Pivot Time – The Evolution Of My Business

Morgan Linton

It is with great excitement that I announce publicly on my blog the next major pivot for Linton Investments. Pivot is a word that gets used a lot in the startup world and it’s used to describe a change in direction of shift in focus based on your own experience or customer feedback. Some people confuse pivot with a complete abandonment of an idea, that’s not a pivot, that’s a new company!

This pivot is one that has arisen purely from experience and changes in where I see the income coming into my business. Some pivots come from failure, others from success, I’ve had a few failure pivots, this is a success pivot. As you all know 2011 was an incredible year for me, I broke the six-figure barrier which was a great feeling, and now in 2012 my business is growing at an even faster clip, in fact we’re about to eclipse our 2011 revenue, and it’s only May.

When something like this happens you have to look at your business, your team, and your time, and determine how to maximize everything. I learned a long time ago that you can’t do it all at once, which is why I started hiring people back in 2009. There are now 12 people on the Linton Investments team allowing me to focus on strategy while they run the day-to-day. It’s awesome for me because I can work on other projects like appraiso, Employeo, Startup Nook, all while my business keeps moving forward.

Of course it is critical to always look at your business and fine-tune your approach. What I’ve noticed this year is that a handful of our best sites are making a vast majority of our passive income. The money the business makes passively from our sites now pays for our condo, car, weekend adventures, and of course all the business expenses, with money left-over to put in the bank and of course into more investments.

On top of the passive income, there’s the active income, which has grown dramatically this year as I have been working with major companies closing some incredible deals. What I’ve learned about six-figure deals is you don’t really get to talk about them much thanks to good old NDA’s so some of my greatest successes will probably never be discussed, even though I really really really want to tell the world, but I can’t!

I now see three main ways I generate income:

  1. Online Brands – this is our #1 income source and it’s going strong, these are awesome sites that people all over the world love and they bring in passive income every month.
  2. Domain Sales – this is the largest growth area for me and with over $50,000 in revenue this year from sales I’m feeling pretty darn good about it.
  3. Startups – I have been very fortunate to be part of two hot startups right now appraiso and Employeo. Both are on an incredible growth path and this is where a bulk of my time is going.

So what’s the pivot?

The next pivot for my company is the decision to stop building-out any more brands. Like I said, this isn’t a failure pivot but instead a success pivot. Are top brands are doing so well, I’d rather put more money into growing the existing brands, than adding any new brands, plus 220 sites really does feel like more than enough right?

Most of the focus will go on our top ten brands, sites like Kayaking.org and TrackCredit.com, DebtEliminationPrograms.com and our network of tax sites. The way I look at it is I could spend the money I’m spending now to build new brands, put them into our already successful brands, and really take them to the next level.

Doing this will not involve me, but will involve my team pivoting and changing their focus from building new brands and instead working on our existing brands. As for my time, most of my focus now goes into the startups I am involved in and the domain sales side of the business which has grown too large to not put some serious focus on.

Does this mean Mini-Sites are dead?

No, it doesn’t. It does mean though that I am now less interested in building sites that make hundreds of dollars a month, and more interested in sites that make thousands of dollars a month. By having the team focus on existing brands rather than new brands we can take our existing troops, and build an incredibly army.

What about all the undeveloped domains?

Of course this pivot doesn’t mean that we won’t be putting valuable resources on our undeveloped domains, but it does mean we’ll be doing it differently. Starting this month I have one team-member completely focused on building-out our undeveloped domains using Protrada and Domain Apps. Both of these solutions represent an incredible way to put something much more formidable than a parked site on our domains.

Coupling this with the incredible content we’re getting from Media Piston will allow us to take these undeveloped resources to the next level. The total investment in content will be close to $5,000 and I can tell you it’s worth every penny of it.

So while one team-member focuses on platform development, the rest will be laser-focused on our top brands turning them into world-class businesses.

So where will your time go?

As I said above, most of my time will go into two very exciting startups appraiso and Employeo, along with the domain sales and acquisition-side of our business. I have been working with some very interesting startups and major companies to help them acquire domains as well as doing some very lucrative domain flips of my own. This blog will always be high on my list and will most-likely occupy an hour of my die from now until I’m 110.

So it is with great excitement that I set my team on a new path and the business in a very similar direction, just with a different mission. For me and Daina, it’s time to really make a splash in the startup world and these startups need real time and attention. A new version of appraiso is around the corner and at Employeo we just made a major splash at NYC Uncubed which is taking our little company to much bigger playing fields.

When I started this business an extra $1,000/month blew my mind, then an extra $10,000/month. Now in 2012, a $20,000 is small, it’s a whole new playing field, and making $50/month from a site just doesn’t mean as much as it used to. This is how life works, as you grow and your business does you have to look at where the opportunities are. I don’t want my brands to just rank well in Google, I want them to be written about in newspapers and magazines all over the world, I want our startups to change people’s lives, and as always I want my blog to inspire more people to take their lives into their own hands and show the world what they can do!

