A while back I made a decision that was both difficult and yet 100% obvious.
As I’m to become a mum, I want to dedicate my full focus to my family.

Which means that after 7 years and 4 months it’s time for me to close the Thrive Themes chapter and move on to the next chapter of my life.


The Email That Changed My Life

I remember the email as if it was yesterday.

I received a newsletter from this internet company I bought a plugin from a couple of months earlier and in the P.S. of the newsletter it said they were looking for people to join a marketing apprenticeship.

I was running my own online business at the time, but was intrigued with this offer.

I read the landing page and could only think of one thing… This page might have very well started with “Hi Hanne” . That's how much I recognized myself in the profile they were looking for.

By now, you probably guessed that this was an apprenticeship to join Thrive Themes back in 2015.

I applied, got accepted and less than a month later I found myself in Barcelona with 4 other marketing nerds working and learning alongside Shane Melaugh (co-founder of Thrive Themes).

This one email, and the leap of faith I took moving to a different country for 3 months to work for some small internet company for a guy I’ve only ever seen on YouTube videos, started an amazing journey of growth.

From Apprentice to CEO

When I first started out, I told Shane that if I was ever bored, I would leave. He made sure that never happened by giving me more and more responsibilities.

Over the years, I went from marketing apprentice to head of marketing and finally to CEO of Thrive Themes. 

And what a journey it has been! 

I learned invaluable skills such as managing a team, goal setting, budgeting and much much more. I’ve often referred to working at Thrive Themes as skill building on steroids. 

I’m grateful for all the learning opportunities and the trust I received during the past 7 years. 

3 Lessons Learned During My 7+ Years Working at Thrive Themes

1. Progress Beats Perfection Every Day of the Week

In an ideal world, everything you do would be perfect. 

In reality, waiting for perfection will result in a paralysis unhelpful to anyone involved. 

By the time I finished filming, I hated most of my 100+ videos published on our YouTube channel. But I published them anyway and they went on to get hundreds of thousands of views.

Every course I created, I thought at some point or another to be total rubbish and wouldn’t help a soul. But they helped thousands of solopreneurs build their online business. 

And later, when leading the team, I doubted every decision, no matter how many analyses and scenario building I did. But they created a united team with a clear vision that became unstoppable. 

If you don’t get started, you can’t improve.

That’s why I believe in progress over perfection, get started, get feedback, iterate and improve. 

Don’t overcomplicate things! You’ll always have a “good reason” to NOT do something yet… 

  • You can’t publish your online course because you don’t have the perfect upsell funnel in place.
  • You can’t reach out to potential partners because your social media following is not 100K yet. 
  • You can’t charge your clients more because you need a fancier website first.

The list is endless! And without a boss who’s pushing you with deadlines (like I would do with the team), it’s easy to give into this “not good enough” chatter. 

Take this paragraph as permission. My permission for you to get started and do what you know you need to do to grow your business (despite it being far from perfect right now.)

2. You Overestimate what You Can Do in 1 Year But Underestimate What You Can Do in 7

For as long as I’ve been working at Thrive Themes, I wanted things to go FASTER. 

Working with monthly development cycles and quarterly planning cycles, it’s easy to overestimate how much we’ll be able to get done in that time frame. 

And my tendency is to want MORE. However, overtime, instead of being frustrated with the “lack of progress” I learned the value of a ship where everyone’s rowing in the same direction. 

Yes, we might only be able to add a couple of features each development cycle, but overtime those features add up. 

When you'll see our Year in Review post (coming out next week) and you’ll see what I mean. 

And when I look back 7 years ago, the progress is hard to comprehend! (There simply was no Thrive Architect, Thrive Theme Builder, Thrive Quiz Builder, Thrive Ovation, Thrive Ultimatum, Thrive Optimize, Thrive Apprentice or Thrive Automator yet). 

As a solopreneur, you probably don’t have a 60+ team of people who are all rowing towards a common destination, but you can still apply this principle! 

Make a to-do list and take steps every single day. You’ll still overestimate how much you can get done in a day, a week, a month or even a year. But over time it all adds up. So don’t forget to look back and celebrate how far you’ve come!

3. Focus on People Over Profit

Thrive Themes exists because of 2 core things: 

  • Customers
  • Team members

We could have the best possible software, but without you, our valued customers we’d not exist and without the team we simply wouldn’t be able to serve you the way we want. 

I truly believe that taking care of those 2 groups of people takes care of profits! 

I’ve been blessed getting to work with a team as amazing as the Thrive Themes team!

From marketing, product, development, testing, support, design every single team member puts their best foot forward every day to deliver the best possible product to you. 

And I’ve been blessed to serve customers as passionate and involved as you!

Every single one who left a comment, subscribed to our mailing list, posted in the Facebook group,... 

Often people are surprised to see they get an answer from me directly in the Facebook group, but those direct interactions have been invaluable to keep a finger on the pulse and make sure we’re heading in the right direction.

People are the most valuable. Always.

As a solopreneur, focus on the people you want to help. Talk to them, do things that don’t scale such as personally reaching out, answering questions, offering support and going above and beyond. The insights you’ll get from these interactions will make your offer better, your copy stronger, your blog posts more relevant and profits will follow!

What’s Next? 

For me personally, this is where I leave the boat and go ashore. 

I’m excited to stand by and watch from the sidelines as Thrive Themes continues to grow. 

I’m doing so with a tear and a smile as I know I’m leaving you in good hands. 

Brad, our current head of product, will be taking over my responsibilities as CEO and he’ll continue to build with an amazing team by his side.  

Thrive Themes has absolutely no intention of slowing down and I’ll be cheering hard!

<3 Hanne

About the Author Hanne

Hanne knows exactly what companies have ever retargeted her (she keeps an updated file). And when she's not busy discussing high-level funnel design over cocktails with the equally geeky, you'll find her discovering a place for the first time

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