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If you own an online business, you may have considered selling it at some point. There are many reasons why people choose to sell their businesses, and every situation is unique. Selling a profitable business you’ve poured your energy into can be difficult, but it can also be a smart move for many reasons.
This article covers some of the most common reasons for selling a website or online business. You may find that a few of these reasons apply to you.
It’s a good idea to clearly understand your motivation before listing the business for sale or approaching potential buyers. One of the first questions every potential buyer will ask is, “Why do you want to sell?” Be sure you can answer this question honestly and confidently.
Common Reasons to Sell Your Business
1. You Want to Pursue Other Opportunities
Many business owners are motivated to sell a website or online business to pursue other opportunities. Perhaps you have a new business idea you want to explore, or you want to take on a new challenge.
Maybe you’ve already started another site and you’re struggling to find time for it because you’re stretched thin. Selling your established business may be the best solution because it could have significant value, and getting rid of it will also allow you to focus on the new project.
You don’t want to hold on to your established business too long and see the value drop because it’s not getting enough attention. You’re probably better off selling while it’s still doing well, getting the cash, and moving on.
2. You Need Capital for a New Venture
If you’re starting a new website or business, you may need cash to get it off the ground. Selling your current business can provide you with the capital you need to start your new venture.
Maybe you feel like your new or upcoming venture has a higher upside than your current business. Or maybe you think you’d enjoy working on it more. Investing in it may allow you to create something even more successful than your first business.
Empire Flippers offers an excellent (and free) website or business valuation tool. It only takes a few minutes to enter the details of your business, and you'll get a report on the estimated value. You don't even have to talk to anyone! It's my favorite tool for online business valuations.
3. You Don’t Have Enough Time for It
Some online businesses require a lot of time and effort. You may want to sell it if you don’t have enough time to devote to your business. Maybe you had more time for it in the past, but your situation has changed.
If you feel like you can’t give the business the time and effort it needs, it’s usually better to sell now before things go downhill. If you wait too long and your business has declined because you can’t give it the attention it needs, you may have difficulty getting the price you want.
4. You’ve Lost Interest or Experienced Burnout
Running an online business can be mentally and emotionally taxing. If you’ve lost interest or experienced burnout, it may be time to sell your business.
It’s important to recognize when you’re no longer interested in running the business. Selling the business and moving on to something that excites you may be the best decision. Trying to force yourself to continue working on something that no longer interests you could lead to more frustration and the decline of the business.
5. You Want to Cash Out (Take Profits)
Selling your business can provide you with a lump sum of cash, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to benefit from your hard work. Whether you want to use the money for a big purchase, save for retirement, or invest it in something else, selling a profitable business provides you with financial options.
Cashing out also allows you to eliminate any future risk from owning the business. It’s not uncommon for online businesses to experience fast and significant drops in traffic and revenue (for example, after a Google algorithm update). Selling now while your business is doing well allows you to ensure that you cash out before experiencing a loss in value.
Best for Sites Making at Least $5k Per Month
Best for Sites Making at Least $2k Per Month
Best for Sites Making Less Than $2k Per Month
6. Personal or Family Reasons
Personal or family reasons can also be a factor in selling a business. For example, health issues, family obligations, the birth of a new child, or a change in your spouse’s career could impact your ability to continue running the business.
In these situations, selling the business may be necessary or the best option for you or your family.
7. You’ve Taken the Business as Far as You Can
Maybe you’ve done well with your online business, but a company with more resources could take it to the next level. In this case, selling the business might be beneficial for both parties.
Maybe you feel like you’ve plateaued or hit the ceiling, and you’re not able or interested in doing what’s needed to accelerate the growth. In this case, selling could be the right option because the business’s value could drop if it stagnates or declines.
8. Changes in the Industry
Changes in the industry can also be a reason for a business sale. For example, if a new technology or trend disrupts your industry, it may be difficult to keep up. Or maybe changes in the industry have negatively impacted your enjoyment of the business or your desire to keep going.
Selling your business may allow you to get out before it’s too late. However, potential buyers may share your concerns, which can decrease the interest you receive, and maybe even reduce the business’s value.
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9. You’re Retiring
It’s possible that your business has enough value that you could sell and retire. In this case, you may prefer to sell and move on to the next phase of your life.
I think this is ultimately the goal of many online business owners, but the entrepreneurial itch is hard to ignore. You could always start another website or online business as a side project without the pressure of needing to earn a living.
10. You’re Not on the Same Page With Your Business Partner
If you have a business partner and are not on the same page, it may be difficult to continue running the business together. Selling the business can allow you both to move on and pursue other opportunities.
Maybe you both decide to sell your ownership, or it’s possible that you could sell your share of the business to your partner.
11. The Business is Distressed
If your business is struggling financially, you may need to sell it to avoid bankruptcy or other financial issues. Selling the business can provide you with a way out and allow you to move on. However, it’s important to understand that the value of a distressed business is significantly impacted and you may not get very much for it.
Getting a Business Valuation
If you’re considering selling your website or online business, knowing how much it’s worth is crucial. The best and easiest way to do that is to get a free valuation from an online business broker. Most brokers, including Quiet Light, Empire Flippers, and Investors Club offer free consultations and valuations. Even if you decide not to list your site for sale with the broker, you’ll at least get a professional’s opinion on its current value.
You can also use free online valuation calculators. You’ll need some basic information related to your income, expenses, profit, and traffic. But once you have those details, the valuation takes only a few minutes.
Here are some of the best online business valuation calculators you can use:
- Empire Flippers Valuation Tool
- Flippa Valuation Tool
- Investors Club Valuation Tool
- Motion Invest Valuation Tool
Choosing a Broker or Marketplace to Sell a Business
When you’re ready to sell your online business, you’ll need to choose a broker or marketplace. While it’s possible to sell your business without a broker or marketplace, you’ll need a strong professional network to find an ideal buyer. Brokers and marketplaces have huge audiences of people and companies actively looking to buy online businesses.
Some sellers avoid using a broker because of the fees, but a good broker may be able to more than cover their fees by getting you a higher selling price (that’s been my experience working with Brad Wayland of Quiet Light to sell multiple sites).
I recommend using a broker or marketplace unless you have an ideal buyer in mind and you’re sure you’re getting a solid offer. My top recommendations are:
- Quiet Light for businesses making at least $5,000 per month.
- Empire Flippers for businesses making at least $2,000 per month.
- Motion Invest for businesses making less than $2,000 per month.
Selling an online business isn’t an easy decision, but there are many valid reasons why someone would want to do so. Ultimately, it’s important to carefully consider your options and make the best decision for yourself and your business.