In a tweet last week, I asked around if anyone was interested in my Business Bloomer exit strategy planning.
One of the immediate reactions was, of course, “What, are you selling Business Bloomer? Why would you do that?“.
Spoiler alert: I’ve no intention of doing that, just so you know.
For now.What I'm working on at the moment is making businessbloomer.com more acquirable, so that I can envisage an exit or an acquisition along the road. Click To Tweet
So, if you want to follow along my efforts for turning Business Bloomer into a 1 million USD asset, you’re welcome to follow me on Twitter and subscribe to my posts:
If you think that valuation is crazy, follow my path anyway – you won’t regret it. If you think it’s too low, you’re welcome to let me know why and what you’d do differently.
For sure, it’s gonna be fun.
Why I’m not selling right now
Business Bloomer is an atypical online business. It attracts a lot of traffic thanks to the valuable WooCommerce resources and articles I’ve written over the last 7 years.
The visual hook guides, in August alone (usually, a quiet month here in Europe) generated a cumulative 26k unique views.
Inbound traffic and Google have been very generous to me in the last years, with the best results achieved during the last two ones due to covid-related consequences (ecommerce reached all time highs due to bricks and mortar shops been closed, people loving working from home and safety measures). On average, Business Bloomer generates 100k uniques/month.
Although, the reason for not selling right now is that Business Bloomer is not sellable yet, at the price I’d be happy with.
In fact, if we consider “3” as an average yearly-revenue multiplier for an online business valuation, well, a big chunk of Business Bloomer revenue is (unfortunately) relying on freelance work, and therefore on myself.
Business Bloomer yearly revenue is not what you’d call passive*: approximately 45% of Business Bloomer income since January 2020 was generated directly by myself working 1-to-1 with development clients who found me via one of my WooCommerce blogs. And that percentage would be higher if we consider the fact I stopped working for a few months during paternity leave.
* Passive income doesn’t exist. Beware of entrepreneurs who state passive is easy and profitable. Even the money you make “while you sleep” e.g. online course sales, require a lot of time to put them together, keep them up to date, manage, support, market, etc.
The good news is that a few years ago, that 45% was likely 95%, as my business model relied entirely on clients hiring me. So, at least that’s a big change.
So, what about the other 55%? Well, if we consider the same period, that 55% is made of:
- 25% of online course sales
- 25% of affiliate income**
- 5% of Bloomer Armada memberships
Clearly, the ideas I had to monetize Business Bloomer were the right ones.
** A little note on affiliate income. Let’s imagine that a WooCommerce plugin company decides to acquire businessbloomer.com and starts advertising its products directly to blog readers alone. No more affiliate links, no more commission to pay out, just pure 100% income with content that mostly ranks on page 1 of Google. Forget about yearly revenue multipliers, Business Bloomer would be worth at least 100k USD/year in plugin sales without any doubt and without revising the whole website content (they’d just need to change from affiliate links to direct links).
Anyhow, I’m not ready to sell. As of yet. That 45% of client income requires a further cut, and in order to do that I need to develop the productized chunk of Business Bloomer by increasing my offerings and my marketing efforts.
Why selling right now
On the other hand, the WordPress world has been hit with a huge amount of acquisitions lately. Lots of money on the table right now.
Especially in the WooCommerce space, we’ve heard of business acquisitions such as Skyverge (by GoDaddy), IconicWP (by LiquidWeb/StellarWP), GiveWP (by LiquidWeb/StellarWP), Prospress (by Automattic) and so on… The updated acquisitions list is on Post Status blog.
Of course, those sell software, not content. In that case, valuation is much easier with the annual revenue multiplier model. Besides, their entire teams got acquired too, so they kept working on as if nothing really changed (apart from the shareholders’ bank accounts, ah, and a few discontinued products e.g. Jilt).
Despite Business Bloomer is basically a how-to blog, I don’t think that it’s not sellable. It’s just a matter of making it more acquirable and, above all, finding the perfect fit. Would I sell to EIG/Newfold? I honestly don’t think so. Would I sell to a reputable WooCommerce plugin marketplace? For sure. And that’s because it’s more in line with my beliefs, valuation would be higher, and clearly in case of an acquisition (as opposed to an exit) I could keep working with them and become an employee***. I don’t envisage working for a hosting company, sorry.
*** Actually, I don’t think I want to be an employee. See next section.
So, now is a good time for an acquisition. Big companies got to a stage where it’s easier acquiring established niche businesses than investing their own money and workforce into a startup.
