How I sold one of my eCommerce businesses for 6 figures…and got depressed

Hey guys,

Not many people know this (I hinted at it in my previous post) but I’ve sold 1 of my eCommerce businesses about 4 months ago.
I can’t go into specifics on what business and what the deal was but it was a healthy 6 figure number. I can tell you that it was an Amazon & Shopify business.

Today I wanted to give you an idea of how you can build and sell a business and what specifics a deal like that entails.

Before I go into details I wanted to give you a brief update of what I’ve been up to in the last few months. I took a bit of a time out and travelled a lot.

I am currently in Bali with a good friend (Bastian from Officeflucht – check him out if you speak German).

 

Bali so far has been amazing and we were lucky to be here around a couple of traditional ceremony days. Melasti was one of them. Villagers walk in traditional clothing and cartable temples from their village to the beach.

 

Bali has amazing sunstets, check it out

 

Other places are equally stunning.

 

 

Before that I was travelling to Germany in January for a conference (Amazon Sales Kongress).

Always present in style 🙂

Stopped by my hometown Salzburg in Austria for a few days

Salzburg at night.

Went back to Bangkok and had a friend visiting and we took a motorbike ride up the North of Thailand.

Village near Pai, Thailand.

Mae Hong Son near the border to Burma.

 

Farming near Mae Hong Son.

 

We went on to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat (the biggest temple complex in the world). Simply stunning, see for yourself.

 

 

 

 

Dirt Quads around Siem Reap

And then I had enough and work was calling 🙂

So now I am in Bali working again full time on my businesses. Thats what I love about eCommerce and this business model. You can take some time out, travel, bring your laptop and work from anywhere in the world. Obviously I had to put in a lot of work in the beginning, its not all as peachy as I make it sound like 🙂 But after 1-2 years anyone can do this.

So now onto my actual posts. How I sold 1 of my businesses last year.

When I sold the business in November I really didn’t know what to do for a few weeks. I was really depressed for a few weeks.
You might think why would you be depressed if you just netted a six figure amount? Well I worked on this business for more than 3 years and it was kind of one of my babies that I took care of every day.

 

All of a sudden it was gone and while I still had my other businesses going on I felt empty with one big part of my daily life gone. Haters gonna say, take the money and be happy. But thats not what I m about.

 

Every since starting on this eCommerce journey I realized I like building different businesses. Now, 4 months later I have come to terms with the fact that I just need to move on and build something else in its stead.

Through all these years I’ve met so many amazing people, students and eCommerce entrepreneurs that made me grow my skills, experience and much more. So eventually I just moved on and found motiviation again.

 

Another thing why I was so depressed and couldn’t find any motivation was the fact that I felt secure. I never had this amount of money in my bank account and I realized why I didn’t hustle anymore. I felt safe and lost my “hunger”.

I am talking about the “hunger” that I had for 3 years working somewhere between 8-12 hours a day for months on end.

 

I know many entrepreneurs who have flipped many businesses for lots of money and they don’t retire. They just move on and build other businesses.

 

For me this was a first timer. I thought I can take a couple of weeks of, take it easy and chill. These weeks turned into 2,3 & 4 months doing barely anything. I really felt miserable.

My other businesses still generate 5 figures every month but they could be doing 6 figures a month. Slowly that is decreasing as well and I am starting to eat into my savings (I spent way too much money in the last 4 months)

 

I really neglected things. But meeting a few entrepreneurs over the last weeks here in Bali really gave me motivation again and I’ve started to pick up things again. That’s another great thing with this industry. You meet a lot of like minded people that can help you along the way. Be in brainstorming or doing projects together.

 

So after selling that business I basically travelled around Asia, went to Germany for a conference, and took life really easy. I always thought once you make a big chunk of money you can relax and everything is awesome.

But let me tell you its not. I guess thats how many people feel when they retire with 65. All of a sudden you have nothing more to do. While I still had things to do I felt that way. The good thing about my business set up was that I diversified and had more than 1 income stream.

 

If you recall in my older blog posts (How to scale an Amazon business / Existenzangst) I always stress out the importance of that. If I wouldn’t have those other income streams I’d be eating up my savings for the last 4 months.

Not that I could retire anyway but I felt like semi retirement for a few months. Trust me, it is REALLY boring doing nothing for a few months (apart from travelling).

