Stacy Caprio is a digital marketing expert turned website investor and internet entrepreneur.
She began buying and building websites in 2016. Below we talk to Stacy about her experience and discuss how women could start their own website investing journey.
Q&A with Stacy Caprio
Stacy, you’ve already been interviewed by several popular companies in the website investing space. For those readers encountering you for the first time, will you briefly share how you started buying and selling websites?
I started buying and selling websites after I read an article on Spencer Hawes’ Niche Pursuits website. Before reading that article, I had never heard of a marketplace where you could buy or sell websites.
It never crossed my mind that individuals — not large corporations — could make money from websites.
The funny thing is that I always worked in the 9 to 5 world. I was marketing and growing websites, but I assumed that websites were something only people with a company or team could own.
I was used to following the ‘social norms’ where you simply work for someone else who has those invisible qualifications that allow them to run a profitable business. The reality is you don’t need anyone else’s approval.
How do those early beginnings compare to where you are now?
I started with smaller websites and have progressed to larger ones.
My most successful site is the last site I purchased several years ago. I’m working on growing my newest project that is still in the works, so I will keep you updated on that.
Do you feel that your journey has been different from other professionals; women in particular? How does your specific experience separate you from others?
My journey is unique in the sense that I helped others grow websites and companies using paid ads and SEO before I started using similar techniques to build my own sites.
I think this gave me a head start because I was already familiar with tinkling around with websites and helping them grow.
Many women don’t have that experience. They could be starting from ground zero and need to do more research and practice to grow their websites.
When I was in the paid ad world, I noticed that there were slightly fewer women in the field.
Additionally, women in these positions had less confidence, even though they had similar capabilities to their male colleagues. It’s this higher confidence level that leads to more men striking out on their own to start a business.
You tell a story about holding swimming lessons in your backyard during college. Is it the entrepreneurial spirit or digital insight that people need to buy, grow, and sell a website portfolio?
I have always loved taking my current circumstances (even when they are less than favorable) and turning them into something entrepreneurial.
For example, I got hired by a country club in Minnesota to teach swimming lessons and work as a lifeguard over the summer. The problem was that I was disorganized back then, so I didn’t show up.
My boss fired me via email, and that’s how I ended up starting my swimming-lesson business using my pool at home. I enjoyed that so much more! I worked fewer hours and got paid much more for the lessons I gave.
Also, I always loved having mini-businesses from an early age.
For me, working for 1 hour and getting an hourly rate is draining. Working for 1 hour and seeing your effort gain you a customer or ad revenue is fun and worthwhile.
Why don’t more women invest in digital assets?
I believe many women lack the confidence to go out on their own.
I think women are naturally more group-focused and social. They follow social norms more than men do — to avoid being left out. These dynamics are why many women don’t see site investing as an option to break from the norm and start their own business.
It doesn’t stop there.
Women also make it harder for themselves to take risk because they doubt their business skills.
What are the barriers for women who want to get into website investing?
Most of it comes down to the invisible mental barriers in their minds. Both men and women have them, but women seem to have more.
Ultimately, it’s a mindset challenge.
One way to solve this is by giving yourself permission to start something because no one else will give that to you. You have to decide if you want it enough and if it’s worth the risk.
Once you start working toward it, that’s when it becomes real, and no one can stop you.
How can women get more exposure to these opportunities? How can they overcome the mental barrier?
The first step for any woman to overcome her mental barrier is to recognize it is there.
Once you realize your mind is the only thing standing in the way of your dream, you have broken down the biggest obstacle in your way.
Many women (or men) may not realize there is an opportunity to invest in a website or start their own business. Learning that an opportunity exists is the first step.
The next step is realizing that the only reason she wouldn’t have a chance to do this is if she tells herself she cannot. Simply acknowledging that she has the power to chase a dream is the most significant step.
Then, once she has overcome the biggest barrier by allowing herself to pursue her dream, she can write down precisely what that dream is and the steps she can take to achieve it.
I recommend working backward and looking at how other people have gotten there.
