Make Money, Get Busy, and Forget to Innovate

I just got an email from Brian telling me that he just got listed on Automattic’s WordPress Consultant’s list. Congratulations to him for this, for sure!

But one of the things that disappointed me about this list was the fact that most of these sites, individuals, and companies, despite being on Automattic’s approved list, rarely, if ever truly innovate in the field of WordPress development.

For most of us who started out in the theming business, it was a hobby … something we did in our down time to get some traffic, and offer something back to the community that helped us start our own blogs. Innocent enough.

But as many of us have found out … when you release quality WordPress themes, you start getting solicited for your design services as well as other nasties like theme sponsorship (which many of us fell for).

Before you know it, you are getting multiple inquiries a day. You are now faced with the prospect of making a good chunk of extra cash on the side. Sound nice? It is!

But what happens is all of your time becomes tied up in custom theme development. The little free time you do have is spent trying to create a new theme, either as a creative outlet, or as a means of marketing. It’s little more than a new skin on your old theme, though. Nothing new. Nothing special.

This leaves very little time for innovation. Which is why there is so little innovation in the theme market. The people who actually have the passion and talents to innovate end up choosing the road paved with gold (myself included).

And this is sad. Because WordPress can do SO much more than it is doing now. Themes alone can turn a blog into a website, or a news site, just like that!!! But it took nearly 4 years for us to figure out how to make it work??? If it took us just 1 year, it’s still sad!

Where are the thinkers??? Where are the innovators???

Thankfully, there are quite a few people on that list, and many more not on the list, that are innovating. Brian, SP, Adii, Michael, Darren, Cory, myself, etc., are all trying our best to stretch WordPress to it’s limit and see how far it can go.

And I’m convinced that WordPress is as flexible as it’s most creative, innovative designer.

So who will that be? Will it be you? Have you been seduced by the dollar signs? Let’s get back to innovating. I’m not saying we can’t make money … but let’s try to progress as we get rich, huh? Whaddaya say?

12 Replies to “Make Money, Get Busy, and Forget to Innovate”

  1. I hear you Nathan – it’s tough to do something special when you’ve gotta pay the bills. It took all the hard initial work from Brian G to motivate me enough to get my butt into action and produce my Premium News Theme… I do however hope that this recent trend of innovative ideas will continue – even though it’s only a handful of us, we need to set the bar high enough so that more and more designers will aspire to those standards!

    Hope NewsPixel has been selling well!?

  2. *I’m POd at google, so I won’t plug my blogspot blog … and I refuse to plug my WP blog til that platform gets rid of that pathetic excuse for an editor. Ok.fine it’s*

    Thing is, capital flows to where ROI is highest. So I dunno … maybe you’ve got a comfortable mortgage and your kids earned scholarships (Not mocking, honest) but “getting by” can mean a lot of different things.

    My pet peeve is with 80/20 … some folk know how to get 80% of a project’s potential buzz (read: $$$) while actually doing 20% of that completion would call for. “The least that will succeed” is fine, in a principled environment … but more often than not it’s taken as licence to market crap for the higest $$$. (And hey: if WP users have been putting up with that ridiculous “Visual/Code” editor for years, well, it shows to go yuh what folk will put up with. Shades of Win95, nae?)

    best to you


  3. [plugging a LiveJournal … now, I ask you, how unprofessional is that? *snort/chortle*]

    p.s. thanks for that nice list of guys … I’m putting together a feed digest of, uhhhh, the guys who get their hands dirty up to the elbow so, well, yaa, thanks.

  4. @Ben Tremblay
    Ben, you’ll have to forgive me … I really can’t tell what you’re talking about. What does that have to do with innovation?

  5. Nathan: you wrote about “new skin on old theme” and how that cycle can be, well, profitable. But it’s not what we’d call “heavy lifting” … so it brings great returns with less effort (80% / 20% are just the numbers used in the classic metaphor), which makes it attractive and hard to break out of … not innovative, but rewarding.

    What I see is that the majority of funding flows to what will bring the most immediate ROI … which, really, is basically sensible. But that sort of thinking doesn’t support innovation.

    Know what I mean?

  6. […] themes.  It’s well worth a look-see, or even a subscription.  I noticed this in a recent blog post of his: For most of us who started out in the theming business, it was a hobby … something we […]

  7. Guys,

    I have been spreading the news. The dollar is tanking buy gold and silver and protect your savings. Everything is going down the tubes soon. Please protect yourselfs and your families. What you are talking about means nothing, protect yourself now.


  8. Hello Nathan,

    This is a great post and have kept it in my bookmarks. Will continue to read it as i’m very new to a lot of the points you mention!

    Thanks though, i’m glad some people share good stuff like this!

  9. Great site man, I like it, you help me, thank you!

  10. Hi friend…nice information you got here!!!

  11. Hello Buddy, you have got a nice blog. Can you tell me the name of the theme? I like it.

  12. Cool information Thanks
    Free money make tips,free earn money from google,affiliate,and hundred of other tips you can earn money from home at free of cost there are thousands of lines from where you can earn money.For example if you web designer then you can join e lancer liek company,or if you have a website then you can join google adsense,and if you did not know any thing and if you have no website or blog then also there are many ways like surveys,paid to click etc
    And many more tips at

Comments are closed.