Interview with Online Investment Expert Jeff Hunt

Interview with Online Investment Expert Jeff Hunt

We caught up with website investor and internet marketer Jeff Hunt this week. In the interview below, Jeff shares his experiences around becoming an entrepreneur, his favourite monetization methods and growing his own website portfolio.

What was your background before you started operating in the website/online business space and how did you make the switch to being your own boss?

I worked for IBM as a Project Executive, operating 9-figure outsourcing deals for Fortune 100 companies. Then I took a totally opposite direction moving my family to a small central Asian country where we served students and families in a humanitarian role.

While overseas I started some small businesses that needed websites, so I got my feet wet in the internet world for the first time. Soon I discovered that websites were not just marketing channels for brick and mortar businesses but could actually be income-generating businesses in their own right.

Seven years later when we moved back to the United States I had started generating cash flow from my websites. I decided not to reenter the corporate world, and instead to grow my online portfolio primarily through buying websites.

What prompted you to make the jump?

When I bought my first successful website – Note: my first website purchase was NOT successful – I discovered I could make a couple of thousand dollars a month from a relatively simple online business.

I didn’t know exactly how to do it at the time, but I knew that if I could make $2K per month, I could probably grow that to $10K per month. That was the magic moment that convinced me it was possible to do this full time.

What does a typical day look like for an online business investor?

I think it is different for everyone but I start every day at Panera Bread which is a coffee shop/bakery about a mile from my home.  I work from my laptop and sometimes I stay there all day, but usually, I hang out in the morning and work from my home office in the afternoon.

I don’t have an official office because I use freelancers to do all the day-to-day operational tasks. Although I’ve had websites using almost every business model, I tend to focus on content websites that are more passive.

Depending on the phase, there can be plenty of work to do, but it is almost never urgent. That gives me the flexibility to take days or even weeks off to do non-business projects. It also lets me meet with friends, family and other entrepreneurs any time during the day that they are available.

When did you first discover Flippa?

My Flippa profile says I made a purchase 9 years ago. I probably had an account before that.

What is your favourite monetization method?

I love non-transactional monetization because it doesn’t require customer service or personal selling. Display ads, lead generation and affiliate monetization methods fit these criteria.

I’ve done dropship, FBA, SaaS, eCommerce for digital products and straight services business. All have pros and cons.

What are the first three things you look for on a website?

I start with the fundamentals.

Traffic and income graphs should be flat or going up. If there are peaks and valleys, there should be good explanations for those. Age and consistency are important.

I look for inappropriate concentrations. Too much traffic from one source, too high a percentage of traffic landing on one page, too much traffic from the wrong geographies, an unusual mix of device types, concentrations of expense or revenue – all of these are potential negative signals.

There needs to be a well defined and understandable process for customer acquisition. If I don’t understand a repeatable process for getting traffic or customers, I back away.

Why do you buy websites?

I try to identify opportunities that have the potential to be held for the long term. Occasionally something will turn up that is riskier but has some strong upside potential. These deals have to come at a lower multiple to offset the risk. They typically either do well and lend themselves toward a flip, or don’t do well and hopefully at least pay for themselves before going to zero.

What are the steps you take to grow websites that you’ve recently purchased?

The quickest wins are usually in the financial realm. On the revenue side, adding entirely new monetization sources using existing traffic usually increases revenue by more than it cannibalizes. A classic example is adding display ads to a site that is monetized only with affiliate links.

You can also easily increase revenue by patching holes in the funnel. Adding upsells and downsells, optimizing conversion rates, making additional touch points to prospects and following up with existing customers can all yield revenue growth.

Another financial move is eliminating or reducing expenses. Business owners often spend money on non-critical functions or overspend on basics like webhosting or freelancer support.

Traffic improvements often take more time. Basic on-site SEO improvements can sometimes result in substantial traffic growth. Things like site speed, title optimization, heading optimization, and content updates make a difference.

How did you learn how to run and operate a website?

I learn from anywhere I can. The basics of WordPress and setting up a website were all self-taught. But I’ve taken many courses over the years to learn methods and systems. I’ve also hired coaches along the way and pay for membership in high-level mastermind groups. Spending money on mentoring and networking can help you focus and speed up success.

