You might be thinking—there’s NO way that flipping websites can earn you 7 figures!
But it’s possible and that’s what Marc André did.
In this exciting episode, Jaryd Krause has invited Marc to share his incredible journey on flipping websites.
Marc has been building online businesses since 2007. He’s built and sold businesses in different niches like web & graphic design, photography, travel, and personal finance, with 6 different six-figure exits.
His current project is FlipMySite.com, where he writes about buying and selling websites and online businesses.
Jaryd and Marc dive into several topics, such as: How and what does it take to move out as an employee? What sites did he start? And what sites he bought and how much he’s made from selling sites?
They also discuss Marc’s strategies for growing his sites. How did he set them up to sell? How much time did he give himself and the things he did to make them attractive businesses? What does he recommend to people who are looking to sell websites?
If you’re interested in flipping websites, here’s your chance to learn from someone who has achieved massive success. Catch this episode today and transform your life!
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03:18 Marc’s journey through online business ventures and exits
17:16 How do I improve domain authority?
27:13 Exploring the impact of AI in search results for content sites
36:55 How do you make your site attractive to buyers?
43:19 Growing affiliate revenue from zero to $10,000 in six months
47:45 Insights into business growth and success with Marc
Courses & Training
Courses & Training
➥ Marc Andre’s shift from an employee mindset was driven by the realization that he could create something for himself when traditional career paths were not delivering the opportunities he sought.
➥ Marc explains that he performed a thorough site audit for the first site with 700 blog posts, focusing on content improvements. He deleted outdated content, redirected URLs, and identified content to update or create. He didn’t engage in link building but concentrated on content, working with freelancers to generate new content. He also doubled down on specific affiliate programs and, within a year, significantly increased the affiliate revenue on the site from around $1,000 per month to $6,000 to $7,000 per month.
➥ Marc also shares his strategy for analyzing competitors in the niche after Google algorithm updates. He looked at about 20-25 sites to identify trends among those that were doing well post-update. He found that successful sites were more focused and had a better balance of content, whereas sites with excessive affiliate-heavy content were trending downward.
About The Guest
Marc has been building online businesses since 2007. He’s built and sold businesses in different niches like web & graphic design, photography, travel, and personal finance, with 6 different six-figure exits.
His current project is FlipMySite.com, where he writes about buying and selling websites and online businesses.
Connect with Marc Andre
How would you like to earn over seven figures from flipping websites? Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause. I'm the host of the Buying Online Businesses Podcast. And today, I'm speaking with Marc André. Marc has been building online businesses since 2007.
He's built and sold businesses in many different niches, like web and graphic design, photography, travel, and personal finance, with six different six-figure exits. His current project is FlipMySite.com, where he writes about buying and selling website businesses.
And on this podcast, Marc and I talk about how and what it takes to move from an employee mindset to an entrepreneurial mindset, the challenges that we can face as employees, and how to make that shift, which Marc and I both went through and have some experiences and stories to share.
We also talk about what websites Marc started, when he started them, and why he started them. And then we also talk about what sites he’s actually bought and how much he's made from selling those sites, which is quite a substantial figure from the flips that he's made.
We also dig into what he did to grow these websites. We pick apart many different things, from content, authority, revenue to grow these different types of businesses, and a lot of the things that he did. We do also touch on and talk about Google's SGE and third-party cookies and why the internet is not actually doomed.
And some sort of case scenarios on what can happen, how things have been moving along for a while and what may or may not happen in the future with the search engine of Google based on market share as well as with other big companies and search engines too. So there's a lot in that big discussion around that, which is fascinating.
We also dive into how Marc was able to set his website business up for sale with how much time he actually gave himself and the things that he did to make them attractive businesses before selling them. And then Marc also shares some of his recommendations with people who are looking to sell sites before they actually do so.
Now, this is such a valuable episode. You will love it. There's so much we do talk about, but we also do discuss buying businesses. And I have to put a caveat on this. If you are looking at buying a business and you don't have professional help, you must get my Due Diligence Framework. It's free.
You can get it at buyingonlinebusinesses.com/freeresources. And you'll see that on the site. And yeah, it's what I've used; it’s what a lot of my clients have used to go away and buy businesses. It's very, very valuable and very, very important if you're buying a website. Let's dive in.
