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Jan. 25, 2023

E91: Meet Joe Burrill: A Flippa Top User and CEO of Justwebsitebrokerage.Com - How2Exit

E91: Meet Joe Burrill: A Flippa Top User and CEO of Justwebsitebrokerage.Com - How2Exit

Been buying and selling since 2012, with over $4mil in sales across 165+ transactions, primarily on Flippa.com. Flippas number one broker 2 years running.

Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/bz7E3Vzayj4...


Been buying and selling since 2012, with over $4mil in sales across 165+ transactions, primarily on Flippa.com. Flippas number one broker 2 years running.

Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/bz7E3Vzayj4
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Contact Joe on
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-burrill/
Website: https://www.justwebsitebrokerage.com/
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Transcript

Ron Skelton: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the How to Exit podcast. I'm here today with Joe Burrill and he is the CEO of justwebsitebrokerage.com. Thank you for being here today, man. 

Joe Burrill: It's my pleasure. 

Ron Skelton: Awesome. So where are you coming in from? Let's explain the, the accents real quick, cuz I, I love where you live there.

Joe Burrill: Yeah. Okay. So I'm originally from Australia, so the accent's Australian. But I currently live in Sweden, so it's, (inaudible) Stockholm, or you've recently moved a bit out, so, yeah. Yeah, it's, yeah. 

Ron Skelton: So let's start off on how you get started, man. Let's get people to know who you are. What is your origin story? How did you get started into, being a broker and particularly selling, websites? 

Joe Burrill: So I actually started out buying and selling my own websites or so I, I used to build and, buy them and then sell them.

That was sort of the portfolio. The strategy that I followed. I got introduced to this through, my mentors and now friends, Matt and Liz Rod. They live in Australia and they run a high end [00:01:00] mentoring course that I joined, back in 2012. So I've basically been doing this since then. The main focus has, always been on content sites.

But essentially what happened, the transition to becoming a broker happened maybe four years ago, 2018 ish. And it basically came about by me discovering or leaning into the main skillset that I had, which was selling businesses. So I would often like buy a business, run it for a few, for a year or so, and then I would sell it.

And almost always, regardless of how it performed, I would sell it for more than what I bought it for. And so that was where the bulk of the paycheck came from. And the progression to the brokerage happened slowly, but very naturally. And now it's pretty much all I do. I don't actually own any other sites myself.

Ron Skelton: And so you don't own any current websites now? 

Joe Burrill: No, just the brokerage. I think I have about 12 or 13 listings live on flippa.com right now. Yeah. So that takes up pretty much all my time. [00:02:00] 

Ron Skelton: Oh, okay. I'm gonna date myself here, but are you familiar with, I think we talked about this on the pre-show, Warrior Forum. Remember that? 

Joe Burrill: Uh huh. Yes. And SitePoint. SitePoint was, Flippa was born outta SitePoint. That was what we used to use. Yeah. 

Ron Skelton: Yeah. So I used to,

Joe Burrill: Slightly before my time, but yes. I, I'm, 

Ron Skelton: I used to flip websites and, back when there was no flippa and we bartered and bought and sold them from the Warrior Forum and SitePoint.

And, uh, 

Joe Burrill: Wild West. 

Ron Skelton: Yeah. Wild, wild West. It's funny, I call it that I got burned on one pretty bad and went to, and I had a full-time job. I was making six figures and I was like, I'm not gonna, and I was day trading full-time, not full-time, but I was trading day trading from the, I was in California Day trading, and for the first two or three hours of the day until I hit a particular number, I was flipping websites.

And then I had a government contracting job and, something had to go. And then I got burned pretty bad on one of my, website flips. I bought something that was spoofed. They had, content, what do they call that? Private link network. So all their traffic was coming from their other sites. And the second I bought it, they just shut down the links and I didn't know better.

Joe Burrill: You gotta be careful. Like, I mean, [00:03:00] today that would be easily spotted just by getting Google, Google Analytics guest access. Yeah. And then you can just delve in. If it's all direct, then it's like, well, why is it all direct? You can sort of ask those questions and it's not about it. 

Ron Skelton: I'm dating myself here.

If there wasn't any good Google Analytics back, back then, analytics is something you chose to, or not chose not to install on your own web server. 

Joe Burrill: There were people who, my mentor included Matt, actually, for one for a while, thought that Google, if they have Google Analytics installed, they got access to more information and they're more likely to hit you.

That doesn't really happen, I don't think anymore. They can pretty much get that out that in information, however, but, I think that you are, you're doing yourself a huge disservice by not having it installed just because it's the industry standard and you, you gain so much, useful information that you can use for your business.

What if you were to ask someone who doesn't have an install, what's your most popular page? 

Ron Skelton: I've done quite a few interviews, probably close to a hundred. About 80 of 'em are out. I'm buying, [00:04:00] selling everything from brick and mortar companies. That tech companies. I've had one other individual on here, we talked about this pre-sale, I'm not gonna do that here, but they have talked about buying and selling websites and content sites and review sites and that type of stuff.

So let's get into that because I want that difference perspective. What does it look like? Let's start with, you've bought a bunch of 'em and sold a bunch of 'em. Let's start with the selling side, your brokerage side. 

Joe Burrill: Yeah. 

Ron Skelton: What does it look like to sell a website? What's the process you would go through if I brought you this website and say, here I'm, I don't wanna maintain this anymore, I wanna sell it. What would you need from me and what would we be looking for? 

Joe Burrill: Okay. The first step is the valuation. So you need to know roughly how much I think it's worth, to get that.

I usually need a few things, which is filled in on the form on my website. I'll give you that and valuation, we have a bit of a conversation if necessary. And then the brokerage agreements basically get signed. And then after that we proceed to compile all the information that we need to get the business, both ready for [00:05:00] sale and just looking good prepared, like it's ready to sell. Things like, Google Analytics, like we were talking about before. I need access to that so we can delve into and do a bit of, surface level due diligence. Screenshots of the income, profit and loss, statement.

Your profit each and this is a monthly thing as well, by the way. It's very rarely done yearly. So you do every single month separately. The PNL and then also a seller interview that basically, asks all the essential questions that I need to know about your business.

