Monday 28 September 2015

I'm starting to resurface back into the world after the eye operation


I'm starting to resurface back into the world after the eye operation and the recovery period. After the operation and the recovery period I've been finding that even the simplest of tasks leaves me tired - until today.

I've re-started my gigs in fiverr, with the hope that they bring in some income that I re-spend on fiverr itself. There's a vast array of items that I can see myself spending credit on, and some others that are interesting as well-

  • I will ghostwrite, proofread and edit your ebooks and kindle books
  • I will write a 500 word introduction for your book or ebook
  • I will illustrate your book
  • I will design a Sensational Book or Kindle eBook Cover
  • I will advertise your book or bookish product on my book blog
  • I will add PERMANENT Facebook likes
  • I will post PERMANENT Amazon review 
  • I will write about your site in my Real Estate Site
There's a wide array of things to be ordered on Fiverr, and probably a whole host of other things that I haven't even come across yet.

During my time on the Fiverr website I've done a few Gigs that I've been really interested in, and I'll share a bit of detail with you on the latest one. I have explained how the website works on recent past blog posts, so I won't go into too much detail there. And also to say that I won't be giving updates on every Fiverr Gig I conduct but in the early days it's been quite interesting.

The below blog link is a sponsored link through Fiverr, where the producers of the product wanted more exposure for their products and to create some back links for their Etsy shop-

The products themselves are great, but it was thinking about how to frame them into the context of who is reading my blog on football, and who is likely to buy the products when they've read the blog. I worked on the different angles available to me and then decided hat they aspirational aspect was probably the best way to go, as it is still too early to go heavy on the Christmas theme.

In all, I'm very pleased with the way it went and the fact that I'm resurfacing onto online life, if not the real world quite yet.

The products can be found at -

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Three weeks off work after an eye operation leaves hours for reading


It's been a while since I've been on any of my blogs and the main reason for that is an eye operation I had last Thursday. It was quite a major operation, and the main recuperative source of recovery has been to lie face down for fifty minutes out of every hour, day and night for five days and five nights. Quite frankly, it's been horrible.

What it has allowed me to do is catch up in some television (what I would have done without the ipad, Sky Go and the iPlayer I'm not sure) and catch up on some reading.

I've had a stack of books I've been meaning to to read for a while now. It's not that I haven't been reading at all, it's just that I've been reading other things. I think at the rate I'm going (and I still have nearly 3 weeks off work left) that I'll have read everything I currently own before Christmas and I'll be ready to start again. It's not been management, marketing and estate agency books for a little while though, and I need to get back into that as a matter of urgency.

The books I've been reading have been fiction with a little 1970's non-fiction work thrown in-

Brewster by Mark Slouka
This was picked up at Poundland and I found it started slowly hit really fired up towards the middle and end as you could see the potential conclusions forming before the actual end. It's a coming-of-age book set in small-town USA and I'd recommend anyone to read it - there's a style in there that engages and brings in the reader.

The Runner by Christopher Reich
This is an old book I picked up at a charity book sale for 50p and it was gripping. It's set at the end of World War II and is about a US attorney trying to find and stop a German soldier from a plot to reignite the war in some way. The book moves along at a great pace and is something that's difficult to put down.

Strange Days Indeed by Francis Wheen
This is a summary of some of the stranger, more paranoical aspects if the 1970's and was interesting in parts - particularly for someone like me who missed most of it! The fanciful situations and correspondences that politicians got themselves into made it feel like a fiction work. Some of the things you just couldn't make up.

The conclusion of reading these books, particularly the fiction books, is that I want to add some fiction to my bookshelf on Amazon. To do this, I need to take some steps towards making my work more creative and I need to think about some simple areas of creative writing. To this end, I'm going to sign up for a course on creative writing - I looked into one offered for free by the Open University last year. And I'll look again at a course in this area. I've decided that I'll skip photography level 2 course this year. The course at the college I studied level 1 last year has already started and I can't drive there for at least another 2 weeks, the next nearest course is on a Tuesday night (my only late night at work) and the next nearest is £400 more expensive than the others.

After the creative writing course, I'll look to a marketing course that's starting in January and I'll be ready to go back to photography next school year.

Thursday 17 September 2015

My first fiverr gig - Mannys Sauces


I've completed my first gig for fiverr this week and I absolutely loved it. The gig was producing two blog entries and a testimonial for Mannys Sauces - an exciting new venture by the guy who originally founded Nandos in South Africa many years ago.

The idea behind the blogs is that they fitted the narrative of my existing blogs but mentioned heavily the products of Mannys Sauces and provided a platform for the products to gain more exposure. And I'm pleased with the results-

The first blog entry is related to football and I decided to look at how food and football mix. The blog was about the perfect good to go with football and Mannys Sauces fitted this bill with their mix of spice and flavour. It's a similar way to how curry is eaten when watching the football - with friends and a few cans of beer. My football blog is read by the type of demographic that would enjoy the product.

The second entry is on my retail blog and talks about two things - buying from a UK business and getting to know a product or brand on the ground level. My retail blog is read by independent retailers that may want to stock the sauce and by people in larger retailers that may want to get onto a product that may become very big very quickly.

