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Kevin Graham, Site Arrow

My guest today is Kevin Graham, an Australian native living in Thailand running a web hosting company called Site Arrow, which he uses as his acquisition vehicle to buy other web hosting companies.

Episode Description

My guest today is Kevin Graham, an Australian native living in Thailand running a web hosting company called Site Arrow, which he uses as his acquisition vehicle to buy other web hosting companies. The topic of software in micro private equity has come up more and more often and has been a recent focus of mine to learn more about, and Kevin was very helpful to that goal. While a great deal of the technical side of our discussion went over my head, his thinking around using permanent capital to perform a roll-up of sorts of small web hosting companies was fascinating.

Beyond web host acquisitions, we also briefly discussed digital nomads and the life of living abroad. I hope you find our discussion as interesting as I did and if you or someone you know is in the business of acquiring small software companies, I’d love to chat as I want to continue learning about this space.

Clips From This Episode

What's the best business you've seen?

What college class would you teach?


Purchasing multiples

Working with brokers

Mike Boyd was the first one to introduce me to micro PE and permanent capital in software, and during one of our conversations, we talked about digital nomads and you’ve said you don’t like that term. Who are digital nomads and then why do you not like the term “digital nomads”?

A digital nomad’s really just anyone who is nomadic or has the ability to move around as they please while still doing work. The work component’s the digital component, whether it’s people that are doing writing gigs or working for a company in a remote job, or people that actually run their own companies remotely.

Now, the reason that I don’t super like the term digital nomad is there’s such a wide variety of people in that space. As I said, there’s the writers, there’s the people doing remote gigs and that sort of stuff. Then there’s people like me who run location independent businesses. I like to consider myself more of a location-independent business owner than a digital nomad. The other part as well is that for a lot of the time I’d much prefer to have a home base.

I’m recording this with you right now from my home base here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I’ve got everything set up to actually be able to do podcasts and do work and everything. When I’m on the road … So I just did a month in Australia and month in Austin. While I was on the road, it was a lot more difficult to do that because you’re just mostly just traveling with your laptop and it’s … Laptops and working coffee shops aren’t super convenient for actually doing deep work.

I grew up in Adelaide, which is a city of about a million people in the center and down the bottom. Adelaide’s sort of known for its wine growing region. A lot of the good Australian wines like Penfolds and Jacob’s Creek are all pretty much on my doorstep about an hour away from home. But yeah, I’ve been abroad for five years now. I moved to Chiang Mai in January 2014, and I hang around with a lot of people from all around the globe over here.

I’m kind of curious. Do you enjoy being abroad and working abroad? It seems like some people really enjoy it and there’s a type of person that loves the travel and new locations. But then there are some who miss the routine and miss home and view the whole experience as really beneficial, of course, but they want somewhere to be called home and that’s not necessarily abroad. So, along that spectrum, where do you think you fall?

I definitely need a home base and routines. As I said, like the two months on the road were kind of difficult. There was no gym. There was no great spot to get work done. Equally though, I sort of find over here a lot easier for lifestyle stuff. As I mentioned to you probably before we hit recording, I’ve got a maid who is coming this morning. She comes twice a week and it costs me less than $10.00 for her to be here like half a day cleaning the house, running basic errands and those sort of things. Food’s super cheap and also you can get connected with a lot of more people that are doing interesting things out here than you might be able to back home.

What sorts of interesting things are you running across?

I guess it’s more like it’s a lot easier to connect with people running other businesses. One of my good friends runs a laundry pickup and delivery service here in Chiang Mai, which like, if I was back in Adelaide I pretty wouldn’t be able to connect with those sort of people running businesses like that as easy as I can over here. There’s a lot more, I guess people wanting to get out there and meet people and connect with new people than you might get in a city in America or Australia, or wherever else.

What led you to running Site Arrow, then can you talk about the permanent capital side of Site Arrow where you’re looking to buy other similar companies?