That we can then use to create a listing description that des describes your business, essentially. So one that's basically the bulk of the work that the seller has to do. Once that's done, we take all that information, we do our, our surface level due diligence and ve the data, make sure that it's all good, profit and loss looks good, and everything is what we say it is.

Put the get together listing description. And then we run everything past the seller to make sure that it's all good. And then, [00:06:00] it's basically time to list. Oh, and I also do a detailed valuation at that point. I'll go through, now obviously I've got more information and I know more about the business.

Maybe there's a red flag that I didn't know about when I gave the initial valuation or, the profit had come down in the last few months or whatever. And then we discuss what strategy we're gonna use. I would say about 90, 95% of the listings that I sell go on flippa.com. I'm partnered with them and, I've been working on flippa.com for, gosh, I basically, since I started 2012, 10 years so.

Ron Skelton: You're one of their top producers too, aren't you? . 

Joe Burrill: Yeah, I'm definitely a power user. They've come to me a few times for, beta testing and new features rolling out and stuff like that. I'm probably one of the people who are most familiar with Flippa cuz I'm, every day I'm in there doing something.

Ron Skelton: Awesome. So let's go back a little bit here. We talked about valuation. So in the brick and mortar space, there's things that can make, and even software as a service, there's a, there are things that can make a company much more valuable, like recurring revenue versus one-time [00:07:00] revenue. Great systems and processes.

Are there things that really move the needle on valuations of website content, that type of stuff? 

Joe Burrill: Absolutely. There are a number of things, I look at, things like age, so how old is it? So obviously a business that has got that's 10 years old, is better than one that's only one year old.

So that obviously that's gonna, earn a higher multiple. I look at, the niche. So there are some niches that are not evergreen. So that the ones that are like, tied to like a game or a trend or something that has just gone up or just coming down or something like this that's not expected to continue, obviously that's gonna get a significantly lower, valuation.

Things like how many, how much other assets come with it is also a really important thing. So a lot of the businesses that I sell, especially smaller ones, usually they don't have much to them that don't even have a Facebook page. They don't have any, anything, basically no list. It's just the domain name and the website content.

That's what [00:08:00] you're buying. But if you get one that's more established, they've got like Facebook page, Instagram, TikTok, they've got, an email list of, 10,000 people. That's obviously a lot more valuable. Because you've got things to work with. If something happens to the main website, you've got other assets to work with still.

So you are, you're basically never gonna go a hundred percent to zero. So those sorts of things also help. Gosh, I could go on and on. There's loads and loads of things that, adjust it. Trend, obviously pro profit trend is also very, very significant. So if a lot of people will take the last 12 months trailing, 12 month average that out and use that as their multiplier.

But obviously if the business has just been going up and up and up and up and up, it doesn't make sense to use the 12 months. You use the last like three or six months, average instead. And of course if the average goes from being 3000, To 6,000, that's gonna bump up the price quite a lot. Things like that. There's lots to look at. 

Ron Skelton: Yeah. I've seen the range. It's different. [00:09:00] So the multiple you're referring to is different than the multiple Most of our listeners are used to, cuz they're used to multiples of SDE, sellers discretionary earnings and there, or multiples of EBITDA to where on the websites it's multiples of profit, but it's done off the 12 monthly, not the yearly.

Right. So.

Joe Burrill: That's correct. Yes.

Ron Skelton: The reason I'm prefacing this is we're, I'm gonna ask you a question here and everybody hears that they're gonna freak out because like the, your answer to what the multiple would be is gonna be a little different than what they expect and that's because it's multiple off the monthly profit, right?

Joe Burrill: That is correct. Yeah. 

Ron Skelton: What is the going multiple range, for content-based websites. 

Joe Burrill: Yeah. Okay. Like you say, I'll just say it again. What we're talking about is the monthly profit. I consider that SDE. Most of the businesses that I operate is SDE not EBITDA. That's, that's sort of a bit, those are typically for bigger businesses that have like company structures and you usually selling the whole company.

[00:10:00] Most of the sales that we do are asset sales. So we're selling just the asset. So SDE is sellers discretionary earnings is basically what you would typically look at from most of these businesses. Sort of upwards probably to even 500 K. Anything less than 500 K, you're sort of probably looking at SDE.

So in terms of multiple, that will be, so 24 x. When I say 24 x, that's two years the profit. I would normally range it somewhere between two years. So 24 to 35, sometimes even higher depending on how quality the asset is. So that's usually a rough range. It's really difficult.

You can't really say, cause I mean I've got one content site listed right now. It's in a foreign language. It's being built on an expired domain. It's got lots of sort of issues with it. It's not unsellable, it's still making lots of profit, but there are lots of risks involved and so it got a much lower multiple.

I think that one's listed for 18 x even less. There are [00:11:00] exceptions to this rule, but typically you can expect, if it's a good, well-built not expected crash kind of business, then 2024 sort of the minimum I would say. Yeah. 

Ron Skelton: And if all the stars align, right, like it's a good website, it has a newsletter of like 10,000 or less probably, and it's got its Facebook page and it's Instagram profile and stuff.

If all the stars align, what is the top multiple that you see? I kind of know what I've been looking at.

Joe Burrill: I've personally sold businesses for over 100 x so you know that those are kind of a little bit anomalies and I'm not really sure. You can't really count on that happening.

My evaluation certainly wasn't that high. But it does happen and there are certain circumstances that you can sort of put it in to give it the best chance that will happen. I think probably the highest I would go for evaluation would be maybe 40, a bit over 40 x. 

Ron Skelton: Yeah. Unlike I was thinking it'd be like there 36 to 42 kind of in that range of everything lined up.

Joe Burrill: Yeah. There are the brokers [00:12:00] who will go way above that. I don't like to promise the moon and then deliver, not like, far less. I would much rather give a much more realistic valuation. This isn't how much you should expect to sell it for, and then sell it within that range than giving them, giving a price that's, way too high and then selling it for a lot less.

Ron Skelton: I have a knack for 

Joe Burrill: Realistic expectation. 

Ron Skelton: I have a knack for saying what's on my mind. And I actually have a knack for, I won't say anything behind somebody's back, I won't say straight to their face. I've had, Empire Flippers on here, and I joke around with him and I'll say it again. I would buy websites on flipping, sell 'em on Empire Flippers.

