How Much Do You Need to Earn to Be Full Time?
101 Domain

How Much Do You Need to Earn to Be a Full Time Domain Investor?

21

I have to admit that I thought the percentage of full time domain investors vs. part time domain investors would have been much lower. According to the poll I ran asking people who read my blog if they are full time domain investors, 40% of the almost 200 responders indicated that they invest in domain names as their full time profession.

I had anticipated closer to 25% of the people who responded would be full timers, although there may have been a bit of confusion about what it means, as some people work for themselves and are in the domain business but their involvement in domain investing is more peripheral.

I am curious what amount of income (NET, not gross) it would take for you to become a full time domain investor, assuming your goal was to quit your day job and work for yourself. Of course, many people love their job and love investing in domain names as a hobby, so I guess this wouldn’t really be a good poll if that’s the case.

To put a bit of perspective on things, according to the US Census Bureau, from 2006-2010, the median household income in the US was $51,914.

So, how much annual net revenue would it take for you to turn your domain investing business into a full time profession (or what did it take in case you’re already doing it)? Vote in the poll below!


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and professional domain investor. Elliot is President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a domain investing company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Elliot is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com.

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Comments (21)

    Tony

    I didn’t participate in either poll but this post was a good follow-up to the first one. If I wanted to go full time once domaining netted $50K/yr, I could’ve been considered full-time 2 years ago.

    For me, full-time is having my current earnings from my main profession being replaced by domaining. I can see the goal line but I’m not quite there yet. My goal is to acquire a domain portfolio that NETS $200,000+/yr via parking and sales. Sales would come passively and not from active trading, ie, buyers come to me not the other way around.

    IMO, after the Halvarez fiasco, acquiring good domains on the dropcatch/auctions was great up until this year. This year I’ve seen new bidders willing to spend $5K on names I’d only do $1K for! Many names I got last year for $59-69, I’m having to pay $200+ for now. Because of that, I am really glad I went all-in in 2009-2011.

    August 2nd, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Aggro

    LOL

    $50,000 pa is hobbyist money

    Only in the “domaining” industry is $100,000 pa seen as some kind of achievement.
    You never see other professionals like a city doctor, investment banker, management consultant, corp exec etc on $100,000 pa seen as a achievement.
    LOL

    Sincerely also hope you are referring to NET PROFIT (after reg fees, expenses, taxes)
    Otherwise you get the fragile-egos boasting about their TURNOVER (not that they would know the difference. Most domainers are dumber than shit, can’t even grasp the finer points of the UDRP)

    If you can’t earn more than $50,000 in another job, you ain’t got much going for you, in terms of education or plain just-can’t-work-with-others in a corporate environment

    Are most domainers really a bunch of under-educated losers from, at best, lower middle class backgrounds (yes, it’s true) with nothing else going for them?
    Maybe kicked out of their corporate cubicle job once they hit 40 yo…?

    Are the majority of domainers (those scraping a living) really “tried day-trading-for a living but failed”, “tried ebay-for a living but failed”, “tried poker-for a living but failed” types?

    $50,000 might be OK for the boondocks of Ohio or Indiana but for a major city it’s pathetic.
    No pension, nothing to boot, as well
    You have a bad year (inevitable) as quality of domains gets poorer with every passing year – and you’re fucked
    Your wife will be nagging you with “why don’t you get a real job” LOL

    Most can do OK it for a few yrs (ask Spade et al) but…

    Come back in 10 yrs time, showing $200,000 pa (and increasing yeraly) & it’s something to talk about – otherwise it’s scraping a living

    August 2nd, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ Aggro

      I agree, especially living in NYC, but I am interested in hearing what others think. Earning 6 figures is a big accomplishment for many people, and doing that and not having to answer to anyone is an achievement.

      BTW, there may be no pension, but SEP (simplified employmee pension) contributions can be maxed out at $49,000 annually, and if you can make over $250k a year, you probably don’t need any type of pension anyway.

      http://www.irs.gov/publications/p560/ch02.html

      August 2nd, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      Tony

      I think $50K/yr net with a domain portfolio on autopilot is a big deal. Because if you can get to that point, it’s just a matter of time before you reach whatever your target number is.

      Too bad the idiot that read and posted after my comment interpreted or obsessed over that number. My June 2012 sales alone were over $40,000. My annual net the last two years is in the 6-figures. That’s on auto-pilot.

      August 2nd, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Kevin M

    “”..40% of the almost 200 responders indicated that they invest in domain names as their full time profession.”"

    Yeah, ..right! I’d give 20-1 odds 80% of that 40% are ‘Legends in their own minds’, and couldn’t pay their yearly rent with their domain investing proceeds. good grief.

    August 2nd, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Jack of All Trades

    I love the arrogance of the posters. I can imagine you typing with your lotion soft hands getting all flustered after spilling your starbucks. Makes me want to role up my working class sleeves and show some of you ivy leaguers the end of my barstool.com.

    August 2nd, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I hate lotion. And Ivy Leaguers. I do enjoy an occasional Starbucks coffee.

