As Ecommerce entrepreneurs, we may not consider ourselves traditional investors. But in today’s digital landscape, we’re all in the business of selling and investing in our future. We may not have a stock ticker or a brick and mortar property, but we have websites and digital assets that hold incredible potential and can produce amazing cash flows.
Today we have the privilege of welcoming a true trailblazer in the world of digital investments, Matt Raad, CEO of eBusiness Institute Australia. He has defied convention to achieve financial freedom through a path that started with nothing and transformed into a high cash flow portfolio by buying and selling online businesses.
Here’s how he does it.
This episode of Deal Closers is hosted by Izach Porter, brought to you by WebsiteClosers.com, and is produced by Earfluence.
Matt Raad – 00:00:05:
If you can make $1,000 online, which is a pretty cool thing, like that’s money out of thin air, right, while you sleep. So while we sleep, we’re selling an e-book. If you can do your first $1,000 online in a month, well, for most people, if you want to quit your job, you’ve got the skill because you’ve just got to do it another, what, nine times, and that’s it, and you’re on your way. And then you can go and do the really big stuff. And this is not a get-rich-quick thing. We’re not flipping websites here. Treat it as actual real estate. This is virtual real estate. And to us, that was a game-changer.
Izach Porter – 00:00:42:
All right, 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 Izach Porter, and on today’s episode, we’re diving into the world of unconventional investments and digital wealth generation. We’re not talking about traditional real estate or stocks. We’re delving into the exciting realm of website investments and digital assets, something that is very near and dear to my heart. Many of us may not consider ourselves traditional investors, but in today’s digital landscape, we’re all in the business of selling and investing in our future. We may not have a stock ticker or a brick and mortar property, but we have websites and digital assets that hold incredible potential and can produce amazing cash flows. Today we have the privilege of welcoming a true trailblazer in the world of digital investments, Matt Raad, a recognized authority in website investments. He has defied convention to achieve financial freedom through a path that started with nothing and transformed into a high cash flow portfolio by buying and selling online businesses. We’re excited to tap into Matt’s wealth of experience, unconventional approach, and his mission to equip individual investors with the skills to secure their financial future in the digital age. Matt, welcome to the Deal Closers Podcast, man. Thanks for being on the show.
Matt – 00:02:09:
Thank you so much for having me on, Izach. Definitely, an honor to be on here.
Izach – 00:02:12:
Really excited to talk with you. I know I’ve spent some time looking at your background and watching your podcast and some of the success that you’ve helped your students achieve. But before we get into that, tell me about this zoologist background that you’ve got. And how did you go from, I’m right about that, right? You were a zoologist and you transitioned into website investments and digital assets. So just connect the dots for me.
Matt – 00:02:39:
Yeah. Everyone’s always blown away by that. I think even our kids look at Liz and I and go, how did you guys go from being zoologists to…
Izach – 00:02:49:
You’re both zoologists.
Matt – 00:02:50:
Yeah, well, that’s actually the story. That’s how we met. We met at uni studying zoology. And we were actually, both Liz and I were experts in red kangaroos. So we’re in Australia, listeners, and we were literally the world’s experts in red kangaroos at the time. We had scholarships, but we decided-
Izach – 00:03:10:
This is going to be a ridiculous question, but I’m not an expert in kangaroos. Are red kangaroos actually red?
Matt – 00:03:16:
That’s a really good question, Izach. You should ask that because the males are, but believe it or not, the females typically aren’t particularly red. They’re a little bit grayer. So that’s one of the things we learned or that we looked at. It’s for heat regulation. There’s all sorts of reasons anyway. But sadly, there is no money in zoology. And for me personally, there’s a mindset reason why we changed into business because I grew up with, like a lot of people did back in the 70s, hardly any money in my family. We grew up on farms here in Australia. Both Liz and I did as well. What we thought in life… We wanted to, because we grew up on farms in rural areas, like a lot of people that do that, we wanted to be able to work or earn money living back in a rural area. And we thought, oh, let’s do zoology. Not knowing, realising, you know, because we thought it’d be with animals and stuff, but not realising zoologists are stuck to the city and they’re stuck to government grants. And funnily enough, ever since I was a kid, though, I was always fascinated by business and I’d always had little mini businesses trading things and stuff like that. And I always loved this idea of being able to make money out of thin air. I was not into working nine to five. And that was the other problem that I could see with zoology. You’re going to be stuck in a lab somewhere in the city. So basically when I met Liz, I said to her, I want to get into a business somewhere, but we had no idea how to do it. And we ended up buying very quickly when we finished university, a manufacturing business. It was not we’re out in the country. There’s an opportunity came up. My dad happened to meet this crazy European guy, who told us all about his business. And we just thought it sounded amazing. So, you know, the usual thing on your first business, with the help of friends and family and what are they called, friend’s families and fools, you get the money together and we bought this little manufacturing business and it was making spare parts for outdoor power equipment. So, you know, chainsaws and brush cutters and stuff.
