RMRB 38: Running a Hands-Off Amazon Associates Business

RMRB 38: Running a Hands-Off Amazon Associates Site

Jake Davis Jake Davis April 30, 2019

Jake spoke with Joseph about his affiliate and Amazon Associates business that is making over $5k/month in net profit. The WordPress site provides information about a very popular beverage. His business has year-on-year growth, a strong social presence, and requires minimal work to maintain.

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Check Out This Week’s Episode:

Speaker 1:
What if you could cut through the noise in the online business world and learn from someone who is built a real business? We verified the numbers and combed through the PNL. This is not only a real business, but a real asset that people want to buy. We’re going to pull the curtain back and give you the insights this entrepreneur has discovered that you can use to level up your knowledge, whether you’re looking to buy a business or looking for inspiration to take you current business to the next level.

Speaker 1:
Hey listeners. Welcome back to the Real Money Real Business podcast.

Speaker 1:
Hey listener. Welcome back to the Real Money Real Business podcast. This week, I’m going to speak with Joseph about his affiliate and Amazon associates business created in July 2014. The business is making over $5,000 per month in net profit and requires very minimal work from Joseph, the owner. Thank you for taking the time to be on here with me today Joseph. How are you doing?

Speaker 2:
Doing real good. Thank you.

Speaker 1:
Fantastic. Well, I’m very excited to have you on here and very interesting fact about this business is you’ve seen tremendous growth in the last few months, and I’m really excited to talk about that. Before we get to the questions that I have for you, I want to go ahead and run through a little quick summary of the business. Again, it was built in August of 2014. Has a monthly revenue of $5,334. Expenses of $65 to make for a net profit of $5,269, which is generated on a 12 month average. Included in the sale of this business are the domain, all site content and files and social media accounts. Joseph, can you tell us a little bit about your background in building and running online businesses?

Speaker 2:
Yeah. I’ve been doing it for about nine years. All the online businesses I’ve ever messed around with or gotten involved with have been affiliate based. This is, I guess, would be my bread and butter. I like to build Amazon sites. I like to build non Amazon sites. The site that we’re selling right now is typical of what I’m usually doing to make my own income.

Speaker 1:
When you look at this business, did you start it? Did you purchase it? What’s the story here?

Speaker 2:
Yeah. I bought it from you guys. I bought it almost exactly one year ago.

Speaker 1:
Since then, you’ve seen tremendous growth like I mentioned. Can you kind of walk me through the transformation you’ve put this business through and how you’ve really grown it?

Speaker 2:
Yeah. I guess, when we first got our hands on it, there was some technical issues with the site. It was a little bit slow, some monetization problems as well. A little of the design was a little bit clunky there too. So, we just did what we’d normally do and just put it through the process and make sure everything’s tightened up and looking good there and started rolling out a content plan. The content plan just basically focused on doing what’s called like a content gap analysis where you compared the keywords that you’re covering on your site versus other competitors in the niche. By doing so, we found there’s a lot of key word left on the table that hadn’t been covered yet. So, we rolled out the content plan and eventually, that started to take hold. Did some link building as well. It was a slow start when we first got a hold of it. I would say about three months it just didn’t do anything, maybe even decreased traffic. After a little bit, the hard work paid off, and it started to get that nice linear, sometimes exponential growth.

Speaker 1:
Now, here you are and you’re selling the business. Was it always your plan to purchase it, grow it and then flip it?

Speaker 2:
Yeah. That’s the business model pretty much. We will either build or buy sites, hold onto them and then when we feel like it’s the right time or in this case, we’re just kind of overloaded with too many projects.

Speaker 1:
Time to offload some.

Speaker 2:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Speaker 1:
Can you walk me through the day to day for the site? What does it take for you, the owner, to run it?

Speaker 2:
Yes. As of now, it’s pretty hands off. Basically, it involves monitoring the niche, and we have a couple softwares that we use to monitor new keywords that are coming out. Ahrefs is one of them, and we use mention.com and Google alerts to just find out if there’s new products coming out in the niche or new trends or new topis that are coming out that have never been talked about before.