You’ve been focusing a lot more on teaching and coaching recently, even writing a few articles for us talking about website multiples and another discussing how to make one of your website investments passive. Do you still actively buy and sell websites or is most of your time spent helping others acquire and grow their own portfolios?

The vast majority of my time, energy and resources is spent on growing my own website portfolio. I negotiated the sale of two of my sites this morning. While I really enjoying teaching and coaching, my main focus is on growing the value of my website assets for an eventual exit.

You also have several courses and webinars over at FlipMinds. Can you tell us more about what Flipminds is?

Flipminds is a community of entrepreneurs that Sunil Jaiswal has developed over a period of more than 10 years. They are investors in property, traditional business and online businesses.

In the early days, most of the group were property investors. As online real estate became more compelling, I joined the Flipminds team to help train entrepreneurs on how to develop cash flowing assets in the world of web businesses.

Now we have an active member community, mentoring resources and training in topics like paths to Financial Freedom, Website Investing, Property Investing, Online Business and Content Website creation.

When it comes to making mistakes when buying websites, what’s one thing you wish you knew sooner?

It is natural to think that putting less capital at risk is safer than putting more capital at risk. That would be true if all businesses had the same intrinsic risk profile.

But the truth is that older, more established, higher quality online businesses are much safer investments than their less expensive but lower quality counterparts. So I would have avoided many mistakes simply by focusing on businesses with better fundamentals.

That is not to say that it is impossible to find good websites at lower price points. It is also not to say that all, or even most, larger online businesses are low risk. That isn’t true. Even very high-income sites can have attributes that make them bad bets. Websites generally have high ROIs and with those ROIs come risks that have to be accounted for and mitigated.

Compared to 5 years ago, is it easier or more difficult to find a deal when looking for a website? How does the future look for this?

It is more challenging to find underpriced deals today than it was 5 years ago. There are more buyers now and the buyer community is better educated and has more resources for making informed investment decisions.

Additionally, price levels are going up. Multiples are growing not only because more buyers are entering the market but also because website assets have attracted the interest of private equity groups, larger private investors and institutional investors.

Despite the fact that big-money investors have entered the fray, there will continue to be opportunities for buyers and sellers at every price point because there is a market for websites at every stage of size and maturity.

As technology evolves, online apps take on different forms, adapting to a variety of devices and platforms. This creates new business models, new niches and new ways to deliver online solutions that will continue to create opportunities for anyone willing to master a little corner of the market.

I am very optimistic about the marketplace for online business. Economies grow by increasing the productivity of their workforces and websites and internet technologies are key elements of that productivity growth.

 

If you want to learn more about buying an online business, you can sign up for Jeff’s free training course via Flippa here.

Jeff Hunt is an internet investor,  marketer and website owner. He actively buys and grows websites with the intent of creating multiple passive income streams, and enjoys capitalizing on internet opportunities to help others to do the same. You can learn more about Jeff and his courses here.


Seller Showcase: Madeleine Saric Dubleup – eCommerce Business for Sale on Flippa

Seller Showcase: Madeleine Saric Dubleup – eCommerce Business for Sale on Flippa

This week we spoke with Madeleine Saric, owner of Dubleup business which is currently for sale on Flippa. Here are some highlights from our conversation with her.

Can you introduce us to Dubleup and tell us how it all got started?

So Dubleup is on an online e-commerce platform and we sell tech accessories for Apple and Android products, phones, tablets, watches. Everything is on there that you can imagine, from power banks to cables and cases. The list goes on.

 

Your top seller is the credit card power bank charger, so tell us a little bit more about this?

I developed the worlds smallest power bank. It is the size of a credit card and fits into the credit card slot of your wallet. It is essentially designed to give that extra bit of charge for when you are out. That was the idea behind it, I did travel a lot and didn’t need the chunky power bank, I just needed a little bit of extra charge.

 

Let’s us back up a little bit, who are you and how did all of this come about?

