Bryan and Colin Aulds weren’t exactly close growing up, with older brother Bryan doing typical older brother things. But as adults, when they were both looking for their next chapters in their careers, they found common goals and beliefs that would strengthen their relationship – and their wallets.
Hear their story of starting PrivacyPros, creating the Billfodl, and eventually exiting for 7-figures – with the help of WebsiteClosers.com.
Bryan and Colin Aulds are the co-hosts of the Unhashed Podcast and (now) co-founders of 10NetZero.
Today’s episode of Deal Closers is hosted by Jason Gillikin, brought to you by WebsiteClosers.com, and is produced by Earfluence.
Jason Gillikin: You’re listening to the Deal Closers podcast, brought to you by websiteclosers.com. A show about how to build your e-commerce business to be profitable, scalable, and one day even sellable. I’m Jason Gillikin, and on the show today, Website Closers, Izach Porter. And I talked to two brothers who turn their skepticism of big government and the dollar and turn it into a seven figure exit.
Let’s talk a little bit about crypto currency and Bitcoin specifically, as I record this Bitcoin has dropped from 30,000 a month ago to about 20,000. Now, over the past five years, though, Bitcoin has increased from about 2000 to 20,000, with a high of 64,000. If you can handle the swings, a 10x increase over a five year period isn’t so bad. For those of you who like me, before I record this podcast, I don’t know a whole lot about what Bitcoin is. It’s a decentralized digital currency that can be transferred on the peer to peer Bitcoin network, and keeping track of your own Bitcoins. And keeping that information secure is why you need a crypto wallet. For brothers, Bryan and Colin Aulds, they found that crypto wallets weren’t amazing. And they could do better. We’ll get to that. But first, we start with growing up. Bryan is four years older than Colin, and although they didn’t always get along, they both had a love of business. Here’s Bryan.
Bryan Aulds: Well, we are both pretty entrepreneurial, but I think four years is like the worst year differential that you can have between siblings, you know, as they’re growing up, they’re like, old enough to like want to be around you and think you’re cool. But like, you definitely thought I was cool. Colin, don’t make that face. I’m not old enough to like, keep up. And so it just kind of like, I was pretty mean to Colin. So I will admit that.
Colin Aulds: Bryan had a like a lawn mowing business. And I definitely wanted a piece of that. And to help him out with it. And I think my parents basically made him. Let me help with too much to his chagrin. But I tried a few different things. I tried like a snow cone stand on the on the deck of our river houses people flooded by but man that flopped horribly. I would say I didn’t really have much success on the entrepreneurial end until I hit college, and I started throwing some parties and I would charge like a $5 per cup to enter the house. And then you got as much beer as you wanted. But it was probably illegal, frankly. But you know, when you’re in college, it was a massive success actually.
Jason Gillikin: It wouldn’t be Collins last success. And for Bryan, his career began in the Naval Academy as a pilot. And that’s how we found both his love for logistics, and maybe his skepticism for big government.
Bryan Aulds: We knew how much ice cream was going over to the carrier every day. Because like when you were doing ice cream, they would say, hey, this is a load of ice cream. We’re gonna wheel it out of the freezers like right now and like you have to get this load and make sure the carrier’s ready for it so that they can get out because you’re in the Persian Gulf. It’s like 130 degrees outside, so the ice cream is gonna melt like that. So as soon as it comes out, you pick it up, you take it over the carrier, and they wheel it out to the freezer. And so they’re like, Okay, well, how many grabs of ice cream do I got? And we’re like, Oh, we got three grabs of ice cream. And there’s like eight pallets times three says 24 pallets of ice cream that are going over. And then like, you know, that’s a lot of it’s a lot of ice cream. And then you go down to the galley. And there’s never any ice cream. And you’re like, Where’s all this ice cream going? And like, oh, well, the chiefs are getting all the ice cream like because then they’re the ones who are actually like in control of these pallets down there.
Jason Gillikin: And back to Colin, he graduated just after the peak of the Great Recession.