Thanks for reading and following-along in the evolution of a hobby that turned-into a business, and now has transformed into something that really has changed my life forever. It only gets more exciting from here and as always, I’m taking all of you along for the ride. Ready to rock? Let’s go!

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • John May 3, 2012, 5:50 pm

    Sounds like you are having a breakout year Morgan.
    From reading your bio on here it hasn’t been an overnight success.
    Well deserved & shows others that if one keeps at it good things eventually happen.
    Congrats

    Reply
  • John May 3, 2012, 5:51 pm

    Could you at least elaborate on the kind of domain that you most recently did very well with?
    90’s name?
    2 word .com?
    Trend type name?
    High exact match?
    Congrats

    Reply
  • Aaron May 3, 2012, 7:26 pm

    “awesome sites that people all over the world love ”

    This might be true for kayaking.org but definitely not so for sites such as debteliminationprograms.com. The latter type of sites are clearly made for money sitse that rely on Google traffic. Speaking of which, this particular site has lost quite a bit of ranking due to the latest penguine update. Any comments on that?

    Reply
    • Morgan May 3, 2012, 7:31 pm

      @Aaron – excellent point, Kayaking.org is a great site that people all over the world love. DebtEliminationPrograms.com is a site that really needs to be taken to the next level. It’s all about taking the time to do it right!

      Reply
  • Karen Bernstein May 3, 2012, 8:38 pm

    Morgan, I’m so happy for you! Best of luck for a bright future!

    Reply
    • Morgan May 3, 2012, 8:54 pm

      Thank you @Karen, I really appreciate it!

      Reply
  • Poor Uncle May 3, 2012, 8:48 pm

    Hi Morgan – Are you still keeping your day job?
    And Yes – you do inspired. I love reading how much money you made.
    Because when it comes down to it that’s what inspires.
    I love the fact that you are so open. The irony here is though…at least for me…it will be less interesting to read your blog as you reach the $7 figure mark.

    That guy that founded facebook – I had 0% interest in reading his stuff.
    Maybe that’s why I am Poor Uncle. 🙂

    Reply
    • Morgan May 3, 2012, 8:55 pm

      @PoorUncle – hehe, so true! 🙂

      Reply
  • William Brister May 4, 2012, 6:20 am

    Morgan,

    Thank you so much for sharing as you do. You are an inspiration to me. I have begun down a similar path and have been blessed by your blog. I am using DomainApps to develop a group of names out, I am working on an ecommerce site http://www.SilverOrleans.com with a partner and have several brands that are in the very early stages of development (StorageBuildings.co, GarageStorage.co, BusinessInternetTools.com, and ConsumerDeals.org). Along with your blog, I am reading two books that have really helped me, “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris and “The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson. I would highly recommend both.

    Thanks Again!
    William Brister

    Reply
    • Morgan May 4, 2012, 7:19 am

      @William – thank you so much for the kind words! Great to hear that you have building-out with Domain Apps, definitely keep me updated, I am very impressed with their platform and think between them and Protrada Domainers have some excellent development opportunities!

      Reply
  • Sean May 4, 2012, 7:11 am

    Are your employees based here in the US, overseas, or a mix of both?

    Reply
    • Morgan May 4, 2012, 7:16 am

      @Sean, it’s a mix of both with a majority based overseas.

      Reply
  • viqi May 4, 2012, 7:31 am

    Morgon,
    Reading your blog for the past 2 years, and I can testify that your success is not over-night. You are a perfect example of working hard and long hours to achieve success. There are very few people who open up their blueprint to success and you are one of them. Thank you for this.

    I wish you the best of luck for a bright future.

    Reply
    • Morgan May 4, 2012, 7:43 am

      @Viqi – thank you so much for the kind words and you are absolutely right! I did not get to where I am today by spending just a few hours a week, it has been a ton of work with a LOT of failure and lessons learned from that. I’ve found that it’s all about what you do when you fail, some people quit, I try to learn from it and come back ten times stronger, so far so good!

      Reply
  • Iain Taylor May 6, 2012, 12:59 am

    Hi Morgan, Great to hear your latest plans. You are certainly an inspiration and have for sure influenced me in my domaining ventures. Working on new projects each day right now however feel a “pivot” coming on myself. Look forward to catching up soon.

    Reply
    • Morgan May 6, 2012, 8:08 am

      Thanks @Iain! I am so sorry we did not get a chance to connect-up in Spain this year. You were one of the main people I was really looking forward to spending more time with!

      Hope you’re having a great weekend and let’s definitely catch-up soon!

      Reply

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