Today we are going to have a cozy conversation with David Braun, CEO of a well-known TemplateMonster that is famous because of its unique ready-made templates, themes for WooCommerce, WordPress and thousands of more! Basically, these comfortable templates are professional sets of the ready-made pages that were made and diligently designed by TM in order to assist one in the process of a successful website building. Shortly, the themes allow managing the long-awaited websites just out-of-the-box. So, why we decided to tell you about this wonderful company?
Needless to say, 15 years seems to be a really long term, especially when we are talking about the web development business. Unquestionably, during these years TM had both its ups and downs. Moreover, they changed a lot of strategies and techniques. Still, the company has never stopped its development. To sum everything up, for today TM has more than 60 thousands of easy-in-use templates that are popular all around the world. What is more, they propose people to use over 25 thousands of the premium themes. Seeing that, we would like to share with you the story of the company’s success. In the end, would you like to hear the history of TemplateMonster? Be sure, we do! All in all, such information might be useful for those, who dream about starting their own business. Thus, let’s begin!
Hello, David. Thank you for coming! We are really happy to see you here! It is not a secret that a huge part of our readers is interested at the start of your career and the appearance of TemplateMonster at all. Thus, let’s start from the history. Tell us about the first steps that you made on the way to success. Did you use to work as a website designer or developer?
Yes, many years ago I used to work in a web design studio. Actually, this company wasn’t mine, but I joined the team on its start. Let’s say that I was one of the first workers of our team. By the way, it included less than 10 people. So, answering your question, I wouldn’t say that I used to work as a website designer. Honestly, I had never worked with such services before. Therefore, I knew almost nothing about eCommerce websites or internet business at all. On the other hand, the web studio wasn’t a common company for our town those days. That is why I found such job as a quite perspective one. Without a doubt, there is always a room to improve.
That’s right! And here is the next and, I guess, the most popular question: when did you get the idea of creating TemplateMonster? And what were the first steps?
Well, officially, TemplateMonster appeared more than 15 years ago, in 2002. One day I saw that one of my co-workers did the orders unbelievably quickly. I asked him about the job and that guy told me a secret of his productivity. It was about the library of ready-made elements that he made in Photoshop and used for the fast creation of website layouts. As it was already said we have never heard about the definition or using of website templates but decided to try working with them.
Wow, 15 years sounds like a long term! I’d like to hear the secret of your popularity but let’s back to the first templates! You have mentioned Photoshop and layouts, so that were not today’s templates?
No, believe me, there is a great difference between those templates and the premium themes that TM sells today. In the beginning, we tried to paint some ready-to-use website templates and sell them as a Photoshop files via internet. As I can remember, there were only 3 categories of such themes: gold, silver and bronze. It took place in 2002 and we did have a rivalry, but the templates our designer painted were more beautiful than ones that were proposed by 4emplates.com and we have no fear.
You mentioned that TemplateMonster started as a small web design studio. And what was your first web project? Was it successful?
That’s right, there were only three of us, if we are talking about TM. Also, we had a marketing specialist from the U.S. His main task was to find new clients and expand the customer reach. Gently speaking, he did his best because our first web project brought us $70,000. Needless to say, it looks like an impressive sum. What is more, it was even more impressive 15 years later. Still, it was pretty hard to work with such a big amount of orders when there were only several people, so I thought about selling some ready-made and pre-packed product, but had no idea about what could it be. So, we started to think about other ways to automate and speed up the working process. That’s how TemplateMonster was born.
And how many templates your company had those days?
When we launched our startup, we had about 30 templates in our inventory. I know that today it is a tiny number but back in the early 2000s owning 30 different pre-packed website themes was really cool! At that moment, we thought that we had done everything that we could in order to enlarge our audience. Therefore, we launched TemplateMonster and expected to receive a huge number of orders straight away.
I know that for today your company has served more than 20 million customers, so there are a plenty of personal and quite popular websites all around the world that were professionally created with the help of TemplateMonster. Seeing that, could you remember your first customer or what kind of website template was ordered by this person?
What a nice question! Yes, we did sell our website themes all around the world those days as well as today, but I can still remember one of our first clients! This person is from Brazil. When we just started the selling this guy found me in the ICQ messenger and asked for a free theme for his new online project. We had nothing to lose for our company, as the business was on its’ start, so I was ok about giving him a desired website theme for free. What is more, one day this guy wrote me again and said that he made a successful project for a customer with the help of our template and got good money that he wanted to share with us.
Wow, it seems to be a simple but really useful story about the productive relationship between a company and its clients. By the way, did this guy order more templates?
Yes, he did! Moreover, he is still our regular customer and I’m happy about it. In the end, we got more than just money for a sold template. Truly speaking, that was an important moment for me as well as for the future work of TemplateMonster, when I found out that the relationship with a customer is much more important than the price of your product.
Alright, talking about our days, could you tell a little bit about your own rules that TemplateMonster has about its customers? I guess such things may be vital for people that have only started the work of their company or just thinking about it.
Well, as all the good things do these rules are quite simple, but still very important for me. To begin with, don’t be afraid to make a mistake as you can always both fix it and get a priceless experience about your work. Being that, you can always keep moving what is an inherent part of the way to success. Second rule is a short one. It’s about being sincerely passionate about what you do. Finally, as it has already been mentioned, relationship with people (customers, co-workers or business partners) is much more valuable than any profit.
So, how much time it took for TM to become popular?
