My Flippa Success and Failure Stories — Lessons Learned for Website Buyers and Sellers!

See my experience with Flippa both in selling a website for thousands and failing to work with buyers successfully where we are now rebuilding into a Private Label Rights or PLR marketplace at https://uthena.com/ as originally shared in the YouTube video below followed by a transcription and blog post!

Executive Summary Selling on Flippa.com

  • Experience will vary greatly by type of website sold on Flippa.
  • The more valuable I am to a website, the less valuable to a buyer.
  • Always look inward first and then outward.
  • Focus on what Uthena does best which is Private Label Rights marketplace.

The Full Flippa Story

Are you interested in buying or selling websites or businesses online? Are you looking to learn more about how that works? On flippa.com I’ve sold a website for $5,000 on Flippa with very little effort and I just put a ton of effort into trying to sell my newest startup on flippa.com and it was a total flop in my opinion. What I’ll do here is give you a run through of my experience on flippa.com because this will help you avoid spending a lot of the time and money I did on an unsuccessful auction and to help you understand how the process works to actually sell and or buy on flippa.com and I’ll give you some insights into the auction I did that worked really well and was a great value for me. First, let’s look at what worked about five years ago. I had a website that I wanted to get rid of and I was tired of using.

It was for Facebook ads and marketing clients and services. That means I was selling, for example, I’d make a Facebook ads campaign for a few hundred dollars on that website. I had this incredibly inspired idea to just message all of my previous leads and clients from that email address and say, Hey, I’m going to sell my website and here’s my new email address. I was moving over from having all these different websites to a more simplified business model that I finally am coming back to again now of having everything on my website, on Jerry banfield.com thus, the purpose of selling the website was to get my business focused in one place. Instead of having all these different websites. They’ll point was also to raise some money because I was in a desperate financial situation and I hope I could even get a few hundred dollars for band work.com on Flippa, which is now available for $3,000 not from me.

The buyer bought it and they’ve put it up for sale for 3000 now with banwork.com you can see it had 49 different bids on it for $5,550 I was absolutely overjoyed with this auction because I did almost nothing to make this happen. I signed up on Flippa. I did the very basics to put the auction up. I answered some questions. Art, I did email 500 or a thousand previous leads and clients I had racked up over the years with a message. I put it in this format. I said, Hey, for example, if the guy’s name was Jerry, Hey Jerry, I am emailing you from this band work.com email, which will no longer be active next month if you want to because I’m selling it on Flippa. If you want to stay in touch, here’s my new email address. It was a perfect email to get people in the auction.

Indirectly. I gave them the reason in context but didn’t directly say they should buy my auction and what happened is two of my leads and clients fought over the website and bid it up to $5,550 even though I don’t think it was worth nearly that much, they just really wanted it. Here’s what it had on Flippa. I was getting a thousand page views a month. The site now is seven years old, but at the time it was pretty new. I was making a great profit on that website because I was funneling all of my clients over to YouTube and from everywhere else over to band work.com I also had a system sending out tens of thousands of messages on Facebook to get the traffic for it, which ended up getting the URL band at which point I figured I need to stop all this and just focus on my website.

Thus the financials look good on it and you can see there were some big months and then the revenue was actually pretty flat over that, but it was getting good targeted traffic. Thus all this stuff I went through and put this, this only took a little while, maybe a couple of hours to get all this data on there to go through my finances. At the time, my entire business was banned work.com which made it easy. Thus, I put everything from my whole business on banwork.com because that’s where I was converting all of my clients. Then in the seller’s notes, I went through and made it very clear exactly what it does include. I put some spreadsheets on here and some videos on here and put some more detail in there. Then I went through and answered every single comment that someone put on there in detail. That way the potential buyers were able to see that I was serious about to working with them and was open and capable of answering any questions.

The bids, if you look at the bidding history on this auction, it shows you that it all got bid up essentially right at the last minute. You can see the bidding history on the last day. It went from around 2000 and bitters one and two. Just literally bid this thing up by themselves with bitter one who analysis bought 50,000 in websites on Flippa getting the winning bid on here. It was really just one or two bidders that got it all the way up to the top along with a couple of others. My strategy on this listing, I started it at a dollar and just I wanted anything people have given me for it and it sold. This is an example of doing a successful auction on Flippa and I also put how much money it was earning because in the year before I turned $80,000 in profit in my business and the main website for that was band work.com and thus I put that up there now to be that included all of the deals and things I’d negotiated out with clients who had originally came from band work.com thus the website itself was getting good leads.