Do you have a website you might want to sell either now or in the future? We have a hungry list of cashed up and trained up buyers that want to buy your content website. If you have a site making over $300 per month and want to sell it, head to buyingonlinebusinesses.co/sellyourbusiness. Or email us at [email protected], because we will likely have a buyer. The details are in the description.
Marc, hi, thanks for coming on the pod. Welcome.
Yeah. Thanks for the invitation.
Yeah, you're so welcome. So yeah, you've been flipping sites for a while. When did you start flipping sites?
Yeah. So I started my first website in 2007. I had a full-time job at the time. I was an auditor for a finance company. And I kind of got started. I had done some small websites, like web design work for family and friends, just setting up really basic websites. And I was just looking for, basically, a side hustle to make some extra money.
And so I was interested in picking up some other clients. Like I said, I'd done some friends and family, but I didn't really have a way to branch out beyond that. So I set up a little portfolio website with information about my services and showed off my crappy web design skills.
But I knew I couldn't rank for web design, website design, or any competitive terms with just a little portfolio site. So I started a blog, published articles and attempted to get traffic that way. And it actually worked. I did start to get a good bit of traffic.
I was kind of trying to learn whatever I could about social media and SEO and things did take off pretty quickly. I did land some clients and I realized pretty quickly that I enjoyed working on the blog more than I enjoyed the client work. And so I kind of shifted my focus a bit. Instead of really trying to get leads through the site, I put ads on the site, monetized it that way and grew the site.
I wound up leaving my full-time job about a year and a half after I started this. In late 2008, I left my full-time job. And yeah, so it's been almost 15 years now. I've been working on different sites. So I wound up selling that site in 2013. And since then, I've had a number of other sites and a few photography blogs.
My wife and I did Amazon FBA for a couple of years. I had a finance blog that I sold earlier this year. I went back and did some more stuff with web and graphic design. I had two sites that I sold together just a few months ago. Those two were the only ones that I purchased. It was two web graphic design blogs. The other stuff was all stuff that I'd started from scratch.
So I've had, over the years, six different exits that were in the six-figure range. I've never had anything huge. I've never had any exits over $1 million, but six somewhat substantial ones. And I think the total selling price of those businesses is like $2.2 million or something like that.
Cool. Congrats, man. Congrats. So was your reason for getting on the internet and starting these sites just to get out of your job?
Initially, I really wasn't planning or looking to get out of my job. I was really just looking for a way to make a little bit of extra money on the side. I was basically in an entry-level job and living in the Philadelphia suburbs at the time and I just didn't have a lot of extra money. And so I just wanted some extra spending money.
But once I started to see some progress and started to see results, I did change my mentality pretty quickly. Once I started to see some results, I really think there's potential here to do something more significant than just a little side hustle. And so at that point, I really did get serious about it.
And for that year and a half that I was really working on stuff before I left my job, I was focused on getting out of my job because I had a number of frustrations and it wasn't just that job, but jobs before that. I just wasn't getting ahead in my 20s like I thought I would. And so I saw that if I can't get the job that I really want, then maybe I can create something myself.
Yeah, it's good, man. It's so interesting just to chat with different people about it. When we're in employee mode, we have a very different mindset. And I've got a bunch of friends that are employees, and the mindset is so... I find our mindsets going further apart in terms of life. But then I've got some friends that are following, leaning more towards that path.
And it's very interesting to talk to people about leaving work, how their view of the world has changed and their understanding that there's nothing wrong with being an employee. I've done it for a long period of time as well, when I was a plumber.
I'm not sure if you know much about my story. But yeah, I used to be a plumber and just hated it and then I realized that I was the same, not getting ahead faster than I wanted to in my 20s. And I realized that I needed to buy assets to build wealth. And it's a totally different mindset.
What was the evolution of you changing from, “Oh, I just want some extra money” to realizing, “Oh, I actually want to have more control over my life and build wealth?" What were some of the things that you learned through that period and that shift?
Yeah. I think I've always been pretty focused and driven. I worked hard. But like you said, I had an employee mindset, which, again, is fine, but I wasn't focused at all on building a business. I wasn't focused on—like I was told when I was young, work hard, find a company where you want to work for your whole career, work hard, work your way up, and be patient.