Site Arrow was initially formed out of an SEO hosting brand that I launched in December 2015. Now, what led me to get into that was what I initially moved to Chiang Mai to do which was affiliate marketing. Particularly affiliate marketing with product review websites that get most of their traffic from organic search. So, from Google.

Now, what we were doing in order to get that traffic, one of the biggest ranking signals in Google’s algorithm is back links. Back links can be quite difficult to get for these sort of product review websites. So, we basically built our own network of sites that we’re linking to our product review websites to generate the authority they needed to rank on the first page.

Now, part of doing that is those sites need to be on a bunch of different servers and have unique IP addresses. I apologize if I’m getting slightly to technical for your audience right now. But, managing that was a nightmare. We had Excel sheets out the wazoo with all the different accounts and the login details and all of that. It was annoying, and a nuisance. So, basically I built a bulk by hosting app, our first web hosting product, as sort of a way to simplify that and put it all into one dashboard. Then only have to deal with one monthly bill rather than dealing with hundreds of providers and losing some of them all the time.

So, that’s where I started. We then launched a second SEO hosting product in late 2016. Then throughout 2018 we went on a acquisition spree of small retail hosting companies and poured almost 300K into acquiring a bunch of the and basically rolling them up into the same back end for support and servers. But keeping a lot of the retail brands as they were on the front end. So to the customers it still looked the same.

So, you’re taking a lot of the more back office tasks and integrating them into Site Arrow but keeping the brand as separate?

Yeah. That’s right. With web hosting that’s super easy to do because the back-end servers can always look very white labeled and generic, which is what we use across our portfolio brands. Then the front-end customer support will all respond with whatever brands the customers always known. But, it’s the same integrated team on the back end. Achieving that sort of operational efficiency across a number of brands is probably one of the best ways to effectively manage a group of web hosting customers.

It sounds like a case of where the term synergy is used appropriately.

Yeah, exactly. There’s definitely a lot of synergies between each of those individual brands that when we roll them up things get even better at scale for us in terms of operational efficiency compared to where the previous owners had them of needing to have a certain base level of support and servers and everything else that might not need to necessarily be replicated across 10 brands because you can use that same group of back end servers to service multiple brands.

When you’re looking for these little brands to buy how big are they generally? Then, what kinds of multiples are you paying on them?

So, a lot of the deals we’ve done have been somewhere between 5K and 55-60K. All of them are based on the industry standard, which is one year’s revenue in that sort of price range. So, basically if we look at the trailing 12 months rev and then say, “Okay, last 12 months you did this.” If it’s flat, then obviously we sort of just run with that as the number. If we’re seeing it improving or declining we sort of adjust accordingly based on a slightly longer, more like 18 to 24 month trend. Then just make an offer based on that.

The idea being that web hosts can put somewhere between 33% and 50% out the bottom line. So, the overall actually multiple you’re buying it for is somewhere in the 2x to 3x range.

Is there any particular reason that the multiple is focused on the revenue and not the income?

My guess is basically because of a lot of what I mentioned before where for hosts of that size generally you’re looking at acquiring it and integrating it into existing infrastructure that you have. So, the more interesting, and more relevant component is how much revenue they have versus what the profit is that they’re throwing out. Mostly because you’re looking and saying, “Well, hey, we’ll probably be able to put the majority of these customers onto existing servers.” So, the revenue is more important than the actual profit that they’re throwing out the bottom.

Now, obviously you still look at that. On one of the deals we did over the last 12 months his profit figures were extremely low. But he’d over provisioned the number of servers. So, there were some servers in there that we could kill off straight away, and also other efficiencies in terms of again using our one integrated back end for support and servers that he didn’t have that we would’ve had.

So, how do you tend to find these companies and then are there other competing offers and buyers for these companies? Who are the main people in that area?

So, in terms of finding the deals there’s a mix of the deals that come up through the industry forum. So, web hosting talk and a few of those other industry forums. Then there’s a group of brokers who all share the one list of opportunities for sale in the web hosting space. So, I work with one of the brokers in that group, but I think the overall group is around three or four different brokerage firms that all share that one list of opportunities for sale.

