Hi! My name is Matt Bisogno, hence the name of the site… 😉
I was born in 1971 in Bournemouth, southern England, and I’ve lived in London for the last twenty years. The son of an Italian immigrant and an adopted English woman, it took me a while to find my true identity in life, and it’s only now that I really feel like I know who I am, and what I want. I guess many of you reading this will still be searching for the answer to at least one of those questions.
I studied at the University of East London and graduated with a degree in New Technology, Social Policy, Research Methods and Information Systems. To this day, I have no idea what all that means!
After graduating I had a job as a betting office manager at William Hill, and then moved on to work in the text room at SiS.
The first of these two jobs involved being sworn at, spat at and having any item of furniture not screwed down thrown at the glass screens behind which I worked. Despite that, it wasn’t too bad and I vividly remember the day when Frankie Dettori rode his seven-timer at Ascot as aghast punters and staff alike, watched and cheered and clapped.
For once the furniture remained where it belonged and the chat was not about ‘bent racing’ or ‘bad rides’ but about that truly remarkable achievement.
Satellite Information Services (SiS) was responsible for beaming the racing into betting shops, and also for relaying the odds from the course to the text screens in the bookies. My job was generally to sit in front of a computer with a headset on, and punch in the ‘shows’ from the track, as relayed to me by our men on course.
Latterly, I was ‘promoted’ to write race reviews on the teletext service there. Perhaps it was that which first fired my desire to write online.
Anyway, eventually I got a proper job, as a graduate trainee at NatWest. From there, I guess I showed some aptitude, because when I left I was a senior project manager at RBS (who had taken over the flabby NatWest a couple of years previously).
I then went into consultancy and worked briefly as a senior IT Project Management consultant for pipc. I lasted six months. The combination of it being extremely hard work with limited reward (a consultant is generally treated with extreme suspicion), and the touch paper on my desire to build my own little empire having been lit, was too strong a force to resist.
The ignition of said touch paper came in 2006, when I launched the inaugural TrainerTrackStats, my very first product online. I say ‘launched’, but the reality is that I put it on a page and hoped people would find it. They didn’t.
I then found Google’s AdWords, and made my first sale! It cost me about twenty quid to sell a £57 product, and those numbers worked. So I sold about two a day for about a month, when… my world crashed around me.
The US had decided that gambling was the recreation of the devil and introduced anti-gambling legislation. Google being a US company, it tarred all of its users with the one brush and immediately banned gambling advertising on its network.
Not having any Plan B, that was the end of my business… for about three days.
Being the persistent type (if you’re not, and you want to get on in business, you’d better grow a thicker skin, get over your bad self, and learn to be persistent!), I thought about things. I thought and thought. Thunk and thunk. And then I came up with an idea that was probably the smartest thing I’ve ever come up with.
Actually, it wasn’t that smart, but it was life-changing. I contacted a couple of guys and asked if they’d offer my product to their customer lists. One of them agreed. A couple of days later, I’d made around 30 sales.
Now, whereas before I was getting a £57 sale for about £20, now it was costing me £28.50 (50%). But here’s the kicker… I paid NO MONEY UP FRONT.
In other words, if the guy agreed to promote but didn’t generate any sales, he didn’t earn any money. When they did, of course, I was more than happy to cough up half the proceeds. It was simple and brilliant, and I could never get shut down by anyone!
That simple lesson has been at the heart of everything I’ve done in business ever since, and I subsequently discovered it is at the heart of every successful business on the planet!
Soon after that, in January 2007, I went full time in my business. And, by August 2007, I was looking for a job again…
—- SIDEBAR —–
Making money online – at least, making enough to live off – is not easy. Anyone who tells you it is, is a liar and they do not have your best interests at heart.
But nor is it especially complex. There are so many processes to follow, which simplify the ‘how’, but you still have to be the ‘who’, doing the work.
And the real problem for a lot of – maybe most – people is that you only get paid at the end. So if you quit 25%, 50%, even 95% of the way through the processes, you get nothing except bad memories and a feeling that you were duped or plain can’t do it.
I’m here to tell you you can do it. Persistence. Persistence is key. Whatever you started, pick it up again and get back to it. Don’t give up when it gets tough, or you don’t understand something, or you’re not sure if you’ve gone down the right path.
Just do the bloody thing! And then you’ll know. You’ll know a right (or wrong!) way to do something, you’ll have experience of the ‘end to end’, and you’ll have the satisfaction of completing what you started, irrespective of whether you get handsomely rewarded on it financially.
—- END SIDEBAR —–
Back to my story. I took a job as a contract project manager for a shipping assurance firm (Lloyd’s Register), which was very well paid. I didn’t have to do the online stuff any more. I could work the contract for six months a year and relax the other six months.
But it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to run my own show and publish online. So I carried on with my own thing in parallel to working the contract. Persistence. Turn off the telly, and make yourself really happy!
I had my first blog by then, Nag Nag Nag, and was building a relationship with my readers that meant I could offer them other people’s products from time to time as well as my own. And, because of the trust in the relationship, I did quite well out of that.
Of course, I would never abuse anyone’s trust, and I’m sure it’s obvious to you that you shouldn’t either, so this was a win win situation, as they knew I’d only offer good products and I knew that as long as I could source decent products I’d make affiliate sales.
I was planning to end the contract work in the Summer of 2008, and have another crack at full-time online, when I got an offer I couldn’t refuse…
One of the biggest players in direct mail marketing (i.e. good old fashioned letters in the post), Tim Lowe, was looking for a deputy. I applied, was interviewed, and got the job.
It lasted two months.
It was clear quite soon after we started working together that it wasn’t going to work out, and my boss and I agreed that ifI stayed another few weeks whilst he made alternative arrangements, that would be a good time to draw stumps. I’m lucky enough to still be able to call Tim a friend and mentor, and I learned a lot from him even in that short time.
So it was September 2008, and I had no job and no product or website. (A condition of the job was that I had to avoid any conflict of interest and divest my business assets, so I’d given my product, Trainer Track Stats, and my blog, Nag Nag Nag, to a good and trusted friend, Gavin Priestley, who has gone on to maintain the reputation of both product and blog, and introduce his own stamp on proceedings as well.
In other words, in September 2008, I had to start all over again.
But here’s the thing. When you learn this stuff, when you get it, you can deploy it in short order at any time. By the end of 2008, I’d set up my new online horse racing blog at geegeez.co.uk, launched a new product, been the consultant on the Trainer Track Stats launch…
… and earned over £50,000… in less than four months. From a standing start.
Since then, I’ve not had to go back to work, and I’m confident I never will again. I have an enviable life, with lots of travel, two homes, race horses which I co-own with like-minded people who read my blogs, and enough money to do most of what I want.
I don’t earn fortunes. I don’t need to, because I don’t actually want a Lamborghini (I can’t even drive!) or a speedboat. I’m happy to goof off to the races whenever I want, or plan a cheeky week away with Mrs Matt as often as we care to.
And all the while, the profits come in and the business grows, while I’m doing the things I love.
It is as close to ‘living the dream’ as it gets for me. And I truly believe it can be for you too.
This site is dedicated to fans of racing, and online business, and those who have nothing better to do than read my ramblings!
Welcome to you all. 🙂
If you want to get in touch, please do so by using the contact form on the contact page.