Morgan Linton had a very good post today about finding a mentor in the domain industry. There are a few people who invest in domain names who have given me advice over the years, and it’s always been appreciated.
There is one thing you really should take to heart in Morgan’s article, “Of course not all Domainers will have the bandwidth to be a mentor, many of us are busy people so be respectful and ask early in the relationship about your interest in having a mentor.”
Many of the most visible domain investors are people with blogs. Frankly, for some people, having a blog is like a second job in addition to our domain businesses. Some bloggers have “real” jobs in addition to their blogs and domain investments. There aren’t a whole lot of people that are happy to share insight that also have the time to spare, and you can be sure that most of the bloggers are busy with their own businesses.
If you ask someone for some advice or for a favor and they don’t return your email promptly, don’t answer your question thoroughly, or don’t return your email at all, don’t be a jerk in return. Nobody is obligated to give you free advice, and nobody is obligated to return an email to you if they don’t choose to do so. Whatever the case is, a rude reply will not do you any good and will probably kill any chance of that person ever helping you or working with you.
I’ve always tried to reply to people and be helpful when I receive emails. In fact, I started DomainQuestions.com to help a larger audience of people when someone asked me a question. After not providing answers to a couple of people several months ago, I received a couple of nasty replies. Sadly, that got my guard up, and I don’t really offer advice to anyone I don’t know. There are many good domain consultants that would be happy to help, but I operate a private business and don’t do consulting.
I agree with Morgan that having a mentor can be helpful. I recommend only asking people you know for help and advice. After all, most of us are competing with each other when it comes to buying and selling domain names. If you want to meet people in the industry, you should probably make a point of attending a conference.
Glad you liked the post Elliot and excellent points made in your article. All very true, a mentor should be someone who really wants to help you. If you email someone and they don’t get back to you, don’t be a jerk, just know that’s not the right person to have as your mentor.
I always say do onto others as you want them to do to you, and this is definitely the case when you’re looking for a mentor!
A mentor is a personal thing. It is one person that has been there, done that,who finds someone to share that information with whom they deem worthy. It’s not something often done through emails and building the relationship and trust takes time. It’s much more personal than someone just answering questions that you don’t know the answer to. In all reality, most people are too selfish to be mentors. They don’t feel the need to make the time to guide someone else. But when that special person comes along they will MAKE the time to be their mentor. Selfish is not a bad word. It only means they need to concentrate on themselves to reach their goals and straying from that will make the journey longer. Nothing wrong with being selfish. We all need to be at times. Some families and cultures are raised to be personally driven. I am selfish most of the time.
Elliot, Adam Strong, and Ron Wells (don’t hit any of them up for questions as they are mean people despite being very nice to me) have guided and helped me that went way beyond just one person helping another. They’ve all provided selfless acts kindness that have helped me make more money. It’s something I appreciate because I know at times they may fear that I may be their competitor some day on a name or sale. Mentors? Maybe. Friends? Yes But they are the reason that I am able to make a side living in this domaining thing and it will always be appreciated. I have returned the favor (what I know to this point) to a select few and not one of them has been through an email introduction.
I enjoy helping my friends. I think we all do. The problem is when I receive emails from people I don’t know who expect long, complicated answers to their questions. Or want to spend an hour on the phone with me. I wonder how it is that they feel so entitled. These are people I’ve never met. I find it odd as I wouldn’t demand a lot of time from someone I didn’t know. (Although, I have been known to reach out to people with my own questions. A quick shout out to Shaun Pilford, who graciously spent time answering my questions at the first Domainfest many moons ago). I try to assist the people that reach out to me but I can only offer so much advice before I need to refocus on my own work. Typically, I send these people to Morgan. Since he’s a domain consultant, he’s better equipped to help them – and charge for his time.
I think that DomainQuestions.com is a great way for beginners to get their questions answered. Thanks for building and maintaining that site.
Precisely why I screen my calls. I don’t even like chatting on the phone with people I know, let alone someone I don’t know probing for information.
If someone just calls and starts asking questions that’s a bit out there …
What a waste of time …
Maybe the mentor could be “silent”. As the mentee…just read the blog, follow the comments, track interviews, sales and ventures, etc and in turn, track your own course.
I really don’t see how it works otherwise. Ok, so the mentor chooses a mentee…but what about the many others craving for attention?
I can tell you now…if Frank chooses a mentee over me…there will be a lot furniture throwing in here!
I don’t think a mentor chooses a mentee. I think it’s more like someone knows someone whose been successful in the domain space (or outside of the space) and they meet to discuss ideas, with the mentor sharing his insight.
Elliot’s Quote : “Precisely why I screen my calls. I don’t even like chatting on the phone with people I know, let alone someone I don’t know probing for information.”
If you call my phone number is tells you to send me an email. I just don’t even have time for general inquiries either. Too many nosy people and tire kickers. I have better things to do.
Why is a call to me even necessary unless you are trying to be nosy or feel things out?
Friend calls need to be three minutes or less….LOL.
I really really enjoy helping you all.
They can call me anytime for FREE consultation but can they handle the truth?
