An Interview with: Dan Michael (Envato Elite)


I recently chatted with Dan Michael to ask him a few questions about his work as the Envato Elite Program Manager. The Elite program rewards the best selling digital creatives on Envato Market.

– How did you get involved with the Envato Elite program?

I was working in a corporate gig for Australia’s largest Telco for quite a long time and when the opportunity come up, I grabbed it. It was good timing as my role had just changed significantly and I found myself being made redundant at that time!

Truth be told, I had been eyeing off Envato for some time and had told myself that one day I would end up working there. I loved what I saw and really thought that the culture piece seemed to play a large important part in working there. Four interviews later, I was offered the role of Elite Manager. My background is in Communications and I have a Masters Degree in Digital Media which I attained by correspondence in 2011 while still working full-time! Man that was a busy time in my life :)

I think they saw what they needed in me for the role as it is quite a peculiar blend of communications, marketing, social media, and customer relationship management. I kind of have a blend of those skills and I’m a mad WordPress fan who had been a customer of ThemeForest for many years. It just fit and lucky for me, they liked me. The rest, as they say, is history.

– Where did the initial idea for the Elite program come from?

Well, that one kind of happened before my time! Collis was thinking about how we could give back to the community and I believe that together with Naysan and Vahid they brainstormed up, and implemented, the whole program in two weeks. We work lean using agile methodology but that’s kinda crazy, right?

We really do try to put Community at the heart of everything we do and the Elite program was devised then, to celebrate how successful our authors were becoming. This was 2011 and I remember Collis telling me when I started that he never expected to be welcoming many people to the Power Elite club ($1,000,000 in total sales). Today, there are over 20 authors who have eclipsed that mark.

– What’ve been some of the most rewarding parts of your job at Envato?

For me it’s all about online community and making relationships with these amazing authors. Some of them I call friends, many of them have asked me to come and stay with them, at their homes, in far away countries. We have a care pack for authors at $125,000 in total sales that has bits and pieces of merchandise, but crazy enough Tim Tams, which are a chocolate biscuit favourite ‘down under’. I remember once I shot my parcel with ‘taste of Australia’ onboard all the way to Iceland! That’s incredible right? We have an Elite author team in Iceland! Well it was the shock of my lifetime when they returned my very own Iceland care pack replete with Iceland donuts (and some really strong smelling fish things). That was awesome.

But, it’s when people tell me how much Envato has changed their lives that gives me goosebumps from head to toe. That’s when you know what you are doing is bigger than just a job, for just a company, it means something more (I’ve got goosebumps right now typing this).

I got this email one day while surveying our Elite authors about some upcoming changes I was planning, and seriously, I literally choked up with tears.

You help me make the money for living, for all of my family members. I can pay my kid’s school expenses, we all have a better life. Better than average. With the money made at Envato Market I was able to finish the new house. What else to say? Love it a lot! Don’t ever go away, I wish all the luck of this world for you guys!

People from all over the world with access to the technology and the internet are making lives for themselves, paving the future for their children, creating jobs and making a great income from working with us. What’s more rewarding than that?

– How do you see the Elite program evolving over the next 2-3 years?

Right now I just finished reviewing the program and rolling out a brand new series of rewards and a new website. Check it out!

That pattern will continue, I like to survey the authors and ask them what they like about the program. We want to create inspiring rewards and levels for aspiration so that more authors join and create more amazing things. From my surveys, emails and Community feedback, I make suggestions back to the team and Collis (he is incredibly passionate about the Elite program, which is great!) and then we change it up! It’s important to keep reviewing things to make sure we are heading down the right path.

So, I would say the future is growth – it’s growing so fast right now I might need a molecular duplicator if you have one handy so I can clone myself and write even more whacky emails, and constant review for satisfaction! Each year we’ll do a full review and make sure the program works for the community and us of course, and just keep building!

– If you, personally, reached the $25,000,000 level, which option would you choose, and why?

Ok, I am a bit of an adrenalin junkie, I have to admit it. A passionate motorcyclist since I was four years old, so it goes without saying really. FLY ME TO THE MOON!

– Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for the opportunity to talk about the program and if you have any questions at all, hit me up in the comments below.

We’d like to thanks Dan once again for his great answers! If you have any more questions you’d like to ask Dan, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to pass them on to him. For more info about the Envato Elite Program, visit the website.


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  • Iman GM

    Great interview Sam :)

    • Sam Berson

      Thanks, Iman! It took quite a while to organise, but I think it was worth it in the end :)

  • Dan Michael

    Thanks for inviting me Sam, thoroughly enjoyed waxing lyrical with you.

    • Sam Berson

      Thanks Dan! It was awesome to have you on the site :)

  • Meks

    Nice stuff Sam! Keep up the good work!


    • Sam Berson

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Meks!

  • Asha Jain

    Thanks for sharing most valuable things through your interview.