This post is part of my series on digital investment. See here for an overview.
I want to start with a background. Why read what I write about digital investing?
Firstly, I’m not an expert who knows everything. I’m at that little cusp of knowledge where I’ve been doing something for a while and I’m a few steps ahead, but definitely do not know everything.
Secondly, I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. I've had failures and crises. Websites crashing, panicking due to fluctuations in traffic and money, and many other things. Most of them (all that I can remember) were avoidable, and so I want to avoid them myself, as well as helping others avoid them, too.
However, despite all that, there's a lot I keep realising that I have learned.
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Every time I talk to someone like a family member or befuddled ex-colleague about what I’m doing buying and building websites I realise: wow, there are many things that I take for granted that people don't know, and that could really transform their lives.
Here’s a few simple things people don’t realise about digital investing:
- If you have $100K, you could buy a website that’ll give you $3K a month. That’s a > 30% annual return!
- Running a website is much easier than running a business with employees like a cafe or a gym — and it’ll make you more money, and you can work from home, and you don't have to freak out when people call in sick. In fact, you can call in sick.
- Your first website might cost you as little as $10,000 (but really, not less than that).
- Everyday people buy millions of dollars worth of websites via the big brokers.
- You could learn everything you need to buy and run websites in about 100 hours of learning. That might sound like a lot, but it's easy if you're interested.
- If you get sick of it, you can sell your website again, and if it stayed performing as well as it did, then you will have made money.
OK, those are the pros of buying businesses online. But yes, there are obviously cons to buying businesses online as well.
- There are shysters out there who build businesses out of paper and sell them for too much.
- You might find it really hard to manage a website if you don't understand the niche or the technology. The idea of, I dunno, selling hamster pet paraphernalia to Germans via a website built on Joomla might be enticing if it's making someone $2,000 a month, but it might become your new nightmare.
- You might overestimate how much you know about running an online business. "Hey, I read this jamoke's website... now I know everything!" (No, you don't. But I'll try to fix that, I promise)
Those are a few of the things I learned — the hard way. I want to share them.
As for my background, well, it spans working for major tech companies in senior management positions, management consulting, finance, and starting my own online businesses.
- I ran departments at Lyft, a North America-based ride-sharing company like Uber, Groupon, an e-commerce company, and Wind, a scooter company,
- I ran operations and managed deals for Unity Asset Management, a family office and private (very, very private) wealth management company in Hong Kong that at one point had US$1B in AUM,
- I ran/co-founded a mixed bag of startups spanning a cafe-finding app, a lingerie company, and a slew of websites, including this one.
- My name literally means "wisdom" and "knowledge", and I do try to live up to those words!
I’m a huge nerd, as well. It spans many areas of my life, but the ones most relevant here are getting deep into analytics, solving digital problems, and occasionally coding (although trying to avoid it).
So things I’m good at are
- Operations in large companies
- Data and analytics,
- Crisis management (something I was good at in my corporate jobs),
- Setting fire to things, (this is just a check to make sure you're still reading)
- Writing, and
- Learning new things very fast.
In fact, that last part is why my career spans so many different fields. My education was a combined Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Engineering (first-class honours). I never worked in either field. I really just like getting pretty good at one thing and moving to the next.
The most recent thing I’ve gotten good at is building and buying websites.
And to answer the question: why build this website sharing what I know? Simple — it’s fun, I like writing and sharing, and it makes me a small amount of money, too.
But mostly, I just like making using an important topic to make jokes to a captive audience.