I’m quite new to the WordPress ecosystem so perhaps I’m stating the obvious, but it seems that ThemeForest holds too much power in the selling process. What is the general feeling towards them? Do you think it can be possible to successfully sell independently or are we destined to revenue servitude forever?
My 2 cents you either have a winner and sell a couple thousands licenses or you work a few months for nothing (30-100 sales) . The front page changes daily, so exposure is an issue and you will need to do all the marketing part.
If you don’t have a winner you will need to pump in/develop as many themes as you can, 10 sales here, 20 there. It adds up.
That’s why instead of creating a “mega/multi/ultra” theme, you can create a few niche themes. Takes less time to develop and if everything goes well, you will have a nice portfolio creating you some passive income.
I agree 100% with @acosmin for my part I have not had luck with ThemeForest, I made only 306 sales over 1 year and with the huge percentage takes Envato it does not make a lot of money.
By cons, if you find a good niche, you can make a comfortable revenue, I take the example of an author who is only made personal blog theme, themes work fine, there are often more than 1000 sales in few time.
I have bought many themes for clients from ThemeForest.
Now…as a seller (you) of themes…there are so many of you out there…why are you special?
I am sorry to be blunt but…from your perspective you might not make money out of it.
At the same time you COULD make money. I know many people who have made money and a lot more who have not made money.
I’ve discussed this a couple years ago in this post. Not much has changed since.
I think the general feeling of authors toward Envato is “necessary evil.” Individual theme authors just don’t have the marketing machine that Envato has. They provide a glimmer of hope, but their fees to be excessive, especially to new authors, especially especially to those who dare sell their items non-exclusively.
I feel genuinely sorry for the ThemeForest authors who you can tell put hundreds of hours of work in their themes, only to sell a few hundred bucks worth (before Envato takes their cut).
Ultimately, they might as well have been eating potato chips in front of the TV for those hundreds of hours instead of making a theme.
Possible, yes. Likely, no.
It’s rare for a theme shop to become a “destination” and you usually only see it after years and years of consistent theme production. Most theme operations cave before that happens.
There are some examples of relatively new theme shops doing well in the thread Why are theme sales so stagnant nowadays?
We all agree that selling on envato gets more traffic. But it also wastes a lot of development time because of issues with their review system - reviews are inconsistent, changed without notice and not inline with the submission guidelines.
Support is takes a massive amount of time - good documentation helps a little but a lot of the time users don’t read them.
So independently you can set higher prices and also sell on marketplaces with a fairer exclusivity policy.
You don’t need to make as many sales independently with less sales you can make more money because the sales to work ratio is better and envato don’t take half your profits.
The question is though is it possible even make a few sales independently or enough to make a living? I would guess it would take a long time and a large portfolio of themes.