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Why I spent $1,000 on a URL. (And why you should too.)

A few weeks ago, I paid $1,000 for a URL.

Why did I do that?

Two reasons: 1. I’ve tried to buy this URL for 6 years and couldn’t. 2. Because dreams cost more than just time. Sometimes (almost every time actually) you have to spend money to chase a dream. Not at first, at first dreams only cost hustle. But eventually you have to invest.

You pay for a class.

You buy art supplies.

You file a permit.

You hire a coach.

You attend a conference.

All of those things cost money, but sometimes we don’t look at the price the right way. We think, “$500 for a writing class. That’s not worth it!” But that’s backwards. The question isn’t just, “Is the class worth $500?” The question is “Is my dream worth $500?”

Maybe it’s not. There will be times when you’ve got a passion that isn’t worth giving up a cup of coffee a week for a year. Maybe your break point is $250 and the cost will force you to quit some dreams you don’t need to waste your time or money on. In other cases, like mine, investing $1,000 on a URL I might use for 10 years is worth the investment.

Would I pay 27 cents a day to have that URL for 10 years? Would I pay a quarter and two pennies a day to have that URL? I would, so I bought it. Was that a lot of money for Jenny and I at a time when things are honestly pretty chaotic? It was.

So why did I buy the URL? Because my dream is worth more than $1,000.

Am I encouraging you to go into debt? Of course not.

This isn’t about debt. This is about decisions.

I think your dream is incredibly valuable. I think you should be smart and deliberate about what you invest in.

Now if I was smart, I would have something to sell you here, but I don’t. Just don’t go bonkers when someone else offers you some sort of way to invest in your dream. That purse, that fishing rod, that flat screen TV that you buy instead might bring momentary happiness, but chances are, they’re not worth nearly as much as your dream.

Question:
When was the last time you financially invested in your dream?

About Author

Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff

83 Comments

  1. Good points Jon. Personally, I don’t like to spend more than I have to but in the same right it often makes sense to spend a little more. I think back to a few months ago when I had the battery to my truck die. Unlike most cars, my truck has two batteries. The reason why it died? The person before had gone cheap (and smaller) on one of the batteries. I ended up going with brand name batteries. It was a bit more expensive but much cheaper in the long run.
    http://www.TruthandWord.com

  2. It’s not my “life dream,” but I’ve already spent about $500 on goals I have for the year (and as missionaries / community activists, it’s not like we have a bunch of money laying around).

    Spent $300 on Rosetta Stone (all 5 levels), for our entire family of 5 to begin learning Spanish. I think this could be useful but even if we all do it for a year and quit, it was worth the effort.

    I also spend $200 on a ukulele (& related supplies) last weekend. For someone with ZERO musical talent, I want to give this an honest shot. Will practice for 2.5 hours per week, for at least 8 weeks in March & April.

  3. A little over a year ago, I was laid off from my steady programmer job. I’d been trying to learn iPhone app development for a year or so; this was the kick I needed. Catch? To actually test an publish an app, you need to purchase a membership with Apple for $100. Remember the whole laid off, limited amount of cash handy, no actual job prospects in sight? Long story short, we joined, I got a job eventually, and while my app isn’t a runaway success, it has paid for last year’s and this year’s membership. Worth it.

  4. In December. I bought myself a 5 string electric bass. Really ‘needed’ that. Play it nearly every day too. Dreams don’t only cost money. They cost time and energy too.
    The URL I’ve had for nearly 15 years now.

  5. The real question here is what’s the domain 😉

    • Daniel

      Exactly! And what variety of cute animal will it feature?

      • Now that’s the “thousand-dollar-question” right there! What was the url? I’ve grown a bit tired of domain squatters, and (unfortunately) prime digital real estate is going up. I’ve paid $1,000 and had clients of mine pay even more for a premium domain. The hard part is determining what the purchased url is really worth.
        Would I pay for bradgriffin.com when I’ve already got bradgriffin.me? Eh, …probably not. But, there is a huge value in not obsessing w/ a domain name. Think of all the times you’ve visited acuff.me… Did you actually type that domain in your browser? (probably not) Now, did you (and I) click a link shared on social media? (Probably so). Once there, did we put in our email address to “get updates via email”? (I, and, probably you did the same) Then got back to the site, not by typing the url, but via a simple click in our email.

