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WES S01E11: How Can Non-Techies Buy Online Businesses?

Justin Cooke September 24, 2015

Subscribe to our VIP LISTMany first-time buyers get excited about the opportunities that come with buying an online business, but quickly realize they might not have the skills to manage the day to day operations.

Just what exactly are the skills required to buy the websites available?

That’s the question we’ll look to answer in today’s show. We’ll look at the base skills required and look at several different ways you can augment those skills through partnering, investing, and taking on an apprenticeship yourself.

We thought this podcast might be interesting as both Ace and I aren’t very technical ourselves, but we’ve found ways to work with these online businesses and get the job done.

Are you digging the Web Equity Show? Please leave us a review on iTunes. You’ll help us spread the word and we’d love to give you a shout on an upcoming episode!

Listen To The Full Interview:

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Skillsets Needed To Buy An Online Business
  • Buying A Business Directly
  • Find A Technical Partner/Co-Founder
  • Find A Hustler To Back Or Invest In
  • Finding An Apprenticeship

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 Featured On The Show:

Ace:
Depending on the type of business that you’re gonna buy, that will determine the level of expertise that you need.

Announcer:
Buying and selling businesses just got a whole lot easier. Welcome to the Web Equity Show! Where thousands of successful entrepreneurs go to learn about buying, growing and selling online businesses. Your hosts Justin Cook and Ace Chapman share their real life advice, examples and expert interviews to help you build and grow your own online portfolio. Now to your hosts, Justin and Ace.

Justin:
Welcome to episode 11 of the Web Equity Show, I’m your host Justin Cook and I’m here with Ace Chapman, my co-host and we’re about to get it on. We’re talking how can non-techies buy online businesses, and we’re going to go into quite a few details about that today.

Ace:
Yeah, when it comes to buying these deals, I think a lot of you are intimidated because they don’t know anything about the technical side. So we’re gonna talk about some ways around that, and the truth when it comes to doing these deals and being a non-techy.

Justin:
Yeah everyone wants to know what do they need to know, especially as a non-techy because you’re thinking, “I’ve got my domain here, I’ve got my hosting account. How do I do all this stuff? What does the site look like on the backend?” And to people will no skills whatsoever, it’s a little intimidating and for people with some skills, they want to know if what they have is good enough, and that kind of thing.

Ace:
And plus you got the sharks and the snake oil salesman out there who are just trying to make a sale, they don’t care whether you do well with the site or not and they’re gonna tell you, “Oh no, don’t worry about it, you don’t need any skills.” And bottom line is that is not exactly true.

Justin:
We’d do a hell of a lot more business if you didn’t need any skills at all, right? How many deals would we sell if it’s like, “Oh yeah, everyone will be buying sites.” But the fact of the matter is that there are some skills that are needed. The good news is that the skills required can be learned and you can kind of get a base of knowledge and expand on those with the sites that you purchase, so you’re gonna have to have some base skills but once you have those, the best way to learn is by doing, right? So you can actually get a lot more into them once you purchase the site.

Ace:
The good news for those non-techies out there is neither Justin or I are highly technical, we both do deals and we go out, we hire other people that are and they help us get these deals done.

Justin:
All right man, just a bit of an update here, this is the first time we’ve done the podcast in person, man! So you came out to our neck of the woods, you’re in Asia with us, you came out to Manila, you’re doing the Asia thing and we’re hanging out here in Manila. We had some dinner, we had some drinks, we’ve had a little bit of fun since you’ve been here and it’s been great, it’s fun doing a podcast live and in person so it’s great to have you out here, buddy.

Ace:
Yeah, it has been an absolute ball. I’m really loving Asia, I hadn’t spent a lot of time out here, we hung out years ago and its my first time back and it has been an absolute blast. You guys may turn me over to the Asia side!

Justin:
Yeah, the dark side, buddy. The dark side. All right, let’s do some listener love, we’ve got a new 5 star iTunes review, it comes from Dustin Laverick. Says, “5 stars, entertaining and informative. Justin and Ace deliver lots of useful information on buying and selling online businesses, in a friendly and casual style. Thumbs up.” Well thumbs up to you, Dustin. Thanks for the review, buddy, really appreciate it. Ace, you know we have more than 5000 podcast downloads now, buddy? Not too shabby.

Ace:
Yeah, as a podcast newbie, myself, 5000 downloads I know there’s obviously guys out there doing big numbers, but that’s unbelievable! 10 episodes in, I can’t believe we got that many. So thanks so much for the support!