Izach – 00:05:21:
Matt – 00:05:22:
And that’s a big industry here in Australia, as it is in America. It’s a really big industry and it was really exciting for us. I think within 24 hours of owning that business, we’re addicted. And we said we are never going back to university, don’t want to go to do zoology. And we were just hooked. And basically, we built that business up significantly. And we’re exporting to America. And we started exporting to all the big brands. But we learned a lot on that journey. And it further reinforced in us this idea, like for your listeners, this idea of being able to make money, but it’s not connected to time. Because with a manufacturing business, you don’t have to work nine till five. And our business was quite seasonal. And we got it so systemized that we could start buying and selling other businesses. And that was our journey. That’s how we went on. But I make it sound easy. I will say this, when this is something that drives us today, why we want to help people, we made every mistake under the sun when we bought that business. It was basically going bankrupt, which didn’t get picked up in the due diligence process. And so ever since then, we’ve just been fascinated by how to do proper due diligence. Because we nearly went bust a few times. It was really, really tricky.
Izach – 00:06:33:
I just want to dig into this because this is really interesting. Because I talk to a lot of people who are considering investing and buying some type of a digital business. And everyone is afraid of making a mistake on their first deal. And I don’t want people to make mistakes on their first deal either. But in order to buy a business, you have to do a deal. You have to actually get over the hump of that fear and take a dive, do the due diligence, try to check all the boxes, cross all the T’s, dot all the I’s. But at the end of the day, you have to make a decision that you’re willing to take some risk and actually do the deal. So it’s interesting to me that you said that the business was almost going bankrupt and it didn’t get picked up in due diligence. That potentially sounds catastrophic, but it turned out to be good in this case, the acquisition sounds like, right? So what’s your advice to somebody maybe who’s thinking about doing their first deal and they’re just wringing their hands on the sideline. How do they actually make the leap of just getting into the ring?
Matt – 00:07:28:
My favorite topic, Izach, is what we love helping people because it is so close to our heart. Exactly like you, we want to help these guys. The actual advice is very simple because with online businesses, and this is why we love online businesses, there is a large degree of safety. You’ve got to realize that compared to bricks and mortar, it’s way safer. But the answer is really simple. Just start out small because you can. You don’t have to invest six figures or millions of dollars now to get into a decent business. You can literally buy, as you know, a small website and learn even under $10,000 or under $50,000. And, that’s probably my best advice is start out small. In fact, it’s one of our golden rules that we teach people, particularly if you’re trying to transition from a job because you can also start out small and have this as a side hustle while you still keep your job. Don’t quit your job. That’s probably the other thing that I would suggest because mindset-wise, you know you’ve got that safety of a regular income coming in and then it’s easy. Just start out small and then build your way up. You know, the other bit of advice, I’m biased here, but you’re going to love this, Izach. Seriously, find a good broker like you guys and work with good brokers because good brokers and certainly they can make you so much money. They become like your advisors and if you tell them honestly where you’re at, you’re transitioning out of a career, they will help you find the right business as well. And that’s the other. So I guess there’s two things. Start small and work with a good broker to help advise you.
Izach – 00:09:00:
I love that because I think one of the things I found, in my own e-commerce journey, was that once I got started, my learning curve just accelerated. I was taking the classes and, you know, looking at YouTube and trying to learn everything I could before I jumped in. But once I actually personally bought something and got invested and I started small with small Amazon FBA business in my case, my learning just exploded because I, all of a sudden I was trying to fix problems, but then actually being able to apply the solutions, I was like drinking through a fire hose. And then I’ve continued that process and just, you know, I continue to try to push myself into new things and new areas on a regular basis, just so I can, Because that’s how I learned personally. And I think a lot of people are probably like that as well.
Matt – 00:09:46:
Yeah. And we find that across our community. We have total beginners and they buy these small sites and they build them up. It’s just mind-blowing what they achieve with some of these sites. You know, even while they’re learning on the little tiny learning sites now, because we’ve got the benefit of having taught people for so long, we’re seeing some of these students now making, you know, they might buy these sites under even $1,000 or under $5,000 and they’re making thousands of dollars a month in semi-passive income off these websites. And like you said, through that, then they’ve got the skills to confidently go out and work with a broker like yourself and maybe buy a much bigger six-figure website because they’ve got the skills.
Izach – 00:10:27:
It’s skill set. You got to develop the skill set. One of the things I tell the clients that I work with is be honest with yourself and think about, do you have the skills to pull the levers to drive this business forward? And especially as you get into bigger acquisitions, this becomes more and more important because problems are going to come up. It’s inevitable the problems are going to come up. And so you’ve got to feel confident that you know how to drive the business. You’ve got something to add value to that business. And then as the problems come up, you’ll figure it out and you’ll get through it. But I want to get back to your story a little bit more. So you had this manufacturing company. It starts growing, and you decide you’re going to start doing additional acquisitions. So what was your first foray into some type of a digital asset and how did you find it? You know, and then how did you build up your own skill set in that space?
Matt – 00:11:19:
Well, I’ll step back a little bit in the story. We started buying and selling bricks and mortar businesses in the original day. So we’ve been doing this for 30 years.
