As the owner of a public relations (PR) agency, Christina Nicholson wished for a media pitch list specific to podcasts.
She had clients who wanted to appear on podcasts, but it was time-consuming to find the best ones to recommend. She even asked another PR database company if they might add podcasts.
“They never did, so I hired some people a lot smarter than me to build my vision,” she explained in a Twitter thread.
Last week, I sold my business. Here’s how it went down…
In 2020, I launched software to help publicists build a podcast pitch list called Podcast Clout.
I did this after asking another popular PR software to add podcasts to their database for three years.
(a thread 🧵)
— Christina Nicholson (@ChristinaAllDay) March 6, 2023
With a tech company’s help, Nicholson created a SaaS product in 2020 to make her agency’s job easier. She called it Podcast Clout, a database that helps people find popular podcasts to appear on as guests.
“It was something that really I created to help me and my team – and something that I always wanted. I never really wanted to be a software founder. I just saw this gap and this need for it,” she said in an interview with They Got Acquired.
Nicholson found a tech company through her network to build the database. However, she said the database they developed was cumbersome, so she eventually hired another company to rebuild it.
“That’s what took it to the next level, because they made it more modern,’’ she said. “They made it mobile-friendly. And so it was just wild how that happened through a mistake that the original people that I met made.”
Why Nicholson decided to sell Podcast Clout
Nicholson, a former TV reporter and anchor, credits much of Podcast Clout’s success to her network and building it through word-of-mouth. Nicholson relied on others to bring her vision to life.
“I don’t know anything about tech or software, so I hired people who were smarter than me to bring my vision to life,” she said. “I also joined two different masterminds and coaching programs to learn more about how to properly build and sell in the SaaS industry.
She grew the business by sharing Podcast Clout in PR Facebook groups and appeared as a guest on podcasts. She used a lead magnet to generate sales and introduce people to the software. She also offered a free trial, which saved her the time of giving demos.
But a few years after starting Podcast Clout, Nicholson decided it was time to sell it.
“My heart wasn’t in creating and scaling and selling software,” she said. For the last year, she wasn’t doing anything to grow the company, but still had 225 paying customers over the company’s lifetime, plus 1,200 customers who used a trial account. The price was $474 for 6 months, or $799 for 12. When revenue dipped slightly, Nicholson decided to sell rather than let the company falter.
While reading They Got Acquired to learn more about how to sell a company, she saw a mention in our newsletter about our SaaS Deals Report, alongside one of our brokerage partners, Quiet Light. She worked through the firm with advisor Walker Deibel, who walked her through the sale process and helped her find buyers.
Nicholson said she received four offers. The first nearly resulted in a deal but was rescinded. She said that was challenging: “Getting so close to the finish line, to have someone back out after 99% of the due diligence portion was finished. Then, you feel like you’re starting over again.”
She eventually sold the company for a low-6 figure sum to two individuals, Chris Heidger and Janis Butkevics. Nicholson said they plan to build the company and then sell it in a few years. The sale price was 3x annual revenue, she said.
She negotiated a 10% ownership stake in the company, which should allow her to benefit from future growth. She advises the new owners but otherwise focuses on her PR company, Media Maven, based in Wellington, Florida.
“I’m so excited to see what they do with it,” she said, “because again, my heart’s not in it, but theirs is.”
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