Christina Scalera was living the dream. She got a job as an in-house trademark attorney right out of law school, something she thought would take five to 10 years to achieve.
“That was always my dream job,” she said. “I just never thought it would happen that fast.”
But then she had an unexpected reaction to her speedy success.
“I had this moment of, holy crap, I’m just going to wake up every day for the next 50 years of my life and put makeup on and go through traffic,” she said. “It was like this big heavy dark blanket had just landed on my head.”
In her search for an alternative path, Scalera started teaching yoga and blogging. She didn’t get much traction until, at a meetup for women in business in Atlanta, she mentioned that she was a lawyer.
“All of a sudden I went from being no one to everyone turning to me and they all have questions,” she said. She started blogging about common legal questions for creatives and freelancers, and her blog’s pageviews more than quadrupled. Soon after that, she created a contract template for a photographer friend, and the friend suggested she sell it.
In 2015, The Contract Shop was born, selling legal templates, like contracts, to online entrepreneurs, coaches and creative professionals.
A webinar for the Rising Tide Society (now owned by HoneyBook) gave Scalera an opportunity to kickstart sales. “I did the world’s worst pitch of a website I had put together that afternoon,” Scalera said. “I didn’t have any products other than the prototype I had created for my friend.” She put together some product listings and figured she might get one or two sales—instead, she made over 100 sales. “I had a very busy two weeks,” she said.
In 2018, thanks in part to adding new products to her shop related to a new European privacy law, Scalera had her first 6-figure month. By 2019, she had wrapped up her law practice and was focusing full time on The Contract Shop. She continued to grow the business, most notably by building an affiliate network that ended up accounting for one-third of their sales, and eventually had four contractors working for her.
Curiosity leads to an acquisition of The Contract Shop
Scalera launched a content and coaching brand in 2020 to diversify her income, and in the fall of 2022, while brainstorming YouTube content ideas, she decided to reach out to a broker and see what she could get for The Contract Shop.
“I wanted to do the things that a lot of my audience is scared to do, like reach out to a broker and find out about selling my business,” she said.
Scalera said she had also become more excited about her content and coaching business.
Plus, the timing was right to think about a sale, because she had recently gotten married and was thinking about building up a cash reservoir to take some time off.
She reached out to Empire Flippers, a marketplace for selling online businesses, and after a little back and forth, they gave her a valuation for her business that far exceeded her expectations. “It felt fake,” she said.
It took about a month to find the right buyer, and she said the most challenging part of the sale was “the emotional rollercoaster of whether to accept an offer. I had three offers total, and two really good ones that both came in within a day of each other. They were very different buyers and offers, but ultimately one was just the standout offer because it was at asking, all cash, with no contingencies.”
That offer came from an individual who had worked in e-commerce before and had the experience to grow the business, she said.
The company, SageFoss, run by Kevin Gallagher, closed on the deal with Scalara in November 2022. Scalera didn’t disclose the selling price, but said 2021 annual revenue was over $500,000 and the business sold for 43x monthly revenue (which works out to 3.6x annual revenue), which would put the deal in the low-7 figures.
Having worked for so many years with people who’ve put in a lot of effort to build personal brands, Scalera said she wants other solopreneurs to know that selling a business like this is an option.
“I have seen so many women close their businesses down lately,” she said. “It breaks my heart now to see that, knowing what’s possible. I just wish more people, especially women, knew that there was an alternative option.”
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