EFP 102: Downsides To Selling Your Website

Podcasts

Justin Cooke

July 17, 2014

It’s not all sunshine and gummy bears for entrepreneurs who choose to sell their websites or businesses. From the loss of consistent income to watching a new buyer kill your first-born website, it can be scary to let go no matter how much money you may be making from the sale.

The Negatives of Selling Your Website Revealed

Today, Joe and I are looking at some of the downsides that come with selling your website and some solutions to mitigate the pain. These are things most industry insiders won’t talk about and even we’re a bit shaky to discuss this.

Selling could be extremely exciting, rewarding, and profitable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t feel a bit of pain from letting go of your cherished beloved.

Check out our points (and solutions) for the episode:

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

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Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • What if your site earnings go through the roof after selling?
  • Holding on to cash in on more monthly earnings before selling.
  • Fear of failing on your next projects.
  • Losing an asset that provided reliable income.
  • Potentially watching a website you built die out in the hands of someone else.
  • Needy buyers who need more love.

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“It’s not all sunshine and gummy bears for entrepreneurs who choose to sell their websites/businesses.” – Justin – Tweet This!

“Move into projects that use 70% or more of the skills and experiences you already have.” – Justin – Tweet This!

“As an entrepreneur, the climb should be what gets you going, not the ‘steady thing.’ Otherwise, just get a job.” – Joe – Tweet This!

What are some of the best and worst things about selling a website? Aside from plenty of cash in the bank of course! Leave a message on SpeakPipe or join us in the comments below.

 

Justin:                   Welcome to the Empire podcast, episode 102.

                                It’s not all sunshine and gummy bears for entrepreneurs who choose to sell their websites or businesses. From the loss of consistent income to watching a new buyer kill your first-born website, we’re looking at some of the downsides that come with selling your website that most industry insiders aren’t talking about.

                                You can find the show notes for this episode at empireflippers.com/downsides

                                All right, let’s do this.

Speaker 2:           Welcome to the Empire Flippers podcast.

                                Are you sick and tired of gurus who have plenty of ideas but are short on substance? Worried that e-book you bought for $17.95 won’t bring you the personal and financial freedom you longed for? Hey, you’re not alone. Join thousands of others in their pursuit of niche profits, without the bullshit.

                                Straight from your hosts, Justin and Joe, from Empire Flippers.

Justin:                   All right, Joe. Here’s some actual questions I have heard from sellers:

                                “Did I just shoot myself in the foot by selling my golden goose?” This is written in a forum, private forum that we’re in. Another one … “What if I can never recreate a successful site again?” So you got a lot of sellers that sell their sites and after the fact look back and go, “Man, did I make a mistake here? Did I do the right thing? Did I … should I have held out? Should I have held out longer?” And we’re going to actually get into a bunch of that in this episode.

Joe:                        You know, it’s funny ’cause I think even buyers think about this too, right? They say, “why would a seller even sell a site like this? Aren’t they selling the golden goose? Why are they getting rid of this kind of thing?” So it’s interesting to investigate this kind of question from this angle.

Justin:                   Yeah, and the background from this really came from us talking to a seller that had a really successful Reddit thread. And I ended up getting on the phone with him and talking to him about it, and he mentioned to me that he had sold his site that six months later was doing, I think, close to double what it was doing when he owned it. So he was like, “Man, I’m not sure I should have sold that.” I think he sold it on Flippa too, got like 10x, 12x or something on the site and was like kind of bummed out about the sale. I mentioned the guy in the private form.

                                There’s another guy, Greg, who sold with us and did a review over at Nohat SEO and was kind of like, “Should we have sold this thing? Should we have built it out further?” So this isn’t just a theoretical question. These are things that sellers really have to deal with and they’re really wondering. There are real concerns from these builders and these sellers on … did they do the right thing selling their site? Then they’re basically discussing some of the downsides that come with it.

                                I kind of think though, Joe, I don’t know man … are these silly complaints from people that just got a bunch of cash in their bank accounts? Like, “Oh no. I got all this money now, what do I do with it?”

Joe:                        I see it’s a slightly legitimate and I understand the issues. But, at the end of the day, the Monday morning quarterback kind of thing, I think you really can’t look in hindsight. You got to come up with a plan, go into the future and move on to the next thing.

Justin:                   We’ve actually got six points that we’ve had addressed to us and we’re going to point out a couple of examples of these, and then mention some possible solutions I think can help mitigate some of those downsides, or at least re-direct your focus if that’s a concern of yours as seller, if you’re kind of going through that right now. I think it’d be pretty interesting for any sellers or people who are actually considering selling their websites.