And I was working hard, and things just were not falling into place. There would be an opportunity for a promotion, and I would be qualified for the job, but then they would wind up hiring somebody from outside the company. And it was just things that happened a few different times.
And there was, in my last job, a boss who—she was really nice, and she was good to me, but she wasn't very good at her job. And people at her level—her peers—didn't respect her. And they would come to me, her subordinate, because they didn't think that she could get her job done.
And so I basically felt I kind of carried her for two years and then they eventually fired her. And the moment that her boss told me that he was firing her, he had already hired somebody, already hired her replacement. And so there was never even any consideration of my being qualified for it. So it was like, well, if I did a lot of her job for two years and the position comes open and I'm not even considered for it, then I'd probably not have much of a future here.
And so once that happened, I was already working on my blog at that point. I was a few months in and that was like the final, I don't know, the thing that just really, like, I said, “Okay. I'm definitely not going anywhere here.” And I think I have something else on the side. So that really was a turning point for me with motivation like, “Okay, now I need to get there faster because I want to get out of this place pretty quickly.”
Yeah, that's a good story. Thanks for sharing. I think a lot of people listening are in a similar position where we realize, damn, I'm just like a number and just like a cog in the wheels of this business. And the care factor, I mean, of the overall company is not as much; there's not that much care for the humans.
What I don't like about the employee promotion structure is that I think companies feed on people's egos a lot with, “Oh, you can get a promotion,” and we feel good about having a higher status in our role. But what we actually do is take on more responsibility with little extra income. And we get sort of pigeonholed into this high-status role, but with way more stress, way more responsibility and not that much more value.
I noticed that I went from being an apprentice plumber in my third year and somebody got kicked off the job site—the guy that was running it. And I'd been working for this company for three months and I was pretty green, and they said, “All right, you've got to take over the job and finish it off.” I was like, “Okay, cool.” And I had to sign the job off.
And I was looking at the forms and stuff because I'd done the job, right? I was probably 19 or 20 at the time and I had a 40-year-old trade assistant with me. And then another 19-year-old apprentice, who was a first-year apprentice, basically wanted to take my role and thought he was better than me at the time.
But the trade assistant was awesome. He's a really awesome, amazing human. And so I had to sign this job off. And I said to the boss, “Look, I can't. This is illegal. I'm an apprentice. I need to be a fully qualified plumber.” And then I asked to be promoted. And they're like, “Yeah, cool, you can be promoted, but we're not going to pay you much more because you still technically need to do your fourth year and your studies and stuff like that.”
And I was like, as long as I can give them what they want, they’ll just give me more responsibility and social status and not care. And I see a lot of my friends who are now saying, “No, I don't want a promotion in my job because it's more stressful with very little reward for it.” So I think a lot of people listening are in that boat and wanting to get into this game of online business.
So you started a fair few, Marc. Why did you make the transition to buy one? What caused you to go, “Hey, I wanna buy these?” ‘Cause you bought two now. What was that decision based on?
A lot of it was because I was already familiar with the sites, and I bought them from the same person. Both sites were from the same seller.
Yeah, it was just someone in my network. And actually, the first one was bigger. The first one I paid $100,000 for And for the second one, I paid about $12; I think it was like $12,700 or something like that. And for the first one, I had actually been doing freelance work on that site for like a year.
So basically, it was a very passive owner who had bigger things going on and didn't want to be very involved in the site. And so he hired me to run it and it was a blog. So it was mostly writing content, but it was also doing keyword research, choosing affiliate programs to go after, updating a lot of content, and deleting some old content because the site had been around a while.
So I had worked on it for a year as a freelancer and he was looking to sell. And I don't think if I hadn't had that opportunity behind the scenes as a freelancer, I wouldn't have bought it. Because I had basically been running it almost as if it were my own. So I could see what it made in the affiliate commissions.
I didn't have access to the ad revenue, but he told me what it was making. But I could see that I had all the access to everything in WordPress—analytics, search console, everything—for a long time to really get comfortable with it and to see the opportunity there.
So yeah, it was just that I felt like it still had a good bit of room for growth. And also, I was doing about 10 hours a week of freelance work on it. And if he sold it to somebody else, I would have most likely lost that work too. So that probably played a little bit of a factor in it.
