I Just Sold My Pinterest Site! Income Report and Lessons Learned

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I Just Sold My Pinterest Site!  Income Report and Lessons Learned

I began 2014 with several goals, including a goal to spend $25k on buying sites.  I accomplished that goal earlier this year as reported here.

However, the real goal I suppose is to get some of that money back now!

If you have been following along with my buying and selling websites case study this year, you will know that I’ve purchased 4 sites total.  I’m now happy to report that I recently sold one of those sites!

Today I want to jump into my journey with this site, why I sold it, and how much money I made.  In addition, I throw in a few lessons that I’ve learned along the way.

1 site down, 3 to go.

Let’s do this.

A Quick Background on This Pinterest Site

I bought a website on Flippa back in January of this year for $2,100.  The main reason I bought this site (and others) was to learn the ropes with a smaller site, so I could then move up the value chain and potentially purchase larger sites.

The site I purchased is in the crafting niche and gets most of its traffic from Pinterest.  Out of respect for the new owner, I will not be revealing the domain.

The site was monetized with Media.net (and a other smaller networks) because the site was banned from Google Adsense before I bought it.  (I knew it was banned before I bought it, and you can read my discussion with Google Adsense here).

The site also never performed well in Google.  Most of the content is curated and not very unique.  As a result, the site never got any traffic from Google.

We attempted writing original content for a brief period, but we saw no results…no love from Google.  Instead, I decided to just double down on the Pinterest marketing and let it ride.

Basically, I hired a guy for very cheap to curate content and pictures, and then to pin those images on Pinterest.

The site regularly got 2k to 3k visitors a day.  In fact, here’s a Google Analytics screenshot:

pinall

The traffic has remained fairly constant for the most part, and so has the earnings.

In my last income report, I shared that the site had made a total of $2,050.87 through the end of September.  I’ll jump more into the numbers you want to see below.

Overall, I just didn’t feel good about putting a ton more effort into such a low earning site.  I wasn’t seeing a huge increase in earnings and so I felt like I had learned my lesson and wanted to just sell it off.  So, I did!

How I Sold the Site…and How Much

It should come as no surprise that I decided to sell the site through the Empire Flippers Marketplace.  I’ve sold one other site previously through their marketplace and I got full asking price in under 24 hours.

The process was very smooth with my second site as well.

Basically, the Empire Flippers ask for income data and screenshots over the past 90 days, access to Google analytics, and ask a few other questions.  Once they manually review the site, they get it up and listed for 20 times monthly earnings.

So, after calculating all income and expenses, my Pinterest site was listed for $4,221.

I had several people interested in buying the site right away, and answered a few questions from potential buyers.  After only a couple of days, the site was sold!

After fees and everything, my take home amount was $3,587.35.  I was very happy with that price!

The Empire Flippers also make the post sale very easy.  They transfer the site for you and take care of everything!  I just had to answer a couple of short emails and basically wait for my wire transfer to come in (a couple of days).

I’ve now had 2 successful site sales through the Empire Flippers and I plan on doing more in the future.  The process is fairly easy and the service is great.  And at the end of the day, both of my sites have sold quickly for full asking prices, so it works.

Did I Make Any Money?

Now I want to share the income and expenses from this site and determine what the actual net income from this site was.

First, let me share what the earnings and traffic has been like since my last income report.

earningsfinal

As you can see the income for October was up a bit, and November was shaping up to be a great month as well.  The site was sold during November, so these are only partial numbers for the month.

Now for the big reveal, let’s look at the cumulative earnings and traffic stats for the entire time that I owned the site!

pinfinal

In total, the site earned $2,517.43 while I owned it.  This is more than the $2,100 that it cost me to buy the site…so I was already doing pretty well before I sold it!

So, when you take into account my cumulative earnings AND the income I generated from the sale, my total revenue for this site was: $6,738.43.  Not bad for a little side project.

However, as you know there’s more to the equation than just revenue.  Let’s take a look at the expenses.

In fact, I broke down all the income and expenses in a nice little income statement.

Here’s the income statement:

netincome1

After the cost to purchase the site, virtual assistant cost (content curation and pinning images), and selling fees…my total net income is $3,698.98.  It’s always nice to come out on the right side of that equation.

