Being a sports tipster sounds like the dream job doesn’t it?
Get up, find your selections, send them to your followers, and get on with your day.
All whilst earning thousands of pounds a month.
At least, that’s what a lot of websites will have you believe.
That belief is perpetuated by tipsters and tipster management companies (also known as publishers), as they want to look successful and/or get more tipsters into their ranks.
Here’s a few examples of publishers specialising in sports tipsters from the first page of Google.
Maybe you’ve dreamt about becoming a sports tipster.
Or perhaps you’ve actually registered with a publishing company.
Heck, you may even run your own tipping service!
Whatever way you slice it, it looks like a pretty damn nice, stress-free, lifestyle.
Which begs the question… is everything as it seems?
This is the ultimate guide into the betting tipster industry. I’m going to shine a light on what happens behind the scenes, how it really works, and if it’s something you want to do.
About The Author
This is me, Michael Wilding, (and my son) and I’m the creator of the Race Advisor and the Race Advisor Pro Members Club.
Over more than a decade I’ve found that horse racing bettors try to complicate the process of finding selections. And I know that feeling, I used to do it myself. It’s not surprising considering that there’s a mountain of information available for each horse, and it seems inconceivable that anything simple may work.
I’m here to tell you that, with over a decade of experience helping bettors turn their betting profitable, simple doesn’t just work, it works the best.
Having got a number of full-time tipsters who use the Race Advisor Pro to find their selections, and having been a publisher in the horse racing industry since 2009, I’ve got a strong understanding of how the industry works, and the expectations of bettors looking to become a tipster.
This guide is written for anybody who’s thought about becoming a sports tipster, and anybody who’s just kinda curious how the sports tipping industry works.
Chapter 1: The Tipster Dream
Once every month or two, I get an email asking for advice about how to become a tipster.
These emails are what led me to writing this guide.
It seemed that there’s a lot of information out there, but very little of it accurate, or showing any kind of reality as to what to expect as a sports tipster in the tipster industry.
The tipster dream, the dream that’s sold by a lot of publishing companies, is that you can make thousands of pounds a month by being a sports tipster.
And that’s true.
But like most things, that’s only true for a small percentage of super-successful tipsters.
For everyone else, the reality is very different.
To get a real picture of what you’re likely to earn, ask a publisher what their average tipster takes home each month. It’s going to be a very different amount to what you were imagining.
Then ask the same question, but request them to remove the top 10% highest earners. This prevents the average tipster take home being skewed by the top performers. This is likely to be even more shocking.
If you think 10% is a bit high, then look at it like this…
A tipster management company may have between five and fifty active services at any one time. At the bottom end of the scale, no tipsters earnings are removed from the average. At the top end of the scale, five tipsters earnings are removed from the average (45 are still included!).
What I hope to answer throughout this guide, is whether the tipster business is the dream job a lot of bettors think it is.
In order to do that, we need to begin by defining what the tipster dream actually is!
Here’s how I see it:
If there’s anything you think I should add to this list, please let me know in the comments below.
With the tipster dream defined, let’s see if this is achievable…
Chapter 2: Ask Yourself These Questions
Anybody can stand up and claim to be a tipster. All you need to do is share your sports tips with people.
It doesn’t matter if anybody’s following them. As long as you post them somewhere public (for a fee or free) then you’re a tipster.
That doesn’t mean you’re making any money from being a tipster!
As a tipster, you’re running a business.
Personally, I don’t think this is just any business, it’s a business where you’re asking people to trust you enough to follow your advice with their own money.
Which makes it even more important that you can follow through with the one thing that people will follow your for…
Making a profit from your sports betting tips.
It’s also possible for your tips to make a profit, and your followers not to, but I’ll look at that in more detail later. However, as long as your tips make a long-term profit you’ve successfully fulfilled your obligation.
Of course, there’s always unscrupulous tipsters, but for the rest of this article I’m going to assume that you’re somebody who wants to help your fellow human, and build a following based on your expertise.
In order to prove to your potential audience you have what it takes, you have to be able to prove your profitability.
Which means you should ask yourself some questions.
Question 1: Are you long-term profitable?
I’m not talking about whether you’ve built a system that’s made a profit on historic data.
That may be how you’ve built your system, but the question of long-term profitability is about whether you’ve made a profit by betting your own selections over an extended period of time (at least a year, preferably longer).
