About the only thing that would make me sell is to have a crazy offer like 15x annual profit, or some personal need like needing time to take care of sick family members.
I agree and still feel that way. But I also realize that potential buyers have a numbers game to play when they make offers. It puts us in a bind if we want to sell. If the offers were even at 10x annual profit, I would be a lot more trigger happy. The personal side of the decision does play a minor factor. I am a little burned out so to speak. Though I always have the option to put the site on auto-pilot and move on to something else. It comes down to weighing the risks of the unknown future, versus the rewards of the present and the unknown future. ;-)
I've learned it's incredibly hard to build a site from scratch and get 500K+ uniques/month (organic), so you don't sell for less than it's worth to YOU even if that's way more than what the market would pay.
Totally agree. My remaining sites I would be keeping pull in maybe 50,000 visitors/month and brings in around $900/month right now. I have a lot of ideas to expand and grow them, just hadn't really had the time over the past few years. So it would be a good starting point for me to "start over" so to speak.
I wouldn't trust Google to continue sending the same level of traffic that far into the future and I'm quite certain you could rebuild in that timeframe, unless you sign a no-compete contract that prevents you from doing so of course.
I've never taken free traffic for granted. I know it can change from day to day and it could disappear one of these days. That is one of the biggest risks in this business. I think I've done well building a solid brand over the years that does pull in decent direct traffic, but we are still dependent on search engines for about 45% of our traffic.
There would be some non-compete clauses included, but not overly confining. I can't, of course, re-build and launch the same type of site for a few years. I made it clear that my existing sites would be exempt from such clauses as well.
If you don't change your spending habits you have more than enough time to rebuild
I agree, though I think it is a much more difficult landscape to do so now a days than it was 12 years ago. And would I even want to do it all over again? I am not so sure. It would probably take a lot more work the second time around in this new world to get to where I am right now. That is the part I struggle with. I am at a good place now. Why change it? I guess the temptation of greater financial stability for my family creeps into your mind. There is a lot of things I could do with the money to provide peace of mind to my family. Particularly if I get back on my feet within a year or two and start paying the bills from a new business or my existing sites. I told my family if I sold I would give myself a one year salary in the bank to live off with a goal of not needing to add to that account by the end of the year (implying I would find a way to replace that income).
If I could do that I would be left still with a nice chunk of change in the bank and back on my feet. The unknown being whether I could pull that off. I think I could, but you never know in this business.
I try to compare it to holding on to the business and how much money I could have in the bank after 2 years if I saved the extra cash, etc. It is a difficult comparison to make since the value of the site can either climb or go down, etc. You just don't know and no one can predict 2 years down the road how any business will be doing...
Find out what the tax implications would be if you sold for a lump sum versus keeping the site and earning income over time.
Great advice. This is a big issue I've been researching for a while now. It appears my biggest expense for selling will be capital gains taxes here in the states. Right now they are at 15%. Plus escrow fees and any lawyer fees. From what I've read and been told (I talked to the IRS), everyone seems to agree that the sale of my site would fall into the capital gains tax structure. If for some reason it fell into personal income, I would get hammered by more taxes and the deal would not be worth it. So I am definitely trying to nail down all the details of the transaction with an attorney to make sure I'm covered. A mistake can be very costly.
If you've been doing a lot of cross-linking, it might be wise to assume that your other sites will sag for a while, rather than just staying level.
Fortunately there is no cross linking. All the sites are independent from each other.
we're talking about selling a site named example.com, right? Not the CONTENT which currently exists on example.com?
The content would be part of the sale. The content is what drives the current levels of traffic. Without the content, the site is a shell of emptiness, some scripts and a domain name with links. That is not worth nearly as much (unfortunately... =)
I really appreciate everyone's input on this. You have all been a great help. It is a hard decision to make when you don't have many friends or family to bounce it off of (since they don't quite understand the nature of my business). But everyone here does understand, so thank you for your advice. It is much appreciated.