I’m super happy that I was able to earn a little bit of money with this site, and it’s moved me further along the process of becoming even better at buying and selling sites.

Now, I can already hear a few of you saying, “But that’s not your true income…what about your time costs??”

Yes, I had to put in some of my own time.  If I were to guess, I would say I put somewhere around 10 to 15 hours of my own time.  Perrin probably put in 20 to 30 hours.  So, at the high end Perrin and I put around 45 hours of work into this site.  That’s feels high to me, but let’s go with 45 hours.

If we divide $3,698.98 by 45 hours, that will give us how much money we earned for each hour of work.  That calculation shows that Perrin and I earned $82.20 per hour.

Last time I checked the real world, that’s a pretty decent hourly wage.

Overall, I’m happy with the little bit of money made, but more importantly I learned a couple of valuable lessons.

Lessons Learned

First, I learned that the amount of time required on a small site vs. a medium sized site is not much different.  Because this site was never a big earner, I never wanted to put a significant amount of time into it.

In addition, little tweaks like changing the theme and ad layouts took just as much time on small site like this as it would on a larger site.  In other words, my time would have been better spent if I was working on a site that had more significant revenue.

Second, I learned that it’s difficult to scale in areas that you are not familiar with.  I’ve never owned a site that got most of its traffic from Pinterest before.  I had never pinned an image in my life!

As a result, I found it difficult to learn Pinterest marketing quickly and effectively enough to make a big impact on this site.  I hired a VA to do all the pinning for me, and that seemed to keep the traffic at least steady.  However, any significant growth in traffic would have required a much greater effort on my part.

Now I know that I should stick with the types of sites that I’m more familiar with.  In addition, I’ll focus on sites with higher revenues.

Your Thoughts

I do have 3 other sites that I purchased this year.  I may sell off another one before the end of the year; I’m not sure.

However, my experience so far with buying and selling sites is encouraging!  Despite a couple of setbacks (like getting hit with the PBN update), I still feel like I’m going to turn a profit overall.

I’ll keep you posted as I decide to sell any additional sites.

As always, I’d love to hear any thoughts or questions that you guys have in regards to this site or anything else.

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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62 Comments for this Post

  1. Taylor Hendricksen

    Taylor Hendricksen

    Great to hear that sold for a solid ROI! It just shows the power of the flipping model, and huge potential for gains with the 20x monthly multiplier. Curious to see how well the other sites will sell on the marketplace. Empire Flippers really do a great job.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Taylor! I agree that there is a lot of potential with this business model.

  2. Will

    Will

    Very good to see a Flipping case study closed, from start to finish.

    One thing I wonder though, with everything being laid out in the open on this site regarding the Pinterest website as well as all your opinions – from the investor/buyers point of view, do you know what there thoughts are for growing the website?

    Since it’s Pinterest traffic only, is the simple calculation of more curated content, more pins = more traffic or not?

    Thanks!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I didn’t get the buyers entire plan; however, it sounded like he was happy to just maintain the site rather than aggressive growth. I think he is just looking for the more passive income.

      Yes, that’s basically the traffic formula for the site.

  3. Phil

    Phil

    hey Spencer,

    congrats on that sale. I think it was the right decision to shift focus and move on to more exciting projects.

    Thanks for sharing, I’m looking forwards to the matching podcast episode!

  4. Oloyede Jamiu

    Oloyede Jamiu

    Hi Spencer and Perrin,

    Congrats on the purchase of the pineterest site.

    I followed the site right from the first time you purchased it.

    I can see you make some total profits from the whole deal.

    Take care and have a nice day ahead.

  5. Simon

    Simon

    Congrats on the sale of the site! You have inspiret me to use more time on getting traffic from Pinterest – as it seems like, there is a lot of possibilies there!

    Wish you all the best luck with your futher project!

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      There definitely are alot of possibilites with Pinterest. It takes some time to learn, but very possible.