        Take a look at your browsers history, and, more than likely, you see dozens of similar examples of sites you’ve visited yet never even thought twice about the actual domain name.

        There is a value in certain urls. But the actual value of a particular domain url does seem to be diminished w/ a bit of successful marketing.

        …..like John’s doing right now 😉

    • I assumed it was acuff.me?

      I believe “.me” is a new gTLD.

  6. I am doing this very thing right now, and it is scary!
    Even though Advocare is no longer my focus, I have sold enough to invest in my brand. Last year it paid for my Certified Personal Training course, and while I still need to take the course, a Nutrition Certification.
    This week, I’m using an Advocare sale to pay for a mini-consultation with the lovely Melissa Hawks, who is counseling me on the changes I need to make for my brand. I am purging closets, CD and DVD collections to raise funds for pay for a new domain name; professional photography; website redesign.

    I am not sure when I will see realization of these investments. But I’ve been Not Investing for years, and have seen what those results look like. #NotPretty
    Thanks, Jon, for this reminder that these investments on my dream are worth it!

  7. After all, it’s only money…

    #iknowthatfeel

  8. Kim

    I bet it’s queso.com

  9. I paid about $150 for my self hosted blog. Small investment. I paid about $350 for a tablet to type on because my crappy netbook was about to go out the “windows.” It hurt, but it was important. My dream is valuable.

  10. I just joined a mastermind group with a couple dozen motivated and influential people across the world, including a best selling author, attorneys, web developers, coaches, and speakers (and more) all gathering to share their expertise to help the others achieve their goals. We meet online and twice per year in person in Nashville, TN (first meeting coming up in a few weeks). We have had one group call already and I can already feel the fantastic influence and value that we can all give to each other, which will be worth much more than the $300 per month it costs to join the group.

    It’s a ton of money, but I know it’s going to cause a tide to rise and lift all ships in the group way more than the $300 per month investment each of us has made.

    I can already see how this group will help me increase book sales, coaching, and speaking opportunities in the short term, and build a strong web and 3D presence over the long term for additional business opportunities, all with a vision of helping busy men improve their marriages.

    Great post.

    — a fellow URL collector…

  11. Ok Jon. So how do I go about buying a URL? I have been wanting to do that for a while for myself and would apprecialte any help you can offer.

    • Shelley

      I use godaddy.com for years now. be careful that some who sell URL’s really just own it and let you use it. they have decent hosting to.

      • Shelley

        luckily the url’s that I use are about $10- 15 per year. I suppose if the one you want is already owned, then you would have to pay the price they are asking for it. But maybe you will get lucky like me

    • You can buy a domain name through any domain registration company, the most famous of which is GoDaddy, but there are others. You can usually find a code online to get the first year for $.99. Then it’ll cost around $8-$15/year. My guess is someone had the domain Jon wanted and sold it to him for $1,000. They don’t normally cost quite that much. 🙂

    • And I would encourage you to use NameCheap.com simply b/c I find GoDaddy’s constant upselling annoying. Throw in some shady advertising and I try to avoid GoDaddy as much as possible. I still have domains with them but I buy all mine from NameCheap now.

      • Susan

        I’m a big namecheap.com fan too! Even though GoDaddy has switched their advertising strategy, I’m a fan of supporting other companies that didn’t have to demean women to make themselves a leader in the market.

      • Thanks Andy for the advice on namecheap.com! I’ll check it out!

  12. I spent $1500 on my URL with the understanding that it will take years before it develops into the vision I have for it. Even though traffic is still low, the pieces are all in place for growth. Being that this is what I truly feel called to do, I’d say it’s already been worth every penny.

  13. Brandelyn

    This is funny to me in that I was JUST on godaddy seeing if the price of the domain I want has gone down from $4000 to say… Anything less than $4000! Prophetic much?Given our current financial circumstances I think not, but I think all you said is emphatically true and good. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  14. This is awesome! Excited to see what you have stirring up.

  15. Brenda

    Does this mean you finally own stuffchristianslike.com? Because even not knowing your exact dreams, I’d totally call that URL worth a grand.

  16. While we’re talking about buying URLs, what site does everyone prefer? I bought my first few through GoDaddy, even though it did make me feel dirty. 😀

    • Bluehost.com is what I’m gradually transferring everything over to.