But basically, I just saw, and I think there's a chance I could improve the site. I knew I would flip it. I didn't think I'd flip it quite as fast as I did. And maybe I should have held onto it a little bit longer, but I wound up having it for a little bit less than two years.
Yeah. Okay. Cool. Congrats on that acquisition! I think it's just a wise one, right? It's a very wise acquisition when you can see that, all right, you're basically running this business for a certain period of time.
And if you were to be the new owner, you'd probably see downfalls and then opportunities for growth and things you could do differently that you've probably been thinking about for a while that you could just go plug straight into the business. So what were some of those things that you went and did to build that site up before you flipped it? What are some of the strategies you implemented?
I did a full site audit. The site had, I think, probably around—
Yeah. On the first site, right away, I did a full site audit. It had around 700 blog posts on it. Some of them were pretty old. Some of it I had cleaned up while I was still freelancing on the site, but I did a bit of a deeper dive.
Once I bought it, I wound up deleting a good bit, redirecting, and then identifying a lot of content to update. And so the main thing I did on that site was focus on content because it did have some decent domain authority. I didn't do any link building because it already had a decent link profile.
So it was pretty much all content, and it was probably fairly evenly split between updating existing content and creating new content. And so for the new content, I did write some of it myself, but I mostly outsourced it to freelancers that I hired on Upwork. And I did all of the content strategy and keyword research.
So I would give the freelancers a topic to write about. In most cases, I would outline the articles because I wanted them to highlight certain affiliate products and stuff. So it was a little bit more time consuming for me to set up those outlines and stuff. Some people who own the site will outsource everything.
I was definitely more hands-on. But I've always been pretty hands-on with my sites, and I like it that way. I don't work with a ton of freelancers. On that site, I think I had four different writers, and they would all do one blog post a week. They weren't putting in a ton of time.
So yeah, so it was really just focusing on content. There was one affiliate program that was the top affiliate program. I really doubled down on that particular program. And most of the content or a lot of the content was around stuff that allowed me to promote. And I did find another affiliate program that I created a lot of content around. So it was really focusing on the key affiliate income and that really boosted the affiliate revenue a lot.
So when I bought the site, it was bringing in between $3,000 and $3,500 a month in total. And most of that was ad revenue. And there was, I think, less than $1,000 a month in affiliate stuff. It was maybe like $600 or $700 a month in affiliate revenue. And about a year later, the affiliate revenue for a good month was up to $6,000, or $7,000.
So the ad revenue went up a little bit, but the affiliate revenue really went up a lot.
Yeah. Definitely by focusing on that main affiliate program and increasing content around that or updating content around that. And talking about updating content, what are some of the things that you like to do when you are updating content? Or first of all, how do you identify which content needs updating? Why? And then what's your sort of process for updating it?
So of the reasons I would update content, one is just being outdated. So especially on that blog being web/graphic design, a lot of the web design stuff gets outdated real fast. So pretty much anything from five years ago or more is probably not really relevant anymore.
And so if an article had traffic or had the potential to have traffic and it just needed to be updated because it was no longer relevant, in some cases, it would just be a few small details that needed to be updated. In other cases, it was just totally rewritten. And there were a number of those that were totally rewritten, and I just used the same URL, but really everything about the content was changed.
Another thing is that I did dive into analytics and search consoles. And really, say, an article is ranking at the bottom of the first page of Google for a target keyword. To me, that's a really good opportunity to update and improve if that article isn't already optimized. If you can go from, say, ranking eighth to ranking third, that's going to be exponential growth.
Even fifth to third is probably going to really make a big difference. And I had really good success with those posts—those URLs that have been out there for several years—updating them and quickly getting traffic as opposed to new content.
New content did do pretty well in a lot of cases, but with older content, generally, you can get faster results with it. Yeah. So really, it was identifying content that was just outdated and finding ones that I thought had the potential to drive more traffic.
The other thing, I guess, would be posts with buyer intent for affiliate programs. So if there was an article, I thought maybe it wasn't really driving traffic, but I think there's a chance for me to improve it and throw in some affiliate promotions in there, and then I would work on that too.
I love it. Just for people listening, buyer intent means finding keywords or titles that are where people are closer to purchasing that product versus they're just in the discovery phase of thinking about, like, “I might need to solve a problem,” and they don't know what the product is yet. Buyer intent is that they're already looking for that product to buy, basically, right?
