Selling Out (Part 1)

Unless you’re a close friend you wouldn’t know this, but I haven’t owned my old site RidiculouslyExtraordinary since August. It still looks like it’s mine, but it’s not.

Part of the agreement I made with Dwayne at Ezoic.com was that if he were to buy the site he needs to change the header and remove my name from the site. In addition, I was to be allowed one last post on the site to explain that it is under new ownership. Unfortunately, that part of the agreement hasn’t been put into action.

Why did I sell?

RidiculouslyExtraordinary is the past. After I stopped writing there it became worthless to me. Sure there was a bit of sentimentality there, but I don’t like that feeling. It’s not empowering. Detachment is one of the greatest skills I have developed over the years. Things – which includes the bits and bytes of a website – just don’t matter.

In 2005, as I was quitting a particular business, I was offered 6 figures to sell. Instead of doing that I simply deleted the websites and the accompanying e-mail lists, which was ~50,000 people (~3,000 were paying customers). When I think back on this today I think, “That was young and dumb.” Not because I think it was the wrong decision, but because I didn’t even consider the offer. If I had thought it through I might have very well come to the same “no sale” decision, but I regret not taking some time to consider my options.

So when Dwayne e-mailed me out of the blue in July with an offer to buy RidEx I considered it. I ultimately decided I didn’t like the offer and said no thanks and I didn’t feel like negotiating. But a few weeks later I had a change of heart. “What the hell?” I thought. “Why not just get rid of it? It doesn’t mean anything to you.”

In addition, even though Dwayne’s original offer was much less than I thought I could sell the site for if I put in some legwork, it was still enough to live on for about 6 months. When I thought about it from that point of view – prompted by a conversation with Max – my decision was instant. I thought it would be crazy to pass up on a half year’s worth of living expenses for something I felt no attachment to.

I sent Dwayne an e-mail with a counter-offer 50% over the original offer. In short time we came to an agreement.

How much did I sell for?

Not a lot, but not a little. It’s on the lower end of $XX,XXX. I’ve mentioned elsewhere how much my lifestyle costs so I’ll let you reverse engineer based on the data I’ve presented. I think I got an – excuse me for this - extraordinarily good deal. Prior to selling I installed Adsense on the site (the simplest ad monetization method available) to get a general idea what the site was worth from an ad-revenue perspective. Although RidEx still gets over 30,000 unique visitors/month the daily Adsense revenue was single digits.

In addition, all the content on the site is “uncopyrighted.” Meaning it was always available to you or anybody else to do with as they pleased. Essentially I was selling the domain, the backlinks, and the search engine rankings – which are almost guaranteed to fluctuate.

What was the process?

We signed a simple agreement via an online service. (OurDeal.com - which my friend Kyle owns - is an example of this type of service.)

Then we started the cash and site transfer with the help of Escrow.com.

The site transfer was pretty easy. I backed up and zipped the database (via PHPMyAdmin), downloaded and zipped all the site files (using Filezilla), and uploaded everything to Dwayne’s server. I also pushed the domain from my NameCheap account to his. (Shoutout to Norcross and Will for database backup tips, as I hadn’t played in PHPMyAdmin for a few years.)

A week later the cash was transferred via Escrow to my account.

All told – including all e-mail communication/negotiation – it took less than 2 hours.

How do I feel now?

I feel the same as I did before. I hadn’t felt like I owned RidEx for a long time and it’s not like I sold for anything nearing a life-changing sum.

Though after I sold I went on a spontaneous trip to Gdańsk and Paris. I think it was the first time I’ve ever said, “Hey, you want to go to X tomorrow?” and then booked it. If you’re a history buff you might know WWII began in Gdańsk, specifically Westerplatte. We happened to be there on September 1, the anniversary of the first invasion. If you ever visit Gdańsk I would steer you to nearby (20 minutes by train) Sopot as well. In Paris we stayed in this loft, which I would recommend if you’re ever visiting. (Also, buy 10 pack tickets for the Metro instead of over-priced day passes.)

Part 1? What’s Selling Out Part 2?

I’ll talk about Part 2 soon enough and it will likely surprise a lot of folks.

This is all part of the Clean Slate Theory, which I’ve mentioned before, but I’ve never written about at length. You can probably get the general idea. I’ll write about it … eventually.

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Related: I’m selling RollerCoasterTour.com. Just the domain or the site/contents as well. karol at gajda dot com if you’re interested.

Joy

My takeaway: I shall consider practicing the “art of selling out”. I, too, am wonderful with detachment, so wonderful that I just walk away from *it* (whatever it is I am done with, including an entire house full of furniture–twice– a set of waverunners, and a car). I also tend to walk into something as easily :) And, Paris on a whim sounds fabulous! I’m glad you live an *extraordinary life*..it’s fun and inspiring to observe :)

Karol

Do you ever feel like maybe you can become too good at detachment? I’ve thought about that more from the perspective of relationships. I still haven’t decided if it’s detrimental or beneficial in that regard.

Katerina

Don’t mean to butt in… :)

Perhaps attachment is neither bad nor good? It’s the vehicle that brings the wonderfully crazy emotional highs and lows, takes you on a journey, makes you feel alive…

It’s like being in the ocean – you can be overwhelmed by the current, you can avoid the beach altogether or, ideally, you can learn to surf the waves, (occasionally falling but taking pleasure in the ride). :)

Karol

Personally, especially for possessions, I can’t come up with a single example of it being good.

Jeremy

I was offered a buy out on my new business a few months ago. I was extremely flattered and thankful but was 100% not interested in selling. Now I’m about to start a new business and was planning to keep the other in the side, but you’ve motivated me to contact the buyer again to see if they are still interested. What’s a good way to get an estimate on the value of a website, customers, etc?

Glad you’re writing again, we’ve missed you old friend.

Ps – you should consider a mobile friendly version of your site at some point soon if you get back into posting more

Karol

A generally accepted metric is 10-18x monthly profits, but it depends on so many things. You could get far more than that if it’s growing and automated, for example. I’m no expert but if you want to e-mail me maybe I can help.

RE: mobile. True. Haven’t looked into it besides plugins which I wasn’t a fan of.

Jeremy

well, its mainly just “free” advertising via good SEO to get customers for a service I provide, but since I wrote that I got some more clients and on a whim, i just doubled my rate to see what they’d say, they accepted it. so I guess i’ll just put in a little time on the weekends if I can get the occasional high rate project…for now.

And thanks for the offer/help!

yeah the generic wp-touch mobile theme is pretty boring, there are few good options on themeforest, I’d be curious to see what your mobile percentages are these days to justify it or not.

Karol

Ahh, killer. Congrats on doubling your rate. Is the service the web design in your link or something entirely different?

Mobile: My mobile numbers are not high, but I haven’t looked in Analytics for a while.

Jeremy

Yes, it is my web services.

I’ll drop the mobile tangent for now, but our conversation did inspire me to write up a new blog post on my site about it :)

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