Boosting your retirement income by buying and renovating assets for sale or ongoing income isn’t a new idea. But the way that Liz and Matt Raad approach and teach this strategy is very 21st century.
If you are a person who likes the idea of updating your existing skills and increasing your income at the same time, you will find this interview with Liz very interesting. Liz and Matt are obviously not Silver Sages, but they are helping many older people to make a huge difference in their lives.
Renovating physical business assets
Matt and Liz started their career as zoologists, working with red kangaroos. It wasn’t long before they realised that this was not a path that would give them the lifestyle they desired.
They started buying, improving, and selling traditional businesses, starting very small and moving to much larger businesses as the years went by. During this time Matt also worked as a business broker, valuing and selling businesses of all types.
Teaching people to create online assets
As their young family grew the Raads wanted to change their lifestyle. They decided to use their knowledge of buying, renovating, valuing and selling business assets and apply it to online business.
Now they teach and help people learn the online skills needed to build a portfolio of assets that are income-producing and growing in value. I have noticed at their workshops that the audience has a wide age range, with many aged in their 50s, 60s, 70s. I spoke with people who were learning from Matt and Liz in order to improve their nest egg or retirement income. Others were already part of the growing trend of older entrepreneurs working online, challenging traditional retirement concepts.
What are websites worth?
This is the bit that astonishes me every time I hear it! The sale of a website is based on a multiplier of its profit. Currently, a site that is well-designed and has good content can be worth between 20 – 30 times its monthly profit. That means that a site earning $200 a month would be worth between $4000 – $6000. If we go higher, a site bringing in $5000 a month could be sold for between $100,000 and $150,000. If you consider even higher monthly income the numbers can make your eyes water!
Brain exercise is a bonus
A couple of people I spoke with were particularly enjoying the problem solving and the personal challenge that learning new skills had given them… “So much more fun than Suduko!” What a great way to keep your brain healthy and functioning well.
Some Silver Sage Success Stories
In my interview with Liz she shared three stories of older people who have been very successful by following this strategy of renovating online assets.
From a failing offline business to earning $100,000 some months
Gary and Lucy had worked hard in their business, expecting it to be their retirement plan. But when their business was disrupted by online competition they had to do something different. With Matt and Liz’s guidance, they started buying inexpensive websites, renovating and selling them. Gradually, they started buying more expensive sites as their skills and confidence increased. Now they are reaping the benefits with a site, purchased for $20k, and renovated extensively, regularly bringing in $100k a month. Yes, you read that correctly!
A property investment problem lead to a very successful idea
Cindy has Parkinson’s disease and had to give up her employment twelve years before meeting the Raads. Mike and Cindy were keen property investors, buying and renovating their property assets. But, like so many of us, Cindy couldn’t envisage what a property might look like after renovation.
A successful website usually solves a problem that many people experience. When they were planning their website project Cindy mentioned this design issue. Further research revealed that it was a common problem and suggested that there was a market for such a program. Working with specialists in design and IT, their website was built. They now have contracts with some of the biggest real estate companies.
Working full-time while building a directory site
Neil and Mary wanted to learn to build websites. They wanted to build a strong asset that would bring in a great retirement income when they retire. Their deep knowledge, skills, and connections in a particular industry are now being used to create a directory site for others in their industry. When it is complete this website has the potential to have huge monetary value to big players in the industry.
Not a baby boomer, but worthy of a mention
A client, working full-time as a tradesman, has built a site based on what he considered was needed by the people involved in his trade. He built the site, built up the traffic to the site, and has just recently sold it for $190,000.
How to transform a website into a valuable asset
Renovate the website asset
Most websites that are for sale have some issues that need to be fixed. When you understand what makes a website work well, appeal to readers, and gain value it becomes clear what needs to be done to renovate it.
By making a website look better and function better it should gain value. If good content is regularly posted to the site the value should improve. But these actions need to be done strategically. Just as you would do if you were renovating a property, you need to know what buyers want and what genuinely adds value.
Add some advertising
Liz and Matt teach their students to create or buy websites that solve a specific problem. Within the website they attempt to solve the problem by giving readers free access to quality information to answer their questions.