  6. Magnus from iLoveDividends.con

    Magnus from iLoveDividends.con

    Congrats! Im in a simular situation. Last 2 years I have been investing in several sites – but only in my ring of knowledge 🙂

    Regards
    Magnus from Sweden

  7. Mike

    Mike

    I think the Pinterest site could’ve been improved, such so you could see more traffic. But I think posting just plain more articles, and strap whatever quasi-worthy DIY pic your guy could find…won’t cut it. I saw the website, and I think another approach was necessary to see tasty improvements.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Sure it could have been improved, but deciding where I should focus my time is important. I focused on other activities that brought in a higher return (other websites).

  8. Sachin

    Sachin

    Ohh…you sold it!

    I am building a site in a market that have proven potential to generate flood of traffic from Pinterest & was looking to buy your site. Any way site is gone from my hands now 🙁

    But this site proves the point that even social traffic can brings money if done right! (This is a good lesson to build an authority site – Get massive followers on social media).

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, its gone! I agree that it does prove that social media traffic along can be monetized.

  9. Walt

    Walt

    It’s a good thing you sold that site since you wasn’t seeing much improvement. Now you can spend your time working on a project that provides a hire ROI.

  10. Jon

    Jon

    Definitely a decent success.

    I was surprised you bought that Pinterest traffic site. I’m also surprised you managed to keep traffic flowing as well as you did over the months. While I don’t mind Pinterest as one source of traffic, I wouldn’t want it as my primary source.

    I do a fair amount on Pinterest but I find the RPM from Pinterest traffic is much lower than organic search, Facebook and native advertising. It’s very odd. FYI I monetize with display ads.

    I think one very interesting conclusion from this project is how well Media.net can
    perform. I love Media.net which earns me $325 to $450 per day. It’s mot as lucrative as Adsense, but it’s a solid earner.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yes, traffic from Pinterest is not extremely valuable. And I agree that Media.net can actually be pretty decent.

  11. Frank Edens

    Frank Edens

    Curated or not, it is traffic and traffic is ALWAYS important. You just need to change what the market needs 🙂 Good job Spencer.

    PS : For years i’ve been following you, and seeing that cool ‘excel’ screenshots of statistics. Is it possible that you can share those sheets WITHOUT the real stats inside? I’ve been looking for something to track this for 2015 and beyond…

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Frank! The spreadsheets are fairly simple to make. However, shoot me an email if you want me to send mine.

  12. Ryan

    Ryan

    I feel like I’m reading between the lines here, but correct me if I’m wrong. Do you feel that given the latest Panda update with “thin content” penalties, that niche sites such as these are a thing of the past? Is that why you decided to sell this site and focus on the authority site? Thoughts?

  13. Donald

    Donald

    Good news for you about the overall profit from this site…

    I was wondering if you had created a Pinterest board and pinned to it, or if you just pinned the images at random?

    I was also wondering if, with 2K to 3K visitors per day, you had included Adsense ads on the site if your income would have advanced significantly? I read that Google had banned the site before your purchase, but am unsure if you could still put Adsense ads on the site.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I had a board created and pinned to the boards. I could not put adsense ads on the site because it was banned from Adsense. If I was able to, the earnings would have been much higher.

  14. Rob

    Rob

    Hi Spencer,

    Great case study. I believe what made this site a great outcome was that you were able to purchase the site at 1/2 the cost of what normal sites that have those same Initial earnings are selling for (10x monthly earnings vs 20x). That great price and the fact that the traffic and income at minimum held steady (you actually increased it) for the last 10 months allowed you to recoup the cost of the site over a much shorter period of time which is misleading (not intentionally).

    I have to assume that this isn’t normal and is less common unless you are willing to invest in a site that has sketchy metrics, has less established income (maybe only a couple months), or you get a great price.

    I have had some bad experiences with buying sites at full value. One experience comes to mind was when thin Adsense sites were still working. When I finally got into the game and paid $500 or so for a group of a few sites making $25-30 a month I unfortunatley only made it 2 months before those sites fell out of favor and lost rankings.

    Thanks for documenting all of this

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Rob, you are correct that a big reason for the income is that I bought the site at a great price. I’ve done this a couple of times now…the deals are out there. Although it likely is a bit harder to find.

  15. Desmond

    Desmond

    Congrats on your well. I wish I would have know about selling sites for 20x when I sold my 300 sites as a bundle. That was in the scraper days, so my question to you is this.. What is the best way to make 5 dollars a day I’m trying to restart from scratch and scale up. Thanks.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      $5/day? Write articles on Textbroker.com. I would advise building up just a couple of sites rather than trying to build up hundreds of sites.