Cuz if they're really selling 'em at what they're listening 'em for, they're always asking for 36 to 48 and let's just, 

Joe Burrill: Of course they're not selling for that much. 

Ron Skelton: They're asking as high, 

Joe Burrill: but they, they've done a service to the industry because they've brought the multiples up to what really they should be. So there are, I mean, not so good for a buyer maybe, but for a seller it's great. And as a business owner, which you will be once you buy, that's a good thing. , you wanna see the multiples going up. So they've definitely done that. I've [00:13:00] worked with Empire Flippers before as well.

I've sold business on their personal, my own personal business on there once, just to sort try it out and see how it went. It went okay. There was nothing wrong but it happened. They gave me a super high valuation and they did not sell for that much . 

Ron Skelton: Okay. I've got an affiliate, connection with both of 'em.

So any ads I put on here, I get paid off of either one of them. I just jokingly tease 'em like, man, their valuations seem my, I look through 'em. Its like I'm gonna buy something off of Flippa. If I buy something, I'm gonna come sell it on your website. If we just, it's kind like I used to be in real estate, right?

And people call me, but Zillow says, my house, where's the, xyz? And I was like, well sell it to Zillow then, cuz their numbers are always high. Call 'em up and see if they'll cut that check. 

Joe Burrill: Exactly. Yeah. And they weren't. 

Ron Skelton: I've got about four houses I'm selling right now. I have a bunch of real estate in Oklahoma.

We got four of 'em for sale. I take the Zillow listing price all day long. On those four houses, I would double my, what I would make on 'em if I get Zillow prices on 'em. 

Joe Burrill: Wow. Similar thing here. I'm sure like, let's not discredit them. I'm sure that they do get some.

Ron Skelton: Oh, I bet they do.

Joe Burrill: Listing [00:14:00] sold, especially the smaller ones probably sell for.

Ron Skelton: I've talked to a few website flippers and that's exactly what I asked them. It's like, where do you buy 'em? Where do you sell? And I've had 'em more than one of 'em tell me. I buy 'em off of Flippa and I try to sell 'em on Empire.

Joe Burrill: Flippa's gotten a lot better recently in, the quality of the listings that are coming on there. They're vetting a lot more than they used to, it used to be just you're on your own, basically. You can reach out to them for help if you want, but they won't help you directly. But now they're much, much, much better. 

Ron Skelton: Yeah. I've had them on here too, I guess. Matter of fact, I was supposed to have a CEO on here again this week. Cuz we had him in June. And so if he comes on this week, we'll probably have him in February and stuff, so probably in the next week or so, I think we rescheduled the, we're gonna record it on December and actually probably the first week of February, he'll be on here again.

Are there any industries you avoid? I know it's content websites. Are there any type of content like look, I'm not, I'm just not interested in helping you. 

Joe Burrill: Gambling, porn. For me personally, firearms and those sorts of things. I have represented some like marijuana businesses, but they have to be in legal states and those sorts of things. There are some niches that [00:15:00] are definitely less desirable. For example, I sold a, a sugar dating site, which is where, you are cashed up, sugar daddy dating.

Ron Skelton: Yeah. I know what it is. I laugh cause I get a pro, I'm happily married, but I get approached because I have this podcast, we're talking to multi-millionaires and people go, can you introduce me?

I was telling you this before the show. I get reach out. It's like, Hey, will you introduce me to that guest on the show? It's like, no, I will not. 

Joe Burrill: I've sold some of those, but there are definitely some no-go's. Porn sites are obviously one of 'em. They make a lot of money. But, they're difficult to sell and they, yeah, I'm sure that there are actually brokers out there that we'll do it for you. 

Ron Skelton: Say I've cruised through both Empire Flippers and, Flippa. I don't think I've ever seen any adult content sites on either. They may not allow it. I don't know. 

Joe Burrill: Uh, no. Flippa, I know for a fact Flippa doesn't. I know Empire Flippers also don't. Yes. But they were entertaining the option like five years ago. I don't remember. 

Ron Skelton: I'm not interested. I had a huge opportunity when I got out of the military to be part of one, a buddy of mine that was in the Navy had started one of the, like, this is like [00:16:00] 98, 99, a long time ago, and he was killing it, I mean, to the point where his ISP threatened to kick him out and he ended up buying the ISP.

Like the little internet servicer provider where we lived, he just bought their warehouse. They were like, they wasn't him to leave because he was causing too much traffic. He was like, why don't I buy it? And, they sold it to him. And then his accounting firm finally figured out what he did and was giving him a hard time.

He bought a, their, one of their competitors bought his own accounting firm. He's like, I'm your number one client. I'll own it. But, it, yeah. 

Joe Burrill: You love the money. 

Ron Skelton: Yeah. He, he was making, he had a Japanese site that was making a ton and he ended up in divorce. It was just, I'm just not interested in that space.

Like I'll never, I taught martial arts for a long time when I was skinnier before all these knee surgeries and car wrecks. But, I bounce in nightclubs for fun. I used to think I'd wanna buy a nightclub cuz they make good money. But having worked in 'em and been a bouncer in 'em and see what goes in on, on 'em, there's just so much that goes, you're just around an element.

There's so much stuff going on inside of there. You're constantly around it. I wouldn't wanna be that. So drug transactions and all kinds of [00:17:00] stuff. Right. 

Joe Burrill: Yeah, of course. 

Ron Skelton: But, so there's a certain, that's why I asked is there any industries you just don't wanna mess with? Cuz I'm in the same way.

I don't mess with certain things. I just moved from a state where they had medical marijuana and I moved into a state where it's, legally recreational here in California. You don't have to have a medical card or anything. You just walk in and be an adult and buy it in any, like, it's like a liquor store. They have stores everywhere. 

Joe Burrill: Excellent. 

Ron Skelton: That said is still not federally legal and I like to play occasionally on big international projects. And what I found is, there's a, like there's insurance when you get these big international rollups where you're like, you're doing hundreds of millions or billion dollar rollups and, there's, we do insurance, on the key executives and basically it just ensures the company and the event that you're sued and that way the company's sued.

The insurance pot keeps it from di dipping into your personal, information, your personal world of what it's supposed to do, but they won't cover it if you're doing anything like that. So our big last international roll up, we were looking for in, it's [00:18:00] not a, I forgot what it's called now.

