There Are Some Days I Wish I Had a Partner

I love just about everything associated with working for myself as a domain investor. There are some days that I wish I had a business partner though. ย Every once in a while, an offer is made on a domain name that I wish I could get another opinion about before making a decision. Yesterday’s article about reasonable offers will give you an understanding about the types of offers that a second set of eyes might help.

Without a business partner, I am solely responsible for business decisions. This is good because I never have to convince someone that a decision is right or wrong, and I have full authority to execute decisions and strategy. This allows me to make offers and close deals quickly and generally without holdups on my end. The downside is that there are times that I could use a second opinion on whether I am making the right call on a domain purchase or sale.

I discuss some business with my wife, but I can’t expect her to be able to give me expert business advice like another domain investor could. She knows about domain names better than many people, but I couldn’t expect her to know about current market conditions and other factors that would be necessary to consider before making an educated decision. She is a great sounding board, but it wouldn’t be fair to put a major business decision on her shoulders.

I do not generally discuss business with friends because most probably wouldn’t understand the nuances of the business, and I don’t think any of them would know about market conditions. I have discussed overall business strategy at a higher level, but not the day to day operations. I think it’s distasteful to discuss finances with friends, and obviously that is an important aspect of making a business decision. On a sidenote, what friend would tell you to pass on a $15,000 offer for a domain name you paid $69 for at auction the prior week? Probably ย not many, and passing might be the wise choice.

On occasion, I discuss some things with business colleagues, but there are obstacles to that, especially because most of my good business friends are also competitors. I trust my friends, but if they chat about a private deal that is in the works, it could lead to trouble with the deal, especially if a NDA is signed. This also poses trouble if that person wants to buy the domain name from me at a later date. Additionally, to make an important decision, especially related to a domain name sale, I think it is critical to know the status of the business (things like cash in bank, cash flow…etc), and I am not going to share that with business associates for competitive and personal reasons.

There are plenty of downsides to having a business partner. However, there are some days I wish I had a business partner.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Elliot you have to assume that you have chosen a job where you are alone. I’m in my early sixties and my two cents are: learn from your mistakes (be totally honest to yourself), and never take your business problems back home.

  2. I can help you Elliot if you want. I deal with totally different types of domains so there is no hidden agenda. My opinions will be based off of calculated analysis and not just personal opinion. Try it out once and if it doesn’t work out so be it. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

    • I sincerely appreciate the offer, but it wouldn’t work out because there are important private business factors that need to be considered (cash in bank, YTD income/tax, cost basis), not to mention the buyer (or seller) wanting to keep information private and my desire to keep my business dealings private.

  3. While I am not offering my services, I would assume find someone with similar business model. And have a working / trustworthy relationship where you bring a few domains to him/her a month and they do the same. You both agree to stay out of it unless up-front the other party says and can prove they are already working on it. (on the acquisition side.) That way you both benefit.

  4. Yes, in domaining there can be a tendency to feel one is trying to do everything by themselves. Particularly for website development, that can be a big mistake as no one is an expert in the subject matter plus website development plus design plus SEO plus marketing plus ad sales etc.

    Regarding pricing and purchasing decisions there probably are a few individuals in the domain space you could reach out to but as you mention you have to be sure they aren’t also competitors. The very individuals who would have the most insight into the prudence of a purchase or pricing decision could also have ulterior motives with any feedback they provide.

    On occasion when I have mentioned to individuals outside the domain space about domains I own or recently acquired or websites I have developed they tend to give me a blank stare like I am an alien from another planet ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yet even within the domain space there are very different markets. Sometimes well-known domainers will sell short but brandable .COM domains at price points that don’t seem logical given my personal experience trying to sell even .COM domains above $1500. The domain space is unique.

    Perhaps a partner is not really the solution but just a small group of trusted individuals who have the appropriate industry insight to be a sounding board when needed.

  5. Elliot,
    When your kid grows up share your thoughts with them.

    Until then just my 2 cents,
    I think you have a dog, if not get a puppy and speak to it. It’s funny & amazing how much they understand.
    Don’t be stressed.

    Best wishes.

  6. The trust factor is important in every aspect of life, including engaging in a personal or professional partnership.

    Unless the partnership is based on a 50/50 relationship, then anything else is a employer/employee relationship.

    Sometimes one feels the need to seek advice or feedback from others, either to support decisions or to see things from someone else’s perspective.

    To disclose facts and figures, or agreements bound to an NDA, a business requires all partners to communicate at the same level and to work towards the well-being of a company.

    Domaining is not a brick and mortar business, and it has peculiarities that can lead to sole proprietorship being the best model of management. Otherwise, forming a company and having employees can help delegate some of the tasks, while gaining expert feedback on a variety of strategies.

    Talking to a dog helps too, if you include the words ‘cookie’ or ‘play time’ in your executive summary. ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Do you need a crying towel? ๐Ÿ™‚
    A Man purse?
    Send me a email … as I do to you …

    How do we compete? You are selling … Now many domainers, love to talk that is your real problem in discussing.

    Kevin Ham and I use to talk every day about buying domains for 2 years… Then he partnered with Colin and he didn’t want to talk with my anymore, I cried every day for a long time … not

    You can’t consult on a purchases, like Kevin and I did … That would create a competitor!

