Related: How To Make Money From Blogging
7 Lessons I Learned From Selling a 6-Figure Blogging Business
Here are a few critical lessons from my experience building and selling a successful blogging business.
As of 2023, there are approximately 600 million blogs worldwide. However, only a small fraction of these blogs attract significant traffic, and even fewer are successful in generating income.
Starting a blog can be more than just a passion project — it can be a lucrative business opportunity. I’m Georgi Todorov, the entrepreneur who built and sold Thrive My Way for six figures.
From zero to 300,000 monthly traffic in two years, my journey was a testament to strategic thinking and adaptability. In this article, I share seven critical lessons from this experience, each offering valuable insights for aspiring digital entrepreneurs.
Related: 5 Steps to Prepare Future You for Selling Your Online Business
1. Think about selling from day 1
From the beginning, it’s vital to view your blog as a potential asset for sale. Meticulous record-keeping, which in our case involved daily updates in Google Spreadsheets, ensured that we kept a transparent and detailed record of all financial transactions. This level of organization was not just about maintaining efficiency; it was about building confidence that we were operating a legitimate, well-documented business. Such a mindset is indispensable, especially in a market where buyers are increasingly looking for transparency and thorough documentation.
2. Monetize fast
Maximizing your blog’s financial potential early on is critical. Thrive My Way’s journey in diversifying income streams through affiliate marketing, display ads and sponsored posts was a cornerstone in establishing its financial worth. These monetization methods not only accelerated our revenue growth but also positioned the blog as a profitable venture for potential buyers. The challenge was to implement these strategies effectively while maintaining the quality and integrity of the content, which was essential to sustaining and growing our audience.
3. Choose the right platform to sell
Selecting the right platform for selling your blog can significantly impact the outcome. For my business, Flippa offered the best terms, including the highest initial evaluation. This platform stood out not just for its valuation but also for the support system it provided. Having access to a dedicated M&A advisor made a world of difference, especially for a first-time seller like me. His guidance through each step, from valuation to final sale, was instrumental in navigating the complexities of the sale process, ensuring a successful transaction.
4. Involve your team in the sale
The involvement of your team in the sale process is a game-changer. In our case, delegating tasks like organizing financial records to my assistant allowed me to concentrate on the strategic aspects of the sale. This collective effort not only streamlined the sale process but also ensured that the operational side of the business remained stable and efficient during this transition period. Involving your team can also help in maintaining the continuity of the business, ensuring that the quality of content and operations does not suffer during the sale.
Related: The 5 Steps to Selling a Website or Blog
5. Money isn’t everything
While financial gain is a significant factor in selling a blog, other aspects like future storytelling rights can be equally crucial. For me, the ability to share the story of building and selling Thrive My Way was a key consideration. This was particularly relevant as I was preparing to launch my new venture, Create & Grow, where I plan to share comprehensive case studies and insights from Thrive My Way’s journey. The ability to use these experiences in my new project was a major factor in my decision-making process, emphasizing the value of creative freedom and future opportunities.
6. Have patience
Patience is a virtue, especially in the world of online business sales. The process is often lengthy and requires a balanced approach. During the sale of my business, I focused on other projects and took a vacation, which helped manage my expectations and stress. Staying productive and not letting the sale dominate my daily life was crucial. This approach is particularly important in a buyer’s market, where sales can take longer than expected. The psychological aspect of waiting for the right buyer and dealing with the uncertainties of the market tested my resilience, but ultimately, it was a rewarding experience that taught me the value of patience.
7. Give yourself a break
After selling a business, it’s crucial to give yourself a well-deserved break before diving into new ventures. This period is not just about relaxation; it’s a valuable time for celebration, reflection and planning. Celebrating your success is important — it’s a recognition of your hard work and achievements. Allow yourself to enjoy the moment and acknowledge the journey you’ve completed.
Moreover, this break provides an opportunity to reflect on your experiences. It’s a time to think deeply about what worked well, what challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Reflecting on these aspects can yield invaluable insights that can be applied to future projects. It’s also an opportunity to consider any mistakes made and how they can be avoided or handled better in the future.
Selling a successful blog is not just about financial gains; it’s a journey filled with learning, strategic decisions and personal growth. These six lessons provide a roadmap for bloggers looking to build a profitable and saleable online business. As I move forward with Create & Grow, these experiences continue to shape my approach to online entrepreneurship.
