Buying and selling businesses

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The last time I talked to today’s guest he was buying and selling businesses on marketplaces. Since then he pivoted to direct-t0-consumer. I’m so fascinated by this idea and I’m even considering doing it myself.

Dominic Wells is the founder of Onfolio which acquires and manages a diversified portfolio of online businesses across a broad range of verticals.

I invited him here to find out what he’s doing right.

 

 

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Dominic Wells

Dominic Wells

Onfolio

Dominic Wells is the founder of Onfolio which acquires and manages a diversified portfolio of online businesses across a broad range of verticals.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey, they’re freedom fighters. I gotta repeat guests here today. My name is Andrew Warner. I am the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses for an audience of real entrepreneurs who like to follow along and see how other people are doing it, to get ideas for themselves and to get Frank, frankly, just freaking fired up.

Joining me is Dominick Wells. I interviewed him. What was it? It wasn’t even that long ago. It was just a couple of years ago.

Dominic: Yeah, it feels like it was long ago, but also claim was flaring super fast.

Andrew: Yeah, I felt it was a long ago. And then I was like chatting with you in preparation for today. And I saw no, it was just like you and I were chatting about the last interview back in 28, 2018. So not that long ago, but here’s the deal you changed so much since then, back then Dominic Wells was building websites from scratch.

He was adding some revenue to them. He was adding some of the teeny bit of marketing from what I remember, and then selling them, basically, it was a business in a box. He creates the business. He gives it to you. It’s got something there. You need to now put effort to grow it. And he was selling it first on marketplaces.

Then he said, you know what? I think I just need to go direct to customers and teach them why this makes sense. And then that business was going well and suddenly I lost track of them, but I saw him on Twitter talking about buying businesses. And I messaged him on Twitter. And I said, Dom, are you buying these businesses for other people?

You’re buying them to flip it. What’s the deal. He goes, no, no. I’m buying them. I’m accumulating these businesses. I’m proving them. That’s my new model. I said, how did he get there? How many businesses did he buy? Ask him? How many businesses do you have?

Dominic: I think by then it was about 45, but we’ve actually downsized. So it’s about 30 now.

Andrew: So Leo is a company that’s buying all these businesses that he launched. I invited him here to talk about how he, why he made the switch. How this business is going. And then frankly, Dominic, I got to tell you that I’ve been thinking maybe I should be doing this. Maybe I should go on one of these marketplaces by businesses, adjacent to mixer, G put some Mixergy, traffic, energy, attention to it, right.

And then make it available to my audience, not as a flipping situation, but as a building situation, I want to basically pick your brain here to learn from you. And get this. I get paid to do that. I get paid by two phenomenal sponsors that will hopefully excite my audience. And if they don’t, they’re not going to be my sponsors anymore.

So here’s the deal. The first is HostGator for hosting a website. If you need one, you already know people, you should be going to hostgator.com/mixergy. And the second you probably don’t know. And I’m going to introduce you to this new email marketing company that will change everything for you. They do things right.

It’s called send in blue.com. We’ll send in blue, but if you go to send in blue.com/mixergy, you’ll get to use them for free. But I’ll talk about those later, Tom. Good to have you here. Let’s talk numbers and we know how many businesses you have. What’s the revenue for this collection so far

Dominic: Uh, in 2020, we did about just shy of a million dollars revenue.

Andrew: profitable.

Dominic: Yeah. Yeah. We made about 150 K profit.

Andrew: And the reason you could be this open is because you’re taking the business public. You can go public at this stage.

Dominic: Yeah, I get that question a lot. Um, yeah, it’s, it’s usually not worth people’s time to go public at a small stage either because it’s expensive or because I think people just don’t know that you can, um, but you can. And we, part of our strategy is to grow as fast as we can. And so we basically believe that we’ll actually grow faster as an already public company than doing it the other way around.

Andrew: And the way it makes sense for a business. The reason it makes sense for a business like yours is because you want to be able to offer cash for the companies that you’re buying, but also have the option to give them equity. And if they’re going to buy equity in, in a private company, it’s a lot less exciting than having one equity in a public company where the valuation is more public and people and more investors have a chance to weigh in on it and where they have more liquidity.

Right.

Dominic: Yeah. And it’s not even about exciting. It’s like if we were a private company and we want to buy a business and we say, Hey, we can give you shares in the company. I mean, as a salary, you’re like, well, other shares is going to be worth anything in the future. Are you going to, am I going to be, are they going to be liquid?

Am I going to be. Like, are you just giving me nothing, like some sort of fan some thing in exchange for cash. Whereas if you’re publicly traded, they can go, they can literally Google your stock symbol. They can see that it’s real. They can look at the growth and try and figure out whether that’s better for them than cash.

Um, and then you can also, you can do The same with talent recruitment as well. You can, you know, you can go out there and just really excite people to work for you.

Andrew: The way that I’ve understood the companies of your size used to go public was through buying a shell, buying a company that basically was gone and still had public, uh, Lee available stock. And you would buy that company, you’d get their stock symbol and breathe life into it. Is that what you’re doing?

Does that still work?

Dominic: That’s not, yeah, that’s not What we’re doing. I think that does still work. Uh, you see it quite a lot up in Canada as well, like little reverse mergers. Um, we’re doing a direct listing, which is basically, I mean, some big companies have done it. I think Spotify did a directness thing, but it’s basically where as part of the IPO, you don’t issue any additional shares.

You’ve already got your shares and you just list on the exchange. Um, we’re doing that because I’m working with someone in exchange for equity who specializes in taking companies public that way. So it like, it saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs for us, which makes it basically makes it viable.

Andrew: What I like about you going public is every time I’ve asked you questions before the interview started, you gave me the answer. And then I said, can I talk about it publicly? Or you just like talking with me? And you said, no, we’re going to be public. So it’s not like I could hide the stuff. People are going to know our revenue, people are going to know what we own.

So let’s take one of the businesses and just understand what you do by understanding what you did to that business. And then I’ll, and then I’ll come back and see how you started accumulating these companies. What I can learn from your experience and so on. But before we started, you said that there was a fishing camp or a fish company that you acquired.

What’s the fish.

Dominic: Yeah. So it’s fish keeping world.com. So it’s, it’s about fish in the sense like aquariums and tropical fish.

and pet fish, rather than like fishing as a sport. Yeah, exactly.

Andrew: Okay. I see it right here. It looks like it’s what WordPress or something.

Dominic: Yeah, it’s a, it looks like it’s, it was built 10 years ago, but it works. So we haven’t, we haven’t brought to the boat too much

Andrew: I don’t have a problem with it. It’s straight up. You’ve got a bunch of blog posts. And then, so what was it when you acquired it? What was it like? Yeah.