Right, yeah. If the search indicates that they're closer to making a purchase than just looking for information, maybe it includes a product name. Or an example would be a comparison, X versus Y, two different brands or something like that.
If someone's searching for that, they're obviously interested in trying to figure out which product is better and which one they should buy. And so they have a little bit more interest than your informational how-to-do-this or those types of articles.
Yeah. Talking about information versus high-bar intent affiliate pieces, when you were updating these, did you think, All right, I need to not just focus on affiliates; let's do some informational as well? And if so, what would that look like and what was your motivation for doing it?
Yeah. So initially, I really didn't focus on that too much and I wound up creating a lot of content, whether it was new content or updated content that was really affiliate heavy. And then, as Google started doing the product review updates, it seemed like they were really kind of coming after, is the right word, but kind of coming after affiliate sites. That's how it feels a lot of times.
So fortunately, I didn't get hit with any of that stuff, but it did make me reevaluate and intentionally put just informational articles that had really no affiliate links or maybe just a few affiliate links rather than a bunch.
And so towards the end, the last six months to a year that I owned the site, I was trying to keep it probably about 50-50. Whereas I was trying to do about half of the articles that weren't really affiliate heavy. Because I did—after there was a core update, I think it was December of last year, 2022.
Yeah. There were five updates throughout the end of last year, 2022.
Yeah. And then again in like January or February, I was in Semrush and some other tools looking at different blogs, different sites in the niche and kind of trying to see who was up, who was down, who was flat, and trying to see like what factors and what trends I could notice between the sites that were up versus those that were down.
And what I could see was a limited sample size. I looked at like 20 or 25 sites. So it wasn't huge. But the trends that I could tell based on that small sample were the ones that were doing well and were tightly focused.
They weren't covering all the different aspects of web design, graphic design, web development, or WordPress. They were a little bit more focused, and they were also not completely affiliate heavy and where, like some sites, all they post is lists and affiliate links.
Lists of products, basically.
Yeah. Like 25 best this, 10 best that and its affiliate links throughout every article. Those types of sites, from what I was seeing, were all trending down. And so the ones that were trending up had better balance and focus. And so, that's kind of what I tried to emulate.
That's such a cool strategy. Thanks for sharing that. For people that are listening, I've always hopped on about competitive research. But when an algorithm affects sites and stuff like that, or it comes out, it's worth looking at, like you said, 10 to 25, 30 of the competitors that are in the space, direct competitors.
Go through and look at what they're doing well, see how they've fared out of the changes to the algorithm and find those little pieces of value that allow you to say, “Okay, these guys have won out of this, and this is what they've done to do so.” Versus people that have lost out of it as well. So that's an awesome share.
With the purchase of these two sites, moving forward, would you buy more sites versus starting them? And if so, why?
Yeah, I definitely would. I do have some interest. I have looked a little bit at some marketplaces and stuff. To be honest, right now, I'm kind of curious to see what happens with SGE and AI and the search results. And most of my experience is with content sites.
So probably it would have to be the right situation for me to invest any kind of significant money until we have a better idea of what's going to happen with AI and the search results. I'm not really too concerned with AI content creation, but I am more curious to see what happens with the search results.
Tell me more. Tell me more about what you're curious about. I'd love to dig into that a little bit.
Just like how AI and the search results are going to impact the search traffic. I don't think it's going to kill traffic. But, say, you buy a site and a month later, Google rolls out SGE and you're down 25%, which I think some sites are probably going to be if they're targeting content that can be easily answered by AI.
I think there are a lot of topics that can't be easily answered by AI. And Google does seem to be putting links into the AI-generated responses. And so, I think some sites will probably come out ahead.
But it just makes me a little bit hesitant to invest anything significant until I have a better idea of how that plays out.
Yeah, I'm glad that you mentioned that. Because this is how people who create media, like podcasts and YouTube videos and articles, get views through clickbaity, fear-mongering headlines and fear-mongering news, where we could lose all of our traffic with a click of a finger.
But reality is that Google has had no click search for a while with featured snippets and things like this. And people have been doing this for two years more, creating content that can easily rank high in Google and get up to the top with a featured snippet without them having to go through and click through the site.
