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Welcome to my blog! What was initially the perfect way to procrastinate has actually started to excite me a bit, so here it goes! I’m a second year Economics student at the University of Birmingham, and at this point in my degree, I am bored of having next to no work to do, unmotivated and want to earn some money. In fact, the only reason I have enough money to get through the term is because I spend my evenings writing blog posts, trying to think up business plans or sitting in trying to work out why I don’t have enough money, instead of going out.

That being said, I was clever enough to not have gone out at the beginning of the year and got a job. Incredibly forward thinking, I know! I’ve had a few weekends work here and there, and pissed that money away, so I’m trying to change my attitude to money. I’ve invested some savings, I’ve tried most of the ways that the World Wide Web suggests for making some money while being a student, even survey answering (that was a sad evening), and I have very little to show for it.

So, in this blog, I will be sharing my journey through the low earning world of student money-making schemes, alongside my views on university, money itself, gambling and many other obscure topics that seem to be taking over my life at the moment! I hope you enjoy coming along with me through the ever-interesting lifestyle of university when you can’t be bothered to work and hopefully you might learn a thing or two from my nonsense ramblings.

It’s Payday Ladies and Gents – Behavioural Changes and Making the Most of your Money

Payday coming can bring on some pretty impressive and foolish spending habits. These interest me, the wealth effect is very much apparent and when a lump sum goes into your account, you tend to want to spend at least some of it relatively extravagantly. In the last few days, I’ve been looking at football shirts, watches and TVs, and fortunately, I’ve decided to reduce this down to a takeaway instead.

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Finally living up to the 9-5 trim 💼

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One use of my Payday funds

Watching the attitude changes of people on payday, and specifically how they change their behaviour is extremely interesting. Generosity increases, frivolity increases and any previous thoughts of saving or investing tends to go out the window. I feel like we all fall into this trap in one way or another. Even if I’m not overly frivolous, I am willing to spend money on things I wouldn’t usually touch. 

All this frivolity is backed up by research. 35% of workers spend almost all their monthly earnings in the first week. 35%. However, despite this incredibly high proportion, another question comes to mind. How many of that 35% would claim they don’t overspend on payday? I think far more than we’d expect. And another question springs to mind, how many of these people had a plan of what to do with their money, and then gave up on it once paid? 

Now, I wanted to see the opinions on this, and so I went to that unrequited source of information that is reddit. There appears to be a very hostile or defensive view to budgeting and the payday phenomenon. Those saying they “treat themselves” on payday but don’t have any money left after all their bills are paid continue to complain about their lack of money. I’m not telling anyone they can’t spend their money however they want, but if you are putting yourself in financial difficulty because you think you deserve to treat yourself then you should perhaps rethink your budgeting plans.

To make the most of your money, budgeting is absolutely key. It’s a vital skill to learn, and it’s one of those practices that even the lowest quality of budget can make a massive difference. I personally have been tracking my spending, and have seen some worrying spending patterns. I started tracking this so that I could make changes to my habits, and then when payday did arrive, I didn’t overspend.

So my first tip for making the most of your payday money is: Know your habits and then budget accordingly.

Making a plan of where your leftover money goes after your necessary spending (bills, rent etc) is also a useful tool, as long as you stick to it. Map out how much you’ll have, and work out what the best uses for it. Some into savings/investment, some for food shopping etc, some to invest in your own projects, and then make sure you do it.

So, tip 2: Have a plan and stick to it.

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”

Peter F. Drucker

Finally, and this is closer to my own habits, don’t be afraid to productively invest in yourself. Whether this is in terms of taking a risk and putting money into a new start up, or simply buying books that will educate and expand your mindset. Anything that can build up skills or even push you outside your comfort zone is a worthwhile investment, and in my opinion is much more worthwhile than that treat yourself takeaway. A material good that expands your horizons and broadens your views is not only worthwhile, but vital.

So, tip 3: Use your money to educate yourself and explore your options.

