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GOLD! Intro, AMA, and a Recent Sale for $6M of InvestorJunkie.com

Discussion in 'Forum Introductions (Who are you!?)' started by lludwig, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. lludwig
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    lludwig Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hi All,

    First-time poster but has lurked on this forum for a while and have read both MJ DeMarco's books. I've been a business owner in some form since 1997. My first business was web hosting and web development.

    I didn't know it at the time, but perhaps one of the worst businesses to be in. Low margins, low barrier to entry, and always need to respond to tech support 24/7. I was stressed out, burnt out and looking to do something else.

    In December 2009 I got sick of developing and hosting websites for other customers (two of them at the time was Comedy Central and Thought Catalog). My thought was why can't I develop a site like this and generate revenue from the visitors?!??

    Something at that time just snapped for me. I couldn't deal with a high workload and the stress of customer support.

    I also was doing somewhat ok financially and had all my ducks in a row. I was looking for a website that could help speak to me about investing and more the advanced topics. Money magazine and Suze Orman weren't cutting it for me and way more advanced than that.

    So I figured I would create one myself and named it Investor Junkie. So while somewhat self-serving also had plenty of experience to talk about investing.

    Plus I figured I could create it to showcase the technology created to develop and maintain it and could be used as a selling point for my web development and design. I would monetize via affiliate marketing was my plan.

    This little skunkworks operation turned into a business onto itself after 2 years into it. It started generating more revenue and was much more profitable than my original business.

    Fast forward to July 2018 I sold Investor Junkie for $6M.

    XLMedia Buys Personal Finance Site InvestorJunkie For USD6 Million

    About 3 years ago read MJ's first book and even with my years of business experience got a lot out it. He confirmed many of my existing beliefs of owning a business and organized it in way much better than I ever could.

    MJ's books gave me more direction and helped keep me more focused on the ball. So thanks for this.

    To celebrate the sale I bought one thing. Ever since I was around 8 years old I saw my first Porsche Turbo in the Hamptons and fell in love with the car. I always wanted one. So I bought a 2015 991.1 Turbo S as a little present for me. It was purely symbolic. I could have afforded it long ago, but I figured I needed some reward after all the long days and stressors of owning a business.

    IMG_0491.jpg

    So what's next? I really don't know. While exciting also nervous as I typically have a clear direction of what I would do next. I have some ideas but joined this forum to look at other business ideas.

    Thanks for the welcome and thanks to MJ DeMarco for your books.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  2. Fox
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    Fox Moderator Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Congrats and welcome to the forum. What is your plan for the future?
     
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  3. JM35
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    JM35 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Congrats on the sale and welcome to the forums!

    Having experience with both investing and running online business, what are your thoughts on using websites and online businesses as complements to traditional investment portfolios?

    Obviously, there is a higher learning curve for investing in websites vs. stocks and ETF's (aka higher risk), but given the attractive valuations of websites and online businesses, I think it's a fascinating concept if you have the skills and enough knowledge to keep a website performing consistently.

    Have you considered rolling some of those sale proceeds into a more passive online business?
     
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  4. FastNAwesome
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    FastNAwesome Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Welcome to the forum. Great and inspiring intro!
     
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  5. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Marking NOTABLE, way to kill it! Glad to have had a small part of it.

    So yes, what's the plan now? Repeat? Semi-retire? Go on a long holiday?
     
  6. lludwig
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    lludwig Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Like what? I've never found a truly passive online business. Even my web hosting business which also is now on the selling block wasn't completely passive.
     
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  7. JohnZ123
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    JohnZ123 Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Phenomenal results! Welcome to the forum
     
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  8. lludwig
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    lludwig Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey MJ,

    I could technically retire with this sale and my existing assets already, but entrepreneurship is like a disease and plan on never formally retiring. I like to think businesses are the adult version of LEGO. I've realized I'm great at being the visionary and I do execute well, but don't like when a business becomes mundane and needs much more people (sort of what your situation was). Having loads of employees sucks.....

