In order to start a business, they say one needs to have the right risk appetite but sometimes, it also requires knowing the right time to exit the business.
Bulgarian entrepreneur Georgi Todorov embodies this by taking Thrive My Way from 0 to 100,000 monthly traffic in just eight months and selling it for six figures on Flippa in 2023.
While we talk about entrepreneurs focusing on profitability over growth right now, Todorov argues that they should think about the sale from day one.
“Most probably there will be a time when you’ll decide that you want to sell your website,” says Todorov.
Thrive My Way
Todorov started his online career by doing link building as a service, a process where you get other websites to link to pages on your website.
In addition to link building, he also worked for Semrush for some time and during that time, he began to see how he can apply all his ideas and knowledge to start something on his own.
That idea became Thrive My Way, a platform that garnered 100,000 in monthly traffic in just eight months and even began pulling in a few thousand dollars from display ads.
With Thrive My Way, one can say that Todorov lived the dream of every blogger but it wasn’t easy in an age where the internet has far too many gatekeepers.
While keeping up with the pace with which Todorov published during the first eight months was challenging, he says keeping up with constant updates from Google that barely had any logic was a different challenge altogether.
“The constant Google updates that are often not clear and without any logic of what you’re doing right and wrong,” he elaborates on his frustration.
Todorov’s frustration is not uncommon in this industry where bloggers often have to wait a long time for SEO results to come in and most give up before they see any result.
He adds, “You can’t compete with companies who have hundreds of thousands of marketing budgets if you are not willing to spend a little bit.”
Decision to sell
Todorov sold Thrive My Way when the website was reaching new heights in terms of monthly traffic and pulling in money from display ads. The decision to sell, he says, came from the desire to start something new.
In addition to the desire to start something new, Todorov also witnessed a growing demand for websites and online businesses.
He says the market for selling websites has become a buyer’s market right now but it was a seller’s market during the pandemic.
“The highest price you could take for selling your website was during COVID-19,” he says, adding, “when everyone wanted to start their online business and people with money wanted to buy a website and generate online income.”
In fact, Todorov wanted to sell Thrive My Way earlier than he did but had to wait since he needed to show at least twelve months of earning history.
He started fully monetising his website only in June 2022 and it was evident to him that 2023 won’t be as favourable to websites and online platforms like it was during the pandemic.
This foresight to see how a seller’s market will turn into a buyer’s market is another edge that Todorov had and one entrepreneurs need to stay competitive.
It is also important to note that the internet itself has changed dramatically to such an extent that some have come to call it broken.
Todorov doesn’t disagree and says a lot of it is because of how affiliate marketing works and the fact that reviews of most products are not useful because reviewers might have neither touched nor used those products.
“They just create a review based on the existing information on the internet and don’t help the reader,” he critics.
For a blogger earning a few thousand dollars a month, the real challenge is not knowing how the next Google update will affect their website. There have been instances when bloggers have lost 50 per cent of their traffic and thus 50 per cent of their income.
He reckons that bloggers need to be strategic with their website, have the knowledge and be ready to invest.
“If you try to compete with companies that have marketing budgets and marketing teams you’ll need some budget at least even if you have a lot of creativity and knowledge of what to do,” he says.
Selling with Flippa
Once Todorov had decided to sell Thrive My Way, he needed to find a platform that best helped him with the sale and he chose Flippa.
Founded in 2009 by Mark Harbottle and Matt Mickiewicz, Flippa is the #1 marketplace to buy and sell online businesses and Todorov says no competitor valued his business as high as Flippa did.
“The highest valuation and the promise that they have the largest pool of potential buyers,” he says, was the reason to choose Flippa.
In fact, Todorov met some brokers in person and was even ready to sell his website to them but the valuation was half of the price Flippa valued it at.
Since it was a buyer’s market, he knew that multiples will be much lower than 2021 and 2022 but he found the offer from Flippa’s buyer to be better than other brokers he met.
Is valuation the only thing going for Flippa? Todorov is quick to disagree. He says the platform also offers the best online M&A advisory as well.
He tells me that he made some mistakes since it was his first time selling a website but he found a support system in his Flippa M&A advisor named Ashwin.
“He [Ashwin] was with me through the whole process, which was super helpful because anytime I had doubts about anything, he helped,” says Todorov.
For Todorov, Flippa worked for him because the platform was not only home to many brokers but he instantly got 200 messages from interested buyers for his website.
He says quoting his support agent Ashwin, “you only need one buyer” and he advises entrepreneurs trying to sell their online businesses on Flippa to pay the premium fee and get support from a qualified M&A advisor.
What’s more entrepreneurial than starting an online business? It’s selling one online business to start another online business.
Todorov is currently working on a new project called Createandgrow.com, an online web platform where he plans to publish case studies, real reviews of tools and products he personally used, and strategies that helped him build Thrive My Way.
He says, “I enjoy creating courses and you can expect a blogging course on Createandgrow.com.”
When asked if he would choose Flippa again to sell his next website, Todorov is quick to agree. “Flippa will be my first choice to sell,” he affirms.