How to sell a side project

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Ilya Novohatskyi
May 19, 2022

Looking to sell your side projects (micro-SaaS startups or other online businesses) at the right price? It's easy! Here's how to create a listing and sell your project on the Microns marketplace.

Credits

Selling a project can be really difficult – you have to fuss about finding buyers and securely transferring the project. Plus the acquisition process can take a long time: sometimes, reaching years only for the deal to fall through in some cases.

In this guide, we’re going to take you through the steps to get buyers (without looking for them) and sell your side project or any small online business in speed time.

Selling your side project takes place in six phases;

  1. Presale preparation
  2. Creating a listing
  3. Accepting offers
  4. Closing the deal
  5. Delisting your project
  6. Post-sale support

Let’s dive in.

How to Sell your Side Project

1. Presale preparation

If you desire to sell your startup at the right price, there are a couple of things you need to do first to get the best value out of the sale. Chances are you may have difficulty getting buyers if you fail to prepare adequately. Plus, most buyers won’t be willing to pay you what your project’s worth. 

So here are the things you need to do before the sale.

Value your business

Since you’re most likely selling a small project and not a big company, using a business broker may not be your best option. This means you'll have to work out the value of your business. The best metric to find the valuation of your side project is the Seller’s Discretionary Earnings (SDE).

The value of your side project depends on the annual revenue and the type of business, and using SDE is a good metric as it takes into consideration the pre-tax profits before cash expenses. Don’t forget to add your salary back to the profits. Also, try not to include one-time expenses such as hiring a copywriter to write your website’s copy.

That said, if you’re selling a service-based business like an agency, you can value it at 0.8x – 1.5x the annual revenue. On average, a content website can sell for 1.85x the SDE while a product business like a micro-SaaS can be valued at 3x – 10x its annual revenue – the price depends on the level of the technology and the market. Many of the micro-SaaS products listed on our platform are listed at almost 10x the annual revenue. An ecommerce brand can be valued at 1.35x SDE, with a maximum valuation of 2x SDE.

Clean things up

You don’t want to get buyers interested in your project only for them to be met with an ugly-looking UI. So consider touching up your UI’s design or giving it a makeover and fix minor bugs. Test the app to ensure there are no issues with your product’s flow from login to finish. Make sure everything works as expected so that buyers aren’t disappointed. And try to optimize your site to work smoothly.

Prepare your project for selling

Draft the paperwork

Your prospective buyers don’t know how your business operates and how much it makes. So you have to create a piece of documentation where you can prove your numbers. If you're charging $5,000 for a project that makes $500 per annum, you have to be prepared to prove to the buyer that the business has the potential to make them $5,000 in 3 to 5 years.

Also, document the tech stack and cost of running the project per month. You’ll want to include features and benefits of the micro-SaaS and case studies if you can. Also, detail the business model, number of users and contractors, marketing strategy, and every other information/piece of data the buyer will be interested in.

2. Create a listing

Fill out all required fields

When you’ve prepared your business for sale, you can either choose to market your company by yourself or list it on a marketplace. If you’re marketing your project by yourself, consider reaching out to competitor sites or industry players on LinkedIn to buy you over or hire a business broker. The issue with these strategies is that they’re difficult and time-consuming. A better option will be to sell it on the Microns marketplace or check out the best startup marketplaces to sell your startup.

Submitting your project on the Microns website is quite easy after you’ve gone through the presale process. But there are a couple of things you need to do for your listing to be accepted.

Due diligence

You have to help the buyers on our platform with verifiable data for due diligence. One of the very first pieces of data you can upload is your earnings – you can show your Quickbooks or Stripe earnings. Also, attach Google Analytics reports for accurate traffic metrics.

Add details

Here you’re going to add images or videos of your product’s UI regardless of whether you’re selling a micro-SaaS or an ecommerce store. Then add a description of what you do, the business’s target audience, tech stack, founding year, and growth advice. Try to be very descriptive about the project – talk about every asset and marketing material you have – SEO blogs, social media presence, PR mentions, etc. And if you’re listing an ecommerce store, document how you source your products and other pieces of information your potential buyer will be interested in.

When you’re done listing the project, submit it, and we’ll notify you once we publish it.

