How I Buy and Sell Websites for Huge Profits

How Chelsea Clarke Buys and Sells Websites for Huge Profits

In 2017, Chelsea Clarke launched HerPaperRoute while on maternity leave. She wanted the flexibility to stay home with her new baby rather than returning to the office, and that’s exactly what happened.

Chelsea’s story is different from that of most bloggers because she owns a portfolio of blogs and niche websites and makes money in several ways. Website flipping has been a key aspect of Chelsea’s business. She buys existing sites, improves them, and sells them for a profit. In fact, she even started her own marketplace for buying and selling niche sites.

You’ll love this interview with Chelsea, where she shares the details of how she quickly grew her business and what she looks for when purchasing an existing site.

Key Takeaways

📧 Chelsea used social media to grow her email list, when then grew her business
💰 She’s built diversified income with multiple websites and several monetization methods
🖥️ Chelsea recommends buying existing websites, and she shares exactly what she looks for
💪 Website flipping is a key part of Chelsea’s business, and she sells sites frequently

Overview

Business Name: HerPaperRoute
Website URL: https://herpaperroute.com
Founders: Chelsea Clarke
Business Location: Online (Canada/US)
Year Started: 2017
Number of Employees/Contractors/Freelancers: 6

How much revenue and profit does the business generate?

Six-figure profits. 

Tell us about yourself and your business.

My name is Chelsea Clarke, I’m the founder of HerPaperRoute. I’m passionate about empowering content creators to monetize their work so they can thrive in the creator economy. HerPaperRoute is a platform dedicated to guiding content creators through the complexities of monetizing their digital presence.

Our website, herpaperroute.com takes the mystery out of affiliate marketing, email marketing, website monetization, and website flipping. Our community is diverse, including bloggers, vloggers, influencers, podcasters, and entrepreneurs, who are looking to turn their passion into a sustainable income stream.

HerPaperRoute homepage

How does your business make money?

The company earns money in a few different ways. Our business model is designed to provide diverse income streams while delivering valuable content and services to our community.

  1. On the content side, we own a portfolio of websites, which each earn money from digital products, affiliate marketing, brand sponsorships, and display ad revenue. Brand sponsorship is a major revenue stream, where we partner with relevant brands and services to feature on our social media, blog, and in our emails. 
  2. Website flipping is another revenue stream. When a site from my portfolio is ready to sell, I flip it for profit for up to 40x what it earns per month.
  3. On the training side, we host a community for creators which earns from membership sales. We offer a range of online courses and workshops that teach monetization and website flipping strategies. Additionally, we provide personalized consulting services for creators who need more tailored guidance.
  4. And then on the marketplace side, the business earns commissions, from websites that sell on our blogs for sale marketplace nicheinvestor.com
Niche Investor Homepage

What was your inspiration for starting the business?

The inspiration for HerPaperRoute came from my own experiences as a digital content creator. I noticed a gap in the market for a community-focused platform that specifically addressed the monetization challenges faced by creators. I wanted to create a space where creators could learn, grow, and monetize their content effectively, especially in niches that are often overlooked by larger platforms.

How and when did you launch the business?

I launched HerPaperRoute in 2017, just a few weeks after having my baby. I was on maternity leave and I felt the pressure to quickly start my own business so that I wouldn’t have to go back to the workforce or put my baby in daycare. So I used this time while I was on maternity leave to launch the business! 

I initially launched HerPaperRoute as a newsletter and blog. At the same time, I launched a second blog (in the beauty niche) alongside it. I used the beauty blog as a case study to share details about how I was building and monetizing it from the ground up.   

Chelsea Clarke
Chelsea Clarke

How much money did you invest to start the business?

In the beginning, I did not have any money to invest in starting the business. I bootstrapped everything using organic growth strategies. I was doing everything myself in the beginning and so I really just focussed on building a community around the brand. I used email marketing and social media to grow the new business, with manual effort at first. 

