Editor’s note: I’ve been doing web design and development for 15+ years – 8+ years of those as a web business owner. During those years, I see web-based businesses come and go. Those that survive have been helping me in crafting websites for years. One of them is TemplateMonster.
The multi million dollar business evolves to stand the test of time, and we have a great opportunity today to learn from their story. David Braun, the CEO of TemplateMonster, shares the story – from the humble beginning to an eight digit corporation. Here is his fascinating interview.
Please note that this interview is not conducted by us – this post acts as a medium for the interview to inspire readers.
Interviewer: Hello David,
Thank you for agreeing to give us an interview. Looking at the huge corporation you are running, we can tell that you have some really great stories to tell, which may inspire our readers. Considering the world statistics, it is very likely that among those who are reading this interview right now, there are startupers who are on the way to their (maybe even worldwide) success, without even knowing it yet.
David: It’s my pleasure. I am sure, your audience includes many people, who know what they want from the Web.
Interviewer: Firstly, please tell us briefly how your company was set up.
David: You know TemplateMonster to be an online store, but it wasn’t always like that. Actually, at first it was a local web design agency which grew into an online store several years later.
Interviewer: What triggered this transformation?
David: I like to think it was an instant idea of mine, but, clearly, there were some situations which preceded this idea and helped it form in my head. Our customers weren’t always happy with a price of a custom web design, many of them needed a cheaper solution. Of course, we weren’t able to cut the price down artificially, but we didn’t want to turn down the customers either. Once I saw our designer working with his templates and in a minute or so an idea of TemplateMonster was born.
Interviewer: Wow, that sounds exciting. How did the first years of TemplateMonster go?
David: Well, that was a “Wild West”. Back then, the Web was a harsh place to survive. Our company faced DDos attacks, frauds. There were lots of really stressful situations, but we made it. Anyway, I’m proud to say that TemplateMonster is one of the oldest companies on the Web providing templates. We were already selling templates when there was no Facebook or Twitter yet.
Interviewer: That must have been difficult. What is TemplateMonster now?
David: At the moment, TemplateMonster is a several-hundred employees company with thousands of templates and themes. We offer 1200+ WordPress themes, 1000+ Joomla templates, over 4000 HTML templates and so on. We cover all most popular content management systems for all skill levels. We aim both at people who have never dealt with web design before and at professional web designers and web design agencies.
Apart from that, we have launched several web design-related projects. Our goal is to create a unified A-Z ecosystem where people may find everything that they want, starting from a detailed guide called Startuphub which tells you how to create a website from scratch, to the freebies and giveaways for web designers which MonsterPost often offers. However, if you don’t deal with web development, but you still would like to earn money with TemplateMonster, we offer a special Social Stock program.
Interviewer: Do you remember your first client?
David: Wow, that’s a great question, this guy is still our client and a friend. He is from Brazil. He messaged me via ICQ, that was an instant messenger at the moment, and asked if he could get a template for free. We were young and we were just starting our template-selling business, so I gave him a template for free. Some time later he came back and texted me that he’d made a neat project with that template, got the money from his customer and wanted to give our share. That was the moment when I realized that relationship with a customer is much more important that the money.
Interviewer: How do mistakes in running your company affect you?
David: Mistakes are an inevitable part of everyone’s business. There were times when we dodged a bullet or when we lost opportunities which could have made us billionaires. That happened. At some point of a TemplateMonster company life we’ve lost a huge part of our audience because we stopped understanding what they needed. Nevertheless, we fixed it and got the audience back. This year was devoted to creating several big multipurpose products. So-called “transformers”, because they can transform literally into anything, a blog, an e-Commerce project, a portfolio or a website for children. Jumerix, a Joomla multipurpose theme, Storeflex, a new OpenCart theme, Starbis, a multipurpose website template for business and so on.
Interviewer: Why do people choose templates over custom websites?
David: Templates save time. A lot of time. If you are a developer, you get an almost-finished project from the very start, and this saves you time. And time is money, so it lets you get more projects done, more money earned. If you are making a website for yourself, you don’t have to deal with developers and designers, who tend to extend the deadline, when you don’t even know for sure if they are good professionals. Anyway, you may do with your time anything you want to. Our team even created a series of funny short suggestions of how you could do.
Interviewer: After spending some time on your website, a customer finds out that you have some really great-looking free themes. Why should one buy a premium template instead of choosing a free one?
David: That is true, we have great free templates. They are suitable for a basic website, but they are simpler than premium templates. Besides, premium templates have a lifetime support and updates, and free ones don’t. If you want your website to function properly, it is always better to be backed up. Being a premium customer of TemplateMonster guarantees you a lifetime assistance of TemplateMonster support team.
Interviewer: And, before we finish our interview, there’s a last, but not the least, question. What is it that inspires you in business and in private life? We know you to be not only a TemplateMonster CEO, but also a social activist, a happy father of three children and a drummer.
David: I get ignited by people, projects and ideas. To me, that’s a perfect recipe for inspiration.
Interviewer: It definitely is! Thank you again for being with us today.
David: Thank you!