The Brandable Insider: The Secret Path to Profits (Part II)

“Don’t be romantic about your domains. Don’t fall in love with them. You’re not a collector of domain names, you’re an investor.”Michael Cyger at DNAcademy

Last week we talked about money management and its crucial impact on our success as domainers. Small changes in money management can make or break our business. One of the biggest mistakes we make as domainers is renewing domains that have little chance of selling in the next one or two years.

If you had zero end user sales last year then renewals will likely take you further into the hole. If you had a few sales then renewals can still significantly erode your profits. So it’s a fine line to walk.
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The Brandable Insider: The Secret Path to Profits

“Domaining is a hard industry, very few make money but many like to pretend that they do.”Morgan Linton, Co-founder of Fashion Metric

I like to play poker. No-Limit Hold’em to be precise. But I’m an average player and I don’t play very often. However, despite my shortcomings, over the past 10 years, I’ve won more money than I’ve lost. How can I say that? Because I have an Excel spreadsheet to prove it.

What’s the secret to my success? Well that’s easy. Smart money management. Huh? Let me explain.

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The Brandable Insider: Failing at Domain Auctions

Success often starts with failure and I have failed many times this year. Some of my failures have been in auctions. There are many times I’ve bid and lost. Most of the time, that’s a good thing. It demonstrates my ability to limit my bidding and not go past my limit. Or as Mike Mann says: “If you beat me in the domain auction, congrats, you paid too much.” Well I’m not as cocky as Mike Mann but I do think disciplined limits when bidding is a good thing. Whether the person that outbid you “paid too much” or not is debatable. That depends on, if and when, and for how much they sell it.

On the other hand we’ve all had the experience of getting into a bidding war and letting our emotions run away with us. In those situations we go past our price limit and end up paying more than we thought the domain was worth. I’ve also had the experience where, in hindsight, I was too cheap and failed to step up and pay the price the domain was worth.

In looking back at recent auctions I see all of these scenarios at work.
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The Brandable Insider: Looking Back on the Year in Domaining

We’re coming to the end of another calendar year. Time to look back and assess what went on in the domain industry. I thought one interesting way to do that would be to look back at what leaders in our industry said a year ago. If you remember, our friend Domain Shane, was kind enough to organize and publish (here and here) the ruminations of several domain industry leaders back in December of 2015. They gave their thoughts on what might be in store for 2016.

Here are some of the things they said. Keep in mind that these folks made their comments in the last month of 2015, right at the height of the CHIP market frenzy. Let me know in the comment section who you think had the most accurate crystal ball for 2016. Ok, here we go………

Andy Booth said:

    I think it’s safe to say that trend sectors (like short and numeric dot-com) will almost certainly be at a higher point come the end of the year. I would invest in special 4 letter domains with a pattern (AABB, ABAB, ABBB, AAAB) or raise a little more cash (go in with a couple of friends) to buy a 4 number dot-com.

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The Brandable Insider: How to Negotiate as If Your Life Depended on It

I just read a book called: Never Split The Difference. It’s written by an International, FBI hostage negotiator. The author, Chris Voss, tells how he successfully negotiated with Islamic radicals and American bank robbers when people’s lives were at stake. From those gripping stories he draws simple, yet profound, lessons for negotiating everything from a pay raise to a million dollar contract with a multinational corporation.

Voss now works in the private sector teaching college courses and running a business consultancy called The Black Swan Group. He teaches easy steps for enhanced negotiation outcomes. The place where many fail, according to Voss, is when they allow their emotions to take over and sabotage their plans. To avoid this he teaches his students how to develop focused listening skills and measured responses that gain the trust and cooperation of the person on the other side of the deal.

One main principle comes from the book’s title. According to Voss, splitting the difference is for losers because it leaves too much money on the table.
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The Brandable Insider: Tips and Tricks for the BrandBucket Marketplace

Its been two years since I started building my portfolio at the BrandBucket marketplace. I thought it might be a good time to share some of the things I’ve learned. Keep in mind that my tips are specifically about BrandBucket and may or may not apply to the brandable space in general. Also, they are subject to change as I continue to learn and the BrandBucket market niche evolves.