Justin:
Yeah it’s funny, when you start doing a podcast you’re like, “Who the hell wants to listen to me rabble on.” Right? Who are these people that are listening, and then you start to hear from them and you start to have these conversations and you’re like, “Wow, that’s awesome. So glad that what we’re doing is helpful to them.” All right man, speaking of being helpful, its time for us to be helpful. We got a listener question from Picari, let me go ahead and play that now …

Listener:
Hey, so brokers keep asking me for proof of funds. Considering that the sale is going to be composed primarily of seller and outside financing, what do I do when a broker emails me to say they won’t schedule a meeting with a seller without proof of funds?

Justin:
Thanks for the question, Picari, I really appreciate it. I can tell you a little bit from the broker’s side, where they’re coming from. They don’t want to put you on the phone with their seller, unless they’re sure that you’re serious, right? Thing is, they’re trying to maintain their relationship with the seller, they want to make sure that the seller is going to stick with them and know that they’re filtering out and giving them good, quality buyers. So if they put them on the phone with someone that’s kind of wasting their time, doesn’t have the actual money to do the deal, that seller may have some bad thoughts about their broker and it may cause them problems.
So really, they’re just looking to make sure that you’re legit.

Ace:
Yeah, that’s the goal a broker. You have to keep in mind as a buyer that the broker has a fiduciary responsibility only to the seller. They want to get the business sold, but they want to protect their seller. So I give people a couple pieces of advice. Number one, just talk to the broker first. So instead of asking them to talk to their seller, get on the phone with them and try to make a good impression. If you can work with the broker on that deal or any other deal, because they like you, that goes a long way. Other option is to go to your investors and ask them to service your proof of funds. If you’ve got an investor who’s interested in working with you a lot of times they’re going to have an account somewhere, that has way more money than you even need for that deal and so you can take that and go to each broker and let them know, “Hey, this is my backer. Here’s the funds.” And that also goes a long way.
The last thing that I kind of tell people that they can pull of, is that when you go to that broker you’re trying to figure out, “Hey, how can I do this deal? I want to do a earn-out or something like that.” Is be upfront, tell them, “Hey, I’m planning on doing this kind of setup.” And there’s an upside and a downside to that. The upside is you’re being upfront, you’re letting them know I’m gonna get creative with this deal. The downside is they may not do every deal that way, but when they do have a motivated seller, they’re going to come back to you and say, “Hey, here’s a deal where we can do that on.”
So you’ve got several options, and I actually have spoken to Picari, he’s a young hustler up in New York City so thanks for calling in, thanks for the question, hopefully that helps.

Justin:
Yeah the other thing that I’d add, Picari, is when you’re trying to get on the phone with the broker, they’re going to be able to tell relatively quickly whether you seem like a good candidate for the seller. So by just presenting yourself well, pointing to any other deals you’ve done, so if you ever bought any other sights, have you sold any other sites? And point to the fact that you’ve already done some deals in the past. I think that would help, if you’ve done any of those as well. So really, your whole goal is to prove yourself to the broker, they’re kind of the gatekeeper to the deal. Once you can prove yourself to them, they’re going to put you in contact with the seller and you can start to do some business.
All right, man. Let’s get into the episode.
All right, Ace. Today we’re talking about how non-techies can get involved in online businesses, and as a non-techy myself I get this question a lot from people that maybe have some skills in the business world, but they’re really worried about a website. How do they run a website, what technical requirements are there, what’s a domain, what’s hosting, what’s all of that … It can be a little confusing.

Ace:
It is interesting, as I work with clients that come in from the offline business world and maybe they’re looking at growing their business through an acquisition and we’re going out, and we’re looking at deals and they start to come across some internet deals, I’m like, “Yeah, hey, you should take a look at them.” They’re like, “Oh, I could never own a business like that!” And then we get onto the calls and then actually do the research and start to figure out what it takes to run it and it’s like, “Hey, I can handle this.” So its fun to see that transition from someone who is not a techy, has no clue, feels like they could never do this stuff and then start to figure it out and end up buying one.