Izach – 00:11:28:
Matt – 00:11:28:
And with that manufacturing business, we got really good at it. So we had time. And we were just focused on manufacturing businesses or wholesale import businesses here in Australia. And we were hanging around some very successful high net worth who did exactly the same thing. And we learned this idea, Cash Flow is king! And we also read, you know, remember back in those days, this was in the late 90s when I think he wrote it, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki.
Izach – 00:11:53:
Matt – 00:11:54:
It made a lot of sense how he was saying, buy these leveraged businesses that are actual assets. You’re not having to work nine till five in them. So that was our holy grail. And we also got into brokering businesses, but bricks and mortar businesses with anything with EBITs of a mil to five mil, that was our specialty. And we’re really good at that. And so through all that, we’re learning this idea of building up a portfolio, like Robert Kiyosaki talked about, like our mentors were showing us, build up a portfolio of businesses and make sure they’re semi-passive or they’re like investments where you’re not leveraged to time. Our problem was with bricks and mortar businesses that we realized as young entrepreneurs, we maxed out with the bank. We’re always on the edge, you know, with a manufacturing business or a wholesaling portfolio, all your net worth is tied up in a warehouse somewhere. And when you’re young, that’s fine because we’re in debt, like to the nth degree. And there’s a few times it was touch and go for us. I’ll be honest about it. It’s pretty scary. And as you get older, we had kids and that’s when we decided around the GFC, it was actually before GFC we started looking at the internet. And so how we transitioned was we were starting to get worried about always being in debt to the bank with all this physical inventory. And so we were doing all the right things, but sometimes it didn’t feel like we were getting ahead with these businesses. And we were good at business, what we did. And then it was Liz, my wife, she said, “well, Matt, why don’t we just do, look at this internet stuff. There’s these websites out there that we could do it a lot less stress or a lot less risk financially with these websites because they’re light, they’re nimble, and there’s so many advantages to it”. And our only blockage was, “well, okay, that sounds cool, but how the hell do you, back then, you had to hand code websites, you had to do all this technical stuff”. And we actually put it off for two years. So we discovered it way before the GFC. We’re already looking at that online space. And we realized also for us, you’ve got to remember, we’re down in Australia, the other end of the world. So we’re kind of constrained our mindset was business Australian marketplace, even though we had import wholesale businesses, and we were exporting to America. But with internet businesses, we also realized, and this is important if you’re listening to this, why internet businesses are so useful, if you want to do a side hustle or build up these assets, you’ve got a 24-7 marketplace, and it’s worldwide. There are no barriers whatsoever. And I think to us, that was like the ultimate tick. And we realized we could literally do what we’ve done with bricks and mortar businesses, but we could do it online. And once we did get going with that, we found this bit sounds too easy. It literally worked amazingly well. Because we had so much success with bricks and mortar businesses, it just went exponential for us really quickly. And that was in 2008. I think we bought our first website. I think it was 2008, right in the GFC. And they were all American sites. All our sites were based in America. And we just kept it low risk.
Izach – 00:15:01:
What was your first site? What did it do? Or what was the niche?
Matt – 00:15:05:
Our best one was an affiliate site in the dating game. And it was a really, really nice guy. We met, would you believe it, Izach? You’re going to get a shock. We found it. Liz found it on eBay because back then there was nowhere where you could buy websites.
Izach – 00:15:20:
Matt – 00:15:21:
And this was before the platforms. And Liz got on Skype and said to the guy, “why are you selling this thing on eBay?” And he said the same reason you’re looking for it on eBay. Where the hell do you sell these websites? And he just wanted, you know, he’d never sold a website before. Turns out he was a great guy and we bought quite a few sites off him. He had multiple sites and he was showing us. And what we realised with that website, really cool story, it was making about grand a month US. We bought it for $20,000 and it had a lot of traffic going into several really good articles within the site, typical on content sites. And all we had to do, there’s no monetization on those pages. So we literally just put the best affiliate offers on there. We just rebuilt the pages, took us about an afternoon and literally a week later, we doubled the profit on the site, went to three grand a month, and that’s when we got hooked. I will say before that, though, Liz hand-coded in Dreamweaver her own website or a couple of websites.
Izach – 00:16:25:
Dreamweaver, yeah. Dreamweaver 4. I was in college. I was the – website master for the Penn State Marketing Association way back in the day.
Matt – 00:16:34:
There you go. Well, that’s so, can you see Izach a campaign and why we’re so passionate of helping beginners now do this stuff? Because I’ve got to say to someone that wasn’t from the internet space, it was really challenging for us. And again, Liz, she’s very impatient. She’s a show me the money kind of girl. And she just said, “what the hell are we doing building these websites? Why don’t we do what we’ve always done? There’s got to be a way to buy these things”. So we just started also in addition to hunting around on the internet, we just literally started emailing people. Like people, you know, webmasters in America, and we just say, “hey, we’re cash buyers. Do you want to sell your website?” Words to that effect. What we’d say is we want to get into that niche and, Would you be interested in selling your website? And people thought we were, some people thought we were scammers. Some people had never considered selling a website. Anyway, we had these amazing conversations with all these really nice Americans. Americans are so friendly.