I’m Madeline Saric and this came about when I was doing an internship overseas and the boss I had told me, ‘start something when you are young and you won’t regret it’. So I came back to Australia and whilst I was still studying I came up with the designs for the power bank. Working at Apple, I came to understand what consumers wanted and what was missing from the market. This is what led to the evolution of Dubleup and this small power bank. From there I started working with teams in China, R&D and engineers and coming up with the final product which is the power bank.

 

Approximately how many units of this product have you sold into the market?

Apple and Android combined we have sold tens of thousands. Apple is obviously a lot more successful and we have Apple certification as well so it is approved by Apple and supports any products that they sell.

 

Looking at your business, what is there for a potential buyer to take over?

At the moment most of the operations are outsourced, marketing, production, manufacturing etc. You as a purchaser for the business would just simply use your laptop and your phone to run the business. Everything is produced and manufactured in China. It’s a very self-sustaining business with a huge opportunity for growth in terms of building new products and investing in marketing to grow the business. You could get the product into brick and water stores and also grow the online store

 

Do you own the brand and have the ability to continue with manufacturing in China?

Yes and definitely.

 

Why are you selling Dubleup?

The first reason is that I wanted to build a business, get it to a stage where I could sell it and differentiate myself from other people. The second reason is I’m a firm believer in doing something that you absolutely love and are passionate about and as much as I love technology, I’ve lost the passion for it.

 

 

 

Madeleine Saric is the founder of eCommerce electronics business Dubleup, which is currently for sale on Flippa.

Flippa Account Management

Flippa Account Management

Flippa Account Management

Account management at Flippa is our way of helping sellers find the right buyers. Our team of account managers work directly with our users to ensure that they have the best chance of selling their website. If you’re looking to sell a website, app, Amazon FBA business, or Shopify store on Flippa, our Account Management team will be there to help you close the deal.

What assets qualify for Account Management?

For starters, nearly all assets managed through Account Management end up being promoted through Editors’ Choice on Flippa. Typically, these are high-quality, stable, and profitable businesses. To get an idea for what kind of businesses we represent it is recommended that those who are interested take a quick browse through Editors’ Choice section.

Account Management criteria

The basic criteria for determining whether a business is suitable for Account Management at Flippa is whether we think the business can sell for more than $10,000 with our assistance. Typically, this means focusing on businesses generating $500 to $10,000+ monthly profit with at least 12 months of verified Google Analytics traffic.

Occasionally we bend our criteria a bit to accommodate businesses with some other major value. However, it should be mentioned that it is highly unlikely to take on a brand new business or Starter Site that is not yet driving traffic or revenue.

I’ve sold sites on my own before. Why should I use an Account Manager?

The benefits of using an account manager is that an account manager will work with you throughout each step of the process. If you are working with our Account Management team, you can expect to have an Account Manager assist you through every step of the sale.

Our team will help you:

  • Value the business and come up with realistic pricing expectations
  • Prepare your listing for sale and make it appealing to potential buyers
  • Optimize your listing so you get the best results on Flippa
  • Market your business through qualified 3rd-party buyer networks
  • Answer any questions you have throughout the auction process
  • Negotiate terms with potential buyers
  • Through the closing and escrow process to ensure a smooth transition

I’m interested in Account Management. How can I apply?

The easiest way to apply for Account Management is to request a free website valuation. Our Account Managers will review your submission and reach out requesting more information. Once we have collected a few more details, we’ll circle around with a valuation and sales strategy, as well as an offer for assistance if we determine that your business qualifies.

The other way to apply for Account Management is simply to create a Flippa listing. We have software in place that can identify websites likely to qualify for Account Management. If your website qualifies, one of our Account Managers will reach out and contact you via email, so make sure the email address associated with your Flippa account is up-to-date.


Have you worked with our account management team before? If so, comment below with your experience!

How to Sell a Shopify Site

How to Sell a Shopify Site

With the number of Shopify stores being bought and sold on Flippa growing rapidly, we’ve gone ahead and made it easier than ever to sell your Shopify store!

The demand for Shopify stores has increased drastically, so much so, that we’ve made it easier than ever for buyers to find the hottest Shopify stores for sale on Flippa with the launch of our Shopify marketplace. This new marketplace brings increased visibility for Shopify stores, allowing sellers to easily reach over 1 million Flippa users.

Why Sell Your Shopify Store?

