Why would you want to be a guru?

Discussion in 'Educational Resources' started by Brandonf, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. Brandonf

    Brandonf ET Sponsor

    I don't know if anyone will be particularly interested in this or not, but I'll go ahead and write it anyway. A lot of people have been starting threads about wanting to start websites to offer services to traders, others questioning why would any profitable trader want to “waste his time” with such a product or service. From November of 1998 until September of last year I ran one of the largest such services on the web and I figured I'd just go ahead and tell the story of how I got into it, how it worked out for me etc.

    When I graduated from HS I wanted to go to Minneapolis and be a floor trader, I had saved the money to do so. Unfortunatly for me shortly after graduation it was discovered that I had a brain tumor and I had no to have surgery, but I had no insurance. No fun, there goes the grub stake. It was 1997 until I had the money to trade again, via a loan from Toni. I still wanted to go to Minneapolis, but my credit was no good. Fortunatly everyone seems to have a consitutional right to trade stocks, so I opened up my account with either MBTrading or the Executioner. I started off terrible just like everyone else, mostly the commissions where killing me. At that time they ran around $25 per side. I kept a job at a gas station on the side, and at night when I worked Toni would scan for narrow range days for me using realtick. Eventually we got to the point that we could cover the commission nut, and slowly worked into profitability.

    Come July or August of 98 I was making about $2000/$3000 per month trading and was getting pretty comfortable with what I was doing. I decided to start a Yahoo club as a way to meet people and also as a way of forcing myself to stick to my plan. The club grew like a friggin weed, from 10 people after the first two weeks to over 3000 by October. At this point Ken Wolff's (Mtrader) business partner Jeff got ahold of me. At that point Ken had, I'm sure, the largest pay room with around 600/700 people in it. Jeff said that a ton of their members had been going to my swingtrading club on Yahoo and they wondered if I'd be willing to come into their room and give some of my trades. I was pretty flattered and said sure. Ken and I immediately began to butt heads and he wanted to get rid of me, but Jeff liked me and said lets just have Brandon do his own room. At this point Toni joined me.

    We did our room for free on a private mIRC server for about a month and a half or two months in order to build up a following. We started to charge in either Nov or Dec of 1998, $100 per month and we had about 140/150 people, the split was 50/50 between us and Mtrader. We stayed with Mtrader for about 9 months until Jeff and Ken had a falling out. Since Ken never liked me, and he hated Toni, with our
    “protector” in Jeff being gone we figured we should leave too. For some time I got involved with an infomertial company helping them develop content and continued to run the chatroom as well. This lasted for about 1 year before the company started to have extreme financial difficulties and could no longer pay us.

    On my birthday, December 8th of 2001 Toni and I officially launched Mainstreet as a free room on othernet. We kept it free until April 1st, again building intrest, getting new people etc. During this time I started to post pretty actively on ET after seeing some people here talking about me and that became a good source of members. We also wrote some articles in magazines, and I was profiled by AT Magazine for my trading. When we launched on April 1st we had an average of about 600 or so people per day coming into the room, and when we started to charge $200 a month we kept just over 200 of them ( I think the number was like 203/205...something like that). Shortly after we also started various online seminar and mentoring products which brought in extra income. The best year we had probably saw the site bring in about $650k with purhaps $200k in expenses, so it paid very well.

    Why did I do it: A number of reasons. At first I was already doing the Yahoo club and Jeff convinced me that I could make a good bit of extra money at it. Jeff is one of the most honorable and honest guys I have ever met. After 9-11 he was set to retire from the Navy Reserve and put himself in for active duty. He is now the Naval liason for one of our Embassies. A smart, classy guy and from the start I trusted him. I was already doing the the work with my scanning, and putting it out simply made me write out my plan for the next day, which is always a good idea anyway. Most generally I probably spent 30 to 45 minutes per day more working because of the website than I would have if I did not have it, so the hourly rate was not too bad. The other financial reason had to do with, quiet honestly, what I was making when I started. When we started to charge I was pulling about $2000 to $3000 per month out of a $30,000 trading account. I was always worried about what would happen if I had a few bad months, coz he I am basically making 10% per motnh, but what would happen if i lost $3000 for three months in a row: That would bring my account down to $21,000 and I'd only be pulling in then $1400 to $2100 a month, barely enough to cover the bills. So, seeing that I could make an extra $6000 or so per month that I never had to worry about had great appeal. I was able to then start to take all of my trading profits, and about half of what I made from the room, back into my trading account, this obviously allowed me to grow the account very quickly.

