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My Worst Investment Ever Podcast

Author: Dr. Andrew Stotz

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The mission of My Worst Investment Ever Podcast is to share stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it. 

Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research, a company that provides institutional and high net worth investors with ready-to-invest stock portfolios that aim to beat the benchmark through superior stock selection.

To find more stories like this, previous episodes, and resources to help you reduce your risk visit
307 Episodes
During the COVID-19 lockdown, when most corporate training stopped, ( Michael Teoh) led his company, ( Thriving Talents), to pivot from their usual corporate consulting, team building, and employee training practices to work with SMEs to help their sales teams market and sell better and to boost the performance of work-from-home staff. Since then, Thriving Talents have helped 150 companies generate 5-to-6-figure revenue within the initial 3-month lockdown period. They have also taught thousands of remote staff in Malaysia, India, Singapore, Australia and the US on “Mental Health & Productivity.” Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael accumulated 16 years of experience, working in various capacities as a Management Consultant, Branding Strategist, Outreach Campaigns Director, and Serial Entrepreneur. Michael has served Fortune 500 Companies across 41 countries.   “As long as you’re willing. There will always be a path for a better future for you.” Michael Teoh   Worst investment everMichael had just started his company, Thriving Talents, in 2013 when he made his worst investment ever. He was very fortunate when he first started. The company got big clients, including fortune 500 companies. Michael was bathing in grandiose and in the prestige of working with the world’s largest, most influential organizations, leaders, and brands. He was making progress in life. Investing in crude oilMichael was approached to invest in crude oil. The investment company told him that he could be the trader ( trading derivatives and commodities). But since he did not have millions of dollars to do that, they advised him to get into drilling the crude oil. Michael figured that made sense. What Michael was buying was land in Canada and the British Virgin Islands so that the investment company could extract crude oil out of it. The company promised Michael a fair return of 12% per year. The return sounded relatively little to Michael, but the company convinced him that anyone promising him 12% a month instead of a year was a scam. Too lucrative a deal, can my family join?Michael did the math quickly and realized that he would get $10,000 every month in return if he were to invest a million dollars. But because he did not have this kind of money, Michael called his grandmother and parents and asked them to join and put their entire savings into it. Though they were not computer savvy, they could not transfer funds luckily missed out on the opportunity. Getting his payoutTrue to their word, the investment company paid Michael his 12% per year for about a year. Now that he had received his money, they asked him to recommend them to other CEOs and friends. While Micahel wanted to share this excellent investment plan with other people, for some reason, he didn’t have that chance to be active and to be serious in promoting it to his inner circle. The cat and mouse games beginOne and a half years later, the company stopped paying. Michael asked them about it, and they told him not to worry; it was just a minor problem with the transaction. Because they had built Michael’s trust for an entire year, he allowed them to pay him in the next six months. Then after six months, they just disappeared. A con game played so wellIn the one and a half years that the company was paying Michael, they held regular meetings. He was invited to go to their posh office, and they would show him actual videos of them going to the site in Canada and the British Virgin Islands. He would see them purchasing the equipment, the drills, and interviewing some chief engineers representing actual oil and gas companies. They even had letters from local governments, acknowledging that the company would be mining crude oil. It all seemed so believable. Accepting that he had
At the age of 23, ( Michael Brody-Waite) was a full-blown drug addict. Every day he drank a fifth of vodka and a twelve-pack of beer, he smoked two packs of cigarettes and more weed than any human should, and he did whatever other drugs he could get his hands on. He had been kicked out of college, fired from his job, and evicted from his apartment. He had no money and no home. He was throwing up blood and believed he would be dead before his thirtieth birthday. Then, on September 1, 2002, after running out of options and fearing death, he checked into rehab, entered recovery, and has been transforming himself every day since. Michael’s TEDx Nashville YouTube video, ( Great Leaders Do What Drug Addicts Do), is the number one talk in TEDx Nashville’s history. It has been seen by 1,000,000+ people in 25+ countries and provides insight into his seventeen-year journey from addiction and near homelessness to successful entrepreneurship. This talk sparked the #MaskFreeMovement that brought awareness to Michael’s Mask-Free Program, built on three principles inspired by his recovery, showing leaders how to achieve balance, reclaim energy, and thrive in work and life. Michael is an acclaimed speaker, Inc. 500 entrepreneur, award-winning, three-time CEO, a leadership coach, and author of ( Great Leaders Live Like Drug Addicts: How to Lead Like Your Life Depends on It). His accomplishments include being named a Most Admired CEO, named to the Top 40 Under 40, and is recognized by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce as Healthcare Entrepreneur of the Year.   “If you’re suffering right now, the worst thing about you can be the best thing about you.” Michael Brody-Waite   Worst investment everMichael had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. And so, at the height of the US recession, he decided to max out his credit card, drain his 401k and blow his savings to start a company. The company Michael started was called Inquicker, a platform that lets patients schedule appointments online. At the time in the States, 99% of healthcare appointments were made over the phone. Michael started the company with his partner a year after getting married. They were bootstrapped and became quite successful and ended up being an Inc 500 company. The company grew 20,000% in six years. Hiding his weaknesses so wellAs his success grew, Michael also became quite good at hiding his most significant weaknesses. He had gotten good at telling people that he was a recovering drug addict. But when he started being recognized as a successful CEO, the temptation to hide his weaknesses grew. Michael had always told his story as the homeless drug addict who beat his addiction and becomes a huge success. However, he did not feel like the successful man the world saw him as. Michael was, in fact, struggling to be a great leader. His world starts to crumbleIn 2013 Michael got blindsided by two of his most important relationships. His business partner decided to take his equity away and tried to get him unseated as CEO of their company. At the same time, his marriage was in turmoil, and his wife wanted to file for divorce. While Michael was good at admitting that he was a drug addict, he was bad at admitting how much he was failing to navigate both of these issues. Failing as a leaderWith these two issues hanging over Michael’s head, his role as a leader suffered. Suddenly, this voracious leader who cared about his people was gone because he did not know how to face his team. Whenever he would be in business meetings, he would put this mask on, pretending that everything was okay because that is what the CEO of any 500 company does. Trying to handle his issuesMichael had suffered for too long, so he decided to find a middle ground with his wife and partner. He signed a marital dissolution... (Marcus Luer) is Asia’s #1 Sports Marketing Entrepreneur and the Group CEO of ( Total Sports Asia (TSA)), Asia’s global sports marketing agency, which he founded 23 years ago in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Marcus is a sought-after industry expert and speaker and has been featured on CNBC, BBC News, Bloomberg Asia, regularly presents at major global sports conferences, and has contributed to many international newspapers and industry magazine articles. He recently launched his ( Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast) series featuring top sports executives and entrepreneurs from around the world.   “Pivoting is important, but I think you also got to be careful not to distract yourself too much.” Marcus Luer   Worst investment everInspired by Netflix, Marcus started his own over the top platform SportsFix. SportsFix is a live sports streaming platform. He felt very confident about this platform because he knew the sports industry in and out. Given his over 20 years of experience, he knew where to buy content and what the audience was looking for. Launching the platform with confidenceMarcus put a team together, put in some of his money into the platform, and even brought external investors. He launched the platform in 2018, believing it would be a gamechanger. SpotsFix was at first available in Malaysia, and then after about eight months, it launched in Indonesia. Why this very good idea never succeededWhile SportsFix was and remains a good idea, Marcus and his team made a couple of mistakes that crippled the idea. Marcus and his team did not understand the consumption habits in Asia. He assumed the Asian market would consume online content the same way people in the West do. But there is a vast difference. People in Asia were not ready to sign up and pay for content, given that there is a lot of free content available. Another thing that Marcus overlooked was piracy. He did not realize there was a massive amount of piracy out there, which the team could not stop. Trying to pivotAfter learning that he had overlooked several vital factors, Marcus tried to change the business model. At one point, he changed the model from a subscription model to an ad-driven model. The constant pivoting saw Marcus get distracted from the original SpotFix idea. In trying to make the business idea work, Marcus ran out of money before he could get the confidence of his investors. Lessons learnedKeep your eye on the ball, and do not get distractedBuilding a business is not easy, and you may want to keep pivoting as you find your ground. However, be careful not to get distracted from your primary goal as you pivot. Find success in your local market before you go globalDo not be too aggressive in your growth strategy. Begin by winning your local market so that you have a strong foundation to ( expand globally). If your home market is weak and you try to go global right away, you will have a hard time cracking the global market. Andrew’s takeawaysShould you pivot or shut down your idea?As a business owner, always evaluate your business idea critically before you decide to pivot. Sometimes a business idea could be a bad idea. When an idea is bad, it does not matter how many times you pivot it; it will not work. You are better off shutting it down to avoid wasting your time and money. Allocate your business resources wiselyLimited resources are one of the biggest challenges many new entrepreneurs face. Your ultimate success or failure is dependent on how you allocate those resources. So be careful how you do it. Test your product within your local market firstTest your product with a small market, see how it feels about it, make necessary adjustments, and then scale to a bigger market. Actionable adviceDo not get so caught...
Before becoming a marketing entrepreneur, ( Andrew Muller) worked for Microsoft in their pay per click (PPC) division. His company ( (Andrew Muller Creative)) now specializes in a new type of hyper-agile market testing called The Market Testing Incubator, where he’s able to test hundreds of ideas in a month (his average market test costs $2.63, which is about 50x cheaper than the industry standard) intending to lower lead costs. He helps clients who are spending thousands on media buying a month but aren’t getting the return on investment (ROI) they need.   “An ounce of prevention is like a pound of cure. Test your ideas to understand what the market wants.” Andrew Muller   Worst investment everAndrew was 16 years old and about to graduate high school when he decided to find work to pay his bills after graduating. However, Andrew did not want to be employed but rather preferred working for himself. Getting started with Google AdSenseAndrew discovered ( Google AdSense), and he immediately built a content website and filled it with content. He loved the business idea, and he believed it would be his retirement plan. Skipping the market research partAndrew did not do much research, and anytime he ran into market research that went against what he wanted to do, he would ignore it and do what he wanted to do instead. This ignorance led Andrew into choosing a niche that was difficult to make money in: music. It was very difficult to monetize his website. Doing it anywayEven though Andrew could see that his Google AdSense idea was failing, he kept at it. First, he did it for six months. He even created a course on how to use music production software. That did not work too. But Andrew kept at it until he was 23 years old. Finally putting his ego asideAndrew’s business idea was doomed from the start. He had spent almost seven years investing all his skills into this thing that never worked. Andrew could still not pay his bills from his business, and so he was on Employment Insurance. At one point, he was so broke he had nothing to eat. At this point, Andrew decided it was time to put aside his ego and accept that his idea was a big fail. So he gave up on that dream. Getting a jobAndrew found a job at an agency. Luckily, finding a job was not too hard for him because he had acquired lots of skills while running his business. Andrew had done everything in ( internet marketing), including email marketing, writing a 500 article website, paid ads, marketing strategy, automation, and more. Lessons learnedTake feedback, put your ego aside and pivot your businessWhen you get feedback about something that is not working, put your ego aside, and make the changes you need. This will prevent you from continuing on the path that is not working. Market research is fundamental; do not skip itMany business owners find market research very dull, and so they skip it. Then they spend a year or more running a failing, instead of spending just one day of market research that will guide them on how to pivot their businesses. Marketing and sales are two completely different business functionsMarketing is not sales, and neither is sales marketing. Marketing is bringing someone to the door, and the salesperson takes them across the finish line. Not understanding the difference between the two critical functions can lead to tension between marketing people and salespeople. Such tension reduces the quality of your leads, which ultimately affects your bottom line. Andrew’s takeawaysSave your time and money by testing your ideas firstTest your ideas so that you do not waste your time pursuing unprofitable ideas. If you test your ideas and realize that they will not work, do not hesitate to change them. Put people’s advice into (Shan Saeed) is Chief Economist at Juwai IQI, a leading property, technology, and investment company operating and advising clients in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Makati, Toronto, and Dubai. He has 20 years of financial market experience in private banking, risk and compliance management, commodity investments, global economy, and brand and business strategy. Based in Kuala Lumpur, he is a financial market commentator cited in various news outlets around the world. Shan graduated from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and got his first MBA from IBA Pakistan in collaboration with the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also trained in Alternative Banking/Strategies from Harvard Business School.   “In order to be successful in your life, you need to work hard, have an abiding faith in Almighty God, and lastly, which I strongly believe in, your mother’s blessing.” Shan Saeed   Worst investment everShan was always impressed by his mom’s investing acumen. She had started investing in gold from the time when Shan was a kid. When Shan finished his first MBA in 1999, his mom encouraged him to read about gold and oil. However, Shan was not interested. At the time, Shan was focusing on his career and getting his second MBA. So he was saving money for that. Finally getting round to investingThe price of gold had been going up steadily since 1971. In 1971 gold prices were trading at $35 per troy ounce, and in 1980 it was $850. The price went down in 2001 to $257 per ounce. But in 2011, the price hit $1,923. Even though Shan had been keeping an eye on gold and knew how lucrative it was, he did not start investing until 2007. That was pretty late, and he was indeed behind the curve. Shan’s worst investment was the ignorance that saw him miss out on some good returns from gold for at least six to seven years. Lessons learnedSave to investAs soon as you start working, you should allocate 10 to 20% of your saving to investing. Cut down your expenses and save that money. Understand the market before you start investingBefore you start investing, you must first understand the market. So do your homework and get your market intelligence report. When you get to know the market well, you will be able to choose your investments wisely. Understand your risk profile and have an exit strategyUnderstand your risk profile and your risk-reward ratio. And most importantly, you need to have an exit strategy. Andrew’s takeawaysPut aside a specific amount of money for investingYou have to be very intentional with your investment plan. Make it a habit to save by putting aside a certain amount. Do not use it for anything else other than investing. Whether it is 5% or 10%, or 20% of your salary, allocate it to investing in stocks, gold, property, or bonds. Then manage your portfolio slowly and steadily over time. Actionable adviceBe aggressive, gather as much information about the financial market as you can. Listen to people’s ( advice about investing), but make your own decision. No. 1 goal for the next 12 monthsShan’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to take a long position in gold and silver, be very aggressive in the market, and keep himself up to date.   [spp-transcript]   Connect with Shan Saeed (LinkedIn) (Twitter) (Website) Andrew’s books (How to Start Building Your Wealth Investing (Jonathan Palmar) makes videos.   “People will always disappoint you because your expectations will never match what they provide you with.” Jonathan Palmar   Worst investment everEver seeking approvalLike most people, Jonathan grew up believing that he needed to trust in the constant search for other people’s approval. As is human nature, Jonathan wanted to fit into the pack. He found himself often wanting people to give him the validation that he was going on the right path. The nagging need to be validatedJonathan’s need for approval sometimes got pretty dramatic. He would often put himself in gravely uncomfortable situations. There was this one time that Jonathan wanted to complete this project so badly. He put his heart and soul into this project because he wanted his boss to be happy. When he finally went to present it, his boss responded nonchalantly and tossed it to the side. Getting to his breaking pointJonathan was devastated by the reaction he received from his boss so much that it threw him to his breaking point. He realized that he had put all this time into the project, and he ought to be proud of himself. Jonathan also admitted that he would always get disappointed if he kept trying to get people to validate him. Adjusting his expectations of othersAfter this incident, Jonathan learned that he had wasted so much money and time ( searching for validation from people). Now he has stepped out of this kind of thinking. He lives his life without seeking approval from anyone, including his friends, family, coworkers, and audience. Lessons learnedOutward approval brings you zero rewardThere is no reward in searching for approval or doing things to get acceptance from other people. Stop seeking validation from others and be your number one cheerleader. You need to invest more in yourself and not other peopleWe need to focus more on building ourselves up and investing in ourselves instead of on building others. Partner with someone who gives as much as they takeFind somebody you can work with within a balanced partnership in which the give and take are equal. If you find yourself in a situation where the amount of effort that you are putting to get validation is not equal to the outcome that your partner provides you with, then you need to leave. Andrew’s takeawaysWhat other people think of you is none of your businessBe comfortable with the fact that this is your life, your decision, and your thinking. Some people are going to like it, and some won’t. But that is their problem. So have the courage to live your life, and do your things without getting concerned with what people think about you. Actionable adviceYou have to polish your diamond. Nurture yourself as an investment. Take the time to look introspectively and figure out what is important to you, and then have the courage to act on it. You cannot start to love and care for people until you begin to love and care for yourself. No. 1 goal for the next 12 monthsJonathan’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to live a day at a time and not plan a single moment. Parting words  “This wasn’t the worst podcast I’ve ever been on. So I consider this a success story.” Jonathan Palmar   [spp-transcript]   Connect with Jonathan Palmar (LinkedIn) Andrew’s books (How to Start Building Your Wealth Investing in the Stock Market) (My Worst Investment... (Dale Dupree) is leading a sales rebellion against the mediocre ways of the status quo in order to put people over products, community over commissions, experiences over performing a pitch, and fellowship over negotiations.   “If you miss it at 30, and you don’t find it until 60, it’s okay. Being patient with your outcomes is what’s most important instead of trying to force them.” Dale Dupree   Worst investment everWhen Dale was 23 years old, he had ambitions to become a rockstar. He rubbed elbows with big names in the industry, such as Lou Pearlman, a well-known record producer. Meet the who is who in the music industryOne day, Dale got invited to Pearlman’s mansion for a hangout with the who is who in the industry. He was elated to receive the invite because this was his chance to network with the music industry big wigs. The enticing investment opportunityWhile at the mansion, Pearlman and other big wigs from Warner Brothers, Sony, and Universal Records did a video presentation of a product similar to Spotify where a user could access any album they wanted at a subsidized rate. Now in 2007, this was huge. The big wigs invited those in attendance to invest in the product. One could choose to invest $50,000, $20,000 or $10,000. Dale liked the idea. Here comes the pyramid schemeAfter signing up for the investment, Dale got informed that he had to get 10 of his friends to sign up underneath him, and all their sales would level him up. Then came the wait for returns. A year later, Dale had made nothing. Two years later, he still had not seen any return on his investment. Eventually, in 2012 the scheme was shut down by the government. Dale never made anything from this investment. Lessons learnedJust because someone has a big name does not mean that they are credibleBe careful when investing in something just because someone famous has endorsed it. Just because a big wig has put their name on something does not give it credibility. Just because a celebrity says you should do something does not mean that you should. Always do your due diligence. We control our outcomes much better than other people canNever believe in a scheme that tells you to sit back, relax, and have other people make you money. If you want to be rich, you have to