The art in a name:
I have always been so fascinated with names so much that I decided to change my own. I wanted that self-identity. Self brand so to speak. My mother named me Kwanele ( aka Kwan) , a Southern African vernacular meaning it’s enough. She didn’t want to have any more kids and I became the last of 8. That meant something to her. She even managed to achieve her goal but I couldn’t quite relate. It’s more of a broad term that can have a lot of other meanings. Most African names have meanings. I could have redefined it in my own way. For instance, considering everything I have experienced; I can tell you I have had enough of going through relationship problems, making bad money decisions like spending it on things that don’t hold any value in life and my number one pet peeve, working a 9-5 in a role I hated just to make a living. I could have made it my own that way but that’s not how I felt. It doesn’t have the kind of deep specifics I could connect to. I always felt I had to change my whole name for a new chapter. A new venture that will leave some sort of legacy when I transition from this planet. I want my family and friends to remember me for something. I want to have an impact on anyone I meet in my walk of life. Whether it’s through art, music or my not so impressive writing.
The name Lifa means inheritance. It resonates with me on a deeper level. It is still a vernacular with a special meaning that some would take for granted. There’s so much that you can inherit on this planet, some of it wanted and some of it unwanted. I am first and foremost a musician. I have no clue who I inherited it from. Maybe I am just being me. My father was a veterinary officer, the guy who would treat sick animals in Africa? Yup that was him, and my mother? Dropped out of nursing school to marry my father. I swear that’s what she did. It makes more sense now cause here I am telling you the story. Anyway, I love creating music. I have sounds that play in my head everyday. My favorite instrument is a saxophone. Have you ever heard the sound of that thing? Poetry in its finest. I know I have inherited some traits from my family lineage but can’t tell what it is.
What I believe now is that you can easily be influenced by people you encounter in your walk of life, such as knowledge. I always think to myself, if ever I had kids what kind of stuff would they inherit from me? Genetics is a given but is monetary necessary? It will definitely be helpful though, especially if it pays for some valuable education. I would want them to learn at a very young age how to think outside the box and create a better life for themselves. My thinking is, leaving behind a wealth of self-help knowledge, true deep human interaction, spreading the love bug and most of all some sense of security for my family and anyone who has that sense of connection with me. I want to network with the people who have these same values. Leaving behind some sort of legacy no matter how little has always been my fuel, that is why I saw it fit to change my name. I have been most impacted by a reading in the world`s oldest book (the bible of course); when God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. The significance of that verse has been lost in translation in some quarters but the lesson for me was Jacob`s new purpose to father the children of Israel. Note the keyword Purpose. Saul who we are told used to persecute Christians had his name changed to Paul because he had an encounter with Jesus, becoming an apostle to preach the Gospel of the same people he used to persecute. Thus Leaving the old behind, behold the new had come. Now I don’t see myself Fathering a certain sect of people, I just want to live for a purpose. That is my why.
Family name history
I have always believed everything starts with a name. My mother’s name is Musa, which means kindness. I can tell you, I don’t know of any woman who does a lot of kind acts more often than my mother. She tends to have a full house every time you visit her. She was definitely meant to be a nurse. I have a brother (there’s two more), whose name means “the situation of the country”. He tends to be a private person at times and probably would not like it if I wrote his name on here. He initially didn’t really like his name ( I don’t know if he still feels the same way, will have to ask) because it’s too long and people struggle to pronounce it but I can tell you, I don’t personally know of anyone who’s more knowledgeable than this guy. His knowledge of Space, Math, Science and Chem is astounding. I always thought he was just addicted to Wikipedia and taking advantage of his knowledge retention abilities. But he still knows most, if not all of every other country’s history like the back of his hand. He tells you everything you need to know about American politics, the demographics state by state, what kind of people you would find, say in Brazil even though he’s never been there and does better than most of those political pundits I have seen on mainstream media like FOX, CNN and NBC. “OH Shoot! is Fox even mainstream?” I would ask, Of course they are!” He answers. Two wings of the same bird. He is that knowledgeable but certainly doesn’t know what to do with it. To me, his name clearly reflects who he is. It defines him. I could give you a lot of other examples but the point is, IN MY MIND the name matters more than we realize it. You live by your name and die by your name. UNLESS if you change it and redefine yourself.
Domains: How I met her
So in comes my first encounter and fascination with internet domain names. I was going through some self-evaluation during some really trying times and decided to Google the phrase `’ the art in a name.” I don’t remember why but I found an article that caught my attention from a leading domain industry trader and blogger named Adam Dicker. Just like a drug, I was immediately hooked. I learnt a lot from that man. He’s apparently gone through some controversy with his name being all over some blogs I have been reading lately, accused of bad business practices but let he who has never sinned cast the first stone. Adam, wherever you are, if somehow you get to see this post, don’t let anything and I mean anything bring you down man. No one is perfect in this world. An African proverb says a man will fall but he will rise again tomorrow. Tell me of one person who has never failed in their lifetime. They might hide it, but there’s lot’s of them out there. To continue with my story, this was definitely an industry I wanted to get into. Before I could finish reading through his entire blog to learn a bit about what the industry was all about, I did make a rookies mistake. I rushed to register names on Go daddy, the registry that he recommended. He used to work there so that’s understandable promoting your own. I had no clue who they were, just googled them and I was on my way. They also have their own issues that I will cover later but the excitement got the better of me. In my mind, I was thinking of a similar concept to the one I mentioned earlier about naming things but I wasn’t well versed on the business aspect of it. I wasn’t necessarily thinking in a business sense.