In terms of the people that I’m competing with there’s a lot of other web hosts of similar sort of size and scale to us. Where they’re in high six, low seven figure annual rev. They’re also looking at that same thing of hey, if we can pick up a small host that’s doing 50 to 100K per year and bulk that onto their existing business then it’s a great way for them, or us, to grow.

So, that low profit deal that I mentioned before that one our broker said, “I think we’re competing against three or four different other small web hosts that were looking to acquire that company.”

My experience with web hosting is limited to my interaction with Squarespace and whatnot. So, what sorts of things are important to evaluate when you’re buying a web hosting company? What metrics, or what values are really important?

The things that we’re always looking for is obviously how long the customers have been with that brand, and how long that brand has been around. There have been some that we passed on where the owners tried to fake the age of the brand. So, they’d basically bought a domain that was registered in 2006 but only started serving customers in 2018. But on their website they were saying they’d been around since 2006, which if you’re lying about that I can’t really trust anything else you’re saying.

We do a bit of a deep dive on the brand to look at the history, see where they have been getting customers from and the type of customers that they’re serving. So, another deal that we passed on a lot of the customers were only paying like $1-2 a month, which is not really profitable at that point by the time you need to provide servers and support and everything else for those customers. So, we need to look at some of those factors when we’re doing these acquisitions. Ideally what we’re looking for is customers that have been with the brand for several years and brands that have obviously been around for a few years on their own, and genuinely have been around for a few years. Then, you sort of look at how much customers like or dislike those brands as well in terms of looking at forum reviews.

All this sort of background checking that you would do whether you’re acquiring a restaurant or a laundry mat or whatever sort of business you’re looking to acquire. All of that sort of background research to get that feel for what the owners like, what the customers are like and make sure that you’re in the right market segment that you want to be operating in.

Is there enough similarity between web hosting companies that you can build a checklist of sorts that you can implement after you buy the company of improvements and that sort of thing? Or are they so different, and owners have different styles of operating and management that you really have to go case by case?

I mean, there’s sort of a group of standard things that we do. In terms of web hosts the vast majority all run one billing platform which is the industry standard, it’s called WHMCS. So, now when we’re doing deals we’re always looking to acquire hosts that already have WHMCS because then our support team know how to use that billing system, we know how to dig through it to find the data that we want, and we’re not making any changes to customers in terms of their billing system either.

One of the first deals we did this company had been around since 2000, they had a completely custom billing system. Now when we came on board we obviously wanted to swap that for WHMCS and we had a bit of pushback from those customers because they were getting a new billing system, a new interface to the task that they wanted to do. There was a bit of pushback around, “I liked the old thing. It was a lot easier to do things.” Or whatever. People are resistant to change. So, we’re now always looking for hosts with WHMCS.

In terms of the back-end server software, again there’s a cPanel which is the most commonly used server software for standard shared web hosting. So, the sort of stuff you buy from Bluehost or HostGator or any of our brands. All we use a cPanel. So, there are a couple of small tiny competing platforms to that. But, again, we only want to buy cPanel hosts because it’s very easy for us to then transfer those accounts from the old server to any of our servers. It’s easy for our support team to use because they’re used to using it from all of our other customers.

So, there’s all of those things which form part of our checklists when we’re looking at opportunities to acquire. Then after acquisition we can go through and, as I said before, potentially more customers to our servers. In WHMCS we’ll go in and configure the support departments the way that we have them for all of our other brands. We add our payment gateways in, all of those sort of things that we sort of do after is sort of a standard process. But, yeah, obviously there are other hosts that sit outside of that group of software. In the past we’ve done a couple deals like that but going forward based on just the headaches we’ve had from doing those deals they’re not the sort of deals we’ll be doing again in the future.

Is there some end point, or end game that you’re building to? Do you want to eventually buy larger, and larger web hosting companies? Or expand beyond into some other area of software or whatnot? Or are you just trying to build the biggest web hosting investment machine you can find, or you can build?

