Mark Ashton - Founder of UiPress

Mark Ashton – Founder of UiPress

November 14, 2023 / Plugins / 0 comments

I am Mark Ashton, Founder of UiPress, originally from Manchester. I’m a self-taught developer, a journey that’s been as challenging as it has been rewarding, and most of my early days were spent breaking things to figure out how to fix them again.

I travelled through most of my 20s, including a memorable chapter in Vietnam where I had the opportunity to rescue my now beloved Dog, Milly. We’ve established our lives in London since 2020.

The Journey Began

Before I got involved in WordPress development for work, I used to earn my living from image retouching in the fashion industry.

My journey began when I started using WordPress for hobby sites and the occasional friend who needed a website built in 2012.

I honestly can’t remember why I chose WordPress, but I’d imagine it would be the reason many people still use it today: it’s free, flexible and has a great community.

The Need for UiPress

UiPress Logo
UiPress Logo

It was a lonely space when I started uiPress (originally admin 2020). There were a couple of admin themes in the repository, but they all had their issues and didn’t offer the level of complexity I was looking for.

So, building something like uiPress had been on my mind for a while. Fast forward to April 2020, and I was stuck in the first covid lockdown. I finally had the time and no excuses not to start it.

My biggest challenge initially was figuring out how to sell it; selling WordPress plugins was something I had no experience in, so I had no idea where to start.

Initially, I went to sell on codecanyon and a few others but couldn’t find a reliable way to get started.

I nearly gave up for a while, but I decided eventually to give it one last push, and I built a site and just started selling it myself.

One day, I got a really lucky break when someone shared the product in a large Facebook group for lifetime deals.

After that, the product took off, and I realized I wasn’t the only one who wanted to customize the WordPress admin.

I think the moment I’m most proud of is now, looking back on what the plugin was 3 years ago and how far it’s come. I never thought back then that this would be my career.

Currently, uiPress is the only WP product I run. However, I am working on a new plugin that should be available early next year.

Myself with my Brilliant Team

Currently, it’s just me and my dog on the team, so here we are:

Mark Ashton - UiPress
Mark Ashton

Advice for Business Owners

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, here’s a bit of friendly advice:

Don’t get discouraged.”

It’s tough out there, and finding that sweet spot where your product just clicks with customers can take time.

You might face a few (or many) bumps along the way, but each one is getting you closer to where you need to be. Keep at it, tweak your plan when needed, and stay patient.

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WordPress & Beyond

Looking ahead, I’ve set my sights on expanding my WordPress plugin business.

Roll out more products that users will love and double down on marketing—a side of the business that hasn’t exactly been my strong suit!

Getting the word out there and connecting with my audience will be a big focus for the next year, and over the next few years, it’s all about growth, learning from the hiccups, and building a brand that stands out.

WordPress is so big that I don’t see any immediate threat, but some of the other platforms, like Framer and Editor X, are getting pretty damn good.

However, the fact that WordPress is extendable and can be used for anything is what keeps it in the limelight.

My Love for the WordPress Community

I have never attended a WordCamp, but I have been looking at getting more involved with it in the coming year.

My main sources of WordPress news are Twitter through various WordPress people I follow, including several great Facebook groups like Dynamic WordPress, The Admin Bar, and, of course, the WPTavern.

I Have a Life Other Than the Work

I don’t get a lot of free time; it’s just me working on uiPress, doing development, marketing, customer support, and all the other stuff that comes with running a business that keeps me very busy.

However, when I get the time, I usually go on long walks with my dog, travel, or just have a well-earned beer in the pub.

Now I’m back in the UK, Christmas is usually back at my parents’ house in Manchester but I’ve spent many of them abroad in the sun, and I have to say, this is the way.

This would be a tough choice between the island of Crete in Greece and Gili Trawangan in Indonesia!

I have a pet, her name is Milly. I rescued her from a bin in Vietnam, and she’s been by my side ever since!

Mark Ashton - UiPress Pet
Mark Ashton Pet – Milly

I Reward Myself by

I reward myself by taking trips abroad, eating great food and spending time with Friends.

I also like to give back where possible and regularly donate to several charities working with the homeless, animals and aid relief worldwide.

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