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How and Why I Sold My Software Company, Long Tail Pro

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How and Why I Sold My Software Company, Long Tail Pro

Today, I want to publicly share for the first time that I have sold my software company, Long Tail Pro.

In February of this year I sold a majority share of the company for a significant sum of money, the kind of exit that can have a big impact on one’s life.

I want to share how and why I sold the company in order to both educate and inspire potential software entrepreneurs.  I certainly don’t know everything and obviously companies sell for much more than I sold Long Tail Pro for (I won’t be featured in Tech Crunch anytime soon); however, I’m willing to share what I have learned and hopefully that can be beneficial to a few of you.

How I Built the Company…

I’ve shared the history of Long Tail Pro and the genesis of the idea for a better keyword research tool on my blog a few times.  In particular, for the history of the company up to 2012, you should read this blog post and for a good overview of how I bootstrapped Long Tail Pro read this one.

However, in a nutshell, I came up with the idea for a better keyword research tool because I was building lots and lots of little affiliate sites for myself, and needed a way to find and cherry pick easy to rank for keywords much faster than existing software would allow.

In other words, I had a problem in my own business, and then I built a piece of software to fix that problem. I think there can be a lot of advantages to coming up with a software idea that will “scratch your own itch.”

Because I was not only the business owner, but also the end user, I was able to develop an excellent product from the stand point of potential customers without much feedback from them.  I understood the target market on a very deep level, because I was one of the users in the target market.

I’m not a programmer

I should also be very clear, that I am not a programmer.  I did not code a single line for Long Tail Pro.  I am living proof that you don’t have to be a coder in order to build a successful software company and have a significant exit.

So, how did I build a successful software company when I’m not a developer?  I outsourced.

I’ve written about how I hired and the mistakes and successes that I had with programmers in an in-depth blog post right here.

I basically made the mistake of hiring a really cheap developer and things did not go well at first.  The product was working long enough for me to start selling it and validate the market.  But after about 2 weeks the software “broke” and I had to go back to the drawing board.

After having my source code held hostage by the original programmer, I made the decision to find someone new.  This was one of the best decisions I ever made, and this new developer stuck with me until the company was sold.

I could also go into great detail about how I launched the company and have grown it over the past 5 years.  However, I’d like to focus primarily on the sale of the company and the details behind it.

In general, the business was a success because:

  • I introduced a better software offering that the market wanted
  • I openly shared case studies about keyword research
  • End users regularly found success with the software and shared their testimonials and case studies freely
  • I constantly provided value through blogging and podcasting to build my audience
  • I picked up a few great affiliates primarily through my blogging/podcasting contacts

The Hard Work Pays Off

I’ve never openly shared how much revenue and profit Long Tail Pro was making as a company.  However, now that I’ve sold most of my ownership stake I’m willing to share a few more details.

Hopefully this kind of data is beneficial to someone considering starting a software company.  Below you will find a graph of the revenue and net profit of the company on an annual basis since the company was started.

2016-08-23_0923

The revenues in 2011, the first year of the business, clocked in at about $44,000.  Both revenue and profits have increased each and every year that I’ve owned the company.

I’ve always been 100% owner of the company and so it certainly feels good to look at a 5 year graph and see the growth that has been achieved.  I fully expect the new ownership team to continue the growth trend for Long Tail Pro.

The Story Behind Deciding to Sell

Deciding to sell the company was not an easy decision.  And in fact, I hadn’t 100% decided to sell the company until I received a great offer.

Here’s the story behind how and why I came to the decision to sell Long Tail Pro.

When you have lived through a number of major Google algorithm updates, like I have, you are constantly thinking about what the worst case scenario is.  Long Tail Pro is a software that has to be constantly updated to keep up with changes made from Google.

After 5 years, I started to think that perhaps it would be smart to take some risk off the table.  The risk of Google changing something that I couldn’t fix.  Or there could be other “black swan” risks that I just don’t know about.

In addition, as you can see, Long Tail Pro has always been profitable and financially has a great business to me.  However, after running a business for 5 years, the excitement starts to wane a bit.  I was becoming less motivated to run the same business day to day by the end of 2015 as I had been since early 2011.

(Luckily, I had hired Jake Cain to help keep the company moving forward and 2015 was the best year ever for the business.  Jake continues to work with me as employee on Amazon FBA, websites, and other projects…but is no longer involved in Long Tail Pro post-sale).

