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10 tips to buy a website on Flippa

It is true that in this particular project there were not a ton of successes, but it would be unfair to say that I did nothing right. Here ...

It is true that in this particular project there were not a ton of successes, but it would be unfair to say that I did nothing right. Here are a few things I credit myself with.
1. Attempting Something
This might sound silly, but I believe too many people talk about doing this or that but few actually take action. This has rarely been my problem, though sometimes it is a problem of mine to take action on too many things. We were making money and I think it was the right move to attempt to reinvest some of that into a new project that I thought had potential. More often than not this pays off, in this case it didn't.
2. Keeping my initial purchase low
At the time of purchase we were earning around $3k - $4k/month, which is by no means a huge income BUT it was leagues above what we ever expected to be making. We were about break even on the trip, and we felt we had some spare cash to invest in a project. On Flippa, there are hundreds of websites you can potentially buy and many of them sell for thousands.
Now, it might be fair to say that the good websites are what are selling for a lot and the bad ones are in the $500 or less range, still, I think it’s important to keep your first purchases low so that you get a better understanding of how the process works and most importantly, don’t take yourself out of the game with a major loss.
Losing $650 is a damn shame, that’s for sure, but considering we made $18k in December 2013, it’s by no means game over. Even now when I feel more comfortable, I still keep my purchases under $1k until I get more experience.
3. Diversifying a little bit
It’s true that we have no experience marketing social media packages, but we are bloggers and connected with lots of people online. It’s not crazy to think that this is something we could have done. At the same time, it was entirely different from how we were earning our money before, and had it worked out, we would have nicely diversified our income.
4. Thinking about outsourcing from the beginning
Ever since I read Tim Ferris’ Four Hour Work Week I have made outsourcing a cornerstone of any project I undertake. Although I don’t think you should jump to outsource a project right from the beginning, I think it’s important to be able to look a few steps ahead and see where an assistant could come in and take over the work. Based on my understanding of this website, it was something that would be clearly outsourceable.
5. Changing it up
I think it was the right move to try something altogether different from the marketing strategy I had been handed once I had tried it an seen it was not working. A lot of people would have just gone ahead with what had been recommended, despite the fact that they themselves had not earned any money doing so. Assume nothing and think for yourself.
6. Knowing when to call the quits
It’s important to know when enough is enough. I had expended considerable resources on the project and was not seeing any results. I tried a few things of my own, separate from the marketing strategy, but nothing worked. It was time to admit that in all likelihood I had probably been swindled.
7. Not doing my due diligence 
I believe any experienced website buyer who looks at that listing will be able to notice several red flags that should have stopped me from making this purchase.
  • The seller had no reviews and no picture.
  • The website claimed to have been making $1k a month with very little time investment, but the seller was willing to let it go for a fraction of the monthly profit.
  • There were hardly any other bidders on the website, and the bid ended at $125 when the listing was cancelled.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Had I had the network that I do now, I could have more easily asked someone with experience what they thought, and they probably would have told me to stay away.
8. Working outside Flippa
It was a poor decision to work with the seller outside Flippa. When the listing ended unsuccessfully that should have been my queue to leave. Moreover, settling at $500 was also outrageously gracious on my end (I had the other sales I had seen in my mind at the time). I realized later on that because I was working off Flippa I had no chance to protest or at least leave a negative review if something went wrong. It isn’t much but it’s something.
9. Not coming up with my own marketing strategy from the beginning
If I wanted to run a business selling social media packages, I should have tested out my own marketing strategy. Just because I didn’t own such a business and didn’t know where I could get suppliers would not have stopped me from directly marketing to people/companies and simply claiming that I was the CEO of and seeing if they were interested. It’s called selling something before you own it, and it’s an age old strategy.
It’s a lot easier to find the suppliers later (i.e I could buy the website or simply make an order from it), what’s hard is finding the customers. If I had done that, I would have found out that it was a lot more difficult to sell this stuff than I realized and maybe second guessed the whole purchase.
10. Getting jaded
After this I didn't buy from flippa for another six months. Since then I've had great success with my purchases (though they are in a completely different market that we are much more familiar with). After what happened I got a bit jaded with buying websites and sort of forsook it altogether. In reality, I just missed out on six months of potential website buys for a business that I did know a lot more about.

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