A few weeks ago I posted the introduction to my book. Below is the epilogue (the end part) for the book:
How To Get Rich Online
While other teenagers were playing video games and watching sports, I was reading the Wall Street Journal, buying penny stock IPOs, and thinking of inventions. While other college kids were partying, I was starting student businesses and trying get rich quick schemes. While other graduates went off and got jobs, I bought no money down real estate, stayed up all night tinkering around on the Internet, and spent all my money on domain names. Then, as my business began to take off, I worked 16 hours a day 7 days a week for fifteen years to try build it into an online empire. Through all of this, my singular obsession in life was to make lots of money. It was my drive, my passion. It gave my life a sense of purpose. The question is, what do I do now?
Having money has made my life easier and less stressful, but I am not really any happier than I used to be. One reason for this is that I still am under pressure to make even more money. My plan had been to put the $3 million I made from selling my sites in the bank and live off the interest, but with CD interest rates at only 1% (before taxes) right now, that income does not amount to much. And, although I still have a large business left, it does not make a big profit like it used to when I owned Bored.com.
By selling most of my sites I traded my next 20-30 years worth of income for a lump sum payment right now. The problem is that I am only 40 years old, and most people in my family have lived into their 90s, so I need to plan financially for the next 50+ years. Although $3 million seems like a large amount of money, it won’t last that long if I spend it to live on.
I still have a strong desire to become a business tycoon (like Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, etc.), and I still constantly think of new business ideas, but things are not the same. My work day is still filled with all the various tasks of running a business (paying bills, answering phone calls, handling website problems, dealing with workers, etc.) but I am less motivated to take on new ventures. Everything seems less important now. Making changes to my sites or adding some new content to them at best could make a few thousand dollars a year more for me, but might also have no effect, so either way why bother? I feel like I should be spending my time on bigger things.
In the past, lack of funds kept me from starting many of the businesses that I conceived. Now that money is not a problem anymore, I am in a much better position to start something new. No more financing things on credit cards at 25% interest rates, trying to get partners or investors, or worrying about cash flow problems. I would not even have the pressure of needing the business to make a profit right away. But, I then I think about all the work involved in a startup and how in the end I might not even make anything from it (I could even lose money), and in comparison just living off my existing income does not seem like that bad an option. So for now I feel stuck. Being an entrepreneur and trying to get rich makes me happy, but I don’t want to make my life full of stress and time pressures again, since that will make me unhappy.
Some studies in the field of behavioral economics shed some light on this topic. Contrary to what you would expect, recent experiments show people are less happy when they have a lot of options. They often get overwhelmed and paralyzed by all the choices. For example, in an experiment setup by psychologists Mark Lepper and Sheena Iyengar, customers at a jam tasting booth in an upscale supermarket in California were ten times more likely to buy the jam when they were offered 6 varieties vs. 24 varieties. It is interesting to note though that the larger booth with more options attracted a bigger crowd.
Everyone wants more. More money, more success, more power, more freedom. But, does that really lead to happiness? Research by happiness economists (no, I am not making that profession up) shows that as predicted, things like a stable marriage, good health and sufficient income make people happier while “bad” things like unemployment, divorce and economic instability make people less happy. But, contrary to popular belief, being rich does not lead to significantly more happiness than just having a moderate income. Studies show that one reason for this is that wealthy people spend less time doing pleasurable things, and more time doing compulsory things and feeling stressed. Plus, as shown in tabloid magazines and soap operas, rich people have a whole new world of problems to deal with such as fame, security issues, addictions, financial meltdowns, family pressures, and lawyers.
My own personal paradox is that even though the pursuit of money makes me happy, now that I have a sufficient amount of it, overwhelming research indicates making more money won’t make me any happier. One solution would be to make more money but then give some of it away to charity (philanthropy generally makes people happy). Or, maybe I should expand my horizons and find other things to enjoy such as travel, reading, volunteering, sports, religion, hobbies, video games, family, and all the other pleasures life has to offer.
So, I stand now at a crossroads. My future is full of opportunities. It not time yet for me to slow down or retire. I want to make a difference in the world, do great things, and make my mark on history. I don’t know what lies ahead or what path I will take, but I look forward to the journey.
Where can I order this book?
If I ever finish the book, I will post lots of information about it on this blog.
I wish investing $3 million was my biggest worry or obstacle in my life right now. I think can begin to fathom the responsibility, and even burden that would come along with having that much money. As much as I could envision enjoying the freedom that, that much money could afford me, I could also see how it could become an obstacle to happiness and freedom and make one’s life more complex and worrisome. Life is funny that way such is the Burden of Dreams.