                                Before we get into the episode, though, buddy … I don’t know man, you’re beating me up here. We got to pay the bills. So, let’s dig into our featured listing of the week. We’ve got a software-affiliated site. It’s spanking man. $10,100 a month in net profit. That’s averaged over the last 12 months. It was built in February 2013 and it’s listed at $235,000. So it’s not a cheap listing.

                                I do have to say this about the site, is that a little over a year ago, I actually came across this site and used it as a resource. We were searching for software, we had a couple of software options in our business, we were looking for an option, and this … it was really helpful to me in determining which piece of software to go with, and so I’m actually coming at this from a user perspective. I’m really stoked that we’re able to help this guy sell his site.

Joe:                        Yeah, I know. I’ve been telling people that it’s one of your favorite sites.

Justin:                   I think it’s my favorite site we’ve ever listed.

Joe:                        Yeah.

Justin:                   It’s also the biggest, but yeah, that makes it sound nice. But no, I really think it is. I see the game plan for building this site out.

Joe:                        Yeah, and from a vetting standpoint, it’s just such a simple site. Once you see it, and how it works, it’s pretty amazing. It just uses a couple of affiliate networks directly with the software manufacturers. We’ve talked to the seller. We’ve gone through all the numbers. It’s just really well laid out. The content is so honest and forthright, and his approach to the whole program, it makes it work.

Justin:                   Yeah I loved his approach and kind of laying out the content. I think it’s fantastic. It’s very in line with the stuff that we do, I think.

                                One of the things that interested me though, is that it doesn’t have that many visitors and it makes a ton of money. In the vetting process, did you see that some of the money was recurring based on this affiliate software? Is that kind of how it stacked? ‘Cause it is like $5 per visitor. It’s ridiculous.

Joe:                        It is ridiculous, and that recurring business does transfer to the new buyer So, that’s why we’re able to get such a high listing price for this. But yes, because the software … both pieces of software, have such a high ticket price, affiliates get paid on a recurring basis.

Justin:                   All right buddy, let’s take our sales hats off and get into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 2:           This is the Empire Flippers podcast.

Justin:                   All right Joe, so the first downside we’re talking about here is the website earnings breakthrough. This is the guy, I think his name is Tawfa from the Reddit thread, that six months after he sold, I think his … or sold his … revenue doubled, on the site. So whoever took it over, ended up crushing it. So his wonder was, Was it something that he did? Was it just going to happen anyway? Did I sell too soon? It was, you know, it wasn’t eating him up or anything, but it was a concern. He was like, “Maybe I missed out on some money I could’ve had there.”

                                And in the truth of the matter though, Joe, is that this does happen. There are going to be times where you sell and you were right before a growth spurt. We did a podcast episode on the entrepreneurial rollercoaster, and websites sometimes going to have that rollercoaster approach to, where you’re just about to break out, and you sold it.

Joe:                        We’ve had sites sell for 20x and the guy comes back eight months later and says, “Yeah, it’s paid for itself and then some, and I want another site.” So, yeah. I’ve had that pain myself with our own sites.

Justin:                   But this is the risk you run with selling at all. Right? I mean, that’s just the game you’re playing. So, if you’re looking to sell your site or you want to move on to another project, you just got to accept that that may happen.

                                The other thing you have to consider too, I think, is that it may have been worse with you at the helm, so you could have continued to hold onto the site, and said “Oh, well I would’ve gotten that benefit.” But you may have crashed and burned with the site, where someone else was able to take it over with a fresh perspective, and really build the site out.

Joe:                        Yeah. You’ve seen that sort of hindsight data to prove your theory I think is it’s really bad math. And you really got to look at it and say it definitely could have not worked out for you. Letting go at this point is probably the right thing to do.

Justin:                   So there is one solution to this problem that you can use, although we haven’t had any sellers use this up to this point. The seller can retain some equity. So let’s say, for example, that you’re selling off … you’re selling your site for … website for $100,000. You get a $100,000 offer to just buy it outright. And instead, what you do is you give them, say, $15,000 to $30,000 off the price, but you keep 10% equity in the website. That way you get some value in the upside.

                                So if you’re expecting, hoping, praying for 10x or 12x growth, meaning within the next couple of years your site worth 10 times what it’s worth today, that might be a valuable move. Even though you’re losing out on some cash on the deal, you’re banking on its future and the future success with the buyer.

Joe:                        Yeah, I like that solution. I don’t know why we haven’t come across it yet. It’s kind of interesting. But yeah, you’re right. Nobody’s even proposed it.

Justin:                   Yeah, I think … I talked to … I think it was Ace Chapman or Justin Gilchrist. We were talking about this. I think it was Ace and we were talking about this as a great solution for sellers in this predicament. I think it’s really good. I think it’s really effective.