Dominic: um, cosmetically, it was pretty similar. Like it had, it had display ads, hats, the WordPress theme that it has now. Um, it got less traffic. I think when we acquired it, it was getting around 700,000 page views a month. So it was pretty big. Whereas now it gets about 1.1 million. Um, and then it was making, I think around 12, around $12,000 a month from display ads.

Whereas now it’s making about 20,000 a month, but that’s mostly because the traffic’s increased and that was all it all it really had going on.

Andrew: Where did you find this site?

Dominic: Uh, we bought it through a broker. Um, so they just, you know, we saw it, we like to and went from there.

Andrew: All right. And so what did you, what did you like about it? And then we’ll understand what you did to grow it.

Dominic: Um, I liked in the content space, there’s a lot, there’s a lot of like sites, which kind of focus on stuff, which has really competitive kind of flavor of the month. Like I dunno, like drones or something like that. And I think that that is a quite competitive. And if you look at the sites, they tend to fluctuate in terms of their fortunes.

Whereas this site was kind of about a much more boring topic. I mean, obviously not boring for the people who visit the site every day, but like for the average person, you don’t get excited about owning a website about fish. Um, and it.

already has substantial amounts of traffic. And So, we realized, okay, we got a lot of meat on the bone.

Um, one of our philosophies is also, we want to buy sites where you can build an audience around that topic. And, um, you can get repeat visitors and people will be upset if the website goes offline because they were like, Oh, Hey, I like visited that site a lot. Whereas if it’s just like a generic, well, sticking with drones, for example, if it’s just a site that just reviews drones, people are just going to go there, read a review and then probably never come back again.

Um, so we liked the fact that it had this. We could build a community around, um, in the past I kept pet fish as well. So it just made me, like, I knew like, yeah, people are going to be Googling problems. Like why is my fish swimming upside? Like, what’s wrong with my fish thing?

Andrew: I had this sense that these types of sites were dying because people don’t return to websites for content. They come back to their favorite YouTube creator for content. Something like this would be a natural for Tik TOK, where, or, or if it’s questions, like why is my fish swimming upside down, uh, it’s sites like Cora, that would take it basically the platforms I thought eating the world.

Why didn’t you think that that was true.

Dominic: Um, I mean, I think, I think that’s right. I think those, those platforms definitely get traffic. Um, and this one, I mean, we can see it every day in the Google analytics. I think something like 50% of the sites visitors are returning visitors. So we don’t know exactly how many times they returned, but at least once.

Um, so there’s another thing as well as that when the traffic is that large and you can build an email list, then you kind of have the ability to. Bring people back to your site every day. Anyway. Um, so say you’re right, but it’s not like it’s not a binary thing. It’s like, yeah, people are going to those platforms, but they’re also still going to websites and reading long form content.

Andrew: Okay. And so I guess also. Google search is a platform. And the way to participate in their platform is by creating blog posts on your site, which is a nice platform to play with. So that’s what, that’s what you got into. I see. One of the things that you added to the site, I’ve been going through the internet archive.

When I tried to move away from the site today, there’s this, this like page takeover with a progress bar at the top, that’s moving that says 90% of the way done and says free cheat fee, free cheat sheet for you learn exactly which freshwater fish to put in your tank. Normally, $19 that 19 is crossed off.

Now it says free. And all I have to do is enter my email address. And basically what you’re doing is adding basic email marketing techniques to it. Was that there before. That’s one of the things that you’ve added.

Dominic: That particular pop-up something we added. Yeah. I think when we took over the site, they said the sellers had. An email list of like 3000 people. And they had a very basic opt-in form at the bottom of every post, just like, Hey, enter your email address to get this guide about fish. And so the site was getting like five or 10 subscribers a day, which is pretty cool for the amount of traffic it was getting.

And so we started adding in like, yeah, like classic email marketing stuff, like, uh, lead magnets, better pop ups, things like that. And within a short period of time, it was getting about 150 email subscribers a day. So we basically 10 X to the subscriber, right?

Andrew: And then what’s the advertising, uh, growth or the revenue growth on that site? What did you do? What was it like before? And what did you take it to?

Dominic: yeah, it was, it was doing about 12 to 15,000 a month when we bought it, but we bought it basically right. At the end of Q4 when the advertising revenue is normally at its highest. Um, and now in Q1 2021, it averaged about 20 K a month. So it’s gone up,

Andrew: Well, what, what did

Dominic: I’m kind of

Andrew: get that that’s significant what’d you do to get it to grow?

Dominic: uh, two things. One is we described the traffic know more traffic is more revenue. And two, we, we actually switched, uh, networks from AdThrive to use OIC and that added outside of the big, uh, big chunk as well.

Andrew: And is this the type of thing that works across the board for other content sites? Can you, can you add better email collection processes, add a better ad network and maybe even use the same ad network and get that kind of economy of scale.

Dominic: Yeah. I mean, there’s always nuances. It’s always going to depend on the business, But um, I would say. Probably 90% of the time you can do those things. It also depends if the person selling it as savvy email marketing, they might’ve already done a lot of those things. But yeah, I mean, generally it’s, it’s one of the tools, our box that we, we look to go

Andrew: that is what you look for. What else do you look for? What’s another tool that you use.

Dominic: Um, it could be conversion rate optimization. So just if, if there’s a, a w like an affiliate review, often just adding comparison tables or rewriting, some of the most important parts of the article can, can have a significant impact. Also, it is a business that sells something directly. So it’s not making money from display ads or affiliate revenue.

There’s a lot more you can do as well that you can change your pricing. You can, uh, you can, you can also do discounts. You can email people five times a week instead of once a week. Um, yeah. There’s loads of stuff you can do.

Andrew: all right. And then another thing that you do is you, you will create the product for them. If they didn’t have an info product, you might say we can, we know what to do to do it.

Dominic: Yeah, exactly. Um, yeah, typically we, we we’re fans of Ryan Levesque’s ask method and, um, basically that involves surveying your audience, figuring out what their pain point pain points are and then releasing a solution. And quite a lot of the time we’ll take over a site and we’ll say, well, let’s ask the audience what, what their problems are kind of not sometimes really up front, like, Hey, what’s your biggest problem.

And other times more indirectly and then figuring out, can we solve that? And can we solve it in a way that works for us and works for them? And if it does then yeah, like that might be an info product or a community or something like that

Andrew: You know what I love examples. Do you have an example of a way that you asked somebody on one of your properties and

Dominic: Yeah. So we

Andrew: a new problem? Yeah.

Dominic: we’ve got this one website in the UK, which basically it goes out and it finds, uh, free stuff. Um, so it’s just like, it emails people, Hey, uh, this department store in the UK is giving away 250 bottles of wine this week. Go sign up. Um, and some of them pay us an affiliate commission. Some of them, we just include it because people want to know where the free stuff is.