Payday spending is an ongoing conundrum for me, but I hope that if you’ve read this far, you too find it at least slightly interesting. Next time you get paid and go straight to (insert your shop of choice), have a quick think, make a quick plan and then continue. 

Or don’t, it’s your life.

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The Interruption of Ideas – Have you tried turning it off and on again?

I’m a ranter. I very rarely get writer’s block. My main issue when it comes to writing is trying to weigh up when I’m writing good content and when I’m writing bullshit. Unfortunately, what I do struggle with is something I’m calling “The Interruption of Ideas.” It is simply the inability to come up with any new, exciting ideas with regard to either an already existing or fresh business plan. 

Sometimes, when I’m telling myself it is absolutely vital to be productive, I almost try and force myself to improve or extend an idea I’ve had in the past. Forcing myself into this mindset almost never works, and leaves me in a frustrated and stubborn mood which is tough to escape. This wall that I hit is difficult for me to deal with. When I get to this point, I struggle to come up with other ways to beat it, adding to my frustration.

It comes to mind that, presumably, this sort of thing happens in every profession. A lack of ideas is not a unique issue, and for those trying to meld a creative passion with their own academic ability, it can often be the most difficult issue to overcome, regardless of what you are creating. This is because the joining of academia and creativity takes two near opposite disciplines and shoves them in a melting pot. My academic side is stubborn, literal and logical, whereas my creativity can often be impulsive, overenthusiastic and unrealistic. Together, these should work well, but when one takes over, you end up with a metaphorical pile of shit.

Let me give you an example. When the creativity overwhelms the logic, the ideas never stop. However, these ideas which seem incredible and life changing, tend to be completely outside the realms of possibility and end up either wasting far too much of my time or crashing and burning very quickly. Let’s be honest, no-one enjoys seeing their ideas crash and burn and so I’d much rather find the balance.

“Sometimes we crash and burn. It’s better to do it in private.”

Dean Kamen

The Interruption of Ideas comes when the logic really overtakes your brain. Every little idea that pops into your head gets immediately shut down due to an overwhelming reliance on the literal world. Every idea that you’ve had in the past also begins to seem impossible to achieve, and you get into the worst mindset possible. It’s more worthwhile to stop thinking, turn your mind off for an hour, and get back to it.

So, for anyone who ever struggles with this lack of ideas, whether it’s at university, in business or in any project you do, I have two options for you:

  1.  Try your best to switch off for an hour. This can be through mindfulness, having a short nap or going for a walk. Don’t watch TV, don’t play video games and don’t scroll aimlessly through social media. 
  2. Do something that truly inspires you. Maybe it’s a book or writing something, I don’t know, but do it, and the ideas will come.

The most important thing to do is be self-aware with this issue. Recognise it, and then take steps to beat it. The rest will follow on beautifully.

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Life after University: What the F**k Do We Do Now?

My realization that Uni is actually coming to an end in just under a year’s time has recently hit me. Maybe it’s because I’m overreacting and actually need to just enjoy the fact that I’ve got a WHOLE year before the big, wide world swallows me up or whatever bullshit people say. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been having my first experience of office life and it’s made me realise that this could be what I’m doing day after day for the rest of my life. Or maybe it’s just that it feels like yesterday that I was moving into the shitty accommodation on the first day of uni. Nostalgia can be scary.

The Theatre of Dreams

The scary thing isn’t a lack of certainty, or an actual fear of the working world. It’s the fact that I might be stuck doing the same thing day after day, week in week out, for the rest of my life. Monotony is possibly the biggest thorn in my side, and I simply can’t deal with it a lot of the time, and so a life filled with monotony is therefore a massive fear of mine. I’m sure we can all relate to at least part of that. 

“There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.” 

Coco Chanel

Now the namesake question. What the fuck do we do now? 

Motivation, in my opinion, is the key to success. Within that is, of course, hard work, talent and all the other buzzwords and phrases that people use, but motivation is the overriding key. If you’re not motivated, you won’t work hard, if you’re not motivated, you won’t exploit your talent et cetera et cetera. So, as a first answer to the question, find what motivates you. 

“It’s easy to dream, but much harder to execute it.” 

