The Difference Between Building A Website and Building A Business

First let me say, TGIF! It’s Friday everyone, my second-favorite day of the week after Monday! I’ve been receiving lots of great emails, comments, etc. after doing an interview with DomainSherpa’s Michael Cyger. I have to say the response really has been incredible and I can’t thank everyone enough for all the kind things they have said. It’s been a lot of work to get my business to where it is now and I’m really proud of where it is today!

Now onto the topic of this post, which was inspired by many of the emails and comments I’ve received lately. The question is – how the heck do you have the time to do all this when you have a full time job? There’s an easy answer to this one – I don’t do all this, I build businesses and then hire people to run them. This is a topic that we didn’t get into in my interview with Michael that I thought was really important to address.

Yes, back in 2007 when I started my business I didn’t have any revenue coming in so I really was a one-man band. I quickly learned that I wasn’t very interested in building websites but I was interested in building businesses. There are lots of talented web designers, graphics artists, and programmers out there. I am much more interested in coming-up with a great idea for a business, finding a great domain, and then putting-together the team. This doesn’t mean that I never build sites myself, I still do, just less and less every month.

So when you look at how my time is spent after my workday (my day job usually occupies me from about 8AM – 6PM) is over I’m really focusing on either putting-together business plans, marketing plans, etc. for a new idea or finding great domains for some of the ideas I’ve had. Lately I have been getting more into the pure-play concept of Domaining, i.e. buying and selling domains but my interests are much stronger around building exciting and innovative companies. Of course my blog is a major passion of mine and I recommend that anyone with a true passion for something start a blog about it – you’ll find you really do have an unlimited number of things to write about! I never get writers block and always find I have something to write on my blog about domain investing, start-up companies, social media, etc.

Sometimes there’s an idea that I want to work on myself or with someone else. This is true in the case of Xelot which was an idea that both Daina and I had that we’ve been working on together. Along with coding the algorithm, putting together the business plan, creating a kick-ass marketing presentation, we have also hired a developer who will soon become a partial owner of the business. This is a lot of fun but I couldn’t do it with 160 sites, it’s just too much.

What does this mean for Domainers that want to get-into development?

I hear a lot of Domainers say they want to get into development but they aren’t great at HTML or PHP and can’t design graphics in Photoshop. Well you don’t have to be good at those things unless you yourself want to be a web designer or graphic artist. Instead, take the time to build a business and use your creative genius to put-together an awesome business plan, marketing plan, and then be a good manager and hire people that can run your business.

I currently have eight people that work for me, one full-time and seven part-time. I am also hiring four people, one more full-time person and three part-time people. I pay my employees out of the profits my sites make, of course this eats into my margin but with a business you have to make an investment if you want it to grow and that investment can either be time or money. I don’t have the time so I invest the money. At the end of the day this has allowed my businesses to scale while I focus on the fun stuff, coming-up with ideas and putting-together business plans rather than building websites and designing graphics.

Next week, Kevin Fink who has worked for Linton Investments for over a year now will be debuting a new company he has developed on a Linton Investments brand. I can’t wait to share this business with all of you, Kevin is busy putting his own blood, sweat and tears into it and is really creating something incredible! He is building a business and I’ve been working with him to think about it like a business not a website. Kevin is a super-creative guy, has incredible ideas, and has turned a .COM domain name into a real living breathing brand that we’ll be sharing with you all next week!

Now it’s your turn. Stop trying to be a web developer, a graphic designer, etc. It’s not about creating a job for yourself, it’s all about building a business that makes money. Yes, you may need to make some investments up front, but don’t all businesses? Thanks for reading and as always comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Poor uncle May 13, 2011, 1:49 pm

    So how much of the $100k actually end up in your pocket after all payroll and operation expenses are paid.

    • Morgan May 13, 2011, 2:03 pm

      @PoorUncle – I never disclosed the exact amount I make Domaining which is actually over 100K. What I said was that I make six-figures now and I made five-figures last year. It would be weird to make exactly 100,000 and then talk about making six-figures!

      I still end-up with six-figures after people are paid.

      How much do you make a year Domaining? Revenue vs. Profit? Interested to know what others make as I seem to be one of the only guys who openly discloses what I make. Most Domainers don’t give-out this info but I would be really interested to know how much money other people are making in this industry.

  • RH May 13, 2011, 3:05 pm

    All domainers are not marketing a book for others especially new domainers to buy. I believe transparency is important whenever anyone is selling anything that is telling others how to make money.

    This was a good post Morgan.

  • Leonard Britt May 13, 2011, 7:09 pm

    Yes, I recall a comment that someone at a recent South Florida domainers’ group said, “You can’t try to do everything yourself.” He then went on to say that one has to learn to let go a little bit and hire good people even though they might not do everything 100% the way you might have them done. In the end, to grow or scale you need other people.

    In my case it is difficult particulary when I don’t feel that I yet have a grasp on what works. Others have commented about outsourcing the “finding endusers function” so one does need to be creative.

    Perhaps I overdid the link directory submissions but it appears the last couple of weeks Google implemented an “exact match domain” downgrade as many sites which ranked well after the Panda update have fallen off the radar screen.

  • Martin May 14, 2011, 8:20 am

    Thanks Morgan for sharing. The interview was really interesting! Hope to hear more about the “how to monetize” a website.

  • glaxxon May 14, 2011, 10:53 am

    Really great posts man and i really like your blog too.
    I might be interested in working on developing a few domains or ideas. Had sent you an email a while back on a related topic and for a little advice, but you probably didn’t get it.

  • Domain Michael May 14, 2011, 11:09 am

    grat post, Morgan, as a developer, I’ve had many clients that spent all their money on building a website, but in my opinon website is a small part, building a business takes the most energy/time/money.

  • Nima.Co May 14, 2011, 11:20 am

    This was a fantastic post, Morgan. I made this mistake when I initially started to invest in domains. I thought I had to teach myself different scripting languages, seo, adobe suite, etc. Fast forward five years, tons of frustrating moments , multiple failed “tech partners” and now I’m more efficient than ever. I hired 4 employees and my only focus is business development and SEO (two things I’m most passionate about).

    I’ve learned life is limitless, the only ceiling we have is the one that we create. keep up the good work and keep in touch my friend.

  • Ron May 15, 2011, 7:12 am

    You are the man!
    I also started in 2007 and I also just started buying and buying domain names, to the tune of 750. Today I am down to about 250, with just over 100 developed. How much money do I make? Well I get a trickel here and a trickel there, not much. Very fustrating! 2 to 3 thousand a year. Still not sure what I am doing wrong, but I will never give up. I deliver concrete by day and I’m a domainer by night. I carry my lunch in the bags under my eyes! LOL
    Thank you so much for your blogs, websites and advice. I love this industry!!!!!!!

  • Stockbuy May 15, 2011, 11:56 am

    Morgan, I have just stumbled on to this site. I really like what you are doing here, giving hope. I own about 110 .com’s that are just sitting on I have an idea of what I want to do, but I am not sure where to start. I have one domain that gets only a few hits but it gets the top 3 rankings on a Google search. How do I find a competent person to build my website if I know nothing about it? I am not greedy and I am willing to pay for the start up and share profits. So once you have a site built is it typical to have them manage it also, I figure if they get a cut of the money it gives them some ownership so it will be profitable. If this works out I would like to build out the other sites. I also work a day job 50-60 hrs a week unrelated to domaining. How do I find a developer?


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