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

Elbert Dockery

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@lludwig congrats. I love reading these types of threads on how people worked and worked and finally achieved what they worked so hard for attain. I myself have been lurking a lot lately and trying so many different things lately within my business.
 

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The Legend

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Wow, that was very inspirational and most definately fast lane!!
 

Anthony Gordon

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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.

View attachment 20956

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.

wow this is a great story. i hope you dont mind but i have a couple of questions.

i am slowly learning about online businesses and i was actually thinking of doing something similar but for Australian Investing (where i am from) and as i can see from InvestorJunkie you have a few reviews on some products that you chose for different categories. now i am wondering how did you manage to get the products reviews and links to site ? are they the affiliate links you are talking about? and with the reviews for autobot did you test them yourself ?

really any advice would be great
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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now i am wondering how did you manage to get the products reviews and links to site ? are they the affiliate links you are talking about? and with the reviews for autobot did you test them yourself ?
really any advice would be great
autobot?

We tested all the services ourselves inhouse.

Most are affiliate links that we either had via some network or specifically contacted them and sold them on the idea of affiliate marketing. Don't be afraid to contact their marketing department especially FINTECH startups since they are wanting other channels of revenue.
 

Anthony Gordon

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Jun 4, 2016
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autobot?

We tested all the services ourselves inhouse.

Most are affiliate links that we either had via some network or specifically contacted them and sold them on the idea of affiliate marketing. Don't be afraid to contact their marketing department especially FINTECH startups since they are wanting other channels of revenue.
awesome thanks mate, you have actually given me an idea for Australia. i will start off simple though
 

MJ DeMarco

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@lludwig -- ha ha, sorry, I had no idea you would be roped into an *unofficial* AMA. Thank you for responding to may of the forum's questions. Rep+

PS: Can I edit the thread title to include your company name and so it is more descriptive?
 

Anthony Gordon

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@lludwig -- ha ha, sorry, I had no idea you would be roped into an *unofficial* AMA. Thank you for responding to may of the forum's questions. Rep+

PS: Can I edit the thread title to include your company name and so it is more descriptive?
MJ first of all i would like to thank you for your books and this forum!.

secondly if i was to create a site and to explain certain things i used passages from your book is that ok if i state that these explanations came from you. for example investing in index funds rather than putting money in mutual funds. maybe even place a link to your books ?
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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@lludwig -- ha ha, sorry, I had no idea you would be roped into an *unofficial* AMA. Thank you for responding to may of the forum's questions. Rep+

PS: Can I edit the thread title to include your company name and so it is more descriptive?
Sure no problem on both counts. If you want me to do an AMA on a specific topic I'm open to this as well.
 

AceResponder

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@lludwig Congratulations on completing your process and creating an event.

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.
Do you have any recommendations to learn SEO online?
There are a couple that I have found while reading other posts.
Ultimate eCommerce SEO Guide | A 15-Minute Crash Course
SEO: The Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization from Moz

Thank you!
 

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lludwig

lludwig

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@lludwig Congratulations on completing your process and creating an event.



Do you have any recommendations to learn SEO online?
There are a couple that I have found while reading other posts.
Ultimate eCommerce SEO Guide | A 15-Minute Crash Course
SEO: The Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization from Moz

Thank you!
In my opinion, this is basic shit. SEO is MUCH MUCH MUCH more complex than what is described in these tutorials.

These "tricks" really applied much more so a few years ago. While technical SEO is important, it is easy to understand.

Today I would recommend reading Google Search Guidelines. Read it. Then read it again. Study it. Know it!

https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//insidesearch/howsearchworks/assets/searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf

Google uses the data from their manual raters to create into algo form.

You must show E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust) especially if you are YMYL (Your Money, or Your Life) like I was in.

Once you read Google's doc, these types of articles will make more sense to you then.

The September 27, 2018 Google Algorithm Update And October 4 Tremor – Google Experiments, Relevance, Trust Signals, Reversals, and 'Staying in your lane'

The September 27 - early October algorithm update was likely about Google’s ability to assess trust - Marie Haynes Consulting

SEO, like the sale of my business, isn't an event in itself but a process. It's typically a long game of at least 1-2 years before you get a decent payoff.

Hope this helps.
 
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AceResponder

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In my opinion, this is basic sh*t. SEO is MUCH MUCH MUCH more complex than what is described in these tutorials.

These "tricks" really applied much more so a few years ago. While technical SEO is important, it is easy to understand.

