Welcome to Part ONE of my Q and A Session with Matt Raad from the eBusiness Institute, who is joining us again, to cover some FAQs about making money from websites..make sure you tune in for Parts Two and Three as well.
“Matt and Liz Raad are Website investors, Angel Investors and leading educators in digital marketing, website design and website monetisation. They are recognized as the Australian experts in Flipping Websites.”
Introduction – Matt Raad
On the pod today we welcome back Matt Raad from the E-Business Institute. Matt and his wife Liz, teach and mentor their students on how to create online business (websites) for passive income.
This podcast is the first in a series of three pods where we unpack a huge series of listener Q and A’s. So tune in for Part One of our Q and A session and watch this space for the following two pods with even more listener questions answered!
For some more context, you can go back and listen to Episode 11 – (Digital Entrepreneurs Matt and Liz Raad) as well as Episode 23 (Entrepreneurship with Liz Raad). The eBusiness Institute run a Digital Investors course as well as a higher level Champions course which I personally have just graduated from, so we go into a little bit of detail about what’s involved in these courses and how they can help to accelerate you towards financial freedom by boosting your digital skills to create successful online businesses.
Episode 41: Q and A Session with Matt Raad – Part ONE
- Check out my Review of Making Money online
“The key to success and what we understood right from the beginning is when you look for a website to buy, you’re buying something that’s answering a question or solving a problem. And that’s the key to making money online, answer questions and solve problems.”Matt and Liz Raad
Matt and Liz Raad’s Top financial tips
- Diversify – Whether it is your income sources or your investments, you need to diversify. Create multiple sources of income, and have a broadly diversified portfolio across a range of assets, and a range of sectors within those assets.
- Get Educated – Learn everything you can before making an investment – especially so in business and websites
- Growth mindset – You need to adopt a growth mindset and known your true worth.
- Start small – Make a small investment initially, and then scale that up as you gain experience
Matt and Liz Raad’s top Books and influences
- What they don’t teach you at Harvard business school
- Louise hay – you can heal your life.
- Unlimited power by Tony Robbins.
- Awaken the giant within by Tony Robbins.
- Zig Ziglar
- Tommy Hopkins
Episode 41: Q and A Session with Matt Raad – Part ONE
Matt Raad Q & A – PART ONE
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With that being said, I hope you enjoy the episode and learn something new.[00:01:00]
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Good day on the pod today we [00:02:00] welcome back Matt Rad from the E-Business Institute. This podcast is the first in a series of three pods where we unpack a huge series of listener q and as. So tune in for part one of our q and a session and watch this space for the following two pods with even more listener questions answered.
Matt and Liz were biologists who completely changed their lives after buying a bricks and mortar business and getting a bit of a rude shock when the business was a lot more challenging than expected and perhaps sold with some overly optimistic bookkeeping, but they knuckled down and made it work.
Eventually they sold this first business and they end up buying. In the process developing their due diligence skills. This ultimately led them into a career in corporate mergers and acquisitions. So Matt and Liz worked in m and a for some really interesting projects, including increasingly more and more online businesses, websites.
These websites made money for their owners, investors [00:03:00] and shareholders in many different ways, such as by selling online products, memberships, hosting paid directories, display advertising, and even affiliate marketing. After seeing these possibilities and literally the billions of dollars being thrown around in the online industry, Matt, Liz began building, launching, and buying many successful online businesses.
And this actually allowed them to reach financial independence as successful digital entrepreneurs over a decade ago. So these days they run a thriving training institution called the e-Business Institute, where they teach and mentor their students on how to do exactly the same thing, create online business for passive income.
Goodday. Matt, how you going?
Matt Raad: Very well, thanks Captain Fire. It’s great to be back on again.
Captain Fi: Oh, it’s awesome , to chat. I get a lot out of our our monthly sessions where we’re going over the the website stuff. And now it’s cool cause we were talking during one of my strategy sessions about just the investing landscape at the moment.
Obviously my passion site here, captain [00:04:00] Fire, you’ve helped me a lot in planning my content and planning, improving the user experience for people that are reading and listening on the podcast. And so obviously we have that in common, is that you also are quite into investing and financial independence.
And this just popped up organically. We thought, oh, , why don’t we do a bit of a q and a session. And I know that the readers are always super interested and the listeners are always super interested to, to hear from people with the expertise. So yeah let’s roll into it.
We’ve got like over 50 questions here. I don’t think we’re gonna be able to get through it all in one. I
Matt Raad: know you’re right. It was good, wasn’t it? And I wanna reiterate it to Captain Firey, I’ve been, as I’ve been also looking around the fire movement.
And it’s really interesting seeing know, everyone’s comments and particularly in the current marketplace in investing. Situation out there. I just thought it’s same as you. Let’s do a bit of an update with what we’re seeing happening out there, because we do come from a very unique, when I say we, I say, my wife and I, Liz we come from a very unique background of buying and [00:05:00] selling all sorts of businesses over the last 30 years.
And so we, we’re right at the coal face of what’s happening in terms. I guess entrepreneurial businesses being bought and sold and the sort of people we work with. It’s a very interesting space at the moment. Yeah. And
Captain Fi: that’s a lot of experience that you have pretty much translates directly into we talk about the fire movement because at the end of the day we’re not buying three letter ticker offer for the share market and vs.
Or a 200 whatever we’re buying real businesses and Yep. Those businesses just happen to be quite big publicly listed, , but they operate on pretty much the same principle as any business. So those skills are really important. So look, we’ve got a, we’ve got a couple of topic clusters.
So we’ve got some stuff about business. We’ve got some questions about finance and investing. And then we have some more sort of mindset, financial independence, mindset, and post-fire fi life. I think what I’m gonna do, and for anyone who’s listening, what we’re planning to do is we’re gonna answer as many questions as we can.
And I’ve got a really fantastic editor who’s gonna fix up all my mistakes and is going [00:06:00] to stitch these together, for us. . Cool. And so I think it might end up having to be a couple of episodes. So look, with that being said let’s roll in. You’re ready to go, Matt?
Matt Raad: Awesome. Sure am. Looking
Captain Fi: forward to it.
This is one that always. , and I know you’ve already answered this a couple of times so why don’t we get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Matt, how did you and Liz discover online
Matt Raad: businesses? Yeah, or buying and selling of them in particular, cuz I think that’s pretty unique.
