I’ve built, bought and sold content sites and media properties. 

Here’s my history in the online business space:

2017 – sold software review content site Funnel Engine through FE International

2018 – partnered with the investor who bought the above site and we flipped it a year later on Empire Flippers for 2x (six-figure exit)

2019 – sold FlippingWebsites.co facebook group (now 20K members) and podcast (25K total downloads) to Alpha Investors and became Director of Acquisitions https://alphainvestors.com/press/ai-acquires-flippingwebsites/ – managed a 7 figure deal pipeline and helped put together the due diligence process for Investors Club

2020 – sold the Website Investing publication on Substack (investing.substack.com) to Travis Jamison from Smash.vc and co-founded the investing.io paid community (6-figure exit). Wrote why I decided to do this on Indiehackers.

2022 – Acquihire of the alts.substack.com substack publication and Discord community to Flippa https://flippa.com/blog/alts-by-flippa-alternative-investor-community/ and became Director, Investor Community

Hey here is my abridged backstory…

From failed poker player to freelancer

I quit my job charity back in 2009 and set up a company without ever having made money from business.

My intention was to be a professional poker player, and the company was just a front for my family (hey look I’m a director!).

For the first month I made more money playing 2 hours a day than I did from my job – I thought I’d made it.

Then I lost my entire bankroll and was forced into trying to make money online.

I started by teaching myself design using Adobe Creative Cloud (which had only just launched) and reached out to previous charity contacts to see if they wanted a new logo or print design.

I made a very small amount of money for the effort so started looking for higher value services I could sell.

I taught myself wordpress using the first drag and drop theme builders, and started selling ugly websites.

I earned a bit more but still very little.

It wasn’t until I decided to launch my first own business in 2012, a shopify store selling prints of panorama photos taken on people’s iPhones, that I developed a valuable skill.

I needed to get traffic to the store, and I didn’t have any money to pay for ads.

So I taught myself SEO, ranking for the keywords that people would use such as ‘print iphone panorama’. As this was a brand new niche, there was no competition which really helped.

From freelancer to agency

After successfully bringing in customers to the ecommerce store, in 2013 I decided to sell SEO packages to local businesses where I used to live in the UK.

Within 3 months I had gone from £0 recurring revenue to £5K/m, a decent win.

But I disliked client work and so paid a local digital agency 50% to deliver the SEO and handle the clients. Then after 6 months the agency asked if they could buy the clients from me which I quickly said yes to.

I captured all of my first 3 years in business in the book  Coffee Shop Entrepreneurs  (I was nomadic at the time).

Continuing to move up the value chain

Selling my clients gave me a small runway to venture further up the value chain, and I discovered the world of landing pages thanks to Clay Collins, the CEO of Leadpages who was still running their webinars at the end of 2013.

I started offering optin pages and lead generation to clients, and then came across Clickfunnels in 2015 at the time when sales funnels were the new hot thing.

By 2016, I was selling productized $2K-$5K funnel packages and even a high end $20K funnel for a client.

I had someone to fulfill the productized packages (again paying them 50%), but I still wasn’t happy with the business model.

Sellable assets

In the summer of 2016 I sold the ecommerce store (iPanorama Prints – no longer exists) on  Empire Flippers  for just $6K (I don’t think you can sell an asset under $60K with them now!).

The money wasn’t much but this process changed everything for me.

I realised I could build and sell digital assets.

I then read the book  Built To Sell  by John Warrillow and turned the funnel business into a content affiliate site at funnelengine.com. Rather than sell funnel packages, I was promoting the software instead.

Then in 2017, I sold the business to an investor for mid 5 figures, through the brokerage FE International.

I then struck a deal with the investor to continue to operate the site and build it up to flip which we achieved a year later in 2018, for low six figures back on  Empire Flippers .

Working with investors

I had such a great experience working with the investor who bought the funnel site, I thought I should replicate this and partner with more investors on website acquisitions, as the operator.

To do this I needed to build an audience and position myself as the expert in the space.

I created the  Flipping Websites podcast  where I interviewed expert operators, and created the  facebook group  which quickly grew to thousands of members.

On the Flipping Websites website I published a page where investors could apply to work with me (a skill I developed from building high-ticket funnels mentioned in the previous email) which worked well.

I set up deals where I would earn $X,XXX per month plus a % of the asset upside when we flip.

But I quickly found that I didn’t enjoy managing someone else’s asset – to be the one ‘responsible’ if/when a Google update tanks the site.

I then got an offer from Andrej at the then Alpha Investors  to acquire Flipping Websites  and I joined to lead acquisitions in what became the  Investors Club  website marketplace.

Moving to media

After helping to set the processes up for Investors Club, I parted ways and jumped back into being a solopreneur.

What I enjoyed most was creating content and building a community.

However a new medium and platform had just launched – that of editorial newsletters on Substack.

One that I found was a perfect fit for my skill set.

At the start of 2020, I launched the  Website Investing  newsletter which had a free weekly newsletter and podcast (with sponsorship opportunities) and a paid subscription at $49/m for website listing analysis.

I think being the first editorial newsletter in this niche, and the first to Substack really helped, as within 10 months I had over 100 paying customers at $5K MRR, plus a similar level from advertising / affiliate revenue.

I then had an acquisition offer from Travis Jamison, someone I had met a few years earlier at an entrepreneur community event in Prague.

I wrote about why I took the six-figure offer  on Indiehackers . It also got featured on  They Got Acquired .