It's director's policy or a executive and director's type of policy. Like I had a small business where I would help close, real estate transactions for friends and stuff. I would do the paperwork, close it and have my runner go file it and stuff. But they seen that as such a high risk.

They said, if you don't stop that, we can't ensure you as part of an executive of this company. They end the questionnaire, so you live in Oklahoma, they have medical marijuana. Are you participating or own any interest in any of that industry? And they were, they're gonna exclude it.

So I stay away from like, I don't have a thing against that industry. I think it's oversaturated in most markets, but.

Joe Burrill: Yeah. But that, that is exactly why a niche like that will get alone multiple, because there are less people who will be interested in it. It's just so.

Ron Skelton: There are more dispensaries in Oklahoma than there are gas stations. Their grocery stores or fast food chains. I only do still live, like it was 17 miles one way to get to groceries, to buy groceries. Like there was a little, and that was a, a Walmart Supercenter type. They had groceries and everything. Right. So it's 17 miles one way to get groceries. On the [00:19:00] way there, you would cut across 1, 2, 3, 4, at least seven dispensaries, to go get groceries. Right. 

Joe Burrill: That's crazy. 

Ron Skelton: Yeah. It was just, it's oversaturated. It's gonna shut down. So we talked about what industries you would avoid. What's your favorite deal? Let's do a little bit of storytelling. I love stories. What's your favorite thing? You've ever helped some either bought and sold yourself or helped somebody do the coolest website you've ever been around. What's your favorite story to tell? 

Joe Burrill: Hmm. Let me see. I haven't told many because, well I've sold a lot, so I'm running through my head and trying to pick out maybe something that would be an interesting story. Some of the best deals I've done have just been like, done. Yeah. And like, I mean, I guess I could cover something like that.

I think it was one of the bigger deals I've done to date, in the six figure range. And it was done and dusted in 10 days. It was really, really fast. But that's a bit of a boring story.

Ron Skelton: Hey, I think I'm so, so my website and then 10 days later. Is that because you just, you've been doing this a [00:20:00] while, you know this space inside and out, like in the real estate,

Joe Burrill: I had a buy out. Yeah. 

Ron Skelton: Yeah. I'll say in the real estate world, I used to walk into a house like we, we bought and sold hundreds of houses through our company. This sounds impressive, but a lot of times you're not making much money on him cuz you're just in and out of them selling 'em to other investors. But I'd walk in and go, this isn't one for me, but I know, I know Mr. Ruiz is gonna want this one. I just, I would actually, I knew how he priced things and I would just price it. So it's kind of a, what they call a wholesale deal in that space. But I would just price it cause I knew what he would pay me and, pay me to get it for him. And there are other ones I walked in, it was like, okay, this is what I'm looking for. It's mine. But I imagine they've done this long enough. You get a website and go, I know who wants this.

Joe Burrill: Yeah. Well, I have a list of what I call like a high-end buyers list. People who have shown, expressed interest at high, high multiples and or high, either they bought from me before or they have, expressed interest for, higher budgeted businesses and, in specific niches and stuff like that.

I track that and keep my list segmented, so I can email directly to those [00:21:00] people. And that's what happened in this particular scenario. I really, I should have thought about this before the call because I got so many. 

Ron Skelton: Where's the fun in that?

Joe Burrill: Really cool stories. I know.

Ron Skelton: Well, the fun in that is, the fun part of this is putting you on the spot and having you come up with something cool. 

Joe Burrill: Yeah. 

Ron Skelton: Well, think about it for a second there. I have a question along that realms, and then we'll circle back if you got a good story.

Joe Burrill: I just thought of one. I just thought of one. It's a bit old. It covers one of the strategies that I use for smaller businesses. And this is a smaller business, so obviously it wasn't, it was a friend of mine who, who has also come up through Matt Liz's mentoring course. It was quite a public sale, so I know that they have no problem with me talking about it.

The site was called curdnerd.com. It was sort of like a passion niche about creating, curd cheeses. 

Ron Skelton: Oh, you said curd. I thought you said code, like code nerd. You said "curd nerd" . Okay. So make cheese making, okay. Interesting. Cheese making. 

Joe Burrill: Yeah. So very, very interesting niche. I've never seen anything quite like it before. This one was, it did get a very high valuation from me. And ended up selling [00:22:00] for more than double what we valued it at. And I'll explain why, but, there are a number of reasons as to why that was good. It had all of the things, it was old but it was small.

Which meant there's obviously the smaller, it is typically the more buyers there are. More people have got, the cash just to go here, take, take the cash and we'll run the business. A hundred percent ownership. And we listed the business Flippa.

Starting, Flippa's got the option to do it as a reserve, as an option. So you can run it as an option for say, three weeks or so. And you can, usually what you'll do is you'll set a reserve. So say if you value a business at 20 K or whatever, you set the reserve at basically what you would be willing to accept the, a sale for.

One of my strategies for, especially for smaller businesses is to list it with $1 and no reserve. So it will meet, it basically means that the site will sell to the highest bidder. And what can often end up happening is if someone, if multiple people really want it, the bidding just keeps going up and up and up.

It [00:23:00] doesn't always work cuz obviously if you've set the reserve that low, it can end lower than you were hoping it would sell. And that does happen too. And so that's why it's important to have realistic valuations and things like that before we go in. But yeah. Anyway, I do rest the, this particular one just went absolutely ballistic and I think it's sold for 55 x, or something like this.

It was very, very good. Might've even been more than that. I'd forgotten. It's bit, bit of an old story cause it was one of my early successes, I think maybe three years ago or so. But yeah, that was excellent. That was sort of a really unique niche, unique sale.

I think it only sold for like 16 K, but it was only making about 300 a month or something, so. Two or 300 a month. 

Ron Skelton: There was a big put like in the, if you look at the tiers of things, like we're talking right now about websites, probably under that 500 k acquisition costs and below, right? 

Joe Burrill: Yes. Yeah. 

Ron Skelton: So if you get above that realm, there's these aggregators, right? I mean, it happens with all the news, the news sites got all, aggregated together and, like just a few people own all the news [00:24:00] and other people don't know this. Just like, I think there's a handful of families that own all the news outlets in the world.

