It has been another two months since my last report and a lot of time has happened since then. The virus is still ongoing but the initial adrenaline and the fear of complete societal collapse have mostly worn off (touch wood). But the lessons learned and the decisions made are here to stay. Now is a good time to step back and see how it has affected my life.
At the beginning of the outbreak, I laid out in a series of blog posts my strategy for surviving and thriving during the pandemic. Reduce Risk, Earn More, Invest. Now almost four months later what started as a short term plan has evolved into permanent life changes.
Earn more led me to reconnect with an old business partner and start a new business. And it turns out – I love it. Working on something long term that is exciting and innovative and hard has made me very happy.
It’s a subtle subtle difference, but the way I am seeing this business is as a long-term business that I want to make a vocation. Up until the virus, Emma and I were traveling full-time, focusing very much on our lifestyle and hobbies with the businesses coming in second. Now I am putting the business first.
At least for the moment! If you’ve been following the blog or podcast for years you’ll know that I am always changing my mind. So what have I been up to over the last couple of months? Lots!
In the April Monthly Report, I introduced the new ‘business’ that I am currently working on. If you could call it a business. Just me and my business partner developing software to take advantage of opportunities trading Cryptocurrency.
It turns out that the cryptocurrency environment is not too different from matched betting and sports arbitrage. Two areas I was world-class at.April 2020 Monthly Report
In the crypto space, there are lots of different competing exchanges and currencies. All doing things a little bit differently from each other and all trying to compete with each other. Including offering promotions (like bookies do in matched betting) to try and get people using their currency or exchange.
That ‘business’ has been going well but has got rather complicated. So instead of trying to include examples of what we’ve been doing crammed into this report, I have written a full post here: Opportunities In Crypto Ep1 – COMP & BAL Farming.
Currently the business looks like this:
I keep putting ‘business’ in quotation marks because we don’t even have a name yet. We don’t need one. We’re trading our own money, have no customers, no investors and so have no need for any public-facing presence.
But in the future we would like to expand it to add a sales department to sell the tools we don’t mind other people using.
To be clear. We would only sell software or give away information that we are sure won’t compete with our fund. That includes any information I write on this blog. When I explain opportunities it will either be old ones or ones that I am confident won’t jeopardize what I’m currently doing.
I am also considering anything to do with trading as the remit of this business. What that is on the gambling markets or on cryptocurrency.
Why talk about the opportunities at all? Because I believe that the contacts and information I get back will be worth more to me than the information I give away.
Suggest Reading: Opportunities In Crypto Ep1 – COMP & BAL Farming.
Consolidation Of Old Businesses
The focus on my new business means that I am consolidating down some of my previous businesses. That means some things will be pivoted, some I will step away from and some will continue as is.
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Pipehouse Gin has started picking up again now that the bars are and shops are reopening. Which means it is time for us to think about the future.
Towards the end of June, the board of directors met up and voted Emma in as CEO of Pipehouse Gin. That means that I will no longer be responsible for day-to-day decision making but will limit my involvement to board-level decisions.
Now obviously I am married to Emma so we will be chatting about the business a lot. But this gives her independence in growing and running the business and gives me a guilt-free way to reduce my involvement and focus on crypto trading.
Suggested Post: Starting a Gin Brand Episode 1: Doing The Research
My biggest businesses by a long way are table tennis brands. They sells all round the world, mostly through Amazon FBA. We are in our 8th year now and after some initial turbulence, the lockdown has proven to be very profitable. Indoor sports suddenly became much more popular.
The businesses in general provides a crazy good return on the amount of effort I put in. So I will continue working at my current involvement level until a time when it makes sense to change.
Suggested Post: How to start an Amazon FBA business
The blog has remained as popular and profitable despite my very low number of posts (Around £2,500 profit in June). And more importantly, I have made a lot of valuable contacts from it. Especially from professional gamblers from back in the day who I used to know only by their forum names and now I’ve managed to meet or chat to in person.
So it makes sense to continue my current approach. I am going to write more about what I am currently working on (trading) but will also create a few ‘evergreen’ posts on other stuff.
The first was released in June and is my most indepth post yet: The Ultimate Guide To VAT For Amazon FBA Sellers In UK And Europe.
Suggested Reading: How does this blog make money?
Podcast & Consulting
I am putting both the podcast and my consulting business on hold for the moment.
At the beginning of March I started looking for investment opportunities. I started removing all my money from P2P lending and looking for new investment opportunities. I planned to buy into the stock market as it crashed and to try and get a good deal on house.
At the start of the crisis I had about 30% of my net-worth in peer-2-peer lending. On the 13th of March, I placed orders to withdraw almost all my money.
By 2nd April I had received about 40% of my funds. But since then and three months later I have barely received any more.
The capital has kept paying interest and I still expect it to come out eventually but it certainly ruined my plan to have a bunch of money free to invest in quick opportunities and meant I liquidated some of my stock positions to fund my trading business.
I did buy-in when the stock market crashed but it started rising quicker than expected and I stopped. I bought in three separate lots between 20th March and 12th of April. At which point I stopped. So while I did make money it wasn’t a huge amount in the grand scheme of things.
I started selling positions in June to fund my trading business and to pay for the property below. I sold at basically the same price my positions were at a year before. Down from the height in Jan but not too bad.
In June and after three months of looking we had an offer accepted on a property. Hopefully, that will all go through OK. And after the deal is done I will talk more about the details and my reasonings.
It has been a busy couple of months and the above is just the business stuff. I ate loads of snacks and got fat, played a lot of video games, and tried to cut my own hair. We spent the first three months of lockdown in an Airbnb in Covent Garden and in June moved into a 6-month lease on a flat in Tunbridge Wells. We also had a personal tragedy that took up all our attention for a few weeks.
But on the whole, we are coming out of lockdown happier and richer than when we went in. I hope the same is true for you too. Hopefully, this will be the last post where our life decisions are shaped by the virus.