Justin:
Yeah, the whole, ‘I don’t think I could ever do that’ thing I think is pretty common. It’s common when you get outside the people that are regularly running online businesses, and that is the world I live in so its a bit of a bubble, but when you get out of that and you talk to regular business people that own small businesses, or sold their businesses, they’re like, “What the hell is going on?” It’s surprising, shocking to them actually, they’re like, “Do online businesses really make money? Are they real businesses?” They don’t really understand how it works, so the whole thing’s kind of a mystery. So I think you’re out there talking to more offline, non-online business people so you probably hear it a lot more than we do. We’re kind of preaching to the choir with our company, but you’re out there on the front lines with these people and so I think that’s kind of interesting.
So we just wanted to have a show where we talk to non-techies and how they can get involved in online businesses and kind of walk through them. Because we’re non-techies ourselves, I mean I’m more of an internet geek than you think but both of us are not technically inclined, necessarily. So let’s get into it, first thing is that there are some skillsets that are going to be required, right?

Ace:
There are. There’s some things that you need to know just the basics of, depending on the type of business that you’re going to buy, that will determine the level of expertise that you need. I talk to people that maybe considered a SAS business, like, “Hey, sure you can go and hire somebody to do the programming but you don’t even know how to talk to them and tell them what to do.” So you probably want to stay away from that, on a basic website you can get that running just leveraging a WordPress type of platform and you want to make sure, just like in some of the past episodes we’ve talked about different types of deals, you want to make sure when you’re going out and you’re looking for a deal, that you’re looking for one that is going to be simple to run.
Because there are deals that somebody who’s not a techy absolutely should not own.

Justin:
Yes.

Ace:
But getting the basic skillset is easy, learning WordPress. There’s a lot of places to go out, I love Kahn Academy and Udemy but just getting the basics of what does it take for me to have a website, be able to update it, do some simple changes here and there, add things and take away things and all that can be learned really easily.

Justin:
Yeah for anyone listening, and even at this they’re like, “What the hell are they talking about, WordPress?” I’ll dumb it down even more. WordPress is a CMS, which is just a really easy, easy way for non-techies to run a website. Otherwise you’d have to learn code, and you have to know how this code works and be able to work with it. With WordPress you don’t need any of that, it’s really plug and play. So when you log into the backend and you want to write a piece of content or add a page to the site, it makes it really, really easy to do that. Now you still have to learn it, you still have to understand WordPress and like you mentioned, Ace, you can go to Udemy. There’s a whole bunch of courses on WordPress. Kahn Academy, literally just Google ‘Learning WordPress’ and you’ll find WPBeginner.com, WP101.com, there’s just a ton of sites out there to help you learn WordPress.
And why WordPress is important is because most sites are built on WordPress, so most of the acquisitions that you will make, are typically on WordPress. Now, if you’re looking for an e-commerce site, as someone that sells physical goods, you’re probably going to need to learn a different platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, those are the two big ones. Those are for physical, e-commerce sites but almost anything else WordPress is key and even if you want to do e-commerce I still say you learn WordPress, man. What do you think?

Ace:
Yeah, yeah. I think there’s certain skillsets that are just basic that you gotta be able to understand and it’s great because in today they’re so easy to use, I think back to my very first deal 16 years ago, we had to build our own content management on the backend of the site and it was so expensive and clunky, and difficult. But to have these tools where its easy to go out and gain expertise, and that’s going to apply to a million potential deals, you might as well gain that skillset if you’re gonna get in this space.

Justin:
Yeah, this isn’t brain surgery, most anyone listening to this is going to be able to learn WordPress and within a month or 2 they’re gonna have everything they need to know to get started. The second thing I think that people should really learn is content marketing, what content marketing means is basically you’re putting content out there to your target audience that helps them solve problems, it answers questions they have and builds authority for you in the space. Now the downside of content marketing is at first you’re working for pennies, so when you start content marketing you’re going to be writing blog posts, you’re gonna be putting out pieces of content and no one’s really going to be paying attention, but its fine because it lets you get your training wheels, it lets you get started with it.

And if you’re looking to learn about content marketing, there are just plenty of other sites that you can go to. I’ll name a couple, SmartPassiveIncome.com, Pat over there I think does a really good job with his content marketing, both his podcast and his blog. The TropicalMBA.com guys I think do a great job with their podcast and blog as well, they’ve got great content, and then our buddy Dan at WPCurve.com, not only is he a prolific content marketer and puts out a ton of content but he’s actually building a team right now around that content. So he has a content manager and he has other people writing and he has a guest-post process and he’s just doing a fantastic job with content marketing. So, Dan is a great one to learn from as well.

