eBusiness Institute

Lessons from a million dollar website portfolio

Lessons From A Multi-Million Dollar Website Portfolio – How To Allocate In A Recession

Ewen Finser shares 3 big opportunities how to use your online skills to prepare for a recession…

Matt Raad: Hello again, and welcome to the Digital Investor Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Raad, and today we are speaking to Ewen Finser from Venture 4th Media about managing multi-million-dollar website portfolios. 

In particular, I want Ewen to give us some insights into what we can do during a potential recession (or a market downturn) at the multi-million-dollar level when managing many websites. 

You might remember Ewen from a previous interview I did with him. Last time we spoke, he was explaining how he goes out and starts websites, but not just one at a time. He will launch 20 to 30 websites at a time. He’s raised funds to do this, and it’s a multimillion-dollar fund.

So today, Ewen will give us an update on the current marketplace. He’ll explain some of the changes happening in the economy, the search space, and websites in general. 

So Ewen, thank you so much for coming back on again and speaking to our community here in Australia.

Ewen Finser:   It’s great to be back. Thanks so much.

Opportunity #1 – Build a portfolio of content websites in passion niches

How Ewen launched 30 content sites at scale…

Matt:               You’re out there building a big website portfolio, primarily in the content space. Can you update us on some of the things you’ve done recently? And can you also touch on some of the success you’ve had over the last couple of years?

Ewen:              Yes, of course. So, as some of your readers might recall, back in 2021, we launched a couple of portfolios targeting ground-up content sites, which hasn’t really been done before at scale.

It was really exciting. We built an entire team, system, and tech around launching, managing, and growing these digital assets in the portfolio. The real inspiration behind all that was reading the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins. 

Why content websites are attractive for today’s investors

Ewen:              About 3-4 years ago, we learned some rough lessons from acquiring websites. We lost the shirts off our backs on a couple of sites. And then other websites went up. So, I wanted to understand how to underwrite the risk and the opportunities for our particular skill set. We identified gaps in the market to create content that serves a need.

We stumbled across this concept called fire bullets and cannonballs. The concept is fairly well known, but we internalised it for our own process. And so we launched these sites simultaneously because we really wanted to understand how to be better capital allocators

In this community, there are so many lifestyle entrepreneurs, which is where I came from, quitting their day job and going full-time online. And there are some huge media players who have acquired old magazines and turned them into digitally-facing publications. But very few media companies (or operations) operate in that middle ground.

And so, I really wanted to professionalise our process.

Using this analogy of firing bullets and cannonballs to see what sticks first, we used a limited amount of capital. But we did it in an organised fashion and did it across a number of potential ideas. 

The process Ewen uses to build his portfolio of content websites

Ewen:              We would go to the drawing board and find some markets we liked and some niches we thought would have potential. And rather than try to fall in love with one or two, or convince ourselves through research that one is better than the other, we’d just say, “Look, these are all good verticals. They all meet our criteria for a worthy niche to go after.

But there’s a whole black box with Google (and in general with a lot of these platforms) where you don’t really know the market until you’re in it. And so, how do we get exposure to a market and do a little soil sample before going all in and expending all our capital (all of our gunpowder) in this analogy on one or two ideas? 

So, we launch all the sites in a disciplined, organised way, all at the same time. It requires a certain amount of scale and coordination that, typically, a solo operator (a small media company) wouldn’t have the ability to do. We had to build that infrastructure and focus on measuring each step of the journey.

I don’t want to go into it too far, so I encourage your readers to go back and check out those older podcasts. We’ve been growing those sites, and the portfolio continues to evolve. We’re about two years into one of them and probably 18 months into another. 

He reinvests his income into sites that are performing the best…

Ewen:              I don’t have the stats right in front of me, but we have hundreds of thousands of page views a month for one of the portfolios. We have close to 300,000 page views per month on one of them. And on the other one, we have between 600-700 page views a month.

So, we’re making progress and monetising those sites. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but we’re in the process now of adding display ad networks and affiliate optimisations

Everything’s pointing in the right direction, but the proof is in the pudding. Now we have the traffic, and it’s like, “Well, what do you do with it now?” We’re in the process of learning that phase.