Once you write things down, it is helpful to follow the steps and work toward your dream each day. You could also visualize the outcome each night. Doing both of these things will ensure that a woman is working toward her goal.
Personally, I always physically write my big goals on a sheet of paper. I write down the exact steps I can take to get there, along with specific dates for each goal. I also visualize the outcome and daily process each night.
Writing down my goals helps me stay focused and trains my brain to expect to do the work each day — and to expect a positive outcome.
I also pray each night and include my goals in my prayer.
I’ve found that when you put in the work, and the energy is correct, you place yourself in a special place where miracles happen.
I have used this process countless times and eventually found myself at my goal. Looking back, you may feel surprised because often, when you first write down your goals, they feel out of reach.
Are there any particular or profitable niches where women excel?
Many women excel in the stereotypical recipe, mom, lifestyle, and fashion fields because they are already interested in these things.
They put out content for fun until it ‘accidentally’ or ‘on-purpose’ turns into a profitable business.
There is some truth to ‘following your passion’ if you are good at something. If you crank out enough content, you’re likely to gain some traction.
I would suggest more women think critically and approach the areas where they see a market gap. If they find gaps, they should gravitate toward that. They are likely to gain traction, even if they create not-so-great content or less content overall.
This reminds me of a story I read about Fran Ker. She had a major acne problem, found a solution, and then offered it to the masses. In one interview, she shared she was making between $4,000 to $12,000 a month. You drew energy from the challenge of getting fired and creating an income for yourself. Is this the way to go?
That is a great story and example.
Yes, I think this is one of the best routes to go.
When you have a burning problem, and you manage to solve it for yourself, you are in a great position to help others. Add value to someone’s life, and they will be more than willing to pay for that benefit.
When you have a problem that you managed to solve, you have special “insider knowledge.”
Applying this insider knowledge to quickly solve a problem for others gives you a leg up and a substantial inside advantage. Someone trying to “solve a problem” or “make money” does not have that.
I started two websites in niches where I have personal experience solving my issues and applying my insider knowledge to gain an advantage.
This is great because you can use your case studies as promotion and marketing material on your website. You are your own best review and case study in this instance!
This also makes your website more credible, and gives you a huge leg up, making it easier to get sales right away.
Do you have any advice on the typical “first steps” for women to start their businesses without too much risk?
Yes. The first step is often to test an idea or a website that you make yourself. Or you can buy a very cheap one.
If you mess up, the only thing you lose is a tiny bit of money. The positive side is that you set yourself up to gain a lot of knowledge.
I gained a load of knowledge from my first few “mistake purchases.”
These failures didn’t discourage me from buying my next website. They didn’t make me think that I had to sacrifice my lifestyle or do something drastic like live on rice and beans.
This ties in well with “solving your own problem” and starting a site around that. If you pay to solve your problem, you will likely do that anyway.
So you can use something you were already going to pay for to give yourself a head start building your business or website.
This is a great way to not risk too much and still start a business with a high chance of success.
Another thing you can do is start selling via Facebook groups, Etsy, or in-person before you build a website. I’ve tested this approach with my website, and it works great for testing product interest.
If you start promoting on these channels, and people buy from you, your site also has a higher chance of success once you begin to get traffic.
This is a great low-risk, high-reward way to test your product and product/market fit before you buy an expensive site to support it — or before you pour months into building your website to support it.
Are there specific groups, forums, or communities for women building website portfolios?
Women can sign up for my Her.CEO newsletter at the bottom of the home page and talk to me directly via email.
Hmm. Specific for women is trickier.
I’m a member of Nick Loper’s Facebook group and the Niche Pursuits Facebook group, which both have great blogs and great support in the group discussion area.
If you know of any groups specific to women, do get in touch because I’d love to know as well!
Our discussion with Stacy gave us a glimpse into her philosophy on website investing, and tips on how to take your first steps into building a digital asset.
If you’ve been holding back due to a fear of failure or a lack of business skills, remember that we all have to start somewhere.
Every successful entrepreneur has made mistakes.
As Stacy said, start small and learn along the way.
It’s worth the effort.