Would you run someone else's website/business for 90% of the profits??

20 replies
When I say profits, I mean net, not gross.

The reason I ask is that I have an opportunity to do so. A friend of mine since college has been running a niche website for the last 4 years offering a design service. On several occasions I have filled in when he was on vacation or ill. He just got a great new gig and will have no time to run the site so he asked me to take it over. He wants to maintain ownership and mostly it's been built off his personal contacts in this niche (he knows tons of people both on and offline). He's willing to pay me 90% on every job/order completed.

He's also allowing me to run the marketing campaigns how I see fit as far as facebook, the website and video marketing.

How much are we talking? Around $100-$150 a day, with of course outliers in both directions. We are talking about 4-6 hours of work per day on average.

So what would you guys do? Yay or nay?
#90% #profits #run #website or business
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
    For me it would depend on if I had to put money into marketing or not.
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    • Profile picture of the author plongmire
      if you have the time and if there is no out of pocket cost eating into the $100 a day...

      But I will say this from experience. You value the friendship, then say no...I have had to many bad things happen working with great friends and family and seen it happen a lot of times in other business deals. Not saying they all go bad, but I have seen it happen a lot of times.

      There is just something different about working with friends. I would really draw out expectations, mission, vision, and real thoughts on where the business should go.

      Keep good records, and always communicate.

      And revisit the list above every month to make sure something is not going hey wire.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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    Who does the web design? What other expenses are there? Who pays the expenses... you? How much of that $100-$150/day is profit? Too many questions unanswered to give an opinion.
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    • What happens when you spend the time and resources to promote the site and it's earning $500 a day or $1000? Think he might want it back then?

      Don't be a chump.

      fLufF
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      • Profile picture of the author swilliams09
        Who does the web design? What other expenses are there? Who pays the expenses... you? How much of that $100-$150/day is profit? Too many questions unanswered to give an opinion.
        I'm a designer, so I do the design work and fill print orders. Honestly there are no other expenses for his business besides webhosting which doesn't cost me anything. I have my own office and software. Out of $100-150, I'd say 90% of that is profit or labor cost, basically mine. Most of his clients come from facebook, word of mouth or trade shows which he attends regularly.


        The first question I would ask myself is does this offer me learning skills sets or a skill set that I would benefit from if I decided to run my own business. If the answer is yes, then go for it.
        I'm very interested in seeing his process from dealing with client orders to fulfillment. In the past I only did the design work for him. I've designed my own process from orders to fulfillment for my clients, but I'm sure I can learn something new.


        The next would be do I need the money? Are you unemployed right now, or having a hard time making ends meet and have the time to take this job? If the answer is yes, then yes I would.
        Unemployed, and freelance work is really slow right now. I also have 2 backup designers that I've put him in touch with before, so we have resources in case things change and I get swamped. Always have a backup guy, and a backup guy for your backup guy.

        Is your friend willing to draw up a contract so that there are no ifs, or unspecifieds that will come back to kick either of you in the pants later. You would never want to ruin your friendship if other of you assumed something and could not work it out. If he is then yes, I would take the job.
        He's writing up a contract, I'll review it and revise until we meet an agreement. 3 months tops with the option to review and renew the contract.

        Now if I did not have the time or it would take time away from me running my own profitable business, then I would decline.

        If I did not have the skill sets he was looking for and it could potentially cause a slowing in his business or harm to your friendship, then I would also decline.
        I've advised him on IM techniques that have helped him make more money in the last few months. I'm more than qualified to do the work he wants for his market. After he gets settled in to his new job and moves his family he plans to take the reigns back. We are going to set up a 3 month deal.

        What happens when you spend the time and resources to promote the site and it's earning $500 a day or $1000? Think he might want it back then?

        Don't be a chump.

        fLufF
        Yah. I don't think I'm going to put that sort of time into it, that would require some major effort to get to that level, I do like being able to run a sale or special offers or contests though if I feel it necessary to generate sales. I do have my own clients and websites, but it's very slow at the moment and I have lots of time on my hands. I think for 3 months, it's worth giving it a shot. Also extra christmas money couldn't hurt.
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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          Originally Posted by swilliams09 View Post

          I'm a designer, so I do the design work and fill print orders. Honestly there are no other expenses for his business besides webhosting which doesn't cost me anything. I have my own office and software. Out of $100-150, I'd say 90% of that is profit or labor cost, basically mine. Most of his clients come from facebook, word of mouth or trade shows which he attends regularly.
          Then the answer is pretty simple. If you've got the time and talent and want to spend your time doing this, it's a no brainer. It sounds like a good fit for you, especially since you've already filled in for him before.
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          • Profile picture of the author swilliams09
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            Then the answer is pretty simple. If you've got the time and talent and want to spend your time doing this, it's a no brainer. It sounds like a good fit for you, especially since you've already filled in for him before.
            Yah. I thought so too. But it's a savvy bunch around here (including you, i dig your posts), so I thought I would check to see if my reasoning was sound or if there was anything I forgot to cover. So far you guys have hit all of my major points of concern.. My main concern was getting overwhelmed with work from my own clients, but after I got my backups in place I felt a lot better about going ahead.

            perhaps your best option here is to buy it from him over a period of time... say you only take 50% for an agreed amount of time and then it's all yours.
            It's really not a market I'm interested in, it's just something I can do for the money. But it does mirror a market I am interested in so I plan learn as much as possible.
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        • Profile picture of the author genhorrall
          I think you answered all the important questions and the deal looks pretty good, especially if it is just a three month contract. I would go for it if business is slow now. And the fact that you could learn his marketing skill set could also be a bonus to your own business. I think you have answered all the vital questions. Have fun with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author genhorrall
    So there are several questions to ask yourself and several reasons that saying yes could be very beneficial.