10 years ago when we started this, the way we discovered it was because our background is as young entrepreneurs, we bought and sold bricks and mortar businesses and it was really hard because you’ve got a lot of money on the line, particularly as those businesses grow significantly.
We had manufacturing businesses which revolved around physical inventory or spare parts was one of our manufacturing businesses. And what that means is, as a business grows is get more successful, it gets even harder cause you’re putting more and more money into stock in a warehouse somewhere.
So [00:07:00] how did we discover the online space is. Over the years of buying and selling many businesses, and we hung out with lots of mentors of ours and doing it professionally as well, selling , you know, businesses to high net worth investors. We were always looking at what’s the perfect business model because we knew we were always hamstrung by money.
Having to constantly put more money into a business as it grew and always going to the bank and being on the line. And, we don’t mind saying we nearly went bankrupt a couple of times. Pretty scary moments there, but when you are young, you don’t care. But we had kids coming along and we were always looking for the ideal business model, and we started seeing and dabbling around with internet and making money online.
Actually, back in, it was around 2007. And then we got serious about it when our daughter was born and Liz just wanted to, work from home and raise our daughter. And we wanted set up something alternative for us. And Liz just said to me one day why don’t we just do what we [00:08:00] did with bricks and mortar businesses, which is buy up websites and build up a portfolio of these assets , because we could see that they make money and they were just like bricks and mortar businesses.
But we found them to be a lot easier because the reason I was harping on about physical inventory with the sort of websites that we buy, we have no physical inventory. These are not e-commerce sites, they are literally just websites that sell advertising space. So for us, they were the ultimate business model that we’d ever seen.
It was the best thing since sliced bread, I think. So for us we were lucky in that. because we had so much experience buying and selling traditional businesses. What we did online was very easy. So we loved.
Captain Fi: Yeah, it’s been pretty awesome for me to discover and those words are music to my ear, , no inventory and low overheads.
Matt Raad: Yep. No, no overheads. And I think too, for us, in, in their day, it’s a lot easier now to buy websites and what it used to be as, captain Fire. Back when we were doing it, flipper didn’t even exist, [00:09:00] which is a platform where you can buy and sell websites. We did exactly what we did with bricks and mortar businesses, which is, virtual door knocking.
We’d just go around and approach website owners and see if they wanted to sell. And we picked certain niches that we wanted to be involved in. And we literally bought up lots and lots of websites and had multiple websites in several niches. So we were diversified. And I guess it’s like what a lot of your listeners might be doing with shares.
We would do the same with websites, but , it’s more like owning a portfolio of properties because we’d. Buy them, fix them up and keep them for the cash flow.
Captain Fi: Now that is a perfect segue to the next question, which is asked is why a portfolio? And obviously I’ll have my opinions on portfolios being like the only free lunch you get Yep.
In terms of diversification risk in terms of like risk management for, for shares and that kind of stuff. But is diversification and portfolio principles, is that the same when it comes to online businesses [00:10:00] I
Matt Raad: mean, AB absolutely. Yeah. It really does give you safety out there, particularly as you’re learning as well.
So , you’ve gotta learn how all this stuff works and. Like you said earlier, these are little mini businesses, okay? They’re very high cash flow. They’re, I guess when you’re starting out, they tend to be semi passive. And on the surface they look perfect, but as we all know, not everything’s perfect.
I Look at the share market at the moment. It’s dropped 30 odd percent and some people are saying it’s gonna drop a lot further, whatever. With these, whilst they’re little mini businesses, they’re very high cash flow. Sometimes some of them will have problems, particularly as your beginner.
When you first buy sites, they’re not gonna be perfect. Think of your own journey there. Captain Fire there’s a lot to learn and you’re fixing them up. So not every website works perfectly. And like the portfolio theory shows us it’s an 80 20 rule. Two out of every 10 websites are gonna be your massive winners, and they’ll probably make you 80% of your income.
About five or so out of the [00:11:00] 10 we’ll do. Okay. And then there’ll be what, another two to three out of the 10 that won’t do so well. And it’s funny, overall, we’ve been doing this now since I think we bought our first site, or we built our first website in 2008, and that didn’t work particularly well at first.
So that’s only one website. So once we started buying websites, which we did the next year in 2009. , we suddenly realized we could own this portfolio of sites if some didn’t do as well, it didn’t matter. , but we certainly found there were always 20% of them generated, 80% of the income. And the other thing is too, there’s these things called Google updates.
And different niches will trend at different times. So having that portfolio was a beautiful thing for us. Liz and I have always been drawn towards the portfolio. We’ve always owned, you know, multiple businesses or multiple shares, or even when we did the property thing , we always wanted to own a portfolio of properties because all our mentors had always [00:12:00] said to us, diversification, if one goes down, the others carry you through.
And we also liked back then too, when we were learning off a bunch of different people that were hanging around the thinking was multiple streams of income as well. and we love that for websites we, we saw very quickly just how powerful that can be. So it’s interesting captain Fys not just a portfolio for safety reasons, like the classic portfolio strategy.
It’s also that it gives you multiple streams of income and we love this idea of having those multiple streams of income so that then we had the time and freedom to do what we wanted in our lives, which is the time was raise our. .
Captain Fi: Yeah, I totally relate to that. The last two bits you said particularly cuz yeah, it’s certainly been a journey for me.
I obviously started out with the aviation site then growing cats and fire and then starting my third batch and then the fourth batch. And it all got a bit carried away there and ended up with about 20 websites at one point. Yep. Yeah, but there was some [00:13:00] really good winners in there and managed to get some good income from some of them.
And, I’ve noticed so I’ve lost a contract or an affiliate or the traffic is reducing on one site I’ve been able to be propped up a little bit by the other sites, the other larger sites. And yeah, having upgraded to things like Mediavine and getting some more regular stable um, Advertising revenue coming in has been great.
And I’ve been able to use that to prop up the content plans for the other sites. God, I’m probably getting a bit in too much detail here.
for the other question. Well, well
Matt Raad: Think Too On the practical level right. For you, and this is gonna apply for your listeners and it’s certainly applied for Liz and I and anyone starting out online.
Your question is, you know, why a portfolio the, the answer to that is because you can, because they’re a lot cheaper to get into. So with bricks and mortar businesses, and you’re talking hundreds of thousands to millions, same as property, at some point you’re gonna max out where the banks right.
With these, we can buy [00:14:00] little tiny high cash flow sites anywhere from, a couple of thousand bucks to five grand, to 20 grand, to 50 grand. and within that we can create a massively successful portfolio for relatively lower capital than what you would with either traditional bricks and mortar or traditional real estate portfolios.
So that’s the other reason I think so many people or why it makes so much sense. You and I know the portfolio that you created. Really, when you think about it, captain files with very little money that you created that portfolio. And yet yes, most is this the first range of safe.
You got the diversity or the safety of a portfolio out of it. So it’s the perfect situation.
Captain Fi: Yeah, I was very fortunate and that I sort of built one and I sort of half,, half built one and it was going okay, but was limping along. Ended up buying one and then yeah, after we did all the renos and the strategy sessions really managed to get it going, which was awesome.
And yeah, that’s right. The cost was very minimal. I think even the [00:15:00] overheads for running, well at the moment I’ve got 17 sites and the cost overheads for running 17 is very similar to running one or two. Absolutely. There’s really not a lot in it. So this is another thing that comes up.
It’s the physical versus the online business. There seems to be a bit of fear around it and people like, oh, how could you make money from our website? How, know, and I say how do people make money from an Instagram account? But influencers still do it, don’t they? Like the travel bloggers and that?
Absolutely. Yeah. Fashion and all that. But, so just on that people don’t realize that they’re a legitimate real company. And you talked a little bit about the differences, but yep. What are the main differences between physical and online businesses?
Regarding yeah. Costs, overheads, location, cash flow, those kind of factors.
Matt Raad: This is gonna sound unusual, but you’ve gotta think of my background, right? So for the last 30 years, bought and sold businesses, hung out with other people who buy and sell businesses as well.
That’s my life, so I know it pretty well. Let’s just put it that way. I honestly [00:16:00] believe that online businesses are way safer than offline business. . They’re just, especially if you’re starting out in business. So it’s funny how you said, some people think, oh, how can this, online business, how can they be worth anything to me, they are heap safer than buying a physical business.
Why? There’s no costs. When I say no there, there is definitely costs, but the costs and overheads are very minimal. They’re totally location independent. Like , you can’t just carry around a manufacturing business with you and set up in Thailand for six months or whatever. Whereas we’ve got heaps of clients that do that, can go and check ’em out.
We’ve got a bunch of clients who travel around literally living a laptop lifestyle. Yeah.
Captain Fi: I literally just did that for three months over in the
Matt Raad: Philippines. That’s right. You are the prime example of someone that does you think about it now. You are not only are you location independent, you are time independent too.
You never have to work a nine to five job ever again. So think about that. That is way safer than a physical bricks and mortar business. [00:17:00] Until you get to the point where it’s all outsourced. There’s a lot more risk involved. Even to buy a physical bricks and mortar business, just to speak to a lawyer , to get the paperwork drawn up.
You’re talking five grand straight away. Yeah, that’s a lot of money. That’s talking to a lawyer that’s without even having to buy it. Then you start talking to the banks and you buy You’re in the hundreds of thousands, into the millions pretty quickly with bricks and mortar businesses, and that’s very high risk for a young entrepreneur starting out these days.
Whereas online I don’t ever want to touch physical inventory again. And I think I answered this question really at the beginning of the interview when I you could hear my pain In the early years for Liz and I, we were constantly hamstrung by having to invest or reinvest all our profits back into physical inventory or what we call stock to further grow the business.
It was very challenging as a young entrepreneur to manage that over a long period of time. And that’s why traditional businesses, so I’ve seen thousands of businesses done due diligences on thousands and thousands of [00:18:00] businesses, and in my experience, Most bricks and mortar businesses, and I am talking very good businesses.
These are businesses that literally make the owners millions of dollars a year. These are bricks and mortar businesses, so whilst they’re, I got to see the best of the best, it still took them at least a decade to get there, which as, captain Fi, you’ve hung around our community.
That is a long time. Yeah. Online businesses, you’re getting those sorts of results within two to three years. So I just spoke to a young guy today. He bought a website for seven and a half thousand dollars. He sold that just two years later for $550,000. So that’s within two years.
That generally doesn’t happen. , he had hardly any money. To grow that business. It just funded itself through the growth. That’s the difference between having an online business and a physical business. I think it’s just so much easier.
And , I wanna reiterate for me personally, again, , I should mention, I’m not giving financial [00:19:00] advice here, but out of all the businesses I’ve seen, I see online businesses as way safer. Is it just so much easier to run and build when you know what you’re doing?
Captain Fi: Okay. So when we are talking about sites and building a portfolio of sites , what kind of sites are you buying? Because there are many different types of websites and many different monetization models. What are the ones that you and Liz particularly focus on?
And what are the ones that you’d tell your students to
Matt Raad: focus on? Yeah, really good question. And I think it follows on from , your last question. Definitely not e-commerce. So Anita, to clarify this, Liz and I are very passionate about not having businesses with lots of physical inventory in them as you’ve all just heard.
Why? Because it just soaks up all your capital. So when we got online, What we were looking for and what we love about the online space, and again, why I think it’s so much safer as a [00:20:00] beginner to learn off these sorts of sites is we buy what’s called content websites. And basically how we make money is we just become like online advertisers.
So we will have a website that simply answers questions about a certain topic, say it’s like dog training, or like for Captain Fire, it’s all about the F fire movement or whatever. When you think about it, it’s just all information on there. And when people visit, they can click on ads and you get paid or you recommend products and you get an affiliate commission.
That is gold. there’s no simpler business model than that. I think at the end of the day, that’s gotta be the simplest and most elegant business model we’ve ever seen because it, it’s easy to grow once you’ve got a winner. You just keep. Providing more content and we obviously, we teach a whole process behind that.
You don’t have to be a writer yourself. You don’t even have to be an expert in the subject matter. So many of our students are not experts in their [00:21:00] subject matter. It’s just the system that you use to grow those businesses are all the same. Once you’ve got the skill, you’ve got a skill for life.
That’s the other cool thing about these. So we definitely don’t buy e-commerce sites now. Not to say e-commerce sites can’t make you a lot of money. We’ve got quite a few friends who’ve made lots and lots of money out of e-commerce sites. Just our choice is, we very specifically buy content sites, which are like, think of them as like online advertising board and you just lease the space and sometimes we literally will just lease space for advertisers to be on there.
