From $7,500 to $550,000 – how John Chen pulled off the ultimate flip on Flippa

I’ve always been fascinated by people that buy websites/online businesses on sites like Flippa, apply some serious magic, and flip them for a huge profit. One of the flips I recently learned about that really caught my eye was the sale of, a small online business purchased for $7,500 and sold for $550,000.

While some people might look at this and think, wow – John’s a great website flipper, diving into the details you’ll find this is a lot more than that. John Chen has a great eye for business and scale, he leveraged his previous experience at a hedge fund to identify a great opportunity, then put in the time and energy it takes to run and grow a business.

I don’t want to give away everything from the interview so I’ll stop there. This is one of my favorite interview’s I’ve had the chance to do, thanks to John for taking the time, enjoy!

1) How long have you been buying and selling websites/online businesses for?
Probably 3 Years Now

2) How did you get started in the space?
I was working at a hedge fund that invested in small business through a vehicle called search funds. I noticed that we would buy them at such a lower price than companies trading in the public markets. I didn’t have enough money to do a real search fund so I took the plunge and bought my first business Blush and Bar for under $10,000

3) How long have you been buying/selling on Flippa for?
Same amount of time. 3 years.

4) You had an incredible experience selling – can you talk more about this one?
I bought Blush and Bar for $7.5K and at the time it was doing $1K a month in revenue and $500 a month in profit. I grew it to over $1.3M in yearly revenue and sold it a couple years later.

5) How was your experience selling this on Flippa?
It go a lot of attention and I was luckily able to find a buyer. We got over 50 inbound inquiries from some people who were serious and some who weren’t.

6) If someone else wants to get started selling websites/online businesses, how would you suggest they get started?
Start with a business that is easy to manage with mostly organic traffic. Businesses with a lot of paid traffic are a double edge sword.

7) What do you think is the biggest mistake newcomers make when buying/selling websites?
The biggest mistake is treating it like an investment. It’s not. If you want to grow it, it’ll be more than a full time job.

8) Are there any blogs, books, podcast, etc. you could suggest to someone who wants to learn more about how to get started?
The HBR guide to buying a small business is really good.

9) I like to end with a fun question – can you share one fun fact about you, John, that most people might not know/guess?  
I was actually a breakdancer in college. If you search Jersey Fresh John on youtube, you’ll see a battle with me.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton