EFP 128: Lifestyle Larry Guide To Job Replacement Income

Justin Cooke

March 5, 2015

There’s not much worse than being stuck in a job you hate.

Whether you’re just not being challenged or you hate the career path you’re facing, you’re in a tough spot.

Introducing: The Lifestyle Larry Approach

We’ve talked to quite a few of you who are looking to move away from your jobs, but know that will require job-replacement income. In this week’s episode, Joe and I sit down to discuss the challenges that come with transitioning from the J-O-B to a portfolio of website and put together an action plan for anyone looking to make the move.

This topic really resonated with us because we WERE those guys sitting in an office and wondering how to “get out”.

I think this is one of our best episodes in a while and whether you’re looking for an escape from your current position or wondering how to build a diversified portfolio that replaces your income, you’re going to want to listen to this.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week:

  • How important is the size of your portfolio?
  • Security Through Diversification
  • Growth strategies that work
  • Time requirements to consider
  • Virtual Assistants – You’ll need some
  • Partners (Or Investors)?

Process To Purchase:

  1. Find Interesting Websites
  2. Pay Deposit
  3. Perform Due Diligence
  4. Make An Offer
  5. Complete Transfer
  6. Implement Growth Strategies

Mentions:


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Spread the Love:

“If you work for someone else, act as if you own the company” – Justin – Tweet This!

“The deeper diversified you are the heavier the time requirement for you” – Justin – Tweet This!

“Filter the easy ‘No’s’ first in due diligence” – Joe – Tweet This!

Now…over to you! What would your approach be for a Lifestyle Larry? How do you balance diversification vs. time requirements?

 

Justin:                   Welcome to the Empire Podcast, Episode 128. In today’s episode, we’ll have a clear, easy to follow path, to dump the day job and buy back your time. You’re feeling stuck in your day job or aren’t happy if for your position as a business owner’s become, this show is for you. You can find the show notes and all links discussing this episode at empireflippers.com/larry. All right, let’s do this.

Speaker 2:           Sick of listening to entrepreneurial advice from guys with day jobs? Want to hear about the real successes and failures that come with building an online empire? You are not alone from San Diego to Tokyo.

Speaker 3:           New York to Bangkok.

Speaker 2:           Join thousands of entrepreneurs and investors who are prioritizing wealth and personal freedom over the oppression-

Speaker 3:           of an office cubicle.

Speaker 2:           Check out the Empire Podcast and now your host, Justin and Joe.

Justin:                   I have a special place in my heart for the Lifestyle Larry to the world, Joe. I mean, these are the people that are stuck in a day job. They’re going in day in, day out, and they’re looking to make a drastic or dramatic change in their lives. I think, one of the reasons for this is that, I’ve made a couple of these changes.

                                I think the first, for me, it was when I got out of the navy, that was a big change in my life, and I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I made a drastic change. I think, the second one, both of us moving out to the Philippines and setting up a company in the Philippines was the drastic change. I know, the trepidation that comes with that, the concern, the worry, and I feel for these people, but I know that, there’s a great opportunity if they can fall through.

Joe:                        Yeah, I agree. I think, the reason why we have a special spot in our hearts for these guys, because we are these guys, but really what we’re talking about here is the people who are not quite the Lifestyle Larry’s. The people that want to be the Lifestyle Larry’s.

Justin:                   Yeah, that’s what they aspire to, they want to win back their time from the job or from their business. A lot of times people will have a business, and it becomes their job, it becomes maybe worse than a job. They’re putting in more hours for less pay, and they’re not in any scalable business. They’re not anything that gives them the freedom or ability to travel around or to work their own hours, they’re stuck. Working 80 hour workweeks, and it gets ridiculous.

Joe:                        I’m talking to you 7-Eleven owners.

Justin:                   Yes. 7-Eleven, gas stations, dentists. I mean, these can be really heavy time commitment in businesses. This episode really stems from our buyer profiles podcasts this is back in Episode 72, and I’ll link to it in the show notes. We talked about, six different buyer profiles, and to be clear the two that most people emailed me about or feel connected to you would be Newbie Norms and Portfolio Paul. Those are the ones that either people are or aspiring to be generally, I’d say probably third and there will be Lifestyle Larry. We’ve talked a lot about put out content for Newbie Norms, Portfolio Paul. I really want this podcast to be for the aspiring Lifestyle Larry’s out there.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think it’s because Newbie Norms, and the Portfolio Paul guys, it’s easy to wrap your head around those.

Justin:                   They’re just starting off, they want to get a site started, or they have a portfolio of sites as an investment strategy, and they’re building it out. It’s either the no experience, or the plenty of experience.

Joe:                        Lifestyle Larry guy, he not only has some business changes going on, some career changes going on in his life, but he also has a lifestyle change as well. He might be uprooting himself, there’s a huge change in Lifestyle Larry part, and that’s why I think most people find it hard to relate it.

Justin:                   I think, what’s interesting about this one too is that it’s going to take a more conservative approach to Portfolio Paul, along with the lifestyle changes they’re likely going to be going through during this shift. They also, this is going to be probably their primary source of income and so if you’re going to have a primary source of income, it needs, I think a more conservative approach than if you’re just starting out, and you can be aggressive and dork around with the sites or your portfolio guy where you’ve got already some diversification in the portfolio. This is going to be, if it’s your primary income, you’re going to want to be a bit more safe and secure with your investments.

Joe:                        Yeah, agreed. Just ask any person that lost their retirement savings in the 2008 crisis, I think that they would say they wish they had been more conservative with their money.

Justin:                   This really comes down to I think a lifestyle choice. The people that are looking in this direction realize that what they’re doing with their job, with their business is just not the path they feel like they want to be heading down. They’re starting to realize that, the value of time, the value of mobility is worth something as well, and it may be worth more to them than money at this point. That’s, I think it’s an interesting path to take. All right man, before we do that, let’s pay the bills with your featured listing of the week, what you got buddy?

Joe:                        We’re talking about listing number 4-0-1-7-8 it’s in the hobbyist niche, it’s monetized with Amazon. It was created back in March 2014, so it’s just about a year old right now and specifically his reviews for a specific type of specialty camera. That’s as much as I can say.

Justin:                   You’re so mysterious buddy.

Joe:                        It makes just over $1,400 a month. We have it listed for just a smidge over $28,000 it gets great traffic at almost 30,000 page views a month. It’s a solid site, only thing that you really need to do is maybe add content, and once in a while we’ve put a small fee in there for that. Other than that, it’s pretty passive, but I think it has some potential good upside as well because obviously you could change the monetization method. You could work on the ads, maybe you could even start drop shipping something or accomplish an affiliate program. Then there’s also the SEO benefits, it doesn’t rank number one, so if you could get it a little bit higher in the search engines, you’d be great that way.

Justin:                   It’s right in the range of the sites we’re going to talk about today for the Lifestyle Larry. Approach, I think it’s interesting, it’s also an Amazon site gets about 30,000 page views a month and about 10,000 a month. Those searches are coming from search engine traffic, so it’s not fully reliant on the search engines, although that is a main driver. Definitely, adding content to this site I think would help and Amazon sites are great way for someone to get started and get their feet wet. I think, it’s right in that right price range, or they give a good pickup.

                                With only 1400 bucks a month or so it’s, I think it’s almost the level where you might want to test drop shipping, but I think if you can implement some strategies, grow it out to two to $3,000 a month, then you can probably look at like maybe changing the monetization.

Joe:                        I think, you really have to be a market leader before you start switching that kind of stuff or something.