And we surveyed people and we were like, okay, how often are you signing up for deals? Um, what’s your biggest pain point? And there were people that were signing up for like three or four deals a week. So we knew, okay, these guys are super hyper engaged, but they were all saying things like, well, half the time you get there and the offers.

Already expired or it’s not really free because you need to pay shipping. Uh, or, um, I have to answer a million survey questions and basically we got the picture that it turns out online, half of the free things are actually a complete waste of time. And so I guess I don’t know exactly what the solution is, but we’re still thinking about it.

So we’re thinking, well, maybe we can prevent the deals better before we send them to people or, or, um, you know, we can just make sure that we’re communicating with people better so that they, they know, okay. If I click through this, I’m going to have to do a survey or something. Um, and yeah, you can get some really good insights from people just by asking them like, what, what’s your problem?

Andrew: I do see you also added a Facebook group here. There is an active Facebook group about keeping fish, where I see people are posting messages to each other. They’re asking questions. They’ve got photos of their fish tank, which I wouldn’t have thought would be a thing, but I was into indoor cycling, using Swift.

And I would love when people would just post their setup. Let me see how you set up your indoor cyclings with situations. In your pain cave as they called it. And I get it. Um, that’s, that’s another thing that you add. Is there anything else that I’m missing by looking at the site internally? What am I not seeing that you do

Dominic: I mean, we added info products as well. So, um, there’s one which is kind of like the encyclopedia to tropical fish. So it’s, it’s got, uh, dozens of different types of fish, how to take care of them. What happens if they’re getting sick? And then there’s another one about how to do a proper water change.

There’s one about, um, breeding fish. There’s one about plants. Um,

Andrew: pay for water change?

Dominic: Well, water changing is one of the biggest reasons why people end up accidentally killing their fish. And, so we don’t charge a lot of money for the guide, but it’s like, Hey, if you want to make sure you, you do your water changes correctly.

Yeah. It’s $9, I think. Um, and so, yeah,

Andrew: I went to a SEMrush to get a sense of what, what pages were doing well and just hunting around. And I saw that some rush says you’re your second, most popular domain is pro.fish, keeping world.com. You also added a membership.

Dominic: uh, yeah, it is, but I think we’re going to be relaunching it because, uh, there was a bit of a mismatch there where people were interested in the, um, uh, they were interested in the one on eBooks, but they weren’t interested in a sort of paid community. I think maybe because the free Facebook community is pretty good.

So yeah, it’s, we’re sending a lot of traffic to it, but it’s not. I mean, I think it’s not even up right now. It’s like an Insta page, like coming

Andrew: Isn’t this the page I went to Insta page to see, I keep seeing Instapaper lately on broken sites. It’s where conversations happen, customer. What is this Insta page?

Dominic: It’s like a page builder. And so it’s a good landing page?

builder kind of drag and drop. Um, and then, you know, you host it. on a sub domain.

Andrew: Like a click funnels or something, or

Dominic: Yeah, exactly.

Andrew: let me talk about my first sponsor and then come back. And my first sponsors HostGator for hosting websites, dumb. I thought all these WordPress sites, the blogs were a struggling year. Making me realize this potential here. If someone’s listening to us and says, I want to start something from scratch, I’m going to go to HostGator, sign up for WordPress, get up and running and get my theme.

How would they pick a topic if they, if they wanted to come to you, if they wanted to channel Dominic Wells, what would they do?

Dominic: Um, it’s kind of a cliche, but people should really just focus on something that they understand. So I don’t want to go out and say follow your passion, but like, if you try and start a website on a topic that you just know nothing about, you’re probably not going to have any way of differentiating. So you should at

Andrew: I know a lot about inter interviewing. Should I create a site on how to interview and just fill it up with content? Is that what you’re talking about?

Dominic: I mean, I’d be interested in reading that. So yeah.

Andrew: All right. So that’s what you’re saying. Pick a topic that you’re passionate about. What else, what else do we need? Topic that I’m sensing is timeless. The problem with drones is that content doesn’t age very well. Right. So what else should I be thinking about?

Dominic: well, drones is an interesting one actually, because a lot of people they think, well, I want to do drones. And so they, they just put up a kind of typical Amazon affiliate site where they just write articles, like best drones under $300. And then. And then they hope for the best. I think that’s not a good idea, but if you actually unpack drones, there’s probably, there’s probably some sub niches in there which would make a good topic.

So, so, so why do people use drones? There’s probably some people who do like drone racing. There’s people who do drone photography. Um, maybe those construction sites that use drones to help survey the buildings. Uh, you know, so if you actually then dug in and picked one of those demographics or a, or a number of demographics and then started writing content for them, I think actually then that could be a good example.

So it’s the same, like loads of people are passionate about fitness, so should they go out and start a fitness site? We’ll probably not. Cause there’s already like a million fitness sites, but if you can find something within fitness, um, like I think about a year ago, I was reading about this thing called ever esteem, which became popular for cyclists where.

You just go up and down a Hill. And so you’ve done the distance of climbing

Andrew: Mount Everest.

Dominic: Yeah. And so you could build a site around that potentially, and then you can get into your passion without just being like I’m going to blog about fitness. Um, so I’d say that would be the next step, like try to figure out, well, who do I want to talk to? Or what thing specifically? Yeah.

Andrew: The beauty about the fish business that I’m seeing here is that like you’ve got pages on, on just about every fish that I could have in my house. All right. You know what I would do when it comes to, um, when it comes to exercise, I would fake pick the most, like out there thing.

That maybe we did when we were kids and enjoyed, but it’s not considered a physical fitness thing. And I would turn that into an extreme version of itself. Like a great example of it is jumping rope, right? To jump rope, you get the same kind of exercise you do on a treadmill, except there’s like, there’s no, I would take that to an extreme, I would, I would maybe even start inventing my own counter so you could see how much it’s doing.

Maybe even like the Apple watch could do that because it’s just the same movement over and over. But I would start with nothing, but how to do it. And then I would move into how to do the tricks. And then I would move into fitness programs. Then I would let you download. Then I would move into extreme thing, which is like, let’s see if we could get people to go or maybe I would do it myself 24 hours.

Why do I see your I, your, your gears are spinning you like this idea, don’t you.

Dominic: I like it, but I’m also wondering how long do you spend thinking about it? Like whether,

Andrew: Literally early right now, but you know, what’s happening to me in every one of these HostGator ads. I feel like I’m on the spot because I got to come up with a fricking business idea right here. And I I’m just like riffing and some of these ideas, they get me, they make me feel like I should be doing it.

Like I was talking to one guy, I said to him, one of my guests, I said, what would you create? You’ve seen a lot of different products. He says, Andrew, I’m in shipping. Here’s what I understand when it comes to e-commerce you shouldn’t have a big package. You should look for small package, high value. And I said, Oh, you mean like spices now on the spot, I’m coming up with an answer for him.