There's actually some players right now in the content space, I think one of 'em called Treasure Hunters or something like that, or, but they're buying up content sites and they're a content site holding company. There's a few of these guys out there. Now, are you running into that type of thing where people are?

Joe Burrill: Yes, yes. But, like you say, I'm focused mostly on the small, like 500 K. That's very big. That's quite big for me. I typically, my ballpark is usually, around a hundred K or less. Evaluation, so you'd be making, somewhere between five and 10,000 a month.

For sort of that sort of price range. 

Ron Skelton: Yeah. 

Joe Burrill: I list businesses all the way down to, as long as it's valued at 10 k, I value it at 10 K or more, I'm happy to list it, at least at this stage.

Ron Skelton: There's a space for everybody, right? Like, right now that suits you and at some point you might have to move it up just cuz of how much volume.

Right. It's just the old, it's economics 1 0 [00:25:00] 1. Supply and demand. 

Joe Burrill: Yup. 

Ron Skelton: At some point your demand on your time's gonna be so much, you're gonna have to move the bar up a little bit. But, 

Joe Burrill: Yeah. And that has started happening. I've got more listings now than I probably ever have and I'm still taking on those listings.

But that's because we can handle it. My team is growing, so instead of me not being able to handle it, I would rather just grow my team and continue to service that area. 

Ron Skelton: As your team, did you or do you support the digital nomad type of life? Is your team local to you or all over the place?

Joe Burrill: No, they're all over the place. My only full-time staff members in, South Africa, actually, moving to New Zealand. She's able to do that. She gonna continue to work for me. And time zone is a bit different, but that doesn't matter. I think I have, I've got one, from, the Philippines, one from Vietnam, that do the more, basic stuff.

Yeah, the team's growing. My, my partner works with me on the business as well. Now she's basically, probably the one who knows the business the best, and she's actually, she's actually extremely good at it. She'll, she'll [00:26:00] step in and help out when necessary as well. 

Ron Skelton: Awesome. That's really cool. I always ask cuz I, I've kind of embraced that I still own a pest control company in Oklahoma. It's really small, but, what I'm looking for and what I'm doing now is I want it to be able to move with me wherever I go. Like, I got intrigued last week by one of my guests who actually has, what I jokingly refer to, anything I have to do.

Logistic is SIB businesses. So I'll be really polite here and say stuff in a box. So these were, I use another phrase when we're not live. Anytime I have to put something in a box inventory of that, store it on a shelf, figure out where it's going, ship it out, that requires, usually a location.

Some team members there and stuff like that. And while she had two of those businesses that are subscription based, which I love recurring revenue models, I was intrigued at first. So I was like, yeah, send me the information. Then when she sent it to me, I finally, it clicked in. I was like, I gotta hold to my plan here is I want to be as mobile as possible.

I don't want anything tying me to a particular location. So that's one of the reasons I'm looking for content sites. Or like, I [00:27:00] participate in some big marketing rollups and some other stuff, rollups, where, I'm a remote worker helping doing the mergers and acquisitions, and at the end of the phase we're selling this off, right?

Talk about, like the process we, we talked about, like what it took to get it out there. You get it listed. There's a bidding side of it, and then you can list it for a flat fee, right? Like, you just want a particular price on Flippa. What is the, I know in the brick and mortar game, there's a old, I don't want you call it rumor fact, but they say that almost only 20% of all listed businesses ever sell, and there's a bunch of stuff.

What is the probability of something listed on Flippa finding a buyer? 

Joe Burrill: From my experience, very high. Certainly a lot higher than 20%, I can say that much. I did do the numbers once upon a time a couple of years ago, and my sale rate was about 80%, a bit over 80%. But that includes businesses that I list as no reserve options.

Those are usually guaranteed a sale. But if the sale falls through, then of course that's different. I would say [00:28:00] close to 80%. That will also very heavily depend on A, what the market is doing, and b, what you've listed it for. Obviously if you've got a business that has been valued at, say, a hundred thousand and you list it for 200,000, it's gonna be significantly harder to sell unless it's actually worth that amount.

So listing it at the correct price is also very important, which is why I spend a lot of time on the valuation, before we go to list.

Ron Skelton: What's the timeline? I know like in, in the real estate space, we call it days on market, right? And we actually track that. We know we can track how hot a market is by what the average days on market is for pieces of real estate in a particular market.

What's the average like, okay, I list, not from the day, not your sell cycle, from the day somebody comes to and says list it, but from the day it's up and live to the day you guys are doing escrow and transferring the technical side of domains back and around where you know it's physically changing hands. [00:29:00] What is that average timeline? 

Joe Burrill: The average timeline for me is about 30 days.

Ron Skelton: That's really fast. 

Joe Burrill: Yeah. Yeah. Like I said, that also takes into account the no reserve options that I have. There are some businesses that you list and then there's the buyout just right there. And then it's only live for, a couple of days.

So that happens, and that obviously brings the averages sort of a bit. There are other businesses, I know I've got one right now that's been there for six months. It's a bit inconsistent. I will say that that one in particular has been listed, at an aggressive price. And that's why it's not selling quickly.

The other thing obviously is if the business has got issues with it, if there's problems with the business that, that the buyers are struggling to overcome. I had one that it was a drop shipper business. Not a contact business. And it was selling, unlicensed products, and it was very difficult to sell that business. It ended up selling, but for a very low multiple, it was very, very low. And so the person who bought it, if they can figure out the licensing, they've all of a sudden made a huge,[00:30:00] profit from it because, yeah. Anyway, those are some examples on what will, what, how long something would be on the market for.

Ron Skelton: What are the top three tips you would give somebody if they're thinking about selling a website? What do they need to, like, I know in, so I'm kind of relate this to my listener who's who are, heard a hundred shows about buying and selling brick and mortar. And we tell everybody, if you're thinking about selling your business now you're, it's gonna, there's two or three years worth of work.

You need to get your financials straight and change the way you're doing your books and stuff. What is that time like look on the website space, huh? 

Joe Burrill: Yeah, it's much, much lower than that. There are people who come to me literally, and then the preparation phase is about a few weeks. 

Ron Skelton: Oh wow. 

