Interview with Parag Chandiwal on Running A Successful Web Business. By 1stWebDesigner
Parag you are web developer and pro-painter how you blend them?
Hey Agota and 1stwebdesigner folks! Thanks for having me. I’m Parag! Developer, designer and occasional purveyor of art. I was painter from school days. As I got older I got more into computers. I think of design as a perfect compromise between art and computer nerdy. Right after I finished my secondary school exams I created blog with blogspot “Justpaintings” that’s how it all started and its been fascinating since then.
Why did you start building things?
Its fun. I got lot of encouragement that’s when I decided to turn my blog into website. I was off my own trying to make thinks that work. I downloaded a simple html template and that was my first interaction with development of website. It did open some doors for me. During my Polytechnic years in Pune I had worked on justpaintings, it was big enough that it had audience beyond my friends and social circle. That’s how I started selling paintings and work as freelance web developer. This kind of work I think is 90% referrals, even famous designers I know will say that.
You built your first product of wordpress theme. Can you tell bit more about it?
SocialcastWP is wordpress theme were we’ve created product for self-hosted wordpress.org installations. Its been incredible ride. When I started over a sustained development period of 2 years I had no idea I would build an entire theme and have 2 partners and developers around it.
Its an incredible wordpress theme because we see wordpress very differently than most. When I started developing wordpress websites I often had problems with flexibility, SEO, page builder some themes had these features but they were too generic. There was nothing unique about them. We are not interested in creating theme line or theme shop, we are interested in one.
How does the process of creating and selling a premium WordPress theme look like (from the initial idea to the first sale)? Maybe you could give us a overview?
Its not too complex to create your own wordpress theme. In fact it is not complex at all if you have background, but challenge is not much in building product, the challenge is to target right audience, the right niche or consumer market. You don’t get a big audience by appealing to everyone. Instead, you pick one area and rock at it. We really see it as product and will always maintain its uniqueness by custom support for each client. That’s the reason our theme is not listed on themeforest.
What’s the story behind schoolup?
Schoolup started as a need when I was program manager at NGO for Western Maharashtra Region. My primary goal there was to inspire and educate student’s to move ahead in their educational lives. I felt need of some tool to help them take right career path. Even my final year engineering project was based around same idea of “Computer assisted career guidance system”. Schoolup helps getting overview of educational system, deliver efficient and economical education, information and advice services within higher education.
What are common mistake people make when trying to develop their own product and some mistakes you have made?
I think dedication is hard to come by. It takes time to build a product and it takes time to gain traction, it takes time to win customers and more importantly it takes time to earn some money. I used to procrastinate and was bad at managing things but gradually you learn.
You’re gonna bump up into some road blocks and some challenges, personally and professionally, just don’t give up.
And kepp building!
Based in Mumbai Parag Chandiwal is developer, designer and Painter. He works as consultant to startups and org on interaction design and tech support. “Schoolup” is product of his own venture – Chandiwal Studio