Or we can sell leads off the sites. Content sites give us a lot of leeway to make money online remotely.
Captain Fi: Yeah, that’s a perfect answer. Like I’ve dabbled a little bit and definitely through champions, where you forced us to get out of our comfort zone. Yep. And and actually try the different strategies I firmly was in my comfort zone on On just content sites.
And that’s what I’ve seen the [00:22:00] best success in my portfolio. And I think also, which aligns to my values as well being in the fire movement being about that, trying to generate semi passive income with minimum stress. Minimum risk. Yep. And yeah, it’s a great way, especially if someone’s an SME and they do have expert knowledge or as you said, you just get a an expert in and you pay them to write about it.
So the next group of questions came through basically I get asked a lot about what are the different types of sites and how do they work. So I think you’ve perfectly just answered how does an advertising site work? Like a content strategy site. , I get often asked though about the affiliate sites and mm-hmm. to me, I see them as a very similar thing, but just instead of selling the advertising space you’re selling a link or you are, you’re selling a lead. Would you be able to just expand on what an affilliate is and how that works?
Matt Raad: Yeah, there’s a cool thing. When we got online, the tech was suddenly there to be able to do this [00:23:00] because basically , it’s someone that clicks on your affiliate link, and I’m sure your listeners probably heard of this.
They’re cookie. And it can be from 24 hours up to, 12 months or whatever. But basically everything online is tracked. So what happens is if you write an article about a really good dog training program that you’ve used so you’ve got a site about training German Shepherds cause you’re passionate about German Shepherds or it’s just the site that you’ve ended up buying and you talk about, Hey, I just found this really cool program about training dogs.
I think it’d be really helpful if you are training a young German Shepherd and here’s what I found. Here’s the pros and cons of the program and here’s a link if you want to go and get it. And so when people click on that link, that person is cooked. So it’s a technical term, but basically it just means they’re tracked.
And so when they go over to the program side, if they buy that program, they’re new as the webmaster that referred them through, we will get. Commission for that and it’s, that happens in business all the time. That happens in bricks and mortar [00:24:00] businesses all the time. People pay referral fees.
But this is way more leveraged online because it works 24 7 while you sleep worldwide. Marketplace just done once, done forever. You don’t have to constantly keep talking to people and referring people through to buy. It can be services, it can be products, it can be anything really. And it is such an evolved marketplace now.
It is way, way easier than what it used to be. It’s very accurate, the tracking, and it’s a very powerful and easy way of making money online. You don’t have to go overboard with it or anything like that, but it’s a beautiful, elegant way of say you want to, you are interested in physical products, like just a, as captain Fire.
We’ve got lots of clients that have very successful Amazon affiliate websites, and they will talk about certain kinds of, let’s say coffee machines. And, they’ll recommend people go over to Amazon and buy a certain model. , they get an affiliate [00:25:00] commission for that. But they don’t have to invest the money buying a bunch of coffee machines and having them all sitting in a warehouse somewhere and shipping them out to a client. All they do is just say, Hey, these are the ones we found that are good. And they get a, an affiliate commission for it. Easy peasy. It’s a really simple business model.
Captain Fi: Yeah. And actually ah, it feels weird talking about this because it’s my site, but I know, I remember one of the things we talked about early on in my training was Monetization for my sites and with Captain Fire.
One of the services, one of the tools that I used was share Site, which was a share portfolio tracker. And honestly, like there’s really, there’s nothing like it and it’s free for users with under 10 holdings, so it’s like a no-brainer to be using this product. And in fact, I just did my tax for last year.
I know it was a bit late, but , yeah, we’ve had other things got in the way. And I literally just clicked a few buttons. Bimbo BIM printed out my income reports from all my dividends printed off my C G T GA [00:26:00] liabilities. Literally just sent it off to the accountant and all sorted.
Yep. And they actually have a, an affiliate program. So Share site provides, I can’t remember what the percentage is. It’s like a, you get a, it’s 10 or 20% when people sign up. If they sign up to a paid version, which is if you have more than 10 shares. And so there’s a fair amount of people that do sign up to that.
And so I put that link on my website on Captain Fly and I have an advertisement on the podcast. And yeah it, it’s not a huge amount of money, but it ranges from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand dollars a month which, it’s awesome. So that, I think that right there is a perfect example of how an affiliate site can work
Matt Raad: and now that’s passive income for you now.
So it’s like you done once, done forever. Once you, okay, there’s work in setting that up. But once it’s set up, You don’t have to think about it ever again. Yeah. And then we just pass it every month. You get recurring income off it.
Captain Fi: You just gotta, keep training me on SEO so I can get those. Yep, that’s right.
Get that review higher in, in Google . Yeah. So look the next kind of [00:27:00] sites they’re probably ones that I, I tried and didn’t really have a huge amount of success in. I probably think I’m just biased cuz I’ve had some success in the affiliate and the advertising sites. But I just wanted to touch on these briefly cuz we did do ’em in the Champions program and I get asked about them a fair bit, which was what is a directory site and how does a directory site work?.
Matt Raad: Big topic. As it’s one of my favorite strategies, but it’s not for a beginner. But it’s a very powerful strategy because they take a bit to set up, basically a directory site just lists other businesses on there. So obviously businesses are happy to pay to be on there if it’s a good directory site.
Now these can be hugely successful if done right, it, they’re kind of the chicken or the egg though. So in a way, you’re creating a bit of a marketplace as well when you create these. So say it’s a, it might be a vertical niche, like a simple one would be, you might have a directory site here in Australia that lists all the dentists across Australia and , they can be [00:28:00] six and seven figure and eight figure businesses sometimes.
So at our workshop, I think we showed one that had just sold for 11 million. And it was a directory site listing or it’s a marketplace that listed child minding facilities, and sold for 11 million or whatever it was. So these can be hugely lucrative when set up right. And they can be very passive once they’re set up.
But I do want to reiterate, it’s not a beginner strategy. As you said, captain Fire. It’s not, yeah, it’s for a beginner, it’s a lot easier just to set up an advertising or affiliate site. Honestly, that’s the way I would do it if I was brand new. If you’ve got more skills and you know how to SEO site, which is Ranker site and search engines and you know a bit about the local business strategy that we also teach, then you can start to combine your skills.