Ace:
Yeah, I’ll shout out Dan’s book, I just finished his book, ‘Content Machine’ I’ll absolutely recommend that as a starting place to kind of get your head around what is this content marketing thing all about. Because I guess we’ve definitely got some folks that listen to the podcast that all of this is new, so I remind myself to kind of take a step back and even explain what that means. So when you’re considering trying to get noticed because of the content that you’re creating, one aspect of that is doing the work of creating the content but the other really crucial aspect of that that Dan talks about is getting the content in front of people that are interested in visit your site, or buying the product, or doing business and getting your service that the business provides.

So there are two aspects of that and I do know for some people that are coming into this space from the outside, they get into content marketing and think its literally, “I write content, put it on my blog and people will magically find me.”

Justin:
Yeah and then its just magic, right? I just write the content and people will come, build it and people will come. Unfortunately that’s not the way it works, the promotion part is key. By the way yeah, ‘Content Machine’ that Dan wrote, I’ve heard a little bit but I want to finish it up, I’m a big fan of what he’s done with his content marketing so yeah, I agree with you there its a good book, its a good place to get started if you want to learn a bit more about content marketing and how it works.

Ace:
So let’s talk about getting traffic. When you have a site, one of the things that, if you’re smart, you’re paying a lot of attention to is where’s the traffic coming from, is that source reliable, is it most likely to continue and if not at the current pace but to increase over time? But its great if you as a buyer are able to come in and not only maintain the traffic that’s there but start to get good at some strategy when it comes to driving traffic that any deal that you do, you can go in and leverage and I’ve seen clients where they do one deal, they get really good at maybe PPC or its content marketing or its maybe social media and get good at one traffic strategy.

Then they can go to other deals and leverage that into traffic in another business, so what you want to figure out is, “Hey, what am I going to enjoy the most?” When you’re thinking about SEO, are you somebody that will take the time to do keyword research? Are you somebody that’s going to enjoy putting together the content? Are you more of a numbers person and just want to go target paid traffic, pay your certain amount, get a return on that investment via AdWords or Facebook and that kind of thing.

Are you somebody who’s social and you love being in social media? And this isn’t again just, “Oh put up a post and hope people drive traffic.” There’s work to social media, and one of the strategies that I, for the first time that I’m really getting into with one of our deals, is affiliate marketing. So you can drive traffic through by giving people a little cut, a little commission when they send you traffic and somebody buys your product. So those are just a few of the methods, but you want to pick out what’s one of these that I can get excited about and become a semi-expert at?

Justin:
Yeah I think at least one traffic source or methodology is going to be important to learn if you want to get started and pick your poison, right? You’re going to have to do at least one of them. I know and use all but I’m not an expert at any, and the reason why we’re talking about these is that we’re not going to be going into depth with any of these traffic strategies but we want to give you the different methods that you can use, so you can go figure out which ones kind of make the most sense for you.

I’m probably the best at keyword research and SEO ,that’s the one I understand the best but we’ve done paid traffic with AdWords and Facebook, we’ve done some social media promotion and we’ve done a little bit of affiliate marketing. It’s interesting to hear, Ace, that you’re getting into that. I know that can be explosive in the right business model, so its not something that we use all that much, we’ve done a little bit of it but I’d interested to talk to you more about how that’s going for your business.

Ace:
Excellent, yeah. It is, you want to do it for the right business, we own a ton of businesses, actually just getting into that for the first time and its an e-commerce product. So it is, it’s fun to start expanding and growing some of these skillsets.

Justin:
So the fourth and final skillset that I want to cover, is that there’s real value in injecting your personality into your business. The reason for this is because if you’re doing business online, as opposed to someone coming into your store and paying you money and getting your item. There’s a whole lot of trust that needs to be had when you’re doing business online, and one of the great ways to do that is to be very personable, inject your personality into the business so people get to know, like and trust you. It’s a great way to kind of hack your way into an early level of trust, and that trust is so important when you’re doing online business. It’s way more important I think even then than offline businesses, because who knows who you are, you could be some kid in your parent’s basement and you’re prompting to sell something you don’t. Who knows what you’re doing?

And by putting yourself out there it’s just clear and evident who you are and people get to know you.

Ace:
This also greatly, if you do it the right way, improves the ability to sell your business. When you can grow a business, inject your personality … We’re doing a deal in the photography space right now where the person behind the business did the perfect job of having their personality in the business and kind of being seen and having clients that feel relationship, but theo there thing that it does and tells a potential buyer is that, hey this is something that’s personal to you. It’s not this little façade thing that may be a scam, and could disappear tomorrow. You have put your touch and you have definitely been involved in this business and I know for my partner in that deal, that’s something that got her really comfortable was, hey this was a passion thing and she could also tell that the owner of that business really loves it.

