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It all started in the Niche Site Project 3.0 Facebook group owned by Spencer Haws. I was browsing through one day, as I often do, and came across a post from a guy who was looking to sell his website. I usually ignore those posts because they’re usually people trying to offload their crappy niche websites. But this one was different.
This guy already had his site listed on Flippa and just posted a link to the Flippa listing, within the group, along with a brief description. I checked out the site and I was intrigued! Long story short… I ended up purchasing the site and I completely rebuilt it from the ground up. Keep reading for the longer version of the story…
The short version is that I purchased NicheWolf.com and turned it into my own service-based website with some really valuable information and products for sale. I put a LOT of time and effort into the entire deal… But then the entire story took a turn that I wasn’t planning on or expecting. Read to the end to see what happened…
How and Why I Purchased Niche Wolf
Here is the long version of the story where I’ll show you every last detail about how and why I purchased Niche Wolf. After that, I’ll explain more about Niche Wolf – what it is now and plans for the site going forward.
Niche Wolf Before I Purchased It
When I first looked at Niche Wolf in October of 2016 – the site was setup as a ‘niche idea generator tool’. Basically – you would click on a link at the top of the page to ‘generate’ niche ideas. The tool would then spit out 10 random niche ideas and display them in table format. If you wanted 10 more ideas – you would click the link again and it would add 10 more niche ideas to the table. You were allowed to see up to 25 niche ideas per day for free – or you could pay $25 to be allowed to see up to 250 niche ideas per day.
Here is a link to an archived version of the site from archive.org that shows how it looked before I purchased it. (Note: much of the basic website formatting may not show up properly on archive.org – but you can see the gist of what the site was all about)
The cool thing was – the tool wasn’t spitting out just crappy random ideas that may or may not be good for building niche sites around. Most of the ideas that were ‘generated’ were really good ideas. Many of them were even buyer keywords – like best [product name]. I’ve never seen a tool like this before and I thought it would be something I could do really well with if I promoted to my audience here on Dumb Passive Income.
Purchasing Niche Wolf
The way I performed the transaction with the seller was really quite simple. He had it up for sale on Flippa. I had never purchased an existing site from Flippa before (or from anywhere else for that matter). I contacted the seller through Facebook first and then we started a conversation via email. As it turns out – you can simply delete Flippa listings and the seller agreed to sell the site to me privately instead of selling through Flippa.
We agreed on a price of $2,000 – which I thought was a good deal, especially considering that he was getting higher offers on Flippa! So, why did he sell to me instead? Because Niche Wolf was kind of his baby and a domain that he owned for a long time and he trusted me and my plans for the site and he wanted to see it succeed.
We agreed that I would pay $1,000 up front – then pay the remaining $1,000 after the entire transfer was completed. After the first $1,000 transfer, the entire process took less than a week and I sent him the remaining $1,000.
The guy I purchased Niche Wolf from gave me contact information for the developer that he used to create the custom Niche Wolf plugin that generated the niche ideas. I emailed the developer and he agreed to work with me to change the plugin and make it do what I wanted. My first order of business was to make the plugin work correctly after moving the site to my good WPEngine host. Something wasn’t working quite right after I moved the site – and it had to do with the way the database was being accessed through the back end on the previous host. It cost me around $250 to the developer to get it working again. No big deal. Now I had the site completely in my possession and working how it did before I purchased it.
My Original Plans for Niche Wolf
I loved the idea of the ‘niche idea generator tool,’ and I planned on keeping that in place – but with some minor changes and added functionality. The site came with a custom-built WordPress plugin that ‘generated’ all of the niche ideas. What really happened behind the scenes is that ALL of the niche ideas were manually entered into a database on the back end of the site and the plugin randomly spit out (displayed) the ideas when users/readers clicked the link to ‘generate’ ideas. At the time that I purchased Niche Wolf – there were over 1,800 niche ideas uploaded to the database.
While I planned on keeping the ‘niche idea generator tool’ all along – I had much bigger plans for the site. You see, back in late 2013 and early 2014 – I started a Keyword Research Service right here on my Dumb Passive Income blog. If you’ve been a long-time reader, I’m sure you remember it. It was wildly popular and I was selling the keyword packages that I was creating like hotcakes!
Here is a link to archive.org that shows my sales page for those packages back then.
I planned to include keyword research as a service as part of Niche Wolf somehow. Originally, I was thinking that it would just be a separate section of Niche Wolf and also included as some sort of up-sell for people who used the ‘niche idea generator tool’.
I knew that I could do okay selling niche ideas in the original format that they were being sold on Niche Wolf. But I also knew, based on my past experience, that I could make a killing selling keyword research packages. And now I had access to a list of nearly 2,000 unique niche ideas!
Rebuilding Niche Wolf from the Ground Up
As I often do, I ended up making things much more complicated than I needed to. Here are a few of the things that I dove into…
- I started researching membership plugins to use for the paid users of the ‘niche idea generator tool’
- I didn’t like the free membership plugin that the current owner was using and wanted more functionality
- I researched and found a different affiliate plugin to use
- Again, I didn’t like the free one the previous owner was using
- I opened a new account at Drip to manage emails for current and future users/affiliates
- Drip is such a sweet email automation and funnel marketing tool – perfect for what I had in mind
- Continued communication with the developer for the custom plugin about plans for improving the plugin
- I had several hundred more dollars in expenses to look forward to in order to make it do what I wanted
I quickly realized the mistake that I was making by over-complicating the whole thing – so I came up with a plan to simplify. I knew that selling the custom keyword research packages was going to be the BIG money-maker for the site. So I decided to focus on that and scrap the whole idea of the ‘niche idea generator tool’. That’s right! Niche Wolf as it was known when I purchased it would no longer exist.