So, for these 2 reasons: taking risk off the table and I was just ready for something new was what made me start thinking about selling the company.

Now enters, Rhodium Weekend.

Right about the time I started thinking about selling, I was planning to attend Rhodium Weekend in October 2015.  Rhodium primarily is geared towards people interested in buying and selling web properties.  I’ve attended a couple of times and its a great conference run by Chris Yates.

Chris is someone that has bought and sold lots of web properties and is well experienced in the area.  I reached out to him privately before the conference and simply said, “Hey, I’m thinking about possibly selling Long Tail Pro someday…any advice?”

One thing led to another, and Chris eventually invited me to share some details about Long Tail Pro at the conference in front of a few web brokers for a mock valuation session.

I think it was a really good experience getting valuation advice at the conference from David Newell at FE International, Mark Daoust at Quiet Light Brokerage, and the guys at Flippa.com.

Again, this was a “mock” valuation session, and I still really had no intention of selling the company.  However, after the conference I started getting people contacting me saying they were interested in buying my company!

In particular, 2 potential buyers were very interested and wanted to talk numbers.  One of the potential buyers (the one that eventually bought the company), hadn’t even attended the conference, but had heard through the grapevine that I might be selling.

I still hadn’t really decided to sell the company and had never officially listed it for sale anywhere.  However, as I discussed details with the group that eventually ended up buying the company, the more I warmed up to the idea.

The Process of Selling the Company

One of the main reasons I went from being unsure about selling the company to feeling confident about selling the company was due to the potential buyers.  I had known the potential buyer for over 3 years and we had done many business transactions in the past.

This was a close online business associate that I was confident would take good care of my company.  As he shared more details about his ideas for growing the company, I could see that we were on the same page and this pushed me over the edge about finally letting go of my company that I had built from the ground up.

Here’s some of the strategies that I wanted to implement before selling Long Tail Pro:

  • Take the business to a full SaaS model (make all plans monthly or annual rather than one-time payments)
  • Transition from a desktop application to a full online tool
  • Improve/Add rank tracking
  • Add additional features/tools to help content marketers (I had several ideas here)

After discussing these points with the potential buyers, these were the exact strategies that they saw to improve the business as well.  Knowing that they shared the same strategic outlook that I did, really made me more comfortable with the sale.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the process involved when selling the company:

  • I had to gather 3 years of detailed financials – profit and loss statements primarily
  • I went back and gathered even more statistics until they were completely satisfied
  • They proposed a purchase price and we negotiated price and other details (selling financing, remaining ownership, etc).
  • A Letter of Intent (LOI) was drafted and signed (with the help of attorneys)
  • I provided logins or screenshots to various pieces of the business to help the potential buyers with their due diligence
  • They continued their due diligence for about a month, and I answered LOTS of questions
  • After they were satisfied with due diligence, a purchase agreement was drafted
  • We spent weeks going back and forth with attorneys and each other to negotiate/edit each point of the purchase agreement and other documents
  • On Feb 1st, 2016 the purchase agreement and other documents were signed and the agreed upon portion of the funds were transferred to my bank account (woohoo!)
  • The buyer is actually a private equity group with 15 total investors

I have to admit that I was sick of talking to my attorney and accountant after this period of time, but obviously these are critical components to selling the company.  There are lots of legal and tax implications and I wanted to make sure that I had advisors looking out for my best interests.

I was very happy with the transaction, and I know that the buyers were as well.

A Few Other Details About the Sale

The final sales price was based on a multiple of trailing 12 months net income (i.e. The average net income over the most recent 12 months).  I feel like I got a very good multiple.  I had talked to the brokers at FEinternational, Quiet Light Brokerage, and had viewed sale history of other similar companies, so I know the price I received was very competitive.

In addition, what really made me happy about the deal was that I was able to keep 20% ownership of the company.  So, I sold 80% of the company, but get to keep 20% on a more passive basis going forward.

I felt like this was important for me because I still believe in Long Tail Pro and see tons of growth potential.  This allows me to hand off the day to day operations to someone else, but still enjoy some of the potential upside.

I was paid approximately 2/3 of the funds upfront and will receive about 1/3 over the next 2 years.  It’s now been almost 7 months since we closed the deal, and I’ve received the first couple of seller financing payments for that final 1/3 on time and am very confident that will continue for the next year and a half until I’m fully paid that final portion.