So, as long as you don’t make yourself the complete face and honestly, you are [inaudible 00:20:15] as your name and that kind of thing. It’s actually a sellable business, injecting your personality can actually increase and allow you to sell the business for premium when it comes time to sell.

Justin:
Yeah, my e-commerce site is not going to be JustinCook.com, you know what I mean? So we’re having to clarify … But you will see and feel and hear Justin Cook throughout the content and throughout the company, because I think having your personality in there is important. What’s funny is how you mention that’s a value add, it can make your business worth more, it just goes to show, like, you don’t know, it depends on the buyer. I know buyers that are like, “Look, if it has any of that personality stuff, I’m out of it. I don’t want to be involved in that kind of business.” So that’s when it comes to just finding the right buyer because someone’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?

Ace:
Absolutely.

Justin:
“I would never do that kind of business, I would never do business with someone that’s too personally involved.” And the other person’s like, “Yes, I know that they really like this business, its not just some side-gig for them. Their name’s on the line.” All right my man, so we talked a little bit about skillsets and that’s kind of the bad news, right? The bad news is that you’ve gotta learn some stuff. There’s gonna be a few things that you have to learn, you have to get down. Now, that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how you can get involved with these online businesses. The first one is pretty clear and evident, just buy a business directly. So once you’ve got some of the skillsets we’ve talked about already, you’ve learned enough to get started, you can buy yourself an online business and understand that its going to be a learning experience. You’ve got some of the skills but now you get to really test those skills out in an actual online business setting, right?

Ace:
Yeah, that’s when the rubber hits the road, right?

Justin:
Yeah, you can watch all the Udemy courses you want and follow along, but when you’re digging in the backend of your WordPress and you break something, or you forget how to do something, that’s when you’re really gonna figure it out.

Ace:
So when it comes to choosing a site, you want to make sure that it just matches the skillset that you’ve learned. So you do that work, you’re going to Udemy, you’re watching some videos, that kind of thing. After you’ve gotten that skillset, it can be a bad idea to go out, get super excited about some business that doesn’t leverage what you’re good at, and I see that a ton where people want to buy a business, they fall in love with a business and its just not the right business for them.

Justin:
Yeah, lets say that you did learn the Shopify platform, you know you want to do an e-commerce business and you’ve kind of dug into content marketing and that’s the one you want to mess with. But this business requires paid Facebook and AdWords traffic, and that’s not something you know at all and you can buy it and try and figure it out, but it would’ve been better to learn or at least have that arrow in your quiver, heading into buying the business. So I think something that’s important to remember is that as a buyer, you shouldn’t forget that you’re competing with other buyers, right? So there are other people in the space, it is a competition and getting good at a very particular skillset is going to allow you to target and purchase sites that others can’t do.

So for example, and I’ve used this example before but lets say that you get really good at working with virtual assistants and basically building a team, and there’s a business out there that requires a bunch of owners hours in terms of customer service and in terms of getting on the phone, in terms of doing chat support. That’s going to be not attractive to some other buyers, so they’re going to sort of self-select themselves out of that one but it may be a great opportunity for you because there are other people not interested in that type of business. So because you’ve got that skillset of having that team in place and working with virtual assistants, that’s a business you can take over where other people can’t.

It’s kind of a competitive advantage you have against your competition, which are other buyers.

Ace:
I think that’s such a great way to decide which skillsets that you want to go after, if you can focus on the things that nobody else wants to do or nobody else has and go after those specific deals, that can give you a huge strategic advantage when you’re looking at buying those businesses.

Justin:
Agreed man, all right second way that you can get involved in these online businesses is to find a technical partner or a technical co-founder.

Ace:
When I’m doing this, I love to figure out where I can find somebody that it is close to home, its awesome if you can sit down with a person that you’re working with, actually on that e-commerce deal that I mentioned that we’re doing some affiliate marketing on, that’s a partner that I’m working with that’s based in Tennessee and so we’re able to have coffee, we can chat and talk about the business. Last time was I was in the US, we got to sit down, get updates and that kind of thing and that becomes a really powerful thing. But we do live in a world wide economy now and there are people, you can connect to people through social networking all over … I see deals being made on things like Reddit, which is really neat and one of the things that we’ve done a lot of is trying to match people that are perfectly matched for a particular deal.

