LATEST BLOG: If you want to be happy, stop chasing things

FAQ

To help you better navigate my website, I have answered some frequently asked questions below, linking to relevant material where relevant.

PERSONAL

Who is Ryan Ferguson?

Ryan Ferguson is a writer, author, blogger and journalist. His work has been published by the GuardianBBC Sport and Liverpool Echo, among other outlets. Ryan has also been featured by MLB.com and the New York PostHis debut book was published in August 2019.

Ryan is the force behind a number of social media brands, most notably Planet Prentonia, a hub of Tranmere Rovers news, analysis and culture.

What charities do you support?

I'm a passionate supporter of PAPYRUS, a charity that works to eradicate suicide in young people. I have raised over £400 for a service that helped me immensely. 

I'm also a member of Mind, the largest mental health charity in Britain, while collaborating on projects with The Great Orchestra of Christmas and Charles Thompson's Mission in Birkenhead.

You can find more details about my charitable work here.

What is your connection to Poland?

My girlfriend, Patrycja, was born and raised in Tarnów, a quaint Polish city. We spend a lot of time in Poland and it's a place that meshes well with my values.

Who is your hero?

Pete Doherty. Without him and The Libertines, I may not be here today.

Who are your role models?

I'm a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuk and Darren Rowse. The way those guys inspire people to take action and follow their passion is simply remarkable. Without their expertise, largely delivered free of charge across the internet, I would never have experienced the individualist awakening that led to creating this website.

Why do you like baseball?

Despite living in the UK, an ocean away from the daily drama of MLB, I'm able to appreciate that baseball is the most beautiful sport ever devised. Here's an entire ode to the game, explaining my love for it.

JOURNALISM

How do you become a journalist without a degree?

Write, write and write some more then pester anyone and everyone who will listen to give you a chance. Build a portfolio, promote your work relentlessly on social media and never give up. If nobody listens, start a blog, teach yourself about marketing and monetisation, then become a journalist on your own terms. 

How did you get into journalism?

I've always wanted to do this. As a tiny kid, I pretended to be Trevor McDonald, reporting from war zones. Then I fell in love with the great tradition of baseball writing, growing determined to cover MLB despite living in another continent.

That's exactly what I did, writing prolifically and sending my work to anyone remotely connected to sports journalism. A few mentors, namely Nat Coombs, Josh Chetwynd and Pranav Soneji, steered me in the right direction, and a few editors finally gave me an opportunity. One thing led to another and I never let go of that momentum.

Are you available for podcast appearances?

Yes, absolutely. I really enjoy radio and podcasts, so feel free to reach out with any opportunities to appear as a guest. 

PLANET PRENTONIA

What is Planet Prentonia?

Planet Prentonia is a hub of Tranmere Rovers news, analysis, history and culture. I launched the project in 2015. It now has over 4,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. You can read the blog here and buy the book here!

Why did you start Planet Prentonia?

Amid my career in journalism, I became frustrated at the total lack of quality coverage afforded to Tranmere Rovers. My beloved club was overlooked as the insignificant sibling of Liverpool and Everton, large clubs across the river mersey.

Local newspapers failed in their duty to cover Tranmere with a discerning eye, and I felt it was important to create an authority that challenged the club on behalf of fans in addition to celebrating its rich history. 

How can I support Planet Prentonia?

There are a number of ways to show your support for Planet Prentonia, allowing it to thrive as an independent organ of Tranmere Rovers truth. 

How can I get the Prentonia t-shirt in collaboration with LUX ET ROBUR?

Here's the link to your favourite Patagonia imitation. We've got you covered.

Where can I find the relaunched Planet Prentonia blog?

Planet Prentonia now lives as a section of this website. You can find the blog, including all of the archives, here.

MENTAL HEALTH

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health condition whereby the sufferer can only attain happiness or satisfaction after the completion of certain tasks, typically in a cyclical fashion. That cycle never ends, however, resulting in anxiety and often leading to further mental health struggles.

The classic association of OCD focuses on the ritualistic aspects of obsession, usually portrayed through tampering with light switches and excessive cleanliness. However, there are different kinds of OCD, and I'm keen to educate people about the myriad manifestations of this disorder.

What is it like to have OCD?

I was diagnosed with OCD in 2018, but it has likely been a problem in my life since childhood. You can read all about my battles with the condition here, gaining a valuable insight from somebody who actually has OCD.

What is suicidal ideation?

Suicidal ideation is essentially the posh word for having thoughts of killing yourself. I spoke about my own battles with suicidal ideation on Radio City Talk. Have a listen if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts. Stay hopeful.

Where can I get help for suicidal thoughts?

Call HOPELINE UK, operated by PAPYRUS, on 0800 068 4141. Seriously, they saved my life and they can help you, too, no matter what you are going through. 

Also speak to Samaritans on 116 123. They do fantastic work. 

Don't suffer in silence.

What is generalised anxiety disorder?

Anxiety is an underlying feeling of unease, worry or fear in relation to a situation of stress, danger or discomfort. Everyone experiences anxiety, a natural reaction to unexpected or unwanted circumstances. However, those who suffer with generalised anxiety disorder, like me, struggle through a chronic surplus of anxiety, often constructing fictional trigger situations that will never actually happen.

What is it like to live with anxiety?