If you’d asked me three to six months ago before we had one deal that we did in the game hosting space that went a bit bad and before we sort of hit the pause phase that we’re in at the moment on acquisitions as we just try and get everything working well and move forward from there. My goal was to basically grow from where we were at 5-600K rev to five million rev across a five years span. Basically, through going out, acquiring these hosts, using the profit to then go out and acquire more and so on and so forth.

One of the other things that, that was based on was assuming that we’d be able to get 50% out the bottom of these hosts. It’s turned out to be a lot more like 30-35% which then also changes that whole structure of be able to able to go to five mil in five years.

So, at the moment I’m sort of in a pause phase trying to tidy up a lot of the stuff and focus on the current thing which is getting myself out of the business more. Then in another two, three months we’ll go back to looking at what’s on the market, then basically try and buy bigger, and bigger hosts and roll them into our system.

In terms of the eventual goal, yeah, I guess potentially there’s the opportunity once you’ve done this roll-up to then exit it to another player. So, there’s a few larger either PE or private equity sort of groups, and even a couple of public companies in this space that if we were big enough we could potentially exit to. But at the moment the goal and first stage was just to actually build it to a nice sized entity that would have those sort of opportunities available to it.

When you say you’re taking yourself more out of the business is that sort of the working in the business versus on the business and more high-level strategy? Or what sort of things are you doing now versus three to six months ago?

So, at the moment I’m trying to get myself out of the ops and system admin roles. So, we’d hired a system admin, he lasted 23 days and then had found a job with another company that he’d been applying to for a long time. So he said, “Hey, I’ve really wanted to go work for these guys. The opportunity finally came up, I’m leaving.” Which was like, gutting because we were just starting to get him up to speed. So, we’re now hiring again another system admin to come in and take on a lot of the system admin duties from me.

Once we get to probably that next size up, probably somewhere in 1.2 to 1.5 I’ll be trying to bring in an ops manager to sit below me to actually handle system admin plus support and finance so that then, again, I’m sort of further removed from the day-to-day. Earlier this year we brought on a customer support manager. So, that at least removes the customer support agents from being direct reports to me. So basically just trying to add those levels in so that I can do that higher level working on the business stuff rather than needing to work in the business and do system admin or managing ops and those sort of things.

Through various conversations the question of different roles has come up a few times in that the founders or managers of these micro PE, permanent capital companies all had different roles, and different styles even though on paper they all looked relatively similar. So there’s a marketing head, there’s the operations or something like a capital allocator. It sounds more like you’re trying to leave the operator side and go towards the allocator. Is that correct?

I guess not coming from a space of micro PE, or permanent capital or any of those I’m sort of very much still looking at this thing as like one company that owns multiple brands. But, yeah, I guess where I sort of want to transition to is just completely CEO where I’m in charge of setting strategy and direction, looking at the deals that come across in terms of would this brand and company be a good fit for us. Then have people actually go through and do the review, do some of the due diligence on it. Also then be able to then do the integration without me needing to be in there doing all those roles.

Have you run across other people doing similar roll-up strategies, and are there different ways that people are going about that? Is there a lot of them in Thailand perhaps, or other places around Asia?

In terms of location wise I’m not seeing so much of that in Thailand or Asia. The majority of the web hosting industry is sort of focused in either the US or Europe. Obviously, there’s small brands and larger brands that exist in Africa, Asia, et cetera, Australia. But, the core of both of those, of the industry sort of lives in either the US or Europe.

In terms of other entities out there doing this sort of roll-up stuff on the private side there’s a New York based group called Cloud Equity Group. We’ve competed with them on a couple deals. We’ve seen one of their ones, one of their brands come up for sale before. Those guys are similar to us in that they’ve at least been based from owning and operating web hosting companies and then going out and doing the same thing we’re doing of acquiring more brands to slot into their machine. Then, on the public side you even have a couple companies in the public space doing that. So, the biggest one in that space would be Endurance. Endurance have basically entirely grown from being in the private market and then going public, and entirely built their brands from acquisitions.

