Chris Yates – Entrepreneur and Buyer and Seller of Websites

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If you’d like to make money online, skip all the steps and buy or model an existing successful website. Determine how much money each month you’d like to be making then go to Flippa.com and search for sites already making that much. If you can afford to buy it, go for it. If you can’t, model what they are doing for traffic and monetization and build your own unique version of the business.

Chris Yates is an entrepreneur who is making triple digit annual returns buying, selling, and flipping websites. In addition to buying and selling internet businesses, he also educates and coaches others to make money buying, selling and flipping websites.

He and his business partner, David Gass, rapidly entered the “how to buy and sell websites” market by acquiring some of the top websites in the industry including buyingandsellingwebsites.com, flipwebsites.com, killerflippingsecrets.com, and flippingnetwork.com.

Before entering the website buying and selling market, Chris Yates started, grew and sold a successful marketing business. He has also been involved in a handful of other rather unsuccessful ventures including a dot com media portal, a web hosting business, and an educational membership site for small businesses.

Chris’ abilities include the entire technical and creative skillset required to take an internet business from an idea to generating solid revenue. He has the ability to spot undervalued assets in websites and transform them to maximize performance.  His marketing efforts have generated multiple millions of dollars in sales online for his clients and his own projects.

Chris currently lives in Missoula, MT and enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and his son Parker.

What are you working on right now?

This is actually a pretty easy question to answer right now because I recently came back from a company meeting where we laid out our company mission and top 5 priorities. Staying focused on the top priorities has always been a challenge for me. Having the top 5 priorities defined with measurable results and timelines helps prevent me from getting distracted. If you’ve never spent a weekend away from your business to focus on this, I highly recommend it.

Our top 5 priorities are:

1.)    Develop and Execute a Marketing plan to increase the value of each of the sites in our portfolio.

2.)    Create standard operating procedures in our business. This helps to make our business more consistent and allows us to outsource the low ROI tasks.

3.)    Create excellent products that teach people how to make money buying and selling websites.

4.)    Build a system that brings a steady flow of new websites we could potentially buy that meet our investment criteria.

5.)    Create a model to bring more investors into our deals.

I recognize it might seem a little odd to share those publicly, but I have the mindset that the more people you tell, the more people you have to support you and help you achieve your goals.

In addition to those priorities, I’m also running a private coaching group for those interested in buying, selling, and flipping websites at http://www.flippingnetwork.com/mastermind/ and recently launched my personal blog at http://www.chrisyates.org where I document my 30 day experiements in business and life.

I’m also attempting to learn the game of golf. Unfortunately I’m failing miserably.

What does your typical day look like?

The first part of my day is usually working with my wife to wrestle my son out of his pajamas and into his clothes, getting him fed, and getting some hugs before I head out to the office.

Once I get into the office, I’ll filter through my email quickly to look for urgent items. One of the downsides to managing a portfolio of websites is that you typically end up with at least one email inbox per site.

At this point, I normally make a list of tasks I need to complete that day. I’d like to say I use a system for prioritizing my daily tasks such as Franklin Covey’s, but I usually just start with the one that seems most interesting to me at the moment.

I focus on different websites on different days of the week. On any particular day I might be coding, designing, creating products, increasing traffic and revenue, or managing our outsourced team. I love the variety.

3 trends that excite you?

1.)    The growth of the buying and selling website industry. Sites like Flippa.com (which is like an Ebay for websites) are making it easy for anyone in the world to buy and sell websites.

2.)    The ability for anyone in the world to communicate with anyone else in the world. Tools like Skype and Gotomeeting.com are enabling us to develop personal relationships that wouldn’t have been possible with email alone.

3.)    Investors coming out of their turtle shell. In talking with some of the angel investors we work with on website buying and selling deals, we are seeing a definite trend that investors are tiring of acting like turtles due to the recession. They are ready to put their money back to work.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I have a real love for lists so the first thing I typically do is to list out the idea and steps to success. Then, I’ll take this list to my whiteboard and mind map how the various pieces of the idea fit together.  This helps me to get a deeper understanding of where the opportunities lie and helps my brain have a better understanding of the idea.

