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  1. #1
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    Curious? Should I sell or keep plugging?

    Just posted this exact same post on a different site but this one seems a lot more lively!

    Anyway...

    For various reasons I want bore anyone with, I'm considering selling my site for a lump sum - OR I'll just keep plugging away at it, not sure yet. Yes it's one of those "little current income but great potential" sites but I really do mean that.

    It's a PR3 (about 660 backlinks) selling my own software, a fairly sophisticated Windows desktop app. Buyer would get the domain (6 letter my brand dot com) which is 4 years old, the full source code and rights to the software, the site and contents plus full rights to the 200 page illustrated ebook that goes with the software.

    The site also has a fully featured blog hosting system but I'm the only one using it right now. Users can choose about 20 templates, has adsense built in, does mobile blogging, it's the full monty but not being utilised or pushed really.

    I'm hesitant to mention the domain or even the topic as the last thing I want is this site showing up for a search on my domain! Let it suffice to say it's a very popular topic, with the market saturated but not in terms of software.

    With the right marketing or affiliate network (Clickbank?) it could explode - or not. I don't know. All I know for certain is around 30 organic visitors a day, about 2 sales a month at $40 each and I don't have the time or money to do anything with it. One month it was mentioned in a mag and I got 6 sales in a week, so the potential is there.

    I'm going by Statscounter, by Awstats it's some silly number not worth mentioning. Let me check.. 1957 "sites" (people) this month, but I don't believe that. Statscounter says more like 450.

    Also the SW is in C#/.NET, when MS release .NET 3.5 it will be a one click operation to convert it to 3.5 and another click to convert it to a web application. I know of one site that is doing just that and claims a million sign ups, if that's real or not I dunno. Total competition is about 6 other companies, more if you look at the broader market.

    I don't have the cash to advertise or keep figuring out how best to sell it, I'm not a salesperson. Currently the purchase system is awkward, customers have to dowload, then get a registration code in order to buy, via Shareit, who have a hideous sales cart. I also make people provide a name and email to dowload the demo. I suspect a easy download and just take paypal payment and give a full version would boost sales a lot. Maybe. Again I don't know for sure.

    The site also has a full-blown autoresponder system, which I'm barely using and a ticket-support system I've only just installed.

    Right now I have too much on my plate, new baby coming (hopefully) am unemployed but busy with stuff such as the house.

    In terms of current income the site isn't worth much, in terms of potential it could reach a grand a month, even a week, if you are good at marketing, brand building etc.

    As such I'd want a minimum of $22,000, or would rather keep nibbling away at it when I have the time and money. Is that way too cheap, way too expensive or what?

    I really wouldn't want to sell it for less than that, it's 4 years of grind, fun but grind, plus considerable expense too.

    What sez you people?

  2. #2
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    you wrote "I'm hesitant to mention the domain or even the topic as the last thing I want is this site showing up for a search on my domain!" - what is the reasonfor this?

  3. #3
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    Because it's an ongoing business and I don't want potential customers thinking I'm about to sell it.

    As I said I'm thinking of changing to a more straightforward - 'here's some screenshots, here's maybe a video, here's the Buy Now button.." model. In which case people are likely to search for my brand name to get reviews etc.

    Finding me here thinking of selling it doesn't look good.



    D

  4. #4
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    makes complete sense - on one of ours, we even have resellers and you're right of course you don't want people to find out - good luck with your quest - pm me details, I'm intrigued!

  5. #5
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    Software that has no sales performance stats attached to it is notoriously difficult to sell, for any price at all. I seriously doubt you'd get $22k on this forum or others, or anywhere really. Its really not about the price point, its just that unless you're selling for less than $500, you're gonna have a hard time finding an interested buyer, for ANY price. One of the problems is that any software sale raises eyebrows... why sell a piece of software that'll supposedly make so much money, and you're so close to making it. The other problem is that people just don't want to buy pieces of software. They require programming knowledge eventually at one point, they are high maintenance, and you really don't know how many to sell. You might get lucky and find a guy, or you might not.

    The price for the software alone is a dubious thing all by itself. Why $22k, why not $15k or $30k? If you just counted up your hours and multiplied by an hourly rate, that's just not how evaluations work. You would need a business plan, where you estimate a certain amount of sales and give justification for this estimation. From this sales estimation, comes yearly profit, and then you can get a sales price which is something you can bargain with the buyer. But if you have no sales estimation then there's no way to even get a price, you really don't have where to start.

    I suggest you move forward with a partnership. Find someone who is ready to partner with you, finish off the site and the sales system. Make a partnership agreement:

    1. Partner pays you $1000 for 50% ownership

    2. Responsibilities are split - your partner makes the website, sales system, etc. You provide the software and responses to support tickets (you're probably not going to find anyone who's ready to do support for your software).

