From Idea to Acquisition in 1 Week

Damn, he actually paid for it?

I wasn’t expecting the Stripe notification when I woke up. 

I thought it was just big talk and, after he’d thought it through, he’d pass on buying my not even properly launched directory.

But he pulled the trigger.

The directory wasn’t even a week old…

Let’s go back to the start.

I get a daily email called Ungrabbed. It has two reasonably priced domains every day. Usually no more than $150.

They’re mainly .co or .io but occasional .com and aimed at people building tools.

One morning I saw CreatorTools.co and thought it was perfect for a directory. 

I prefer a .com but this was a nice domain. Does what it says.

I snapped it up for $95

Right. After some time only writing and creating content, I need to do something with this domain and get building.

Tool choice

A few years ago I vowed never to use WordPress again. I’m not skilled enough to make it look how I want, and find themes a letdown when you start working with them.

I got into Webflow and other no-code tools (Glide, Softr).

But I wanted two things…

  1. Build fast
  2. Have a chance at search traffic

With Webflow I can’t build fast enough (skill issue) and I’m uncertain how good the SEO is for other no-code platforms.

I had a license for a simple WordPress directory theme (Chipmunk) so all roads were leading back there.

Oh well. WordPress here we come.

Building

It was easier than expected to slip back into working with WordPress. The Chipmunk theme was joy to work with and didn’t require much effort to customize.

The only thing I did outside of the standard options was a few bits of CSS to get it looking how I wanted. 

With a simple logo made in Canva, this thing was ready for some listings.

Sidenote: I enjoyed using WordPress I’ve since used it for this personal site.

Filling the directory

It’s all fun and games until you have to go out and find data to turn the framework into a working directory.

However, I know this space quite well so first of all it was easy to list off 100 tools to get the directory started.

An awesome feature of the Chipmunk theme is automatically grabbing the open graph image of a new listing.

That saves a lot of time taking screenshots manually and getting the sizing right.

For the tool descriptions I used a ChatGPT prompt to get a paragraph and then checked and tweaked.

The prompt looked like this:

Please give me a summary of this tool in no more than 75 words and in a direct, conversational tone. Tool: [TOOL NAME]. Website: [TOOL URL]

The prompt gave some good results. Most of the time. However, occasionally it would just make it up. A complete fabrication about what a tool did. 

So be careful to check the work of AI. It might be lying to you.

Monetization

At this point I should probably tell you my plan for turning this into a money making project.

Whilst I didn’t think this thing could become a full-time focus, it could potentially be a semi-passive income stream.

There are two ways to do this…

  1. A chunky percentage of software tools have affiliate programs. If I used affiliate links in my listings then I could pick up some of those commissions.
  2. I have my own digital product that slotted into the research category (Idea Finder) and could use the site to include future relevant products that I create.

On top of this, there’s also the idea of selling featured spots to listings. Not as passive but low effort if mainly inbound leads.

But it never really got that far as you’ll see in a minute. 

Soft launch

After painstakingly entering the info for 106 listings, the directory was good enough to be useful and shared with others. 

On my evening twitter doomscroll I saw a few relevant tweets from people I know, and dropped a (non spammy) link in the replies.

Matt, who I’ve known on social media and in communities for a few years, saw my tweet and dropped me a DM…

It went something like “Was going to build something like that, how much do you want for it?”

Thinking nothing’s going to come of it – I’d just launched and there was no traffic or revenue – I gave a price that seemed reasonable for the domain and the work that went into it plus short term potential.

How much?

$1000

Acquired

Matt didn’t commit right there and then and, honestly, I wasn’t thinking he was serious. But he asked for a Stripe link. 

The following morning I got the Stripe sale notification on my phone.

He’d paid.

OK.

Looks like I’m selling the site.

We exchanged a few DMs and set the wheels in motion for Matt to take control of the directory.

Less than a week from purchasing that domain to getting a Stripe notification for the website’s sale.

What can I take away from this…

  • Ideas for projects can come from nowhere. The domain name was the trigger for it – I wasn’t actively looking to start a directory for creator tools.
  • No it wasn’t big money but it was a worthwhile deal for me and for the time that went into it. Although I’d have happily continued working on this site, I like building things, selling them and moving onto the next.
  • Yes, there was luck involved. But I created an environment that allowed me to get lucky – spending time building relationships with people on social and in communities. All helps increase the surface area for luck to do it’s thing.
  • Build fast. When you decide to do something, get your head down and work on it. Put it out there and see what happens. I could’ve ummed and ahhhed about this site for a while. Over analyzed whether it was worth it and likely wouldn’t have bothered building it.

Onto the next project.


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