I love the idea of blogs. They can contain huge amounts of information distilled into short, easily readable chunks. Small 30 second nuggets of information that could change your life. And blogs have changed my life. I spend a lot of my time reading them or listening to podcasts, it’s where most of my ideas come from! And as someone who flits between ideas, loves trying new stuff but has a crap attention span they’re perfect. But to write a blog you need to have something to add or say to the world. There are a lot of blogs out there and most of them aren’t at all useful.

From my point of view a good blog needs to be:
Personal: Needs to relate to real life and tell stories that that the reader can relate to.
Valuable: The content needs to add to the reader’s life. The blogger needs to be an authority of whatever they are talking about.

Although I have wanted to write a blog for a while now, and have in fact been involved in other blogs (check out my table tennis challenge on my friend Ben’s blog), it wasn’t until now that I believe I can do those two things.

Contemporary knowledge says that you need to have done 10,000 hours of practice to call yourself an expert at something. Well I’m not sure I’d call myself an expert, I still have loads to learn, but I have spent well over 10,000 hours arbing, finding price discrepancies between different markets that allow me to make money.

I have tried out many many businesses, building them up and then either closing them down, selling them or turning them into passive income. I have done well enough that I could happily spend the next 20 years on a beach sipping on pina coladas.

But I don’t want to. I still love the process and the excitement from arbing.

arbing holiday

Why I got into arbing

During my second year at university a lot of my coursemates were filling out these horrible graduate job application forms, with questions like:

“write 200 words about why our company, NondistinctBoringSnobbish incorporated, is different to everyone else”

Bleh.

Then there were the graduate fairs, lots of bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers and accountants all looking very smart and keen to tell you how their job was better than the rest. One thing they all had in common was how proudly they would tell you:

“I haven’t had a weekend off in two months”

“It’s great, you get a free taxi home if you finish work after midnight”

“We work so many extra hours that we’re required to waive our right to minimum hourly wage”

I have no problem with hard work and getting a job, in fact there were plenty of jobs I would like to do but all of them seemed to either require 10 years of working your way up the career ladder before you get to the really fun stuff, or are so hard to get into that people spend years of interning just to get in the door. I didn’t want to be enjoying life when I get to 45, I want to be enjoying life now. (I would still quite like to be a Top Gear presenter, or a premiership footballer, or a general in the army)

At about this time I, along with some friends*, had discovered matched betting, a risk free way of making money online through exploiting sportsbook bonuses. I made myself a promise, if I could make £250 a week from matched betting over the summer holiday then I wouldn’t get a job but would spend the next year building my own business. I have never looked back.

What I want from this blog

To coin a word that is very popular in the american tech circles at the moment, I want to crowd source the best ways to make money from all of these business opportunities out there.

I plan to outline all my* past experiments with arbing in such a way that they are easily understandable and replicable, I invite you to join me in my future plans. I have lots of opportunities I want to try out and I want to get as much advice and support as possible along the way. Together we can make lots of money and enjoy the freedom that comes with financial and work independence.

Each blog post will be quite a brief, bite sized, overview of each arbing opportunity. It will contain all my figures as well as the mistakes and lessons I learnt. I will also include all the external resources needed for you to research them in more detail and try it yourself. If any articles are particularly popular I will happily revisit them in more detail.

I plan to be 100% truthful and transparent with this blog, so let’s start off with some of my other – less altruistic – motives for blogging:

  • To get better at writing! An invaluable skill that I definitely need to improve.
  • To give myself a job description I can reel off in parties. I’m fed up of having to say something like: “Well I play table tennis, and I sell table tennis bats, and I’m a professional gambler, and I started a fund comparison website, and I’m a policeman. Umm anything else, ohh yeah and I have a coffee shop”. Now all I need to do is to say “I’m a blogger – here, read my blog!”.
  • If I get a good following I’ll have a ready-made marketing stream for any future businesses I start off.
  • It gives me an excuse to try out all the businesses I want to even if they aren’t ‘worth’ my time.
  • For my ego. Everyone likes to be heard and this blog can be my little voice in the vastness of the internet.

Previous arbing

Here is a snippet of what I have been up to for the last seven years that is arbing related, I will add in links once I get round to writing the articles:

NameDescriptionWhen
CashbackAffiliate earnings from your own purchases2008
Matched BettingArbing the value sportsbooks place on new customers2008-2010
Bonus BaggingArbing the value casinos place on new customers2009-2011
Student SwagArbing our knowledge of matched betting and bonus bagging against people's desire to learn2009-2010
Pioneer ProjectsArbing our time and knowledge of programming against the value of customised websites2009-2010
Grime GarmsArbing the desire for independent clothing labels against the inefficiency of the labels2010
Hanging RockBuilding a social media network for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival2010
Arb FindingArbing the different values bookies place of sports outcomes2010-2011
Arb Betting OutsourcingArbing the value people put on their time against the value of them placing sports bet arbs2011-2013
Buying cars in England, selling them in MaltaBuying cars in England, selling them in MaltaArbing the discrepancy in price between used cars in the UK and in Malta2011-2012
ETF Comparison SiteArbing information about exchange traded products2012
PropertyArbing the price difference between shell condition property and renovated property, in Malta2011-2014
P2P LendingArbing peer to peer loans2013
Leasing Sports Arbing SoftwareArbing the value of software already built against the cost to build2013-2014
PropertyArbing the value of property before and after getting planning permission, in Malta2013
Vietnamese ProgrammersArbing how much the western world will pay for programmers vs how much the East charges for them2013
Starting a coffee shop Arbing coffee2013-Now
Selling table tennis batsPassive income through Amazon FBA2013-Now
Starting a sports goods brandArbing original equipment manufacturing2014-Now

Palio bats

Next Steps

Writing this I’ve got myself pretty excited and am going to immediately crack on with the next article. Please sign up to the arbing newsletter and I’ll let you know when it’s ready. In the meantime please check out what exactly arbing is here.

* – A big shout out to all my business partners over the years. In particular my friends Toby and Frank who have been involved in well over half of them. It would have been a lot less profitable and fun without them – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you want to give a project a go I recommend doing it with a friend or loved one, just make sure you’re very clear and up front about what your expectations are.