My Story & This Blog

Who Am I

Hello, and welcome to The Arbing Blog! My name is Sam Priestley. I am 28 from England and I spend my time trying to start businesses and learn new skills. That’s me on the right on my honeymoon.

The Arbing Blog was launched in 2014 as online journal, somewhere I could record what I was up to. Somewhere that would be here forever and that I could always point to as a CV if I ever needed to get a job. I thought it might end up making money, but that was never the primary motivation.

The blog pottered along. I would write really long articles documenting exactly what I did when starting different businesses, and those posts started to get very popular. 

Since then it has grown and now earns me quite a good income, but I try to keep it true to what it always was. An honest account of my experiences – not a preachy guru telling you what to do without ever doing it themselves.

I don’t consider myself an expert or a business genius. I am just an amateur muddling my way through. Perhaps you can learn from my experiences.

Selfie on the beach

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How It All Started

Almost 10 years ago while in my second year of university I was introduced to matched betting. A simple way to earn money from online bookies and casinos by taking advantage of the free bets they offer to new customers. It started off as just a way to get out of my overdraft and pay for the next night out, but over the year my earnings grew. By the Summer holiday I decided not to get a job, but dedicate myself full-time to matched betting. I managed to earn a mouth-watering £250 a week during the holiday.

The next year I grew from matched betting to arbitrage (known as arbing) and by the time I came to graduate I was earning more than any job could offer. Over the next few years, my earnings continued to grow and our strategies got more and more developed.

But always in the back of my mind was the thought that professional matched betting wasn’t what I should be doing. I wasn’t building any skills and it wasn’t a unfulfilling business – I wasn’t creating anything. So on the side I started reinvesting my profits into new businesses. 

  • One of the first was a car import/export business
  • Then a property development in Malta, a mistake I’m still paying for now. The first two attempts worked great. The third, not so much.
  • And a whole bunch more. From face-painting to a social network. Most of them failed. At the time I was young and naive and willing to try anything. I assumed everything was easy and had enough successes to reinforce that belief.

Seeing The Light

In 2012 I decided to get into the big leagues. I decided I wanted to be rich and the best way to do that would be to launch a technology startup. For the next year I put everything else on the back burner and worked solidly on it. We hired employees and pumped money into the business.  

And it was horrendous. I became an entrepreneur in order to avoid having to get a job, and now I had done the opposite. Created myself a job where I had to arrive earlier and stay later than everyone else. I had all the stress of entrepreneurship and all the inconvenience of employership

We eventually sold the business. I won’t ruin the story for you, read about it hereBut the experience had a big impact on me. It made me realise that I didn’t want to be rich, rather I wanted my time to be own. To be able to choose what I do. So I changed my focus and decided to build only scalable outsourceable businesses. Ones that would generate me passive income.

Over then next couple of years I launched two new businesses. A table tennis brand and a coffee shop (both of which are still going today).

Some more #tbt. My old ET Advisor office. I miss these guys but definitely do not miss the stress of that business.

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I'm officially a #millionaire! Shame it's only in YouTube views… #startup #tabletennis #expertinayear

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Self-Improvement, Table Tennis & Retirement

The experience with my tech startup made me view matched betting and arbing with new eyes. I had returned to it because the money was good and I had commitments to my business partners, but I had no passion for it. I decided that I would retire and while I started the process I turned my attention to something more… interesting.

For a year I spent every day training table tennis in an attempt to become one of the best in the country. We called project Expert in a Year, I spectacularly failed. But despite that, the video of my year went viral (it now has over 7 million views) and my love of self-improvement and continuous learning was kindled.

To help give me more confidence and improve my soft-skills I became a volunteer policemen. Working weekends on what was called the rowdy bus. We were sent to any fights or gang trouble where they thought a bus full of bobbies would help. If I could deal with that then no confrontation in a boardroom would ever be an issue.

By the end of 2014, I had quit gambling and launched this blog. In my mind I had officially retired. I had enough saved that I could go a very long time without ever having to work. But I love starting businesses, so just kept doing it. 

In 2015 I wrote a couple of books, started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grew my table tennis brands heavily with the help of Amazon FBA (the warehouse and fulfilment network run by Amazon).

By the end of 2015, we were selling our products all across Europe and the Americas and were the best selling table tennis bat in the UK.

Hitting The Road & Becoming A Digital Nomad

All this time I had been living in central London, but in 2016 I got itchy feet. I gave up my flat, sold 90% of my stuff and armed with just a suitcase headed off to South America to live the life as a ‘digital nomad’. Someone who can live anywhere because they can earn an income through their computer and the internet.

I had convinced my girlfriend to quit her job and come with me. She left the UK with just her savings and while travelling managed to build a profitable business doing freelance marketing.

For the next 18 months, I didn’t do much work. There was too much to experience as we travelled from country to country living in AirBnBs. In 2016 the only new business I started was a consultancy, A very simple business built off the back of this blog, which by 2017 was making a whopping £5,000 a month. 

Instead, I focused on growing my table tennis businesses. Which by the end of 2016 had grown to be bigger and more profitable than matched betting ever was.

But the digital nomad life isn’t all sun and rainbows. 20-somethings aren’t meant to retire and live a life of ease. We’re meant to use our talents and energy to build the most awesomest things possible.

So in July 2017 I hung up my suitcase and moved into a house in Tunbridge Wells, England. Determined to spend the next few years building new bigger and better businesses.

Hard at work in the office #digitalnomad #sorrynotsorry #croatia #korcula

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Some more wedding dancing 💃🕺#semmawedding

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Marriage & Life Now

And more importantly, I got married!

Which brings us to today. One of my first jobs for post-married life was to update this site. It is good, but also quite basic. 

So what does the future hold? Well, I have a few plans. 

In 2017 and 2018 I want to:

  • Start a brand of gin.
  • Start an investment fund aimed at investing in websites and online businesses.
  • Help my wife set up a food related business. (Supper clubs).
  • Start a podcast about money and investing.
  • And whatever else I think of!

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My Favourite Articles

Keen to dive into the blog? Check out some of my favourite posts.

Business

Lifestyle

I also do some consulting. I charge $200 an hour and you can book a call with me here.

Or you can send me an email for free and if I am not too swamped I will reply.