In addition, I still own 20% of the company, so I continue to get dividend payments on a regular basis for that remaining ownership percentage (on top of my seller financing payments).  Then of course, if the new buyers decide to ever sell the company after they take it to a new level, I will get 20% of that future exit.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the deal.

My Role at Long Tail Pro

So, you may be wondering how involved I am with the day to day operations of Long Tail Pro.  The truth is that I am no longer involved very much in the day to day operations of the company.

For the first few months, there was certainly a transition period.  However, the new team was able to take over the reigns fairly quickly.  A big reason for the quick transition is because I had automated most of the business already.  So, the fact that I was stepping away didn’t make a huge difference since all the sales, marketing emails, and many other details were already happening on an automated basis.

As part of the deal, the new team wanted full control over the company.  And this is the way it should be, the new team has their own vision and goals and is in full control of Long Tail Pro.  I still offer strategic advice when asked or may point certain things that I notice in the business, but in general, I’m no longer operating the company.

So, this is the reason you won’t see me in the Long Tail Pro Facebook group answering questions or answering support tickets.  This actually is very smart in business terms anyway.  A company is much more valuable if the original owner is not the sole face of the company.

Long Tail Pro is more valuable if it is not dependent on my reputation.  As a result, I am no longer involved in the day to day operations of the company.

What now?

As mentioned, I no longer have any major responsibilities at Long Tail Pro.  I do have some ongoing commitments related to blogging and mentioning Long Tail Pro on NichePursuits.com, but these are very minor in terms of time.

Right now I am mainly focusing on creating and launching physical products to sell on Amazon.  I’ve shared some of my income reports from my Amazon FBA business in the past, and I’m still very bullish on the potential here.

I’ve launched several products on Amazon since selling Long Tail Pro and expect to launch several more before the end of this year.

In addition, I continue to grow my affiliate website portfolio and have invested in a few sites.  I still really enjoy seeing these websites climb the ranks in Google.

And finally, I am starting to get the itch again to start a new software company.  I wanted to take a bit of a break after selling Long Tail Pro before diving right into another software project.  So, now that it’s been about 7 months, I feel like maybe I should start the process once again with a new product that is exciting to me.

In fact, last week, I just spent a few hours talking to my developer that helped me build Long Tail Pro and discussed a new potential software idea with him.  This idea may or may not come to fruition, but I definitely see myself getting back into the software game in the next 12 months.

I just feel like I’ve learned SO much in running my first ever software company, that it would almost be a waste of all that education to not start and run another software company.

Or maybe I should just take a few extra months off and enjoy the time with my wife and 4 kids!?

Either way, I really like the options exiting my software company has provided me.

I truly hope that some of you out there reading can learn a bit from my experience and feel inspired to go out and create something great that can provide you with lots of amazing options.

Yes! I Love to Learn

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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131 Comments for this Post

  1. Mark Mason

    Mark Mason

    Dude;

    This is fantastic news. Congratulations. Really happy for you.

    Mark

  2. Michael O

    Michael O

    Hey Spencer – Congrats on closing this deal and this chapter of your life! I sure have appreciated following you and Niche Pursuits and I continue to learn so much. Thanks for being such a great teacher for so many us! Best of luck moving forward and I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

  3. Remi

    Remi

    Congratulation Spencer !
    I love this kind of “success story” – You really deserve it !
    Are you already thinking about a new software or do you prefer focusing on FBA and niche sites only ?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Remi. I discuss my plans in the “What Now?” section.

      • Mohammad Umair

        Mohammad Umair

        And where’s the “What’s Next “section?

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Haha, really? Its the big bold header at the end that says, “What Now”.

  4. Gavin Jackson

    Gavin Jackson

    Congrats on the sale! Thanks for sharing and this is definitely motivating.

  5. Ben

    Ben

    Been using LTP for years. Still going strong with it. So congratulations! You should consider starting a SAAS app for ecommerce/Amazon. Blowing up right now. I’m sure I could help you brainstorm some ideas on the Amazon front.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Agreed, ecommerce/Amazon is ripe opportunity for software entrepreneurs.

  6. Theodore Nwangene

    Theodore Nwangene

    This is great Spencer,

    Congrats on the successful transaction, hope you won’t mind sharingt the proceeds with us 🙂

    Now, what I wanted to find out is if the sell is in anyway going to affect us the users?

    And also, if after the new features is added, are we also going to start making the monthly/yearly payments before we can use the software? I mean we old users.

    Finally, do you have any product that teaches more about your FBA business strategies? Any resources?

