Michael Andreuzza is an innovative and interesting entrepreneur. He is the mind behind the company Wicked Templates. Wicked Templates offers non-styled templates that can be styled with basic HTML code for web design. He offers a basic design, like a mockup or wireframe that can be styled to fit the customers individual needs.
Michael was born in the UK and raised in Spain and Italy. Although to hear him say it, he is 98% European and 2% Canadian. Michael’s mother is from Basque Country in Spain and his father is a Venetian from Italy. His father’s mother was Canadian so was all her extended family. Michael went to school in Italy and several parts of Spain when he was growing up. In Spain, he started a post-secondary education in architecture, but he quit the courses when he moved to Finland. He picked up his studies in Finland, this time opting to study IT Technology. He dropped out because he found it boring.
He always had an entrepreneurial side. In his early twenties, he ran a restaurant in Spain that served traditionally Spanish food. The restaurant was located in a tourist part of town and although they were the only authentic food from Spain, the competition was fierce. There were restaurants all over the area offering a variety of foods from Italy and Thailand to name a few. His mother and grandmother ran the kitchen, and he ran all of the business side of it. The restaurant was successful, and it was then that Michael fully began to embrace his entrepreneurial side.
He wasn’t quite ready to venture out on his own yet though. He moved to Finland after he met, and fell in love with, his wife. He had a hard time finding work there though, as he didn’t speak the language. He found making a living challenging during that time and when they found out his wife was pregnant, they decided to move to the Aland Islands from Helsinki where they were currently living. His wife’s parents live on the Aland Islands and since they speak Swedish, the most used language there, the move made sense.
Michael easily found work there as a sales agent for an international Swedish company. But like most entrepreneurial souls, he got tired of working for someone else and he taught himself to code.
“The purpose of that”, he says, “was to be able to be self-employed. This would allow me to spend my time how I wanted to spend my time, instead of being chained to a job and employer. We only get one shot at life and I was wasting my time on things that didn’t matter. I think a lot of people are guilty of that, but I wanted to make the change for myself and for my family.”
It was around that time that Michael built his first company Colors & Fonts.
He offered it as a free service for website designers. He did try to monetize it a few years ago but he quickly realized it was better as a free option since the sales were low. He returned to his free model for that business, focusing his time instead on his latest business, Wicked Templates.
He received lots of advice when he first started up and spent a lot of time on Indie Hackers trying to network. Overall, he stopped visiting Indie Hackers as he used to in the beginning, but he did get one piece of advice that has served him well. He was told to create a newsletter for his businesses instead of investing a ton of money into marketing or online ads. He still runs his highly successful newsletter Unicorns Feed to this day. It is a newsletter for web developers and designers. He considered selling it recently because he was overwhelmed with Wicked Templates, but he reconsidered when he thought about how well it has worked to launch his own products.
Michael says he wanted Wicked Templates to be different than the hundreds of templates available. He has made them easy to style and, in the future, will offer the option of a styled template for consumers as well. He uses only CDN for the CSS framework which allows the customer to use basic HTML to adapt it to their own specific needs.
Wicked Templates is Michael’s first paid product after his failed attempt at monetizing Colors & Fonts. He does acknowledge though that the C&F website does help him market Wicked Templates.
Michael has started all his businesses out of his own pocket, never receiving funding of any sort.
He has kept his start up costs cheap, paying only $10 a year for each of his domains. He self-hosts his analytics and has never had ads on any of his sites as a way of monetizing. He finds ads to be distracting and when asked why he never considered it, he said, “where there is a will there’s a way. And my will was to not have ads.”
He did, however, try to find a co-founder for Wicked Templates. He was naïve to the process though and found it to be an incredibly stressful one. He gave a big chunk of his product away to a partner he did not know very well and although a painful lesson, it is one he learned well.
“Because of that experience, I will not be teaming up with someone in the near future.”
Although he is extraordinarily busy with running his business, he still manages to find time to surf or hang out with his 8-year-old daughter.
“She is a mini comedian. Kids can be incredibly funny.”
Michael doesn’t watch television so that frees up some of his time to work on Wicked Templates. He continues to do freelance work during the day and at night, after a full workday, he works on Wicked Templates.
Michael is finding success with his business and is excited to move on to his next offerings. He is currently changing his templates to be built only with Tailwind, as a complete project. They will include Post CSS, Purge CSS, CSS Nano and Autoprefixer.
He loves meeting and helping other entrepreneurs whenever he can. He finds that to be the most rewarding experience of all.
If he could offer one piece of advice to new entrepreneurs, it would be to make sure your app looks good when you are pitching it. First impressions really matter, and, in some cases, you only get one shot. He also cautions against spending all your time on your side project. There is more to life than work, even if you do enjoy it.