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I Sold My First Business

what happened

Earler this week, I sold 3 products to a PE firm based in San Francisco.

The products:

how it happened

On Feb 22nd at midnight, the Bay Area PE firm reached out via email.

Well, it wasn’t “the firm”, but the founder of the firm.

And, it wasn’t really much a “firm” because he started it a few months ago.

But, he was an impressive dude. Fun fact: a few years ago, he sold his content business to Tencent for $2M, at 18 years old!

In his email, he shared his vision for building an ecosystem of PM education products. Products that would help upcoming PMs advance in their careers.

It’s a vision that resonated with me because…I’m a new PM starting out in my career.

And with those 3 products, I was unknowingly already building that ecosystem.

But unfortunately, I was not maintaining them very well.

With my last semester of college, my job, and other projects dividing my time, I’ve been doing the bare minimum to grow them.

And, I’ve been working on them alone which makes it worse because I didn’t have anyone to feel accountable to.

So, bringing on a partner to help grow these products to their full potential felt like a great idea.

So, after:

  • 17 days
  • 71 exchanged emails
  • 2 Zoom calls

the acquisition papers were signed 🎉

five lessons i learned

1. It’s easier to persuade when you have numbers.

Numbers, stats, and data points that indicate growth give you leverage in negotiations with an investor or an acquirer.

Without those metrics, you’re fighting an uphill battle in trying to convince an investor/acquirer that your business is worth what you say it is.

With those metrics, it’s easier to demand/justify whatever price you want.

2. Don’t let your ego get in the way

It’s not about you. It’s about the business and your customers.

So when an acquirer/investor comes in with a better vision for your business, don’t think of it as you lacking the ability to build it yourself.

Think of it as a partner joining you to grow your business better than you could’ve done by yourself.

3. Don’t let the money make you short-sighted.

Keep both parties happy.

Come to a price that both you and the acquirer will be happy with.

A happy relationship = long term success.

4. The importance of building assets for wealth

Stocks and investing of all kinds require lots of initial capital to make any meaningful returns.

A business can be started with $0. And it’s an asset that you can control the value of.

True wealth comes from ownership. Build something that you can own and then grow it— wealth will come.

5. The internet is awesome

I come from not a lot.

So it’s still crazy to me that just by tapping on a keyboard, I could drastically alter my circumstances.

My end goal is generational wealth, and this is a great step in towards that future.

what’s next

The 3 products were combined into 1 business. And, I sold 51% of that.

The vision is an ecosystem of PM education products. And my new partner wants to get us to 10k MRR and beyond.

Having a partner will definitely help. Being a solopreneur is cool and all, but it’s hard fighting dragons on your own.

We’ll be creating consistent content for the newsletter and the interview series. And we’re going to give Product Checklist a makeover. We’ll also release more products and services relating to PM education down the line.

The future is looking pretty awesome, can’t wait for what’s next :)


Why give up 51%?
  • It’s not a zero-sum game—My acquirer wants to grow the pie. He’s done it before with his $2M payday to Tencent. And he should have what he needs to be motivated to do that again. So I’d rather have 49% of a bigger pie than 100% of a small pie.
  • Entreprenuership is an infinite game—Infinite games are played for the purpose of continuing the play. Finite games are played for there to be a winner and loser. I’d rather play the game of “let’s make lots of money in the future togther” than the game of “let’s see who can be the loser of this deal.”
  • For me, the acquisition money helps me feel less stressed knowing that I have money in the bank as I prepare to graduate and eventually go apartment-hunting. I’ll also feel less inclined to do things for money that I don’t want to do.