Hi. Hello? Is this thing on?
The first ever Niche Twins newsletter, and it’s going out to 2,000+ people.
What could go wrong?
I know these are meant to be short and sweet, but this one is meaningful to me. So it’s a bit lengthy, but hopefully it’s still sweet. (I promise you less words in the future).
Anyways, I sold my blog.
A little over 3 years ago, on the train ride into Boston for my 9-5 job, I started writing my first blog post.
I would do research the night before and save it to my laptop, because the internet on the train was so unreliable.
It took 6 months to earn my first dollar, and I only published 43 total posts that first year.
But by the end of 2020 my site was getting 20,000+ pageviews a month.
What I was doing was working.
Flash forward a year and the site was consistently earning 5 figures a month, far surpassing even my most ambitious goals/dreams.
At its peak, my blog did 780,000 pageviews and earned $42,775 in a single month (Aug 2022).
A short time after sharing my income report for August, I got a DM on Twitter – someone was interested in buying my site.
Their offer – $1,265,000.
The First “Sale”
Almost immediately my desire to keep working on the blog vanished.
It had been a long 3 years. I had personally written 90% of the posts. I was building the site and simultaneously working my 9-5. I was a new dad. I was tired.
Everything seemed to be going so incredibly well, until it wasn’t.
Just 12 days after signing an NDA with the potential buyers, my site was hit with a manual penalty from Google for “unnatural inbound links to some pages”.
I immediately disclose the bad news to the buyers. They were a bit spooked, but still wanted to proceed.
The 3 months that followed were painful.
We sign a Letter of Intent. But delays with the loan process means another exclusionary period extension. And another. And another.
Buyers went through two cycles of SBA loan applications. Meanwhile the traffic on my site is declining, month after month.
I’d wake up. Check Google Analytics. See traffic down again. Rinse and repeat – for months.
But finally, some good news.
The buyers are SBA approved to buy my site at the original offer price! Amazing.
Now we’re working on the Asset Purchase Agreement. Almost there.
They send over their draft, and my attorney provides feedback. Our lawyers go back and forth, but the changes are mostly minor. Good.
We’re just a little over a week away from signing and executing the deal when I receive an email from the buyers.
They’re backing out. They’re backing out?!
A part of me knew this deal was too good to be true. But another part of me desperately wanted it to be real.
The reality, however, was I had a site with a penalty from Google and traffic was down 50% from the highs.
Yes, my site was still earning 5 figures a month, but that wasn’t even enough to service the buyers monthly debt payment. The math simply no longer made sense.
I’ll admit, I was devastated.
It felt like everything was starting to go wrong.
Add to that a few loud assholes on Twitter piling on, seemingly taking joy in the fact that my site’s traffic was down, and I was emotionally in the dumps.
The Second Sale
I gave myself that night to feel sorry for myself, and when I woke up the next morning I asked my broker at Quiet Light to list my site for sale, publicly this time.
I had already made my mind up – I was done with the site. I couldn’t imagine working on it even one day longer.
We adjusted the price to reflect reality (traffic down and manual penalty) and only entertained all cash buyers – no more SBA loans.
Two days after going live with the sale I woke up to an email from Google, the penalty was lifted. My site was “clean”. Great news.
We got a lot of interest over that first week and multiple offers.
The offer I ended up accepting was for high 6-figures – 15% above the original asking price.
What a relief.
The Final Numbers
I didn’t end up getting the million dollar sale I had in mind, but it’s hard to be upset about these numbers:
- 1 blog.
- 3 years.
- 350 total posts.
- 9,000,000+ total pageviews
- Over 7 figures in profit.
Not sales, or revenue – profit (between earnings while I owned the site and the sale).
And to think, I started this blog with just $100 and my spare time. It’s still mind-boggling to me.
The internet = infinite leverage.
For now I’ll leave you with a story I heard recently about the late Kobe Bryant. There’s a great lesson in it I’m still trying to learn.
It wasn’t just another “nice” story – it has literally stuck with me for months. Rare when that happens.
If you don’t know Kobe (shame, shame, shame), he was one of the greatest basketball players to ever live.
Story goes like this – Kobe had an away game. A playoff game. A do-or-die game.
The media hyped this game for weeks.
From the moment Kobe stepped on the opposing team’s court for warmups, he was Booed. But these weren’t your typical Boos. These were hostile, deafening Boos.
Worse, they were relentless. They lasted all night long. Didn’t let up once. And the Boos were always directed right at Kobe.
Even the fans watching at home could hear the Booing through their television.
But Kobe goes on to have one of the best games of his career. He couldn’t miss. No one could defend him. He was unguardable.
Buzzer rings. Lakers win.
An announcer quickly runs out onto the court to interview Kobe.
“That was incredible! In my 15 years of sitting courtside, I’ve never heard Boos that loud. How on earth did you remain so calm and focused?”
Kobe, without missing a beat responds, “Boos can’t block dunks”.
Boos. Can’t. Block. Dunks.
What a line.
I took away two lessons from this story.
1. Don’t be the type of person who Boos.
I’m talking about Booing in life, not sports. The Boo Team is already at capacity. There are plenty of people out there on the streets willing to Boo anything and everything.
And guess what? They STINK to be around. Without exception.
Who wants to get a beer with someone like that? They’re miserable.
It’s so much easier to root people on.
For whatever reason, this has never been an issue for me. I love seeing other people win. It makes me want to learn how they did it, so I can do it too.
My other takeaway from this Kobe story is
2. Never engage with the Booers.
If Kobe paid attention to all that Booing, it would have taken him out of the game – out of the moment.
Imagine Kobe running up into the stands mid-game to argue with the guy Booing him in Row G, Seat 7.
That would be a colossal failure on his part.
This lesson, admittedly, I still struggle with.
When this deal closed, and my site officially sold, I wanted to tweet some mean shit to a few people who went out of their way to jump on me the second they saw my site “struggling”.
I’m not naturally immune to all that.
My immediate instinct was to try to “put them in their place”, even though I knew that would be a colossal waste of my time. And not to mention, just a bad look.
Because you’re either dunking, or Booing. Never both.
Winners, dunk. Losers, Boo.
Here’s to more dunking, and less Booing – for all of us.
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