Buy and Sell Websites – I Spent $35,700 on Sites – What Did I Learn?

Buy and Sell Websites – I Spent $35,700 on Sites – What Did I Learn?

Authour bio: Stacy Caprio

Stacy is an entrepreneur who has bought and sold several profitable websites, and learned a lot of lessons along the way. Her background is in online marketing and one of her favorite things in the world is helping websites and companies grow.


 

I was trapped.Or at least I felt trapped. Anxious. Smothered.

Sitting in a spacious white cubicle, in a beautiful office complex, inside a building filled with free coffee and tea, sunlight streaming in nearby windows and friendly coworkers stopping by to chat.

I may have looked free to any onlooker, but inside I knew the truth.

There was an invisible chain hooking me to my cubicle, 5 days a week, 8:30am to 5:30pm, and it didn’t matter how much value I provided, or how much work I did, all that mattered was that I sit in my chair during that entire time every day, every week, and every year.

If I did not stay seated that entire time, I would not have any money to live on.

I could not even walk outside, other than on my lunch break, without attracting unwanted attention.

All I could think about was how to break free, but nothing I tried was working.

One of my favorite past-times was, and still is, reading income-report blogs and how other people make money online. One day I was reading a blog post about website investing, and it clicked.

I thought, why not?

I had already tried to start several sites on my own but none were making any money. I wanted to try buying one that was already working and then build on it.

My thought process was, let’s give it a try and see if we can build on an already successful and profitable site and learn to make an income like all my favorite online bloggers are already doing.

I’ll take you through the lessons I’ve learned from buying 4 sites for a total of $35,700, all purchased through Flippa.

My current working view, in large part thanks to Flippa, I’m no longer inside of a fluorescently-lit cubicle, instead able to work outside on my balcony in the heart of Chicago.

 

Lessons Learned From Buying Websites 

 

Good judgment and experience can come from making mistakes yourself, which I have done, and is where my experience comes from.

It can also come from reading about other’s mistakes, and avoiding them, and then reading about other’s successes, and emulating them.

My hope is that you can learn from my failures, but also my successes, in website buying and selling.

 

Avoid my Mistakes: How I Lost Money Buying Sites

 

1. Never trust data unless you verify it

 

I had just bought my first site and I was more excited than I could remember since Christmas morning when I was a little kid.

The seller had listed the site as making $350/ month, and I had paid him only $1,300 for it.

Of course, it was too good to be true.

If a site is really making $350/month, no one in their right mind would ever sell it for only $1,300, so that should have been red flag number one for me right there.

At a minimum, a site making $350 profit a month would be going for 20X $350, around $7,000 or more, depending on what the site owner was looking for.

The mistake I made buying this site was not only ignoring the price red flag, but going into the deal with blind faith and trust without even attempting to verify any analytics or revenue. 

 

Flippa has a great Google Analytics traffic verification feature and a great Google Adsense revenue verification feature, and after that first purchase, I now never even consider a looking at a site unless the seller has enabled both forms of Flippa verification.

Additionally, I now always request access to the site’s Google Analytics as well as proof of income including video screenshares and income screenshots.

I also use something I call the common sense test.

In the common sense test I combine Google Analytics, average RPMs and conversion rates to determine what the income numbers should be if the site owner is telling the truth. Then I compare the common sense estimates to the numbers the site owner provides and see if they are in the same ballpark.

Learn from my blind trust mistake and always verify traffic and revenue before purchasing a site.

Not everyone is an honest fairy God-mother and some people will try to cheat you out of your money.

 

2. Don’t buy out of desperation

 

When I was ready to buy my second website, I was desperate for another income stream.

My life may have looked nice and comfortable from the outside, but I was anxious and desperate to start having more freedom.

This desperation led me to spend a lot of money on my second site.

I had a lot of confidence because I had verified the site’s revenue, the lesson I learned from failed site purchase #1.

My newfound revenue-verification confidence combined with my desperation lead me to spend a lot of money, $10K, on a high-revenue site without really thinking about if the business model was sustainable.

The first few months were amazing and I was even able to more than double the monthly revenue. I was ecstatic, to say the least.

My happiness was short-lived.

The site traffic plummeted when the “fad-site” I had bought turned out to be a short term trend based on an app, something I could easily have spotted if I had been buying out of a calm, measured mindset instead of my overly confident and desperate mindset, possibly the worst mindset to make any decision in life with.

