One of our colleagues over at SitePoint recently asked “Why would anyone sell a profitable website, wouldn’t you just hang on to it and keep collecting the funds?” Admittedly, I asked myself the same question when I first started at Flippa, and indeed, many buyers are suspicious as to why someone would sell a profitable website.
There are a range of genuine reasons why people sell profitable websites. In fact, the best time to sell a website is when it’s profitable. Buyers love to see a history of profit and will reward a seller accordingly. Of course, there may also be some less genuine reasons for selling, but for the purposes of this post we’ll focus on the positives!
The reason for selling usually boils down to one of the following:
1. I’m broke and I need the money
Sometimes in life, stuff happens, and people need money to get them out of a sticky situation. We operate in a global marketplace and reasons for needing money can be many and varied. It can be as simple as putting food on the table to paying for your kid’s dental work. Not everyone likes to admit they’re going through tough times, but sometimes, people just need the money.
2. I’m raising funds for a new project
Starting a new project often requires start-up funds. Programmers, designers, servers, it all costs money. And when you get the itch to start a new project, you’ve got to do it now, before anyone else comes up with the idea and steals your thunder. Raising funds in the short term by selling a profitable website is usually a more appealing prospect than waiting, going into debt or calling in angel investors.
3. I’ve fallen out of love
Some owners just lose interest. In the beginning they spend hours building an online business; adding content and backlinks, all the while encouraging and nurturing the site. Then one day they turn around and realize it’s been weeks since they even looked at the site, even though it’s ticking over a tidy little profit each month. Instead of letting the site die a slow lonely death, they decide to sell.
We see a lot of this on Flippa and it’s a great reason to sell a website. If you don’t continue to maintain a site, eventually profits will decline and the site won’t be worth anywhere near as much.
4. I just don’t have the time
Often there are other priorities in life besides making money online… yes, I know, it’s a difficult concept to grasp, but it does happen. A friend of mine recently inquired about how she could sell her website. As a work from home mum, she’d managed to build up a successful online business from home while raising two kids, but she’d just fallen pregnant with her third. Realizing there was no way she could put in the time required to run her online business, look after a new born and two young children, she decided it was time to sell.
There were regular customers to think of too. If she’d decided to shut up shop, she’d put a lot of people out. Why not make some money out of the sale, keep customers happy and hand the business over to someone who has the time. Everybody’s happy!
5. It’s what we do
Serial entrepreneurs often start with the end in sight (or site 😉 ). They build up online businesses with the express purpose of selling them. Truth be known, they’d prefer to be bought out by Google, but in the event that Larry and Sergey don’t come to the party, other buy-out opportunities need to be sought. Some people just love building businesses, not running them, so this is a great opportunity for buyers who love running businesses, not building them.
6. I’ve taken it as far as I can
Many individuals don’t have the full set of complementary skills to take their website to the next level. If you’re a solo website owner, and for whatever reason unwilling to outsource, you need a wide range of skills (not to mention time) to run a successful online business. SEO, copywriting, design, programming, marketing … it’s difficult to do it all.
Realizing they’ve taken a website as far as it can go, some owners decide to hand their baby over to someone who’s better equipped to take it to the next level.
Why are you selling?
Have an interesting reason to add to the list? Tell us why you’re selling your website on Flippa in the comments below.