 

You may understand me if you get to that point and I hope that many of you will 🙂

But onto this blog posts topic. How I actually sold that business and what that entails.

It started early last year after I released my last courses on ImportDojo (ImportDojo certifications & Brand Evolution) that a friend approached me and told me he sold his business on Empireflippers.

I wasn’t even thinking of selling the business. But after hearing how much my friend made on the sale it sounded good.
I went onto Empireflippers Calculation tool to evaluate the business’ worth. I got an email with an estimation and I was surprised.

Within the same day someone from Empireflippers contacted me and asked me for a phone call to see if my business is suitable for their marketplace. I think that was around late May.

In that call we discussed how the business is set up, if I have social media following, email lists, age of the business and other details that may influence a sales price. He gave me another estimatation at the end of the call which was even higher.

 

In a follow up email after the call I now had to prepare a lot of documents and answer over 30 questions regarding my business. For the next two weeks I was collecting income proof, screenshots and answer the questions related to my business. I had to fill in a very detailed profit and loss sheet that they provided and that took me at least 10 days to complete. I sent in all the necessary documents and then I waited.

 

After about 2 more weeks I got an email that my listing is approved and a final sales price has been calculated. Forget the typical 24X you can get in a normal business. eCommerce businesses can be sold much higher.

 

The older the business and the more consistent in growth the better. A lot of things go into the final sales price. Like how old the business is, how many email subscribers, how many Facebook fans, Instagram followers and so on.

So I agreed to the sales price and the listing went live. Within the first week I got 12 depositors on my business. The way this works with Empireflippers is that the business itself is not revealed. However a description and actual figures are revealed.

So interested buyers can deposit a minimum fee and then see the actual business. This is actually good because otherwise everyone would see your business. This could be bad, people could copy your business or even hurt your business if they knew who you were.

 

Within the second week we had an interview with a potential buyer. Empireflippers is on the call with you and prepares you before hand.

 

They manage the entire call while the buyer is asking questions. You just honestly answer the questions and at the end of the call Empireflippers will gently ask the potential buyer is he is interested. He said he’ll evaluate and think about it. Two days later I got an email that the buyer wants to close the deal.

 

However at a lower amount than I was asking for. The buyer had concerns about seasonality and the industry which was normal so I agreed to the price. He couldn’t wait to make the transfer. The deal was done. At this stage Empireflippers will collect the money and hold it in escrow until I hand over the business completely to the buyer.

 

This is called migration. Once the buyer confirms that he is now in control of the business the money is released to me.

 

This “migration” part took about 3 weeks. Empireflippers will be there with their team to help transfer domains, email and other things. I had about 4 or 5 calls with the buyer to explain everything about the business. Another 4 calls and 2 months support via email was agreed upon. Then finally the buyer confirmed that he is in control of the business.

 

3 days later I had the money in my account. I looked every day and just on the 3rd day there it was. I couldn’t believe it. The business I built for more than 3 years has just netted me a nice chunk of money. And just 2 days later I fell into the “hole”…see above.

To wrap up, all in all it took about 3 months from contacting Empireflippers to closing the deal and getting the money. If you are cosindering selling your eCommercebusiness I can highly recommend them.

 

So thats that. What I also probably learned of this is to not get too attached to your business. Of course if it’s your life’s dream to build a business and run it until the end and you throughly enjoy doing it then don’t sell it.

 

But if you want to build different things then go for it. Also the money you get for your business can be used to invest into other businesses.

I choose to put it into my other Amazon business to grow it and real estate as it is the most secure way to put your money in. Even it a property would decrease in value – you still have a roof over your head.

 

The moral of the story today I guess is, build a business, sell it if you can and keep building other businesses. Take some time off but don’t loose track of why you went into entrepreneurship in the first place.

 

To live freely, travel the world and build something meaningful. I don’t regret selling this business and to anyone who is hesitating if Amazon FBA is right for you – don’t hesitate. It has enabled me a lifestyle I never thought possible.

 

I do hope this gave you a bit of an idea what its like to sell a business and how I felt doing it. Don’t make the same mistake I made. Taking off too much time and loosing yourself. Get some well deserved rest and then tackle the next thing 🙂

 

You may ask yourself whats next for me? Well I m really putting in a lot of time into my remaining Amazon business (Mandarin-Gear), my sourcing business (ImportDojo Sourcing– message me if you need help), working on a new (FREE) course for ImportDojo, as well as building an Amazon affiliate site which I want to document publicly.

