Blake Hutchison, Flippa CEO: Realize The Cash Value of Your Business – Equalizing The Exit
Blake Hutchison is the CEO of Flippa.com, a marketplace where anyone can list a website for sale or purchase a website to grow their own business.
Flippa allows all business owners to realize the value of their business in the form of a business exit or sale – something that many people don’t realize is now an opportunity for all business types and owners, not just flashy venture capital backed businesses.
Flippa is hosting an event October 18th at 11am where women who have grown and exited businesses will be sharing their stories and tips. You can grab a free ticket here: Check out Flippa’s upcoming Her.Future event October 18th at 11am here.
Blake Hutchison 0:00
Her name was Kim and she actually built a crochet blog called crochet Kim and that blog sold within 48 hours on the Flippa platform for $90,000. And he had owned that for 20 years.
Hi, and welcome to the her.ceo podcast with Stacy Caprio. The best advice comes not from your critics, but from those who are already where you want to be. Listen along with Stacy each week to learn from those who have already built their dreams so you can learn how to build your own home Hi, Blake, thanks for joining me today on the her.ceo podcast.
Blake Hutchison 0:43
Thank you so much for having me, Stacy. It’s great to be here and nice to see you again. I think it’s been three years or something having me.
I can’t believe the Flippa event was three years ago. And I saw you in person. But now we’re able to connect via video a lot
Blake Hutchison 0:57
has changed since then. It was September 2019. We hosted our first Exit event. It’s the Flippa platform has changed a lot. You’ve moved cities so much has happened.
A lot has happened. Now I’m here in Austin, no beautiful Chicago skyscraper. But it’s nice here better weather.
Blake Hutchison 1:17
Yeah, a lot better there. I was in Austin a couple of weeks ago. And I was about to say 40 degrees Celsius, which no one would understand. So let’s go with like 100.
Fahrenheit, I think it was pretty nice. Just give a quick introduction about who you are and what you do at Flippa.
Blake Hutchison 1:32
Absolutely, again, thanks for having me. Obviously, my name is Blake, I’m the CEO Flippa.com. For those of you who are less familiar with Flippa, we are a marketplace to buy and sell online businesses. We combine advisory individuals, experts all over the world with a platform that enables people to get matched up to relevant buyers find the listings and the assets that they might be interested in. As well as utilized services like embedded letters of intent and legal services, due diligence, integrated data sources and those types of things. Flip has changed a lot. We’ve evolved a lot. We’ve been around for 13 years, so many people credit us with starting or inventing the space, we’re doing better than ever before. And I’ve got the lucky privilege of of leading a global team based in Melbourne, Australia, Austin, Texas. And we’re growing a good team out of the UK and Europe right now as well. So it’s super exciting.
And I love hearing how flip has changed. I remember when I first went on flip seven years ago, you didn’t have anything such as the legal help, or the embedded staff and just you guys have grown so much. It’s been a really
Blake Hutchison 2:45
Important evolution, Stacy, you’ve written a great article about you buying some of your first sites on Flippa and got there in the end, it was a bit of a challenge to begin with, because we didn’t necessarily have all of the support and services that we do now. So people like you were left to fend for yourself and you’re smart and capable, you eventually get there like you have done. But it’s critical that as more people look at buying online businesses, site stores and apps, as an asset class as somewhere where they invest their money and look to generate an income. It’s important that we we evolve as a platform and give the requisite services, what we’ve done is we’ve added lots of data integrations, the assets can now connect to the data sources. And we can expose that objective information on an asset that includes Shopify and stripe that includes WooCommerce, AdSense, Google Analytics, we’ve got the same SEM rush module on every listing now. So you can see our trends from a domain authority standpoint, and then those legal services, you can now issue a letter of intent. So at least you’ve now capturing the details around the deal structure. And you can go back and forth on that. So there’s a bunch of stuff we’ve added, we’ve been lucky to have great people like you on the platform who have been able to provide a feedback loop for us. And that’s really, really critical.
There’s a lot more support now on the platform. And you’re not just floundering around without that type of help. Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s been critical diving into some great data and talking about women’s use of your platform, which I know you guys are really focused on. And you’ve always been so wonderful, including me, as one of the I know, females aren’t as active on your platform. If you could give some insight into how many transactions you guys have in a year and how many of those are female versus male.
