You can only be lucky if you take a chance. I have £1000 savings. Three credit cards. A overdrawn student account. And a handful of utilities bills with red handwriting. I could pay some of it off but I'm going to take a leap of faith and turn my £1000 into £1,000,000... Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

£1730 - Yes I've actually made something!

Oh Yes. I made some money!

Here's how...

Last week Luke's friend Siobhan came to stay with him. I know how that sounds but trust me, Siobhan and Luke are just great friends.

When I first met her I was pretty terrified. Not only was her voice loud and booming, but I could barely understand what she was saying.  I made out the occasional "feck me" and "wanker" through her strong Irish drawl, but other than that I couldn't even figure out if she was speaking English or Gaelic.

I spent most of that occasion smiling alot and nodding in agreement with God-know-what.

You get used to it after a while and begin to make out real sentences. "I held de tiyyne bugger fir over an ur, an' fiynally tru 'im riyte back to da wanker. Kids! Feck me, an' call me Charlie, if I ever loose me sense an' ave one. Luke, fill me up anoder one a dem Jacks. Don't be a cheap arse! No feckin ice. I don want a waterred down drink!"

Anyway, we went to pick up Siobhan at the airport and found her winding up a woman behind the rent-a-car counter.

"Well why can't you lend me a porche? Sometin' wrong wid me?"

If the woman had been an honest one she would have said "Yes, miss, actually there is something wrong with you. Firstly, the sign says Rent a Hatchback, not Rent a Super Car. Secondly, you smell like you've been drinking and, I don't know what the rules are in Ireland, but drinking and driving is against the law here. And thirdly, I doubt you'd even fit in a Porche!"

But the woman smiled and discretely flicked her eyes to her colleague in a save-me-from-this-psycho manner.

Thankfully, before Siobhan could react with another smart-arse comment, she spotted us and launched herself at Luke. Like an 8 ton missile.

She crushed him to her and cried out "I've missed ye. I've missed ye soo much!"

She did this about 14 times during her five day stay. And that was just the times that I counted. If it were any other girl I'd say that she fancied him. But I know for a fact that Siobhan would never go for someone with a full head of hair. It's no secret that she loves balding men.

Not shaved hair, but  real balding. A head with a slight shine drives her insane.

On her first night she taught me how to play poker.

She was totally in her element.

"Dat's not a poker face, you daft cow! I can read yer eyes."
"Don't tro yer chips in like dat, I can tell yer feckin' losin'"
"How long does it take ye to process de carrds? Don't star. A quick flick. Look wid a flick."

On her second night she taught me how to bet.

"Tro it all in. Alll of it!"
"what's dat? In yer pocket? I said ALLL of it"

On the third night she lost a stupid amount of money to Gary.

"You feckin' arse! Get out!"

"But I live here!"

"Not anymore yer don't!"

On the fourth day she disappeared. Visually. We could still hear her.

"Ride me Gary."
"Yes."
"Oh yes!"

That's Siobhan. She comes in, bursts everyone's eardrums, and promptly leaves. You indulge in the silence following her departure for an hour or so and then you start missing her. She's the only one that can make buying a pint of milk into a four act tragedy.

I took something from her fleeting visit. I sat down and learnt the art of poker. Properly.

And now I'm putting it in practice. I've made just under £800 in the last week! Online poker is now my new best friend.

It's not a business plan, but there's no harm in throwing a few quid in the kitty while I think of something else is there?

Let me know if you want some Olivia Poker tips for my next post. So far they're working.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

£950 - Carlsberg Don't Do Weekends...

I decided to stay at Luke's over the weekend. It doesn't sound like a big deal but trust me, it doesn't happen very often.

Luke lives in a large house with five other guys. The guys have all lived in the same house since their uni days. They never moved out. Consequently, they still live like students.

The fridge consists of a few cases of Carlsberg, an opened packet of ham, a gallon of past-the-sell-by-date milk, and a giant slab of Cheddar.

The guys don't use the wall cabinets for the usual: plates, glasses etc. The wall cabinets are filled with old PlayStation's, DVD players and menus. They keep their plates, cutlery and glasses in the dishwasher. They turn the dishwasher on every evening before they go to bed, regardless of whether they're clean or not.

