How I Made $707,766.61 in Sales WITHOUT PAID ADS & Sold My Shopify Store to a Hungry Buyer for Cash

Dear Shopify store owner:

Are you running paid ads to your Shopify store? Cool.

Is the majority of your traffic only coming from paid ads? Not cool.

What if I told you that if the main source of traffic to your Shopify store is from paid ads that your store is practically unsellable?

Would you call me a heretic?

Anytime I’ve talked to or read anything online from Shopify store owners, the conversation largely revolves around paid ads…

  • How to get their ads to perform better…
  • Which ad platforms are best…
  • How to lower CPCs
  • How to target better…
  • How to make better creatives…

While running ads is great to generate cash flow, you are really only conducting an arbitrage play: You (hopefully) sell a product for more than what it cost you to acquire the sale.

But that’s what every business does, right?

Well, yes, of course…

But don’t miss the larger point here…

When you’re running your store strictly as an arbitrage play, you are not building intrinsic value for your store.

A Shopify store that only uses paid ads, has no actual intrinsic value, therefore, while you might be able to find someone who would buy it, it would be extremely difficult to sell, due to the extreme risk associated with it.

Why would you want to sell it, you ask?

Well, we’re all going to die, right?

Are you going to take your Shopify store to the grave? Didn’t think so.

So, you need to be thinking about your EXIT PLAN for your Shopify store.

Why is this important?

Because if you want to choose the better of the two options between letting it die and selling it, you will need to create and shape something that’s actually SELL-ABLE.

Why isn’t your store sell-able with only paid ads?

Well, anything is technically sellable. A rock with a face on it is ‘sellable’.

But for the purposes of this topic, when I say it’s not ‘sellable’, I mean it will be very hard to sell.

Because the moment you turn your ads off, or even worse, your ad account gets BANNED, YOUR STORE STOPS PRODUCING SALES.

Guess how businesses are valued?

They are valued as a function of their trailing net profits over the last 12-36 months (depending). BUT, what makes actual deals go through are highly sellable business assets that have a mix of the following traits (in no particular order):

  1. Easily transferrable
  2. Not highly reliant on paid advertising
  3. Has steady organic traffic
  4. Not highly attached to the operator’s personality
  5. Competitive moat
  6. many more factors…

When you are building your Shopify store only on paid ads, the livelihood of your store is literally hinging on the touch of a button from some guy named Zuck or some guy named Larry.

Your store is essentially a SLAVE to the paid ad gods. The moment those paid ads stop, your store stops. Game over.

No buyer wants to take that risk.

Because of this, it makes it highly risky to a potential buyer, and thus, you’ll have a hard time finding someone who will want to buy your store from you when you’re ready to move on.

And we all have to move on at some point, right?

All that being said…

Running paid ads isn’t a problem in and of itself and that’s not the problem that I’m going to address to you today.

The ultimate problem that very few people understand, is that relying on paid ads alone does not create intrinsic value for your Shopify store.

What does intrinsic value mean?..

When you buy a home, you are buying intrinsic value. You can live in the home, rent it out or even watch its (intrinsic) value appreciate when real estate values rise. The fact that the home has intrinsic value is why you’re able to sell your home when you want to move and someone will buy it. Same with a car, farming equipment, a pizza oven and yes, transferrable businesses.

Now look at the majority of Shopify stores out there…

Most of them are ugly…amateur looking…convert poorly…but worst of all…most of them are built on a house of paid ads.

When the ads turn off, the house go bye bye.

Why does this matter?

Because a store that’s built solely on paid ads is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO SELL TO A BUYER.

A sellable business asset has intrinsic value that can be traded (bought or sold) to another person, someone who will take over what you’ve built and make it even better, when you’re ready to move on. And you WILL have to move on at some point, whether you realize that now or not.

So without some substantial organic traffic coming in (such as organic Google search), your Shopify store is simply an empty shell through which you drive visitors. But remove those paid ads and you are left with only an empty shell.

Nobody wants to buy a shell. They want to buy VALUE.

So, without doing something about this problem…your only option is that your Shopify store will eventually sell at a very, very, cheap price due to the high risk or just DIE completely when you’re done using it like the empty rag doll that it is…

…almost as if it had never existed in the first place.

It won’t carry on after you.

No life in perpetuity. No brand legacy.

And more importantly…

No successful exit for you with a fat check in hand to drive off into the sunset with 2 chicks in a Porsche.

SADS.

Why would you go through all of the trouble to build a store, just to have something that is very difficult to sell in the end? Please don’t do that.

So what makes something sellable?

Something is sellable when intrinsic value can be TRANSFERRED to someone else.

Think of it like this…you have a suitcase full of value (that doesn’t require you to spend money for what’s in the suitcase to maintain itself).

A buyer sees that you have this suitcase full of value and offers you money for it.  You literally hand off that suitcase of value to the buyer and they give you money for it. That’s what a good deal looks like.

Now on the contrary: If the buyer learned that you actually have to spend money for what’s in the suitcase to maintain itself, the buyer would 99% of the time walk away, because of the inherent high-risk of taking over that very risky suitcase.