It is not having money that is a burden, it is more an issue of changing my life so much in the past few years, where I have no clear goal anymore. That can sometimes be both a good thing and a bad thing.
I think there are 3 stages in life if we talk about economics:
1 – try to make a living to survive
2 – try to get rich ( this could be millions or billions )
3 – after that, it’s all about
* making more cash ( but it is just for the numbers on papers , not for personal satisfaction )
* the only power a person has after making his first million(s) is brought by the pursuit of success , respect, and self pride to proof that more can be achieved. It’s like playing a video game, finish it , but then starting it again in expert mode to show that you are that great gamer :p Or doing time trial on a racing video game to beat yourself and submit your lap time to Xbox live community etc… This is what Forbes listed billionaires are doing. They try to secure deal etc… to show that they were smart enough to buy something before another billionaire did. It’s just pride. Most of them just buy stuff and don’t even make money off it. Check Donald Trump in “The art of the comeback” , he explains how he got the Miss Universe brand off another south american millionaire. But it is not profitable, he just did it for pride. So i think that after a certain amount of money ( which differs from person to person ) , everything else happens just ego,pride,numbers,ranks etc… Eric, your effort to make your company successful is already done and mission accomplished. I understand that you don’t have the same envy to start something new etc… and make it huge, but then you shouldn’t think or tycoons etc… and just settle for a millionaire’s life, lazy stuff, traveling etc… It is also a hard time to brand new ideas. Back in 1999-2000, people were lost with new ideas, what to do etc… Like with domains, every possible idea is taken and a website goes along with it. So this is also a possible factor blocking you to make a new start… I still think there are brilliant ideas still to be developed etc…
Yes, I agree with all of that. I would just say that I am much less motivated now to do all of that. On the other hand, I have more opportunities now, as I don’t have to spend 24/7 just trying to survive like I was before. So, I still plan to make many millions more online, I just need to figure out what way I will do it.
How I wish i’m in your shoes right now, but I’m barely 20% into the “trying to get partners or investors” stage.
Having lots of money is not a problem to me – it IS my reason for being, working hard on the internet, because my happiness comes from sharing what I have to my family and to those who have less, especially to poor members in our church. I always make it a point to give back to God (thru tithing and charity) regardless of the amount i earn each month because money is a blessing that should be used to bless others as well. If we only think of satisying our own cravings, no amount of money will be enough…but if we think of the needs of others, even 10 dollars can do so much.
Don’t stop dreaming, reaching your goals, but start having a purpose for each thousand dollars you’ll make and you’ll get a few hundred sources of happiness. Read: “Money, Possessions, and Eternity” by Randy Alcorn; maybe you’ll get something worth few pages of your upcoming book. Would love a review copy then. 🙂
I am not against getting investors, it is just having partners that has never worked out well for me. But, lots of great companies were started by partners (Apple Computer comes to mind).
I’m hearing a lot lately about incubator workshops where a successful entrepreneur sets up a work space for young entrepreneurs to meet and discuss their businesses. I wonder if sharing your business experience in a mentoring way might be a natural transition. It could also put you in a position to do a little Angel Investing if/when you found a startup that looked promising.
Would also like to recommend a couple of books- Seasons of a Man’s Life, by Daniel Levinson and Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert
Yes, I like the idea of working with a business incubator, but I am not really at that stage yet. I still own 9000 domains and hundreds of sites, so I have way more work to do that I can handle. I am constantly working on new sites and new projects and new ways to make money. I am not at the point yet where I want to take time away from my business to help other people, other than writing my blog posts. Also, I hate in person type things, I like everything to be virtual. I guess if there was a virtual business incubator, I would be interested in that.
I will take a look at those 2 books you suggested.
I have been on the poor side also made a lot on money and have lost it again. Know that when you have the money you sometimes sit back to long and not have the drive, but be very careful to sit back to lon you may lose it all.
I also have a problem finding partners! But I also know that the best companies have been built with great partners and great ideas. I own many very good domain names but have not found the right partners. I know that I can’t develop these domains all on my own. Also a great partner can bring may ideas to the table.
Go on a vacation and get away for a bit, not the usual tourist spots but something different.
Hello. I am interested in selling some high search volume “Credit” related domain names, including:
Are you able to help?
No, sorry, I only sell my own domains.
I don’t believe you have only made $3 million USD with all these domains, and businesses such as bored.com
I sold one silly humor site with about a 8 character domain. For $400k alone.
Yes, I agree. I should be making a lot more money than I am, from all my sites and domains.