Justin:                   Some kind of brand name, you’ve got to be building that out. I think, there’s a little bit further, so I can just go before you can do that, but it’s definitely an opportunity in the 12 to 24 month timeframes. All right man, enough about that. Let’s dig into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 2:           Now, for the heart of this week’s episode.

Justin:                   Today we’re talking about the Lifestyle Larry Guide to Job Replacement Income, Joe. Before we get into that, I think we should mention that this is not a build from the ground up strategy. It is going to require some amount of capital from the want to be Lifestyle Larry crowd. The ones that are going to want to be, building out, buying of this portfolio.

Joe:                        You need a headstart here. Definitely, buying something and acquiring something that you can grow, manage that kind of thing that’s going to be necessary in order to skip the whole startup process.

Justin:                   We’re going to get it into all the costs and the associate how much you need to have and why throughout the episode. The other thing I think is good to keep in mind is that the average, I’d say the people that respond to the email and identify with being a Lifestyle Larry are generally in lower level management all the way up to executives. They’re making anywhere from let’s say 60,000 to $200,000 a year or they’re a local business owner that feels stuck with their company. Basically, built themselves a job, and they’re doing either not so great or they’re doing really well, but they feel like they have zero time for themselves and their family.

Joe:                        I would say that I can’t relate to the local business owner, but we had a job in local SEO. I talked to so many of those guys that I feel like I can relate to them even though I’ve never actually owned a local business.

Justin:                   We put in crazy amounts of hours working for someone else, and we really committed ourselves I think to that company. I feel good about that. I really think that if you’re going to work for someone, that’s a great way to go about it, is to act as if you own it. To go in with that approach, but it’s draining, and you ultimately realize you’re working for on someone else’s behalf.

Joe:                        Definitely, I’m sure mid level managers and low level executives are finding that out in their career, whether they’re hitting the glass ceiling or just topped out money wise and time wise, and they feel like they’d rather … like you were saying before, they’d rather trade some money for time kind of thing, then this really appeals to them.

Justin:                   All right, so we’re going to cover six main points, and we might actually step through the process to get this started. First off buddy, let’s talk about the size of the portfolio.

Joe:                        Size is everything.

Justin:                   Size does matter in this case. I think, the first thing you need to consider if you’re looking at this path is how much income do I need to replace? If I’m making, say $5,000 a month, if I’m making $10,000 a month, how much of that do I need to replace? Generally, we’re going to go ahead and recommend that you need, 20 to 25% more than you’re currently earning.

Joe:                        I think, that makes sense from a conservative approach, especially you’re going to be living off of this. You have to say, well, what happens if I need more money than I expected? Or what happens if things don’t go my way, I have more expenses than I expected?

Justin:                   You do account for swings. I mean, your income just based on the portfolio you have created maybe up in the summer months, down in the winter months, there’s going to be some adjustments. It’s not as stable and easy as just a paycheck every week or two weeks or month or whatever. You’re going to have to account for that. I think, the way to do that is to over earn. Now, keep in mind that you’re going to have some tax benefits of working for yourself and not being an employee, you’re not going to have to pay nearly as much tax probably, and you’re going to be able to shelter some of that additional money.

                                The second question is, how much money am I going to need? That really depends on the income that you need to replace. For example, if you’re currently earning in your job, let’s say $10,000 a month just to replace that 10,000 you’re looking at $200,000 of investment. If you want to be 20% above, you’re going to go ahead and need $240,000 worth of investments site.

Joe:                        I think, that this is important to consider because a lot of people, what they do is they immediately start cutting back their lifestyle to say, “I’ll just live on less, live on less, live on less.” Then they say, “Oh, that online thing never worked out for me.” Well, you didn’t really set yourself up for success in trying to do apples for apples comparison. That’s why I think, trying to replace the exact my income that you’re at right now is probably the better idea than trying to cut costs and corners, especially if you’re used to a higher level of income.

Justin:                   On the lower end, if you need replace $5,000 a month, that’d be $100,000 in sites to go a bit higher, you’re looking at $120,000 worth of investment. If you’re looking to replace let’s say two or $3,000 a month or you say, “Hey, I can just get by on two or $3,000 a month.” Sure that may be something you could do in Thailand or the Philippines or something, but that would be difficult probably, and you might be putting more a strain on yourself. Especially, if you’re just heading into like this, lifestyle position and with all the changes you have going on, you don’t want to take an income head as well.

Joe:                        Definitely, you don’t want to be thinking about that as you move to a far away place.

Justin:                   Keep in mind too that you might be able to get this for less, and we’re going to talk about this in a bit, but you can do things like Earnouts. You can negotiate the price down on some of the sites and there are some of the tactics you can use. I still say though, is that you need that cash available even with an Earnout or even if you do negotiate down a bit, there may be some additional costs that come in after you’ve purchased the sites. You’re going to want that cash sitting around. All right, Joe, what size of websites should I purchase? Generally, we’re going to go ahead and say for the Lifestyle Larry, don’t purchase any sites under $5,000 and not that those sites are always necessarily bad, but they’re streaky.

Joe:                        Very streaky.

Justin:                   They may, 5,000 hours site, let’s say it’s earning $250 a month in that profit. It’s not clockwork, it’s not 246 and 254 the next month. No, it’s more like 160 and 380 and it’s all of over the place.

Joe:                        I wouldn’t mind having maybe one of those in your portfolio, but you’re going to need a lot of those to try to make up $10,000 in income and that’s just going to be a heck of a lot of things to manage moving parts and a lot of points of failure. At the same time, you don’t want to put everything all your things in one basket. You probably don’t want to spend more than 30% of your total budget on just one site.

Justin:                   The thing is you’re going to want to diversify the number of sites and not have any one site be more than 30% of your earnings unless that particular site is well diversified, and we’re going to talk about that in a minute. Generally, especially when you’re talking about sites, lesson several hundred thousand dollars, one individual site is not going to be terribly diversified. It’s not going to have a bunch of different traffic sources and varied monetization methods. No, it’s going to be narrowly focused on what it does best. The best way to protect yourself is not by buying a diversified site, it’s by having a diversified portfolio.

Joe:                        Many of you had spoke to me on the phone about this, you’ll know when we talked about your budget. I always say divided in two or three and let’s look at sites in that range. I think, that’s especially true for the lifestyle Larry’s world, they really have to consider something that’s diversified. One site that they can completely work on, they can improve the other two sites stay, and they passively earn. This kind of approach I think, works very well.

Justin:                   Let’s talk about how many websites are needed, Joe. Let’s say that I needed to replace $10,000 a month, how many sites should be in that portfolio? Now, ideally you want to limit it to as few as possible, you don’t want 150 different sites that you have to work on to retain [crosstalk 00:14:17].

Joe:                        Don’t do the AdSense flippers.

Justin:                   Don’t have way too many sites. It’s great when you’re building it from scratch and flipping them, but it’s way too hard. It’d be way too difficult, I think to manage that many sites longterm. What I think, you want to keep those in mind with a $10,000 a month in earnings, you’re going to need a $240,000 portfolio. Which means you don’t want any one site of yours more than let’s say $72,000 in the package. You’re not going to want to have a bunch of sites that are under $5,000 and you’re going to want to diversify those sites. Ideally, you probably have I’d say, somewhere between five or six sites out of that $240,000 or so?

Joe:                        I really liked that. That’s a great number between four and six because that gives you plenty of chances to roll the dice and have a site that may go way, way up just on its natural own, just on the fact that you’re adding content, and you’re working on the site. It also gives you enough of a base that you have sites that will be successful and consistent for the long term.

Justin:                   Now, we’re saying four to six is great, but the circumstances are different. You may need a few more just to add to your diversification level. Because four or six, just for whatever reason may not be available right now, you may need to go with eight or nine so that you’re more diversified. We’re going to talk about that in the next section.

