Happy 2nd Anniversary

It's just turned midnight and moved into my 2nd Anniversary in this trading lark.

On the 23rd Feb, 2008, I started a serious attempt at sports trading after having had a very poor spell punting on football. Indeed, it really was the last throw of the dice. I vowed to never again throw money at gambling and was on the verge of giving it all up. So off I went, with £10 in my hand - well, my Betfair account - and launched myself into the horse racing place markets with a promise to myself to never again feed a gambling account. If this experiment crashed and burned that would be it and it would have cost me no more than £10.

Two years later, I've just gone past the £9K mark having never had a losing month. Not bad for an investment of £10. An ROI of 90,000% - looks even better when written like that.

It hasn't all been plain sailing. I've had my ups and downs, my moments of doubt and not a few crises of confidence. The mental side of things continues to be a struggle sometimes. That's all part of the game, and one learns to cope.

I have to say that this second year has been thoroughly disappointing though. From a standing start of £10, I reached £4.4K in my first year. Based on that performance, I had high hopes for this year just gone, but I've only just managed to surpass that first year total. There have been many contributing factors to that, but the bottom line is that I have not been consistent enough to give me the confidence to increase my staking to levels that would make a significant difference.

I've tried numerous sports including soccer, cricket and the horse win markets. I've struggled with them all. Only the greyhounds have remained reasonably consistent, but due to the lack of liquidity, the flexibilty to increase stakes simply doesn't exist. Consequently, my returns have been limited because of the markets I've been playing. I shall continue to explore other markets and look for ways to make these work for me.

To that end, I've been looking at doing the horses in a particular way which, at least on paper, has been working for me. Whether that still holds when I start throwing money at them is another matter. So much of this trading lark is in the head. Also, I'm working on something for the greyhounds, again on paper at the moment. If that works manually, then it is ideally suited to automation, so I'll need to brush up my very rusty programming skills and get to grips with the free API. That's a few weeks/months down the road. I need to establish if it is viable first.

At the start of this journey, I was looking to trading as a means to earn a bit of pocket money. As the returns picked up ever more sharply, I started to think that it could be more than that. Not necessarily a full-time vocation, but at least something that would make a difference. I do not feel I have got there yet, which is why the second year in particular has been a bit of a disappointment. That is not to say that there haven't been high points - I did buy a new car after all, with a significant proportion of the cost paid for with profits from trading. My problem however, and one I've recognised for a long time, is the return, or lack of it, that I get for the number of hours I put in. It's an issue I have yet to resolve.

As I move into my third year, I feel in many ways that it is a make or break one for me. It really is important to find a way to step up a gear this year, otherwise I'm going to have to find a proper job. The idea of working for the man once again after more than 16 years of self-employment is not a prospect that I relish.

I also feel that I've come to a crossroads regarding the blog. It has in many respects served it's purpose. Like many others before me, the idea of maintaining a public record of my performance was a way of helping to maintain my discipline. It's done that and more, which is why the number of posts per month have diminished recently. I still intend to carry on blogging, but I think the emphasis will continue to change.

One of the changes I'll be making is with the recording of my monthly P&L figures. That too has served it's purpose in that it has amply demonstrated that it is possible to start trading with a small bank and through discipline and good money management, turn that into thousands. I no longer feel the need to publicly broadcast how much I've won or lost. At the end of the day, it's nobody's business but my own. Now that I've reach £9K in two years, it seems a convenient time to draw a line under that. The existing figures will stay up for a while, but ultimately, they'll disappear.

You'll also start to notice subtle changes to the blog. My recent broadband issues and the knock on effect that they have had on my website hosting has encouraged me to consolidate everything over at blogger.com. This has been made possible by recent changes at blogger which allows additional pages to be stored that are not directly part of the blog structure. So the www.betyourlife.co.uk site will eventually disappear and all that will remain will be betyourlife.blogspot.com. This makes sense anyway as the blog has by far the most traffic.

So, a pretty eventful year, but lots of work still to do. I shall continue to share my journey with you if you are willing to come along.


Anonymous said...

Many congratulations on a great achievement Alistair.


JS said...

Nice one Alistair, you were one of the first blogs I started following and it's great to see you're still going strong. Good luck pushing forward in the third year.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, I've been following you for about a year now and its been an interesting read.

I hope you continue to post and wish you all the best.


Alistair said...

Thanks very much for the feedback folks.

I shall endeavour to carry on for another two years though if I'm not going to be giving you a laugh with my P&L figures, it may be a struggle to find something to talk about. :-)

Drifter said...

Well Done Alistair

A great achievement. I have enjoyed your blog for 2 years now and wish you all the best in the future.

Robin said...

It always interesting reading your "Blog".

You, give me hope that one day I will get better at "trading".

Good luck for 2010.


Max said...

Hi Alistar,

Im Max from the MAX EASY BET blog...can you please update my link..this is the new adress http://le-scommesse-facili-di-max.blogspot.com/

The name of the blog is the same.

Thanks in advance and keep a good work. Max

Alistair said...

Thanks again for the feedback chaps.

Max, I'll sort out your new link over the weekend.