He goes, yes. Why hasn’t anyone done that? Like, think about a McCormick has the whole spice world like wrapped up. There’s not a lot of specialty spices, but how many times do people have McCormick? If you’re ethnic and you know what tumeric is supposed to taste, smell like or tastes like or what? Oh, your, your gears are spinning.

I’m telling you, I’m, I’m blowing your mind here. I’m coming up with this stuff on the fly. And I’m not the type of person. I’m not the type of entrepreneur. He used to come up with ideas all the time, but HostGator’s helped me do it. Why, what are you thinking? Where where’s your head going with this? Talk to me?

Dominic: Uh, I was just thinking about how many McCormick spices I’ve got in my kitchen right now.

Andrew: I do too. They’re all

Dominic: yeah, it’s crazy.

Andrew: All right. Listen to me, people, whether it’s that idea or any of the other ideas that I riffed on. Yeah. Or frankly, maybe you just say to yourself, I’m going to come up with my own ideas and just rip them. All you have to do is go to hostgator.com/mixergy. They will make it super easy for you to get your ideas up and running.

Sometimes you just try it and you love it. Sometimes you try and you realize that’s the stupidest idea ever took. I ever had great and make it easy to spin it up. Easy to spin it down, easy to move it away. If you don’t like coal skater, but if you do, you could be like me. You stick with them for long, a long time.

I’ve been with them now for years, and I’m very happy with them. I’m going to give you a URL where you can get the best price that they have available. And I know it’s the best price because I said it in the past and someone called me out and said, Andrew, I found a lower price from HostGator here. So I confronted, I can think of, I emailed HostGator.

They said, all right, we’ll give you an even lower price. So they change it here. It is the lowest price. And more importantly, the best way to get started, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. That’s the way to do it.

And frankly, my audience will tell me and I don’t even understand why they would even care. Why would somebody email me and say, Andrew, I found a 2 cents cheaper somewhere else, but I’m glad that they do. I want to be honest.

Dominic: Oh, yeah, that is a good

Andrew: Right? And then here’s the thing. People will then email me and say it’s because what they have is the lowest.

When you have a big amount of traffic, you’re going to want this people. They have all of that, whatever it is that the competition as they have, and they’ll keep a lower price because they frankly, they bought the company. All right, I’m going to go like all upset about that. I feel like there’s some nerds who just love talking about hosting packages and they should really just focus on their business.

And I understand that the right hosting package will speed up your site, which will then make it easier for you to grow your business. I get it. Let’s not obsess. Let’s just understand and move on. All right, last time you and I talked, you were doing this thing that was working. Was it working or, or not?

Dominic: Yeah, it was working. Um, it was working for me as the seller of these done for you businesses. And it was working for the customers who were buying them. Obviously, you know, there’s no guarantee some customers will buy a business now or do anything with it? Others will do something with it. And some people were growing their businesses and, and flipping them.

Um, yeah, it, it was working well and it still does work well. So I sold that business, uh, probably six months after our last interview. Um, uh, and then,

Andrew: did you decide that you wanted to try something new?

Dominic: um, I already wanted to try something new and. I’d already started on folio. Last time we spoke and I, I realized it was more aligned with what I wanted to do and where I could add value. Um, and so then it was like, okay, should I run the two businesses? Or should I hand human proof designs over to someone new?

And I kind of came to the conclusion that I was going to get in its way, if I just like didn’t care about it, but stayed running it. And it was going to give it my way because I wanted to go all in on folio. So I thought, okay, if I can sell it all the team members get to keep their jobs. You know, I sell it to a set sort of buyer who has great plans for growing it and all of these awesome things.

And then I can keep doing on folio. That seems like a kind of win for everybody. And, you know, fortunately I found a buyer who was cool with me, continuing on polio and, uh, had big plans for human part designs and, um, I think it, was the right decision because both brands have grown since, since that decision.

So, yeah, I,

Andrew: but here’s what I feel like. You were going through at the time you were in a business where you weren’t, you couldn’t grow it where it was create and sell, create, and sell, create and sell. Right. And unlike creating spaces where eventually there’s a factory that can create the spices for you.

It was, it was constantly having to invent a new business where I sense what you were looking for was how do, how do I build something that grows, right? How do, what do you, will you tell me?

Dominic: All right. It was a mixture of things. Um, it definitely was that element of, okay, we’ve got to keep building these new businesses and we, we couldn’t just sell the same one over and over again. Um, And some members of the human proof design audience said, Hey, I’ve actually got a bigger budget. I, I want to buy a business for like 50 K off somewhere.

Like empire flippers are actually international, but I don’t know how do I tell which ones are good once I buy it? How do I actually take control of it? How do I run it? Um, and I realized the, I could add a lot more value there than I could selling done for you, businesses that kind of, you know, any other, any other person could create.

Um, and I also, that’s what I was doing. I was buying businesses myself and growing them. So I was, I was excited about that theme. So I was like, well, I want to do more of this. How can I do more of this? I can do it by working with investors. Um, and so it just, I dunno, maybe I had outgrown my own audience because I was ready to do in my mind, like bigger things.

And so I wanted to. Work with people who also were doing bigger things, um, rather than just sort of stagnating,

Andrew: So then you started to buy businesses, improve them. And then was it as an advisor, you were doing it for others or was it something different?

Dominic: um, yeah, like a consultant or advisor, they, they pay us a fee to manage the websites.

Andrew: got it. Okay. And so that’s what you doing? Why did you decide to switch away from that?

Dominic: Um, so we had a pretty good track record when we were running something like 45 businesses. And whenever a Google update came, you know, maybe one or two of those businesses would get hit, lose its revenue five or 10 of them would get a boost and the other 30 or so would you know, they’d be fine. So when you

Andrew: all owned by your clients, these businesses, right.

Dominic: Yeah, like a handful where our own, but they were all owned by individual clients, And so when you look at those numbers objectively, you’re like, Oh, that’s pretty good. Like only one or two sites gets hit, but it sucks if you’re the owner of that one or two sites. Um, so I was, I was always thinking, is there a way that instead of owning all these individual pies, people can own a smaller share of the same fry pie.

So if everyone, if everyone owns like a 45th of all of the businesses, um, one of them gets hit. You don’t really care because another one’s gone up. Um, I mean, of course you care, but it doesn’t ruin you. And so that was what I was always kind of like. Musing about in my, in my free time. And so it was okay, can I, should we start a fund or should we, um, should we even stop working with clients and just focus on building sites for ourselves, which is more lucrative.

Um, and I stumbled across the kind of holding company model that, you know, the conglomerate holding company model that companies like Berkshire Hathaway do, or, um, uh, constellation software is probably more, more relevant to our space. And I liked that idea because I thought, Okay.

now we can manage all the businesses centrally still, but each one is, uh, not stand alone and, and.