And as we’re getting new capital from capital inflows, we’re trying to decide how to reallocate which sites to cut bait on. Because they’re growing but not nearly as fast as these other ones. Or they don’t have as much affiliate potential for high-value affiliates. 

So, we’re working through that messy part of it. But the fun part is finding the real winners. That’s where we’re at right now.

He’s achieved incredible success online with this formula over the last 2 years

Matt:               This is perfect. If you’re a beginner, or even intermediate, I want to summarise what Ewen’s done because he’s done it so well.

As you said, Ewen, what you’ve done is unique. You’ve created the perfect study of what it’s like to launch content websites. This is exactly what our community’s doing, except you can launch 30 sites at a time at scale. And what Ewen’s doing here is testing the waters, and it’s very smart.

Ewen has said this is a 12-18 month process. And our interview today is perfect timing because we’ve got a lot of beginners in our community who are building up or buying websites. So, seeing Ewen’s diversified portfolio approach to building brand-new websites is perfect.

If you don’t know much about Ewen, you can read our last interview about how he launched content websites at scale. He used to buy and sell websites like Liz and I do, in the 6-7 figure range. So, he knows what he’s doing.

But he’s built these websites and let them mature to see which ones work. Those are the sites you’re going to step on the accelerator and really grow. And I think you’re being very humble, Ewen. You’ve had some pretty big success stories!

Opportunity #2 – Why Ewen now looks at buying websites under $50,000 for his portfolio

Matt:               So, let’s fast-forward to where you are now. What have you decided to do recently with this portfolio? You’ve got this beautiful data set in the form of Venture 4th Media, where you’ve gone out and done this strategy. 

What are you thinking now in the current marketplace, and what have you just done recently with this portfolio? You’ve obviously got successful sites and ones just sitting there ticking along. And that scenario is very typical to any of our readers.

How Venture 4th Media has evolved over the last 10 years…

Ewen:              Yes, well, this is interesting. Our business structure has followed my evolution as an entrepreneur and how we’ve organically grown. 

Venture 4th Media is the holding company (Holdco). We still have some sites from when we started back in 2012-2013. So, these sites are around ten years old. And then, we started doing the portfolio concepts from 2020-2022, where we had big launches at scale. And then we’ve picked up some sites, as you said, buying and selling websites over the years.

And so, I started with the thought of, “Okay, as a lifestyle entrepreneur, my only option is to build it from scratch.” I didn’t have capital; I had a hundred bucks and my laptop. There were no investors back in 2012-2013 because this asset class was even more undiscovered.

Matt:               That’s right.

Ewen:              There was no one putting capital behind it. I then evolved my thinking to, “What I want to do when I grow up is just buy a bunch of assets. I’m going to buy anything because I can manage it better.” 

We raised some capital to go do that, and we had some successes, some things that worked. But then we also had what I call the “iceberg effect” – the ones where the seller just disappeared. They had a PBN network in the background, and the site tanked six months later. And so, we had a couple of those.

And I come back to Warren Buffet’s rules:

“Rule number one is don’t lose money. And rule number two is follow rule number one.” – Warren Buffet

Despite all the successes, having one of those big duds where you spend a ton of capital could wreck the entire return profile. So, I did some soul-searching, “Okay, well, that didn’t turn out as expected. What can we do?” Then I returned to our roots, and we started this ground-up concept which has worked well.

There is a season for building websites from scratch v’s buying established sites…

Ewen:              Over the last 2-4 years, we have been in an economic cycle where multiples are increasing. So there’s easy money, people are raising money left and right, and there are bidding wars for assets. Good assets are getting sold at premiums, with a lot of competition. And so, it made sense for that market.

I used to be a build versus buy guy. I did that evolution, and now I’m halfway back to this analogy: “No, we’re actually omnivores.” There’s a time and a season for me to do ground-up launches when the market makes sense. And there’s another time when we enter periods of more uncertainty or where money gets tight, interest rates increase etc. 

