Lessons learned from not selling my project or why I turn down $18k offer.

A month ago I’ve decided to sell my project at Flippa. In the beginning of selling my project I was sure that someone would buy it for $25 000-$40 000. I could spend those money on my new project, got good winter holidays and put part of them for future investments.

But that were only dreams and useless expectations. I’ve used my old SEO employee account and posted v ad about selling my web site at flippa. Added stats, set sale time for 30 days and started to wait.

Nothing has happend…

My project was shown in flippa ads, but I’ve got few messages asking for stats and thats all. I’ve added blog post on my blog and promote it at LinkedIn and Hacker News. That gave me 200 visitors in the few first days to the blog post and nothing had happened then. Fail.

Ok. I’ve posted note about selling my site at SitePoint marketplace (+1-2 visitors) and at one more site but there is no need to mention it here because it didn’t give any traffic. While doing this promotions I’ve got 14 auction followers, 400 auction views and flippa was showing my ad with my auction everywhere.

Flippa’s banner with my auction at DigitalPoint Forums

What I did next?

Well I’ve written to all my competitors and got $18 000 offer and $9 000 offer + 1 partnership deal. I denied all offers. (Fail again?) The next thing I did is a comment at my flippa auction about my mostly zero promotion efforts.

All I did is spent time on Quora and did one month AdWords promotion for $5000 (that was one more fail…by today I’ve earned from this project $4850, so i’m still in $150 loss :-) ).

Why did no one post the bids??

To speed up the process of selling auction I’ve reduced the auction time from 30 to 21 days hoping that there were smarta#s guys who were waiting the last day in order to offer a lower price. During the last week I’ve got:

  • $1 000, $2 000, $6 000, $10 000+ and $15 000 offers. Most of the offers were in the last day. I’ve got a $1000 offer during the last 2 hours of the auction. All the offers were declined. Is it fail again?
  • 619 view and 19 followers
  • 0 bids!

Lessons learned

  1. No one wants to buy the site that has so low revenue and only I belive that I can increase the revenue to $3000-5000/month
  2. Poor auction text. While selling the site I was surfing Filppa’s last big deals (over $50 000) and figured out that every big seller has a very detailed and bright description of his site. Besides it should contain 1000 words and more.
  3. Promote and sell again. Some good sites at flippa were sold only from the 3rd time.
  4. Selling the project with high potential at a low price was a stupid idea. I’d better spend time on project changes and get more sales and sale it at a higher price. I’ve invested more than $50 000 in it and selling it at a low price would be fail from the very beginning.

Plans

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

Winston Churchill, Harrow School, 1941

I’ve got a plan how to increase the sales:
  1. Update the project with features that still not live.
  2. Launch affiliate program and give $20 for every person who refer a client.
  3. Decrease subscription plans from $150 to $49.95 a year and $99/for 3 years. These strategies use hosting companies with very competitive market. Why do not try them in form building market too? There is no leader features anymore every product has good features and may win the market. While writting this post JotForm got the similar offer for this New Year campaign. New born fail again?
  4. Run advertising campaign through BuySellAds, do sponsored posts at blogs and forums.
  5. Postioning my product as a solution for non programmers. E.g. designers, webmasters, product managers and etc
  6. Test the SMB market. Maybe I could sell it for small business directly?
  7. Run newsletter campaign. With more than 6 000 users I have a good chance to promote my new offers.
  8. Do partnership with other services by connecting my product with them in exchange for guest post. In some interviews I’ve seen that WuFoo got a lot of clients from the blog. BTW they’ve sold their project to SurveyMonkey for $35M.
  9. Post my site for sale at flippa again. Why? Like James Altucher wrote in his blog post The 100 rules of being an entrepeneur.  ”Sell your first company as quick as you can. Don’t  make any changes. “. I like that idea (even this is not my first start up). But I want to sell if for a higher price in the next 6 months. Ideally $100 000. Even if I sell it for $80 000 I would be happy too. I understand that I’m not the next Mark Zukerberg :)

Interesting things I’ve found at flippa while selling my site.

  1. Similar project 2 years ago Formtoemail.com was sold for $66 000.  (Is it fake? Because it has only one bidder)
  2. Theme site PandaThemes.com was sold for $80 000  with revenue $3900/month
  3. Usually people buy web sites for the amount of 2 years revenue. e.g. If I’ve got $100 000 revenue in 2 years I would have a BIG chance to sell it for $100 000
  4. Potential buyers asked me about the last 6 month revenue only. That means I could increase monthly revenue up to $4500 month and got a good chance to sell it for $100 000
But thats only my assumptions I need to test them live. While testing them I’ll post them in this blog.
P.S.: Don’t forget to tweet my post ;)

 

2 thoughts on “Lessons learned from not selling my project or why I turn down $18k offer.

  1. Compliments for being so open and honest, and doing a thorough analysis of what you have done that was not right, and the virtues and vices of using Flippa. Very instructive. Wish you all the best. I am on linkedin.com Do contact me for further discussions on domain sales.