Could you describe what you do and how you earn your living Don?
Hi Michael, thanks for having me. I am an internet entrepreneur. I make my living by building websites from scratch and creating them into successful businesses. I do not actually “build” the websites myself, I hire a team of developers, but I create the overall business model, revenue model and handle all of the branding and marketing of the websites.
My current business is BusinessMart.com and our sister web site FranchiseBuyersNetwork. We help all types of people who are interested in getting into business for themselves. In addition, we help small business owners sell their businesses. We have become the fastest growing business for sale and franchise website. We currently have thousands of businesses for sale listed in the US, Canada and the UK as well as, over 700 franchise opportunities.
My newest project is PublicGolfCourses. This is a directory of all public golf courses. We plan on making this a one stop shop for golfers to read and review any golf course in the world.
I understand you have over 20,000 businesses for sale listed in US, Canada and UK on your website, what advice would you give someone selling a business?
Make sure you sell when the time is right. I see many small business owners wait until their sales take a dive and then they decide to sell. This will cause them to receive a much lower sale price. The ideal time to sell your business is when your sales are in an up trend. If your business is struggling and you need to sell, there will still be buyers out there, but you will receive a much lower purchase price.
Should someone who is working a 9 – 5 job take the leap to running their own business whether it was online or offline?
I encourage anyone who has the motivation to run their own business, to leave the 9-5 world. But… I do suggest to start building your business while still working. Prior to BusinessMart.com, I owned a high-end retail ecommerce website and was able to build the entire website while I was still working. This allowed me to quit my job and already have my future lined up.
At just 32 years old, you have run and built many successful businesses, what’s your top tip to creating a successful business?
Prioritize your goals. For example, I have a list of tasks for each week. The list is prioritized depending on the amount of revenue each item might bring in. So if I get an idea that I feel could increase my revenue by 10% and I have another idea on my list that will increase revenue by about 2%, the higher revenue increaser will hit the top of the list. Of course, you need to do your projections to make these estimates. I will often set up an excel spreadsheet to figure out my projections for a new idea for my sites.
Entrepreneurship and Business is a huge market to be in on the Internet, how have you been able to compete at such a high level? Do you have any tips for other entrepreneurs dominating the niche they are in?
Always keep your big picture in mind and focus on your main objective. For example, if your plan is to become the top blogger in the small business arena, don’t do paid reviews for online casinos just to make a quick buck. I see so many people who create successful online business models but then they are lured into something else that will ruin the quality of their web site just to make a quick buck.
With all this financial crisis and the recession, should people still be thinking about starting their own business?
Absolutely. The days of having a safe and secure job, getting raises each year and then retiring are over. As I mentioned earlier, people who are currently employed and considering starting their own business should start building their business while they are getting paid by their current employer. This will decrease their percentage of risk.
Running an Internet Business gives you choices and freedom to do what you want, when you want. Would you say the Internet Lifestyle is for you?
The Internet Lifestyle is really like no other. Waking up in the morning and checking your sales and seeing your business has made money while you sleep is a wonderful feeling.
What would you say is the biggest single reason for your success?
Prioritization and always focusing on the big picture are probably my strong points. Since the day I started BusinessMart and FranchiseBuyersNetwork.com, I have always had the same goals in mind. I focused heavily on 2-3 different services and didn’t get distracted with other bells and whistles.
I very rarely jump into new opportunities without doing very heavy research and I always make projections and evaluate the potential of a new idea. I never start a business just because “It sounds like a good idea.”
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what advice would you give yourself regarding making money online?
I started my first internet business my freshman year in college. It was a New York City Nightlife web site. The web site allowed individuals who did not have a personal relationship with a promoter to gain access to exclusive “guest lists” online. I focused a lot of my time worrying about revenue and not about keeping a loyal user base. If I focused my time on building an online community, I might not have sold this web site. Who knows, I could still have been running it today.
I have learned that you should worry first about gaining traffic and users and then everything else falls into place. In addition, if you have an online business with a very loyal audience and lots a traffic it will be worth more money if you decide to sell it. Anyone can create a great service online but having loyal users and a large amount of traffic is key.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Years ago I worked with a Creative Director while working at an agency in New York City. I was designing a logo and stressing out over the way it looked. I wasn’t happy with it and spentso much time tweaking it. He said to me,“Don’t stress over it, the logo will evolve over time.” I have taken this advice and applied it to my businesses. Every business evolves in time. I now always build out projects in phases. This allows me to take my time and continue working on the projects that generate the most revenue, and the others will then get tossed in the garbage or put on hold.
Thanks very much for the interview, Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
I will continue to help entrepreneurs fulfill their dream of business ownership. I enjoy helping people change their lives. Hopefully,within 5 years I will have helped thousands of entrepreneurs start businesses and franchises via our web sites BusinessMart.com and FranchiseBuyersNetwork.com. I also have a pretty flexible schedule,so I hope to improve my golf game. As I mentioned earlier, I recently launched PublicGolfCourses.net. I am working on making this a great resource for golfers to find and review golf courses all over the world. Thanks for taking the time to chat