Gary Vaynerchuk
Perhaps a good bit of motivation for you all!

Motivation may come in the form of hitting targets, setting objectives or goals and constantly improving. It may come from an absolute enjoyment for some subject or activity. It may come in material form (despite this being a much more volatile and wavering reason to be motivated). It could come from, and pardon the cliché, chasing a dream. It’s likely to be a whole melting pot of those reasons, but finding something that truly motivates you is vital for understanding where you want to go from here with just a little more clarity.

Next is actually giving yourself time to apply this motivation to a passion. Not an employer, but a passion. Finding a job you’re passionate about is the only way you’re going to enjoy your working life. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. The issue with this is that it takes time to actually work out your passion. Over the years I’ve wanted to do many different things that I thought I’d love to do for the rest of my life, but it hasn’t worked out. Tastes change, but if you can find yourself a career that truly fulfills you throughout your life, that’s your passion.

Take a think about it, the world of work is coming more quickly than you expect. Blink and you’ll miss your chance to work these things out, and if you do miss that chance, you’ll regret it. Or just do whatever you want, I don’t care.

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Attention Span of a Goldfish: The Trials and Tribulations of Losing Focus Easily

We all have our moments of thinking we’ve got something seriously wrong with us whenever we experience one of our small shortcomings. Or maybe that’s just me and I seriously do have something seriously wrong with me. Regardless, I’m already straying off my point, which is exactly the point of this post.

Recently, when I’ve been lacking interest in an activity that I really need to complete, I will simply leave it or do it to the minimum standard possible. During exam period for example, revision became the most difficult thing for me to do. I seemed unable to even force myself to do it, despite the fact it was a necessity. The repercussions of this will soon follow as results are released, but it’s crazy to think that I had absolutely no ability to push myself, even when a strict deadline presented itself.

When this sort of thing happens, it’s easy to beat yourself up about it. To be totally honest, I have beaten myself up about it already, and now I’m ready to analyse it. Three key points come to mind as reasons for this mindset:

  1. Stress
  2. Focus Elsewhere
  3. Lack of Passion

Firstly, stress hits us all in different ways. I hate the way it affects me. I either get angry and overbearing, or completely give up in the times of the worst stress. Fortunately, it takes a lot of stress to push me to these points initially, however once I’m there, it’s hard to get me away from it.

At this point, I can also only focus on an individual task for about 10 minutes before realising I either want to do something else or simply give up with the task at hand. The overwhelming nature of stress can have this effect on many people, and the only way I’ve found to overcome it is to take a moment, stop, reset my brain, and start again.

Having your focus elsewhere is the classic issue of every person on a Monday morning when they’re thinking about bed or anything other than work. The key problem with this, is that your focus tends to drift when you are doing something you are simply not interested in.

If you were loving what you were doing, you would happily stay focused on it, for example the ability to not take your eyes off the screen as Ricardo Vaz Te slams in the winner against Blackpool in the Playoff final (gets me every single time). This got me thinking.

Maybe, the degree I picked isn’t actually as good as I thought it would be. Maybe I’m not actually that interested in anything to do with university anymore and hence would rather focus on other things. OR maybe I need to stop watching the West Ham YouTube channel in an overly reminiscent way.

My focus has been drawn away again

Finally, a lack of passion for something will always mean your willingness to pay attention to it will waver. Passion is what drives each and every one of us every single day. We have different levels of passion for specific things, and our attention goes proportionally to each one of those things. They say that your career should be in something that you are passionate about. Honestly, I think the main reason for this is sanity.

Doing something you’re not passionate about for years on end is the reason that people hate going into work on a Monday and love leaving on a Friday. It’s definitely part of the reason I struggle to focus on my revision and even the lectures in the first place.

“At its basic form, if you genuinely celebrate Friday, you need to rethink your entire fucking game. You need to rethink life.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

So, as a final send off, if you are struggling with a similar lack of attention span on the things that are supposed to matter, try and find something within the activity to be passionate about, this will grab your focus which will relieve your stress. It is, for all intents and purposes, a self fulfilling prophecy. Just a shame it can be such a bitch to crack!!

