This all began just 5 years ago. I had a passion for Ford Mustangs since I was young and as an adult owned several them. As an enthusiast, I wanted to be able to hook up with other local mustang enthusiast to hit up car shows and go racing at Texas Motorplex (a somewhat local 1/4 mile drag strip). At the time I had a telecom company that was doing well and my in house technician (also a mustang owner / fanatic) pointed me to DFWstangs.net
. This was a forum full of mustang owners in the Dallas / Ft Worth metroplex. I was enamored and excited. This was my first forum to join and participate in. I quickly made some "friends" online (something which was foreign to me at the time) and even met some of them at a local car show. It wasn't long before my business mind grasped the power of community online and I had a nagging feeling that there would be much money to make in building communities of my own.
So, in late 2004 I began developing Performance Park
which was rather short lived and very much UNsuccessful. I was a persistent fellow and this was only the beginning. I was able to learn and spend lots of time online every day reading through forums about making money online and growing an online community. My business gave me the freedom I needed to spend ample amounts of time building my skills as a webmaster / forum administrator. I also spent a great deal of time meeting people and building relationships
(a main key to success).
Then came March 2005 when a good online friend of mine and I hooked up and decided to create a new community for those that love to cruise / travel. With a lot of hard work, plenty of mistakes made, and even more persistence, it paid off and is currently my 3rd largest owned forum (see: Cruise Line Fans
). The early success of CLF was a big confidence booster
which almost immediately moved me right in to my first forum acquisition.
We are now in April 2005 when my hunt for a forum to buy paid off. While browsing the various webmaster forums, looking for my first acquisition, I found the site Sprint Users
. It was for sale by the original owner (founder) and had 20,000 members and a few hundred thousand posts. It was very much under monetized (and I didn't know much about monetization at this point) and I really felt it had a lot of potential. Little did I know how much real potential the site had. I remember after having a phone call with the seller, I went home that night and I was discussing this with my wife. The seller originally wanted $30,000 and I had negotiated him down on the phone call to $19,000 or so. I was telling my wife that if I could just make $2,000 a month after 6-12 months of monetizing work, the site would pay for itself within a 1.5 years. I was nervous, she was supportive, and the next day I got with the seller to further discuss the purchase. I ended up negotiating him down to $17,000 and the Escrow.com transaction was initiated. Once I took ownership of the site, my simple monetization strategy of Adsense and CPM began and the money came in. I remember being thrilled when instantly we had $30-$40 a day coming. I thought that would take months to get there, and it only took days. The cool thing was that it continually increased. One day we would make $40 and then next it was $50. I was continually tweaking ad positions, seeing what improvements I could make. Within the first month we were comfortably bringing in $100-$120 a day and I was elated. The more I earned, the more potential I saw. I continued at a more frantic pace to research ways to further and better monetize my traffic. I also began building out tools my membership could utilize which I would offer them for free. So, fast forwarding about 6-8 months, traffic to the site had more than quadrupled
(I was now getting 20,000-25,000 visits daily) and now that I was heavily tapping in to CPC, CPM, and CPA (ringtone offers) income was well in to the $xx,xxx
monthly. It was mind boggling, the success that came from this purchase was way beyond anything I could have imagined. It opened up doors that I never knew existed. It was a learning process that taught me so much. Another side note is that I was offered $1.6M for the site in 2006 as well. I felt and feel it has more value and that value will only continue to grow. We recently surpassed 125,000 members and it just keeps going strong.
After this I went on to acquire numerous sites and forums. I enjoy the ability to work out of a home office we built in early 2006 and have plenty of flexibility to spend time with my wife and 2 daughters. The freedom is amazing, the money is nice, and I am a very blessed man. For all these things I give glory to God
and want none for myself.
*Feel free to vote and comment, but this is NOT a valid entry in to the contest I am running.