                                The second downside you’ll hear, you’ll hear from sellers. If I just held onto it for just a couple more months, Joe. If I just held onto it for three more months. Let’s say I’m selling with us, right, and I’m going to get 20x for my site. If I hang onto it for three more months and then sell it … everything’s the same, everything’s normal. I get 23x. I get the additional three months of profit, and then I’m selling it at 20x three months from now, why don’t I just do that?

Joe:                        I think this goes under the bad math category again. You can’t really predict what the future’s going to happen. You can’t give any guarantees. So this is one of those cases where I think you’re always going to have this risk of, is this site going to go up? Is the site going to do better than what you have right now?

Justin:                   That’s always there and there’s just no way to predict that. So it’s like someone trying to predict the stock market or some of that. It just seems … it seems off. And I say that this does happen. Maybe they should have held onto it a bit longer and collected a bit more profit on it.

                                But the problem comes in if you’re holding onto the site when you’re not all that interested in it. You’re just not growing it out anymore. You’re not expanding it. It’s just kind of like this declining asset that you leave lingering.

Joe:                        Especially, I’ve seen this a lot with sellers that have a bunch of sites. Or, they’re a builder and they’re tinkering with other sites. This site is kind of … it’s their income, it’s good income, but they’re not, like you said, improving it at all. They’re not working it on a daily basis. So they kind of let it sit there and get stale. And that’s a bad thing. I mean why not realize that profit up front and let the next person work on it?

Justin:                   You know, or it’s just emotional. You just don’t care anymore. You don’t care about that website. It just doesn’t interest you anymore. And I think moving on and selling it at that time is not a bad move. And Joe, we’re talking about sellers doing this. I mean, we’ve done this buddy. Twitter, buddy.

Joe:                        Yes.

Justin:                   Right? I mean, we had this thing. It was earning, it was doing great. Instead of selling it, we just kind of left it alone, like, ah, we’ll focus on other projects and let it wither a bit.

Joe:                        I mean, at one that site was earning at least $800 a month. That’s, on our marketplace, a $16,000 site.

Justin:                   So one solution to the just a couple more months problem or downside is just to stay firm on your price. If you’re with a broker like us, if you’re listing on Flippa, probably not on auction format, but you just list, you might get lower offers. You might get someone who tries to lowball you. Just decline them. Right? You leave it up for sale, you have the price you want it at, and just wait until you get the offer. Someone willing to pay full cash up front, everything’s done, full price, and then you sell. And that might give you an extra month, two months as long as you’re firm in your price.

                                I think that’s a way around it. Set your price, put it up there and forget about it. Continue building out your business. Continue rolling it out. You might squeeze a couple more months out of the deal anyway.

                                Third downside Joe, and I’ve seen this happen before too with a lot of entrepreneur is the sophomore project failure. So, a seller sells their site, they’re start working on their next project and it fails miserably. Right? They don’t get any traction, they’re moving into something that’s new and different and they’re trying to make it work and it just keeps failing. And it’s not uncommon, right?

Joe:                        No, it’s not uncommon, but I think the fallacy here is that you’re a sophomore for a reason, and that’s because you’ve had a successful freshman year. You’ve built this foundation of skills that you can use for the next project. So even if the next project is not successful, maybe the third project will be.

Justin:                   You may have to understand that the next project may not be your home run, right? It may be a couple of pivots, a couple of changes … I hate that word, pivot, but … maybe a couple of changes until you get it right. So if your sophomore project is failing, you need to look forward instead of looking in the past at the one that didn’t work.

                                One solution would be, and we’ve mentioned this before Joe, is to move into projects that use 70% or more of the skills or experience that you already have. So some of the skill sets that you had that led to the successful site you created … keep those.

                                One way to do that, I think is … and I’m not talking about competing with the site that you just sold, right? I’m talking about taking those same successes and using them in a different vertical. If you use them in the dental industry before, use them in the, I don’t know …

Joe:                        Lawyer industry.

Justin:                   Yeah. The chiropractor industry or something.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think this is a very good way to use your skillset, especially when you’ve been making money online. ‘Cause it’s easy to transfer vertical to vertical online. That’s kind of an easy thing to do. It’s hard to learn new skill sets initially. And if you had success you obviously have something going for you.

Justin:                   Yeah if I a successful day trader, and I wanted to start a piggery or a farm … yeah man. Right, I’m going completely off the map and off the radar. Some of my skills are probably applicable, but it’s not going to be nearly as easy.

Joe:                        Right, but if I wanted to do a different type of trading, then it’d probably be something similar, right.

