Guest Post: Mistakes … I made a few

I wrote a little ‘Saturday Post’ that I thought wouldn’t get a lot of attention … after all Saturdays and Sundays are the ‘crash days’ for bloggers … at least they seem to be for me.

You see, those are the days that the Stats Graph takes a nosedive and I begin to wonder where all the readers have gone …

… then on Monday, there you are again (for some reason Wednesday and Thursday are the peak days), usually in even greater numbers than before.

Anyhow, the post was just about some of the mistakes that I had made … with the biggest mistake, by far, being not starting early enough in both my business-building and investing careers.

By coincidence, and I didn’t mention it at the time, I suffered a huge paper loss with one of my investments just as I was writing that post … enough to send most people into a foetal position, never to recover!

Even in the face of that loss, I didn’t see the need to alter a single word in that post: I still maintain that ‘time loss’ (i.e. not starting early enough) cost me far, far more … but, because I did start eventually, this loss whilst huge is nowhere near catastrophic to my personal financial situation … a mere blip on the chart … sick, I know. But, true 🙂

Anyhow, Alex weighed in on that post with one of the longest, most honest, and most interesting comments that I have ever received on my blog … so, Alex (with your unwritten ‘permission’) I decided to elevate your comments, unedited and unabridged, to the lofty status of Guest Post:

I enjoyed this post very much. I’m young, and yet through your blog and other sites, I come to realize what I’m making a lot of mistakes too. I should have been a lot richer than I am today, had I not been too greedy and gullible.

My mistakes were:
1. I never had a set goals that I wanted to achieve. I went to college, straight-A for 2.5 years, because my parents paid a fortune for me to go study. Had I known what to focus on during that time, I WOULD be already rich.

I programmed a classified ads website for my college literally overnight. It was a lot of fun and caught on buzz at the school. My friends and the administrative staff (including the deans) loved it. The bookstore hated it for I let students trade textbooks by passing them. But I failed to make a single dime out of the site. I didn’t have a goal to start with. Another project for the sake of working on something exciting at first. Then after the excitement dies down, the reality kicks in. I let the site faded to nothing. Who benefited the most from my service was this one couple working at the college. He was able to sell his microwave for $35 (he thought it would be junk) and kept mentioning it when he met me.

I was there when FaceBook first started. Friends asked me that did I program Facebook too? I was there when Rube on Rails began to take off. I was there when Ajax was the kid on the block. I was there right before the spectacular financial run-ups before the credit crisis. I was there a lot of the times, and yet all I did was to be a casual observer.

My mistake was that I was not aware of the world around me at a level where I could get richer. And I didn’t have enough knowledge to understand and see what course of action I would do next.

2. I was greedy and gullible.
3rd and 4th year in college, I got hooked to trading Forex. I “invested” in prediction service. I bought the service for $2,000, on my credit card (if you search around, probably my name would show up, asking about forex…). I was a dirt poor international student, making ~ $7/hr! All I could think of was to bite the bullet, buy this service, make $20,000 from Forexso I had enough money to propose to my girlfriend at the time.

Things turned sour. I lost money in forex. The service gave out garbage signals at … 3am. My creditcard debt was like $3,000 just from this stupid service. I called them up to cancel andbecause I already signed the contract, they refused to refund me the $1,000 I haven’t paid (those guys splitted up the payments so I can fit on my cards!). I was too nice to give them a finger and get my money back. Afterwards, I experienced life of a debtor: ashamed, got called by collection agency at least 30, 40 times a day. My credit score, until now, is still at the “poor” level because of those late payments to the CC companies 3 years ago.

I remembered 2, 3 months after the whole thing about Forex died down for me, I opened up one of my paper-trading accounts. I had a 3000-pip run up (paper-profit!) for a trade I forgot to close.

The moral of this mistakes: don’t gamble on other’s people money. I was borrowing against my future incomes and placed bets on things that were too good to be true. This was bad greed.

3. I never have a mentor or know anybody that can told me: this is how you can think and focus your actions so that what you do will bring more wealth to you.

After college, I read “Think and grow rich”. The book didn’t crack my head too much at the time. I was still with the “casual observer” mindset. Fresh off college, I worked 60, 70 hours a week, making HALF of what I’m making now, hoping one day I would see the day light. Literally, my job was on 2nd shift. I worked from 4pm to 12pm, got home, worked another hour or two, then went to bed, woke up, worked from 9am to 3pm, got ready, then off to work again. It was like that for 8 months straight. I paid up all my CC debts and other responsibilities. If people tell me they are seriously in debts, have no way of re-paying what they owe, well, they will have to try to work harder and more hours. There’s no way around it. That’s why debt is slavery.

Then I started to really think where I want to be in life. Sort of a mid-life crisis for a 22 year old guy. I had the chances to talk to *quite a few* millionaires (AJC, that includes you also ) ). I kept thinking: what makes them so different from me, how could they get so far ahead financially while I was stuck here, barely making enough money to pay my dues. I begin to walk down the path of entrepreneurship. For the lack of money, I have a mindful of ideas, and now, a determination to work my way up. Now it is really to “think and grow rich.”

It took me 2 years to come to realize my first financial goal: a number to reach when I’m 30. I will keep working 12, 13, 14 hours a day until I reach my goal. I will keep thinking, learning, asking questions, finding answers. I will continue making more mistakes, but each time, I’ll be a bit wiser and more determined to go forward.

Learning from my mistakes, here are how I keep myself from repeating the same mistakes:

– Never get into credit card debt. Ever.
– Surroundmyself with people of the same thinkings. I have to be in the right environment to grow and learn faster.
– Talk to people who has actually done it, e.g. getting rich so I can learn from them. Surprisingly, once I had told myself to do this, I started to know a lot more millionaires!
– Fake the mindset of successful people until I make it. Having the determination to achieve the dream.
– Work harder and smarter. If I work 8 hrs/day to make other people richer, I will have to work more than that for myself in order to go charging forward.
– I need to have enough money in case I see an opportunity, plus I have to prepare a cushion of cash as a safety net to fall back to, if I happen to fall down in this entrepreneur path. I will certainly get right back up again, but having a cushion will be much better and give me a warm feeling inside.

I wanted to write more, but it’s time to work on my project )

AJC, thanks for sharing with us your experience!

No, Alex, thank you for sharing with us your experience!! 

20/20 Hindsight is a wonderful thing … but, the important thing is that you learned from your ‘mistakes’ (I prefer to call them your ‘first swing at the ball’) and quickly moved on.

Alex, is an immigrant to the USA, he is here without family, without a support network, yet he is incredibly gifted in what he does and has a mind chock-full of ideas … Alex is definitely a guy ‘on the way up’.

Anybody else feel like sharing? Please feel free to comment as long/short as you like …

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0 thoughts on “Guest Post: Mistakes … I made a few

  1. As a 25 year old, I greatly appreciate hearing about and learning from mistakes others have made. thanks for the insight.

  2. @ Jeremy – as a 49 y.o. I reckon that I can DOUBLE that motion … thanks, Jeremy. And, thanks Alex!

  3. @ Jeremy – Real-estate is just one way to get rich(er) quick(er) and, even more importantly, a great tool to stay rich. Having said that, I have more posts on this subject lined up, but have some other stuff to cover first. In the meantime, check out Alltop’s new section on real estate for lots of great RE ‘specialist’ blogs:

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