Colin Aulds: It was very difficult to get a good job and the only people that were hiring words, insurance agencies, so I wouldn’t get a job at New York Life. I sucked at it. Which is interesting, because when you’re insurance agents actually a pretty entrepreneurial job. I mean, you’re paid full commission. You don’t make money if you don’t sell. But man I just hated it. And I was living in Nashville and I hated living in Nashville. I just didn’t I mean, it’s a fun city. It’s great to visit I think of it a lot like I think of New York nice to visit but I would never want to live there. Everything my personal life was going bad and I just I had no prospects. I mean, it was pretty dire to be honest with you. So I left I just like started over basically I moved to Korea started teaching English and I met a guy named Ruben Samson there. And he was the leader of the Seoul Bitcoin Meetup. I was living in Seoul, Korea. And I this was in 2014. And I had been a pretty frequent user of the mises.org forums, which is the Mises Institute is like a libertarian think tank basically. And I would read a lot of their articles and I’d be on their forums and these guys as in like, 2011 started talking about Bitcoin and I’m like, this is, this is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard of. I mean, who on earth would use this? Clearly gold is, you know, the best money. And I thought it was really dumb and I shrugged it off. I’m like, man, we’re really going in the wrong direction here, guys. But then I met Ruben. And he asked me to come to his meet up because he had come to one of my Meetup’s. And so I went and really liked Ruben. And, you know, Ruben, if you don’t know who Ruben Sampson is which I don’t have any reason to think that you do. He’s now the lead, lead maintainer of the Bitcoin mailing list, which is the mailing list that goes out to all the Bitcoin Core Devs. So I mean, he’s really connected in with the active development scene on Bitcoin. He’s probably one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and basically proceeded to explain why I was wrong about every assumption I had about Bitcoin. And I basically left that meet up like a complete believer, and segues into Bryan and I’s first purchase of Bitcoin in 2014. It was right after the Mount. Gox hack, and Bitcoin had just hit a high of $1,200. And it tanked down after that hack, because everyone was panicking. And basically, I mean, it was like, this thing is over with, I mean, that’s a lot of people thought this, this project is done, but obviously, you know, Bitcoins the ultimate Honey Badger doesn’t care. It just keeps going. So Bryan and I got in and that kind of segues out of there. But just to finish up what happened afterward, I left. I met my current wife there, she moved back to California and moved back to Texas for a little while. And it was like my sole mission to make it to California. So I eventually moved out to California, and I got a job working software QA at Panasonic Avionics. And that’s kind of where Bryan and I started the business.
Jason Gillikin: Okay, so Bitcoin was at 1200. And then after the hack, it’s down to what? What did you get in for?
Bryan Aulds: 240, 340 something like that. Something somewhere along in there. I don’t remember exactly. What it was awesome. Because you could just, you could just go to Bitcoin ATMs and put in cash, and you could buy as much as you wanted that way more or less.
Jason Gillikin: So Bryan, what does that call like in 2014 from Colin, where he’s like, hey, I want to I want to invest in Bitcoin. What do you think? Are you like, what the hell are you talking about?
Bryan Aulds: Honestly, like, I had heard about it, like completely separately, several times. And kind of had this like Inkling in the back of my head, like, oh, you know, that’s something I should probably, like, take a flyer on. And then like, you know, you get busy with whatever else and brush it off. And, and at the time, like it was when I first heard about it, it was just a pain in the ass to actually get a hold of. So like, the amount of work it would take, it was more than the price you were going to pay for it.
Colin Aulds: It wasn’t easy, like it is today.
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, half the price was like your sweat equity in like going out to figure out how to get hold of it. Like, oh, I’m going to Western Union like money to the Philippines. Like that just sounds like a bad idea you know. So definitely, it’s all going to be gone. So you really are taking a flyer that you’re actually going to get this.
Colin Aulds: And it’s worth noting that like the way that you got Bitcoin was on Mount Gox. But mount Gox had just melted down, and you couldn’t get it on Mount Gox anymore. So I mean, that’s how systemic that that hack was. I mean, that that was the way that you got Bitcoin that was the big innovation in liquidity was mountain Gox it was the first real Bitcoin exchange.