Justin:                   The fourth downside I want to talk about is the loss of reliable income. So you got a seller who just got a huge cash injection. They’re flush, man. They got the cash, but they got no more income. So they now got this huge cash injection and they’re seeing it tick away. Declining bank account, money going out every month. They no longer have this income.

Joe:                        I look at this as a positive motivator for me.

Justin:                   You got to say though … I’m looking at your face, Joe. There’s got to be something in you that goes, “That’s scary.”

Joe:                        It is! No, I get it. But at least you know. You know how much time you have. You know you have to batten down the hatches. You know you have to get to work. And, you know you need to produce.

Justin:                   You’ve got cash you can leverage too, right? So I’ve got a leverageable asset, which is a nice fat bank account. Josh over at formyourfuture.com just sold a website with us, but he sold a huge chunk of his earnings. He sold with us for $20,000, maybe about $1,000 a month. And now he does monthly income reports, traffic reports, that kind of thing. So you’re going to see a hit. The thing is, I think that you can reward yourself briefly depending on how much … if you sold for $20,000, that’d be really brief. You can do movies and a nice dinner and then get back to work. If you sold it for $500,000, maybe you can take a month off and then get back at it.

Joe:                        Yeah, buy yourself a nice watch, then get back to work.

Justin:                   Yeah, and I think as we mentioned before, a profitable successful website isn’t the golden goose. It’s actually the egg. And I think the guy on the forum got that wrong. He was worried about selling his golden goose. “What do I do if I sell this thing that’s just pumping out money?” Well, it’s really the skills that you’ve learned and your ability to recreate that success with the golden goose. And that’s not something you’re selling.

Joe:                        Yeah, it’s not even the process, right? I mean, when we were making sites like it was going out of style back in 2011, when we had to keep adjusting and selling them and pivoting … the word that you hate … every few months because of the changes by Google or other market changes, it didn’t matter because our people and us had learned so many skills and built up this great mound of just, ability, that we were able to do these kind of things [crosstalk 00:14:53]

Justin:                   That’s our golden goose.

Joe:                        Yeah.

Justin:                   And a solution that I think works here is that the, you know, don’t sell your website until you’ve already implemented, launched, or actually had some feedback on your next project. Get your next best project, your next website to market. Get it out there, get some feedback from actual or potential customers, and try to get a feel on where you’re going and see if you’ve got some traction. So then you can start … you can head right into the next project and not take too much time off.

Joe:                        I mean, there’s no pressure to sell. There’s no rush. We do have sellers that need to buy houses or go on trips or adopt babies. We’ve heard all kinds of things why people need money quickly, but in general, if you just want to move onto the next thing, move onto the next thing. Get that going, and then look to sell. The market is always going to be there.

Justin:                   Here’s another dirty little secret too that … I’ve told buyers this before, but they get really worried, like “I see that sites sell so quickly with you. I can’t seem to find a site in my price range.” And I told them, look, here’s the secret man. Other deals are coming along. So there’s not any … from a buyer’s perspective, this isn’t your only deal. This isn’t the only one. If it sells, there will be another one that comes across. Take your time. Buy when you’re comfortable. Right? It’s the same thing with selling.

Joe:                        Hey, I get it, man. It’s an anxious thing and it’s … especially if it’s your first kind of purchase. You really want to double-check the numbers and really be into it and make sure it’s the right site for you.

Justin:                   And if you lose it, you lose it, but another one’s coming next week, next month, next three months. There’s going to be another one then, maybe even a better fit. So don’t worry so much.

Joe:                        Exactly.

Justin:                   I think it’s the same thing for sellers, is that don’t worry so much. Already start building out your next project. Get it started and you can start rolling into that. I mean, it is concerning when you see the bank account start to decrease, but hopefully you’ve got a good enough start on your next project that you can continue rolling it out and not skip a beat.

                                So the fifth downside I want to talk about is watching your baby die. That’s a little …

Joe:                        Stark!

Justin:                   That’s a little aggressive, but this is a website. Let’s say it’s your first website and you had a good one, right, it was working out. And you worked so hard on this website and you put all kind of blood, sweat, and tears into it and it just withers and dies in the vine. You end up selling to the buyer and they let it go to shit. It just doesn’t work.

Joe:                        Yeah, and we’ve seen this before with our own sites, again. I remember that we sold a package of well-earning sites to someone and then they didn’t do anything. They let the hosting go down, the domain expired, and they came back to us and said, “Can you help me?” And there was just really nothing we could do. Someone else had bought the domains. I mean, yeah, it kind of hurts your soul a little bit.