Izach – 00:17:30:
Did you find any deals that way?
Matt – 00:17:32:
Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s our best way. You don’t want to hear that as a broker, do you?
Izach – 00:17:37:
Well, I mean, look, first of all, we’re talking about 2008 or 2009 now, right? We’re talking quite a while ago before there was any brokerage. Yeah, there was website closers and all of our competitors didn’t exist then. So that worked. You know, those direct deals for cash buyers are pretty compelling.
Matt – 00:17:54:
That worked sensationally well for us. Plus, we met some really interesting people and we learned heaps because people, we found Americans, everyone online, what was really noticeable to us too, just an interesting thing, we found people were very friendly and open with online businesses compared to we come from this world of mergers and acquisitions and bricks and mortar where everyone’s, everything’s an NDA, you know, non-disclosure agreement. You’re not allowed to talk about anything. Whereas when we got online, I think that was the other thing. It was like a breath of fresh air. Is that the saying? You know, people were just so open and friendly and they literally just let you look into their bank accounts, into their Google Analytics account account accounts just to prove everything. And it was doing due-diligence. It was like we’re kids in a candy shop. It was like Nirvana for us in terms of, you know, compared to what we’d been doing for the previous decade.
Izach – 00:18:43:
My background, I’ve been in M&A my whole career. I was in commercial banking for 20 years doing acquisition financing and deal structure and middle market deals. And like you said, it was a very formal process and a lot of quality of earning reconstruction through the due diligence process. One of the things I’ve always appreciated about e-commerce due-diligence process is you can get admin access to Shopify, you get Seller Central access, you get Google Analytics access, you get QuickBooks access, you get bank accounts. And you can pretty much verify every penny of income and expense electronically with records. Even if somebody hasn’t done a great job of keeping financials, you can see all the source data electronically and download reports directly from the source. And I always feel like that is a great benefit to these companies that have fully electronic reporting.
Matt – 00:19:35:
Yeah, and that’s one of the things that I think we got really excited about when we were talking with friends. We would get asked here in Australia to come and speak at conferences about what we do because it was so unique. And we would say to everyone, look, if you want to get into business, now our background is bricks and mortar business, but honestly, don’t go there. Do online stuff because as a beginner, it is so much easier to do due-diligence because everything is tracked. It was so much easier to teach someone and it’s so much lower risk. I’m not giving financial advice or anything like that, but I’m just speaking from personal experience. Buying online businesses is way lower risk compared to buying bricks and mortar businesses in our experience. We helped a lot of people make a lot of money buying and selling bricks and mortar businesses, but man, the due-diligence, there’s a few tricks there. You got to know what you’re doing. Whereas with online businesses, you don’t have to be quite as experienced, particularly if you’ve got a good broker to help you as well, but also just learn it yourself. If you’re listening to this, learn how to do due-diligence on a website, you’ll see what I mean and what Isaac’s talking about. Everything is tracked. And what I find with you guys, like as brokers, you guys pretty much hand everyone over the data they need anyway. It’s not like when it’s in a bricks and mortar world where you’ve got to get the teams together, you’ve got to work with the accountants, the lawyers, and try and figure out what’s really happening with these businesses. That’s one of the things we love, why we’re very confident to teach total beginners this. I think it’s a lot easier. In my opinion, out of all the businesses we’ve seen, these are the best businesses if you’re a beginner wanting to start a side hustle or build this into something really big.
Izach – 00:21:15:
I Love it. And I agree. That’s been, I think, consistent with my own personal experience as well. All right, let’s just get back a little bit to your story because I think it’s fascinating. But what’s a milestone that you could highlight or a turning point in your career that propelled you into this space? Was there a turning point where you’re like, this is what we need to do?
Matt – 00:21:38:
That’s a really good question. The turning point was when Liz built her first website, she built a few and she was learning. It was really frustrating. And because she’s impatient, one of the ones she built, it took a year or so. And this was before 2008. And she put a lot of effort into it and actually failed, which is really interesting. So it didn’t – and Liz is not the person that likes failing. She’s very competitive in everything she does, particularly in business. And she spoke to a mentor of ours at the time and she was about to give up. And then luckily that coach said to her, “look, you’re at the tipping point”. So we were doing paid traffic to this particular site. She was selling an ebook and it was just breaking even. And luckily the coach said to her, you know what? That’s pretty impressive. If you can get that thing to breaking even, just stick out a bit more and you could do a few more things and you should be able to dial it in and get it working. So it was breaking even like, like I was just making a couple of hundred bucks a month type thing.
Izach – 00:22:40:
Matt – 00:22:41:
And she’s stuck at it. And she, you know, we went and learned more and how to fix it. And I think within the next six months, we got our first $1,000 a month off. Back then it was ClickBank, remember, and they used to send out checks. So we got in the mail from ClickBank. We’ve still got a photocopy of it. That was our first one.
Izach – 00:23:01:
I don’t know if I’ve ever met anybody who’s gotten a physical check from ClickBank before.