Joe:                        Definitely, just don’t go with one or two. I think, that’s where you run into problems.

Justin:                   Now, one of the things I think you can keep in mind is that as a buyer, you’re going to be able to save on the upfront investment, and you can do that obviously by negotiating the price down. Another way to do that I think is through an Earnout. Basically, let’s say that you’re looking for $180,000 package, and you’ve negotiated it to the point where you only have to put $100,000 up front, right? Which is great, it’s less cash up front, and you’ve got more money in your pocket going into your new life, your new lifestyle. But, the problem with that is, that there’s still an Earnout. There’s going to be a period of time where your cashflow is crippled.

                                If you’re looking to walk away from your job, I wouldn’t be handing in your resignation right away, especially if you’re doing Earnouts. You’re going to need to wait until you get to do that Earnout period. So, that just basically you’re going to need to put a … if you’re doing Earnouts you’re going to put a delay on leaving your position. Maybe six months, maybe 12 months that really depend your cashflow from the sites and how long the Earnout period is. But, you can start to head down that direction, you just don’t want to dump the job quite yet.

Joe:                        Yeah, totally agreed there.

Justin:                   That’s the trade off of, yes, Earnout is great in terms of spending less cash up front and being able to pay it out of the earnings, but it’s going to delay your lifestyle a bit. You’re going to just have to put a hold on that, that’s fine, put some additional money in the bank as you go along and then you can walk away and feel secure. Second point I’m going to talk about Joe, is security through diversification. We’re going to talk about our diversification strategy for a Lifestyle Larry. One thing you need to keep in mind is that you’re going to be balancing portfolio diversification with time requirements.

                                If you’re fully diversified and that means just across the board, very small pieces of it or this, that or the other. There’s going to be a ton of different hats you have to wear because you’re going to have a bunch of different monetization methods, you’re going to have a ton of different traffic strategies that require active input by you. The deeper diversified you are, the heavier the time requirement and involvement will be from you as well.

Joe:                        I think, I would definitely look to maintain some sites in my portfolio that are as close to 100% passive as possible, and then have other sites that I focused my time on. You’re going to be able to do that with a larger set of sites. You can be a little bit more specific and choosy about what you put your money into.

Justin:                   You see what I mean now Joe, if you have a traffic strategy that requires, one of them requires Facebook ads, you have to get good at Facebook ads. Another one requires a media buy, another one requires social media management, another requires additional content, another requires SEO strategy. Like, holy shit, you’re going to have a lot of different hats you’re going to have to wear or contractors. I think, you can diversify yourself to pretty miserable position, where you get pretty thin. I think, you have to be careful about that.

Joe:                        Well, I think, we’re going to talk about this later, but I don’t think you can go it alone. When you’re in that scenario, you definitely have to bring on help.

Justin:                   All right. What do you need to diversify against Joe? Let’s talk about that. The first point would be traffic sources.

Joe:                        Absolutely, I see this is a big one, you don’t want all your sites on Google, and then Google update comes along and for whatever reason, five of the six sites get hit. Now, you’re living on the beach in Thailand, things are great and all of a sudden your income went to one sixth of what it was before. That’s just not a thing you want to do.

Justin:                   You don’t want 80, 90% of all of your sites, your portfolio reliant on organic traffic because the winds of Google may change and they may cause problems. The only thing you’d want to diversify against is monetization methods.

Joe:                        I think, this is so true too because we don’t know what the future is going to bring AdSense, Amazon. They might change their terms of service. They might say that this is allowed, not allowed.

Justin:                   Thanks publishers. We’ve had a great run, enjoy, go to media.net and enjoy it.

Joe:                        I don’t think it’d be quite that bad. But yes, they can absolutely say that your niche, whatever your niche might be, is no longer acceptable to them.

Justin:                   Let’s say you’re vapes or something like fairly controversial science or something else.

Joe:                        Definitely, it could be some risk there involved with just having everything involved in the same monetization strategy.

Justin:                   I think, it’s helpful if you are with the main ones, Amazon, Google, some of the main lead providing monetization strategies. Again, you don’t want to have a huge majority of your sites on just one monetization method because they pull the rug out from under you and then it’d be fairly damaging as a lifestyle.

Joe:                        Absolutely, you want to have at least one or two, maybe even three or four in the major ones, but try to have a QuinStreet in there, or random affiliate program or drop ship or eCommerce.

Justin:                   Another thing I think that you need to look at is paid back links. It’s pretty hard to get away from some sort of paid back links. Everyone has done some link building strategies to a site and any link building strategy done at all, whether done by you, or a negative SEO competitor adds some level of risk. I think, a way to diversify away from that is to use paid link building strategies that are done by different providers and what I mean by providers, or sellers. One seller is going to have a particular link building strategy that worked for them, another is going to have a different link building strategy. What that means is that, if one of their link building strategies doesn’t work or is no longer good in the eyes of Google, that’s fine because it’s not necessarily going to affect the other site.

Joe:                        I agree with that. I think that, that’s a great way to look at it. As you go up the ladder on these sites and find these more and more expensive sites, like you were saying, it’s very rare that they’ve never used some sort of paid back linking service or strategy or PBN or whatever. As long as you just don’t have all your eggs in one basket, all the PBNs are using are from seller X, whereas if you’re using PBNs, but it’s from seller X, Y and Z, I think you have a better shot at making sure that you don’t get hit all at once.

Justin:                   Three things about the links. Number one, don’t buy sites that are all from the same seller, they use the same exact back linking strategy. Number two, don’t buy sites that all came from the same third party provider, a particular back link tool or whatever. The third thing is make sure you have some sites in the portfolio that aren’t relying on back links at all. All right, Joe, we talked about this earlier, we’re talking about like one site, and it’s not common for a site under several hundred thousand dollars to be fully diversified often of your portfolio, you need to diversify. What do you do when a site is diversified?

                                Let’s say half of the earnings are from Lead Gen, and half of the earnings are from AdSense. What you can do in this situation is to make sure that you’re diversified, is break it up into percentages. Let’s say that of your hundred thousand dollar website, 50% is from AdSense and 50% is from the Lead Generation. You now have $50,000 of that site tied up with AdSense and 50% tied up Lead Generation. You have 100%, $100,000 tied up on whatever back linking strategy it’s used. I think, that’s the way to look at it.

Joe:                        I think, that’s a good way to look at it, put it all in a spreadsheet, figure it all out that way and definitely you can remain diversified.

Justin:                   It’s important to consider your strengths and weaknesses when you’re putting together this portfolio, this diversified portfolio as well. I think, you’re going to want to lean towards your particular strengths. Again, not all the eggs in one basket, but you are going to want to lean toward paid traffic, if you’re a paid traffic guy. You’re going to want to lean toward content, if you’re a content guy. You’re going to want to lean toward SEO, if you’re an SEO expert. You’re going to want to look for sites, I think, and maybe you can lean a bit more heavily towards your strengths.

Joe:                        I think, it’s definitely, for me, what I would do if I was in this scenario was I would look for stuff that was very technical that had a scientific approach that would work for me. Whereas, somebody that’s a little more artsy might think, “Oh, this is a design I could improve.” Or this is-

Justin:                   Split task, to do some conversion rate optimization.

Joe:                        Some branding here, some marketing here. I would rather stay to the technical details. Be honest with yourself and make sure that you look towards that kind of thing. I would say this is the undiversification area.

Justin:                   Make sure you’re diversified, but in your diversification lean toward your strengths. The last thing, we’ll say about diversification is don’t forget to diversify against seasonality. Look, it’s cool for Portfolio Paul to have 80% of his earnings is coming November or December. It doesn’t matter to him, because this isn’t as primary income source. It will matter to you if this is your primary income source, and you’re just waiting on that, does November, December months that will feast you through the famine of January, February, March.

