Starting a WordPress business, OceanWP, hasn’t been an easy process. Much of what I’ve needed to learn has come from trial and error rather than through asking others for advice. As the company keeps growing and evolving, I’m constantly scouting new strategies and practices to make us more successful, but finding this information isn’t that easy and often requires a lot of additional effort to learn the latest best practices in the ecosystem.
Learning by doing and discovering knowledge myself has generally been my approach in the past, but I’ve found that you can’t rely on strictly what you know when you’re trying to start something as complex as a theme business. It’s important to reach out to experts in the community to learn from their stories, read articles online, and do other research to build your knowledge so you don’t recreate the wheel.
Especially when it comes to running OceanWP, there are so many details to pay attention to that can derail sales or cause a significant impact on conversion rates – basically, I have to constantly stay up to date on the best ways to manage everything.
While it was easier to start when we first released our free theme – support loads were smaller, pricing wasn’t an issue, and we were just trying to get our first users – the business has turned into something much larger than expected.
When I released the first paid offering for OceanWP, I was really clueless on the business-side of things. I knew our audience, how to develop a fast, high-quality theme, and what features our users needed to help maintain demand, but when it came to questions about how to price it, market it, and license it – not so much.
For those more advanced topics, I had no mentors to guide me, and the amount of WordPress business knowledge online when I started was quite limited. Additionally, going to international WordCamps to meet all the head honchos was beyond my budget and wasn’t something I felt comfortable with as an introvert with a heavy French accent in English.
Given that I’ve never been super-savvy in business, I was lucky to build critical partnerships that helped me move forward. For instance, we collaborated with Elementor early on, which led to great momentum and mutual success. Nobody ever told me that these kinds of cross-promotional marketing activities would end up being one of our biggest assets, and, had I known this earlier on, we probably would have been more successful than we are now.
Put differently – without those relationships and the network I was able to create, OceanWP wouldn’t be what it is today. It required a lot of struggle and research to understand how the WordPress ecosystem works, and there are so many pieces of advice I wish I would have received earlier on.
So why am I telling you all this?
A useful new YouTube series – Experts Corner – just launched by Freemius – features top experts in the WordPress ecosystem discussing the most pressing WordPress product business topics of our time like subscriptions, coupons & seasonal discounts, add-ons, pricing, and many more.
Every two weeks for a whole year, they will be releasing a new video focused on a single topic, covered by experts sharing their tips, insights, and best-practices on the topic, based on their actual business experience.
Freemius released Round I of the experts participating in the project, so here are some of the incredible people you can expect to learn from:
- Mihail Makijenko (Founder & CEO at Visual Composer)
- James Farmer (Founder & CEO at Incsub, WPMUDEV)
- Kim Gjerstad (Co-Founder & CEO at MailPoet)
- Matt Medeiros (The Matt Report)
- Sanjip Shah (Co-Founder & Theme Team Lead at ThemeGrill)
Never Too Late to Learn
And here’s the very first video of the series introducing the project and Round I experts:
Experts Corner comes five years too late in my opinion – but that’s just because I could have used this knowledge five years ago! This kind of information would have accelerated my ability to build the partnerships and grow the network I needed to make my business successful.
Check back weekly for more videos from the Experts Corner playlist.