I have to admit, I love their vast DVD collection. It's like walking into a fully stocked Blockbuster Store. When I first went to the house I was pretty surprised to see My Best Friend's Wedding in the collection. No one admitted to buying it, but none of the guys wanted me to take it with me.

With six guys in a large house, it's never quiet. There are always people over. The TV is always blaring in the back ground. There are always random girls shyly sitting on the edge of the sofa trying to look comfortable.

Thus, Luke always stays at my place. Tammy is never home on Friday nights and Luke and I are free to do whatever we want without being disturbed. Its an unwritten rule.

Or so I thought.

Tammy brought her new beau home on Thursday night. They both took "sickies" on Friday and spent the day watching TV in their underwear (puke!).

Luke came over after work as usual. We had an awkward moment.

"Luke"
"Tamsin"
"This is John"
"John"
"Luke"
"Tamsin"
"Yes, Liv?"

(I couldn't resist)

Tammy was sitting innocently on the sofa in a pair of lacy knickers and a T-Shirt. Luke averted his eyes from her crotch. I applaud him. I she sat crossed legged in a very unladylike fashion. Too much of a glance and you could see straying pubes.

"Um, you want to stay over at mine?" Luke asked staring up at the light bulb.
"Yep, I'll grab my stuff."

So we didn't have a romantic evening in. We arrived at the House of Chaos and were met with, yep, total chaos.

Three of the guys had discarded their ties and were furiously playing a video game with cans of beer balancing on the arms of the sofa.

The dining room was full of people that I'd never met before listening to music, tapping cigarette ash into a Superman mug, and talking animatedly about the "Foxton bastards across the road". I'm guessing they were Jeff's work mates form the estate agency.

The kitchen was already occupied by Tommy and a newly found girlfriend/ random weekend partner. She smiled shyly when Luke and I walked in. I smiled back and picked up a half bottle of Smirnoff from the counter.

It was a great weekend. We drank into the early hours of Friday night and mingled with the random folk around the house.

Kitchen-Girl and I became good friends. We mixed up random cocktails and talked about life.

The estate agents got rowdy and started a break dancing competition.

On Saturday we all nursed heavy hangovers in front of the TV. The six guys, Kitchen-Girl and I picked a DVD each and we watched the entire lot, taking a break to order food.

Luke and I disappeared in his room for the whole of Sunday. We sat around on his bed, watched TV and... well you know!

I came back home to see that Tammy and John were in exactly the same place that I'd left them in. The only difference was a change of underwear.

We're going to have to work out a rota or something. I need to know ahead of time when John's over so I don't scream the next time I see him scratching his balls through his oh-so-tight briefs...!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Still £950 - Film Fest

I've compiled a list of financially inspiring films of different genres that I have in my dvd collection. Films about people that mange to make money quickly in a short space of time. I figured that if I sit down and watch them all over a weekend I'd feel inspired.

Slumdog Millionnaire
Scarface
Blow
Brewsters Millions
The Boiler Room
Catch Me If You Can
Get Rich Or Die Trying
Layer Cake
Lord Of War
Fun With Dick And Jane

What does film teach us about making money?

1.Sell drugs
2.Sell guns
3.Threaten people with guns
4.Commit fraud
5.Appear on a TV game show
6.Appear as a sole beneficiary in a filthy rich person's will

Now, now. Let's not jump to conclusions. Just because film displays the easy rise to millions, it doesn't mean I'm a media influenced individual who would even think about any one of those ideas.

Ok, lets think about those ideas.

1. Sell Drugs

Well we've all seen the films. The drug dealer always dies in the end. Or gets arrested. There's a 50/50 chance of either.

See, the problem with people that deal drugs, is that they don't know when to stop. It's like XXXX said in Layer Cake: "have a plan, and stick to it." He had the right idea. It was a little unfortunate that he got shot just as he walked out of the game. Nothing at all to do with the drug selling. He slept with the girl with the obsessive boyfriend. Bad idea.
Tony Montana, on the other hand, didn't know where to stop. He too fell from gun shot wounds and died in a pool of his own blood. His own fault really. Way too cocky.

I suppose they both came to the same end regardless of the way they conducted business.

1.Sell Drugs

2. Sell Guns

Gun dealers are by far the scariest type of people. The drug lords provide a very warped service. The people that buy drugs, buy them to get high. People that buy guns, buy them to kill. Well, In Lord of War they do. How do the dealers sleep at night?

