In August 2016, Chris was seeking an escape from the corporate world.
“I was fed up with the corporate life, and I was looking for ways to exit my office job and build an income for myself.”
Over the course of the year, he experimented with building websites and honing his skills in SEO but wasn’t having great success.
That’s when it dawned on him—building a business from scratch would require a significant amount of time before generating the income he needed to sustain himself.
“This prompted me to consider an alternative approach—acquiring existing businesses. It became clear to me that purchasing existing businesses would offer a more efficient path towards my financial goals,” Chris said.
This led him to Flippa.
Going All In
Chris took a bold step in 2016 to purchase a business on Flippa that would serve as a replacement for his corporate income.
“It was mind-blowing, the sheer scale and breadth of all these different businesses that have been created by passionate entrepreneurs, ready to be snapped up.”
Over the course of five years, Chris has well and truly achieved financial freedom with Flippa. Chris is a certified Flippa Super Seller— having completed 13 transactions on Flippa’s marketplace for a total of $572,943 US.
Included in his transaction list has been his purchase and successful sale of French Wedding Style, an established 11-year-old blog focusing on French-inspired weddings.
Discovering French Wedding Style
Chris went through different phases in his business journey.
At first, he dedicated four years to scaling a single website, but when the desired growth didn’t materialize, he decided to change his approach.
“My next strategy was to acquire multiple businesses and run them all in parallel, like a portfolio,” Chris said.
When Chris bought French Wedding Style, it had been listed for a few months as a confidential listing, primarily due to Covid-related concerns within the wedding industry.
Chris recognised the potential value of the business, considering its low acquisition cost of 1.6 times the annual revenue, which was relatively low for a content site with strong domain authority.
While the purchase of the French Wedding Style blog was ‘off-brand’ for Chris—as weddings weren’t exactly his interest—he saw potential in the site and was eager to put effort into it, even planning his wedding in France as a way to fully immerse himself in the business.
“When I buy a business, I try to put my all into it. So I literally planned to marry my partner in France. I thought, what a cool experience to buy the site, go to France, visit a few of the Chateaus and get married.”
Despite his best intentions, managing multiple businesses came with its own set of challenges.
“Of course, the trade-off is the amount of time you can invest in each of the businesses and grow them.”
Chris knew this could potentially lead to a decline in rankings and overall performance.
“As the years go by, you wonder ‘Have I grown this business enough? Or is the risk increasing because I literally haven’t had the time to invest in growing it? That’s the situation,” he said.
“While I liked having multiple income streams, I also didn’t feel like I could do any of the individual businesses justice. And just from a personal satisfaction point of view, that wasn’t a good thing.”
Deciding to Sell
Chris’s journey with French Wedding Style was marked by unique challenges due to unfortunate timing coinciding with the Covid-19 pandemic and its
French Wedding Style, focusing on helping couples plan weddings in France, was severely impacted as travel to the country was banned, and weddings were put on hold.
Initially, Chris was optimistic that the restrictions would be lifted quickly, but the reality proved to be far different. Travel bans and wedding restrictions severely impacted the business, focusing solely on weddings in France.
As the pandemic persisted longer than anticipated, he admitted there were moments of regret surrounding the purchase.
But they held on.
“We just held the business, we didn’t sell super low during the pandemic or anything. We just dug our heels in, held onto it, and things started picking up over the last 12 months or so. But at that point, I think, honestly speaking, we were just a little bit mentally over it all,” Chris said.
“We had all this energy ready to grow that site, to scale it, and we literally couldn’t do anything for two years because of all the restrictions. So by the time restrictions lifted, our mental energy had shifted onto other things.”
But the good news, despite restrictions, it was still making money.
“That was the lovely thing about the online business model, it had no costs apart from website hosting, which was negligible.”
However, Chris knew it was time to pass on the French Wedding Style blog to new owners with the time, energy, and motivation to grow the business further.
“It’s better to see a website go on and thrive under a new owner than slowly die because someone didn’t have the time to invest in it,” Chris said.
“As long as I can make an on-paper ROI, and generated enough income over the time I’ve owned it, it’s a win.”
In the end, the decision to sell the French Wedding Style blog was not just about profit. It was also about the opportunity to free up capital and energy for other ventures.
Selling French Wedding Style
Chris sold the business for 3.5 times its annual revenue.
At the time of sale, French Wedding Style made $1,220 monthly from direct advertising, with a 99% profit margin.
“We didn’t renovate it. We didn’t migrate it. We didn’t do anything to it, really. We just held it and operated it.”
The sale of the business was remarkably quick.
“It was exactly one month from the day I listed it to the day the money arrived in my bank account,” Chris said.
“It was really cool to be able to liquidate an asset so quickly. Especially when you compare it to selling a house!”
And they had a lot of interest. Chris had 6 lengthy Zoom calls with interested parties. In the end, it went with the ‘buy now’ price.
“With so much interest, my wife and I were talking about whether we should remove the ‘buy now price’—this was at 10 pm the night before. But the next morning, I woke up, and someone had pressed the ‘buy now price’. It was meant to be.”
A Seamless Transfer Process
The transfer of the site, the social media accounts, and other related tools took less than a week.
“I handed over the keys to the hosting account, so we didn’t need to migrate it to a new host. I transferred the domain registration and handed over the password, alongside social media account access and some tools like MailChimp. Just like that, it was all done.”
Chris said they were in touch with the new owners, offering them a 60-day support period.
“We spent two sessions, each lasting two hours, on Zoom with them, walking them through the whole site process, which they recorded. Every click and move on WordPress, where to go, what to do, it’s all documented.”
Chris said this was the buyer’s first venture into owning an online business, so it was exciting to be a part of their journey.
“The new owners were in the middle of planning their own wedding in France. Plus, the wife’s French, and they’ve got some contacts in the industry. They want to live over in France in a few years, so it was a great fit for them.”
Strategies & Advice From A Seasoned Flippa Seller & Buyer
As a Flippa Super Seller, Chris’s knack for spotting “hidden gems” sets him apart—having established several strategies for buying and selling on Flippa.
He filters out businesses that are at least five years old and have some degree of traffic or earnings.
When he’s in the market to buy, he meticulously analyses each potential acquisition that fits his criteria and will strike a deal as soon as possible.
But his ultimate piece of advice? Don’t invest in a business if you lack a genuine passion for its industry.
“I’ve come across businesses in fashion, even a car parts website with a solid business model. It could’ve been a profitable flip, but I’m not into engines and gears, so I stepped back. There are plenty of great businesses out there, but if your heart’s not fully in it, the investment might not be worth it,” Chris said.
Currently, Chris said he’s completely invested in the development of his latest venture, a laser engraving business that makes some rather unusual personalised corporate gifts.
“After a year of gathering financial data, we’ll weigh our options. We might flip it, pocket the profit, or we might just stick with it to see how far we can push it.”
Inspired by this story? Read up on others who have successfully bought and sold their businesses here.
If you’re ready to sell, get a free valuation for your business here.
If you’re ready to buy, find your next business venture on Flippa.