Joe:                        Unless you’re a very good budgeter, you better get something that’s a little bit more stable or diversified across the different seasons of the year.

Justin:                   There are some sites that are heavily seasonal, so let’s say it’s particularly, around snow or something that’s going to be heavily seasonal. One that’s not so heavily seasonal may be something like pool related. It’s not going to be like only a couple of months, it’ll be maybe six months or eight months you got, you know what I mean? There’s going to be some balance there, but if you have some that are very heavily geared toward December, January, February, make sure you have others that are more in the summer month.

Joe:                        I hear what you’re saying. I don’t like your example, I think, the pool example is a terrible example.

Justin:                   You didn’t get to limited [inaudible 00:24:55].

Joe:                        Very seasonal. Yeah.

Justin:                   What I’m worried about thanksgiving for example, like it’s all about Thanksgiving Turkeys or something.

Joe:                        Halloween costumes.

Justin:                   You’re pretty limited.

Joe:                        That one is the worst season out in housing.

Justin:                   That’s so crazy. 90% of your earnings coming to a 30 day period.

Joe:                        At the same time, I have to say, if you’re an accountant, and you’re very good at counting the beans, and the sites ad are all good in your portfolio. They match all the other things except for seasonality, and you’re able to take that $500,000 a year, you make in one month and spread it out over the year.

Justin:                   Oh, hell no Joe, I totally disagree with that. Listen to this, listen everybody. Let’s say it is, we should go with your example I think it’s a good one, a Halloween site. Halloween-

Joe:                        We have a portfolio of Halloween sites that are diversified optimization, everything else is there.

Justin:                   Diversified or whatever, but you make let’s say 80% of your earnings in one month.

Joe:                        That’s right.

Justin:                   You go the whole year, I’m going 10 months or so.

Joe:                        That’s right.

Justin:                   Then I’m like, “Oh, my sites aren’t earning as much as I thought it was.” I’m just screwed for the year, and I find this out in nine, 10 months in.

Joe:                        Wow, I would say that you have different ways of measuring what’s going on.

Justin:                   That’s scary as shit. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m not with you on that one. I think, diversifying gets seasonal especially in that extreme example, I think most are less extreme than that.

Joe:                        Either way, most people out there are just not good budgeters and just from a human standpoint, forget about the science behind it. Human standpoint, if someone’s just given a whole boatload of money, they’re more likely to go out and blow it all rather than if it trickles in over time.

Justin:                   All right, man. Let’s talk about our third point now, which is regarding growth strategies. We have a list of growth strategies, we’ve come up with four investor programs, we’ve been working on, and most of the strategies you’re going to use to build those sites, you’re going to fall into one of these 10 different strategies. We really recommend only picking three or four of these to use in your portfolio overall, and we’re going to get into why that is. First, let’s just lay them out and the first one being something like low level content and this can be, from iWriter, Textbroker, that’s my thought. Second one being high level content, this would be Pro blogger job board from like leaving work behind contractor, something like that.

                                The third will be SEO Analysis and onsite changes that include content plus internal links. The fourth being low level link building. The fifth being high level link building. That would be things like, getting Wikipedia links, getting major media mentions. Six will be monetization changes. Seventh will be conversion rate optimization and really testing the ad placement and that kind of thing. Eight will be paid traffic. This might be Facebook ads and maybe add words. The ninth thing will be building an email list plus an autoresponder, and the 10th being social media promotion. That’s a big list.

Joe:                        Wow. We could probably do a whole podcast on just that list.

Justin:                   We probably should. Anyway, out of those 10 things, and you can rewind this if you want to listen to it back or whatever. Out of those 10 things, pick three to four, that all of your sites fit under a particular growth strategy that you can get really good at. Now, I’d say that these sites can be in different niches or industries, that’s not as critical, but making sure that the growth strategies are limited is going to be important because of the craziness of going testing out 10 different completely different strategy.

Joe:                        I like your idea of picking three or four, but if you find a clear winner and then put all your eggs into that one-

Justin:                   On growth.

Joe:                        Until it’s maxed out.

Justin:                   Yes, I agree.

Joe:                        Then when it stops growing, then you can go to the second one, then the third one.

Justin:                   Picking too many a start, it would just wear you too thin.

Joe:                        It will wear you too thin. Absolutely, it’ll blow through your war chest. It’ll just overall, it’s not a good strategy, but also, if you found one that’s a clear winner, and you’re not devoting all your extra money to that, then you’re not accelerating the growth of the site as fast as it could be.

Justin:                   Word. All right. Let’s talk about the fourth point, which is time requirements. I think, it’s important to remember that overall this is not a fully passive strategy. This is not a kickback, relax and collect your money situation.

Joe:                        Well, I mean even Portfolio Paul who’s probably one of the most passive guys in the [inaudible 00:29:03].

Justin:                   He is passive because he has a team of people running.

Joe:                        He still has to manage that team, and he still has to make sure that the team is doing their work. Even if he has a manager that’s overlooking the team, he has to communicate with people. No business is 100% passive.

Justin:                   You as a Lifestyle Larry, you’re still going to have to do the work too. This can be I think, frustrating from the perspective of you’ve got a new lifestyle, you’re sipping Mai Tais on the beach, and you’re trying to work out what the work life balance is.

Joe:                        I think, it’s important to keep that work going, especially if you were a high level executive manager of some sort, to keep that momentum going from your old job into your new lifestyle, don’t take too much time off where you just say, “Oh, I’m only going to work four hours a week.” That’s just not going to work. If you keep up with a consistent amount of work between 30 and 40 hours a week, you will have a successful portfolio.

Justin:                   What did you like about your job? What was the schedule like that you did like? Maybe, you love getting up early and heading into the office and you feel like that was your most productive time, but you wish you could be there for your kids in the afternoon or evenings. Right, okay, work mornings make that your knock it out time. You’re going to figure out ways to work around your lifestyle and make sure that you’re still able to balance it too, but it may take a little while. Don’t plan on, as you were saying, Joe, don’t plan on just going on vacation for a couple of months and just letting the sites just cash and it’s not a very good strategy for this approach.

                                I also think it’s important to think about the time requirements for the investment and the strategy overall. With the websites you’re buying, this isn’t like, six months and flip them approach. At minimum, you’re looking at a one year investment, but really I think most of these sites should be considered a two year investment or even longer. You may have some of these sites for four or five years and so you’re playing a long ball game here and not a short ball game.

Joe:                        I really agree with that. Otherwise, you start getting into too much of training the new owner or preparing for a sale.

Justin:                   You rush to make changes that you don’t necessarily or shouldn’t be making that early.

Joe:                        Even if you have a site that makes a big increase because you’ve done some work on it, I would be hesitant to flip that too soon. Keep that in your portfolio. Or if you have one the other way that does downward turn, don’t try to just give up on things and see if you can keep them going for like we said, one to two years.

Justin:                   When we were talking about growth strategies before, I also think you shouldn’t apply some of the aggressive growth strategies in the first three to six months. Not that you should sit on your laurels, but you should, while you’re figuring out your lifestyle balance, you should take the slow growth approach. The less risky, let’s say adding additional content that’s not going to add a bunch of risks to the site. Add content over the first three to six months and then you can start to make slightly more aggressive changes and your growth strategy. That gives you the time to transition I think.

Joe:                        Turtle and the Hare here for sure. I mean, it’s definitely a marathon because you are changing your life.

Justin:                   Our fifth points, let’s talk about building a team, Joe.

