Out of every 10 beginners who are reading this post right now, my best guess is that 5 of them won’t be around next year and 9 of them won’t be around two years from now.
If you were to ask me how many out of not 10 but 1,000 beginners will ultimately turn domaining into a full-time career, I’d probably say less than 10… maybe 5 or 6.
Our industry has a very, very low barrier to entry.
A lot of people hand register 20-30-40 domains and bam, they refer to it as their portfolio from now on. They’re “officially” domainers… or at least they think they are.
Broken dreams occur far more frequently in domaining than other industries.
To run a website, you need a domain, hosting, design, content and a fair dose of expertise. Don’t get me wrong, that barrier to entry is also low but it’s far, far lower in our industry, where all you need is a GoDaddy account and a credit card attached to it
I’ve been running DomainingTips for about 8 years and since Internet years are kind of like dog years, 8 years is a very, very long time.
As time passes, you can’t help but notice certain patterns.
I’ve obviously noticed that most people (the overwhelming majority) fail and naturally ended up asking myself why.
If I were to refer to all of the reasons one by one, this post would turn into a novel. Instead, I’ll refer to the most common as well as dangerous one: a greed-induced “lottery ticket” mentality.
You see, people don’t just want results. They want results quickly and preferably without working for them.
Why do you think so many people fall for weight loss scams, for “get rick quick” scams, MLM bs and so on? All of those people have something in common: they want amazing results quickly and without working for them.
Domaining doesn’t represent an exception.
People hear about how some domain sold for a gazillion dollars and think to themselves that hey, maybe I’ll “get lucky” too… as if the person who generated the blockbuster sale simply owned that one domain and bam, he got lucky and is now rich. Yeah right!
So… what do these people do?
They got sold on the proverbial dream and jump on all opportunities which seem like lottery tickets:
1) hand registering crap that’s available for a reason (because it’s crap)
2) buying “revolutionary” or “game-changing” over-hyped domains – back in the day, lots of newbies fell for dot mobi and lost their shirts; nowadays, new gTLDs seem like an easy path to instant riches (hint: they’re not)
3) getting carried away during domain manias – before the Global Financial Crisis aka Great Recession, we had a “short domain mania lite” in which LLLL.coms *barely* got bought out and the buyout ultimately failed… during the most recent short domain mania, people even bought LLLLL.coms and NNNNNN.coms, so things got taken to a whole different level; there may very well be another short domain mania and while there is definitely money to be made, you have to be very careful… prudence is the operative word, especially if you’re a beginner!
… and so on.
History doesn’t repeat itself 100% but it does tend to rhyme.
A lot of the same arguments people use to push new gTLDs have been used for Dot Mobi.
A lot of the same arguments people used to justify why spectacular short domain price increases would last forever before the GFC have been used during the most recent short domain frenzy.
Greed + lack of experience = bad news!
There are *some* beginners who approach domaining with a sensible mindset.
They read as much as they can, do their best to understand various business models and try to make educated decisions. Even those people will probably make their share of mistakes but at least they stand a chance.
When they hear about a huge sale generated by a big portfolio holder, they don’t just assume they can easily replicate that one sale with all of their domains. Instead, they analyze that person’s portfolio, figure out what the acquisition costs have been, what the carrying costs (renewals) are, what the turnover rate is and all of a sudden realize that big portfolio holders don’t generate 1,000% yearly returns… eliminate two zeros and you’d be closer to reality.
But sensible beginners are a minority unfortunately.
For this reason, our industry will always have a higher than average beginner turnover rate.
Survival of the fittest.