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Frankly, I always thought it was a shame that the importance of “street smarts” in the world of domaining tends to be underestimated… can you consider yourself a good domainer if you have close to zero real-world experience?
In other words, if you’ve let’s say never run a business or even been near someone running a business. Or, generally speaking, if you don’t have the right balance in your life between reading and actually executing.
Can you call yourself a good domainer under such circumstances?
Well, I guess you can. Nothing in this world is impossible, but even if you are doing okay-ish or even very well as a domainer without getting your hands dirty, blissfully living in your little bubble… it’s still sub-optimal, to put it mildly.
I mean, look: I’ve written two 400-page books, went after my PhD and frequently devour books (primarily non-fiction), I’m anything but the type of person who would hold a grunge against the “white collar” dimension of life. On the contrary.
But I’ve been through enough to know that while living in your very own little ecosystem that’s as disconnected as possible from the many less than glamorous problems of the proverbial real world might give you (temporary) peace of mind and seem comfortable… your comfort zone tends to be your #1 enemy.
Maybe you’re smart, fair enough. Maybe you’re good at acquisitions, great. But if you get stuck in your comfort zone, it’s only a matter of time until others who are just as smart as you and just as good as acquisitions but went beyond their comfort zones will do better than you.
So while not necessarily a deal-breaker, street smarts are definitely something that could and SHOULD give you an edge.
Great… but how can one make improvements in the street smarts department?
In a nutshell, I’d say it’s all a matter of being willing to put yourself out there. Try new ideas, connect with other people, launch a project or two. Fail embarrassingly. Then get back on the saddle and try again, rinse and repeat.
In my case, I had no choice but to develop street smarts, because life in Eastern Europe tends to demand that. So, yes, the street smarts of some people might be context-related. To others, it just comes natural, for example people who have impressive emotional intelligence. Fair enough.
But for most individuals, street smarts are acquired willingly and systematically. Kind of like training a muscle. You set a goal (improving your street smarts), develop a game plan and executing, one failure at a time
I hope this post wasn’t too abstract and don’t want to hit the “Publish” button without making it clear why I’ve decided to write it. The #1 reason is that anyone can try to do it. And by trying to do it, you’re actually doing it, because that’s the entire point: trying, putting yourself out there.
While it may not be the most comfortable experience in the world, it’s one of those things that will generate benefits indefinitely once you set things in motion. Your improvements in the street smarts department will become more obvious once you notice that you’re now seeing negotiations with end users from an entirely different angle (being able to actually empathize with the end user and his/her business struggles), that you’re more confident in the decisions you make (when to accept, when to counter, etc.) and the list could go on and on.
Try it… you’ll most likely hate me initially but thank me in the end
We’ve all heard the “apps = the death of domains” narrative. While most domainers probably don’t believe this, a seed of doubt has likely been planted in their minds.
Well, because domains are not the only game in town anymore.
Up until the social media frenzy started, you *needed* a domain if you wanted to share your message with the world but nowadays… not so much. From Instagram “influencers” to “sensations” on newer platforms like TikTok, there are tons of success stories which prove you can do your thing without even touching a domain name.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the world of apps.
Sooooo many apps come and go. Today’s hottest app might be tomorrow’s MySpace. Time and time again, people who bet it all on just one platform and built a career on it were not able to adapt. Remember all the people who got popular on a platform called Vine back in the day by publishing short funny videos?
After Vine died, some transitioned successfully to YouTube or other platforms… many others, however, were not able to do it properly. And yes, I was ready to use a corny pun and say their career died on the vine… sue me
Leaving humor aside though, it should be clear that the social media phenomenon can be a branding blessing (enabling you to reach millions or even billions of eyeballs) but ultimately a curse if you don’t manage to adapt. I could write a gazillion books about social media and in all of them, it would be hard not to mention perhaps the fatal flaw of social media: the lack of any real control over your brand.
Made a mistake? Banned.
Didn’t make a mistake but someone thought you did? Banned.
Appeal? Yeah right!