Also on the website there are links to Google advertisements and to Amazon products, or other affiliate products related to the website content. It is from these advertisements that the website makes money.
It’s important to keep in mind that you want the value of the website asset, and retirement income from the site, without you having to be tied to the job of working on it all the time. This is why the model that is taught doesn’t involve you selling any products that you might have to deliver to your customers.
Learn more about online business
This Master’s Powerlifting Champion and SES Volunteer has achieved things that she never would have imagined by changing directions as opportunities arose.
Marion Baird started her career as a book-keeper, but even that was by accident not design. And that is how her life has evolved. As Marion said in the interview,
“Things find you. If the door’s there, just open it. Most of us are too scared to open the door. Not so much scared of what’s behind it; we’re too scared to open it. Just open it and have a look. Life has so many surprises for you.”
Training as an actor changed her life
On a whim, Marion decided to do a 12 week acting course at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney in 1993. She continued with the studies to complete a 3 year Diploma course, and the theatre has been part of her life ever since then. But most importantly she gained personal growth – skills for public speaking, overcoming shyness, handling emotions, and sticking up for herself.
When her acting agent considered retirement they discussed Marion buying the agency. Enthusiastically she embarked on learning all she could about how to run this business. However the agent decided not to sell, so Marion changed direction and set up an agency for actors. That business continues to this day.
State Emergency Service Volunteer
Around 15 years ago Marion moved to a new area and wanted to become part of the local community. She had not done volunteer work before, but a State Emergency Services stand at the shopping centre caught her attention. Marion followed her instincts. She has been a committed volunteer since that time, including being the current local SES Commander. Her extensive training has included the opportunity to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to become a trainer for the group.
She has helped in many emergencies such as storms and floods during her years with the SES. I’m sure her powerlifting strength has been valued during natural disaster cleanups. She has also had the opportunity for many interesting experiences such as being a ‘spotter’ on a plane search and taking part in rescue competitions. Most importantly Marion has made many great friends through her community involvement. She recommends becoming a volunteer as a wonderful way of expanding your life through friendships, training, and new experiences.
A Marriage Celebrant
In 2009 she added Marriage Celebrant to her array of roles, and I can attest that she is a delightful celebrant, bringing the right combination of seriousness and humour to the role. The first wedding where she officiated was an engaging occasion which she remembers with fondness. She married an African refugee couple in a small apartment crowded with people in colourful national dress and punctuated with spontaneous outbursts of singing. This was a cultural experience that will always remain a delightful memory for Marion.
How a TV segment led to powerlifting and 40 kg weight loss
Randomly watching a TV segment with two young men explaining the benefits of strength training was all Marion needed to explore this new sport. She took it up with enthusiasm. As her strength increased, and encouraged by her trainers at Sydney Strength Training, she started training for powerlifting competitions.
She was just out of hospital after having a knee replacement when she had an unexpected phone call from Channel 9. They said they would like to proceed with her application to be part of “This Time Next Year”. In a testament to the power of post-knee-replacement drugs, Marion doesn’t recall filling in the application which she had sent the day after her operation.
Over 2018 – 2019 Marion competed in and won several Master’s Powerlifting competitions. She broke the Australian Master’s record for her age and weight category twice in her first competition.
A year after her first appearance on “This Time Next Year” she reappeared. This time she was nearly 40 kg lighter, and demonstrated her powerlifting strength by lifting 125kg and, to the amusement of everyone, Karl Stefanovic!
She has continued on her powerlifting winning streak, winning the Masters powerlifting competition again earlier this year.
Looking to the future
Marion’s philosophy of ‘opening doors’ and changing direction when opportunities arise has led to varied and interesting challenges for Marion. She may withdraw from her volunteer position next year, however she intends to pursue powerlifting and her theatre interests for many years.
She is hoping to represent Australia in the World Master’s powerlifting championship in New Zealand in January 2021 and we wish her good luck in this endeavor.
When something shattering happens in your life you have two choices: give up or be resilient. Roxie Bennett chose resilience.
From the outside her life looked wonderful. Roxie had her own successful PR and Marketing agency. She was married to a wealthy man and their home was impressive. But few people knew that Roxie was living in physical and emotional pain and taking large amounts of anti-depressants, reflux and pain medication. She was significantly overweight and knew these aspects of her life had to change.