Speaker 2:
One of the real cool things about the niche is that it’s trending a lot. Once you see the domain name and take a look at it, you’ll notice, Oh yeah. That is trending. Just in my own town, it’s blowing up. There’s new stuff coming out all of the time so, we had these automated tools and systems to make sure we’re notified as soon as something comes out, so we can search the right content as soon as we find something. I would say if something new comes out that week, maybe like five minutes just to monitor and just check to see if anything came in, but after that, if something new came out, then it involves writing the content or getting it written, getting some help with that and then posting it up on the site.

Speaker 2:
Other than that, maybe… We haven’t done link building for a while because it’s starting to get natural links coming in. At this point in time, it’s really, really hands off. There’s not much going on with it. We’re literally spending less than half an hour, maybe an hour tops per week. That said, there’s a lot of opportunity we just found out with this site. There’s what we like to call a shoulder niche that’s very similar to the one that we already talked about on the site that we wrote an experimental piece of content on, just putting our foot in the water and seeing if it stuck, maybe we can get a key word of page five or something. We would see like, “Okay. It’s not within our topic to talk about this.” But, it turns out for the hardest key word possible in this shoulder nice, we are on page one now. While there isn’t that much work to do right now, if the site doesn’t sell, and we’re going to expand into the niche, yeah, there’s a lot of work. There’s an entire new shoulder niche to get into and build content for and monetize.

Speaker 1:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Are you the one writing the content or do you have a writer?

Speaker 2:
Most of the time it’s us writing the content. When I say us, I mean me and my business partner. I’m just speaking on his behalf. We have outsourced content in the past. We just don’t find a need right now because it’s really not that much work.

Speaker 1:
You mentioned that whenever a new keyword comes out ut in the niche, you go ahead, and you write content for it. Is that all you do for the site? I know you also have social media accounts. Are those being utilized?

Speaker 2:
Not well. They do have big social media accounts. I think the Facebook is a fairly big size. The Pinterest is too. We just don’t know how to really do it so, we’re not doing much with that. There’s also an email list that’s starting to grow, but that’s automation too. The emails are collected through an email opt in. We give out a free se-book with some stuff that has to do with the niche. Then, people opt in for that se-book and then they download the se-book and then they get a follow out series after that, but that’s completely automated. It really is just content, answering like back link requests or anytime we get a back link, there might be some communication involved in that, but otherwise, yeah, that’s really it.

Speaker 1:
Can you walk me through the Amazon associates model for someone who’s listening and may not be familiar with how it works?

Speaker 2:
Yeah. Absolutely. Amazon associates model, at least with affiliate SEO, basically involved getting some traffic to a webpage and typically reviewing products. So, maybe making a top five blank list that reviews the best blanks in the world, and you make a top five and then, when people click on the links that go to more information for these products, that will be an affiliate link, and the reader would get a cookie in their browser. If they end up buying that thing, then you take a cut. Typically, 48% on Amazon.

Speaker 1:
Hey listeners. Do you want to find a business that is just right for you? Head on over to Empire Flippers and have a look at our marketplace where you can see real businesses making real money, just like the one we’re looking at today. In fact, don’t miss out. Head over now, share your email address and we’ll send you hot, fresh, new listings of successful businesses every week to your inbox. Now back to the interview.

Speaker 1:
What are some of the major opportunities for growth that you see for this business? What would you focus on if you were to keep it?

Speaker 2:
It’s a great passive income model.

Speaker 1:
So you kind of hit the word there that I was looking for, it’s a passive income model. So, if you wanted to invest a little more time, make it a little less passive, but grow the business, what do you think the big opportunities for growth are here?

Speaker 2:
Absolutely number one is to build out the shoulder niche. The shoulder niche is potentially, I would say, a lot bigger than the actual niche of the site. So, the site has the room to expand and probably even double in size. If you want to go active, that’s the first thing that I would do and that’s on our to do list anyways, to grow the site anyways while it’s listed. In addition to that, like what you had als touched upon, there’s a lot left on the table. At least in the realm of the social media stuff and I know a lot of people are active on Pinterest and Instagram and this niche we just had, it’s outside of our wheel house. We just don’t know what to do with it.