Super skills and you can have as one of your portfolio sites. So we teach a range of different strategies as you’ve alluded to, and one of your portfolio [00:29:00] sites might be, for instance, a directory site that you build up over time. Now it takes work to build those up, but once they’re set up and they start humming along, then they can be
self feeding I guess. But they do take initial work to set up, but very lucrative
Captain Fi: if you can do it. Yeah. And I’m just thinking, so high Pages is probably absolutely well known one. And I’ve seen they’re even advertising high pages, even advertising on YouTube and Google Ads
Matt Raad: these days, that’s how much money there is in it.
High pages is worth in the it’s over a hundred mil hour, I think. . Wow. And yeah, that just started as a directory site listing tradies in a local area.
Captain Fi: There’s a bunch of ’em as well. And I don’t know if you’d classify these as purely directory sites, would you, but maybe thing even like Uber Eats, like it’s literally just a directory of restaurants.
Matt Raad: It is, yeah. Yeah. And that’s how they started the best ones. So here in Australia yeah, there was some really big, very successful ones that listed all the restaurants. They’ve all been bought up by the big players now, like Yelp and stuff. Like typically in the tens of millions they get bought up for.
Wow. And [00:30:00] we knew some of the m and a firms that used to do those deals. And we also met some of the individuals that had built those. And that’s why, as we’re very passionate or very excited about that strategy. It works really well, but just takes more work. , and you can do it. And also at a small level, we see a lot of success at a small level directory site is typically in tourist areas.
If you live in like , you know, nua, you can set up a directory site for nua that. It gets all the local noso businesses advertising on there because when people look up No, said the directory site will come up with all the listings so they can, because they can rank quite well.
Or it might be all the local news or something like that. a, you can really go down the rabbit hole on that particular strategy. It, that’s why we teach it at a more advanced level, though. Not for beginners.
Captain Fi: , it’s something I want to look at Reattaching maybe next year.
, I actually am really keen to do something in the Adelaide Hills, like an Adelaide Hills directory site. Beautiful. Yeah. Especially around garden for the wineries. Yeah. And around like [00:31:00] produce permaculture
Matt Raad: Yeah and they will pay. If you can get the site ranking, then local businesses obviously will pay to list on there and basically what they do is they pay a yearly fee to be on there and it’s win-win because it can be really low amount.
You only need to charge ’em a couple hundred dollars, but that can very quickly turn into a six figure income for you as the website owner. So we’ve got lots and lots of examples of those, as you know, in the champions.
Captain Fi: Do you have a side hustle? My side hustle is websites a form of digital real estate.
If you wanna learn more about this lucrative side hustle, check out my review of the E-Business Institute and their online self-paced courses. They cover everything from total beginners right through to advanced web design and how to buy, renovate, and sell websites for profit. As a graduate of Matt and Liz’s courses, I can’t thank them enough for the valuable web skills they gave me.
And now I enjoy growing my portfolio of websites for income Captain. Fire listeners can register for free access to some of these courses by signing up. Using the link at www.captainfi.com/ e-business [00:32:00] dash institute dash review, build your portfolio of digital real estate and start using websites to make money today.
Okay. And now we talked a little bit about it in that last question, but the local business site strategy so the local business site strategy is where you’re essentially doing all this work on behalf of a local business to get them more leads. Would you be able to just expand on how a local business strategy would work?
Matt Raad: Yeah. It’s a great way to put your digital skills as so as you’re learning. , you can be building websites for local businesses, say like your local plumber or your local dentist, or your local lawyer or whatever. You can build them a small, simple website that gets ranking in Google and you can charge for that service anywhere from, two grand to three grand and maybe more.
But what gets really interesting with the local business strategy is once search engine optimization, seo, it’s the same skill that we use on [00:33:00] our portfolio sites, our more passive sites. And what you can do is it’s the same team that you use. This is why it gets easier the bigger you get. So you can just have a few of those going as well.
And you can charge a recurring monthly fee to the local business owner to get the site ranking highly in. , and that’s worked extremely well for quite a few of our um, champions members. So it’s a really cool way to utilize your skills in another money-making way online.
Again, it’s independent, it’s location independent, you’re just working off a laptop to do this, and it’s the same team that you use on your portfolio sites anyway.
Captain Fi: Yeah, and I had a a guest Richard from Paramark. He runs Paramark, he’s one of our clients. . Yeah. Did and that’s actually how we connected was through Yeah.
Through champions group we were talking about Hey, come and talk about your business and what you actually do. And that’s how we got Richard
Matt Raad: out, out of his nine to five job. Yeah. And so he’s, by training him in [00:34:00] to do that strategy, that was a strategy that he really went for and he’s been hugely successful with it.
Captain Fi: Yeah. And we have been chatting a little bit about, cause I know he’s still pursuing the the content sites, but he’s basically replaced his income with the local business strategy managing websites for local businesses in Sydney. And then whilst, everything’s sticking over, his content sites are growing and getting bigger and bigger.
And his plan is to then transition, either sell the
The word’s escaping
Matt Raad: The agency. That’s an asset. Becomes an asset in itself. And the other thing with Richard, which is really, so you gotta remember, he was a total beginner online. And you look at the sort of sites he makes now, and like you said, that’s how you got introduced to us because.
You were one of his first clients, weren’t you?
Captain Fi: Yeah we built the aviation site together, so yeah.
Matt Raad: Learning what we teach and now look at it . Look what Rich has done. You just said in Sydney, he’s got Sydney clients, but he doesn’t live in Sydney anymore. He and his wife have moved to God’s country up here in Queensland.
The beautiful sunny coast.
Captain Fi: Yeah, actually I’ve got a few [00:35:00] friends that have moved up to Brisbane and so I’m starting to think, I do love Adelaide, Matt and the Adelaide Hills. Were always home. Oh, beautiful. Yeah. As everyone’s probably known, there’s been a few big life changes for me recently.
And I don’t really feel as anchored to Adelaide anymore, so might be, you might be having to go up to the east Coast, have a trip hopped around Brisbane, Northern this area. Yeah.
Matt Raad: That’s what Liz and I did when we got online. , there’s so many online entrepreneurs living up in Queensland.
Why? Because what do they say? beautiful one day. Perfect. The next. And , Liz and I, we were the same. We used to live in Southern New South Wales in the southern highlands , in a rural area, but it was too cold. And once our website started making us lots of money, we realized, oh, we can live wherever we want.
