This article was originally posted to https://theygotacquired.com/content/wfh-advisor-acquired/.
When the pandemic upended work-life in early 2020, it set in motion a work-from-home revolution. And for many, the adjustment was a struggle. Home-workers soon turned to Googling everything from “how to be productive from home” to “should I do Zoom calls in my pajamas?” (answer: no) in a desperate attempt to get their bearings.
Eager to capitalize on the emerging knowledge gap, Jim Campbell, Adam Naor and Kevin Hanson started WFH Adviser to help people adjust, providing advice and guidance on everything from the best work-from-home products to best practices for working at home. The founders built the project alongside their full-time jobs in tech, which had also gone remote.
The trio focused on search engine optimization, or SEO, in the early days to get traffic. One of the team’s most effective strategies was guest posting on other sites as a way to generate backlinks. Because work from home was a hot topic, other websites were receptive to content based on the founder’s expertise.
“Because we were building in a rising niche, it created great opportunities to share expertise,” Campbell said, “and this strategically placed quality outreach to other websites went a long way in promoting our website.”
The founders made their first sale within 72 hours and knew they were onto something. Traffic reached 15,000 visitors a month after only the five-month mark. Next, sales started rolling in from affiliate relationships, and soon, brands contacted the founders directly fordeals across sales, marketing and sponsorships.
Aside from a solid SEO strategy, being a trio was another factor in the project’s quick success. They were able to divide and conquer without spending much money and energy on hiring for specialized skills, with the exception of paying for writing talent.
It also meant each founder could pick and choose to work on based on their passions and skills. Jim assumed the role of SEO and technical expert and was responsible for site structure, speed and design. In the early days, Adam and Kevin spent a lot of effort on content and writing. As the business matured, Adam focused on promoting the site through other publications, while Kevin focused on content operations, editing and SEO optimizations.
How they found a buyer for WFH Advisor
With traffic growing and other indicators following suit (impressions, rankings, traffic and clicks), the founders realized it was an opportune time to sell before the work-from-home buzz died down. So they turned to Empire Flippers, a marketplace for buying and selling online businesses, to find a buyer.
Despite consistent traffic and high-quality content, the process took longer than the founders expected. The business was listed shortly after Google’s Product Review update, in December 2021, which stunted the site’s traffic. It made buyers more cautious, with many waiting to see whether the website traffic would recover in the long run. The team overcame this by focusing on what Google calls E-A-T, or expertise, authority and trustworthiness, which included making their author bios more prominent, expanding their social media presence, and improving their content.
The most challenging part of the sale process, Campbell said, was proper accounting and tracking down all their relationships and revenue sources. Because the site was a side project, the trio had moved fast and tried many tactics. Some worked, many didn’t; most were not well documented. It took time and effort to track everything down to list the site on the marketplace.
For others hoping to sell their business, Campbell has sage advice to avoid headaches. “From day one, make sure that you keep track of all income, expenses, and relationships like you are planning to sell.”
After six months of looking for the right buyer, they sold the site at a 34x monthly revenue multiple to a private buyer in May 2022.
That’s slightly higher than the typical multiple for a content site; according to Empire Flippers’ State of the Industry 2021 report, which analyzed sales on their platform in 2020, the average multiple for a content site was 31.6. The marketplace uses monthly multiples rather than annual multiples like others in the industry because they say it’s more effective for newer businesses, which don’t have years of revenue data to rely on.