You can see a noticeable slowdown in deal flow from all the brokers out there right now. People aren’t listing as many sites at the higher end. They’re not transacting, which is spreading a little bit of that early, I don’t want to say panic, but there’s certainly a lot of hand-wringing going on. And then you layer the threat of AI, which has a lot of hype, and there’s some real truth to it. 

Ewen is preparing for a buying season by cashing out of some existing sites

Ewen:              But I’m looking at the landscape right now like, “Look, there’s going to be opportunities ahead.” So, what we decided to do in Venture 4th Media was sell a couple of assets for mid-six figures. And we had a site in the music space, a smaller fishing site, and in the parenting space. We just took some chips off in anticipation of:

  1. The uncertainty that we’re heading into. 
  2. The idea that uncertainty breeds good deals. 

Be greedy when others are fearful” is another Warren Buffett adage. I think we’re entering that period where there are going to be some deals to be had. And so, we want to be prepared to do that cycle again.

Why starter content sites are so attractive for investors…

Ewen:              If we can buy a bullet (a site) for $20,000-$40,000, that gets us out of the sandbox we would normally have to go through when launching these ground-up sites. We want to find starter sites and verticals that we really love. I don’t mean starter sites that are done for you and marketed by internet marketers. We want starter sites from genuine starters (enthusiasts). People who are passionate about the space but have lost interest are now a little bit concerned or have to pay off a bunch of debts. 

It’s a win-win for us if we can acquire a site at a great multiple in a vertical that we would have loved to build in any way. So, I’m preparing to shift our business slightly to be prepared for that.

Matt:               Thank you so much for saying that, Ewen, because that’s exactly what we teach here at eBusiness Institute. We buy genuine passion sites under $50,000, even though it sounds quite small. 

It’s fascinating that you’re a buy versus build guy, and now you’ve returned to buying websites. You’ve raised some decent cash by selling a couple of websites in the mid-six figures. That’s a good war chest to sit on; very Warren Buffet-like.

You’ve identified exactly the same thing we teach our students. Buying good websites under $50,000 is relatively low risk and, to a degree, these are starter sites. They’re run by people who are genuinely passionate about their topics, and they might just need some quick cash.

Build Websites at Scale with Matt Raad and Ewen Finser
Ewen Finser recently spoke with the Champions group at a closed door event at eBusiness Institute

Ewen recently purchased a passion site for under $15,000

…here’s proof there are PLENTY of good buying opportunities out there right now…

Matt:               Can you give us an example of the site that you bought? I think that’s the perfect example of what, hopefully, we’ll be finding more and more.

Ewen:              Sure. So, this was a site we bought about a month ago. We were selling assets, so I wasn’t in a buying mode yet. But one lesson I’ve learned is that some deals and opportunities tend to come to you when you aren’t quite ready. And that’s why I want to have this war chest to be prepared for any eventuality.

But we had this inbound deal from a broker friend. We look at a lot of prospectuses and always say, “Yes, I want to take a look at the site.” It allows us to keep our deal flow pipeline full and keep us on our toes.

He used website due diligence and negotiation skills to reduce the purchase price by half

Ewen:              This particular site was in the fandom niche, and we love the passionate user demographic in that space. It was initially listed for $30,000. Over time, we said to them, “You know what? That’s a little bit expensive. That’s probably 3-4 times.” 

We said, “Look, that’s a decent deal, but we’re more interested in acquiring something around 1-2 times.” And so, we were just patient. We said, “Look, this is what we can do. We can do a deal for x.” There were no hard feelings. We just said, “Look, if anything changes, let us know.” And sure enough, they came back.

There was one middle point when the offer came down to around $14,000. But we stuck to our guns and said, “Okay, we can come up a little bit.” 

We essentially ended up purchasing this asset for less than 1.5x revenue. And that’s a deal we want to do any day if we can find it. But again, part of it was being patient and not forcing the issue and not saying, “Look, we have to buy something right away.”

Matt:               The asymmetric risk is absolutely brilliant on a deal like that. I want our readers here to understand; in this world of websites, this is where we can start to make some serious money. Ewen’s not taking a big risk here. He has a multimillion-dollar portfolio of websites, yet he’s buying sites under $50,000. 