Blake Hutchison 4:42
It’s been really, really interesting to deep dive into female business ownership women, business ownership on the flip of platform, and one of the things that we recognized was as you would expect, because flip is not that different to the to the mainstream tech industry. There is less representation among female business owners on the flip a platform as much as their recent venture capital and or in successful technology exits. And accordingly upon seeing that and recognizing that, we want to do something about it. There are some fantastic female business owners and women owned businesses on the Flippa platform, but just not as many. And we want to bring that to light. If you take buyers and sellers as a collective female contributors to the Flippa platform make up less than 10% of our audience. And so that’s not good. I think if you take Shopify right now, Shopify is talking about 49% of all of the businesses that operate on the Shopify platform, female business owner. So that’s a really, really fantastic statistic and shows that there’s parity, as it relates to people now choosing to invest in online businesses and or sell their online businesses. Clearly, we have a ways to go things are changing a little bit, we’ve started to see an increase in traffic, we’re up to around 25% of traffic to the Flippa platform, is now from women business owners, but actual sales of assets on Flippa is quite low. In fact, sales is below 10%. It was 6%. In prior years, hopefully that gives you some insight, we’re cognizant of it. And what we’re now doing is starting to bring some awareness of this issue. And hopefully see there’s an opportunity. So very soon, we’ll be hosting an event called her future. And her futures shines a spotlight on a group of extraordinarily wonderful women business owners who are experts in either raising capital, buying businesses, selling businesses, growing businesses. And that’s just the first of a long term strategy to kind of bring awareness for the power of women owned businesses and hopefully, introduce the Flippa concept of buying and selling sites, stores and apps to the broader collective of women and business owners. And I’m
looking forward to that event. And we can share some details with everyone at the end so more people can join in. Why do you think that fewer women are actually buying on the flip of platform, especially with the larger amount of traffic? That is going to Flippa?
Blake Hutchison 7:27
Yeah, it’s a really great question, Stacy, something were to be candid, trying to figure out ourselves. I think there’s a couple of answers to this. The first one is that like the Shopify statistic I alluded to before. And in fact, the Small Business Administration reported that it was nearly 50% of registrations in the prior year were from women. That’s good. But that’s a new data point. The fact that there is now parity, in business ownership. Whilst that’s fantastic, it’s quite recent. And so the average age of a business that’s lists on Flippa and sells on Flippa is actually four and a half years. What that means is, you know, for all of the businesses that are listing on Flippa, now, they’re kind of coming from the old world digital ecosystem. My my best guess, and it is absolutely a guess, is that over time, we will see much like other platforms, as we’ve alluded to Shopify as an example. Clearly blogging, advertising, revenue generating businesses, digital businesses, there is there is massive numbers of female business owners today. And so I think that flivver being a place where you can buy and sell those assets will shift as well. But we may still be one to two years away from from getting anywhere near to parity. And clearly, we’re going to strive to get there quicker.
You’re very right that people usually own a website for a few years before selling it, maybe more women are creating on Shopify, and will be listing their sites for sale and we’ll start to see a shift. You guys are definitely playing a role in making it more mainstream as people even become aware it’s an option.
Blake Hutchison 9:12
That’s That’s what I mean. That’s a hope. Right. And so, the focus my apologies, there’s there’s a pretty annoying phone on podcast. Sorry about that, Stacy, certainly our hope. And so what are we doing around this? Right? The first thing is we’re going to, we’re going to do more success stories and focusing on the women business owners who have had awesome success on our platform. We’ve seen ecommerce businesses sell in the millions of dollars that are owned by females on our platform over the last couple of months, and we’re going to showcase those so people get a sense of what it took to create a business like that. But what the prospective buyer pool looks like and how the individual found their way to an exit using the Flippa platform, things like her future where obviously we’re shining a spotlight on these experts, Inc. credibly powerful, wonderfully capable female leaders. And then we’re even contemplating a podcast, which just focuses on entrepreneurs who are female who have built built digital assets up to sell them. There’s a few strings to our bow, if you like. And all of it’s just about being cognizant of the fact that there is a world a wonderful world of female business owners that are doing such good things across all asset types, EECOM content, advertising, led businesses, SAS marketplaces is a fantastic marketplace on the platform right now, that is called the right fit. And it’s all about matching influencers with brands to global business, clearly female business owners, so there’s just so many great stories to tell, and we need to get better at exposing them.
