Although this is a GreenGeeks hosting review, I have to start my story from the beginning so that you have a good foundation for making an educated decision. Last year I stumbled on a headline that said data centers leave a bigger carbon footprint than the airline industry. That sounds more than I expected, so I decided to take action. You can Google it, this problem is not going away anytime soon.
As a website investor, I don’t want to kid myself and say how I am contributing to this issue. Compared to the large corporations mentioned in this research, even with dozens of websites I own, and half a million website visitors per month and growing, it’s not THAT bad. However, I don’t want to add to the growing problem either! So I looked for green data centers and green web hosting providers.
I was a bit sad to find out there aren’t that many of them! So, I was very happy that the one I did end up trying, was great and I am happy to recommend them here! If you are asking yourself, who am I to write this review, you are doing a good job! So, just briefly, here are my credentials.
Who am I to write this GreenGeeks hosting review?
I ran a small web hosting business (2006 – 2011) and sold it before I started my new venture. For that new company, I’ve had one of the largest web hosting companies in the world as our clients. I’ve written web hosting reviews in the past. Lastly, the reason why I am looking for a green solution is that I am vegan. If you want to see first hand how a website loads on GreenGeeks hosting, then click on that link.
So let’s get started with the GreenGeeks hosting review and go through some important facts. I’ve been a client of theirs since 2018-10-16 and can comment on various aspects. Furthermore, I bought the web hosting package with my money, and I wasn’t paid to write this review. If you decide to use the affiliate link below, I might get a commission.
Is GreenGeeks web hosting expensive?
Here’s the thing with web hosting in general. If you are paying month by month, it is expensive. Does it make sense to pay month by month? Off course not! Some of my websites are 10 years old! Imagine if I paid month by month. You want to pay as much in advance as possible, and preferably get in with a coupon, or during the Black Friday craze.
Even if you ignore this great advice (coupon, Black Friday), at $2.95 / month (triennially / 36 months), GreenGeeks is definitely an affordable solution even for financially savvy people.
Price comparison chart of green web hosting companies – May 2019
- GreenGeeks – $2.95 / month
- Host Papa – $3.95 / month
- Dreamhost – $5.95 / month
If you found a green web hosting company that is dedicated in its renewable energy efforts, please let me know in the comment section!
Is GreenGeeks web hosting fast?
I would say it’s as fast as it can be. If I received a dollar every time someone said their hosting was slow when in fact it was their website that was slow, I would be a rich man. What do I mean by that? Well, if you don’t update your plugins, and your images are large and if your code has a lot of debt you should really look into a mirror. Not at your web hosting provider.
GreenGeeks shared web hosting includes SSD disks, they have the latest PHP version installed, and you can always upgrade to access their faster computing resources. So far I am satisfied with their cheapest plan, for a few small websites. Also, I picked the data center closest to my users.
Free transfer included
I know what you are thinking. I don’t want to go through the hassle of a website transfer. Well, I was in the same position, and GreenGeek support took care of it for me. I just gave them login details, couple basic instructions, and they notified me when they were done. It was a regular WordPress website, so I wasn’t expecting any problems in the first place.
This is common practice in the web hosting industry, but it was nice to see everything run smoothly, without any extra charges. I just updated my nameservers, and I was on my way. Not only that but when I upgraded to the latest WordPress version (The Gutenberg update) I had some issues. GreenGeeks support jumped right in, and resolved the issue for me!
GreenGeeks support rocks!
So far in this GreenGeeks hosting review, there’s been nothing but praise. What can I say, I only settle for the very best when I chose a web hosting service for my projects! As I’ve just mentioned earlier, GreenGeeks support helped me with my WordPress update, when I wasn’t able to post an article.
Whenever I opened a support ticket, they replied within 10 minutes. They also have a live chat, and a phone line which I haven’t used since I became a client.
Is GreenGeeks hosting really unlimited?
Just like any other web hosting provider, there has to be a limit somewhere. Since you can set up an unlimited number of websites, with an unlimited number of gigabytes, and unmetered amount of traffic… One begins to wonder, how much can I really host for those $2.95 X 36 months = $106.20?
So far I hosted 2 websites, and plan to add a third. The only limitation that I see is inside cPanel.
If you are thinking to yourself, these are some small unimportant websites, no wonder you can put so many of them on a single account, maybe you are right. However, just these two websites are making over $200 / month passively, each. If only I could keep doing this! If your site is bigger, it will take more resources, and maybe you will have to upgrade to a more expensive plan. But bigger website means more money coming in, right?
I already mentioned GreenGeeks was one of the tools I use to make thousands of dollars online. And I have every intention of keeping it that way. A couple of months ago I transferred a second website to my GreenGeeks shared hosting account and I am now considering a third.
99.9% Uptime Guarantee | 24/7 Email Support | Live Telephone & Live Chat Support |Complete satisfaction, or your money back within the money back period |30-Day Money Back Guarantee | 300,000 websites | 35000 customers| Since 2008 |Eco friendly green energy hosting. GreenGeeks is a recognized Green Power Partner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The tools for webmasters I listed below can help you make tens of thousands of dollars online. At least that’s what I made, so I am talking from first hand. This also means that you could potentially make much, much more. If you are not excited about making “only” thousands of dollars online, but somehow ended up on this website, let me start by saying you need a mindset shift. I am not going to waste time convincing you with this post (hop over to the one I published recently, and just linked), and come back once you are done. Besides, these tools can (and probably will) lead and grow you to tens of thousands of dollars.
In this post, I will go through a list of most important tools I use, and explain how these tools have created the monthly cashflow I am relying on. Also, I want to be clear right away that some of these links are affiliate links. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to help you grow your business, it just means that I am also passionate about growing my business. I have to put a URL towards the tool I am happy to endorse, so why not create an opportunity to make money? Price is the same for you, and it helps me keep the lights on.
Tool #1 – GetResponse
I’ve used several mail marketing providers (heck, very long time ago my company built a simple mass mailing tool), and after trying several ones, I settled for the past few years on GetResponse. Not without a flaw, just like any other provider, I am so happy with GetResponse because it pays for itself each year! How can I not renew my yearly contract with them? Don’t get me wrong, I am tempted, in particular, because one of the largest email marketing providers in the world is my client!
Email marketing + Landing pages + Marketing automation + Webinars? In short, this is why I signed up for GetResponse in the first place. I was using a different email marketing provider (Mailchimp and Sendgrid) and was looking for a “landing pages” builder solution. I was also using Unbounce, but even with their smallest plan at $79 month, it was a bit steep for me. Not that $79 per month is a lot, but when you also need email marketing AND you would like to try out marketing automation, it quickly ads up! And who knows, maybe I could try webinars in the future as well?
If you are passionate about growing your business like I am, you are probably going to want to do anything and everything within your power to make it happen. At the time, marketing automation was becoming a thing, and I wanted to integrate it into our digital marketing grind. I liked the idea of creating email messages tailored based on the response my users were making. For example, once they signed up for my SaaS business, I wanted to help them to start using the services. Based on their actions afterward (opens email, clicks) I would send them different messages. I say I, but I really mean GetResponse.
We also used the autoresponder sequence for everybody that signed up to use our service. Initially, we cooked up something in-house, but it’s better if you can have everything in the same place. Naturally, you want to follow up as much as possible, and as much the receiver will allow it.
If you are seeing this marketing automation example for the first time, I know it looks complicated. First of all, it seems more complex than it really is. Second, there are ways around that. You can start off with a very simple workflow AND, GetResponse support can assist you via chat WHILE you are creating your workflow! They can literally log into your workflow while you are creating it, and help you. This DOESN’T mean they will create it for you. But if you are stuck on attaching a message, or a tag or other action, you have someone to rely on.
The day I knew GetResponse was a keeper
I signed up for GetResponse for a year and paid around $500. We set everything up, my developer hooked up to their API, and we were adding people that signed up for WhoAPI. (That’s my SAAS company). After a month of automatic following up, one of the users replied, and quickly upgraded to our $499 / month plan. Truth be told, he canceled the subscription after the 3rd month, but we made more than enough money from that sequence. You may be thinking, how this client would have upgraded on his own without the marketing automation. But, are you prepared to gamble and leave it to chance? I am not.
Just ask yourself this. What business stands a better chance. The one that emails 1000 potential clients three times (sending 3000 messages), or the one that doesn’t email potential clients at all (sending 0 messages)? Can you even email 1000 potential clients with this $500 GetResponse package?
Here’s what you get for $482.16 ($40.18 / month on the yearly plan) — Autoresponders, landing pages, webinars for up to 100 attendees and marketing automation. Your list size can be up to 5000 emails. You can email those people as much as you want (the expense will not increase if you email them more often). You can also create as many landing pages as you want, and send as much traffic as you would like to them. Furthermore, these landing pages have SSL certificate by default, and we all know how important that is.
Now that I am thinking about, I see how this can turn into a giant “How to make money with GetResponse” post. So, in short, that’s it about GetResponse, off to the next tool!
Tool #2 – Great web hosting provider
Obviously, if you are going to make money with websites, you need a stable web hosting company to cater to your needs. Since I ran a small web hosting company for five years, I suppose I know a thing or two about web hosting. I’ve seen a lot of people recommend Bluehost, HostGator and GoDaddy (because of their fantastic affiliate commissions). I’ve seen enough bad reviews for these companies, and haven’t used them, so I can’t recommend them.
Which web hosting services am I using? Since I am more advanced of a user, I have a dedicated server that one of my team members is taking care of. We use hetzner.com, and I am happy with this company since I am using their services for almost a decade. Yes, that long. But I suppose, many of you won’t need a dedicated server at first, nor do you have the skills to manage it.
Share web hosting provider – GreenGeeks
Back in 2013, U.S. data centers consumed an estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, equivalent to the annual output of 34 large (500-megawatt) coal-fired power plants (source). That’s just the US, and that was six years ago. Globally, datacenter greenhouse gas emissions are larger than those of the entire airline industry. Furthermore, as you can see by this 2017 Greenpeace research, many of the most popular tech companies, websites and service providers are not Earth-friendly! You could be saying; green Internet doesn’t matter, it’s a small portion of the problem. Going vegan or at least eating more plant-based wouldn’t matter that much either. If I don’t recycle my trash, nobody will notice. The buck has to stop somewhere!
GreenGeeks is a great web hosting provider! They will transfer your website for free. They are more than affordable, and at the moment of this writing, they are running a massive discount! If you sign up for three years, it will cost you only $106.20! Depending on the size of your projects, this could potentially take care of all your web hosting needs. For this price, you can host unlimited domain names, and you get unlimited SSD disk. Software is updated regularly (for example PHP 7 at the moment, which is excellent for sites that are running on WordPress). As a bonus, you also get one free domain name registration.
One of the very few limitations that you have is the number of files. For example, you can upload 150,000 files on this package. Again, depending on the size of your project, but for an average WordPress website, that’s a lot. To give you an example, I’ve already uploaded two of my websites. And, when I say me, I really mean GreenGeeks, because they did all the work. With two websites, I am now at 27,000 files, out of 150,000. It looks like I will upload more websites to this web hosting account (that I paid 100 dollars for three years). And when I say I will upload, I really mean… Well, you get the picture. And they will migrate the website for free!