There are plenty of reasons why people sell their online businesses, but the most common reasons are that owners don’t have the time to run their business, or are looking to sell the business to invest in a new business opportunity or help put a down payment on something big (like a house or car).

Setting Up Your Auction

Once you’re ready to sell your Shopify store, simply go to Flippa.com/sell and select “Website”. From here, choose “eCommerce” and then “Shopify”. Our listing builder will walk you through the rest!

How much does it cost?

A Shopify listing costs the same as a normal website auction. $9 for a classified listing and $29 for the standard auction.

What information should I provide?

When creating your listing, it is important to provide as much information by being as thorough as possible. This includes going into detail on every aspect of the business, including operations, revenue, and traffic.

If you have Google Analytics installed on your site, verifying traffic is simple! During the process of creating your listing, you will be prompted to use our Google Analytics API to automatically verify your traffic. If Google Analytics is not installed, you will need to look at your Shopify Analytics and manually input the data. It is recommended you take screenshots of your analytics if you are using Shopify Analytics.

Beyond that, it is important to take screenshots of your revenue, and make sure to factor in all the operating costs of running the business. Once you have inputted this information into the listing, don’t forget to upload these screenshots as attachments, so users can see the revenue for themselves.

For operations, we recommend outlining each activity with the time requirements and how this can be done. For example, if you spend 3 hours a week posting on the business’ social media account and 2 hours per week placing orders, your operations may look like this:

Hours of work per week: 5

Task 1: Social Media Posting (3 hours)

I spend about 3 hours per week scheduling posts on Instagram and Facebook. These posts typically outline any promotions that are going on, or any new products that have been added to the store.

Task 2: Placing Orders (2 hours)

This is done once a day and typically takes 15-30 minutes per day, depending on how many total orders are placed. All orders are fulfilled by a third party, so you just need to place the orders with them directly.

Once your listing is ready for launch, we recommend reviewing your auction and looking to see if you’ve missed any details that a buyer might want to know. The more information you have on your listing, the less questions you’ll be answering during the auction!

How much can I sell my Shopify store for?

If you’re unsure how much you can sell your Shopify business for, we’ve written a blog post that will help with just that:

How much is my website worth? Website valuations explained

How long does the auction process take?

We recommend setting your auction time to last for 10-14 days. This gives enough buyers to perform their due diligence on your asset and gives you time to answer any questions they may have. Once the reserve price has been met and your auction ends, typically sellers receive their payments in about one week’s time. This is dependent on how quickly you (the seller) can transfer over the ownership of the asset.

Auction Process: What to Expect?

Now that your Shopify listing is live, what can you expect the process to be like?

For starters, it’s important to treat everyone as if they will be the person buying your Shopify store. As with the listing process, try to answer any question as throughly as possible. By doing so, not only are buyers knowing what your store is like, but you also establish an excellent connection with them, increasing the trust. Since it’s likely you and the buyer have never met, trust can play a big factor on whether a user decided to buy an asset or not.

One great tip is if anyone asks a great question that wasn’t covered in your listing description, is to copy the question, and the answer, and paste it into the comments section below your listing. This will help you avoid answering the same question again, and let potential buyers know that you’re willing to go the extra step, which again, helps build trust.

Don’t forget, if you have spent a lot of time building your listing, I can promise that the amount of questions you receive will be much lower than some other listings!

Transferring Assets & Getting Paid

Rather than transferring assets and setting the site up on a new cPanel like you would a WordPress or PHP site, Shopify makes the process very simple to transfer assets to a new owner.

Note: Before transferring any assets to the new owner, either make sure the funds are in the Flippa Escrow account or you have received the funds via PayPal. If you have not received the funds or the funds are not in escrow, do not transfer any assets.

After verifying payment, the first step is to add the buyer as a staff member for the Shopify store. From there, you’ll need to navigate to the account tab under settings and make the user the account owner. Verify with the buyer that they have control of the account.

Now that he owns the website, you must then transfer the domain to his name. If you bought the domain through Shopify, you can do this through OpenSRS.

For OpenSRS, navigate from the ‘Manage your Domain’ menu and click on any of the following: Organization Contact, Admin Contact, or Billing Contact. Once there, put in the new owner’s information and select YES for admin contact, technical contact, and billing contact, then save it.

