NameSilo
Bob Hawkes

Making The Leap To Full-Time Domain Investor: An Interview with Keith DeBoer

Views:
2,785
Comments:
34
By Bob Hawkes, Jun 3, 2021
?

What is your current status and plan?

  1. I am a hobbyist and plan to stay that way.

    38 votes
    14.2%
  2. This is a side-gig, and I have no plan to go full-time.

    64 votes
    24.0%
  3. This is a side-gig, but I would love to go full-time at some point.

    88 votes
    33.0%
  4. I tried full-time domaining, but have gone back to side-gig status.

    16 votes
    6.0%
  5. I work full-time in domain names.

    53 votes
    19.9%
  6. Other (please specify in comments)

    8 votes
    3.0%
Total: 267 vote(s)
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

    Posts:
    7,667
    Likes Received:
    25,645
    Taking domain investing from a side-hustle to a full-time job is probably the dream of many domain investors. A few months ago investor Keith DeBoer announced that he was making domains his full-time job. Now that a bit of time has passed, I caught up with Keith to get his insights on the transition.

    KeithDeBoerGraphic.png

    The Interview

    How long ago did you first begin thinking about going full-time in domains?

    I’ve always been passionate about domain investing. Right from the start.

    I’ve always been a bargain hunter and so this type of stealth mode activity was right up my alley. The hunting, the searching, the strategizing. Deciding where and how to acquire marketable domains at the lowest possible prices. I fell in love with it.

    What I’m trying to say is that I wanted to be a full time domainer pretty much right from the beginning. I was having so much fun, of course I wanted it to be my full time ‘job’.

    If someone is considering doing domains full time, what do you think they should take into account?

    I would say several things.

    First, the speculative nature of the job. Success in domaining means threading the eye of the needle. When you’re only selling 2% of your inventory each year the line between profit and loss can get pretty thin.

    Second, the tendency for the domain industry to trend. In other words, what’s super profitable one year, may not play well a year or two later. So we need to adapt. A domainer has to be alert and able to recognize trend changes and move with those changes in a timely manner. If we don’t then we risk getting left behind. I look at my domain portfolio as a rushing river rather than a ripple-less pond.

    And lastly, a fallback plan. It could be in the form of sufficient savings for the slow months, or other ways to generate cash or income on short notice. Another possible fallback plan would be the ability to downsize and live on a little less until your income gets back on track. Even with thousands of domains, sales come in bunches and there are periods of feast and famine.

    After you made the decision to work in domaining full-time, how did the decision feel? Were you confident in your choice, or still somewhat uncertain?

    Money wise, I could have gone full-time a few years ago but I didn’t have some of the fallback options that I’ve mentioned above. So I kept waiting. As an older man with no clear, in-demand, marketable skill, I waited through several years of rising income before taking the leap.

    I think a younger, single person with a low-overhead lifestyle, could have jumped into the deep end of the pool much sooner than I did. Still, even with all the waiting, I was nervous. I’m happy to say, though, that my remaining fears were obliterated by the $100,000 in sales that came in during just the first 60 days of being full-time.

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of being full-time?

    Being full-time brings both relief and pressure. Relief because my time is my own, but also pressure to perform and keep the money rolling in. Overall, though, it’s an advantage because my mind is no longer divided between two projects. Now I live and breathe domains. In fact, last night I had a dream about domains and woke up thinking about one in particular.

    Has the choice to be full-time in domains changed, in a substantial way, how you do domain investing?

    Not so much on the surface. I mean I follow the same procedures and practices as before. The difference now is that I have more time to review more lists of available domains and absorb more deeply the startup and tech trends. As a result I’m becoming more deeply fluent in the rapidly changing cultural and technological landscapes of the day. I’m also becoming better at recognizing shifts in the domain market itself.

    Again, it’s just the singularity of purpose and mental dedication that’s changed. Also, it’s more enjoyable too. Overall I’m optimistic that all of these things are going to have a substantial impact on my ability to generate bigger and more frequent sales going forward.

    A Bit About Keith

    Keith DeBoer is an experienced domain investor who specializes in brandable domain names. He first joined NamePros in 2015. He has more than half a million dollars in retail sales.

    Keith has shared his tips and techniques through more than 100 articles in DnGeek, BrandBucket, DSAD and right here on NamePros. I went through the NamePros archives, and here is a sampling of his writing.
    His Brandable Insider podcast is a treasure chest of information and ideas presented in an engaging style. You can see a list of all episode titles at Brandable Insider. Episode #54 How To Pick The Best Brandables is one of my personal favorites.

