Next month Tradeshark Tennis will be 4 years old!
When I wrote the first version of the Trading Guide I genuinely thought it would have a 6 month shelf life. I had no idea how popular it would be and felt that anyone who might be interested would buy it in that time and it would fizzle out. Four years later and it’s still going strong with approximately 7000 members.
The service is obviously a lot more than just the Guide. One to one personal advice/mentoring! What the hell was I smoking when I promised that? As I said I had no idea it was going to grow the way it has. Right at the start I’d have been over the moon with a couple of hundred members. I created a monster!
Thankfully its a fraction of those 7000 members who take me up on the mentoring. Most ask a few questions at the beginning of their journey and then its an email here or there over the next 12 months. Quite a few buy it and do nothing with it. They don’t even open it! They may email me a couple of years later to say they now have the time to have a go at trading. I’m sure the £29 price tag is one of the reasons for this. probably if I charged £70 they would want to get their money’s worth straight away.
Then I have the members who are determined to take advantage of my ridiculous “personal help and advice for life” promise. They send daily emails especially in the early weeks. People like these are exactly the sort of people who I set the service up for. As the membership grew I have had a handful of members who I have needed to put a limit on the number of email they can send each day! I have had a couple who send 20 to 30 questions every day for weeks. (You know who you are!).
Most days I have anywhere from 20 to 60 emails. I’m sure you can appreciate that I get a lot of the same questions and I have a library of standard replies in Notepad files which saves some time. Even with those though I can end up spending 4 to 5 hours after I have finished trading on member support. The work/life balance has been shot to pieces!
I have been reviewing how I spend my time. It became obvious that this “one man band” couldn’t continue the same way. It is also clear that I aren’t getting any return for my non trading time. I have been far too generous with my time. From time to time I get emails from people who aren’t new to trading and say they have been considering joining the service but would like me to convince them and justify them spending their hard earned cash with me. Seriously? Its a one time payment of 29 quid. It has been going 4 years and has been reviewed many times. I really don’t need new members that badly which is the gist of the reply they get.
I am taking on a part time assistant ( ooo ‘ark at ‘er ) who will reply to a lot of the emails for me, especially the repeated ones and help with other admin stuff. He is a family friend who also works from home so my reputation of fast replies has a good chance of remaining intact. As he gets more experienced he will hopefully be able to take on a little more. The ideal is that people won’t know that I haven’t sent their email ( although obviously they will suspect now I have mentioned it on here ).
As for the core of the service there are changes that I have been advised to make. Increase the price. Reduce the amount of help I give or limit it to the first 3 months. None of those will be happening.
The service and Guide are aimed at new traders. More often than not they don’t have a lot of spare cash and I don’t agree with taking a huge chunk of that from them. Having said how I feel it’s laughable that there are still knobs out there who criticise people who sell their work even if its at a crazily low price. Let people make their own minds up you condescending wankers.
Reduce the help I give? Not a chance. This is something that has really contributed to the success of TST. People know when they join that they aren’t on their own.
One change I am making is that I will charge for the betting tips again. I tried this last year and it wasn’t a great success. When you’re trying to find value at SP you too frequently find yourself going for the underdog. This type of value will pay off long term but when people are paying monthly they want results monthly. So I set about changing my selection process. I have come up with a process that uses 6 stages that are basically designed to filter out the bad picks. It works very well for the betting picks and is also good for predicting 3 set matches so its helping the trading too! Its quite long winded though and I can’t keep doing everything for free.
There is a link for the betting tips at the top of the blog. There’s also a spreadsheet with the results.
Hopefully these changes will help me get a better balance and I won’t feel knackered all the time!
Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the last 4 years. To my many stalkers and critics…….eat shit and die.
Hopefully I’ll still be going in another 4 years.
PS don’t forget to follow me on twitter and also the Facebook page. Sometimes on a weekend my trading advice is posted only on Facebook.