Growing a Digital Portfolio - Success Story

Mike Swigunski Mike Swigunski September 20, 2019

From a young age, Lucas Carlson knew what he wanted to do for a living.

As a middle school student in 1996, he built his first website. For him, the revelation that he could upload a file online using FTP and the whole world could access it changed the course of his life forever.

From that day on, Lucas built websites. His excitement and passion continued to grow, and he became a master of his craft. Fast forward to after college, when Lucas turned his love for websites into a profession.

He began building websites for other businesses, focusing on startups. He liked the idea of making people’s ideas come to life and become visible to the world. As a skilled coder, Lucas wasn’t just creating a website. He was building companies and marketable business models. One of the startups he founded sold to Google, and one was acquired by Apple.

After building such successful websites for other people, Lucas decided he wanted to do something for himself. He started his own company, and after many failures, he finally found success. He admits, “I’d always tried to start other companies, and they went nowhere, but I finally started one that really took off.”

For this endeavor, he raised about $10 million in venture capital. Within a few years, he sold his company to a Fortune 150 company. Lucas describes the experience as “thrilling and exciting” but admits that it took a lot of work and effort to achieve this milestone.

As someone who’s very experienced in the online space, Lucas clearly understands the benefits and drawbacks of starting and running an online business. He says his favorite part of working online is “the ability to connect with people all around the world and do it in a way where you can put a lot of effort in upfront and not have to replicate that every time.”

The challenge of running your own business, according to Lucas, is “separating life from work.” The Internet is always open, and when you work from home as Lucas does, that line between work and life is blurred. Fortunately, Lucas isn’t new to the Internet game and over the years, he’s developed a balance and schedule that works for him. He says, “I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s become second nature.”

Lucas’s experience in building and selling successful websites gave him the capital to try something new. He was eager to reinvest the proceeds from the sale of his company. He evaluated several opportunities, including stocks and other financial instruments. “The stock market was very scary,” he says. “We were at all-time highs and with a questionable economic future. I was really terrified of just sticking it in an index fund and watching it drop 80%.”

After ruling out the stock market as an investment vehicle, Lucas looked into other alternatives. He was interested in cash flow-generating assets, such as real estate property, oil wells, and music royalties. While these investments might seem varied, they have two things in common:

  1. They generate cash flow.
  2. They are forms of passive income.

Lucas wanted to try a variety of investment types to see what worked best for him. Given his experience in building websites, it would seem logical for Lucas to go that route, and Lucas had actually bought a website from another party in the past. He describes it as a “poor experience,” and he was reluctant to make the same mistake twice.

As Lucas continued to evaluate his options, he decided to brave the Internet market once again. His thoughts were, “One experience is not necessarily indicative, and the market had changed a lot.”

When it came time to find the right site on our marketplace, Lucas wasn’t looking for a polished website. He wanted a diamond in the ruff. “I wanted it to be really, really ugly and yet, very good quality.” For him, a site with quality content spelled major opportunity. He knew from experience that he could quickly improve an ugly website.

One of Lucas’s top tips for growth hacking a site is installing Crazy Egg, a heat mapping software that allows you to observe visitor behavior on your website. Once you see how visitors are interacting with your site, you’ll be able to optimize it to suit their needs.

When Lucas implemented this strategy to the “ugly site” he had acquired, he doubled the site’s revenue in just one week then he quickly doubled it twice more, noting, “It’s been amazing to own a site and see it grow so quickly in such a short amount of time.”

Given the success Lucas has had with this acquisition, we were curious about his next plans for the site. Is he going to flip it? Lucas says no. He explains, “I want this asset to live on forever. I don’t want it to be a pump and dump.” He acknowledges that this strategy is unlike many of his peers’ and colleagues’, but he repeats, “I want to keep my websites forever.”

Are you interested in starting your own digital portfolio of online business? Set up a time to chat today.

Author

Mike Swigunski

Mike joined the Empire Flippers team in April 2016 as the Marketing and Sales Coordinator. He’s originally from St. Louis, Missouri but has spent the last seven years living, working, and traveling abroad. He is a recent MBA graduate and has a passion for business, marketing, and travel! In his spare time, he enjoys playing sports, traveling and is a not-too-shabby photographer.

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