This young entrepreneur left his stable IT career to pursue a career in stock market trading. His advice is to always be on the lookout for multiple income streams, don’t just rely on the one!
What’s your story?
I was told that the secret sauce to life was to get good grades and a good job. Every family member I knew started their career with a 9-6 job in an office. Not knowing any better, I turned down an opportunity to work on a start-up with my roommate to look for an office job instead. I took on a 9-6 job and it was nothing like I imagined as my pay was minimal barely enough to cover my expenses and I only had 14 days of annual leave. Besides, my manager made it so difficult at work, that I could not see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I worked extremely hard my whole life to get here and did not want to sign my entire life away to shape my employer’s dream while burying mine. I started reading several books and after reading ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’, I had a profound epiphany that gave me new perspectives and a completely different outlook on life. I then focused on making the best use of my time, rather than trading my time away for a small salary.
I tried trading the US stock market on the side as it opened at 9:30 PM local time. Being a developer in the IT industry, I was occupied with my day job from 8am-8pm. Which meant I had a couple of hours for dinner and market research before trading from 10pm-5am. I kept this up for two years. Soon enough, I was making three times more money than my day job; which gave me the confidence to pursue a full-time career in trading. I started building my trading systems and back tested them to make sure it wasn’t just luck that got me here. Finally, I decided to quit my job just before my 25th birthday in July 2016. This was much against the wishes of my family and friends who all said that, ‘it would be the biggest mistake of my life throwing away my stable IT career for something uncertain and risky’.
15 months later, I have no regrets, and I wished I’d done it earlier. Low pay, no freedom and not being able to travel were the key reasons for quitting my job. For the first 25 years of my life, I barely travelled to 15 countries and in the next one year, I travelled to 25 or more countries. Knowing that money is not going to be an issue now; my focus is to pursue my passions and travel the world. And I would not give this up for anything else.
What excites you most about your industry?
I see a huge gap in the financial knowledge that young working adults possess and have access to. Job security is no longer a thing, yet people assume they are going to have their job forever. We are overdue for a new monetary system and with the exponential increase in debt, weakening of the US Dollar, and the rise of the crypto-currencies; it’s going to make this transition interesting. We are now in the 2nd longest bull market run in history and the crash that is going to follow will be nothing like we have ever experienced. The recession that it’s going to bring could easily wipe out a decade of prosperity. My aim is to educate and help everyone around me to prepare for this massive wealth redistribution so that you can position yourself on the right side of this once in a lifetime opportunity.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I have spent more than 90% of my time in Asia and the majority of my ties are in Asia. Born and raised in Bangalore, India; I moved to Singapore at 18 for my undergraduate studies. The first flight I took brought me to Singapore which has become my second home where I have had countless memorable experiences. Staying in the hostel, living by myself and experiencing a new culture taught me essential life lessons. That also spurred my passion to travel to the rest of the world and experience the other cultures, people, food, heritage and values. Also, Singapore nurtured my interests in tennis, travelling and trading which has now become an integral part of my life.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Without a doubt, Singapore! Especially for someone like me who is always on the move, the simplicity and flexibility Singapore offers blew me away. All the processes including the setup, finances, licenses, registration, taxes are so simple and straightforward, that they can be performed online and even automated. The efficiency with which you can get work done here is beyond what I have experienced anywhere else.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“The only difference between those who become successful and those who don’t is what they do in their free time,” I read this quote in early 2014 when I started working, and since then I never had free time. This hit me hard as time is the only resource that waits for no one and once gone can never be gotten back. But we all take it for granted without realising that all the assets that we own are a result of effective use of time in the past and money is just one of them. Even when I am taking a break or on my travels, I am continually reading (500+ books read) and adding new skill-sets to my arsenal. My only goal for today is to be better and more productive than yesterday.
Who inspires you?
Everyone around me is an inspiration. There are always skills and insights to absorb from the people around you. I like to find the best in people and incorporate what they are doing into my life. I came from a family where sleeping on the bed was a luxury, as we were a family of 4 and we only had a bed that could fit two. So, I understood the value of money very early, and I never take it for granted. My role models are Colonel Sanders and Jack Ma. Reading their stories and the adversities that they came through are unimaginable, and I always look up to them to pump myself up if I’m having an off day or feel unmotivated.
What have you just learned recently that blew you away?
According to recent research done by the Wharton School of Business, it claims that the developed nations will see up to 60% of the jobs disappear in the next 20 years. I knew there would be changes but did not expect the number to be this staggering. We are all too focused on the job we are doing today, that we forget to look at the bigger picture. One question you need to ask yourself, “What can I do today to prepare for a tomorrow where I could be fired from my job? If no one wants to hire me, can I still make money with my current skillset?” That was what I was asking myself on a daily basis that led me to adding multiple income streams and not be too dependent on just one.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Ever since I was a little kid, the focus was too much on book knowledge that I spent very little time learning the practical things in life. I would also have skipped university to gain practical experience and develop people skills. College is overrated, and most of the exams are based on memory retention and hardly test the application of what you have learned. As a result, learning becomes boring, unproductive and nothing more than a collection of paper certificates which have very little practical use when you start working.
How do you unwind?
Some of the critical reasons for quitting my job were to have more freedom, a better lifestyle, travel the world, explore cultures, interact with nature, build memories and leave a legacy behind. At the end of the day I believe, that it’s the memories and the experiences that bring happiness and the job title, career or money are only means to the result. I stay fit through tennis and swimming. To keep my brain sharp, I also play poker during the weekend to get my competitive juices flowing!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
This would be a tough pick. It would have to be between Indonesia and Thailand. I can always take an extended break to either of these places and relax with the multitude of activities that these places have to offer. I love the food, people, beaches, treks and adventure sports which are a good way to relax. Also, I do all my shopping in Thailand and visit Bangkok at least 2-3 times every year.
Everyone in business should read this book:
‘The art of thinking clearly’ by Rolf Dobelli is a good read because, it has translated complicated results from “cognitive biases” experiments and interprets and synthesises them into short, easy to understand summaries. You are an irrational being, but don’t worry; that’s part of being human. Cognitive biases are the simple errors that we make in our day-to-day thinking. Nobody is immune to cognitive errors; unconscious thinking habits lead to false conclusions or poor decisions. Mere mortals are prone to an array of conventional thinking errors and will consistently overestimate their chances of success, prefer stories to facts, confuse the message with the messenger, become overwhelmed by choices and ignore alternative options.
Shameless plug for your business:
TradeShifu has helped over 60 people generate more than $100,000 in profits in 2017. My aim is to build the most active and helpful stock market group in the world and hence I’m very selective in who I accept to mentor. My acceptance rate is only about 2 in 10, and if you are ready to take your trading to the next level, head to my website to apply. My next intake is in Jan-2018 and I look forward to seeing you there.
How can people connect with you?
The quickest way to get a response from me is to reach out to me on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tradeshifu/. You can also leave me a message on my website http://www.tradeshifu.com/. I have a FREE Facebook group open to all to join where I regularly post my research, market insights and trades.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.