I Create, Buy, And Sell Digital Real Estate. This is now my answer to the question that online entrepreneurs get all the time: so, what do you do exactly? It seems like a complicated answer, and I usually need to explain myself in more details after I deliver it. However, this is the most accurate and complete answer I’ve come so far about what I do day after day as the core of my business. This article is an essay in which I share why I now always use this answer to the dreaded “What do you do” question, and what I mean exactly by the notion of digital real estate.
I will cut the suspense right there: by digital real estate, I mean profitable, professional and well-established websites. I build some websites from scratch, buy others on dedicated marketplaces, and sold a few of them when I wanted to move to something else.
But let’s go back in time a bit. I started building my first website back in 2012, which was a website dedicated to health & fitness. It was basically the usual WordPress blog that everybody was creating at that time. After the traffic on the website grew a bit, instead of adding the usual adSense advertisings on the website, I create my first digital product: a 100 pages eBook related to the topic of my website. I sold it through my website as a PDF and also on the Amazon Kindle platform.
And that’s where I realised that a WordPress website could actually be profitable. I mean not making 2-3$ per month just because somebody clicked on some shitty ad somewhere on the site. I mean a really profitable website that generate an income I could live on. Although this first website generated income, it never generated enough income so I could live from it. I needed more similar websites.
After that, I indeed worked to build more websites in other fields, especially in electronics & IT. These websites started to grow as well, and they all started to be the core of my portfolio of websites that I now manage, just like a business would manage a portfolio of investments. Some of them are pure information websites where no products are sold, and they generate income via Amazon affiliates links. Others are more elaborate and sell digital products like eBooks and video courses. Finally, some of them are selling products that were designed specifically for the audience of these websites.
In 2014, I discovered that you can actually also buy & sell such profitable websites, for example on marketplaces like Flippa or Empire Flippers. I bought a bunch of websites on Flippa, which extended my websites portfolio. I also sold one of my own website there, to move on to other projects with the cash coming from the sale.
And that’s also about the time I first heard the term digital real estate. I immediately fell in love with that term. I was also a fan of real instate investments, and I found there were many similarities between real estate & websites.
Just as typical real estate, you can buy and sell profitable websites. Classical real estate comes in many flavours: residential (houses, flats …), retail space, industrial real estate … Well, it’s the same for profitable websites: you have information websites (monetised via adSense, Amazon affiliates, and information products sales), eCommerce websites, web applications …
And just as brick & mortar real estate, your digital real estate can also grow in value: they can take value over time if they start generating more money month after month, for example. Or you can invest money to make them better, just as you would do rehab work on a piece of real estate.
Profitable websites also have major advantages over brick & mortar real estate. I think the main advantage is that you can actually build a profitable website without much resources. $10 per month for some hosting space and $10 for a domain name, and you’re good to go. Try to build a house with the same budget.
The purely digital aspect of websites makes them also much easier to manage than classical real estate. Dealing with tenants can be a hassle (I am also the owner of brick & mortar real estate, so I know the topic quite well), whereas dealing with Amazon affiliates is quite easy.
So back to the dreaded “What do you do?” question. I actually used to say that I am an author, just to simplify the answer. Well yes, I write books, but I don’t see myself as an author. I build websites, but in no way I am a website designer. I design products & sell them through these websites, but I am not a product designer.
I build, buy, and sell digital real estate.
Are you interested by the topic as well? I would love to hear what other people think about this notion of digital real estate that I introduced in this article, so don’t hesitate to use the comments for that!