As I have already said, there were so many orders. Thus, we were so crazy and happy because of our success. Needless to say, it was totally unexpected! All in all, we had just entered the market. Nevertheless, as it turned out later on, we became subject to a fraud. That is why we had to rethink our security. Still, there is one important thing we learned: never celebrate success until it’s certain.
So David, what is the secret of your success? Are the any advices you would like to give to our readers?
Yep, there are several things you should know. First of all, whatever you do, do it with passion! Needless to say, being an entrepreneur means being ready to face various risks. Thus, you can never concentrate on the development of your business, if you do not feel passionate about the things you do. All in all, there are so many unpleasant things that may happen to you and your company as well. Just ask yourself: why you would like your deal to be popular? Don’t do your business for money or success. I mean, these things are good but passion should be the most vital one among your reasons. Finally, you may be certain that you have found your key to success in case you have faith in the things that you do. As you can see, there is nothing complicated but many people have simply forgot about it.
My next ruse is simple as well. You should listen more and speak less, if you would like your business to be successful. Actually, I learned this lesson when the web switched from Flash to HTML. Do you remember that time when Steve Jobs announced in public that Flash technology was dying out? The thing is that we didn’t pay too much attention to his words. Without a doubt, it was a huge mistake because, in the end, we lost two years re-educating our staff. And what can I say now? Well, never ignore the things that are related to your business. Listen more! To sum everything up, always be sure that you know everything you need for your business and even more!
To finish with, here is another advice I’d like to give you: don’t search for the new ideas outside your company! For example, TemplateMonster already has its team that generates new marketing ideas, approaches to building and distributing web promotion and much more. Thus, it is better to let the team communicate internally and suggest new ideas based on the knowledge of the brand’s products. Needless to say, these are the people that know the possibilities of their further development. Already have your professional team? In this case, just generate game-changing ideas through discussion within your team!
Thank you for such a clear answer, David! I’m sure it will be more than helpful for our readers. So, talking about the professional team, how did the team of TM change during these 15 years?
Well, in the early days of TM out team included only 3 members. Of course, today the number is different. Basically, now there are more than 400 expert designers, coders, customer care and marketing specialists that work at TemplateMonster. As you can see, we grew over time, so the team became more numerous and skilled.
Well, it should be hard to have such a big team…
Yes, it is. Still, there is one thing you should always remember about. Just never outsource your strategic competency! All in all, our team learned from our own mistakes and successful accomplishments. There is a good saying that teaches us to learn from mistakes committed by other people. Without a doubt, we all saw other brands facing the problem of outsourcing and relied on our own internal resources heavily.
As I remember, your company is always open for new people. But how can you be sure that your team is loyal? I mean sometimes it’s just impossible to keep your old team. Are there any examples you can show us from your own experience?
Naturally, our company values every employee. I will not deny that during the first five years after TemplateMonster’s launch, we were focused mainly on releasing Flash-based websites. Those days the sales of such products made up almost 80 percent of the overall revenue. Still, the world of the web has always been quite changeable. I have already told you about the problems we faced when Flash switched to HTML. On the other hand, every situation has its pluses. All in all, it made TM to change its strategy and the products we produced. That is why the company had to make an important and tough decision. Basically, we had a team of skilled professionals who specializing in Flash. Unfortunately, their skills became useless. So what would you do? Unquestionably, we could have hired another team of HTML pros who would start developing HTML-based themes.
On the other hand, we trusted our old team, as they worked hard during many years. For these simple reasons, we decided to keep the old team. All we had to do is to re-train them to accommodate the new technology. Without a doubt, it wasn’t easy. Gently speaking, it took us more than a year to teach the team new skills. Still, the old team managed to handle the new skills, and once they were working at full strength they produced HTML templates that rivaled anything out there. What is more, the guys from old team actually saw how Flash was evolving and how everything started. As a result, it helped us enhance our HTML template with unique animation effects that were done properly. To summarize, we realized that only people who worked with Flash could achieve this well.
As I know, the most popular question is about owning a successful and popular website. Being that, everyone wants to figure out how to create an online project which will definitely be worthy of their visitors’ or customers’ attention. What is your professional opinion about it?
Without a doubt, it’s always important to be unique! Seeing that, now your priority mission is about building an inimitable online project that will look extremely sparkling among all the huge variety of newest sites! Thus, our premium themes were made in line with all the newest website trends and preferences, so they are able to impress anyone. Whatever is your business about, do your best to stay inimitable! What is more, you should never stop, even when your goal is achieved.
Have already reached a new high? In this case, just keep looking for another one! Believe me, the success that you experienced yesterday is already in the past. Thus, there is a chance that today you will lose it. To make a long story short, never stop developing in order to stay as successful as you are today.
Thank you for such a cozy conversation, David! It undoubtedly was a priceless piece of information for me as well as for our readers. We are always happy to hear from you!
So, for today it was all the information. As you can see, this world is full of the inspiring stories you should know about and this one is definitely one of them. In the end, we hope that this amazing interview will not only inspire you but will also help people with the development of their startups. Seeing that, never stop dreaming!
P.S. Would you like to find out more information about the creation of your own website using these cool themes? In this case, don’t hesitate to contact TemplateMonster Service Center to get more detailed information or a professional consultation. All in all, now you can transform your ideas into a powerful and unique site with no effort. That is why TM provides you with the regular updates and templates customization. What is more, keep in mind that you will also have free tech support that works 24 / 7. Thus, you will never be alone with all your questions and issues.