Matt – 00:23:05:
Yeah, we’ve got it. I’m just pointing over. I keep it as a reminder, a photocopy of it in my in-tray. It’s on the very bottom of my in-tray. This photocopy of our very first check. And it’s for $1,024 from ClickBank. And it was in US. And we’re really excited about that. That was the turning point. And you know what happened then, Izach? We were that excited. We got right into it. This was before we’d bought a site. So she was building this thing up. Then we hit $5,000 a month. That was the turning point. And then that flowed into Liz said, “why the heck aren’t we just buying these things? I’m not sitting here for a year or two building these. Let’s just go out and buy the instant cash flow. There’s got to be someone else selling these sorts of websites out there. Now I know how to do it”. And that was the turning point for us. That first $1,000. And it’s funny, we say to this day, if you’re listening to this, think this one through. If you can make $1,000 online, which is a pretty cool thing, like that’s money out of thin air, right? While you sleep. So while we sleep, we’re selling an e-book. If you can do your first $1,000 online in a month, well, for most people, if you want to quit your job, you’ve got the skill because you just got to do it another, what, nine times and that’s it and you’re on your way. And then you can go into the really big stuff and that pretty much was our journey.
Izach – 00:24:25:
That’s fantastic. So what does that progression look like? You started there, then you started buying. How many companies have you acquired throughout your history? And what did it look like? Did you do two a year, three a year? Did you do one? And then it took you three years to do another one. What was that? What was the timeline of your progression?
Matt – 00:24:42:
So we don’t buy companies. When you’re talking about the websites, we’re just buying the website assets.
Izach – 00:24:49:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Matt – 00:24:49:
We went really fast. So what we did, because we had kids and we had a mentor who’s very strong with us, like saying, “go for cash flow and go debt free”. So we didn’t want to go back to the banks like we used to with bricks and mortar. So what we did, we went very fast, but we bought small sites. So stuff under $100,000 so we could buy a lot of them. And also we did buy some six-figure sites. We did a few of those, but because we were good at it, and I think if I’m honest about it, we’re in a heyday. We’re in the good times, 2008, 2009 doing this. The GFC, there are a lot of people selling bargain websites because in America, you guys experienced the GFC a lot worse than what we did here in Australia. So we were pretty good here in Australia. So we were cashed up. We’d been successful in business already. And we also sold a heap of real estate. So we had a lot of cash. So we went around and bought up heaps of sites and in all sorts of niches. And we stepped on the accelerator big. We probably went over the top. I would not recommend doing what we do now, especially if you’re a beginner. We had, it was like over 100 sites and not every site worked. We had lots of failures. So we thoroughly tested this. And what we’ve come to, what we’ve noticed over the last decade, it’s far better. I think the environment’s changed quite a lot. We had other friends that were doing very similar to us. We got to know people, you know, mainly in the States, hanging out with different people online. And we’d all buy and sell websites together and stuff. All of us now, none of us own websites. We’ve got portfolios of 100 websites or more. Those days are gone because I’ve got to admit to Izach, we may have possibly been doing a little bit of grey hat slash black hat SEO in those days as well. So we hung it. So we tried everything. We’ve done every trick in the book. So we…
Izach – 00:26:41:
New word stuffing. Yeah.
Matt – 00:26:43:
Yeah, yeah. We had websites with millions of backlinks and you can’t physically create that yourself. So I’ll give you a guess how we created those.
Izach – 00:26:50:
Was it gray hat or black hat at the time? I mean, that was just kind of people were figuring out how to work it, right? I mean…
Matt – 00:26:56:
That’s right. So to us, that was just business back then. So yeah, when you look back at it now, it was definitely black hat. And one thing too, in terms of pivot points, one thing we noticed, we had some friends who had… And we hung out with some guys online. We’re all doing black hat stuff, seven-figure websites and everything, big sites in big affiliate niches and AdSense niches. And we’re in some really competitive niches. And I realized, we couldn’t keep up with the black hatters in third world countries, like in Russia and India and stuff like that, in the particular niches we’re in. And I said to my friends, “I’m going to go, I’m going to start doing this white hat. I’m going to really pay very close attention to what Google wants”. And so our sites did drop out of the rankings, but then three to five years later, we came up as the Google algorithm caught up with the black hatters and wiped them out. So now we’re very passionate about teaching people the value of creating online assets. So now what that means is, and if you’re listening to this, make sure you’re treating your website as an actual asset. If you’re doing things properly, this is not a get rich quick thing. We’re not flipping websites here. Treat it as actual real estate. This is virtual real estate. And to us, that was a game changer. That was brilliant. So we started doing white hat and suddenly realised the value of content, having good websites, and they were just solid. They just sat there in the search. We’ve had some sites go on for, well, 10 years plus. And, okay, on the surface, it doesn’t look that exciting. Oh, you make $1,000 a month. Man, I never touched that thing. $1,000 a month for the last decade compounded, that’s good money. And so you own a portfolio of those. And obviously we’ve had much bigger sites as well. We’ve had sites that are making a lot more than that. But even those little ones become, my point is, even little sites, and, you know, when you start out, it looks a bit boring. They have these little tiny sites that you’re learning on. But if you hold those for five years or a decade, the ROI when you compare it to bricks and mortar business is through the roof, absolutely through the roof.
