This is Where I Leave the Ship and Go Ashore…

Hanne   214

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

by Hanne  December 23, 2022


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  • Hanna, thank you for sharing your story and the three lessons learned. Mostly, thank you for all the wonderful tutorials you have created. You have made a difference in my business! I was an early adopter and I feel like you have been around forever. I’m sure you will be greatly missed. Best of luck in the next phase of your life with your family. Happy Holidays! Again, thank you.

  • Hanne, You are been an extraordinary resource and leader. The amount of knowledge that you share along with how generous you are with your time in addressing client comments has truly set you and Thrive Themes apart. Thank you and, best wishes for your new path.

  • Hi Hanne, I will miss you so badly. I really enjoyed your videos, podcasts with Shane and am so thankful for your advices. Hope to see you again somewhere on the web. Please let us know. Take care!

  • Good luck with your new adventures Hanne. I have found your videos extremely helpful for someone who isn’t the best at tech stuff, but through your virtual guidance I have managed to create my own site as well as sites for clients as well. You will be missed but I have no doubt that Shane and the team will continue to build upon the great foundations you helped set.

  • Dear Hanne,
    congratulations and all the best for your future!!! What you did at Thrive Themes is phantastic! A great tool with great support, and always “there”! Thanks a lot! Wish you full energetic times in future! Kind regards, Anne

  • Thank you for the amazing work – I enjoyed your tutorials most – and for the inspirational words. “Progress beats perfection.” Have a great family!

  • Thanks, Hanne! Been a customer of Thrive all these years, it was great. (I hope that Brad doesn’t mess it up now, haha 😀 )

  • Times are changing and I wish for three things today.
    First of all the best to you for your career and your path.
    As a second Brad good luck with the new, more extensive task and finally us users that the reason for you to leave the ship was not water ingress below deck… 🙂

    • I’m not one for sharing much of my personal life online so one of the reasons I shared me leaving is to dedicate my time to my family is so nobody would have to worry about this having anything to do with the health of the company!
      Thrive Themes will continue to go full speed ahead and I know for a fact Brad already has great plans for next year 🙂

  • Great article, Hanne, and fabulous legacy. Enjoyed reading about your apprentice to CEO progression. All the best for your future.

  • Wonderful to hear your story, Hanne. And those three lessons are invaluable. Thank you. Wishing you an absolutely marvelous time as a Mum.

  • My heart is breaking but I’m overjoyed for you! You truly are an inspiration, as are your team members!

    Thrive — as a company — is an inspiration, from the foundations Shane set from the beginning & putting customers first to your ever-increasing product line, and your unwavering support of the solopreneur!

    Personally, I’m delighted to hear Brad will be taking charge! Thrive Themes is in great hands! You have a stellar marketing & an amazing technical team!

    Best of **everything** to you as you start this new chapter! <3

    Happiest of Holidays!

  • You’ve made the right decision. Enjoy every bit of being a mom–the good and the messy parts of it. Kids grow fast, time cannot be taken back. Career can always blossom again whenever you want to, but raising kids is once in a lifetime experience. You’re on the right track. Brace yourself for sleepless nights!????

  • Hi Hanne,
    Thanks so much for all of your help, one thing about the internet – you probably do not or maybe you do know just how many people you have helped along the way that you never hear from. You’ve done an amazing job, you will be missed. Wishing you nothing but the best in all you do Hanne! Cheers

  • The BEST departure message I have read! Very inspirational. Thank you, Hanne for helping build a product and company. I wish you the best of luck in your new adventure! Take care!

  • ooohhhh noooo (gonna miss you, as i miss Shane) why is the podcast gone…. 😉 .. Hanne all the best luck (you dont need that) to you.

  • Sorry to see you go Hanna! Your videos were always great and very informative. Thrive Themes will be a little less without you. Best wish as you begin the next chapter of your life.

  • Hi Hanne! I learned so much by watching your videos in YouTube
    I am a bit sad that you will leave Thrive but I know you’ll be a great mummy! Congratulations and have a great time with your family????

  • Hanne thank you for everything you’ve done. Thank you for the last post and sharing your story. I wish you a happy life with your kids!

  • Thank you so much for your guidance and inspiration in all your appearances in (live) videos and comments. You are definitely a main reason why I fell in love with working with Thrive Themes.

    Thank you and good luck on your future journey!

  • You will be missed. I paid for Thrive themes because of you. I watched a presentation you demonstrated on how to setup a website. It was one of the best I had ever seen and I was convinced it was what I needed to build my business ????. I just want to thank you for sharing your skills and experience with people like me. Enjoy your new adventures. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. ????

  • may the next chapter of your life be a blessing Hanne <3. Thank you fo now. I have enjoyed your content to the max :). Hope to see you around!

  • I am both moved and happy for you.
    I remember knowing you from the podcasts you did with Shane. I don’t know if they are still online.
    “A page turns”, as we say in French.
    Thank you for what you have brought to Thrive users, and for the very personal human touch you have brought.
    I wish you all the best.

  • It’s always sad to see someone leave, especially someone so present and so helpful in the thrivethemes community…
    I wish you all the best in whatever comes next

  • Hanne, ???????? I feel like you are leaving my team personally even though I have only known you through videos and posts. I came to love the videos that you shared, the blog posts, and hearing from you in the comments. As someone who has followed the Thrive Themes journey since 2015, I am excited for what’s next and honor the trail you and others blazed. Never have I ever felt such a connection with the people in a company but with Thrive Themes there is a brilliant way you share more about yourselves, but not in a contrived way meant to garner more sales. Best of luck! Being a mum is the best (and hardest) job in the world.