If you haven’t done that, I’d suggest you’re not yet ready to consider becoming a tipster. Keep betting your selections, keep tracking your results, when you can confidently show yourself that you can make a long-term profit, is when you’re ready to consider sharing your selections.
Question 2: Can you prove it?
Being able to prove that you can make a profit is very important.
Sadly, the industry is such that no publishing company will believe the results you send them.
Unless you send them a screenshot of the last year of your betting account, bet-by-bet!
Even then, it can be faked, and it’s the publishers reputation on the line when they launch and promote your service.
That means, you’re almost certainly going to be asked to proof your selections for a period of time.
If you’re not asked to do that, I’d steer clear of that particular company.
Because they’re clearly happy to promote anybody who approaches them. What this means is that they aim to make the most of their money when they launch your service, after that they won’t be interested.
In other words, they’re not trying to build a solid long-term business that has a good reputation, they’re trying to make as much money for themselves as quickly as possible.
And that won’t help you or your followers.
Currently the usual request is to proof live selections for between three to six months.
Is that long enough to know if somebody is long-term profitable?
But it’s long enough to get a feeling for the selections they’re providing, and the trustworthiness of the person you’re working with.
Unfortunately, it’s not realistic for most companies to request a tipster to proof for a year or longer, although that would be the ideal situation.
Alongside the live proofing, the historic results of your selections are likely to be requested. This allows the live proofing to be cross-referenced with them, to make sure that selections look like they’re coming from the same selection method.
It’s not an exact science, and some companies are stricter in their requirements than others.
As a general rule of thumb, the harder it is to be accepted as a tipster by a company, the more likelihood you have of having a long-term service with them.
Question 3: Will you be affected with people relying on you?
A hugely under-estimated difficulty in sports tipping, is how you’re affected by other people relying on your selections.
If you use a systematic approach to finding your selections, this is unlikely to affect you as much.
However… at the moment the majority of tipsters use a more manual approach to finding selections.
This means it’s possible to go on tilt.
Yeah, that’s a poker phrase, but it’s perfect here.
Here’s a definition of it:
“Going on tilt” is when a player becomes enraged about something and starts making ill-advised plays based purely on emotion.Quote from Poker King
We can apply this to sports tipsters by changing the definition slightly:
“Going on tilt” is when a sports tipster becomes anxious about the number of people relying on their selections and unconsciously starts making ill-advised selections based on this emotion.Adjusted from Poker King quote to apply to sports tipsters by The Race Advisor
If you have five or ten friends following your selections, this may not be an issue.
But how would you feel if every single one of your Facebook friends followed your selections?
You may be a little more concerned now.
Now imagine if every one of your Facebook friends was paying you £50 a month to get your selections.
How would that make you feel?
Would it be harder if they started sending you messages when you had a losing streak?
As you can see, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed by the responsibility of having a lot of people paying for your selections.
This can be prevented, in part, by being confident in question one. If you know your selections are long-term profitable because you’ve betting them for a long time.
If you are 100% confident in your selections, this is going to affect you less.
Any doubts you may have about your selections will creep in as soon as you start a live service. Without fail, if this happens your service is unlikely to last very long because your emotions will be controlling your selections just after you have launched your service.
Question 4: Why should someone follow you?
This is always a good question to ask.
There’s a lot of tipsters out there, which means there’s a lot of competition.
Knowing why someone should follow your selections is very important.
Don’t think this has to be profit based, it doesn’t!
- Have a high strike rate
- A stunning return on investment
- Cater for weekend bettors
- Only find one horse a day
- Focus on place bets
- Provide interesting content on your analysis
There are lots of reasons why someone may want to follow you over someone else. Having it written down in a single sentence will remind you why you are doing what you’re doing.
Chapter 3: Don’t Forget… It’s Not Just About Profit
If only tipping was as easy as making a profit!
Unfortunately it’s not just about the profit. Which brings me back to what I mentioned earlier:
It’s possible for your tips to make a profit and your followers not to
How the heck is that possible?
Because some of your followers will do these things…
- Bet stakes bigger than their bankroll can cope with
- Not follow all selections
- Stop during a downswing and miss the upswing
- Only bet on the selections they think will win
- Change stakes day-to-day
Any of these things could result in your followers making a loss, even if your selections have made a profit.
Understanding your followers expectations is key to having a tipping service which will stand the test of time.
