It was July 2012 when I first proposed the idea of closing down WonderThemes…
I spent the next year weighing up the options and looking at alternatives until finally the day came to say enough was enough and move on.
If you visit wonderthemes.com now it re-directs to a dead link on my website – this is kind of sad when I consider the years of work I put into this project. But I now see that leaving WonderThemes behind was the best thing I could do as it allowed me to move on and do new things.
What I’m doing now
I early 2012 I did something I’d wanted to do for a long time – organise a web conference. The Digital Barn was an experiment, it was a local event in a town which has little in the way of digital economy (Barnsley, my home town) but it worked, it worked really, really well. I ran the event with one of my old friends Matt Watson who is a seasoned web developer and like me had worked in the public sector for almost all of his professional career.
Events lead to new outlooks
Since the first Digital Barn I’ve had a new outlook on my business endeavours. When you run these types of events you meet a lot of great people, people who run their own businesses and people just like you. Not smarter, better or luckier than you, just with a better understanding of what they want.
So, the year after the first Digital Barn we ran a follow-up (Matt and I) and in the closing remarks Matt and I announced Make Do, a new company that we would build together and try to do great things with.
Since then Make Do has morphed into a WordPress (obviously) design & development agency. We still run events through Make Do as well (our next Digital Barn is this year) and the types of events and size is growing fast. We also helped to organise WordCamp Sheffield as a quasi-Make Do event – it will be the first WordCamp in the area and is happening April 26th.
Do I miss WonderThemes?
Yes and no – I wonder if I’d made a real go at it would I be happy? I now think that the romantic idea of running a marketplace is far from the cumbersome reality. I would probably spend my days picking holes in peoples markup, sending out refunds and worrying if my customers were going to all jump ship to ThemeForest if they updated their terms to match the ones on WonderThemes (hasn’t happened yet).
WonderThemes is gone but without it I’d have never have tried and failed which is worth more than the time, effort or money I put into the project.