However, that was a big function also of the work I had put in with those clients to make that money. Therefore sold it for $5,000 six years ago. Now I’m a lot different story. On the second auction this year I got myself into spending more money than I was earning and when I did the head to, I started looking for ways to cut my expenses and to make some money with this year I looked at selling uthena.com and I did a listing for uthena.com as a Udemy and Skillshare competitor at the beginning of 2019 and as over 500 video courses on it. It’s made something, whatever the financials say on here that it’s made this year and it’s got about their $2,800 a month in revenue and on average about $1,600 a month in profit. I was thinking this is really exciting. This is getting a lot of visits. If you compare this listing to the band work.com listing the Athena listing looks like it’s worth way more maybe five or 10 times as much.

Yeah, and basically all this had on it was some leads coming in from traffic I generated on YouTube and if you look at the page views a lot smaller page views and visits versus youth ina the traffic looking really good on youth. Ina and I put a ton of time and energy into this auction because I was imagining and talking to the flip a team. They suggested this auction had a good potential of going for 25,000 to $35,000 on Flippa. I got really excited about it and I put 30 or 40 hours total into this auction. I worked with an account manager. I went over here and bought the ultimate boost marketing package. Now on the first band work.com I had merely just bought whatever the default, the minimum price you had to put. I did not go through and buy anything special. I just did the minimum.

I’m this youth ina auction. I went through and bought the ultimate boost package for $950 which includes every single thing on the flippa.com pricing. I even got a call with the CEO. I did an interview on flip his blog and YouTube channel and they were supposed to give me an email shout out. I did not see that, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. They did feature me in a blog post. They said they did social media retargeting on it. Now that was a pretty bold Indiana Jones style move for a guy with 660,000 in debt. When combined with my wife’s student loans and our mortgage, I’m the house about 300,000 and therefore me personally, I’ve got around 200,000 in debt that I racked up all in 2019 a lot of it was trying to push and make uthena.com valuable, which I thought would make it worth at least 25,000 to sell it.

Based on all I’d done to lay a foundation. What I did not think of was this one thing and I put in the lessons I’ve learned on here and my time is very valuable if I use it well and I did not think about how much time this would take and how much buyers would want me to put in more. For example, on my time, I did a video tutorial onG suite last year and this video is earning $1,000 in ad revenue so far and is continuing to get more views indefinitely. This one video could earn thousands more in ad revenue and this only took me an hour or two to make that video. Thus I can, my time is worth hundreds of dollars an hour when used properly. What I did not consider, what’s the amount of time I would spend answering buyer questions, the amount of time I would spend filling out hours and hours filling out data for Flippa so they could do their due diligence.

They ended up choosing this as a an editor’s choice listing. I spent at least 40 hours. Now if you calculate by my hourly rate and the things I could have done on my YouTube channel and then sharing this on Facebook and my website and all my social media accounts, I essentially spent about $8,000 worth of my own time that I couldn’t take doing something else and I also spent $1,000 of my actual money as we discussed, which at this point you would certainly say try and spend as little as possible and make the most amount possible. Thus this auction effectively cost me about $9,000 to do this auction, which is very problematic when the asking price and the bids only got up to 12,800 and I actually got some offers for much more than that. I got offers for 25,000 but the problem is they included wanting me to continue working for the website for years, which makes sense when Uthena as a website and a brand is very heavily done after me directly.

Then obviously buyers are going to want me to continue working on it and me to continue promoting it and I did not realize beforehand that buyers would want me to have a serious time commitment and investment going forward. What happened is I got a lot of messages them with just of questions like this. I spent hours and hours answering questions like this from buyers that would just end up saying something like this. Well, uh, all I’ve got, it’s like 3000 and we can, you can keep 20% stake for 3000 or I’d get offers like this, can you accept 50% payment on closing? And I got other messages, which I don’t even know where that one went. There was a message where the person was saying, I don’t think this auction is worth that much. Can you lower the price? And the auction overall was just a a disaster.

