Dustin has had Deacon on his other show, Master Passive Income, where he talked about his real estate investing and how he paid off $52,000 in debt. This time, Deacon Hayes talks about being successfully unemployed and how the business he started in 2010 is still growing and thriving. 

How Deacon Hayes Makes Money

Through his website, wellkeptwallet.com, and affiliate marketing is the primary way that Deacon generates revenue. Once he had a successful website, he thought it would be beneficial to duplicate the process and try to build and monetize it on other websites.

Deacon says that building a website from scratch was a one-time thing, and from there, he would only be buying existing websites and improve them. He says it is much like flipping a house.

After some of the sites are improved, he has sold them, but he has also kept some for passive income.  Currently, Deacon has five websites and has subcontractors working with him on the websites, as he does not employ anyone, nor is he employed. 

What Deacon Did Before Well Kept Wallet

Deacon was once a wood flooring salesman during the recession of 2008-2010. Because of the market condition, Deacon realized a lot of ordinary people were likely not buying wood flooring. 

However, since the company was more of a luxury brand, Deacon supported himself and his wife by the income from large property flooring orders. He realized that he would instead take a shot at the finance niche.

He started Well Kept Wallet as a way to journal his family’s experience with paying off their debt. Being realistic, he didn’t think that the blog could support the family, so he thought about becoming a financial planner.

He got a job as a financial planner but kept the blog on the side. As he was working as a financial planner, he realized that the only people he was able to help were rich people or the people who could pay the money for a financial planner. 

What mattered to Deacon was helping the average person with their finances, and there was no model for that available in his current position. So Deacon put more time into the blog and was determined to help people with it. 

Deacon soon received an email from a producer on Fox News requesting he fly to New York and be on the Morning Show. It was humbling for Deacon because he didn’t think what he had done with his debt was extraordinary, but he told his wife about it and was excited.

Deacon was afraid of telling his boss since financial planners are regulated by the SEC, and he just wanted to run the idea by him first.

At that time, his bosses asked him if he would rather shut down his website to continue working for them or be fired and receive severance pay to do what he wants with the site. 

Making The Decision

Deacon wanted to take the second option but was nervous since the website wasn’t making him enough money to live off. He is not the type of person to quit without having a plan in place.

Thankfully, Deacon and his wife had paid off their debt, they got out of some bad real estate, and their cash flow position was good with his wife’s full-time income.

Being a financial planner, Deacon and his wife also had three-six months of savings to use if needed. He has worked with people before who have asked his advice about quitting their jobs with thousands in debt and no emergency money.

He advised those people to not quit their job, but he could because of the situation that he and his wife created for themselves. Deacon thought giving it a try for the three-six months would an OK idea. If he needed to, he could go back to work somewhere. 

Deacon felt that he had a greater calling, and he was bound and determined to figure it out. 

While Deacon was working on Well Kept Wallet, he learned an important SEO technique (search engine optimization). Since the website wasn’t making money, he reached out to a friend who owns a sod business. He offered his SEO expertise for the business’s website.

Deacon created a package deal for them that equaled $200 a month for the SEO and $1200 a month for the website.  He also had a friend who owned a business with two locations, so he charged him for the two location’s websites.

Deacon was building revenue streams while also working on Well Kept Wallet. He had built up the SEO company to where he sold it for six figures a couple of years later. 


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Dustin thinks it is crucial for people who want to be successfully unemployed to have multiple income streams. He likes his river of income from real estate, but having the backups is essential.

How To Buy Websites

Deacon says to tread lightly because it can be challenging. However, he suggests following these parameters:

Step #1: Evaluate the Cash Flow

Look back on the previous 12 months of a site’s cash flow and find the monthly net profit. Usually, the multiple to offer for purchasing the site depends on whatever the net income is.

For websites, that multiple is between 18-36 times the monthly net income. For example, if the website nets $1,000 a month, a good offering is between $18,000-$36,000 to purchase. 

Step #2: Determine the Domain’s Age

Deacon’s site has been around for ten years, while some sites have been around for two and try to sell it for more money than they are worth. He has some sites from the 90s as well as some more current ones.

Figuring out the domain age is important in determining site possibility and potential for growth. 

Step #3: Consider Domain Authority

You want to know how authoritative the site is on the Internet. There is a scale of 1-100 from Moz (SEO company) that rates authority, one being the lowest and 100 being the highest.

You definitely want to know if a site has a low rating before purchasing it, Deacon advises. 

Step #4: Determine Site Potential 

You want to make sure that there is a good track record for the site or room for the site to be improved with your experience. With Deacon, he knows what works and what doesn’t so it is easy for him to determine the site’s potential. 

Some places to find available sites are FE International, and Empire Flippers. What Deacon likes to do and has done for a couple of sites is he will personally reach out to the site owner and ask if they’re interested in selling.

You can search for the site owner and if it’s public, it will show email and contact information for the owner. Deacon has made great deals and relationships this way. 

Not All Websites Make Money

When considering buying a website, if it wasn’t making money, there is typically a reason. A lot of websites will make money from doing sponsored posts. They will get the links from companies and have them featured on their site.

The link will go directly to the sponsored site, and Deacon says that this can hurt your website or the potential website you want to buy. The time you would have to invest to fix the site would be too great.

Deacon has tried to revive two sites like this, and both were unsuccessful. He says it is all a learning experience and that it is like buying real estate. Deacon would instead buy something that has good bones versus something you have to completely redo.

To Buy Or Build A Site 

According to Deacon, this would be answered on a case by case basis. If you are good at building and have the time to invest in what that takes, you should build.

If you want to step back and buy something that has already done the groundwork, buying is a better option for you. The idea of having to grind and do all of the groundwork is unappealing to Deacon because he has two small children.

The season of life you are in will likely play a significant role in your decision to build or buy a website. 

How To Know If The Site Is Revivable

Deacon says that the website moz.com is where you can go to see a spam score. You can sign up for a free version to check up to ten domain names, but there is also a paid version for about $70 a month for unlimited checks.

The spam score will show you how many bad links are linking to a website. Additionally, you can do link crawls on the site to see the external links. There is a free tool called SEO Spider where you can crawl the site and see the links that don’t make sense. You can then go through the site and unlink the bad ones. 

Typically a brokerage will have an escrow company that you will work with on the sales but what Deacon does is wire money to the vendor’s account.

He does not necessarily recommend this to start with because once the money gets wired, it is gone. Depending on your state, your email chains back and forth means the sale is legally binding.


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