work hard. Do not depend on luck. Making smart, intentional decisions and being very aware of what you are doing will create the wealth you desire, not joining pyramid schemes. Andrew’s takeawaysKnow the difference between multi-level marketing and Ponzi schemesThere is a fine line between multi-level marketing and pyramid/Ponzi schemes. A Ponzi scheme involves getting paid out from what other people are paying, while multi-level marketing involves real products and services. There are legitimate multi-level marketing methods of distributing products. However, a pyramid scheme is illegal. It is, therefore, vital that you know the difference between the two. You do not want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law. There is no legal fast way of making moneyIt takes time to make money. You have to invest it and let it grow slowly and compound. Do not go looking for shortcuts. Question the motivation behind every opportunity offered to youEverybody who is approaching you with an opportunity is doing so from a financial incentive perspective. Nothing wrong with that as it is just business. Whether they are a salesperson, or an entrepreneur selling a dream, they will be motivated by some financial incentive. Understand that incentive so that you can make a better decision. If those incentives are not stated clearly or are hard to figure out, or someone denies that they have some financial incentive, then take that as a warning sign. Actionable adviceThere is so much fakeness out there, be very careful about what you perceive to be real. If you cannot touch it, feel it, see it, or believe it, it is not real. Make the right... (Chris Tate) is one of the first people to ever release a share trading book in Australia. He is the best-selling author of ( The Art of Trading) and ( The Art of Options Trading in Australia). He’s been running the 6-month repeat-for-free ( Mentor Program) since the year 2000, and he’s also the founder of the ( Talking Trading podcast), a free weekly trading podcast. With a background as an immunologist and his previous work as a bouncer, Chris’s life experiences will amaze you. When he’s not hanging out with his traders, he can be seen lifting weights at the gym, enjoying yoga, and trying to get a personal best time on his rowing machine in his garage.   “Time is more important than money because money can be replaced; time cannot.” Chris Tate   Worst investment everChris began his career as an immunologist and had a profession in academia mapped out for himself. However, he started to trade in the 80s bull market in Australia. Chris made the mistake of thinking that because everything he bought succeeded, he was somewhat a genius. When his luck stopped, Chris thought he should learn about trading. He figured stockbrokers know best about stocks. Joining a broking firmChris conned his way into a broking firm based on the fact that his background is reasonably quantitative. Derivatives were beginning to take off in Australia, and he seemed to have an affinity for understanding them. Stockbrokers know squat about tradingAs soon as Chris joined the broking firm, he learned that stockbrokers knew nothing about trading. He found out the person sitting opposite him had been selling shoes two weeks beforehand, and the person sitting next to him had been selling carpets. Chris quickly learned that broking was a sales profession and not of analysis and execution. Making the best of what he had learnedNow that Chris had realized that brokers would never teach him how to trade, he had to make the most of his situation. He was still working for a brokerage anyway. Chris noted that being in a dealing room gave him access to information he did not have before. It also gave him access to a trading floor that helped him understand ebbs and flows very quickly. Chris also got to understand the cyclical nature of emotion that drives price. And so he thought he could marry his access to information and the trading floor together. Chris spent many years as a broker taking the opportunities presented to him to hone his skills. There was an easy and quick way to learn about tradingIn hindsight, working in the brokerage for so long was his worst investment ever because he just burned time, not knowing that time is precious. He now realizes that he did not think through the problem well. Chris’s problem was his desire to learn how to trade, and instead of going back to school and take a degree in Finance, he went to ( work for a brokerage). A Master’s degree would have taken him between 18 months and two years, and it would have given him different connections within the industry. Lessons learnedTime is precious invest it wiselyTime, unlike money, cannot be replaced. Therefore invest your time wisely. You can make more money should you lose it, but once your time is gone, that is it. There are many opportunities to make money. But no option or scheme grants you time. Take risks when you are youngIt is best to take risks and make mistakes when you are young because you still have time to recover and learn from your mistakes. Andrew’s takeawaysIf you want to learn about trading, go to a trader, not a brokerBrokers are simply salespeople who package ideas for... (Benjamin Quinlan) is the CEO and Managing Partner of ( Quinlan & Associates). He is also the Chairman of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong, an Adjunct Professor at the AIT School of Management, a Mentor for PingAn’s Cloud Accelerator, a Guest Contributor for eFinancialCareers and Regulation Asia, and a Senior Advisor to many leading startups in the region. He was previously the Head of Strategy for Deutsche Bank’s equities business in the Asia Pacific and its Investment Bank in Greater China. He has also worked at UBS, Oliver Wyman, and PwC.   “You’ve got to be in the game and not on the sidelines; otherwise, you are never going to get involved to the degree you need to make things work for you.” Benjamin Quinlan   Worst investment everInvesting in cryptocurrency with all the hypeIn 2017, there was all this hype going on around cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin was literally on the financial news headlines every day. As a strategic consultant, Benjamin likes to put a lot of data and thought behind how he looks at new opportunities and new developments, particularly in the financial services industry. So Benjamin deployed his team and tasked them with cracking this new cryptocurrency. His focus was on learning what this ecosystem was all about and the real value of this very elusive Bitcoin that everyone kept referring to. Finding a way to value BitcoinAs Benjamin and his team tried to crack Bitcoin, they realized that nobody knew its worth. Analysts in the market said it was worth zero, while the people ( rushing to invest in Bitcoin) were saying it was worth a million. But they were all in agreement about one thing; there were zero methodologies and approaches to valuing Bitcoin. The team sat down and worked out how to value this new currency. The team came up with four different methodologies. Every single method pointed to the fact that this was a massive speculative bubble. Sharing his report with the marketBenjamin and his team concluded that Bitcoin was just a speculative investment that would plummet in no time. At the time of Benjamin’s research, the price of Bitcoin was around $20,000. In Benjamin’s report, he predicted that the price of Bitcoin at the end of 2018 would be $1,800. By the end of the year, it hit $3,100. Claim to fameBloomberg cited Benjamin’s report as the most accurate crypto forecaster in the world. The report got so much coverage around the world and even made it into Quora and Reddit. The advice he had but never tookOne day, Benjamin was on international TV, CNBC, and the anchor asked him, “So Benjamin, given all of your research and analysis and thought process, are you shorting Bitcoin?” He said, “No, we do not. Because as an independent consulting firm, we do not get involved in the investment side.” Benjamin watched as Bitcoin continued to plummet throughout the year and could not help but think about the amount of money he could have made from backing the advice he and his team were so confident of. But alas, he did not do it. It would have been great to put his money where his mouth is. Lessons learnedThe success of any investment lies in thorough researchWhen considering an investment, including cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, do thorough research first. Do not just look at technicals and theories. You need to look at what is going on in the broader market too. Back your thought process with convictionYou will not always get everything you do right but no matter what happens, always back up your decisions with conviction. If you strongly believe that your decision is right, then stick by it. Andrew’s takeawaysTake a small position and grow it over timeJust because your gut tells you to do something does not mean you have to go all in. Invest just a little