And don’t forget, GreenGeeks is one of the greenest web hosting providers out there! So if you intend to build an Internet Empire, as you should, be mindful of the Planet we are sharing with everybody else. If you want to learn more about GreenGeeks, you can read my review here.
Get your web hosting account at GreenGeeks.
Making money online is not a one trick pony. You could be doing it with a content website built on WordPress, selling ebooks, digital products like illustrations, and many other avenues. But what if you need more power, and you are building a SaaS company? Shared web hosting just won’t cut it. That’s why Webmaster.ninja and its infrastructure aren’t hosted on shared hosting. For our bigger need, we use Digital Ocean. I’ve met all the founders, and interviewed one of them. They are the real deal, and so is their company.
Digital Ocean lets you create virtual private servers so quickly, it’s ridiculous. For as low as $5 / month, you can spin a droplet, and you are on your way. Not as revolutionary as when they started, the SSD disk makes them incredibly fast, and the entire industry noticed this and jumped on the bandwagon. All of a sudden, no-one wants a non-SSD virtual private server.
Get your virtual private server at Digital Ocean.
Tool #3 a great domain registrar
If you are going to build your internet empire, you are going to need a provider that’s going to take care of you. I’ve written about this earlier, so if you want to know more behind my decision to support these companies, please read that article. Here, I will go rather swiftly and mention two companies that I use.
One thing before I proceed. I was a bit hesitant talking about domain registrars (because I keep my domain names there, and they are worth great deal to me). I didn’t want to give anyone any bright ideas. But after activating two-factor authentication I felt a bit more secure when it comes to breaking into my account. So both providers that I recommend (for different reasons) have two-factor authentication, and you should activate it!
Namebright charges $8.03 for a .com domain name
None of the domain registrars are perfect, but this one is the most affordable. This is the single biggest factor why I use them (especially for four-letter .com domain names that I own, and that don’t generate any income).
50 domain names X 10 years X $11 USD = $5,500
50 domain names X 10 years X $8.03 = $4,015
I probably don’t have to explain that I plan to have domain names longer than 10 years. Imagine how this feels if you have 100 domains or 200 domains? On the other hand, if you don’t really care about the $3 difference, but would like to see:
- Beautifully designed dashboard
- Many new domain extensions such as cafe, camp, club, tattoo, villas, ninja and many other
- Free whois privacy
- Advanced features
Get your domain name over at Uniregistry
.Com domain names are $10.88 (including renewals), and they have a VERY large selection of new gTLDs. Here it is in their own words.
Snap a .photo, maybe you have a .tattoo story you want to share, or perhaps you’re raving about a new .diet. With the new extensions you can really express yourself in ways you’ve never thought about. Welcome to the new wave—we’re Uniregistry.
Tool #4 WordPress
There are a ton of options on how you can build a website. You can read my review on Top 5 website builders here. I even wrote a head to head comparison between Squarespace and WordPress. So, as you can see, I’ve already given some thought to this. Why? Well, first of all, back in the day my company built more than 100 websites for various clients. And now, two of the largest website builders are using my SaaS. But, as much as I am tempted to use them, there’s a place for them, just as I explain in the article I just shared with you.
For me personally, the best solution is WordPress. Mostly because it gives me the freedom to create both simple and complex websites while keeping the budget low. And also, the amount off plugins and developer support is really high. If your concern is security, there are plenty of plugins that can help with that. I also take it a step further and task my team with upgrading our game. Besides, this whole game never ends, so you have to stay on top of your toes, there’s no workaround.
Tool #5 Grammarly Premium
Some of you probably noticed that English is not my first language. And I bet for the majority of the world it isn’t either. So, when we write (or check what our writers send us) we need help! I used to hire professional help via Fiverr and UpWork. Until I found Grammarly. Grammarly works both on PC and a Mac. You can also install it inside your Chrome and Firefox browser.
If you are writing a new blog post, an ebook, whitepaper, social media update or anything else, check it automatically with Grammarly. At $139.95 per year, it is definitely worth every penny! It’s like having a personal assistant that keeps correcting you! The only mistake I made here, is not installing this tool earlier.
I would have saved myself from a ton of embarrassment. Just because English is not your first language, it doesn’t mean you are ignorant, rude or inexperienced in writing. It also doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune each time you want to publish a blog post (or wait for the translator, proofreader to finish her job).
There is a free version of Grammarly that you can install. But, the premium version includes plagiarism detector, vocabulary suggestions, and advanced checks among other features. Either way, sign up below and improve your writing overnight.
Tool #6 KWFinder
How do you pick a niche for a good website? How do you check if a website, that you are considering for purchase, is ranking for some keywords in some countries (and if there are some hidden keyword opportunities)? And finally, how do you pick a keyword for your next blog post title? One answer is behind all those questions, and more! You do it by keyword research, and by finding keywords that are high in demand, with low competition. To test the tool you can use the search below.
Here in Webmaster.Ninja I wrote only about on-page optimization as if keyword research and other off-site SEO tactics are not necessary. Far from it. Find low competition keywords, and create content around those! One word of advice before you write an ebook based on one tool’s metric. These are not 100% accurate, and some experts consider them a waste of money. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. As website investors, webmasters or whatever you want to call us, we need some guidance and metrics. This is just one of them.
For a great KWFinder alternative, you can check out Long Tail Pro. Customers receive a 39% discount for a lifetime on any Long Tail Pro Annually Billed Plan. They are a pioneer in this field, and you can read an interview with their founder Spencer Haws here on Webmaster.ninja.
On the other hand, if you like KWFinder pricing (or their combination with their other tools) better, check them out here, or with a search below.
Tool #7 Bitrix24
Back in 2013 when my startup was falling apart and I had to cut down on pretty much everything, I decided I will stick to my guns no matter what. My productivity kicked into high-gear and in that process, I was looking for a Gantt chart tool. I found one, and I was already prepared to swipe my credit card when my productivity mode kicked in once again! I asked my self if there’s a free alternative?
So I googled “tool-name free alternative” and found Bitrix24. I quickly realized that Bitrix24 had so much more than a Gantt chart tool! I couldn’t believe this tool was free. So I started adding my tasks in there and loved it. My business showed little growth, and I agreed to take an angel investment. So I hired some help and added them to my Bitrix24 account. Inside we set tasks, chat, share files in an organized way. We rarely, if ever exchange emails.
My team is distributed and consist of freelancers, partners and a couple of full-time employees. Some of us log in every day, and some every week, depending on the work size. Since recently, even my accountant has access! I’ve been using Bitrix24 since 2013, and I love it. It’s a free tool that helped me grow my business.
Just one thing though. Bitrix24 is enterprise-class software with so much functionality your head could spin when you sign up for the first time.
Tool #8 YOAST SEO
In case you haven’t noticed it, I used Yoast SEO to help me write this blog post. Did you see this? Well, from the feedback I’ve got from readers, my articles improved once I started using Yoast SEO. Here’s the thing, it’s totally free, super easy to install, and instantly turns you into an SEO expert (well, almost) and a better writer. You simply have to follow the advice it gives you.
I already mentioned Yoast SEO twice on webmaster.ninja blog (tips for freelance writers and On-page SEO). I think this tool is so helpful that I created a video (you can watch it below) that explain what the tool does, and how it works. Yoast SEO is entirely free, but if you want some advanced features as well it costs €79 (around $88) per website.
Some of Yoast SEO advanced features are:
- keep an eye on your most important pages and warn you when these haven’t been updated for six months
- It doesn’t matter whether you know about robots.txt, .htaccess files, clean permalink URLs or sitemaps – Yoast SEO makes sure your technical configuration rolls out the red carpet for search engines.
- Get suggestions for links to other pages on your website, as you write.
- Round the clock email access to our wonderful and knowledgeable support team.
- Much more…
Tool #9 Webmaster.ninja
No surprise I was going to put our tools on the list, but it’s really true! I use webmaster.ninja on a daily basis!
Currently, I own dozens of small niche websites. And to keep track of all of their well being, it would usually cost a ton of money and time, but not with webmaster.ninja. For example, to monitor traffic I have Google Analytics installed in all my websites, and that’s not a surprise. But where Google Analytics traffic change notification falls short, I just log into webmaster.ninja. There I can quickly scroll through the list of my websites and I see if traffic is where it’s supposed to be.
Most of my websites are monetized with Google AdSense. Again, without logging into Google AdSense, I just scroll through my portfolio and see the revenue. Right away I know if something is off. Accompanied by those two numbers (traffic and AdSense revenue) I can see the website screenshot and confirm that the website is loading normally.
When I am not looking, I get email notifications when my domain name and SSL certificate are about to expire, even if the SSL is free. And we already know all the benefits of SSL certificate. If one of my websites goes down, I also get notified to my email. Another metric that is also very important is website speed. Inside webmaster.ninja there’s a tool that you can use to measure your speed, but also webmaster.ninja tracks your speed throughout the day, and notifies you if your website load speed slows down dramatically!
Anyway, I don’t want to go overboard, but there’s a lot more behind webmaster.ninja, and it really helps me manage my portfolio of websites so that I make sure they are generating revenue that they are supposed to generate!
In closing, besides these tools, there’s a lot more out there, that helps me make the money I am making with my websites. Most of those websites, I bought instead of building them from scratch. I’ve read a ton of books on investing, finances, online marketing, business, psychology, leadership and so on. I’ve met countless people by doing business internationally over more than a decade. The reason I am saying this is because I will be the first to admit that the tools listed here are not the final requirement for making money online. But, they will get you started.
It’s crucial to start!
Now when you are done reading this post. List 3 things that you know you should do in order to start your internet empire. They don’t have to be big things or hard things. Small wins are equally powerful in getting you started. So take out a piece of paper and a pen, and list 3 things.
It can be registering a domain name. Bidding on a website on some marketplace. Or perhaps optimizing your AdSense ads on one of your best performing websites. It could be reaching out to a potential writer for your blog. Anything really! Just think of 3 things that you were putting off for a while.
Once you have them listed, without thinking too much about it, go ahead and execute them. One by one, cross them off, and you are on your way. That’s my final advice for you here today.
After publishing You can have absolutely anything part 1, I’ve shared it with some of my friends, peers and business partners. Some of them wanted to talk more about the topics and ideas I presented. Some of their comments blew my mind, and some of them made me realize I need to expand my first post. The post I published had more than 4000 words, and I touched on some topics that could have as much text as that entire first post (which could easily be turned into a workshop). I had to cut corners somewhere.
So, I’ve updated that post and decided to write about one key breakthrough I’ve head a year ago. I think it is an essential part of the “You can have absolutely anything” mindset.
“There is no spoon”, or problems
I was reading a book How to think like an Einstein by Scott D. Thorpe and the number one realization by far I got from that simple book is that problems don’t exist. Trust me, I totally understand it’s extremely hard to wrap your head around that idea, especially after years and probably decades of hating problems. What helped me is the fact that I read a lot of books so I am used to finding outrageous ideas. Let me explain what do I mean by “Problems don’t exist”.
