At this point in my life, I had seen the writing on the wall, being a prop trader was a dead end business that was dying a slow death. However, my inability to throw in the towel, similar to holding onto the limo business longer than one needed, was hard to admit. That was until I had a major wake up call that I simply could not ignore. When I was having a discussion with my father, he had mentioned how he was running around the 8th floor of Hackensack hospital earlier that day.
The 8th floor was the Oncology Unit, meaning that my father's cancer pills were failing out again and his leukemia was rearing its ugly self. This was the sign to stop pissing away 100+ hours a week going into the city and something I still never regret to this day.
Now in the year that followed leaving the city as a prop trader was followed by spending every single day on the 8th floor of the oncology unit with my father, something that frankly not even my closest friends even knew at the time (other than Shake). Even writing this now is by no means a walk in the park. However during those dark times, as my partner Shake was going through an even more painful period in his life, Trading Experts caught its first major breakthrough, and that we will get to later.
When speaking with new traders, or even people that are trying to start their first business, the level of excuses vs effort put in, tends to be far more weighted towards the latter and a very common theme is that of “family”. Just like in this situation, family was an issue for my partner and I, just as it is with you and virtually everyone else walking this planet. Life happens, family happens and it is not always pretty, more often it is usually very painful and shitty. You can sit there and count all your unlucky blessings or focus on what matters most.
During my time on that 8th-floor of the oncology unit, I had two goals, spend as much time with my father as possible and turn TE into a fucking business. Between games of backgammon and reruns of SVU on the 12-inch hospital TV from the 70’s, I was cranking away on our 3 Instagram accounts trying to drum up business. Day in, day out during these stressful summer months and into the winter I just continued to strike out and strike out.
Each and every day just hearing,
“Trading Experts who?”
“What? No I’m good, piss off.”
All day long between this and watching the chemo run its course on my father (who was somehow always smiling) was taking its toll on me. There were brief moments of weakness, yet looking over at my father and seeing him smile during these terrible times, I realized that I was being a pussy and told myself to shut the fuck up and get back to work.
(TE’s office for its first year)
Early on, when starting a business, we tend to feel that every idea is a business and that they all need to be pursued. You know when you see that guy with his IG bio looking like a LinkedIn resume where he is the CEO of 9 companies yet there's only one employee -- himself. No clients or customers for as far as the eye can see. That mindset has sunken more successful business ideas than the number of lotto tickets crumpled up on the sidewalks after the latest mega million drawing.
However, we are wired this way as it is human tendency to pursue one thing while simultaneously expecting to achieve a completely unrelated goal.
I had confidence in our idea and a belief that we were on the right path, minus the fact that the path was taking my partner and me through fucking hell and back as our fathers battled with cancer. During these times people often want recognition from their peers, their spouses and most importantly their families. However none of those people, even your family are really going to care or believe in your 9,000th business idea if you haven't put any points on the board yet.
As hard as it is, you really need to just shut up and let the business do the talking, but it will take years for that to happen. During these times you need confidence in yourself and the belief that you are on the right path, do not waver and stray from the path to join the rest of your peers on the road often traveled (and usually regretted).
Now people often get confused about what a business is, it's a very crazy, complicated formula. That was a joke, it's really fucking simple. A business survives when you can make other people (and yourself) money, you must serve your customers and provide value. For our line of business, it was simple, we needed to fucking make you money, or why the fuck would you even be reading this? So we did just that. Fuck all the cute, perfect photos, we just got down to business and on April 12th, 2016, we had our first major breakthrough.
Over that year, our mission of turning this idea into a business was going nowhere. The first major breakthrough occurred on that 8th floor of the oncology unit, where over the next three days our first 12 members joined our ranks, 'The first 12', as we refer to them. Now the wild part is fast forward 2+ years later and half of them are still with us (Nathan, Moe, Linneth, Zach, Freddy, and Kriss). Shit, we have even vacationed with half of the names mentioned above in Rincon and Exuma.
After a year of wondering what the fuck we were doing, all the while going through the worst times of our lives, we caught the confidence that we knew was required, and by no means was it a fucking cake walk. For myself, I was able to achieve my goals and was extremely blessed that at the 11th hour, I was able to successfully donate my bone marrow to my father to help kill out the cancer in his blood. A common joke of his now, is that he has the immune system of a 25-year-old again and is ready to ride!
In the end, you have to ask yourself what influence you want to side with, what everyone thinks or what you know your real mission is? The easy choice is, you tried, the hard one is you did it, and it's this that tends to have a lasting impact and relevance in your life and hopefully on others too.