And investors can it’s it’s not gonna appeal maybe to all the same investors, because when someone owns a site, a hundred percent of themselves and just hires us, they can fire us or they can, you know, they can decide when to sell. Whereas what we’re doing now, it’s a lot more of a passive investment. So some investors are just like, yeah, I don’t like your new model.

I’m out, you know, fair enough. But I think overall it’ll allow us to build something a lot more significant while significantly reducing the risk as well. yeah, fairly quickly. I mean, not immediately, but, um, I guess I came up with the idea about a year ago, so April, 2020, and when we actually. Started raising was October, 2020. So it took a few months to get my ducks in a row and get the, we had to file form D with the sec to say, Hey, we could raise money and

Andrew: Wait, but didn’t you

Dominic: to draft stuff up.

Andrew: Why didn’t you go to angels first or did you

Dominic: I already had an email list. I already had investors. I was working with, um, angels or something like we funder would have been a good option if, if I didn’t already have my own audience,

Andrew: you know, but you did go to your, you went to your people, you raise money from them first, right?

Dominic: Yeah, exactly.

Andrew: Got it. Okay. You’re going to your mailing list to raise. I thought you just went here to your network.

Dominic: Well, it was the same thing. Like I, I basically. I, we couldn’t really just blast out an email to everyone without, you know, we had to stay compliant. And so the first race we did was private. So it was just like people we already had a relationship with, but I basically looked at my client list and my email list and was like two or 300 people that I sort of hand picked, I guess I was like, yeah, that person might be interested.

This person likes What we’re doing. So I just manually emailed everybody. And I got a lot of nos, but also, you know, got enough yeses.

Andrew: What size checks. What’s the smallest. What’s the

Dominic: Uh, the highest.

was 200 K, which is pretty, pretty nice investment. And the smallest was 5k 10 K that kind of size.

Andrew: Okay. All right. And so then you had it, you were ready to go out. Did you put your current businesses into it? The ones that you had at the time into this fund? You did.

Dominic: Yeah, exactly. So current businesses, plus like the management fees from the ones we were running,

Andrew: Ah, got it. All right. So now you’re up and running and you start buying these businesses. Let’s take a look at one other one. I’m really intrigued by mighty deals. It’s mighty deals.com. You bought them. What this looks like is it seems like it’s almost like a group on wanting to do, which is get huge deals, limited time opportunity, but it’s all for digital products for artists.

Am I right about that?

Dominic: Yeah. I mean, I think historically there’s been a couple of physical products, but yeah. It’s basically designers, web designers, graphic designers, artists, um, like we, we sell a lot of font bundles and things like that. Um, yeah. Uh, group ones are one way of looking at it. I, I just tell people it’s kind of like AppSumo, but rather than for apps it’s for like design bundles and stuff.

Andrew: Actually the first thing that came to mind when I saw the AppSumo model for, it feels like it’s largely for artists, but I guess it’s also for other, for other customers too

Dominic: I’ve got a lot of crafters as well. Like people that design stuff and then print it out on their crafting machine and at Cecil, is that kind of stuff?

Andrew: great fricking model, right? Because there are people who have it, they have a certain price that they need to sell their stuff for. But, um, if. If they could reduce it and sell a large quantities, they’d be all in without hurting their major, their F their relationships with their existing customers.

Dominic: Yeah. We actually had one seller who, again, this was before we bought the business, but one of the first things we did when we took it over, it was jumped on a call with her and she, she has a font called the Samantha font and her name’s Laura though. But anyway, so the font, the font and. The previous owners were like, Hey, you should sell this phone on our no platform.

And she was like, but I sell it for like $80 or something. Why would I want to sell it on your platform for seven? Uh, but then someone said to her, no, I’ve had good results with my videos. You should, you should give it a try. And, uh, she was making, I guess it’s not my place to say, but she was making pretty big money within like immediately after it went live.

And, um, uh, she was like for three years now, she’s being probably making, I don’t know, six figures from, just from sales. Yeah. On, on my details. And she basically said mighty deals is the reason that successful. So, um, it’s kind of interesting when you think about it that way you think I don’t want to give away my, my work for pennies on the dollar, but it turns out there’s going to be a lot of penalties.

So, you know, it adds up.

Andrew: Yeah, it makes a ton of sense. And it’s not like she’s reaching her customers. Probably a small percentage of them are her customers. The rest are brand new people. Am I right?

Dominic: Yeah, exactly. That was one of the first things I asked her as well. And I was like, are you sending customers to us or are we sending them to you? And very much the latter?

Andrew: All right. I’m going to do a quick run for a quick ad for my second sponsor. And then I’d like to come back and learn from you. If I wanted to do this, I mean, personally, How would I do this? What advice would you give me? That makes sense. Start to finish. All right. Second sponsor is a company called send in blue.

Do you know them? Dominick?

Dominic: No, I’ve not heard of them until 10 seconds ago.

Andrew: Yeah, because they’re huge in Europe and now they’re coming to the U S North America, specifically Canada too. Here’s here’s the thing we’re used to companies starting out here in the U S and then going over to Europe, kind of like, you’ve graduated, you saturated the market here and I’ll go there. And so we don’t pay attention to what’s coming in from Europe.

And I think we showed him one of the big things that we should look out when it comes to Europe is they have got their privacy issues dialed in, right? Because the law is so restrictive over there, what you do with your customer’s data, they started there. And so they’ve got that. The other thing is they’ve got to be scrappy or they’ve got to be hungry, or they’ve gotta be much more practical.

And so what sendin blue does that, that other email marketing companies that, you know, and I know don’t do as this. Number one, they give a very generous free version. Number two, they don’t scale up like crazy people. How many of these email marketing companies do you see? They start out really small and then they scale up to crazy and you’re stuck with them.

You can’t get out. Well, they say, you know, it actually doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to do it. We can go lower because it doesn’t cost that much money to send out email number three, along the same lines is a lot of email marketing companies will say. We’re going to charge you for every email address in your database, in our database.

The problem with that is a lot of the email is that I have in my database or people who bought from me 10 years ago, that I am not emailing anymore. That they’ve actually opted out in one way or the other they’ve signaled that they don’t want to be emailed. I’m not emailing them, but I need them in my email marketing software, because I want to know if they ever reactivate what they bought for me.

I want my customer service people to be able to see that they used to click these ads. I want to see the whole interaction. So I keep them in the problem. There is most email software will say, then you have to pay for that. Now I can go on and on and on about all the ways that things are done right now, that stink.

But that’s the way it works. And people don’t suffer until they’re in like year one or year two, like at the end of year one at the end of year two. And then they say, well, we’re trapped and we’re stuck. The beauty of sending blue is they’re going to start fresh here and they’re going to start fresh with you.

And if you want to go try them out for free right now and see, check their pricing, you can see what they scale up to. Go to send in blue.com/mixer. Do that’s how you get it for free send in blue.com/mixergy, and really go compare them, go see reviews, go see how the most aggressive critics have handled and understood them.