This is crazy. Why are we living down here in a cold? So we moved to Queensland as well. That was more than 10 years ago now. So
Captain Fi: There’s gotta be something in it. If everyone’s doing it, ,
Matt Raad: , it is beautiful up here. So we’ve got so many friends up here that we’ve met who are all the same.
We’re all from southern states cold. And then because we all work [00:36:00] online, we’ve realized, oh, we can live in Queensland. And not only that, live on the beach or something as well. Yeah. It’s beautiful up here.
Captain Fi: Location, independence. Absolutely. Awesome. I do have some questions about that, about post fire lifestyle.
Yep. But I’m gonna try and smash out these ones. For the last couple of segments on okay. Online businesses. So there’s I guess two more strategies. One is the premium content or a subscription site. And then the next one is, wow, selling your own products. I guess that falls under e-commerce, which we’ve discussed as thou should never go there, Simba.
Matt Raad: I’m not a fan, so Yeah. Say no more. Yeah, you can do, it’s just more complex.
Captain Fi: Yeah. And so with a, with a premium content or a subscription site that’s basically just a content site, but people just pay for a subscription rather than serving the ads,
Matt Raad: right? Yep. So you’re just selling information info products.
So we’ve done a lot of that over the years and we really like that model. I would suggest it’s not the [00:37:00] easiest model for a begin. It’s a much more advanced strategy. It’s not as easy as it looks, that particular one, but it can be, again, if you’re a beginner and you’re listening to this, seriously, the easiest way to get started is to just buy or build small, little basic, either advertising or affiliate websites, selling content info products online.
You’ve gotta set up email funnels and landing pages. And if you’ve never done that sort of a thing or if you don’t have someone helping you it’s a beautiful business model though. Why? Because you get recurring incomes day in, day out. You just watch the money come into the bank, particularly when you’ve got a good product and you’ve got it up and running.
And once you’ve got up and running, it can. . It’s not passive at all, but it’s definitely semi passive, but it’s very automated. Recurring income. Yeah. Leveraged. Yeah. Yeah. It’s very leveraged. But again, pr it’s like the directory site strategy. Yeah. I wouldn’t recommend it as a beginner.
Yeah. But I would recommend it, goal setting thing. Definitely something you, you know, [00:38:00] everyone loves to have a membership site somewhere in their portfolio. They’re golden. Yeah. And so I imagine they’re the ones, as, Kafi that typically sell for six and seven figures online.
Captain Fi: Yeah. It’s a big multiple. We talk about the E A T expertise. Experience, authority and trust score. Yep. And I know Google has been very vocal about that in recent out updates. But I imagine you with that style of a site, you might be really leveraging your EAT score as a professional, as a.
Trusted source of information, otherwise, why would people pay for it, I but yeah,
Matt Raad: anyway. Absolutely. It’s definitely that’s something you want to do , if you’re an expert in a particular area. Yeah. We’ve bought membership sites so as well in areas that we know nothing about.
And e-book sites as well as similar e-book sites are a little bit simpler. And so , we love buying e-book sites. They’re not as popular now, which is interest. But
Captain Fi: yeah. The one that springs to mind Matt, , we did the case study with the photography site. Oh, yeah. Lo who, what did he [00:39:00] paid five grand on Upwork for Yep.
For photographer to set up bloody training course to create
Matt Raad: the course. Yep. To create the course. He was a, yeah, he was a photographer himself as well, but he paid someone else to write the course. Yeah. He sold that site three years later for 10 million .
Captain Fi: It’s just that’s just, it’s unfathomable.
Matt Raad: . That is absolutely wild. Really interesting story. I
Captain Fi: mean, he worked hard. I obvious he worked hard over the three years. Very hard. Yeah,
Matt Raad: yeah. It’s not like that’s not a passive walk to riches. I can tell you he that was active, but hey, I think anyone listening would be happy to be active if you get a 10 million payout at the end.
Mind you too. He was making money along the way as well. He made heaps of money. And that was just from selling a 45, I think it was a $49 a month membership site on how to do wedding photos.
Captain Fi: Yeah. Wow. Yeah, , it’s cool. Always get a smile whenever I go over those case studies.
Okay, so I guess going back to the basics then , for anyone who’s looking to, to get into online businesses overheads. So what does it actually cost to run them? You [00:40:00] can build a site pretty much The tools for free. For free. You can Most tools Yeah. Once
Matt Raad: you know what you’re doing.
Captain Fi: Yeah. Or you can, you can buy a starter one for $500,000. Yep. Once you’ve bought one, what are the costs to actually run it? You gotta pay for hosting that kind of stuff.
Matt Raad: Yeah. Hostings like seven bucks a month. So that’s pretty much nothing . Yeah. The main cost that you’ll have with the sort of websites we buy and is why it’s so simple is just content costs.
And that’s about the change with chat G P T. So content costs are typically 30 to $50 an article, and you might post on a small site, just to give you a real, this is not on a six or seven figure website, this is not on a site that’s, Making you a couple hundred grand a year or anything, but when you’re learning, you typically got little sites that you might post once or twice a month.
So this is an investment, but it pays you back because good quality content is like money in the bank. It’s [00:41:00] an actual investment. So when you learn, you’re never gonna get it. Perfect. The first time as you found Captain Fire. Oh yeah.
Captain Fi: My, my batch of 50 shoddy articles
Matt Raad: or Yeah, that’s what I said to you at the time.
Don’t do 50 in one go cuz you dunno whether you’re getting 50. Bad articles or 50 good articles. It’s a skill that you’ve gotta learn and it’s an outsourcing skill, which is a hugely valuable skill anyway in this day and age. And that’s why I love this game and why I love teaching beginners this stuff.
Because every single thing we do here is a massively valuable skill for your future anyway, from getting content created to actually learning how to do due diligence on websites, learning how to renovate them and double their incomes and stuff, man, that, that’s just money in the bank for you down the track.
So content is probably your main overhead or your main cost, which to me is nothing compared to bricks and mortar businesses. We’re always forking out for something in a bricks and mortar business. If you’re small and you don’t have much of a budget, you might be [00:42:00] thinking 30 to 50 bucks.
on articles is expensive to me. It’s nothing , like I said, just speak to an accountant or a lawyer and you’re gonna blow through a couple of grand pretty quick. And then of course when you wanna scale it, it’s about scaling that and that’s where you need to invest more money in more content.