It took a bunch of time and energy and now I just came to the realization, I don’t even want to sell you uthena.com because I can make a lot more than 12,000 off of it and I can help Michelle who’s worked on it so much to make a lot more than a few thousand on it from giving him a percentage of the sales price. It’s been difficult to go through this and realize this website is worth more to me than it is to anybody else and the nice thing is I’ve learned some very valuable lessons that you did have stuck around here through all of this can learn and you won’t have to learn the hard way like I did. Number one. They experience will vary greatly by the type of website you sell on Flippa. As we saw selling banwork.com this website didn’t even have a lot of views, but it was very niche.

It was specific to someone who was running a social media marketing business and who what really wanted to get some more leads in for their own business. The buyer of this website bought it because he figured he could make much more money than that and I hope he did. I didn’t keep up with them, but he figured he could take the leads that were coming into me and plug them into his social media marketing company and make a lot more on them than I was making and a lot more than he paid on the auction. The website also was fine without me continuing to do anything because the way the buyer saw it, these are leads coming in who are worth a lot of money and he paid to get all those leads and definitely it’s seven years later or six years later. I don’t know what happened to him since he bought this, but I imagine he was able to get lots of leads to his own company off of band work.com the, I thought you think it is something that you could do have the same experience, but you Uthena and BanWork are very different businesses and what buyers are often looking for on Flippa is something that they can run totally without the seller, but they can just take it over and make it their own like banwork.

You didn’t need to have me involved in this to make it successful. These were just leads coming in. People would watch my videos, whereas on Uthena, almost all of the buyers, the system was so complex and there’s so much going on on uthena.com that most buyers looking at this are not wanting to just manage all of this themselves. There’s 18,000 videos on it, 22,000 accounts on it. Those numbers look good to buyers, but in terms of buyers being able to actually figure out, well, how do I take all one of these or several of these 500 courses on here and start making a profit? It’s not a simple value proposition. Whereas banwork was a simple value proposition. You just buy the website, change the links on it to your services and bam, you’ve got sales right there. This is not something that was set up where it was very easy to run without me and since I had generated all of the traffic to this, then it was not available either to run very well in the buyer’s opinions without me being involved in it, which made all of the negotiations problematic because no one wanted to pay the full price without having me involved in it.

And that takes us to point number two. If you’re trying to sell something or you are an integral part of the business where you are not easily replaceable, that is generally going to be difficult versus selling a business where anyone else could just come in and run it. That’s why franchise businesses are so successful. Things like McDonald’s, you can basically plug any group of people into it and it runs with band work. You plug in any different service or company Intuit, it runs just fine, but with something like Uthena, this was not looking very easy to just plug somebody else until you Athena and have it continue working at least for the price. I wanted it to work. Another big lesson on this, and this was the hardest lesson for me, is look inward instead of outward. I did this huge sale on Flippa, which has reflected a lot of my different adventurous business decisions where I’m figuring I could sell this to somebody and they could do better with it.

When really most of the time the solutions we’re looking for in life are inward, and in this case I saw that there’s no reason for me to sell you Uthena when I am in the best position to make the most money off of Uthena because it’s been created so intimately connected with me and the instructors who’ve joined it have joined it out of trusting me and then many or disappointed to see that I was then trying to sell it to and look where you get a bunch of debt and you’d not sure what to do with it. Hey, I’m, I’m working on this. I’m trying to make experimenting I’m doing some different things and uh, that is taken what the point is to look around and see if there’s a better way to do things instead of unloading it completely. And with a lot of businesses it seems like that is the lesson to see if you can do what you do better instead of trying to unload it on somebody else.

And that’s the point. I’ve gotten two out of this now. In the case where I sold band work, I was not interested in taking any more Facebook ads clients, whereas I am interested in continuing to help instructors make sales on their courses. I am interested in helping people with online schools like me have more courses to sell and several buyers wanted me to sell a noncompete agreement, which I said, no, I’m not going to sign a noncompete agreement. When on Jerry banfield.com one of the things I do is sell online courses which I’m currently converting into certifications. I am not going to sign a noncompete agreement when I have courses on my own website and thus buyers didn’t like that either and would stop responding and this has taken me to the last point, focus on what youth ina does best and make the most money off of it myself and I’m so grateful my friend Michel Gerard, who’s worked so much on Uthena, he is available to do this and this is the point about always look inward.

