Under New Management

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For_sale_sold_signI sold the blog!

No worries: I’m not going anywhere. I’ll still be posting here about military financial independence. I’ll still be answering reader questions and you’ll still be reading the occasional guest post here from other bloggers or readers. The domain name and all of its material have been paid up through at least September 2015.

The new owner will run the blog and the social media, and now I can focus on the writing. I’ve agreed to contribute at least one post per week here for at least another three years.

The buyer is paying an amount that’s close to the asking price, but it’s not going to me. In about a month he’s going to donate most of the price to the Wounded Warrior Project. We’ll complete the sale with a three-year earnout. At the end of each of the next three years, as I honor my posting commitment, he’ll make another donation to Wounded Warrior Project.

In return he gets all of the blog’s earnings. We’ve based the sale price on the blog’s current revenue, but I’m pretty sure he’ll double that before the end of the year. By the end of 2014 he’ll double or even triple it again.

 


Here’s what the buyer gets:

  • The domain name The-Military-Guide.com and the right to republish all its content.
  • The Bluehost account (already paid in advance for another two years).
  • The Twitter handle @TheMilitaryGuid.
  • The Facebook fan page.
  • The Pinterest and MANteresting accounts for “The Military Guide”.
  • The Google account “TheMilitaryGuide” including Gmail, Webmaster Tools, Analytics, and AdSense.
  • All the advertising & affiliate revenue.

 

Here’s what the buyer has to handle:

  • Operate & maintain the site, including backups and all the other infrastructure.
  • Operate the social media.
  • Pay all the new fees, taxes, and expenses. I don’t contribute any more money.
  • I blog about the entire transaction (transparency).

 

I’m going to keep marketing the book and the pocket guide on this site. I’m writing an eBook about military insurance decisions, and I’ll market it here too. I’m still donating all of the royalties to Wounded Warrior Project and Fisher House. If you share your advice or stories for the eBook, then you’ll get to vote on the charity where we donate its revenue.

The new owner is Curtez Riggs.  I met him through the blog over a year ago (when I wrote a guest post for that site) and we’ve spent some time together at a USAA conference. He’s absolutely the right buyer who’ll honor the U.S. military and preserve the blog’s culture. That’s because he’s in the military and he already has the culture.

He’ll be working behind the scenes of The-Military-Guide.com and soliciting additional writers for the site.  He’s on active duty for a few more years, but he’s already planning for his own military retirement and financial independence. He’s a hardcore entrepreneur with years of experience at websites and marketing. He’s created his own blogs and bought other sites, so he knows how to establish a brand and build cash flow. He’s also a very busy spouse & parent who’s holding down a full-time military career while planning his own transition. He’s in the same place I was in 15 years ago, and I think he shares your concerns. He wants to provide a reliable stream of income for his family, he wants to be in charge of his own time, and he’ll have plenty to do all day!

I’ll let him share more personal details in another post.  I haven’t asked him yet whether he surfs.

There are going to be a few changes around here, and I’m perched on the edge of my chair taking notes. The Genesis framework is paying off for its ease of upgrading to a new theme.  There’ll be a new logo and other layout improvements. (Those changes will also simplify his routine tasks of managing several blogs from one control panel.) Of course the writing will be at least as good as it’s always been!

I think the blog has a huge earnings potential in its military personal finance “niche”, and he’s willing to do the hard work to make it happen. If you’re even thinking about starting your own blog (with online income) then watch how he does it. If you want to try the glamorous blogger lifestyle for yourself, then offer to help out with a guest post.

Better yet, we’ve aligned the buyer’s motivations with the blog’s revenue. We should both feel that we each got 75% of this good deal.

Personally, this sale is an interesting exercise in learning about “letting go”. (Somehow we submariners have picked up a reputation for being control freaks.) On one hand there are dozens of tweaks and changes that I could be pursuing: AdSense “link units”, responsive themes for mobile devices, affiliate reps who never answer e-mails, and adding more books to the Amazon Associates affiliates store. I’m happy to let someone else take care of the spam (a hundred per day in the comments and the “Contact me” feedback) and troubleshooting the plugins and worrying about what the latest software update is going to break. On the other hand I’ve gained a lot of blogger skills and experience over the last three years that will come in handy for my own writing and mentoring.

I still like the advice that I got from a fellow blogger at FinCon12: “Don’t be a slave to your own machine. Write whenever you want.” However I’m still an engineer, and I still feel compelled to optimize a good design. I accepted the challenge to pace myself, but someone around here still has to handle all the daily details that go with running a blog. I don’t need its income, but I feel the constant distraction. I think I’ve found a way to do what I want– while enjoying the vicarious thrill of watching a professional build the blog to its potential.

I hope that selling the blog today will also keep the discussion going long after I’ve stopped writing about it. I fantasize that years from now my NROTC daughter will be able to refer to this resource to plan her own military-civilian transition and put the finishing touches on her own financial independence plans. I’ve already been retired for 11 years (when the heck did that happen?!?), and I think that my advice has a shelf life. I’d rather start the blog’s transition this month (while I’m at the top of my game) instead of years from now when I already have one foot out the door. You readers have always contributed to my books and the blog, and eventually some of you are going to take over the rest of the project.

We’ll keep you posted. I want to be transparent about this transaction.

 

Comments? Questions? Let us hear ’em.

 

 

 



WHAT I DO: I help you reach financial independence. For free. I retired in 2002 after 20 years in the Navy's submarine force. I wrote "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement" to share the stories of over 50 other financially independent servicemembers, veterans, and families. All of my writing revenue is donated to military-friendly charities.

10 Comments
  1. […] some of you long-term readers may remember, a couple of years ago I sold the blog. The sale terms included a three-year earnout, and I’ve just completed the milestone for the […]

  2. […] all the royalties together, along with the blog income and the funds from the sale of the site, we’ve donated nearly $11,000 to Wounded Warrior Project and Fisher House. Thanks […]

  3. Reply
    Book Review: “Give and Take” November 4, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    […] new owner is closing the sale and making his first payment donation to Wounded Warrior Project. As part of the sale terms, I’m cutting back my blogging to one post per week. It might be every Thursday (the […]

  4. […] I’ve sold the blog so this is my last report on blog revenue. (No worries, I’m sticking around to provide at least one post a week for the next three years.) Curtez and I have already turned over the AdSense account codes, and next we’ll turn over the Amazon.com affiliate income codes. […]

  5. Reply
    Mike August 25, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Interesting… someone recently offered me a half-eaten donut and a cup of coffee for LTNE.

    Can’t wait to see how things develop! Now you’ll definitely have more time to give me those longboard lessons…

  6. Reply
    Eric August 20, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    That’s an amazing use of the proceeds. Congrats on what looks like a mutually beneficial transaction!

    • Reply
      Doug Nordman August 20, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      Thanks, Eric. Donating to military charities has turned out to be a great way to inspire contributors to share their advice & stories.

  7. Reply
    Spencer August 19, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Thanks for the transparency, Nords. I’m excited to see where the blog goes now and glad you’ll be aboard for a few more years. I don’t think your advice’s half life is too short. I think you still have a lot to contribute to the “niche.” I finally got around to ordering your book this past weekend! Can’t wait to review it on my site.

    • Reply
      Doug Nordman August 20, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      Thanks, Spencer! I’ll have to pass my “advice archives files” to a 20-something military personal-finance blogger, where they’ll instantly double their longevity…

      Looking forward to your review. Let me know what you’d like to see (or delete) in the 2nd edition of the book.

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