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MotionInvest.com 1.5 Month Review – 4 Lessons Learned Buying and Selling Websites

It has been a fun 1.5 months since we launched MotionInvest! In this post I will review some of the changes we have initiated based on feedback received to make the offering even more attractive!

To catch people up Spencer Haws, Kelley and I launched MotionInvest.com where you can sell your content site and buy content sites directly from us in the underserved <~$2000/month/site range.  

Quick Summary of Changes:

  • Reduced Price on Sites – The sites for sale are at or below industry standard, typically at or below 3x the average earnings. We have offered the coaching/support as an optional purchase not required purchase like it was at the start.
  • Free to Sign up for Now – It is now free to sign up and see the money making websites for sale (no monthly fee)
  • Buying Website Guide – We created the largest/best guide to buying websites!
  • Site purchase and transfer speed increased!

I am a big believer in the need to push things out to the world, listen to feedback and iterate. 

Overall things are going in many ways better than expected with it being clear that there is a very underserved part of the market we are helping! 

In this post I am going to go over some of the mistakes made, what we have learned and the changes we have implemented.

What is MotionInvest.com and Why did we Start it?

When you think about someone with some time ~10hrs/week and some capital to deploy <$75k and a desire to build an online business (content site) there isn’t a great spot to send them! 

You never feel good sending someone inexperienced to Flippa and brokers business model pulls them up market to focus on higher price points! 

So MotionInvest was born to address this part of the market and do so with a novel approach where we have REAL skin in the game and are buying/selling the sites directly ourselves. 

This has proven to be the biggest eye opener for most when they realize that we aren’t connecting buyers and sellers together but are the other side of every transaction! If you sell to motion invest you sell to us, if you buy a site at Motion Invest you buy from us.

You can see below how we fit into the ecosystem based on someones time and capital…

https://www.motioninvest.com/buying-websites-for-sale (USE THE IMAGE HOSTED AT MI NOT A COPY HOSTED AT AWI)

motioninvest - buying and selling landscape

https://www.motioninvest.com/buying-websites-for-sale (USE THE IMAGE HOSTED AT MI NOT A COPY HOSTED AT AWI)

To learn more about MotionInvest here are some earlier articles:

Lessons Learned and Changes Implemented:

Despite Spencer, Kelley and I having over 3 decades of experience between us we knew that the offering we designed would miss the mark in a few ways and are happy to learn from those to improve our overall offering.

Below are the 4 changes we have made since launch and the reason why…

ONE – Reduced Multiples by Making Value Add Offering Optional

MotionInvest now sells at or below industry standard multiple (~3x) for quality vetted content sites!

Mistake: 

We only had one persona in mind when we designed the business and its offerings. That persona was someone new coming to the space and they needed a lot of support to ensure they were successful. We designed what that support would look like (coaching, access to the tools and procedures) and included it into the price of each site. This made, especially the smaller sites, very expensive when measured in terms of a multiple on earnings. 

What we didn’t fully anticipate is the desire of highly successful site buyers who want quality vetted sites they can efficiently buy. It makes sense now that site buyers/operators who are excellent at their job add the most value focusing on growing a site vs searching for a site to buy. Since we are only buying sites we would be happy to hold the experienced buyer can efficiently look at the list available and pick up some additional sites for their portfolio efficiently. However, they don’t need any of the extra value add that was included in every site sale initially.

Since you only get one chance to make a first impression many people even after the change were not aware that our multiples were very much in line/below industry standard.

Change Made: 

Based  on the feedback from experienced buyers and others that wanted to buy the site but didn’t see value in the additional value added offering we changed our pricing to remove the coaching/etc in the standard offering. The support is still available and purchased/appreciated by many but it is now an optional add on to the order and not standard. 

The result is that the effective multiple for sites is now in line (or even a little below) industry standard. 

TWO – Removed the Monthly Subscription – See the URL

Mistake: 

Finding a solution to putting a little back pressure on niche hunters looking to identify a successful niche to start a site in has been a never ending problem for people looking to sell sites. 

There have been many attempts to address this problem:

  • Lengthy NDA
  • Deposit to be paid
  • Buyer interview to validate interest

Our initial solution was to have a small monthly subscription of $25/month that would ensure people on the list were serious buyers. 

However, we quickly realized it wasn’t having the desired effect. I think internet marketers / online entrepreneurs more than most have subscription fatigue! Like many people, I struggle with havings subscriptions to every tool, why do I need SEMRush, ahrefs AND Majestic… everytime I try and kill one I have a reason for keeping it! The feedback was that it wasn’t about the money as much as it was about the mental bandwidth to have ANOTHER recurring subscription. 

Change Made: 

Despite it turning into a very attractive revenue source and significant value add on the business value (everyone loves recurring revenue) we made the decision to make it free to see the full listing details!

We believe this ultimately best serves our market of buyers. We want to be the most efficient place to buy quality content based affiliate/display sites and so removing all obstacles in the way of that is what we are doing. 

You can now sign up for free to see the sites for sale.

We also were happy to make the decision to refund the many people who did pay. 

THREE – Launched the largest and most complete guide to buying websites

Mistake: 

MotionInvests model of buying sites directly and then selling them on a storefront is new, unique and many people had questions on how we fit into the existing industry. Many people were not clear that they were selling and buying from us directly with no middleman. We got a lot of questions along the lines of…

  • So are you a broker? Buy side Sell side?
  • Where do you fit into the industry?
  • Are you an operator?
  • Can we have a call to review my options?
  • Really I don’t need to get on a call?

It was clear that the concept once people “got it” loved it but it took some work for people to understand the significant step change in efficiency of buying and selling a site through motioninvest. 

Change Made: 

To help people find their place on where they should be entering this industry we created the most complete guide for someone looking to buy a website including all the major players in the industry. 

This post is meant to help someone looking to understand all their options in this website buying industry and where they should start based on their unique constraints (time & money) – https://www.motioninvest.com/buying-websites-for-sale/

Specifically the industry map shared above is to help guide people to the opportunities that are the best fit for them. 

It is also meant to help explain how the MotionInvest buying process is different in the images below.

steps buying website
motioninvest - buy website

FOUR – Faster transfer

Mistake: 

This mistake is more procedural but it was clear our process of transfer after buying and selling was taking too long. When dealing with assets of others which have significant value every minute/hour/day matters! 

Every transfer has gone smooth with the majority completed same day but some took longer than we wanted.   

Change Made:

For the lean manufacturing geeks we completed a mini SMED of the process and implemented several changes to speed up the process. 

In addition we are testing out a dedicated real time communication channel for each buyer/seller to ensure the transfer process is fully managed in real time.

Summary

Hopefully this post has both shed some light on how we think about iterating on an offering while at the same time helping to communicate some of the changes at MotionInvest. 

If you are looking to buy or sell a content site in the $50-$2,500/month range we have changed that experience and it is worth checking out MotionInvest!

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

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