Our Monthly Report – September 2014

Justin Cooke Justin Cooke November 10, 2014

Our Monthly Report - September 2014

Welcome to our Monthly Business Report for September 2014.

September marked the first month of my “location independent” journey and also turned into our best month ever in sales with more than $260K of websites sold. We’ll be going through all of the details for you below – thanks in advance for following along.

We hope this report both inspires and encourages you as you build your online empire.

Executive Summary

We couldn’t be happier with how our sales turned out in September, especially considering our decreased costs after selling our outsourcing company and side projects.

Here’s a look at all of our revenue streams over time:

Chart All Revenue Sep 2014

And those same revenue streams without the outsourcing company included:

Chart Revenue No Outsourcing Sep 2014

September 2014

Business Data:
Employees: 9
Apprentice: 1
Contractors: 2
Contact Records: 20,081 (+1,327 from previous month)
Email Subscribers: 12,178 (+997)
Site Visits: 33,010 (+5,557)


Brokered Site Sales: $266,741.38 (+$113,458.17)
Brokered Site Earnings: $41,652.97 (+$19,536.83)
Listing Fees: $2,010.00 (-$851.00)
Our Built Sites Sold: $0.00 (-$20,850.00)
Outsourcing: $10,000.00 (+$10,000.00)
Additional Revenue: $2,161.49 = ($109.74 AdSense) ($1,500 other) ($483.45 affiliate) ($68.30 niche guide)

TOTAL Revenue: $55,824.46 (+$7,036.17)

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Monthly Revenue

Alright – let’s dig into those numbers to better understand how the month shaped out.

Brokered Site Revenue

September was our best month ever at $266,741.38 in total website sales and much of this was due to simply having more inventory available. The success of our brokerage depends directly on having the right sites available for the right buyers at the right time. We’re looking to have our Q3/Q4 numbers averaging $200K per month or better, so this definitely puts us on the right track.

This puts our revenue on those sales at $41,652.97 – an improvement of nearly $20K over our previous month.

Our plans in October include us traveling around SE Asia and the US to meet more of our buyers and sellers in-person. Hopefully this will help us drum up new business and improve both the quantity and quality of inventory we have available on the marketplace.

Here’s a look at our all-time numbers for brokered websites:

Chart Marketplace Sales All Time

And a look at our month-by-month growth that led us here:

Chart Marketplace Sales Monthly

That puts us at nearly $1.2M in sales for 2014. We’ll fall short of our goal of $2M by the end of the year, but if we have a good month or two in Q4 we won’t be too far off the mark.

Website Listing Fees

We brought in a total of $2,010.00 worth of listing fees in September:

4 First-time listings @ $1,188.00
4 Repeat listings @ $388.00

Our listings dropped again in September, which isn’t great heading into October. Our focus on buyers and current listings for September paid off in terms of sales, but didn’t do much to set us up for success in the coming months. We’ll have to improve this considerably in October to finish out the year strong.

It’s also worth noting that seller submissions from the Dynamite Circle, the Drop Ship Lifestyle event, and our workshops are free…so we might end up with considerably more inventory and yet not see much improvement for listing fees.

If you’d like to hear more about how to list and sell your website with us, please click here.

Our Sites

We no longer have any major inventory of our own as we sold off our last websites in August. With no plan to add any new sites to our portfolio in the near future, I wouldn’t expect much additional revenue here in the coming months.

Additional Revenue

$2,161.49 = ($109.74 AdSense) ($1,500 other) ($483.45 affiliate) ($68.30 niche guide)

Most of our affiliate sales come from our Long Tail Pro discount. The additional revenue of $1,500 was from workshop tickets sold in September for our upcoming events.

Traffic and Audience

Here’s a peek at our blog traffic, podcast downloads, and email list to see how those helped us achieve our goals for the month.

Blog Traffic & Analytics

We saw added 5K more visitors in September, with a total of 33,010 visits.

GA overall Sep 2014

Much of that was due to our redesign – especially considering we haven’t done many blog posts on the site recently and we noticed some decrease in rankings for previously popular keywords on the site.

Here’s a look at our top pages for September:

Empire Marketplace

How It Works

Anatomy of a $16K Website Sale

GA Top Content Sep 2014

The bulk of our traffic went to the marketplace and individual website listings.

Here’s a look at our top referral sources and their email conversions for September:

GA Referrals Sep 2014

We’ve noticed (and expected) a drop in email conversions for all of our traffic. Our opt-in boxes are much more subtle than they were before. While they are less effective, we’re hoping that the quality of those submissions will be much higher. In terms of mass volume, we’re still achieving those subscribers through AfterOffers.

Podcast Downloads

We’ve been a bit flakier with consistently producing podcast episodes and our numbers dropped down another 3K or so to 14,927 downloads for the month.

