I had caught the online advertising bug while working for the previous firm, and while employed with the software company, Andrew and I got together to form a company of our own. We brought along two other friends and former colleagues, and started an S-Corp.

At the time, Andrew was working for a domain name broker, and came up with the idea that we could purchase a bunch of domain names, place ads on them, and sit back and watch the dollars accumulate. We came up with several subjects we thought would help us generate advertising revenue. We primarily settled on websites related to real estate.

There was one problem. We had no idea what we were doing.

The four of us got together one winter afternoon and brainstormed domain names. We came up with over one hundred. We bought and registered the domains, and were on our way.

I had taken some continuing education courses in website development, so I took charge. I set up hosting, Microsoft Front Page, and went to work building out the domains.

Novices we were, we soon realized that the two other partners didn’t add much value to the operation. They didn’t know what to do, and weren’t entirely interested in putting in the necessary effort. They left the company shortly after we got started.

In a way, my experience with web development was a curse. I was the best at it, so it only made sense that I was tasked with the most difficult duties. I didn’t mind. It was fun, and I’d always dreamed of starting my own company, so why not? Also, the company was originally Andrew’s idea, so it was hard for me to hold much against him.

We were constantly trying to find the perfect layout and structure. I developed sites, scrapped them, and re-developed.

Eventually, we had built out real estate themed websites targeting the apartment rental markets in every major U.S. city. But that’s all they were. We had a long way to go to get them to a point where they would be profitable.