Problem is a word or a concept that humans created in order to better explain something as an obstacle. Something that is getting in a way, and stopping us in achieving something we want. In return, we use this term each time we want to feel sorry for ourselves or put on a disempowering position. This could happen with our finances, romance, friendship, business, health, anywhere. Furthermore, “a problem” is defined by the person experiencing this “situation”. We all like black and white distinctions, it’s easier for the brain. Good situation, no problem. Bad situation, problem. This is how we subjectively perceive things and situations that we are in. I say subjectively because something that is a huge problem for you (OMG car problems, I don’t have $100 to fix my car) is not a problem for Bill Gates. This works even if you are not Bill Gates. OMG, my faucet is leaking like crazy, what am I supposed to do now? Plumber: Oh, a faucet is leaking, no problem.
Let me ask you this, have you ever thought something was great, and then later, that great thing turned into an extremely bad thing? A good friend becomes deceitful and stabs you in the back, for example? Or have you ever had a problem in your business, solved it, and got $10,000 because of it? Was it really a problem if you got $10,000 afterwards? As you’ve seen in the first post, someone with an “acne problem” is now making thousands of dollars because of this “problem”. Some of you are screaming, that wasn’t a problem, that was an opportunity? Oh, was it really?
…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
— William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Einstein’s greatest discovery wasn’t E=MC²
I always love to make a Matrix movie analogy, so here’s another one. You know that scene at the end of the movie (The Matrix) when Neo dies, and then Trinity does this monologue where she explains how the Oracle told her she would fall in love with the dead man, and that the dead man would be the one? Further explaining how Neo can’t really be dead because he is the one.
It’s the same with problems! If a problem leads you down a path where you make a $10,000 it’s not really a problem. The trick here and this is where Einstein was a genius, is to figure out how to turn a problem upside down. He would ask himself crazy questions like “What would happen if I ride a beam of light?” He tried to picture (some call this visualization) what it would be like to travel so fast that you caught up with a light beam. If he rode alongside it, he later wrote, “I should observe such a beam of light as an electromagnetic field at rest.”
Yes, E=Mc² is one of the most important discoveries of mankind. But, to realize nobody has problems? This is something absolutely everybody can use every single day of their life! I’ve always been a practical man. Spacetime sounds super exciting to me, but that doesn’t move my life at all. Having a radically different belief about problems, and turning them upside down, does move my life.
Why are questions important?
The questions we constantly ask ourselves is how we evaluate current situations. Sometimes, we are not even aware of the questions we are asking ourselves! You probably heard it a million times. “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.“. Why not? That is a great question to ask yourself when you are in a tough situation.
Ben Horowitz in his book Hard Thing About the Hard Things told a story where he found himself asking a different question, that ultimately leads him down a very different road. First, he asked a disempowering question, the one we all asked at least a hundred times in our lives. “What is the worst thing that could happen?”. Since our brain is like a missile seeking mechanism, it will be able to cook up such horrible situations that the movie Halloween will feel like a comedy. The worst thing that could happen, at least he thought so, was to go bankrupt.
But then he got smart and asked a different question. If we go bankrupt what would I do then? He then had an idea about a software company. This leads him to another great question. How can we do that, without going bankrupt?
How to yay without boo?
This reminds me of one of the best titles in Internet Marketing history. At least according to Frank Kern in his book Convert. Essentially you want to present your clients with a great benefit (that’s the yay) without the biggest pain (for all you that are keeping score, that’s the boo). Imagine headlines like “How to get the latest iPhone, for the fraction of the full price?”, How to grow a million dollar business, without losing your family? How do I keep track of all my websites, without spending a fortune on monitoring?
Instead of just using this question to create compelling titles, you can use it to solve your challenges. When presented with a problem, ask yourself, how do I yay, without boo?
Here are 10 more challenging questions for you
- If I had an eyesight problem and couldn’t use the computer for a month, how would I work?
- If I was diagnosed with some weird medical condition, and could only work a couple of hours per day, what would I work on?
- If I was diagnosed with some weird medical condition, how would that change my diet? (I watched Super Size Me last night, definitely consider this question)
- If there was a war in my country, what would I do to save my business?
- If I sold 10 things I don’t use (stored in the closet somewhere), what would I do with that money?
- If I had to pick only one action that I am currently doing, in order to save my business, what would it be?
- If I have $100 million dollars, what kind of a project would I start?
- If I have only 6 months of life left, would I still live like this?
- If this same thing / person / situation keeps happening for the next 10 years, would I still mind?
- Which millionaire habit can I easily replicate and repeat every day?
I just finished reading “The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan” and within that books lies a single question that could change your life, if you answer it with your actions appropriately.
What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
Have this question in your mind when you are starting your day in the morning or when you are planning your week. Sooner or later, the dominos will start to fall.“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” -- VoltaireClick To Tweet
The story of a farmer
If you are into Zen or to be precise Taoism (which shaped Zen), you probably heard of the “Who knows what is good, and who knows what is bad” story. This traditional Taoist story illustrates it’s teachings.
“When an old farmer’s stallion wins a prize at a country show, his neighbour calls round to congratulate him, but the old farmer says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
The next day some thieves come and steal his valuable animal. His neighbour comes to commiserate with him, but the old man replies, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
A few days later the spirited stallion escapes from the thieves and joins a herd of wild mares, leading them back to the farm. The neighbour calls to share the farmer’s joy, but the farmer says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
The following day, while trying to break in one of the mares, the farmer’s son is thrown and fractures his leg. The neighbour calls to share the farmer’s sorrow, but the old man’s attitude remains the same as before.
The following week the army passes by, forcibly conscripting soldiers for the war, but they do not take the farmer’s son because he cannot walk.
The neighbour thinks to himself, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” and realizes that the old farmer must be a Taoist sage. ”
The one takeaway from this article
If you remember one thing from this post, let it be this. Destroy your limiting belief that “problems” are a bad thing. You can call it optimism or overly-simplistic, but find the strength in your heart or intelligence to ignore your old belief and install this new one. If you practice any religion, trust this force and path set in front of you and make the most of it.
With decisions like this, you will start a new journey. You will create the proverbial lemonade, even if life, God, Universe or whatever you believe, will send you lemons. I don’t have scientific evidence to back this up, but I am talking from my own experience. I am sure you can relate to this on some level.
It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.
— Tony Robbins
Speaking of Tony Robbins, here’s a great excerpt from his book Awaken the Giant Within, that further illustrates this point.
I discovered that I had a belief that was underemployed. It was the belief “There’s always a way to turn things around if I’m committed.” When I look at my beliefs, I thought, “This is a belief that needs to be strengthened and turned into a conviction.” I’m so glad I did because only about a year later that conviction was a life preserver that pulled me through one of the toughest times, a time when everything around me seemed to be sinking. Not only did it buoy my spirit, but it also helped me deal with one of the most difficult personal and business challenges I had yet faced. This one belief, this sense of certainty, enabled me to find ways to turn things around when everybody around me said it couldn’t be done. I not only turned things around, but I also turned my biggest challenges into my biggest opportunities – and so can you!
Donkey in the well
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried terribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off again and take another a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
Moral of the story: Life is going to shovel dirt on you. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles (or as some call them problems) is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up. ~Source~
Why is this important for making money online?
If you read the first part of You can have absolutely anything you saw that I proposed some outrageous ideas myself. Ideas like making $17.857 every month. On your journey, you are going to experience a lot of these “who knows what is good and what is bad” situations. You are going to experience a lot of, to use your old vocabulary … problems.
“Six thousand years of recorded history reads like this: opportunity mixed with difficulty. It isn’t going to change. ‘So,’ you ask, ‘how will my life change?’ When you change!”
— Jim Rohn
In the past Chinese word for “crisis” was mistranslated. For decades people were saying that in the Chinese language, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity. Now, we learned it literally means “danger at a point of juncture“. Juncture? Could be good, could be bad? Who gets to decide if a crisis becomes good or bad? If you ask Joe Dispenza, we are the ones who get to decide! We are the ones who create our future.
Why am I mentioning Dr Joe Dispenza and changing myself? Well, as you’ve seen with the word problem, we are the ones who define what this situation a.k.a. problem means. Is it an opportunity, or a problem? If you want to make the $17.857 every month, you literally have to change. Or as Dr Joe Dispenza would say, you have to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One. You have to change your perception, your skillset, the people you spend time with.
Let that sink in for a while.
Problems are opportunities, now what?
Horses, donkeys, problems, I thought this blog was about becoming an internet entrepreneur!? If that’s what you are thinking keep reading, you still have to learn a lot. Here’s the thing. Making money online is simple. Just like losing weight. Eat a plant-based diet, drink a lot of water, avoid ingesting everything else and exercise for 30 minutes three times a week. That’s it! The global wellness market is the size of about $4.2 trillion but at the same time, it fits into that sentence. So until you get your head straight on what’s possible and what YOU can achieve, there’s no point in trying something. You are just going to look for reasons why you are going to fail!
I am too old. I already have a job. I don’t have enough money. I failed a dozen times. I tried this already. AdSense is dead. Money is in the crypto. Crypto is dead. Flash games are dead. Flash is a dead technology. Affiliate marketing is a scam. This is a scam. You are a scam. I got scammed. I am tired. I have two kids. I am single. Fill in the blank. So, how do you move away from there? You have to ask yourself better questions, and as I mentioned in my last post, you just have to have a reason that moves you.
No problem! How do I make money with my websites?
I’ve listened to dozens of podcast episodes, watched dozens of youtube videos, talked with dozens of internet millionaires, I’ve read dozens of blog posts and countless other things. They all say pretty much the same thing. Earlier I gave you the recipe for losing weight, here’s the recipe for making money with your websites.
- Find a niche that is growing, not dying
- Find keywords with low competition, but at least some search traffic
- Hire writers and other content creators to create content that’s better than the current best content for those keywords
- Promote that content in any way possible
- Be patient and track your progress (everything needs time to grow)
- Rinse and repeat
- Bonus: Split test your call to action, and optimize
Is this simple? Yes. Is it easy? Probably not, at least not for the majority of people. Particularly early on, when you have to take a leap of faith and put in the work without any promise of getting paid. In Napoleon Hill’s book The Law of Success there are 15 lessons that will ultimately lead you to success. Lesson number eight is the habit of doing more than paid for. In case you decide to dive into this book, a little warning. This is a giant 640 pages book, formerly a series of eight books, now combined. I am on page 408 myself, so I haven’t read it yet. But I did pass lesson 8. I live to tell the tale.
There are ten weaknesses agains which most of us must guard ourselves. One of these is the the habit of trying to reap before we have sown, and the other nine are all wrapped up in the one practice of creating alibis to cover every mistake made.
— Napoleon Hill
This weakness has been one of my biggest problems as well. Bane (from the movie The Dark Night Rises) would say that “Victory has defeated you”. As soon as you start making some money, you start disliking work without any promise of monetary reward. You start thinking “why do this if there’s no guaranteed reward?”. Why create content for free, when I already get paid to do my job? That my friend is the wrong question to ask yourself. Do you see how ONE wrong question can jeopardize your entire success?
How do you break out of that?
One step at the time
In case you are over-whelmed or under-motivated, just take one step at a time. Register a domain name (here’s the best place to register a domain name), set up some web hosting and follow the steps from there. Yes, you can first do some keyword research and decide on the niche you want to get into. But if you are suffering from analysis paralysis, just start doing something and course-correct along the way.
As for me, I have to wrap this post up and do some work myself. See you soon!