Bryan Aulds: And so when it folded Coinbase was around and so that was kind of like, how Coinbase sucked up its initial big slug of customers in the US at least is kind of like that was where everyone went. And so I remember you know, like that my thought process was like, Okay, I’ll take a flyer on this but I don’t want to invest as much as Colin because I want to you know, not hurt as bad when it craters and goes to zero.
Jason Gillikin: So any expectation, like you fully expected it to go to zero?
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, I just it was like, whatever I put in this I need to be comfortable with like it just disappearing tomorrow.
Colin Aulds: Which is like just I think still like that’s still should be your attitude.
Bryan Aulds: That is true. Yeah, it needs to be an amount that you’re comfortable. Having disappear. Now the chances of it disappearing are much lower now, I would say then, than they were in 14.
Colin Aulds: Yeah, definitely true.
Jason Gillikin: Yeah. So what happened in like, what happened in your initial investment?
Bryan Aulds: I mean, I think I still have some of those coins.
Jason Gillikin: So did it go up quickly though?
Bryan Aulds: No, no, no, it grinded sideways for like, until 2016. Seven, like early 17. So I mean, it might have like doubled in price over those three years. But it basically did nothing. But around 2016 I think New Year’s Day of 2017. I hit $1,000. And so it still hadn’t gotten back up to the all-time high again.
Jason Gillikin: That’s still a good return on what you what you bought it for.
Bryan Aulds: Oh, that’s true. But I mean, again, like, you didn’t put a lot of money in it. You were you would be stupid. If you bought, you know.
Colin Aulds: Maybe you put in $1,000.
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Colin Aulds: I mean, it’s not that much money. But I mean, to me at that time, it was a lot of money that I put in because I was making almost no money. So but you know, like, at that point in my life, you have to understand, Bryan was doing pretty well, on the Navy. We had a family and stuff like that. But I didn’t have kids, I wasn’t married, I just had so little to lose anyway, so that there’s sort of a power and having little to lose, because you can just take these big risks, it’s like, well, it can’t get much worse. But you know, it’s funny that Bryan and I kind of came to it separately, because I think you know, one of the things we didn’t mention one reason that we kind of became buds. We had both kind of been toying with this, I don’t know more libertarian philosophy than we were raised in. And we kind of arrived at it separately. Like, I was like, have you ever read this article by Von Mises before? And he’s like, oh yeah, I have like, I’ve been reading a lot of that stuff. And it’s like, I think we were kind of raised accidentally to be pretty hardcore, like libertarian guys. And definitely early Bitcoin selected for that crowd because it appealed to the crowd of fiat money is bullshit. And, and it’s just a giant Ponzi scheme. And they’re just a ruining your wealth.
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, the government has ruined our money. And, like, we need to try to take it back. And so then, like Colin, kind of alluded to earlier, the initial idea was that, you know, we’ll go back to a gold standard, or whatever. And I think like, it finally just occurred, like being, I guess, a tail end of the millennial, the gold thing just kind of seem to fall flat when you look at the internet, and you’re like, well, I can’t send gold over the internet. And so like, it just seemed like, an idea that was more right for its time. Like, or at least something that could happen, you know, back in 2014. And it seemed to be getting more and more likely as we go into 2017.
Colin Aulds: And I think the other the other big thing, and the reason that appealed to the libertarian crowd was that, everything up to that point, if you were if you were concerned about the way our money worked, and I don’t want to get too political on this, because it’s not what the show is about, but just to explain the kind of motivation and why we got interested in it. At that time, you know, the only alternative was to go back to the gold standard. And, again, like what Bryan said it, it doesn’t really fit the time, it gets a little bit archaic, but on top of that, it required a massive lobbying effort that was very unlikely to succeed, it basically impossible to ever succeed, asking the government to go back to a gold standard, like, that’s just never going to happen ever. And Bitcoin was it was an escape hatch out of the system that you had no choice but to participate in. But if you could bootstrap this other network that competes with the dollar, instead of integrates with it, then you’re no longer asking for permission, you’re just, you’re just going around the mountain instead of instead of trying to bore through it. So I think I think that’s what appealed to that crowd or lay in line. And there was enough of us at that time to bootstrap the network enough to get it off the ground.