Izach – 00:29:01:
Awesome. And you’ve done this a little bit. Give me kind of maybe like the elevator pitch for investing in digital assets versus brick and mortars. I mean, if you’re just going to consolidate the, you know, some of the knowledge you’ve dropped here in the last 30 minutes into, you know, a minute pitch, you know, what does that look like? Because I’m constantly explaining. And this, but I’d love to hear it in your words.
Matt – 00:29:23:
Based on you think about anyone listening here, I’ve been buying and selling businesses since I was 24 years old, in my mid-50s now, so pretty much 30 years. All my friends, close friends, are all very successful entrepreneurs, same, buying and selling businesses. It’s in our blood. It’s what we do. We hang out with people. And bottom line is I have a lot of experience. It’s all I ever talk about. And I can tell you, if you’re listening to this, online businesses are definitely the way to go in this day and age if you want to get into your own business. It’s so much quicker. It’s safer. I’m not giving financial advice there. I’m just based on my experience, but it’s definitely safer for the reasons that Izach and I have talked about, particularly when it comes to due-diligence. But also, they’re a 24-7 cash machine. They work nonstop. And we’ve had the benefit of owning websites now for over a decade, since 2008. And I can tell you, they just keep ticking along. Now, there’s risks with them, and there’s no barriers. And in particular, they’re light and nimble. The other big thing, Izach, that I think your listeners need to realize and probably can’t appreciate, but you would, it’s really difficult to sell a bricks and mortar business these days. It can take 12 months. You sell a website asset. You know, a couple of weeks, a month, whatever. Like it’s a lot easier. So they’re very nimble and you can easily, if you’re starting out small, you can easily build up a portfolio over time, way easier than you could with bricks and mortar businesses. So I’m very, very biased towards online businesses. To me, they’re an absolute no-brainer. If you want to get into business, we tell our kids, our kids know. At some point they’re going to be buying online businesses. I wouldn’t let them buy a bricks and mortar business.
Izach – 00:31:13:
You’ve been doing this for a long time. You’ve been successful for a long time. The landscape changes, right? The algorithms change. The iOS 15 comes out and Facebook can’t attribute advertising. The Google changes the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in their algorithm. How do you stay current? How do you stay ahead? How do you keep up with the changes with your businesses that you’re running, Matt?
Matt – 00:31:38:
I personally read a lot. I spend a lot of time on the internet. I do a lot of keyword research and I follow all the different blogs about SEO. But one of the things, Izach, that I’ve got to admit, we’re quite lucky with, and you would be the same. I noticed as a broker, you tend to be at the coalface when you’re a broker. And we’re like an advisor in this space. So we have a big community now and we have students with small successful sites making thousands of dollars a month. And we have students with sites making tens of thousands and into the hundreds of thousands. And so we’ve got a big data set and we see very quickly the challenges or what Google Algorithm will do across our community. And so we give webinars on it. So I guess, and also then I’ve got a big network, personal network with a lot of people around the world. And these days, especially since COVID, it’s really easy. I jump on Zoom and just reach out and say, “hey, what are you finding with this latest update?” So for instance, the latest Google update, there’s just the spam update that’s come out. It’s kind of slash helpful. We always let the dust settle. And then I just do the ring around, virtual ring around, the Zoom calls and just chat to all these different people with websites and see what everyone else is finding out, plus read it. So I’m very fortunate in that way. We’ve built up quite a network over the last decade or so. So it’s got good people that I can go and chat to. And they’ve got, you know, some of them have got big portfolios. And it’s just fascinating seeing across the board what different sites are doing in the updates.
Izach – 00:33:11:
Awesome. So it’s being in the business, it’s being connected.
Matt – 00:33:14:
Yeah, being connected.
Izach – 00:33:15:
You’ve got your community and you’re sharing that information with your community. And you made a good point about one of the things I’ve always found interesting about being a broker is that I get to talk to hundreds and hundreds of companies. You know, I’ve talked to thousands of e-commerce and technology business owners over the last seven or eight years. And I hear from them what’s working, what the pain points are. I knew that the iOS 14 update was going to be a major problem for Facebook and quarter before it hit their stock price, just because I was hearing all like everybody, all my clients, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. We’re having issues with it. Triple Whale came out and made kind of a fix on that. But it’s interesting to be able to kind of be at the cutting edge. And if you talk to enough people, you can assimilate that knowledge and, you know, talk with other people about it.
Matt – 00:34:03:
Yeah, and good brokers, I’ve found, are the best for Intel because you guys see all the deals and you’re actually helping, you know, you’re putting together these big deals. You’re seeing their Google Analytics. To me, the most fun thing that I do, it sounds really nerdy, Izach, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate this, is just looking at Google Analytics accounts. Oh, yeah, I look at thousands over the years. And, you know, every week I’m constantly saying, that’s what I love, though. I get the sticky beak. It’s like the ultimate look into someone’s business is looking at their Google Analytics account and obviously their P&L, but mainly the Google Analytics, just seeing what are the popular pages, what’s happening, and then you reverse engineer. Well, why did that site go so well or why did that site not go so well? And that’s part of the thing I love. I jokingly say to everyone, you know, we’re never going to get dementia in this game. Oh, man, it’s every single day. It’s using your brain. It’s very creative what we do with these online businesses.