So I'm pretty bullish on it not being as bad as what most people say about the fear-mongering media out there. I think it's being rolled out at a slower pace. There could be an anomaly where, yeah, you could buy a site and it could lose a bunch of traffic very fast. But I just don't think that would be a reality based on the data on how they've slowly rolled these things out.
And then I also think that if Google were to roll out SGE and nobody went to any websites ever again and only used Google, Say, for example, they use ChatGPT for answers, right? They don't need to go to websites. Then why would anybody create any content and have any websites ever again?
And that means Google; let's just say that happens. Google would have no updated content to put on their search engine because nobody's creating content for their websites because they're not making money from it. So Google would just kill the hand that feeds them, right?
So then it comes to the conversation of what you mentioned about how we work out or maybe create content that you can answer in a short, sharp version, but it also prompts people to get a longer and better explanation by clicking on a link in Google and going to your website and focusing on that content versus just yes-no answers sort of thing. What are your thoughts on that?
Yeah, I mean, like I said, I think some sites will come out ahead. But at this point, we don't really know which sites are going to come out ahead and which sites are going to take a hit. And I've also seen something that I thought was interesting. It was a month or so ago that there was a report that since Microsoft integrated AI into their search results, they’ve gained zero market share.
And so that's the report that I saw. I don't know how accurate it is. But Google seemed to rush in response to what Bing was doing. And so I heard some people say, “Well, if they're not worried about Bing taking away market share, maybe Google just leaves this in development forever and never really rolls it out.” And I think there's validity to that.
I don't know what Google's going to do. But if itgoing tonna be bad for their business model, Google makes a ton of money. They make billions of dollars off of ads on people's websites. And if people are not going to websites, Google is not going to make that money.
And as a public company, obviously they have constant pressure to maintain or increase profitability. And so they're not going to do something that’s going to crush that if they don't have to. And so if they don't feel the pressure from Bing, I would not be surprised if things look significantly different than what it seems like they might.
Yeah, exactly. Why is Google going to cut off the hand that feeds them and just destroy everybody's websites that're getting money from ad revenue? It just does not make sense to do so.
And also, I think a lot of people worry about that with the third-party cookie, where people have been like—and that's my same response. If Google is going to remove the third-party cookie at the start of 2024, which hasn't been much news around it for a while because it gets pushed back because AI is the leading hype subject at the moment.
If they can remove the third-party cookies, surely they're going to have another, more superior way to track people on the internet, on sites outside of third-party cookies, to ensure that advertisers are getting a good ROI from the money they're spending with Google. Otherwise, it's silly for them to roll it out.
But they do need to play this political game as well. Like you mentioned, hey, Google Chrome is a safe place to view websites, and we don't collect as much data. So they're probably going to come up with something else.
But yeah, I'm glad that you brought this up because this is a lot of people's fear. Yeah, I understand that you've got the fear that things may change as the search engine changes, but that's been happening since the search engine has ever evolved. And will it be as catastrophic as what most people are saying? Who knows? Because Google is going to roll it out quite slowly.
That said, there could still be changes. We've just seen a helpful content update happen throughout the mid to end-ish of 2023 here. And that could be more catastrophic than what may be rolling out with SGE and all third-party cookies. And that hasn't gotten as much attention, a buildup or a lead up to it because it's just another update. So yeah, what do you think?
Yeah. And getting back to the other part of your question, sorry, I kind of got off on that. You asked me, if I did buy a site, why would I go back to that? And the main reason is just to cut out the grind at the beginning. I mean, it just takes so long to start from scratch, and you never know.
I'm pretty confident that if I really put my effort and focus into a site, I can have some level of success, but you never really know for sure how much success you're going to have. You can instantly buy an asset that has been cut out that first year, a couple of years, and instantly jump into improving it and monetizing it. So it is definitely tempting.
Yeah, yeah, cool. I totally agree. That's what I promote. Also, you've got people that are great at starting sites and they realize that they started a bunch, and you just don't know how the market's going to fare or what results the market's going to show with what you put out there.
And some have a higher ROI than others that don’t. And then they'll start with six or eight and then end up focusing on one or two. But then you put a lot of that effort into a bunch of other ones, whereas you could just find that one asset that’s got that leg up.