The idea is they both of these blogs and the surrounding social media marketing will give the brand and products some exposure. The other piece I wrote for Manny is a testimonial piece for his own use. It's related heavily to the product but I believe that it is a positive article that can be used in different strands of his marketing strategy.

Overall in pleased with the work and already looking forward to the next gig.

Friday 11 September 2015

A different way of presenting my work


The internet, especially social media, seems to be full of headlines or strap lines such as-

You won't believe what happened next…
See what happened when…
Who would have thought what could…

And I like the fact that people have realised the world is more interesting with words. As someone who writes a lot, I think that simple, interesting stories can transform other parts of the internet, and the world around us. And it's got me thinking about how I present things such as my photography and Kindle books to the world. Adding my own story to the photographs or the books gives some context, some background and some interest to what I present.

I can now see photography as a story. "See what happened when one photographer…" is a far more interesting piece than just uploading photos to social media - no matter how good the photos are.

Presenting my books with the context behind them of how I ended up writing them will mean more to potential readers than telling them it's good or great or interesting or any other description I could come up with.

So, off the back of this enlightened thinking today, I'm looking at re-writing the blurb on Amazon for my two current books and adding to the introductions for both. I think that anyone browsing through Amazon and coming across my books would be more interested in whi ive written them than a synopsis of what the books are about.

So here goes. I write them because-

I'm sick of dealing with estate agents that aren't very good at their jobs.
I think I can do better.
I want to help people to help themselves.
I think that there is a better way than how houses are currently bought and sold.
I think that consumers should know more about the process.

Watch this space, and I'll update you on my progress.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Fiverr and RawShorts


I've been back on the serendipity trail (blog) this week and I've found two great little sites that are helping me to earn money and self-publicise the work that I have been doing recently.

The sites that I am referring to are and and I've found both sites to be a real help in moving forward with marketing.

I've mentioned before about using fiverr to get the covers designed for my Kindle ebooks and I find that for a medium such as the Kindle ebook, the designers come up with suitable fast designs that meet my needs. The things that fiverr offers are huge - from flyers, posters and banner ads to copywriting, translation and proofreading. There are thousands and thousands of people on there offering services for small and medium businesses. It's worth checking it out.

One of the people offering services is me! And I'm offering blog mentions on my football, retail and estate agency blogs or positive professional reviews on a website of the buyers choosing. The concept is simple - find a service you need, pay $5 to the seller and then receive the service in a couple of days.

My offering can be found at

Check it out!

The other website that I found on one of my meandering serendipity trips is RawShorts. This has a series of templates of short animated promotional videos for yout to edit and make into something that you can use yourself. The videos can be uploaded to YouTube and from there you can download the MP4 file and use it where you need it.

I have produced the video below to advertise my blog service on

There are loads of videos to choose from and then you can edit away to add your own logo, own wording and own images to make it look like something that was made just for your brand. Again, I recommend that you try it out.

The video is at

Tuesday 8 September 2015

New book is now available in the Kindle store


It's finally here! I've published my new book! It's been uploaded to the Amazon Kindle site and is now available here.

It's entitled "How To Buy Your First Home - What estate agents don't want you to know".  I'm really pleased with how it's actually pulled together in the end. The several layers of editing have increased the size of the book and the quality of the writing. I've again used to have the cover produced, after the success of using it last time.

The blog about that is here.

The final cover looks like this-

And the book is available here

So what's next on the writing front? Regular readers of this blog will know that I spend a lot of time mystery shopping. I've carried out mystery shops now for nearly five years for twelve different mystery shop companies, and I've decided that I should share this experience. The book will be a mix of background knowledge, practical advice and some hints and tips. I hope to have this book written quickly and to add to the library I have on offer.

As I be said before, the idea behind having these things available is that it provides me with an income whilst I go away from my paid job and start up a business that won't bring in an income for the first few months. Having a set of five to ten of these books will give me the best chance of gaining an audience. That's where I'm heading…

It's time to get the house set for the colder weather


It's time to get the garage-cum-office finished and all the little snagging jobs in the house find before the weather turns. Before long Autumn will turn Wintry and it will be too late to get any outside jobs done, so that's where I will start the focus.

It looks like it's list time again…

I'll have to go round the house and trek a look at all the areas that I feel need attention. From there, it's a case of setting up sons time to ensure that I can get everything done. I'll probably start the list this afternoon and from there I'll have an idea of how much time it will take me to complete.

If like the setting up if the estate agency for next year to follow a similar path but there are do many aspects of it that I have no idea about timescales. I'll just have to leave more time than I think possible and take it from there.

I'm one of these people that likes to have everything planned to the finest detail with accurate timings but it's just not possible when setting up what will be a new business. The current thinking is to finish my current job at Christmas, take a couple of weeks off and then start in earnest during January. From there I'll step up through the gears to be opening after Easter with a view to building stock levels for this time next year. I follow the cycles of the market and it appears that there are two main markets in my part of the world. The first is taking on property in January and February for sales in March and April. The second phase is taking on property through the Summer to sell after the kids go back to scho in September for people that want to move in for Christmas. I'm looking to catch the tails end if the first market and be really up and running for the second.

Wish me luck!