      RE: Green Street Hooligans link: Ironically, the owner of Millwall is a family friend :)

      August 2nd, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Jack of alltrades

      Nice! I was directing it more towards the commenters above. Especially @Aggro. With a handle like that, he obviously doesn’t understand the meaning of “aggro.”

      August 3rd, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    George Pickering

    Really comes down to opportunity costs. If your career doesn’t make alot of money, $50,000 would be success. If you are an engineer or doctor who makes $100K+, then probably have higher expectations.

    August 2nd, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Nadia

    I forgot to vote in the last poll, but I voted above. Although I chose the $100k/yr mark, that’s more of a hypothetical. There isn’t anything that would drive me to leave my job at this point. The benefits and the possibility of retirement pay after another 15 years is too good. Domains and the way people navigate and interact online are likely to change drastically in the next 10-15 years. I think there’s still room for tremendous growth, but it’s a rapidly evolving space and there are too many variables.

    I’d vote the same way if I had ONE really great premium domain that was developed and earning mid-to-high x,xxx a month. I feel developed sites offer a little more stability than relying on sales alone, but 1-2 isn’t enough. What if it takes a hit in the search engines? Or the business model that once worked isn’t relevant anymore?

    That’s why I think people like Elliot are doing it the right way by developing multiple sites. I think you have to diversify.

    People with larger portfolios (and the cash to churn and burn more domains) may be able to live off parking earnings and sales, but the rest of us need something else to rely on. One big sale could literally change my life, and I’ve had enough to encourage me to keep going. But I can’t see surviving without medical insurance and a steady paycheck.

    Domaining is something I do because it interests me. I’ve always loved websites and making something out of nothing. It’s an industry that screams “possibility.” It’s different than my day job, and I do it because I love it. I’m still figuring out how to achieve greater consistency and trying to develop out some sites that will help with that. If you do what you love, opportunities present themselves. And this is an industry FILLED with opportunity.

    August 2nd, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Thank you for doing what you do!

      August 2nd, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Perry

      Great comment, Nadia.

      I think it’s important to mention that you don’t **need** a killer domain name to build a viable business online. It all depends on your business model and niches you enter.

      Plenty of people make a very good living on developed domain names that are hand registered. Of course, having an exact match domain name helps in the process of ranking and your overall SEO costs will go down, but it is by no means necessary.

      August 3rd, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Nadia

      Thanks, Perry! Not to get too off-topic, but the interview you did with Michael Cyger was one of the best I’ve seen. It’s amazing what you’ve accomplished by tracking what your visitors are searching for and writing great content.

      I watched your video on Market Samurai a few days ago. You’re right that there are countless niches yet to be tapped, but I think you’ve done it the right way by sticking to subjects you’re passionate about. Congrats on getting OutdoorEquipment.com; looking forward to seeing how it grows! You’re right that an exact-match domain isn’t required (it’s more about the work you put into it), but it certainly helps establish credibility and authority when a site is starting out.

      August 3rd, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Perry

      Thanks, Nadia :-) passion goes a long way in business

      August 4th, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Josh

    I think a definite number would be impossible to specify therefore I look at it this way.

    Whatever it takes to pay the common bills, enjoy life and not have to worry would be my number. For some people that’s $30k a year, others $300k or more.

    August 2nd, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    adrian keys

    Very surprised at the 40% too. I wonder if the ques was misinterpreted.

    August 2nd, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    J S

    I don’t think your considered a full-time domainer unless your into 6 figures, otherwise, its a hobby or part time business.

    August 3rd, 2012 at 12:07 am

    AB

    I have a pretty nice lifestyle as it is now, so as long as I make an equivalent income in domaining, I’d be happy so that’s why I modestly voted for between 50k and 100k.

    More would always be nice, but I’d be happy with that amount

    August 3rd, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Duane

    I believe this is a question which can only be answered by each individual depending on there situation. There is no way to name a exact number. In my own case and I belive in most cases, the turning point into going a full time “weber” is when you can no longer afford to keep your regular day job. Simply said, if your day job is costing you money. Atleast this is how it was in my personal case.

    August 3rd, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    L

    His delivery may be about as subtle as a shotgun blast, but Aggro’s observations here are pretty spot on.

    There are some really shrewd people, some great people, some intelligent people but overall, domaining is a magnet for fantasists, delusional dreamers, bums, big talkers, scumbags, etc.

    As far as making a living, my own objective in life is a few acres with a big garden, a couple moocows, maybe some chickens and a goat, a sheep dog and enough reliable, passive income to not worry about the bills, insurance, buying a new truck every 5 or so years and occasionally taking a trip to visit family. Playing frisbee with my dog is what makes me happy. I’m on track to retire to this lifestyle at 40.

    I’m cool with this. Others would rather work an extra 40 years to have that late model Benz and an eight figure nest egg. Their call to make, but I feel almost a bit blessed that I’ve figured out the things I have, as early as I have.

    August 5th, 2012 at 12:52 am

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