Joe:                        How many times have we talked about virtual assistants on this podcast?

Justin:                   Quite a few times, man. Hiring your first VA, hiring your first team member, things like that. I think, it’s important here because as a Lifestyle Larry, you’re going to have to rely on people for work, for expertise that you just don’t have or aren’t best suited for you. Especially if you want to, if the lifestyle and the time is important to you, you’re going to have people that can help you this. You’re likely to have anywhere from let’s say three at a minimum to 10 sites, you’re going to need some help with this.

Joe:                        I would also say under the VA flag comes services, some service that can help you. If you don’t know anything about Facebook advertising, maybe you’ve dabbled in a little bit, but you’ve decided to go out there and hire an expert. Maybe instead of having that full time VA work for you, that maybe not be that good at it, you go out there and hire a service that actually does it.

Justin:                   I think, it makes sense to start testing this app before you even gone full Lifestyle Larry. You still have a job, and you have a couple of oDeskers, you’ve hired one or two people from virtual staff finder or something like that. You’ve got a couple of people working with you. You’ve gone through the experience of hiring them, training them, and you can I think hit the ground running.

Joe:                        I’m amazed at how many entrepreneurs, how many virtual entrepreneurs like this have zero experience managing people. I think that, that [crosstalk 00:33:35].

Justin:                   That’s common in our industry, like the lifestyle, business community. It’s pretty common.

Joe:                        It is, and it really hurts them because they do have to get used to the hiring, the firing, the training, everything that comes with managing people.

Justin:                   As they build the real business or real company, right? If they’re just doing contract work themselves, they say, “Hey, I don’t need a team. I can do this.” But, then they realized that they want to start building an asset or a business. They go, “Wow, okay, I need people working for me. I need SLPs in place. I got to start doing all this, business stuff.” Another option that we’ll mention here is that you can take the apprentice route, and this is something that we’ve done quite a few of these apprentice programs we’re just recently hiring our latest, I think it’s our fourth apprentice now. It’s a great way to get someone that wants to learn what you do, and wants some familiarity there that has some skill sets that can help you for cheap. They get the benefit of working with you and tutoring under you and you get, their work and skills for less than you might pay a traditional employee.

Joe:                        I can’t say more about the apprentice option. I mean, we’ve done more podcasts on this as well. I think, it’s a great idea for someone that has experience and something to give that to the apprentice.

Justin:                   Another thing you do is you can take on someone that’s not so much an apprentice, maybe they have a bit more experience and they actually become your portfolio manager. Someone that has had experience with, they’re building their own sites up to profitability or they’ve managed other websites. Taking them in and giving them either an equity stake in the websites or just a profit share on the earnings you have from your own portfolio, is a great way to have them have skin in the game and come to get their managering virtual assistants or remote workers or contractors and to allow you to take a much more passive role. This would be for people with, obviously you have to get a slightly larger portfolio. If you’re giving up a piece of that cash or giving me up 30% profit share, you’re going to need an additional 30% to the size of your portfolio to earn that earnings you need.

Joe:                        I love this idea, especially for larger portfolios. I think, it’s a great idea because it does give you a little more freedom and flexibility in your schedule.

Justin:                   The sixth point we’re going to talk about is the partner or investor route. You can actually bring a partner on something like this. I think, it’s important to keep in mind now, is that if you’re bringing on a 50% partner, you’re going to have to do double at least on your investment. If you need $10,000 a month, you are looking at a $240,000 portfolio or purchase. You’re now looking at half a million for the two of you.

Joe:                        I’m not sure I liked this option so much Justin, I know where you’re going with it, but I still think that if you’re not at the level where you could do it 100% yourself. Maybe you need to regroup, maybe need to work a little bit longer and maybe you need to see it a little bit more. As you get more investors and partners involved, too many chiefs, that sort of thing. I could see a lot of issues here, especially on the lower end for people in the 50 to $250,000 range.

Justin:                   Wait man, what are you talking about here, am I chopped liver? We’re partners, man, what’s going on here? We’ve talked about this, it’d be so much easier at times to be able to make decisions. I have ownership or something, we’ve had to work this out over years, who owns what and who can make what decisions. That can be difficult and they’re earnings, if you’re in twice as much or more, to even make that partnership worth it and partnerships is a scary thing. But, what I think is interesting about this and the investor route is that you can take an investor route with this. We’ve talked about in our podcast previously about the investor program, we’re better testing. You can keep a percentage of the ownership, bring in the investor and have them front either all or most of the cash.

Joe:                        I think, you better be an experienced person if you’re going after that route. You better not be you’re Lifestyle Larry, you’re working somewhere, you have a little bit of skills, you listened to this podcast, and you said, “I’m going to go out and tell my uncle to give me $200,000 so that we could buy a portfolio site, and I can live in Thailand.” That probably is not a great idea. I would, have some experience with managing your own portfolio 100%, so you can show a path of success and also that you know how to deal with the ups and downs of what comes with the portfolio.

Justin:                   Well, I’ll find a little bit about that. Let’s say that I’m going to be a 33% owner of the portfolio, I’m going to manage it completely. I need to make my $10,000, which means I need to go above and beyond. Do a little bit of math here, if I need 10,000 a month, I want to go at 20% above that. I really need 12,000 a month, that’s a $240,000 portfolio. If I need three times of that, because I’m only a 33% owner of this portfolio, I need basically a $750,000 portfolio of sites. It’s significantly bigger.

Joe:                        It’s significantly bigger, but you can get there. For instance, if I was starting today, right now, but I have everything that I have right now and Empire Flippers is not there. This is the option that I would take because I have the ability to manage people, I have the ability to manage a portfolio of sites, I’ve done that already. I have a sales ability to bring on investors, and I have the connections to meet those people, and I have my own money that I could put up to make up the small percentage. That’s pretty amazing.

Justin:                   Think about this Joe, let’s say you’re on 33% equity shareholder in this portfolio, but you’re only putting in sweat equity. What if you only had to put up $75,000 into that $750,000.

Joe:                        Exactly.

Justin:                   You put up 75 grand, the other person is putting up the bulk of the cash, but you’re also doing all management. This is a strictly passive investment for them. You don’t want this to be their nest egg but someone high net worth person that is willing to go on with us. I think it’s a real opportunity for you and for them.

Joe:                        Agreed.

Justin:                   All right, man. That’s our sixth points. Let’s actually get into the process a Lifestyle Larry might use to pick up their portfolio. If we’re going to talk about the process to purchase, Joe, we’re going to talk about step one, which is find interesting websites. I think, the easiest sites to find on the Empire Flippers Market Place, at least today it will be organic content based AdSense and Amazon sites. There’s a plethora of those sites.

Joe:                        In fact, right now it’s 100% of those sites, but we do get the drop shipping, eCommerce sites every now and again. I’m going to just pull back here a little bit and say, when you say the word interesting, just feel a little more-

Justin:                   I mean, interesting from the perspective of filling out your portfolio. I don’t particularly care about the niche or the industry and in fact, I think for a Lifestyle Larry, I agree with you’re looking at me nodding your head. I agree with you that, that’s not very important at all.

Joe:                        Definitely, I would look for stuff that meets your criteria in terms of trying to do that. That’s one of the things when I talk about people on the phone all the time, I say, “Hey, what’s your criteria?” Some people don’t have that, I go over the verification options and say, “These are the qualifications you need in order for the site to meet your criteria and that’s something we’re going to put in your portfolio.”