Born and bred in a small coal mining and steel mill town in Western Pennsylvania, ( Ric Franzi) moved to California after graduating with a B.A. in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh. While in Southern California, he continued his education by attaining his MBA from Pepperdine University. Ric is the host of the ( Critical Mass Radio Show & Podcast) and an author of ( three books) and frequently speaks to CEOs and business owners. He has been featured on Forbes, INC, CNBC, and many others.   “When you emotionally want something, it is amazing how you can mentally rationalize that it makes sense.” Ric Franzi   Worst investment everRic and his wife had family friends whom they had known for a very long time. The friends had a son, Henry, who was one of two co-founders of the company Broadcom. The company is a very well recognized chip manufacturer. The couple has known Henry forever, and they trusted him. Henry had started other successful businesses, and so they knew him to be a successful entrepreneur. Getting the first chance to invest in their friend’s startup companyRic and his wife got a chance to buy shares into Broadcom at a family and friends rate. Being the cautious investor he is, Ric called his broker and talked to him about the idea of investing in Broadcom. The broker told him that he did not have to but that the shares were three times higher than the price he could buy them. With that advice, he made up his mind to purchase the shares. Selling their shares to build a poolBroadcom was doing well, and so Ric was quite delighted with the decision they had made. After a while, the couple decided to build a pool and do some modernization to their house. Since the couple had made enough money on the Broadcom stock, they decided to sell it and use that money to finance the project rather than getting a second mortgage. So they took the gains off the table and spent it on something that they wanted. The couple spent tons of time in that pool with their growing children and made lots of family memories. Leaving money on the tableWhile building a pool and improving their house was a fantastic personal decision, selling their stock too early saw the couple lose a lot of money. The Broadcom shares continued to appreciate. Ric was pained to realize that they had made a very foolish financial decision by selling an appreciating asset to get a depreciating one. Lessons learnedDo not sell an appreciating asset to buy a depreciating oneDo not buy depreciating assets, especially if you have to sell an appreciating asset. It never works out well. Also, do not overbuy depreciating assets. Seek the assistance of a financial advisor whenever you need to sell your investmentsIf you have an urgent need for cash and the only way to raise it is to sell your investments, then ( consult a financial advisor) and figure out how to minimize the drain on your finances. Do not let emotions take control of your decisions. Have someone who can offer you uncompromised adviceHave someone trusted who will advise and reason with you without any emotions involved whenever you want to make financial and investment decisions. Andrew’s takeawaysPeople miss opportunities every day. So do not beat yourself upIt is painful to look back at the opportunities that we miss. The best way to deal with the emotion of that is to remember that everyone has missed many other opportunities. Test things out with a small positionWhen you encounter a stock whose price goes up or down, take a small amount of that stock and sell it or buy it depending on the price’s direction. Actionable adviceSolicit outside advice from people who have no vested interest (Mighty Pete Lonton) from the ( Fire In The Belly) show is an author, soon to be TEDx speaker (Jan 2021), podcast host, mentor, entrepreneur, property investor, husband, and father of three beautiful girls. Pete’s background is in project management and property, but his true passion is the ‘Fire In The Belly’ show and project. His mission is to help others find their potential and become the mightiest version of themselves. Pete openly talks about losing both of his parents, suffering periods of depression, business downturn, burn-out, and ultimately his years spent not stoking ‘Fire In The Belly.’ In 2017, at 37.5 years of age, that changed, and he is now on a journey of learning, growing, accepting, and inspiring others.   “Not everything that shimmers is gold. Just because it looks good and it smells good doesn’t mean it is good.” Pete Lonton   Worst investment everPete started investing in property 20 years ago in his early 20s. It has always been something that has worked for him in the background. Pete, over time, came up with a very successful ( property investment model) that was super simple. The model looked for a 10% growth yield that brought a return on investment in three years. Pete retained the asset but would add value to it or buy an undervalued property and get it back up to value. Exploring new opportunitiesPete had the opportunity to meet somebody who was a much bigger investor than him. The man was heading towards retirement, and his portfolio was about ten times the size of Pete’s portfolio. The man wanted to offload his portfolio, and Pete saw an opportunity to grow his portfolio. The two gentlemen quickly grew on each other and had a good rapport. Sizing up the opportunityPete got invited to go and take a look at the properties with a view of potentially doing a deal. One particular property stood out as a good investment opportunity. The Gulf Open was coming to a location in Northern Ireland, and as a result, accommodation was under severe demand. The property could be developed into a guest house, or it could be knocked down and built into ten apartments. The property, therefore, had both short term and long term potential. The universe bending to make this happenThe deal was a five-year lease, with an agreement to buy. So that gave Pete five years of a head start on the lease agreement. The sale price to be paid in five years was pre-agreed on the commitment to sell and for Pete to buy. With this kind of arrangement, financing the deal would not be a problem for Pete. Contracts were drawn in just a matter of days, and everything seemed to be moving along pretty fast. The pressure to close the deal was on. One little issueEverything seemed to be right with this deal except one thing—it went against his property investment model. Pete started feeling off about the whole deal, and he decided to run it through someone else who would look at it with fresh eyes. Pete assembled his family, friends, and colleagues, took them to the property, and asked them for their feedback. They were all against the deal. Their reaction came as a huge shocker for Pete but was also a big wake up call. Backing out of an agreementFortunately, Pete had not signed the deal yet though they had had a gentleman’s handshake. Pete felt guilty about having to back out of the deal, but he had to protect himself from making his worst investment ever. Lessons learnedStick to your investment modelDo not let anyone rush you into a deal, especially if it goes against your investment model. Take time to make significant decisionsBefore you make a major decision, sleep on it, and give it some more thought. You never have to make a decision right away. Not everything that shimmers is goldJust because it looks good and it smells good does not...
