My blog is 5 years old! It’s been quite a journey and I never knew what it would involve when I set about it all. If someone had said that this would consume your life and explained what was involved, I may have had second thoughts. No regrets though. I have come across some amazing people who have helped me in so many ways.
This is the longest thing I have ever stuck with in my life. What began as a project has turned into a passion in helping consumers assert their consumer rights.
Where it all began
I was sat in a dead-end boring job in October 2015 reflecting on a lifetime of bad and unique experiences that I could actually make a book out of.
Cancelling speeding tickets, winning a £1300 refund on a holiday of a lifetime ruined by a dormant volcano, getting a £200 refund on a late delivery of a sofa-bed, taking on Evans Halshaw who sold me a dud that only lasted 11 weeks – you name It, I have successfully resolved it.
I became a moderator of a Facebook group in March 2015 for disgruntled consumers who were seeking redress. I quickly became known as the go-to expert on consumer rights and how to resolve various disputes. I was learning along the way and motorists were claiming back thousands of pounds week in, week out.
I recall in one week alone I won over £70,000 back for group members by giving them advice on how to seek redress.
I began writing the first edition of my consumer book and half-way through it I created my blog to support it.
It took one year to bring my book from an idea to fruition. The first edition was published in September 2016.
- The biggest claim one reader has won from reading my book and following my advice is £23,000. That is close to the UK average annual salary, which is an incredible result. I have saved consumers hundreds of thousands of pounds over the past 5 years.
- My website has been viewed in 81 countries out of 195 around the world. Australia, Barbados, Nigeria, Vietnam, Iraq, Kazakhstan and South Korea rank in the list with 90% of my website traffic comes from the UK.
- 65% of website traffic is read on mobile phones, 31% is read on a desktop PC and 4% is read on a tablet.
- The Currys PC World blog has accounted for 57% of all traffic on my website over the past 8 months, which is simply incredible.
- I made my first Twitter follower Lady Janey an author within 4 weeks. We were both in the same Daily Mail feature and she guessed who I was by my Twitter handle just before it was published. I have made a great friend for life and she has helped me immensely in so many ways personally and professionally.
Five things I have learned
- I wish I had sought a better proofreader and editor for the first edition of my book. I put my faith and trust in someone I knew and thought I could trust to do a good job. I only realised in 2019 when I came to update it that rookie errors should have been noticed and addressed. I gave feedback afterwards which was ignored. This was before I began offering book publishing services, so it wasn’t professional jealousy on my part. I remain disappointed to this day as I paid good money (even with a discount) for a job that simply wasn’t up to scratch.
- I knew nothing about SEO, self-hosting, Domain Authority (DA) and PR. That inhibited my progress as well. I have had to learn so much about how SEO works, the benefits of self-hosting and managing my own PR.
I was creating plenty of good blogs with useful content, although I just didn’t know how to optimise it for SEO. My blog was on free WordPress as well, so my DA was low and I wasn’t getting the visibility I needed.
I didn’t know how to pitch to journalists to raise awareness of what I knew on consumer issues and motoring disputes. PR was simply a mystery to me. I had a Facebook page but I knew nothing about Twitter.
That all changed when I attended a Google Digital Garage course hosted by Claire Gamble at Unhooked Communications. My world was about to change overnight in the space of a few weeks when I made my first pitch to a journalist who featured me in the Daily Mail as 1 of 5 of the best consumer champions in the UK. What an experience that was – simply incredible!
- You can’t do everything alone. That’s one thing I learnt literally overnight when the Daily Mail featured me as 1 of 5 of the best consumer champions in the UK. There is so much to do and learn – it will overwhelm you at times. You can achieve more by working with others than you can by just doing everything by yourself. Collaboration is key – power in numbers.
- You find out who your friends are. Some friends will turn on you when you become quite well-known for what you do and some will stand by you. Your biggest fan is a stranger and your biggest hater is someone you know. I have had more kindness and help shown to me by complete strangers than I could have ever expected.
- You need to invest in a good website designer. A good IT guru is worth their weight in gold with ideas and inspiration to showcase what you do.
I remain grateful for the support and kindness shown by so many people. I couldn’t have come this far without it. It has been a rollercoaster and I remain optimistic that the best is yet to come.