I really like that from a risk allocation viewpoint. It’s not only the idea of, like Warren Buffet says, “Buy when there’s blood in the streets.” 

But I also like it from a portfolio diversification point of view. Because for you, that site is now sitting in your organisation, and you know how to grow it. There’s only upside, and you can’t really lose on that $15,000 purchase price because you’ve bought it on such a low multiple.

How Ewen mitigates risk of a newly purchased website

Matt:               But there’s an interesting challenge I want to point out to people. Can you share the particular challenge you have with this site? Was it around advertising revenues?

Ewen:              Yes, that’s correct. This site had around 40,000 sessions a month. And so, it was on the Mediavine ad network, one of the popular advertising networks. 

But they’ve changed their threshold and make any new buyer (new acquirer, new owner etc.) go through the application process again. So, there was a genuine risk that you would lose all that revenue upon transfer because you wouldn’t be approved. You’d be under their 50,000-session threshold.

That’s a legitimate risk. It’s obviously generating revenue for the previous owner, but there’s no guarantee it can continue. And there’s little way of finding that out other than just applying. But in order to apply, you have to be the verified new owner on the documents. You can’t just say, “Oh, can we try applying and see what happens?” 

So that was part of it. And again, since we’re playing a longer game, our position is, “Look, we’re going to rehab it, do some improvements, and come up with a new growth plan.” And so, that 10,000-session gap is probably something that, within 3-6 months, will be a rounding error once we implement the growth plan. We’re not relying on that to be a revenue producer on day one.

It’s the idea that you can value these assets on things other than just the P&L if you have some sort of growth lever. But again, this was a great example. It was a win-win because we were not only getting a deal based on the P&L, but we didn’t have to price in our upside. 

Sometimes when you’re working with brokers looking at deals, you can get caught in this. They’ll say, “Here are the ten growth strategies you can do for this site.” And sometimes, you almost start pricing in, “Oh well, we’re going to do that, so we’re going to realise it.” But in reality, that’s a risk and a huge question mark.

He shares his approach for capital preservation…

Ewen:              By the way, while you’re trying to do that growth strategy, someone might kick the legs out from under you with a Google update. So, that’s where we come up with that full-circle thinking of, “Look, if we can take a very disciplined approach and wait for the right deals to come to us, we can mitigate risk on all sides.” 

One analysis I love to do is the worst-case scenario of “If we do nothing. If we just tweak a few things, add a few ad networks or just use the affiliate revenue, how soon can we make our money back based on that alone?” 

If we can pencil out that we’re making money back within 12 to 18 months and have the assumption that this is a cash flow into the ground scenario, then you’re covering that risk well, and your growth strategy doesn’t even have to work.

You can basically say, “Look, we can just hold it and even bake in a 10% decline.” 

If you can buy assets with that assumption at a great multiple, I think you’ve mitigated risk all the way around.

Why online businesses can offer asymmetrical returns

Matt:               I love your point of view on this because the way you run this portfolio of websites, you’ve just skipped the sandbox launch part, that 12-18 months. You’ve jumped out and bought a ready-made website already working with proven revenues. 

You know your growth system and have short-circuited those 12-18 months. And so, you’ve reallocated your capital from some of your winning sites into that, and you can now rinse and repeat. That’s really cool, and this is where the sweet spot is.

There are a lot of sweet spots in buying websites and many strategies you can do. Our background is buying and selling bricks and mortar businesses where your $50,000 is like, “Man, that barely covers one month’s stock.” But with these, the upside is so huge. It’s an excellent risk-to-reward ratio, so that’s super cool.

Opportunity #3 – How to sell websites for capital AND retain ownership

Matt:               So, in terms of reallocating capital, Ewen, we have to share what you did in your sale because this was a great lesson. You know how to run websites, and you’ve worked with someone who is a typical high net-worth reader to this article. 

Can you explain how that deal worked for the buyer who bought your site? Because that was a win-win from the way you described it to me. It was a good outcome for both you as a website asset seller and the buyer. Are you happy to share some of the numbers on that as well?