So let’s say that in our buyers network we have 2 people, one is amazing at PPC another is amazing at social media and maybe another has the money and we can match those 3 folks together and do a deal and everybody kind of brings their own thing to the table. But how you put together the deal, you want to find somebody that has a complimentary skillset. You don’t want to go, if you’re amazing at content marketing, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have another person that’s great at content marketing.

Justin:
Exactly and like you said, Ace, if you can use your current network or the people you already know to find that technical co-founder you’re going to only going to be 1 or 2 levels removed from that person, you’re going to have people in your network that know them and can vouch for them and that kind of thing, and honestly if you don’t have people in your network that you can connect with that can introduce you to potential partners, then you need to get out there more! You need to make more connections, because this is important not just for finding a co-founder or partner but for finding other people that may potentially be partners that you can work with, or finding customers or finding strategic partners and things like that, as you continue to grow your business.

So I think building your network is really important, and one of the ways that you can do that is through online communities. You’ve already mentioned Reddit, and I’m not saying Reddit as a whole, I’m talking about particular subreddits where you can get involved in that community and start to get to know some of the other players there. You can also look up private communities like Dropship Lifestyle, or Buddy Anton over there, Dynamite Circle, the Topical MBA guys. There’s a live event you can go to called ‘Roadie & Weekend’ that’s in Vegas, and that’s with some guys that bring people together about buying and selling websites and online businesses. There’s a community called ‘Builder’s Society’ with a bunch of people who are building sites.

So there are all these different communities you can get involved and once you start talking there, asking questions, answering questions as best you can. You’re going to eventually separate the jokers from the people you think you can seriously work with, and you can start to make those connections and its a lot better than some of the other options that we’re going to talk about here in just a second, I think.

Ace:
Yeah, and some of those other options, one is going in and just hiring a service or becoming a part of a community where specifically people are looking to connect with other co-founders and some of these sights are Cofounderslab.com, there’s Founder To Be, there’s TechCofounder.com, you know Founder Dating … And there’s an upside and downside to that. Obviously everybody there is looking for a specific thing, you’re not just not on a random forum talking and looking for people but sometimes because its like dating, everybody’s going to put their best foot forward. Whereas when you’re in a forum where you’re talking to people in a thread like Dynamite Circle, people are just being themselves, they’re not trying to put up a front to get you to want to partner with them.

So you can see a little bit about who a person is, and then connect with them based on just who they really are.

Justin:
Yeah, I don’t like the cold connections that come with a place like Founder Dating or whatever, but what I do like is that if you’re looking for a co-founder, why not go to a place where all the co-founders hang out, right? If you want to meet someone at the party, you gotta go to the party and this is where the party is happening. So yeah, I think those can be helpful. I would look to your network first, and I would look to communities you’re already involved in second, but I think these services can be valuable. One thing I’ll mention is a warning, you don’t want to be ‘That guy’, right? You don’t want to be the ‘Idea guy’ who comes in and says, “Hey, I have this amazing idea. I just need you to build it, and run it and make it work and we’re going to make millions of dollars.” Don’t be that guy, that’s just irritating.

So no one’s going to want to partner with you because you brought the idea. Think about the skillsets that you actually bring to the table, don’t just expect your partner to do all the magic that makes it happen, all the operational work. What do you bring to the table? Why are you a good co-founder for them? Just like dating, you need to look at yourself and what you can do to improve how you can be better in a relationship, treat someone better, and that’s going to attract the best business partners you can find.

Ace:
Let’s talk about finding next somebody who is either a hustler or somebody who either you just feel like they got what it takes a specific business, and you can invest in.

Justin:
I like this one, so lets say you’ve got the cash, right? And you don’t have the technical expertise, and you don’t really want to learn. I’m not going to sit around and watch some Udemy videos, I’m just not going to get involved in that, one of the things you can do is look to dozens of niche site builders that are out there. They’re currently building these sites, they’re hustling up building a business around these online businesses, and they’re out there publicly. They have blogs talking about it, they’re sharing their successes and failures and for the dozens of people that I know that are in this space, there are hundreds that are doing it behind the scenes that just aren’t blogging about it.

