Every so often, there comes a time to make one or more major decisions to refocus on the thing that’s most important. Over the past year, it has become obvious that we need to bring clarity and focus to our team. This means removing distractions that prevent us from achieving goals we’ve set our sights on as a company. Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that we need to improve in a number of areas:
- Deliver the best work product to our clients.
- Keep the team happy and healthy.
- Focus team members in their area of expertise.
- Maximize profits.
To achieve these goals, we took a look at the things we were doing on a daily basis and made some tough decisions that we feel are in the best interests of our customers, our team, and our future as a company. As of last week, we sold UpThemes, our tiny WordPress theme shop, to Andy Wilkerson of Parallelus. Making this decision became much easier thanks to Andy’s incredible attention to detail, eye for design, dedication to his customers, and longstanding reputation as a Power Elite Author on ThemeForest.
I met Andy at Pressnomics for the very first time earlier this year and began telling him about UpThemes on the ASU Karsten golf course (I can now confirm that, yes, many business deals do happen on the links). We continued our conversations privately in the Post Status Slack (if you’re not a member, I do highly recommend becoming one, as it has been an incredible WordPress community resource for us) and, as of last week, we finalized the sale and transferred ownership. We know Andy is 100% dedicated to building great products and helping customers achieve their goals. He has done quite well on ThemeForest, having sold over 33,000 themes there to date. Andy is someone I now consider a great friend. He has a lot to offer to both new and existing customers at UpThemes.
Finding the right buyer wasn’t easy and I think meeting Andy at PressNomics was rather serendipitous. He was looking for a way to increase his impact in the WordPress community, we were looking for someone who would take care of the customer and breathe new life into UpThemes. We considered auctioning it off via Flippa but have also heard many horror stories where the new owner ended up overwhelmed with running the business and customers being left in the dark or cut off entirely. We probably left a little money on the table in that regard, especially considering WPLift recently sold for $205,100 on Flippa, but to us, everyone involved comes out better.
Some folks might say this acquisition is another symptom of the commoditization of WordPress themes, but to be honest, even from the day UpThemes launched back in 2010, we were always splitting our time between themes and consulting. It was more of a resource allocation issue than any sort of ceiling on profitability. Approximately 20% of our time is allocated to side projects (which includes UpThemes, among other projects). While we had experienced continued success with UpThemes, it became obvious as our team grew that we needed to make a decision: dedicate more time to UpThemes and focus on growth there, or put more time into our even faster-growing consulting business, which has always consistently generated at least 80% of our total revenue. In the end, finding the perfect buyer for UpThemes made the decision even easier than I thought it could be.
If you’re a past customer or partner of UpThemes, please do reach out to Andy and say hello, he’d love to meet you!