Instead – I took the entire list of niche ideas and ran every single one of them through Long Tail Pro and put ALL of that data into a massive spreadsheet. I decided to give away 100 of those ideas for free to any users who opted-in to the email list – so I set that up as a lead magnet. Anybody who wanted the entire list (whittled down to just over 1,500 ideas now) would have to pay a price point similar to what users were paying for Niche Wolf (paid access) when I purchased it. I experimented with a few different price points before settling on $27 for the entire list.
But again – selling this list of niche ideas was NOT the primary way I intended to make money with Niche Wolf. It was just another way to get people on the email list so I could market the custom keyword research packages for sale to them.
Keyword Research Packages for Sale
After getting the site structure completely finished and all of the back end email automation stuff complete – all I had to do was start creating keyword research packages and getting them up for sale on the site. Sounds simple enough, right? My plan all along was to outsource this process. But first, I had to do it myself several times. I needed to refine and perfect the process before handing it off to a VA (or team of VA’s). Using my massive list of niche ideas and my new keyword research process – I was coming up with some AWESOME keyword research packages! Want to see the exact keyword research process that I was using?
I ended up creating a whole bunch of really good keyword research packages myself. I wanted to get several in place before I started marketing them to the email list so that buyers would have choices. I was also procrastinating on hiring and training any VA’s to do the work for me because I wanted to wait until the site was producing enough income first to pay for those VA’s.
I had one small problem. The packages weren’t selling. The email list was steadily growing and a few people purchased the list of niche ideas for $27 – but nobody was buying the awesome keyword research packages that I created. This wasn’t making sense to me because the packages I previously created to sell on Dumb Passive Income (years ago) sold SO well!
My #1 Mistake with The Keyword Research Packages
The most obvious and blatant differentiating factor in these keyword research packages and the ones I had sold in the past was that I had these set up to sell over and over again. Meaning that the exact same package could be purchased by multiple buyers. In the past, the packages I sold were a one-and-done deal. Once a package was sold – I never sold it again and never even created another package around that same niche.
My thought process was that I wanted to create a nice ‘passive income’ stream from the revenue generated from Niche Wolf. If I could get different buyers to keep buying the same packages over and over again – what a sweet passive income producing website I would have! I haphazardly tried to justify this to potential buyers – but I apparently I wasn’t convincing enough.
There was also another problem with this strategy. Keyword data changes over time. Search volume and competition metrics change daily and can change drastically over the course of several months. I knew this would be a problem before I started – but I had plans to create a process for a VA to update each of the packages every couple of months or so. Again – the hiring and training of new VA’s to run Niche Wolf was planned for after the site started to create enough income to pay for them. But the site wasn’t creating enough income. You can see how this was a problem…
Fixing Niche Wolf and Providing a More Valuable Service
In the end – I needed to make a decision. I was completely overwhelmed. If you’ve been following me for long – you know that all of my internet marketing ventures are very much part-time for me. It’s just something that I do on the side. Trying to run Niche Wolf and keep up with my Dumb Passive Income blog as well as maintain all of my niche sites (and one client site) – it just became too much. I couldn’t handle it all.
I decided that I needed to sell Niche Wolf and just let the entire thing go. I had a few good prospects in mind to reach out to about selling. I was thrilled when the first person I contacted was not only interested, but he was also excited about adding Niche Wolf to his list of services that he already offers.
I sold Niche Wolf to Jon Haver from AuthorityWebsiteIncome.com and Jon has spent the last couple of months refining the keyword research process and making it far better than I even could have imagined! He has built an actual team and he has processes in place to create some of the best keyword research packages (plus a whole lot more) that I have ever seen! Jon is easily the most trusted person I could have hoped to sell Niche Wolf to and he has an excellent reputation in the world of SEO. I am ecstatic at the way the whole deal worked out.
Jon and his team use advanced SEO tools that are really expensive. We’re talking tools like Market Muse that are far out of the price range for an average Joe who just wants to build one or two sites.
And the number one change that Jon made that makes his packages WAY more valuable than mine were… Each of his packages is sold ONLY once! If you buy a package from Niche Wolf today – nobody will ever be able to buy that exact same package again.
I highly encourage you to take a look at what Jon has turned Niche Wolf into and what is now offered on the site.
The packages that are currently being sold on Niche Wolf are far different than the ones I originally envisioned and created. And I’m not exactly owner of the domain anymore. But you’ll still see my face on the site as I’ve worked out a deal with Jon to stay on as sort of an adviser and idea man and also to help promote however I can.
Nutshell Version of This Story
I bought a website that I thought was going to be a game-changer for me as far as creating ridiculous amounts of internet income. I got way in over my head and over-complicated everything about it. I made a bad decision or two and failed to properly market the service/site and didn’t make very much income with it. I sold the site to somebody who I knew had the ability (and team in place) to pull off what I couldn’t quite pull off myself. Now I simply promote what I originally started as an affiliate/partner and life goes on in a much simpler fashion for me.
Hope you enjoyed my story! I know I’ve written about more than my fair share of failures. I’m happy to report that this particular venture didn’t end up a complete failure – despite the fact that I was never able to make it work how I wanted when I owned it 100%.
Again – make sure you check out the unique and insanely valuable keyword research packages currently for sale over on NicheWolf.com.