“Focus on your core strength and see what is working for you. You can find your own niche within the marketplace, once you have discovered it, go on and establish yourself as the lead player in that niche.”Aqeel Syed
Our latest interview features Power Elite Author, CrunchPress and their experiences as a creative web design agency specializing in WordPress Themes and Site Templates! Check out their story…
My name is I’m Aqeel Syed a.k.a CrunchPress, and I’m based in Lahore, Pakistan (originally from a remote town in Punjab, Mankera). Here in Lahore, I work with my team of WordPress developers, designers, and front-end coders.
To what do you attribute your success – how is your business unique?
I’m not a developer, nor a designer as most authors are – my core skill set revolves around internet marketing, team building, and entrepreneurship. I attribute my success towards finding good talent (designers, developers), researching the right product ideas and building a unique product. Good product research helped me find decent opportunities at Envato.
A few years back when everyone was trying to create the biggest multipurpose theme ever, I avoided this bug and kept my focus on developing niche based products, which worked really well for me – these themes have slow sales but a longer shelf life.
How did you get started? Tell us something no one (or not many people) know…
Honestly, this is quite a difficult question as I’m an open book and my family and friends know everything about me. One thing that my customers do not know is that I’m a college dropout and wasn’t able to go back to studies because I started working full-time as a blogger and SEO expert when I was 19 years old.
I worked for one of the world’s first 3 online reputation management firms during college, and when I got promoted to director, I had to drop out and start working full time.
What do you love about your work and why?
Envato has great potential not just towards earning but it provides you the flexibility to work from anywhere you like, in your own preferred hours, plus the creative freedom.
What is the most challenging thing about your work?
Technology and web trends/standards evolve constantly and fast (also the design trends). You have to make sure that your themes are unique and ahead of the others. Plus, you have to update your old products to keep them relevant.
You need to learn and evolve with these growing trends.
Who or what inspires you and why?
I live in Lahore, Pakistan. Lahore’s culture is unique with a rich history dating over a millennial. It is sometimes referred
What are some of the biggest lessons that have impacted your work?
You need to create value for others, either for your team or your customers. When you do good, you have good results.
What is your most memorable client/customer story on Envato?
One of my clients, Gustaf Berger who is a novelist from Boston, USA was so impressed by my customer services and timely work that he decided to meet me in-person. In December 2016, Gus visited Lahore and stayed here for a couple of days. You don’t only make customers at Envato, you also make friends.
Apart from yourself, who is your favorite marketplace author and why do you like them?
GoodLayers are my favorite authors and they are an inspiration to me. I started following them in 2010 and then decided to start my journey as an Envato Author. Thumbs up to John at GoodLayers for creating such functional and beautiful themes.
What is your advice to other authors regarding how to create a successful portfolio?
Focus on your core strength and see what is working for you. You can find your own niche within the marketplace, once you have discovered it, go on and establish yourself as the lead player in that niche.
What tools and resources (online and/or offline) do you use?
Here are few that I would like to mention. I use design galleries like Awwwards. and dribbble to get inspiration. Envato Elements is a big help for finding good stock photos at a very affordable price. For creating wireframes I prefer the old approach of using a paper and pencil and lastly, Ticksy for customer support.
How do you balance work and family life?
Being your own boss has its own pros and cons. It is easier said than done to set the routine of working from 10 AM to 7 PM. Often you find yourself working over time. Recently I have improved my routine, stopped working overtime, started the gym and trying to avoid the distractions at work. I went from multi-tasking to mono-tasking, and this has made me very productive.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
Doing exercise, going to the gym, traveling – enjoying nature and its marvels.
What are your plans for the future?
Next goal is to reach Top 50 Authors at Envato and making 2018 the best year of CrunchPress at Envato!