One of the hardest things people deal with in life are critics, bullies and negative people. I’m writing this blog post to share my experiences transitioning from a public school teacher to teaching on Wall Street. In January of 2011 I decided I wanted to take my chances in business so I resigned my elementary teaching career of 10 years to teach trading on Wall Street. As a teacher in NYS my salary was $33,000 in 2001 when I started and after 10 years, over $55,000 with full benefits working 180 days a year. In addition I was making about $15,000 a year coaching varsity sports and at times, another $15,000 a summer running sports camps.
I loved teaching and coaching… I was an elementary physical education teacher for 3 years and a traveling adapted physical education teacher for 7 years. For sports I did it all… there’s very few sports I didn’t coach in that 10 year period. Basketball was by far my favorite, funny thing is that I never really played the game. Working with kids has always been a passion of mine and that doesn’t go away just because I’m working on Wall Street now. I’m sure when my itch to be in business ends 20 years from now or so I’ll get involved with public education again.
Leaving all that was hard… especially given I only needed to work 20 more years for a full pension in NYS, pretty sweet deal might I add. As you can imagine I took a fair amount of criticism from a handful of pessimistic colleagues when I announced my decision, some even suggested I’d fall flat on my face and be back in a year. Headwinds like that make you think and add doubt to conviction at times. I can see how leaving safe and secure $85,000 a year working 180 days with full benefits and a pension would seem crazy… it was a very risky move to say the least, especially when you consider I went from that teaching salary to making $1,000 a month in January of 2011.
Now one of the biggest criticism’s I get is how can I be qualified to teach trading if I’m not a professional on Wall Street, let’s be honest I’ve made 27% in 15 months and $70,000 isn’t quite what Jim Cramer did in his career. My defense here is always the same, a business doesn’t grow without excellent leadership. Teams don’t win without good coaching and traders don’t make money if a strategy doesn’t work. Take for example Erik Spoelstra who coached the Miami Heat to victory over the Boston Celtics last night in game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he never played a single game in the NBA… and while he achieved some professional status in Germany, that’s nothing like playing in the NBA. Yet Erik’s team won last night and he leads some of the biggest, highest paid professional athletes in the business day in and day out… guys like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh come to mind… oh wait… didn’t Mario Chalmers win a National title in college? You get my point right… to lead, win, grow and helps others achieve success you need a thorough understanding of what it is you’re teaching but more importantly, the ability to teach what you know. Coach K of Duke (Mike Krzyzewski) is another great example, no major basketball experience after his time at West Point yet he’s one of the most sought after and successful college coaches of all time. Coach K was even offered a huge deal by the LA Lakers a few years ago that he turned down, the deal was not based on his ability to play basketball but his ability to teach the game of basketball. How about Geno Auriemma of the University of Connecticut… nobody can argue that mans success leading women’s basketball is unbelievable, check his playing history. I coached varsity basketball successfully for years and never played the game.
So back in January of 2011 when I resigned my safe and secure $85,000 a year in public schools for a starting salary of $1,000 a month, I did so for one reason… I believe in my ability to learn something new and teach it effectively. I believe in my ability to lead. I believe in my ability to brush off the critics and have conviction in my skills. I believe in building something that works for my subscribers, not just myself. I believe in customer service and doing what’s right. I have a core set of principles I live by daily and these principles are what has led to my success.
How am I doing 16 months later? Is the system working? Has that conviction turned into a monetary reward? Do subscribers like me, do they find my strategy useful, am I leading them well? Well my friends… I’ll let you be the judge of my success as a trader and a teacher of trading. As I said earlier, I started out at $1,000 a month in January of 2011 with only a handful of subscribers, many of which are still with me today like Matt, Cristian, Larry, Heidi, Luis and Boom just to name a few. Since then I’ve built this brand to a ton of subscribers and yes, my service does generate a significant amount of money per year and is growing rapidly.
I’m not writing this piece to brag, I like the idea of money but it’s not my driving force. The root of this blog post is to dissect the criticisms I ran into and dealt with before I resigned my public schools teaching post and to further examine the criticisms I take from people on Wall Street daily. Critics never see the new me and the new me is changing daily. Critics saw a gym coach aspiring to be a successful businessman but didn’t see all the work I’d done to make the transition… they simply saw me as who I was to become a teacher in public schools, not what I was working on daily to take on my next challenge. Critics can only focus on where you’ve been, what you’ve done… but let me tell you my friends, the only thing that matters is your conviction on where you’re going. I saw myself a leader of traders with a proven system that works. I saw myself teaching it to thousands of adults who like professional athletes can benefit greatly from a system that works and a person who can teach it effectively. Erik Spoelstra leads and teaches some of the highest paid athletes in the world as noted above yet he never wore an NBA uniform. If you take nothing else from this blog post I’ve written, make sure you never give into critics because only you can see your future and make it happen… critics only see the past. I was given the opportunity to step into a new profession where very few outside of myself thought I could succeed and now I’ve turned it into a huge business in which I make my old teaching salary monthly because I have a ton of people who believe in me on their own free will.
So where am I heading next? To perfect my business model and continue to help others understand the subject of trading. I’ve always listened to my mentors like the coach seen in this photo, and by applying their guidance I’m always improving. I have customers in more countries than you can imagine… my new classroom is global and right now I absolutely love working with my clients. Bottom line… I’m doing the same thing I was in public education, just on a new stage that pays much, much more called Wall Street.