Beside my two startups I invest 99% of my time in, I have several side projects I started just for fun. Trying out new programming languages, those kind of things.
One of these side projects is a community (basically just a phpBB installation) geared towards a VERY specific niche, a specific type of equipment underground music producers use.
The website is mostly self-managing (we have some volunteering moderators) and I only check in every month or so to see if everything is still running smoothly.
The website has been running for a few years now and it's a really tight and friendly community. They love the site so much some members proposed to donate money to cover the hosting. (I turned it down, because in all fairness the webhosting costs are minimal.) The site has about 20k visits/100k views a month. No revenue, since we don't have any ads or user subscriptions.
I see tons of possibilities to improve the site and turn it into a business. Not because the traffic is that impressive, but because the target group is so specific and we could provide them with other related services they might want to pay for.
However, I really don't want to divide my time by 3 startups so I guess my question is if there's a way to leverage the potential without putting in a lot of time in it myself.
Perhaps I could try selling it to the manufacturer of the equipment (they already sponsored us once) or am I better of finding someone that can develop it for me? (in exchange for shares or money).
I have thought of just putting advertisements on it, because it's such a specific niche. This way I could develop the site based on its revenue, but the community seems very adversed to this idea. They are bit 'anti-commercial' if that makes sense. The advertisements would have to be highly targeted which again means I have to curate them which I currently don't have the time for.
Any ideas on this?