Learn from my lesson and never buy out of desperation. Or worse, desperation combined with over-confidence.

 

Copy My Successes: How I Made Money Buying Sites

 

3. Test Ad Networks & Make Partnerships

 

My third site was my first success. You didn’t think I’d give up after two expensive failures, did you?

I bought it for less than what I’d paid for site #2, because I was still wary that anything could happen.

It was a great deal I found on Flippa with a price of only 20X the monthly profit.

Quickly I was able to test different ad networks and monetization methods until I found ones that were making around double the original.

Then an ad network rep reached out to me and wanted to advertise on the site for a flat monthly fee that was more than double what I had already doubled the site to, so of course I accepted.

For the next few months revenue was 4X what I had bought the site for, since I was still running the better ad network and had an ad partnership that was paying me a flat fee monthly.

This had worked out better than I could have ever imagined, and I made back what I had paid within 10 months, and was making pure profit each month after that.

 

4. Keep going when you find something that works

 

My fourth site I used all the principles I learned from my previous mistakes and successes.

I verified the analytics and revenue before buying.

I was not completely desperate, not overly-confident, and used as much common sense as I could, all keys to making a well-informed and level-headed purchase.

I used the ad networks I knew already worked and leveraged my ad partnerships.

Using these approaches, I was able to buy a second successful site, my fourth website purchase total, from Flippa, and build on its success.

This site I also made back the purchase price within 10 months and have been able to grow revenue substantially since then.

The key on my fourth site was buying an online site that was already successful and that I could build on by producing more content.

I worked with adding to what it already had and was able to grow the revenue that way.

The lesson to learn here is you don’t have to start from scratch if you’re looking to own a profitable business or website. You can buy something that is already working and then build on it.

Even more important, once you find something that is already working, run with it and help it grow. To do this, you can produce more content and help it grow in the direction it is already growing successfully to increase profit and revenue over the long-term.  

Hopefully this website buying and selling article helps you avoid some of the mistakes I’ve personally made as well as helps you emulate some of the successes I’ve also been able to have.

 

I am forever grateful to Flippa for being the catalyst that helped me transition from being the girl at the beginning of this article who felt trapped and chained in her cubicle, to the girl I am now, living in my dream apartment overlooking the bean and Lake Michigan in Chicago, with the freedom to set my own hours and run outside by the lake any time of any day without feeling even a little bit guilty.

Let us know your own website buying and selling mistakes and successes in the comments below.

The 10 Best Shopify Apps for 2019

The 10 Best Shopify Apps for 2019

Author bio – Whitney Blankenship 

Content Marketing Manager for Omnisend. When not writing awesome content, Whitney is reading up on the latest in digital marketing, eCommerce, and social media trends. Obsessed with pop culture, art, and metal. Powered by coffee. Fastest Googler in the West. 


 

If you are in the process of growing your eCommerce business, then you are probably turning to Shopify for assistance.

There are no two ways about the fact that Shopify can help you achieve great results in a lesser amount of time.

It’s clear to see why. Shopify negates all the hassle involved in launching an online store and automates the whole process — from sales to shipping to marketing activities.  

Many Shopify merchants build up their stores to sell them and start over with a new one. With how easy Shopify makes creating a store, once an entrepreneur knows the right formula, this can be a profitable way to build and sell businesses.

I am sure you have devised some strategy. That said, along with your own marketing and sales strategy, you can get more bang for your business if you use the right  Shopify tools and apps.

And that’s why today we have rounded up some of the best Shopify apps to help you grow and sell your eCommerce store.

 

Omnisend grabs the first position in this list, and rightly so. But don’t take our word for it, Omnisend is indeed ranked as the number one email marketing automation platform on the Shopify App Store.

However, it is not your regular email marketing tool. Instead, it is an omnichannel marketing automation platform that helps you integrate all your marketing functions under one single roof.

Omnisend offers other prominent features, such as:

  • Brings you closer to your customers through channels such as mail, SMS messages, web push notifications, Facebook Messenger, and more
  • Helps you determine your customers’ behavior and send personalized messages that automatically react to that behavior
  • Sends laser-targeted automated messages which drive more sales

 

All in all, you can start selling on your eCommerce store with Omnisend without worrying over daily tasks like messaging, email capture, etc., as this Shopify App does everything on its own.

