It is my pleasure to welcome Emil Uzelac who will be sharing his WordPress story and beyond in today’s interview. Emil is a ThemeForest theme reviewer, senior reviewer on WordPress.org, creator of most downloaded free theme called ‘Responsive’ and co-founder of the Theme Review service.
First of all thank you for taking your time for the interview Emil. Let’s start with the basics. Could you tell us a bit more about your background and how your life led you to WordPress?
Managing plain HTML sites was not easy, especially for clients with weekly changes. An easier way was found with WordPress.
Please share with us how you started with WordPress. Do you have some formal education related to coding or design?
With WordPress my work load was reduced for more than 50%, that created more clients and more time with my family.
No education, I am 100% self-taught.
In 2010 you started reviewing themes on WordPress.org, became one of the admins and later on a senior reviewer. Can you tell us a bit more about this role? How you decided to become a reviewer and what have you learned by doing this?
At that time I was helping folks in support forum, mostly CSS/JS related. There was a sticky post about Theme Review Team asking for help. Well I responded, reviewed a few themes, become and admin and the rest is history.
What is the most challenging task for you as a reviewer on WordPress.org? Can you give some useful advices for theme authors that plan to submit the theme for the review?
My time is spent mostly on administrative areas at this time, I still do reviews, when ticket needs to be reopened and things like that.
Make sure that your theme is complete, up to date and reviewed by someone else other than you before submitting.
Together with Justin Tadlock in 2015 you opened community’s first Theme Review service. Can you tell us a bit about it this project?
Service was created out of necessity. I started the project and teamed up with Justin.
You are also reviewer on Themeforest. How you ended up working for Envato as a ThemeForest theme reviewer? Is it your dream job?
I worked with many people, companies and different type of organizations, but never anyone quite like Envato.
Reviewing themes for a living, are you kidding me? Definitely a dream come true.
If it’s not a secret please tell us a bit how your working day looks like? Do you have some tips on how to balance work and free time?
My day always starts with my kids, my wife and my youngest brother, that’s the key. Prioritize family and the rest will fit right in.
Do you have some advices for theme authors and how do you see the future of WordPress theme business? Do you prefer themes that are specially designed for one niche with corresponding features or current trend of all-in-one themes?
Theme business is growing faster than ever, my advice is keep creating. I don’t have a preference.
How hard was to choose what you want to do in your life? Did you have some other serious interests that could have become your daily job?
Decisions was easy, but I often think where would all this lead without WordPress. Nothing as serious as this.
I know you have some roots in Rijeka, Croatia, can you tell us a bit more about it, if it’s not a secret?
Not at all, I am proud of my roots. Born and raised in Rijeka, Croatia.
I don’t want to miss this opportunity to mention your passion for body building :). For all readers interested in body building, you can find Emil on Instagram as emil.uzelac. When did this passion started? How important is this to you?
Several years back I was overweight and with many health issues. It was time for me to change my life from the ground up.
Without gym, I would probably not be doing this interview.
What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to visit some WordCamps in the near future? Maybe WordCamp Croatia ;)?
Visiting Croatia in general would be great. When? God knows 🙂
If it’s not a secret, tell us a bit more about your private life. What do you do in your free time?
We don’t have anything set in stone, staying home and playing with kids, watching movies or going to the park.
Shopping mall or grocery store, we’re fine either way as long as we’re together and having fun, nothing else really matters.