It’s nice to think that we’ll all be here blogging away forever, but the sad reality is that this likely won’t be the case.
Priorities and desires change. Life events spring up that require our attention. Perhaps new entrepreneurial opportunities arise, and will become a better use of your time.
No matter how successful we become, we will all only have 24 hours in a day to dedicate towards those things in life that our important to us.
Therefore, I think it’s important to keep an exit strategy in mind for your business – even if you don’t think you’ll ever end up using it.
Bear in mind this doesn’t mean you have to quit completely – you can begin making your exit slowly and gradually, and you never have to go all the way.
However, unless you want to keep working this same amount until you die, you’ve got to prepare for it.
Let’s look over our options.
It Starts In The Beginning
Believe it or not, your ability to make an exit starts when you first create your blog. What you do in the beginning can have a huge effect later down the line, and this is why I believe it’s so important for people to enroll in my blogging course as soon as they possibly can.
Certain elements will have more of what I call the ‘exit factor’ than others.
For example – a domain name that contains your name (i.e. jamesmcallisteronline.com) has less of an exit factor than a branded blog, because it is tied to you, the individual.
If you ever wanted to sell that website, you’d have a much harder time doing so.
The niche you select is also very important, with evergreen niches being much more valuable than blogs in markets that require constant updating.
Your blog has a value. It is worth some lump sum right now. What determines this value is primarily based upon what it can do for the owner.
In most cases, this is net profit. However, organic traffic, engagement numbers, and other metrics also factor into this.
A blog that doesn’t require much ongoing maintenance will trade for a higher value than a blog that makes the same amount of money, but requires a ton of upkeep.
This is why evergreen niches are so important to work in. You are building a solid brand in the long-term that will tend to grow over time as you add in more work, but also does not diminish as quickly when the work slows down.
The Obvious – Selling Your Blog
In terms of actual exit strategies, this one is perhaps the most obvious – you sell your blog to somebody else based on its value.
Sites like Flippa.com are popular for this sole purpose.
However, this is certainly not the only option, and I’d imagine most bloggers who pride themselves on what they’ve created would rather not trade away their blogs, knowing that they could be completely changed, abandoned, or lost forever.
Certainly this is a solid option for people who are okay with that, but I think it can be much more profitable to instead focus on removing yourself from your blog slowly, and minimizing the time input required to keep it running and growing.
This allows you to maintain control and come back in full force if you ever wish to. Not to mention, it should also increase the amount you could fetch for your blog should you wish to sell it in the future.
But how can you reduce the time required to grow your blog?
It requires a series of systems.
The lifeblood of a blog is its content. Without content, your blog does not exist.
Of course, you already knew that.
If you’re in an evergreen niche, you do not necessarily need to continue publishing new content in order to continue making money from your blog, so long as the other systems I’ll talk about in a moment are set up.
However, in order to really grow and thrive, regular new content is a must.
So if you’re trying to reduce the amount of time you spend working, what are you to do?
You have a few options.
First of all, you could reduce the amount of new content you actually publish. I believed for a long time that the answer to all of my blogging problems was more content, but this simply isn’t true. Once a week is fine, and even once every two weeks or once a month can work as long as you are consistent.
Let’s be real here. Everyone has enough time to publish an article a week, especially if you’re used to publishing much more than that. Again, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. What you do with it is a matter of priorities.
Your other option is to outsource your writing. There are plenty of fantastic writers out there willing to publish for even just $100 an article. 1 article a week, and it only costs you $400 a month to have all of your content published.
If you’re at the point where your blog is making more than that, then this is one way to spend that money to exit a bit further. Best of all, because you’re still publishing and your blogging / business income should be increasing over time, this will become a smaller and smaller percentage of revenue as you continue to grow.
This is potentially the hardest one if your blog isn’t already established.
This is because it is earlier on when you are doing the most amount of work for the least amount of reward.
Success perpetuates success, and this is just as true in the blogging world. Traffic leads to more traffic. You will eventually hit a point where you don’t have to do near as much work to get the same amount of traffic.
This is largely due to having more content indexed, having more people spreading the word about you and your business, and having a system in place to retain visitors and send them back to your site over and over again.
And that is key. If you aren’t retaining your visitors, you can hardly expect to grow.
This is why it’s so important to be building an email list, and doing everything you can to get people onto your list.
If you aren’t doing this already, you can start by signing up for a trial of ActiveCampaign by clicking here. You’re going to want to do this now, because we’re going to talk more about our email lists in a minute.
Anyway, in terms of passive traffic strategies, other than organic search traffic and referrals, pay-per-click advertising and strong networking are two things that can also send you traffic for years to come.
I recently started an affiliate program for my products, and affiliates have been doing a good job of sending traffic to my site. In theory, I could focus less on actively generating traffic myself. However, I am instead choosing to focus this extra time on other areas of my business that need it.
Just another example of how you could exit further if you wanted to.
Making Money On Autopilot
One of the most beautiful things about business is that you do not have to trade away hours for dollars like you would at a traditional 9-to-5 job.
However, if your blog requires your constant input to make money, you can hardly call yourself free. You’ve just bought yourself another job.
[Tweet “If your blog requires your constant input to make money, you can hardly call yourself free.”]
Without a system in place to make money on autopilot, you can never really make any sort of exit.
It is however possible, and it’s a lot easier than you think.
The answer lies in, once again, your email list. More specifically, your autoresponder.
An autoresponder is a tool that allows you to send out pre-written emails in a specific sequence, at specific time intervals. For example, once somebody signs up to my free 7-day traffic building eCourse, my autoresponder will send them out 1 email a day for the next 7 days, delivering the course to them. My autoresponder then goes on to email them periodically for months after they sign up.
