Our Monthly Report – February 2014
Welcome to our Monthly Business Report for February, 2014!
February wasn’t that much different from January in terms of total revenue, but we spent much of the month planning and (in some cases) implementing changes that will likely have an effect around here for quite a while to come. As always, we’re happy to share the behind-the-scenes in these reports and will get into it here with you today.
We love to hear how much these reports inspire and encourage you and the feedback we get from publishing these each month is tremendous. That’s a part of why we publish these reports, but there’s also some value to us in the introspection that comes in having to take a detailed look at our business.
Having to take an open and honest look at our strengths, weaknesses, and growth opportunities (along with the feedback you deliver) provides us insights into our business we wouldn’t have otherwise. It gives us an opportunity to look at our business from the outside in, and (hopefully) leads us to make better-informed decisions about the direction our company should take. To be clear:
Most of the revenue comes from you.
Whether you’re a long-standing outsourcing client of ours, purchased one of our products/services, or you happened to buy one of the vetted, profitable sites we have available on the marketplace, we wanted to thank you for your continued support as we continue to expand our online empire.
What We’re Working On
Change is in the air.
Joe, Vincent, and I spent much of February looking at where our company will be in the next few months and years. Our goals are ambitious. If our goal is to be the #1 resource for purchasing established, profitable businesses, and websites in the $10K – $100K range, we’re going to have our work cut out for us.
We held our Quarterly strategy meeting on Feb 22nd and out of that meeting (and subsequent discussions that followed) we’re implementing some major changes around here:
1. Selling Our Outsourcing Company
You might have noticed that we listed our outsourcing company for sale in March and even published a podcast talking about it. Inspired by Andrew Youderian’s public sale of his business, we thought it would be interesting to do something similar here. If we’re going to be publicly listing/selling other people’s businesses we thought it would be appropriate to put ourselves through the gauntlet as well.
It’s interesting being on the seller’s side and brokering our own deal. It’s much more nerve-wracking when it’s your company on the line!
This isn’t a traditional website sale and I’d imagine the process will be a bit more drawn out, even after we’ve inked the deal. Still, getting this off our plate in 2014 so that we can double down on Empire Flippers is a priority. If we’re not actively running and driving our outsourcing company forward it’s time to offer it up and give someone else a shot at building it out further.
2. Rebrand/Redesign Of Empire Flippers
As we move up the value chain we’re attracting buyers/sellers that have never heard of us before.
As part of our outreach in attracting new sellers and buyers to our marketplace (and our brand) we’ve come across a problem:
We don’t look as great as we’d like at first glance.
As we move up the value chain we’re attracting buyers/sellers that have never heard of us before. It’s important that they don’t discount us before they’ve even had a chance to read our content, listen to our podcast, etc. If we’re going to be the best in the world at what we do we’re going to look/feel the part as we continue to grow.
No, we’re not going to start hiding behind some corporate curtain or pretending to be people we’re not, but if we’re going to scale our marketing efforts we have to do a better job of retaining the traffic we do get – especially if that traffic is turned off based on a 10-second initial impression.
We’re devoting a ton of money and man-hours to this over the next few months and we’re really looking forward to the outcome. (There’s a TON of work in front of us here though…ugh)
3. Cutting Back Support And Content On Niche Site Creation
We’ll likely be turning down short-term cash to focus on our long-term vision.
We will likely include less content about building sites from scratch, significant changes to our Products & Services, and cutting down our support team and website builders to a small, core team used mostly for internal testing.
This isn’t an easy decision. There’s quite a bit of money to be made in building profitable sites from scratch and we’ll likely be turning down short-term cash to focus on our long-term vision.
That being said, our focus will turn to purchasing sites for ourselves and supporting others who are building out larger, established sites. We’re better off leveraging our team with more valuable and profitable sites than building sites out from scratch.
While we believe building niche sites is a great way to get started on your entrepreneurial journey, it’s a much smaller part of what we do today. There are plenty of others out there building sites from scratch and we see our role as supporting them as they grow and expand their own empires.
