After a decade of building and selling SEO and affiliate marketing websites, Travis Campbell was ready to try something new.

Inspired by the growing popularity of electric bikes during pandemic lockdowns in mid-2020, Campbell launched an e-commerce business, Energy eBikes.

“It gave me the perfect excuse to educate myself on drop-shipping, which is something that looked very lucrative to me,” Campbell said.

In drop-shipping, a business doesn’t hold any inventory; instead, it buys only the stock it needs to fulfill orders as customers place them. Drop-shipping businesses typically purchase inventory from wholesalers or directly from manufacturers, then have it shipped directly to customers.

Within a year, Campbell’s site had more than $1 million in revenue, said Campbell. By August 2021 — just a year after he launched the bootstrapped business — Campbell sold Energy eBikes for mid-6 figures.

Energy eBikes: A solo venture from launch to sale

The business was a strategic one from the beginning, Campbell said. “I specifically built [Energy eBikes] to get acquired so I can put money into another business,” he said.

To lay the groundwork for an eventual sale, Campbell built the business with a handoff in mind. “I made sure to make things as automated [as] possible and had good systems in place so it’s easy for someone new to come in and run,” he said.

Since the site sold only high-priced e-bikes, Campbell’s revenue increased quickly. “The average order was over $1,000. This gave us a healthy profit margin on each sale,” he said.

After about a year, the solo founder was ready to sell the business. Campbell listed Energy eBikes on Empire Flippers, a startup marketplace he had used to sell previous websites. Within 24 hours, he had a deal.

“It was an easy experience,” Campbell said. “It sold for list price the same day the listing went live, which was a record for me.”

Campbell has since purchased Prime Sound, a site that offers musical instrument reviews and online music lessons. “I plan on growing [Prime Sound] as much as I can and possibly selling it in the future,” he said.