Doing More With Less – A Lesson That Took Five Years To Learn

When I first started in the business world, like most entrepreneurs I wanted to do it all. Domain Investing is a business where you can easily convince yourself that you can do it all thanks to the incredible low price of domain names. For my first two years I really did try to do it all, I bought tons of names, built out all of them that were humanly possible by working on nights and weekends, and really tried to do the impossible.

Two years later I had made some great progress, but quickly saw that only about 10% of what I was doing really took-off, the other 90% failed. This was okay because it helped me learn what worked and what didn’t. I wouldn’t change my approach for anything in the world, but I am glad that I learned from this approach, or at least I thought I learned.

In year three I decided to focus almost entirely on domain development and thought that focus meant focusing just on development. I continued to build out domains like crazy but convinced myself I was more focused since I wasn’t putting as much focus on buying and selling.

Now five years later I look back and realized that even when I thought I was focused, I wasn’t. Running more than a handful of sites is unfocused, period. Sure, there’s the great myth of the mini-site, a magical 5-10 page site that you built and then sit and forget about while it brings in the big bucks. While mini-sites do still bring in money for my business, that money means a lot less to me now since much of what we do brings in a lot more meaningful revenue.

In 2012 I’ve learned the real meaning of focus (or at least this time I think I’ve got it right!). Focus means really doing only one or two things, not focusing on one things and doing a million things in that niche. To that end I have found a real passion for building brands, not ten brands at once but one brand at a time. I learned that focusing on building brands doesn’t mean building a bunch of brands and focusing only on that, instead it means focusing on one brand at a time.

In the end it means doing more with less. Building fewer sites, buying fewer domains, and selling fewer domains, but making far more money. Now rather than trying to sell ten or twenty domains a month I focus on selling one domain a month but make it really worthwhile. Rather than having an army of sites and brands I’m focusing on having one or two go-to brands.

Of course, this is an evolution and over the last two months I’ve evolved further and will be doing even more with less going forward. This realization came with FashionMetric, a company that Daina (my fiance) started and I have joined as a co-founder. This is not a website, this is a real company that is now getting the majority of my focus and I am loving every minute of it. We are building a real brand and taking a deep dive into an industry we both love.

In parallel with this the domain sales side of my business has taken-off like a rocket ship which has been a dream come true. I think after five years I finally understand what Domaining is really about and realized that most Domain Developers really aren’t Domainers (please don’t take any offense here) but instead are website developers and affiliate marketers.

While I love website development and affiliate marketing, my interests have migrated to building a real startup. It’s a lot harder than building a site, takes a lot longer, and has a lot more hurdles along the way. That being said it is an adventure that I am making major sacrifices for and will be making even more major sacrifices for in the very near future.

So what does this mean for my blog? This means that my blog will also become more focused as I will be discussing buying and selling domains much more when I cover Domaining topics, and I can easily see over 50% of my posts switching to FashionMetric and the journey we take building a real startup in the fashion world. For those who have come along on this adventure since 2007 you have seen my dream of building a business become a reality as I have built a strong six-figure business in the Domaining space.

Now I will be taking this skill set and, like a sponge learning more everyday as we build an exciting new company. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. Will it make a ton of money this year, who knows. What I can tell you is that I am doing more with less and I’m loving every minute of it.

What does this mean for you? Take a long hard look at your business and make sure your spending your time on the right things and staying focused. Set goals and hit them. If you miss your goals talk to an expert who can help. I have been lucky to have some incredible mentors along the way and if you don’t have a mentor, find one now, they make all the difference in the world.

It’s a lesson that took me five years to learn but I wouldn’t have it any other way. You can learn the same lesson, do more with less.

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Mike July 22, 2012, 6:33 pm

    Quote:
    “Domain Developers really aren’t Domainers (please don’t take any offense here) but instead are website developers and affiliate marketers.”

    I’m glad you said that.

    I’ve felt before the definition was being muddled on the blogs between the domainers and developers. Domainers are not developers and developers are not domainers. If you do both, you will be good at neither, also. To be Great at domaining you have to almost only do it and nothing else. Just like you say, focus!!!

    Did you ever try to be an income domainer instead of a sales domainer? That is the most overlooked opportunity in domaining.

    That’s my focus and has been since the 90’s when I used to sell traffic redirects. I sold no domains from 2001 to until 2009 since I did not need to, the PPC is what I am after. Why sell the golden goose if you don’t have to ???

    If you can cobble just 2,000 domains together that make $50 a year after reg fee, you have $100K free and clear. It’s not that hard once you know what to look for, and I don’t mean TM or expired traffic domains. I don’t buy those.

