How Erica Douglass Sold Her Hosting Business For $1.1 Million

By Yaro Starak
44 Comments

erica-douglassErica Douglass came on my radar years ago when I first heard word of her million dollar story and that she was blogging about online business. We meant to connect but only finally had a chance to do this interview for you now.

Erica went on a pretty wild ride with a web hosting company she started from scratch herself, that almost went bust and just months later was sold for $1.1 million dollars. This is one story that is definitely a roller coaster ride, but as with all success stories there is a lot you can take away from both the good points and the bad points.

Web hosting is an extremely cut-throat business. It’s interesting to learn that Erica’s business eventually profited not by targeting the small hosting accounts but by renting server space to larger companies. In the end good customer service and relationships made the difference.

If you’re interested in running a web services company, this is definitely a podcast interview worth listening. You can learn more about Erica at her Erica.biz blog.

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44 Comments

  • Yaro.. this is a great interview. I agree that just writing great content won’t make people visit your site. The blog needs to be promoted.

    Although I’m not too big on SEO, I know how important it is to get steady streams of traffic.. SO far, I’ve been using other methods to grow my blog traffic.

    Thanks for sharing this – great stuff..

    Hector

  • Good work Erica, Although hosting business is really competitive these days, you would be an expert to make money. Million dollar in few months is awesome.

    • Just to clarify, I ran my web hosting business for 6 years before I sold it!

      Thanks for posting this, Yaro. :)

      -Erica

    • Erica went on a pretty wild ride with a web hosting company she started from scratch herself, that almost went bust and just months later was sold for $1.1 million dollars.

      So the hosting company was sold because it nearly went bust, so it was not a successful site.

  • Hey Yaro, Erica,

    I used to moan about the lack of quality podcasts out there, and refused to listen to anything except mixergy! You’ve changed that – these podcasts are golden! (Pat Flynn is also doing good job with his)

    It’s always good to hear about the lows as well as the highs, as it helps to change your mindset when you’re in a similar situation.

    Erica – all the best in hitting your $10K / month from writing goal. I dont doubt you’ll do it.

    Justin

    • Thanks, Justin! I hit it in June. Now the trick is to earn 5 figures a month consistently.

      -Erica

      • Thanks for clarification Erica, I was really surprised to have an impression that it was only few months.

        Hopefully you will learn 5 figures monthly trick too..

  • Jon

    Very interesting interview… inspirational and can related with so much of it!

    Jon @ 3DMarvels.com

  • she had real success.. n also impressed with her knowledge, web designing , developing and then hosting.. good impressive profile.. and i also agree she had a tuff time for setting up the business.. but patience always lead to good results..

  • Thanks for the interview with Erica Yaro, I’ve been following her for some months.

    I would never want to run a hosting services business today, especially as the hosting industry (B2B) is undergoing a radical shift towards Cloud Computing that will surely leave some blood on the floor.

    Top notch content as always, thank you!

  • Really good interview Erica and thanks for sharing your struggles along with your successes!

    If there’s one key point here that everyone should take note in when thinking about starting an online business, it’s perseverance.

    The path (or journey) you take is not always straight, but it’s perseverance that will see you through to the end.

    Best of luck to your future journeys Erica and thanks Yaro for another great interview. Well done!

  • i have heard of Erica before
    that’s very useful, thank u:)

  • I haven’t listened to this interview yet, Yaro, but I wanted to say thanks and great job for all the interviews you’ve done to this point. You’ve set the bar high and I’m sure this one won’t disappoint.

    I listen to them in the car and each time I get some new piece of information or advice. To say they have helped me is a huge understatement.

    Please, keep up the great work!

  • I’m not get idea to develop web hosting services before, until I heard this interview, thanks erica and yaro

  • Erica is a savvy and intelligent businesswoman as I learned from her story and a great and friendly person as I learned from hanging out with her in real life. She’s generous with her ideas on her blog and I look forward to learning more from this interview!

  • Erica – Great story! It’s always good to see those who are able to persevere through tough times and have something good to say in the end. It’s also very motivating as well to all of us who are striving for success, too.

  • I recently followed Erica. There are many hosting companies in my part of the world, however, I think I’ll share this interview with them to learn the tricks of the trade.

  • yaro and Erica, thanks for a great podcast, the information was great to listen to and again kept me productive while I walked at lunch today. Great information. Erica, I just wonder what if feels like to be a wokring person one minute then a millionaire the next?

  • Amazing Interview. I am always motivated to hear from successful people. No matter how you define success. :)

  • Very inspiring story, its great to hear stories of success like these. I am sure this isn’t typical and you had to put a ton of work in to turn your hosting business into such a success.