Justin:                   It’s especially bad that’s one you put a lot of love and effort and energy into. But I think you need to remember that once your site’s gone, it’s just no longer under your control, and it’s just not your responsibility, so. Obviously you have to go through the training, make sure … just completely handed it off. But then it’s just … it’s not your issue. And I think entrepreneurs … if you’re entrepreneurial, you’re building things. You’re moving forward. You don’t look at past successes and try to reminisce about the past.

Joe:                        Yeah, that reminiscing thing, that will get you into trouble.

Justin:                   Oh, I remember when I had that site and I had this planned for it and that planned for it and they killed it. You look at past glories, right? Don’t be that guy that, you know, 24-year-old hanging out with the high schoolers, right. You got to move on, buddy.

Joe:                        Yeah, and it’s like we were talking about before. The missed opportunity kind of thing. You can always kick yourself, play Monday morning quarterback. But I think the best thing to do, the best solution probably, is to put your focus into your next project.

Justin:                   Your new baby. Right? This is getting really bad. But you just replace your baby. You lose your baby, you get a new one, right? Maybe it’s better with dogs or something … babies.

Joe:                        Puppies. Yeah. No, I think that as an entrepreneur, that should be part of your focus. That should be what gets you going is the climb. Not the steady thing. If you wanted that you would get a job.

Justin:                   Okay, we are clearly not parents, Joe. Moving to the sixth point. Let’s talk about needy buyers and having to offer long-term support. And this happens, man. I mean some buyers just need more hand-holding than others. There’s no way around it. Someone that’s brand new, you know, they’re … just so you make sure, this definitely happens, I think with sites that are less expensive. So under $20,000 where someone’s looking to kind of get started.

                                You may get someone, this is their first website. Maybe they’ve dabbled in the past but they have really … they don’t have much of a clue.

Joe:                        Yeah, we see this a lot with people that have maybe more money than time. But they’re just looking to get into it. They haven’t started yet, and they don’t know anything about hosting, they don’t know anything about AdSense codes or Amazon affiliate codes, and they each kind of want everything done for them.

Justin:                   Well sometimes they actually have some experience or they’re fairly well experienced. But they just like to try one on, man. They just want to see how much they can get out of you during the process. It’s not always easy to tell this from the beginning of the deal. So you’re just talking to them. They’re saying they want to buy. You’re saying you want to sell. You get started doing business. You can’t always tell from the get-go what kind of buyer it’s going to be.

                                I think one of the things you can do is you can be explicit with your support offered. So we’ve had sellers do this. And we’ve asked very clearly, you know, “Are you willing to offer 30 days of email? Unlimited support? How many phone hours are you willing to offer?” And I think some of the best sellers come back and after we’ve kind of agreed on the support offered … and we try to judge based on the website and our understanding and experience on kind of how much, how long that training or turnover would take. But we also ask for per hour fee if they’re going to go over that time. So if it’s … let’s say they’re offering five one hour phone calls, 30 days email support, and 60 days later they want a quick phone call. They want a 30 minute, hour phone call, then I think the seller has a right to charge a fee if it’s outside the scope of what was offered. I think that should be the more explicit that is up front, the better.

Joe:                        Yeah, you need to be a lawyer about it. Put together this long, complicated contract. Just have established line items that says “This is how many hours of training you’re going to provide. This is what you’re going to do.” And after above and beyond that, this is how much it costs. And if the buyer wants to agree to that, that’s something they’ll do.

Justin:                   Yeah and no crazy legal mumbo jumbo, no long miserable contracts. Just be cool, man. Just be straight up about what you’re doing, and be explicit about what you’re doing, and your buyer’s going to appreciate you and you guys will both be on the same page.

                                Another solution for this is to use a broker … hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge … that has long-term repeat buyers who can guide you through the process.

Joe:                        You know, I … I don’t want to toot our own horn here but I can definitely see how a new broker would have a … would struggle with this. Especially if he doesn’t have any staff, he’s a solo shop kind of thing.

Justin:                   We know buyers. First off, we have repeat buyers we’ve done plenty of business with. And we’ve dealt with so many buyers at this point through selling our own sites for years, right, and selling everyone else’s sites for the last couple of years that we can help guide sellers like, “Look this is the kind of buyer you’re dealing with.” Or, “This is the type of buyer that you’re dealing with.” I think it helps our sellers understand who they’re selling to and what they’re in for.

Joe:                        Yeah. And I just … I can imagine the nightmare situations you would get into if someone didn’t have that experience or staff to help you.

Justin:                   All right man, and that’s it for the heart of this week’s episode. Let’s get into news and updates.

Speaker 2:           You’re listening to the Empire Flippers podcast. With Justin and Joe.