    Your can read more about Keith at KeithDeboer.com.

    More On Moving From Side-Gig To Full-Time Job

    In researching this topic, I read a number of articles on the topic of transitioning a side-gig into your full-time job. While these articles are not specific to domain investing, many points made are relevant.
    • Joseph Liu writes in 7 Signs Your Side Hustle Could Turn Into Your Full-Time Job that one consideration is if you are giving up opportunities because you are not able to devote full-time. As a domain investor, are there avenues that you feel confident would be worthwhile that you simply don’t have time to follow up? He also notes that rather than wait for the perfect time to transition to full-time, simply insist that it is a reasonable time to do so.
    • Martin Delaney in When to Quit Your Job and Take Your Side Hustle Full-Time provides an honest assessment, partially based on his personal experience. He writes “Don’t quit your job too early on the belief your side business isn’t progressing due to the fact you’re not working on it full time.” He also emphasizes the importance of having sufficient financial resources to keep going a substantial period if income dries up at first.
    • In Moving From A Side Hustle To A Full-Time Gig Justin Adler stresses the importance of having a sound business plan. Questions to ask yourself as you ponder whether this is the time, include “Is the potential drop or risk in income sufficiently balanced by the other intangibles I’m gaining, like happiness, or autonomy?”
    Have Your Say

    I hope that many will share your own experience and plans in the comments section, whether you have made the move to full time domainer, or have dreams of doing so.

    Update: I had an out of date figure for Keith's retail domain name sales total. The article has now been updated to correct value of more than half a million dollars. Even more impressive!

    Sincere thanks to Keith DeBoer for being open to this interview, and the wonderful insights provided through his answers. Just one of numerous ways that he has contributed to the domain community over the years.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  2. Next Article
    Top Topics: Lessons Learned From My $50,000 Sale; Vote for the Greatest Domainer of All Time...
    Previous Article
    Top Topics: Exodus.com Sells for $1,945,000; My 30 Point Registration Checklist…
  3. Loading...
  4. Bob Hawkes

    About The Author — Bob Hawkes

    Domain analyst, writer and informal educator, with particular interests in domain name phrases and non-business uses for domain names. I am a risk averse domain investor who only invests modest amounts in a variety of extensions and niches. Don't hesitate to contact me - I like to help!

    This is Bob Hawkes's 94th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
    https://namesthat.win
    Actions:
    Follow
  5. Comments (34)

  6. FolioTeam

    FolioTeam AMDB.tv VIP

    Posts:
    1,953
    Likes Received:
    5,341
    Brilliant as usual. Though I have no intentions of going into domaining full time, I had a lot to take away from this interview.

    Thank you.
     
  7. Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer BrandableInsider.com PRO VIP ICA Member

    Posts:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    5,475
  8. The Durfer

    The Durfer Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

    Posts:
    10,138
    Likes Received:
    15,065
  9. jiy k

    jiy k Established Member

    Posts:
    422
    Likes Received:
    104
    Valuable Insight. Thank You.
    Can we get some tips on how to reach out to potential customers for selling.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
  10. Keith

    Keith Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

    Posts:
    9,523
    Likes Received:
    11,525
  11. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

    Posts:
    7,667
    Likes Received:
    25,645
    Not sure if the question was to me or to @Keith DeBoer .

    My understanding is that Keith does little outbound - he researches to make great acquisitions, and then lists them predominantly at BrandBucket, and also at SquadHelp and Afternic (possibly other places). Prospective buyers looking for names find the names by going to those sites. I am sure that Keith will correct if my understanding is wrong.

    If your are asking more generally, I am not the person to answer as I do essentially zero outbound.

    There are numerous threads on NamePros on the topic of outbound.
    Easiest way to find them is to do a Google search on exactly the following:
    outbound site:NamePros.com
    It produces more than 17,000 results, but the first few pages should get you to most of the best articles.

    Hope this helps.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
  12. Maximinus

    Maximinus Established Member

    Posts:
    591
    Likes Received:
    2,239
    The Brandable Insider is my favorite podcast!

    Congratulations on becoming full-time brandable domainer @Keith DeBoer !
    Thanks for this inspiring interview both @Keith DeBoer and @Bob Hawkes !

    Keep up your great work, both of you!

