How Chelsea Clarke Became a Full-Time Website Flipper

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How Chelsea Clarke became a full-time website flipper

While it’s a bit cliché to say that running an online business allows you to work on your own terms, it’s also true.

Chelsea Clarke is one of the most recognizable names in the website flipping community, and she started out of a desire for a business that suits her lifestyle. Over the past 7+ years, Chelsea has bought, grown, and sold many blogs and websites, and also helped others as a broker (a total of more than $4 million).

Working as a content creator and flipper allows Chelsea a great deal of freedom without relying on a full-time corporate job. Her story is both inspiring and insightful.

The First Flip

Before Chelsea was a full-time content creator, she worked in marketing. One role gave her experience with a business brokerage focused on traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. “I was inspired by the business model,” Chelsea said, “but I knew there was a much more exciting opportunity to sell online businesses.”

Chelsea went through the International Business Brokers Association to learn more about the industry and how it could relate to online businesses.

In 2017, Chelsea went on maternity leave and decided to start a business so she wouldn’t have to go back to the corporate world. She launched HerPaperRoute, a blog and newsletter for other content creators and online entrepreneurs.

Her Paper Route website

At the same time, she launched a beauty blog, which she used for case studies published at HerPaperRoute. The case studies documented specific strategies she implemented to grow the blog, along with the results.

Chelsea’s plan from the start was to grow the beauty blog for a year or two and then sell it. She never intended to hold on to it long-term. In about a year, she had grown the blog to reach 70,000 monthly pageviews using Pinterest and SEO, and she sold it for $39,000 (which converted to $50,000 in her home country, Canada).

After the sale, Chelsea published a case study on HerPaperRoute to show how she had sold the one-year-old blog. This marked the beginning of Chelsea’s journey as a website flipper and also generated a great deal of interest from her audience and people who wanted to learn more about selling websites.

Chelsea’s Portfolio and Website Flipping Strategy

While some online entrepreneurs prefer to focus on a single project, Chelsea likes to manage several websites and products. At any given time, her portfolio includes about 5 to 10 different websites.

Although Chelsea recognizes that focusing on a single project works for some people, she knows it’s not the right approach for herself. “I get bored if I have to focus on only one niche,” she said, “and I like to work on different projects, work with different brands and different types of content to keep things interesting.”

Chelsea also appreciates the security of the portfolio approach. If traffic drops on one site or something happens in the niche, she has income from other sites to soften the blow.

While Chelsea started HerPaperRoute and the beauty blog from scratch, she adjusted her strategy to involve buying existing websites and blogs instead.

Chelsea points out that she learned a lot through her experience growing sites from scratch, but she appreciates being able to skip the initial grind and get straight to profitability. “It’s a rush to acquire a business that has thousands of email subscribers, social media followers, an active blog, traffic, and sales already coming in,” she said.

Of course, the landscape for content-based websites has changed a lot since Chelsea started in 2017. Recent Google algorithm updates and the barrage of AI content has caused many bloggers, website owners, and SEOs to question their strategy, but Chelsea has always embraced diversification. “Google traffic has always been a nice bonus,” she said, “not the be all end all.”

Chelsea says that her strategy hasn’t changed after Google’s Helpful Content Updates or recent core updates. She still focuses on Pinterest and other social media for traffic, as well as building a community and growing an email list, just like she did from the start. SEO is important too, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle.

Speaking about the Helpful Content Update’s impact on the industry, Chelsea says “If anything, it has validated my approach that has worked for me thus far. Anyone who was hit by the HCU, don’t give up, just know that you might benefit from putting some effort into building your list, building your Pinterest presence, and so forth. How can you build a real brand around your website? That could mean starting a YouTube channel, starting a podcast, and focusing on building up your authority in your niche.”

Chelsea’s plan typically involves selling a site within 6 to 12 months of buying it. By starting with the end goal in mind, she knows exactly what she needs to accomplish to make it a successful flip.

“I like to ensure that when I sell a site it has passive revenue coming in,” Chelsea said. “It should have organic traffic coming in without relying on ads, and it’s really just set up in a way that the new owner can take it on and not have to do too much work themselves to manage it.”

The Launch of Niche Investor

Chelsea’s case study about selling her beauty blog generated so much interest that she started getting requests from people who wanted help selling their own websites and blogs. While she’s always maintained her portfolio of sites, she also helps others to buy and sell.

In 2019, Chelsea launched Niche Investor (originally called, a boutique brokerage. “I created it as a safe space for our community to sell their sites,” she said. “It really just started organically out of that need our community had.”

As of early 2024, Chelsea has broked the sale of hundreds of websites, totaling over $4 million.

Niche Investor website

Success as a Website Flipper

Chelsea’s work with her portfolio of sites and as a broker has helped her achieve her goal of a flexible lifestyle.

“I’ve never been about hustle culture,” Chelsea said. “My goal is not to manage a huge team or run a billion-dollar empire. My goal is to own a portfolio of websites that generate passive income for me so that I can continue to be a solopreneur, live a chill, creative life, and work on my business when I feel like it because I want to not because I have to. That is what success is to me – not having to manage a team! Not having to spend a bunch of money on ads! Just being able to create content that is fun to make and generate passive profit.”

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