Building model airplanes probably won’t become your next profitable business.

Today’s post is by Tony Hosea, known on Flippa as SmartQuant. His profile caught my eye when I noticed he had over $45,000 in transaction value for 166 websites sold — and perfect feedback. When Tony and I emailed for the first time, I was surprised to learn that he isn’t a web developer by trade: he described his Flippa activity as a “money-making hobby”. If you’re like most people, your hobbies are a money drain, not a money-maker! Here’s how Tony does it. 

To most people the words, “money-making” and “hobby” just don’t seem to go together. Usually a hobby costs money and is done purely for the fun of it. What if I told you that you can have a hobby that you really enjoy and make money from it? With that said, let me tell you how I started selling websites as a money-making hobby.

Stressful day job, relaxing side project

My day job of analyzing global financial markets can be fast-paced, non-stop, and about as stressful as any business can possibly be. Those who are able to relax and keep a cool head in the hectic world of global finance stand a much better chance of long-term success. I’ve loved the markets from the moment I bought my first stock and have been very fortunate to have the markets love me back! With that said, I’m basically just a number cruncher who sifts through mountains of market information to find those opportunities with the greatest probability of success.

So how did I start to build websites as a hobby as I grew my investment business? I was always interested in the limitless information-sharing potential of the internet. Creating a website seemed like a great way to share my investment ideas with other interested parties. As I starting building websites I discovered something amazing… building websites relaxes me. Who knew?

See Opportunity Where It Lies

When Flippa opened for business, back in 2009, it was a natural fit for me as I was already skilled at creating effective websites. Initially I had only built websites  for my own online portfolio which was growing every day. With Flippa I saw an opportunity to share my site-building expertise with those that seeking a quality, ready-made website. I also saw an opportunity to sell some of my existing websites as I was looking to reduce the size of my portfolio and focus on just a few core websites.

If you’re thinking of developing your skills into a money-making hobby, here is what I did:

1 – Study The Flippa Site Rules and the Seller Guide

Get a smart start in your business by familiarizing yourself with the Site Rules. These form the foundation of how buyers and sellers should operate on Flippa.

Flippa’s guide to selling websites is also a good overview of the sale process, including best practices and tips. There are specifics for each platform that can be surprising before you read about them (for example, did you know about the one-hour extension when a new bid is placed? Or that you need to verify a credit card before you place a bid over $200?)

2 – Plan Your Strategy

You may have heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”. This saying holds true regardless of what you are trying to achieve, so planning is essential.

Decide why you want to build and sell websites. This may seem obvious to you, but remember that the motivation behind why you want to do something will serve as the driving force behind your success.

Decide early on how you plan to position yourself in the Flippa marketplace. Will you sell new/startup websites or will you develop websites and sell them once they are earning a healthy profit? Alternatively, will you buy existing websites, improve them, and sell them for a profit?

3 – Don’t Be In A Rush To Sell

If you happen to have a day job, or you own currently own a business, you are in a perfect position to create your own money-making hobby in website selling. You see, by already having income coming in you are in a unique position to not have to sell anything. When you do start selling websites you are in a position to not have to give your websites away for nothing. Unless you are a retail giant like WalMart, you will find that competing on price alone may not be the route you wish to take.

4 – Always Do Business With Integrity

It should go without saying that you should do business with integrity. For a seller of integrity, “Honesty Is The Best Policy” is more than just a saying or quote, it’s a way of life.

How do you do business on Flippa with integrity? It’s really very simple if you adhere to a few core principles:

  • Create something of value – Remember that there is a difference in the mindsets of person A, who creates something just to sell and person B, who creates something to benefit the buyer.
  • Creating listings that are truthful – It’s natural to be enthusiastic about a website that you have for sale. Check and double-check your listing information to make sure that you have given potential buyers an accurate description of what they are getting.
  • Say what you mean and do what you say you will do – If you say you provide service after the sale then provide service after the sale. If you state that you will have a customer’s website up and running in three days then make absolutely certain that you do exactly that.

This is how I do business, and it works. Anyone who says you need to be dishonest or offer questionable value in order to succeed is only trying to justify their own behaviour.

Photo Credit: Bill Abbott