My Journey Towards Professional Independence
This is a post by Elijah Lovkoff as part of our Customer Spotlight series. If you have an interesting story to tell and would like to share your experience with WordPress and Elegant Themes on our blog, please contact us!
A Bit About Me
I’m Elijah Lovkoff and I started designing websites using WordPress as my preferred platform a couple of years ago. I came across Elegant Themes by chance and since then they became my first choice for creating sites for customers. I do use other themes once in a while, but this comes mostly when client insist on using something else. Today I have my own company, Skylark Studio – but that’s the outcome and I’d rather tell how it all began.
How It All Began
Having a job that pays well is great, but at some point I’ve found myself spending close to 300$ a month on taxis… the mere idea of getting out of bed and dragging myself to the job that I disliked immensely resulted in constant oversleeping. I hated the alarm that reminded me it was time to go back to work that I’d rather not see at all. Even taking taxis and avoiding the morning subway wasn’t much of a consolation. I needed to change something. I made them fire me with a decent severance package and went traveling for a year. I needed a break and I needed a new perspective. I needed to get back to my roots where playing music was big part of my life, where the world was still big enough and wasn’t limited to the dull work with long overtime hours and occasional NBA TV games in the evenings.
So I spent a year traveling the world – I covered most of Latin and Central Americas, a bit of Nepal and Europe. I wrote a book – which I always wanted to do – and then I realized… It seems like I’m gonna be facing a reverse culture shock if I go back exactly to where I started. Office job, boring email exchanges about the matters that nobody really care about, corporate events with feigned enthusiasm and ‘happiness-on-display’ attitude.
There’s gotta be more to life than this and there has to be a better way to earn my money. The only thing that came to mind at the time was web development. I told to myself that I’d be better off having less money but having more personal freedom. And this is how it all started.
Discovering & Learning WordPress
I felt helpless a bit in the beginning – after all, being able to perform complicated packet sniffing and firewall troubleshooting is not exactly what makes you a web developer or designer for that matter. It helps you with the basic stuff, but that’s it. I always credited myself with being creative enough and having enough taste, so I decided to take the plunge.
I decided at a time to start with CMS-based solutions and WordPress seemed like a natural choice. I didn’t know where to start, so I started using different theme providers. Themeforest has great themes but support was usually none-existent or unresponsive. Woo themes seemed to have a great foundation, but the design was stuck somewhere in the 80s. I needed the best of both worlds and Elegant Themes provided just that – great look, fabulous design and excellent support. Since nobody starts as a ready-made professional, having great support is always a pre-requisite not only for keeping your customers happy, but also for your own professional development. I’d like to use a chance and express my thanks to ET support guys – I learnt a lot just from having my questions answered.
I zeroed in on Elegant Themes and started developing my own sites. I was pretty excited since I had great design to start off and I was able to have all my questions answered. I’m pretty good with self-education and after all – all those credentials that I earned (MCSE, CISSP, CCNA) were the result of self-education. I never took a single formal course. So I was pretty confident I would be able to make it. The only question was ‘when’ and ‘how long will it take.’ I had luck of being able to dedicate all my time (10-12 hours a day) to learning new stuff. So with the help of ET guys I was able to move pretty fast.
The first site that I consider pretty decent was created with the GLEAM theme. My friend is a pretty good painter, but understandably knows nothing about websites.
I do enjoy his paintings and I was glad to be able to provide what he was long due – a good representation of his works. At this point I realized, I’m not only “doing my work”, I’m having fun with it. Then came other projects – for example, Yoga Studio that was based on the fabulous Nimble theme.
The thing that I like about ET themes is that besides being a great starting point, it gives you ideas as to how the design works, how code is turned into beautifully looking parts of the site – and you can take it not only as building blocks, but as a learning tool and inspiration as well. Understanding things that are “under the hood” gives you a better perspective and better understanding as to what the design is and how it is actually done.
I’m not sure where I would be at that point without having ET themes and their support. I would probably be still learning a lot of things, but I was able to fast-track my development because I had a great design examples with ET themes and excellent support. And I’m quite confident this is not an overstatement. Probably the biggest advantage to me is that I can provide now fast development times without compromising the quality.
So, thanks a lot guys and keep the great things coming 🙂
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