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Drama Obsession: The Return of Love Island

It has begun again. The continuous struggle of trying to get through a full day without seeing anything to do with Love Island. The show comprises of a bunch of people trying to pull a bunch of other people, with a few pointless “challenges” thrown in to over sexualise the whole ordeal.

Every single one of the conversations is either to do with the opposite sex, drama within the villa and meaningless drivel that either accentuates the contestant’s stupidity or sexuality. And everybody loves it.

“It’s mindless bullshit”

The True Geordie

Now, despite what you might think, I have absolutely no problem with anyone who watches or likes Love Island for the right reasons. Yes, sometimes you do just want to watch shit TV. Yes, the show has moments that are hilarious. Yes, it’s become a group activity that everyone gets involved in.

I, myself, watched last series in full, and have watched a few episodes of this series as well. However, I do question why everyone gets completely addicted to other people’s drama and pointless relationships which we see on Love Island. And it doesn’t stop there.

Other people’s reality TV relationships seem to take over our lives

The drama obsession lives and breathes throughout the University Social Sphere. Everyone loves to be able to talk about how other people suffer, watch other people suffer and experience it as long as it is far enough away to not have any effect on them. We are all guilty of it in one way or another, and the further from ourselves the drama is, the harsher we are and the more willing we are to laugh at people’s weaknesses and issues. This is why the Twitter-sphere irritates me during Love Island.

Some quality editing from myself

If the person on screen was a very close friend of yours, I don’t think anyone’s reaction within your social network would be the same as it is without knowing any of those on the show. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how warped the opinions of certain actions are depending on the relationship with the person doing those actions.

If one of your friends had sex on TV, you’d probably defend their actions and believe it’s an okay thing to do. I doubt you’d do the same for the current Islanders.

My general belief is that we all get wrapped up in the drama obsessed society due to our pack-like nature. Everyone else is gossiping, so we gossip. On top of this, the social media age, where we pick out every one of our own flaws as well as spotting everyone else’s, absolutely helps to cement this attitude in our minds.

The mindset is toxic but it’s nigh on impossible to avoid. It’s already ingrained within us, and it’s not going to leave anytime soon.

The problem with all of this is that, when it comes down to it, we can’t help ourselves. We simply have to gossip, as we are incapable of keeping our mouths shut when it comes to other people’s business. We live in a totally comparative era, where everyone wants to be better than everyone else.

It speaks volumes that we rate ourselves as happier if we are better off than the people around us. This is literally one of the factors affecting our national happiness. Maybe we’d be truly happier if there was no comparison at all.

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Football Index: Use your Knowledge to make Money

Football is the biggest sport in the world. In my opinion, it’s the best sport in the world, but of course that’s just an opinion. To put it more generically, men, on average, spend more than 2 years of their entire life just watching sport from their sofa. What tends to happen when you spend this much time watching, playing and obsessing over a game, is you gain some serious knowledge.

By knowledge, I mean you learn about players, tactics, the media, who performs well consistently, who’s starting every week and everything in between. Not only that, but you know it like the back of your hand. I’m sure all of you have either been involved in a heated conversation about football or got very bored of everyone else having a heated conversation about football. Now, why would you not turn that knowledge that you’ve gained over the years and turn it into cash.

Gambling on football can be fun. Football Index is better.

This is where I come to Football Index. It is quite simply a stock market for football players. Whether you try to judge your purchases on the future value of players, or whether you target dividends is completely up to you, but when it comes to determining who you’re going to buy, you already have the footballing knowledge backing you up.

Now, you are of course going to have to educate yourself on the platform. To help get you started, I’ll give you a very brief summary of the way the market works. Players values go up and down purely based on demand. The more people buying the player, the higher the value, it’s as simple as that. Every matchday, the best performing players in each position (attack, midfield, defence) and the overall best player all receive Matchday Dividends. On top of this, the most talked about player in the media also gains, in the form of Media Dividends. You then judge when to buy and sell your shares (called futures) based on their value, expected demand and dividend earnings.