Joe Burrill: That that can happen. It does depend on the business. Obviously the bigger the business, the harder it will be and the more time it will take. But the preparation of the data that we put together usually only takes about three weeks, and so long as they got that information, it can be listed. Sometimes they don't have the information, like say for example, they haven't installed Google Analytics.[00:31:00] 

Again, you can still list it. I've listed some that don't have it installed, but I always tell them, install it now in case it doesn't sell, then you've got information moving forward. In terms of like the top three tips, I mean, other than the obvious, you should get an expert in your corner like a broker.

We'll leave that one out and just have that one sort of off to the side. Yeah, that's an obvious one. You need to have your information, basically perfect. It doesn't, shouldn't have any, any holes in it, so. For example, if you've got your profit and loss, and in one month you've got X amount, and then you have a screenshot saying that it's something else and it's out, even $10, that's an issue.

And that's a red flag because what else have you got wrong? So being really detail orientated on what it is that you've actually said. That's very, very important. I suppose having Google Analytics is, that's also kind of a given, I guess you should definitely have that.

The strategy on how you sell is also quite important. What you actually go [00:32:00] in with the asking price. Asking price should usually have some room to move up or down. So it should be pretty reasonably listed. And you're gonna get, depending on where you list it, how you list it, you're gonna get a lot of buyers asking lots and lots of questions.

Some of them are gonna look like tire kickers that aren't interested in your business. They just want to know. I have had heaps of buyers who look like tire kickers that end up being quiet. So always treat the person that you're talking to, your buyer as though they will be the person to buy the business. So that, that those are sort of some basic rules, rule of thumbs that you can use pretty much to sell any business.

Ron Skelton: What are the buyers gonna look for? Right? So I know in the brick and mortar space that we would look at, like in our due diligence, especially in the due diligence phase, we'd be looking at your last three years of financials. Be honest, if you're a solopreneur or you're the lion share. We'd actually ask for personal tax returns because, you're very [00:33:00] likely, you're more likely to falsify your books and hand me a set of books and you will be to falsify your tax returns to send those to the IRS.

So it's a way, yes. That's one of the things that it's really hard to correlate. A lot of these small business owners, they'll send us their books or send us their profit and loss statements and then, they look all rosy and they'll always say, okay, if we're part of due diligence, I wanna see your personal tax return.

And if they agree to it, either, sometimes they'll walk because they don't wanna share it, they know they've done something, but it's really hard to line that up. What does sellers, a, I mean, what do the buyers ask for in these transactions? What are, is it? 

Joe Burrill: I wanna cover tax, tax reports just briefly because, it's something that a lot of buyers will ask for. And those typically can only really be included if it is, an entity sale. So if you're selling the whole entity, most portfolio owners, myself included, when I ran them, they file, either under a company, all of their businesses.[00:34:00] So they file all their taxes under one LLC or under their personal name, even mine was under my personal name, until it got to a certain point, and it was all bundled together. And so what that means is, of course, you can't give that to a buyer who wants to see those tax reports because it's gonna have all of your other businesses on there that don't, aren't included in the sale.

Most of, like I said earlier in the conversation, most of the businesses that I'm listing are asset sales. Unless it is specified otherwise. 

Ron Skelton: Okay. 

Joe Burrill: For those, it's a bit trickier when you are, when you're looking at the much, much bigger ones, which, like we said before, 500 K or more, even at around that range, you're probably gonna have a company entity structure, that's sort of put in place to manage the business, manage staff, et cetera.

So those ones you can, you'll be a lot safer to ask for the tax reports. And then I just wanted to cover that because I feel like that it is something that I hear a lot and it's unfortunate because you can't really give that sort of level of information, [00:35:00] and it's unreasonable to expect that even when money is in escrow, because there's a lot of personal information in there that the seller doesn't need to give you. 

Ron Skelton: What's required in the brick and mortar space, like side of business. Yeah. But the reason we're required is, It's, we're talking million dollar, million, million dollar, $5 million deals. I don't care if you own four yachts and some other stuff on your personal finances.

I want the section of your, even if you're filing it through on your personal tax returns, I wanna see what you're telling the IRS the business is making. Right. I'll even, I'm okay with you redacting or blocking out like, other assets and stuff like that. I want to see what you're reporting from the business side that, so anyway, I can get it.

It doesn't apply on the website cuz it's just an asset purchase. I was just curious on the differences in similarities across there. The other, 

Joe Burrill: But I think your original question was about buying what the buyer is looking for. 

Ron Skelton: Right. What are the buyers looking for? 

Joe Burrill: And I think, so in the scenario where they're asking for a tax report, what I will typically give them instead is as much [00:36:00] information as we can, whether that's a live screen share or, a video at the very least of, the dashboards, any expenses. Usually what you can do is plug the website into, like a tool that will tell you what sort of plug-ins they've got or what sort of, information they've gotten. Sometimes there'll be premium plug-ins in there or something like this, that require licenses and other things like that. You can use external tools that will help you determine what sort of expenses there will be. And of course it's gonna be different.

Like when you take over a business, it's not always going to be like, there are some expenses that won't apply to you, that did apply to the seller. For example, a development costs, maybe you don't need to do any developments. Maybe you're a developer yourself maybe you're a writer yourself and you write a, want to write all the content yourself, or vice versa.

I've got some sellers, that write all of the content themselves, and so they don't have an expense for content. The buyer wants to pay for the content to be written, so there will be an expense extra there for them. So keeping that in mind I think is [00:37:00] important. So yeah, but that sort of thing is very difficult to prove, as you said.

If a business, if a seller says that they're, that they're writing all the content themselves and then they're outsourcing it, that's a risk, right? I think that what you should do as a supplier is look at how much money gonna spend, how much do I need to spend to continue this content going the way it is.

The question should be how much content are you creating? Not how much does the content cost. So yeah. 

Ron Skelton: Okay. And then, I know in the other side of the fence there's a lot of things like earnouts and buy-in partial companies, like keeping the own, like, does that happen in the, in this webspace, does somebody buy a website and the guy wants to, the guy's selling it, wants to continue writing, where they just doesn't want anything to do with the rest of the business?

He likes to write, he's a writer and he wants to stay around and write for it. Does that happen? 