If the domain was registered through GoDaddy or any other domain provider, you’ll need to check with them directly on how to transfer the domain.

Now that the domain and website have been transferred to the new owner, it is time to get paid! Just make sure all social media accounts relating to the site have been transferred over as well. From here, the new owner just has to verify they received the assets, and the money is yours!


Do you have any experience on transferring Shopify stores? Leave a comment below with any tips or tricks you may know!

How to sell a business for $300,000 on Flippa

How to sell a business for $300,000 on Flippa

Today we catch up with online entrepreneur Jeff Taylor, CEO at Devise Media, to discuss his experience founding a successful web development company as well as his $300,000 sale of FightState.com on Flippa. This interview is a must-read if you’re thinking about selling a high-value content site.

Tell us about your background as web entrepreneur.

I became involved with digital marketing over 7 years ago. I had a great job as a Business Intelligence consultant, helping the public sector make intelligent business decisions based on their data. I was incredibly fortunate to have been given the chance by the owner of the company. It was a great 5 years, the money was excellent, but something was missing, I just wasn’t happy. I decided to risk it and follow what interested me the most, which was creating and building websites.

I quit with no guarantees of succeeding. I think every entrepreneur has probably faced this decision at some point. You can’t be halfway in. I started a Web Design firm that focused on building websites for local area businesses, and then from there expanded to providing digital exposure and marketing services for client websites. I soon realized that client work is like having hundreds of bosses; that’s when I made the push to create digital assets to earn revenue for myself.

What is your education/employment/career background?

College is expensive and I didn’t want to take out massive loans to get myself in serious debt, so I joined the U.S. Navy to pay for college. It was an amazing experience, I was able to travel the world, and learn so much about other cultures and countries. I still talk with a bunch of the people I served with. All amazing people. The irony of it all was the experience in the Navy and secret clearance was what got me hired and a strong job afterwards, not my education.

When did you begin building and buying web businesses?

I started building web businesses outside of clients 4 or 5 years ago. It’s been a rewarding experience. I’ve met so many great people. I’ve had some great partners. My partner Evan Lisabeth has been right there with me for most of it all. Couldn’t have done it without him. The years of experience, and knowledge gained from working with people have been the most valuable asset. With the right knowledge and experience time is irrelevant.

What kind of sites have you worked on in the past?

I’ve had multiple seven figure website sales, revolving around fitness, gaming, and style. I’ve also had several six figure sales revolving around MMA, Tech, and Health. Those sites have ranged from affiliate based sites to display advertising. They all had strong communities of support that were passionate about the niche. These websites have all been content based sites (articles/videos). Very low tech. Anyone with decent WordPress knowledge could have built them.

Any special skills that you bring to the table?

Hundreds of hours of watching YouTube videos, reading forums, and learning from others. I don’t know of any course that will teach you what you need to know. You just need to get out there and fail as much as possible, and fail fast, so you can figure out what works and what doesn’t. Stop waiting for the perfect time. Stop reading this interview. Go work on it right now.

I don’t think there’s anything special I do in particular. I love this stuff. It never feels like work. I think maybe that plays a big part in it.

What brought you to Flippa? Why do you use Flippa?

I’ve used Flippa since the early days of it. It’s always an exciting experience. There’s not many experiences in this business better than seeing that bid icon light up. It’s no secret that Flippa has high visibility and a large, active userbase. I want to get as many eyeballs on a sale as possible. I’ve always focused on building quality sites with very strong communities that support them. There’s nothing to hide or shy away from. The sites I’ve sold are the result of months to years of tedious leg work, so I want them to be seen, and Flippa is the obvious choice for that.

You once sold FightState.com for $300,000 on the Flippa marketplace, what was that experience like?

It was a great experience. It was actually one of the largest public Flippa sales ever at the time. The response was overwhelming. Nothing drives exposure like a Flippa listing. During the course of the sale, I answered hundreds of messages, and met some great people. The Flippa staff was very helpful and provided excellent support throughout the entire auction through their account management service. Their support was invaluable, and made the experience very smooth from listing all the way to escrow and transfer. I’ve never had a bad experience with Flippa.