You do have to adapt to the way the platform changes. For example, over the summer when there are no matches, 5 players each day are paid out in Media Dividends, what they call Summer Media Madness. So, in the summer, you rearrange your portfolio to gain Media Dividends instead of Matchday Dividends. It’s not difficult and as long as you stay clued into any changes you’ll be absolutely fine.

I put £1500 into this platform a couple of months ago, my shares have grown in value by approximately 5%, my dividend earnings are over £50, and I have only slightly adjusted my shares since I started. I took a small amount of time learning how the platform works, granted, but there are absolutely hundreds of sources for learning, whether you like podcasts, blogs, articles, twitter users etc. It’s easy, and if you love football as much as I do, it’s a lot of fun.

Your first £500 invested is risk-free. I couldn’t recommend it more highly if you’ve got the foundation of football knowledge, and start watching your passive income grow.

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The New Entrepreneur: How the World is Changing

I’ve said it many times, my overall life goal is to run my own successful business. One thing I’ve learnt is that to achieve your goals, every decision you make needs to gear you towards that goal. It made me think, how are my decisions being affected by the changing world of the entrepreneur?

To begin with, during my lifetime, the world has been innovating and pushing us into a new age of technology. More and more investment has been put into the ever improving world of tech and media, and with that, the business creators of the world have had to gear their ideas towards this industry. The dot com bubble gives us a good example of this. Just by adding “.com” to your company’s name would boost the value by, on average, 74%. This pushed entrepreneurs in one lucrative direction, and tech has been taking over ever since.

“So many dot-com companies were formulated on air”

William Shatner

One massive part of starting your own business is the marketing of it all. It is impossible to go anywhere without letting people know that your brand not only exists but is the thing they need. As media and technology has changed and improved, marketing has had to change. The world of social media marketing is now huge, as well as the media shift from TV to the Internet, meaning your YouTube ads will now get more hits than any TV ad. You can even tailor your adverts to be seen by your target market, and by rethinking your whole marketing strategy to truly take advantage of the modern changes, it can make your whole business stand out without much effort.

One issue that I’ve been struggling with is that, nowadays, there is a shift in where your initial capital needs to be directed. Your first port of call is the internet. Your social media presence is now vital for business to be done. Your network and contacts are also massively important. Your website needs to be professional and never crash, to maintain a high quality reputation.

Not only that, but everything you have needs to go into the business. Whether this is time and money, blood, sweat and tears, or all of that combined, you need to use every financial source and creative fibre in your body to make sure your business, your baby, is successful. This isn’t a change by any means, but it’s a fundamental truth that needs to be accepted.

The business world is becoming more and more ruthless. Especially in this social media age, everyone is now in total competition for the limelight, with followers being the new currency. To become a successful entrepreneur, you need a chip on your shoulder, a “no fucks given” attitude and thick skin. Your success is going to be more broadcast than ever. You will be ever judged for the ways you tackle business, you will have people trying to undermine you at every turn. If you can’t take it all, and then continue to improve, then maybe this world isn’t going to be for you.

If a man could sum up the words above, it’s a Gary Vaynerchuk

With all the changes going on in business in general, I think my own generation have been put at an advantage. We’re living in a time where there are a million different avenues for you to pursue in business. The new entrepreneur can be a YouTuber who has cultivated their own brand through their videos. The new entrepreneur can start their own sports team and monetize it in a variety of ways. The new entrepreneur can monetize themselves, alongside their company. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’re not going to beat anyone who does, because at this point, every minute you’re not broadcasting your own content, you’re losing out on valuable experience.

My advice would be to take advantage of every platform that we’re fortunate enough to have access to. On top of that, listen to people of all ages, reap the benefits of their knowledge in business, and keep them close. You will learn a phenomenal amount from this. Finally, never stop practicing, and never stop having ideas. The more ideas you throw at the wall, the more chance that one will eventually stick. Don’t stop trying, and every time you fail, get up quicker, because that’s the only way to succeed.

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