Entrepreneur: Alexis Grant
Biz: They Got Acquired
Tilt: Guidance for entrepreneurs interested in selling their $100K to $50M businesses
Other Channels: Twitter (2.3K)
Time to First Dollar: Secured a newsletter and podcast sponsorships before launch by reaching out to potential advertisers.
Rev Streams: Sponsorships, grant, reports, fees from advisors and brokers
Our Favorite Actionable Advice:
- Create a valuable, not necessarily big, audience: Though They Got Acquired’s subscriber list has only 5.5K subscribers, it’s valuable to sponsors and advertisers because the readers and listeners are entrepreneurs who plan to sell their businesses in the next few years.
- Stick to the core: Alexis says she gets the itch to add Instagram to the mix, but she resists it because a year into the business, she must stay focused where she started.
- Find an audience that spends: As you shape your content tilt, target an audience you can help – and who can pay for the content you produce or the advertisers and sponsors who promote their business.
The Story of Alexis Grant
Long before she launched They Got Acquired, Alexis Grant saw a hole in the market for content that entrepreneurs like her needed. As she built and sold a company, she found resources online about selling massive businesses but not smaller ventures like hers in the six to low eight figures.
About a year ago, They Got Acquired launched with a content tilt to fill that need – featuring stories of entrepreneurs who sold their companies for between $100K and $50M and providing insights to help business owners map their exits.#AlexisGrant founded @TheyGotAcquired to feature stories of entrepreneurs who sold their companies ($100K to $50M) and help other owners map their exits. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet
Alexis already sees the results she hoped for in creating They Got Acquired. “I love starting something from scratch,” Alexis says. “And, on a more meaningful note, one of my personal missions is to help women have more money in the world so that we can be making the decisions that affect us … I can tactically see the difference that [They Got Acquired] is making to achieve that goal.”
Small but mighty
A journalist by training, Alexis says she’s no expert in mergers and acquisitions other than her firsthand experience as a two-time founder and seller. In 2015, she sold her five-year-old blog management company to The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website. In 2021, she sold the 10-year-old website for writers, The Write Life.
Alexis says she’s a lot like her target audience, and that’s helped her content resonate. She speaks their language and understands their needs. “A lot of founders are happy to talk to me because I can explain it in layman’s terms,” she says. “And if they need something that’s much more specific, I can send them to the right adviser.”
They Got Acquired’s primary content is a newsletter. She uses it to push people to the blog and podcast for more in-depth information. The business also generates a library of reports with data and insights about the sale of companies in multiple sectors.
They Got Acquired’s revenue streams are many, too, and a work in progress. “Candidly,” Alexis admits, “we’re only a year in, and I’m still figuring out what they’re going to look like and what the best ones are.”@TheyGotAcquired is a year old and still figuring out the best revenue streams, says #AlexisGrant. #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet
The business earns revenue from the sale of its more in-depth reports. It also recommends advisers and brokers, who pay a small commission to They Got Acquired if they negotiate a business sale. Alexis also is readying mergers-and-acquisitions coaching and a course.
Though Alexis wasn’t all that interested in sponsorships when launching They Got Acquired, that revenue stream has taken off. Brands and businesses sponsor newsletters, the podcast, and reports. “I went into this business thinking, ‘I’m not really interested in that,” she says. “I hate being on the treadmill of sponsorships.”
But, sponsors are interested in They Got Acquired because even though her subscriber list is only 5.5K, it’s targeted and engaged. Many are founders with plans to sell their businesses in the next couple of years. “We’ve managed to partner with a number of service providers that will earn a good dollar if they get just one client from us,” Alexis says.
They Got Acquired also raised money through a source other entrepreneurs may not consider – a grant. Last year, Alexis won a one-year, $80,000 fellowship from The Garage, Northwestern University’s journalism school and business incubator. The program is earmarked for founders in media from underrepresented groups, particularly women and people of color. (Alexis earned her master’s degree from Northwestern, but being an alumna wasn’t required.)
“I never would have thought of that before. It was my first time doing that,” she says. “And it’s been fantastic.”
Advice for content entrepreneurs
Keep it simple
Sometimes she’ll get an itch to add Instagram to her mix, particularly because she wants to reach female founders. But, she says, it’s not the right use of her time. She needs to stay focused on the platforms she’s doing now. “Don’t try to be everywhere,” she says.
Think about the business side of the audience
Look for audiences that you can help and who can pay for whatever you put out. “A lot of people overlook that,” Alexis says. “Or they don’t want to acknowledge the reality of that because it’s very capitalistic. But, if you want a business to work, you’ve got to be thinking about that.”Build a #ContentBusiness with an audience that you can help and can pay for what you create, says Alexis Grant of @TheyGotAcquired. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet
For example, The Penny Hoarder’s audience consumes the content because they want to make and save money. “It is possible to make a great business from a frugal audience … but it’s infinitely harder,” Alexis says.
Don’t expect magic
No silver bullet exists to grow an audience. After she launched They Got Acquired, Alexis admits she kept seeking the magical way to build her audience and felt like a failure because she hadn’t found it. Then, a coach gave her some words of wisdom that stuck: “‘All the things you’re doing – like all the hustling to grow the audience – that is it.
“There’s not one single bullet that’s going to work. You’ve got to just keep doing the things you’re doing, and it will keep growing … Let all the things work their magic over time.”
Alexis Grant, one of the 2023 Unsung Content Entrepreneurs and a Content Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, took to the main stage at Creator Economy Expo to tell more of They Got Acquired’s story. Purchase a digital pass today to watch her and the dozens of other content entrepreneurs in the on-demand recordings.
About the author
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall is a longtime journalist, freelance writer, and founding editor of two popular parenting websites in North Carolina. She frequently writes about parenting, aging, education, business management, and interesting people doing remarkable things.