    The first question I would ask myself is does this offer me learning skills sets or a skill set that I would benefit from if I decided to run my own business. If the answer is yes, then go for it.

    The next would be do I need the money? Are you unemployed right now, or having a hard time making ends meet and have the time to take this job? If the answer is yes, then yes I would.

    Is your friend willing to draw up a contract so that there are no ifs, or unspecifieds that will come back to kick either of you in the pants later. You would never want to ruin your friendship if other of you assumed something and could not work it out. If he is then yes, I would take the job.

    Now if I did not have the time or it would take time away from me running my own profitable business, then I would decline.

    If I did not have the skill sets he was looking for and it could potentially cause a slowing in his business or harm to your friendship, then I would also decline.

    Make sure you ask yourself the tough questions, if you both benefit from it, then go for it. If not or it could cause problems, then don't. Ultimately you have to make the choice.
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  • Profile picture of the author cheerios2009
    This could be a nice opportunity for you. While you are making money on this site you may want to save money for the future time when you want to work on your own website or project.

    One thing I try to do is outsource as much of my work as possible. That may be something you could look into. Would you be allowed to outsource any of the work? If so, you can take on more work and make more money. Save some of your profits, build another business. Eventually you can move on if that's something you'd like to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author mstewart
    perhaps your best option here is to buy it from him over a period of time... say you only take 50% for an agreed amount of time and then it's all yours.
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  • Profile picture of the author RySpencer
    If this is your take home cost, after marketing, then it would be worth it if you have no other job prospects right now. Remember 4-6 hours a day can be quite a bit, and you'll be working for $25 an hour.

    You also need to look at the business structure of this website. Is he filing taxes, will you be filing taxes? How is he paying you?

    And the ultimate question, do you think this could ruin your friendship if he doesn't like the way you are running it. Remember, if you are getting 90% of the profits, that means you should be making a lot of major decisions at this point.
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  • Profile picture of the author onegoodman
    Depends on the contract, Will i promote from the website or manage it ? am in as a partner ?

    I wouldn't do SEO work and invest the same effort to get a website up and later on get fired
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  • Profile picture of the author HostSentry
    It sounds like a great opportunity for you and I would go for it! As others said, make sure you work out the fine details beforehand such as taxes and perhaps getting a piece after the period if you increase business enough.
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  • Profile picture of the author joseph7384
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      You are doing the work now - you seem to like it. If you are happy with $25 or so an hour (many would be) and he's willing to try a 3 month trial run, could be a sweet deal for you at a time when you can use the money.

      No handshakes - have a contract with everything spelled out and use the trial period to see how it works for both of you.

      kay
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      • Profile picture of the author packerfan
        Maybe I'm crazy, but you're talking about less than $20/hour here.

        You could run an ad in the warrior for hire section, and if you've got any chops at all make a lot more, develop your own customers, etc.

        If all you want to do is design work, I suppose it's fine. But if you want to build a design business, then I'd pass. Unless you get to keep all the new customers you bring in.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    If I wanted to do it, I would say yes.

    I have someone running one of my sites for 50%.
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  • Profile picture of the author TopKat22
    You asked what "you guys would do" and I personally would not put 4-5 hours of my time in every day for only $100 - $150 dollars especially when the asset I was building was not owned by me.

    I also would not work for a good friend of mine, as it can cause a lot of issues you have never thought of even with a very well written contract.

    However, it sounds like you have already decided to do this and just wanted confirmation of your decision.

    I just highly recommend what has already been suggested, and that is that you get a very detailed contract that both of you fully understand and sign and then stay in very great communication with your friend.

    And even though you say you will not put the amount of work into the site to make it make $500, $1000 or more, I highly recommend that you cover this and all other contingencies in your contract in the event it does happen.

    Good luck and I hope this all works out really well for you. I would be interested to know, if you do this, how it is all going in a month or so. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author art72
    I would say since he is giving you full control over the marketing aspect, and you're already familiar with the tasks at hand, it should be fairly easy for you to "scale up" operations, and turn that $100-$150 per day into 3x with a few simple tweaks.

    As many who are making better money suggest this might not entertain their idea of good money, it is an already established base to build upon. From my perspective that may hold a value all it's own provided you can expand upon it.

    It's a no-brainer from my shoes... with a written agreement binding the deal to protect yourself, a guaranteed of $500 - $750 per week (-$50 to $75 to your friend) and the ability to have control over the marketing...

    Hell Yeah!

    I'd do it... too bad I suck at web design.

    -Art
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