Only a complete amateur would treat this blatantly obvious threat mildly and I believe brands are already starting to realize this. Social media disrupted the Internet in a very meaningful to the point of being shocking way. While it might have seemed that social media was here to replace everything that has to do with “Web 1.0” and facilitate a glorious transition to a post-domain era… once the dust settled, individuals as well as businesses realized it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Frankly, any marketer or entrepreneur worth his salt now understands two vital things about social media:
A) All these platforms are goldmines when it comes to (as Gary Vaynerchuk puts it) under-priced attention: whether we’re talking about a video of yours that went viral or a smart paid marketing campaign that leverages the (still) cheap traffic of various platforms, your brand can literally explode if you do things right
B) If you live by social media, you’ll probably die by social media and you can literally not afford to lose control over your brand. You just can’t. And when it comes to enabling you to do just that, those pesky Web 1.0 “relics” called domains are going to be vital!
Look, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: the #1 mistake domainers make when developing is assuming that an amazing domain will solve all their problems. It won’t. They spend all their money on a stellar name but only add mediocre development to the mix and are then surprised that they’re not making any money.
Therefore, no, the point of this post isn’t saying all you need is love… or in our case, a great domain.
I’m even willing to take things one step further and admit that as a percentage of your overall strategy, the importance of domains has diminished.
Yes, it’s a smaller percentage but a smaller percentage of a much bigger pie!
Please re-read the previous statement until it really sinks in: it’s unbelievable how much more money is on the table today when it comes to the Internet compared to let’s say 10 years ago. Just ridiculous! So even if domains are a smaller piece of that pie, the pie in question is huge enough (and getting bigger) for it not to matter.
Common sense is the operative word.
In 2019 and beyond, domainers cannot afford to embrace a domains-only view of the Internet. We need to get out of our little bubbles and acknowledge that the landscape is changing so that our strategies can be tweaked accordingly.
But if you think social media is here to kill domains… you couldn’t be more wrong! While social media is not here to help domains either, it does so indirectly (and I believe this will become more obvious as the dust continues to settle) by enabling this magnificently life-altering pie that is the Internet to become more and more important!
I don’t particularly enjoy sharing personal experiences… but I’ll do it in this case. The Great Recession was a life-altering phenomenon in my case, first in a traumatically awful way but ultimately in a game-changing good one.
I was (very) young and sitting on a decent pile of profits that I earned online through various small businesses. Nothing Earth-shattering but decent profits that added up and since I was a cheap bastard who almost never spent anything, it was a pretty impressive nest egg, especially for someone my age.
Unfortunately… life happened and the proverbial you-know-what hit the fan in two ways:
- My mom got sick and since the medical system was anything but stellar in my country, I took her to get very good treatment abroad… on the one hand, it was awesome that I could afford it but on the other hand, this made my entire net worth evaporate
- To make matters worse, the Great Recession was unfolding as all of this was happening… which took its toll on my client/service-oriented businesses (development-related services)
As you’ve probably realized, this was the “curse” part.
Many excruciatingly painful months later, I got back on my feet and noticed the silver lining in all of this: everything was on sale. EVERYTHING.
Including… yes, domains.
From the ashes of the Great Recession, I built a pretty darn impressive portfolio. A combination between living like a hermit, working like a maniac and investing *everything* in domains enabled me to not only re-build my nest egg but take things to the next level.
While I currently don’t own ten mansions and a dozen luxury cars, I’m financially secure enough to live the proverbial dream by working on stuff I love… from running One Minute Economics to writing books, I had the luxury of doing all this without caring whether or not the projects would turn into something insanely profitable.
I really don’t want this post to turn into a novel.
The only thing I want to do is make it clear just how life and career-defining financial calamities may be.
Can fortunes be lost? Yes.
Can fortunes be made? Yes.
In my case, both things happened… fortunately, in the right order
Even a random dude from Eastern Europe like myself who lost everything was able to turn things around thanks to the abundance of opportunities that comes with the territory after a financial calamity. Of course, there’s no way to make that happen without hustling, without putting in the work and making tons of sacrifices.
You might end up working and living like a hermit.
You won’t be able to brag to your friends on Instagram about your kick-ass lifestyle, because… remember, you live like a hermit.
But if you do things right, the sacrifices you make when things get tough can enable you to exit the proverbial rat race. To realize that this Internet thing truly can make dreams come true.