This interview i’m doing with Flippa is in itself proof of the great support from the staff.

For those who don’t already know, tell us what the site about?

Fightstate was a very popular (Alexa top 10k) entertainment website revolving around combat sports (MMA/Boxing). We put together a team of fight nerds who spent their time scouring the internet for the most entertaining martial arts content.

The site had multiple large social profiles that supported it, with hundreds of thousands of fans across Facebook that would send an average of over 6 million visits to the website a month. We worked hard to build up the community first. The website was an extension of the social community itself.

We had countless articles go viral with coverage from BBC, Vice, Yahoo, and hundreds of mentions, retweets from famous fighters, boxers, and other social influencers. In the end the hard work paid off and the business sold for $300,000 on Flippa.

Any advice for other web entrepreneurs looking sell websites on Flippa?

Be patient, don’t rush the process. Explain details clearly. Try to answer every single message and comment. It can be a lot of work, but it can also be very rewarding. You never know who you could be speaking to. I’ve actually met future business partners through Flippa messages. It’s been a great vehicle for my business, I couldn’t recommend them any higher.

So there you have it, that’s Jeff’s Flippa story! If you have a high-value content site that you might like to sell on Flippa, request a free website valuation and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours to let you know what your site is worth!

Craft the best listing description for selling your website

Craft the best listing description for selling your website

Writing the perfect website listing description may seem daunting for new sellers. This blog post will provide new sellers tips on how to best structure your listing description for an online business, and the do’s and don’ts associated with selling your business on Flippa.

Structure

When you write the listing description when selling your website, the structure of your listing is one of the most crucial parts of setting up your listing for success. Since establishing the website marketplace, our account management team has refined a listing structure which is easy to follow, and reduces the amount of questions buyers ask sellers during the auction process.

The following has been identified as the best structure for a website’s listing description:

  • About the Seller – Briefly describe yourself and your role in the website. Indicate whether you are the original owner of the business.
  • Business Model – Describe what the website does.
  • Reason for Sale – Briefly describe why you are selling the business.
  • Development – Briefly describe how the website was developed. This should include the programming language and any frameworks/platforms used.
  • Operation – Briefly describe what is required to keep the website operational. This should include an average time spent per week. Additionally you should indicate where the website is hosted.
  • Traffic – Briefly describe what country most of the traffic originates from, and the sources that generate the most traffic for the website.
  • Monetisation – Briefly describe how you generate revenue through the online business. Any peaks or troughs in revenue should be explained.
  • Expenses – Briefly describe the expenses required to operate the online business.
  • Reliability – Briefly describe how you are willing to prove your financials? Will you post a video walkthrough of backend earning reports? Will you provide live screen-sharing sessions to prospective buyers?
  • Marketing – Briefly describe what marketing initiatives you have used to establish the website.
  • Included in Sale – List the items included in the sale. Include any domains or social media accounts included in the sale.
  • Future Opportunities – Briefly describe what a buyer could potentially do to improve or grow the website.
  • Keep the lines of communication open – Let buyers know they can reach you in public comments or via private message if they have any follow-up questions.

Here are a few examples of websites that have sold with detailed listing descriptions:

Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t lie

When selling your website, lying or omitting items will almost always hurt you, as it is sure to come out in the due diligence process. It is crucial that all information you provide in the listing is accurate for the online business you are selling. All claims should be able to be verified by potential buyers on request.

Attach proof

Any revenue claims need to be supported by proof. This proof can be in video or image format. We also suggest providing proof of traffic and other claims you make on the listing.

Provide as much information as possible

Buyers want to have access to as much information as possible about the online business before they place a bid on it. Providing as much information as possible will allow buyers to have access to this, and reduce the amount of questions you will be asked throughout the auction process.

Don’t be rude

Be professional! Respecting potential buyers and the questions they submit is important to ensure buyers want to work with you. To ensure the auction process is smooth, ensure that you assist and support buyers during the auction period when they are deciding if the online business is right for them.

Be clear

Potential buyers of your website don’t want to be searching through your description for specific information about your online business. By using the structure provided above, and correct grammar will improve the quality of your listing.