Justin:                   I think you’re, I only want a site in the home furnishings niche or something, you’re really limiting yourself. You’re tying your hands behind your back. I think, you should really be much more open than that. There is an approach to that strategy, I think DIY David approach I think is helpful there, but I think for the Lifestyle Larry that’s not as important, we’re really looking to maximize your time and your mobility and not necessarily caring about the type of niches you’re getting into. I think, that’s important. But, keeping a diversification strategy, at top of mind I think is important.

                                The easiest sites where the organic content based Ads in Amazon sites, there’s a ton of them around. What you’re going to have to actually do is you’re going to have to anchor your portfolio with the ones that are not that. You can’t forget that, the sites that provide that diversification might be the harder to find and maybe the best sites, we’d actually call them anchor sites in your portfolio.

Joe:                        That’s a great way to look at it.

Justin:                   The harder to find the no PBN sites, the paid traffic sites, the social media traffic sites. Those approaches, because they’re the harder ones to find, finding those first might be the best approach.

Joe:                        Honestly, you’re going to have to act quickly on those sites, because there’s a lot of other people looking for anchors for their portfolio as well. Make sure to have your criteria set up, get those anchors in place, and then let’s build out and scale out the portfolio from there.

Justin:                   The other thing, I think people may or may not know is that you can ask questions if we weren’t as clear on the listing as you’d like us to be. Now, unless you paid the deposit, we’re not going to share the URL with you, but you can ask some basic questions to see if it’s the right fit. If you’re looking for diversification, ask those diversification questions to see if it’s a good anchor for your portfolio, or a good fit for the portfolio you’re looking at build out.

Joe:                        Feel free to ping our team on that stuff, they can absolutely help you.

Justin:                   We’ve got a process for that, it’s pretty straightforward. Step two is when you found one that you want more information on, you just need to pay the deposit. Now, keep in mind that the deposit is 100% refundable, if for any reason you say, “Hey, this isn’t the site for me, or I’m just not interested.” Or whatever reason, we’ll refund you right away. Normally, it takes a couple of days, and we’ll refund you back either via PayPal or back to your credit card or whatever method you paid, we’ll refund you back.

Joe:                        The only delay there is the bank paying you, but we will do it instantaneously.

Justin:                   It’s really easy to do this, there’s a link up on the top right side of any listing that allows you to pay the deposit and with that deposit we give you all the details regarding the site. This includes the URL, this includes access to Google analytics, where you’re not just looking at screenshots, you can actually pull your own reports. It also gives you earning reports and that’s both a profit and loss. It’s also screenshots of the earning accounts or sometimes even access to the earnings account.

Joe:                        It will give you unredacted screenshots, you’ll see a lot of times in listings, where you have things covered up or blurred out and that’s for seller protection, niche protection, that kind of thing. We’ll give you the full screenshots and like Justin said, we’ll share that access with you if possible like Amazon you can run your own reports. I think that, that’s a key thing to do. Get that deposit in and really see if this is going to be a site you want to move forward with.

Justin:                   We’ve got a whole bunch of reasons for the deposit, we’ve talked about it in another podcast, on the blog post. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes talking about it how to see the URL, and why required deposits. Step three is to perform your own due diligence. Now, keep this in mind that you are responsible for due diligence, well, we do vetting and by vetting we mean is that we take out any things that are obvious scams or maybe not so obvious scams. We take out anything that is questionable or unverifiable and everything else is maybe personal choice or diversified or non diversify. We don’t care about that, we figured that’s your responsibility.

                                What we do is provide a nice, clean market place you can dig through comfortably, but it’s still important for you to do your own due diligence. That’s why we give you all of the information we can’t really get into a full due diligence piece in this episode. I think, it’s way too complicated and more detailed than we can cover right now. But, if you want to get a bit more on that, you can listen to Episode 43 of our podcasts. We talk about some due diligence tricks you can use.

Joe:                        If you do have any questions about due diligence, feel free to reach out. We can help you with that, we can talk to you about the tactics and what you should look for, but in the end it is your responsibility. You can always have a place, likes and tour guide help you with something like that, and they’ll go ahead and run an independent report on the site.

Justin:                   I think, it’s important to do your own due diligence first before ordering some jerk report. That way you can cut out anything easily that you’re like, “Oh, this isn’t a fit for me. Or Oh, I don’t like that.” Without paying for the report from them, there’s no reason to do that. Also, you don’t want to rely too heavily on any third party doing due diligence, whether it’s us, and we’re not a third party, we were actually representing a seller or [inaudible 00:45:32] who is a third party, you still don’t want to rely solely on their report. I think, if you don’t do due diligence first on your own, it can be at the point where you rely on theirs as a crutch, and I think that’s scary permission.

Joe:                        I agree, I think you need to be able to filter the easy ones out first.

Justin:                   In this entire due diligence process, there are also things where maybe you have a screenshot of earnings or something. You’re like, “I don’t like screenshots.” You can also request for a phone call with the seller, you can also do a live screen share where they walk you through on Skype, their earnings details. Video screenshots are much easier fake, then videos can be fake as well. They can set up like a local host and run through it or whatever, but you can ask for changes, so that will be much more difficult. I think, especially if you’re digging into the site, and you’re getting ready to purchase, requesting that it’s completely acceptable.

                                Step four time to make an offer. Let’s talk a little bit about the deposit process that we have. For example, let’s say that you’re the fourth deposit or on our website, there’s three depositors ahead of you and you make an offer on the site. First thing we’re going to do is we’re going to go to the seller and see if the seller is open to that offer, if they’re interested in that offer. If they are, they say, “Yes, I’m interested in that sounds good.” Or they’d come back and negotiate or whatever. We will then take that offer to deposit or three deposits or two deposits or one to see if they want to meet or beat that offer.

Joe:                        This is why, this is called First Right of Refusal. This is why placing a deposit early on when you see something that meets your criteria is a very good idea. This way, if anyone else behind you negotiate something lower that you would rather meet or exceed that expectation. Absolutely, you should have a deposit in place.

Justin:                   Don’t get me wrong, we really don’t get any value out of the deposits, basically, it goes in the account, we’d refund you when it’s finished or when the site is sold or whatever. It’s not real value to us, it’s just value to you and that you’re able to put yourself in a prime position for the information and bidding purposes as well. That’s, first right of refusal. I think, it’s important to know that sometimes sellers will take lower offers, so they’ll take less than a less price. Sometimes they’re open to things like Earnouts. Sometimes they’re even open to things where it’s like seller retained equity where they keep 10% equity and they give you a 15% discount because that’s important to them. They want to keep some ownership on the site, and that may be important for you depending on the deal.

                                It’s really just going to depend on the seller and the site. The site has been up for, just a couple of weeks and there’s a bunch of depositors, and you come in with a 70% offer is not very likely that we’re going to be able to work that out. That’s probably someone that’s willing to offer more, and they’re going to sell the site for more. If it’s been months, and the seller’s way open to an Earnout, there are some creative deal structuring we can get into and help you with, and we’re going to guide you during the process. We’ll walk you through exactly what the seller’s open to, what they’re willing to work with, and it’s our job to work on getting those deals done.

Joe:                        This is really what we get paid for in the end besides marketing. The listing is definitely to make sure a deal can happen between an interested buyer, and ready to go seller.

Justin:                   The other thing is be ready to move on a deal once you’ve come to an agreement, this can be difficult if you’re looking for financing options, or you don’t have the cash readily available. We’ve seen deals lost simply because people couldn’t put the cash together quickly enough, something changed. The site continue to earn more money, seller starts to say, “Hey, I should really get more money for this and you need to renegotiate price.” You’re going to end up paying more. There are things that happen that once you make a deal, you’re going to want to move on quickly.

Joe:                        I would really say, if you’re looking to use a retirement portfolio or some investment portfolio, liquidate those accounts before you start negotiating so that you have the money right away in order to move. We’ve definitely seen significant delays from people trying to cash out of these types of funds.