    Greetings
     
  13. Skyvisum

    Skyvisum Top Contributor VIP

    Posts:
    1,411
    Likes Received:
    2,858
    Thank you Bob .I do have plans to go full time while building out other businesses with some of my domains,as the time would be there to do it .

    @Keith DeBoer ,congratulations on going full time .I would be joining you someday soon,as I'm presently working on my back up plan 🙂.

    There are a a lot of domainers doing this full time ,you don't hear a lot about and some you know and read about.
     
  14. Grego85

    Grego85 Fire.Horse VIP

    Posts:
    2,200
    Likes Received:
    5,036
    I love that this came up today, cant wait to listen.

    This is actually my last day at my job, I am trying again to be a full time domainer
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
  15. marijuanadomain

    marijuanadomain Established Member

    Posts:
    261
    Likes Received:
    407
  16. jiy k

    jiy k Established Member

    Posts:
    422
    Likes Received:
    104
    Sir, this was a general question. Wanted to know how seasoned Domainer's would sell their domains, the strategy they will use. Your reply gives clarity for my query with a useful link. Thank you.
    And also i have been always very curious about the portfolio of the seasoned Domainer's. That would be enlightening for newbies and mid-level Domainers.
     
  17. redemo

    redemo Established Member

    Posts:
    744
    Likes Received:
    1,435
    @Bob Hawkes What does it mean "I work full-time in domain names" ? Just buying and selling OR monetising by any means available as per the Domainsherpa definition "A domainer is an individual or company that actively engages in the buying, selling, marketing, monetization and publishing of internet domain names and other related web and or internet-based properties" https://www.domainsherpa.com/domain-name-dictionary/domainer. From your list I selected was "work full-time in domain names" because selecting suitable domain names is a critical part of my monetisation strategy and takes detailed planning prior to acquisitions.

    My plan for this current year is to move from domain name AD monetisation to domain name SALES monetisation through 3 primary revenue channels -:-

    1- Sale of just domain name ;

    2- Sale of domain name + website theme customisation ;

    2- Sale of domain name + website theme customisation + original website that gets traffic ;

    This forum is simply amazing and so are all of you who contribute such detailed research and helpful advice. I have to admit my welcome post here was not the best worded introduction but so many members have been in touch since then with supportive words and ideas. I'm definitely in the right place to achieve my domainer goals.
     
  18. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

    Posts:
    7,667
    Likes Received:
    25,645
    Good question. In my mind 'full time in domains' means that
    1. You do not have another job that provides a majority of your income.
    2. Domain related activities take most of your working week time, and provide the majority of your income.
    3. I would see 'in domains' as including income from selling or leasing domain names, parking revenue, possibly consulting work related to domain names, possibly revenue from development of some domain names.
    The latter is hard to precisely define. I guess in my mind if your main business is in selling or renting domain names, even if you get substantial revenue from monetized ads on some, then you are primarily a domain investor. However, if you have only a handful of domain names and spend almost all your time on development related activities, to me that is not a domain investor (but agree either interpretation can be supported).

    I guess people should answer according to how they define 'full time in domains' :xf.cool:

    Thanks for questions asking for clarification.

    Bob
     
  19. marijuanadomain

    marijuanadomain Established Member

    Posts:
    261
    Likes Received:
    407
    Why did you choose him and will you interview others too?

    Please provide sales data!!....and list of the domains he owns.
    What bought, hand reg, how much and etc etc
    As they say in sales....it is the $$$$$ you bring in!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
  20. redemo

    redemo Established Member

    Posts:
    744
    Likes Received:
    1,435
    @Bob Hawkes I like your definition of "in domains" -:- " I guess in my mind if your main business is in selling or renting domain names, even if you get substantial revenue from monetized ads on some, then you are primarily a domain investor. However, if you have only a HANDFUL of domain names and spend almost all your time on DEVELOPMENT related activities, to me that is not a domain investor" does that mean consistently developing domain names in order to sell them is "in domains"?
     
  21. bruhne

    bruhne Established Member

    Posts:
    260
    Likes Received:
    1,103
    Great article, gentlemen. @Keith DeBoer you are an inspiration. I too, am a bargain shopper and love the treasure hunt.

    This is a hobby/side-gig/love for me now. However, I look forward to the day when people ask me what I do, and I can confidently reply with "domain investor". I am on my way.
     
  22. BradWilson

    BradWilson Upgraded Member Gold Account

    Posts:
    599
    Likes Received:
    1,649
    Thanks @Bob Hawkes for another excellent article and thanks @Keith DeBoer for doing the interview and providing your great advice.