Speaker 2:
In addition to that, i could say there’s info products available on the niche, but we’ve tried promoting some of them, so they don’t convert that well. So, I’d probably skip going down that route. Then, also an actual opportunity would be conversion rate optimization. I think we’re decent at it, but we’re not experts, so maybe one can give a split testing, and you know, in trying conversion and testing new things out, could probably make some gains there.

Speaker 1:
In regards to opportunities, you also need to look at risks for the future. Do you feel like there are any risks with this business that a new owner should be aware of?

Speaker 2:
Well, I mean, like anything that is basing its traffic off of Google, Google can be finicky, so I guess that is volatile so to speak. That said, the site is completely compliant to Google terms of service. So, if we were ranking this website in terms of risk compared to other sites on the internet, it’s probably one of the safest possible. And we had tried to combat that with having email traffic, and the email list it’s building, and I guess social media could combat that and diversify the traffic, but that said, yeah I guess it would just be the fact that most of traffic’s from Google.

Speaker 1:
You had a lot of sites as you mentioned at the start of this interview here, as kind of your whole business model, but when looking at this particular site, did anything happen where you learned something that you’re going to take away and apply to future sites that you own?

Speaker 2:
Absolutely. I mean, one thing about this site is that it’s got a nice baseline level of traffic and a nice, I would say, month to month, the income is really, really nice, but in the Christmas season, this site really blows up, and we had though you know, we’ll make a little bit more extra money, but there was quite a significant Christmas presence that comes along with this site. So, i would say before this, we were kind of shying away from season niches, but after this experience, we love them. We absolutely love them.

Speaker 1:
Do you have any advice to give someone who is listening and wants to get started with their own Amazon associates site after hearing you speak here, but don’t know where to begin. What’s the biggest takeaway you would have for them?

Speaker 2:
I mean, this is my biggest piece of advice would be as much as you read, as much as you research about this stuff, the only real education you will get in it is by actually trying and experimenting around with the website, just getting your hands dirty. I’ve seen it over and over again with my family members, friends, and stuff like that. They have analysis paralysis, and they try to get everything in their heads and mapped out perfectly, but it doesn’t go to plan. I think it was really just about having that experience and just trying and just trying different things out and seeing what it’s really like with your own eyes.

Speaker 1:
Would you commit to a non compete?

Speaker 2:
Absolutely.

Speaker 1:
How much support are you willing to offer a new owner during the transition period?

Speaker 2:
You know, we can offer email support for 60 days, a couple Skype days. That’s perfectly fine.

Speaker 1:
Are you open to negotiating on something like an earn out?

Speaker 2:
For this sale price, I’m open to discussing it. In all actuality, probably not. It’s not that much in the grand scheme.

Speaker 1:
Awesome, Joseph. Thank you very much for taking the time with me today. My final question, you have a history of buying and selling sites yourself and just several months ago, you were looking at this site as a buyer yourself and now it has grown tremendous. So, looking at business as it currently is today, if you were a potential buyer, why would you fell like it is an asset worth buying?

Speaker 2:
The steady growth has the absolutely right trajectory. I mean, it’s starting to grow even faster than the rate has been before. We’re getting into these exponential curves. So, the trajectory is there even if you didn’t do anything, it’s going to grow with the way it’s going. On top of that, I have to say hands down, the fact that the site can be expanded into a shoulder niche that’s potentially bigger than the one that already exists is absolutely huge.

Speaker 1:
Awesome. Thank you again very much for taking the time with me today. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 1:
You just learned how this business works, and I want to give you the opportunity to learn about what you can do to buy real online businesses just like this one. If you want to find out more about businesses making real money, head over to empireflippers.com and sign up for our mailing list. There is an entire world of people quietly investing their money into online businesses and seeing great returns. Now, we want to help you do the same thing.

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