Hey, I’m JT and I run No Code Founders.
Yesterday I tweeted about one of my businesses that has just been acquired. Here’s the tweet:
I’ve had a lot of questions since posting this and so decided to put this quick post together to hopefully provide some insight.
Disclaimer: I can’t share any details of the acquisition or how I grew the business prior to acquisition, so you won’t find that in this post I'm afraid.
The site I sold was called Remote Circle and was a timezone-specific job board, built on Bubble with no code. It is now part of We Work Remotely.
This is the second business I’ve sold. I sold another business just under 2 years ago which was called Weddinghacks.co which was a wedding planning blog, built on Wordpress.
Remote Circle went through various different iterations but the most recent form was launched a couple of years ago after I discovered Bubble and built a first MVP. We launched on Product Hunt and I think got 5th place and then quickly gathered a small audience who used us repeatedly for their remote job searches. We had some great supporters like Grow Remote who heavily promoted us and used us for their seminars on Remote Work. Reaching the wider market proved harder as there were already great remote job boards like We Work Remotely that were difficult to compete with. Nonetheless we provided value to our audience and ultimately built value that was worth being acquired.
One of my biggest takeaways from being acquired is that selling a business is no different than selling anything else (except there are some additional legal steps). The higher value the acquisition, the more complex these legal steps are, but in essence it’s still just a transaction between 2 parties like any other sale. That was one of the most surprising things for me - just how easy it was. When I sold my first business, I signed the contract on my phone with my daughter clambering on my back. It was as casual as that. I think one of the biggest things holding people back from pursuing selling their business is the mindset that it’s difficult. I can personally say that it’s not anywhere near as scary as it may seem.
One of the questions I’ve had is how you get a business to a point where you can sell it. In my mind, there are a few reasons why anyone would want to buy your business. These are:
- You have an audience
- You’re making money (on a recurring basis)
- You have unique technology or intellectual property
- You have content that could be used
- You’re providing some other value
Usually it would be a combination of some of these and as you might imagine the most valuable of these to an aquirer are normally revenue, audience and intellectual property.
If you are able to create any of these things for your own project then it’s likely somebody would be interested in buying it.
You also don’t need to wait to be approached. If you're fed up of running your business and want to exit, you can reach out to potential buyers directly. The first site I sold (weddinghacks.co), I did exactly this. I created a list of potential buyers and emailed them with my pitch. I got a few interested leads from that. I had noticed that the CEO of one of the market leaders in the niche had subscribed to the site’s mailing list so I had a warm lead there and contacted him directly and ended up selling it to him a few days later. I think it took 3 days to put that sale through from the intial email to receiving the funds. That was an easy one.
One other thing worth mentioning is that prior to these projects, I had a string of failures. It took me around 10 years of failing at startups before I actually started to get any traction. Every failed project provided a lesson that gave me insights into what to avoid doing next time. If it wasn't for those failed projects, I would never have learned how to make a successful one. Learning from your mistakes is absolutely key. Admitting you've messed up and knowing exactly what you did wrong is the only way to prevent yourself from doing that same thing again. There's no room for pride in this game.
I’ve been thinking for a while about putting my failure stories into a newsletter to share some insights to help others avoid these same mistakes. If somebody had told me these things 10 years ago, I could have saved myself pretty much a full decade of hustle. I’m grateful for the hustle now, but if I can help others do it without the pain, then that’s even better. So I’ve just bought a domain and set up a landing page called “How to fail at business” where I’ll be sharing details on my failures in a fortnightly newsletter and hopefully provide some useful guidance on starting a successful online business and hopefully get some stories from fellow failures too! I’m just putting it out there to see if there’s any interest. Would anyone want to read this?
I’ll be diving more into my past failures in the first issue of the newsletter in 2 weeks time. Hope to see you there! You can sign up for How to Fail at Business right here 👉 https://howtofailatbusiness.co
Join our Slack community and get access to exclusive contentJoin now
Already a member? Sign in