I was personally inspired to buy my first website on Flippa. From reading about case studies and people who had purchased a website on Flippa and had success with it. People are often more inspired, the more similar someone is to them, because they feel they can actually achieve that goal is great that you guys are going to be spotlighting women in that way. Do you think women in particular, have you seen or feel they have any specific advantages as a group when they’re buying and selling or growing websites?
Blake Hutchison 11:24
Yeah, that’s a really good question. There’s a couple of things. I think that Emin buyers are a little more constructive in their approach to negotiation. And I think that that sets them apart. And what do I mean by that? What I mean by that is they tend to introduce themselves and tell the story of themselves and why they are interested. And that counts for a lot, because business owners want to know who they’re selling to a second thing that they do really well is some generalizing here, but it’s what we see on the platform, they’re quite detailed in their ask around, they want to see from the business before they make an informed decision. And that’s, again, I will state that’s a gross generalization, but we talk about it a little bit, and we see it quite a lot. As it relates to selling, there’s a category of business and a theme that female business owners will tend to follow. And again, I’m generalizing. But for instance, we often see really great content sites run by women. Now is that because historically, women have invested in blogs and and liked that as a as a business model, is because the certain topics and all genres and all categories make sense from an advertising and trending keyword standpoint? It’s hard to know, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s an advantage. But when we see a women own business list on the platform, it tends to sell through a little quicker. I don’t really have an objective statement as to the why we certainly talk about the fact that whenever a female business owner lists on the platform, that the listing does stand out really well, it presents well. And the communication is really, really fluid. We’ve actually spotlighted those listings from time to time so that we can help our account managers and our advisors and other business owners see what they’re doing to try and use that across the entire platform.
I know when I was when talking to people on the platform, I did always like to get more information. A great hallmark of a good site is always the content that makes sense to me that women would invest more time if it’s a hobby site or something they made. I know, it’s just a generalization, but I love hearing your insights there. Do you have any women in particular, you’ve seen a life changing experience and not not including my story, but anything you want to share?
Blake Hutchison 13:54
There’s lots of stories. For example, we had a blog owner, her name was Kim. And she actually built a crochet blog called crochet Kim and that blog sold within 48 hours on the Flippa platform for $90,000. And he had owned that for 20 years. So one of the things that we’d love to see your Flippa is when that moment that exit becomes real. That money changes hands and asset which has been so very much loved for so long and has been invested into finds its way into the hands of another passionate business owner, that individual Kim who owns crochet cash, she was ecstatic. She was delighted she was retiring. And so to get $90,000 into your bank account, just as you’re about to go into retirement is clearly really really great. But they’re the types of stories that I love. I also heard a story not that long ago and for those interested you can check out the humans of Flippa section of our blog on humans of Flippa there’s a story with an individual called Karen Boyer, Karen is really, really interesting. So as a police officer in Florida, she didn’t necessarily want to do that as a career and a profession anymore. And so she went to Barnes and Noble or borders, I think it was Barnes and Noble. This is a long time ago. And she bought how to build a website for dummies. And she, which I can’t believe exists as a book. But anyway, I did that. And she set up a, an online business called digital med certs, digital med-certs, and essentially enabled you to get medical certification. So it was a content website. And the mechanism to get people engaged was certifications, she replaced her income within 12 months building and running that site. She then ran that for, I can’t remember exactly Stacy, but I think it was in excess of a decade, so 10 years. And she then sold that for a couple of $100,000 on the flip a platform. And so that’s an example of a really empowered female business owner, who has made a choice to change careers, invest in herself. And as a result come out the other side with a burgeoning, growing online business that she was able to find an exit for those stories hopefully inspire others who may feel trapped and want to do something for themselves in either a business model that intrigues them or a category that they are passionate about. And that actually doesn’t matter which one it is right you can have an intellectual curiosity around a particular business model, and want to invest time to learn that, or you can have an a crazy passion for a particular category, crochet, or in her case, digital medical certifications was probably more about business models. So you know, take those two stories as indicative of some of the stories that we’re seeing from female business owners, but frankly, business owners of a type all over the world. They’re the ones that I like.