Here’s the thing – within my autoresponder emails are promotions for the courses. These promotions are being sent to new sets of people every day, who are seeing them for the very first time. I have written these emails months ago, yet they are making sales for me every day of the week.
Best of all, using ActiveCampaign, I am able to automatically move buyers to a different autoresponder when they purchase a product, encouraging them to purchase the next one in the funnel.
All with no ongoing work on my part.
Yes, this system took a lot of time to set up, and I am still tweaking and testing it, but the point here is this – it is there, and it works completely on its own. I do not have to do any extra work to make those sales. As long as I have new leads coming in every day, there will always be new people to promote to.
We could say we’re bloggers, but if you look at where the money is actually coming from, it’s pretty clear.
Develop a system like this that converts, and suddenly you’ll have a lot more free time on your hands.
If you’ve never thought about your own exit strategy, it’s time to sit down and come up with a plan.
This does not mean you ever have to actually follow through with it, but it’s always good to maintain as much control as you possibly can.
Because as we know, we never can predict what life has in store for us, and chances are, we’ll all be completely different people 5, 10, 30 years from now.
Here’s hoping everything is in order by then!
– James McAllister
Thanks for sharing some eye opening information James!
This is another extremely well thought out and written article!
Several of your main points make a whole lot of sense!
And I particularly like the point you made about attempting to sell a site that
has our personal name in the domain.
That’s an aspect I hadn’t previously even considered!Thanks so much for pointing
that incredibly important detail out!
Mark recently posted…Why Profit Seeking Small Business Owners Should Learn A Great Marketing Lesson From Fiverr.com!
Yeah, trying to sell a site with a person’s name in the domain can really be challenging because it ties that person to the brand – in fact, they almost are the brand. I like being transparent, authentic, and having the blogger be part of the website, but you have to keep these things in mind incase you ever want to make an exit down the line. I learned that quite well with past ventures!
Doesn’t mean it’s impossible to sell a site with your name in the domain, but at that point it’s probably easier to try doing a soft-exit instead while still maintaining control over the site.
Thanks for stopping by Mark! Talk soon!
James McAllister recently posted…The 7 Rules Of Selling All Bloggers Must Follow
Isn’t it funny that I never thought about an exit strategy?
I get so wrapped up in building my business and promoting it, creating new courses and new websites, etc etc… that I never even consider leaving any of it behind!
But as much as I tell myself I’ll never quit… I also know the old adage… “Never Say Never” haha
Now, you’ve given me some things to think about here.
I hear all the time about people selling their blogs and sites off on Flippa. I can’t imagine that for all the work in building a successful blog or site that you could get a fair price for it. But I know next to nothing about flipping sites, so I guess it’s time to learn.
I’ve learned one thing about it from your article here… don’t personalize your domain name ==>far too late for my blog though, sigh.
Thanks, James… this was so interesting.
Donna Merrill recently posted…Anatomy of a JV Giveaway Event
You do such a good job branding yourself with your site that the benefits probably outweight the drawbacks. And since you don’t plan on selling anytime soon, I wouldn’t worry about it. 🙂
As far as I know sites tend to go primarily for a cashflow multiple similar to sales of many other types of businesses. However, there are a lot of other factors that go into it and usually people that can add value are willing to offer a higher price. One of the benefits of auctions and having the market set your price (above your reserve.)
For me, I know I couldn’t sell this site just because of the emotional value I have attached to it. It’s become a huge part of who I am, and I know I couldn’t trade it away regardless of the price. Still, for some people, it’s the right option.
Thanks for visiting Donna!
James McAllister recently posted…7 Stages Every Blogger Goes Through On Their Way To Success
Hi James, great topic
Having an exit strategy is vital for any business owner – even for someone who runs a so-called blogging business (whatever that means).
Of course, there are many ways to get the job done. Being an affiliate for a monthly recurring product or service – such as Get Response – that people need and use, is one way.
Automating as much as possible is another way while outsourcing various tasks (such as writing) is another way.
It’s all good
I try and do all of these things in my own business, but I layer in one more element – make enough ‘surplus to requirements’ money, then direct some of it to long-term, stable investments. It’s important we build income producing capital investments which generate income whether we work or not.
Kim Willis recently posted…Blogging Nightmares and Other Horror Stories
Can’t remember if we had already met when I published this, but I remember talking about that subject – excess money and rolling it into traditional investments. I think blogging to retirement is a terrible idea. I say make as much as you can, and invest as much of your earnings into index funds or real estate. If you can make some recurring, passive income, great – less you need to pull from other investments to live off of, allowing them to grow further.
Those are one of the few income streams I know I can truly count on and would trust retiring with. I don’t care how stable this business is, I wouldn’t rely on it for retirement regardless of how well it’s doing. That’s why I created my financial independence course – so entrepreneurs here can come up with a safe plan to become financially independent and retire early (if they wish.)
Thank you so much Kim for bringing that up because it’s such an important topic. You’ve definitely got the right way of thinking!
James McAllister recently posted…7 Ways To Stand Out And Become A Memorable Blogger
My website and blog are fairly new so there is no exit plan (and I hope it won’t!). There are so many things I was not aware of such as how to sell your blog. Such good information, thank you so much for sharing. Much appreciated!
Psychic Nest recently posted…Reincarnation and the Afterlife
I’m glad you found it helpful. Hopefully if you do exit, it’s not for a long time. 🙂
Still, something to keep in mind right?
Good to see you again, hope to talk with you again soon !
James McAllister recently posted…Turn Every Email Subscriber Into A Buyer With One Change
Hi James –
New to the content marketing side of things and blogging. I like the ‘evergreen take’. I am providing a service and need to get more into thinking about the affiliate side of things.
This was a good eye opener for me and I appreciate you sharing!
Brad Lindsey recently posted…9 White Hat Back Linking Practices for Top SEO in 2019