Jason Gillikin: Yeah, gotcha. And so you’re into Bitcoin in 2017. When did you think of starting a business centered around Bitcoin?
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, so that’s kind of a funny story. Colin, we had kind of a group chat with me and Colin and Rubin and another friend. Actually, all four of us now are podcast hosts on our podcast, The Unhashed Podcast, but at the time, there was no podcast. It was just kind of the four of us shooting the breeze on telegram. So, Colin post in there like, hey, like if I was ever going to start a business in the crypto space, I would name it Bill fadul, which is now the name of our product. But the time he was just like, I thought it was a funny name because it’s like billfold mixed with Hodl with H-O-D-L, which, I mean, its own.
Colin Aulds: There’s lots of wallets in the space. And so like Wallet Billfold, I mean, kind of the same thing. Like, someone should create a wallet called Bill Fadul. That’s what someone should do that.
Bryan Aulds: So then I immediately just to kind of like razz, Colin went out and bought billfadul.com. And so like, Hey, you can’t start this business now. Because I own the.com domain. And he was a little mad about that. And then we started kind of kicking it. This was probably in like, I don’t know…
Colin Aulds: This is in the end of 2017.
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, June of 17, mid 17, mid to late 17.
Jason Gillikin: So your motivation, though, is you’re being a jerk Big Brother at this point, right?
Bryan Aulds: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Colin Aulds: It’s trolling me.
Bryan Aulds: Just trolling him that I had bought the domain name for his idea. And so then like, it also around the same time, like, I’m getting out of the Navy, and so I’m having to think about like, what I’m going to do when I grow up. And so like, well, you know, there’s this other product that, like, we just kind of start formulating this halfcocked business idea. So that’s kind of the Genesis story behind both the name and the idea of us getting into this space.
Jason Gillikin: Okay, so at some point, you’re thinking like, well, maybe we should actually do this. And there’s a lot of wallets out there. Like, what, what problem are you trying to solve when you’re when you’re starting to do this?
Bryan Aulds: So at the time, in mid to late 2017, the crypto market was just absolutely bananas. And so Leger had launched probably two years before, but their Nano as product was just selling like gangbusters. And there was another company called crypto steel, who had made really the first steel wallet in the space, I would say. And the problem was that they were making these out of their fathers, like steel for…
Colin Aulds: Just sword factory.
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, it was like a sword factory in Poland. And there was no way for them to scale up to meet the demand. And so you would go on their site and buy, you know, want to buy a crypto steel? And they’d say, okay, like, and I had bought some in early 17. And, you know, maybe, like, purchased like, 10 of them or something. And they’d say, okay, like, we’ll ship to you maybe in three months. And then you know, you’d wait and wait and wait. And eventually they would come. And, you know, they worked as advertised. But like, clearly, if, if the backlog is that much like the market is saying, we need more of these things, and I was reselling some of them on eBay for like, a retail for 99. I’d sell them for 250 bucks. So like, the market is saying, like, we need a lot more of these things. And so like operations background, I was like, Hey, I think we can get these made for quite a bit less than 250. And even less than, you know, like, than whatever the crypto steel making them for, and also solve for some of the other problems that were with the unit. So that was really the problem that we had set out to solve.
Colin Aulds: Yeah, I mean, that was the initial problem. And I mean, on top of that, the user experience of the product was horrible. I mean, it was definitely designed by someone who doesn’t understand how customers think when they receive your product. But it didn’t matter because they were first mover and it, it did what it said it would do. But I mean, there was just so many little things you could make better. The customer service was crap, I mean, absolute dogs hit. So we’re like, well, we can we can do better customer service than this. And the other thing that we were thinking about like that I just laugh at, in hindsight, we thought it would be so easy to find a supplier for this product. And for us it was but I think we got really lucky because we tried to find more suppliers after and it was like, impossible. It was so hard. We eventually found some but it took like a couple of years to find another one.