Podcast Downloads Sep 2014

With our upcoming travel in October I’m expecting this to decline once again with a bit of a bounce back in November once we’re back on schedule.

Here’s a look at some of our older episodes that were popular in September:

EFP 103: Is Building Your Business in Southeast Asia a Liability?

EFP 100: Lessons Learned Building Million Dollar Empires

EFP 93: Killer Process For Profitable Website Purchases (With Justin Gilchrist)

EFP 70: Overcoming Entrepreneurial Self-Doubt, Insecurity, and Unrealistic Expectations

Emails & Contacts

Contact Records: 20,081 (+1,327 from previous month)
Email Subscribers: 12,178 (+997)

We broke 20K contact records in September, ending the month with a total of 20,081 – up 1,327 from the previous month.

OP Contact Records

We ended September with a total of 12,178 active email subscribers – up around 1K from the previous month. Sweet!

Customer Experience

The experience our customers have when doing business with us is important and part of the reason we track our successes and failures on this report. Going through the process of highlighting some of our successes and failures ensures that we’re looking the overall experience our customers are having and it gives us opportunities to improve that experience.

Zendesk Support

After working with our team in August, we’ve seen significant improvement in our numbers – especially our time to first reply.

Here’s a look at September numbers:

Zendesk Overall Sep 2014

Vs. August’s numbers:

Zendesk Overall Aug 2014

Our Marketplace Manager (Mike) has been working with them team and we’ve seen improvement across the board. It’s great to see them coming together. Their hard work in getting back on track is starting to pay off.

We still have a few tickets slipping through the cracks, though. I’d love to see us get our first reply time down even further with very few tickets more than 24 hours.

Customer Feedback

While positive comments outrank the negative comments by 4 to 1, I try to share a sample of both the positive and negative in these reports.

Here’s a look at feedback from a happy depositor:

Zendesk Feedback Depositor Happy

He didn’t end up purchasing from us this time around, but it looks like he was happy with what he saw and we’ll be happy to do business with him the next time around.

Here’s a quick write-up from a potential seller that we’re trying to get onboard:

Zendesk Feedback Seller Interested Happy

He had a few questions about the process and both our team and Joe were both able to reply to answer his questions.

They’re not always quite as smooth, though. Here’s feedback from a depositor that had to wait more than 24 hours to get a response from us:

Zendesk Feedback Depositor Unhappy

All caps? Ouch! The worst part is that, if that’s a smaller, sub-$10K site, it’s likely the site had sold by the time we were able to share the info with him anyway. We’ve heard from more than one depositor how frustrating that can be. I can appreciate that, but from our perspective there’s value in having them snatched up quickly, too.

Here’s an “unhappy” ticket from a seller that was just trying to give us some feedback:

Zendesk Feedback Seller Unhappy

He makes a good point. Even though we have blog posts, pages, and podcasts that talk about the process, not every seller that submits his site will know or have looked at that information. A quick email that outlines the steps would be helpful, I think.

Case Studies & Interviews

We did get a bit of love in September from others around the web that I wanted to highlight (and thank):

3rd party look at our branding/design changes over at BrandingCow.com

Blog interview with Stuart over at NicheHacks.com

Listed on the speakers page for the Rhodium Weekend event in Las Vegas.

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What We’re Working On

We spent the majority of September focused on closing the deals that are in our pipeline and working directly with our buyers/sellers.

We have a ton of things planned in October including the Drop Ship Lifestyle event in Chiang Mai, the DC meetup in Bangkok, and the Rhodium Weekend event in Las Vegas – not to mention all of the workshops we’ll be doing in-between.

On a personal note – I finally went the “location independent” route. I sold all my stuff and left the Philippines for Chiang Mai. I’ll be running around in October attending a bunch of events, heading back to Bangkok for most of November, and finally making my way over to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam on November 20th. Joe will likely be heading out there as well and bringing our apprentice Mike with him.

We’ll be looking to significantly increase our inventory in October so that we can finish the year strong in Nov/Dec. We’ve noticed that Dec 10th – Jan 15th is pretty useless, so we’ll have to really push it before then to finish out the year strong and prepare for an even better 2015.

That’s it for this month’s report – thank you for checking it out! I hope you got some value out of it – please share if that’s the case:

“New – Monthly Business Report for September 2014 from the @empireflippers!” – Tweet This!

So how did your September shape up? Let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!

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Leave a comment
  1. Great income report.

    This income report is late, why?


    Thanks for updating us.

    Take care and have a nice day ahead.

    -Oloyede Jamiu

  2. Loving the new design and glad September was a good month for you.

    Thanks for the mention. Was a pleasure to interview you.

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