Hugh’s life lessons in his pre-trading career
Good afternoon traders!
Like many, I started my life over at 55 years old. I owned an establishment that was dwindling and I was a single father of two. My life was spiralling down rapidly and not only did I need to support my family, but I needed to do something that I loved.
I was raised by entrepreneurial parents and understood the pros and cons of owning your own business. We grew up poor, but over time built up the business to success. It takes time, dedication and perseverance to succeed in business, especially in the 70’s where there wasn’t such a thing as “going viral”.
It took a life time to get into a career I was truly passionate about: trading stock options online.
My first business was a limousine company. I would chauffeur people around the city of Buffalo for hours on end. At 21, I thought it was a grand idea and I was rebelling against my parents’ idea to be an accountant.
Well it failed. What did I learn?
Listen to your parents.
So, I went to school to become an accountant.
Naturally, I hated it. I thought it was boring and I wasn’t being challenged enough.
During those days, I came back home to study and helped my father pursue his dream of running a petting zoo. It was a huge failure that cost our family a ton of money. It took years to rebuild everything we had lost and now we had all of these animals to get rid of.
What did I learn?
The cost of business is high and risky.
I continued my accounting career, but found it even more daunting than when I was in university. I was adhering to a boss who told me refrain myself from opening too many audits as my fellow colleagues couldn’t keep up. I worked with a great team and was in my social prime, but unsatisfied with everything else in the job. So I quit to start my own venture.
What did I learn?
Don’t drag something out just because other people are telling you to do it or you don’t want to be a “quitter”.
My next venture: a tour guide. Failed.
My third venture: club disc jockey. Finally success! I was still keeping up with my social life, but it had to end… I was getting older and not making enough money to support a family.
Finally, I joined my parents in the hotel business.
The hotel business gave me great joy. When I think back to this time, I consider them the golden years! I loved interacting with the customers as I’m a “people person”, and customer service seemed to give me satisfaction. Of course there were to those horrible customers who caused so much stress, but they’re now funny stories! Raising my kids in the business also gave them a sense of responsibility from a young age and a need to be entrepreneurs themselves – I call that a success.
But business was slowing down. Our place was located in an area that was no longer popular and Americans were no longer travelling after the fear that swept the country after 9/11. They were becoming hard times. I knew I had to get out soon.
I considered a few things: Teaching ESL overseas, becoming a real estate agent, or going back to school.
A friend of mine introduced me to trading stock options. My first trade was Stelco, buying towards the puts. Stelco was going bankrupt at the time, so it was ideal. Guess what? I make money. On my first trade.
Luckily for me, my broker lost thousands of dollars of my money. That’s when I took things into my own hands.
I traded from then on. I made money and lost money. But I was doing something that I truly enjoyed and I was good at it. I eventually sold our establishment and continued trading full time.
Even though times have changed – starting a brick and mortar to an online stock trading business, these experiences have taught me a lifetime of value that I incorporate into my trading today. Business is risky. Ideally you should minimize that risk. Instead of working a 9-5 desk job, I work from 9-11am trading one stock option (SPY) with my signature strategy, minimizing the risk of spreading myself thin on the market.
Hugh W. Grossman