The fact that they were able to either have their passion poured into something or you know, just change your lifestyle, I can relate to that with how I was feeling kept in my cubicle, I love the other women have done similar things, taking control of their finances in a way where they were able to utilize an online platform to sell that and also make the monthly income. One of
Blake Hutchison 17:29
The things that we’re trying to educate everyone around is that there is an opportunity to not only grow and scale we know that exists, right? People are telling that story all the time. It’s easier to start a business than ever before, there are tools, there are mechanisms. There are courses that are inexpensive, which enable people to scale. But the question is, how do you exit? What is that pathway for female business owners to find a network of people with money, large or small or large amounts of money, who might be acquisition entrepreneurs, private equity, venture capital, family offices, search funds, who were looking for all of these businesses to buy, and to women, business owners all over the world know that that opportunity exists. And so what we’re trying to do right now, is give people the knowledge to understand that an exit is not just available for the leading tech businesses. It’s available for all good quality online businesses. And that’s a really, really important message that we want to get across to everyone.
Blake Hutchison 18:41
People have this valuable asset. But if they’re not able to find an audience or a marketplace with interested buyers, it’s all of a sudden it doesn’t have that same value. You guys as a platform are actually giving people the opportunity to get a large chunk of cash and to realize the value of the asset that they have.
Blake Hutchison 19:04
The average business owner not doesn’t know that exiting your business is, in fact, probable.
Blake Hutchison 19:17
It’s perceived as being something that is only available for fast growth startups that are led by well networked, privileged individuals. Typically, that’s not the case. There is a worldwide network of buyers, both individual and institutional, which are on the hunt for good quality assets. Assets that a cash flow generating, that a well run female businesses are typically very well run that can come complement, whatever their existing acquisition strategy is, and it could be that they know content, they want to acquire content sites. And they’re an individual who just does that, because they know it’s so well, or it could be that they are a fund. And that fund is looking to aggregate assets against a portfolio strategy. And so bringing awareness for that idea is a really, really critical part of what we’re up to.
I know that a lot of business owners that are service based don’t even know that it’s an option to sell. And they just think when their business ends, they have to give it away, or just so many different business types where you guys allow everyone an opportunity, and you’re really equalizing that for all business owners, which is really bringing equality to all different types of people being opportunity to every business owner to actually realize more immediate value and cash if they do decide to sell, which is a really important part of the business ecosystem.
Blake Hutchison 21:02
Right, Stacy, I must apologize. It looks like there’s some construction going on and it’s probably and hopefully not ruining the listing experience for everyone that looks like this. So my apologies but point you just made. I think you use the term equalizing we use a similar term, we talk about democratizing the exit we’re making it available to every business owner globally, who has a strong cash flow generating business, there’s an exit opportunity for you.
You guys are making available to everyone I know you have some other appointments today I want to just wrap up with a little bit more about her future details anything else you think people should know about Flippa.
Blake Hutchison 21:40
so much again, Stacy’s for everyone who is interested and October the 18th at 11am US Central Time 12pm US Eastern Time, we are hosting Flippa’s first ever female Business Women in Business centric Summit. It’s called her future 2022. That’s her future 2022. It’s free. It’s virtual. You can attend on the day. And of course recordings will be sent around from each one of the expert panelists and presenters post event. The event includes some wonderful speakers. You have three expert speakers, including people like Cheryl Conte, who will talk about how to achieve startup success. Sheryl takes listeners through her entrepreneurial journey to share some practical insights. We’ve got Cody Sanchez, who does a lot of work around buying in a contrarian way. So she buys boring businesses, and she’s bought 20 businesses. So she’s a force to be reckoned with. And you can hear her her thoughts we’ve got powering the pivot with Dr. Cheryl Robinson. She talks about how you can find new pathways and do that in a really positive and proactive manner. We’ve got Jennifer Pereira, who talks about mergers and acquisition opportunities, and talks about how that’s accessible and relatable for women around the world. So many others actually, please do go and check it out. You can find details of that firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash events, florid slash her hyphen future flippa.com forward slash events forward slash her hyphen future and no doubt Stacy, we can share that in the in the podcast notes and thank you once again. Wonderful to Stacy. Thank you so much. Appreciate your time.
Thank you so much, Blake. Thank you for listening to this episode of The Her.CEO podcast. Feel free to shoot me an email with any questions or comments at email@example.com.
1. Female Owned Businesses Listed
a) The Right Fit is a marketplace connecting leading brands with influencers, models and other creatives. Strong growth. Venture backed. Now for sale here.
2. Female Owned Businesses That Have Sold
a) CrochetKim is a crochet blog with thousands of free patterns. The site sold for $90,000 within a week of being listed on the platform.
Check out Flippa’s upcoming Her.Future event October 18th at 11am here: Flippa Her Future Event