Fast forward 3 years later, I have gone through a rigorous learning experience of the industry, learning what’s valuable in a name and what isn’t. How to acquire names on the cheap and sell to interested prospects, another skill set that one ought to learn if they have no clue. I now keep up to date with trends and made some profitable acquisitions and sales in the process. In the words of DJ Khaled , They don’t want you to win, I promise you once u know that you will see so clear! Makes more sense, I now understand brandability, how important traffic is in some domains and that this should be the base structure when buying names. Of course I still love hand-registering domains that I think would eventually hold value in the near future. If you have an idea of what the future holds or have access to a database of what new technology is coming, then you have leverage. There’s so many other metrics involved in this industry, with the grasp of the English language being one of the most crucial, however it still holds true that a pronounceable, easy to remember name with a meaning still holds a lot more value. You need some e-commerce education, sticking to a niche that you know better although dabbing into other niches wouldn’t do you a lot of harm if you have done some thorough research. At CheapSense we will get you all that info. There’s a lot more other tools that you will have to use to get names of value. Don’t worry I will be covering all those topics with time. Signing up for my newsletter will keep you up to date and you get them for free in your inbox.
The learning Process
Needless to say, I have lost money. I have been tricked into buying so many eBooks and softwares that have been a waste.There’s a lot of fakes out there so be watchful. This is not a sprint but a marathon. Like baby steps I have gained some ground. Learning through various channels that I will be sending your way with all the details of the tools I now use and how you can find and sell to potential buyers of your domains. You would target new businesses, draw up a genuine plan to show how the domains can help grow their business with numbers ( traffic) to prove it. There’s new means of reaching out. Always researching new products and services especially what people are searching for in the search engines. The Google keyword planner is going to be your best friend but it’s only a small fraction of the puzzle. There’s way more other tools out there. Before you even go there, Check out what is selling on DNJournal.com. Yes, Google sounds cool now because we always talk about it but did it use to have an actual meaning? Absolutely not! I know kids born in THIS era will tell you it did. They still insist it really does have that cool sound to it. True but it’s a created word, otherwise also known as a Brandable, and I will show you how you can find those cool sounding names too.
The first domain names I was registering didn’t mean anything. Cool sounding names I thought. Go for cool sounding names. How misguided I was. I did not understand that these names have their own art to it. I understood they didn`t necessarily have to mean anything but have to be short, catchy, pronounceable, easy to spell and can pass the “radio test.” Know what that is? Think about it. Can a potential customer find your company website after listening to a radio commercial? I am not a native English speaker but I also don’t find it that complicated. I guess being a Colony of the English explains it. There is so many words in this language that are related to each other and its all about playing around with them. Rick Schwartz explains that you have to understand how to use nouns and adjectives. That was my number one takeaway from the Domain King. A different side to domains. I could show you some numbers of what I have done so far, like Thomas who believes in seeing, but you will have to wait a little longer. All of the sales I have made are currently private and will get to show you in due course. What I can tell you is, I didn’t own or sell most of the premium one word .com domains such as cheap.com, domains.com, buy.com, wine.com, beer.com, whiskey.com which were all taken when I started. I arrived in the scene a little bit late but it won’t happen again. I do wish I owned BuyDomains.com, RedWine.com, HomeBeer.com etc.
The Big Players
YouTube, Yahoo, Bing, Instagram are all brandable catchy names that didn’t mean anything. They do now. I have left out a lot of other successful companies that to a certain extent debunk the theory of a meaningful name however in my education, it has been proven that the meaning of a name still matters. Domaining has all those aspects. It can be a keyword traffic targeted name or be pronounceable, memorable, short and sweet but mean nothing which potentially requires a lot of advertising & marketing. Donald Trump has used the power of personal branding to get to where he is. Anyone starting out with the big bucks (capital) has leverage. If it’s a new breakout tech or business model like Facebook, Quora etc that’s where you have venture capital funding coming into play. Most of the hugely successful domainers I have researched started out early, without much except an idea and imagination.Thinking about the future, one of the most important keys to your success in this space. I have ingrained the same attitude in my thought process. I remember teaching a friend of mine how to play chess when I was only in primary school and he went on to become better than me, winning best payer in the country. My brother had initially taught me the game. I am sure the same thing can happen with anyone who reads this blog . You will soon realize it doesn’t matter much where you get your education from in domains. Just take what’s valuable and run with it. I now have an interest in researching Brandables like Yahoo, Shazam, Tinder, Bamble , Bhoza (etc) because let’s face it, it’s fun being creative.
What do you think about domains? Do you think it’s something you can try out? Does the subject really interest you? I have had a lot of friends who thought I was crazy getting in to it. Now you know my story, lets hear yours.