Ewen:              Yes, of course. So, my position is we never want to sell any of our babies, so to speak. We want to hold them forever, and almost to a fault where we’re biased towards not selling. 

That was part of the pros and cons list. It’s like, “Well, some of these assets we really like, and we believe in them.” But that’s also what makes them great assets to sell. Because what makes us excited about them is what makes a buyer excited about them too. 

Ewen sold a website on Empire Flippers for a 46x multiple

Ewen:              So, there was one site, in particular, we had to list. And we listed it for 46x monthly.

Matt:               Where did you list it? 

Ewen:              We listed a couple of sites on Empire Flippers and sold another one on Flippa.

Matt:               Awesome.

Ewen:              We ended up having a race-to-the-wire situation on that one, which is great to have, so full asking price. And it came down to these two options:

  1. The first option is we get our asking price.
  2. The other was the asking price, but the buyer suggested he would want our input and to be involved moving forward. 

And so, we were trying to make this decision. With Empire Flippers, it’s down to the minute. You’ve got X number of hours to decide that thing on both sides.

And so, we’re trying to make this decision very quickly, and something about the buyer made me believe that he’s interested in us staying on in some capacity. We had a rough outline. I even said, “Here are some ways we could work together.” 

How to increase your website sale profits by filling the gap in operational expertise

Ewen:              We didn’t yet have an agreement in place. But I ended up going with that buyer because there was this potential where we could still be involved. We went through diligence and took a bit to transfer the asset and everything. We had multiple calls with the buyer, all the transition stuff, and got to know each other.

The more we talked to each other, it became clear that as much as he was excited about owning this business, he didn’t necessarily want to be responsible for holding the entire bag. And so, we ended up coming to an arrangement where we get to operate the entity moving forward. 

We got the exit we wanted AND we get an upside in the continuing operation. And, if we achieve certain objectives, we also get a kicker.

So, we are now incentivised significantly to continue operating and growing that website. We can bounce ideas off each other, and it’s a win-win situation.

I think one of the problems in this asset class is that there is a lot of good macro analysis done. It is a growing space where the cashflow multiples are great. You can get them for a really good multiple relative to other businesses. But the real gap here is operational expertise. And that’s something I’ve realised across the board, whether you’re building or buying.

You can take a buyer who did all the math. It’s a great vertical, a growing market, high margin, high affiliate commission, sticky, great E.E.A.T, and you’re getting into digital products. It’s a great case study in a good fundamental business. But still, there’s all this operational risk. 

And so I think it makes a lot of sense to explore that relationship for us and our industry in general. Who’s going to do the operating?

How you can use your digital skills to help the website buyer

Filling the operational gap allows the website to grow more which is win-win for both buyer and seller…

Ewen:              I know EF Capital (or WebStreet now) is democratising where anyone can invest in website assets. And I think it’s a really important move for our space, and we need more of that to bridge the divide.

I’ve seen many examples where capital gets involved, and it’s pitched a lot of times on the brokerage as, “It’s one hour a week, or 10 hours a week, or 5 hours a week, or 3 hours a month, etc.” It’s not. You and I both know that.

Yes, you can probably do that for a couple of months to show how passive it is. But if you’re going to do growth activities, or you’re going to mitigate some icebergs like a spam attack, then you’re not going to be spending one hour a week in that phase. You’re going to be spending a lot more time.

Matt:               And we should mention the size of this site. When looking at it in Aussie dollars, we’re talking a half-a-million-dollar web asset here, right?

Ewen:              Yes, exactly.

Matt:               So, it’s not totally passive or anything like that. And as you said, I’m going to shout out to our community; if you’re reading this and you’ve done our course, you have the operational expertise that Ewen’s talking about. 

Basically, this is a content site. It’s what we teach here at eBusiness Institute. We’re renovating the website, developing growth strategies, changing around the affiliates etc. So in the future, you still retain ownership of that. 

Ewen explains how he retains equity in his website sales

Matt:               So, did you guys come to a deal? Is he doing an earn-out with you, or are you retaining equity in this?

