While it is sometimes possible to have success without a business plan, having a clear plan, including near-term and long-term objectives, will improve your odds for consistent success. I personally consider late February as a good time to consider New Year’s resolutions. Goals we set at the turn of the year are still in mind, but enough time has elapsed to expect progress. Yet it is not too late, and there is still opportunity in 2021 to make adjustments and work on goals. What Were Domainers Planning To Do Differently in 2021? Raymond Hackney started a thread Are You Looking To Do Anything Differently in 2021? A number of NamePros members shared their plans for 2021. Here are some of the themes I extracted from the responses. Many expressed the goal of investing in higher quality names. Several expressed the goal of trying new ways to sell domain names. A few suggested that repricing their domain name portfolio was an aim. Related to that, some cited the aim to make sure that each domain name had an effective lander and a buy-it-now price. The latter seems consistent with a recent analysis indicating an increasing number of sales are from priced domains. Some expressed the wish to pare down the size of their portfolio. We sometimes think of our domains as one set, but Mister Funsky expressed the plan to divide the portfolio into four tiers, with a different pricing strategy for each tier. Other investors planned to grow their portfolio, particularly seeking new ways to acquire domain names, such as less popular marketplaces or private acquisitions. Shifting the focus from acquiring domains to selling domains was mentioned by several. The idea of using experiments to test the effectiveness of alternative strategies, such as different landers or marketplaces, was mentioned by a few people. Investing in yourself, your own skills and self-improvement, is an important theme that will be discussed more below. Others mentioned various specific plans to change the type of names in their portfolio, for example a different mix in extensions held. The most mentioned goal for 2021 was to improve the quality of domains held. Joe Nichols added the idea that while his immediate plan was to improve quality, the ultimate goal was that would help to achieve a low-maintenance portfolio. Keeping Your Resolutions A lot has been written about keeping resolutions in general. Among the points often made are the following, and in many ways keeping domain resolutions can be similar to meeting fitness or health goals. Be realistic in setting your goals. For example, a typical domain name retail portfolio sell-through rate is 1%, so setting a goal of a 75% sell-through rate is probably unrealistic. Clearly and precisely outline what you plan to achieve. Try to specify your plan in a way making it possible to objectively determine if you have achieved it. Share your plan with others. While many of us are naturally hesitant to do that, it can give you motivation to keep at it. While some are fortunate enough to have a business or family partner to play the role of an accountability partner, if not, remember that NamePros is a community, and consider sharing your goals here, either privately or publicly. Track your progress. One reason to make your plan clear and specific is to assist with tracking. As you make progress toward your goals, reward yourself in some tiny way. Do a mid-year evaluation. The pandemic changed the sectors that were in demand during 2020. Your personal situation may also change. There is nothing wrong with changing your goals, as long as you are deliberately doing it for good reasons. Do things in small steps. From time to time I personally have too many domains not listed on marketplaces with proper landers. That makes the names very unlikely to sell. Getting them all listed at once seemed like too big a task, so for a number of days I set myself a goal of getting 8 listed per day, a much more manageable goal. Don’t beat up on yourself. It is hard to achieve a challenging plan completely, so don’t let small shortcomings make you feel down and negative. Reflect in a systematic way at the end of the year. Domain investing is no different than most activities, honest review and reflection is key to continued progress. Set your goals according to what you can control. This is perhaps most important, and I expand on the idea in the next section. Probably the most important goal is to improve the quality of your domain portfolio. While that is challenging to evaluate, it is not impossible. For example, consider having a friend go through your domain portfolio once a year, both to help identify weak names you might drop, but also help with an overall portfolio quality evaluation. Probably a self-evaluation can be more effective than you think. Take the list of the names you liquidated or let lapse, and compare with the names you added during the year. Are the additions stronger than the names you let lapse? Focus On What You Can Control In setting objectives, concentrate on what it is you can control. For example, while someone can do things that might increase chances of a $10,000 sale, whether such a sale happens in a short time period can’t be controlled. The chance of a major sale is improved by things such as a higher quality portfolio in desired sectors, improving negotiation skills, research and smart pricing, and so on, but even with all of those things, sales can sometimes be sporadic. For that reason, I think it is best to focus on resolutions that are within your control. These might include ideas such as some of the following. Get all domain names listed on at least one marketplace. Get an attractive lander operational for each domain name. Evaluate all domains in a portfolio, and designate which names you will not renew. Learn a new tool for domain research. Here are some free research tools. Start a new habit that will help you be better informed about domain names. For example, to carefully read NameBio new sales listed each day, or catch a podcast regularly, or each day check the reported sales listings here on NamePros. Learn something new, from reading a book, taking a course, or taking better advantage of NamePros resources. Brian Harbin wrote a NamePros Blog post on investing in yourself. Identify sectors in your domain portfolio, and decide which to keep and new ones to add. Try selling domain names at one new marketplace you do not currently use. Review and set buy-it-now prices, and adjust your minimum offer settings, if you activate make offer. A few months ago we researched how domain investors set minimum offer amounts, and also looked at how domainers price their domain names. Try acquiring domain names in some additional way. Perhaps try a private acquisition, or a marketplace you have never used, or a NamePros Request post, if you do not currently use that to acquire names from time to time. Improve security around your domain holdings, for example by using two-factor or other security measures, or perhaps changing registrars for some of your domain names. Paul Buonopane wrote a three-part NamePros Blog series on the topic of safeguarding your domains - here is the final article in the series. Make a new personal connection with someone in the domain world or start a new initiative. Establish a better business plan for your domain operation, and better financial tracking and analysis. This is not an exhaustive list, but demonstrates the sort of actions that are within your control. Final Thoughts The NamePros Blog article on composing and using a domain prospectus may be helpful as you set or refine your goals. If you would find it helpful, please don’t hesitate to share in the comments section your goals for 2021, and how it is working out so far. Publicly sharing your goals, or some of them, will help to inform and inspire other investors. Sharing them may well also help you stick with your plan. I wish you every success, and hope you will share goals you have set and how it is going. How fortunate we are to have the NamePros community!