Picture this…

…if you wanted to sell your Shopify store RIGHT NOW, what are you ACTUALLY giving a buyer that has intrinsic value that you can hand off?

  • Your Facebook ad account? Wrong.
  • Your Google ads account? Wrong again.
  • Your product SKUs that anyone else can sell? Wronger.
  • Your Tiktok ad strategies? Still wrong.

If your entire store can go to zero the moment your paid ads stop, NOBODY WILL WANT TO BUY IT.

A buyer is basing their decision about your store on the RISK they will inherit from doing a deal with you.

Because of the extreme risk to buy something that can be turned off at any moment, any savvy buyer will say “Nah, I’m good. You got no intrinsic value bro!”

Now, why should you give a shit about what I say?

Because I’ve done this first hand, multiple times.

I was able to generate hundreds of thousands in sales without spending a penny on paid ads. I generated large amounts of organic search traffic and then converted that traffic into sales at a high conversion rate due to a high converting store experience.

Take a look at the screenshots below…

All of that traffic coming in was FREE TRAFFIC, connected to HIGH RANKINGS in Google, coupled with a great experience inside my store lead to a healthy conversion rate.

This made my store very valuable to a buyer. For that reason, I was able to get buyers to FIGHT OVER IT and chose which buyer I wanted to do the deal with. 

I eventually sold it and moved on with my life.

But here’s what I didn’t do: I didn’t let it die and walk away with nothing..

It is now run and operated by the proud new owner, who has made it even better than before and is making a lot of money from it, without spending anything on paid ads. He got a LOT of value from our deal.

What people are saying

I hear you saying…”OK Mike, I GOT IT. DAMN!” My store needs intrinsic value. Now what?”

Good, now we’re on the same page!

So what’s the solution?

Create intrinsic value for your Shopify store.

How?

Your store needs to stand on its own and be autonomous, without the crutch of being COMPLETELY reliant on paid ads.

This means…

Having a strong backlink profile, so that you rank high in Google..

Getting significant traffic coming in organically through Google search…

Converting visitors into sales at a healthy rate..

Having healthy profit margins…

Having a diversified traffic generation pie..

Still having even more room to grow…

After these things, NOW your store becomes a valuable asset to a potential buyer who will want to acquire it from you.

Now you’ve created something that you can even shop around to potential buyers and create COMPETITION for.

Here are some of the hungry buyers I had competing over my Shopify store…

Acquiredu - Discount_image_5

Acquiredu - Discount_image_4

All of this that we’re talking about here is a mix of good ole fashioned SEO, good ole fashioned CRO and good ole fashioned business sense.

You might be saying “I’ve already done SEO Mike! I installed an SEO app thing from the Shopify marketplace, you idiot!”

Well, allow me to retort…

Your SEO and CRO probably suck completely or at the very least needs some work. If you are pulling in good figures then you’re probably in the latter group and if not, the former.

Don’t take that statement personally.

Most people are NOT well-versed in SEO or CRO, because it is slow, hard to do and requires time to see the rewards. Most people don’t have the patience for it and thus turn to paid ads and never look back.

Now that we talked about the importance of diversifying your traffic generation and bringing in organic traffic…

…let’s talk about the conversion rate of your store.

Shopify owners always ask ‘how can I get more traffic?’ without ever considering how well they’re converting their EXISTING TRAFFIC.

If you’re not converting your existing traffic well and you’re instead focused on getting more traffic, you’re simply putting water into a boat with a hole in it.

When I was running my store, at the very beginning I was getting only 10 to 20 visitors a month.

But guess what?

Even with 10 to 20 visitors a month I was able to make a couple sales.

Crazy, right? Not really.

You need to be obsessed with every single visitor to your store and understand that they didn’t end up on your store because they got lost somehow. Something brought them there to your store.

I could have been only checking in occasionally on my store to see how it was doing and telling myself that ‘yeah, I’m an entrepreneur now, yay!’, like many of the people I see online acting like this shit is magic and wondering why they aren’t making sales with a store that looks like a donkey’s ass.

I didn’t sit around and wait for the magical sales gods to dub my store worthy of sales..

I instead, STALKED EVERY SINGLE PERSON that came into my store.

  • I watched their movements as they perused through my site….
  • I took note of what region they live in…
  • I took note of what products they looked at..
  • I figured out what ages they typically were…
  • I took note of where they got stuck and decided to leave…

I watched DOZENS OF HOURS OF RECORDINGS of my visitors to understand how I can provide the best experience possible for them.

Because I truly CARED about every single person who came to my store. I wanted to treat them like gold and made sure they got what they came there to find.

You have to be completely obsessed with the people coming to your store: rolling out the red carpet for them, answering questions they didn’t think to ask and leading them down the path to purchase, while reinforcing that you are trustworthy and you are the ONLY option to consider.

This isn’t voodoo magic.

You’re dealing with real human beings who have seen it all…

They know what bullshit looks like when they see it..

They have no reason to trust you..