Oh, Nicholas. I'm not liking this look you have!


 
2. Sell Guns



3. Threaten People With Guns

Armed robbery is a pretty serious offense.

Dick and Jane had a great time with it though didn't they? They got the television back. And lets not forget those outfits.
They didn't even get caught!

.... Interesting


4. Commit Fraud
Frank lived in a time where fraud was easy. He conjured up a few names, used a few counterfeit checks and lived the high life. Well, he could have lived the high life. He seemed obsessed with getting caught. And what did he do when he finally got arrested? He joined the FBI and made it harder for everyone else to use counterfeit checks.

Nice going Frank.

Not that a checkbook will get you anywhere nowadays. Everything's stored on chips, transferred online, and saved on databases.

I could join a Boiler Room... I could be the missing link. The only girl in the movie that doesn't pose as a sexy secretary. The only girl that actually gets involved with the selling. You reckon they'd buy it?
Didn't think so. You need a sharp suit and the gift of the chauvinistic gab. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a burning bra feminist. If I could conjure up a male voice, I'd probably apply today!

Actually he looks a little too stressed. Scrap that idea.

4.Commit Fraud


5. Appear on a Game show

Now this is a great idea!

Who Want's To Be A Millionnaire
Deal or No Deal
The Million Pound Drop

The only problem is that most people out there have the same idea. The phone lines are always crammed with hopefuls (hope-fools) looking to bag in a wad of cash and 15 minutes of fame.

We're all great contestants aren't we?

"What an asshole! The answer B. you fool! B!"

I'll keep this one as a maybe. You never know. I may grace the stage withNoel. I don't mind an hour of cringing while he leans close to me and mutters in my ear if it means I'll make £250k.


6. Appear as a sole beneficiary in a filthy rich person's will

Now this one is just stupid isn't it?

There's more chance of a sheep falling onto my head than an old distant great aunt deciding to leave me her doilies and antique collection.

(I must admit I do check every attic and loft whenever I move house. You never know, there might be a priceless Monet that someone forgot about.)

6.Appear as a sole beneficiary in a filthy rich person's will

So I have two viable options:

1) Find a partner in crime and become the new Bonny and Clyde.

I wonder if Luke will agree to it. He has a huge yellow water gun in the shed that could be put to good use. We don't have 70s drag outfits but I'm sure a pair of tights on our heads will do the trick.

2) Stay on the line and hope I've been selected.

£2.50 a minute from a BT Landline. Call from mobiles maybe more expensive depending on your network charge. You must be over 18 to apply. 

Or maybe I'll just sit back and enjoy the wonderful cinematography.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

£950 - £50 Scam!

My days are not going very well.

Firstly, the envelope thing turned out to be a total scam.

I received my "starter package" last week, and contrary to my initial thoughts, the job is not stuffing envelopes for a promotional company.

Basically, I'm expected to gather stamped addressed envelopes from people in the local area and bundle them all up in an envelope and send them back to the company.

The starter pack is very helpful.

Why not advertise in your local shop!

Advertise what? Please give me your personal details! ?

It's not an envelope stuffing job, it's a sell-other-peoples-details scam.

I wrote them a stiff letter. The basic gist of it was: Give me back my money you sick fuck, or I'll report you to the police.

No reply yet.

Yes, I know I should have thought it through before flushing fifty quid down the toilet. My fault for being so thoughtless.

Tammy thought it was hilarious when I told her. Bitch.

"Oh Livvy, you're so funny! Anyone could have told you it was a scam."

I do my best to avoid her now. I can't stand sitting at home listen to her drone on and on about her wonderful job and her wonderful boss. "Oh God, I never thought I'd love working so much! It's like I'd rather be there than be a at home!"

I wish I could say the same. I'm sick of work. I hate standing behind a counter having the same discussions with guests:

"Good morning! We were wondering; what can we do in London? Any ideas?"

You mean to say that you've booked and paid for flights and (an expensive) hotel in the centre of London, and you didn't make plans on how you were going to use your time? My eyes flicker over the American man's shoulders at his wife and two children looking back at me with large expectant eyes.

