Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I am a business MACHINE

So a few months ago, after I had sold CashDuck and gotten that all squared away, I began to feel.. bored. Restless. I'm not used to not having a business to take care of! I'm still writing for MoneyCrashers, but that doesn't occupy my brain in the same way. I started browsing around looking at businesses for sale. And then, because I don't always think things through, I spent the last $1000 I had in cash on a new business. Hooray!

After a few months of running the business, I had had some fun, learned some things, and spent some unnecessary money, but didn't think that this was the business for me. So I thought I'd put it up for sale. And I did, and I got emails from several interested parties, and now I am about to sell it for, all told, a profit of $1200.

That is what we in the biz call Not Freaking Shabby.

I mentioned this to a friend of mine, who had been watching the goings-on of my business acquisition with interested, and he said, "If you're going to flip another business, I would be up for investing in it."

I hadn't actually thought of what I was doing as "flipping" - more like repositioning. The website where I bought the business specializes in selling websites, but doesn't generally deal in honest-to-Pete businesses that have been well established and have cash flow. (More like sites cluttered with AdSense ads and affiliate programs.) So a lot of the increase in price on the site was related to the fact that I put it up for sale on a site that sells real businesses - restaurants, dry cleaners, etc - for which people are willing to pay real money. It's a matter of selling to people who are prepared to pay what a real business that earns real money is worth.

But I said I'd keep an eye out, and a couple weeks later found a nice website with solid revenue and tons of traffic, which was being sold at a really low price - both because it was on the cheaper website, but also because the owner needed the money immediately. It was pretty obvious that no one else was willing to pay even close to what the owner would have wanted for it, because the next lowest bid to mine was more than a thousand less. (The cheaper site uses an auction system, but not an eBay style of auction where your bid only goes up as much as it needs to in order to stay winning.) So I bid a price that was a little below the reserve but would still be attractive to the owner, and went to bed. No one else bid, and in the morning we worked out a compromise with the owner and started the process of transferring the site.

So I have now been in control of the site for about two weeks, and things have been going well. I'm back in that feverish business-mind mode where I'm constantly thinking about stuff I want to add, programs I could start, what's going to be in the newsletter, etc etc. It's frustrating sometimes (like when AdSense put the account on review and then took it off review three times in one day) but I realize how much I really enjoy this kind of work.

The end game for this site is to sell it probably in January or February (hopefully, once we've captured both Christmas and Valentine's Day sales!) and make some money, both from the profit it's making as it goes along and on the higher price we'll sell it for. I am a really enthusiastic seller, because with both this site and the previous site, I think it's a great investment for somebody who wants to have a good solid moneymaker. So it'll be interesting.

I've checked off most of the things on the starting-up to-do list, like getting a bank account and a PO box, so now I'm turning my attention to the products on the site. The previous owner didn't seem to have paid much attention to which products were selling and which weren't, and since it's drop-ship I can see why, but people like to see a carefully curated collection of items and don't want to wade through a list of everything you think they could possibly ever want. So I'm deleting stuff that no one has ever bought or even looked at, and adding new products that are similar to the top movers. The previous owner had also never sent out any newsletters, so I'm hoping a few carefully timed Christmas newsletters and promotions are going to bring people back who haven't been there in a while.

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