It’s been the motto of Linton Investments for some time now, “Stop Collecting. Start Investing.” I came-up with this after I found myself with a collection of domain names in 2008 and very few solid investments. What I had discovered is that continually buying domains didn’t make sense without a solid game-plan. This is the path that many new Domainer Investors make…and to be honest with you, they are never really investing, instead they are gambling.
Domain Shane did an excellent post today that I think is an absolute must-read. He touches on some really good points, about people only sharing their successes and how many of them (and unfortunately some of you reading this) are really just gambling with their money rather than investing. I think a lot of these dreams come from books, blog posts, videos, etc. by people talking about how easy it is to make money with domain names.
Sorry to burst your bubble everyone but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…there is nothing easy about making money with domain names. Domaining is definitely not a no-risk, no worry method of making a living online. You can’t take a $9 domain name and flip it for a 10x profit quickly and easily on a regular basis. The people that make money in this industry work hard and it absolutely takes more than a few hours a week to build a successful business.
The problem is that there are so many resources out there making it look like Domaining is easy. My book is one of the few that I’ve seen which says plain and simply – Domaining is not an easy way to make money, it takes a lot of time and energy. I’ve received a ton of positive feedback from readers saying that my book is completely different from most of what they’ve read about Domaining, sobering and realistic rather than selling a false dream. The first part of my book talks about all of my failures and what I learned from them – I think you have to fail big to learn big, or at least learn from someone that failed and wasn’t afraid to admit it!
In Shane’s post he says something that I see every day as well:
So how do I know that most people are lottery players? I get the lists sent to me every day. Names that are horrible. Lists several pages long with every tld known to man. Typos. Words people never use. Words in an order usually not spoken in the English language. All sent by people that honestly believe they have a winner in their somewhere.
I also get these lists, and I can relate to them. When I started in Domaining I did the exact same thing…however I continued to run my domains by friends of mine who made a full-time living off of domain names and they were not shy in telling me, “Your names suck.” I’m a persistent guy but I like being persistent and moving in the right direction. Now I see lists everyday and as politely as I can I respond to emails from readers saying, honestly – you should drop all of these and invest the money you would have spent on renewals into one or two good names.
Let’s face it. If you’ve been Domaining for three, four, or five years, and you aren’t actually making money…you’re really not investing in domain names. Remember, an investment is something that pays you. Having equity in a swamp doesn’t make you an investor, having equity in a house in Beverly Hills that pays you $2,000 a month, is. See the difference?
Now there are two paths you can take in the Domaining world and I don’t think it’s easy to do both at the same time. What has always attracted me to domain names is passive income. I like building brands that make money every single month whether I’m working on them or not. In the beginning I spent every bit of free time I had building these brands, as they started generating revenue I began hiring people to manage them so I could focus on working on my business rather than in my business.
Over the last year I’ve been enjoying learning the ropes of buying and selling domains however as I said last year – I suck at selling domains. If you’ve ever emailed me a question about selling domains you’ve probably received the following from me, “I’m not an expert at selling domains so you really shouldn’t take my advice.” Ask anyone who makes money selling domains and they’ll probably tell you they’re no expert at building brands. You need to pick a model that works for you and then stick with it.
Here’s what has always amazed me about Domaining. People will buy 100 domain names, not be able to sell any of them, and then renew them and continue buying names. They just keep telling themselves they are making an investment and eventually one will sell for big bucks and it will be all worth it…doesn’t this sound a bit like the lottery to you? I think Shane nailed this one – it really is the same thing. You buy a lottery ticket every day and tell yourself, some day if I win this will have all been worth it…in many cases the lottery is a better deal because you don’t have to pay to renew your losing ticket every year!
So for everyone out that that wants to make money with domain names, I’m happy to say you can do it…but it’s not always easy, and like most things, it takes time. I find most people in the industry are attracted to flipping, if that’s your thing, do it and do it well, but pick a path and stick to it. I made a goal when I started in this industry to make enough money to cover our condo, car, groceries, weekends, etc. I have reached that goal and it was damn hard to do…but I did it and because my focus has been on building brands that money comes in whether I’m spending ten hours a day or zero hours a day. This year I set a new goal – make six-figures in this industry, and I’m on track to exceed my goal.
Set a goal and stick to it, but don’t stick with a losing model. Don’t keep buying domains that you can’t sell or aren’t able to successfully monetize. Don’t take advice from people that aren’t doing it themselves, like I said earlier, I’m not your guy for advice on selling domains – Toby Clements, Andrew Rosner, Michael Berkens and many more make good money selling domains and these are some of the people I reach-out to for advice myself. Don’t be afraid to fail, but when you fail don’t by shy, tell people you failed and do what you can to turn it around…but don’t fool yourself, just because you have hundreds or thousands of domains doesn’t make you an investor, only if those domains are making you money every single year (and I mean a profit) are you really a domain investor.
Beware of anyone telling you it’s easy to make money with domain names because anyone saying it is…probably isn’t doing it themselves.