Well guys, it is time for another interview and I'm really happy to meet you with one of the most successful authors on the Envato Marketplaces (Themeforest.net in particular) and a friend of mine - Marius Hogas :)
Marius became a member on Themeforest.net back in 2009 and about an year later he started releasing items. For less than 3 years Marius managed to build an impressive portfolio which includes the most popular Joomla Template - KALLYAS.
Tell us a bit more about you, your workspace and Hogas as a whole.
I’m Marius Hogas, living in Romania’s Bucharest city. I’m a self-taught web designer/developer and for about 4 years i’m an author of web templates for Joomla, Wordpress and plain HTML on Envato Market, more exactly Themeforest.
Shamefully I’m a college drop-out, i actually tried 3 times in different colleges and i just didn’t find myself enjoying it, as i did working. I got myself a job right after i finished highschool and although i had jobs like waiter, bartender or even construction site worker, i had this attraction for creating websites. I always had this hobby until i actually realised i can earn money and why not, make it a daily job.
I started a web agency business when i was around 22 years old and man it was hard, i made so many mistakes and while it lasted for about 3 years only, i enjoyed the experience. No book teaches you like the mistakes you make and this helped me taking things to upper levels.
In my free time i love playing football with my friends and work mates, even though i actually suck at it :)) I just like those 2-3 hours of exercises and playing with the ball scoring goals. I also hit the gym, not for the bodybuilding part, just being in shape to have a healthier life.
Oh and i’m a huge consumer of movies and TV series, i think +5% of my life was spent watching movies :)) As far as reading though, i really like business/entrepreneurship books but i know I should try other books as well.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day starts around 7AM and ends around 11PM. While a few years ago i was a night hawk, now i’m starting to enjoy mornings and their energy. I hit the gym in the morning as it gives me such a positive attitude and confidence. Afterwards work, work and some more work. I’m really dedicated at what i do and i try to do it as good as i can.
In the evenings, if i’m not working late, i try to see at least one episode of one of my favorite tv shows.
When did you discover the beauty of Joomla and how did you start your business?
After i closed the shop in my first business, although i have worked a bit with Joomla, i got a job at a web agency where everybody were using it. That’s when i truly discovered how awesome Joomla is and digged deeper in it.
I was an active buyer on Envato Market and when i discovered the Joomla category over Themeforest, i had that feeling that i can create awesome stuff, even better than what’s already on sale here. I trusted my instincts and this lead me to a successful business.
What is your favourite part of being a part of the Envato Community?
Envato brought many people together from all over the globe. My favorite part is that i’ve made so many friends all over the world and got so many invitations in places i never thought of and this is quite awesome really.
You convert your designs to both Joomla and Wordpress? Which platform do you like more and why?
To be clear about this, i design and develop my templates only on HTML and then convert to Joomla. On the Wordpress side i have partnered with several authors. Although i know how to use Wordpress and have no problem working with it, i’m actually a beginner when it comes to theme development. I thought about digging deeper this year into WP development.
I have the upmost respect for both platforms but Joomla is my first love :) I like it because i know it better, i found it always fit for any type of project and because it’s a genuine CMS while WP started as a blogging platform evolving as a fully featured CMS. Both are great, both do same things.
Do you have a favorite Themeforest author? If yes, who is he and what do you like about him?
There are plenty Themeforest authors i like and inspired me. The one that i always saw as a model for me is Kriesi, not necessarily because he’s the best selling author on Themeforest, but because like me, he’s a designer-coder hybrid who evolved from item to item. I often studied his code and had those “aha!” and “that’s so clever!” moments. His work and way of doing things inspired me and what can i say, i’m a really big fan of his :D
You have really beautiful and unique items in your portfolio. Where do you get ideas and inspiration for your projects?
Thank you!! :) My primary source of inspiration is plain web surfin’. I love web galleries, Behance and Dribbble where i discover new ideas and concepts. I try to note elements i like and think of ideas on how i can improve it.
I also like to think of new ideas that come from necessities and combine them with clean, both polished and fancy’ish design, behind a solid code.
When it comes to all of your designs, which one are you most proud of?
