Thanks for all the comments as well - nice to know I've been missed.
Before I start - Cheltenham went pretty well I think - I haven't totted things up but some tipsters came good and there was definitely an upward spike in the bank. However I haven't added up the figure - let's just say it was nice to end on a high....
On the last post a regular poster Baz asked the question "Is it all worth it?". It's funny to think how much that question had an impact on me and for once I took a step back and asked myself that very question.
The conclusion I reached at the end of the first day of Cheltenham as I frantically tried to get al my bets on was that it wasn't worth it and I decided that with pretty much immediate effect that I was stopping. I haven't placed a single bet for a few days and boy does it feel good.
So why did I reach that conclusion? A number of reasons which I will try to articulate below in my usual rambling style;
1) Time. I've been in a new job now for a number of months which involves a lot of time on the road visiting people as well as working from home. While I thought this may work to my advantage the reality is that it's had the opposite effect and more often than not I'm scrabbling around on my iPhone trying to get bets on at every free opportunity that I have. This has meant (as you have seen) that I have missed bets, am late with bets so miss the best prices and end up having to use betfair due to speed and efficiency. Clearly my real job has to take priority and I am spending far too much of my working day checking, placing and getting bets on.
2) Effort. I've been slogging away at this for longer now than I care to mention and am simply not making any progress - I've made a large number of mistakes but which ever way I've cut my back data there's not a huge amount to made from this game and I'm kidding myself that there is. Looking bet I'd have been better sticking my betting banks into an ISA and let the investment do the work while I actually enjoy life.
3) Relentless. The endless, 7 day a week, nature of the business has taken it's toll. Not only does it impede on me doing my real job (see point 1) but it has also impeded on my family life and that has got to stop. I'm constantly stepping out of the room to get those bets on and whenever we go on days out or off to the shops or whatever I've got to be by my phone getting things sorted. There's never a break and I can't be bothered with that anymore - I've got a young daughter and I want to get on with having fun with her when I do have spare time!
4) Enjoyment. When I first started this I absolutely loved it. I thought this is great - it's going to be work - but I can make some money out of it. Over the last 12 months it's been nothing but a hassle and all the joy of the job has slowly sapped out of it for me and there's no fun in what I do and it has just become a relentless slog, a battle against the bookies, against time and against everything else!
5) Love. I used to love horse racing - all things about it - I knew naff all about it but loved it - watching on TV, going to the race course - the smaller the better in my book - watching all the pre race prep, enjoying the flutter and loving the racing (NH in particular). But I've grown to despise it - the constant let down when things don't go to plan and gut wrenching feeling when you see race after race going against you. I stopped watching a long time ago. I'd started this business because I enjoyed racing - and I've lost that and want to get it back.
6) Psychology. It's pretty clear (as you can tell from the above and probably all my posts) that I haven't got the psyche to deal with long losing runs or bad days when they come fast and frequent. I can't detach myself, I don't enjoy the positives enough to deal with the negatives and it's better that I stop as what's the point if that's how i feel?
7) Money. You've got to have a lot of money down and tied up to make this work, you've got to bet decent sized stakes to make even the lower cost services work and you've got to be prepared to lose money (and large amounts of it) if you make the wrong choices (I have with some services) and to be honest I've got better things I can be doing with my money (other than sticking it in an ISA) than put it through this merry go round.
So there you have it. I've had enough - the betting portfolio way isn't worth it for me. Whichever way you look at it I just can't face making the decision and putting the effort in to make a portfolio of services work. Admittedly I overstretched myself towards the end in terms of number of tipsters but I did that on purpose to make a decision - I just didn't realise I'd end up where I've ended up.
I've been pretty dedicated to this over the years and determined to make it work but I think you need to know when to draw a line under it and I've reached that point and that's it.
So what now? Well I am continuing to follow one tipster (4PA). Why 4PA - well simply as it's easy to follow and ROI is excellent and it's very very light effort. I hope to make a few quid over the year from the service to spend on good stuff! I'll do more research (horses to follow for example) on my own to make personal bets as well but in my own time and in a way that will be enjoyable.
As for the blog... well I'm going to keep going and posting to let you know how things go and I'm also going to use my freed up time to do some analysis of services that I always meant to do but never having the time - will hopefully be of use to you guys.
Thanks for reading up to now. Comments / questions / thoughts welcome!