There are people out there that have got the chops, that have got the hustle, that are out there building these sites and with some capital and maybe some strategic expertise on your end, you can set up a deal with them where you’re fronting the cash, they’re doing the work and working it out. So here’s the third thing you can do that I think is really interesting, so let’s say you have some cash, right? But you just don’t have the time to sit down and actually learn how to use WordPress and Udemy or you’re not going to be learning SEO and keyword techniques but you’ve got the cash and you like to see what you can do with it.

One of the things you can do is find a hustler, find someone out there that’s already in this space and having some success that you can back or you can invest in. The truth of the matter is there are dozens of people out there right now with blogs where they’re talking about what they’re doing. So they’re building these sites, they’re building profitable sites and online businesses, and they’re sharing their experiences, their success or failures publicly and for every one of those, there’s dozens or hundreds that are doing it privately. So there are people out there who you can connect with, find them, connect with them and then invest in their growth and in their business as more of a passive role.

So there’s a way for you to get involved that doesn’t involve you actually doing all the work, but involves you backing people who are.

Ace:
Yeah, I love that idea of going after people that are being public, there are the folks that kind of quote-unquote ‘made it’ that have larger profiles but there’s so many people that are at the beginning of that and they’re talking about the struggles and getting started and starting from scratch which most people listening to this know I’m not a fan of, so if you can come to the table and tell that person that is willing to all of that work, “Hey, I’ll allow you to leap frog into a business that’s already working that’s similar to what you’re trying to get done.” That’s such a powerful opportunity for them and a huge benefit for you because you get to skip a lot of that skillset stage and have a partner that is already out there in the trenches.

Justin:
Yeah, I’ll give you an example, lets say there’s a builder out there, he’s got 6 to 8 sites, they’re making somewhere between 5 and 10 thousand dollars a month in total, which is doing really well but if he had a guy like you who has the cash, who has the interest in getting involved and maybe some additional skillsets or things that you can bring to the table, additional value. You can work out a deal with him where you can buy these businesses, he can run and grow them and you guys can both profit.

Ace:
Yeah, its a powerful way to do deals and I’ve invested in a lot of hustlers and if you find the right person its a win-win scenario. So I think its something that’s underutilized and a huge opportunity.

Justin:
So here’s an interesting way to do it too, I think, to reach out to them. So lets say that you’re not really sure about the bloggers or whatever, you’re not sure, but you know that there are people behind those bloggers that have the skillsets, or the chops that you want to work with. Contact those that are public, that have the blogs, that have the communities and say, “Hey, look. This is what I’m looking to do, I’d love to write a guest-post with you that basically lays out my offer, explains what I want to do and then starts an application process.” You’re then going to get a bunch of people that are going to apply that may or may not have the skillsets so you’ll have to weed through them and vet them.

Justin:
But that’s a way to open the door, to get these people contacting you. You’re going to have to vet them like you would any employer, maybe even harder than that. I wouldn’t just say, “Hey, here’s the deal, I’ve got a $200000 budget. Good luck, I’ll give it to you and you can do whatever you want with it.” There’s going to have to be trust built there, so what you can do is offer up to X amount of money but its going to have be spent on hard costs, obviously buying the site, any improvements that need to be made, you guys are going to sit down together and they’re going to have to give you their strategy for building out these sites and you can start to work through that.

Now you’re putting up the cash, keep the domain and everything in your name but have them do the work and you guys split the profits to whatever deal that you find agreeable. I think its a great way to do it if you’ve got the cash, don’t really have the time to learn but want to back some people that are already having success. You can piggyback on their success and double or triple their effectiveness.

Ace:
One of the other things I would recommend is that you wanna do everything Justin said that as well as start with a small project. Don’t take your life savings, tie it up with a complete stranger, even if you’re vetting them and kind of pray that everything works out. Get a smaller deal first, learn each other, learn their intricacies and if they’re somebody that you’re gonna want to work with long-term and then you can expand to that larger deal.

Justin:
Yeah, I just want to put out there, usually you do a guest-post on someone’s site like that and say, “Hey, I’ve got $200000 and I want to do business.” You’re going to have a lot of people contact you, so you gotta be careful with who you work with and keep the money close to home until there’s some trust shown and they’ve kind of proven themselves by working on these sites. All right man, last point that I wanted to bring up and I think this is an interesting one. So we’re going to flip the tables here a bit, lets say you don’t have the cash, you want to get involved in these online businesses but you don’t have the cash to buy one outright, at least not one that would make enough to be interesting.