Besides, I know there are companies interested in Business Bloomer and especially in myself. It’s been years I keep rejecting offers and proposals (nothing was ever put on paper, however, just so I’m 100% transparent).
Then there is also a personal objective. I would have never thought, 10 years ago, to get to a stage where I could consider selling a website for a lot of money. Didn’t even know what a website was to be honest.
Now that I can feel I’ve added value to the WooCommerce community, I have a list of recurring dev clients and a good reputation within the WordPress environment, I believe I can capitalize and move a step further.
The time is right.
Exit or Acquisition
Another spoiler: I don’t wish to exit from Business Bloomer entirely. I’m not planning for an exit strategy.What I'm working on is an acquisition strategy instead. That's because I want to keep full or partial ownership. Click To Tweet
After all, Business Bloomer is my first baby (that’s before Lorenzo was born eh) so I don’t want to leave it.
What I mean by keeping ownership:
- Making sure the new owner keeps me as the blog author of posts already published, videos already created, courses already released. Basically I’d still need to stay on as the founder
- Making sure I keep or at least split the new revenue from online courses I personally created and other products
- Making sure I can keep writing WooCommerce Weekly newsletters as a co-author and keep co-earning sponsorships and partnerships
- Especially for the Visual Hook Guides, making sure I can hold the copyright to such original content / resources
The acquisition contract will surely need to cover these requirements, as once again I’m looking to sell and stay on, and not exit completely.
On top of that, I’m coming up with a list of things I love about working for myself and I don’t like about being an employee in case of an acquisition:
- I love freedom. I work when my child is sleeping, when I’m motivated, when I can block an entire afternoon, when I don’t need to go out. 9-5 is not for me
- I love working without deadlines: in this way I set my own schedule and it’s not affected by clients who are in a rush. I currently never agree to take on client work if it needs to be done asap
- I love productivity. Slack, meetings, phone calls, Skype, video calls are not my cup of tea. I work via email. If something can be explained via email, then the other person is great to work with. If they want to “jump on a Zoom call” to explain things, well, good luck
- I love travelling for work and leisure, but I need to decide when and where. Company retreats, WordCamps, annual leave should be optional and flexible
As you can see I’m pretty demanding here. But at least I wrote down what I want and don’t want in case I sell up.
Either way, acquisition > exit.
So, Business Bloomer is going nowhere and one of the contract requirements would be to keep the website, business, community and content up for at least 30 years (how does that sound?).
Here goes the planning
If I am to sell Business Bloomer I need a plan, a list of objectives, and lots of help (your help, so feel free to leave a comment).
This is the type of content I will be publishing here in the next weeks while I “build in public“: data, plans, goals, updates, marketing, and so on. Again, you can subscribe here to be the first to know and follow me on Twitter:
Here’s what to expect.
First, I need to deep dive into my numbers. Because with no data I go nowhere and can’t set objectives and valuation goals. I’ll use my Google Analytics and Metorik accounts for that, and will soon share figures here (no revenue ones for now, I don’t think it matters).
Then, I need to bring in more workforce. Definitely can’t do this alone and without investing in people. I need writers, teachers, guests, partners and also developers (doing this sort of outsourcing already since I’ve become a dad, as my business relies on development services). I’ll keep you and myself updated very soon while I start working/collaborating with other entrepreneurs, so that you know how important it is to establish business relationships even when you think you don’t need them right now. Sooner or later, you’re gonna need help.
It’s also evident Business Bloomer needs to keep generating traffic, contacts, leads and ultimately customers. I need to enhance my content marketing for the top of the funnel. Hello (again) Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, podcasts, speaking opportunities, guest blogging, newsletter.
Finally, I’ve got to increase my product offer: more online courses, market Bloomer Armada better and turn it into a subscription model, sell newsletter sponsorships, close down on key affiliate partnerships, maybe start a premium subscriber-only newsletter, keep writing good content and softly promoting affiliates… so, overall, I need to keep investing in Business Bloomer.
333 is the magic number
I love math and have always been in love with it since my days at school. But in this case it’s really simple math: if I wish to reach a 1M valuation and if we pick the 3x multiplier, then my ultimate goal is 333k USD in annual revenue.
Is that difficult to reach, based on the fact that that should be 100% product sales and not 1-to-1 client work? Very, very difficult.
Is that impossible, given the current revenue amount? Not impossible at all.
So, follow me while I do business development. I never did this before as I never had to do that… but now the time is right.
See you on FlipWP soon, with a 1M valuation. Ah, unless someone comes up with a better offer before then 🙂
Great post! I will be following you in this journey.
Thank you Simon!