Transitioning From Unemployment to Full-Time Website Flipper
I am sure you are well aware of the real-estate flipping industry, where savvy-investors either build houses from scratch and sell them for a profit or find houses that need a bit of work, fix them up and sell them for a higher price. This similar strategy can also be very lucrative with online businesses and websites.
We have a great story to share about a very successful website flipper, Shawna Newman.
Before the 2008 recession, Shawna was working as a financial analyst for Warner Bros. in Los Angeles. Though she “dabbled” in the online world, she felt content and secure in her corporate role.
However, the 2008 recession hit hard, and when Shawna found herself out of a job, she had to act quickly. One thing she knew for sure was that she didn’t want to return to a cubicle or continue to battle Los Angeles rush hour traffic, so she decided to turn website flipping into a full-time career.
From AdSense Dabbler to Empire Builder
Though Shawna had some experience making money online, she admits that, at the time, she wasn’t an expert. She explains, “There’s a lot of information online, so it’s hard to know where to start.… It’s a lot of trial and error, figuring out on your own what actually works and what doesn’t.”
When Shawna lost her Warner Bros. job, she decided to go all-in on her side hustle of building Made for AdSense websites, which she was able to use as a foundation. If you’re unfamiliar with this business model, a Made for AdSense site (also called an MFA) is explicitly designed to generate advertising revenue from AdSense.
These websites attract organic traffic from Google searches for one keyword or a group of keywords. When the user clicks on an ad on a Made for AdSense site, Google collects the revenue from the advertiser and gives a portion of it to the site owner.
The amount of money that someone can earn from these sites varies greatly, but they’re generally easy to manage and can provide a reliable source of passive income. For Shawna, the money was attractive, and so was the freedom.
Though Shawna jokes that one of her favorite aspects of working online is wearing pajamas all day, she says she appreciates “the freedom of being able to work when I want.” She also likes the idea of being able to travel at any time. When she’s traveling, she has the flexibility to decide whether or not she wants to work during her trip. “You can’t do that when you have a cubicle job.”
Picking the Right Time to Sell
As an avid traveler, Shawna wanted to take a trip around the world, and she didn’t want to worry about having funds or needing to work to secure cashflow. It was then that she decided to sell her first site with us. She was familiar with our mission and capabilities from our early days as the “AdSense Flippers,” and she’s been working with us ever since.
When selling a site, Shawna uses our valuation tool to get an accurate valuation and decide if it’s the right time to sell. She says, “The valuation tool is really easy to use. It gives you a range, so you have kind of a rough idea of what you can get [for your business]. They’re transparent about it, too.”
She points to the validity of this tool in helping decide whether it’s the right time to sell your business or if you should hold onto it longer. The hardest part for her is “wondering if you’re going to regret selling it if you see down the road that the new owner has really grown it.”
Despite the uncertainty of timing your exit date, Shawna says if you’re hesitant about your next steps, “Just do it. I have never regretted selling any of my sites, but I have regretted holding on to something that I had considered selling in the past.”
Selling Direct vs. Working With a Broker
As a veteran seller, Shawna has tried a variety of methods to sell businesses. She’s used other brokers, and she has sold privately as well, including on Facebook groups. “I keep going back to Empire Flippers, and my most recent experience has definitely been the best so far.” She acknowledges that both the buyer and seller are represented equally, and says, “Even though they work for both the seller and the buyer, I really feel like they have my back.”
Shawna has also been able to hand off her sites smoothly, helping buyers feel confident in their purchase. She says, “One way they [Empire Flippers] stand out from other brokers is that they take care of transferring the site for you when the deal is ready to be done…I’ve sold with other brokers, where the buyer and I have to figure it out on our own.”
Today, Shawna lives in Amsterdam and continues to work with us to sell multiple of her online businesses for more than six-figures. You can follow Shawna’s journey on her blog here and learn more about her website flipping successes.
Ready to see what your business could be worth? Try our valuation tool for free! Or, schedule an exit planning call with us to make sure you maximize the profit you get when you decide to sell.