Pricing Details: For starters, you can try out Omnisend’s 14 days trial package to see whether it fulfills your specifications or not. For basic email marketing, Omnisend offers a free plan that lets you send up to 15,000 emails per month. After that, their paid plans start off at only $16 per month. 

If you are looking for an acclaimed printing and warehousing Shopify App, Printiful is just the app you need.

This Shopify app not only offers easy and customized drop shipping services but also allows you to track every step of your order delivery.

One of the greatest things about Printiful is that they don’t take any credit for their warehousing services. The parcel will reach your customer with your brand name, which makes it look like you carried out the warehousing process in-house

Just like Omnisend, they also integrate with plenty of famous eCommerce platforms other than Shopify, including Weebly, Woo Commerce, Ecwid, BigCommerce, and more.

Printiful is especially a favorite among eCommerce store owners for shipping merchandise such as tote bags, cups, t-shirts, and basically every other item that they avoid storing on their own.

Pricing Details: This Shopify app doesn’t have a rigid pricing policy. The pricing depends solely on your product.  

 

I hope you know that one happy customer spreads the word around to at least nine more people. So, if you are not leveraging these referrals, then you are missing out on a huge number of sales

And this is where ReferralCandy comes into the game.

If you want to give a nudge to your customers to refer your brand to their friends by giving them incentives, then ReferralCandy has you covered. This Shopify App allows you to choose a reward of your choice so as so gain unlimited referrals.

Some of its most important features include automatic reward delivery to the customers, regular referral reminders, a dashboard that allows you to keep track of your referrals, and so forth.

Pricing Details: ReferralCandy offers a generous trial plan of up to 30-days, which can be canceled anytime. The paid plans start at $49 per month and range up to $3999 per month (billed annually).

 

When it comes to driving traction to your eCommerce store, you have to work on your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

But how do you start building your SEO plan?

Go to the app store and install “SEO Manager.” With this Shopify App, you don’t have to worry about tedious tasks such as keyword research, advanced meta-setting, etc. SEO Manager will automatically find a way to make your eCommerce store rank higher in search engines. It does the hard part on its own, and you only have to supervise whether everything is on track or not.

Some of the most attractive features include:

  • Offers comprehensive help documents to navigate easily through the app
  • Gives real-time feedback pertaining to the success or failure of your eCommerce store and your SEO efforts
  • Advanced and intelligent analytics and reports
  • Runs a mobile-friendly test to ensure that your eCommerce store is optimized for mobile phones

 

Pricing Details:

SEO Manager is priced at $20 per month, but you can initially try out their 7-day free trial.

 

Collecting positive reviews is one of the most essential parts of your sales process — especially if you want to shorten your sales funnel.

In fact, statistics suggest that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends, and 90% of consumers claim that positive online reviews excessively influence their buying decisions. Thus, it makes no sense to not leverage reviews and testimonials.   

Yotpo Reviews lets you easily integrate your customers’ reviews to your Shopify store. Now when your prospects visit your eCommerce store, they feel more assured before buying your product as your reviews can vouch for its credibility.  

Key features to look out for:

  • Automatically collect ratings, site reviews, and product photos using the review widget
  • Showcase ratings, reviews, and Q&A throughout your website along with all your social media channels.
  • Easy to set up and no coding hassle.

 

Pricing Details:

If you are a beginner, you can use Yotpo’s base version, which is completely free. However, if you want to access more advanced features including coupons, carousels, and up-selling options, you can opt for the paid plans that start at $29 per month.

If you are indulging your customers through social media engagement, then I am sure you wish you could keep an eye on all your social media accounts at once. Social Media Stream fulfills this wish!

With this Shopify App, you can now view your posts from various social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, and Tumblr onto one widget. This easy to set-up app is especially helpful if you are keen on growing your social media followers and make your website more dynamic at the same time.

Pricing Details: While this app offers great services, but the greatest thing about it is that it is completely free of cost. Yes, really!

Has it ever happened to you that you liked a pair of jeans so much that you decide to buy it right away? Reeling with excitement, you start to fill the signup form to finally place the order. But the signup form is too lengthy, so you exit the web page and start browsing for better options.

Don’t let your prospects face the same issues for they won’t think twice before abandoning your website.

The easier you make it for customers to create accounts, the better will be your ROI.

That’s why we highly recommend you integrate One-Click Social Login.

This Shopify App lets your customers create accounts by simply logging in with their existing social media account details. Apart from simplifying your login process, it also allows you to be socially connected with your customers. Two birds, one stone!

