When I first joined the domain blogging scene, Tia Wood was already a seasoned domain name blogger, domainer, and web developer. Tia designed several of the blogger’s site that were in use at the time and contributed heavily in the domain forums. It’s been some time since we have crossed paths, so I decided to reach out to Tia to see what she’s up to.
Mike: It’s been awhile since we last seen you active within the industry. What have you been up to these last few years?
Tia: I left freelancing about 4 years ago to join commercial WordPress plugin companies and went back to school focusing on business management and digital marketing. I had been in the development space for a long time and needed a new set of challenges and skills.
I also picked up a new hobby: photography! I love traveling around the country and exploring airports and sights. And the airports love it, too. A couple of airports have taken notice and started reposting my photography. It’s nothing serious but I do it for fun. You can follow me @karunasati on instagram if this is up your alley. (I love exploring. Feel free to leave a comment below on scenic places you recommend.)
The biggest change has been moving from Florida to Indiana in 2018. I needed a new environment. The move was definitely out of my comfort zone but I wanted the new environment even more. So my daughter and I plus three cats made the long drive from Florida to Indiana in two days.
I love exploring Indiana, the surrounding states and the community here is just amazing. I am definitely happy that I made the trip.
Mike: TiaWood.com is dedicated to your web development efforts. Is that a passion you still dedicate much of your time to?
Tia: TiaWood.com has a lot of my old stuff and will be updated this year to reflect my current personal projects and photography. I used it a lot during freelancing but I no longer work under my name. It’s just been sitting there collecting dust lol.
Mike: Are you still involved in domaining?
Tia: Not anymore. I still visit the forums from time to time because a lot of knowledge crosses over into domaining but it’s not something I focus on anymore. Domaining is basically a full time job and although it can be lucrative for some, it’s just not something I am passionate about anymore.
Mike: Why did you choose to step out of the blogging space?
Tia: I was at the point in my life where I needed a change (as described above). I wasn’t sure what that change was but I needed new challenges, new direction, new environment, new adventure. I took a long break from blogging to pursue new goals.
Mike: You have been in the domaining industry for quite some time. What were some of the early lessons learned and how have you applied them going forward?
Tia: I wasted so much time, money and effort chasing too much after my own intuition. Domaining is largely based on data and numbers. Just because a domain sounds “catchy” doesn’t mean that it will sell. Do the research, run the numbers, triple check everything, always. THEN you can go with your intuition. This has also helped me with other areas in life. Being inspired and having ideas is just fine. Creativity is a beautiful process. But always give yourself a reality check via due diligence before you dive into anything.
Mike: You’ve worked the 9 to 5 and been your own boss. Which do you prefer? Which is more rewarding? Why?
Tia: This is a hard one. They both have their benefits and their downsides. I really enjoy working within companies because you have more available brainpower and community plus a dependable paycheck.
Entrepreneurship is great because you steer your own ship but that can also be a bad thing because you are solely responsible for failure.
I am currently back in entrepreneurship. My goal is to marry the two. I’m alone but I don’t want to feel alone. If I can find a way to duplicate the community feel with entrepreneurship then I would definitely choose entrepreneurship.
Mike: What advice do you have for someone entering the domain investing industry today? Is there still opportunity for success?
Tia:My #1 advice: don’t quit your day job.
I am going to make a controversial statement and say that domaining is a failing industry. Here is why:
Over the past five years:
- most products/services once offered by big companies are no longer domainer targeted
- domaining.com has lost significant amounts of traffic representing the overall interest in domaining
- most blogs that post on domaining.com have lost significant amounts of traffic
- the domain industry never properly organized therefore anyone is buying/selling in the forums anymore. of course, you can’t expect much quality in forums in the first place but it used to be much more active
- the market is way too saturated with mediocre domains collecting dust on parking pages
- revenue from passive domaining (such as parking) has plummeted
- the domain industry as a whole failed at teaching the public and businesses the importance of good domain names. I’m not talking about the obvious ones such as computers.com but the decent ones the average person and businesses can afford; revenue that would have provided a major, long term backbone for the industry. Instead, major companies such as GoDaddy have filled that gap and has taken that opportunity away
- no one is protecting domaining’s long term interest. There is no one directing market growth, combating bad press or acting as a leadership body for growth of the industry as a whole
most people who are in domaining need or keep a main source of income other than domaining
While I believe it’s highly unlikely the average person can enter into the domain industry and expect to earn a full time living today, there are still opportunities. It takes some creativity and entrepreneurship. What worked for Rick Schwartz or Frank Schilling 20 years ago is not going to work for you today.
Don’t get me wrong: the wisdom and knowledge that highly successful domainers have handed down are valuable and insightful. But you have to keep in mind they entered into domaining over 20 years ago during a completely different era.
Today, there is a lot more competition with much deeper pockets and they have significantly squeezed most opportunities from the bottom. You either need a lot more money to play or you need a strategy parallel with domaining.
Bottom line is; you have to work way smarter and harder now. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you go out and buy a few domains and that’s it.
Develop a good business plan and make sure you have a secondary source of income because full time or even part time domaining could take a while.
Mike: Any projects you want to share?
Tia: Yes! We are about to launch UserCreative.com which is management, marketing and consulting for businesses on the WordPress platform. We figured out how to take the needs of online businesses and roll them into monthly plans. We also have options for one-time projects such as development and website reviews. This will be officially launching very soon. You can sign up at UserCreative.com for launch notification and more information.