I smile politely "Sure, let me get you some leaflets."
I beam at the children as I slip the leaflet across the counter to their father "Do you feel like visiting The London Dungeons?"
They squeal with delight.
I make mental note to ask them about their trip when they return.

"Excuse me, Miss, but I want to move rooms. My window over-looks the street!"

Uh huh. You see, Sir, London is full of streets. Lots and lots of streets. What were you expecting? A view of the sea?

I smile politely "I do apologise, Sir, but the only rooms that over look the rear garden are the Luxury Suite rooms. They'll cost an extra £135 per night. Would you like to upgrade?"
The man clenches his jaw and smiles stiffly. "No thank you."
I thought not. I doubt you could claim that back on expenses.

"Excuse me, but I have a photo shoot in half an hour! Why isn't the cab here yet?"

Because you asked me to call them five minutes ago!

I smile politely "It should be here in ten minutes, Madam."

I'm £50 down. No profit in sight. I need another idea before I go crazy!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Still £950

Catz2 asked me a very valid point. Why am I working as a hotel receptionist if I have a 1st Class Business degree?

Here's the story.

I graduated two years ago. I'm a natural crammer. I finished my dissertation in three days, using a bunch of text books and a few litres of coffee. I studied exactly the same way for my exams. I have a fabulous short term memory; it's gotten me through my entire education. I may have actually learnt something along the way, but that doesn't matter too much when you've passed with flying colours, right?

When I graduated we were in the midst of a recession. The jobs going were not only asking for a blinding education, they were asking for experience. Five years plus experience at least.

I managed to weasel my way into a land development company. They were interested in my "new look on business" they were searching for "a young, easily moulded individual, with potential to grow"

They were looking for someone cheap. To take minutes, to handle paperwork for deals. And to fetch coffee.

Like I've said before, everyone starts at the bottom. And no matter how many times you try and voice your opinion, you're no longer the fabulous first class graduate, you're the mug that picks up the mail.

Like the property market, land development became a thing of the past. Not enough people bought land, so I got made redundant.

I spent the majority of the following year looking for a job. It was crazy! Experienced people were out of work. Over 470 people on average applied for each vacancy, and trust me, there were very little of them. Looking for work during a recession is long and depressing. You end up questioning your own ability. Your confidence takes a huge blow.

I applied for anything I could get.

I got my job through a friend of Luke's. He said that the hotel where his cousin works needs a new member of staff. All they need is someone who's polite and knows the area in detail. I studied the local area the night before my interview and crammed in as much knowledge as possible.

My actual job title is Concierge. I'm the fool that makes sure the guests know where the best restaurant in the area is. I tell romantic couples where to take a private boat trip on the Thames. I tell the pervs where the nearest Spearmint Rhino (Gentleman's Club) is. And I know where every cash point and foreign exchange office is in a 5 mile radius.

I'm pretty good at it. I could be half listening to a guest with one ipod earphone in, and give a snappy, polite answer in seconds.

"Excuse me, my mobile phone battery won't charge! I'm expecting a very important call-"

"It's okay sir. If you turn right and walk down the road. The shop on the third corner on your right will check your battery, and if it's faulty they'll replace it with a newly charged one for around £4.50."

I hate my job. I'm better than this.

For once it would be great if one of the business guests came over and said:

"Excuse me, I have a meeting with the sales director in twenty minutes. We need to cut budgets. But we need the sales team to increase profits. How can I solve this?"

"It's okay sir, Lets take a look at your last five years worth of sales figures. We have fifteen minutes to work out a plan"

Sometimes I sit behind my granite reception counter and watch business people meet each other. The bright greeting, the firm shake of hands, the fake laughter.

I should be out there doing that. The trouble is, hundreds of other graduates like me, want it too. At least I'm one of the lucky few. I have a job, I should be happy.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

£950

I picked up a copy of the Metro and made a dash for the departing train. I shoved my way through the closing doors suffering a blow to my upper arm in the process.

London underground are pretty hard on people attempting to make trains. The doors close on you, and crush you. The main aim is to make it inside the carriage. I see lots of people attempting to shove there way on and get scared of the door. Instinct makes them take a step back. The moment you do, the train doors slide shut and, not only do you miss your train, you look like a complete loser and you suffer a bruised arm.

I'm pretty good at it. I have no fear. Even if the train is completely packed I will somehow squeeze on it in the nick of time. All the while reading my crisp copy of the Metro.

