In 2006, I was working for an architectural firm as a project manager. I had a good job, but it wasn’t a great job. There was no path within that company which would have made me happy.
Before I started blogging, a friend recommended that I check out WordPress. Very quickly, I fell in love and enjoyed the community that came with it. I downloaded a free theme, hacked away, and customized my blog.
Over the next few months, I started writing about my experiences with WordPress—building an audience around folks who were interested in what I had learned. Plus, they were downloading themes that I designed.
I began moonlighting as a “freelancer” by customizing the themes I had freely available to download on my blog. A few hundred bucks a week was good spending cash, so I was living the dream, right? Meh, not really.
While it was great to have some extra money for vacations, what I wanted was to be one of those “internet people” I saw working from coffee shops.
The Accidental Entrepreneur
Life was going alright until I landed a gig with a real estate agent from Boston. I worked up a beautiful design for him—one that I was particularly proud of—because it was more than just a “blog” theme.
I sent it off for him to look at, and after a few days, he got back to me. Rejected.
Ironically, it wasn’t the design he didn’t approve of; it was the fact that I had created a custom homepage for him—something that resembled more of a full website look, rather than just a blog.
So I went back to the drawing board and came up with something more straightforward, which he approved of, paid for, and used happily.
I was left with something I thought was amazing, and was borderline depressed. I thought I was going to be stuck with this “masterpiece” I had created, but then I had an idea: ask if my audience would be interested in buying it.
The WordPress Revolution
A couple of days went by before I had the time to do it, but I finally penned the blog post that would forever change my life—“How Much Would You Pay for a Premium WordPress Theme?”
I took the rejected design I did for the Boston real estate agent and turned it into the Revolution theme for WordPress. I made $10,000, $20,000, $40,000, and $80,000 respectively the first four months. I was in shock and told my wife Shelly that it was “financially irresponsible” for me to stay at my job.
Some days I feel as though it was pure happenstance—that it was merely a stroke of luck and I was in the right place at the right time. Other days, I embrace the fact that I was smart enough to seize the opportunity which presented itself in front of me.
It’s been nearly ten years since I took the leap of faith and became a creative entrepreneur. I can assure you it hasn’t always been easy, but not a day goes by that I regret my decision—trust me, it is worth the risk.