Bryan Aulds: In our also idea was like, let’s just sell like 1000 of these things and make a, you know, make 20 grand and, you know, move on our way, but then we sold through them. And we’re like, well, we just sold 1000 of these, like, we got to do it again. So he put all the money back into get two or three or whatever I don’t remember, it’s like when we buy three, we can get them for this price. And so then it became then you start realizing, you know, the issue of scaling that entrepreneurs have of it just being this, this baby that is endlessly hungry. It’s like, wow, I’ve made 100 grand, but I actually haven’t made anything. Because every up every time and then that was basically the story almost up until the time that we sold, I think kind of towards the end, we were actually like taking home some pretty fat cheque’s. But really up until 2020. Like we didn’t make anything and it was pretty hand to mouth for those years too. But you know, I didn’t want to mention, I think one of the greatest business lessons I got out of this business is how overrated originality is. Because you know, when crypto steel created this product, they open sourced the design. So we didn’t have to redesign anything. I mean, anyone was allowed to take their schematic and go manufacture it or create their own or make whatever modifications they wanted to it. And I think a lot of the time and in, in business advice they talk about, you know how having an original idea is so important. I think that’s bullshit. I mean, it’s nice to be first mover. But there’s also a ton of risk involved with being a first mover, whereas in this case, and I think in many other cases, like just look for a proven market where the market leader is really bad at what they do. And the only reason that they do well is because of the only guy providing the product, I mean that those were opportunities.
Jason Gillikin: For sure, yeah, all you need to do is solve a problem and you’ve got a business, right? It doesn’t have to be an original idea. It’s very rare to have an original idea that that would actually go somewhere. So it sounds like you guys invested a little bit in the business just to see how it would go. And then it went well. And then you invest more. And it went well. Like did you have any idea that this could snowball up into a legitimate full time job?
Colin Aulds: I kept telling myself that it was a full time job even when it was. And so honestly, I think that might be why we won. And I say when you know, metaphorically. But I think a lot of the other people in the market did not have anyone working full time and it was just like a pet project. And so you’re just able to, I mean, it’s what you’re doing, you’re putting at least 40 hours a week into it. So you’re able to just out hustle everybody, there were a lot like we like to joke that the road of metal hardware wallets, metal crypto wallet is littered with our dead competitors. And I think most of them, it was just a pet project for them side hustle.
Bryan Aulds: Which is how it started for us. I mean, that was our idea was it’ll just be a pet project.
Colin Aulds: Yeah, it’ll be a side hustle.
Bryan Aulds: And then you want to 1000 if you do that.
Colin Aulds: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s the thing. And so I couldn’t find a job. And so like, I would just, you know, like, as I got out of the Navy 2018 I couldn’t find a job. And so I just worked more and more on Bill Fadul. And so that kind of, yeah, one thing led to another that way, but I think a lot of it was just hustle.
Jason Gillikin: So can you guys talk about the business model a little bit you you’ve got a website, the business was primarily DTC built kind of on a Shopify platform, like how did you come up with that as a distribution model? And what are the things did you think about as you were, as you were building out that and eventually, you know, leading to an Amazon channel and a wholesale business?
Colin Aulds: As far as the go to market strategy, I think, you know, initially we started off as an online B2C channel because that’s what crypto SEO was doing. And so, you know, we knew that’s where the market was. And, like, I don’t think there was a lot of like, deep strategic thought that went into it. It was just kind of like, well, this is, you know, this is what our competitors doing so clearly, like, it’s where we need to start. And then we did kind of like, dip our toe into Amazon and have grown that out to be, I guess an equal pillar to our Shopify store. So it’s just kind of like organic growth in all the channels, you know, you just like try something out. Okay, that worked. And then again, yeah, you just keep doubling down on, on what works. And there were plenty of things that you know that that didn’t work along the way.
Jason Gillikin: So, Izach, when did you become aware of privacy pros, and Bill Fadul?
Izach Porter: Yeah, so I think we were introduced by Tom Howard in 2021. Would have been kind of in the spring, maybe Q1, is that sound right, guys?