    ……or 1,000 domains at $100 a year …… or 200 domains at $500 a year……etc…… however you can put it together. Rinse and repeat on the next 100K. It stacks up after time and domain sales are not necessary.

    Reply
  • Leonard Britt July 22, 2012, 6:34 pm

    Yes, your posts have made for interesting reading. I look forward to learning about brand building in the future.

    Reply
  • Adrian Keys July 22, 2012, 7:37 pm

    Actually Morgan, FashionMetric has a nice ring to it. All the best with the new project. With so many gTLDs coming it’s great to see you totally block the noise.

    @Mike…very interesting but with ppc virtually dead, is that still a strategy today?

    Reply
  • Troy July 22, 2012, 7:49 pm

    Sometime I would love to hear what website of yours are making money and about how much they are making. I see sites like Kayaking.org and think it looks great, but I am having a hard time seeing where real money is coming from. What site is your most successful Morgan? What type of money are you talking about?

    I guess I am saying I would love to hear a little bit more compartmentalization on the numbers you throw out. In no way am I questioning your honesty, just saying that throwing out the term “Six Figures” means nothing to people that have no understanding of where that money is coming from.

    Some questions I am certain your readers would love to hear the answers to:

    1. A few weeks ago you claimed to have a huge ad deal (your $40,000 week). What site was the ad deal for? about how much was the value (no details is fine).

    2. What sites of yours are most successful financially? What dollar number do you consider “success”?

    3. What sites take the most time?

    4. Besides MorganLinton.com, Kayaking.org, and FashionMetric.com what would you say are you 5 biggest “brands”?

    5. What websites, if you were able to go back 2 years in the past, would you now choose to have not built? ie they have not been financially successful.

    I look forward to reading about FashionMetric.com in the future, but I would also LOVE to gets some answers to the question above as well.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  • Michael July 22, 2012, 9:39 pm

    Wouldn’t mind hearing those answers as well. …. good, honest questions.

    Mike’s post is interesting as well.

    Reply
  • Mark July 23, 2012, 1:17 pm

    Ahhhh…”focus”, the “F” word! But, I have learned that focus is a relative term. There are degrees of focus and it is deceptively simple to bs your way into thinking you are indeed, focused. I have been working with domains, branding, site building and just about everything else related since 1998. Along the way I had as many as 7500 domains and as few as 1000 or so. I have even sold groups of domains as large as 1500 in one fell swoop. As time as progressed, I have learned that I can’t do everything, nor can I get all of it done with a fairly decent sized staff at one time (pre- economic downturn). I have learned the hard way that I work best with a small group of internal, talented people and that the projects we choose to undertake are much more rewarding utilizing that methodology. Thanks for sharing your insight:-)

    Reply
  • Taylor July 23, 2012, 5:10 pm

    Great questions, Troy. Very interested, Morgan!

    Reply
  • SE July 23, 2012, 9:30 pm

    @Mike

    I would love to learn how to become a successful “Income Domainer” – any chance of picking part of your brain and experience on this?

    Reply
  • iain taylor July 24, 2012, 2:30 am

    As ever Morgan great post. This is exactly where I am at. I have recently chosen the projects that will benefit from attention. It somehow frees the mind from jumping from domain to domain minute by minute.

    Key goals for next three months:
    – drop 50% of portfolio
    – reduce number of sites managed by 50%
    – pick two brands to build out fully

    Picking the brands to work on: this I am deciding which I feel positive energy towards as opposed to the one that shows most statistical potential. I do this tomake sure enjoyment is at the core of my work. With enjoyment as the core context you. Will perform better day to day.

    FashionMetric is brilliant I’ll be watching and learning as you build the business.
    Speak soon – Iain

    Reply
  • brian August 2, 2012, 2:35 pm

    nicely said. i am working on reducing the number of names i own. i want to bring it down from 3000+ to around 1000. looking to sell around 2000+ names.

    @mark u sold 1500 names in one swoop. any ideas how do i proceed selling 2000+ names ideally in one swoop 🙂

    Reply
  • mark August 2, 2012, 3:41 pm

    @brian to answer your question about selling 1500 in one swoop i actually acquired these particular domains with the end game in mind of selling. in my particular case, my phone rang and my office one day and it turned out to be the eventual buyer. not too much in the negotiating really. they were nice and had the money and i was not overly greedy.

    now, that being said, i have had terrible success with the majority of my other domains. like everyone here, lots of tire kickers and dreamers with no money and the economy since 2008 really seemed to bring them out of the woodwork for me.

    if you have a broad spectrum of domains the internet format is great for getting the word out. but this you already know right? if in one n iche however, i would approad potential buyers. if multiple niches, i would break them into their best niche and try and segment the potential buyers.

    best of luck to you brian

    Reply

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