So, Endurance is the company that’s behind Bluehost, HostGator and a bunch of the other bigger names in web hosting that you see whenever you do a search. Their models based on basically acquisitions and then heavy spending on affiliates to acquire new customers. But, if you go and read their financial reports it’s quite interesting when they say, “Hey, we’ve never made money and we have no idea whether we’re actually going to make money in the future.” Which is the complete opposite of our model where we’ve been making money from day one. We’re operating a profitable company and we intend to continue to be profitable for the foreseeable future.

How do you think of the use of leverage? If you bought these hosting companies and you expected a 50% margin so you had leverage according to that, then maybe this isn’t the case. But, maybe you did use leverage to buy a company then you found it’s really the number you said which is 35. How did that affect your acquisition and how did it affect running the company afterwards?

So, everything we’ve done has been with our own capital, which has been raised from the profits of operating the businesses. So, we haven’t used leverage. I know that there’s that risk/benefit analysis of using leverage now. Obviously, the upside is we could go out and scale and do things a lot faster. The downside, of course, is some of those deals that we’ve done the returns haven’t turned out to be as good as we’d hoped. Or, in one of the deals, the game server one, after acquiring it there was such a steep drop off of customers from what we assumed were potentially inactive customers that were still paying that the business went from profitable to unprofitable. And last Friday we announced that we’re closing off that brand because we wanted to basically stem the losses and move forward with the stuff that was profitable and stop wasting time focusing on that. So, if we’d leveraged to buy that, then that would have been a lot more pain then just the probably 100K all in, in terms of acquisition and losses that we’d made since acquiring that company.

So, I think if you’re strategies are really dialed and you’ve got enough deals under your belt that you can really closely pattern, match and see those things then leverage could be a really good thing that would help you go out and acquire a lot faster. For us because we’re still getting started in this space, like just using our own capital is the safest way for us to get started in this space. Also, it stings to lose your own money, but it would sting so much more to then still be on the hook for a bunch of debt as well.

I can imagine that would be really tricky. You mentioned that that company had to close. Was that something that you felt could have foreseen and you could’ve anticipated it? Or was it something that really all the preparation you’d done up to that point really wasn’t going to give you the answer until you’d bought the company and you were on the hook for it?

Based on what I knew when I acquired everything looked great. Based on the lessons I’ve learnt from doing that deal there’s a lot of things that we’ve added to our DD process. Including also … Oh, like deal criteria. Including also that type of deal which is game servers and not part of our core focus. We wouldn’t actually do a deal like that in the future anyway. But, in addition there was a lot of stuff in there around customer churn and determining whether the customers are active or not that we couldn’t really do with that, that we can do with other types of web hosting. I mean, we learnt some really good lessons out of it. But, equally some expensive lessons to learn I guess when you’re doing it on your own dime.

Yeah, I can imagine they’d be definitely more expensive with your own money. I ask because I hear a lot of success stories, or things going well and I think if something goes wrong you tend not to hear that. At least initially for a little while. So I’m always interested by when they’ve had failures what have caused those failures and how could they have prevented them. It sounds like this may have been a case of trying to buy a company that wasn’t as familiar to you. Whether it was only gut feeling you had at the time where maybe this could work, maybe it couldn’t. What were your feelings at the time?

So, I mean that deal was a deal that we did off of Flipper. Basically, we’d put in a bid, someone had outbid us but there was a buy it now price that was about 20-30% above where the bidding was at. So, we’d sort of run the numbers. So, my partner and I had run the numbers, we’d looked at it and said, “Yeah, hey well the profitability on this is lower. The payback time is still within perimeters based on the sales price. Sure, let’s do it.” And clicked the button and bought it.

