For about two years now I have been developing themes on envato. I will share here my experience with it. How it was in the begining and what I love and hate about it. Like anything there are some good parts and bad parts of working by yourself and selling these 30$ websites.
#1 - Getting started is not that easy
One of the most difficult things about it is the start. The process of approval is strict and it can be demotivating getting your work rejected by no aparent reason at all. In envato only when an item is next to being accepted does it get some specific reason why it was not yet accepted. When your item is just not quite there it just gets rejected with a standard message like “Your item is not good enough” which can be a bit frustrating after spending time on something.
After this thoguh when your first item gets accepted look back at the first attempt you made (hopefully you get your first item there) and you will see that over those rejections the item got a lot better and they where pushing you into a better product. You will feel a little better at least with this.
#2 - The sales are not steady
Hopefully by now you have some items in the marketplace already and selling well. One of the things you will immeditally want to know is how sales change, what to expect. When are good seasons and bad seasons..how does this work?
I am not sure I will ever understand how the sales fluctuate. And they do, a lot! There are some good tools to help you analyze your sales but leastening to some older more experienced authors the lows and highs of sales on envato are a lot of the times unexpected and impredictable.
After some months almost a year now looking at sales I cant tell you if items sell more on Mondays, or Summer, Winter or anything really. But personally Mondays and beginnings of Months seem to have been the best times. Maybe this makes some sense, maybe another author has a completely differnce experience.
#3 - Keep pushing new products
One of the things that I have noticed, and I have read this from other authors is that untill you hit that bomb of a theme or plugin or whatever it is you need to keep pushing new things. New items will get some time on the site’s frontpage and this will help you sell your old items as well. you will notice whenever you push something new your old items that where dead or almost dead come to life once again (sort of, sometimes).
#4 - Work on products that YOU like!
One of my favourite things to make is dashboards and visualization tools for data, all sorts of data. Also working with some nit tools like Angular and some charting libraries. It’s something hardly I get to do in my day job and I started doing in Envato. Not only these are the items I have most fun on making they are the ones that bring me most sales.
I highly recommend working on something that you deeply love, it will most likely come out as a better product and you will get more sales out of it. It’s definitely a win win situation, and who doesn’t like those?
#5 - Support
There is a lot to talk about support on Envato. Altough it is not required you should defintely provide some sort of support for your items and keep them updated. For example for Drupal templates I keep them update on latest version of core and most important modules.
I also help out when someone has some questions etc, but this basically resumes to providing support when my item is not working as expected, and not more than that really. It also helps in building some relationship with customers and give you a bit of training in how to deal with customer relationship wich as a developer I am sure you know by now its very important;)
I hope you enjoy your time on envato and are able to even make of it your main source of income, I know I would enjoy while I am not quite there yet.
I work on envato under the name jota_themes feel free to check me out and send me a private message!