    My plans so far...
    • Six months of transition with the website.
    • My hosting business still exists and putting that on the selling block. Originally was going to in 2008 but decided to just let it ride. Hosting businesses have horrible multiples (1x TTM revenues) and decided to just let slowly die was the best approach. Now I never want to see it again! And want to clear house and start from scratch.
    • Shut down my existing company (for legal and legacy reasons)
    • Create a new company (even if it's not final on what I have plan to do next) so I can at least have a biz entity to work from and for legal and tax reasons.
    • Re-read your two books, plus other business books to get some new ideas (if anyone has suggestions of other books for biz ideas let me know).
    • I have a non-compete and think there's still some things can be executed better in the personal finance space, but must wait till it's over. So it's gonna be hard for anything related to the personal finance space for now. I'll have to work on other verticals.
    • Create a personal brand. This was perhaps my biggest mistake in creating the Investor Junkie brand. I focused on the business brand yet didn't build my personal brand at the same time.
    • Take six months off (If I make it that long :)) after the six-month contract with the aquiring firm.
    • Buy some domain names (already doing this) for some ideas I have.
    • Focus on a plan to generate income from my liquidity event and other existing assets for my "paycheck pot" as you call it.
    I have some specific new biz ideas but don't want to discuss them yet. I don't think they are fully jelled and don't want to publicly commit on a forum these ideas. At least not yet.

    I also may not want do any of them and go off in a completely different direction. Not sure yet and that is my dilemma (yea I know first world problems).

    The question I have for you MJ and others in my situation is what did you do next?

    Since you obviously went through this period MJ you have the unique privilege as well.

    Did you have a period of unknowing what you wanted to do next? Or did you know that this site and books were always in the cards?

    I joined this site to at least seek other like-minded individuals and see what ideas others are working on to help perhaps stir my creative juices as well.

    Also I have loads of online experience, investment experience and a talent stack of writing, tech guru, SEO, SEM, and affiliate marketing. Seeing if I could help anyone who needs help in those areas.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
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  9. Sebastya
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    Sebastya Bronze Contributor

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    Wow 6M congrats.
     
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  10. Big_Benny
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    "I could technically retire with this sale and my existing assets already, but entrepreneurship is like a disease and plan on never formally retiring. I like to think businesses are the adult version of LEGO".

    I love this quote! It's essentially like building the model after you've followed the instructions... The real fun begins after, because that's when the restraints are taken away and you can build whatever your imagination desires.

    Congratulations on your success!
     
  11. ZeroTo100
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    ZeroTo100 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Welcome to the asylum!

    Congrats on the exit...

    Guys like us, we don’t retire! ;)
     
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  12. James Fend
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    James Fend Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Very cool story. Glad to see you here! Nice car btw too...
     
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  13. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    My thought on what to do next is that now you can really ask yourself, if you had $100M in the bank, what would you do. You've got some pocket change to really follow that answer.

    I ask myself that all the time, and I figure out that I'm actually doing it, but to a much smaller scale.
     
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  14. MTF
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    MTF Never give up Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Congratulations, @lludwig.

    I don't think it was a mistake. If you had created a personal brand instead of the Investor Junkie brand, it's very possible you wouldn't have been able to sell it for the same multiple. Also, thanks to not putting yourself in the spotlight, you could maintain your privacy.

    Give yourself some time. Don't rush it. Appreciate what you have now. Switch your focus from business interests to health and non-business passions. Share your knowledge. With your experience, you can contribute a lot to this forum and feel productive without jumping back into another business prematurely.

    I'm still figuring it out myself, but I've learned that the most important part is to learn to feel okay taking things easy. You've worked hard to get to this point, so now you can afford to slow down a little and get back to work when you're 100% convinced about your new project.

    Don't freak out when you start feeling a void in your life or even get depressive thoughts. It's a normal part of the process that I think everybody who has achieved financial independence has to go through.

    @biophase's question is really cool - I'm going to explore my own answers to it, too.
     
  15. lludwig
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    lludwig Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Yea I've seen a few other friends sell in this space and I agree. I'm saying I should have created them in parallel and separate from each other.
     
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  16. mikey3times
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    mikey3times Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Wow. If you wrote all of the articles that have your by-line then you are an epic writer. Nice work and congrats.

    It is interesting to see that you feel like the finance space still has a lot of openings. That is where there is money to be made “blogging” but the competition is fierce.

    We’re you approached to sell or did you put your site on the market?
     
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  17. lludwig
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    lludwig Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I wrote most, but there are many other writers and editors. Many of my original reviews and article have been updated by others.

