If you were to ask anyone ten years ago whether you could build a journal on the internet and then sell it to someone or some company for a few million bucks, you’d be laughed at. Then, one by one, you see sites like Treehugger (sold to Discovery Communications for $10 million in 2007) and Bankaholic (sold to Bankrate for $15 million in 2008) and you stopped laughing. A blog is a business and every business ends – it is either sold, passed onto someone else, or it is closed. If you don’t have an exit strategy for your blog, you can safely assume you’ll fumble through the exit or you’ll shut it down.

Here are ten things you should know before selling your blog:

  1. Get your finances in order. Not all acquisitions are for strictly financial reasons but every buyer will want to see your financial books. If you plan on selling to a publicly traded corporation, have spotless books. If you plan on selling the blog for a few grand on Flippa then you can get away with something less rigorous. Accurate books will make the due diligence process much easier.
  2. Approach competitors, partners, distributors, and their mothers. The key to getting a good price for you blog is competition among buyers. The more potential buyers you have, the better because they will push up the urgency and, hopefully, the price.
  3. Get a lawyer. The sale of your blog is going to be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, make sure everything is in order because you don’t want the deal collapsing because you forgot something trivial.
  4. Make sure you own all your content. Did you hire freelance writers? Did they sign a contract that indicates the content was “work for hire?” Do you have the rights to the images you are using on the site? Make sure you own everything.
  5. Talk to a broker. Nothing says you can’t sell your website yourself but if it’s generating significant income, consider talking to a full service broker. Almost all of them will offer a free consultation
  6. Learn the process. The basic schedule for the sale of a business is straightforward, learn it and keep track of it because you will, hopefully, be dealing with multiple buyers and it’s crucial that you keep them straight.
  7. Cut expenses. Whenever you can, try to cut the expenses associated with your business. Buyers will often default to valuing your business as a multiple of profits and expenses each into your profits
  8. Talk to your fellow bloggers. You probably know someone who has sold a site – talk to them and try to learn from their experiences. While every sale is unique, there are commonalities you can learn about just by talking to someone else. Even fellow bloggers who haven’t sold might provide insight simply because you don’t know if they’ve been approached before.
  9. It’s not always about the sale price. When you read about someone selling a business, you’ll hear about the sale price. There’s a lot more to it than that. The sale price is the marquee number but it’s hardly the final one. By structuring your sale properly, you can get a smaller sale price but walk away with more money in your pocket after taxes.
  10. It’s a long journey. If you talked to other bloggers, especially ones that have sold, you’ll learn quickly that it can be a very long process with a lot of work involved. Be mentally prepared to devote many hours of your life and that there is a chance that, even with all that work, the deal won’t go through. Losing a deal, especially after you’ve put many hours into it, can be demoralizing but it’s a possibility.

These are just ten things you should know before you sell your business – maybe in a few weeks I’ll throw ten more out there!

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