From taking a break from college because I was too broke to going after my PhD.
From accepting the most excruciatingly frustrating low-paying client work to organizing my time as I see fit and finding more and more of it to work on stuff that gives my (professional) life meaning.
I kind of hate motivational stuff and this post is beginning to sound like just that, so I’ll put an end to it here by trying to make it clear there’s absolutely nothing glamorous about the entire experience. The smell of success is the smell of sweat and the journey can be lonely as fuck, depressingly hard and with zero guarantees that your work will ultimately pay off. Which is why most people don’t try and I don’t judge them for that.
I’m just grateful that with the right combination between hustle and luck, what started out as a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy ultimately had a happy ending… and with that awkward, sexually-charged as well as anticlimactic reference, I’m hitting the “Publish” button and wishing you the best of luck!
The post Financial Calamities: Blessing or Curse for Domainers? appeared first on Domaining Tips.
Sometimes, assets reach valuations that just don’t make sense. For example, companies that don’t make any money and probably never will but are the cool kid in town. Or Dentacoin (a cryptocurrency for dentists, I kid you not!)… or x,xxx other cryptos that have zero practical use and will never amount to anything beyond pump and dump assets. Or real estate in awful locations, junk bonds issues by countries I wouldn’t trust with lunch money and so on.
Yet many people still invest.
Well, some do it because they’re delusional. Plain and simple. They drank the kool aid and that’s just what it is.
Others, however, are rational actors. They know they’re buying overpriced junk but don’t care. Why don’t they care? In many cases, because they believe the greater fool theory will work in their favor. To put it differently, they tell themselves that yes, they’re being fools by purchasing low-quality and/or grossly overpriced assets but at the same time, they’re convinced a greater fool will come along and take those assets off their hands… at a good price!
Many people ask me if this theory is actually “true” and, frankly, the best answer I can give them is that… well, it depends.
It primarily depends on how exactly they measure whether or not a theory works. If the only metric they care about is whether or not you can make money, then the answer is a resounding YES. You can most definitely make a ton of money as a result of the greater fool theory if timing and/or luck are in your favor.
If you care about sustainability, however, things get quite a bit tricky and I’d say that if you live by the greater fool theory, you might just die by the greater food theory. Think of it as one of those situations in which you might think you’re being a predator but are actually on the opposite end of the food chain. Or you can consider it a game of musical chairs with a distinct possibility of it being you that ends up standing while everyone else found a seat.
Few things are set in stone in the world of investing.
Fortunes have been made *thanks to* the greater fool theory, fortunes have been lost *because of* it. I guess one could consider it a matter of perspective. If you ask someone who has done well, survivorship bias kicks in and everything might seem peachy. If you ask someone who lost, you’ll probably get a strikingly different answer.
A “Wild West” speculator will tell you the only thing that matters is whether or not you’re in the green in the long run. If you are, continue doing what you’re doing. If you’re not, it’s back to the drawing board.
Someone who prefers erring on the side of sustainability, however, will be more skeptical. Perhaps that person will recommend an approach that’s more value-oriented (Warren Buffett-ish, for lack of a better term), maybe he or she will also refer to potential moral implications of the greater fool theory.
The bottom line is this: I’m not here to judge. While I love the idea of sustainability personally, I’m certainly not here to cast judgement on this or that. The only thing I’ll tell you is this: whichever business model you do end up choosing, make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
As long as you keep things rational and realistic, then even if you make bad decisions every now and then, you’ll be able to adjust course and move toward a better path… even if you do it the hard way every once in a while. This much is certain: there’s no room in the investing world for people who cannot measure risk properly.
The same principle is valid when it comes to domaining.
Whether you seek the comfort of stellar one-word dot coms or choose to dabble in more speculative “high risk – high reward” areas of domaining, it’s all good as long as your money/risk management game is strong. People have built fortunes in this industry with a wide range of business models: type-in traffic (especially back in the day), quality vs. quantity, quantity vs. quality, (specific) niche domination, outreach and so on.
The one thing they tend to have in common is that they’re good at risk assessment. Analyze successful investors across many other asset class and you cannot help but identify this common denominator. As such, let that be the theme of this blog post: risk assessment, risk assessment, risk assessment!