And you’ll see that they are. They’re fantastic.

Dominic: I have a

Andrew: Now I’ve got them on the radar. Yes.

Dominic: So the more emails you have it doesn’t, I mean, as an email address, it doesn’t the, the price. Doesn’t interesting. So what does the price

Andrew: It’s based on the they’re saying, are you even emailing them? If you’re emailing them, then we’ll charge you based on that. And even then, we’re not going to email you the amounts. But if you think about it, how many email systems, what they do is they charge you a lot for what, a record in a fricking database that costs nothing to store.

Why they charging you because they know they got you because they know that if you remove that, that record, then you’ve lost the permission to email the person. If you remove that record, if the person buys in the future, you’ve lost your past connection with them, which means that you now mistreated future customers.

They know they got you. It doesn’t cost them. I’m going to go look up. This is why I go crazy. Let me see mail. This is the end of the ad. They’re never going to pay me to talk about MailChimp, but look, I’m going to go to MailChimp prices and I can do the same thing for so many other email marketing companies.

And if you take a look, what you see I see is that they charge you for records in their fricking database. And it’s angel. Uh, they’re doing the starting at, so I can’t even figure it out how much it costs. Forget it. Forget

Dominic: But yeah, I think, I think the interesting thing there is, there’s a lot of, I mean, a lot of Facebook groups for the marketers and stuff, and there’s a lot of people who, you know, that they’re not making like. 10 K a month or a hundred K a month or something. And so they’re quite price sensitive and they have to stay Loma where they’re like, Hey, I’ve got 10,000 people in my email list.

I’m about to go onto the next pricing, tier 500 of those people on my email list. I’m just going to remove them to stay in the lower tier because they haven’t opened an email for six months. But the thing is when, when you’ve had a business for 10 years or you have, or however long I’ve had mine, people do randomly come back like after 18 months and then suddenly they’re super engaged.

And so it is, it.

is a shame to remove them, but at the same time, you’re like, well, if I’m paying for them, what’s the point. And so, um, that’s kind of an interesting, yeah, that’s an interesting angle. So that’s, that’s kind of cool. I’ve definitely got some businesses that I’m going to be emailing them about and seeing if it,

Andrew: And for, for storage and I get it, I get it. They’re not charging based on what it costs them. They’re charging based on what it’s worth to you. The problem is later on in a business, it’s worth a lot to me to maintain that. And people like you said, they do. If I think about me, I’ve been talking about many to the bakery here in San Francisco, where they make one type of pizza every single day.

And once they’re out of it, once they’re sold at one type, that’s it. And if you don’t like the toppings, that’s it. You got to take it right. Those a year. I decided I wasn’t going to have as many carbs. Let’s see what happens to my weight. Nothing happened to my weight. Nothing happened to my health. I went back to them as soon as I went back, dude handicap, they said, Hey, Andrew, Like immediately now I’m back home.

So now I’m bringing my kids back so we could get a slice of pizza whenever we want it. This is, this is what we’re talking about. With all these email companies, they make you delete your addresses. They say, well, they’re not reading. They’re not getting email from you. Might as well. Delete it. Well, no, they’re not getting emailed to me today.

They might in the future. All right. I got the prices. Here we go. Look MailChimp 10,000 contacts cost $299 a month. I’m using their slider. Let’s just slide the slider up a little bit to 15,000 contacts, 370. Now it’s contacts. It’s contacts. It’s not, it’s not. And then it just goes up and up and up from there.

All right. I’m going mental from this. Let’s let’s talk about something more, more valuable in this than like getting upset about prices.

Oh, email marketing, really? For your businesses. Other than people what’s what’s the most, what’s the most expensive software.

Dominic: Probably an email and, and probably a trust.

Andrew: But, but you can keep using that for multiple sites. Right? Also they don’t like us calling them a trough. They were a sponsor. I couldn’t get them good results. I liked them. I think, I think actually, if they looked at the numbers, they’d see that they were happy. They weren’t going to look at the numbers anyway, but they don’t like being called AA troughs.

They like being called . But then no, one’s going to type in the, a, in front of the trucks,

Dominic: I also kind of make this thing about where they ask everybody, how do you pronounce it? And then they never tell you. How you’re supposed to pronounce it. So for me, I was like, when I get it, cause it’s like the logo, that is a different color. So

Andrew: So I

Dominic: like when people say RS, I’m like, no, it’s not RS. It’s clearly interesting.

Andrew: But I, I will say this, I have no problem with a, with AA traps. I think they’re worth it or a traps. I think they’re great. The fact that I, that they didn’t look at my data, doesn’t really upset me because they took care of my customers. They took care of me. It’s good. Um, they’re good software, but, um, I’m just, but I do think that it’s kind of weird that we can’t say

Um, all right, let’s come back to me based on everything that you learned. Um, if I, if I were to do this, does this make sense? Should Andrew Warner be buying companies and, and improve them buying sites? Let’s not make it so dramatic, like a big company.

Dominic: Uh, Yeah. I mean, it also depends, like, do you want to do sort of agnostically of Mixergy or do you want to buy stuff?

Andrew: No, I

Dominic: talking to the

Andrew: it to be connected.

Dominic: Yeah. So maybe you don’t even need to improve, you know, maybe you just need to buy them and accumulate audiences. And so, Hey, maybe you buy a business about what about business and then you can send the traffic to make such, um, and yeah, if you improve it, yeah.

You get better ROI, but if you don’t improve it, it’s still solid because first of all, you probably bought it at a price that, um, you still get like 20 to 30% ROI anyway.

Andrew: Just from setting my own audience into them. Oh no, you’re saying, uh, the return on investment as it is, is probably 20%. That’s what it is. Half, five times earnings.

Dominic: Well, no, not even five times. It’s like, I mean, the current market’s pretty frothy, but historically it’s been like three to four times. So you’re looking at 25 to 30% ROI. And then if you grow it 40%, 50%. But I think with you, you could just almost, there’s a lot of room for a strategic acquisition.

Um, you know, you look at like say HubSpot or, um, the hustle and I’m sure they want to grow the hustle, but if they don’t, they’re like, well, it’s okay. Cause we’ve just bought a massive audience full of potential HubSpot customers. And so there’s, there’s a lot of reasons why I think that’s a good idea.

Andrew: All right. When you do this, how do you think about doing it? Do you go to, it seems like you go to a broker I’ve got in my notes, ACE, Chapman, I guess, is a connection of yours, right? Is that who you use? Is there a, so I see with empire flippers, a bunch, where do you, where do you go? What do you think about?

Know what do you go.

Dominic: Uh, yeah, so there’s a mixture of things. We go to empire flippers, we go to fel international. Um, we basically go where their businesses are. And so micro acquire is one. That’s getting a lot of, um, a lot of attention right now and we’ve, we haven’t bought one off there yet, but we definitely see a lot of businesses.