    Thanks and good luck with every other thing you’ll be getting into.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The sale happened 7 months ago, so any impact on existing users would have already happened (should have been little to no impact).

      I don’t have any product that teaches FBA, just my free blog posts and podcasts. Enjoy 🙂

      • Theodore Nwangene

        Theodore Nwangene

        Thanks a lot for the reply Spencer,

        Is your internship still on going? Can one still join now?

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          I am not involved in the authority machine internships anymore.

  7. Will

    Will

    Great read Spencer.

    Just wondering, what sort of cost was associated with that of the accountant and lawyer?

    Also, if you could divulge on the tax implications of such a deal?

    I find it really bizarre that so many entrepreneurs, especially those like us who focus on affiliate marketing and the industry surrounding it, talk very little about tax and how best to deal with each situation.

    I’d be really keen to read about how this all worked out including the costs of the accountant/lawyer as well as the tax implications from the initial sum as well as the monthly financial payouts and of course how the dividends would work from a tax perspective.

    I appreciate some of the finer details will be way to confidential and personal to your business, however just at a broader scale it would be massively beneficial.

    Thanks,
    Will.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Will.

      Costs can vary on your accountant and attorney, and how much time a deal can take. I spent roughly $20k on attorney and accountant fees to get the deal done.

      Tax implications vary by country and type of business sale, and more. I did an asset sale to try and take advantage of the lower capital gains tax rate as much as possible. Honestly, the reason we don’t talk about these things much is because I don’t want to give bad advice…I’m not an attorney or accountant, so everyone should seek out their own advice.

      Perhaps I should do a podcast or allow a guest post from a tax attorney or accountant at some point…

      • Will

        Will

        Thanks for the reply Spencer.

        Very interesting, I think a podcast or a guest post would be absolutely fantastic, I realise it’s like opening pandora’s box when talking about tax, since your audience are international and laws and regulations change all the time.

        However, I think a lot of entrepreneurs, especially those who are just starting to generate a decent income and have assets worth a few thousand upwards would probably really benefit from understanding, even the basics of options available…

        Even if it were just primarily focused towards the US audience, interestingly you could have a series of guest posts for the top 3 or top 5 countries (based on GA) so an accountant from the US, UK e.t.c

        Anyways, congratulations again – and look forward to seeing a podcast/guest post at some point in the future 🙂

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          Yep, I agree…its a good topic.

  8. Praveen Ravindran

    Praveen Ravindran

    Congratulation Spencer !

    Transparency was the key highlight of your blog, besides the informative articles. Wishing you the very best for your future endeavours.

  9. Alex

    Alex

    So you gonna disappear to a tropical island in the pacific now? Because that’s what I would do lol.
    Congrats man that is insane and what most people can only dream of

  10. satish reddy

    satish reddy

    Inspiring post Spencer!!

    Congrats on sale 🙂

    Let come back with a new product

  11. Cuong Nguyen

    Cuong Nguyen

    Congrats Spencer! Thanks for your information and email from amazing software.

  12. Chris

    Chris

    Congrats Spencer! Slapping an arbitrary 10x multiple on the 2014-15 profit range from the graph, I’d be thinking about retirement myself. 😉 Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Chris. It wasn’t 10x, but it was a nice amount based on 2015 profits.

  13. Michael Lofton

    Michael Lofton

    Congrats, Spencer!
    Most good businesses start with the idea of eventually selling at a profit… and it’s great that you retained a portion of LTP… this will at least keep you connected to your creation.
    I’m assuming as a part of the negotiations that us common folk, which were early adopters and supporters of you, will retain their original (lower) monthly fee in place… eh(?)
    Stay Well !
    -M.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Correct, nothing changes for customers locked in at the lower monthly rate. Thanks!

  14. Gagan Masoun

    Gagan Masoun

    Hey Spencer!

    I am happy for your success. LTP is really an awesome software. Good luck for your future business.

    ~Gagan

  15. Rinkesh Kukreja

    Rinkesh Kukreja

    Congratulations Spencer!

    Wishing you the very best for your future endeavours.

  16. Vince

    Vince

    Congrats on the sale Spencer. LTP was (and still is) and incredible product. Support has been great over the years as I’ve needed minor help. Happy for you and the family. Proof that having a great product with great support is of equally great value.

  17. David Robinson

    David Robinson

    Thanks for the education you have given me and helping me to make the “first step” into this business! I am truley grateful and inspired! Congrats to you!
    Oh and take the extra time off with the family!

