This post may contain affiliate links. See our affiliate disclaimer here.
In our last post, we shared some big news. We bought a business!
Buying a business is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I was excited when we found one in our wheelhouse (or at least I hope it’s in our wheelhouse).
We’re currently 30 days into our business acquisition, so I thought it would be fun to time to share an update on how things are going so far.
But first, here’s some context if you didn’t read our last post:
We bought a five-year-old blog called RV Inspiration from our friend Ashley. RV Inspiration is a site focused on helping people make their RVs feel like home, featuring advice and tips on interior design, how to paint your RV, and much more.
As part of the acquisition, we also purchased RenovatedRVsforSale.com, a marketplace for buying and selling renovated RVs.
When Ashley told us she was thinking of selling her site I immediately became excited. I’ve followed her journey for years and loved the community and content she created.
Why I’m sharing our journey acquisition journey:
Our goal for HeathandAlyssa.com has always been to share what we learn while chasing after our goals. Sometimes those goals are travel related, like going to all fifty states, or business-related, like growing Campground Booking.
And in line with how we’ve tried to share the highs and lows, I’ll share monthly updates on what we’re learning with RV Inspiration, how it’s going, and what we’re actively doing to grow this new business we’ve purchased.
As part of sharing this update, I decided to be open and share some of the actual numbers (revenue, KPIs, etc) from running the site. Yes, real numbers. I feel it helps provide context to anyone who might be interested in buying a business of their own.
Okay, let’s get into it!
What Went Well During Our First 30 Days
Transitioning of software subscriptions, tools, affiliate programs, and payout methods.
AKA a WHOLE lot of admin work.
Below is a screenshot of the Google sheet we used during the process of updating software and services.
The first two weeks of owning the business required a lot more administrative work than I would have thought. Two full weeks.
We spent a considerable amount of time going through and updating all of the tools Ashley was using to be under our name and billing info. While it wasn’t hard work, it took a lot of time. Sometimes we would log in to a new software only to realize we needed to email the company to manually make changes for us. Then wait for their replies, then get everything updated and verified, which took days.
One of the things you’ll run into when you sell or buy a business is the transition of all the software tools you are using.
Some software subscriptions won’t actually transfer one owner’s account to another person. Therefore, you have to create a new account. For instance, Ashley was using Ezoic to power the (limited) ads on the marketplace site and we have to create a new account versus taking over her account.
I don’t know that I would say this went “well”, but we accomplished what we needed to do for the most part. We’re a month in and still trying to figure out a few updates, like how to update tax information without it affecting who companies send the proper 2022 1099s to. While it’s not the most exciting part of buying a new business, it’s something that is required.
Note: This transition of software and tools will vary based on different acquisition deals. When we sold Campground Booking to Camping World, it took months for everything to finally be transferred out of our name and into theirs (especially email servers). Part of the reason for this was simply that it wasn’t as much of a priority in a big company. It’s more important to focus on core business strategy and operations versus spending a full day on fixing all the $10/month software subscriptions. In the case of buying RV Inspiration, we all felt it would be best to transition these tools before the end of the year and have a clean start to 2023.
Making money from day one.
Being able to make money on day one from a business is amazing.
Even though we were mostly in the weeds of transferring software and accounts, the business was still doing its thing.
Contrast this to our experience buying commercial real estate last year. We bought our campground property and immediately saw money leaving our bank account versus entering it. With RV Inspiration, we were taking in both advertising revenue as well as new listings in our marketplace as soon as we closed.
A few other wins I’d add:
- Started experimenting with reels on Instagram. While only made two of them, they reached over 70K and will be something we will keep utilizing to grow our Instagram reach.
- I posted my first blog on the site, featuring an interview with my friend Andy from Bus Life NZ.
- Made site experience improvements to the home page on RV Inspiration (and also learned that shortening our sidebar can increase ad revenue, making it something specific we focused on improving!)
What Didn’t Go Well During the First 30 Days
We barely made any new content. Just my one blog post really.
As a content site, this is bad.
Alyssa and I took off a couple of weeks around the holidays and spent most of the first two weeks transitioning the business over to us. Moving forward this is a key focus. Our plan is to post 1-2 new blogs per week.
Ad revenue and Amazon associates both dipped in December. Apparently, this time of year it’s common for ad revenue to go down. However, December should have been a peak month for buying through Amazon affiliates and it wasn’t for us. Yes, we still made money, but it was lower than average for the rest of 2022.