    • I buy all of mine through GoDaddy when they have coupon codes/sales. I then wait the time period required, and transfer them all over to Dreamhost (who I host with). I did start hosting with GoDaddy….a mistake I will never make again. 😀

    • Shelley

      I had no idea that hosting through godaddy was so bad… but maybe I am out of touch

    • Jennifer

      Domain hosting (the URL) and web hosting are different services. Hosts like Bluehost and GoDaddy make it seamless, so it seems that they are the same thing. I prefer to keep the two services separate so that if I choose to change web hosting service, I don’t also have to manage changing domain hosts. For a number of years this was considered best practice, since it keeps your domain much more secure.

      I use Enom for all my domain hosting, then have the sites hosted on several different services, depending on the site’s needs. I like Bluehost quite a lot for cheap, consumer level. For high traffic, I like Liquidweb. I won’t touch GoDaddy, and use whatever powers of persuasion I have to move clients away from them.

    • Bluehost.com is what I use and I love them.

  17. I’ve been reading for a while but never commented here. There is a writer’s conference I really wanted to go to, but there was no way we could afford it. I prayed and asked God to show me a way, and after a scholarship and an anonymous donation, I’m going! It isn’t costing me anything, financially, but leaving my family for 5 days is huge. My husband convinced me it’s worth it for my dream.

    The domain I would like is $700 and I’m sure it’s worth it, but we just don’t have it. Someday!

    Also, I’ve quoted “Your yes is expensive,” about 50 times since I read that post.

  18. Yes!!!! I cannot tell you how I’ve needed to hear this exact thing!

    I’ve had my blog since 2007, with fairly little investment other than hosting costs. Then last year, it was hacked…BAD. I was faced with the decision to pay exactly what you paid for that URL for it to be fixed and get some good protection so it wouldn’t happen again or lose everything. My husband encouraged me to pay it. He looked it as six years of our family’s history and my own investment. I struggled with that decision, but I’m so glad I paid it….It was worth the amount I paid to save our family’s history and continue living this dream.

  19. Jon,

    I’m a knife maker (pastor is my real job) who is on the brink of turning what started as a hobby into a full fledged business.

    One of the steps I need to take is purchasing a pro grade grinding rig to improve the quality and speed of my grinds. $1600 is a lot of money for me, but will certainly pay dividends down the road.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  20. I am investing in my dream right now. After almost 15 years of being employed as a technical writer (without a degree), I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in technical communication.

    I am paying for college out of pocket to avoid going into debt for it. This is also while maintaining our giving and saving. I set aside just shy of $200 every week to pay for this. It’s a bit of a challenge and it would be nice to have some of that money back – but a degree will be nicer.

    And because I work full time – 45-50 hours every week – as a technical writer, I can only attend school part time. This semester – my first semester back in school – it’s “only” 8 credits. This is going to take 6-7 years, and I will be 50.

    But I will be 50 years old either way. This way, I am investing in myself and will finish this while I still have 15-20 years left in the workforce – with as much experience.

    Thank you for the encouragement. The dream is expensive, but the payoff will make it worth it.

  21. Justin D

    My wife just did this. We are in a transitional period for her to go from full time teacher to part time teacher, full time mom… and money is tight… But she has a passion and a dream to be a photographer. She asked me if $1200 was too much money to chase this thing… I asked her about the long run… Where will she be in 5 years if she goes to this mentor session. The answer was obvious. She got back a week ago and I haven’t seen this girl on fire like this in forever. Her confidence is back, she is learning again, and she is going to do HUGE THINGS. She won’t ever see this comment, but dangit I love that women. She is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen.

    • Melissa DC

      She is very lucky to have you! Emotional support from your spouse means 10 times more than anything financial. Way to be an encourager! Good luck to her as she pursues her dream.

      PS: I would add a screenshot of your post inside your Valentine’s Day card tomorrow. You know, for brownie points. 🙂

      • John Michael Clark

        Melissa, you just made Justin a hero with that idea! Maybe you should start a blog giving tips to husbands 🙂 I would read it!

  22. Good decision. Guts = glory

  23. Estrella C. Reyes

    Dude all this month. After #30Daysofhustle I bought a domain am setting up email. Forked out money for a logo and have a business cards in the works. Set up the internet at home (finally) and bought a new computer. Now I have the tools to facilitate my hustle. It was a big investment, but I value my dream. I value what God has given me a passion to do.
    LET DO THIS.