  18. Naveen Kulkarni

    Naveen Kulkarni

    This is a major announcement indeed. Long Tail Pro without Spencer Haws is something difficult to imagine. Again, if it’s in the best interest of buyer and seller then it’s all good !

    Good luck Spencer on your next venture and I am sure you will keep inspiring people all over the world !

  19. Wayne

    Wayne

    Spencer, great read and nice to see the earnings graph. I think you hit the nail on the head with LTP adding value. All too often I think web marketing can be quite superficial – I think creating a true value add is the secret. I look forward to future updates!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Its all about value. And the truth is that there are TONS of ideas that will add value to end users. Its just a matter of finding a solution that the market actually will pay for, then building a quality solution and marketing it properly.

  20. Shannon

    Shannon

    Thanks for the motivating read, Spencer. I appreciate that you shared some real numbers!

  21. Muhammad Imran

    Muhammad Imran

    Congrats Spencer, thank for sharing the real insight of selling LTP. I hope will get the same service from new company as you had provided. Using it for a long time.
    Thanks

  22. Jonathan

    Jonathan

    Thank you for sharing your journey in detail. Good luck.

  23. Toni

    Toni

    Hi – I’ve read your post with great interest. Not only am I happy for you and your success, it does provide a glimmer of hope to those of us who do have “other” ideas. I, too, have had an idea for a very long time now, but I have no idea how to go about “making it a reality.” I am not a programmer either… though I do know some html… I also remember the old days of having even a web developer holding domains hostage, never mind the site’s entire code. And, yes, that is one of the major things that stops me from even discussing things with a developer. I simply don’t trust them…

    In any case, I will read your other posts regarding the developer and how you hired one, etc., but, in the meantime, I wish you continued success no matter what you choose to do next. It’s a nice “success story,” and it’s “all good!”

    Good Luck!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Toni, I agree that it requires you to give up some control and have some trust to let others code something for you. But its really the only option when you are not a coder.

  24. Zeus

    Zeus

    Congratulations.
    Did you protect us to require the new ownership to honor the contractual commitments we had with you or were you silent or gave it away.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Zeus:
      Any deal you got when you bought Long Tail Pro remains the same. Remember, I sold the company 7 months ago, so you likely didn’t even notice.

  25. Dennies John

    Dennies John

    Hey Spencer,

    Congrats ! Keeping moving.

  26. Anil Pai

    Anil Pai

    Inspiring story about need assessment to fulfilling the need in blogging sphere. This also teaches us about business management vis a vis emotions management. Taking a decision to depart from a business which you developed like a child needs a great courage. Definitely there are some more fantastic things yet to be come.

    Best wishes for your future endeavors dear Mr.Spencer.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thank you Mr Anil for the kind words

  27. Eric

    Eric

    I think you should definitely start another software business, AND take the next four months off to be with your kids.

    Following a very busy (and lucrative) 2015, I’ve decided to take the majority of 2016 off and use the time to invest in various relationships and things that really matter in the long run. But in the midst of this “time off,” I’ve learned so many lessons and picked up new skills and seen new perspectives that I would never have been exposed to had I just kept on grinding away at the existing business.

    Now, with all sorts of new insights and skills, I’m eager to jump back into new endeavors — hopefully better than ever. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Great advice Eric. I think there is a lot to be said from taking a step back, focusing on something else, and then coming back.

  28. Edgar

    Edgar

    Congrats on the seller. You a millionaire now, my goal one day.

  29. Walt Bayliss

    Walt Bayliss

    Hi Spencer! Well done on an awesome journey.
    I always love that as entrepreneurs we get to think of something, create that something and generate income from that something – and then in the end, that something has a huge value because of the sales made. Terrific stuff. really cool story and congratulations!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Totally. Pretty amazing deal.

  30. KimP

    KimP

    Woooow, Spencer! Great job! Being able to retain 20% of the company was an amazing deal!

  31. Ralph

    Ralph

    Hi Spencer,

    That is some amazing news.
    I’ve been using LTP from the start and was even promoting it on my own website LTP Review.com (Not live anymore)

    Such a great success and business you have been able to create which is great to hear and be apart of (sort of)

    Best of luck and look forward hearing from you in the future.

    Ralph

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks for supporting Long Tail Pro for such a long time, Ralph!