  16. Olayinka

    Olayinka

    Congrats to Spencer on you success in your new flipping adventure. Your adventure has being inspiring for new and i will share my own success story very soon.

    Please Spencer, i will like if your elaborate more on how you get those traffic daily for Pinterest, either through comment session and full details in your coming post.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I don’t think there is anything else to share. We curated content on our blog that had lots of images. Then we pinned those images individually to pinterest. That’s about it.

  17. Adnan

    Adnan

    Not sure whether you mentioned earlier or not, would you like to share what were your revenue/earning channels for the site?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Media.net and infolinks primarily.

  18. anzala

    anzala

    it really inspired me! will also try to get in to the business. And see what i have therein.
    between i congratulate you with your success!

  19. Joseph Ho

    Joseph Ho

    Hey Spencer congrats on your selling of the site. Look like a good business model!

  20. John

    John

    net of $3000+ is great, nice to hear that

  21. John J. Ziemba

    John J. Ziemba

    Hey Spencer

    That was really way cool to flip the site at a profit that you not too happy with anyway. Good of you to share. Thx

  22. I. C. Daniel

    I. C. Daniel

    Just had a quick look at your case study, the chances to get approved after making the site compliance with Adsense policies may worth if there were not that much copied content.

    Since adsense pays better than any other advertising network. Are you sorry a lil’ bit 😀 you didn’t tried this way Spencer?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Most of the content was copied (1500 articles). I would have had to remove all the content and start from scratch…there was essentially nothing original on the site. I don’t think it was worth my time. I’m happy with the income I made.

  23. Kani Poly

    Kani Poly

    I’m looking forward to the day I can sell a site.

  24. Sandra Thompson

    Sandra Thompson

    Hey Spencer and Perrin. I’ve been following your work and this site for about a year now and love the nuts and bolts sharing of what you do. Thank you! Just looking for clarification, the 20X earnings… is that 20X gross or net?

    Is it the same formula for an ecommerce store?

    • Justin Cooke

      Justin Cooke

      Hey Sandra,

      That 20X is based on net profit, not gross earnings. That’s why it’s applicable to droshipping and eCommerce stores as well. (If it were based on gross, we’d be talking REALLY high prices for those sites, heh)

      • Sandra

        Sandra

        Thanks for the reply Justin. As it thought, but hey, wanted to make sure:) Can you point me to a great source on how to groom an ecommerce/drop ship site for future sale?

        Thank you!

  25. Brent C

    Brent C

    Gents – congrats on the sale and overall success of the site.

    I know Empire Flippers list everything at 20x monthly income, but do you feel that is appropriate for all sites? For example knowing this site got traffic almost exclusively from Pinterest and was shut out of Adsense, would you have pushed for a higher multiple? I really like the guys at Empire Flipper but feel the 20x may not be the right price for every site.

    • Justin Cooke

      Justin Cooke

      Hey Brent!

      You’re exactly right, of course. Not ALL websites are exactly the same value…so is 20X the exactly right way to price every site? Probably not…

      That’s why we’ve recently created our Valuation Tool and have it in beta. Our plan is to use this as an objective measurement and valuation of sites for listing on our marketplace in the future. We’re still working out all of the bugs and tweaking it, but you can take a look here for yourself:

      http://empireflippers.com/valuation-tool/

      Here’s our blog post where we share the exact calculations used and go over it in more depth:

      http://empireflippers.com/how-much-is-my-website-worth/

      • Spencer Haws

        Spencer Haws

        Thanks for sharing the added details Justin!

      • Brent C

        Brent C

        Thanks Justin. I’m frequent listener of the Empire Flippers podcast. I’ve heard you mention the new calculator a few times.

        I’m curious if you’ve back tested the model on sites sold thru your marketplace. If so, did the sale prices generally fall within the range the calculator would have produced?

        Thx
        Brent

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  27. John

    John

    Hey Spencer – congrats on selling the site. Maybe a contrary perspective, but I really wonder if this project was as successful as the numbers seem to imply.

