How I Turned $2,000 into $16,000

by Benas | Last Updated: November 20, 2020

If you are here for a quick answer, here it is:

I made a website that I monetized with Amazon affiliate and then eventually sold it.

The crazy part is was that I actually documented my first 3 months quite in-depth on a /juststart subreddit as a case study 3 years ago!

Although I did not really follow-through, you can still see my thought process behind building the site in the first few months:

Okay, let’s get down to business and go over the fun stuff first:

Now, that we got this out of the way, I want to cover a few things. First, the general timeline of all work done and then touch on the sale of the website.

By the way, if you prefer everything in the video format, I have made a video about this exact topic 👇

In the video I show the excel sheet with all the expenses and income breakdown month-by-month.

OR I have a podcast episode about this as well 🙂

Okay, enough of that, let’s get started!

First 6 Months (2017)

Side note: from starting the website until I sold it, it took me exactly 2 years. The site was started in 2017 June, sold in 2019 July.

I won’t bother will the little details, the first 3 months are pretty well described in my previous post. But the whole overview looks like this:

Keyword/niche research

The best keywords I found were related to various military watches. That kickstarted the whole site. Actually, the survival and outdoors content were added much later. It started with mainly military watches and other military equipment.

Building website

Build all of it myself on Worpress. Countless hours trying to figure out simple things like logo matching the size of the header, widgets, and pretty much everything else.

Content

Hired a writer on Upwork for $20 per 1000 words and I think I wrote about 10 articles for the launch of the website. In total spent about $500 on content.

Link building

Use a “resource page” strategy. Manually gathered over 1,000 websites that were relevant to mine and had “resource” or “links” type of page. Found their emails (manually) and sent everything (manually).

At the time did not know there was software for these kinds of things. I think I spend about 3 months on this, but it paid! Good a really good kickstart and after 6 months, the site started to pick up some traffic.

2018 (first full year)

I actually neglected the site a little. Thus the reason for no more case studies on this subreddit. However, I was keep coming back to it every 1–2 months and adding something extra.

I think the main motivation always comes once you check your Amazon affiliate dashboard and see how you are betting your previous records and earning over $100/month, then $200/month.

That actually gave me an incentive to invest further in the site.

During the whole year, nothing spectacular was done.

  1. Most focus was on writing new content
  2. Did a few guest posts here and there

That’s it. The site was basically growing on its own.

One major difference was that I started accepting guest links. I started getting emails from people that wanted to do a guest post or link insertions. So, I started accepting those for a fee as well as created a “write for us” type of page.

I was still strict on the type of content that can be put on the site, so I actually got quite a lot of good content, some of which actually started ranking. It turned out quite a significant income source and did help a lot in terms of website valuation.

2019 (the sale of the site)

The site was starting to make $300+ per month and I actually wanted to take this a little more seriously.

  1. Re-wrote quite a lot of content and made improvements on the best-performing pages
  2. Hired a developer to fix loading speed
  3. Wrote quite a lot of new content

As I was just getting started with investing, even more, I got an offer to sell the site. Andrej from Alpha Investors emailed me.

At that time, I did not have any intentions to sell the site, but as he represented a buyer who wanted this site, I was curious about what would be the offer. So, I sent him all of the traffic and income sources.

I mean, you all know what happened next 🙂

Either way, the offer was SOOO good, that it was really difficult to pass. A very small fee, quick close, and the valuation were actually higher than I think I would have gotten on Flippa for example. The thing is that the buyer was willing to include “guest links” income in the overall valuation, which was weird to me. This partial income source was not stable and went from 0 to $200 per month and you actually had to work for it.

I think if I had listed that site on Flippa, a lot of people would have mostly counted Amazon earnings for the “real valuation” as with guest link income, my site valuation got boosted quite a lot!

Everything was served on a plate for me, so I decided to sell. Although the traffic and earnings were on the growth trajectory, I took the quick exit here. No regrets!

Ending notes

As this was just a side-gig for me, the total hours spent were worth it. Not only I learned so much about website, SEO, affiliate marketing, amazon, etc, but was also able to monetize this learning process.

I actually just released a video about this website. In the video, I talk about more details, but most importantly, I actually show the excel sheet with all the expenses and income breakdown month-by-month. If interested, I’ll leave the link here.

Subscribe To Get Updates from Me

No BS, no free e-books, no ads, just simple emails!

Enter your email below to get all the updates.

By entering your email address you agree to get email updates from me (Benas). I'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.