  32. A Iqbal

    A Iqbal

    Congratulations Spencer!
    This is fantastic news. I am Really happy for you.
    Are you really thinking about launching new software product ?
    Good luck

  33. Marc

    Marc

    Spencer,
    I learned a lot from you and now make a couple hundreds per month in extra cash thanks to your advice. You provided us with great content and a great tool. I’m very happy for you. I have to say though that I’m sad you sold… customer service is so so so far and I know it’s cool for owners to sell subscriptions instead of selling it for a one time fee and I know it’s a new trend online but it’s really a trend I don’t like as a customer… Anyways. I’m very happy for you. Many thanks and congrats !!!

  34. Karl Kangur

    Karl Kangur

    Awesome!

    Had the pleasure of meeting one of the new owners and hearing about the future plans – definitely sounds like a win-win-win deal!

    I know you consulted with a variety of brokers but which one did you use to do the actual deal, or was it done privately?

    I’ve used FE International as well to sell a few of my projects and it was definitely a huge difference, compared to using say Flippa.

    If it’s not a secret – what was the multiple you sold it for and is there an earn-out?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The deal was done privately – without an outside broker. Contact me privately for any additional details.

  35. dave

    dave

    Congratulations Spencer. Look forward to following your next adventures.

  36. Gautam

    Gautam

    Congrats Spencer in this “Big Deal”…. It really is:)
    So, off to the next one , Ha!
    Start some product/software cashing in on the IOT craze…
    Check out how IOT & Big Data is integrating and how a product/platform like “Neura” can provide a service via API to anyone that wants to use the data+AI in their products & services in a meaningful way!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx-FnQ_rcXg

    Cheers!

  37. Satheesh kumar

    Satheesh kumar

    Hey spencer,

    Congratulations first of all.

    But it’s like missing our friendly neighbourhood. The success of your software company is fully dependent on your friendly nature. Now it feels like Longtail Pro as a new software.

    We are hoping for the best from the new one.

  38. Hector

    Hector

    Congratulations Spencer!

    Add me to the “scared newbie” column. Hope the new owners continue to do a great job with LTP. Also, if you were to put all those years of knowledge creating/running/selling a software company into a web based training.. I’d definitely buy it.

  39. Haryana Police

    Haryana Police

    Awesome journey so far…

  40. Saeed

    Saeed

    Hi Spencer,

    Many congratulation on such a successful buisness deal.Best of luck for your future endeavors.

    I want to ask that when you were the owner you offered a life time membership option which i think should be offered one last time before migrating to new plan.Long Tail Pro Users who had bought the software @ USD 97 and were paying USD 27 per month on as per need basis have no edge over the new users.As you are still 20 percent owner of the business so it is requested to please give old users who already owned and purchased the basic software one time life time license offer or discounted price.

    Thanks in anticipation

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’ll put a good word in for existing users.

      • Saeed

        Saeed

        Spencer thanks for your response.Now can we expect that one last time life time subscription option for old users of long tail pro who purchase the product license will be given?
        Because when old users like me purchased the product licencse 2 types of options were existing USD 97 for the license fee and then USD 27 per month for using platinum feature and second option was USD 297 for lifetime purcahse.News users are exposed to new pricing structure and have the benefit of no one time license fee (USD 97) but directly they can use the software @ USD 37.
        Also no such information was provided to existing users before migrating to new plan.It is requested to give same life time option one time to existing subscribers.

        Once again congratulations on such a successful deal and wish you all the best for future projects.

        • Spencer Haws

          Spencer Haws

          The old pricing is never coming back, just to be clear. However, if you bought the one time (lifetime) license at $97, you still have lifetime access to the original version of the software you bought. However, if you want the new/upgraded features (like KC scores), you need to buy into a new plan. If you still have questions, contact me or Long tail pro support at longtailpro com / support

        • Saeed

          Saeed

          Hi Spencer,

          I have contacted you through Contact page in this website.
          I will be thankful if you can see my query there and reply.

          Regards

  41. Ted Chang

    Ted Chang

    Good luck Spencer, actually I am happy to see you sold LTP , you should have more time to write amazon FBA post now 🙂

    expecting your post regarding how you find products!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Haha, you are right, I should have more time to discuss FBA. Anyone else interested in hearing more?

  42. Sojib Rahman

    Sojib Rahman

    Congratulation Spencer for making this big deal. Hope very soon we will get something cool from you ! Best Of Luck !

  43. Roshan Ruzaik

    Roshan Ruzaik

    Hi and congratulation for your deal!