Joe Burrill: Yeah, that happens. Yeah. It happens especially with the ones that are a little more involved. I've got, I'm selling a services business right now. That's about, copywriting actually. She actually is selling the copywriting as part of the service.

And so that one's tricky to find a [00:38:00] buyer because if they're gonna take it over, for the profit amount bond to be the same, they're gonna need to write all the content themselves. What you can do as the buyer is ask the seller, is it possible to, for you to stay on, for, three to six months while we, either use your skillset to sort of branch out or hire, find someone in the meantime. Give you a bit of breathing space to, to get the business under, under wraps before you moved.

Ron Skelton: I was looking through that when I'm, I wouldn't say I'm a good copywriter. I've been trained in the yard of it, paid good money to be trained under Dan Kennedy and some other people, but, I don't practice it often enough to be. Good at it. I write pieces occasionally when I need one, and then I usually get 'em up and functioning, prove they work a little bit, and then I pay somebody come rewrite it and make it better. Right.

Joe Burrill: Exactly. 

Ron Skelton: So I do kind of a minimum viable product as far as I, I write to get something out, like, does the market really want this?

And then once I prove something and it starts making some money, it's like, okay, let's have somebody that it's all they do is write day in and day out. Take a look at this and rewrite it. 

Joe Burrill: Increase the convergence. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Ron Skelton: Yeah. [00:39:00] But, uh, at a lot of times, Hey, can you improve upon this? Like, I could throw it away and do something better. Most copywriters don't like to work off of somebody else's material. They'd rather like, of course, look, you mixed X, Y, and Z. Let's just write a better piece.

Joe Burrill: It's very creative work. Yeah. It's more creative than just writing a blog post.

Ron Skelton: I've asked you a lot of questions so far. If you were in my shoes, what would you have asked? Like what, what are we missing here? 

Joe Burrill: We've covered valuations, we've covered multiple, we've covered, briefly covered due diligence. We could maybe delve a little bit more into that, the basics is just checking to make sure the information that they've listed is correct and asking for screenshots and those sorts of things.

Ron Skelton: What about the technical aspect of it? Are there services out there that help translate? I buy a website from you. I have a blue host server. I don't wanna mess. I'm a pre previous nerd. I was a system administrator. I've actually been system administrator for some of the biggest websites on the planet, right?

Back in the day when excite.com was head-to-head with Yahoo, I was a senior director of operations for all the excite. So the, the [00:40:00] nerdy side of it, making sure the servers were up and running and when you clicked on a link on a website, it didn't break all those servers.

The two, 3,500 square foot or 35,000 square foot data center. Those guys work for me, but I don't wanna do it. Right. So now if I bought a website, I, I probably could jump into DNS and make some changes and, do a backup of your site and move it over. But are there services that do that transfer or how do you go about facilitating the move?

Joe Burrill: So, about 95% of the time. Just to clarify what you're saying, you are talking about like, when someone's bought a website, we've gotta then basically take that website and move it to where the buyer can control the business, the website files, the, and posting content and those sorts of things.

95% of the time it is done by the hosting company. So the hosting company that you sign up for. So for the businesses that I'm running, most of them can survive perfectly fine on a $10 per month, $15 per month hosting plan. And most buyers will just get a new one or put it [00:41:00] to one where they already have businesses that they own or other websites where they're Right.

The hosting company, 95% of the time they want your business. And they've gotten onto the fact that if they move the site there, cancer side is gonna stay there for at least a while. Most of them if you reach out to their sport, will do that. 

Ron Skelton: If I buy a website, reach up. Yep. So, sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off there. If I were to buy a website and like the, just cuz my mind's turning 90 miles an hour right now. If I were to buy a website, like, I have GoDaddy for all my domaining names cuz I've been there since they formed. I used to be a Domainer, I had thousands of domain names. I'm down to about a hundred right now or maybe even lower.

I just got rid of about half a dozen. I might have like 80 domain names now. That said, I don't host on there anymore cuz I've had problems with the quality of their hostess. So I host on Blue Host and so the question like I could call Blue Host, Hey, I just bought a new website, could you help me migrate it over to here to you guys?

And somebody there would take care of that and I just pay 'em something? 

Joe Burrill: Absolutely. No, you don't even need to pay them. It's part of the [00:42:00] service. Most of the time. You don't have to pay them. Yep. You should just basically email them as though, yeah, I need to move this site over here. Can you do it?

You gotta remember I come back from the 9% of the time they'll do it for you. 

Ron Skelton: So I come from the old days right Warrior Forum. Like, hey, you wanna sell this? Okay. You put part of the, I'll put part of the money in the account, you help me, like you gimme the backup files, I'll install it, I'll give you the rest of the money.

We all did it like there was no.com, there was no like, and then you had to make sure you went back and changed all their passwords and stuff. Cuz like they're MySQL database passwords and all the stuff that, took the, run the website. Yeah. You didn't want 'em coming into the background, nobody coming.

Joe Burrill: It's a lot easier now. 

Ron Skelton: Yeah.

Joe Burrill: It's so much easier now. Basically you just need access to see panel, or like the be hosting server. Yeah. And then, the WordPress or whatever dashboard it is usually. That's pretty much it. Yeah. You don't need to know much more than that. And those skills are pretty easy to acquire, just through trial and error or just, going on YouTube and finding free videos.

But you mentioned something, about escrow.com, though. I imagine that there are a lot of listeners that don't know what that is. It's an important, once you've found a buyer, what happens?[00:43:00] I think that maybe that's something we haven't covered that might be useful.

Ron Skelton: Yeah, let's do, let's talk about that. 

Joe Burrill: So the process, once you've found a buyer, there's a couple of steps that need to happen. 95% of the time it'll be escrow.com that you use. And what they do is they basically will, the buyer will transfer the funds to escrow.com. They will hold the funds while everything gets transferred.

As you're setting, as one of the other first things you do is the sales agreement, which basically puts out everything that, you're selling, you're agreeing, I'm purchasing this business for this amount. This is the steps, this is the process. Usually there's a bit of a timeline and those sorts of things.

It's a legal document that's blinding. And so once those two things are done that and funds have been sent to escrow, you then move forward with the transfer of everything. Never use PayPal, never use anything other than an escrow service, because you can, they can just run with your money and you can't do anything.