  24. Justin

    I spent 7 years trying to build my business on the absolute minimum budget. I got the absolute minimum return, and continued to work 10-12 hrs a day at another job. God used this time to work on me and eventually, He laid the foundation in other areas of my life so that I would take that leap of faith (which isn’t much of a leap if you truly trust in His will). At the end of last year, I borrowed the funds to leverage the experience i had earned to purchase a completely custom, top-tier ecommerce site. It launches in about a month, and rather than anxiety over it’s performance, i’m excited to see God work through it.

  25. Not sure what my dream is exactly.. But I bought a Nikon D3100, because it was a steal. Built a silk screen tee shirt press. Paid $3.00 each for 2 URL’s. One for my writing project – where I write about people’s life journey’s and one for selling my screen printed tee’s. All while unemployed and confused as heck. I just keep moving and crying and praying until it all makes sense.

    • I’m not sure what you did for a profession, but I can tell you that if you get on LinkedIn, and join an organization that has an online directory, recruiters will phone non-stop.

      Don’t give up! One day at a time.
      🙂

  26. I put cash in a drawer for a long time to save up for a decent website. Levi Sare of Think Tank Solutions did an awesome job, and he also designed our church’s logo (Wellsburg Community Church.com). I highly recommend him for new authors, as he is high on talent and low on cost.

  27. Maggie

    I bought a new laptop and joined SiteSell to work on creating my own website/blog. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and spending money I wouldn’t normally spend! Its a lot of hard work, but I’m confident that it will all work out wonderfully….most of time 😉

  28. Great examples. But the question everyone wants to know… What’s the url, Jon?

  29. Every time I buy a ticket to go see Elton John, I invest in my dream. I’ve seen him 24 times in concert over the last 21 years. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! Have there been times that I could have ( should have) spent the money on something else? (I.e. Baby Step 2), of course! Has it been worth ALL the money I have spent over the last 21 years on tickets, hotels, extra gas for the car and yes, even plane tickets, to go to concerts? Absolutely! I’ve met the greatest people – other fans who have become friends. I’ve had experiences that I will never forget, I’ve gotten Elton’s autograph several times. I’ve met 60% of the Elton John Band. Is there a chance my dream to meet him might never come true? Of course! But I will never know that unless I keep going to concerts – chasing the dream is money well spent!

  30. Hey Jon! The last time I invested in my dream was about three hours ago! Going to the Podcast Movement conference in Dallas this August! Also, currently in Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcast A-Z course!!!! Excited to chase my dreams! Have a great day bro!

  31. I LOVE this, Jon! This is about decisions. And yes, that $4 cup of coffee brings me happiness, but it is so temporary. The $936 I saved last year by brewing my own has gone toward my dreams. Totally worth it!

  32. Jennifer G

    yesterday. I started my guitar lessons. No, I do not want to learn so I can be in a band…I’ve just always wanted to learn a musical instrument, and guitar is one of them. 🙂

  33. I spent $40 on getting http://www.suzewannabe.com

    It has made me so happy to write and share about wealth and anti-aging!

  34. A former classmate of mine is in the banking industry. In 2008, he took a chance, paid $1000 for a url, and launched a site. Within two weeks of launching his site, he knew it was too much for him. By the time the site had run it’s course, he had sold it to his employer and walked away with a check for nearly 5 years worth of earnings. He’s still in the industry, but I’m sure that $1K had a wonderful ROI.

  35. Dave Hogue

    Jon,

    Thanks so much for posting this today of all days. My wife and I have been discussing a career investment for me that we have been unsure of. I want to start studying for a series of specialized certification exams, but I am getting laid off from a merger in mid-May. The new company isn’t jumping at the chance to shell out $800 for study materials and another $800 in exam fees for a guy who they are letting go.

    This post was exactly what I needed to go ahead and pull the trigger and invest in my dreams instead of waiting for the possibility that my next employer might (or might not for that matter) furnish the materials for me. Thanks Jon! I’m getting ready to read about 3,000 pages and study about 500 hours for a series of 8 exams!! Wish me luck!

  36. Yup. Spent way more last year (after tax totaling) than I planned on, but this dream is worth it!! Thanks for the reminder. Time and Grind… and eventually money.