    With lots of Luv and Kicks ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Start a mastermind group. I was am doing real estate investment, and there are tons of ups and downs to the business, plus it is always good to bounce ideas off guys in the industry. Real estate investing is a lot like domaining honestly. it has been awesome to have a group of guys who I can bounce ideas off of and get support from. They also keep me honest on my goals and biz stuff so it has been great! I did my mastermind group like this: I got one guy who i thought was above my skill level,one at my skill level and one guy just getting started who was hungry, not someone who is a leach but a producer who needs some help. It is good to have mentors but also to have people to pull up along the with you because you learn lots when you’re teaching.

  9. This pretty much sums it up alright and I’ve sometimes wished I had partners too for what I do (which is different from domaining despite having many domains); however, I’ve really come here to post a side note because it’s reached “crisis mode” and basically the whole country and life as you know it is at stake:

    “The FCC is about to axe-murder net neutrality. Don’t get mad โ€“ get even”

  10. I passed on a 14k offer on a 6 letter .com domain last week that I paid $8 for. On the one hand nice ROI but in my opinion worth every bit of 25k+ as I never valuate based on acquisition price but on the domain quality/industry profit and how easy it would be to replace the same quality of domain once sold.

    • 308 million possible 6 letter combinations and you turn down 14 grand? I could understand if it was a 6 letter word but a 6 letter word won’t sell for 8 bucks. So it’s obviously a 6 letter made up brandable.

      If it was a random brandable you should have taken the money. 6 letter domains are a dime a dozen. Can you tell us the name?

    • Was a 6 letter .com that isn’t a word but that contains a word= keyword/brandable.
      Receive a handful of offers every month on it so no urgency to sell until the right buyer is aligned.
      Most of my sales over the last 11 years have happened on keyword domains but a few keyword/brandables in there as well and I prefer to invest in those over random brandables without a keyword contained in them.

  11. Nurture your top 4 -5 relationships in the industry that you know and trust. It might be that that’s all you really need. I have several that I rely on and trust with any information. Including you! It’s a lot less of a commitment than a partnership and there only when you need it. It’s also nice to have that support just when you need it and not have to include them in every decision

    • There are several people I trust, but I still wouldn’t reveal business finances with them, and that is important in making decisions.

      There’s a big difference between turning down a $250,000 offer because I have $10 million cash / stocks in the bank vs. that same offer with dwindling funds.

    • It seems like the only reason you don’t want to accept others into your decision making is because you think you have to release your personal financial information to them. I understand that 100%.

      Make a list of everything that you would like to ask someone in regards to their opinion on a domain but leave the financials out and determine that last factor between you and your wife. I think since you work for yourself by yourself you tend to second guess your own decisions sometimes which goes with the territory. We sometimes get stir crazy in a home office. Take a walk, eat lunch outside, take a 30 minute break somewhere other than your office. It makes a world of difference.

      When it comes to selling a domain or anything else for that matter is do you need the money or not. If you absolutely need the money then sell if not then don’t sell, it’s that simple.

      You must have some type of baseline number in your head in regards to your financials that triggers this type of thinking. Maybe raise that baseline by 20 or 30 grand to give yourself a little bit more cushion before you think you must sell something.

    • Aside from finances, the other major issue is that I don’t want to reveal info about the buyer or the domain name that could identify the buyer now or in the future. If the other buyer is a domain investor, I don’t think it’s fair that they assume a deal is being negotiated privately while I am sharing info with someone else in the business. Even if I don’t reveal their name, a Whois change could reveal that.

      I wouldn’t want to enter in to a private negotiation with you, agree to buy a name for $50,000 under the assumption it’s private, and upon receiving the domain name, finding out that one of my friends/colleagues knows how much I paid because he was privy to a private negotiation. It’s uncomfortable because you and I might have a NDA, but your friend doesn’t, and there is nothing to stop him from talking about this private deal.

      I also think there is greater legal risk if you share a private negotiation involving a company outside of the domain space. I wouldn’t want to be concerned about getting sued because I told someone about an offer and word got back to that company at the conclusion of the deal.

  12. You may want to consider making your Wife or one of your children a partner, teaching them the business would even be beneficial should anything unfortunate happen to you.. My advice is never involve outsiders unless it’s a person you’ve known for a very very long time.. This is a backstabbing industry where many domainers use one another for their own benefit, some even rip each other off and crap on them when given the opportunity. Sadly there is not much loyalty in this business, most (NOT ALL) are out for number ONE.

    And don’t take this as a insult Elliot, but judging from some of the people you promote and protect in this industry, your a poor judge of character IMO, which is all the more reason why you should NOT partner with anyone in the domain business.

    • My wife has a totally separate career (psychologist) and she’s great at what she does. I don’t think either of us would have interest in being in business together.

      I don’t agree with your assessment about judging character, but that isn’t a surprise. I won’t even ask who you feel I “promote and protect” because I sense that would open a can of worms, so I will leave it at that.

  13. That man he can trusts like Elliot’s wife.That man knows about domaining like Frank Schilling and he must be rich like Bill Gate so that he does not care few bucks from domains sales to become a competitor of Elliot.


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