I had the privilege to interview a website flipper I’ve been following for a while now over at the Warrior Forum. His name is Jay Piecha, or as his fans know him, “SuiteJ.” This Canadian cat is one cool dude who knows his stuff.
After doing business with him in the past and exchanging numerous emails with him, I can see why he’s so successful. He’s a real professional and a genuine nice guy. Interestingly enough, he got his start flipping websites when he sold a network of adult affiliate websites.
WARNING: This is a long interview split into two parts. There is tons of great stuff here. Since Jay is a coffee nut, pour yourself a cup, sit back and enjoy…
FW: Thanks Jay for taking the time to do this interview. Let’s start off on a lighter note. Let’s talk about your coffee addiction. What’s your favorite cup of coffee and how many cups do you drink a day?
My pleasure (*pours coffee*).
I’ll pretty much drink any cup of coffee that has enough caffeine in it to get my heart racing in seconds. However, most the time I’m drinking Tim Horton’s or Starbucks just because they both have convenient drive-through windows minutes from where I live and it gives me a reason to leave my office.
I only drink a few cups a day now, but it used to be out of control until the doctor recently ordered me to stop. I have two in the morning, one in the afternoon, and if I’m on a productivity roll at midnight, I’ll grab another one to keep me going for a few extra hours.
I like drinking strong, flavored coffees at home like Vanilla Hazelnut, Irish Cream, and…wait…you weren’t expecting me to answer this in depth about coffee, were you? Sorry…let’s move on.
FW: LOL. Just like your business, you are thorough;) I’m not a coffee addict like you (in fact, I don’t like coffee at all) but I do enjoy a couple cups of green tea every day and a cocktail or two at night (Skyy vodka and 7up). What do you think about us wimpy tea drinkers and what’s your favorite adult beverage?
If you don’t like coffee, we can no longer be friends, but I will still commit to finishing the interview if you agree to drink a coffee right now. (*pours more coffee*)
Tea is not wimpy. Green tea is good for you, and I’m trying to be healthier these days, so I commend you! I used to sing in rock bands for years when I was younger and I always drank lemon tea to soothe my throat (I had to scream to hit the high notes and still missed them often lol)
I’m not in a position to say what type of drink is wimpy. I shamefully love apple martinis.
FW: Apple martinis? Wimp;) Only kidding. O.K., now that we have the important stuff out of the way, let’s get down to business. I understand your first big flip was selling a network of adult affiliate websites. Tell me about that.
Well, I signed an agreement to not disclose the details, but I can give you a rundown of what I was doing and how it happened.
It wasn’t really what I would call an “intentional flip”. What I mean is, I hadn’t created it with plans on selling it in the future. It was my full time business for over 3 years and up until a few weeks before the actual sale, I hadn’t ever really considered selling it. The network was comprised of less than a dozen sites with just a few of them making the bulk of the income.
I started that business without really thinking about it; I sort of naturally fell into it. When I was working as a freelance designer, I had designed a site for a good friend who happens to be in the adult business. I had no real intention of being in the adult business, but his site design got the attention of a couple other companies in the industry who needed websites designed on a regular basis. Since they seemed willing to pay a lot more than your average mom and pop shop who wanted to “get a web presence”, I started churning out adult designs.
Although most of the designs I did were membership sites, one of my main clients was hiring me regularly to create adult affiliate sites which basically made income by promoting membership sites for a commission. After I created several of them, I obviously had a basic grip on what he was doing, and I started to ask myself why I was creating these sites for a one time fee when I could create my own and make recurring money. So, I started creating my own adult affiliate sites.
Now typically, being new to the game would be a rough start, but I had already built a few relationships with other people in the adult industry (from doing design work) and so once I had my own sites, I began to barter design work in exchange for targeted traffic from them (instead of money). That worked out well, and I was making regular sales within the 3rd week.
It only took about 4-5 months before I was making a healthy full time income from just a couple sites. The retention was amazing on the sites I was promoting, so the income started to compound quickly. The money was good, but I just kept it at a level I was comfortable with. What I mean is, I never really wanted to be in the adult industry 100% and so I didn’t put forth the effort to grow the business to it’s full potential. Instead, I just maintained it, and worked on other things on the side that I enjoyed more like selling on eBay, graphic design, and a few other projects. I always had kind of a love/hate relationship with the adult sites.
I started my first affiliate site in 2003 and at the end of 2007, I sold the network. I didn’t have to list it publicly because I had connections who put the word out and I found a couple interested buyers fairly quickly. I did the deal through a bank wire transfer and even though I trusted the buyer, it was a pretty stressful ordeal. Although I had sold domains and websites several times before that deal, it was never anything of that magnitude. It went well though. I was lucky to have a really great buyer.
You’re probably wondering why I sold it, right? Well, my life changed in 2007 when I was blessed with the birth of my daughter, the most beautiful baby girl in the world. 🙂 That day changed my perspective on a lot of things, and since I already knew that I didn’t want to be in the adult industry for life, this steamrolled the decision of selling and cashing out.
