You’ve worked hard for years to build up a respectable WordPress hosting company and now you are thinking about settling down into a life of retirement.
What do you do?
Unlike if you were a salaried employee at a large company, you can’t simply accept your retirement package and move on with your life. You have clients that still need services and a potentially valuable asset that you don’t want to just throw away.
Below I’ve outlined 4 main paths you can choose. All of them will get you to a point where you are no longer involved with the company, with varying pros and cons. Which one you choose will depend on how motivated you are, how much you care about your clients, and your personal financial goals.
Here are your options.
1. Simply tell your clients you’re shutting down, close your doors, and walk away
Sadly, this is probably the most common option website hosting owners choose. Perhaps because it’s the easiest and lowest-effort.
You just tell people you’re not going to do it anymore and shut everything down.
Obviously, the main advantage is that it requires almost no effort at all and can be quite fast. You just shut down and walk away.
In the real world, it’s going to be more complicated than that. Your clients will need time to make other arrangements, so you’ll still need to give them advance notice and then answer any questions they might have. Typically you’re going to have to provide them and their new provider with some credentials so they can get access to their website files and possibly domains.
Even so, you are likely to leave behind a bit of destruction and chaos. You’ll want to be careful that you don’t find yourself in a legally-liable position. Your clients likely didn’t agree that you could just delete all of their data without warning, for instance.
If warning is minimal, your clients may also be quite frustrated. You may be pretty resilient, but you’ve probably worked with your clients for years, and having them turn on you may not be the relaxing welcome to retirement you were expecting.
Most who choose this option likely have not been putting any effort into their hosting business for years, and more than likely their clients won’t be all that surprised.
Finally, keep in mind that those who choose this option are likely throwing away a very valuable asset.
2. Find someone to take the reigns
If you happen to have a trusted friend or family member that’s able and willing to make an entrance in the industry with a huge head-start, this can actually be a great option.
You’ve worked hard on your business and this can be a great way to ensure that it continues on your terms. Someone you trust may be able to provide that to you.
It may take some time to get the new director up-to-speed, so this is likely going to be a slow transition as they learn the ropes. But assuming they are qualified and interested, it could be quite rewarding.
Plus, they will be quite pleased that they don’t have to start from the ground-up and may be quite thankful.
As long as you do a good job teaching them and they do a good job after that, your legacy will be secured.
This would be a great option if you have someone in mind and you’re all ready for retirement. If you can’t think of anyone, you may have to figure something else out.
3. Gift your business and clients to an established provider
If you’re like me, you are probably fairly well-connected in the industry and know quite a few others who do what you do. It’s quite likely that some or all of them are looking to grow their business and they may be quite interested in taking on your clients.
If you want to exit the industry without too much fuss but you still want to make sure your clients are taking care of, simply gifting your clients to an established hosting provider that you know can be a great option.
They will require little to no effort to get them up-to-speed since they already do what you do, and since no money will be changing hands, you don’t have to worry about contracts, agreements, and other complicated paperwork.
This may be the easiest and most stress-free option. And as long as you’ve picked the right provider, your clients will be happy, too.
4. Sell your business and/or clients
If you’ve built and maintained a valuable business you’re proud of and are looking to be compensated for all your hard work, this is the way to go.
If you go this route, you’ll be directly compensated for all of the great things you did in your business. You’ve maybe already been doing many of the things that can maximize the sale price of your hosting company.
This could lead to one large payout that can ease your transition into retirement.
You business might even be worth more than you think.
One thing you may not have considered is that a buyer that’s willing to pay for your clients is also very likely to take good care of them. They know the value of those clients and also what it will take to service them. If you want to please your clients, this is the best option.
The main downsides are that it can be a bit of work both to find the right buyer as well as making sure contracts are in order and that everything else is in place for a smooth transition. Additionally, the buyer will likely want to spend a bit of time vetting your company and your clients to make sure it would be a good investment for them.
In the end, it’s generally going to be the best option for you since it will compensate you fairly for what you have while ensuring your clients will be taken care of.
You get rewarded and they don’t have to lift a finger, as a qualified buyer will take care of everything for them.
We actually have purchased a couple small WordPress hosting providers totaling more than 100 hosted domains and have had a great experience with that. We’re also looking to expand and would be interested in speaking with anyone who is considering retirement or selling their business or clients.
In the end, there are a handful of options you can take on your path to retirement. No two businesses are the same, and your exact process for retiring may look very different than that of someone else.
While some of these options I would recommend more than others, it’s important that you proceed in the way that makes most sense for you.
I hope you’ve found this helpful and that you’ll have a smooth transition into retirement.
Congratulations on all of your success.