How Ben Turned an Unsellable Asset Into a $1.8 Million Exit

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In 2023, at just 27 years old, Ben Zogby achieved a life-changing exit by selling HighStrike Trading for $1.8 million. Unlike many first-time entrepreneurs, Ben started with the end goal of selling the business. “I saw the challenge of starting, growing, and selling a multi-million dollar business as a fun challenge I wanted on my resume,” he said. “And more importantly, I knew that grinding through the process in my twenties would give me the skills and experience I needed to succeed in business for life. That’s the real asset I was building, whether or not it was on purpose!”

Although Ben’s story is incredible, success didn’t come easy. In fact, he tried to sell the online business in 2020 but generated no interest. Rather than throwing in the towel or assuming he’d have to hold on to the business forever, Ben used this as a learning experience and reworked the business so it was more attractive to buyers.

As it turns out, Ben’s efforts paid off. Not only was he able to sell HighStrike Trading, but it sold for $300,000 above his asking price due to a bidding war. Here, Ben shares his story, how he grew the business, and what he did to prepare it for an acquisition.

Becoming a Pro Trader

Ben began trading stocks in 2016 while he was a college student. As a beginner trader, Ben found himself on the losing side of trades more often than the winning side. After dedicating countless hours to learning and mastering the craft, his results improved drastically.

In 2018, Ben graduated and got an engineering job, but he was miserable. He decided trading was his way out and worked even harder to succeed. In late 2018, he started working on HighStrike Trading as a way to help other traders. “I knew the pain points of a struggling trader better than anyone,” Ben said.

HighStrike Trading

During the 2019 bull market, Ben’s stock market success increased, particularly through options trading. He saved $150,000, which allowed him to quit his job and focus on HighStrike Trading.

The Growth of HighStrike Trading

Social media played a key role in HighStrike Trading’s growth, allowing Ben to reach his target audience. “I started posting on Instagram because I really wanted to get a sense of what kind of content I needed to double down on,” Ben said, “and the organic algorithm was great for growth at the time.”

In 2020, business profits rose significantly when the self-directed trader wave, fueled by the pandemic, gained momentum. Ben connected with more traders on social media as they were looking for educational trading content, and the business grew.

Ben listed the business for sale in 2020, looking to capitalize on the momentum, but got no interest from potential buyers. Although the business was doing well, it was completely dependent on Ben.

After removing the listing, Ben decided to fix the issue and make HighStrike Trading sellable. This multi-step process involved:

  • Switching to recurring revenue
  • Tracking all metrics and KPIs formally
  • Hiring quality employees
  • Creating SOPs for all jobs

Ben knew the business needed to be less dependent on him in order to sell. He decided to hire others and also focus on building HighStrike Trading’s brand, so it wasn’t all about him. “Instead of going down the path of ‘Ben the great trader,’ I opted to hire a team of professionals that covered several strategies,” Ben said. “This way, we were able to grow a brand, not just a product.”

By the time Ben sold the business in 2023, his team included three full-time traders, each running a different strategy. This allowed HighStrike Trading students to access a greater variety of training and learn from multiple perspectives.

In addition, Ben hired four other employees, including a content manager, two sales professionals, and a CEO/COO whom he trained for a year to be ready to take over.

Ben claims that learning how to hire was the biggest challenge he faced with the business. “I had to shift from a mindset where I was ok with a warm body doing a job, to a mindset where I was ok spending three months making sure my staff was quality,” he said.

Once Ben shifted his mindset, the business took off. He said that his employees were “the BEST group of men and women I could ever ask for.”

While hiring helped the business to be less dependent on Ben, simply having employees wasn’t enough. Ben believes that building systems instead of just focusing on short-term profits was one of the keys to success with HighStrike Trading. “This was a big shift for me fundamentally,” he said. “I started out with the mindset that I just wanted to make as many sales as possible, but when I started seeing the impact of the product on real lives, I wanted to make sure HighStrike would be around for the long haul.”

Ben’s Seven-Figure Exit

Since an exit was always Ben’s goal, he was ready to move on after getting the employees and systems in place.

In October 2022, Ben listed HighStrike Trading for sale with Flippa for $1.5 million, based on their valuation. Despite everything Ben had accomplished with the business, he wasn’t optimistic about it selling. He says he “genuinely thought it had a 10-15% chance of actually selling.”

To Ben’s surprise, the listing generated strong interest. With multiple potential buyers, he agreed to an offer of $1.8 million (a full $300,000 above the asking price) in December 2022. The due diligence process took a while, which is common for deals of this size, and the acquisition closed on August 1, 2023.

“Flippa was incredible,” Ben said. He praised Flippa’s team for getting three strong offers and driving up the selling price, plus assisting throughout the process.

Ben’s Next Steps

Now that Ben has experienced a successful acquisition, he plans to structure all future businesses for an exit, regardless of whether he plans to sell or hold. “You never know when it’s going to be time to take some chips off the table,” Ben said, “and having a well-structured business helps you sell quickly and for a great price.”

Ben also points out that preparing for an exit serves a purpose even if you plan to hold on to the business long term. “Structuring for exit helps streamline operations, boost profitability, identify areas for growth, systemize reporting, uncover hidden value, and so much more, ” he said. “I believe every online business should go through a period of 3-6 months where they obsess over systems and sellability, even if they don’t plan on selling. It’s simply good practice, and it can make you a hell of a lot of money.”

Today, Ben’s busy working on his next project, ExitFrog. Through ExitFrog, Ben helps online business owners maximize their exits with proper planning and assistance throughout the acquisition process. Motivated by his own experience, Ben aims to help others. “I lost sleep, hair, and friends during my time selling HighStrike,” he said, “and I want to be in founders’ corners to help them win during this life-changing process.”


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