Best of 2020 Podcast Episodes Roundup“Hello, fellow risk-takers, and welcome to My Worst Investment Ever,” that’s how I start every one of the 300+ My Worst Investment Ever Podcast episodes I have recorded. Below are some of the highlights from the 170 people I interviewed in 2020. One of the things that makes the investors, businessmen and women, and experts who come on the show extraordinary is their willingness to share their worst investment with the world. Most people I ask to go on the show say, “No, thank you.” The good news for you is that you don’t have to experience their loss. Listen and absorb the lessons they teach. Whether you’re an experienced investor or just starting your investment journey, these podcasts can give you a different investment perspective and expand your knowledge. To get straight to the lessons, just click here and download my one-page cheat sheet. (Ep250: Stephen Kalayjian – The Key to Success in Trading Is to Have Discipline) (Stephen Kalayjian) is a Chief Market Strategist and co-founder of ( Ticker Tocker). He has decades of experience trading stocks, futures, currencies and has traded nearly 2 billion shares. Steve shared how, in his youth, he used his hard-earned money to buy 550 calls and assumed that stocks only went higher (they don’t). Key takeawaysDiscipline is the key to success It’s better to admit you are wrong; than to lose all your money Know when to continue or quit a specific investment (Ep248: Karen Foo – Risk Management Is the Key to Success in Forex) (Karen Foo) is a motivational speaker, financial trainer, and author. She has ranked #1 in a Singapore nationwide Forex trading competition. You can find her on her ( YouTube channel). Karen shared how she lost her savings when she invested in forex and unit trusts without guidance and research. Key takeawaysRisk management is the key to long-term success Seek out mentors who are experts in what you want to learn Write out your investment plan before investing Do your research, ask more questions than you answer (Ep279: James Jani – You May Gain the Right Skills From the Wrong Path) (James Jani) is a YouTube Expert and Vlogger, who creates thought-provoking documentaries on ( YouTube) about Business, Money, and Life. James shared his story of investing years of his life into acting without success, only to realize later acting wasn’t what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Key takeawaysBe brave to follow your purpose in life, no matter what. The skills you gain from every experience combine to help you create value in the future. (Ep249: Chris Mayer – Build a List of 5 Quality Companies and Enter at the Next Market Fall) (Chris Mayer) is the co-founder and portfolio manager of the ( Woodlock House Family Capital fund). He has authored four books, including ( 100 Baggers: Stocks that Return 100-to-1 and How to Find Them), ranked 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon with 290 reviews. You can follow him on ( Twitter). Chris’s worst investment story happened when he bought cheap companies while disregarding what (Larry Levine) is the best-selling author of ( Selling from the Heart) and the co-host of the ( Selling from the Heart Podcast). In a post trust sales world, Larry Levine helps sales teams leverage the power of authenticity to grow revenue, grow themselves, and enhance their clients’ lives. Larry has coached sales professionals across the world, from tenured reps to new millennials entering the salesforce. They all appreciate the practical, real, raw, relevant, relatable, and “street-savvy” nature of his coaching. Larry is not shy when it comes to delivering his message. In a world full of empty suits, Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed by helping them to uncover their true value before they get visible. Larry is leading a revolution of authenticity, integrity, and substance in the sales profession.   “If you can self reflect, become self-aware of who you are, and work on the inner part of who you are, you, it fills your outer success.” Larry Levine   Worst investment everLarry helped start a company in LA in 1994. In 2000 he bought into the company that went on to expand rapidly. Wanting to explore more optionsIn 2012, Larry started feeling that it was time for him to move on. His work environment had become too toxic and dysfunctional. It was time for Larry to explore other options. In 2013, Larry sold his shares of the company, and after about eight months, he left the company for good. Starting afreshAfter working for almost 20 years with the same company where he poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, Larry made a career decision to go somewhere else. This time he decided to go to a large corporation. He was now a newbie in one of the biggest corporate firms in LA. Larry was number 18 on an 18 person corporate account team. To prove himself, Larry got an exorbitantly high quota for the year. For 90 days, it was a rough roller coaster for him but, Larry took everything he had learned, put his best foot forward, and rose in one year from number 18 to number two. He managed to bring in a million and a half dollars of brand new business. The biggest let down of his lifeIn the spring of 2015, at 50 years old, Larry was fired. For the first time, he found himself without a job. Losing his job was the worst rejection Larry had ever had in his whole life, and it hit him so bad. He cried for days. Now he had to figure out what to do with himself at 50 years old. Trusting himself to start his own businessLarry had to figure out what to do next because he had a family to take care of. He started tapping into his networks right away. A few days later, Larry’s close friend called him and suggested that he becomes a sales coach and trainer. Larry thought about his friend’s advice and realized that he could do it. But he was afraid of disappointing his dad. However, Larry decided to give it a shot. The plan was to be the best coach ever and make his dad proud. Building a successful coaching businessLarry started to coach office technology reps. He wore his emotions on his sleeves, connected deeply, and built meaningful relationships with his clients. He built a successful coaching business based on everything he had learned over the years. Lessons learnedReinvent yourself and learn from your mistakesWhether you made a horrible career investment or a bad financial investment, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep pushing forward. You are capable of doing a lot more than you think; just believe in yourselfIf you believe in yourself, you will see that you can do a lot more than you ever thought you could. Trust yourself to be great. Andrew’s takeawaysBe comfortable with facing resistance. It will propel you to greatnessEmbrace resistance, disasters, frustration, and emotions. It is this resistance that forces you to change and... (Dr. Robert B. Ramos, CFA, CAIA, CIPM), completed his undergraduate degree from the Ateneo de Manila University. He finished one master’s degree in Business Management from the Asian Institute of Management and the second one in Business Economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific. And to top that off completed his doctoral degree from De La Salle University. Robert has more than 20 years of banking and finance experience working for both Philippine and foreign institutions. He has experience in the fields of trust and asset management, product development, treasury trading, fund management, marketing, and relationship management. He is currently the First Senior Vice-President and Group Head of RCBC Trust and Investments Group. Robert is a CFA Charterholder, a CAIA Charterholder, a CIPM Certificant, and the current President of the ( CFA Society of the Philippines).   “The thing that made you a star may not work in the next few years. So be ready to adapt, not only from a firm management standpoint but also from a people management standpoint.” Robert Ramos   Worst investment everAround 2013 Robert was promoted to the head of investments and business development. He took pride in being able to select undervalued stocks. Robert would choose firms that had a good story and a massive upside. For the past seven years, this had worked very well to the point where many of the funds managed by the firm were in the upper tier. In a continued effort to grow the fundOne of Robert’s best analysts brought a good stock in the power industry to his attention. The stock was undervalued and had fantastic growth potential. Robert looked at the numbers, and he was impressed. This firm was just the best. Not only did they have great numbers, but good management too. Having a piece of the pieRobert was satisfied that this was the best stock to buy. So the firm went ahead and decided to buy a 13% stake. Watching the stockThe stock was performing well a few days after buying it. But after about three months, it started slowing down. In about six months, the stock started dipping. Initially, the decline in value of the stock was not so much that it would cause panic, but it was enough for Robert to notice. However, he believed that the numbers he had seen when evaluating the stock would save it once people saw its value. A downward spiralIn the eighth month, the stock started dipping more and more. Now everyone, including fund managers, was taking notice. In the ninth month, clients started calling because this fund that was doing so well for them suddenly was not doing well. Now the tables had turned. The stock expected to outperform the rest was the one bringing the fund down. Eventually, Robert had to sell that position. That stock remains as Robert’s worst investment ever. Lessons learnedNumbers are not the only thing that determines the value of a good stockNumbers are great, but sometimes they will lie to you. Go beyond numbers when evaluating a good stock. Check out other factors too, including management, illiquidity, the number of analysts covering the stock, and the number of people looking at the stock daily. Selling your underperforming position does not mean you are a failureUnderstand that selling a poorly performing position does not make you a failure. You have to be able to separate yourself and your actions to be able to move accordingly. If you fall in love with your position, then you fall into the trap of throwing in good money into bad money and making a problem even worse than it is. Andrew’s takeawaysBuild a position slowly, over timeBuilding a position over time is an exceptional risk management tool because it removes the excitement of owning it all. You can put your emotions aside and observe how the position performs over time, and you can increase it when you deem... (Kevin Maloney) is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience in business development, marketing, operations, and finance with early to the mid-stage consumer, media, technology, and real estate companies. He has led more than 1,000+ early mid-stage investor presentations, conducted 100+ corporate and institutional roadshows, and raised more than $90M+ in capital for a dozen early-stage companies.   “It doesn’t matter what you or your science team think. Just innovate and iterate quickly based on customer feedback.” Kevin Maloney   Worst investment everAt the age of 29, Kevin connected with some scientists working on a process to produce nanomaterials. These are very tiny metallic powders. Kevin saw the potential this technology had, so he raised $100,000 to support the development of this technology. Building one of a kind productKevin gathered the best of the best people in the industry to work on this product that would be a gamechanger. He also surrounded himself with the best mentors. The team went on to develop a high-class product. Kevin raised the first amount of capital, proved the concept, filed patents, and launched his product in 2003. Then he started engaging with a few large potential partners and potential early customers. Struggling to get paying customers for his incredible productKevin believed that if you build an incredible product, then customers will come. He was so wrong. It was an uphill task to get customers to buy his product. Kevin had wanted to start engaging customers while the product was still an idea, but his scientists insisted that he waits until they had a finished product. Kevin missed Energizer’s opportunity to engage and commit to his project because he waited to have a finished product. No money, no businessKevin’s product was not bringing in any substantial income, and he could barely raise enough capital to continue working on it. He was technically running an R&D company with great technology, looking for applications. Eventually, Kevin ran out of money. He had spent over $35 million on this project. He ended up selling the technology to a public company and got an offer for about $10 million in equity. Lessons learnedEngage customers as early as possibleEngage customers and get them to buy in as early as when your product is just a vision. Do not wait for a finished product to start engaging customers. The earlier you start doing it in your product development cycle, the better. It is easier to raise money on a passionate visionStart selling your product as soon as it is a vision; do not wait until you have a finished product. Selling a passionate vision that could change the world is less complicated than selling a ready product. When you have a ready product, people will only give you their money when they see you have paying customers. So sell your vision first to investors before you even come up with the product. You don’t have a business unless you start selling somethingServe your customer well with a great product or service, and they will pay you for it. If you want your business to be successful, make creating a sustainable customer base your focal focus. Andrew’s takeawaysGetting people to pay for your product is the hardest part of entrepreneurshipYou may have a perfect idea, employ the best team that develops the best product, but you cannot count yourself as a successful entrepreneur until you convince people to pay for your product. Actionable adviceWhen the opportunity to take your company public and raise money comes, take it. No. 1 goal for the next 12 