    I myself is a LTP user and I’m very happy about the product.

    So now you are looking for a new adventure? Well now you know all In and outs of Amazon related money making strategies…

    Why not take a look at other similar sites… such as eBay or Alibaba?

    Why not show us how to build up a business around these sites..?

    Just my opinion…

    Thanks

    Roshan

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Good opinion…thanks Roshan.

  44. Sivakumar Kannan

    Sivakumar Kannan

    Congrats Spencer! The success story and the way you told it is very inspiring. It’s a major breakthrough in your life and I can understand how you feel when you offload such a major responsibility.

  45. George

    George

    Hi Spencer, what a feat! This is an inspiring move. It definitely proves that with determination and focus one can achieve ones desires. Good luck in your future endeavours.

  46. David Huby

    David Huby

    I use Long Tail Pro on a regular basis and you have built a great tool. Congratulations on the sale and i look forward to reading about your new software company over the next 12 months.

  47. Jiri

    Jiri

    Great post and congrats!!

  48. Alan

    Alan

    Nice update Spencer. It was very insightful for someone like myself who may try to get into software in the future.

    If/when you decide to create a new software program it would be great to have a case study on it.

    I know you said you might already have a software idea in mind but it would be really beneficial to see how it is that you decide on a software to build.

    Kind of like doing a “niche site project 1.0” but for your new software.

    Would love to see that

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, interesting idea. Thanks Alan!

  49. Noor Muhammad

    Noor Muhammad

    Hey Spencer,
    I use LTP on a regular basis to search for new profitable kws and you have built a great tool seriously. However, I have a question mate :

    1 – I’ve found a niche with low competition and good CPC . but the thing is the while doing competition analysis. I observed that most of the sites that are in the top 10 serps ranking are small ecommerce site selling their own product or sites like niche specific classified ad site with low and thin content. What are your suggestions ? Should I go for such keywords ?

    Thanks

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I typically avoid going into ecommerce type keywords (lots of ecommerce sites ranking)…unless I have an ecommerce site

  50. Rene

    Rene

    Thank you for the great insights and congrats on your success with LTP!

    As a software engineer it’s inspiring to see that it’s still possible to make money with a software product/Desktop solution.

    Is there any timeframe for the online/cloud version of LTP?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I keep thinking its going to be released any day now. I really think 2 weeks from now is a possibility.

  51. Stella

    Stella

    Excellent! LTP is a great software. I’m glad you got rewarded for that in multiple, and that you will keep a minority share in the future of the tool.

  52. Steve

    Steve

    Hi Spencer,

    Thanks for the read. Very enlightening.
    May I ask, what type of document do you sign with a developer in order to clarify that the software that he/she will write, will be your property?

    Thank you.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Everything should be written out and discussed in detail before the job (including who owns the code, etc). My original contract was through Elance believe it or not, and they provided some standard docs/procedures.

      • Steve

        Steve

        I see. Thank you for your reply.

        So you used those same pre-formatted documents to sign your 2nd deal too?

        Thanks again

  53. Vishnu Sahasranamam

    Vishnu Sahasranamam

    Thanks for the tips
    very helpful at all for me..

  54. Christoffer Jensen

    Christoffer Jensen

    Hey Spencer
    A big congratulations on the successful sale!
    What an amazing story! Imagine for a second that you had stayed with your job in 2011 – mind blowing right?

    I have enjoyed following you and your journey since I first came across your blog back in aug of 2012, and appreciate your openness!

    Ideas:
    1) Book – my journey from corp america to business owner and financial freedom or Building an online empire
    2) Software project no 2 – invite your readers to participate and select 2-5 that will enter a mastermind group with you – and let the readers follow the progress – from brainstorming to hiring a coder, to beta testing, to “how to reach out to get sales” (I know you wrote a post on this – but would be great to tag along). And then those that are not part of the Mastermind group could be added to a forum/FB group and can then follow along and develop and ask each other for help.
    3) Take some time off – reload – then come back full force with a new product

    All the best
    Chris

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Christoffer for following along! I’ve enjoyed the comments and emails we’ve exchanged over the years.

      I like your ideas, especially number 2. Not sure I’ll ever write a book…

  55. arefin

    arefin

    Thank you so much for great post. The post very helpful for me.

  56. Andrew

    Andrew

    Spencer, congratulations! That’s great news. I’m just getting started with LTP, so I don’t have a huge history with your company or the product. However, so far so good and its great to see hard work pay off. Very inspirational!