 

Moreover, One Click Social Login integrates with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Amazon, and many more. You also get access to an admin panel to keep track of customer signup activities.

 

Pricing Details:

 

One Click Social Login’s services start at $4.99 per month. However, if you want premium features such additional customizations and the ability to track your customer’s social profile, then you will have to upgrade to higher packages.

8. Smile.io

Persuading people to make a purchase for the first time is hard enough – retaining them for a longer period of time makes salespeople break out in a sweat.

That said, customer retention isn’t as difficult if you do it right away and using the right tools.  And this is where Smile.io enters the picture. This popular Shopify app integrates an attractive loyalty program to your eCommerce store to help you retain your customers.

Key features include:

  • Integrates various attractive and engaging programs with your Shopify store, such as loyalty points, referral, and VIP programs
  • Allows you to customize your programs as per your preferences

 

Pricing Details:

The free plan is sufficient if you want to run a simple program, while the paid packages, starting from $49 per month, offer customization options, robust analytics, and more.

9. Oberlo

Recent years have seen a rise in people getting involved in the dropshipping business – in other words, selling other companies’ products to your customers. If you are also planning to start a dropshipping business with Shopify, then you should definitely try out Oberlo.

This popular Shopify app assists you in determining the items that are best suited for your business, add them to your eCommerce store, and start selling without any hassle.

Key features include:

  • Helps you keep your prices and inventory up-to-date
  • Automatically starts the shipping process as soon as you confirm an order
  • Allows you to track every step of your shipping process

 

Pricing Details:

You can try out Oberlo’s free plan that supports up to 50 orders per month. Paid plans, with more capacity and features, start from $29 per month and go up to $79 per month.

10. Loox

If you want to increase your conversion rate using photo reviews, then Loox is the Shopify app you need. It automatically sends out emails on your behalf, seeking positive feedback from your customers. Positive reviews allow your customers to shop confidently at your store, without worrying over quality.

Pricing Details:

You can use Loox’s free trial for up to 14-days, and should you wish to continue, you will have to pay $9.99 per month.

 

Conclusion

 

Selling your eCommerce business sounds difficult. However, if you are armed with these Shopify apps, you can get more traffic and optimize your eCommerce store with substantial ease, which will make it that much easier to find success. A successful eCommerce store is an easy sell. While there is no shortcut to success, your path will still become more optimized.

Flippa Pricing Update – Reduced Listing Fee of $15

Flippa Pricing Update – Reduced Listing Fee of $15

This month Flippa has again demonstrated a commitment to building out a frictionless sales experience with the world’s largest network of buyers. Did you know that 4250 new verified buyers join Flippa each month?

Adding to our Quickbooks online integration launch last month we’ve added a new Google Analytics integration, Non-Disclosure Agreement functionality for higher value listings and free syndication to a network of partner sites.

 

Google Analytics Integration

With one-click connection to GA, business owners can now publish traffic data on their listing and in-turn assist buyers with verifying the health of a business.

How does it work?

 

Step 1

Simply choose to list your website or online business with Flippa, step through our simple listing builder and choose to connect your Google Analytics account. You’ll be asked whether you wish to connect your traffic data. When prompted, log in to GA and choose the account associated with your website.

Step 2

Once you have connected and launched your listing, a pop-up box will be visible to buyers that your business has connected your site traffic from GA. 

 

 

There will also be a table displaying your websites monthly page views and number of users to the site. 

 

Non Disclosure Agreement for Higher Value Listings

High-value listings can now protect sensitive information with a simple to use Non-Disclosure Agreement.

 

Buyers that want access to key confidential data, like your business name or profit & loss statement will now have to register as buyers, create a profile, go through Identity Verification, accept the NDA terms and finally, identify why they are interested in your business. This replaces the old NDA functionality on Flippa.

 

Free Syndication

Flippa will now syndicate your listing to multiple directory businesses for free. Simply ask your account manager. This is available for listings over $50,000 only.

 

So what is the new pricing scheme?

It’s simple. You pay a listing and a success fee. The listing fee is due on all listings and the success fee is payable when you sell.

 

All listings, regardless of type, size or location, are charged at a $15 per month listing fee. While we are the only true marketplace and platform to buy and sell a business this also makes Flippa less expensive than the mainstream directory websites.

Of course, you can choose to cancel your listing at anytime.