Today I would recommend reading Google Search Guidelines. Read it. Then read it again. Study it. Know it!

https://static.googleusercontent.co...s/assets/searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf

Google uses the data from their manual raters to create into algo form.

Once you read Google's doc, these types of articles will make more sense to you then.

The September 27, 2018 Google Algorithm Update And October 4 Tremor – Google Experiments, Relevance, Trust Signals, Reversals, and 'Staying in your lane'

The September 27 - early October algorithm update was likely about Google’s ability to assess trust - Marie Haynes Consulting
Thank you for the quick response and recommendation. This sure does help. I will start reading it and learn it and get back to you to learn more ;)

SEO, like the sale of my business, isn't an event in itself but a process.
I understand :)

Thank you!
 

Sadik

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Hi @lludwig Congratulations for the sale and thanks for answering the many questions. If you don't mind sharing, can you tell us how was your site valued? Roughly what TTM multiple did you get? I understand if you don't want to share, but I would really love to know.

I have a tech website which makes a little bit which I could potentially scale. However I am always in a dilemma whether to invest my full time to it. I have another separate business which does decently so I am always postponing working on this site. A rough idea of how much I could potentially sell this for might just be the motivation I need... :) Thanks.
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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Hi @lludwig Congratulations for the sale and thanks for answering the many questions. If you don't mind sharing, can you tell us how was your site valued? Roughly what TTM multiple did you get? I understand if you don't want to share, but I would really love to know.

I have a tech website which makes a little bit which I could potentially scale. However I am always in a dilemma whether to invest my full time to it. I have another separate business which does decently so I am always postponing working on this site. A rough idea of how much I could potentially sell this for might just be the motivation I need... :) Thanks.
Per my NDA I cannot disclose the multiple.

It depends upon the site and other factors as well.

There are companies that can help in valuation, but ultimately it's is whatever someone wants to pay.
 

Sadik

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Per my NDA I cannot disclose the multiple.

It depends upon the site and other factors as well.

There are companies that can help in valuation, but ultimately it's is whatever someone wants to pay.
Yes I thought that might be in the NDA :) But thanks anyways...
 

Vincent_Vega

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First of all, congratulations! $6M for an informational website is really great!

Two short question: Are the pre-sale traffic numbers of Investment Junkie also covered by the NDA?
And did you really only monetize through affiliate marketing?
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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First of all, congratulations! $6M for an informational website is really great!

Two short question: Are the pre-sale traffic numbers of Investment Junkie also covered by the NDA?
And did you really only monetize through affiliate marketing?
I can't discuss the numbers.
 
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mtnman

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Awesome job! Really digging your UI on some custom pages... You guys are seriously above the fold compared to a lot of benchmarks.

Not sure if this is appropriate or not, but was this bread to sell from the beginning? If not, can you comment on why you guys didn't delve into product creation to inch up on the totem pole a bit, instead of just relying on third party monetization?

I see other P2P/investing/similar vertical blogs doing fairly well by offering products and services. Curious if this is something you experimented with and it didn't go well, or just wasn't part of your master plan from the get go.

If that isn't something you'd prefer to talk about, how about these two:

  1. What's the one thing you'd do differently if you were building Investor Junkie today?
  2. What's the one thing you'd do exactly the same if you were building Investor Junkie all over again?

Thanks for doing the thread, excellent job with the site!
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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Awesome job! Really digging your UI on some custom pages... You guys are seriously above the fold compared to a lot of benchmarks.
Thanks.

Not sure if this is appropriate or not, but was this bread to sell from the beginning? If not, can you comment on why you guys didn't delve into product creation to inch up on the totem pole a bit, instead of just relying on third-party monetization?
Actually did consider it but it's really a much different business. The question I asked was do I keep doing what we are doing or should I lock in those gains and start a new business? I obviously chose the latter.

  1. What's the one thing you'd do differently if you were building Investor Junkie today?
Based upon the competition SEO for this space is much much harder than when I started. With now companies like The Wire Cutter and The Motley Fool entering this space. Plus with the company acquired Investor Junkie owning first, second and third position search position, it is becoming increasingly harder to compete. SEM, push notifications, social media (including messaging) are the way to go. Though for affiliate marketing in most cases SEO is a cheaper alternative. Otherwise with paid ads you are playing an arbitrage game. Though on the plus side it's easy to turn on and turn off and know immediate results if you are hanging your ladder on the right wall.