So, I mean at the time we knew that the average profit per customer was lower, and the margins were lower than what we were typically used to. But the sales price reflected that and we were comfortable proceeding. Although it was a different type of thing in that it was game servers versus standard web hosting going into it I was like, “Hey, how much different could this be? They’re still using the same billing software it’s just a different backend server software that they’re running.” Then it wasn’t really till we really got into that business and started operating it that we’re like, “Yeah, this backend software is so different and so much more difficult to use.” Combined with the loss of revenue from customers that weren’t or didn’t appear to actually have active services. They just had subscriptions going sort of like the forgotten gym membership sort of thing that a lot of people have.

When you’re buying companies that are this small what additional risks are there beyond just what buying a normal company entails? Like, I’m sure you’ve seen companies to buy that are significantly larger. Do you view those larger deals as safer than the small ones, or vice versa because they’re simpler? How do you think about the size difference?

I mean, to me the larger the deal gets should mean that you’ve got active customers in there. The smaller amount that you’re potentially going to lose in terms of customers that either weren’t active, or choose to churn … So, Churn means to leave to another provider. If you’ve got 300K of revenue and you lose 3K of revenue that’s like 1%. Whereas if you do a 50K and you lose 3K of revenue that’s seven or something percent. I can’t do the math off the top of my head. I know it’s greater than five, lower than 10, right.

So, losing 2-3K of revenue on a larger deal is a lot less painful than on a smaller deal. On some of the really tiny ones we’ve done of like 5-6K you lose a couple clients on that and then the payback period becomes stupidly long. So, obviously the bigger the deal you can do, assuming that you’ve got active customers in there the better that deal’s going to be. Hopefully on the longer-term basis.

Have you run into any people abroad who are investing in companies but from somewhere like Thailand where it’s cheaper to live, but they’re buying companies that are in other places so they can run them more efficiently, or?

In a lot of ways that’s actually what Endurance does with their model. So, they’ll acquire the companies and then replace in their support. A lot of the support for Endurance is based out of India. So, there is definitely some of that that goes on. Although I’m based out here our whole team’s remote. So, our marketing guy is based in Brisbane, we’ve got a support guy who’s always based in Adelaide, Australia where I was from previously. Another guy who’s from South Africa but now lives in Georgia.

So, we’ve got a fully remote team of Westerners. Our customer support manager is from Brazil but she travels around a bunch as well. Yeah, I mean we’re not technically basing the ops and the company out of here in Asia. It’s just where I choose to live.

The biggest downside that I’ve found actually being out here is the time zone difference. So, when I’ve been trying to do some of these deals with Americans then depending on where in the States they are a lot of America’s 12 hours opposite here. It then means either them staying late to do the calls, or me getting up super early.

So, I know for you right now I think you said this was about 8:00 in the evening for you, and it’s about 10:00 in the morning for me. That’s probably the most difficult thing with doing that sort of stuff from Asia. I’ve had some friends who are in the brokerage space who basically ended up moving to the US in order to be on time zone to do deals a lot easier than it was when they were trying to be based in Asia.

Is that something that you think you would ever do? Do you think you would leave Thailand to go to a time zone that made more sense to you?

I mean, for everything else the time zones great in terms of my overlap with my marketing guy. Overlap with friends and family back in Australia. All of that’s great. It’s exclusively when I’m trying to do deals that the time zone overlap becomes difficult.

Right now, apart from the occasional scheduling delay, or problem, we’ve managed to get it done so far. If it became really difficult than potentially I’d maybe go somewhere more on time zone for one month, or a couple months if we’re doing a big deal and needed to be on time zone a lot to get that deal done. Then I’d probably return back to Asia just because I really enjoy life out here and the rest of the time zone overlap stuff is much better for me out here than it is in somewhere that has better time zone overlap with the US.

Does Thailand allow, like the location of Thailand does it allow you to travel pretty easily throughout Asia and even parts of Europe if you wanted to go on a trip, or vacation somewhere?