    Think about it – applying common valuation ratios to the site, it’s clear you bought this site way under market value (at 10X). Since that purchase, it seems that earnings haven’t substantially increased nor have they been differentiated. So yeah, you could say I bought it for X and sold it for Y and consider that your profit – but that doesn’t take into account the work you put in and, even more importantly, the gains you could have made had you spent the time and treasure on a different project.

    Could you have received same return had you sold the site almost immediately? Who knows – but it seems your opportunity cost is large here.

    Anyway – that’s neither here nor there and there’s value in lessons learned as well. Thanks for candidly sharing your experiences with the readership and best of luck to you!

    John

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, I agree with your thoughts here. I mentioned specifically my time investment in the post, which was pretty low. Overall, it clearly wasn’t a huge success…no one can make a living off of $3,600 in a year. However, it was a small stepping stone which is all that is was ever meant to be. I made my very first site purchase this year and have now sold 2 of them. With the lessons learned, and even a tiny bit of profit, I’m ready for bigger sites.

    • Perrin

      Perrin

      Another thing to remember here was that we totally failed all all our efforts to increase monetization. We did a decidedly BAD job with this site–mostly because we were experimenting so much, and we bought into a market we didn’t understand.

      That said, we still made $3k. We put 20-30 hours of work into it. $3k isn’t a massive number, but for 20-30 hours of work, it’s not bad!

      • Mike

        Mike

        ” we bought into a market we didn’t understand”

        I think this sums it up pretty well. Wrong strategy for this type of website.

        You had an image heavy website that screams for a magazine-like layout. Yet you settled for the bland post-under-post classic blog theme.

        The guy you two hired to post pics and articles on the website, did a poor job in my opinion. Some of them might seem helpful, but there’s nothing entertaining or exciting to see.

        The images are the true traffic engine, not the text. You can’t just churn more articles and pray the traffic will increase. An image based site, that is promoted on social media, has to look good, be exciting and entertaining. Otherwise there is no engagement with your posts.

        Also why didn’t you also get the Facebook page of the website ? It has 4k fans, and you should have use that too.

        The correct angle should have been something close to what thisiswhyimbroke(dot)com does. The owner had an “ask me anything” post on reddit few years ago, on how to drive traffic solely on images.

        And I think this is what you should have done in the first place.

  28. Dvorack

    Dvorack

    Congratulations on your selling. By the way your articles are very useful. Thanks Sir !

  29. Bex

    Bex

    Hey, Congrats on the sale. I have been pretty interested in this project because I do use pinterest regularly and I also have a website in the crafting niche. I write all my own articles and make my own projects so my articles are few and far between. What do you mean by “CURATED Content”? I’m always nervous about copyrights and I wouldn’t want to knock off someone else’s hard work. How do you present the articles/content on your site without sending all your visitors out to the original project/website?

    Thanks

  30. Nick

    Nick

    That is awesome Spencer! Congrats on the sale you made. Last year I made a Pinterest site sale too and I was very confident about it. I still believe Pinterest offers great business opportunity in many different areas and niches!

  31. Dennis Seymour

    Dennis Seymour

    Great case study Spencer. That was certainly a great initial price even if it was just mainly pinterest traffic. It’s cool that you were able to flip it really nicely. I look forward to seeing the results for the next sites 🙂

  32. Antony

    Antony

    hey,
    By pinterest site earnings means , you monetized pinterest traffic with adsense? or affiliate?

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    […] I Just Sold My Pinterest Site! Income Report and Lessons Learned by Niche Pursuits – great detailed blog post on the financials of buying and selling a small Pinterest site. I make a bit of money with a few sites I own and I have been thinking about buying a small website to experience the process myself. […]

  34. Ania

    Ania

    I like your Pintrest case study. Thanks for that. Could you please tell me from where did you get the pictures for your articules and Pintrest?

  35. Hamza

    Hamza

    i followed this case study from the beginning and i was amazed to learn that one can earn from a site which get most of its traffic from pinterest.I am also going to try pinterest for my blog.

  36. GazRevs

    GazRevs

    Great post Spencer, it’s nice to read a post on a real life flippa buy to sell story, and a successful one at that. I’ve recently wondered about pinterest, and if it could bring in new traffic, well, it seems it can, great news!

    I look forward to keeping up with your posts.

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