Next, I take the idea to a trusted group for feedback. In some cases this is a formal group such as my business partners or one of my Mastermind Groups. In other cases, it might just be family or friends. The feedback helps me get outside perspective and in most cases points out the flaws in the idea. This way I can either scrap the idea or adjust it to fix the flaws.

After that, I then test the idea as quickly as possible. This might be making a prototype, throwing up a landing page and testing on Google Adwords, or sending an email blast which drives people to a survey. The goal of testing quickly is to figure out what works before putting massive resources into something which will fail.

Once I know what works, the final step is to scale it up as quickly as possible. If the goal of the idea is to make money, I focus on incrementally increasing (both in terms of volume and in frequency) any activity that generates profit. For instance, if I find that I’m getting sales from one particular keyword on the search engines, I’ll focus efforts on getting as much traffic I can from that keyword by increasing organic rank and buying traffic.

What inspires you?

Much of my inspiration comes from reading informational products and attending seminars where I can learn directly from others who have already been successful with whatever it is I’m focused on.

I love seeing others around me succeed. I’m a firm believer that “your network equals your net worth” so having other successful people around me inspires me.

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

One of my more recent mistakes was purchasing a website with a non-sustainable business model.

  • I learned that past performance doesn’t always indicate future results.
  • I learned to only start or buy sites which I know I can hold on to and continue to add value to potentially forever.
  • I learned that even if a site makes money, it has to add value to a market or the business model isn’t sustainable long-term.
  • I learned never to rely totally on one method of traffic or one monetization strategy.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If you’d like to make money online, skip all the steps and buy or model an existing successful website. Determine how much money each month you’d like to be making then go to Flippa.com and search for sites already making that much. If you can afford to buy it, go for it. If you can’t, model what they are doing for traffic and monetization and build your own unique version of the business.

What do you read every day, and why?

I read internet marketing forums such as warriorforum.com, flippingnetwork.com, experienced-people.net, etc.. Reading and participating in these types of forums helps me stay connected with other internet marketers. It results in new relationships such as new customers and joint venture partners as well as gaining insight into the latest marketing strategies and tactics that others are using effectively.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?

I’d recommend Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples. It’s one of the classic marketing and advertising related books that still has relevance today. The principles taught in the book can help you improve your landing pages, Google Adwords ads, email marketing and more.

What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?

If I only had to choose three tools to run our portfolio of websites it would be WordPress, Hostgator.com hosting, and Aweber.com email marketing service. I’ve built 5 figure per month websites on these three alone.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

I’d love to see Jay Abraham interviewed. I’ve learned a great deal from his teachings on marketing and business. His “3 Ways to Grow a Business” is the cornerstone of much of what I focus on to increase revenue when I acquire a new website.

I’d also love to see my business partner, David Gass, interviewed on here. He is an amazing resource for anyone interested in entrepreneurship and funding their business.

How do you evaluate a new website to determine if you will purchase it?

We’ve developed a “checklist” we go through to determine if a site meets our buying criteria. I won’t go into the boring details on all the due diligence that goes into this, but here are the top 10 initial screening questions we answer:

  1. Can we buy the website for around 6 to 14 times the monthly profit?
  2. Is the site in a viable market?
  3. Is the site under-monetized?
  4. How much time is required to maintain the site?
  5. How does the site get traffic?
  6. Is the flow of traffic consistent and repeatable?
  7. What is the profit by month since the site started? What is the trend?
  8. Is the revenue model sustainable for the next 12-24 months?
  9. Is the site and product unique?
  10. Does the site have a list? What’s the relationship with the list?

You document your “30 Day Experiments” in your personal blog. Can you explain that?

Sure. I came up with the idea from what seems to be a trend of people who are “hacking their life”. The NYT best seller “4 Hour Body” and sites like lifehacker.com are great examples of this trend. I needed a theme to my personal blog so I took the idea of hacking my life and threw a timeline of 30 days on it. I focus on the areas of “Making Money Online, “Being Creative”, “Giving Back”, and “Staying In Shape” which all correspond to my personal goals. It also gives me a reason to post on my blog at least once a month and forces me to keep trying new things in my life which is something I enjoy.

Connect:

You can visit my personal blog at http://www.chrisyates.org. You’ll find all my contact information and ways to connect with me there.

Published on May 28, 2011 .

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