    The personal finance space is easier than my previous business of web hosting. Much easier!

    I think there's still money to be made because many of the sites are horrible, plus its not just great writing that makes a site special. Otherwise, my friend from college who wanted to be the next Steven King would have been rich already. There needs to be a great UI/UX experience and functionality to add value for the reader. Most are horrible in the execution of their idea.

    Plus this isn't "Field of Dreams". Build it and they certainly will not come.

    I was approached. Though there is a leading firm named Founders who specializes in these types of sites and could have easily used them to sell.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  18. lludwig
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    lludwig Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    An interesting thing I gathered from an investment only website which others on the forum may appreciate.

    I had an active interest in investing when I created Investor Junkie. I didn't care about getting out of debt websites, which most personal finance blogs are about. When I started, I never really thought about why that was the case though.

    I think Investor Junkie, while is great and still can grow, is somewhat limited in size because it focused ONLY on investing. Whereas debt based sites typically do much more revenue if executed right. They generate much much more traffic and have a mass appeal audience. Its great Investor Junkie is being pooled in with other websites, so they can sell ad and affiliate revenue to a much bigger pool of readers.

    Nerdwallet comes to mind and their $60M in annual revenues from last count. While they compete in the investment review space with me, most of their revenue comes from debt refinancing. I can estimate their investment revenue is around $2-3M/year if that.

    Recently another site was sold, Student Loan Hero for $60M. A site to help students refinance their student debt.

    My theory of why this is the case is because our economy is debt based. Our society is massively in debt and most don't have much money to invest. Therefore you are limited by how much traffic you can generate compared to a debt-based website.

    As a business, debt based businesses (ie credit card company) are much more profitable than investment based businesses (ie brokerage firm). Which makes me actively wonder if I should focus on something in that space for my next business venture.

    Bottom line, debt-based businesses generate more revenue than investment based.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  19. mikey3times
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    mikey3times Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Yes! I noticed this is what you do very well. I really like your sidebar navigation components.
     
  20. lludwig
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    lludwig Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thanks. Everything on the site has a purpose and nothing in the layout is by accident.

    Layout, button locations, colors, lack of ads, what's clickable or not, etc.. etc.. All this affects UX and can affect SEO/SERP as well.

    All of this was tested by looking at Google Analytics data, Woopra (another analytic tool), heatmaps and recording of users visiting the site. Did metrics we monitor improve or get hurt by the changes made?

    I suggest studying my site very closely for similar verticals. Obviously what worked on my site may not in your vertical as I found some "determined truths" with UX/UI didn't apply to our site. Your mileage may vary, but it's a great case study.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  21. IGP
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    IGP Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    What I regret most after selling my first company was not doing something BIG with a specific end in mind.

    I launched some sites and did more of what I was doing at the time in another vertical (due to a non-compete) and made good money doing it. However, it wasn't a long term play. That's where I messed up.

    I had the resources, knowledge and capital to do something remarkable and instead I thought WAY to small because I had a nice comfortable bank account and no expenses.

    So, my advice would be; once you realize what it is that you really want to do, GO BIG.

    Set yourself a plan to reach your next level of FU money (if that's what you want) and execute relentlessly.

    Good luck!
     
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  22. Sebastya
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    Interesting.

    I've always thought it would be useful to have a tool that will tell you which credit card you should pay off first..I remember having 5-6 credit cards that all had balances and I wouldn't know which one to focus on since I forgot the interest rates on each card.
     
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  23. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Love this.
     
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    This post is so authentic that I can tell from this simple message that you are the real deal.
     
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  25. Vigilante
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    So I sold a company back in October, and am just working through the balance of my engagement with the new owners. While the money was OK, it was not "game over money."

    The next business I build will be legacy money. Legacy in terms of how I can make the world a better place with it, and how I can have something significant to leave to future generations. We're way too young to take much more than 6 months off (good luck... you won't make it a month). I have several irons in the fire already.

    When @biophase started building his current business, he realized he could scale MUCH faster due to his existing war scars.

    I just cut the check for my first investment in a new venture, and that check equals what I spent the entire first year on the business I built and sold. I get to cut the corners and accelerate into a bigger build.

    Congrats on your sale. Take some time to have fun and drive the car... then sell the car and go build again. This time, make it permanent.
     

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