Starting a blog post, or anything for that matter is very hard. There’s this blank white space, an open void if you will, and you have to make something out of it. But sometimes you “just see it”, for lack of a better word. Many simplify this vision and call it inspiration while Michelangelo, among many things, had this great quote that sums it up:
“The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”
Before you shut me down, I’ll point out immediately that in order to get absolutely anything, you still need to work very hard. Sometimes, for some things, extremely hard. Michelangelo didn’t say “I imagine, and the statue of David appears”. He specifically said, “I just have to chisel away”. And chisel away he did because chiselling is what he does best. Before I turn this into another Michelangelo post let me explain what I mean by “You can have absolutely anything”.
Simple brainstorming task that has the power to improve your life
Pull out a sheet of paper, or open a notepad on your computer. You can do this after you read this post, or you can do it simultaneously and double check my logic on this. Here’s what you need to do, list all the things you want in your life. I am not kidding, list absolutely everything you want to purchase in your life.
You know the drill, you rub the lamp, a genie appears and grants you three wishes. Your first wish is that, you can have infinite wishes. And then you go on to create your list of things that are about to come to life.
You can list free stuff (like eat more plant-based food), but these things you can afford right now. I want you to list stuff you think you can’t afford. Here’s my list to start your juices flowing. If you don’t like my list, just skip it, and create YOUR perfect list!
- Spend three weeks in Paris (Louvre, Mona Lisa Eifel tower, Notre Damme, Le Parc des Princes, Champs-Élysées)
- Visit Pisa (Leaning Tower)
- Spend three weeks in Rome (Colosseum, Pantheon)
- Spend three weeks in Barcelona (Camp Nou, La Sagrada Familia, La Rambla)
- Spend a month in Alicante (visit friends) and visit Benidorm (high skyscrapers, long beach) and Valencia (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias): COMPLETED
- Spend a month in Maldives (palms, sandy beaches, bungalows)
- Spend a month in Australia (Sydney Opera, friends and clients in Melbourne, Golden Coast)
- Visit Tokyo (Shibuya, Shinkansen)
- Spend a month in the Caribean (avoid winter in Croatia)
- Spend a month in Cancun, Mexico (avoid winter in Croatia)
- See the Niagra falls
- See the Grand Canyon
- See the Great Pyramid of Giza
- Spend a month on New Zealand (Bay of Plenty, Tauranga, Auckland Sky Tower, whale watching, Lord of the Rings filming locations)
- Visit Rio de Janeiro (Maracana, Christ the Redeemer, Copacabana)
- Visit Venice (Piazza San Marco, Grand Canal, Vitruvian Man)
- Visit Milano (The Last Supper, San Siro, New Starbucks)
- Visit Athens (Parthenon)
- Spend two weeks in Florence (Statue of David, Uffizi gallery, Piazza del Duomo): COMPLETED
- Live 4 months in Silicon Valley (Google campus, Twitter HQ, Golden Gate Bridge): COMPLETED
- Visit New York (Manhattan): COMPLETED
- Spend two weeks in London (London Eye, The Shard, first time in an Apple store, Gunners Museum, Zoo): COMPLETED
- Visit Berlin: COMPLETED
- Spend a week in Prague: COMPLETED
The secret to living is giving. Success, without fulfilment, is the ultimate failure.
— Tony Robbins
I think it’s going to be a while until you find wiser words than those of Tony Robbins. So, let’s create a list where we give.
The secret to living is giving – list
- Renovate my parents and my fiance’s parent’s houses
- Promote a vegan lifestyle (for example, own a website with 10,000 hits/day)
- Sponsor a major vegan event with $10,000
- Sponsor a major sporting event with $10,000
- Sponsor a major startup event with $10,000
- Give 10,000 books
- Sponsor an anti-alcoholic association with $10,000
- Sponsor an anti-tobacco association with $10,000
- Sponsor a pro water/tea/juicer association with $10,000
- Donate to a local animal shelter with $10,000
- Donate to a local retirement home with $10,000
- Promote renewable sources of energy
- Give $10,000 to every single close family member
This list is quickly growing, and I am sure you are getting the hang of this. Now let’s create a list that will help finance your list. A business list. I am very sad to report, but I am obliged to provide full disclosure, my investors still haven’t seen any returns on my main business, so I have to start there in my business list.
- Return $250,000 to my investors
- Own $100,000 worth of stocks that pay dividends
- Own $750,000 worth of real estate (for living and renting)
- Collect $1,500 per month from real estate renting
- Own websites that make $10.000 / month
- Own SaaS that makes $10.000 / month
- Own a brick and mortar business with $5,000 / month in profits
- Make $5000 / month with courses and ebooks
- Own a house on the beach
- Fancy sports car (Race red Ford Mustang, Tesla Roadster)
- Fancy jewelry, tech equipment, nice clothes
- Rent a yacht with a jet ski for two weeks every summer
- Rent a log house for a month during winter
I also have other lists that consist of goals like (eat plant-based food, work out 3 times per week, learn Spanish, overcome depression, write a best-seller) but these don’t require any money per se. So we don’t need to include them here in this particular exercise.
How much does all this really cost?
I am not going to take the “Timothy Ferris” route and tell you to get a big loan or rent the villa or lease the car just so that you can experience this right away. I am also not going to take the Robert Kiyosaki route and tell you to get a loan to buy an asset that will create the cash flow that then pays for all that stuff. (Which is a great idea, BTW). And no, I am not going to tell you to eat rice and beans, beans and rice for 30 years, as Dave Ramsey does, so that then maybe you can one day finally get the stuff on your list. All great advice, but I like mine much more and besides, in some cases, one does not exclude the other.
Also, nothing wrong with combining these approaches. You can still be vigilant with paying of your debts (Ramsey), get a loan in order to purchase your new cash flow (Kiyosaki), for example a website. And every now and then (until you can really afford to), get a cheap deal in order to travel abroad or sell some old stuff in order to buy a nice car (Ferris). Just don’t lease it, because that would contradict Ramsey.
You need to increase your income, and then invest that income into creating new streams of income.
We need to put a $ sign on every item on this list. For me, a trip to Venice is cheap, but a month in New Zealand for me and my love would probably cost around $6,000. The flight tickets are around $2,500, Airbnb around $1,500, food for a month I suppose around $500 and everything else would squeeze into $1,500. Have you noticed how I am not “cheating” like Timothy Ferriss by saying that the flight tickets are $100 because of XYZ? This is a legit, full-price that I found in March 2019. Surely I can try to get a better deal but for this particular exercise, I don’t have to. Let’s not waste time while gaining momentum. You can research in detail later.
Your dream beach house, log house or penthouse, your fancy sports car, or a yacht are the biggest purchases. But even with those, I am willing to bet that your total would fall at around $1,500,000 dollars. This sum largely depends on the biggest item (house, or should I say villa). And the price of the villa largely depends on it’s location. You wouldn’t believe the villa you can get on an island in the Adriatic for $750.000 but this same villa in La Jolla California might as well be 3X this price.
Also worth noting is this spectacular list wouldn’t include owning a house on each continent (in my opinion idiotic move unless they are generating cash-flow) or owning a 100 feet (30m) yacht. You rent a yacht for two-three weeks and move on! Trust me, you do not want to own and take care of your yacht for 365 days, so that you could use it for 21 days. It’s just wasteful, it cost to much, and besides, this way, you can rent a different boat, in a different location, every summer.
$1,500,000 really? Now what?
My freak list above falls in that range. If you remove the item “Own $750,000 worth of real estate (for living and renting)”then it falls under the one million mark. Even if you donated 10% of all your funds ($150,000) you could practically see all the major sights in the world, help everybody you hold near and dear, and buy all the toys you can think of.
So, now that we’ve hopefully established that you don’t need a billion dollars or $100,000,000 dollars or even $10,000,000, let’s get to the other part. How do we get those $1,500,000? More importantly, how long will it take us to reach this goal? Yes, that is the hard part, especially if you consider that in United States which is considered one of the richest countries in the world majority of people barely have $1000 saved, and are making less then $60,000 per year.
Even if no one else sees it for me, I must see it for myself.
— Les Brown
Can you wait 7 years for everything you ever wished for?
Let’s divide $1,500,000 with 84 months (7 years). We get $17.857 every month. In theory, that’s the monthly cash flow that’s required in order to fund your list. Before you start booing and close this tab, give me a chance to open your eyes. What have you got to lose? First of all, this is not 70 years, it’s 7 years. Some people go to college that takes 7 years to finish. If you are 25, you could be 32 by the time you are done. If you are 50, you could be 57. As one of my favourite quotes goes…
Time not important. Only life important.
— The Mondoshawan
If you are still with me, you are probably curious. So, how do we create $17.857 every month? I am glad you asked. Here we go!
Multiple streams of income
If like me you have an extremely capable spouse, it’s easier to create multiple streams of income, but also, everything has more sense. So I suppose if you lack in that department, step #0 would be, find someone who completes you. Find someone where 1 + 1 = 3. I don’t want to give marriage advice, so I’ll proceed like you are Han Solo. Well, Han Solo, if there were two of you, you could immediately split the $17.857 in two and you would have to figure out only $8.928 per month. Haha! All joking aside, finding good people (like employees) is going to be a tough challenge for most. But Mr. Solo, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, and proceed one step at a time.
Let’s create another list, shall we? Let’s create a list of potential streams of income. While you are making your list, have in mind that my list might be slightly different depending on the skillset, amount of money you are able to invest, and other factors.
Income stream #1
10 websites, each making $1,000 per month. They are mostly passive in nature, generating income through:
- Google AdSense,
- Amazon Associate,
- various ad networks such as: MGiD, Content Ad, AdNow, Media.net, and many other
- various affiliate marketplaces: Awin, CJ affiliate, Impact and many other
- direct affiliate deals (like the ClickFunnels 40% on all recurring payments)
- Sponsored articles, banner ads, backlinks.
Income stream #2
2 SaaS websites, one making $8,000 per month, while the other is making $2,000 per month. Software as a service is popular because it provides the business with something everybody is craving. Recurring revenue. These are mostly monthly and sometimes annual payments from other companies that use your software. More on this below when I show you some examples.
Income stream #3
Stock illustrations, photos and graphic art being sold on various marketplaces and on website you own. Let’s say that you are making between $500 and $1000 on each of them. As you can see, by this example (at the moment making $3000 per month from Ukraine).
- Creative Market
- Adobe Stock (ex Fotolia)
- Getty Images
Various additional income streams #4
I understand you are not a superman. So I suppose you are going to have only 2-3 major sources of income, and then a few smaller, passive streams. Some might be your “failed attempts” or streams you left to die out but are still bringing in some money. Or some new attempts, that could in time switch into your main stream of income.
Also, I’ve listed more streams of income in order to open your eyes to the possibility. If you like to take photos, use that skillset. If you know how to design or illustrate, do that! If you like to write content, then write content. If you know how to teach, then teach! On top of that, learn new skillsets, and improve the ones you already have.