But the big news will come towards the end of the year. I am working on an interface that lets you see if a supplier or his test reports are verified by a third party testing company. I contemplated a lot over the last few months what I can do that will actually help people and change the industry. Because two of the most common questions I get asked are:

  • How do I know if a supplier is legit and not a scammer?
  • How can I verify a test report from a supplier?

Obviously with research, due diligence you can answer these questions for yourself. But what if you could see in an interface that this is true and verified by third party companies? This is a big project and will take 2-3 years to develop but I am confident we can bring it to the market. Let me know if this is something you would be interested.

Stay tuned 🙂

All the best,
Manuel

Leave a comment


gala

9 months ago

Hey to Bali! Welcome back to work. I’m just starting my ecommerce business, private label. Great product, just finished packaging, would love to share some work and money. Reach out if interested.

Art Manville

9 months ago

Awesome. Great post. Don’t feel bad about taking some time off that is a necessary part of the journey. And you are right. Entgreprenuers never retire they just do different things. I have gone through many periods of downtime where I did not know what to do next. It is a lucky place to be as you get time to reboot and find out what is important. Thanks

Manuel

9 months ago

So very true, thank you Art 🙂

Greg Baska

9 months ago

Manuel,
Hey congratulations! I have read enough of your material to know how hard you work! Your pictures look awesome! Best of luck on your next project.
Greg

Manuel

9 months ago

Thanks a lot Greg! Same to you 🙂

Denis Jorgensen

9 months ago

Very interesting read Manuel. You have done a lot of very good things in your life. Fortunately you are young enough to move forward and build something else. I envy you.

I finally decided to quit Amazon FBA. I had a great product but then it started developing problems and the manufacturer didn’t want to fix it. I lost a lot of money and still paying everything off. At 73 years old that is not an easy task to do. I have started to do Uber Eats to make extra money.

I also closed down my two Shopify stores as I couldn’t figure out how to get traffic to them.

I have started two Amazon affiliate stores but getting the traffic is difficult at best.

You mentioned that you were going to try an Amazon affiliate store. I would be very much interested if you could give some tips and pointers.

You have been a great help to me in the past and hope we could work together again in the future.

Awesome post as usual, keep it up.

Denis

Manuel

9 months ago

Hi Denis,
Thank you for your feedback. I do appreciate you are sharing your story and I am sorry to hear that it didn’t go to well for your FBA business.
I personally thought you had a good (while competitive) product 🙁
As for the affiliate site I am basically trying to do what this guy did: http://nichepie.com/amazon-affiliate-site/ & http://nichepie.com/30k-archived/ but with much more detail and I am planning to do it for free. Keep you updated and thanks for continuing to read on here!
Best,
Manuel

Harrison

9 months ago

Hey Manuel, I went through a very similar thing last year when I sold my dropshipping business, although not on the same scale as yourself. I felt depressed and unfortunately didn’t have any other income coming in. Lesson learned! I’ve now started up Amazon FBA and doing well in that regard and plan to sell this business down the road too. I think this is a common feeling that entrepreneurs go through after selling. Thanks for sharing.

Manuel

8 months ago

Hi Harrison,

Been reading your blog once in a while, great stuff 🙂
Thanks for sharing your feedback also!
Best,
Manuel

Paul Perejma

8 months ago

Hi Manuel,

Great story about your business. I am 65 years young, stopped my construction business, and would like to get into e commerce. My mindset is from a different time, can I do this, what to sell, how to get the right training . How can you help me Manuel?
I look forward to your reply.

Best regards,
Paul Perejma

Manuel

8 months ago

Hey Paul,

Anyone can do this regardless of age 🙂
I do recommend that you start by downloading my free ebook (From Zero to Hero) where you learn a lot about mindset that you need for this business.
After reading and if you are convinced this is for then reach out to me.
Best,
Manuel

fanizzi bruno

5 months ago

Awesome Post Manuel.. great insights…. tks for sharing

Marino Hernandez

4 weeks ago

Hi Manuel!

This post was so inspiring, I’m 23 years old starting this E-commerce journey.

Congratulations for all your achievements, I’m a huge fan.

Manuel

4 weeks ago

Thanks for the praise Marino! All the best on your journey 🙂