Justin:                   And, lost deals.

Joe:                        And, lost deals-

Justin:                   Or more expensive.

Joe:                        Because, by the time they got the money together, the seller was either A not interested in selling site or B it had significantly changed.

Justin:                   In our last podcast interview, Episode I27 I talked to Ace who ended up paying significantly more for the site because there was a delay in closing the deal. The site had been earning more and him as the buyer were basically forced to pay more money for the site. That’s what was required. Keep that in mind. Luckily, it worked out for them because it was not continuing anymore and did even better, but that may not always be the case.

                                Step five complete the transfer. Now, this is something we help with quite heavily. Basically, all you have to do is, once the deal is done, you’ve sent the wire, we’ve got the money, we hold it for you and then our team will collect your information and then get the site transferred over to you and to your hosting account, into your GoDaddy domains account and get everything over to you.

Joe:                        I would say, if you don’t have at GoDaddy account, probably set one up now. If you don’t have an AdSense account, if you don’t have the Amazon Affiliate account. Set those up now, so this way, so we get [crosstalk 00:50:37].

Justin:                   It doesn’t hurt, you can have those set up and just sitting there.

Joe:                        Just sitting there. That’s correct.

Justin:                   I think this is a real value add, where we do this for you and make this process really smooth. There is some concern, I know some buyers are like this, especially if they’re brand new, they’re like, “Oh my God, what if I wire this money? What if they don’t transfer the site to me?” New sellers are wondering the same thing. They’re like, “Oh my God, I have to transfer this site. I don’t have the money in my account yet.” This is a scary process, don’t worry. That’s something that all I think new buyers and sellers go through there’s this nervousness about how the deal is going to go.

                                I can tell you just from a practical standpoint, us scamming on deposits or holding money that’s been sent over it would just be pretty bad business practices. If you are going to buy a site, and we finally scammed you on the deal, that’d be a ridiculously long con we were pulling. You know what I mean? All the work for years of building this up to like scam you, it would be pretty rough.

Joe:                        I think, the other thing to remember is that we err on the site of giving the money back. We’ve definitely had-

Justin:                   We set wires back.

Joe:                        -situations where sellers have spooked me, and I just said to the buyer, “You know what, here’s your money back. We’re canceling the deal, and it’s off.”

Justin:                   That was painful. The seller refused to transfer the information before she was paid. She wanted, where we had zero leverage, and we couldn’t protect the buyer in any way, shape or form and we just had to tell the buyer, “Look, we just can’t do this deal.” Ultimately, we’re looking to protect both parties on these deals. That’s our best longterm player, even though we’re representing the seller, truly we were forced to represent both sides because the longterm, are longterm interests.

                                The sixth step is to implement growth strategies. I mentioned this before, is that you should probably take it slow for the first three to six months. What I mean by slow is there are some more aggressive, growth strategies, let’s say, changing the design, conversion rate optimization, making significant changes to the structure of the site. I wouldn’t recommend that in the first three, maybe even six months. I would do things like adding content, legitimate back linking strategies and things like that, that are slow growth doing some internal SEO. But, if you want to make large sweeping changes, I would wait awhile on that.

Joe:                        I have to agree there, especially, when you’re doing things you knew, just let yourself figure it out. Or if you’re just new to the site, you probably want to establish a baseline from which to grow from.

Justin:                   Because you don’t know, like there may be some benefit. Let’s say you bought a bunch of Amazon sites, and most of these sites were only at like 7% or something, you’re now seven and a half or 8%. You want to just collect those earnings, see how things settle out once you’ve shifted the hosting and see where your baseline is and then start making maybe the more aggressive changes six months, 12 months down the road. But, from the beginning, just start off pretty slow. All right man, that’s been a pretty meaty podcast episode. Let’s get into the news and updates.

Speaker 2:           You’ve been listening to the Empire Podcast. Now, some news and updates.

Justin:                   First off, buddy, you and I just returned from a quick trip a little over a week to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Man, I’ll tell you, I was there two years ago, and it’s amazing to see how much the city and the country are growing in just the two years since I’ve been there.

Joe:                        I really liked Cambodia. I think, it’s very Philippines ish. I don’t know if that’s a word, but it reminds me of the Philippines, maybe like a cross between Thailand and the Philippines. I think, it’s very interesting place. I’m definitely going to be going back, I’d like to tour the country a little bit more and see it. You know, it is a small country. There’s only 8 million people there or something like that. That’s fairly interest.

Justin:                   Well, there’re some reasons for that. Whole pot reasons, but yeah, it’s really interesting and I think that there’s a ton of growth happening in the country. I think there, it’s really poor buddy, right? We drove outside of the main city and it’s really poor. Different than Vietnam, different than even in the Philippines I think.

Joe:                        It reminds me of some of … when you go to some of the really-

Justin:                   Rural places.

Joe:                        -rural places of the Philippines. You go to some of the smaller islands, it reminds me of them.

Justin:                   It strikes me, that it was one of the poorest countries in the world. What I think is interesting though, is that they’re stuck right between Vietnam and Thailand. They have like all this growth opportunity, these countries right around them are growing pretty heavily. I just think that in the next, I don’t know, maybe 10, 20 years, I think Cambodia is going to go a long way. I think, because they have so far to go, there’s such a far way to go. Anyway, if you’re at all in Southeast Asia and you’ve been wondering whether you should check out Cambodia, I would definitely recommend it. We’ll be back there hanging out sometime this year I’m sure.

Joe:                        Me too.

Justin:                   Next bit of news, we hired our latest apprentice. This is our fourth apprentice who’ve hired Andrew will be joining us in Saigon at the end of March, helping us in the account manager role, helping with our customer service team and helping with our current customers.

Joe:                        Boy, we need to Andrew to get out here.

Justin:                   Yeah man, everyone is overloaded. You’re going to be a relieving some people work. Some of the great things about apprentices when they come out is they have a clean slate. They don’t have a work, like a bunch of work piled on them, they’re just open. They’re like, “Okay, I can take this. I can do this work, man. Yeah, yeah. Put It on me.” It’s such a relief, right?

Joe:                        It is.

Justin:                   There’s a training process, there’s a getting him up to speed process, but you’re like, “Wow, there’s more capacity. This is fantastic.”

Joe:                        I’m looking forward to that.

Justin:                   All right. For our listener shouts also known as our indulgent ego boosting social proof segment. We’ve got Jim Harmer on Twitter said, “What do I have to do to get you on the income school podcast? Last episode is out buying a site from you and I have more questions.” You can reach out to me directly, no problem justinempireflippers.com I’m always down for interviews, whether it’s written interviews or podcasts, interviews, and I’d love to talk to Jim, just reach out to me.

                                There’s an interesting blog posts over at humanproofdesigns.com on why you should start with Amazon sites. I’ll put a link to that in the short notes, but a human proof designs does niche site creation for people just starting out, just getting started at the sites will not have any earnings or anything and they’re starting from scratch and done with keyword research and stuff. But, it’s way better than the auto blog or spammy sites, it’s the human proof design that’s like a real site you can start out with.

Joe:                        Yeah, I know. I’ve seen the sites before they’re good, they’re definitely a great way to start out.

Justin:                   He was talking about like why Amazon sites are good and one of them is just because they’re easier. It’s an easier path or approach to take. I think, lowering the complexity when you’re starting off does make a lot of sense. That’s it for Episode 128 of the Empire Podcast. Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back next week with another show. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at empireflippers.com/larry and make sure to follow us on Twitter at Empire Flippers. See you next week.

Joe:                        Bye, bye everybody.