When her husband became very ill, leading to the collapse of his business, life became even more complicated. He had to declare bankruptcy. Suddenly many aspects of Roxie’s privileged lifestyle changed dramatically.
Roxie’s existing business was not affected by the bankruptcy, but she was affected emotionally and started questioning what more she could do with her life. Her recent life experiences had made her very aware of how important resilience is in overcoming problems. She knew she wanted to help people but was unsure how she could do this.
Around that time she watched a television story of a couple in Canada who had moved to an island to set up a life coaching business. She calls this moment her epiphany! Immediately she knew that her future involved life coaching, a business in which she could help people improve and even reinvent their lives. Roxie is now completing her Master Coach Accreditation and has added Life Coaching to her business services.
How to lose 20 kg in 12 weeks
Roxie describes herself at that time as feeling like a “big, fat, old moth”. Wellness coaching was part of her life coach training, and it was while doing this part of her training that she made the decision to lose weight. She set an audacious goal – 20 kg in 12 weeks.
She researched some of the most popular and successful weight loss strategies, experimented and adapted, and this led to her own program The Butterfly Plan.
There are five pillars of this plan, all essential to success
Clearly her plan was very successful, as those 20 kgs disappeared in 12 weeks, followed soon after by another 5kg.
Transformation and reinvention
Roxie’s life changed as a result of this weight loss. As the kilograms disappeared she regained wellness and vitality, and was able to stop taking most of her medications. She felt and looked 20 years younger. From this transformation came an inner sense of deep joy that she had never experienced before.
People had noticed how different she was looking and feeling, and the idea of sharing her successful holistic weight loss system in a book was born. That book is now published and Roxie is changing people’s lives through The Butterfly Plan. She has combined her own personal experience and life coaching strategies to help people overcome their problems with determination and resilience.
Honesty and vulnerability
Telling her story of change required Roxie to take the brave decision of sharing the challenging and potentially embarrassing aspects of her life. The over-use of prescribed medication, and losing everything through bankruptcy, are very difficult tales to share with anyone. It is particularly difficult to share them with the general public through radio, television, and social media. And yet it had to be done. It is Roxie’s raw honesty and vulnerability that entice you to listen to her story, learn from what she has achieved, and take action. This was evident from the response she has received since appearing on The Today Show.
Roxie has been overwhelmed by the emails and messages she has received from women who have felt like ‘fat old moths’, who have needed to reduce prescription medication, or who have been through something as devastating as losing everything. These women have recognised her resilience, and have shared with her their own stories of resilience and reinvention.
Make the most of the life you have
Roxie doesn’t plan to retire. She loves that she can use her life experience to help others change their lives for the better. She made the point that 50s and 60s are not old. Many people of our generation will live healthily into their 80s and 90s. This means that whatever changes you make now to enhance your life could be part of your life for many years ahead.
Roxie’s tips for making changes in your life
- Draw a line in the sand and just do it!
- Set goals, from simple to audacious. Roxie found that audacious goals worked best for her.
- Make the decision that you are going to do whatever it takes.
- Back yourself and believe in your own strength and resilience.
- Trust your intuition and knowledge.
Click here to view and read stories shared by other Silver Sages.
Chris and Susan Beesley knew very little about online business in 2005. They had a successful Accountancy and Management Consultancy practice which involved working long hours. The business was good but they had no time and no balance of work and family life. This was not how they wanted to live. They decided it was time to boost their retirement nest-egg and started researching new and better ways to do this.
Following the accepted professional advice of that time, they purchased a course about property investment. With high hopes, and in a short time, they acquired a promising international portfolio of properties. By early 2007, just before the GFC, Chris and Susan felt that their future of financial freedom and travel was well under control.
Online business advice needed
Still working long hours in their business, they noticed that some of their clients were talking about getting a website and expanding into online services. Others were asking about how to develop a retirement business online. This was beyond their area of professional expertise as business advisors! They decided that they should find out whatever they could about online business so they could offer the best possible advice to their clients.
“Things shift, and you have to shift too.”
And then the Global Financial Crisis hit the world. Their property portfolio plummeted in value almost overnight.