    I voted for "Other" because none of the other choices exactly fit my situation.

    The closest to my situation is "I tried full-time domaining, but have gone back to side-gig status". That's because I've been doing domaining on and off for about 23 years and several times I've had to rely on domain sales and any income they generated to pay the bills in-between coding and marketing gigs.

    I've pretty much used every method possible over the years to make money with my domains. From developing them into income generating websites to affiliate sales and of course when possible selling them. Unfortunately, most of the successful methods don't work as well or at all any more so I'm back to relearning what does.

    At the moment, even if I wanted to be "full-time" I can't because my primary job is to care for my 85 year old father and that's not easy or fun at all Ugh!

    Any "spare" time I get, I'm developing domain related apps and any domains I pickup are for the most part to be used while developing my apps for research and testing. If I do sell any domains along the way that's completely extra and I count that as a bonus.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
  23. redemo

    redemo Established Member

    Posts:
    744
    Likes Received:
    1,435
    @BradWilson "Unfortunately, most of the successful methods don't work as well or at all any more so I'm back to relearning what does" Learn to harness the power of social media and video.
     
  24. BradWilson

    BradWilson Upgraded Member Gold Account

    Posts:
    599
    Likes Received:
    1,649
    Thanks but I've already been there done that :)

    After saying that I must admit because of time constraints I'm no longer very "good" with social media and video.

    So maybe I need to add that to my apps??? hmm yeah :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
  25. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

    Posts:
    7,667
    Likes Received:
    25,645
    Sorry for delay in responding. As mentioned, various people discuss what it takes to go full time and wonder if they could, so I thought the transition was of interest to members of NamePros. That is my primary criterion for any article - do I think the content will be of interest, and add value to, any member of NamePros. I realize that almost any article will not be of interest to everyone, and that is fine.

    When I noticed a few months ago he was quitting his job and going full time, I added it to my list of several hundred blog ideas that I am considering. I wanted to give the transition a bit of time, so waited until a couple of weeks ago, and reached out to Keith to see if he would be willing to do an interview. I sent him the questions in bold, and he provided the answers shown.

    Clearly for almost any topic, there are many people you could interview. Why choose him? Partly because he has shown that he uses evidence and logic, follows the industry and trends carefully, writes and speaks clearly and eloquently, and I felt confident his answers would be well grounded and insightful. I think they were, and he provided an exemplary interview. I also see some advantage in someone who has made the transition recently, since the thought process is still fresh in their mind, and conditions reflect today's domain market. Finally, I preferred someone who followed a path more similar to the majority of investors in our community. Started with a smaller portfolio, gradually with success grew the portfolio. While someone with a single big sale who then on that decided to go full time is potentially an interesting story too, it is a different story.

    Will I interview others? I am always open to ideas and offers for any type of articles including interviews. So yes. That said, I feel important to have variety in the weekly blog topics, just because any topic does not appeal to everyone. Therefore, no I would not do a string on 25 different interviews on becoming full-time.

    But no one needs to wait for an interview. As I said at the end of the article, I hope that people will provide their own story in the comments section. Thanks to a few who have, and I welcome you, or anyone else, to tell your story right here.
    Thank you,

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2021
  26. marijuanadomain

    marijuanadomain Established Member

    Posts:
    261
    Likes Received:
    407
    where is the sales data?
    data data data
     
  27. King

    King Investor & Creator VIP Gold Account

    Posts:
    2,185
    Likes Received:
    2,506
    IMO You must have to be truly in love with the game to dedicate your all to it. A true "passion". Going full-time into domaining means you're a flipper and/or have thousands to hundreds of thousands of names. You also probably actively seek a buyer via outbound.

    I prefer a more passive approach of purely inbound.

    My life plan/goals don't allow me to go full-time into domaining. It will always just be one of my side investments and a way to store and grow value.
     
  28. sharastar

    sharastar Established Member

    Posts:
    488
    Likes Received:
    771
    Thanks @Bob Hawkes for wonderful interview.

    Thanks @Keith DeBoer for taking your time and giving this wisdom for us.
     
  29. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

    Posts:
    7,667
    Likes Received:
    25,645
    Thanks for sharing the news with us, and very best wishes with going full time again. I take it you were full time for awhile, but then went part time?
    Bob
     
biix
  1. NamePros uses cookies and similar technologies. By using this site, you are agreeing to our privacy policy, terms, and use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
Loading...