Can Your Blog Make Money? Here’s How to Predict Your Chances for Income.
In a nutshell, you need to address the three areas of profitability: direct sales, advertising and affiliate marketing.
We’ve all heard of the many entrepreneurs who made it big thanks to a popular blog; they either used their blog as an extension of an existing business, or started blogging as a side project that ended up earning significant revenue.
Related: How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online
Knowing about the free website-building tools out there and the (perceived) ease of starting a blog, you’ve likely given this strategy some thought.
Would a blog actually help you make money, though? Ultimately, the answer revolves around three factors:
1. Monetization. What’s your plan to make money from the blog? You have many options, depending on your audience, intent and other ventures.
2. Traffic. No matter what monetization angle you choose, you’ll need ample traffic to support it. Your blog’s ability to generate that traffic is a significant indicator.
3. Upkeep and longevity. Though your blog will be free for you to create in most cases, it will cost time (and sometimes money) to keep your blog running. Your profitability will depend on what you invest in maintenance and improvement.
Let’s start with the different ways you can monetize your site:
Lead generation. If you already have a consulting or B2B business, you’ll need leads to close sales. A blog with enough calls to action should direct your readership to your contact page and earn you more appointments, which you can potentially close as sales. With lead generation, your blog will serve as an extension of your business rather than an independent revenue-generating opportunity.
Direct sales. If you have something to sell, a blog can support those sales. For example, you might open a store to sell apparel, crafts or even an ebook. You could then use your blog to provide value to your potential customers, eventually forwarding them to product pages to consider making a purchase.
Advertising. If you have sufficient traffic, you won’t have to sell anything to your readers to make money; instead, you can generate revenue by attracting advertisers, who will pay you based on the volume of traffic you receive, or (more likely) based on the number of people who click on the ads you place. In some cases, ads can annoy readers, so be careful when you place those early ones; and keep a fair balance of ad content versus free, valuable content.
Affiliate linking. You can also make money through affiliate links, meaning links to other people’s products and services that you include in your blog content. You’ll get a percentage of any sales that your links generate, and again, with sufficient traffic, that could represent a substantial stream of revenue.
No matter which approach you choose, you’ll need adequate traffic to earn enough value from it:
Targeting. You’ll need to start with the right target audience. Ideally, you’ll choose a specific target niche that’s wide enough to have a large readership but narrow enough to avoid significant competition. That way, you can earn the most relevant followers while dealing with the least amount of competition. Make sure to research your target audience and existing competition before proceeding; try to find something unique that people really need.
Value. You then need to find a way to provide those users with value. Usually, that means providing them with the best content you can produce and that is timely, unique, helpful, thoroughly researched and well written. The more value you offer your readers, the more they’ll naturally be attracted to you, and the more they’ll spread the word of your existence.
Promotion and support. Even if you have a strong content base, and a hypothetically valuable niche, you won’t get far unless you spend time promoting and syndicating your material. You need to build up an initial audience base and encourage them to spread the word about you, building your brand reputation and circle of influence simultaneously. There are many ways to do this, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and paid advertising, but you’ll need to use at least one of these strategies to start building audience momentum.
Upkeep and longevity
If you want your revenue stream to last, you’ll need to make investments to keep your blog running and relevant for the foreseeable future (and ensure those costs don’t eat into your profitability):
Relevance longevity. You’ll have to keep your design and content updated to appeal to your target audience, whose interests may change — especially if you have significant competitors encroaching on your territory. You need to be prepared to do near-constant tweaking.
Ongoing costs. You’ll probably have to pay for things like hosting, marketing and advertising, so make sure you build those expenses into your long-term profitability plan.
Ongoing time investment. Creating new content, engaging with your followers and building your reputation is going to take several hours of work every week. Without that investment, your blog will be unable to sustain itself.
Related: How To Make Money From Blogging
So, can your blog make money? If you address all of the above points confidently, and walk away feeling that you’ve conquered all three areas of profitability, there’s nothing stopping your blog from being profitable. It’s still a long-term strategy, and one that might not pay off right away, but with a strong foundation, you’ll be ahead of the vast majority of new online entrepreneurs.
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