Lesson 1: The Importance of Relationships

I’ve never read about or met anyone successful who didn’t receive significant help from other people along the way. I know I wouldn’t be where I am right now without the people I’ve met and worked with over the years, and Frank’s life is full of similar stories: his family, Vern Jurovich, Rick Schwartz, Russ Horowitz…the list goes on and on. Two relationships in particular stood out in the Domain Name Journal article for me, though.

The first was his relationship with Garry Chernoff, who ultimately became his mentor. Reading about that relationship reminded me of two lessons I had learned in my own life.

Number one was that you can never tell who will turn into a life-changer for you. I’ve talked to a lot of people who I never talked to again, but I’ve also talked to a very small handful who changed my life forever. You can never tell the difference going in.

Number two is to focus just as much on what you can give to the relationship as what you can get from it. This is a hard one for me, and I bet it’s the same way for most people. I’ve found that when the relationship is all about me, though, that it’s not actually a relationship at all and, not surprisingly, it never lasts. Although Garry became Frank’s mentor, Garry sounds like he benefited just as much: “Frank…gave me the competitive boost that kept me going. I probably would have quit and settled into complacency years ago had I not developed a friendship with him.

The second relationship that stood out to me was the one with his wife, Michele — probably because my own wife has played such a key role in my success over the years. Because we’re so different, she’s a great sounding board for me. Instead of just telling me what I want to hear, or what I’m telling myself, she comes at things from a completely different angle. She still doesn’t really understand what I do, but that ends up being good because she asks questions that I would never think to ask.

Like with Michele being “thoroughly alarmed as Frank sank all of their savings in domains,” relationships like these provide checks and balances that are absolutely essential. Frank ended up being right in that case, but if they’re anything like us I guarantee you that Michele’s concerns have been beneficial all along the way. I help my wife be more willing to take risks, and she helps me remember that I need to look before I leap.

I’m inherently both an introvert and very self-reliant, so cultivating relationships is something I have to consciously force myself to do. I do it, though, because I know the rewards are worth it. I’m still not very good at it, but I’m trying to get better at it every day.

This article, “The Importance of Relationships,” is Lesson 1 in the Lessons from Frank Schilling series.


  • Sol Lederman

    January 7, 2008
    at 2:02 pm

    Great post.

    I found your blog off a link from Caroline Middlebrook’s blog. You made a comment about not needing to be sneaky to make affiliate sales. I completely agree. Your comment touched me and here I am.

    I quit my high paying job a couple of months ago to follow my heart and combine my computer, mathematics, writing, and teaching talents and make the world a better place for people who are learning Math. It’s been a difficult road emotionally more so than financially since I’ve got savings and some income because I’ve not focused on the relationships part. I’ve worked hard and gotten my blog to over 200 readers quickly with great content and a sincere desire to help folks.

    But now I’m finding myself burnt out. So, I’m shifting my priorities to have time for me and for families and friends first. The blog posts can wait.

    I’ve added you to my RSS reader and I’m looking forward to sharing in your community as I’m very eager to make my way with honesty, integrity and forthrightness in the Internet world.

    If you want to know more about my story just go to my blog and click on the “About” link.


  • Shane

    January 8, 2008
    at 10:08 am

    Sol, I know what you mean about the burnout. The very first site I ever did aged me tremendously. So much of the success depended on me, and if I ever chose to spend some free time with my family, it was always in the back of my mind that I really should be in there working on the site. It was a tremendous drain.

    Even now, it’s a struggle finding a balance. I get the sense that I’ll always be able to convince myself that, “I’ve only got a few more months of working like this, and then I’ll be able to relax a little and enjoy the fruits of my labor with my family.” Every month brings exciting new opportunities, though.

    The discipline to do the right thing — by your family, not only by your business — is so important.


  • Stephen Douglas

    April 22, 2008
    at 8:01 am

    Hi Shane,

    Very nice blog article. So true. A phone call in 1999 from my best friend Darryl Brooks telling me he sold a domain name for $150,000 pulled me out of producing live events and right into buying up domains at $75 a piece (back in the “NETSOL OWNS THE REGISTRAR BIZ” days). I still have few domains from that period.

    I like your reference to your wife helping you “think” and how Frank took chances with his finances and his wife going along with it too… my wife just says “YAY” and gives me a kiss if I sell a domain for $100 that I bought for $7. However, she quietly puts newspaper articles discussing my domain niches on my keyboard when I’m asleep. She tells me “if you sold 10 domains in a week for $750, is that just as good as waiting for three months to sell one of those domains for $7500?” Logic. I sell a lot of good domains for $750 and the profits add up quickly by the end of the month.

    Keep up the good work… oh yes, I forgot, want to exchange blogrolls?

    Stephen Douglas
    Successful Domain Management™
    BLOG: http://www.Successclick.com
    “Own Your Competition™”


  • Shane

    April 22, 2008
    at 9:33 am

    Thanks for the kind words, Stephen! I don’t have a blogroll I can put you on, but I definitely like your blog. You have a new subscriber now.

    I’d definitely recommend you switch to full feeds instead of partial feeds, though. I haven’t ever read any successful blogger who said they did better with partial feeds than with full feeds, and in fact I’ve seen several who experimented with partial but went back to full pretty quickly.

  • […] of the most important lessons I ever learned about making a living from the Internet is how crucial relationships are.  No one who has had great success online did it all alone, and you can make some great contacts in […]