Here are a few of potential additional income streams we haven’t talked about:
- Selling Ebooks
- Selling games for mobile phones (App store)
- Selling courses
- Widgets, plugins, downloadable software
- Renting out a small apartment or house
- Small store around the corner
- FBA store or drop shipping website
- Dividend payouts from stocks
“Home Depot (HD), Garmin (GRMN), Sysco (SYY), Corning (GLW) and Union Pacific (UNP) rank among the best dividend stocks in 2019, marrying solid yields to strong recent performance. Top dividend stocks give a powerful boost to income and retirement portfolios.” Source: investors.com – Best Dividend Stocks In 2019: 5 High-Yield Stocks Beating The S&P 500
As you can see from the income stream list above, many of these have the ability to cover a large portion of the $17.857. Some require more work (or chiseling as Michelangelo would say) and some require a large investment. Is it possible to accomplish this without a large investment? Well, you then need to be resourceful and it is probably going to take you more time. It is the old adage, do I buy a website for $10,000 that’s making $500 per month, or do I build it from scratch?
Which kind of brings us to the issue at hand. If you are still reading this text, but you are thinking: I am not a developer, or I don’t have any money to invest, I don’t know how to sell, I am not a good writer, I am not a designer, there is a solution for each of those problems.
You have to get good at something. Some people are great at watching Netflix and eating popcorn. Yes or yes? Find your rock (your reason, your why), and start “chiseling away”. As you will see below, you don’t have to find the cure for cancer, but you have to give a solution to at least a small group of people. If you sell a $100 worth of products every day for 10 years, that’s $365,000. Do you think this could be done in an automated way with a website and other software? Absolutely!
Is it really possible? Examples!
Spoiler alert, I am personally not there yet. As you can see in my list, my company owes $250,000 to their investors. But I am on this “7-year journey” I mentioned earlier. I already crossed off a few things on my list (many not included here), I am making solid income and so is my spouse. We do so with different streams of income. But more importantly, I sincerely believe this is possible! I was sitting in a beautiful old town square, on an island, overlooking the Adriatic, with our apartment (my spouse and I literally just bought it) just around the corner… I realized this list was possible! I was literally floored. I couldn’t stop talking to my fiancee, and so this post was written because I had to share this with everybody.
In the following examples I want to show you that you do not need to “create a cure for cancer”, you don’t need to be “Elon Musk and run Tesla” you don’t need to “win the lottery” you don’t need to cheat on taxes, you don’t need to “live in America”, and my personal favorite, you don’t have to be Steve Jobs and invent the iPhone. None of that!
In theory, it works, here’s the math
Check this out. If you have a website that is making $3.33 dollars per day, and you buy or build 100 of such small niche websites, you should be a millionaire in less than a decade, just from those websites.
$3.33 X 30 days = $100 per month. $100 profit X 100 websites = $10,000 per month. $10,000 X 120 months = $1,200,000.
The question is then obvious. Is it possible to buy or build and manage 100 websites that make a modest profit of $100 per month? You can play with this in numerous ways. You can own 200 websites making only $50 a month, or own 50 websites that make $200 per month. On the other hand if $100 per month doesn’t excite you, here’s a different approach you can take.
Buying up websites, until you become a millionaire
You buy a website that’s making $1,000 per month. Current market conditions show that you should be able to get one for $24,000 (approximately). After 6 months you should recoup your $6,000, and you buy another website for $24,000, and this one is also making $1,000 per month. You repeat the process 5 times, until you have 5 websites making a total of $5,000 per month. In 36 months you should recoup all your investments, and after that, sky is the limit. With the $5,000 per month in 5 years (60 months) you should be $300,000 in the plus.
If you want to learn where are the marketplaces where you can find websites that are making money, check the list of marketplaces I gathered for you in that post. These kinds of opportunities don’t jump out of the hat every day (approximately $24,000 for a website that is making $1,000) but it is possible if you work hard to find them and negotiate them. Negotiating is a skill, just like playing Angry Birds or Fortnite. But, back to finding great deals, years go by, Google updates happen, new opportunities come and go, so in order to keep or perhaps even grow the $1,000 / month income over the years, you need to put in the work.
Examples of online entrepreneurs that are on the right track
So, let me show you a few examples. I am in no way connected to these people, I just used Google and found out about their success. Furthermore, these examples are not from buying websites. These are combinations of SaaS, niche websites, blogs and other streams of income. If you are an expert in real estate, certainly you can make that happen. I am an internet entrepreneur, so I stick with that. Plus, houses and appartments are fixed in one location and I love being location independent.
- Frances Kerr is making anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000 a month with her acne blog. This is probably her main income strean, and she probably has others (or should).
- Lance Nelson is making $5,600 with a blog about a ski resort in Bulgaria. Not Cortina d’Ampezzo, not Rocky Mountains. Bulgaria. Not 5,600 Bulgarian Levs, it’s $5,600 USD or to be exact around 60,000 Euros per year. Do you think you could run 3 websites like that and make $17.857 per month?
- Mitch Colleran created a SaaS called Join It. As of December 2018, Join It is making $18,000/month and growing. They didn’t get any investor funding. It’s a small company and you probably never heard of them, but they are helping organizations sell and track their memberships by automating repetitive tasks. Mitch is on his way.
- Early in 2019 Scribly.io topped $14K in monthly revenue. Daniella Mancini is a first-time entrepreneur with a fairly eclectic background. Scribly.io. delivers a subscription-based copywriting to help businesses scale, at roughly 50% of the cost of hiring in-house. It is like an agency redefined for the 21st century. They are fully remote, deliver 24 hours a day, seven days a week (thanks to having writers in almost every timezone).
Let’s take a quick break and remind ourselves that it is not important if these people had their success 5 years or 5 months ago. It is not important if these people reinvest 100% of their profits or if their revenue is much higher than the profits. These examples serve the purpose of showing us that it is possible. With a few changes, productivity hacks, or a couple more years (let’s say it’s going to take 9 years instead of 7 years) it will happen. And that’s what’s the most important thing here.
Furthermore, I am deliberately avoiding smashing success stories where single business owners are making six figures in a single month or small business that are making $347,000 per employee or What’s app being acquired for more than $1 billion. You can’t control that kind of success. So let’s see a few more examples in the $10k / month range.
- Back in 2014 we saw that Chris Guthrie was making $12,000 from his FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) business.
- Another Amazon FBA example is with Jon Haver. He was making $15,000 per month, and also supplementing his income, with an additional SaaS stream. As it often happens, this SaaS is for a business that make money with FBA. This is a great example of how to create additional streams of income by combining existing ones. Read about it, or listen to his story on the Niche Pursuits podcast.
Speaking of Jon Haver, he is a great example of how it’s done. He set a goal for himself, documented it, and arrived there ahead of schedule. Lucky for us, he did it publicly and below you can see the graph. There you go, Jon made it in 3 years instead of 7.
List of successful bloggers, some are making millions
In case that didn’t do for you I found a great, condensed list of 104 bloggers. They reveal their income, and you will not be disappointed. Andy over at Focus and Grow Rich created this amazing list of successful bloggers. Be sure to check it out here! You will see some absurd numbers where some are making millions of dollars per year. While some have a nice combination of AdSense, affiliate marketing and their own products making very decent figures.
And the best thing about this idea is cash flow
In case you missed the general idea here’s a simple summary with a three-step process.
- Step 1: List everything you want from life and put a dollar tag on it
- Step 2: Figure out an exact amount of money you need, and divide this number by a certain number of months (example 84 months is 7 years)
- Step 3: List potential streams of income that could build the monthly income you require for this goal, and most importantly start executing!
This also brings me to the best thing about this whole idea. No, the best thing is not the fact you do not have to wait for 30, 60 or more years to have absolutely everything you ever dreamed of. And no, the best thing is not the fact you need 100 million or even 10 million dollars. And, once again, no, the best thing is not that you don’t have to be Steve Jobs in order to achieve all this.
Is it the fact you are working on something you are passionate about? No. How about the fact you are your own boss, and you get to chose your working hours and location independence? Not even that.
The best thing with having solid cash flow (my example was set at $17,857) is once you reach that $1.5 million and spend / invest / give it all away, the money keeps coming. So in the next 7 years, when you get another 1.5 million what do you do with that?
Do you do it all over again? Do you find new ways? By then, I am sure you will figure it out. It could be that you will need a bigger vision. But that’s a topic for another time. For now, I am here just to open the door for you. Good luck!
After publishing You can have absolutely anything part 1, I’ve shared it with some of my friends, peers and business partners. Some of them wanted to talk more about the topics and ideas I presented. Some of their comments blew my mind, and some of them made me realize I need to expand my first post. The post I published had more than 4000 words, and I touched on some topics that could have as much text as that entire first post (which could easily be turned into a workshop). I had to cut corners somewhere.
You can have absolutely anything [Q&A]
1. Why 10 websites or 100 websites? Why not just 1 website that makes $20,000 every month?
If you can create a website that is making $20,000 every month, you absolutely should. Here are a few reasons why more than one website might be a better approach.
- Traffic diversification – One website can depend on traffic from Google, other from social media, other from paid traffic, other from large email list, etc.
- Niche diversification – One website can be in health niche, other in tech niche, other in games, and another in finance. Or even smaller niche diversification. One website can be about tea, one about protein powder, one about workouts, one about living a healthy lifestyle. It all depends on the market size.
- Monetization diversification – One website can bring in revenue from Ad networks such as AdSense, another from Amazon Associates, other from paid content, other from affiliate commissions, and so on
- In my opinion, it is easier to create 10 small websites (around $1,000 per month) in 10 different niches, than to achieve moderate success in a single niche (1 website making $10,000 per month)
- Today it is not as hard as before to manage 10 or 20 websites. Hint, hint, webmaster.ninja can help
- This is not a black and white thing. You can start 20 websites, with one of them you hit a gold nerve, and that one goes on to make $10,000 per month. You shut down 10 of them that didn’t make it. You are now left with 1 great website, and 9 small websites. In a few years, market conditions can change, and revenue changes.
Another advantage of having multiple websites instead of one is you can avoid seasonality or take advantage of it. If you have one great website that is in the tourist industry, chances are it’s probably going to bring in revenue April-November (may wary depending on location and other factors). Another examples could be if you have a website that spikes only during the holidays. That’s great, but instead of resting in the off-season, how about building or buying another website?
Lastly, writing, promoting or working on a single website becomes tedious in a year. Or two, or five, or ten years. Depending on your character or work that’s involved in the project. I am sure that you have several passions or at least interests in your life. If you like movies, maybe you also like photography? If you like soccer, maybe you like another sport as well? If you like skiing, maybe you also like snowboarding? It’s confusing for people and Google if your website is about psychology, personal finance, marketing, startups, business, Croatia, vegan diet, soccer, games, men jewelry… Do you see where I am going with this?
2. You haven’t written anything about hiring the right people?
That’s a great point! Having the right employees, partners, investors is maybe the most critical aspect of this concept. If you don’t have the right people surrounding you, you can forget it. I remember paying a thousand dollars to several developers each to finish 1 / 100 (that’s one out of one hundred) part of a large task. There were 4 developers, so they would essentially just scratch the surface, but we wanted to start this project. That’s what the CTO explained to me is how it is supposed to be done. Eventually, we ran out of money and the task never got completed.
Years later I hired another developer, but this time entire project was finished in about a couple of weeks for two thousand dollars total (and I gave him a large bonus on top of that). That’s the power of the right people. More work in less time for less money. Before you go on blaming other people, remember one thing. Hiring the right people starts with yourself. You first have to hire yourself. If you are not good enough for the job (that pays $17,857 per month) you have to improve your skills first!