Now, let's come to the selling part. So it sounds like you sold this within the last sort of 12-ish months—this one that you did purchase and flip. And you have sold a bunch of other ones, right? Congratulations on the total valuation of the sites that you have sold.
That's really cool. What are some of the things that you noticed that you needed to do to get a good sale and present the business as an attractive business for a purchaser? Were there certain things that you did before getting ready to list or sell?
Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest thing for me has been preparing ahead of time. I don't usually just wake up one day and say, “I think I should probably sell my site.”
The first significant sale I had, I planned basically six months in advance and said, “I want to sell the site.” Now, it actually may have even been a little bit longer than that, but I'm going to work on increasing the revenue. Because most sites, I think, even sites that are pretty good, are not really maximizing their potential. There's always something you can do to improve that revenue.
In the case of the site that I'm talking about, it was doing more with affiliate marketing. So I was monetizing it primarily with ads and digital products, and I really hadn't done much with affiliate marketing. And I dove into that and significantly increased the revenue in six months, then sold it for a price that I was pretty happy with.
And so the other really emphasized to me the importance of planning ahead and kind of looking at things and saying, “Okay, what can I do to maximize profit?”
And another thing that I learned early on too and obviously you know this, but people buying sites for the most part are investors. They're not looking to buy a full-time job. And so probably the first question I'm asked almost every single time I'm looking to sell a site is How much time do you put into it? I know that's something every potential buyer is going to want to know.
And so one of the things I learned early on is that not everything that you do on a site is productive. If you get into running a site for a couple of years and then you really look at how you're spending your time, probably a lot of time you're doing things that really don't produce results.
And so the same thing with that first site, as I was also working on ramping up my affiliate revenue, I was also working on cutting back my hours. And so I had things I was doing that I thought were good for the site, but they really didn't move the needle.
They really didn't drive revenue. I could cut them out without losing traffic, without those types of content that took a long time to produce and probably didn't really get any significant results.
And so I was able to cut my time pretty significantly and I think that helped a lot with the sale too. Because there's a big difference between going to someone and saying, “I work 10 hours a week” as opposed to 20 hours a week or five hours a week as opposed to 10.
Because they're going to factor that in as to how much it's going to cost them to run the site. They're probably going to try to outsource everything. And so they're going to say, “Well, how much is it going to cost me to replace somebody who works 40 hours a week?” It's going to cost a lot. And so it's going to drive that valuation down. So I'd say that was a big thing as well.
The other thing I noticed is that I've sold some sites on my own. I've sold some on a marketplace. So it's been a long time since I did that. And in recent years, I had two sales that were through a broker. And the two best multiples that I got on the sales were through a broker. So I went through a quiet light and had an awesome experience both times.
And a good broker can, in a lot of cases, earn their fee without taking anything off what you're taking home. So I've talked to a lot of people about selling, and they're always like, “I don't want to pay a broker.” And I understand that. But what really matters is what you take at the end. If a broker gets you 20% more and their fee is 10% or 15%, you're still coming out ahead.
And so I think a lot of people are hesitant to use a broker because of the fee. And they try to sell it themselves when they probably could have done better and made it a lot easier through a broker too.
Because a broker does a lot of the work for you. So yeah, so I would say, if you don't have a good buyer in mind, if you don't have a really strong network, you're probably better off using a broker if you can.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. That's why we sell people's businesses with BOB; we have a pool of people that want that certain type of business in that price range. You've already got that group of people that are hungry for it with cash. Why not go to them? And then, if you've got a different bracket of business that you might want to sell through Quiet Light, they've already got those buyers.
Go to those people that have those buyers that are looking for that type of business that you have, because that's a good way to choose a broker, right? They're going to be able to sell that type of business to the type of buyers they have, just by meeting the market in a lot of smarter ways.
Like, it's me trying to sell a snowboard in the desert versus going to a snow hill and selling a snowboard. There's a lot more people who want snowboards in the mountains.
Yeah, I love those growth strategies. It's really awesome. And thank you for sharing that. When you said you increased the affiliate revenue on that site, did you also increase the traffic as well? Was the trend slightly going up? Or was it just the revenue that increased?