I say that you can go find an apprenticeship or go work for a company that you’d like to own someday. You’re going to get the skillsets, you’re going to learn a ton about that business and be involved in that business, and maybe you do have the cash, maybe you can actually use it as a door opener to eventually either invest in or purchase the business. I actually know a ton of online entrepreneurs and business owners that regularly offer these types of apprenticeships, where you come in and you learn the business, they open the books and the doors to you in the hopes of bringing you onboard as a long-term employee, as a long-term part of the company.

Either you’re going in with cash with the intention to get close and see if there’s a way to invest or get involved deeper even, eventually buying the business, or if you don’t have the cash you’re at least learning the skillsets from people that you’d like to emulate from a business that you’d like to own someday.

Ace:
This is actually how I got my very first deal, and without trying to get it, reached out to be an intern with the business and it turned out that they wanted to just sell the business and gave me pretty much a sweet, hard deal to take it over because they were moving onto another project. So its a great way to build a relationship and maybe they don’t want to bring you on at that point as an apprentice, but you made that introduction and you’re able to talk to them.

When you do get that apprenticeship, its a valuable opportunity to be able to learn a ton in a short period of time and a lot of times get paid for it. Even if you’re earning a really low salary, the real value is that otherwise you would be learning that skillset and maybe paying somebody else to learn it. So if you’re going in and you’re gonna take a WordPress course and you’re gonna pay to learn about WordPress, well in this case not only are you not having to pay for it but you’re getting a little money while you learn these different skillsets, so that’s a huge opportunity.

Justin:
Yeah, you’re getting paid to do it and you’re also learning a lot more about the business than just that individual piece and you’re gonna have to learn quick because they’re gonna need you to do a good job at it, they’re gonna need that for the company. So I’m gonna put a bunch of links to current apprenticeships in the show notes, and then previous apprenticeships so you can get an idea what this looks like and what it feels like and what types of positions are out there, I think you might be surprised at the opportunities. They’re not great pay but even if you got cash, you’re not really do it for the pay, you’re doing it for the connection and it gives you an opportunity to get connected in that community and bring some skillsets to the table that are going to help these entrepreneurs that you may ultimately want to buy their business.

The other thing is you don’t have to wait around for an apprenticeship to open, there’s not a ton of them that are always available, there’s a few here and there but you can actually create your own apprenticeship. I saw a great video by this guy named Charlie Howen, he did a TedX talk where he talked about a new way to work, its basically coming into a company with the approach that is humble, that is helpful and that solves a problem these companies have and makes it a no-brainer to bring you on and hire you. So I’m gonna link to that in show notes as well, if you haven’t seen this video no matte where you are in your entrepreneurial career, I would highly suggest checking this out. The people that are going to come to you that are looking for jobs that use this approach I think are fantastic and if you need to use it or you want to use it yourself, it works really well.

Ace:
So lets wrap up this episode, man! For anybody who’s out there, whether there’s somebody with cash and they want to go find somebody to partner with that has the skillset and the hustle, or there’s somebody that maybe has the hustle and they’re figuring out the skillset and they need to find some cash, we’ve given those both of those folks some alternatives that most people aren’t really considering.

Justin:
First thing’s first, lets get back to the bad news and there’s just no way around it, you’re going to have to have or learn some skills and the skills that we mentioned specifically, WordPress, you just gotta learn WordPress. If you really want to get into e-commerce it would probably be Shopify, add that to the list, I think that’s important. You’re going to have to learn content marketing, its important. You’re gonna have to learn some aspects of content marketing, both how to do the content and then how to promote that content and get it out there and get people interested and get their attention. But as you mentioned, you’re gonna have to learn at least one traffic method or source. Possibly multiple traffic methods, you can’t just build and hope they come, these are going to be tools that allow you to bring the customers, bring people to the site and to the business.

And then the last skillset I’d say is you need to inject your personality into the business, because the internet is so reliant on trust, that’s a great way for you to hack that trust early on because you’re showing more of yourself and that is going to bring people in, and people buy from people they know, like and trust and that makes it easy for them to buy it from you.

Ace:
Yeah, the good news on the other side of that is there are things that have to be done but its not brain surgery. You can definitely pick up everything you need to know very easily, there’s tons of information out there. Aside from even buying a business directly, you can find partners like we talked about. You can find somebody who has cash that they want to invest, you might be able to become the apprentice or employee to learn about the type of business that you plan on purchasing. There are all kinds of things that you can get started doing right now, no matter where you’re starting.

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