Lastly, these are my personal opinions and best guesses, not official BrandBucket guidelines that I’ve been given. As a Brand Ambassador I receive a finite number of BrandBucket listing credits each month. This is compensation for writing two monthly articles for their website and helping new sellers interact with the platform and develop their branding skills. Everything else is pretty much the same for me as it is with other sellers. Alright let’s dig in.

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The Brandable Insider: How to Avoid Becoming a New Business Casualty

Several months ago I was surfing NamePros and I noticed a guy in live chat. He said he was looking for domains to buy. I quickly sent him a private message and asked what kind of domains he was looking for. He said he wanted a domain that he could flip and make some money on. I told him every person on NamePros wanted a domain for a profitable flip. Why would they sell you a domain that they could flip themselves? He had no answer for that and I warned him to be more careful and cautious. I told him that without knowing the market he was likely to get ripped off.

I think we all started out with that same kind of naiveté but we know now that, despite the hype, there’s no overnight success in domaining. I think everyone’s heard that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 months. I know, I know, some say “my domaining’s not a business, it’s just a hobby.” I say bull. It may be a part-time endeavor but if you’re not approaching it like a business your chance of failure is likely even higher than 80%.

If you’re new to domaining or having trouble becoming profitable, here’s eight tips to increase your chances of success:
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52% of domain name investors make $100/month or less.

Based on a recent poll at domain name forum NamePros, 21% of domainers operate at a loss, 14% breaks even and close to 18% makes $100 a month or less.  The poll, which asks the question “What’s your average gross profit per month from domaining?” has already received 362 votes during the past two days.  Although the NamesPros audience might not be the perfect representation of our entire industry I believe the poll result so far has to be quite accurate. Making money from investing in domain names is far from easy and the path to profitability is often long and full of challenges.
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The Brandable Insider: Seven Qualities of a Successful Domainer

One of the myths of domaining is that it’s easy money. The grass is always greener from a distance and success looks easy on the surface. But the harsh reality of this business, or any business, is that it’s wildly competitive. The formula for success is simple. Hard work and talent that’s all you need. But the devil lurks in the details of the execution of the work and the application of the talent.

Here’s what I think are some of the key attributes of a profitable domainer:
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2 years of domaining and my very first blog

Exactly 2 years ago today I bought my first domain off of Namejet.com. I was on vacation in Sri Lanka and a few weeks earlier I found out that the domain name of a company I co-founded had expired and would be auctioned on Namejet since it was registered with Network Solutions.

I was keen on re-gaining ownership of the domain so I signed up for a account and had to set my alarm at 3AM in the morning to participate in the last few minutes of the auction. I still remember the poor wifi signal in the hotel, my surprise to see quite a number of other participating bidders and of course the adrenaline when I placed the winning bid. That night I not only ended up being the owner again of the NewChinaCareer.com domain (it costs me $314) but I also learned that sites such as Namejet is where savvy investors snapped up great domain names before they came available for the rest of the “regular” folks. I was instantly hooked and have been actively investing in domain names ever since

I’ve never been a very active commenter, but reading domaining blogs quickly became part of my daily routine and allowed me to quickly get up to speed and avoid many of the newbie mistakes and pitfalls. I really appreciate those in the industry that regularly share their tricks of the trade and personal views such as Shane “DomainShane” Cultra, Elliot Silver’s DomainInvesting.com (who happened to be this blog it’s first ever reader for all the wrong reasons) and Chris from TLD.org. Invaluable for me as well are those that spend the time to pen down extensive reviews on services and products and interviews with industry leaders such as Raymond Hackney and Michael Cyger from DomainSherpa.com.

I’m determined to make an effort in the new year to give back and contribute by sharing my own experiences, mistakes, strategies and thoughts here on DNgeek.com. Happy New Year!

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