No, the traffic was flat. And yeah, the affiliate revenue was... So by the time I sold it, the revenue was pretty well split between ads, digital products and affiliate revenue. It went from almost nothing in affiliate revenue to the last month I owned it, and I think it crossed $10,000 in affiliate revenue.
And that was in six months of creating content around affiliate programs. And I also went back and added joint affiliate programs for products and services that I already had in my content. I just had a regular link, not an affiliate link. But a lot of it was just creating content around the products I wanted to promote.
Yeah, cool, cool. What are some of the things that you would share with people that are getting prepped to sell their business, other than what you had mentioned in terms of leading up to six months? Is there anything else that you would share with them?
Yeah. I think from what I've seen, it's very helpful to have a team in place, whether you're talking about employees or freelancers. In my case, I've never had employees. I've only worked with freelancers. But even if you just have a freelance writer who you have talked to and said, “Hey, I'm thinking about selling this site. Would you be interested in continuing to work with a new owner?” Most likely they're going to say yes because freelancers want work.
So if you can go to a buyer and say, “I have this writer in place,” that's a big load off for the buyer to say, “Okay, I don't immediately have to go out and find somebody to create content. We can kind of just continue as is.” And if they want to make changes later, they can.
Same thing if you're using a virtual assistant or an editor; if you're selling a podcast, maybe it's somebody editing the podcast episodes, YouTube videos, whatever. If you have that team in place that you can transition to, it's definitely really helpful.
Also, having some sort of documentation, standard operating procedures or anything else to explain what you do on a daily basis and the steps you go through And it doesn't have to be anything fancy. In one case, I had a buyer who just wanted me to record a video, like sharing my screen of me in WordPress, like, “Here's what I do editing a post.” And it's super simple to create, but it helps them a lot to understand what you're doing and what they can continue to do to run the site the same way that you're doing. So I'd say, yeah, I'd say those things are probably among my top tips.
I love that. With the SOPs, what I like to think about is number one, not just having a thing like, Here's how I do this, but I would just have a purpose and a reasoning, or we do have a purpose and a reasoning on why we're doing this task and what result that can provide, which helps emphasize how important it is to follow the steps during that SOP for that virtual assistant or their employee to make sure they're like, “Okay, I get how important this task is now,” not just do this because it needs to be done.
And then, when we create the SOP, we understand how much work is going to go into it. And do I need to split that just me recording a screen share into—if it's going to go longer, do I do three screen share recordings over like three 10-minute blocks versus this one 30-minute one?
So when somebody needs to come back to the SOP, they can just take that part of the SOP and watch it easily, versus having to scroll through and do it again. I like to think of it as creating an actual course for your employee to set them up for success.
And that's our goal, right? With all my employees, I want to show them what finished looks like and why it should be finished in that certain way. And the result it should get And when they can make you happy, they make the business happy and they're happy as well, right? People just don't want tasks like, “I'm just going to do this just because.” Yeah, I'm glad that you shared that.
Wow. There is so much experience in selling businesses and growing them. And it's been a pleasure to chat. Marc, thanks so much for coming on. Where can we send people to check out more about what you're up to?
Yeah. So I started a blog. It's called Flip My Site, or FlipMySite.com. I just started out a couple of months ago after my most recent sale. And so, that's the best place to find me. I'm also pretty active on LinkedIn and occasionally on Twitter. So my site is definitely the best place, but the social platforms will work as well.
Awesome. We'll put links to that in the show notes. Everybody who's listening, thank you for listening. Please do us a massive favor and share this podcast episode with somebody that you know that is going to buy a website, owns a website business, is thinking about selling it, or is about to sell a business or is thinking about selling it.
There's so much in this that will be valuable for them to get their business set up for selling in terms of growth and a good exit. So thanks again, guys. And I'll speak to you soon.
Hey, YouTube watchers, if you thought that video was good, you should check out this video here on the 2 Best Types of Websites Beginners Should Buy. Or check out my playlist on How I Made My First $100k Buying Websites and how to do due diligence. Check it out. It's an awesome playlist. You'll enjoy it.
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Jaryd Krause is a serial entrepreneur who helps people buy online businesses so they can spend more time doing what they love with who they love. He’s helped people buy and scale sites all the way up to 8 figures – from eCommerce to content websites. He spends his time surfing and traveling, and his biggest goals are around making a real tangible impact on people’s lives.
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