But presumably the returns you’re getting off the website at that point are funding all that. So these can become very quickly compounding machines. That’s why I know it sounds unbelievable that people can turn simple small websites into, six figure incomes or into multimillion dollar assets within a relatively short amount of time.
But the reason why is because realistically, the only bottleneck is content. And if you’re making money on the website as it grows, it’s like the ultimate Warren Buffet. Model is that it just compounds because you put more money into content, you make more money, you use the profits from that to buy more content.
That makes it [00:43:00] more money, gets more traffic, and it just gets easier and easier. So you think even with your own site, captain Fire, you now know. , you’ve got the benefit of a few years doing this, right? You can see exactly what I am talking about. You are getting higher affiliate commissions.
Every bit of content you put in ranks easier now because the site’s an authority. So that’s the cool thing. This is why this all compounds. So yes, at first it seems harder and it seems a lot slower and seems to take a lot of time. Once you hit the tipping point though, with websites, everything gets easier and easier, and it’s just a rinse and repeat process.
Captain Fi: The lighthouse moment.
Matt Raad: Yeah, the lighthouse. And you’ve hit that point and really well done. You’ve done all the hard yards, right? And it’s fun. It’s, I shouldn’t say hard yard, it’s not that hard. It’s really good fun when you learn this stuff, but there does, there’s a lot of long period there where it doesn’t feel like you’re getting ahead, but then all of a sudden things just start to take off and you do hit that tipping point.
So then when you start putting in your extra content, it becomes even more worthwhile and more valuable because there’s [00:44:00] more people. Watching or reading it, and then it just snowballs and you get more advertisers approaching you because your site’s getting more traffic and it’s ranking for more terms.
More and more people are noticing you, so next thing you know and you get higher commissions and you just get more eyeballs. But what we’ve learned online, the true secret to making money is the more eyeballs you have, the more money you. Yeah,
Captain Fi: I’ve definitely noticed that. So it was a slow when I say slow process, it was a slow process for me at the beginning.
Naturally. Yeah. And when I look back over my two passion sites, like the two sites, which I run and I write for, which is Captain Fire and the aviation site, I I don’t cross mention the niches just because of like privacy kind of stuff. My other sites, if you knew all of the sites, you could barely easily piece together, everything about me.
Yeah, but I’ve written over 500 articles and that’s not counting guest posts either. Like I’ve written hundreds of guests, maybe between 50 and [00:45:00] a hundred guest posts for other sites as part of the backlink strategy. So yeah, nearly 600 articles written , across my two main sites.
And then once they really started growing I got a couple of writers, a couple of other professional pilots involved on my aviation site. Yep. And I could see, wow, now I am not the bottleneck on that site anymore. I can use the revenue, the advertising revenue to pay their costs. And it’s still cash flow positive even when I factor in the admin costs.
And now, the team of having, I have an editor now, which just speeds things up and a VA as well. , and I know that chapter eight of the course. Yeah. Outsourcing. I’ve got that one bookmark. Because even though the outsourcer won’t be able to, I don’t think the outsourcer works as quickly as me or as high level as me, even if they’re only doing 60% of what I’m doing.
If I’ve got two outsourcers that’s still 20% more than my, maximum output of a hundred percent. So I’ve definitely seen that. And people [00:46:00] ask, oh, what do I need to run these sites? I literally have a 15 year old laptop that I was writing articles on. I’m currently interviewing U now on a 10, 13 year old PC that I built at university.
And then the other time I’m just using my iPhone. I mean, Everyone’s got a phone. Yeah. Um, Everyone’s got internet at home so really if you’re in the fire movement, you’re being ultra frugal. And, you don’t wanna make these investments into content. I just wrote it all myself. Yeah.
, , I wouldn’t advise that. Cuz it definitely slowed me down. I think had I have listened to you in the first place and started automating content production probably would’ve made a bit more money earlier. Yeah. But it works like the bootstrapping approach ,
Matt Raad: did work for me.
Yeah. And that’s what we love about online businesses. , it is a lot easier to bootstrap than with bricks and mortar businesses or businesses that involve physical inventory.
Captain Fi: Yeah. I definitely wouldn’t be able to, I don’t know sew together 600 leather jackets or something to sell at a fashion store.
Matt Raad: Very difficult. [00:47:00] Yeah. Very
Captain Fi: difficult. Okay, I guess I stole your thunder there in answering what do I need to run them? Because that was a question. Do
Matt Raad: I need, I, that’s right. You’ve answered that really well. Your experience is very typical.
You just need typically couple of content writers and probably an editor and maybe a techie and that’s about it. And that will create you a six figure income. So we’ve got lots of students, that’s what, that’s basically their team. That’s their goal to get to that. So it’s ideal for someone who’s also looking to transition out of a job because you can start building up this team part-time in the evenings cuz you know, they’re all virtual, doesn’t matter what hours they work or whatever.
So that’s the other big advantage of running these sorts of businesses. And that’s literally, I know that’s pretty much your team. And so as you expand your portfolio, you just get a few extra writers on board as you.
Captain Fi: Yeah. And that’s pretty much what I did, Matt, is um, learning as much as I could about it slowly building these sites and doing it on weekends and evenings.
And I think there was some cheeky writing sessions involving [00:48:00] my phone and the iPad in, in flight, in the cruise segment. Yeah, we could write content for the aviation site whilst flying. So bit of inception. But yeah it was a fairly basic process and I think I did spend a bit of time on it because I was writing a lot of the content.
Yeah. But in terms of answering how passive are they? I think now if I omit obviously captain fire.com and the the aviation site, which are my passion that I really love writing for, if I look at just the other sites, I really don’t spend any time at all. Ah the writers.
So I have a VA that produces a site. I mean, Once a year. I sit down for my SEO week, strapp into the chair. And that’s a lot of fun going through all the keywords and coming up with a content plan. Once I hand that content plan to the manager, the content manager she’s then working with the VAs and the writers.
The writer’s brief gets made. They get handed to the writer produces the content, gets accepted, writer gets paid. VA puts the content onto the site gets published. Like [00:49:00] I really am not in that loop at all. And then all I’m doing is collecting revenue from either Mediavine or AdSense or Amazon affiliates.
