Who Said Domaining Was Easy? Two Lessons I've Learned In The Last Two Years

I received an email yesterday from a new Domainer who said, “I thought that Domaining was supposed to be an easy way to make money.” I took this opportunity to give the guy a call and really spend some time explaining how much work Domaining is and by the end of the call he really got it. His final words to me were – “Wow – I had no idea how much time you guys put-into selling a domain name!”

This is not uncommon because almost nobody in the world has any idea what Domaining! Many people discover Domaining by reading a news article or Domaining blog and rather than doing more research say to themselves – “This is great! I can buy domains names for $10 and resell them for hundreds or thousands of dollars.” The crushing reality usually doesn’t sit-in until they have bought (usually hand-registered) hundreds of domains and are convinced they are on the road to retirement.

The problem here is simple. People are impulsive. They see the Domaining world without really understanding it and just assume that all we do is think of a catchy domain name, buy it, and then sell it for a huge profit.

I started my domain investment company over two years ago and can say with 100% confidence that Domaining is NOT easy – but it is fulfilling and – yes – you can make good money. Like most things in life though it takes time. There really is not such thing as a Get Rich Quick Scheme. Just think about it logically – if there were a way for people to make great money without having to spend much time doing it – why would anyone work?

When I started my company I had goals of selling one domain name a week. I was able to hit my goal early-on but I was selling domains in the $50-$100 range. I quickly realized this wasn’t worth it for me. I also found it overwhelming focusing on buying and selling hundreds of domain names just to make thousands of dollars. What I realized about a year into my business has absolutely changed my life – focus on one domain at a time.

This is what has always impressed me about Rick Schwartz, who has been a major mentor to me through his blog (I’ve never talked to him personally through the phone or email). What I learned early-on from Rick is that it’s not about selling as many names as possible but instead focusing on making a few big sales. I also learned on my own that I could develop an SEO-optimized site on my domain and tune it to get better search engine rankings and create a revenue stream. Putting these two concepts together I was able to focus on one domain at at time – grow the revenue on it and then re-sell the domain. Still, nothing to write home about but bigger sales nonetheless.

Now, in my third year of owning my business I find that I spend most of my time focusing on one or two of my own domains and about five brokerage domains max. On average I find that it takes me between 4-6 months to sell a domain to the right target customer so that my client, or myself, get the price we were looking for. This is a far-cry from my weekly sales expectation I had created when I started in the business.

So back to the title of this post – who said Domaining was easy?

Nobody who is actually doing it! Ask Rick yourself if you’d like. He doesn’t sell hundreds of domains a year, in fact he doesn’t even sell a domain a month. He is, however, a multi-millionaire from Domaining! I think this is the point that most new Domainers miss when they are starting-out. So I thought this would be a good time to point-out two major lessons I’ve learned in the last two years to help get new Domainers acquainted with the kind of work that goes-into Domaining.

Lesson #1: Don’t try to sell as many as domains as you can. Focus on one or two good names rather than one or two-hundred okay names.

Lesson #2: Think of Domaining like you would fishing. Take your time and be patient. If you spend an entire day on the water, casting your line hundreds of time and don’t catch anything – don’t assume that there aren’t fish out there! Just realize that you might be either fishing in the wrong spot!

So if you’re just getting started in the Domaining world here is my advice to you. Slow Down! Stop buying domains and focus on selling one or two of your best names. Do your research and don’t get impatient – good things come to those who wait – and if you get discouraged just remember, multi-millionaire Domain Investors like Rick Schwartz have been in the business for over 15 years now and he hasn’t sold more than 15 domains!

Domaining isn’t easy, but it has been absolutely one of the most rewarding businesses to be in. So next time you’re posting that domain for sale on a forum for $50 think of what you could really do to grow your business.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Chris Robbins September 27, 2009, 8:05 am

    Morgan, you have a great point. I just think Rick is a bad example of that point as it’s been really, really easy for Rick to be a domainer and if he never sold a domain he’d still be a multi-millionaire all through parking while sitting on a boat travelling the world.

    • mlinton September 27, 2009, 9:18 am

      While I do agree that Rick did get some great domains early-on the fact that he spends 1+ years on each domain sale shows that he waits to find the right buyer. He could have sold Candy.com for 1 million dollars much quicker but waited to make the 3 million dollar + residuals sale.

  • Chris Robbins September 27, 2009, 9:29 am

    That’s true, but he also had the luxury to wait. Most of us (perhaps not you) would’ve taken the million especially if we are not making millions per year parking our domain portfolio. Especially when that million could help us jump start our on develop projects taking them to the next level. However, that’s not what you are talking about. You are talking about selling out for $50 or $100 dollars. Much different. You are comparing apple to oranges. Rick Schwartz is a bad example of the point you are trying to make which, again, is a very excellent and true point.

  • Bruce Marler September 27, 2009, 9:56 am

    Great post. Its funny how many friends I have that are just trying to wade into domaining and they always think, wow easy money. A month later they have 200 domains and have taken no time to research anything because they want it to be easy.

    Good stuff Morgan!

  • Rauhbautz September 27, 2009, 11:21 pm

    Very to the point and also influential at the same. At least for the newbies like me.

  • Mojito October 19, 2009, 10:00 am

    This is a great post, actually one of your best as I have been reading through your blog.


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