As it relates to Success Fees. These are payable by the seller or designated owner of the account. These fees are now variable and are based on your final selling price. For further detail, refer to success fees

 

The breakdown:

If you sell a website, domain, app or business between $1m to $5m your success fee is now 5%

If you sell a website, domain, app or business between $500k to $1m your success fee is now 7.5%

If you sell a website, domain, app or business between $1 to $499k your success fee remains at 10%

 

Finally, Flippa also partners with a network of brokers. Instead of owning the sales process yourself and working with a Flippa account manager, you can choose to work with one of our network of partners. These brokers will manage the sale for you and you will still get the benefit of the Flippa platform and the world’s largest network of buyers. If you do choose to partner with a broker the success fee is 15%. This is shared between Flippa and the broker.

 

We currently do not charge buyers for use of Flippa.

 

We are committed to building out a frictionless sales experience and we think we are making good ground. That said, we are always looking for feedback so if you require clarification or would like to provide feedback feel free to get us on [email protected].

 

Instead of loan financing consider a ROBS

Instead of loan financing consider a ROBS

For prospective buyers in the U.S. with substantial assets lodged in a 401(k), 501 (k), IRA or other retirement fund, Rollovers as Business Start-Ups (ROBS) may provide a means of financing with some very significant advantages.

When we say ‘substantial’, that means a minimum of $50,000 to roll over. Otherwise, the set-up and monthly maintenance costs for the quite complex ROBS arrangement will be too great a proportion of the investment to justify using this scheme.

However, for significant investment amounts the costs are entirely viable and quite advantageous. Set-up fees paid to an experienced ROBS provider are normally around $5000 upfront, with an ongoing annual administration fee of up to $2000. Legally speaking it is actually possible to do all the work yourself, without using a ROBS provider, but that would be foolhardy with many IRS and DOL compliance complexities ready to trip you up.

In fact, the steps are much too complicated to cover comprehensively in an article such as this one. However, here is an introduction to the world of ROBS, what it is and basically how it works.

Age is no barrier

You don’t have to be any particular age to roll-over funds from your eligible tax-deferred retirement account. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are. You just need to have the funds in credit and then work systematically through the rollover process. The great advantage is that this is not a loan at all, so there are no loan fees and no interest to pay. At the end of the day, it’s your money. You are simply accessing it for business investment purposes. The funds cannot be used to service personal expenses or to acquire purely personal assets. ROBS is for business investment only. As one potential source of finance to be considered, it can be used in parallel with other financings, including loans

In essence, you will be rolling over your money from one retirement fund into another new one, which your business will set-up. If you are buying an existing business you will put the necessary structures in place for the roll-over prior to the transfer of the business. The modest set-up costs cannot be covered by the ROBS itself. You need to cover these separately up front.

How does it work?

The first step is creating a C corporation (C-corp). This is obligatory and cannot be circumvented. However, this part is actually very easy and quite inexpensive, although specific details will vary slightly from State to State. The more complex step is then setting up an employee retirement plan, most commonly a new 401(k), for the new entity. At this point, you roll over the amount you have decided on from your existing personal 401(k), 501(k) or IRA into the new corporation’s retirement plan. The plan purchases stock in the C-corp, acquiring a shareholding on behalf of all employees, as will be explained shortly, and that purchase amount is released as your business capital. The ROBS rollover is now completed. There is no loan of any kind involved to repay. Of course, the retirement fund earns its share of the profits for future distribution and takes its share of any hit if the business loses money.

In the next stage the C-corp, of which you are the part-owner and also technically an employee, uses the capitalization from the ROBS to build a new business or buy and develop an existing one. The funds can be used for any normal legitimate business purpose, but not for personal expenses that only you benefit from and not for over-payment to yourself of any inflated management or director fees. In fact, any salary payment to yourself must not come from the rolled-over funds directly but must come only out of operating expenses. As we said, it’s your money – but in return for the release of investment funds, the new C-corp retirement plan retains its shareholding in the business and receives its share of all profits after reasonable expenses. The retirement fund will be a significant or even the major shareholder (depending on what other financing sources were used) and as director, you are required to the best of your ability to operate the company to the financial benefit of the fund and its members. You will be covered by the C-corp retirement plan and profits accrued by the fund will ultimately benefit you when drawn down.