Izach – 00:34:59:
I’d be interested in your take on this, but one of the things I tell people who are maybe looking to buy their first business is I say, just start looking at deals. Just start reading the packages, get on some seller calls, start talking to different owners, and just learn from those conversations and those interactions. I think when you look at hundreds and hundreds of Google Analytics pages, you start to pick up the trends. You can look at it and see things that I wouldn’t have been able to see three or four years ago, maybe. But just the process of actually looking at deals, going through the packages, looking at the financials, there’s a lot of learning you can have for free just like that.
Matt – 00:35:38:
Yeah, and that’s one of the key things we teach. We actually say to our students and to anyone listening exactly what Izach’s saying. We actually say, “why don’t you formalize it?” Like put aside two hours a week. It might be on the weekend or if you’re working pretty hard where you’re working through, like Izach says, getting the deal flow. Start looking at all these websites, speaking to, particularly through brokers. And Isaac, I’ll share a really cool story. We’ve got a client who’s a beginner and she’s in the position where she can buy a six-figure website if she wants, but she’s totally new. So we’ve been coaching her and we started out small, just buying small sites. But through doing lots of due-diligence, she saw a really good idea and she just built one herself, emulated just to learn on, and it’s worked. It’s in this niche she knows nothing about. It’s gone exponential in the last eight months and she’s really excited. She’s gotten a backlink off Bob Vila, which is really cool. And to her little hobby site that she’s been. And she has no idea about this hobby. Neha, she’s awesome. She’s a mum of two and Bob Vila think that she’s a male and she’s an expert in this crafting niche. And they’ve given her a link and they want her to write some guest posts and stuff. So you just never know where this game’s going to lead. She’s really excited, by the way. It’s cool. And that was through Go Neha. She… She just looked at multiple deals with different brokers. And at some point, she’ll be buying a six-figure plus website. And what I said to her was, you’ve now got the skills and the online confidence. That’s what our mission is, is to teach people to give them this online confidence so they can go out and do things confidently and know they’ve got the skills to buy or build websites.
Izach – 00:37:27:
Yes. Absolutely. I totally believe in building that skill set and you know, honing your skills and treating it like a craft. And I think, yeah, just the process of looking at deals, you start to see things you like, you start to see the outliers of the ones that aren’t good or aren’t as differentiated. And then you pick out the ones that are good and you can find the- You find the gems and the gems for your particular skill set. What’s a gem for me might not be the gem for you, because I’ve got a different skill set than you.
Matt – 00:37:56:
That’s really important.
Izach – 00:37:57:
Yeah. It’s not to say that there’s good, you know, I think there are good and bad companies for sale for sure. I try to represent good companies only, but you know, you might look at some of the companies that I have. A lot of them are not going to be fit for you. They’re going to be e-commerce sites that are specialized in Amazon. That’s not what you do, but you know, but for someone else that could be exactly what they do. And so, you know, be realistic about that and find your niche and just keep looking at deals until you find one that you love.
Matt – 00:38:22:
That’s something I’ll just touch on something that you’ve said there, Izach . If you’re listening to this as well, Izach’s spot on. Don’t get locked into one way of thinking with these website businesses because here’s the benefit now, Izach, as I look back over all our students over the last decade that we’ve been teaching beginners to do this, every single one of them, and you can see it on our podcast, they end up in niches that they never imagined they would ever be in. I think of Lucy and Gary. This is a lovely couple who Lucy has MS. She was told she’ll never work again and needs to live a very natural life. Now, they earn a significant six to seven-figure income off this, living on a rural farm out in the country, living a natural life, but she’s in niches that they never expected in life. They have no expertise in whatsoever. They’re these micro weird niches. You’ve got to work to your skill strengths. Now, Lucy’s at a stage in her life where she’s been doing this for quite a few years. She’s got the ability now to do joint ventures with other website owners and make money in that way as well, which she never expected 10 years ago. You’ve got to work to your skill strengths. What I can say is every single one of our students goes in slightly different ways than what even we expected. It’s because of that. I think that’s the wonderful breadth of websites that you can buy now. There’s just so many interesting models out there and niches. This space now is way more fun, way more interesting than what it was 10 years ago, just because of the variety and the opportunities. The amount of people that are getting online and the amount of amazing businesses, the opportunities are there every day. That’s our biggest problem. Which one do you take?
Izach – 00:40:11:
So looking ahead, Matt, what are your future goals and aspirations around digital investments and education? What’s on the horizon for you? What do you get excited about?
