My Story & This Blog
I’m Sam Priestley and this is my blog where I share my experiences and insights gathered from the last 15 years working for myself.
I studied computer scientist and was able to use my skills to earn a living sports betting. Designing algorithms to beat the house edge. I was pretty good at it but eventually got tired of the cutthroat industry and wanted to do something more fulfilling. So I took my winnings and spent the next decade travelling and trying out different businesses.
I’ve had some successes. A table tennis business. A tech startup. An award-winning coffee shop. A viral YouTube video with 13 million views. A craft gin brand. I got married, had a baby, became a part-time policeman, got a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and spent about three years travelling abroad.
And plenty more failures. I lost a bunch of money trying to become a property developer. That coffee shop just lost money. I had a car dealership that went nowhere.
In March 2020 I got really interested in cryptocurrency and decentralised finance and have been focusing on it ever since. Using my gambling skills in a new arena.
I wrote regularly on this website from 2014 until around 2020 but rarely post now. My work these days is too technical for a casual blog.
The Long Version
How It All Started
That is me on my honeymoon in 2017. 10 years after it all began…
I remember the exact moment when I decided not to get a job. I was sitting at my laptop with a graduate scheme application form open in front of me. I had just gotten to a question asking me to explain in 200 words why I wanted to work at that specific bank rather than any other. I couldn’t face it.
I was in my second year of university and started to work my ass off looking for alternative ways to earn a living. The first thing to work was matched betting. A way to earn money from online bookies and casinos by taking advantage of the free bets they offer to new customers.
It led me deep into the rabbit hole of professional gambling and not only did I get out of my overdraft but by the time I graduated I was earning enough to justify not getting a job.
I got better and better and it turned into a big business. But I was always worried of regulation and didn’t think of it as a ‘real business’.
Seeing The Light
In 2012 I decided to get into the big leagues. I wanted to make it and the best way to do that would be to launch a technology startup. For the next
And it was horrendous. I became an entrepreneur in order to avoid having to get a job, and now I had done the opposite. Created myself a job where I had to arrive earlier and stay later than everyone else. I had all the stress of entrepreneurship and all the inconvenience of
We eventually sold the business. I won’t ruin the story for you, read about it here. But the experience had a big impact on me. It made me realise that I didn’t want to be rich, rather I wanted my time to be own. To be able to choose what I do. So I changed my focus and decided to build only scalable outsourceable businesses.
The experience with my tech startup made me view professional gambling with new eyes. I had returned to it because the money was good and I had commitments to my business partners, but I had no passion for it. I had made enough money to last me a few years, so I quit.
Self-Improvement & Retirement
Over the next few years I tried my hand at everything and anything.
For a year I spent every day training table tennis in an attempt to become one of the best in the country. We called project Expert in a Year, I spectacularly failed. But despite that, the video of my year went viral (it now has over 8 million views) and my love of self-improvement and continuous learning was kindled.
To help give me more confidence and improve my soft-skills I became a volunteer policeman. Working weekends on what was called the rowdy bus. We were sent to any fights or gang trouble where they thought a bus full of amateur bobbies would help. If I could deal with that then no confrontation in a boardroom would ever be an issue again.
I devoured podcasts and books and was inspired to launch this blog. In my
I wrote a couple of books, started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and started a table tennis brands heavily with the help of Amazon FBA (the warehouse and fulfilment network run by Amazon). I even launched a coffee shop which went on to win best new coffee shop in London.
Hitting The Road & Digital Nomading
All this time I had been living in central London, but in 2016 I got itchy feet. I gave up my flat, sold 90% of my stuff and armed with just a suitcase headed off to South America to live the life as a ‘digital nomad’. Someone who can live anywhere because they can earn an income through their computer and the internet.
I had convinced my girlfriend to quit her job and come with me. She left the UK with just her savings and while travelling managed to build a profitable business doing freelance marketing.
For the next 18 months, I didn’t do much work. There was too much to experience as we travelled from country to country living in AirBnBs. In 2016 the only new business I started was a consultancy, A very simple business built off the back of this blog, which by then had got really popular.
Instead, I focused on growing my table tennis businesses. Which by the end of 2016 had grown to be bigger and more profitable than gambling ever was.
In July 2017 I got married and shortly after launched Pipehouse Gin with my new wife Emma. In 2018 we launched a podcast. The next few years chugged along happily. Lots of travelling and enjoying life. Until the pandemic came.
The Pandemic & Crypto
In 2020 the pandemic hit which brought to a halt a lot of things in my life. We returned to the UK and in March things were looking pretty bleak. My businesses ground to a halt and the stock market started tanking taking a lot of my investments with it.
I did a big reassessment which is summed up in my coronavirus series of blog posts. The end result being that I started to look for opportunities to start earning money again, which got me in cryptocurrency.
Since March 2020 I have been focusing on crypto full-time. It took me a few months to find my feet, but in June I got into Ethereum and decentralised finance.
I learned solidity (the Ethereum programming language) and made a good living in the ‘dark forest‘ doing arbitrage.
As my work got more technical and more risky I stopped posting on this blog. When it comes to cryptocurrency I think some knowledge is worse than no knowledge and I don’t want to be responsible for anyone losing money.