Justin:                   So our first bit of news has to do with the Empire Workshop details and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam on August 7th coming up really soon. So I’m really excited about this, man. I think this is something we’re going to roll out even further. The plan is to Ho Chi Minh. You’re already committed. You gave me the verbal handshake or whatever, you said “Yeah, I’m going to Chiang Mai.” So I think we’re either going to do that the first or second week of October in Chiang Mai and the plan is roll out there from there. I’d really like to see us doing this in the U.S. or Australia next year. I think that’d be fantastic. If we could roll through the U.S. and do this I think people would really appreciate it. I think it’ll be a lot of fun to be able to meet people, especially based on our last podcast episode where we talked about meeting people in person and doing kind of these smaller group workshops. I think it’s just going to be a ton of value.

Joe:                        Yeah, I would love to do it. A little U.S. road trip. Maybe we could … the wintertime, though, sounds terrible. Springtime, springtime …

Justin:                   April, May sounds a little better.

Joe:                        Yeah, something like that.

Justin:                   Yeah, so anyway I think it’d be very exciting. We’re going to be walking people through the process from prepping all the way through the sale. We’re going to be looking at some successes and failures. Specifically on websites that we have sold or haven’t sold and the reasons why, and doing actual website or business breakdowns with people, and going over their sites and looking at how they can improve the value and sell it for more. So I think it would be … it’d be really cool.

Joe:                        Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it and Ho Chi Minh will be the way to kick it off and we’ll see how it goes from there.

Justin:                   We’ll link to that in the show notes. If you interested and you can make it up to Ho Chi Minh on August 7th we’d love to have you.

                                Second bit of info, we’ve got a winner for the Twidar.com giveaway. We mentioned a couple of episodes ago that we’d be giving away Twidar.com if you’d reach out to us, and we’ve got a winner.

Joe:                        Yeah! Rohan Marbern. Rohan, if you would reach out to us, please, we will transfer the site over to you. And you will have Twidar in your hands. Thanks for reaching out and letting us know you’re interested.

Justin:                   Yeah, he’s actually done a bit of designing and so this is something he’s really interested in. A project he wanted to tinker with, so that’s really cool.

                                Third point, I want to talk about this a little bit. I think it’s really fascinating are these two sites. One of them is fundrise.com, the other is realtyshares. Basically what they are is like a crowdfunding platform for offline real estate. So, they have these deals come up and you’re allowed to invest, along with everyone else, in these different real estate deals. Sometimes it’s a commercial property, sometimes it’s like 20 rental properties and specific cities and states or whatever. And people are allowed to invest $5,000, $50,000, $100,000 in these deals. And it is hot, man. It’s a really hot space. These guys are battling it out. I’m sure there’s some other competitors.

                                So I was thinking about this for virtual real estate and for what we’re doing, and I think it’s really interesting too. I see it as like kind of like a 2.0 step for an investment program we should be launching here end of July or early August. I’m really liking it, man. I’m looking at their model for offline investments and I see the future for online investments as well.

Joe:                        Yeah, it definitely for some of the higher-end listings just like the listing we’re talking about this week. $235,000. I think that that would make a great listing to divvy up to shares. I mean, not too many shares, but if you had four or five investors in it, it would work.

Justin:                   Yeah, I think it’s really interesting and that we can manage that for them so it’s basically a passive investment. I think for smaller sites, what you can do is put together portfolios, right? So you can put together eight of these sites or six of these sites … equal out to $500,000 and then use them as investment vehicles for people. I think it’s … I’m really excited about this. We’re going to be talking about this much more in the near future but I’m stoked.

Joe:                        Yeah you got to show me that you eye these sites, because I haven’t even looked at these sites.

Justin:                   Dude. It’s awesome. It’s awesome. It’s very similar to where we are going with the redesign too, so yeah man. Pretty happy about that. Pretty good, so …

Joe:                        Cool.

Justin:                   Last thing we want to mention is that we’ve had some requests recently to sell either adult or gaming, gambling sites, and you know I don’t have any moral issues with it or moral compunctions about it personally, you know, whatever, gambling sites or adult, but … I don’t know, some of them are kind of a gray area. Some of them are a little sketch, and so I was thinking about this. If we were a team kind of checking them and doing the vetting, is that kind of an awkward position to put an employee in?

Joe:                        I definitely think for adult sites it would be super awkward, especially we have majority women on our team so I think that would be super awkward for them.

Justin:                   Hey man, women like porn. It is just weird though to put anyone in that position, right, if they’re just not comfortable with it it’s not …

Joe:                        Yeah, and then again, the other thing is I don’t have any moral problem with adult sites or gambling. I mean, I gamble all the time and look at adult sites. But I … I’m not sure that we should go that route.

