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  1. Now that’s timing – I was doing a similar research for last few months and ended up with no conclusive answer. While calculating the cost of making a theme is easy but anticipating number of sales / revenue is tough.

    I simply ignored that part and went ahead with http://www.simpleprothemes.com and launched a theme that I could identify with (Flex pro theme) in terms of design and functionality (strictly based on previous client work experiences).

    Coming to the money part – Flex theme has surpassed ‘my’ sales expectations (may be it is the honeymoon / launch period effect). As such, I was expecting sales to be good as this theme offer much more than what a standard Genesis theme would offer. Lot of layout variations, custom widgets etc.

    To summarize, if you got a unique and high quality theme – it will definitely sell. While Flex theme is still in kick-start mode, one can for sure take “Foodie Pro” theme by Shay Bocks as case study on how a quality theme can rack in big numbers.

    P.S. Anyone wanting to jump in the Genesis Themes market: do extensive research on type of theme(s) missing in the Genesis ecosystem. Also, match it with probable customer base wanting to use that type of theme. A closer match for sure will bring success.

    • Hey Davinder,
      You make a great point:

      match it with probable customer base wanting to use that type of theme

      With Utility Pro, I definitely hit on something that was missing, but whether there’s much of a customer base that wants that is still TBD. I wouldn’t do UP differently if I could, but you have wise advice to make sure the market gap has market demand.

      Congrats with the Simple Pro launch! You may or may not see it referred to in one of my upcoming Lynda.com courses. 😉

  2. Hey super Carrie…

    Thanks for the aspiring post, you have only made me stronger. I have been working on my first theme for launch this past 500 hours 🙂 and will keep working till my eyes bleed if i have to.

  3. I have one, but I might need your help. Seriously. My theme would be centered around a DIY business model for a niche. I am trying to figure out if it should be a Genesis Child theme or something else or an option therein. I am very interested in adding the tl;dr function as I think it will be a selling point.

    I got some research and study to do.

    Good thoughts Carrie, as always!

    • If people are re-selling StudioPress’s themes (or anyone else’s theme the seller did not author), I think that’s ethically wrong. While the code is licensed under GPL and that practice is not legally prohibited, doing that would put the seller in poor standing with the user community (seller may not care) and leave any of their buyers out in the cold when it comes to ability to access StudioPress support (again, seller may not care). It’s a short-term game that could make someone money, but not any sort of long-term strategy for building revenue.

      Now if you’re talking about people selling themes they’ve created via Fiverr, etc, there’s nothing wrong with that (although I’d suggest just offering a theme for free as a gift to the community at that point versus devaluing your work with such a low pricetag).

  4. I personally use a Genesis child theme for main commercial blog. And I think it suits the type of site pretty cool. The themes are also very user-friendly and can be modified without limits.

    Me without being a WordPress developer of any sort, was able to create a whole new child theme which is just for my personal blog. And I was pretty surprised by the results.

    Thanks for the aspiring post! Keep up the good work, mate.

  5. Hi Carrie. Great article…I wish you would write it again. 🙂 Looking at this market in 2017, it’s tough sledding to get this kind of info. They are certainly way more Genesis users now. Would you say this market/opportunity has increased substantially since you wrote this?

    • Hi Pat,

      I’m asking myself this same question again as I’m dumping a lot more time into a significant revamp of Utility Pro theme. Setting revenue aside for a moment, the other question I’m asking myself is how does this theme complement (or fit into) my overall business offering? Does it make sense in light of my business focus (which has shifted since I wrote the article) or is it this weird “product dingleberry” randomly attached to my business? I’m in the process of some soul searching and analysis.

      That’s all I can tell you for now, although I did update the real number of StudioPress customers and ran than that through my imaginary calculator. 🙂

      Carrie

  6. Great post Carrie!

    I recently started offering themes on my site (https://whiteleydesigns.com/premium-wordpress-themes/). One catered to restaurants, one for gyms, and one more flexible theme for freelancers. Sales aren’t great, but they are trickling in. I haven’t done much in the way of marketing them, but so far it’s book OK.

    One thing that is also hard to quantify is additional revenue from theme sale clients. While sales may be relatively low, I have had roughly 20% of people who purchased the themes so far pay for additional work, or refer other clients after they were happy using my themes. A few of the projects turned out to be relatively large, so even though the themes themselves may not “pay” for the development time, the incremental income from the referral work generated through the sales can easily make up for that.

    I also personally follow-up with each client after purchase offering my other services and offering any assistance they may need with setup. It has also helped lead to some hosting and maintenance clients. Also, I think clients like to know there is a real person behind the product.

    Anywho, great post!

    Cheers,

    Matt

    • Hey Matt,
      Great insight about using the themes as a sales funnel to your additional services! Are you following up via email manually or do you have some sort of an automated sequence that introduces the buyer to who you are?

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