Michel said he didn’t want to sell Uthena and he didn’t think it was a good idea. The big reason I wanted to sell it was because of this debt and the hosting. The Uthena hosting was costing $750 a month, which made sense. If you’re trying to build a platform that’s going in the direction of Udemy and Skillshare, but what I’ve came to see is that you Uthena doesn’t need to go in the direction you to me and Skillshare going in those websites already do what they do pretty well. What’s needed is to make something that is not done well by anybody. And what I see is that a private label rights marketplace for online video courses is not done well by anybody. When you go search for private label rights courses and the first websites come up, look old, don’t look like anybody uses them.

Look low quality, don’t have good courses, don’t have good values. That’s something that’s not being done well and that’s an opportunity. And what I’ve learned out of this after essentially paying $9,000 of my time and money to learn this is to just focus on what you think that does well and that’s what we’re doing going forward. I’ll make another update about this soon, but what we’ve done well is selling private label rights to video courses on Uthena. And what’s amazing is there hasn’t even been that much effort put into it. I put a few videos out about private label rights courses and we’ve got these pretty poorly designed landing pages. Now these are good in terms of, it shows you what courses are available but you can’t actually buy. It has the licenses here and it’s not set up very well to sell individual courses.

So what we’re going to do is restructure you, athena.com to focus on what it does well, what you uthena.com does well is selling private label rights and selling course bundles. And we’re going to focus on those and stop focusing on trying to build something that is a better version of you to me. And that means we’re planning to stop accepting instructors who don’t allow private label rights for sale on their courses. And we’re planning to adjust the courses to better feature private label rights so you can easily browse through courses and see which courses do have private label rights. And we’re planning to promote Uthena so that it actually, when we’re doing the video previews, it mentions that there’s private label rights available and in this sense I’m grateful to have learned this lesson and not sold Uthena. It was very tempting on the sale to just take whatever money I could give for it and I kept thinking of this story.

A lady was telling me, my hypnotherapist that I work with, she was saying her dad had sold a business to become a preacher or something like that, and then the new buyer made an absolute fortune off of this and I have the feeling that there is a lot of value on youth. He know that there is a lot of value to be offered on Uthena and there’s a lot of money to be made with Uthena. And I’m grateful despite having the debt that has seemed like just a fortune and I’ve been like, what am I going to do about this? I’m grateful that despite that debt and the fear and financial insecurity, I did not just unload Uthena to the highest bidder because it was certainly tempting. There were several people that for a few thousand or if they gave much more and I agreed to keep working on it that I could have just unloaded it to the highest bidder, but I actually ended the auction right before there was a winning bitter and I’m now telling all the potential buyers saying, no, I’m not interested in going forward with selling this anymore, and ironically I told the last buyer, I said that too.

They upped their offer because they figured I was just negotiating and no, I’m not negotiating. I don’t want to sell this now and watch now. Somebody would come along the next offer, I get the, I might get a hundred thousand dollar offer for it once we get this private label marketplace set up and then I’ll be like, it’ll be making so much money. Why would I want sell it? I’m grateful that I’ve learned these lessons and I made this video with the hope that in which will be turned into a blog post. I made this with the hope that you can learn some of these lessons yourself here. Instead of spending all the time and energy and money, make sure you consider carefully what kind of website you’ve got before you sell it on Flippa. And if you’re buying a website, make sure you really understand how important the seller themselves is to the website. If the website is something that you don’t need the seller for, that might be a good buy, but if you have to keep the seller involved, it’s probably not worth the trouble as I found out the hard way. Thank you very much for being here with me. I hope this has been helpful for you to learn about my experience on flippa.com with both a successful auction, easy to set up, made great money on that, and the unsuccessful auction took a ton of time and energy and money, and then I’m not even selling it.

Thank you for reading!

I appreciate the chance to share my experience with you and hope it was helpful!

If you want to ask me about a specific listing, visit my contact page at https://jerrybanfield.com/contact/

Love,

Jerry Banfield