    I also quickly found out that teaching people about trading was just the same as teaching people about anything else. It very quickly accelerated your own learning curve. I no longer had the option of not knowing, or just to make something up. I had to have an answer, and a valid one when people had all the questions they had. I think that I also learned a lot about what not to do from my clients over the years, and certainly that has helped too.

    So thats pretty much it. In Sept of last year Toni and I broke up. I decided to focus on the money mgnt business I had built over the prior year and a half, which was making almost as much as the website, and my own trading, while Toni has kept Mainstreet. She's changed it a bunch though, getting rid of the chatroom except for mentoring and a few older clients and she now focuses more on CDs, Live mentoring and Seminars. I think she's doing as well with it now as we ever did before, I know she's enjoying it more.

    As for me I continue to help her a bit with mainstreet, esp with what remains of the chatroom and with her newsletters from time to time. Mostly I'm trading, though in February I started to get pretty sick and have not recovered very well in the meantime. I've last about 40lbs from an original 165lbs. I will recover and come back better than ever, but in the meantime I'm just mostly trading my own account when I feel well, and hanging out on ET making snarky comments when I don't.

    Will I ever do a website again? I hope so. I truly enjoyed it. One of the things that I think made Toni and I very successful where other people could not find success is that we truly enjoyed and RESPECTED our clients, each and every one of them. In my life if I could do anything I'd either be a trader, a teacher or a fighter pilot. I can't be a fighter pilot, but I can teach and I can trade. I think I do both exceptionally well. I'm getting to feeling a bit better, sometimes even enough to really closely follow the market, come out with good commentary and good trades. As I get back to 100% you will see more and more of me again.

    The end.
  2. Sponger


    Thanks for the post Brandon, that was a great look into that side of the business.
  3. Yas, thanks Brandon for the post.

    I do what i do because yes it does accelerate my own learning curve and secondly, I do it because I believe people need someone who got beaten up in trading that recovered to relate to.

    I serve as many different hats under my service and I do it all for free as well. Who knows, maybe one day I may eventually charge like you did, but for now, I want it to be kept free because I'm still not 100% finished working out all the kinks of my teachings..

    Teaching on the web is a very different occupation. :)
  4. Thanks for sharing your experience. Enjoyed the read.
  5. Great, motivational story. Brandon. I wish you all the best this world has to offer!

    Warm regards,

  6. <i>"In Sept of last year Toni and I broke up..."</i>

    That probably explains your recent illness, weight loss, etc. From the timeline you shared with us here, Toni was a big part of your life for a long time. That type of personal relationship loss is not swept aside quickly and easily. Anyone who says otherwise is either a liar or has never been in those shoes. Been down that path myself.

    I don't want to take this thread toward DrPhil.com but it sounds to me like you are traversing the normal course of grieving a relationship loss. It's a process, not an event. The first year is tough, gotta get past all those important holidays and calendar dates.

    Running a website = live room on your own instead of as a team would be different. Sounds like the idea tempts you, based on several comments toward that in the recent past here. No different hanging out in your own room versus this forum all day... except you cannot put the irksome clients on ignore easily as some of the outlier characters in here can be squelched.

    In any event, we all wish you well. Everything will work out for the best, somehow or another life seems to do that :)
  7. Brandonf

    Brandonf ET Sponsor

    The breakup with Toni was definatly one of the lowest points in my life. I was with her from 17 years old until 30 years old, so really for at least half of my life that I can remember. It was not a terrible breakup, we remain friends and talk nearly every day, but I could not see a situation in which she would take me back, so life is what it is.

    Your comments show a concern that I appriciate, so thank you. I do wish though that the breakup is what was causing this, it would probably be a lot easier to deal with and I wouldnt glow in the dark :)

  8. Are you insane??? I think so, here is just one of your threads you started just a couple months back


    Please Bullshit and Bearz, stop pretending you've "got it" all of a sudden. Plus MODS, this guy is telling us he is working for free now to eventually charge people. Sounds like bait and switch to me, is he paying to advertise??

    Sorry BnB, you are just such a ridiculous waste of peoples time, I have to call you out.

  9. Brandonf

    Brandonf ET Sponsor

    Well, some people become guru's because they could not make a dime trading if their life depended on it, but they really do enjoy the stock market and want to stay close to it. There are a lot of those types out there too. The thing is though, building a successful web business takes a lot of planning, hard work, dedication, discipline..in short the same stuff it takes to be successful as a trader....so most of them end up not doing too well unless they get a good solid business manager behind them, in which case, unfortunatly, they can flourish.
    #10     Aug 29, 2007