    3. Revenue is split 50/50. The expenses shared by both parties are hosting and any direct advertising costs. Time spent is not factored in as a cost.

    4. In 4 months, if profit is less than $1000/mo, partners have the option to re-evaluate the partnership, and walk away if they wish to. Each walks away with the part he worked on, you with your software, he with the website.

  6. #6
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    That's a sensible enough reply, though not a practical solution for me.

    The 22k was worked out in a much cruder manner - it would pay off all my current credit cards and car and as such would be the point I'd sell. No, that's no business formula but the concept that the price is only what one would pay works in reverse as well - If less I'd rather not sell.

    The payment system does work, I already have a few sales, just that I suspect changing to a more simple download and purchase system would be better. Technically I have an affiliate program, via Shareit, but it's pants. Changing to clickbank means paying clickbank $50, buying a decent clickbank download protecter, another $50, producing a bunch of nice banners and other such stuff, changing the software to not do as it does, which is to lock to the user's hardware and require a code and key activation etc.

    I could change the software fairly quickly but banners and spending more money doesn't appeal when in a situation where I have more month than money.

    It's cashflow and timeflow basically. To anyone who could afford it, setting up a Clickbank account or stuff like that would be petty change, to me right now it's actually an issue.

    It just occurred to me the other day - how about selling the entire business to someone who could make a go of it?

    At that point I have to ask at what price would I let it go? For me that price is $22k. No, it's not a formula, it's just the price. Otherwise I'd rather keep it and experiment over time, find what works best.


    D

  7. #7
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    In that case, your obvious solution is to try to raise funds for your project. There are lots of options, some fundraising even on Sitepoint has been successful.

    You'll need a business plan where you make a strong case for why this software is going to be successful, and some financials that roughly estimate how much money you're gonna need to get it all done. Then you can sell an x% of business for that money.

  8. #8
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    Again that's sensible advice. Just doesn't appeal to me though

    One thing I could do is just stick some adsense and stuff on the site to raise a little cash - I don't need a lot, just enough to move forward a bit.

    The blog system is heavily under-used, if there's such a term. I think I'll re-design the main page for that and remove restrictions for free blogs, push a bit harder on 'get your nich topic blog here' stuff.

    Mmm. OK, thank you for some very sensible advice but at this stage I think I'd probably be better of just working at it some more, find more time for it. I'll try and scrape up the money for Clickbank, try it for a few months.

    What it really needs is a small classified ad run regularly in the more popular topic mags; just being mentioned in one brought a sudden flood of visitors and some sales. I'll certainly try removing the need for a name and email to download, as I'm not really using my autoresponder right now anyway.

    Heck there's loads I could do to improve or at least experiment; I'm not even doing any basic A/B splits or anything at present, too distracted with other stuff.

    OK I've decided, I'll just stick with it, as it doesn't look like I'd get the price I'd be willing to sell for as it is at present. Obviously if I do the extra work and stuff and it makes money there'd be no point in selling it, as the site runs itself really.

    Thank you for your help, if only to put things in perspective


    D

  9. #9
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    To be blunt, nobody in their right mind is going to pay you $22,000 for a "business" making $80 per month. The fact that the $22,000 is the amount of your debt has no relation to the value of the website you're trying to sell. When you say stuff like "I suspect a easy download and just take paypal payment and give a full version would boost sales a lot" potential buyers are just going to wonder if it's so easy why didn't you do it yourself? For $22,000 buyers can pick up websites in the marketplace here that are already making much more money with sites that are less risky and need less support. I think you're going to either need to readjust your expectations significantly downward or just keep working with the site until the sales are more respectable.

  10. #10
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    Of course it doesn't - to the buyer. To ME it means sell or not bother and stick with it. Like I said, prices work both ways.

    I've already changed the download thing so no need to register, will see what difference that makes and noticed my blog system was by no means SE optimized, which I've just corrected.

    As for support, it doesn't need any. Have sold over 100 copies and asides from one minor bug quickly spotted and fixed have had zero complaints, refunds or even basic tech support (apart from one guy who ignored my warning not to install a new version without saving his files first...)

    Like I said, I've already decided to plug on with it, as I'm familiar with the market, what people need and would look for if they realised software was available for that specific niche.

    I've also re-written the main sales page, following AIDA principles and this time with H1 headings (who knew?)

    Webby stuff bores me to tears, php, html, css, all that, just gives me brain freeze. It's already on page 1 of Google but only if people are actually looking for "niche software". Many thousands of people do niche, just most never think to use software for it. Vastly more people search for "broader version of niche software" but I deliberately aimed specifically at "niche".