  • I think the message is simple, don’t give up no matter what, until you are ready to get out. Man, I hear about people with CD and they don’t know it, then when they are properly diagnosed they feel so much better. You know wheat and such is not the only bad thing about Americas diet. There is so much wrong with it. So much. Which is why we have an obesity problem in America.
    Anyway I tangent…great podcast Eric and Yaro, thanks again.

  • That was very good interview. Thanks for posting it Yaro, and congratulations to you for your success, Erica. :)

  • Congratulations… very inspiring story, Erica keep on track! :D

  • Hi Yaro This is not a comment but i wanna tell you that your blog’s search function is not working properly . Please recode it.

  • Erica you’re not the only one that still builds their own computer, I still do myself, and I have plenty of friends who do :D Oh and yeah I am still using Windows XP myself except that I am on a pretty high end computer but just prefer Windows XP over anything else. So you are amongst a great crowd! :D Really impressive though of where you first came from and where you got in the end. Loved the interview Erica! :D

    Till then,

    Jean

  • [...] How Erica Douglass Sold Her Hosting Business For $1.1 Million – Entrepreneurs Journey [...]

  • Very inspiring interview! It helps so much listening these success stories!

    Keep up the excellent work Yaro & Erica!

    Dimitri,
    Businessing-Online.com

  • Erica You are Amazing at your work. Keep Going.
    I came to know you by Yaro’s Blog.
    Yaro is Wonderful Blogger.
    Love You Yaro

  • Yaro, thanks for the great interview. This one with Erica has broaden my knowledge about what it takes for one to succeed. As a homemaker, starting to build a blog site of my own, your inputs is really a great help. I am gaining more confidence that I can also be able to reach my goals in the internet world. Thanks again a million times!

  • What is refreshing about Erica’s story is that rather than being a pure success story, she had ups and downs (as you say, she nearly went bust) before success truly kicked in.

  • Although hosting business is really competitive these days, you would be an expert to make money. Million dollar in few months is awesome.Good work Erica,

    Thanks for this post..

  • Congratulations Erica!. Thank you for the great interview. Keep up the great work. Erica, you should succeed with that income and more. Good luck in your next adventures.

  • I have known of an couple people start hosting business, and its not for the person who’s looking to get rich fast…it’s even slower than doing seo work…it takes time to build it up..

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • Hi Yaro,

    Congratz on a major success Erica. Great interview as these are the type of success stories that really keep me motivated when things aren’t going to well. Plus it shows us that even those of us who have our downs and also have our ups too. Great story and best wishes

    Sean Matthews

  • My initial thought while listening to this podcast interview was the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He mentions the critical importance of putting in 10,000 hours of practice in the industry/trade you are interested, which will afford you a much higher chance of success. Erica seems to have put in close to if not more that that amount of hours, learning and refining her coding, web design and hosting skills. Hence, her success is not such a shock, even though it is impressive nonetheless.

    I wonder how she finds writing her blog compared to running her former hosting company. Does she miss the hubbub surrounding running a business or prefer the simplicity of writing a post a week on her blog?

    Another well done interview Yaro. Thanks.

    Andrew

  • This is a great interview. I got inspired for what Erica achieved in 5 years! That is still a fairly short time to build up what she did. I also agree with some of the commentors said here about perseverance. Too many business people don’t put in enough time and effort to truly make their enterprise work. That is also true with internet marketers. The “secret sauce” to success online is to persevere and be focused.

  • Awsome work Erica!. and thanks for the great interview Yaro. It’s always inspiring to see someone overcome personal or business struggles and make it!! It keeps reminding me to stick at it! Best of luck with your new endeavours

  • The other day i was reading about top 20 woman entrepreneurs on some other blog. These kind of stories are very inspirational indeed.

  • Yaro,
    Thanks for interviewing non “guru” entrepreneurs and allowing them us non “gurus” to “share the wealth” so to speak.

    Erica, I applaud you for your courage and determination to see it through. YOU ROCK! Much success in your business endeavors. :-)

    -George

  • Great interview. Thanks Yaro, and thanks to Erica for being so inspiring and upfront with your responses.

    Web hosting is a commodity business so it’s important to be different, and it sounds like from the beginning you were zigging while others were zagging.

    Thanks
    Aaron

  • Nice interview. The competition in the web hosting business is very tight, and they need to get creative to get new customers everyday.

    I hope she’ll achieve more success in the future.

  • [...] Since the interview with Yaro was such a turning point for Pat, and after listening to Pat talk about how much traffic he got, I just knew I had to get an interview with Yaro. I emailed Yaro and got shoved aside. I emailed again. Somehow our wires got crossed on the time that the interview was supposed to be (darn time zones!) and we couldn’t do the interview. I emailed Yaro again. Finally we connected, and as promised, Yaro ran the interview with me a short while later. [...]

  • Great story, hope to hear of more successes like this one!

  • [...] Listned to an interview with Erica of Erica.biz yesterday and she said that cPanel is a pain in the butt for the hosting company as it [...]

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