FW: Congrats on the birth of your daughter. I have a little girl of my own so I completely understand where you’re coming from. The adult website business is interesting to me. Even though it may get a bad rap, what people don’t realize is that a lot of what we Internet Marketers do today started with the adult website industry. The adult industry has always been ahead of the curve. Things like videos and video marketing, membership sites, free membership trials, banner ads, etc. – all things that are buzz words in main stream Internet Marketing today – started with the adult industry. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree. In fact, I would say “ahead of the curve” is an understatement. When I left adult and started looking into mainstream affiliate programs, I was shocked to find how limited the tools were and how unprofessional they were. Top adult affiliate programs have tools that from 2 years ago that still outshine much of what I see in mainstream programs. I can’t imagine what they’re like now (I don’t keep up on it anymore, but I should just to stay on the edge).
There’s actually a few good lessons in my “education” that crossed over to mainstream but not as many as you would think. There’s quite a few differences, but starting a conversation about that comparison could be a long interview in itself. 🙂
FW: O.K., let’s move on from the adult industry. You are one of the more active website flippers on the Warrior Forum. I see your all-in-one blog packages for sale all the time. I was surprised to learn that you sold over 150 custom blog packages over a 6-8 month period.
Yeah, it’s actually more than that. I believe I’ve cracked 200 in that time frame if you count all my public and private sales combined.
FW: Wow, congrats! Are these custom blogs custom ordered? Tell me about them.
The “custom sites” were still flips and not “custom-ordered”. What I mean is, I build them first and then sell each one exclusively to one buyer only. That’s different than the packages I sell on the Warrior Forum where I sell a limited amount of PLR licenses (copies) of the same package to several buyers.
I do not have a service where I take orders for customized blog designs but I do have a subscriber/customer base that I listen to for ideas. 🙂 If you offer custom orders as a service, then you’re a web designer, not a website flipper, and there’s a big difference. As I mentioned earlier, I have worked as a freelance designer in the past and while it’s great if design is your passion, there are better ways to make money doing the same amount of work (or less), especially if you’re creating niche blogs packages like I do.
There are several advantages to flipping new sites instead of doing custom orders, but the main one is that if you’re a flipper, you simply build what you like, when you like, and then find a buyer that likes what you built as opposed to creating a design that pleases one specific client. There are so many time-consuming issues that can arise between the client and the designer and that can virtually be eliminated by creating a site first and finding a buyer afterward. Obviously, this can vary a great deal depending on one’s skills, client base, etc., but I’m speaking from my own experience in doing it both ways.
FW: That makes total sense. The designs for your websites are pretty impressive and I’m not the only one that thinks that. All of your offers have tons of comments from people who really like your stuff. Do you do all the designs yourself or do you outsource that?
Well, thanks, I appreciate the kind words. Yes, I design most of them myself.
I do get a lot of comments on the Warrior Forum, and many times it’s to thank me for customer service in addition to the quality of the package, which is very rewarding because I try hard to help as many people as I can. Many of my customers are brand new to online business and you wouldn’t believe how appreciative they are if you just take a few extra minutes to explain something in detail for them. Unfortunately, it’s not very common in the Internet Marketing niche (judging by the feedback I get).
FW: How about the actual content on your websites. Do you write all those articles yourself?
I outsource the bulk of the writing. I actually enjoy writing, and have written articles for quite a few of my exclusive blog sales, but it’s not my strong point (especially time-wise), so it makes more sense to outsource it.
FW: If someone wanted to start their own “startup blog package business,” what advice would you give them to be successful at it?
Do something unique. When I say that, I don’t mean that you have to reinvent the wheel, but try and brand yourself as a seller and if you can add something to your packages that is only available through you, even better. Always be thinking ahead though, because you WILL be copied if you have any success at all and you have to be prepared to stay ahead of the copycats.
The most important thing aside from having a great product and service is the building an opt-in list. As cliche as it sounds, your email list is your most important asset and it’s important to get them to opt-in to a notification list so you can contact them whenever you have a new package available.
Also, one thing I can’t stress enough is to separate the buyers and prospects into different lists. So, as an example, you would have an optin list for people who have not yet purchased from you (prospects), and then have a different optin form for buyers after they purchase from you. You can set up rules in Aweber to have a buyer be taken off the prospect list automatically if they optin to the buyer list. I didn’t do this in the beginning, but after I did, it made a huge difference. Being able to send different emails and offers to each group is a must.
I don’t have a huge list by “Internet Marketing standards”, but they are loyal, repeat buyers because they trust me and know they can expect quality products and service. If all the marketplace options shut down tomorrow, I’d still have a business selling blog packages because I have those lists.
FW: I know you have a VIP signup for buyers of your blog packages. Can you give me the link for people to sign up to it?
To join the notification list, you can sign up at http://vip.suitej.com
I’m currently working on a site for SuiteJ.com that will provide info on all my offers (and everything else going on with me) in one place.