Last week I shared that I sold my 3 year old blog for high-six figures.
But I never really explained why.
That question, “why did you sell”, is a bit like asking “why did you marry your wife”?.
There are so many reasons, ranging from the personal to the general.
And all of them are valid.
But usually there’s one reason that stands out amongst the rest.
And in the case of selling my site, that “stand out” reason involves a hamster.
1. Becoming a hamster
When I started my niche site the goal was to make money.
Nothing more, nothing less.
There wasn’t some passion filled moment, or “calling” that drew me to write about tech troubleshooting topics.
I saw an opportunity.
I wanted to earn dollars. Pay bills. Better support the family.
But after 3+ years, 300+ articles, and nearly 400,000 words later – I was sick of it.
And seemingly all at at once it became a job. Something I had to do.
If I stopped, the site would suffer.
This incredibly valuable asset I created would die a slow death.
I couldn’t let that happen.
So I kept at it.
Even though I hated it.
But every moment I wasn’t working on the site, I felt guilty.
And this cycle repeated itself, day-in-and-day-out.
Work on the site, and hate it.
Or not work on the site and feel guilty about it.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had officially become a hamster, in an all-out sprint on the content hamster wheel.
2. She loves me, she loves me not
Product review updates.
Helpful content updates.
Link spam updates.
Google ranking updates have always been part of the SEO game, but the frequency of these updates has been turned up to 100 as of late.
Every other month Google is changing their ranking parameters – sometimes rolling out two different major updates simultaneously.
I get the sense that Google is slowly losing control.
It’s as if Google is the dog walker, and the search results are the dog.
Google does have their dog on a leash.
In that sense, they are still technically in control.
But that leash is getting longer and longer each day.
The longer the leash, the more freedom of movement for the dog.
And it just so happens that this particular dog is easily excitable, and has lots of energy.
Frankly, it’s all over the damn place.
Which might be fine if we were actually talking about a dog.
But we’re not.
We’re talking about your rankings.
3. Artificial Intelligence (Dun Dun Dun)
The reality is, no one truly knows just how much AI will impact Search, but just about everyone agrees that it will.
I mean, it already has. Hasn’t it?
On the one hand search engines like Bing and Google are experimenting with AI chat bots.
And on the other hand, creators are actively leveraging technology like ChatGPT to generate content.
That likely results in you, the niche site owner, getting squeezed from both sides:
- Stolen clicks from search engines, and
- More competition from fellow webmasters
The signs are certainly there.
How exactly this unfolds is still a mystery, but I believe it’s a significant risk to the existing long-tail, low-competition, keyword heavy niche site model (more on this in next weeks newsletter).
4. “The Donovan 4”
My wife will be delivering our second baby into the world in 21 days, 8 hours and 34 seconds (but who’s counting?).
I was going to elaborate on this reason but let’s be honest, nuff’ said.
5. Cash-on-hand vs. cash flow
Our current home is about 1,000 sq ft.
But we spend about 90% of our time on the first floor – or 500 sq ft.
The walls were already closing in on just the 3 of us, but now we’re about to add a 4th to the team.
So naturally, we’re looking for more space.
It’s unfortunate timing – home prices remain sky-high and mortgage rates are above 6%.
But for situations like this, I’m firmly in the camp of not putting life on hold in anticipation of a market turn.
You could find yourself waiting for years, and life’s too short to wait.
Ultimately, there comes a time when cash-on-hand becomes more valuable to you than cash flow.
For us, that time is now.
This sale gives us a sizable down-payment for the home of our dreams (just sent an offer out last night!)
6. % of net worth
If you own a website, and things go your way, there may come a time when that asset starts to represent a significant percentage of your total net worth.
I’m of the opinion when a single asset starts to represent 40-50% of your wealth, you should at least start to consider de-risking/rebalancing.
This would not apply to real estate, or other more proven, less risky asset classes.
This also matters far less if your starting net worth is already high.
In this scenario, if your asset went to zero that would be painful.
But hey, you’re still worth 10MM.
Conversely, if you’re someone whose net worth is say 1MM, an additional 500k-1MM could significantly improve your quality of life.
Losing it would be more than just “painful”.
I didn’t want to lose it.
7. The first win
Finally, there is just nothing quite like getting your first decent win.
It can be validating, which is great.
But it can also be financially stabilizing.
You’re locking in years of potential future profits in a single moment.
The sale of my site has freed me up to focus on more creative things.
Pursuits I am actually interested in.
Dare I say, passionate about (gross!).
When you have some money set aside, you reap the luxury of not needing your next project to work-out straightaway.
You can take your time.
And time = freedom.
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