3. What about other investment vehicles such as renting real estates or REIT?
Honestly, I don’t have experience with that industry, but I do know a little math. If I have to spend $100,000 on an apartment that will bring me $10,000 every year I am not going to be as satisfied if I spend $100,000 on a website that is making $40,000 in a year. Especially if I consider my skillset and connections. I don’t know any electricians, but in the past I ran a small web hosting business. I don’t know how to change the windows or a faucet, but I do know how to do SEO. See where I am going with this? Essentially, I am talking about risk, which I cover in the next question.
Another reason why I am not super excited about real estate is location independence. My home country was involved in a raging war in the nineties. I was a kid then, and ever since I have this little thought in my head that says, war is possible. If you are living in Florida, that’s probably not an issue, but for many people it is.
As far as REITs go, my friend shared an old post, written by Mr. Money Mustache. In case you never heard of MMM, I highly recommend some of his materials on personal finance and investing!
Besides real estates you could also get dividends from stock, start a part time business with a partner, invest in cryptocurrency (that’s the latest trend) and there are many other opportunities. I like investing in websites because the barrier to entry is really low (for a s low as $500 you can get your feet wet), but, you could also buy a website for several million dollars. In most cases it is location independent, and you don’t have to rely solely on local talent. Furthermore, work can be easily outsourced. Another thing that’s very important for me personally, is that my core competency is within this industry, so it’s ideal for me. If you have web design, web hosting or digital marketing skills, it could be ideal for you too!
4. You haven’t talked about risk? Isn’t there any risk involved?
Unfortunately, I should have mentioned this. Luckily I get to post another blog article. With your skills and connections, your risk goes down (check question before). In the first post I share a simple formula where you buy 5 websites making $1,000 each. This formula is theoretical, it’s like saying “If I capture 1% of our market, I’ll be rich”. Sure, but capturing 1% in some markets is practically impossible. Lucky for us, buying 5 websites making $1,000 each isn’t impossible, but still there’s risk.
You probably know this already, as far as risk goes there isn’t a silver bullet solution. Making good choices means that you have experience. How do you get experience? By making bad choices. Yes, you can read about SEO, and you can watch videos about creating compelling content, and you can find a mentor to help you with website investments. But sooner or later, you are going to have to take a chance or an educated guess. Start somewhere, take the first step. Register a domain name. Set up a web hosting account. Install WordPress. Etc. Or lookup websites that are being sold, and make an offer. If you are a first-time investor, don’t spend a lot of money. Double check your facts, and buy something cheap. My first investment was for $2,000 and I got scammed. My second investment (a few years later) was for $500, and I got that $500 back within 18 months. Everything after that was pure profit. Now, a couple years later, my website investments are bringing me more than $1,000 every month, and one website after another is being paid off in full.
Profits are better than wages.
— Jim Rohn
5. Why cap at $17,857 per month? It is possible to make much more!
First of all, $17,857 is a lot of money, and hopefully I’ve proved to some degree that you really don’t need more. Just the other day I was watching a movie where some ex-military team was robing a narco boss for more than $200 million dollars. And at the moment of the heist, one of them yelled “I am definitely getting a Ferrari”. My immediate reaction was, dude, you can get a Ferrari for couple thousand dollars per month (not that I would recommend this monthly plan). But you definitely don’t need to rob a narco boss to buy a Ferrari.
I feel that many people, and as you can see this is propelled by movies and media, think they need one humongous score in order to make their dreams a reality. Not true. I was thinking the same thing years ago. I thought that I needed to make over a million dollars every year. Many books and experiences later, I learned this is not the case. Again, run the numbers yourself, I am sure you will have a blast with window shopping your dreams.
Also, after being an entrepreneur for more than a decade, I get the feeling that to make much more than this amount, some degree of luck and mysticism is involved. Translated, I don’t think that absolutely anyone on the planet can make a ridiculous amount such as million dollars every year. The $17,857 I think is achievable for everybody with a computer connected to the Internet and some money or good knowledge of the English language. And even these requirements are being challenged more and more.
exact number better than a lot of money RAS
Know your “why”!
I cannot stress this enough! If you don’t know why you are doing this you will fail! That’s why I started this article with a list. You have to have a list of reasons. Those reasons will get you up at morning. Those reasons will keep you awake at night. Those reasons are your fuel. Google index will never inspire you, but a Porsche Cayman might. Website monitoring will not excite you, but a trip to Maldives could. Updating WordPress may not get you out of bed, but your sick mother probably will.
You think my goals suck? I don’t care! That’s the best thing about your goals, they are yours. Build an animal shelter or a school or donate 10,000 books! Whatever, think of something that fuels you, and you are on your way.
I am really passionate about this topic, and I am always excited to see how this type of a lifestyle impacts other people’s lives. Location independence, being your own boss, having the opportunity to make more money every single month and perhaps most important thing, to work on something you find rewarding or fulfilling.
This is a great question, and I get it often. So often that I decided to write a blog post without first doing keyword research. To answer the question “if the .com is taken, should I settle for .co”, depends largely on the situation. To make things harder, the situation your business is in, changes over time. Therefore the decision you make today may prove to be wrong in a few years after the market conditions change. Here are some key factors I suggest you take into consideration before making a decision.
1. Is this a long-term project?
If this is a one-off thing or a side-hustle blog, you can certainly get by without investing a few thousand dollars in a good .com domain name. On the other hand, if this is your “baby”, and you plan to invest the next decade into building this project you may want to invest in a great name. This will spare you money and time you will have to spend later on rebranding.
Do you remember in school when there was a kid with a funny name? Everybody knows that kid, and that person is stuck with that name for the rest of its life. Don’t make that mistake. It is not easy being teased and calling you funny names all the time.
2. Is that particular .com domain name worth it?
If you go to Sedo, Flippa or any other domain name marketplace you will see a ton of domain names for sale. May are so overpriced it’s ridiculous. Mind you, I am not saying great domains are not worth the price, they sure are! What I am saying is don’t pay a ton of money for something that it just so happens you aren’t able to get for the base price. This is also called the “grass is always greener on the other side”. It happens to everybody! Yes, these 10 domain names that are available for registration are awful. But this one that is registered, oh, I like that one so much I’ll sell my kidney in order to get it. Don’t fall for that, and evaluate the real price of this domain name.
3. If the .com is taken, should I settle for .co?
This is the wrong question to ask because it presupposes these are the only two options out there. You need to get out of this frame of thinking! In my opinion, I would always go with a .com, unless I really like the name with the new TLD (like webmaster.ninja, vegan.club, check here some other nice combinations) and there’s no way I can afford the .com or if I conclude it is not worth it. The question you really need to be asking yourself is: “What is the very best domain name I can afford?”. Once you get inspired, you can check for domain availability here. That’s how I found a domain name for this website.
4. Am I thinking like an investor?
When you are buying a domain name, you need to be thinking like an investor. Yes, there are great courses to get you started and there are automated tools that help you evaluate the cost of a domain name but you should at least know what you are getting into to. Check services like Namebio to check other similar names, or even if your domain name has been sold in the past. You wouldn’t buy a plot of land without considering some serious thought, would you? Even domain names like Google.com, Youtube.com, and Instagram.com were at one point bought for $10. Sure, some found their new owners for hundreds of thousands of dollars (instagr.am became instagram.com), but at one point they were bought for the base price. I am not saying your company is going to grow like TheFacebook.com in the early days, but it is possible to avoid some pitfalls. The domain name can be a great asset or just some “address” that you type in.
5. I have a business and a name, it’s time to go online.
6. We are doing business locally, it’s time to go global
I put 5 and 6 together because it’s the same problem with different background. It essentially means you’ve built something from the ground, using a certain name built on a local TLD (or no domain name), and now you need to get a .com. In this scenario there are two options:
- You need to pay the money that’s being asked for the .com domain name and negotiate during that process. I’ve seen companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, giving equity in return for the domain ownership and other big leaps, just in order to get that .com domain name.
- Don’t like option #1? An alternative is to rebrand. If you are shifting gears from local to global, there’s a good chance you might need a rebrand anyway due to the language being used. If your car is called “Nova”, you don’t want to go with that name into the South American market. (Check that urban legend here)
- I thought I said 2 options? Well, I know some of you are going to hate the first two so much, you are going to disregard me as an expert. So, here’s a bonus option. Keep doing what you are doing without the website, until you have the money for a great domain name. There’s no point in going after the global market with a bad domain name. If you are going to save money on a domain name, you are probably going to tighten the budget on a website, and the social media accounts (the handle, such as facebook.com/ourcompany) are probably not going to follow the guideline Michael Cyger shared with us in an interview.
Ok, let’s recount the advice I’ve given here.
- Always register a .com domain name, unless the TLD really makes sense for your business, and is not local TLD
- When deciding how much you want to invest in a domain name, use tools such as Estibot, Namebio or go through a course like DNAcademy
- You will use this domain name for a long time in a lot of different places. Make your life easy by choosing a good name
I just realized I haven’t publicly posted an update, but as promised, back in mid-September I picked one person to coach 1 on 1. We’ve started the first week of October and will proceed until we reach a $100 / month for 3 months in a row. If we fail to do that, I will stop the coaching session on October 1st, 2019. Just as explained in my invitation.
Out of the people that signed up, I decided to coach Aigerim Bektemirova, a young lady from Kazakstan. She is currently working as a freelancer, mostly helping with mail marketing campaigns. That’s how I meet her a couple of years ago when we briefly worked together. The furthest she got with starting an online business is with a dropshipping business on Shopify. She shut it down after 3 months as it was wasting much more money, then it was generating.
How has the coaching with Aigerim started? And how can you start making money online?
Pick your passion that is enhanced by your skillset
I already wrote a huge post about finding your passion, and I really think it’s very important to find your purpose. Your reason. If you don’t have that, forget it, it will be hard to get out of the bed. Not to mention when some hardships come along, and hardships will come. But, as experience has taught us, passion is not enough. If you are passionate, but you are incapable… or to put it more bluntly, if you are an idiot, then you are just a passionate idiot. I think we’ve seen many of those in the world. So we need to have at least some level of expertise.
We don’t have to be an expert, or a guru or a ninja which in most cases (not all, but most), are just constructs fabricated by the world. You at least have to know a little bit more than the rest of the world. If you walked into a crowded cafe, can you with certainty say that you are the most knowledgeable about topic X? If so, that’s enough to get you started. Here’s a true story that will make you think. If you haven’t watched a movie inspired by a true story, “Catch Me If You Can, with Leonardo Di Caprio”, this will be new to you. Frank Abagnale said that “he worked as a sociology teaching assistant at Brigham Young University for a semester, under the name Frank Adams.“. This is interesting because this man was a con artist, and the college (obviously) denies that they hired him. However, he said that he was a teacher, and the way he was able to teach was that he learned the lesson just a little bit earlier than the students.
So, step 1: Create a list of ideas, products, companies, niches of your passions and preferably enhanced by your skillset. What is the thing you are doing on a Saturday morning? What are you daydreaming about? What was the topic you were talking about that other people weren’t excited about as much as you were? What was it that people were asking you to help them with? Is there something that people are constantly asking you? Once you have a few of those, it is time to hunt for keywords.