Ewen:              Yes, we’ve structured a deal. I’m a big fan of doing what’s called “phantom equity” because I’ve been on so many cap tables, and we do this also with other JVs that we have and some of our senior team. 

Getting on a cap table is complicated, and there are many legal procedures. Depending on which state you’re in, it gets pretty complicated. But if you can do a phantom equity structure, that’s essentially a consulting agreement, but it functions like equity. You just set up certain clauses. 

And so that’s essentially what we did. And if there’s an exit, then we get to participate in another exit. So we can structure it all the same. It’s just you’re not actually on the cap table. It essentially functions as equity, and I’m a big fan of those structures if you can do it.

He maintains 20% capital in the business + performance bonuses…

Matt:               Are you happy to mention the percentage of capital that you retain?

Ewen:              Essentially, it’s around 20%, but we set up a waterfall where we start a little bit under. And if we hit some certain revenue targets, then we get a 5% kicker, and then there’s another kicker etc.

Matt:               Nice.

Ewen:              That’s a great way to structure it. And it’s how I’ve structured our ground-up funds as well. It’s a return on capital-based hurdle.

Matt:               Beautiful.

Ewen:              Investors get X dollars back. They’re 1x and we participate at a certain level. Then, once we get to 2x, there’s a step between 1 and 2x. Then there’s another step when we get past 2.5x.

So, we stairstep it but have it completely aligned and give the investors a bias to start getting their money back before we do.

Matt:               That’s a fantastic setup for the buyer. 

Why corporate professionals are investing in websites

Matt:               You don’t need to give away the buyer’s identity, but can you explain the type of buyer you did this deal with? I’m interested because he’s got a really good outcome here.

Ewen:              This buyer has a lot of professional business experience. He’s a very capable, intelligent, and successful person in his own right, but coming from the offline world. 

He was interested in getting exposure to the digital world, and there are actually very few ways you can do that, especially at this scale. I mean, you can go very passive, but I think for the people that want to be operationally involved and steer the ship a little bit, there are not a lot of good options out there.

So, he’s coming at it as a lifestyle decision. He’s planning it as the second phase of his life, where he wants to avoid being on the road 24/7 or in airports and travelling less. And this is not a retirement plan but an exit ramp where he can gradually transition from the corporate routine into something more flexible and fun. He’s an enthusiast in this space, which is helpful too.

Professional corporates are diversifying their income with online digital assets

Matt:               That’s great. So, for him, he’s a pretty busy corporate guy and a high-income earner. And as you said, he’s considering retirement and sees this opportunity. 

It sounds like a win-win outcome for both of you. You get a significant chunk of cash off the table, but you still retain a 20% ride of that website, plus a 5% kicker later on. And it sounds like you’re working with a really nice guy. He’s happy and now has a retirement plan, or a transition plan from corporate.

I want our readers to understand that the world’s changed. It’s not like the old days. If you were a corporate high-income earner, we would help you buy a brick-and-mortar business. You’d be up for millions of dollars, and everything’s on the line. In this day and age, you can get involved with a company like Venture 4th Media.

And there are all sorts of ways you can work a deal. For those of you who are good website operators, you can learn a lot from Ewen with what he’s done. He’s selling off his websites in a way to get capital off, but he’s also got investors where you retain ownership of these winning websites. 

Ewen prefers working with small-medium sized content websites

Matt:               So, this is evolving into a really good space for you in the future. And then, Ewen, presumably, this is just rinse-and-repeat. You’ve got a whole portfolio of websites and multiple JV partners, and that’s the way forward for you. It’s a very smart move. You’ve set this up really well.

Ewen:              We’ve been examining the inverse of what we’re not doing too, and learning from some of our mistakes. And so, we’re not going out there like, “Oh, we’ll raise a ton of money,” like some of these big aggregators are. We don’t want to buy a bunch of big content sites that are seven figures and above just because we can raise a lot of money. That’s a whole different ballgame. 

We’ve realised that we’re really good at zero to one. Or I guess we’re at one to two now in that, like you said, we’re in that sub $50,000 range. We can acquire a content site, rehab it, or use the foundation, build something great on top of it, find some expert writers, build a community around that site and take it to the next level.