Unlike you, as a Race Advisor reader, most bettors expect:
- To have between two and five selections a day
- To have regular winners, at least every couple of days on average
- To be able to bet with 10% or more of their bankroll
- To have tips every day, 365 days of the year (or at least those with racing)
- To make a 20% or higher return on investment
You know as well as me, fulfilling all these criteria is impossible.
But understanding them is a very important part of a tipster business.
That’s what’s going to help you find the right people for your service, and then work with them so that your selections work for them.
Because of number two above, losing runs are the biggest cause of followers to stop following your tips.
Quite simply, most bettors do not understand losing runs.
Whilst they may think a 25% strike rate is good, they won’t have realised that this means 75% of their bets will lose.
Yes… they’ll expect to have a few losing bets, and even a few losing days.
But when that becomes a losing week, or a losing month, there will be an assumption that you are no good at finding selections, despite evidence to the contrary.
Why is this?
Because there are so many unscrupulous tipsters who simply invent the evidence of their profit.
That’s caused a high level of distrust in the industry, and understandably most bettors will assume that you’ve done the same before they believe that you know what you’re doing.
As a tipster, this is going to be the hardest obstacle to overcome, and I suggest you start tackling it from the minute somebody begins following your selections.
By now, you may already be thinking that becoming a tipster’s not quite as easy as it seems. And you’d be right.
But now we’ve looked at what it takes to be a tipster, let’s take a look at how you can actually become one, and what you’re likely to earn by doing it.
Chapter 4: The Two Methods To Becoming A Tipster
It’s all well and good knowing what you need to do to be a tipster, but how the heck do you actually become one?
All is revealed in this chapter.
There are generally two methods to becoming a tipster:
- Do it yourself
- Use a publisher or tipster management company
There’s no right or wrong way. The approach chosen is usually based on your time available and your technical and marketing skills.
Here is a shortlist of the pros and cons of each approach.
In summary, if you want to do it yourself, be in no doubt that you’re starting a business.
If you want it to succeed, you’ll need to put the time into your business to make that happen. That’s separate to the time you spend finding your selections.
It may also involve you needing to learn new skills and building a new network, depending on your background.
Alternatively, if you choose to have a third party publishing company launch and promote your service for you, all you’ll need to do is submit your selections each day. The rest will be done for you.
But… this will mean that, in the majority of situations, you don’t own the service name, selections, followers, or any of the marketing materials and audience associated with the service.
On top of that, you’ll be paying between 60% and 80% to the publisher for their work.
Don’t jump to conclusions yet though, read on to the next chapter before you cement your thoughts…
Chapter 5: What You Will Actually Earn
This is the bit you’ve been waiting for… how much is your new tipster service going to actually make you.
The common miss-conception is that if you have 100 followers paying £30 a month for your service, you’re going earn £3000 per month.
Unfortunately, whichever route you choose to go down, that won’t be the case. You’ll either have a percentage to pay to a publisher, or you’ll have business expenses.
What’s important, is how much are the true costs in each of those situations, and where are you likely to end up.
For the rest of this chapter, I’ll assume 100 followers paying £30 a month for a service, as it keeps the numbers simple to calculate.
What you’ll earn with a publisher
Without a doubt, this is the simplest to work out.
There’s £3000 income from followers each month, and you’re paying the publisher between 60% and 80%.
That means you’ll earn between £600 and £1200 per month.
And don’t forget, the only time you’ll be spending is on finding your selections and submitting them.
If you’re wondering what are you being charged 60%-80% for, here’s a rough outline…
- Website design and build
- Members area hosting and management
- Email delivery hosting and management
- Marketing materials
- Access to a ready-made audience who are interested in sports tipsters
- Continued growth of the audience to find new followers
- Regular marketing (performance and company dependent)
- Customer support
- Bank and payment processor charges
What you’ll earn as a business owner
Surely it makes sense to hold onto 100% of the income, rather than give away up to 80% of it, and do it all yourself.
Before you make that decision, let’s take the list of what you’re getting in that percentage above, and add some estimates of the cost to them.
- Website design and build (£500 – £2000)
- Hosting (£10 per month)
- Members area hosting and management (£75 setup & £25 per month)
- Email delivery hosting and management (£15 per month)
- Marketing materials (£500)
- Access to a ready-made audience who are interested in sports tipsters (Un-priceable)
- Continued growth of the audience to find new followers (£250 per month)
- Regular marketing (performance and company dependent) (£250 per month)
- Customer support (£200 per month)
- Bank and payment processor charges (Average 5% of revenue)
I’ve been quite conservative with these figures, a marketing agency may well charge you £1000 a month for regular marketing (instead of my £250 estimate), but these numbers are based on what I think you can do it for if you’re doing the majority of work yourself.
