility to upgrade to a pro version. We grow our revenue by becoming more and more popular amongst front-end web developers by creating new templates, writing blog posts, having an active social media, sending curated newsletter emails and by the referral of happy customers.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?

The biggest challenges are the rapidly changing front-end web technologies and the need to adapt to them in time. Our goals in the future is to grow our traffic and revenue over time and also keep launching new features for our website and products so that we will be ahead of the competition.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today is a good day and we have lots of tasks to do and products to launch! One of them will be launched next week. It's impossible to tell what the future will be, however we will keep improving ourselves, our products, our marketplace and everything that comes with it.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I learned to be more consistent, to optimize certain processes that otherwise are quite repetitive, a lot of marketing and SEO skills and a better communicator and strategist. I must say that in the past year by running this business I learned so much more than if I would have just stayed with my 9 to 5 web dev job.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

VS Code is our favourite code editor, Sketch for designing, Gulp & Sass for website workflow, Github for versioning, Buffer for social media posting.

Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?

I have no favorite as I am inspired by many.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I really liked the book called "The Lean Startup".

What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?

My advice is pick something you like doing. Work a few years on your skill set and become really good at what you do. Then try applying your skills in a business where you sell something, not necessarily your effort and time.

Create a brand, find a good name, pay for or design a good logo and be consistent with your business. Don't get too obsessed with ideas, they come and go and most of the time it is not the initial idea that drives success, but rather what becomes of it in time.

It takes time to build a lasting business, to connect and retain your customers. Trust comes in time. Make sure there is a market for your business. Good luck :)

About The Author : Binu Mathew

Binu Mathew is the CEO of itmarkerz technologies. It has been catering to the custom software needs of SMEs in India and abroad since March 2011. Binu started his programming and freelance carrier at the age of 17. over around 13 years of experience in startups, startup visas around the globe, and Blogging. You can reach him on Twitter or LinkedIn