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, we reached out to Tom, I think in December of 2020, to get his take on it, and to you know, just let them know, like, hey, and what’s funny is like, you know, we told them at the time, like, hey, like, this is gonna get really big over this next year, and like, we’re gonna want to plan on some time. I think at the time, we said, like, mid 2021, like thinking about and exit. And I think he kind of thought, like, he looked at our books at the time, and was like, kind of, I think he kind of dismissed it a little bit, like, not that a broker is ever going to say that out loud. But I think he was like, looked at it and be like, guys, like, let’s be honest here, like, you’ve only done I don’t know, like, how much revenue we had for 2020.
Izach Porter: Oh, it was horrible. It was nothing.
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, it was probably like $300,000 or $400,000 in revenue. I don’t remember. But, but, you know, we saw the hockey stick, and we knew what was coming. And I think, you know, that’s kind of one thing, where someone in the market, you know, not that I have, like, you know, telepathic predictive abilities or anything like it could have turned out totally differently. But the people in the market kind of have like, the different feel for it, then then people externally looking and Tom was not the only person, one of our mentors kind of said the same thing. Like guys, like, no one’s like, this is peanuts. Like, no one’s gonna care about this.
Izach Porter: Yeah, yeah.
Colin Aulds: And that’s not wrong. And it’s not a bad impulse to have. But, but when you’ve been in, in this space, as long as we have, and you’ve studied it, as long as we have, it’s, and again, you don’t have a crystal ball. But Bitcoin has had a very, very predictable pattern that has emerged every four years, it just shoots up a metric fuck ton. And then it crashes down, but higher than the previous high, and then it goes sideways for a while and goes up and down. And then it shoots up again. And it’s just, that’s just how it’s how it’s worked out over the past, I don’t know, 12 years, or whatever it’s been now. And at that point, when we came to Tom, like things were starting to heat up, and we were like, Okay, this, we’re gonna be ready to go here pretty soon, we want to get this in the works, but it hadn’t really taken off yet. And so I think it was, it would have been very easy if you weren’t super familiar with the space to kind of be like, Well, I mean, no one’s gonna want this right now, and they wouldn’t have but you know, then then it did.
Bryan Aulds: So y’all had looked at a deal that Tom was representing. And so Tom met you through the deal and started talking about your business. And like you said, it was real early on. But we came up with this idea to develop projections and, and go to market based on the pro forma growth of the business that you were expecting to occur, and that was pretty cool. Because that’s kind of when I when I came in, and we worked on the projections. And then you guys just proceeded to absolutely destroy it, you know, for the next, the next couple of quarters and blew your projections out of the water. And I think we raised the price on your deal three different times, I believe.
Izach Porter: Yeah. Well, that was the cool part. Like we price based on projections. And it seemed like nobody, understandably so again, like, it’s kind of like what we said about Tom and early, especially if you’re a buyer, though, like, well, the great you’ve projected this straight, like anybody can put something down on a spreadsheet. But then like, we kept just exceeding the projection every month. And like, Okay, well, this is what we predicted and like, we hit higher than it and then here comes the, you know, the next month, hit higher than that projection, even though like the projections were growing to, we would still just hit higher, hit higher, hit higher, and so on.
Colin Aulds: I just want to quantify that, I think the trailing 12 months cash flow in the business and we got introduced was a couple $100,000 I don’t I don’t know the exact number. And the projections, you know, so we were talking six figure historicals. And then we were projecting, you know, kind of high six figure seven figure net income. So like, you know, we were already projecting a 200 to 300% growth in the business and then they just blew that out of the water.
Jason Gillikin: That’s incredible. So one of their one was their interest in with buyers. When did that start happening?
Izach Porter: Yeah. So I think, to Bryan’s point when we first went to market on the big projections, and the historicals really looked disconnected from the projections, because it was such a hockey stick, you know, I had some pushback from buyers. But then as we went through kind of the first two or three months, and show the actual performance, beating the projections, kind of every day after that, we got more, more and more buyer interest.
Colin Aulds: But I think also and correct me if I’m wrong, Izach, but I think also, the fact that we were killing our projections also made people nervous, because they thought, like, are these guys like committing fraud or something, which, like, anything in crypto looks like fraud, because of just how insane the performances are. It’s like just dreary, or just like the best thing you’ve ever seen. And so it doesn’t really make sense to the average person looking at the books, I guess.