Need some niche site inspiration? Check out our friends:
Spencer Haws @ Niche Pursuits
Tung Tran @ Cloud Living
Jon Haver @ Authority Website Income
Josh & Jill @ Screw The Nine To Five
Larry Deane @ Side Income Blogging
Adam Roseland @ Niche Site U
Matthew Allen @ Dumb Passive Income
Alright, let’s start digging into February’s numbers:
We stepped it up a bit in terms of traffic, pulling in 20,831 visits in February:
Here’s a look at our top content pages for the month:
Here’s a look at our top referral sources and their email subscriber conversions for the month:
The mentions on Niche Pursuits really helps and the higher email conversions makes sense. Getting honest recommendations from others in a related space is a great way to share audience, grow together, etc.
Podcast & Email Audience
Podcast downloads dropped a bit to 13,063 total.
We broke the 400K mark for total downloads in February – sweet! We’ve got quite a few podcast interviews coming up and in the queue. We’ll try to balance out the interviews by doing them every other week.
Our Contact Records are up to 14,047 as of February 28th.
You’ve probably noticed some colors, designs, and headlines changing around lately. That’s because we’ve been continuing to work on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to increase our opt-ins.
Vincent has done a great job at testing different opt-in boxes, designs, copy, etc. In February, he and a copywriter we brought on improved sidebar opt-ins by 127%, homepage opt-ins by 34.96%, and Marketplace opt-ins by 82%.
Here’s a peek at our AdSense earnings for February 2014:
Not much has changed here and building out our own sites hasn’t been our focus. Our roadmap calls for a website purchase by the end of Q1, although I haven’t yet had the time to shop around and find a site I’d like to buy. If I do end up picking up a site in March I’ll report on this in next month’s report.
Products & Services
We brought in a total of $5,676.00 in February, which is just slightly down from the previous month. Most of these purchases were through Empire Starter Packs and sellers looking to broker their sites through us. We’ll likely be adding some additional products in March/April to better match the services we’ll offer moving forward.
We had another strong month in February, selling a total of $76,326.73 worth of sites for the month totaling $11,448.29 worth of revenue for us. We’re still hitting our goals for the month/quarter and we continue to have more buyers than we do quality sites for sale.
One of the more challenging issues with brokering sites is ensuring they are a high enough quality to be listed on our site. We ran across several borderline sites in February that looked fine in some areas, but we weren’t able to prove or verify some of the data in others and we had to pass on the listings. It’s unfortunate, but we know this level of scrutiny will benefit us, our buyers, and our sellers in the long run.
IntelliTheme brought in $194.00 and WP Rank Tracker brought in $94.00 for the month. Our affiliate revenue came out to $704.87, with most of that coming through Long Tail Pro sales.
Most of our software and/or web app projects are on hold behind the redesign, but I am meeting with a programmer in late March to see if we can knock out the website valuation tool in a day. All of the math was already completed in a spreadsheet – we just have to get it the web version up and running.
Our outsourcing revenue remained steady, bringing in $28,427.99 for the month of February.
We’ve had some interesting leads come in with this business for sale, but all are still in the preliminary stages of discovery and due diligence. Offering 5% of the sale has really helped get the word out, bringing in more than 100+ shares on social media.
We’re happy with how February turned out, but we’re going to have to turn up the heat throughout the rest of the year to hit our goals. We’re really going to be doubling down here – dropping other revenue streams to focus on the one we believe provides the most opportunity for our business.
We’ll see how it all plays out!
February 2014 Business Data:
- Employees: 40
- Interns: 1
- Contractors: 2
- Contact Records: 14,047 (As of 2/28)
- Email Subscribers: 7,764 (As of 2/28)
- Site Visits: 20,731
- AdSense: $917.17
- Site Sales: $0.00
- Products/Services: $5,676.00
- Brokered Sites: $11,448.29 ($76,326.73 in vetted sites sold)
- IntelliTheme: $194.00
- WPRankTracker: $94.00
- Affiliate: $704.87
- Building A Niche Site Empire Guide (via Amazon sales): $147.98
- NicheSiteGold: $49.00
- Outsourcing: $28,427.99
- Consulting: $0.00
So…what do you think? Did any of this give you ideas to help you grow your business? How does this compare to your business and what you’re working on? We’d love to hear your thoughts – please leave a comment below!