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Quit Polishing a Turd and Few Other Lessons I’ve Learned This Summer

As a 44 year old man I’ve learned quite a bit.  There are a lot of successful guys and gals in their 20s but they have yet to experience many of the great things in life.  Things that take years, even decades to truly grasp.  They think they know, but they don’t.  But there are always things to learn. I’m looking forward to learning even more. Especially in business, in domain investing.  Here are a few things I think I’ve finally grasped

1.  Getting things done is 30% doing it and 70% making sure that the distractions and excuses don’t get in the way.  You hear me say that most people are lying when they say they don’t have the time, it’s that they just don’t want to make the time.  People make time for things they REALLY want to do.  This summer has been as busy of a summer as I’ve ever had, but I find myself having to keep myself in check and make sure I do the things I NEED to do and not slide into the things I WANT to do.

2.  The key to this entire domain investing is knowing how much you can buy a domain for and how much you can sell it for.  In short, learning the value of a domain investment.  Time is spent emailing, marketing, and doing whatever they can to sell names but the reality is that it is simply not worth what was paid.  The time has passed to make it a numbers game.  Time needs to be spent knowing the product before you worry about how or well to sell it.  Newbies and even seasoned domain investments are constantly polishing the turds in their portfolio hoping that someone will come buy their shit.

3.  Save where you can save.  We can make a lot of money if we do things correctly.  You may even get to the point where you don’t have to watch your dollars. You can buy things without checking the balance…..but it doesn’t mean you should. It takes money to make money but there is no reason to waste it. There are two sides to making money, one is the selling side and one is the cost side. Our industry concentrates primarily on the sales side because the cost side is fairly simple.  But a little time could be spent looking for savings.   For instance, if you have any domains at Register dot com you are throwing money out the window.  It’s not that I have anything against Register or the people that work there it’s merely that their prices are outrageous and doing things there takes twice as long as any other register.   You start by not throwing your money away and move to trying to reduce cost.

4.  Not everything is going to be perfect.  Not all your goals will be reached.  I love reading Morgan’s blog and consider Morgan a friend.  What he has accomplished is amazing but in reality, 99% of people will never accomplish what he has accomplished.  You probably are not going to build a team and make hundreds of thousands a year selling domains.  You are not going to start a million dollar company and have a billionaire invest in it. Morgan tried a lot of things that didn’t go as planned on his path to where he is now.  In short, set you own goals, be happy with what YOU achieve and enjoy the journey of others.  People spend too much time knocking other people down in hopes they won’t have work up to their level.

5.  One of the best parts of growing your company is being able to hire someone to be the personal and emotional buffer between you and the employees….and have some backups. When you are a small company it’s often difficult to implement your strategy and goals because you work so close and tight with your employees.  You get to know their families and them personally.  It’s hard to say no or ask them to do things you know they won’t enjoy.  It all becomes too personal.  It also becomes a problem when they do need time off because there isn’t anyone else that has the time or skills to do their job.  As you grow, you are able to add people that can fill in or become a buffer and manage others.  It doesn’t mean you have to disassociate with your employees, only that there can finally be some barriers.  When I give talks I compare it to speaking in front of 10 people and 1000 people.  It’s easier to talk to 1000.  With only 10 it becomes like teaching rather than a speech. Personal eye contact.  With 1000 it just becomes one big crowd.

6.  If your competitors don’t hate you then you are doing it wrong.  They say just do a good job and the rest will take care of itself.  That may be true, but if you are doing it right then your competitors are going to suffer.  Before I just worried about myself.  But I’ve realized that in a local market there are a set numbers of sellers of a certain product.  The less of them there are, the more for our business. Now I want my competitors gone.  I don’t want to do anything illegal or unethical, I merely want to do such a good job that they can’t compete.  I want to reach barriers to entry or economies of scale that they haven’t or can’t afford to reach. During this last stretch of a weak economy I watched 90% of my competitors go out of business.  Some of it was their fault, some mine. Their overspending in the last decade all came back to bite them in the ass because cashflow slowed and lending tightened.  Meanwhile we had stayed conservative and were able to hunkered down when it got a little tough.  As the others imploded, we expanded and bought their land and equipment on the cheap.  Now it’s turned and we’re even further ahead.  It will cost someone millions to get to where we are now.  We have a few competitors that have made it through but I’ve purposely lowered my prices on the things they specialize in just to squeeze them financially.   I’m hitting their key profit centers and making them my loss leaders.  Yes it can be cruel but I guarantee your competitors would do it to you if they could.

7.  Cash flow is what makes the world go round. It’s why liquidity can be very important in domaining.  Cash flow is what gives you the ability to keep reinvesting.  You know that the money will keep coming in and can buy things earlier.  It keeps your money working for you instead of waiting.  The saying is “it takes money to make money” when it could also be “it takes cashflow to make money”.   On paper I am wealthy,  cash in hand I am poor, my cashflow is healthy,  so I’ll never be poor.  Yes, I just made that up.

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5 Replies to “Quit Polishing a Turd and Few Other Lessons I’ve Learned This Summer”

  1. The key to this entire domain investing is knowing how much you can sell a domain for and how much you can sell it for.

    holy crap… this sentence is damn near genius level. i’ve underestimated you. i will not make that mistake again.

  2. Laws of common sense really! 🙂

    Just wondering though is passage 6 reflecting on your nursery business, your domain investment business or a bit of both?

    1. Jayjay,

      I’m always surprised how much common sense is acquired. Also, what you know and what you do are completely different things. Everyone says they know all kinds of things yet surprisingly make constant mistakes. And yes #6 was nursery related

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