The mind of somebody who suffers with generalised anxiety disorder is hardwired to expect the worst in any situation. This can be an exhausting battle that makes even the most menial of tasks seem laborious, scary or pointless. You can read about my life with anxiety here, possibly taking some nuggets of information to improve your knowledge.

What is depression?

For me, anxiety is the solvent, failure is the flame and depression is the consequence. 

Depression is essentially a low mood for an extended period of time that cripples your morale to a point where everyday activities are severely hampered or completed at great personal expense.

What is it like to live with depression?

Awful. Grim. Terrible. But hope is the most important gift anyone can receive. You can learn more about my battles with depression here. We're sick, not weak. Remember that.

What is the first step to mental health recovery?

Accept that you are struggling and don't suppress what you know to be true inside. Live in your own context, without seeking approval from other people, and allow yourself a period of structured solitude in which to reflect on your true soul, personality and ideal life. Then make necessary changes and take positive actions to achieve it.

My 10 step plan to cutting out the bullshit and being the real you may be a strong starting point in your recovery from mental ill health.

WRITING

What are your best writing tips?

Live life with your head up, experience things, then write about them. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. It's that simple. You will get better with every post. Once your article is published, don't rest on your laurels. Put the title on a piece of paper and brainstorm subsequent article ideas that naturally extend from the topic you have just covered. Store those idea sheets in a physical folder, building a repository of ideas that will never run dry.

How can I improve my writing? 

The only way to get better at anything is to practice. It's stunning to me how many people say they want to be writers but then do nothing about it.

If you want to be a singer, you have to sing. If you want to be a painter, you have to paint. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. 

The importance of life experience, sampling different opportunities, and consuming the content of other people cannot be overstated. Feed your brain, nourish your soul and let the beauty flow from your pen.

How do I monetise my blog?

I use various techniques to monetise and support my blog. I write books and sell products through a shop. I use Amazon Associates to generate revenue from affiliate advertising. I repurpose content in podcasts and YouTube, attracting sponsorship and advertising revenue there, too, and I also offer a wide range of services that provide value to other people.

Monetising a blog requires dedication, commitment, vision, patience and constant evolution. If you want to begin your journey to monetisation, consume the brilliant work of Darren Rowse, a professional blogger with the greatest advice I have ever encountered. Seriously, his podcast changed my life.

How do I find ideas for my blog?

How to never run out of ideas for your blog.

I wrote that piece. You should read it.

MARKETING

Where can I find Ryan Ferguson on social media?

All the details you need can be found here.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the act of marketing people and their careers as self-contained brands. Essentially, it is the art of conveying your skills, personality and unique value to an active audience that may extend opportunities to further your career.

What is Amazon Associates and how do I use it?

Amazon Associates is an affiliate marketing program that allows creators to earn commission from their advocacy and promotion of useful products. By including ads within blog posts and on webpages, independent bloggers can generate revenue from their content.

While some detractors have a negative impression of Amazon and its affiliate scheme, I appreciate the tool and admire their efforts to help people monetise their passions. More companies should take a leaf out of their book, if you will excuse the pun.

What is Shopify and is it better than WordPress?

Shopify is a web platform that allows creators to easily develop, launch and maintain eCommerce projects. As a veteran blogger on WordPress and Blogger, I transitioned to Shopify in February 2019. I have been blown away by the superiority of this platform in almost every respect. 

Shopify is so easy to use, and it offers various free apps that allow you to create, sell and distribute products. The blog feature is also really good, and I urge all bloggers who are serious about monetising their passion to go with Shopify. Yes, they charge a monthly fee, but the added flexibility in growing your business is priceless.

What is Patreon and should I start a campaign?

Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for artists and creators to get paid. Essentially, it is a way of building an exclusive community of your most loyal readers, supporters and fans who are willing to pay a premium for the quality domination that you provide in a specific niche. Patrons can choose to donate at certain levels per month, aiding your monetisation and growth efforts.

You can become a Patron of my work here:

Become a Patron!

What is Fiverr and is it worth my time?

Fiverr is the world's largest freelance services marketplace. It is typically used by business owners looking to outsource a part of their operation, often in the creative sectors of blogging, graphic design and social media management. It's definitely worth having a profile. You can visit mine here to see what services I offer.

What is dropshipping?

Dropshipping is one of the greatest opportunities ever afforded to humble bloggers, vloggers and independent artists. In essence, it allows you to sell products without worrying about stock levels, packaging, distribution and replenishment. With dropshopping, you capture orders that are then automatically fulfilled by another party, often the manufacturer. It's pure genius.

How do you build email subscribers for your blog?

Email subscribers are a vital part of any blogging business. As search engines and social media platforms tinker with their post-sharing algorithms, it becomes more important to build and retain a database of loyal readers who will access your work through direct email. The return on investment for email is often far greater than in other spheres of marketing. 

I build email subscribers in three ways:

  • By using a popup form that prompts people to subscribe;
  • by directing people to the subscription page on my website;
  • and by cross-promoting the subscription feature through other mediums, such as video and podcasts

LEGAL

Do you have a policy for returns and refunds?

Yes, of course. You can find it here.

Does your site have terms and conditions?

Sure. Here's the link.

Where is your privacy policy and information on data security?

Don't worry, we have that, too. Have a read.

What insurances do you have as a sole trader?

All details relating to business insurance for ryanferguson.co.uk can be found here.