Izach Porter: Yeah, there was some skepticism about the about the growth, and just yeah, how it was being achieved. I think, you know, the other thing that was interesting with your business is you had virtually no paid traffic, you know, no advertising expense. And so that looks so different than, you know, a lot of the e-com businesses we see have 30 to 60% of their revenue being spent on advertising. And you guys were at less than 1%. And so not only were you growing at this breakneck speed, but you were doing it organically with a blog that that column was writing to drive traffic to your site.
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, that’s one thing I guess we haven’t touched on yet. Collin’s magic SEO a bit.
Izach Porter: That’s part of the story that’s got to be told, because maybe your business degree didn’t pan out. But whatever you learned in SEO is a goldmine.
Colin Aulds: I think we learned very early on that. It’s such an obvious lesson yet, it seems like people just don’t really think about it that often, especially in e-com is paid traffic is really expensive, I mean, really expensive. And they’re also kind of a one and done. I mean, they might come on your website, and they may be fairly high intent, but you don’t develop a relationship with or trust with the person. And it’s not a long term strategy. And I think a lot of people think they can just throw money at their problem of sales. And it will come but you know, I think we nurtured a pretty loyal audience. And I mean, if they were either incredibly useful, like, Okay, how to transfer from Coinbase to your wallet. And for some reason, like no one had written this article, I mean, not well, like maybe some guy in Bangladesh with poor English wrote it. And, you know, it just wasn’t panning out. But you know, those were those are people that those are our customers. People who own Ledgers are our customers, because our product is, if you don’t know a ledger is harbor wallet, our product is a complement to that product. And that’s a great opportunity right there. And that’s free. And it was so easy to get that traffic because no one else had written like a really good article on that. And we, we did some like, kind of investigative journalism stuff that like got us lots of links, I think that those are kind of the two strategies for us was write really useful content that is, like, in two minutes, I’m providing value to you in a real way to solve some technical problem that you’re having, which is very common in the crypto space. The other content that we would write would be really investigative. So like, there was, there was a paper wallet generator that was just stealing people’s coins. And, you know, we went through and we hired chain analysis companies to figure out where the coins went, and who likely owned them and we figured out how the scam worked, like on a code level by going into the code, and just figuring out like, Okay, what is actually happening on this website, when they steal your coins? Like, how are they doing? And that content doesn’t make you money, but it gets you lots of links from really big crypto sites. And that raises all of your money pages. So it’s kind of a two pronged approach there. And I learned a lot of what I learned by working over it by Bitcoin worldwide, which is the largest Bitcoin blog that there is, I had a mentor there that taught me a lot of stuff. And so I just implemented that on our website. And it, it did really well and it’s responsible for, you know, most of ourselves that aren’t Amazon, or because of that blog problem.
Jason Gillikin: So smart. So what happened with the sale, what can you tell us about that?
Bryan Aulds: Well, you talked about our initial bootstrap investment back in, or late 17 was about $24,000. And we exited for seven figures. So the power of compound interest, compounded work over time in a business.
Jason Gillikin: Well, plus, I’m sure you bought some Bitcoin in that time, you know, plus be able to invest in all these different other currencies. So, yeah, I think you’re doing pretty well.
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, it was a good first business, I’d say. So,
Jason Gillikin: A couple things I would point out about the transaction that I think are noteworthy. So we got we got to a good valuation. And I also thought the deal structure and your deal worked out really well, because we were able to identify a buyer who had, I think, a pretty complementary skill set, and you ended up retaining equity in the business, and you’re now working with your new business partner to continue to grow that business. And you guys have started up a new venture that is super interesting. I’d love to talk about that. Can we talk about the new venture as well?
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, for sure. So and I totally agree with you about the complementary buyer. You know, you mentioned all of our traffic was organic. And, you know, he’s a paid ads expert. And I think that’s what it was going to need to be, for an individual at least to have that level, that kind of expertise, because that’s what Colin and I had said, that’s what our business needed, to really, you know, continue its growth. And so that’s what we got it and we’re really excited to be working with him.
