Websites and Books as Assets

Thailand's Sickest - Hell to Pay book cover
40+ websites, and 35+ books. This was my favorite book to write, a fiction novel set in Thailand. Vigilante justice.

I have about 40 websites at the moment. I’ve built them all up by myself with no help from anyone else. I did this during a period of productivity lasting 2-3 years, in which I worked my ass purple GTD.

For the last year, I’ve been looking at these sites as liabilities. They take a lot of time to keep updated, and if not updated – become targets of hackers that destroy the sites for a number of days until I can negate everything they’ve done. If you don’t at least occasionally update your websites with fresh articles, you’ll notice Google starts to care less about them – and will relegate you to some lower ranking which causes a traffic death spiral. Death to website visitor traffic, and, if you were making any money from the site – death to that too.

So, it’s a bit of a pain to keep 40 sites going. I thought – why not just sell them? I really want to make time for writing books. I need giant chunks of time in order to calm my mind down enough to get into writing a novel length fiction book. All the websites are distractions to that.

Why not just sell them?

I put some notices on a few of my sites – that I was willing to sell. I got some interested buyers. I got some offers – some low, and some OK. Some buyers wanted to turn my sites into spam sites. I didn’t like that idea, and told them I wasn’t selling the sites for that.

Most recently I got an offer to split up one of my sites and sell the person all my content in a specific niche from that site. I could keep the other 200+ posts and start another website with it.

I’ve considered the offer overnight. I make no big decision without pulling out a blank piece of paper and writing down my essential thoughts about the matter. Ten minutes ago I finished. As it turns out – my thinking was flawed while it remained in my head. On paper, it is clear – the websites are assets. They are going to make money continually for the next 10 years, like they did for the previous 4-5 years. To sell a website for a 24 month multiple of what it makes in 1 month is ludicrous. It’s pure lunacy.

I wrote down what the site would make in 2 years, then 4, 5, 10, and 16 years. Why 16? Sixteen years from now my daughter will be 18 years old and maybe ready to fly the coop. If I keep just this one website, and it makes only as much per year as it has for the previous five years, my daughter will have a chunk of cash large enough to buy a condominium here in Thailand.

WTF was I thinking?

The decision was made. My websites – all of them, are now seen in a new light. They are 16-year assets. What could we have by the time my daughter turns eighteen?

Ebooks are the same. Earlier this year I got a great offer to buy out 12 of my e-book titles. The guy wanted to just buy them outright – selling all rights based on a 24 month multiple of an average month of sales. I considered it – it was, what I thought was, a great offer. I could have bought a house. The more I thought about it – I just couldn’t sell the books.

Why?

I started looking at the books I’ve written as assets.

Where did this idea about assets come from?

It was a seed planted in my head by Kevin.

I worked for a guy named Kevin, in Kailua, Hawaii for about a year. Kevin was a spam king. He was a spam king that was doing it by the book – and he had every right to send the 3 billion emails per month that we cranked the machine up to… Kevin was brilliant, from what I could see – and from what his brother in law told me over and over. Eventually, I really started believing it.

In his twenties, Kevin worked at Dean Witter or some such company and became the top sales guy in two years. I mean, in the entire company. He made enough millions of dollars to retire on Oahu and invest in multi-million dollar homes in Kailua. And start his giant email spam business.

Kevin gave me a book in 2002. Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I read it. I liked it. I thought I got something out of it back then, but no, I hadn’t. My mindset hadn’t changed until just now – writing on my blue piece of paper, nine years later.

The rich have assets. The poor, don’t. The rich have things that continue to make money without doing anything much to them. The poor have nothing but the hours they work at a job for someone else (or themselves). There is a limit to the number of hours you can work in a day, a month, a lifetime.

There is no limit to the assets you can own.

If I take what have right now – my websites, my books, my other projects that make money whether I do much to them or not – and project forward sixteen years, I get a nice big number.

Selling websites or books in the short-term to free up my time is not the answer. Paying someone to add content to them might be the answer, or, arranging my schedule so I can keep doing it – could be the answer.

Over my entire life I’ve lived for the moment. I’ve made decisions based on “now” – never thinking much about the future. As it turns out, the older I get, the more the future becomes important. Somewhere around age forty I started to get a touch more serious about life and what I was doing. When my daughter was born – it really hit me… I am directly responsible for everything her life becomes. If I can give her a great start, she’ll have a nice life. If I dork it up – she’ll have a more difficult life. I want life to be as painless as possible for her.

Creating and holding onto assets is going to be a large part of my focus for the foreseeable future.

Is it yours too?

What about investing in ebooks?

Offering to buy someone’s else’s book(s) that needs cash – seems like a smart idea – doesn’t it?

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