That puts the cost between £1075 and £3075 to get setup, plus around £750 per month ongoing (as well as bank and payment processor charges).
The most valuable element a publisher can bring, is access to a ready-made audience for your tipster service. This is something that can’t be valued, as it can take years to build up an audience like this.
Can you do it for less than £750 per month?
You could probably do it for about £100 per month, but that wouldn’t allow for the biggest cost… growing your audience.
It also doesn’t allow for you to run and grow your business. Even my estimates above would probably put you at below minimum wage for the time it’s going to take you to run your business.
And, of course, these numbers don’t take into account any time you may spend learning the skills you need or finding your selections.
If your income is £3000 per month, you’d have around £2250 after costs. Take away the bank charges, and you’ll be down to £2100.
If we assume £100 in unforeseen expenses each month, that would round the earnings down to £2000.
As your business grows, you should expect these costs to rise alongside your income.
Will you earn more doing it yourself rather than using a publisher?
Absolutely you will.
But you’ll also be running a business, which means you’re going to be doing a full-time job alongside picking your selections.
The question is…
Do you want a fully time job running a business, and are you happy with what you may end up earning for your time?
Just because one publisher is paying a higher percentage than another, doesn’t mean they’re the best company to go with.
You should also consider:
- Their reputation
- The quality of their current tipsters
- Their market reach and branding
- How many members they have on average at launch
- How many members they have on average after three months
One publisher may pay you 40%, but only be able to get you thirty followers, another may pay you 20% but be able to get you one hundred and fifty followers.
This just comes down to company size, marketing reach and their audience size. Sometimes it may be more beneficial to go with a lower percentage from a company that can get your more followers.
The most important figure is how many members they have on average after three months.
Of course, this is hugely based on the performance of your selections, but it gives you an idea as to whether their audience stick with services, or move on from them quickly. You want this number to be as high as possible.
Getting as much information from the companies that you’re considering becoming a tipster for is crucial in deciding which may be the best for you.
When running your own business, please remember you’re very unlikely to start with 100 followers. You may begin with just five or six, and it could take the first year to build up to 100.
That means, at least for the first few months if not longer, you’re likely to have more outlay each month than you are bringing in. Depending on your skills in marketing and your network in the industry, it could be this way for a year or more.
In summary, going the publisher route makes for an easy, hands-off approach to making an income from tipping. However, outside of the selections, you won’t be in control of your service.
Going the do-it-yourself route gives you complete control, and ultimately should give you higher earnings. But this means running a complete business, and should be approached as such if you want it to be successful.
Chapter 6: An Alternative Approach
There’s always an alternative approach to the two more traditional methods of becoming a tipster.
You’ve probably noticed that most tipsters seem to appear from nowhere.
Suddenly you start receiving emails, often from someone you’ve never heard of, telling you how good a tipster is.
I don’t know about you, but when I get those emails I immediately delete them for one reason…
…I don’t trust them!
We’ve already talked about how important trust is when building a following for your tips.
Which means that the alternative approach is to share your expertise and selections for free.
You could engage with a community, such as the Race Advisor community, and build a following within the community.
As well as sharing your expertise, it also means helping others, answering questions and being an active member of the community.
Becoming an active member of a community gives people an opportunity to get to know you, how you think, how you analyse, and of course see you make a profit.
You can decide whether you still want to become a tipster further down the line!
In the marketing world, this is known as engaging first. Something that very few people in the betting industry do!
The concept is very simple, and it’s built around human nature…
Help others, give for free, and people will respond in kind by supporting you.
I know a lot of people who have done this, and then decided that they no longer want to be a tipster. They’re more than happy being a part of an engaged community, helping others to achieve their goals.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about the lucrative (or not so lucrative) world of tipsters.
It’s not as simple as some will have you believe, and when using a publisher you should always remember that they’re a business, and need to make a worthwhile profit to publish your selections.
I may have confirmed what you already knew.
Or maybe it’s completely different to how you expected it to be.
Have you been thinking about becoming a tipster? Have you been a tipster and decided it wasn’t for you? Are you currently a tipster and loving it?
I’d love to hear about your experiences and thoughts on the world of becoming a tipster. Please leave me a comment below to get in touch.
If you want to learn how to become a long-term profitable bettor, and access the best tools and ratings to do it, check out our community here.