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Thomas Tran, Super Seller Interview

If you’re an active member of Flippa, there’s a good chance you’ve either been bidding on one of Thomas’ listings or have been bidding against him. Thomas has been a member of Flippa before we were even called Flippa and were just a subforum on SitePoint. Since then, he’s completed 89 transactions totaling nearly $150,000. Not only that, but he even has Gold Star status, indicating he’s had 10 transactions in a row with positive feedback from each one. These are just a few reasons Thomas was recently given Super Seller status earlier this year. In this interview, we dive into his story and uncover how he got started with buying and selling on Flippa.

Tell us about your professional background and your background as a web entrepreneur

Prior to deciding to go full time as a web entrepreneur, I worked at a large e-commerce retailer for 5 years as a senior marketing analyst.

You mentioned you started on the SitePoint Forums, where Flippa was spun out of. Tell us what that was like and how Flippa has evolved in the 10 years since then.

If I remember correctly the original marketplace was just a subforum built on top of a custom Vbulletin setup which lacked a ton of features Flippa offers today.  The biggest difference between then and now is how is how big industry has grown over the last 10 years which Flippa deserves most of the credit for creating.

Nowadays, you can literally log onto Flippa and buy 5 new websites this week if you wanted while before websites were few and far between.

What brought you back to Flippa after your 10-year hiatus?

I left my corporate job and needed to find something to do so I bought a few websites just as an experiment to learn.

How often do you buy and sell websites?

I’ve pivoted my strategy to building a few assets from scratch which I’ll eventually sell on Flippa in the future. However, at the peak of my website buying, I was acquiring at least 1-2 websites a week and owned up to 40 websites.

Do you buy websites with a plan to flip them?

Flipping for profit as a business was something I accidentally stumbled on. I was struggling to grow one of the first websites I bought so decided to put it back Flippa thinking I would sell it at a complete lost however to my surprise the site sold for $3100. I made a profit of $2100 and did absolute nothing to it other than owning it for a few months.

After that sale I decided to wholesale websites rather than buy and grow them which meant I owned most websites only for 1- 6 months.  At the time it made sense to wholesale but based on my experience now I would have definitely held onto sites much longer as well as invested money into growing them so I could get a higher return.

Your biggest sale was for $27,000, for a site that you bought for $3,000. Tell us about the site, how long you had it, and how you grew it.

I owned that particular website for just little over a year.  I did a content audit as well as added a few articles and over time it grew organically. The main value of this asset was actually the age of the website so I knew I didn’t have to invest much to get a good value on my initial return.

How big is your current portfolio?

I’ve been selling off most of my portfolio over the last few months to fund a few new startup projects Fixor and EpicPetster.  My goal from the very beginning was to buy and sell enough websites so I could fund my other projects knowing it would require a good amount of capital.

What are your biggest tips for a first-time buyer and a first-time seller?

If it’s your first time buying a website I recommend starting small and getting a feel for the marketplace before investing a larger amount of cash.

The biggest mistake first-time buyers make is not buying anything. It takes a ton of time to analyze a website properly as well as go through the process of due diligence.  IMO It’s better to overpay for a site that is high quality than to underpay for a site that is low quality.

For first time sellers, I recommend spending the time to write a detailed listing description as well as providing instant customer support to buyer questions.

My second tip is to make sure you build relationships with buyers as well as non-buyers. You never know who you will eventually do business with so you want to make sure you are consistently dealing with both.

My third tip and final tip is not putting a reserve on your website listing.  I studied a few high profile super sellers who were able to get amazing multiples (60x-100x) on their sites and the thing they all had in common was we all started auctions without a reserve.

If you’re selling for the first time one of the best methods I use to get a feel for the price is by looking at previously sold listings as comparables.

Would you like to add any closing statements?

Start now if you haven’t done so already and don’t be afraid to reach out to buyers and sellers to ask for additional advice.  You be surprised at how willing sellers and buyers are willing to help you out whether you do business with them or not.

Thomas is a marketing professional with over 10 years experience planning and executing digital strategies. Get notified of every new listing by clicking “Watch Seller” on his profile, or if you have any questions or comments you can reach out to him via his website or follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.