He looks for smaller opportunities to diversify their capital…

Ewen:              Then there’s the flip side: there’s a certain size where we’ll seriously consider taking risk off, selling, and finding those little opportunities. And within reason, staying in our lane but also getting back to that omnivore approach. Rather than looking at what deals are currently for sale (or what we can build now?), being able to identify the gaps in the market. We’ll broadly zoom out and say, “What verticals do we like? What are the verticals, given our experience now?”

And that’s the moat around the business. It’s the learned experience in the data, and the actual traffic numbers, not what SEMRush tells you. Also, looking at the actual conversion rates, affiliate partnerships, and deals we’ve brokered with some major brands. 

We have a custom rate card and a unique advertising model to work with them on. And once we have that information, these websites aren’t just like what everyone else is seeing. They’re different to us because we have those unique advantages.

So then we can say, “Okay, we want to be in these markets. We want to build more around these strengths. What’s the best approach? Is it a build approach? Or is it a buy approach?” And then we can toggle between those. 

When buying websites, do your due diligence to determine the real value v’s building from scratch…

Ewen:              Being able to toggle between that and understand the replacement costs intimately helps us be better builders and buyers. But it also allows us to understand what it means to buy a site with 300 articles for $8,000. You may be buying below replacement costs, below what it would cost us to build that site from zero today. So those are the types of trade-offs I like to play with.

The site we acquired also had 20,000 email subscribers. There are little advantages like that where we want to be ready and flexible for, not tied into it. Because often, either on the buy or build side, it’s like, “Okay, I want to start a site today, or I want to go buy a site. What’s available on the market?” And I’d use an arbitrary deadline, “In the next three weeks, I want to buy an online business.” And a lot of times, that’s a very limiting perspective. 

And so, to be a little bit more flexible is the key to where we are now in the maturation of our view on this asset class.

Preparing for a recession doesn’t have to mean taking big risks

Matt:               Ewen, our chat today has been unreal. I want to give you a really big thank you because this is absolutely perfect. 

You’ve just helped inspire so many people in our community. Even though they’re all starting out small, they’re following the plan you are executing right now because we teach it. So, everyone reading this can see a model for how this can work. And as Ewen said, you can buy much bigger websites if you’ve got more money.

I really like what you’ve presented here today to our community because it’s about reducing risk. Even though you have millions of dollars to play with, you’re buying sites under $50,000 and building websites. And you’re also working out these deals between your investors and your organisation, where you’re retaining ownership in the websites.

And it all revolves around learning what we teach at eBusiness Institute. Seriously, I’m going to give ourselves a plug here! We teach this really well. I’m just listening to Ewen, thinking, “Yep, that’s what we teach.” 

As Ewen just said, it’s all about breaking it down simply. It’s a content strategy and hiring extra writers for each website. But the good news is you can start out really small. You don’t have to go out there and take massive risks

This is particularly important in light of worldwide events. Suppose there’s a potential recession on the horizon. In that case, I won’t say this is totally safe, but it’s still a relatively safe business operation with a potentially massive upside.

So, I do want to say a massive thank you to Ewen for coming along and sharing that awesome update and what’s happening out there.

Ewen:              Great. Thanks so much, Matt. It’s been great to do the follow-up, and I look forward to more.

Matt:               Absolutely. I can’t wait for the next one. Awesome.

If you want to mitigate risk and learn how to invest in digital assets – do this now…

Matt:               If you want to learn how to do this, if you’re new to this podcast, make sure you sign up for our free masterclass. We go through the strategy that Ewen is doing here, and we show you how you can start out buying small websites and build it up into a portfolio of money-making websites that you can do whatever you want. 

But it all starts with listening to our free masterclass. So, get onto that and check that one out. And Ewen, thank you so much for coming along today.

1 thought on “Lessons From A Multi-Million Dollar Website Portfolio – How To Allocate In A Recession”

  1. Goes to show there’s not just one way. Whereas Matt prefers to drip feed, Ewan is talking about Pump & Dump. Both very successful.

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