Yeah, I mean, to get across to Europe it’s about 10 to 12 hours. So, not quite as good as being on the East Coast of the US. But probably a lot better than being West Coast US. Then, to get back to Australia’s seven or eight hours. Pretty much anywhere in Asia is a two to three hour flight from here. I think the furthest is maybe Japan at like four to five hours.

So, like last week I had to make a quick trip down to Singapore to go see our bank. That was pretty easy. I’d jump on the flight, there in like three hours, and simple. Whereas, trying to do that from Australia would have been a bunch more difficult, or from the States or whatever.

If you could go and be a professor in college and teach a class on any subject of your choice what would you teach, and why?

I want to slightly tweak this question. One of the things that you may or may not know is that I actually have a Bachelor of Education and previously taught high school. So, the course that I would like to go back and teach would be a version of … Like, a mix between business studies and accounting that actually really went into a lot of the basics on operating a business that most people just don’t even think about. Things like getting your unit economics right. How to build these different operations, going through building standard operating procedures. All of the things that really more people should know about if they want to start thinking about running a business that just isn’t taught to them unless they’re in a business degree at college.

What would you say is the most fortunate event that happened to you that was completely random?

Completely random’s a little difficult. But, one day many years ago I decided to start looking at blocks of land in the river land area of South Australia. Then found a block that night on the real estate website. Put in an offer the next day and had the offer accepted within 24/48 hours. What I didn’t know at that time was that in that region it would actually be a cashflow positive investment, which is rather difficult to get on residential real estate in Australia otherwise. So, like residential real estate in the capitals is not cashflow positive, it’s negatively geared and people basically make losses on it to then offset their income from a regular job.

But, then through buying that block of land and then having a house built, and then renting it out for a period and then later selling that I ended up with 20-30 grand profit from doing that deal. Which has then helped sort of set me up for coming out here, building my affiliate business then building this web hosting business on the back end of all that.

So, something that seemed like so random at the time to look at this block and then buy that block of land when it was an hour out of the capital. I wasn’t going to live there initially. All of those things that then just magically somehow slot into place to work was probably one of the most fortunate things that happened to me.

What were you looking to buy land for? Was it an investment, or were you looking to live there at some point? What was the general purpose?

So, it was a town that was on the river. A friend of mine had just bought a ski boat so basically this property already had a big shed on it. So the idea was buy this, we can store his boat in the shed and hey it was 50-60 grand Australian to buy the block of land. So, it just seemed like hey this is cool and interesting to go and buy this block of land.

Whereas a similarly sized block of land in Adelaide, the capital, would have been probably $200-250,000 to buy. This one was like 60 and it had a shed on it. So, it seemed interesting to go and to buy this thing. Then, later I was like I could build a property on there and have it as like a holiday home. Then ended up getting a job in that region, lived there for a period. Then rented it out and then sold it. So, it just, I don’t know, seemed like a thing to do at the time.

What would you say is the best business that you’ve come across before?

I don’t know how business like it is, but the stuff that I was doing before the web hosting stuff of building these product review affiliate sites is definitely at least some sort of cash hustle if not a full business. Because for one or two grand at the start to buy some content and to build some links you can then generate this cashflow asset that can bring in somewhere like 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 a month. Then those assets can even be sold on online marketplaces.

So, we’ve sold like three of those sites over the last four or five years. When they’ve hit somewhere in that five to $10,000 a month mark. The multiples on those across the time have gone up from being around 20 times monthly, so a bit over 1.5x to now being a lot closer to 3x for a lot of those sites.

Yeah, I mean your costs to go in is so low and the profitability is insanely high. To me that’s one of the best business models combined with the fact that you don’t have customer support, you don’t ever have to touch a product. It’s an insanely good business model.

Thank you very much, Kevin, for your time. I really appreciate it. Your business is super interesting. I’m looking forward to learning more about it soon.

Cool. Thanks for having me on the show. It’s been a lot of fun.

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Kevin Graham, Site Arrow

My guest today is Kevin Graham, an Australian native living in Thailand running a web hosting company called Site Arrow, which he uses as his acquisition vehicle to buy other web hosting companies.

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