Meet Jason Schuller – creator of minimal niche One Page templates
We talked about his minimalist approach to building websites, theme pricing, side projects, standing desks and building his personal brand.
Jason has been involved in the theme game since the beginning. Hope you enjoy the interview!
Hi Jason! To start can you please tell our readers where you are from and what keeps you busy?
Born and raised in Seattle, my first love was/is the outdoors — exploring, mountain biking and snowboarding for the most part. I’m starting to see that same glimmer of love in my little girl as well (she’s 2) which is amazing.
My wife and I spend as much time with her outside (rain or shine) just having fun any way we can, learning about the world along the way.
We also cook… a lot… so between having fun, cooking meals and a bit of work, that’s all the time I have in a nutshell.
Lovely. So you’ve been involved in the template and theme industry for longer than most. It’s great to see how you’ve channeled your focus more on One Page templates. Why did you go this route?
Having spent nearly 7 years designing and making WordPress themes for a living, I became increasingly frustrated trying to accommodate every feature (e.g. posts, pages, comments, widgets, plugins, jetpack, etc.) customers have grown to expect from WordPress powered solutions. Getting back to the basics was a much needed breath of fresh air which is why I’ve been concentrating on simple, elegant, focused solutions this last few years. I’m having fun again, doing what I love to do (designing and making things for the web) which has lead to a bunch of opportunities.
It’s been interesting following your products and pricing over the years. From top-tier WP theme pricing to freebies and now currently a $75/year subscription model accessing all your templates. What lead you to this figure – why not $199, $99 or $49? Did you do a survey, split test this or just trust your gut?
I’ve realized I’m the most happy and providing the most value to the community when I’m able to design and make whatever comes to mind as I’m inspired day to day rather than focusing on a single product. Instead of making and selling individual products, I’m essentially crowdfunding my time, passion and skills so I can continue to make things others can use to jumpstart their own projects. My gut says that people will be more willing to invest in me as a creator than what create individually… hopefully I’m right (so far, so good).
Some of these templates are still available for single purchase on your Leeflets site – are these eventually going to get phased into the main subscription site under your personal brand?
If I can make it work, everything will eventually get phased into the single subscription under my personal brand. The more I think about it, the more I wonder why I didn’t do this sooner because it takes a lot pressure off trying to build individual products and solutions when you’re focused entirely on just doing what you do best for your own personal brand.
Makes perfect sense. What are the top 5 (not in order) tools you can’t live without when it comes to shipping these awesome One Pagers?
My workflow is as minimalist as everything I make. I design and make everything on the fly (in browser) using Sublime Text, MAMP and Codekit. Every now and again, I’ll get crazy and use a whiteboard to wireframe something I have in mind.
Interesting. So you’re also involved in aerial photography with Atmospheric and now recently joined the Plasso team – how important are side projects to you?
I feel like my entire career as an entrepreneur has been a culmination of side projects, so now I try not to consider anything I do a “side-project” — they’re all just “projects”. If I have an idea I know I can make work with the time available to me, I usually do it.
Atmospheric has become a great way for me to get out of office and away from the keyboard and I’m not extremely focused on growing it beyond that.
Plasso on the other hand was one of a few really awesome opportunities that came my way this year. I’ve always wanted to work with a team on an idea that has the capacity to impact a lot people in a good way. Plasso is one of those ideas and I’m very grateful Drew Wilson thought of me when he decided to build a team around it this year.
I recently read your article on your new “Plaink” standing desk. Lovely work. Why did you move to a standing desk?
My body has endured tons of punishment over the last 40 years between mountain biking, snowboarding and sitting behind a screen — even more so now with a little one to run after. Anything I can do (naturally) to feel better, I’m all for. Yoga, meditation, exercise and eating right gets me most of the way there, but I’ve found that standing (at least part of the day) helps quite a bit. I’ve been searching for a minimalist desk I can easily adjust (stand or sit) on a daily basis depending on how I feel. Nothing quite fit what I was looking for, so I made my own after being inspired by a simple metal easel. Having used it for a few weeks now, I can say it’s a near-perfect solution.
Awesome, ok lastly, you wrote an incredibly insightful article on your lessons with your old venture Press75. What single piece of advice would you give someone considering getting into the theme game?
Never lose sight of who you are and what you love to do. Ignore what everyone else is doing and do your own thing.
Epic, thanks for chatting with us Jason, where can our readers follow your new releases and future projects online?
You’ll find everything I do on jason.sc