I also regret not building my personal brand at the same time. I built Investor Junkie as a brand because I did not want to have myself tied to it so it could be sold. In retrospect, I should have built my personal brand in parallel. It's hard with some mediums you have no choice but need a personal voice (ie video, email, podcast, social media, etc..) Unfortunately starting from scratch in my new ventures even if it's not in the same space it would be nice to have built that up and some of my raving fans would have come with me to my new businesses.

  1. What's the one thing you'd do exactly the same if you were building Investor Junkie all over again?
Focused on user experience and adding value for the reader.

Thanks for doing the thread, excellent job with the site!
Thanks!
 

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MTF

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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.
And how is it going? Working on a new business or just enjoying your transition phase?
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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IMG_0027.jpg
And how is it going? Working on a new business or just enjoying your transition phase?
Still in a transition with the website. Still planning out what's next.

Though did rent a new office space starting Jan 1st. I needed a view that was inspiring and got a window with a view. I know I want to do videos with the new business so I also wanted something more than a white background.
 

Suzanne Bazemore

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@lludwig, congratulations, and thank you for sharing your story!

This whole thread is inspirational and helps me realize that it can be done.
 

Lionhearted

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I don't really know what I want next is the biggest question. I still need some soul searching on this. I haven't seen a problem that I want to solve. What I'm trying to do more of is forget about any real or preconceived limits I may think I have.

"What problem could I solve if I had no limits?" Is the question I keep asking.

It isn't so much the money other than keeping score. I mean I've even considered maybe I'll get some VC and using someone else's money to build something much bigger than I could do myself. But would I be happy? I don't know as on one hand, it would be challenging. Yet I would get more into operations would have to deal with more employees.
For me identifying my core principle was the key (the one thing that makes me most happy and must have in my life). In my case my core principle is freedom. I need to be option rich. I keep that in mind and move forward in way that complements my core principle and stay true to that. Congratulations on your success. I am benefiting greatly from this thread. Thank you. Love the "Lego for adults analogy".
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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Ok starting to build my personal brand.

Want to learn more about me? I'm of course in the VERY early stages of creating my site but plan on at least starting to do consulting for others with affiliate marketing.

I list some of the tools I've used over the years. I also plan on discussing tricks/tips on affiliate marketing.

Plus plan on some courses in the future.

Signup to my mailing list and I'll let you know when new stuff becomes available.

This is at least one of my possible sources of future revenue, among others. Going the multiple streams of income route.

Visit: Larry Ludwig
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Based upon the competition SEO for this space is much much harder than when I started. With now companies like The Wire Cutter and The Motley Fool entering this space. Plus with the company acquired Investor Junkie owning first, second and third position search position, it is becoming increasingly harder to compete. SEM, push notifications, social media (including messaging) are the way to go. Though for affiliate marketing in most cases SEO is a cheaper alternative. Otherwise with paid ads you are playing an arbitrage game. Though on the plus side it's easy to turn on and turn off and know immediate results if you are hanging your ladder on the right wall.
Question that you probably know...

What is the terminology for an affiliate program that you implement at the registration page? (Click here to be sent an offer by XYZ company.)

I know it's done a lot in the financial space, but for the life of me I cannot remember the official term.
 

Vigilante

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View attachment 22456

Still in a transition with the website. Still planning out what's next.

Though did rent a new office space starting Jan 1st. I needed a view that was inspiring and got a window with a view. I know I want to do videos with the new business so I also wanted something more than a white background.
Regus?
 
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lludwig

lludwig

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Question that you probably know...

What is the terminology for an affiliate program that you implement at the registration page? (Click here to be sent an offer by XYZ company.)

I know it's done a lot in the financial space, but for the life of me I cannot remember the official term.
Hey MJ,

Can you give me an example? I'm not sure I understand the question.

You mean the redirection page on my site? That says "Now redirecting you to offer X..." I assume you know what the purpose of that page is for?

As that's actually a good question to ask and can go into that question.

Intermediary page you mean?

-L
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Can you give me an example? I'm not sure I understand the question.
Not sure you are doing this, but I've heard it is common in the finance space.

When people register for your site, at the bottom there is a checkbox that says, "Would you like to receive a free report from XYZ company on the best mutual funds?"

When someone clicks the check box (they're already registering for YOUR service) you get paid because they opted in for the free report. That's a lead for the "free report company."

You're affiliating for the "free report company" and they pay you $1 for each registration lead.

There's terminology for this type of arrangement (beyond "affiliate program") which I can't remember.

Also Mixergy had a podcast with a dude in the financial space who was doing it, and was making a killing on it.

I've been unable to recall either.
 

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