December Numbers at a Glance
Total revenue (both sites): $3,851.19
New listings created on the marketplace: 10 (our goal is to eventually get to one new listing per day)
Total live listings: 24 (we want WAY more than this)
December 2022 Revenue Breakdown
- AdThrive revenue: $1,989
- Marketplace revenue: $841.00
- Amazon Associates: $760.11
- Other revenue (affiliates, Gumroad): $261.19
Total revenue in December: $3,851.19
December 2022 Web Traffic
RenovatedRVsforSale.com: 55,183 page views
RVing is a seasonal business, so naturally more people search for units in the summer. However, we actually had a little bit of a spike in traffic in December whereas last December was the lowest month of the year.
I’m not entirely sure what caused the spike in December traffic. I did run a few promoted posts on some of our listings, but either way, it’s a welcome spike.
RV Inspiration: 67,850 page views
While slightly more traffic than in the marketplace, the overall trend is definitely going down. We will need to hustle to get this site moving in an upward trajectory from a visitor perspective.
We purchased RV Inspiration for $100K.
Our goal is a two-year payback while still investing in the business to grow, which would be equal to ~$4,000/month in profit.
Our expenses are not high, but we do have costs. We don’t have a good picture of our complete expenses yet (will share in the future) since we are still in the process of figuring out which softwares/plugins are worth keeping, hiring writers, working with a VA, etc.).
I don’t yet know the breakdown of what we’ll allocate towards our return versus reinvesting into content, new website, etc. Especially in these early months, we’ll be reinvesting profits toward updating our websites and hiring a team of writers.
However, for this first month, I feel confident in saying we could set aside $1,000 in profit that would count towards our overall return (and reinvest the $2,800 into the business).
We have a few areas we are focusing our attention on moving forward with RV Inspiration.
1. Google Discovery.
In talking with my friend Andy who owns multiple content sites, this is where we should be investing the majority of our time and energy.
I’m still learning about Google Discovery, but to my understanding, it’s effectively Google’s algorithm that promotes specific articles to users that they’ll likely be interested in. Our current traffic coming from Google discover is only about 5%, but I’d like to increase this.
In order to do so, we’re working on a handful of recommended strategies for getting featured in Google Discover (better featured images, better titles, etc).
2. Hiring writers and an editor so we can consistently publish awesome content.
Last month we only published one new article and we need to be posting at least one per week (if not more).
3. Relaunch of our Renovated RV Marketplace site.
This likely won’t happen until later in Q1, but right now there are a lot of manual tasks tied to this site that I’d like to improve. A fresh new marketplace to easily list renovated RVs is something I’m excited about.
This first month has felt a mixture of excitement and overwhelm. There are a lot of things to do and I’ve ended each day feeling like I didn’t quite make as much progress as I would like. (Most of this feeling I know is from spending two weeks on the transitional progress followed by Christmas and New Year’s. Definitely would NOT recommend buying a new business right before the craziness of the holidays!)
It’s felt like a bigger push of my comfort zone than I’d have thought too. I assumed because Alyssa and I had blogged for years that we’d be stepping into a pretty familiar world.
However, I realize that we’ve blogged out of passion, and not really for a business. I’ve never tracked RPM trends or spent much time analyzing keywords. I just wrote articles that I wanted to write.
I feel optimistic and excited to keep learning and growing with this new business.
If you made it this far in the article, I’d love to hear from you in a comment below. Was this an interesting recap? What else should I share?
fascinating stuff – thank you for sharing! Love your openness – will help a lot of entrepreneurs
Thank you Mary Ellen! 🙂
Very Awesome. Appreciate your explanation. Though most of what you spoke about goes beyond my understanding is was exciting to see your perspective. Thanks again
Appreciate you reading Ralph.
I’ve been following RV Inspiration for a while and love it. Glad you are keeping it fairly the same with just a few treaks.
I found this article to be very full of information and helpful for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation. Look forward to reading more.
Thanks for sharing! Very interesting to see the process.
Have you heard of Notion? I think you might really like it for organizing info of any kind. I recently found it. it’s a taking app that is fully customizable and integrated with many programs, can be super simple or use databases with many view options. Check it out if you haven’t already!
I’ve heard of notion but haven’t spent much time playing with it! This is a good reminder to check it out.
Thanks for the share. Its really interesting to hear the deets on things you decide to pioneer!
Fascinating stuff – thank you for sharing. This will help a lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs. Looking forward to seeing how the sites develop under your management.