Colin Aulds: Yeah. And I would say if you’re thinking of selling your business, like, and you know, you’re having a hard time finding a buyer like, for us, it was hard, because our business was such a niche business that a lot of people, like, hey, books look great, but like I just, I don’t understand the business. And I don’t understand the space, it’s just too much of a hurdle for me. And I think also people are understandably afraid, when people are trying to sell their business like, Okay, why are you trying to sell, but if you’re willing to retain some equity, it displays some good faith in the business that, hey, I just want to take some chips off the table. But I’m, you know, I’m in it with you, I’m willing to go with you. And if you can find a buyer who maybe that maybe they don’t even have the best offer. But if you retain some equity, and they’re really complimentary to your skills, and they have something you don’t have, then you may make more money with that person in the long run anyway, if you’re willing to take the ride with them. So I think that’s some advice I would have if you’re, if you’re thinking of selling be open to those kinds of things. But yeah, with the new business, go ahead, Bryan.
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, so it’s called 10, net zero and the number 10. And then net zero, like net zero emissions. And basically, what we’re out to do is using Bitcoin, crypto mining as a tool to help energy producers, it could be oil and gas, monetize stranded or underutilized assets. And that could come in many forms, I think the headline would be a natural gas flare. So if there’s an oil, well, a lot of times next to it, you’ll see a flame next to it. And that’s natural gas that’s just being burned up. And so what our company would do is come out, set up a, a Bitcoin mine on the process and use the natural gas to generate electricity, and then mine Bitcoin off that electricity. And what that does is it lowers your net emissions by 30 to 60%, of carbon co2 equivalent, because instead of just lighting that co2 on fire, you send it through an engine, which burns it much more efficiently. And so you have the environmental impact, and then also the impact on the bottom line. So it’s really twofold prong of attack. And I think as we look forward and want to tackle more of these carbon issues, it’s going to have to be something that makes sense economically to you know, people are only so altruistic. And so having something that can benefit them financially and also benefit the environment just really cements that.
Jason Gillikin: That’s awesome. So is this something that you guys have already like, do you have one of these? I guess it’s a machine that would do this. Do you have one many of them? Like, are you…?
Bryan Aulds: Yeah, so we have one site up and working currently, and we’re gonna be expanding that to right now. It’s about 100 kilowatts, and we’re gonna be expanding it up to like 400 kilowatts, and then we’re in talks with investors to kind of to scale up from there.
Jason Gillikin: Wow. So guys, I always ask, what’s the first purchase that you made when you sold your business? And it sounds like it might have been investing in your new company. But what’s something…
Colin Aulds: It’s a convertible note in the new business
Jason Gillikin: Is there anything fun that you bought with the money from the sale the business?
Bryan Aulds: I bought a C2 rowing machine. So that was my first purchase. I know kind of a small one.
Izach Porter: I bought a bunch of plane tickets for my honeymoon.
Jason Gillikin: Hey, congratulations.
Colin Aulds: Yeah, thank you.
Jason Gillikin: Where are you going?
Izach Porter: Oh, all over Europe. We’re in like a like a month in Europe.
Jason Gillikin: So that’s fantastic. Like, that’s a huge win right there seeing the world. Very cool. Guys, this is amazing. Thank you so much for coming on the Deal Closers podcast, I learned a lot, and I can’t wait to see what your next company does.
Colin Aulds: Thank you so much for having us.
Bryan Aulds: Well, thank you for having us.
Jason Gillikin: All right, that was Colin and Bryan Aulds for privacy pros and Bill Fadul, head to privacypros.io and for 10 Net Zero had to 10netzero.com. That’s the numbers one 10netzero.com. Check out their podcasts as well Unhashed, which you can find on any podcast platform or head to unhashedpodcast.com. Thanks everyone for listening to this episode of the Deal Closers podcast, brought to you by websiteclosers.com. If you liked the show, be sure to rate us, write a review, press the follow button and share it with your network. And of course if you’re looking for help selling your e-commerce business, be sure to visit websiteclosers.com. This episode was edited and produced by Earfluence. I’m Jason Gillikin, and we’ll see you next time on the Deal Closers podcast.