Justin:                   In the business of that, is that …

Joe:                        We’ve gotten this far without, you know, slinging crack rock and doing all that other stuff

Justin:                   I get no jump shot.

Joe:                        Yeah so, I don’t know why we’re going down that road now. I don’t know we’d go there. I mean, I understand there’s money in it. It just … it gives me the willies a little bit.

Justin:                   I’m interested to hear what our listeners have to say. I’d really like your thoughts on adult gambling sites. Is that something you’d be interested in? What do you think that would do to our brand if we listed adult or gambling sites? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

                                All right man, into our next section which is called Listener Shouts, ie, indulgent ego-boosting social proof segments. Basically we’ve got a lot of shoutouts I want to mention. On Twitter we got Taylor Pearson talking about our 100th episode. He said “Awesome episode, guys. One of my favorite ever. Loved hearing you guys riff on your stories. Respect.”

                                I’ve got Thomas Smail from Effie International said “Keep up the good work.” I replied to him and I told him … I said, “Hey man, we’re small potatoes but we’re moving up in the world.” [inaudible 00:27:46] He said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Thomas, that’s very zen of you.

                                Got Patrick Domingo asking for the first 50 podcast episodes. “They’re not showing on iTunes, Joe.” And I told him we’re actually going to zip up our first 100 episodes so everyone can download and have a copy and play them at their leisure. It’s really crappy that iTunes doesn’t hae more than 50, I don’t know what the deal is with that but we’re going to make sure we have the first 100 ready to roll.

Joe:                        Yeah, how does a podcast like Entrepreneur on Fire get away with that?

Justin:                   Yeah and I know he’s just knocking them out every day. I mean he is … I’m sure he is the same thing, you can go there and download … you obviously can go to our website too and play them and listen.

                                You know we’ve got a blog post from Dave Schneider at SelfMadeBusinessman.com, that domain you love, and he actually … it got syndicated on the Yahoo! Business Section. He wrote a post called, “How to Sell Shovels in a Gold Rush.” And he compared us, he compared Spencer over at Niche Pursuits, Jon Haver, Tung Tran. All of us, basically, selling shovels and something that’s really fascinating. He said he’s interested in the model and you should look at that because those are the people that get wealthy in a gold rush. The people selling the pans, the shovels, that kind of thing and I’m not sure I really like the comparison. I mean, he looked at it from a positive light, but I’m not sure I agree with the comparison, at least in our case.

                                I think a better comparison would be that we’re the guys who help you sell your gold or your land to investors, right? So I actually found the gold. I’ve got the gold and I want to sell it up. I want to … I’m going to cash out and get drunk at the saloon. Right? We’re the guys who help you do that. We’re the marketplace.

Joe:                        Yeah, I agree, we’re the marketplace. We used to be the shovels, and pitchforks and tents guys.

Justin:                   The key with researching stuff …

Joe:                        Yeah, we used to be those guys but now we’re the marketplace. Now you’ve found the nugget of gold and like you said you want to go get drunk on whiskey, so you come to us and you sell it and we give you cash.

Justin:                   We can just see that there’s so much more opportunity there, I think, being the marketplace rather than the shovels and gold, so it’s interesting that he mentions the shovels and pickaxes when I see that there’s more opportunity in the marketplace.

                                Anyway, interesting post Dave. Appreciate it. We’ve got an iTunes review, buddy. Five stars. It says “Remarkable business podcast,” from Nick at Niche Clerk in the U.K. “Of all the business shows out there, Empire Flippers podcast stands out for me. Justin and Joe get straight to the point. They address the issues we all encounter as online entrepreneurs. Their guest interviews are remarkably useful.” He really liked episode 59 and 87. “Plus the duo have gathered insightful advice to boot. It’s easy to see that they’ve been through the trenches themselves. Congrats on the 100th episode. Here’s to many more and thanks for doing what you do.”

                                I agree man. I prefer to listen to podcasts where there are people who are actually going through it. That are deep in it, right? And they are sharing my struggles, right? They’re going through some of the same turbulence and crazy stuff in their business that I am. And I can actually learn from that. I was talking to someone recently about Tim Ferriss, who wrote “The 4-Hour Workweek.” Big contributor to lifestyle business community or whatever, but I mean he’s not really with us anymore, right? He’s doing the kind of V.C. stuff. He’s kind of moved on, but he’s not really speaking our language. He’s not talking to bootstrapped entrepreneurs, that’s for sure.