High demand, low supply
Same as anything else, this is valid for the traffic to your website. You are looking for high demand, low supply (or low competition). Depending on your skills, you may choose different sources of traffic. Strongest are search engine optimization, social media, email marketing, and paid traffic acquisition. Conversion or monetization comes next, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I always start with SEO for numerous reasons, and since you are reading this, I’ll assume you know them. I’ll also assume you know that SEO splits into on-page SEO and off-page SEO. But before doing any on-page or off-page SEO you need to do the research. Keyword research to be more specific. Here’s why.
You want to know what people are searching. What problems are they looking to resolve? And where the solutions (displayed on the Google’s SERP) aren’t up to par. That way, you can create a superior: product, content, solution, recommendation, video, photo, enter your favorite word here ___________. There is absolutely no point in creating something that nobody needs. No point.
There are several tools that help you find keywords that are being searched a lot, with low competition. I personally use KWFinder, but, since I personally know the founder of LongTailPro (and you can read the interview with Spencer Haws here) I can confirm that both tools get the job done. For an in-depth comparison come back here on a later date I’d love to do a KWFinder vs LongTailPro post when I find some extra time.
These tools show you how much keywords in your niche are being searched, and how good the current top 10 results are. This is exactly what I explained to Aigerim today. How these tools work, and how to find good keywords for the niches she is passionate about. Hopefully, Google keeps allowing various SEO SAAS providers to scrape their SERP, so we will have these insights. Use them while you can.
Step 2: Find keywords that are high in volume, but with low competition. There are tools that tell you just that (mentioned earlier). Bonus tip. Keep in mind there are “purchase intent keywords”. Imagine someone holding a credit card in their hand, and they are ready to buy. They just need to find this one last thing before they do. Something like “Cheapest place to buy product x” or “product X coupon”. If you can’t find that, try to go lower on the scale where the buyer is still exploring options. Then we use keywords such as “Product X vs Product Y” or “Product X review” or “Best in category for product x”.
In our quest in building a profitable website, many will think the work starts with registering a domain name. However, as Spencer Haws explained it, your first step is actually doing research and picking a niche. Once you are set on that, then you choose a (domain) name. So if you missed that interview I recommend you go back and read that first. Nothing worse than picking a wrong niche!
When it comes to choosing a domain name I invited Michael Cyger to join us and share his thoughts. Michael started a very popular domaining blog and podcast DomainSherpa.com back in 2010, and most people know him from there.
Recently he started DNAcademy which I attended and was able to learn a few tricks myself! I am thrilled to recommend it, so if you have any questions before signing up, let us know in the comment section. I am no newbie when it comes to domain names myself (I wrote a white paper on the topic), but it’s always to brush up on your skills, even if you don’t plan to become a domain name investor. These skills also come in very handy when:
- You are evaluating a website for purchase / investing
- Plan to own / build more than 1 website
- Protect your brand online
Goran: Michael, can you tell us a little bit about how you got into the domaining business in the first place? What were your first wins and loses?
Michael Cyger: In 2000 I started an online media company on the side while working full-time at General Electric. I needed a domain name but as all entrepreneurs find at one point or another, all the obvious good domain names were registered—most notably, the exact-match domain and the domain with an “e” in front of it (which was popular at the time)—but luckily the exact-match domain with an “i” in front was available so I hand registered it. (Goran: Just for you non-domainers out there. Hand-registering a domain name means buying several domain names one-by-one via a domain registrar for the base price. Some domainers use software for registering a ton of domain names in bulk without looking at exact domain names they are registering. And now, back to Michael.). It was the first of hundreds of domain names that I would later own for my media company, for ideas I had for new ventures, and for investment.
I remember one time back in 2004 when I wanted to buy a defensive domain name for my media company and discovered that while it was already registered to someone else it was expiring soon. Trying to “catch it” when it expired, I paid $70 to Pool.com but ultimately was unsuccessful in securing the domain. I was discouraged, but I had a $70 credit that I had to use within a year or lose it. Months later, on a long list of domain names that were expiring soon, SunPill.com caught my eye. I placed a backorder for it and got it. I figured someday someone would invent a pill that you could take to look suntanned without having to go out in the sun and worry about skin damage or cancer. About two years later I was contacted by the founder of Banana Boat sunscreen, who told me he had invented a pill to provide sun protection from the inside out. I loved the idea and agreed to sell him the domain name for $7,500 plus a case of Banana Boat sunscreen.
As for first losses, I’m sure I purchased plenty of domain names in .net, .mobi and with hyphens that I later dropped because they were worthless in all respects – like domain-sherpa.com and ctqmedia.net. As an entrepreneur and eternal optimist, I tend to forget the failures and focus on the positives – but the lessons learned stick with me.
Goran: I am going to play devil’s advocate with this question, so bear with me. I know plenty of successful million-dollar businesses with lousy domain names. How do you explain that, and where is the leverage in a good domain name?
Michael Cyger: Of course any business can launch on any domain name. Pick the worst domain name imaginable. Yes, you can launch and build a business on that. But it’s going to cost that business time, resources and money to do so over the long term. Let me explain…
I typically see startup businesses selecting a domain name that’s available for hand registration because they say that they don’t have a budget to buy a better one. They end up with a domain name that’s hard to spell, fails the “radio test,” is long and prone to spelling errors, has a top-level domain that people aren’t familiar with, is “gimmicky” with repeating letters or missing vowels, or is easily confused with other businesses.
Recently I discovered a company called Snyk.io that has raised $32 million to date. Cool company that is focused on enterprise security. But let’s say I was talking to you about the company so you only heard its name. If you wanted to check out more about it, it’s unlikely you’d know or remember to spell the company snyk, much less that the top-level domain is .io.
I can guarantee you that at some point someone is going to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or some variation of that. Without clear knowledge to the contrary, most people simply default to .com.
Now consider if they selected a real word like “deadbolt” for their enterprise security company and paired it with the .com top-level domain. No confusion in any of those areas, and it’s easily spelled correctly. It also connotes a sense of security, like the deadbolt on your home’s front door.
I’m going to guess that snyk.io was registered for the regular registration fee of $20-30 initial cost. But how much is it costing the company when customers and suppliers ask them to repeat their email address spelling or when they don’t receive the emails they expected? How much is it costing them when they go to a tradeshow and buyers later visit snyk.com only to find a website in Japanese?
These companies are trading the up-front cost of buying a premium domain name for years of hidden costs, not just from a lack of productivity in communications but also from being associated with a weak brand. And we haven’t even talked about the authority upside a premium domain name lends a business.“These companies are trading the up-front cost of buying a premium domain name for years of hidden costs, not just from a lack of productivity in communications but also from being associated with a weak brand. ”Click To Tweet
Companies with weak brands and confusing domain names in highly regulated fields like healthcare or financial services pose a particular problem. Imagine if your healthcare or banking records were emailed to the wrong address because of spelling, top-level domain confusion, or a typo—unfortuantely, it’s happened.
So to answer your question, there are exceptions to every rule, including successful companies that are built on a lousy domain name. But in most cases, a weak brand is like a weight around a company’s neck, keeping it from reaching its full potential. As my friend Andrew Rosener of MediaOptions likes to say, “It’s like trying to build a skyscraper on top of a bed of sand.” Choose the bedrock of a strong brand and domain name if you have the ambitions to build that high.
Goran: What tools and tactics would you recommend to someone who is looking for a great domain name in a small niche?
Michael Cyger: If it’s a small niche, you can usually secure a premium brand and matching domain name for a few thousand dollars. Over the lifetime of the business, it’s a very small portion of expenses and it’s an asset that endures.
For example, when I launched DomainSherpa in 2010 I brainstormed many different names but I settled on DomainSherpa.com. It had the keyword “domain” in the name, included my vision (a “sherpa” who helps you navigate dangerous terrains with skill and knowledge), wasn’t too long or easily misspelled or confused, and was in the .com top-level domain space.
Of course, DomainSherpa.com was registered by someone already and I could have easily found an alternate brand that I could newly register for $10. But by negotiating with the then-owner, I was able to secure it for around $500—a bargain for the domain name that would be used to generate five to six figures in annual revenue for many years.
For companies targeting millions in revenue, I would suggest that they look at their company brand and domain name in perspective to that revenue. They could purchase a single dictionary word in .com for tens of thousands of dollars.
And for companies looking to become the next “unicorn” with $1 billion valuation, then think just as big with your brand…Box.net upgraded to Box.com, UberCab.com upgraded to Uber.com, and SlackHQ.com upgraded to Slack.com. Big vision companies need a big brand.
Goran: If I found a great domain name for my niche, but it is taken, how do I proceed? How can I get the domain that is already registered? And how can I find good alternatives if I can’t afford the one already registered?
Michael Cyger: First, you should make sure you’re on the right order of magnitude when pursuing a domain name for purchase. See the HowMuchIsADomainNameWorth.com Price Guide for guidelines. (Will these guidelines work in every case? No. Are they a rough estimate for reasonable owners interested in selling a domain name? Yes. But remember, even though you’re offering fair market value doesn’t mean that someone is obligated to sell.)
Now, do a whois lookup and reach out to the domain name owner to ask if they would consider selling their domain name. If they respond affirmatively, then start negotiating. If they fail to respond, email or telephone again, and again. Noah Kagan pursued the owner of Sumo.com for 7 years before finally purchasing the domain name for $1.5 million. I pursued the exact match domain name of my media company for 5 years before the previous owner finally decided to retire and accepted my offer. Persistence pays off.
But so does financial creativity. Kagan didn’t just pay $1.5 million in cash up front, he set up a payment plan that allowed him to finance the purchase of the domain name through the cash flow of his business. And UberCab purchased Uber.com by offering 2 percent of the company.
Sometimes the whois record will be under privacy, or General Data Protection Regulation redacted, or the contact information will be outdated. In that case, using a historical whois service like DomainTools.com or domainIQ.com can come in handy. And in some cases, looking at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine might point you to a name or functioning email address. I’ve even known founders to hire private investigators to track down the contact information of people based on previous whois addresses.
If you don’t want to pay more than $10 for a domain name no matter what, then it’s time to get creative. Try some domain name spinners, ask your significant other and friends for ideas, or take your most creative colleague out for a coffee. There is power in the crowd. Make sure you create one big list of options that you can then compare and contrast. You might also want to consider which brands have available domain names and matching social media handles. (Goran: here’s an exact example of how a domain name with matching social media handles that’s for sale looks like.)
Goran: Where do you buy domain names, and why there? Would you recommend the same registrar to someone who owns less than 20 websites?
Michael Cyger: I buy my domain names at two registrars: GoDaddy and Uniregistry.
I like the Domain Transfer Validation Service that GoDaddy offers their premier accounts (those customers with about $5,000 spend per year through all products at GoDaddy), because they have to call me and voice verify that I approve a domain name being moved out of my account for any reason. That ensures that my company’s domain name assets are being kept safe.
I also have quite a few domains at Uniregistry and enjoy their two-factor authentication and their up-to-date and user-friendly interface.
I highly recommend that entrepreneurs keep their domain names at a registrar that focuses on domain names, rather than a company that is focused on hosting. You can always point your DNS anywhere you want, but when you decide to change hosting platforms, which inevitably happens, you’ll be glad you have a separation between the two so there’s less confusion about who is controlling what.