Administration of this complex legal arrangement is demanding and really needs to be outsourced to an expert ROBS provider, although this is not legally mandatory. Ongoing monitoring for IRS and the DOL, and other statutory compliance including managing the annual IRS Form 5500 return is definitely no work for the business operator. However, the fees for this administration are actually minuscule compared to the loan costs on a comparable amount of financing from traditional loan sources.

Remember it’s still a retirement fund

ROBS advantages come with some complexities. One of these is that all employees of your new business have the right to join the C-corp retirement fund which you have set up. Note that you yourself must be classified as an employee managing or directing the business. There is no legal specification of the number of hours you must actively work on the business or how much you may pay yourself from the business operation, except that payments to yourself must be deemed ‘reasonable’. Otherwise, they will be treated as a ROBS prohibited transaction. This means that using a ROBS arrangement may not be quite as suitable for buying businesses with a ‘passivity premium’ because of requiring very little owner presence or investment of time.

All employees of the business will have the right to join the retirement fund and legally must be invited to do so. The ROBS provider routinely oversees this notification as part of the ongoing monitoring of the arrangement. For smaller businesses, this is unlikely to be an issue as the definition of ‘employee’ is quite restrictive. Contract service providers and casual workers are not covered at all. Eligibility varies slightly from State to State but essentially an employee must be at least 21 years of age, have worked for the business for twelve months or longer, and have worked a minimum of 1,000 hours during the preceding year. Processing the employee contributions and employer liabilities under the plan is quite onerous and is best handled through the ROBS advisor. However, many smaller online businesses will actually have few or not even any additional employees.

Winding up a ROBS arrangement

Often people enthusiastically enter into an arrangement in the excitement of a new business venture without working through what the eventual exit will entail. With a standard business loan, with all the associated costs and often punishing interest rates, paying out the loan when the business is eventually sold is very straightforward even if financially penalizing.

By contrast, exiting a ROBS provision is inexpensive but a little more complex. If the business is sold then the C-corp retirement fund as a shareholder receives its due share of the sale price, minus funds required to wind down the business and pay out existing liabilities. The retirement plan is then wound up and its assets distributed proportionally to all employees who have contributions in the fund. As the business owner and director your own closing balance in the fund is simply rolled over into a new or existing personal IRA for your (highly tax-effective) benefit. Essentially, through ROBS you have used your assets in an eligible retirement plan to finance business for as long as you operate the business, maybe for many years. At no point through this arrangement have you taken a loan or drawn down cash, and hopefully the ROBS has saved you lots of money.

However, it would be remiss in this article not to cover the implications of a less positive scenario in which the business makes a loss or even totally folds. Simply put, if the business has lost money and is sold for a lesser value than it was set up or acquired for, then the retirement fund and all of its beneficiaries, including you, take a hit. In the event of a total business failure, the assets you originally held in your original retirement plan will have been wiped; but as the ROBS is not a loan there is no financial liability to repay. Formally unwinding the ROBS must still be done according to law and the C-corp retirement plan is then closed out. Any other employees covered by the plan must have their situation and options explained to them. The ROBS provider would attend to this.

ROBS presents a positive opportunity

The ROBS scheme, while it may sound a bit daunting from the explanation provided above, is actually a very innovative business-backing initiative. It enables entrepreneurs to access money which is locked away in a retirement fund for business ventures, without the burden of normal business loans and with the prospect of strong profit returns on personal investment.

Start-up businesses and online businesses which have been bought and built up using some capital from ROBS arrangements actually have a significantly higher success rate than businesses relying more heavily on business loans for the primary financing. This may possibly be because business buyers who are backed by both retirement fund assets and the sophistication to understand the ROBS provisions are likely to have the capacity and the necessary perseverance to develop financially successful business outcomes.

ROBS arrangements are not for everyone. If you have $50,000 or more locked away in eligible retirement plan assets, make some time to talk to an expert ROBS provider. A substantial one-off first-time advisory consultation is generally offered totally free and without obligation. Be aware that the adviser will have a vested interest in talking up the arrangement, but you can always walk away. It’s a fascinating and potentially highly lucrative financing option to explore.

 

Get started with Amazon FBA by buying a ready made store

Get started with Amazon FBA by buying a ready made store

In the world of e-commerce, one company reigns supreme: Amazon. The world’s largest online retailer is the most popular online marketplace for consumers to find just about everything. However, Amazon’s success isn’t down to only itself, but the many 3rd party sellers who use the marketplace to sell their own products.