Matt – 00:40:20:
I’m just thinking about the economy. So I think one of the things I’m excited about is if, not saying we will, but if like the naysayers are saying there is another recession or say there’s a bit of a crash or a flash, what I’m excited about is getting people trained up so that they’re ready to take advantage of that. I don’t think the world’s about to end or anything like that, but there’s always, like Warren Buffett says, the chance of another recession is 100%. We just don’t know when it will be. So what I’m excited about is training people to be prepared for that because that’s when, like for Liz and I, we made a lot of money because people will sell good assets, whether it’s real estate shares or online businesses, but particularly with online businesses, as you know, Izach, they’re amazing. They are seriously amazing. And if you can get them at fire sale rates for that six months where there’s that flash crash, that is a really good time to be buying. But also I am excited about, I think, I do see now website assets as being a highly valuable asset class if you’re investing into anything in that they’re not as affected by inflation or deflation or stagflation they’re cash cow machines and that’s what i want people to realize like i said earlier and like you guys say too you know these are real assets now it’s not like back when we did it no one was people you tell people you’re buying websites and they think you’re crazy and it’s all you know it’s like online what what does that mean whereas now they’re real it’s like buying physical real estate and so what i’m excited about is making sure people understand the value of these things and that there is they’re really good no matter what the economy is doing particularly with inflation or deflation that you don’t have to worry about what your viewpoint is they’re always making the cash returns and-
Izach – 00:42:18:
That’s a really interesting point they are you in many ways inflation protected because the the pricing can adjust automatically. Yeah
Matt – 00:42:24:
So we’re after us, ourselves we are looking at buying in big time again like really we’ve been investing just steadily we’re always opportunistic we’re always looking to buy we did sell off a lot like I’ll admit to a mistake that I’ve made recently you know in COVID when everyone panicked, myself included we sold off some websites that were lesser performers for us. And I’m really regretting it now because they were one or two of those were potential seven figure websites which I should have kept. So now we’re looking at building back up our portfolio again because I am personally concerned about inflation. I think it’s running higher than what the government’s stating. And I keep saying to Liz, and to our audience. You can’t go wrong with a good website.
Izach – 00:43:13:
You’re right about the inflation. I mean, that’s a whole other topic we could probably get into.
Matt – 00:43:17:
I know, I know. And I don’t want to go there and I’m not allowed to give financial advice.
Izach – 00:43:20:
I was at the grocery store today. There was a dozen eggs for $11.
Matt – 00:43:24:
Izach – 00:43:26:
They were fancy eggs, but I was still like, what is going on? This is nuts.
Matt – 00:43:31:
Yeah. And here in Australia, we’re getting friends anecdotally saying, I’m buying a hamburger, 20 bucks.
Izach – 00:43:38:
Matt – 00:43:39:
Or if you fly, and I’m sure it’s the same in America, okay, food’s always a bit more expensive in an airport, $30 for a hamburger. Sorry, that’s inflation no matter what anyone says. I’m presuming a lot of people, Izacb, listening to your podcast are like our community. We’ve got a bit of money. Cash in the bank is really, really bad when it’s inflation. It’s expensive to hold cash, right?
Izach – 00:44:04:
Yeah. I mean, if you’re getting 4% interest, if you have a 6% or 7% real inflation rate, you’re losing money every day.
Matt – 00:44:09:
You’re losing money every single day. So, you know, like Robert Kiyosaki said all those years ago, you need to get your money working for you into real assets, businesses, and that’s why I see internet businesses as the easiest and most nimble because you can also buy and sell. Learn how to buy and sell websites too because, of course, I’m going to say that, but it is a very, very convenient way to work with your wealth long-term. I know most people here in Australia, and I think it’s the same, in America most people traditionally to create additional wealth use real estate, and I’m not a fan. I never have been a big fan of real estate. I acknowledge it works really well, but it’s what Liz and I have always called, that’s heavy debt. It’s a big asset that you can’t easily shift, similar to a bricks and mortar business. You know, you can’t easily shift in and out of them, whereas with websites, they’re light and nimble. So, learn how to buy and sell websites because it’s a really handy way to manage your wealth going forward. Because you can move in and out of them very quickly.
Izach – 00:45:13:
Totally agree. Super interesting, Matt. Hey, how can our listeners connect with you if they want to learn more about what you’re doing and what you’re teaching to your students?
Matt – 00:45:22:
So you can go to our main website, ebusinessinstitute.com.au, or you can Google my name, Matt Raad, and we’ve got another website, Matt and Liz Raad, but you’ll find us there. And we’ve got a podcast as well. We’ve got like a free masterclass. If you’re interested in how our students have done it and what strategy they’ve used, you can check that out on ebusinessinstitute.com.au.
Izach – 00:45:51:
That was Matt Raad. And again, you can reach him at ebusinessinstitute.com.au. Thanks, everyone, for listening to this episode of The Deal Closers Podcast brought to you by WebsiteClosers.com. If you like the show, be sure to rate us, write a review, and press the follow button and share it with your network. And of course, if you’re looking for help selling your e-commerce or technology business, be sure to visit websiteclosers.com. This episode was edited and produced by Earfluence. I’m Izach Porter. Follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, or any other channel. And we’ll see you next time on The Deal Closers Podcast.