Opportunities often emerge from big problems. Chris and Susan’s research into online business led them to the world of online business education. The decision to follow this path has fulfilled their dreams of a retirement business and lifestyle of time freedom and travel. Their work has led to a passion for teaching and mentoring. This has become the key element of their business, particularly helping people in or approaching retirement.
Many models of online business
Whilst they have created their own products, Chris and Susan also promote other people’s products that they have used and that they believe will help their clients in building their online retirement business. This is called affiliate marketing.
Getting involved in affiliate marketing has a low-cost entry and it isn’t difficult to get started. Chris makes the point that if affiliate marketing doesn’t suit you, the skills you learn can be transferred to any other sort of online business, or to taking an offline business online.
Types of online businesses are as varied as the many models of traditional businesses. The secret is in choosing the model of business that suits your skills and preferred style of work. If it is to be your retirement business you must ensure that it is related to a niche that genuinely interests you so you can enjoy what you are doing.
Proud of ‘The Mindset Shift’
Chris and Susan wrote The Mindset Shift because they recognised that their change in circumstances had been directly attributable to their change in their thoughts. That change in their mindset enabled them to be open to learning new business skills. This book and The Mindset Shift Goal Setting Success Secrets have been updated recently and are now available free from their website. In the last year they have also contributed to the excellent book RetireInspire, with chapters by many authors describing the reasons behind their different retirement choices.
Make your lifestyle dreams come true
Age creeps up on most of us. It is so easy to procrastinate about retirement planning and say “I’ll think about that later”. The importance of financial retirement planning is widely advertised, so it is hard to ignore its importance but also very easy not to do much about it! It is quite scary to think ahead about your lifestyle, but so important to do so.
For many years Chris and Susan, who live south of London, had dreamed of visiting Sydney. When their reputation as very relatable trainers of online business concepts grew quickly they jumped at the chance to give a presentation at gatherings in different countries. In 2017 they came to Sydney to speak at a three day online business workshop, where we met up for the first time since we had become friends over a decade before. Of course, we took the ‘been there done that’ photo for posterity!
They have also diversified their business interests, with an online travel business now part of their portfolio. This not only offers additional passive income but also the opportunity to do more leisure travel cost-effectively.
Tips for creating an online business for retirement income
- Be open to new ideas.
- Learn about models of online business.
- Investigate the niches that might interest you.
- Evaluate your existing skills.
- Recognise what deeply interests you.
- Consider how you could combine your skills and interests?
Understand your purpose.
- You need to know your motivations. Just wanting to make some money may not be enough. However, if you dig deeper for your purpose you might that your level of motivation becomes must stronger. For instance, you may realise that what you really want is to create an ongoing passive income legacy for your family.
Learn about online business
- Investigate the many forms of online business education and evaluate what they offer you.
- Be selective. Be sure you find a comfortable fit with you and the business and individuals who will teach or mentor you.
- Most success in life comes after you have learned from someone who knows what they are doing. Online business is no different. Most people need a mentor or coach. Choose them wisely as that can mean the difference between success and failure.
- When you are working from home and learning new skills it can be overwhelming and lonely. It is important to be part of a learning community. There will be times that you need to ask questions or need encouragement. If you are part of a community of like-minded people you will find that support.
Geoff and Di East were enjoying a trip of a lifetime and creating photographic memories of their travels when they started to question their own busy lives at home. They loved the freedom of cruising, exploring the islands and the unique culture of Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It was during this sailing adventure that they discussed retirement options and made the big decision to leave work permanently.
As a couple they share a love of travel, adventure, and outdoor activities. But as they discussed their future retirement lifestyle it became clear that both Di and Geoff also had different interests that they wanted to explore. They decided that Di would take a year to follow her long-held dream of studying photography. During that year Geoff would continue working. His interest in writing was put on hold for a while.
A mature aged student
Despite a successful career, Di had never had the opportunity to attend University or formally develop her creative skills. She enrolled in the Diploma of Digital Imaging at Billy Blue College (Torrens University). Natural talent, enthusiasm, and perfectionism led to her doing extremely well in her photographic assignments. The course also included the creation of a business plan as a compulsory assignment. Although it seemed completely irrelevant to their retirement, Di discussed it with Geoff.