I worked with Travis to co-found the investing.io paid community, then at the end of 2021 I launched a new newsletter about alternative assets that got the attention of Flippa…

It was called  Alts Cafe  and covered a wide range of alternative assets, from content sites, to domains, newsletters, NFTs, fractional investing and crypto. I also launched a  Discord server  alongside it.

Before I could monetize, Blake Hutchinson, the CEO of  Flippa  quickly reached out to ask whether I’d consider continuing to write the newsletter and run the community as part of Flippa.

I said yes, an acqui-hire was signed,  press release written , and  ALTS by Flippa  launched 6 weeks later, extending the alternative asset coverage to include microsaas and ecommerce (assets on the Flippa marketplace).

I stayed on for 6 months, then left to launch a new Substack newsletter in September 2022 called Acquire Websites, where  I promoted Flippa listings  as an affiliate. [Read  Promoting Website Marketplaces  for more info].

Within Acquire Websites, I was also sending information on aged SEO domain listings on  Odys  which didn’t affect the 50% open rates, but I knew that staying niche (just focussed on content sites) would be best for long term audience growth and profitability.

In Jan 2023, I duplicated the list into a new Substack called  Dropping Domains , and this was the start of my newsletter network.

On Substack it is very easy to cross promote other newsletters, within emails and also with their  recommendations feature .

But rather than just promote other people’s newsletters, I had the idea of promoting my own!

So I started to launch new, niche digital asset newsletters.

Within weeks I had also launched:

 Clickthrough  – top news and opportunities for newsletter operators, affiliates, and funnel builders

 Nifty Stack  – showcasing the most interesting NFT stories of the week, plus any trades I’ve made

 The Pledge  – take the pledge toward making a full-time living as a creative entrepreneur

A flywheel had started and all of my publications were gaining new subscribers.

Moving to Beehiiv

Then at the start of March 2023 I launched a 6th longer-form editorial newsletter, this time on  Beehiiv .

I liked being on the Beehiiv platform  so much (benefitting from the increased customization and growth features) that I decided to consolidate and move them all over to Beehiiv.

As such I now have 3 newsletters, which is far more manageable:

 Digital Asset Investor  – the top news & opportunities in online business, domains & NFTs

 Acquire The Web  – content site deal flow from the main marketplaces.

 Creator Funnel  – how content creators are leveraging affiliate marketing and sales funnels


I got into domaining back in 2020 during lockdown, from discovering excellent domain podcasts such as  Domain Sherpa  and also one by  Josh Reason  at the time.

I invited Josh onto my  Website Investing podcast  and learned about how to buy at wholesale value, and sell at retail value at 10x the price.

I started purchasing domains, using tools such as  ExpiredDomains.net , at  GoDaddy Auctions  and also hand registering domains such as lightweight.co for $130 which I sold on the brand marketplace  Squadhelp  for $999.

You can see a list of my domains for sale  on Dan.com .

But in 2021 my attention moved to NFTs, a much more liquid asset.


I first bought Bitcoin back in 2016 and caught the altcoin run up in 2017 before selling everything at the start of 2018.

Over 3 years went by, where I was focussed back on online business, until March 2021 when the price of Ethereum started to rise again.

I’d been out of the market for so long that I felt the need to reeducate myself, so what better way than subscribing to a paid Substack (like the one I had sold) called Bankless.

I got in at just the right time as I  minted a free NFT badge  (my first NFT mint) that got me their $BANK token drop and access  to their DAO  – a decentralized media organisation.

I then went super deep into media DAOs, earning tokens by contributing to their newsletters and blogs, and learning about token gated access, web3 and  the future of work .

I made money by receiving and then ultimately selling DAO tokens before the market collapsed in Q1 of 2022.

But my attention on DAOs and social tokens took away from getting in super early to NFTs.

I’m pretty sure I landed on the Bored Ape Yacht Club website back in April 2021 when they launched but didn’t understand what the hell it was – a potential $450K error (per Ape) if I’d miraculously sold at the top.

My first purchase of an NFT was  a Lazy Lion  in August of 2021 and that, combined with a series of Domain Sherpa NFT focussed podcasts called Down The Rabbit Hole, got me into  purchasing a Mutant Ape  for 4ETH in October 2021.

Since then I’ve done hundreds of trades, my best being  minting a Moonbird  for 2.5ETH and selling at 21ETH (although it should have been more).

Now I hold a very slim bag during this bear market which you can see with my public wallet  patey.eth account on Opensea .

But I continue to follow the market everyday, tuning into the Morning Show by the guys at  The Nifty .

Blockchain domains

I mentioned my patey.eth wallet address above which is actually an NFT domain on the  Ethereum Name Service .

On ENS, you buy a second level domain (i.e. ‘patey’) on their top level domain (i.e. .eth).

In March of 2022  I discovered  Handshake blockchain domains at the  HandyCon conference .

 Handshake  domains are new TLDs based on a distributed and decentralized blockchain. They are domain names that you own and can’t be taken away (or have websites you publish on them taken down).

And you can sell second level domains on them.

The top Handshake TLD is c/, owned by  Clay Collins  (who I mentioned in the first email in this series) which makes him six figures a year in renewal fees.

I  bought the lazy/ TLD  and plan to sell names on it soon as discussed in  Handshake Domains Coming of Age .

Right now

It’s now May 2023 we are still in a very precarious economy, so I’m waiting until I start accumulating NFTs again – I don’t want to be  Left Holding The Bag .

Ok that’s it from me, I look forward to being in your inbox every Wednesday with the latest news and opportunities with the  Digital Asset Investor newsletter .

Until then, come follow me on  Twitter  or  Linkedin .


Richard Patey