    • Thanks Amanda.
      I know what you mean. I truly mean it when I say that every single one of you made my job here better! Working online can sometimes feel like yelling into a void but getting the valuable feedback from customers directly is what kept me going.

  • Thank you Hanne for all your video tutorials and help and advice along the way. Like others I’ve watched you grow with Thrive from the beginning. Good luck with your new life I’m sure you can always come back to thrive in the future. 🙂

    PS I would give you 5 stars if only ovation had that facility. Lol.

  • Awww I will miss you Hanne! I’ve been with Thrive for a long time and remember when you came onboard. I loved the feminine energy and marketing perspective you bought to Thrive even tho I really loved Shane too (I miss him too by the way, but I follow him on his other projects????). I don’t know where I’ve been because I didn’t know you were with child, Congratulations ???? lol. Sending you much success, happiness, peace, and prosperity on your next journey.

    • Thanks Latrice 🙂
      I’m not one to share much of my personal life online so you absolutely didn’t miss anything 😉

  • Hanne, wishing you every blessing on your new journey of ‘motherhood’ – no doubt the greatest calling of all. Thank you so much for all you have accomplished at ThriveThemes. Always loved your input and teaching. God bless you and your little one in the days ahead. ????????❤️

  • Hello Hanne,
    time passes very quickly. Some build their family, like you and I as a grandpa can watch the grandchildren grow up. But that’s life.
    As an affiliate, I have always tried to make Thrive Themes known in Germany through my blog. I think I succeeded quite well thanks to the many videos.
    Anyway, I wish you all the best and health for the future and thank you for the many years where I could learn a lot from you through videos or articles.
    Finally, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Greetings from Detschland

  • Thank you for all Thrive Themes has become over those years, and thank you for all your helpful videos. Wishing you the best.

  • Throughout the years I loved watching your videos and following along Hannah. And now I want to wish you all the best in your new exciting venture.

  • Hey, Hanne!

    I wanted to reach out and let you know that I’m so excited about the new chapter in your life—you’re becoming a mom! I know that this is going to change everything, but I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. And I know that you’ll be great at it: you’re such an incredible person and a super-smart businesswoman.

    Though you’ve been working with Thrive Themes for seven years now, I’ve been watching your videos and tutorials for 2 years and I’ve always appreciated your voice and slang. It always gives a pleasant and inspiring feeling to learn more from you.

    I’m so glad that you’re stepping back from the spotlight for now, so that you can focus on being a mom. You’re going to be amazing at it! And I know that if you ever decide to come back, we’ll just have to wait for it because we can’t wait to see what kind of magic is coming next.

    Thanks again for being a Torchbearer—you’re one of my favorite people inside Thrive, and I wish you all the best!

  • I remember when you were starting to post things and I’ve seen you grow over those years through your output!
    (Even if I’m doing so from the sidelines… I too changed my life when we found ourselves with 3 babies within 13 months… I became the full-time stay at home Dad…
    For me that was very easy because I was already working from home.
    Well Done EVERYONE and enjoy your most amazing and new LIFE, Hanne!

    Having children is the best thing you can do to improve your life (while introducing some serious craziness) at least in my humble opinion…

    All the best! ????

  • Thanks for the great encouragement Hanne! Also, being a professional mom is the noblest of all life choices!!! Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise.

  • Hi Hanne, I don’t think about the Thrive Themes organization too much. I just want the product to work. But your letter is a great testament to the brand. Thanks for sharing and good luck!

    • Thanks Sean. And the good news is that this will change nothing for the product (and I know the team is already working on really cool stuff for the future too).

  • Thanks so much for all of your help,wish you have smooth sailing and successful career in your future life

    P.S. hope to opt in your personal site news letter

  • Hanna, you do a fantastic job. Thank you for all the YouTube videos, blog posts, and material you have produced over the years at Thrive. They have taught me so much. Your technical tutorials are always helpful, but your insight is more significant, like the three lessons you mentioned in this post. Thanks to you and Shane’s videos and other helpful material, I’ve built over a hundred websites, and my clients love them! You deserve a very happy life with your family. Thank you for making me successful. Literally. I wish you all the best, Imran.

  • Hanna, I have followed your journey on ThriveThemes since the very beginning and I had no doubts (your honesty and willingness to serve) … but above all what you have achieved, let me admire your courage in these moments, I know it is not easy, it is not only that you have reached what you deserve but that you have known how to move on despite everything, including yourself and your doubts. Whatever you do, wherever you are, you will find the best way because it is what you have shown us, a steady lesson until this last moment . It has been a pleasure to meet you in each video, webinar, post, etc. I wish you the very best, because simply you are who you are. Thank you for so much.

  • Good luck, Hanne! Your imperfect videos were not only helpful; they were also a joy to watch. Thanks for being a leader and role model for those of us just getting started who had soooo many questions. Congrats on becoming a Mum. Another endeavor that changes and grows over time. Enjoy!

  • Hannah, thank you so much for your tutorials, videos etc.
    I have been an avid Thrive user since 2017 and have successfully implemented many projects with it for myself and my clients.
    Without your support, many things would have been more difficult. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again
    Your products, your support are outstanding also you have your share for sure.
    I wish you personally all the best for the future and hope that your team will continue in this spirit.
    Happy holidays and a good slide into the new year and the new phase of your life.

    Translated with (free version)