Monday, 14 May 2012

Keeping Busy

Apologies for the lack of an update to my comeback post a couple of weeks ago.

Since then I’ve been inundated with work through my business, which is obviously great news for me, but it means I’ve had no time for betting or trading – save for a small (losing) bet on the 2000 guineas last week, and a winning football bet yesterday.

It doesn’t look as if there’s going to be much let up in my work schedule for the next few weeks, especially as I need to clear the decks before I go on holiday in early June.

I’m still very much looking forward to getting the blog up and running again, but after two years of radio silence I hope you’ll bear with me for a bit longer until I have more time to devote to it.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Where does the time go ?

Err hello !

I’ve been thinking about a comeback post for a while now, so two years – and one day – after my last blog entry, here I am again.

I always used to find the blog pretty easy to write, whether things will flow quite so freely after such a long break remains to be seen – hopefully I’ll soon get back into my stride again.

Before I go any further, can I say many thanks for all the kind comments which were left here when I signed off, they were really much appreciated and lifted my spirits when I wasn’t feeling too great about things.

Anyway, for the benefit of anyone who stumbles across this by accident, or those who still have links to here, here’s a quick recap of my story.

I originally started writing this blog in October 2007 – the stated aim at the time was to make £25,000 by 31/12/2008 from betting, starting with a £6,000 bank. I would do this by subscribing to some of the leading horse racing tipping services (a further £4,000 was set aside for subscriptions), as well as my own bets on the horses and other sports.

The £6,000 bankroll wasn’t really sufficient considering the stakes I was using even then. However, I didn’t really know whether or not my plan would work and so I figured that if I burned my way through 10K then I would stop and turn my attentions elsewhere.

Fortunately for me things went very well and, despite many ups and downs, I was flying along until the end of October 2009, by which time I was £55,000 in profit for the year and over £80,000 to the good since the blog started two years earlier – these figures are excluding subscriptions which I’ll come onto later.

Clearly I figured I was onto something by now, and I made the fateful decision to quit my part-time job at the end of the year – I’d already booked a seven week holiday to Australia and New Zealand after Christmas, and I decided that I wasn’t going back to work when I came home.

The job wasn’t particularly stimulating but served to cover all my bills every month. However with my stakes on a daily basis frequently being in excess of my monthly net wage, I’d made my mind up that I didn’t need it anymore.

The first signs of trouble ahead came at the end of 2009 when I lost £18,000 in six weeks (doesn’t sound so bad when you say it quick !!) and I was very relieved when I was able to take a break from it all and forget about chasing prices and checking results for a while.

That should have set the alarm bells ringing but, while there might have been a nagging doubt, I put it firmly to the back of my mind and concentrated on the fact I’d won £63,000 from punting in just over two years, and felt sure that things would continue in the same way in 2010.

Australia and New Zealand were fantastic - truly the holiday of a lifetime, but that meant another significant dent in my bankroll and I’d probably unwittingly already sealed my fate.

I reworked my staking plan for the new year when I got back – I’d realised towards the end of 2009 that was I over staking, a £5,000 outlay was becoming the norm on a Saturday and that was too much.

I started back in February 2010 and it quickly became apparent that things had changed drastically, not just in terms of results, but most importantly in how they were affecting my mindset.

Whilst my former job didn’t exactly raise my spirits, it paid the bills and gave me something to do other than spend all day putting bets on and then watching how they got on, which wasn’t too well at that time.

I was already feeling the pressure by the time the Cheltenham Festival came round a month later, and while it wasn’t a disaster I was beginning to realise that this really wasn’t what I had hoped it would be, and nor was it what I wanted.

I struggled on for another few weeks, continued to slowly bleed away cash, I dropped a couple of the worst performing services and trialled a few ones, but nothing changed.

Friday 30 April continued the dismal run and while the loss of less than £300 on the day was hardly earth shattering, something snapped within me and I decided I’d had enough and I wrote “my final blog post”.

Quitting my job when I did, together with a very expensive holiday, a bad losing run and mortgage, bills and living expenses on top meant I managed to burn my way through a huge amount of my capital in a very short time. It became clear that I’d created a nightmare for myself, which would only get worse if I didn’t put a stop to it.

Ultimately I couldn’t cope with the fact that within the next week I might lose more than £10,000 following the opinions of other people and having no control over the outcome.

So I decided to get out while I still had a decent sum of money in the bank, to take stock and re-assess things.

I was very lucky to catch a great wave and rode it for all it was worth for more than two years. In particular Steve Lewis Hamilton and Equine Investments both had fantastic runs during my time with them, and there were some other fantastic winning days with big winning forecasts and tricasts going in, and, of course, the great night when Ryan Moore won the Wyndham Open on the same day England regained the Ashes in 2009 !

Overall my profit over the lifetime of the blog was around £57,000 – very nice but that doesn’t include the subscriptions I paid during that time, which totalled £20,273 believe it or not.

So a net profit of £37,000 in 31 months, which is a more modest £1200 a month – but still a very good return considering how badly things went in the last few months.

I was having a read over a few of the blog entries last week, and two years down the line it’s almost like I’m reading someone else’s story.

Looking back now, my strategy seems misguided at best, bloody stupid some might think, but despite that awful run at the end of 2009, I really did think this was going to work.

With the benefit of hindsight, of course I could have done things differently.

I didn’t have a plan B to fall back on if things didn’t work out - I should have spent time thinking about alternative strategies or income streams, which would at least have given me some control of the amount of money flowing in and out of my bank account every week, and of course getting another part-time job would have immediately released some of the pressure – you live and learn I guess.

In the intervening two years I have returned to the world of work – although it took me six months to find a job, which served to further reduce my bank balance, and it has taken until now to get things heading in the right direction again.

I still only have a part-time job – I haven’t worked as a full-time wage slave since 2004 and that’s how I prefer it. However, I do have my own business interests now which keep me very busy so I'm working as hard as I've done in a long time.

Punting wise I no longer follow any of the tipsters, although I do keep an interested eye on things. I still like to have a bet and I enjoy going to the races as much as I ever did.

Throughout the last couple of years I've been looking at various ways of trading on the exchanges, initially in a desperate attempt to right the ship, but more recently with a much better idea of what it is I'm trying to do. That's where the majority of my attention will be focussed from now on and I hope that my new approach will be of interest to some of you who used to read the blog.

I've taken all the old blog links down but I'll be linking up to some of the blogs I currently read and if anyone wants a link up then give me a shout and I'll be happy to oblige. I'll have a mess around with the layout, maybe even give it a new name, but it'll still be me trying to make it pay.

It’s good to be back !