The business started earning a few thousand dollars a month within the first few months from affiliate commissions, and I used that money to pay for my email service provider and digital product delivery platform.

Something that helped with this process was when I sold the beauty blog for $40,000 on its 1-year anniversary of launching. That cash flow allowed me to invest in growing HerPaperRoute further, and it also attracted the attention of people in my community who wanted to learn more about selling websites.

It wasn’t until my second year in business that I started investing in paid ads and was able to start scaling. 

How did you find your first few clients or customers?

I used social media to find my first customers, just by engaging in Facebook groups where my target people were already hanging out. I created free lead magnets to attract people from social media to join my email list, where I grew that relationship deeper through my newsletter. In the newsletter, I share helpful tips and strategies for content creators.

What was your first year in business like?

The first year in business was both challenging and rewarding. But I finally felt like I was doing what I was passionate about! The freedom I felt from not having to go work at an office as an employee made the startup phase worth it. Even on the tough days, it never really felt like “work” because I was so grateful that I was building something for myself, not for an employer. 

Building my business from my couch with my newborn baby in one arm, laptop in the other was not easy, but it was fulfilling. I would take advantage of nursing time and nap time, where I’d engage on social media and share my content. I’d write my newsletters, write my blog posts, monetize with affiliate links, and develop offers in those moments. 

What strategies did you use to grow the business?

The main strategies that I used to grow the business originally, are still the same strategies that I use today. Organic SEO, email marketing, social media, and relationship-building. 

Showing up online each day, and being as helpful as I can be, to my creator community.

To grow the business, I focused on building a strong brand presence online and establishing a supportive community. Networking was key; I attended numerous industry events and collaborated with established content creators for mutual promotion. We also ramped up our content marketing efforts, regularly publishing valuable articles, tutorials, and case studies to attract and engage our audience. Implementing an effective SEO strategy was crucial in increasing our visibility in search engines.

Chelsea Clarke
Chelsea Clarke

Tell us about your team.

Our small team operates remotely, which allows us to work with talented individuals virtually. This setup has been beneficial in bringing diverse perspectives and skills to our platform.

How did you make the transition from side hustle to full-time?

Before quitting the workforce, I always had a side hustle. Always had something else going on on the side, whether it was dropshipping or dropservicing. But when I went on maternity leave, that is when I decided to go full-time with my own business and that’s when I started my first monetized blog.

The transition was seamless. I just didn’t give myself a Plan B. I didn’t let going back to the office be an option in my mind, I just focussed 100% on my business. Transitioning from a side hustle to a full-time venture was a significant step. But so worth it. 

What was the turning point when you knew your business was successful?

It’s funny, but the first affiliate commission that I made solidified for me that this was going to be what I was going to do for the long haul. I knew the business was going to be successful with that first sale. It gave me the motivation to go all in. The fact that I get to continue to do this from the comfort of home, is success to me. 

How much traffic does your website receive, and what are your primary sources?

I own 5 to 10 websites at a time depending on what projects I’m working on and what ones I’m developing to flip. So the different websites will get different numbers. I tend to invest in sites that are getting at least 30,000 page views a month. I like to acquire sites that have a mix of SEO organic Google traffic, Pinterest organic traffic, and an email newsletter.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned growing the business?

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the value of community. Building a loyal and engaged community has been more effective than any advertising campaign. It has helped in word-of-mouth marketing and retaining long-term customers.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome is when it comes to delegation. Being able to let go of tasks in the business and remind myself that just because I can do everything doesn’t mean that I should be the one doing everything!

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

For other entrepreneurs, my advice is to build a personal brand for your ‘main’ company, but acquire other businesses that don’t rely on your person as well. Stay focused on your customers’ needs, and be ready to adapt. Persistence and adaptability are key.

If you had to start from scratch, where would you begin?

If I had to start from scratch, I would have invested more effort into social media! Had I posted more on social from the beginning, I wouldn’t have to catch up now.

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