Domain Spotlight:

How I turned $69 into $80,000 in 2 Years and I’m About to Do It Again

In 2007 I bought a domain for $69 on a drop and started a website.  Two years later I had sold that website and used the money to invest in another.  Five months later that site sold and I was $80K richer and it all was because of one thing.  I was consistent. I worked a little on my site every single day.  When visitors came each day there was ALWAYS something new .

I wrote about my past experiences and ideas.  I made it fun.  That’s it.  I imagine your first thought would be, “anyone can do that”.  My response would be “Then why doesn’t everyone body do it?”  It’s simple.  Because it takes a ton of hard work and time and there are a million other things your could be doing in life. The key to everything on the Internet is consistency.  If you want readers to come to your site you have to be there every single day.  You have to give them a reason to come back.  Sure there are going to be some posts/articles that aren’t going to be very good,  but within your writing has to be content that either makes them laugh, ponder, or informs.  Maybe a little of each. Readers don’t care if you have family, business, or other personal things that come up.  Your site is a business that is open 24/7 and if you can’t keep it open then they’ll go to someone that does.  There is one constant in all the successful blogs, sites, and successful companies and that is the the people running it hit it hard every day. It is one of the most important parts of their daily lives. They also did something a little different than was being done at the time.  When viewing the scope of what they’ve accomplished it seems overwhelming, but in reality it was built by picking away at it a little each day, every day.  People dream and aspire to have what the Frank Schillings, John Chows, and the Michael Arringtons have built, but most aren’t willing to put up the time or the risk to accomplish those same goals.  In those cases it wasn’t about money.  You or I probably have the same amount of money that those guys started their empires with.  What most don’t have is the drive, time, or willingness to make it happen.

You can see exactly what I’m talking about in our little domain blog world.  Blogs come and go.  There are plenty of blogs like SullysBlog, WannaDevelop, and Teen Domainer, that are fantastic blogs but they share one trait.  They are all written every once in a while.  There is nothing wrong with that.  They have chosen to use their time to do things they deem more important. My only point is that as a reader or an advertiser, you’d like to have consistency.  Just as important as overall traffic is fresh traffic.  Chef Patrick always bragged to me that his site has more traffic dead than my does active,  but I know that my site has more value at this point because it is maintained on a daily basis.  Regardless of how much talent or creativity you possess, if you don’t show up to the game each day the fans won’t show up either.

So why would a company buy a site based one person for so much money?  They bought the concept.  At the time I was writing a “funny money” site because nobody was doing it.  I set out to write a site about how guys of my age liked to live our lives.  Trading on the stock market, blowing their money on stupid stuff,  and looking at 25 year old girls despite the fact we were married.  It was a much bigger demographic than people realized.  Thirty to 40 year old men are all alike and I sought to write a site that discussed the daily stock market but at the same time discussed life. The fun side of life and money.  People loved it and “got it”.  The site eventually became and is a Maxim magazine type site. The money I made was part site sale, part consultant fee, part reinvestment in another fun and money site.  All investments were made in the “fun and money” genre that I felt hadn’t been filled at the time and then I cashed it.  Fortunately, right before the market crashed because all of a sudden money and the markets just weren’t that funny.

After a year hiatus (I needed the break) I started reading the domain blogs and really felt I could add something to what’s being done. Everyone did a great job and had their niche, but again, nothing funny or at least fun (there was Domain Gang) . Chef Patrick certainly was a showman but it was all created.  He was creating a character and a play world. I consider Chef Patrick a friend and one of the best promoters in our industry but always felt that people really are just as much interested in who the writers are, than what they are writing about.  If they think that the person is fake then they may start to think what they are saying is fake.  This is why I simply write about what I know.  It can never be wrong if it’s my opinion or it’s happened to me.  When I form a site with other writers ,I want stories with the same sort of appeal.  Sure there can be news and informative articles but I want readers to “feel” the writer, to be a fan of them AND their writings.  I have always felt that if you could consistently do this for a long period of time you will develop followers and where there are followers are advertisers.  Where there are advertisers there is cash for reinvestment.

So how am I going to do it again?  I have already started.  This blog generates over $1000 a month.  Money that gets reinvested back into domains because I don’t need the money to pay bills.  Last years’ site money went into numerics.  NNNN.coms to be exact.  Those have been flipped (I actually have three left to move) for a 50% profit and I am using that money to buy higher quality domains.  I figure that in 2 more years I will have created $100,000 from my daily writings on this site.  Not exactly peanuts.  Of course if you look at from an hourly standpoint I will have gotten paid roughly $34 an hour for my work.  I put approximately 2 hours into the site every day and do it almost 7 days a week. More in the summer in winter and much less in spring and fall (my busy times at the nursery) but I think it averages out.  Do that 4 years add what I expect to make reinvesting the money and divide by the total hours and thus the $34/hr. The money is all initially made through advertising but the real money is reinvesting that advertising money into domains.  From there it’s a “trading up” strategy until my final goal is met and it’s not $100,000.  It’s a million.  And you can read about it the entire way right here.

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11 Replies to “How I turned $69 into $80,000 in 2 Years and I’m About to Do It Again”

  1. I think your blog keeps its stickiness with readers because you are just a likeable guy. It shows through in your writing. You seem like a cool guy and I think thats what people like to be around. I laughed really hard at one of your previous posts when you asked “Why is domaining such a sausagefest?” We’re always reading such formal writing from newspapers, to online articles, textbooks, etc. its nice to take a break from that.

  2. You’re blog is one of my favorites. You do come across very personable and I like the different perspective you bring. You seem like just one of the guys.


  3. Guessing that Jamie’s post “why do I blog” got you, like me really pondering that. This is an absolutely great post. Just what I needed today. I’m going to write my own post about this which will have some surprising revelations about the role blogging plays in driving new business to my marketing practice. And that in a sense has married me to a niche that if I had to start over knowing what I know now, might not have been the best investment of my time. I often think about the fact that it would take the same time and effort to blog about something else. Something with a broader reach like luxury products. So instead of the $1000 in return for your time you’d attract advertisers like American Express for $10,000. And once you’ve got that you have built something you can sell for 10x…. And you are so right about the effort it takes and passion you bring. On an hourly basis I figure the guy who delivers pizza five nights a week makes more in tips.

    Congratulations and best to you.

  4. Great post @Shane and definitely the right thing to do! As someone that also uses the revenue from his blog to buy more investments and grow his business I can definitely relate. It’s great to be able to have a revenue stream that you don’t use to pay expenses but instead can go 100% into other investments.

    Keep it up, your blog has been a daily read for me since day 1 and continues to be something I look forward to reading every day!!

  5. Inspiring post, I’ll definitely be following along because as mentioned you’re an entertaining and informative writer, but you also provide quantifiable value to us readers that take action on your advice.

    It will be interesting to see in 2 years how much I make as a result of reading this blog =)

  6. Can’t argue with your “fundamentals” Shane. I really needed to read this post.Maybe it’ll be the KICK for me to actually get my blog(s) rolling.Thanx bro.

  7. Shane,
    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to the journey as well.
    Cheers, Mars

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