    Now I'll be looking for ways of building brand awareness within "niche". I'm already a moderator on a popular niche forum with a sig' link but not everyone goes to forums, or that one in particular.

    Bottom line the site and resources are worth more to me than the money it looks like I could get selling it all - unless I work at it and prove it's potential but then if doing that why on Earth would I sell it?

    Maybe I'm being too logical but "Here, buy my money machine" does not compute.



    D

  11. #11
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dippingtoe View Post
    Maybe I'm being too logical but "Here, buy my money machine" does not compute.
    It computes a whole lot better for buyers than "Here, buy my money sink" does.

  12. #12
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    Yes it's one of those "little current income but great potential" sites but I really do mean that.
    You probably really do mean it but you also probably do have the usual seller blindfolds firmly obstructing your vision.

    Many buyers are going to read this and conclude that your site doesn't have potential. You know why? Because that's a rubbish claim. Every site has potential. Every site has the potential to become the next Google. Every single site in the world. It just needs the right person behind it.

    But you're bailing. Oh, so you're not the right person but you believe that I am? That's very flattering but you don't even know me. "This rust bucket doesn't work when I drive it dude, but if you buy it this car will transform into a brand new Ferrari." Sure, of course it will.

    You know why you're bailing? Because deep down you know that it's going to take time, commitment, money, skill or other input or the site won't grow. And you don't want to take the risk to make all that investment. Maybe you haven't looked deep down yet but it takes input to realise any site's potential. The extent of that input required and the return it's going to make depends more on the merits of the buyer than what you've put in place so far. Don't flatter yourself

    Buyers aren't impressed with the "potential" argument. I'd suggest not using it, it would mark you out as amateurish and too eager. From your last post it appears you are putting a lot of effort into improving the site. That's a good thing. Put your money where you mouth is, bring the profits up, make it a self running site, implement all those ideas you are so casually throwing out for buyers to use, put some earnings history on the table... and then you can talk the talk.

  13. #13
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    Maybe we're looking at things from different angles but it strikes me that no-one is going to sell a site that is already making a heap of cash, unless selling it for an extremely large heap of cash, making it unaffordable to all but the odd trust manager or something.

    Cheaper sites, virtually by definition, will be those that may take a bit of work but have the potential and are worth the risk to those willing to try and with the cash available.

    On the other hand perhaps I'm wrong? Please, do tell me where I can buy a website that's already making money, cheaply enough so that someone who wants it could afford it?

    I've always been rather partial to free money?

    Seems to me that at the very least you're going to have to pay many month's income from the site, presuming it really is income, so it's going to take many months to get your money back let alone make a profit. My own site is the same, it would take a bit of time and ready cash would certainly help the process.

    Allow me to repeat myself - I've already decided to stick with it. If it does end up making heaps of money then no, I won't be selling it.

    I'd presume the same of anyone else selling a site?

    To me that's business, 'does this investment have potential?'. The idea someone is going to hand you a ready-made site that's already earning great is like expecting someone to sell you their ATM pin number. At the very least you have to believe the site can earn MORE than at present or you consider it a long-term investment and are willing to wait for the return.

    You seem to be insisting I sell $50 bills for $20 each?

    Aint gonna happen.



    D

  14. #14
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dippingtoe View Post
    Please, do tell me where I can buy a website that's already making money, cheaply enough so that someone who wants it could afford it?
    Yea, right here. The marketplace has been going strong for several years now, I've been in there since the beginning. Hundreds of websites that are making money have sold in there, and by gosh yea they've sold at prices that people actually wanted to pay. Who'd have thunk it? ROFLMAO

  15. #15
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    There's only one angle that matters, my friend: the angle that buyers look at things from.

    It's a nice $20 bill you've got there. It's crisp, it clean, it may even be genuine. How much did you want for it again, $50?

    To me that's business,
    Cheaper sites are those that don't have proven profits but just this "potential" that sellers keep talking about.

    All you're gulty of is inexperience. Hopefully, you'll learn that people don't buy sites as "long-term" investment like property. A house is likely to last a lot more than the next 100 years, and increase its value over that time. It would take an exceptionally stupid buyer to put that same long term value to a site. It's usually measured in months!

    To me that's business,
    I'm afraid you don't come across as someone who understands business. Do follow Peter's link and spend some time looking at real life sales.

  16. #16
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    You would get nothing near 22K unless you had a decent yearly turnover, either lower your expectations or keep promoting, invest some real time into it and get it kicked off

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the straightforward reply

    I will indeed continue to work on it. Have added adsense to all the content pages, which may help.



    D


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