Definitely Kallyas! I like Vauss’s simplicity, however Kallyas brought me a huge success and even though i did expected to be a hit, i didn’t expected to be that big.
What is your workflow and what tools do you use?
Recently i’ve switched from a PC to a Macbook pro and it was a huge change for me. It took me 2-3 months to get used to it. Now i’m good and lovin’ it :)
My personal process is quite simple, i decide on which type of niche i should go, i start designing the homepage and one internal page. Then i start coding and the rest of the pages are improvisation. If the project is more complex and elements require more uniqueness then i spend more time designing.
For design, i’m using Photoshop but i’m trying to discover more about Sketch which i find it awesome and much more web oriented than PS.
- I’m using Sublime Text with around 15 packages installed in it.
- Github for SVN and bug tracking.
- Skype for team chat.
- Trello for organizing, task management and team collaboration.
A few years back when the pre-processors were the next big thing, i had this hesitation that they don’t follow web standards and i should stick with plain CSS because it’s safer. That’s bullsh**! They simplify work, they’re more productive and do a great job. I haven’t got the chance to work with them in my latest project however in my next one they’re mandatory. As a personal choice i’m going with Sass>Compass.
You started your own Design and Development Studio in Bucharest? Tell us a bit more about it.
There was a time when i was receiving at least 2 customisation requests daily and i was sad i have to refuse them or redirect them elsewhere. This combined with a desire to have a side business lead me to start it. We had tens of projects with clients all over the world, mainly Europe and US.
While there were 2 years with lots of satisfactions, i had to draw a line and do some math. Unfortunately the math wasn’t as i expected, perspective plans weren’t satisfactory and i decided to shut it down. It wasn’t an easy decision but sometimes you gotta do what you got to do. From a business perspective you have to be realistic and do what’s right for you and your business.
On the bright side i have more time to focus on my primary business which is truly important for me.
What advice would you give, as a very successful Power Elite Author, to someone who is just entering the Envato community?
There are so many advices i would give but i’ll try to stick with some that i find most important.
- Give your best in every project and try to create amazing works without compromises. You will see how you build yourself a reputation which is very important on the long run.
- Money are important and they will come, but before, know that you have to have a great project which actually sell, not just be present on the marketplaces.
- Even though you’re getting 20 rejections, don’t give up, you’re actually getting better day by day and if you want a successful career this is highly important.
- Don’t quit your daily job chasing dreams unless you have a certainty you “bought” yourself at least 3-6 months in which you can create amazing stuff.
- Do follow clients expectations but don’t always try to follow trends and once in a while do something that’s out of this world, it might be your “Rembrandt”.
What advice would you give to the already established Joomla Authors on Themeforest?
Keep rockin!! :D Now seriously, i would tell them to stop differentiating WP projects against Joomla projects and just build templates no matter their complexity and level of work. A Joomla project can sell like it did from it’s launch. Yes it’s not popular such as WP however it’s a niche with lots of opportunities on the long run.
What is the next big thing for Hogas?
There are so many! While i love creating templates/themes i’m aware that this is a limited timeframe in which i can take advantage of. That’s because everything evolves and changes so fast and who knows maybe templates will be extinct :)
So what i’m sure of, is that i’ve planned the next 2 years to fully dedicate them on this side and afterwards i’ll plan a few startup projects that i trust to be successful.
On a personal side, i’m actually having marriage and baby plans at this moment :D I just feel it’s the right moment and don’t want to wait any longer.
What do you think about the future of Joomla? How do you see the CMS in 5 years from now?
Despite it’s market share, which i believe it should be much better, i think Joomla will keep evolving. It’s already a very mature project and i’m positive it will remain in the top 3 best CMS’s.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you so much for this and i’m really flattered you chose me for an interview. If readers got this far, thank you guys for reading :)
Thank you very much for the time you spent on this interview Marius! I'm sure it will be very interesting for our readers ( it was intersting as hell for me :D )
I would also like to congratulate you for the awsome work you've done for all Joomla users and of course, for the marriage and baby plans you have! Keep up the great work mate :)
If you want to get it touch with Marius Hogas, check out his website, Hogash.com.