They don’t owe you anything..

You have to work hard to earn their trust…

You have to work hard to be legitimate.

When you take that first step and you actually care and actually give a shit about the people coming to your store, now you’re going down the right path.

So whether you have 10 visitors a month or 100,000 visitors a month, you need to be completely obsessed with every possible nuance, detail and angle of the experience of that visitor.

The branding..

The checkout flow..

The trust factors..

The OVER-COMMUNICATION…

The managing of expectations.

If you’re more concerned with getting more traffic when you have a poor user experience and a poor conversion rate on your store, your head is in the wrong place.

So let’s talk about what I did

...why I’m telling you this and what makes me qualified to have opinions on this topic.

I generated over $700,000 in sales with my Shopify store over a few years time, without spending a single penny on paid ads. That’s simply with good SEO, CRO, marketing and business savvy..

 

I then went on to sell my store to a VERY HUNGRY BUYER (after getting a couple of them to fight over it) and walked away with a nice check when I was ready to move on from my store.

Acquiredu - Discount_image_1

By the way, this deal was done completely WITHOUT a broker. So I saved 15% on expensive broker fees by doing it myself. This also wasn’t my first deal.

You might be saying…“Mike, I don’t care about that! I just want to generate sales and not worry about SEO and all that hard stuff.”

Cool, that’s great. But let me ask you something…

Would you rather your Shopify store just die a slow death after you get burnt out from running it (which you eventually will) or instead, walk away with a big fat check for the all of the hard work you’ve done?

That’s what I thought.

If you look at all of the marketplaces, where websites or online stores are being sold, you’ll see a common pattern.

They all have intrinsic value…

Without that, they would be MUCH harder to sell and the brokers most likely wouldn’t accept them in the first place.

Okay, so you might be saying: “Mike, please, for the love of being, I GET IT. NOW WHAT?”

Well, the first step was to understand how important that is. I think we established that 😉

The next step is to ask yourself what you can do about it…

So if you’re not an SEO or conversions expert, that’s fine. Luckily other people can help with that.

So ask yourself, do you want to eventually sell your store?

Unless you’re completely insane, the answer should be “YES”.

And if the answer is yes, then you need to really take this seriously and ask yourself, what can you do about this right now?

I’m not saying to stop your paid ads. If they’re working, then keep those going.

Instead, how can you branch out and diversify your traffic generation by introducing good SEO, CRO and value-creating strategies into your store so that it’s not only a traffic generating machine, but it’s also a sales generating machine?

Now these things aren’t mysteries of the universe, but they do require expertise…

Everything I’m talking about here involves everything from:

  • branding..
  • checkout flow..
  • trust factors..
  • proper support…
  • providing good policies…

Making yourself look like you are in fact a legitimate brand. Because you want to be a legitimate brand, right?

..not some fly-by-night operation, operating from your Mom’s basement.

When you operate from this place, and you truly start to position yourself as a real legitimate business, then you start to see real positive change, lots of value being created and most importantly a highly sellable asset for a buyer.

  • Visitors buy more.
  • They convert at a higher rate.
  • They convert multiple times.
  • They start liking you on social media.
  • They start referring your store to their friends.

This is how you build a brand. You do it by caring obsessively.

I’ve done this firsthand and speak from my experience…

…Picture yourself checking your analytics and seeing your organic traffic taking off and bringing in lots of visitors were already searching for you.

..Picture how seeing this FREE traffic come in gives you some relief from the expense of running paid ads and increases your profit margin.

…Picture yourself walking away with a big fat deposit in your bank account when you decide to move on from your store.

…Picture yourself taking your BIG FAT CHECK from your store sale and using that capital to invest in your next big thing…

You can walk into the sunset, knowing that all of the time and effort you put into your store not only generated income for you while you were operating it, but also was able to sell it as a VALUABLE BUSINESS ASSET to a hungry buyer, who carried the torch for you and gave your brand a longer life than it otherwise would have had…

Book Your Strategy Call with Me

So this is where I can help you…

If you want to build your Shopify store, so that it can actually be a valuable asset to a future buyer, get more organic traffic and convert your traffic at a higher rate, then book your call with me below.

We will talk about your store. We’ll go over it personally.

You’ll get the firsthand experience from someone who has done this with their own Shopify store, from ZERO TO EXIT

  • You currently run an established Shopify store that is already getting traffic
  • You’re looking to diversify your traffic sources to more than just paid traffic
  • You want to create a sellable asset for a future exit
  • You are not willing to invest in your Shopify store’s success
  • You haven’t actually launched a store yet (you’re still deciding on your niche)
  • You’re not interested in the long game

So why should you work with me?

Because I’ve been living and breathing SEO and user experience since 2008, have built and sold multiple online businesses, have worked with many satisfied clients and have had some nice mentions by some industry ‘big wigs’.

On the call, we’re going to go over how to make your store a highly sellable asset, so that future buyers will salivate (and fight) over what you have and make an offer to acquire it….

So if this sounds good to you, book your call with me below and take the first step towards your hero story…

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