Yes, you can get the ball running in a single day. If you have to, make it a home-made 24-hour hackathon! Either way, we are here to help you get your website online today! The title does say “get your website online today”, but we want to deliver more on that promise. It’s a very special moment in time when you launch your website, not to mention when you launch it for the very first time!
Step 1. pick the right domain name
It all starts with a domain name. Domain names are important when it comes to bringing your company online, but that is also just the first step. In case you are not sure where to buy a domain name check our post on where to buy domain names. Picking the right domain name can also become an issue due to trademarks, .com availability and practical things like pronunciation. So more on this soon!
Step 2. pick the right web hosting
Do you want to create a WordPress website? Would you like cPanel as a control panel for your web hosting? Space, lots of space? The questions don’t stop there. Putting a website online shouldn’t be the end goal. You probably want to increase sales, connect with your clients, provide better support, improve brand awareness, reach potential international clients. This list could go on and on. In essence, you want a fast website, with plenty of disk space with good local support. Here’s my recommendation for a good web hosting company.
Step 3. set clear goals
After reading the last paragraph you could have seen this step coming up. Setting clear goals matters in any project, and especially for getting your website online. So why not begin with the end in mind? That’s what Stephen Covey would advise in 7 habits of highly effective people. So why not become effective and apply this principle to creating your website.
Step 4. pick the right technology
Do you want to install WordPress, or a build a custom CMS (Content Management System)? What is your budget in this regard? Can you afford a WordPress theme or do you want a custom-tailored design for your CMS? Don’t worry, if you need help making a decision, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Or maybe you want to go with a website builder and have somebody else worry about the web hosting?
Step 5. get your website online
After you’ve completed the first steps you have to fill the website with content (text and images) and your website is ready! Don’t be fooled, now is not the time to rest. That is day one! Now you have to do search engine optimization, promote the website on social media and even advertise on search engines to get first website visitors. Another great way to keep communication channels open is to host a newsletter and reach out on a regular basis to your clients.
Step 6. install an SSL certificate
More and more SSL certificates are gaining importance. This is true due to several reasons. Websites are e-commerce oriented, with various forms and enhanced communication between the user and the website. This is also interesting to criminals, so it is important to protect ourselves by installing an SSL certificate. Google, in particular, understands and supports this behavior, so they have decided to update their algorithm and position website with HTTPS on a higher position. For a full list of benefits, check this post.
Step 7. setup website monitoring
After getting your website online, either with a website builder, a WordPress or some other method, we need to set up website monitoring. I know, I know, this one is a bit self-serving, but the cost really makes up for the advantages! Let’s face it, domain names and SSL certificates expire, we get blacklisted for spamming, our web hosting goes down, our website speed decreases… all this and more needs to be monitored and we need to take proper action as soon as possible!
You may think that picking the best email address for your company relies heavily on a great domain name. What if I told you other factors come into place as well? I’ve encountered the last example this very week! I bought a book 500 Social Media Marketing Tips by Andrew Macarthy. As much as the author’s knowledge of social media is exemplary, and has a great domain name for his online presence (AndrewMacarthy.com) where he dropped the ball, in my opinion, was at the end of the book. There he invited his readers to write to him at email@example.com. This is just the latest example where I’ve seen an expert not getting all the possible benefits.
Looking for a shorter way to find out how to pick the best email address for your business? We’ve created this special presentation just for this occasion!
There are countless times where I’ve seen dentists use a free email service address on their business card, construction workers putting a sticker on their truck or business owners just telling you this awkwardly long email address from a free service. Free doesn’t have to do anything with the wrong choice, everybody loves free, but can you imagine Jeff Bezos operating from a “firstname.lastname@example.org” email address. Surely, there’s a way for him to send and receive emails from @amazon.com? You don’t have to be a billionaire to do the same!Imagine Jeff Bezos operating from a 'email@example.com' email address. Surely, there's a way for him to send and receive emails from @amazon.com? You don't have to be a billionaire to do the same!Click To Tweet
Why waste time finding the right email address?
I am not exaggerating when I say I received hundreds of offers in my inbox for various services. Web design, SEO, domain registration, social media, copywriting, and can you guess what gives the spammer away each time? Their email address! Here are just some of them: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com… I could go on and on. Do you want your clients to perceive you as a spammer?
Imagine having an email address on a premium domain name. Better yet, I’ll share a story. One time, someone contacted me from a two letter .com domain name. I dropped everything and ran to read what the email was about! Obviously, this was a person and a company of great importance, so I will keep their details private (since the nature of the email was private as well). People still check where the message originated from (including newsletter, autoresponder and marketing automation) and I think it is safe to assume you will get more replies to a legitimate sounding email address. For example, if you cold-email a potential investor or client, do you think they would be more inclined to answer firstname.lastname@example.org or “email@example.com”?
Your business stands a better chance if you conduct all your communication on your company’s domain name. Not to mention if you go ahead and promote your email on business cards, stickers, and ads.
Choosing the right domain name
There are countless articles online about choosing the best domain name, and they can surely help you since the domain name is an essential part of picking the right email address. In this post, I will focus on the email, and I will dive deeper into domain names another time. In short, the domain name should be:
- Exact as company name
- Short, memorable, pronounceable
- .Com domain extension (preferably)
Don’t take this as rules set in stone. Just the other day I’ve accidentally found about “MyWifeQuitHerJob.com.” This domain name obviously doesn’t fall into the category “short,” not even by a long shot! However, after I read some free content on that website, I got fantastic value! I also got the story and remembered the name in a heart beat! I just got it! His wife quit her job, and now they are making so much money, and they are blogging about it on “My Wife Quit Her Job”! Brilliant.
Your email doesn’t have to be on your website’s domain name
Here’s what I mean by that. Let’s say you have a long domain name like the one I just mentioned or something like FourHourWorkWeek.com. And let’s say your name is “Alexander The Great.” Your email shouldn’t be AlexanderTheGreat@FourHourWorkWeek.com. How is that going to fit your business card? How will someone write this down if you are sharing this over the phone or a podcast? What Alex needs to do here is register a domain name Great.com, and create an email “Alex@Great.com.” Or, if Alex, or in this case Tim Ferriss want’s to keep promoting FourHourWorkWeek.com, he can use contact@FourHourWorkWeek.com. Short first name, nickname or some other generic short word (info, email).
Using personal emails on company websites also makes sense with serial entrepreneurs, bloggers, affiliate marketers and online entrepreneurs. If you have ten websites that all generate a significant income for you, and you want everyone to be able to reach you. Surely, you can create emails on all ten domain names, and have them redirect to your best email address. Then later, you reply from that email address so that it appears like you are answering them from the address where the email came in (check “Send mail as” in a paragraph below). But here it also makes sense to use that same best email address on all ten websites, such as firstname.lastname@example.org
Which prefix do I choose for my best email address?
For example, my name is Goran Duskic. I own a domain name duskic.com. Now I can use my email email@example.com on all 10 of my websites, and it makes perfect sense. If someone wants to reach the owner of this website (webmaster.ninja), they can just write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or email@example.com, and then just have those messages redirect to firstname.lastname@example.org. This way I am not promoting Webmaster.Ninja website, but if I own ten websites, it’s going to be very hard to have ten business cards, ten email addresses and ten of everything else.
In some companies, there are people with the same first name. Then you can add the last name to the prefix, and even separate it with a dot. Here are a few examples:
Another example is with positions that frequently have new employees. Therefore in some cases, it may be wise not to connect an email address to a particular person, and instead create an email for that department. Such as:
And of course, there are more generic examples that work well, like:
- Town@CompanyName.com or Country@CompanyName.com
If you are thinking technology is preventing you from using an email address on your domain name, that means that you’ve decided to use gmail.com, yahoo.com, outlook.com domains. Let me ask you, have you heard of “Send mail as”?
Send mail as
Inside of Gmail, there’s this option called “Send mail as,” that allows you to reply from the same address where the sender sent it to. There are some “SMTP steps” so we don’t have the time or space to go through that in this post, but if you want to set this up yourself, you can follow Google’s instructions on this post. What this functionality allows you is to send emails from your Gmail, but the receiver will get an email from “email@example.com” instead of “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Have in mind that this is different from installing G Suite or Office 365 on your domain name, which you have to pay. Think of “Send mail as” as the “free technology” + “my branding.”
Choose the right technology
This leads us to the choice of the right technology. Too often I encounter people with @gmail.com or @live.com emails. And then when I ask them why they don’t use their company’s domain name, the answer is “I am used to this service” or “I like Gmail’s functionality.” The two, do not have to be separated. As I have demonstrated in the “Send mail as” section, it is free, and it’s not that hard to set up.
Besides “Send mail as” feature, there are also solutions you have to pay for, as I already mentioned G Suite (previously known as Google Apps) and Microsoft’s Office 365. After you create a paid subscription, you need to install it on your domain name. This doesn’t interfere with your website in any way. I don’t want to get too technical on you, but let me just explain that the website runs on an HTTP or HTTPS protocol (you’ve seen that in the address bar of your browser), and the email operates through a POP3, SMTP protocol. After all, POP means “Post Office Protocol.”
Setting up a service like G Suite involves changing your MX records (Mail Exchanger), so it’s more complicated to set up than “Send mail as.” MX records are another type of resource record within the Domain Name System, also known as DNS. G Suite and Office 365 allow us to seamlessly send text messages from one email address to another, without touching the website server. That’s because MX doesn’t impact the website or even touching the dedicated server that hosts the website. Are you now beginning to understand why I am sharing this technical information? Just one thing though, if your domain name expires, your email will stop working, regardless of being separated from a different service from your website.
Google or Microsoft?
Having a separate email service (like G Suite or Office 365) means that if your website is unresponsive, your emails are still working! This isn’t the case with the “Send mail as” option. To receive the message, the original server hosting the website and email must send the message to your Gmail account.
I know this was a bit technical, but as I mentioned, too many times I’ve seen people blame technology as their cause for fumbling. Technology is here to help, not the other way around! Put your best foot forward and promote your company, not Gmail, Yahoo, MSN or your local telecom provider. I remember one time, a company owner shared his email address with me. Big mistake, it had a telecom provider’s domain name. I teased him by asking if he loved his telecom provider so much that he wanted to give them the extra promotion? He exclaimed how he, in fact, hated them because he has all these issues with them and then went on for five minutes listing issues with them, but he had no choice but to stay with them due to the contract. Don’t be that guy.
Are you spending too much time writing emails?
Before we part ways, I just wanted to mention one last thing when it comes to emails. Don’t become a slave to your inbox like I was. If you are having trouble handling mountain of emails coming your way, don’t stress! You are not alone in this! Here are several steps and ideas you can take to handle your inbox.
Let’s just sum up quickly what you’ve learned here today. The domain name is the most important part of your email (half of your email address is the domain name). It’s great if the domain name is short, but also to every rule, there is an exception. FourHourWorkWeek.com or MyWifeQuitHerJob.com. Whatever you do, don’t let that domain name be a service provider name. Put your best foot forward by promoting your company or one of your brands. Don’t let technology stop you! Use “Send mail as” option if you are tight on a budget, or get a paid solution with added benefits. For example, your email will work, even if your web shop, company website, blog) is down. And lastly, don’t become a slave to your email.