“I don’t even like chatting on the phone with people I know”
yea I dread those calls coming in from Shane too dude. 😉
My feeling on this topic is that if you want to learn from others who are successful or have succeeded at something you are working at, the best way to make an acquaintance is in person. This is why I enjoy domain/other online industry conferences and meetups.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet many talented domain investors, developers and entrepreneurs this way.. and Shane is wrong, Ron Wells is not mean! Lol. At the end of the day, when you’ve met someone, have shared a meal or a few drinks with them and talked business in person it can make a world of difference when you are looking for some helpful advice later on down the line.
I wouldn’t say I have a mentor in the industry but I definitely have friends and acquaintances that are successful in domaining and development whom I am comfortable reaching out to, including Morgan, Braden and Patrick Ruddell all who have been really awesome to me.
Now just because you go to a domain conference and get someones business card doesn’t necessarily mean they are your buddy or they want to help you, so don’t take this comment as saying all you do is show up to a conference/meetup and poof you will have an industry mentor.
I do believe the mentor chooses the mentee tacitly or otherwise. It’s like she can’t be my girlfriend unless she agrees to let me be her boyfriend.
I don’t think many people seek out others to mentor. I guess a couple of people have reached out to offer unsolicited advice to me, but I wouldn’t really call it mentoring. I’ve done the same, too, but that’s just being helpful and friendly rather than mentoring.
In regards to a domain investor (or whatever position) not replying to emails I think is plane rude. I understand customer service well and not replying to a customers email is rude (be it whatever question they decide to ask). Seriously all the person not wanting to answer the question has to say is something like I’m sorry at this point in time I’m unable to answer your question/s, atleast then your not ignoring the person. You can go so far and have a default standard email for all non response replies.
I receive a good one email a day from random persons and like yourself elliot have learnt from previous experiences. I feel a reply is better then none, although maybe my thought process would change if the emails I received increased.
“In regards to a domain investor (or whatever position) not replying to emails I think is plane rude. I understand customer service well and not replying to a customers email is rude (be it whatever question they decide to ask). ”
You have to keep in mind that these people aren’t “customers.” I would never not reply to someone who is paying for an advertisement on one of my websites because they are paying customers. However, when someone who I don’t know calls or emails asking for business help, that is a different story.
Generally speaking, if I recognize the person’s name from a comment on my blog or from a meeting at a conference, I will almost always respond quickly. If I’ve never heard of the person and they are asking me to give them my time to help them make money, I may or may not reply depending on what I am doing at that point in time. If it’s an easy reply, I’ll probably answer, but if it’s something more complicated, I probably won’t. I’d rather not reply these days than reply by letting them know I am busy and chance receiving a rude return message.
I sort of agree 🙂
Everyone is a potential customer, they may not buy now although they might buy in the future.
“Help someone and you’ll be helped twice in return.”
I have mentored people to the point where they now make a living off of domaining. In every case, they took the info and gave nothing in return. So, I don’t mentor anyone any longer. Just the type of world we live in.
Do you make your living solely off of domain investing?
Yes sir…. Domaining has paid for two homes and my car cash. I have been at it 15-years and a lot of income comes from parking but it took years to build a client list. More importantly, it took years to build the trust my customers have in me.
I have slowed down a lot because of health reasons. Starting to sell of some of gems to travel more. Right now I have realestateinspection.com at namejet.com after 12-years of holding it.
Nice post Elliot.
Shane, I really appreciate the kind words; as far as the advice here and there – that’s what friends are for! 🙂
As for myself, I still have a long way to go in figuring out the domain business, but the beauty of it all is that every single day is a learning process (I’ve been full-time since 2008, so I guess something must be working:-) )!
As far as being a mentor … there is one person who always pin that title on me:
Oscar went from being my banker, to being a full-time domainer in a very short time!
P.S., Mike, you’re right … I’m a nice guy 🙂
I can relate to Bruce T. I make my living 100% off of domains in every area of the game. Consulting, brokerage, selling, buildouts. Bruce is an expert in this area too.
You need to be careful of how you treat people who ask for free advice, and how you respond to them. I made the mistake of giving free advice for several months to one domainer who I had met in person. However, I told him, like a doctor, I can’t give out my “educational prognosis” on valuable information about domain investments for free. That was part of my source of income.
That didn’t seem to stop him, and I’ve noticed he’s still trying to convince major domainers to invest in his one domain name to invest in building it out. But, I caught him, on a bizarre potential offer from a powerful domainer, setting DDOS attacks on me as a “favor” to the powerful domainer who doesn’t like me, but also hates the company I was working with to host the Future Trend Domain Auction™ last year.
Trust me, DDOS attacks cost you money, and are caused out of immaturity and spite because there’s no advantage to anyone from a DDOS attack except your competitors can catch up to whatever you’re working on while you’re working with law enforcement and forensic analysts to locate the person. Our company was able to do that, but it at the moment, decided to keep the facts we found in “secret”, unless the issues start again.
The point is that on the first day of the attacks, I received an email railing on me asking me “who do I think I am” to ignore the spurned hacker and that I had to publicly apologize for NOT giving him “free domain investing advice”.
There are plenty of nuts out there, so just be polite to everyone if you can. You never know when someone loses sight of their moral center and embarks on a destructive campaign to destroy your work, and harm your family and your financial security. I know, it happened to me at the worst time – Jan-March 2011.
If anyone has this problem, I know the solution, so I will give free info in ONE email on what to do i your sites are attacked. No cost.
Nice article, Elliot.