Thanks Mary Ellen! 🙂
Congrats to you two. I have followed you since your first RV blogs and my hubs and I enjoyed Alyssa’s book, RV across America. We traveled far and wide in many different RV’s and have always bought “new”. We currently have a 2020 Casita Freedom which my husband decided to convert to a Spirit model by removing the Captains chairs and making a single bed. He was tired of me waking him up a couple of times a night to crawl over him in the double East/West bed!! He would be happy to send you pictures as he is quite proud of the Renovation. Best of luck to you in your new venture!!
Hey June! Would love to see that! Want to send them to [email protected]? Thanks! 🙂 And appreciate you reading the book and sticking around as a reader.
Heath …thanks for sharing. Really glad to read things like this as my wife and I look toward starting a business by the end of 2013.
As a side note, it may be time to update your bio at the bottom of the blog post. 🙂
Good idea! Done 🙂
Thanks for sharing! This was interesting. I had no idea how much this type of business would cost to buy. (I’m not saying it was expensive or cheap. I had no frame of reference.) Since buying a business isn’t top of mind for where I am in my business journey, I hadn’t stopped to think through all the logistics. That’s great that all of the tasks that may have felt mundane are mostly behind you.
Kudos for already getting advice from a knowledgable and experienced friend. It’s great when you can shortcut the learning process with sage advice from someone that’s been there.
It sounds like you have great plans. If your past success is any indicator, I’m sure you’ll both build this business to a very healthy place that also supports the lifestyle you want to live and the stage you’re at with your growing kids. That’s a beautiful thing. I’m wishing you all the best and looking forward to hearing more in the future!
Thanks so much Teri and glad it was insightful. I always enjoy hearing about different kinds of businesses so I thought maybe a few others might as well.
100% agree on the note of finding a good mentor. It’s been incredibly helpful.
And thank you for the kind words!
Curious – you say the business was purchased for $100k, which doesn’t sound too bad. Can you share their revenue for 2020 and/or 2021 that you based that price off of? If not actual numbers, can you at least share a reason you came to that purchase price?
$73K gross revenue in trailing 12 months before purchase. I know at least a handful of blogs that have been selling at a 2X of gross revenue. However, each deal really depends on a number of factors (how interested is someone in selling, are the numbers going up or down). In this scenario, we bought felt this was a win for each side.
It’s fascinating to get this behind the scenes look at how things operate. I had no idea! Thank you for sharing.
Of course, glad you liked it :). Plan on sharing more in the coming months!
Loved reading this! I’ve been reading your posts for awhile now and especially like the business-focused ones. Kudos on buying a business!
Thank you Ivy!
This is fantastic information, Heath! You and Alyssa are always so great about sharing your personal experiences and knowledge to help others. Jeanne and I have been following you both for years and now this new aspect of your journey comes at a perfect time in our own fulltime journey!
We’ve been living, working and RV traveling fulltime since July 2020 and love our lifestyle! You two and other veteran fulltime RVers have been our mentors for whom we’ll be ever grateful. As of last Fall we, along with our Cavalier King Charles adventure-dog, “Hershey Pup”, have visited all of the “Lower 48” states, 6 Canadian provinces, and 34 National Parks.
We both still work part-time remotely on a 1099 basis for my old company back on Long Island, NY. I also have been increasingly writing RV-related (paid!) articles for TogoRV, Roadtrippers, Escapees, and RVLove .com. I even have a cover photo and article coming up in FMCA’s RV Living Magazine. That’s been sooooo much fun since I love to write!
While our “regular” remote work has been such a flexible, location-independent opportunity, we still feel too “tied” to a company that we have no control over. So, coincidently, a few weeks ago Jeanne and I started diving into the prospect of purchasing an already up and running, and revenue-producing, blog or website type business. Our good friends, Marc & Julie Bennett (I also Admin their Living the RV Life FB group) reminded me on a call last week that you and Alyssa had purchase RV Inspirations and that you were sharing details of your experience doing it. Wow, what great timing!
So, thank you again for sharing! We look for forward to continuing to learn and grow from you and Alyssa. It is so much appreciated.
And have fun with your next overseas RVing travel plans!
Erik, Jeanne & Hershey Pup
Hey Erik! Great to hear from you. So happy this was a timely article and love hearing about all of your epic adventures around, sounds like the dream.
Excited for you and your business purchase journey. Hope some of what we shared in this post and what we’ll share going forward can be valuable.
You guys have always been so transparent, with things people don’t usually share despite the good/bad. Thank you for your vulnerability. I’ve been following you and rooting for you guys since before you even had babies. Keep going, keep sharing and keep the wheels turning. From one RVer to another 🙌🤗
Thanks Diane 🙂 🙂