We like that. Um,

Andrew: do you think about micro choir? Their model is instead of taking a percentage, they’re going to have a marketplace where anyone could list their, their business and they charge buyers a monthly fee to look at all these businesses in the platform. Am I right?

Dominic: yeah, exactly. Um,

Andrew: do you think? Is it good stuff on there? Have you, it seems like you’re starting to find some good opportunities there.

Dominic: I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s becoming the quality is increasing, um, and it was mostly SAS, whereas now. There’s a lot of e-commerce. In fact, I think I got an email from, um, Andrew on Monday saying, e-commerce this is for sale. So he’s even started segmenting now, like the, the businesses that he emails about.

Um, I think it’s good. Yeah. I mean, this is kind of, this is debate and round where he saying, well, sellers can get a better price because they’re not having to pay a commission, but then brokers are saying, well, we kind of bake the commission into the price. So we’ll get you a higher price in spite of it, of the commission.

And, um, I think that both, right. So it really depends on the salary. I think a sophisticated center probably doesn’t need a broker, but a novice seller may need a broker. We’ve definitely had conversations with sellers on micro require where they. They had no idea what their business was worth. Um, and usually they overvalued, uh, and it made it harder for us to get a deal done.

Um, and they have, I kind of feel like a lot of sellers get other brokers messaging them and sort of saying, Hey, I can get you like 10 X for your business. And you just have to sign this exclusivity agreement for six months. And then, you know, five months later they’ll be like, okay, I kind of get your X, but I can get you three X.

So I think there’s potential for some sellers to be taken advantage of. But at the same time, um, you know, I think there’s a place for like a kind of self serve marketplace where people don’t have to, um, pay a commission to a broker, but I think it’s

Andrew: uh, become that flip, uh, started out that way.

Dominic: I can’t tell you why. I mean, I don’t know, but I mean, um, I think flipper was kind of more like the eBay model, I guess. And they were just like, Hey, we’re a marketplace. We take, uh, we take a small percentage and I think really flipper, pivoted quite early on to be focusing more on buyers than sellers. So they were like, yeah, we need to onboard way more buyers and sellers.

You’re kind of like, um, uh, do you know, just whatever you’re on your own. Whereas I think micro required, even though they make their money from buyers. They, I think that biggest thing is trying to get sellers to come to the platform. And so maybe they just catering to the different side of the coin. Um,

Andrew: Okay. So I would go on there and you’re saying, look for something that fits well within the Mixergy world. Right. It seems like that would be the best way to go.

Dominic: Yeah for you. Yeah. I mean, somebody else, maybe they should just get something which appeals to them. But I think if you have a business already then strategic acquisition makes sense.

Andrew: Or if anyone else is doing this to say what’s similar enough, what could use my expertise like for you? It’s we could add some more marketing to the site or so, or capture more email addresses. We can add more product to sell directly to the, to the audience. Right.

Okay. All right. Um, how do you look at these businesses? What is it that you’re, that, that you look for? Do you talk to their customers? Do you, what do you do for due diligence?

Dominic: I mean, the first thing we try and do is figure out reasons not to buy it. Um, I think it’s really easy otherwise to get excited about the opportunities and then sort of. Downplay some of the risks because you’re like, ah, it’s got some risks, but whatever, like I’m really excited. Um, and maybe even not notice some of the risks.

So I think what we do is the first thing we do is look at the risks and say, if we buy this business, will it, you know, will it go to zero or will it take a hit in the next Google update or whatever? And if it passes that test, then we look at growth and say, okay, so, you know, maybe now we’ve got three businesses that we feel comfortable owning, but which one has the best opportunity and that growth could be, uh, yeah.

Can we plug it into an, uh, an already existing business that we have, like, you know, is there audience overlap or, um, a lot of sellers only really have single channel competency. So they might be really good at content, but not good at email marketing or they might be. They might be good at paid traffic, but they’re not good at SEO or maybe the other way around.

And so a lot of the time we can just say, Oh, this business is great, but they’re not doing like X, Y, Z thing. So we can just do that. Um, but it fundamentally comes down to, if we try and do all these growth things and they all fail miserably, is it still an okay business to own? Because you know, I think a lot of mistakes first time buyers make is they kind of rationalize buying it.

So it’s like, okay, well the seller wants like double what it’s worth, but if I can double the business, then it’s, you know, it’s a good deal. And then when they inevitably don’t double the business there, they regret spending that much. And so it’s more like if you fail to grow this by $1, are you still happy?

And if you pay it like a good price, then you’re still happy. And if it’s a sustainable business, that’s going to pay your money for years. Then obviously that, that’s the main thing as well.

Andrew: What’s the best channel. If you’re buying a business, is it email marketing?

Dominic: Um, yeah, I mean, we love emails, uh, especially large email lists that it’s kind of the same way you see people are like, Oh, I’ve got a huge email list and it’s never been emailed. And you’re like, that sounds like an opportunity, but also it’s like, well, do you have a good email list, the tool? And maybe I email everybody and nobody opens it.

So we want to see an engaged email list that has opportunity to either email more or serve them better or something like that.

Andrew: Do you have a checklist that you’re going through? Are you just doing this on, on gut instinct and experience?

Dominic: Kind of both like we have a checklist, but there’s always nuances. So we go through it. It’s largely to experience. And I have a guy on my team who’s. Really cynical. So if a business passes his test, it’s like, okay, sweet. Um, like it must be a good one. So I think it’s really important to take a kind of bearish outlook on every business, because then if you find one where you’re like, you know, I can’t think of any reason not to buy this, then it’s probably a good business.

Andrew: I keep looking at mighty deals. I really liked this whole model. I like how one of the things you have on the site is the free page. I looked at again, I use SEMrush, um, when I went to SEMrush to see what the top pages, where it’s that free deals page, that was big, which tells me also that that’s a good way to get new customers, right?

Because, or new, new email subscribers, they come in, they see the free deal. Where’d you get

Dominic: Yeah,

Andrew: what’d you get that site?

Dominic: no, it was private actually. So the other way, I mean, you know, people hear me on podcasts or they just know about me cause I’m in the space. So people come to me privately. And so this was a broker who. Just reached out to me like, Hey, I’ve got this business, are you interested? And we looked at it and we were like, yeah, we are.

Um, so that was, that was kind of cool. It was, it was like hand delivered to us. Um, and yeah, I liked it. It’s, it’s got a lot going for it. There’s a lot of w you know, we’ve only, we only kind of finished requiring it about two months ago, so we haven’t really done anything with it yet. Um, but we’ve got a lot of ideas and a lot of, uh, a lot of things that we’re going to try and we’ll probably fail, but what are some of the we should succeed?

So,

Andrew: I noticed that we haven’t talked about software companies, you don’t buy software, you tend to buy these kind of content sites. Right?