  37. Jo Fick

    My husband was a Dave Ramsey financial coach for several years, and we did the business together. I was shocked that he wanted to spend the money for the training, but it was never about the money, it was about the vision and the purpose. I don’t think we made a nickel, but we helped change people’s lives, and it was worth every penny, every minute, every effort that we put into it. It changed him, it changed us. We know we would be terrible business owners, but great volunteers 🙂

  38. I’m about to invest in my dream even more this next week or two. The good point is that the more skin I have in the game the more I’m motivated to win. It’s easy until you start having to shell out a few Ben’s!

  39. Nathan

    Awesome stuff!
    My dream is to work in movie production someday soon. But unfortunately I’m a college student so things are pretty tight, but I just ordered a shirt advertising my YouTube page for $35. And that is like five trips to Taco Bell right there soooo, it’s getting pretty serious.

  40. Smart move! $1000 for a great domain is a bargain!! Excited to see what you do with it.

  41. At 17 I made the best investment(s) of my life. With all my hard saved money from my first ever job I invested in a $1000 camera and a $1200 Apple computer. Nine years later (after going on to invest $20k in my BS degree in portrait and wedding photography), I’m operating a full time portrait studio for what will be it’s fourth year.

    Not only do I get to live my dream every day, I’ve been able to pay off all my family’s debt (besides our house), re-invest to grow the business quickly (being voted third best photographer in this market for every year I’ve been in business) and already begin to give back to the industry I love teaching others how to follow their dreams.

    At the time the $2200 investment was a tough one and took most of what I had, but that and the $20k college investment were well worth the life I’ve built for myself and my family at only 26. I cannot wait to see how much more that little investment pays off in the next decade!

  42. This post is excellent and could not have come at a better time! Thanks Jon!

  43. Thanks for this Jon. I just went out and spent $2.95 to secure http://www.davidmurrow.com.

  44. I think $1,000 is well worth it.

  45. I just spent $350 on branding cards to hand out at comedy clubs and corporate events when I do stand up comedy. They look awesome and make a bigger impact than regular sized business cards.

  46. Caro

    This is sooo good to read. After reading Start, my husband and I decided that we should make our dream of starting a business a reality. Shortly after I quit my job and started one with more flexibility to really begin to focus on making it happen. I realized within a few months of planning and working that we were going to need to invest money in creating a website, getting software, and even taking a few classes. Although we’ve been very smart and have decided to take small hits by doing things like paying monthly for programs instead of annually, it has been a bit difficult to include those expenses to our already tight budget. However, this is such a relief to read. I do not regret having to make those out-of-pocket investments now, because I believe it is going to pay off sooner rather than later.

    Thanks for sharing and encouraging us!

  47. Nick

    Love this. We’re saving every penny right now with the aim of opening my own company instead of running someone else’s. I even sell cars nights and weekends to hone my sales skills (and bank the commissions). Probably 3-4 years from taking the plunge, but it feels awesome that I’m actually doing something for me and my family long term.

  48. When it comes to professional development, I consider it an investment. People pay for college and grad school and that technically is supposed to set you up for your career (but it doesn’t). I recently paid for a coach even though I am a coach. I wanted her to push me to the next level and think the money was well worth it!

  49. This is off topic, but how do you guys get your photo to appear with your comments?

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  51. My latest dream investment was to purchase Quitter Kindle Edition on Amazon Digital Services, Inc. for 9.99 plus sales tax Friday evening. I read through the first five chapters today, Sunday, love the book, by far one of my best investments of the year so far.

    I also purchased a cookbook by David Leite this week, titled The New Portuguese Table.
    My next dream investment will be a book on writing in general and maybe a second book on culinary writing specifically.

    Do you have any book suggestions?

    Look forward to following your work,

    Lawrence
    http://www.FireOfCoals.com

  52. Kim

    Great post! Last fall I invested in my dream of being a writer and speaker by taking Jeff Goin’s Tribe Writers course. There comes a point you have to go for it. It was time! I think the investment I made in my dream was well worth the resources I’ve received.

  53. John,
    I agree with you completely! Over the past 5 months I have invested in my dream quite heavily. What I found is that with each investment my dream started to feel more like a reality. The investments are steps forward to making it happen; they are a way to punch fear in the face.

  54. Katie

    Going back to school & paying cash for it! It’s going to cost about 5k but it’s worth it.

    Ain’t nobody gonna hold me down.

    Oh no.

    I have got to keep on movin’.

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