  57. Hopeton

    Hopeton

    Hello Spencer, Google officially throttled Keyword Planner data for low spending AdWords accounts. Therefore if you are a free user of the tool or you do not spend a substantial amount on ads you will not get any search results when using the tool.
    This is going to cause problems for those using longTailPro .
    What are your opinion on this matter?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      We’ve anticipated that as a possibility for a long time, so we have alternative solutions. We hope the impact will be minimal for users.

      • Mark G.

        Mark G.

        I hope there is a good way to deal that issue, but unfortunately there are other problems with the Google keyword tool, such as the grouping together of similar keywords and combining them into one “result”.

  58. Nigel

    Nigel

    Congrats on your success, many more to come.
    Just landed on your Niche Project 3.0, following it diligently and love the content and advice being shared by your team.

    Putting all your advice into practice, starting from Keyword Research…
    Kudos

  59. Amandeep Singh

    Amandeep Singh

    Hey Spencer, big news so far on NichePursuits indeed!

    All the best for all your future endeavours – keep inspiring! One question though, when LTP moved to Moz for ranking metrics, there was a mention of Web version of LTB; do you know what are the plans for it. I believe with 20% still in the company you would be involved in brainstorming of its implementation?

    Cheers
    Aman

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      The web based version may be released in the next week!

      • Amandeep Singh

        Amandeep Singh

        Thanks Spencer – looking forward to it!

  60. Perrin Carrell

    Perrin Carrell

    I remember the phone call when you told us. Was pretty exciting stuff. Happy for you, brother!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Perrin! You were along for alot of the LTP ride as well. Thanks again…

  61. Top American

    Top American

    Spencer Haws and Long Tail Pro are almost synonymous, but now that has changed… for the better, for Spencer and also Long Tail Pro, but it has left a gap somewhere. Await your next wonderful product Spencer, will certainly give it a shot.

  62. Nicolas

    Nicolas

    Congrats Scott! Great motivation for all of us! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  63. Ben Wee

    Ben Wee

    Congrats and great arguments.

  64. Mark

    Mark

    Spencer, it seems like you got out at just the right time and made your money? Seeing as Google has basically stopped giving access to their free keyword tool. I own the FULL lifetime license $290+ I think is was. Now Longtail Pro is useless due to the restrictions that Google has put in place. Do you know what the future plans are for Longtail Pro to get around this issue that I’m sure everyone is facing? Or can you get some feedback from the new owners?

    • Dan

      Dan

      Mark,

      I ditto what you are saying. All of the keyword volume data the system is stating is completely way off, false and misleading. They are pulling these numbers now from 3rd party sources, which we all know are directional, but in many cases in left field! I just signed up and will probably be cancelling because I can’t trust or rely on their data. What a shame, because before it was such a great tool.

      • Adriana

        Adriana

        After the shift from MOZ to Majestic SEO and this issue with Google, LTP is useless. Many promises (on FB Group) but – as a matter of fact – it is better to move over to something else and do not “wait and pray” for LTP to become useful anytime soon. Just my 2 cents

  65. Parvinder

    Parvinder

    Hi,

    I am interested in buying Longtail Pro but cant afford the annual plan. Is it effective without access to Long Tail University ?

  66. Jason

    Jason

    You got out at such a right time. The new owners must be kicking themselves. The tool is pretty much useless now with Google throttling the data. I own a copy and it does nothing, no data….nothing. Building niches sites are going to be harder now without Google keyword tool.

  67. BCKwebsolutions

    BCKwebsolutions

    Great article. Highly recommend LTP for anyone needing a keyword research tool, especially after the recent update to Google keyword planner which no longer shows precise searches per month (incredibly annoying!). Any more projects down the line Spencer ?

    Brad

  68. Cook

    Cook

    Congratulations.

  69. salman

    salman

    Hi

    Great decision. Your idea about the software that you might launch is seo related?

    Thanks

  70. Rebecca

    Rebecca

    Congrats! This is really inspiring. I’ve been a long time fan and I’ve been using Longtail Pro for about a year now. Love the software, unfortunately do not feel the same about support. It was slow and has not been helpful at all. If the software wasn’t so great I would consider cancelling after my experience.

  71. José O. Tasos

    José O. Tasos

    Congratulation Spencer for making this big deal. Hope very soon we will get something cool from you ! Best Of Luck !

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