Being An Entrepreneur

Being An Entrepreneur

For the past 30 years I’ve been building businesses and the majority of them have been in the Internet industry. As fate would have it I was talking to a friend of mine last night on skype and he was lamenting the pain of his new startup. Investors didn’t invest what he really needed and technology wasn’t coming together fast enough. All the typical birthing pains associated with a new venture.

If you’re looking at your domains and thinking to yourself, “I really need to start developing some of these” then be ready to go through some tough times. It’s never easy doing something new and what you think is a great idea, other people will trash.

Which brings me to another point. Over the years I've found that the worst sort of people in the world are those that cheer you on no matter what. For example, my wife and I had to give our daughter a bit of tough love near the end of her final year in high school. Essentially it boiled down to, “Don’t be an idiot!”

She came back and told us we weren’t very supportive and that we needed to be more encouraging. I thought about it for a few milliseconds and replied, “People will cheer you on as you leap over the edge of a cliff, we’re not those sort of people honey.”

Now that she’s passed her exams and been accepted into university she’s told us that our advice (which was really tough) was the best advice she’s ever received.

The real secret with being an entrepreneur is knowing whom to listen to and then taking all of that good advice so that you can make a better decision yourself. Once you’ve made that decision, be bloody minded about it and as tenacious as a bull terrier. Never, I say never let that bone go and push through every obstacle!

So what did I say to my friend going through the tough times in his business? I consoled him a little and then said, “Suck it up princess.” What did you expect? If it was easy don’t you think that other people would have run with your idea already? It’s tough love but sometimes people just need to hear it…..I’m absolutely confident that he’ll make it a success…..and that it will take him about twice as long as he initially thought to do it.

So back to your domains. My advice is get good advice, make your own decisions and then be ready for the obstacles. One last point…..the opposite of those that cheer are those that jeer. It’s always easy to tell a person why it won’t work. I use these people to inspire me forward with a, “I’ll show them mentality!” So go to it and get off your backside and change your world. :-)

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Where's the next dollar going to come from?

Where's the next dollar going to come from?

The first thing that I think about when I view my domains is not "where the next dollar will come from" but rather "Where the next dollar willl come from that sticks to my hands". In other words, show me the profit not just the revenue.

So let's take a look at the good old profit equation of revenue less expenses.

So where's the revenue going to come from in 2014 that will be past the dismal performance that many domainers experienced in 2013? Google will underpin much of the revenue as they have been doing for the last ten years of the industry but the real wins are going to come from direct advertisers and affiliates. We're seeing more and more traffic being won in our bidding system at ParkLogic by zero click solutions....which is always a good thing. If you don't have your domains in a program that has this to offer then give me a call as you're missing out on a bucket of revenue that's not dependent upon a single provider.

I'm not sure about you but I'm continuing to develop a number of websites.....just nudging them along bit by bit to get them to the point where they can then be a profit centre for me. If you aren't developing a website then once again you're potentially missing out on some good revenue.....but make sure that you develop something that you're interested in. I may have some great cosmetic domains but you know what? I have no interest in that industry other than when it relates to my wife and daughters.....then all husbands and dad's take an interest. :-)

Words of advice.......rainbows are pretty things but they are illusory. Likewise, if you plan on waiting for that ultimate huge sale then you may be waiting a LONG, LONG time. Price all your domains at what I would call fair rates and be prepared to sell them for those rates with NO seller's remorse. I work out my stock item domains from my high value you domains and I have a different strategy for each.....so get them into the marketplace and start selling. I'll have to do another blog on this concept.

On the expense side of your business most of them are locked in place. I'm sure that you can negotiate a better rate with your registrar but seriously, the margins for them with domainers are really slim. The biggest expense that is hidden is your time. The easiest thing in the world to do is keep a log of the amount of time that you spend on your domains (including checking stats) for a week and than multiply it by your hourly charge out rate to your business. That's a cost that you need to get down or technically your business may be unprofitable.....or you're earning $1 per hour.

Anyway.....I hope that this helps you out and provokes you into thinking about your domain business.

 

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Write Your Own Content

Write Your Own Content

I've been saying it for many years now. Building a domain is no longer a technological problem....these have largely been solved through applications such as Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal etc. You'd be surprised at the number of plugins that are available for these content management platforms that solve all sorts of problems.

The biggest challenge with developing a website is creating content. This is one of the reasons why I choose to develop sites around topics that I'm interested in. Just recently I've relaunched downwind.com (aviation industry), build fftribes.com (gaming websites for the game FireFall) and now rebuilt and structured whizzbangsblog.com.

Other than the underlying technology there are a number of things in common with each of these sites:

1. I have a long-term vision for each of them.....it's not a short-term plan.

2. They have a LOT of content.

3. Members are empowered to add their own content and contribute to the communities.

Because I'm not in a mad rush for instant success I find that I can give Google what it needs over an extended period of time.....lots and lots of consistent new content. For example for my gaming site I've written a book and I've now just started writing my second science fiction novel. I'm enjoying the experience and the members are really valuing the new content. This then brings in new members and so my traffic continues to rise.

The secret is to fine something that you're really interested in and start building that. Don't worry about the domain that you have no interested in but may be great.....sell that one off for a whole lot of money. Write the content and build the site for the topic that you LOVE!

For me, I love domains, I'm a private pilot and I've been into games and science fiction since I was a kid. So go and do it.....take something that you love a turn it into a business.....the challenge will then be if you're offered a lot of money to part with it. :-)

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Developing Whizzbangsblog

Developing Whizzbangsblog

A number of people have asked me about what platform and plugins that I'm using on Whizzbangsblog so I thought that I'd let everyone know.

I have my own personal server running Debian with Apache web server, MySQL database and PHP all running. Let me say that running your own server can be a pain with working out the security etc. I so this so that I keep my technical skills up to date so that I can contribute in a much more informed manner to the ParkLogic development discussions and any issues that clients have.

I'm running Joomla 3.2 for the content management side of the site with the following plugins:

1. Admin Tools - VERY important as it has a built-in firewall.

2. Akeeba Backup - for regularly doing any backups. I also do both hot database backups and file backups every day via a script in CRON (time system for doing stuff in Linux). You can NEVER have too many backs. All the backups go to a completely separate physical drive.....so fingers crossed if anything breaks then there's always a fallback option.

3. EasyBlog - Stackideas have created a great multi-user blogging platform that I'm actually typing this into right now.

4. JBolo! - really simple to use real-time chat system.

5. Komento - for managing comments on blogs and articles.

6. Jomsocial - this is the heart of whizzbangsblog.com and has all of the social aspects of the websites wrapped up into a single package.

7. jNews - I use this program for sending out emails. I must admit that setting up an email template is a PAIN (not because of this program) because all the different email clients interpret the coding in a completely different and sometimes stupid manner. So stick to something REALLY simple.

That's about it. I've done quite a bit of customisation but that's the core application in the site. I would recommend that if you haven't done development before that you get your hands on Joomla (it's free) and have a play. There are a number of hosting companies that have specialised in Joomla hosting (siteground.com) and they will be able to help you out. I should mention that the total cost of all of the plugins etc. is about $250.....so hopefully that won't break the budget.

Cheers!

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