That’s all automated. you don’t have to invoice. That just automatically appears. In the bank, which is nice. And then yeah , so I reckon the time that I’m writing, which I don’t need to be doing, or podcasting, which obviously I just love to do this, I reckon I’m spending an afternoon a month if that, on just basic invoicing and yeah.
It’s pretty passive. It doesn’t really take much time
Matt Raad: at all. Perfect business model, isn’t it? Yeah. Hundred. Would not do that with a traditional business or, people don’t believe it, that it can be that easy.
Now you’ve done the work though. You’ve built it up. Yeah. And you’ve got the results. , obviously for you and for everyone else that’s brand new to this, there is a steep learning curve to go through this, and that’s obviously what we teach at E-Business Institute, and that’s what we love doing.
That’s why we are here. That’s what Liz and I do. We teach people how to learn those skills that [00:50:00] you’ve now got that are skills for life for you. But once you dial that in, . It’s not totally passive though. There’s still work to be done, but it’s the fun stuff.
Like you said, captain Fire, coed research or, directing your team and just figuring out what’s the good content that’s gotta go on this website. That’s probably where most of your work would come into it. Yeah.
Captain Fi: . I used to be very intimidated doing business negotiations, . was something that I really got a lot out of with the mentoring, is that now that’s actually something that I’m enjoying. I’m enjoying. Cool. . Yeah. Going to different affiliates or trying to upgrade to higher CPMs with advertising contracts.
And trying to justify how I can value add and yeah, it is fun. It’s a lot easier when you don’t need the money. . Cause at the start I was like, oh, if I could just get to a thousand dollars a month and I was so nervous and desperate. And I think I put a lot of pressure on myself that once you start getting those runs on the board, it always just becomes like fun.
It’s like a hobby . Yeah. Alright, so back on track now. So [00:51:00] risks so often get asked what are the downsides and what are the risks? And I guess the risk is it doesn’t do anything right? But from your perspective, what do you see? Mistakes that students make or not,
Matt Raad: not learning how to do proper due diligence and trying to take too many shortcuts.
As I just said, this is a learning process. There is a lot to learn. If you’ve never made money online before, which is 90% of the population . And I think the biggest risks there are is not educating yourself and understanding what the hell you’re getting into. It’d be really stupid, I’m gonna be blunt about it.
To go out there and just blindly buy a website, that’d be a really dumb thing to do. You’ve gotta learn. So learn small, start out small, don’t be too impatient cuz you hear all these amazing results. If anyone hangs around with us and they see, our students results and everything, it looks amazing.
And people understandably want those same results very quickly. And that’s where they make the mistake because they get greedy. They think they can short circuit the system and the learning system and they’ll just go out there and buy some site without [00:52:00] doing proper due diligence. And I think that’s probably the number one mistake we see people make.
And I think also, trying to go too big too quickly. Yeah. That’s as you found, pepper fire, that’s, yeah. There’s a lot to this. It’s, give yourself the gift of time. It’s you gotta think about this. You, if you’re serious about this, you are learning a skill that can potentially replace your income or make you six to seven figures semi passively.
Stop and think that through for a minute. You ain’t gonna get that overnight. Okay. That’s take some effort there. It’s like going to uni, you’ve gotta learn, we’re talking, earning the same sort of money as a doctor. You’re not gonna learn that in just one week. Yeah. And I think that’s where the most mistakes come from.
People get greedy and try and go too fast, too quickly. Like anything in life, everyone wants short shortcuts, it’s the same. Probably you would see it Captain FY and share investing in stuff. I’m guessing that’s where people probably make most of their mistakes as well. And that’s totally understandable.
But if you’re listening to this, I would. Commit yourself to the long term vision on this thing [00:53:00] because this is seriously a game changer for you long term. And I love the Tony Robbins saying it actually came from Jim Rowan originally, but most people vastly overestimate what they can achieve in one year, but vastly underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years.
And that’s what we’ve certainly seen over the last decade or so that we’ve been coaching people through this. It is so true. So that’s probably my, I know that sounds very, ephemeral or guru ish what I just said, but that’s my observations. That’s probably the number one mistake that I see people make.
Captain Fi: No, a hundred percent. Yeah. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. And yeah, you see it all the time with shares, like people saying, oh, this sector’s gonna go, buy now, pay later. It’s gonna be amazing tech. Oh, buy this, penny stock buy this cryptocurrency.
And I think, At the moment, we are definitely seeing the chickens come home to roost in some of those absolutely riskier investment classes. Maybe people didn’t have their investment tolerance aligned to their personal risk tolerance. And yeah, it causes a bit of pain. So yes, anything worth [00:54:00] doing is, worth doing slowly and steadily building
Matt Raad: skills.
And I think out of all this is super important. It, obviously, I’m biased but literally, and this is the slogan of our company, I see these as digital skills for future proof income. So invest the time to get the knowledge and your biggest risk in this day and age. When you think about it, your biggest risk in this day and age, no matter what you do, but particularly when you’re using something where you’re making money online, I think the biggest risk is knowledge, risk or lack of knowledge.
And I think that’s particularly relevant to your audience as well, because you’re in the fire movement, a lot of your members are into investing in shares and real estate, and you’re looking for ways to get, financial independence obviously, to get to that point, what’s the number one thing you need it’s knowledge. You need to invest in yourself.
Captain Fi: It’s gotta spark the fire. That’s right. You gotta get motivat. and you gotta understand how things work. Yeah. No, that’s gold.
Thanks for listening to part one of my q and a session with Matt. Make sure you tune in for part two coming [00:55:00] soon.
Thanks for listening to another episode of the Captain Fire Financial Independence Podcast. To read the transcripts or check out the show notes, head over to www.captainfire.com for all the details. If you have a question for the captain, make sure to get in touch. You might even make it on the airwaves.
You can reach me online through the Captain Fire contact form or get in touch through the socials. I’m active on Facebook and Instagram, as well as a number of online finance and investing forums. And finally, remember the information presented on the show and the links provided are for general information purposes only.
They should not be taken as constituting professional financial advice. You should always do your own research when making any financial decisions and make sure it’s appropriate
for your personal circumstance[00:56:00]
If you are interested in learning how to buy and sell websites, make sure you check out Matt and Liz Raad’s free training here.
Captain FI is a Retired Pilot who lives in Adelaide, South Australia. He is passionate about Financial Independence and writes about Personal Finance and his journey to reach FI at 29, allowing him to retire at 30.