Joe:                        Well, I don’t think there’s any more struggle anymore. It’s like an artist that really makes it to the top and has a bunch of number one albums, it’s probably hard to put out that next great song, because you just made it so easily. And now everything kind of just feeds … even if you do bad work, it’s going to be good work because of your reputation.

Justin:                   Well that’s it for episode 102 of the Empire podcast. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at EmpireFlippers.com/downsides. We’ll see you next week.

Joe:                        Bye bye, everybody.

Speaker 2:           You’ve been listening to the Empire Flippers podcast, with Justin and Joe. Be sure to hit up EmpireFlippers.com for more. That’s EmpireFlippers.com. Thanks for listening.

 


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Discussion
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  1. Nick says:

    Awesome episode, as always.

    Thanks for the mention. It’s much appreciated. I wish Itunes allowed us to add more than 5 stars.

    I quite like the new podcast format. It just feels very punchy, and straight to the guts of it. “Very liked”.

    This episode addresses an important point.

    It’s tough letting go of a site that has been one’s “baby” for months. Blood, sweat, tears and all that…
    It helps if one can be detached from the outcome of a good sale, i.e. detached from handing over a profitable site; but once the site is sold, one has to be ready to move on.

    The only problem with that is watching an established money maker burn to the ground. That can actually be a painful sight.

    Selfmadebm is on target when he suggests “buy back offers” or maybe even “joint ventures”, especially if the niche is still ripe and the new owners are struggling to make it work.

    Offering post-sales support (for the niche) might be another alternative, although I’m not sure how that would work in a marketplace situation.

    With regards to the first 100 podcasts: Yes, we need it!!

    It may be possible to create multiple Itunes feeds, which means we can listen to all previous podcast episodes, from 001.

    That said, a zipped archive of past episodes would still be pure gold.

    Great podcast episode.

  2. WOW! I’m super excited to hear more about Realty Shares for websites! This is a great way for newbies to be somewhat involved with internet marketing without worrying about mucking things up, and still earn PASSIVE INCOME!!! I’ve suggested your services on my website, but with a Realty Shares service the possibilities are endless!!!

    Here’s a comment I’d like to add in regards to the downsides of “Selling a Website”… I feel like a seller should not feel regret, nor should they view selling a website like the stock market (Sell High, Buy Low). Instead a seller should feel PRIDE that a website grew larger than when it was in their possession. It shows that the seller sells QUALITY websites. That should be his true moral intent. But it doesn’t hurt that he now owns the status of being a person who sells QUALITY websites. If I sold awesome knives to chefs, I would NOT feel regret that I did not become a successful master chef. I would feel PRIDE that one of the chefs became successful due to the knives I sold him.

    Question: Although the financial success of a website is NEVER guaranteed, in this scenario, would a seller have negotiation leverage on his next sale?

    • Well don’t get too excited Esteban, everything is still “in the works” from our side.

      To answer your question, a previous track record of success always helps the next sale. However, you don’t want to rely on that too much as the aforementioned “guarantee” issue will come up. Best to avoid that and stick to the data you have for each site. Use previous sales and successes as an indicator of your trustworthiness.

  3. selfmadebm says:

    Hey guys

    Thanks again for the mention. Really enjoyed this one on the other side of website selling. Your point about selling off less than 100% of equity was great and is totally overlooked by most people.

    One thing I might add.

    In the case where someone sells a website and then the new seller lets it wither and die, and how that can be difficult for the seller.

    Here’s my idea – Offer to buy it back.

    I realize not all website builders/sellers are buyers BUT you can get a great deal on the website (since it has withered) and you know it better than anyone else as well as it’s potential. Easier than starting over, I think.

    In regards to my post, I see your point that you are now the market and not the tool seller so to speak, so perhaps not the most crisp example, but I think you get the intended message, despite the somewhat faulty comparison :)

  4. I think you’ll see more creative deal structuring in the future for websites such as options, trading of websites, or even offline property or items used as down payment or trades, and other creative deals as the market matures. There are many many ways to structure these deals that people haven’t caught onto yet. It’s a pretty exciting market space you guys are in. As a side note I haven’t seen him in a couple years but I’m good friends with Ace. We’re from the same area and worked on a few projects together several years ago. Small world!

    • That’d be interesting to see! We’ve started to see more creative deals as higher valued sites are going live on our marketplace more frequently. Pretty vanilla so far if you compare it to people actually trading websites during deals. If it ever came to something like that, we’d have to figure out the logistics (but challenges are fun.)

      Ace is a cool dude! I haven’t met him in person yet (Justin and Joe have) but I will in about three months from today. Here’s a podcast episode we did with Ace if you haven’t seen it yet: http://empireflippers.com/efp-89-entrepreneur-vs-mini-mogul/

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