Dominic: yeah, I mean, we’re not against software. We will probably move into that space in the future, but we, you know, you gotta, you gotta focus on your, your, your wheelhouse and your strengths, and I’ve always been a content guy. And so my team are content people, um, But SAS businesses, software businesses do have a lot of great things that make them very, very good acquisitions.

And so we, you know, it’s not really through choice that we don’t buy them. We just, uh, we’re better other, other things.

Andrew: What about membership sites with, uh, I mean, do you buy, um, recurring revenue?

Dominic: Yeah. I like to think of it as we buy recurring revenue?

and we buy audiences. Um, and so on failure kind of has this like multi-year plan, like any, any business should, um, and sort of phase one is just like accumulate audiences. Um, so, so we’re not really thinking of these businesses necessarily as standalone businesses.

We’re thinking of them as well. What are the audiences? So two deals is great, but my degree was also has a big audience of designers. And, um, uh, crafters and web developers. So when we’re doing future deal flow, maybe we see something that has the same audience. So we’ll, we’ll view them as not separate businesses.

There’ll be Like traffic assets in the same, the same bigger picture.

Andrew: Like a content site that specifically targets, um, uh, designers. By the way, one of the top sites on mighty deals is this possible transaction error site. I guess it’s so popular because PayPal must be kicking off so many errors that people end up on the site. It says it appears that your transaction was not successful.

However, sometimes there may just be a slight delay on PayPal’s part. Please check your email and spam folder. Wow. You guys are using just PayPal on that side or is it other, uh, is it Stripe also?

Dominic: Yeah. we’ve got PayPal and Stripe PayPal. PayPal is kind of infamous for it. So, uh, integration issues and this, this site, it’s not a WordPress site, it’s some it’s built in symphony. And so it says like a PHP based language and, um, it just makes it a little bit harder to change things. So, I mean, we’ve actually got a developer working on things like the PayPal integration right now.

Um, it’s kind of why we haven’t implemented a lot of our other marketing ideas yet.

Andrew: Yeah. If you saw me heads down, it’s because I was looking at built with, to get a sense of what is it that they’re building that site with. And I was thinking you might have used something like WordPress somehow, but no, that’s not what it is. All right. Finally, if I decide, I want to invest in, am I even allowed to talk about the fact that you’re, that you’re going to be publicly listed.

I’m allowed to ask whatever the hell I want. I don’t know if I’m allowed to buy into it, but I should, I guess, I don’t know.

Dominic: Um, yeah, I mean, so right now we’ve got, we’re raising money through preferred shares right now, and that we can talk about that publicly. We’ve we’ve filed the necessary paperwork with the SFDC and everything. Um, we have a website invest in on folio.com. Um, and basically the preferred share has come with a 12% dividend.

Um, so the idea is we raise money. We pay people out at 12% dividend, we take that money. We buy businesses and those businesses pay us more than 12%. So it’s like, that’s how we can afford to pay 12% of investors. And then when we’re publicly traded, people would also be asked by our common shares, which is more of a typical, you know, the common shares don’t come with a dividend, but they should, but prefer that. No. it doesn’t convert. So it’s more it’s just

Andrew: the dividend.

Dominic: yeah, it’s just for income investors, really like, you know, maybe someone wants to just. Get more than they’re getting in their bank account. Um, and then just continue to pay the dividend for at least five years. After five years, we have the option to buy it back because we’ll probably have access to cheaper capital by then, but we’re committing to five years because we don’t want to, we don’t want to offer people 12% now.

And then like in a year, a bank’s like, well, we’ll give you 7%. And then we just turned around and stopped paying everyone 12%. So we’re saying after five years, yeah, we can buy back your shares and stop paying you the 12% dividend.

but we’re not going to do it before that, but people can, people can exit that shares by themselves if they want to, they can sell to somebody else on the exchange.

Andrew: I can’t believe you can’t get money for cheaper than that, or for, or more patient money than that.

Dominic: Okay. Um, you know, it’s one of the downsides of being small, but as we get bigger and as we complete the public listing, like, yeah, we won’t need to offer 12%. It’s, it’s very, it’s a very good offer right now, but it’s because to a lot of people, we still have that risk because we’re an online business and we’re not yet public and stuff,

Andrew: all right. I’m on the site right now, shares for a series, a stock at 12, $12 USD. Alright, and this is from deal-maker. I don’t know, dealmaker is the company that you’re using to power this. Right.

Dominic: Canadian platform. Um, so what dealmaker does is that they’re just like the back end, so people can go through the process. They are, they aren’t. So the investor questionnaire and everything, and then deal, they could just facilitate so that.

Andrew: All right. You’ve come a long way. I’m glad that I asked you all these questions and found out about what you’re up to. I, uh, I’m looking forward to talking after you go public. What I’m noticing lately is I used to think, I don’t want to talk to any publicly traded founders because founders of publicly traded companies because they clam up, they can’t say anything because everything is just so restricted lately.

It seems like even when people go public, they could talk about, just about anything except for the future earnings, which is fantastic, which means that you and I are going to get to keep doing these interviews.

Dominic: Yeah. I think the rule is basically, if you talk about something, once you’re public, you know, you kind of have to tell everybody. So it’s like, um, I can’t tell one person something because then they’ll get an advantage and it’s insider trading and all that bad stuff. But like, it’s like, if you’re talking about it publicly on an interview, then that’s okay.

As long as, you know, like everybody’s aware of it and stuff.

Andrew: I think also the, uh, CEOs of publicly traded companies used to be more cautious just for the sake of being cautious, because they didn’t know what they could blurt out accidentally. They didn’t know who I was. The whole thing was much more fraught lately. You see CEOs of publicly traded companies going on and chatting because CEO’s have become kind of celebrities.

There’s more openness to it. And frankly, we’ve also learned that it’s not, you can’t say anything, it’s just, you can’t say certain things and those things you can have enough discipline to stay away from. All right. If anyone wants to go check you out, it’s on folio.com. And what’s that site that led me to this dealmaker page.

It’s invested on folio.com, right?

Dominic: Yeah, well, the on our homepage is on folio.co.com.

Andrew: okay. On folio.co or invest in on folio.com. Right.

Dominic: Yeah.

Andrew: Alright good. And you’ve taught me a lot, but I’ve taught you something very important. And that is that if you want to not have to pay for every email address in your, in your database, even the ones that you’re not emailing, then what you need is send in Ballou, everyone out there, including you.

I would love it. If you use my URL, when you use them, go to send in blue.com/mixergy, where you get to use them for free. And frankly, you’ll come in as a Mixergy customer, which means that I’ll get credit. And they’re going to love you extra hard and HostGator. Thank you. hostgator.com/ mixergy.com. Good morning.

Thanks for getting up this early to do this interview with me

right on. Thanks. Bye everyone.

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