3. Accept offers

We'll notify you about new buyers via email

Once your micro-startup or store is published, the rest of the work is left to us. We’ll email the buyers on our platform and inform them of your listing. And as potential buyers find your listing and indicate interest, we’ll send their offers your way.

Here are a couple of things to do (and not do) to ensure you successfully sell your side project in speed time.

Build rapport with the buyers

First, try to familiarize yourself with the buyers and pre-qualify them – these days, it’s more about building connections. As you get notified about an interest in your project, reach out to the buyer directly. When you build a connection with the buyer, you’ll be able to know if they’re trustworthy and can pay on time.

Don’t take the deal off Microns

The buyer may suggest that you take the deal off our platform, but don't. We’ve made Microns safe for everyone, and we can monitor the progress of the sale to ensure you close the deal smoothly. We're launching our concierge service, Transfer by Microns, so our users can securely do business on our platform. Taking the deal off our platform may cause the buyer to underprice your project. Plus we won’t be able to take action if the buyer misbehaves or becomes difficult to deal with during the sales process.

Respond to offers timely

As buyers approach you to strike a deal, it’ll do both parties a great deal of good if you respond within 24 hours. Also, try to give detailed answers to buyers' queries – giving detailed answers to buyers’ questions builds trust. And feel free to communicate your desires upfront.

Don’t reveal sensitive information

While it’s great to give out important information like key metrics, you don’t want to give out confidential information. For example, if you have a pricing structure where you have premium customers, you don’t want to give out names or the list of your premium customers.

4. Close the deal

You need to sign APA to sell your side project

After you’ve connected with a buyer and they’ve done their due diligence, you can proceed with the sale. You should sign an Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) to specify the terms and conditions of the contract.

Then finalize the deal using an escrow service like Escrow.com. While this is one of the most popular escrow services, our users have had issues using it: that's why, we built our own concierge service called Transfer by Microns to help you securely seal transactions within one platform.

5. Delist your project

Even after the sale is completed, you’re still not done. Reach out to us to inform us about your acquisition, so we can remove the listing and highlight you in our weekly newsletter. This way, we’ll stop sending you notifications about interest in your startup, and protect the integrity of our platform. Lastly, provide your feedback/testimonial or a mention on your favorite social media channel - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. 

6. Post-sale support

One of the features that make Microns one of the best marketplaces for buying and selling startups is the mandatory post-sale support our sellers offer our buyers. In most cases, you’ll help the new owner market and understand the product. Also, many buyers on our platform lack technical skills, so you’ll have to show the workings of your tech stack and how to solve technical problems.

This support is only for a month - could be less than two weeks for very tiny projects. So if the buyer would like to retain you on the project for longer, you can negotiate a good deal after the free 1-month support.

Why Should you Sell your Side Project on Microns?

We mentioned that Microns is one of the best marketplaces to buy and sell online micro-startups and other online businesses. Here are the following reasons;

Microns is a peer-to-peer marketplace

We have built a network of over 3,700 interested buyers. You don’t need to hire a broker to help you market your startup or reach out to 100s of professionals to buy your project.

On Microns, you list your startup, and we send buyers your way. You can also chat with buyers directly and get to know them personally. You get to choose who to sell your project to – we put the control in your hands.

Zero-commission deals

One feature that makes Microns unique is that selling your startup is free. We don't charge a commission on any transaction. However if you need more support and an extra layer of security, you can use our concierge service and pay a little fee. 

Faster transactions

The projects sold on Microns are small: this makes the deals faster to close. You can list your business and get offers within 24 hours. Usually, most business deals on our platform don’t exceed 30 days.

Negotiate buyers’ offers

Selling on Microns is pretty easy and straightforward – list your business, respond to offers (always keep an eye out for our emails and check your spam folder), negotiate and accept the best offer, and close the deal.

Safe transactions

We value the safety of our users, and that’s why we’ve cleaned up our platform to ensure the safe and secure transfer of your project. Hence, we do a lot of due diligence to protect the integrity of our platform.

Unlimited number of sales

If you've got a couple of projects you want to sell,  you can list them and sell all of them at a time - there are no restrictions unlike other marketplaces. 

Conclusion

Now you know the steps to sell your startup. Go ahead and list your side project and begin getting offers. It’s easy!

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