Today I am proud to publish this interview with Kriesi, the first Envato member to become a power elite author. So I want to enormously thank Kriesi for this exclusive interview with WPCrown Magazine. Enjoy the reading! :)
1. Hello Christian, first of all, let me thank you for providing WPCrown Magazine with this interview, it is a great honor for us. How are you today?
My pleasure, thanks a lot for having me :) I am fine, although I didnt sleep much today, just wanted to finish my latest theme, and as always when it comes to the actual release I am so excited that sleep eludes me until the theme is online and ready to be purchased ;D
2. How does it feel to be the most successful author of Envato? What do you think is the main secret to have success on the design world?
Its a great feeling to be among the top authors of themeforest for such a long time, especially since new talented authors join daily, and the competition is growing fiercer as we talk :)
I think to stay successful you need to get out of your comfort zone now and then and learn new techniques and styles that you have avoided. Adding new trends to your skill set is something I consider essential. When combined with your previous knowledge you even might come up with something that others consider a trend and start copying :)
3. How did you start your career? Tell us about the experience of getting things started and watching them come into life, is there anything you wish you had done different in the beginning?
About eight years ago, I started the Multimedia and Web Design Course at SAE Vienna in my home country, Austria. Back then, I did mostly Flash stuff (almost every piece of work was REALLY horrible to tell the truth) and I also had some interest in html coding. With every course I took, I lost a little interest in Flash and got more curious about HTML and CSS. When they handed me my Bachelor Degree a few years later, I was pretty decent with HTML and CSS whereas my Flash skills were lousy at best.I did some small projects for an event agency during that time and as soon as I finished College, they offered me a full time Job as a Front-end Developer, which I gladly accepted. I was a regular reader of the TUTS-PLUS Websites back then and therefore was aware that there is a marketplace called ActiveDen, where people sell all this neat Flash stuff; but since I was only a Front-end Developer with HTML, CSS, and some PHP Skills at that time, I didn’t really bother. When Envato announced the opening of ThemeForest, I thought I could give it a try, and uploaded my first WordPress theme. The theme flopped really hard and only earned me 30 Bucks during the first month. Out of pure boredom, I created a second theme. :) This one did a little better, really just a little, but it was enough that I became curious if I could do better with each theme. =)
4. What does your workplace look like? What equipment and tools do you use for your designs?
Very clean, very minimal. Similar to my WordPress theme I have to say. My workplace is almost always tidied up, I feel much more comfortable that way. As for the tools I use: Lets say I am an Apple enthusiast ;D Not quite a fanboy but I like their stuff a lot, so pretty much all work is done on my iMac (designing and coding) and iPad and iPhone (testing responsive designs, touch functionality and different screen resolutions). I also have an old Windows PC which I fire up from time to time for Browser testing. Software I use is probably what most people on a Mac use nowadays: Photoshop, Illustrator for design, Coda for coding :)
5. Having sold $1.000.000 worth of items is quite a good achievement, what is the best thing you bought from your earning?
I have purchased a condo last year and have put pretty much every cent I earn on themeforest into it. One has to realize that from this one million dollars my share is “only” 70% (30% go to the marketplace), and then I have to pay nearly 50% taxes. So I am not even close to the million when it comes to money I can actually spend, but I certainly cant complain :) On top of that Vienna is probably not the cheapest city to live in so it will take a little more time until the condo (and the credit I raised) is fully paid ;)
6. What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
5 years is a long time when it comes to the internet so I will probably need to adapt my plans but I would like to grow my “one man show” into a small business so I can spare some more time learning new stuff. I would love to learn programming for mobile devices (probably iOS but Android sounds interesting too) and a little more vacation would be great as well ;D
7. I imagine that designing takes a lot of your time, but how do you enjoy your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?
I try to spend most of my spare time outside of my home. This is probably because I don’t have real co workers, and after a week of work I need to get out and enjoy human companionship ;D
My #1 hobby is therefore probably socializing (If one could call that a hobby). I like to read (preferably novels which come in multiple books, like Wheel of Time and Lord of the Rings), I am a sucker for shallow Holywood Blockbusters and Trash Movies and to stay in shape I go to the gym regularly, as well as swimming and surfing in summer and snowboarding in winter :)
8. Thank you again for this interview, as a final word, is there any advice you could give to the designers who want to follow in your footsteps?
Not quite sure if WordPress Themeing is something I would recommend right now, since its getting quite crowded and not only on Themeforest… There are literally thousands of WordPress Theme shops already, so if you really want to grab a piece of the cake, at this point I would recommend to try to create very unique WordPress Themes (both in design and functionality) for a specific purpose. Happy Tables for example is tailoring its wordpress Themes for restaurant owners and offers a full hosting solution in addition to the theme: http://www.happytables.com/
Thats quite smart I would say, and I am pretty sure you can earn a lot by occupying a niche market :)