Many of these 3rd party sellers use the Amazon FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) service in order to capitalize on the Amazon customer base and distribution network. Amazon FBA makes it easy to manage an online store on the platform. While setting up an FBA store is a simple way to get into e-commerce, the beginning stages are always the hardest. For that reason, many entrepreneurs are interested in buying an Amazon FBA store.

Setting Up FBA

To set up an FBA store the first step is to create a seller account. Once you have a seller account you can start sourcing products to sell on your store. You can connect with suppliers to buy your product from and get it private labeled with your own brand. Once you have your product manufactured and branded to your liking then you can send it to the Amazon FBA warehouse and Amazon will ship your product to anyone that purchases it from your product page on the Amazon website.

Why You Should Consider Buying an Amazon FBA Store

FBA makes owning and running an e-commerce store easy. However, there are some upfront costs which can be high if you don’t have a good product. This is why many entrepreneurs choose to buy an FBA store instead.

Easier Start

The hardest part of running an FBA business is finding and sourcing a profitable product. Buying an FBA store removes this problem as the seller has already done the groundwork of sourcing an initial product and selling it on Amazon. For someone just starting out with FBA, this is a great way to learn the platform without wasting money on products that turn out to be busts.

Focus on Expanding

With the initial groundwork of sourcing a product, supplier and getting everything into the FBA store already done then you only need to focus on maintaining those established channels. With some steady profits already available then you can focus on expanding the store by enhancing marketing, launching a website, and adding additional products among other things.

Once you’ve decided that you wish to buy an established store then the best place to go would be Flippa.com. Flippa makes buying an FBA store a simple process. You can browse through their collection of FBA stores where you can analyze store niche, profit margins and sale price. Once you’ve identified a store that you wish the purchase, the customer service team at Flippa is available to help with the process and answer any questions.

If you’ve always wanted to get into e-commerce or FBA but were unsure about what you needed then now is the perfect time to buy an FBA store through Flippa.

Due diligence checklist

Due diligence checklist

Revenue, Cost, Profit Claims

Flippa can only verify the numbers claimed and request that all sellers add proof of revenue for all businesses generating a profit. 

Websites / Apps:
Read-only access or video walkthrough of revenue analytics, Admob, or eCommerce reports. Always ask for any analytics that may be associated with the account.

FBA:
Amazon Seller central video walkthrough or read-only access. Make sure to get proof of stock costs and shipping costs from the manufacturer. Look at every line item in the P&L and request for proof.

 

Verifying Ownership

Flippa verifies ownership of the main asset. However, if the listing has multiple assets we recommend that a full verification is done by the buyers.

Websites / Apps:
You can request read-only access to any analytics on the site or for other proof from the seller to verify ownership of the asset.

FBA:
Amazon Seller central video walkthrough or read-only access.

 

Monetization

Many online businesses will have more than one revenue source, so it is important to fully understand how the business is monetized.

Websites / Apps / FBA:
It is important to identify all the monetization methods an online business uses to make money. This can be done by making sure all revenue and cost amounts are equal to what’s claimed on Flippa. Once you have identified how the business is monetized, make sure you’re capable of performing those same tasks (such as posting affiliate links or stocking inventory), or can easily learn how.

 

Revenue Transferability

It is important to verify that all revenue can be swapped to a new owner, upon buying an asset. This is to make sure the business is still profitable upon taking ownership. Buyers should look over the terms of any third party accounts that are going to be transferred or created.

Websites:
Make sure that the revenue account can be transferred or that opening a new account is straightforward and easy. For example, AdSense accounts cannot be transferred, while PayPal accounts can easily be transferred.

Apps:
For in-app purchases, Advertising services like AdMob or ChartBoost can easily be swapped by placing your own ad IDs into the app. Many sellers can do this for you upon transfer. For in-app purchases, one just needs to take control of the app and change the payment destination.

FBA:
It is up to the buyer to make sure that the FBA account is transferrable. As a seller, you can make sure the business can be transferred by talking to Seller Central.

 

Tracking

Verifying traffic and analytic information is essential to making sure the business is performing as expected.

Websites:
While Flippa does show Google Analytics stats from the listing itself, we highly recommend getting the full picture by asking for Google Analytics “read-only” access.

Apps:
We recommend getting “read-only” access from the seller’s developer account to verify installs and revenue.

FBA:
We recommend getting “read-only” access to the seller central account to verify product sales and revenue.