The darker side of Betfair trading isn’t talked about enough in my opinion…
I’ve shared some of my harsher mistakes and losses over the years but typically, few appear interested. But to me, they’re one of the most important parts of trading – it’s how we learn.
So to that end, here are seven extreme struggles I’ve been through myself. Hopefully, sharing allows you to find a smooth path beyond them.
1) Second Guessing.
If you love problem-solving and understanding the psychology of people, trading is for you. However, the challenge is two-fold. Not only will it leave you questioning other people’s reactions and behavior, but it will also certainly leave you second-guessing your own.
Why did you go in-play that one time? why chase one poor judgment with another?
Discipline is at the heart of successful trading, alongside a logical strategy. Understand and accept your human, trading will test your patience at times. It’s part of the process, reactive decisions become better when you acknowledge and embrace this. Many moons ago it almost broke me, I talked about it in this crash-and-burn post. Take a look after this one!
In the end, the only trading competition is with yourself so don’t be too critical, cut yourself some slack because unlike you, those around you are…
2) Blissfully Unaware.
At first, nobody cares. Once you become more dedicated people become curious. What’s that exchange thing you’re messing about with?
Almost immediately, everybody you talk to about trading has an opinion. You soon realise that it’s important to leave out the betting part. Tell a new person you trade financial markets online and they’ll be genuinely interested. Forex? they’ll think you’re a multi-millionaire. But if you mention betting odds they’ll assume you’ve got some kind of degenerate addiction.
Then comes the real resistance…
Family and friends – they’ll try to tell you it’s a waste of time, you’re being silly, and could be doing something better with your time. 90% of the time they are blissfully unaware of what they are doing. Like support and resistance, except without the support.
Be very careful on this one, it can wreak havoc in the outside world if you spend time trying to convince those around you. They’re not supposed to get it, realise it’s part of the 5 stages of trading for a living. The people around you are important, they think they’re looking out for you – even if they are oblivious to the opportunity.
3) You’re Always Busy.
This has to be the least talked about aspect of trading Betfair for a living. It’s a somewhat lonely existence, often working anti-social hours.
Football and horse racing fans are often drawn to trading them, as you might expect. But it’s a double-edged sword.
Work is work, assuming you’re doing it properly. Play is… well, play. Friends with whom you enjoy watching sports with may struggle to get their heads around this. What was once leisure time is often replaced with work time. Of course, this has its benefits too. Trading against inebriated money of an evening is easier, and taking time off or having a slow wake-up is underrated.
Betfair traders don’t have to commute and it’s easy to forget just how good these benefits are. However, you have to get the balance right – there’s no point in being the richest bloke in the graveyard.
When your pals complain you’re always busy or don’t come out, remember why you started doing this in the first place…
4) The Get-Rich-Quick Scheme – You’re a Lucky One.
It’s all sunshine and rainbows the betting malarkey isn’t it? Tax-free they said…
Sure, you might have the opportunity to make far bigger money than elsewhere and I don’t mean to minimise that – but hidden ‘nips’ will soon appear.
Just like the tax man, they only show up when you’re winning. When you’re not, they’re totally absent. Largely, others don’t care as they aren’t affected yet.
Premium charges, liquidity frustrations, exchange crashes – “unlucky pal we’re just here to collect the money, see our terms”.
I know, I know, they’re just another company doing their thing. But you think they’d care about their product wouldn’t you? after all, betting exchange users are their product. Without them it’s nothing. It’s a get-rich-quick-scheme, but you’re not invited – you’re just a lucky one for winning!
Betfair claims the premium charge was created to compensate for those taking liquidity away from the exchange. They planned to use them so that could market the product and replenish liquidity. Sounds fair enough right? So where’s the marketing?
5) Get A REAL Job You Bum.
It’s always been there, but oh boy is this one getting worse.
The social judgment on gambling within society has intensified significantly over the last decade. I honestly wonder how much further it can go?
Will people of the future be pre-qualifying their betting statements with “I’m not an addict but…”
In the earlier stages, it was frustrating to hear people make remarks like get a real job. As if trading bets isn’t ‘real’ or something.
The advice is to stop bothering with such people, they won’t be happy for you when you succeed anyway. It’s just pure negativity at its worst, usually from a position of total hypocrisy.
To add insult to injury, the people who are most likely to say such things usually have a double-barreled surname and come from a place of complete privilege. I tend to think such statements are more about making themselves feel better than caring for anyone else. Ignore it and let them go back to their social media addiction, posting their favourite alcopops and telling others to not be so judgemental. They’re just far better than us, accept it and #bekind.
6) You Can’t See, Touch or Taste It
It’s not so easy to label this issue, but I think it’s fair to say that it’s not just limited to Betfair trading.
When you work for yourself it’s always present, you can’t see, touch or taste it. You can only feel it – resistance. Earlier in my trading career, I would frequently down-tools to go to the beer garden or book in 4th holiday for the year. Looking back, I was setting up additional resistance to what I was actually achieving…
Everyone’s different and it comes in many different formats, but it’s important to be aware of this invisible resistance that works against us. Having a great day’s trading is not the justification to stop early. If anything, when you’re in the flow and performing well you should push ahead. Make the most of it!
Realise that sometimes, the hardest part is getting started. Just like writing a blog post or going for a run, you need to lace up those trainers and get out the door. Be aware of resistance and don’t let it grind you down…
7) But Who Are You Now?
Some of the previous points have been a bit heavy, I know. Although the last is probably the heaviest of all.
Learning to trade presents a number of problems to solve, both inside the betting markets and out. The market doesn’t care how you’re feeling, what’s happened in your day, or if the kids are kicking off in the background while you trade.
Trading the betting markets forces you to look at yourself and challenge various beliefs you may have. In short, it’ll change your thinking over time.
The market is a blank canvas, it won’t lie to you or give you an easy ride, accept it. The good news is, if you should overcome these struggles it’s absolutely worth it. Like all good things in life, the toughest challenges have the biggest rewards on the alternate side. Despite the challenges, I certainly don’t regret it.
Hopefully, this post allows you to learn something from my previous experiences, feel free to leave a comment.