Speaker 2:           Hope you enjoyed this episode of the Empire Podcast with Justin and Joe. Hit up empireflippers.com for more. That’s empire flippers.com. Thanks for listening.

 


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Discussion
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  1. Jim says:

    If you’re a complete newb to this investment vehicle, how does one get started?

    There’s a plethora of information out there and you don’t know what or who you can trust to get you on the right path.

  2. Jake says:

    Another great podcast guys! Really liked all of the talk about diversification, and will be taking some of those ideas into consideration in the future.

    I would definitely be interested in hearing more in-depth conversation about those 10 growth strategies you mentioned, as site growth is important for all buyer profiles.

  3. Jim says:

    Joe / Justin,

    Another terrific podcast.

    You are doing a great job developing buyers with your market discussions. The most talented sales professionals don’t “sell”, they develop buyers by providing insight to a market, provide a skill set they don’t have, develop tools to save them time, or provide risk management to an existing net worth or cash flow that is worth protecting.

    This week’s podcast does a great job highlighting the capital needs for investors looking to buy a cash-flow, but also for the investor/manager types.

    You have me thinking it’s time I come out of retirement, raise some capital, and develop an investment portfolio (capitalize a C-Corp) with a few of my local business contacts. I’d first need to develop a proof-of-concept with a few smaller purchases, then build from there.

    Suggestion – you do a great job depicting “branding” the type of buyers (Lifestyle Larry, etc)… something that might be of interest to investors who are listening, myself for example, is a discussion by the two of you with an open mic with 1-2 investors asking the hard questions (that I’m sure you get every day) about the type of products you offer. A breakdown of the risks, rewards, scalability, etc of each category of product you sell. Here are a few questions that I and possibly others might be interested in knowing…

    1. What are the Top 10 type of sites (products) that you have currently or recently listed and sold on EF (ex: AdSense, Amazon, LeadGen, etc)?

    2. What is your % of sites you have offered for each group over 2013/2014 and how has that changed so far for 2015? For example, 40% AdSense, 30% Amazon, 10% LeadGen, etc.

    3. Which type of sites sell quickest and why do you believe that is so? (the reason I ask is if someone were to acquire 10 sites, expand the GP of each, and decide to re-sell… which type of sites re-sell best?)

    4. What are examples of why other investors have purchased certain types of sites? What are the plus/minus of each type of site model from an investor perspective?

    5. Discuss the monetization models, but also what have others done to increase GP for each type of site you sell?

    6. Are all of your buyers individuals? Or do you have any corporate/portfolio buyers?

    Like any enterprise, there are those who initiate (start from scratch), those who accelerate (the pump and peddle types), and those who stabilize (the old money types that “capital retention” and risk management is their primary focus).

    From an equity growth perspective, those who can quickly increase GP will see a significant return on their investment. Last week’s podcast was intriguing as you addressed the issue that online investments can be LESS risky that a brick-mortar investment in that their fixed operating cost is significantly less.

    The due diligence experience that EF brings to the table is a risk management service. Your value-add to the market is well worth the reasonable broker fees you charge.

    If you’re ever in the Boston area, shoot me an email. I’d enjoy meeting you and discussing your thoughts on capitalizing an investment pool in the States.

    -Jim

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey Jim,

      Sorry it took me a while to reply to this. I wanted to wait until I had the time to put something thoughtful and then realized I’d forgotten to get back!

      Yes, selling “around” what we do is a strategic decision we’ve made as a marketing strategy that’s worked really well. Things like creating seller/buyer profiles that visitors/listeners can use to self-select, discussing expansion strategies, etc. – all used as ways to educate the market and build trust/authority.

      Your suggestion for having an investor or two on the show to discuss is a good one. We’ll talk to our beta investors for the investor program and see if any would be willing to come on the show to discuss – would be interesting! We’ve actually had these private conversations before, but have never recorded them for a show.

      Let me answer your questions the best I can:

      1. First, I should say that what gets submitted with us is not necessarily indicative of the market overall. Our market share of the larger industry is pretty small, so we’re more prone to streaks and our inbound marketing funnel’s focus.

      That being said, we’ve seen quite a few Amazon and lead gen (Quinstreet, specifically) sites coming through. We started off with a ton of AdSense sites and still have those, but we’re seeing more diversification in the submitted listings due to us getting the word out that our buyers are looking for other types of sites. We still don’t get many SaaS offerings, but I think that has to do with the fact that many SaaS companies would see a sale under $1M as a failure and we don’t operate at that end of the market.

      2. I don’t have exact numbers here, but can give you a rough estimated and educated guess. I’d say 35% Amazon, 25% AdSense, 15% Lead gen, 10% other affiliate, 10% dropshipping/eCommerce, 5% other.

      This has changed heavily since Q2/Q3 2014 where the majority of sites listed (more than 50%) was AdSense only. (See Answer #1)

      3. The smaller sites have the largest buyer pool and the $20K or less sites generally go pretty quick. In the $20K – $100K the biggest demand seems to be for lead gen and Amazon sites. $100K – $300K buyers are looking for more diversification of a particular site in terms of traffic, monetization, etc. OR they’re looking for packages of $20K – $80K sites to create a diversified portfolio.

      4. It’s hard to peg an investors reason for purchase as they vary widely. Some are looking only for sites that are 2+ years old, increasing in traffic/revenue, with no PBNs. Others only want declining sites they can turn around, sites that are not currently ranked on the first page of Google for important keywords, etc. We also have some that are only looking for paid traffic sites because that’s their skillset or because it helps to diversify their portfolio.

      There are things you can do to improve sellability overall, but trying to narrow the focus to a particular type of buyer isn’t the way to go, IMO. Instead, be crystal clear about the situation the site’s in and the work required so that the right buyer can make the right decision. We try not to cut deals in the vetting process that come down to taste, because there are different scenarios that work for different investors.

      5. This answer requires more depth than a comment allows, so Joe and I are going to dedicate an entire podcast to the topic and we’ll have that out soon.

      6. More than 80% of our buyers are individuals, but I’m guessing if you weigh it by volume, we’re closer to 50/50 for individuals Vs. groups.

      The groups mainly consist of partnerships, (2 working partners, 1 working one capital only, 2 working one capital only, etc.) consortiums, and mini-PE firms that manage portfolios. We’re still a bit small for what I would consider the “regular” PE groups and true investment teams, but I’m guessing some of the groups package and “sell up” the food chain.

      I’ve never been to Boston, but will look you up if we head out! We’ll like be back in the US this year or at least next for conferences, I’m guessing.

      We should probably setup a call – would love to chat with you about this stuff if you’re interested.

  4. Kae Kohl says:

    You referred to this podcast as “meaty”. That is definitely true! I particularly liked the info about focusing on certain growth strategies across the portfolio so you’re not trying to be an expert on everything at once. The discussion about anchor sites for the portfolio was also helpful. There were other gems as well. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your knowledge.

    Kae

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Glad you liked it, Kae!

      I think this was one of our best shows in a while – I’ve been using it as a reference to the dozens of calls I’ve had in the last couple of weeks.

      Important points for me: Diversification in terms of monetization, traffic sources, and seasonality.

  5. Does anyone wanna lend me $240,000?

    Great podcast guys. It’s great that you guys will give the money back to the buyer if the seller spooks you. I know it’s a pain and frustrating for both parties, but this is what really sets you apart from flippa, and why people are happy to pay 20x earnings. Keep it up!

    As always, cheers for the mention.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      $240K? Done! :-)

      Glad you dug the show. Yeah, while we represent the seller it’s important to our long-term interest to promote win-win deals and we have to consider both parties when completing the transaction.

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