Adriaan Pienaar Interview – Making Money Selling WordPress Themes

Could you describe what you do and how you earn your living Adii?

Well, I’m the owner of a boutique design agency – Radiiate – as well as a co-founder of WooThemes (along with Magnus & Mark). I currently spend about 90% of my time on WooThemes-related work and have decided to put Radiiate on the backburner to focus on WooThemes instead.

I thus earn my income from doing custom design & development work on Radiiate, whilst selling WordPress themes on WooThemes.

You currently run Woothemes with Magnus Jepson and Mark Forrester, how did you guys get together and how has having three founders helped WooThemes?

We met online, realized we had similar ideas about design & business and then pursued a collaborative project, which eventually resulted in WooThemes. I’ve only met Mark (in person) and neither of us has met Magnus, but we’ll all be hooking up at FOWD London in April.


And I think it has helped immensely to have 3 ambitious guys contributing to WooThemes at the same time, because not only do we get to share the workload; but we also get 3 different perspectives and in the process we keep challenging each other. I also think it’s boring to do exciting stuff on your own! 🙂

You run an affiliate program where your affiliates promote your themes on a commission basis, how has this effect the growth of your site? Also, what’s your top tip for running a success affiliate program?

I think it contributes to our success a great deal, as about a third of our monthly revenue is generated by our affiliates. This also allows us to “passively” market to new groups of people at a very efficient cost (in that we only pay for successful leads). To be a successful WooThemes affiliate, I just think that one needs to ensure that your users will actually find value in clicking on that affiliate ad and ultimately buying a theme; not gonna help if your users don’t have any interest in WordPress or website templates at all.

What advice would you offer a blogger trying to start make more money from their blog?

Content is always king. So your first objective should be to create great content to attract a userbase. Then you can start to think about monetizing that content  / traffic.

You are known as one of the authority websites in the, WordPress Themes. What advice would you give a new blogger to dominating their niche?

Really work hard at pushing that niche, since it’s much easier to established oneself within an industry if you have a focused approach. I find that the scatter-gun approach rarely works, as you’re only splitting your ideas and energy.

In your opinion what is the most important aspect of a WordPress Theme and why?

The coding most definitely. If the code is useless, the ultimate product (irrespective of the design) will be useless in the hands of the user as well.

What advice would you give to people just starting out with an online business?

Work damn hard and trust your gut feel & ideas. Also make the decision to stick with your ideas and run with them; don’t jump ship if there isn’t an immediate response (i.e. sales) to your new product / service.

You are currently living the “Internet Lifestyle”, what does the internet lifestyle mean to you?

I wouldn’t really call it that, as I could have been working in another industry and had lead the same lifestyle as well. I think the fact that I’m my own boss allows me a lot of freedom personally, as well as a business sense where I can explore new ideas / ventures at will.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what advice would you give yourself regarding making money online?

Not to be arrogant, but I probably wouldn’t change a thing. I started out at the bottom and I worked my self up the “ladder”. All of those experiences (good & bad) have contributed to the person I am today and I probably wouldn’t be as successful or happy now if I didn’t have that basis to work from.

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