Today was no different. I slid onto the train and calmly turned the page. The group of tourists yelped in shock and carefully moved down to make room.

It always amazes me how tourists manage to get caught in rush-hour. Common sense would say; have a lovely breakfast first. Wait until about 10am before embarking on your journey. That way you'll not only get a seat, but you'll avoid being sworn at.

I have quite a long train journey. It takes me, on average, around an hour and a half to get to work. During that time I read the Metro from cover to cover, stare aimlessly out of the window at the rushing cables in the tunnels, and occasionally read that book that I've had in my bag for years.

So, I was reading the Metro from cover to cover until I got to the classifieds. The classifieds are the forbidden part of the newspaper. No man ever wants to be caught looking at the page full of stamp-sized adverts. Most of them consist of Oriental Massage. Indian Massage. Organic Massage. Friendly Chat. Adult Chat. Singles Chat.

The moment you catch a man studying the page, he's an instant perv.

Amongst the Massage/Chat adverts a massive ad caught my eye. "Make Money From The Comfort Of Your Home"

I love the comfort of my own home!

I read on...

Basically you spend hours stuffing envelopes and you get paid to do it.

Not exactly fun, but not a bad way to make money during Smallville reruns on my days off. If I spend at least five hours two days a week stuffing envelopes I can increase that £1000 by a little. In time I may have enough money to play around with. By then I'll have found something real to invest into.

When I got to work I called the number on the ad and arranged for my starter pack to be sent out. It costs £50 to set up, after that the world is your oyster!

Can't wait to give it a go.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Still £1000

Friday night is the best night of the week. Every Friday Tammy stays out late (sometimes doesn't bother coming home), and Luke comes over to stay.

We set up the Wii and play online Mario Kart for hours, drinking Jack Daniels. At about 22:45 we suddenly realise that we're hungry and we order from the local Indian. We always read through the menu and examine each dish, but whoever picks up the phone instantly orders the same thing as usual;

"a chicken jalfrazi, a bombay aloo, two plain naan breads, and a lemon rice."
"no prrroblem sir. forty-five minutes."

 It always comes on time. With a free bottle of Pepsi (handy mixer for the JD), and a side salad.

So Friday night started out the same as usual. We scooped huge helpings of the steamy food onto large plates and plonked down on the sofa. Luke switched off the repetitive crazy Mario Kart music to BBC1. He flicked on the guide and scrolled down.

"Scary Movie 4's on in a bit."

"Which one's that?"

"The crap one."

"The one with 8 Mile?*

"No the other crap one. The one one with The Grudge."

"That's shite!"

"Yeah I know. Waste of time.... Shall I set the reminder."

"Yeah."

We ate in silence for a bit. This is what I love about Luke. We can quite happily sit around in silence.

"I need to make a million." I said suddenly.

Luke nodded thoughtfully. "you need money to make money if you want to do it quickly."

Interesting theory. I have some money.

"Think of it this way, you need to invest some money into something to get a return. If you spent, say, a hundred grand on a small flat. Two years ago, you could turn that one hundred thousand into one hundred and twenty thousand by doing it up. Spend about five grand on materials and labour. Stick it on the market and you could sell for a hundred and twenty-five. That's twenty grand."

Makes sense. Property Ladder talk.

"...Then you've got to minus the legal costs. Plus the time it takes to do up the flat. They'll be tax, utility bills. So you'd end up taking home, say, ten grand."

Right. So you'd put in a shit load of work and get ten lousy grand. And that's if you have a hundred grand to spare. Which I don't.

"So if you increase your investment money. Bought a bigger house, took more risk, converted it into flats, and sold them off, you'd make more."

"I don't have a lot of money."

"True. So you've got to pick something you can invest into that doesn't cost much money, but can give you a bit of return. Think of a unique industry."

We sat in silence for a while and pondered.

What could I buy , moderate slightly, and sell off for a decent profit.

"Crack?"

Luke snorted. "Sure, babe. I'll come see you in jail. Bring you cigarettes to use as currency."

I groaned in frustration. "I can't buy anything."

"Then you're going to have to think of some kind of service based thing. Takes longer to make money but it's a start."

Service based work. Okay. Like what? Ironing for the locals?

I need some ideas.