When we purchased Gimundo.com, we wanted to revive a site we cared about and build a sustainable business with it -- but it's also helped us learn valuable insights that we can share with our clients.
Back in 2007, I was hired to write for a site called Gimundo, which was based around the surprising, but true, principle that people actually like to hear good news every now and then. Within a few months, I became the site’s editor, and started teaching myself to promote the content through social networking services like StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Digg (Twitter and Facebook weren’t quite happening by that point). The site grew to be incredibly popular, with hundreds of thousands of visitors each month – and then in early 2008, abruptly, it died.
Technically, the site didn’t die – the start-up that owned it (a venture-funded group in LA) did. Gimundo got sold to a bigger company, becoming one of hundreds of sites in their inventory. They let it languish, with no updates, and the visitors began to drop off.
Then my husband and I had an idea: What if we bought the site and brought it back to life on our own? Even though it had never made any money for the previous company, we believed we could make it profitable on our own.
What made us think we could make it work with a team of two on a shoestring budget, when a company with around ten staff, an office in downtown LA, a large budget, and ample resources had never made a dime off it? We didn’t have nearly the resources that the start-up had, but we knew that we had the skills between us to do all of the site development and content on our own, saving us from needing to shell out thousands of dollars each month.
Our monthly expenses would be low: hosting and email newsletter fees would come to just a couple hundred dollars. Whereas the previous owners would have needed to make hundreds of thousands in revenue just to break even, our expenses would be far more modest, and it wouldn’t take much for us to become profitable.
We purchased Gimundo in April 2009 for a competitive price, and then spent months working on revamping and relaunching the site after finishing work for our paying clients, often staying in our office until 11 PM. We had a baby due in September, so we were working against our own deadline.
More than a year (and an adorable little girl) later, we’re thrilled to say that we were right to take the gamble with the site: traffic is higher than it ever was under previous ownership, and it’s not making us rich, but it’s already recouped our initial investment and is now profitable. And though updating the site requires a fair bit of work on my part each week, I enjoy what I’m doing. Nothing makes me happier than telling the stories of people who are making a positive impact on the world, or receiving emails from readers who love the site.
Our experience in owning and operating Gimundo has given us a crash course in entrepreneurship. Every day, we need to think about our site’s content, social media efforts, content partnerships, advertisers and sponsors, and a whole world of other terms that suddenly make sense when you take on a big web property.
While running Gimundo for its own sake is a pleasure, its greatest value is, perhaps, that it gives us conviction when we make suggestions to our clients. If we provide tips on running a Facebook contest, it’s not merely a hunch pulled out of thin air – it’s insight based on our own experiences as business owners. We’ve learned a ton about content strategy and marketing in the year and a half we’ve owned and operated Gimundo. We may serve up good news at Gimundo, but at Hawkins Multimedia LLC, we can serve up something even more valuable: good advice.
How have your own business experiences led you to valuable insights that you can share with clients? Share your own stories in the comments.
Interested in talking about a custom content and/or web development project? Contact us for a quote.
Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than a decade.
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We’ve owned and operated the positive news site Gimundo for over 6 years, and have learned a lot about the online media landscape along the way.