As they considered what sort of photographic business she could plan for the assignment, a wonderful idea emerged. Why not combine their skills to create a lifestyle business. Could this enhance the active retirement they wanted? A plan was hatched!
But being excited about a great idea doesn’t mean others will see it that way. Di’s initial business plan of travel photography and blogging was dismissed by her lecturer as a pipe dream… “You and everyone else who owns a camera!” She was encouraged to consider another income stream which might have more chance of success.
Creating photographic memories
And so the ideas for Photo Prose Creative were explored. Di and Geoff are very family-oriented people. They have a large extended family including nine grandchildren. Therefore they really understand the importance of making family memories. Capturing those memories in beautiful photographs was an obvious choice.
‘Where words and images unite’
They knew family photography could be a good business niche, but still wanted to combine their skills. Geoff enjoys writing, but in his corporate work the style of writing was dictated by the project in which he was involved. The idea of creating photo books, where words would enhance the photos, emerged. This was a way to combine their skills and personal interests into a unified service.
Where words and images unite became their tag line that would dictate the evolution of the business. One lovely product they offer is ‘A Day In Your Life’ which creates a charming memory of everyday life at a particular point in time. This has proven very popular for families where a partner works in another location or grandparents live far from the family.
Travel photography and stories
Despite the travel photography idea being dismissed originally, this has become a very successful and enjoyable part of their lifestyle business.
Photo Prose Travel photographs are stunning and tell a story in their own right. The impact is magnified with Geoff writing great articles to accompany the photographs.
Opportunities often come from people you know
Geoff sought the advice of a past work colleague, now involved with a very successful blog site. As so often happens with networking, this led to a great opportunity. Geoff and Di were invited to submit a blog for possible publication in the widely read Starts at 60 blog. Since then their work has been published quite regularly. The posts have been very well received and are a delight to look at and read. Topics vary widely, ranging from a safari in South Africa and exploring family history, to showcasing some great Aussie pubs. These blog posts can also be found on their Photo Prose Creative Blog page.
Most bloggers don’t get paid to write but there can be other compensations. Geoff and Di have already had the wonderful experience of some sponsored adventures.
Di has had a trip to South Africa, Geoff a luxury cruise. Both working holidays have resulted in outstanding stories posted on Startsat60. Most travel bloggers dream of achieving some sponsored travel eventually. This couple has achieved this in less than a year.
No problems with age
PhotoProseCreative is a good example of planning a business to suit not only your skills but your stage of life. Their travel blog readers tend to be of a similar age so they appreciate the age-appropriate topics and tips for travel. Similarly, when you are doing family photography it helps to be a grandparent with great child-wrangling skills and rapport.
Proud of producing outstanding photographic memories
Geoff and Di East are enjoying their retirement lifestyle business, allowing plenty of time for family, friends, travel, and all the outdoor activities they enjoy. They are proud that they create legacy products which can bring nostalgia and joy, not just to the existing family but to future generations.
Tips for starting a retirement lifestyle business
If you are considering a retirement lifestyle business, here are some wise business tips that have emerged from this interview with Geoff and Di.
Build a shared vision
- Know what you both want in your future lifestyle.
- Decide on the sort of business that will suit you and the lifestyle you want.
- Set modest goals if you don’t want much pressure in your life.
- Understand your values. Have the courage to turn down opportunities if they aren’t consistent with what you value most.
Plan your business
- Define your niche in detail.
- Adapt your niche and broaden your market if necessary.
- Look at your age and experience as advantages, and build that advantage into your business.
Evaluate your skills and your partner’s skills
- Recognise your combined skill gaps.
- Can you hire someone to fill those gaps? If not, negotiate who is going to develop new skills to fill those gaps.
Market your business
- Recognise and market your point of difference from other similar businesses.
- Develop a strong marketing plan.
- Learn about search engine optimisation if you are going to blog or manage a website.
Manage the allocation of tasks
- Remember that someone has to do the jobs that are beyond your current skills or interests. Don’t ignore them.
- Renegotiate how you will manage those tasks if things are slipping through the cracks.
Reach out to others
- Don’t forget that people you have known in the past can often be able to open doors for you in your business.
- Offer to do something for your community. Let people know who you are and what you can do.