The unfortunate thing is that when you're working online, a lot of people will do business with someone and not even talk to [00:44:00] them. It's possible. I've done that plenty of times. So you need to have a trust system in, or a system that is, has trust built in, and yeah. I think that's very important as part of my service.

I also offer the sales agreement templates and things like that, so you don't have to figure out that by yourself. Simple also has some themselves, so you can.

Ron Skelton: I don't know, I'd ever, I don't know that I would ever use PayPal to do much of anything. I pay my staff for that just because they're overseas.

Well, the problem is, is like, here's a good example. I did a small transaction not too long ago, but it was my biggest PayPal. PayPal transaction in years, it's five grand. Yeah. And they locked the damn thing up for like seven days at the beginning. Then they, you let a little bit out and then when not only did they lock it up, when the money went in there, like, ooh, suspicious activity to lock the money up.

I think they let 1800 of it loose and the rest of it they locked up for like day. They said one thing, it almost looked like it was gonna be like 30 days. It didn't end up being that long. But then when I went to transfer the 1800. [00:45:00] They put in into a bank account so I could use it. Right. Cause I don't, I only pay my VAs and my other, staff on PayPal when I went to transfer it, they locked that transfer up.

Right. They didn't like auto transfer it, like, it pinned that too for a week. And I was like, ah. Never again. 

Joe Burrill: Don't get me started on PayPal. I stopped using PayPal about a year ago. There's a, I've, I have acted as escrow in the past, as the broker, where escrow.com isn't an option.

And it's sold privately. You don't really have that many options. So I've done that for the smaller, really smaller businesses. Right. And we used PayPal once and it was just a nightmare. It was not good. Fees are just

so, anyway.

Ron Skelton: So I've used escrow.com before. And we're not, I'm not affiliated with them any shape or form, but I'm a fan of what they do and what they've add. 

Joe Burrill: And escrow.com, they do charge a fee as well. Which I might mention, usually the buyer will just pay that. That's the default. So. 

Ron Skelton: Okay. Anything else that we, like we should be covering real quick? Cuz I'm gonna, we're gonna start wrapping this up and make sure people know how to get ahold of you. Three takeaways then. [00:46:00] If somebody can remember anything else from the show, what would you want 'em to remember? Like, what, what would be the three takeaways of I heard Joe on a podcast and he taught me these three things. What would they be? 

Joe Burrill: I'm not good at being put on the spot. But, so let me think. Do your due diligence. If you're a buyer, make sure that you are confident that what you're buying is something that. you are happy to proceed with. Understand the risks as best as you possibly can before pulling the trigger. That's number one. For the buyer, for the seller. If you're looking to sell, we've just been talking about escrow, so that's an obvious one.

If you've never done it before, then I suggest you get help at least for your first transaction. So having someone like me or another broker, on your side to show you the steps from step one all the way through. You're less like, you're not gonna, basically, you're not gonna make a mistake because you're gonna have that expert guidance there to show you,[00:47:00] this is how much we should sell it for.

This is what, this is what information you need to list it for. That's sort of the cheat code really. I mean, obviously it is more expensive. My fee is 15% for most businesses that I list. The amount of time and effort and energy you can save from, mistakes that you could potentially make or just simply not be able to sell it at all, you could end up saving yourself a lot of time.

And what else? What do you think is, was a golden nugget that, I've said so far. 

Ron Skelton: I think that understanding the multiples range and how they're calculated is important because a lot of websites owners and even buyers, they go in this with the expectation that they look at software as a service or something, or Shopify source and see that they're trading that, five years of salary and they think they're gonna get that on their website and it's a totally different industry.

Yeah. So the multiples of content website, every industry has different multiples and your, your business, your website, your content based website is gonna be different than a software as a service gonna [00:48:00] be different than a Shopify store and, or a, an Amazon store. They all have different multiples.

Some of 'em are absolutely insane. So don't compare yourself, it's apples and oranges, like make. 

Joe Burrill: Yeah, and I could, I could go into detail about each of those business models cause I sell all of those. There are plenty of evaluation tools out there, there are plenty of brokers that you can just reach out to and figure out. Flippa themselves before you list it.

They will give you a range on how much they think your business should be sold for. You can do that for free . So you know that is something that is pretty easy to get, usually at least an idea of how much you'll be able to sell it for. Yeah, I think if you're unsure about how much your business is worth, then just, go to one of those forms and have someone do it for you.

Yeah, so for me personally, I take the time to do that. If a league comes through, they want me to get, the call to action is fill this in and I'll give you a free valuation. There's no strings attached. It's just, this is what I believe business will be worth. And usually that's based off the last 12 month average that you've input into the form.

So there, there's no vetting done or [00:49:00] anything. So usually it changes before we actually go to list, but that's typically the process. So that's actually a good tip. 

Ron Skelton: All right. How do people reach out to you? What is the best way to, if they wanna work with you or have questions, for you or have a website they want you to take a look at, what's the best way to, to reach you, Joe?

Joe Burrill: Yep. Okay. So if you are a buyer and you are interested to, get into the market, or, you want to just, get access to a few more deals, just website brokerage forward slash. And there's a form there that you can fill in that has your criteria as well. So you'll, it asks for your budget and the business models that you're interested in.

So you can be like, content sites or, Amazon affiliate sites, et cetera. So you just plug in that, and then you'll get, emails from me with only your criteria. So I don't, if you are, if you're only interested in businesses that are, in the Amazon that's, monetized with Amazon affiliate, you won't get anything that's outside of that or unless it also has like, is a [00:50:00] secondary thing.

If you're a seller and you're interested in, just getting evaluation, like I said before, the URL for that is just website brokerage forward slash sellers. Those are probably the two call to actions. But if you want to just connect with me, I'm on LinkedIn. That's the one place where I'm most interested, where I'm most active.

I actually don't use any other social media, so LinkedIn's pretty much the only place you'll get me. And just, I dunno, search Joe Burrill, I'll come up. 

Ron Skelton: Cool. I'll put all those in the show notes too for you guys are listening. That'll be in the show description or the show notes so that, with the links to find Joe here.

Thank you for being on the show today.

Joe Burrill: It's my pleasure. 

Ron Skelton: I appreciate it. It was fun. Hang out for a second when we stop and that's the show guys.