monthsKevin’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to launch an indoor air quality, IoT sensor, and monitoring platform. He is also launching a program with his son to motivate kids, students, athletes, and entrepreneurs worldwide to hustle with grit. Parting words  “Have fun, fail quickly and often. Engage your customer and (Armand Rosamilia) is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not sleeping. He’s happily married to a woman who helps his career and is supportive, which is all he ever wanted in life. He’s written over 150 stories that are currently available, including horror, zombies, contemporary fiction, thrillers, and more. His goal is to write a good story and not worry about genre labels. He not only runs two successful podcasts but also owns the network they’re on, Project Entertainment Network. His two podcasts are ( Arm Cast Podcast) that interviews other authors, filmmakers, musicians, etc., and ( The Mando Method Podcast), with co-host Chuck Buda. The podcast talks about writing and publishing. You can find him at ( Armand Rosamilia) for his latest releases and interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes.   “When I look back on my life, at least I can say I tried, and it failed. I gave it a shot.” Armand Rosamilia   Worst investment everArmand wanted to become a writer ever since he was 12 years old. However, he was now in his 40s and was yet to muster the courage to do what he wanted to do most—write. Living a life of obligationEverything that Armand did in his life was out of obligation. He got a job to be able to pay bills and take care of his family. He hated his job so much, but he couldn’t stop working. His ex-wife would not let him quit. Armand had to continue meeting his obligation to his wife and kids. Sneaking out to pursue his passionThe dream of becoming a writer never left Armand. Every night he would sneak out of bed and stay up to write. This habit annoyed his ex-wife so much, but he kept doing it. Hitting rock bottom and rising to his dreamOne day, Armand found himself jobless, and even though his ex-wife was pushing him to get another job, he spent the time writing. He managed to finish his first story. He could not be happier even though he was dead broke. At this point, Armand’s ex-wife was tired of pushing him to get a job and decided to leave him. Armand was devastated. His life was a complete mess, and he could barely take care of his family. He was ready to take on any job to make ends meet. However, Armand’s day of becoming a writer had come. The breakthroughUnbeknownst to Armand, a publisher had picked up his book, read it, and loved it. As his wife walked out of the door and left him for good, his phone rang. It was the publisher. He said he would love to have a conversation with him about a deal he had struck with a movie company in Hollywood. The company wanted to turn Armand’s book into a movie. This opportunity catapulted Armand’s career as a full-time author. He has not looked back since. Lessons learnedYour dreams are valid even if other people do not believe in themDo not stop chasing your dreams just because other people do not believe in them. You are the only one who can make your dreams come true. Do not let anyone tell you that you are not worth dreaming. Andrew’s takeawaysPursuing your dreams will not be easy, but you have to do itIf you have a passion, go for it. The world is not just going to open up for you. You have to do it yourself. People are going to resist and doubt you. They are going to challenge you and even discourage you. But, there is a point in your life when you have to decide to make your passion work. If you do that, hopefully, if you are good at it, then you will get your breakthrough. Your dreams will not always be validated, and that is okIt feels nice to be validated but don’t chase your dreams because you want validation from other people. External validation is not a guarantee. Pursue your dreams for yourself. Actionable advicePursue your dreams. Strive for what you believe in and...
At the age of 29, and the peak of her corporate career and deep unhappiness, ( Dr. Natalia Wiechowski) quit her job and started from scratch. She took a nine-month sabbatical, during which she changed the way she thinks, speaks, and acts. From that moment, she committed to designing her purposeful dream life and founded ( Think Natalia). Her obsession is “coachsulting” people who have left the corporate rat race to do their own thing. These people all have one thing in common; they want to build an international, sustainable, and purposeful thought leadership personal brand on LinkedIn. They want to use that brand to become the voice of their niche, get more clients, and positively impact the world. She started as a Social Scientist, turned into a Dr. of Philosophy, a “LinkedIn Marketing Unicorn” (Inc. magazine), a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a LinkedIn Learning author, and the Middle East’s leading Edutainer.   “If you don’t take calculated risks, then you’re going to live a boring, mediocre life. That’s my biggest nightmare.” Natalia Wiechowski   Worst investment everNatalia invested a lot of time, energy, and resources into becoming the model successful woman. She finished her studies, made her parents proud, worked her way up the career ladder, and even was a competitive athlete with tons of awards. All her peers admired her. All looking good from the outside but not from the insideThis kind of life that Natalia had built for herself looked phenomenal from the outside. Everyone thought that she was very happy. This is precisely the kind of life she imagined having when she was a teenager. But deep down, Natalia was unhappy. She didn’t think of herself as successful. She felt like a complete mess. Yearning for more from lifeNatalia went through a phase of confusion. She had a seemingly successful career, but inside she felt like a mess. She wanted more from life. The confusion left Natalia in a lot of physical pain that nobody could figure out the cause. She slowly realized that the pain was self-created. Getting herself out of a rutWhen it dawned on Natalia that she was causing herself physical and emotional pain, she committed to finding healing. Natalia talked about what she was going through with her friends, mentor, and parents. They all advised her to quit her job and go on a sabbatical. During that sabbatical, she went on a journey to define what happiness, success, money, time, and work meant to her. Natalia also tried to figure out how she wanted to live and whom she wants to work with. Natalia’s sabbatical leads her to her dream life and a career of purpose. She understood that your dream job only exists when you create it, and if you believe that you have what it takes, just go for it. Lessons learnedFollow your heart and live your true purposeWhen that inner voice asks you to follow your heart, listen to it and go on that journey that leads you to your true purpose. Invest in yourself and live the life you’ve always wantedDesign a lifestyle around your dreams and passions. Go out there, sharpen that skill that fuels your dreams, master it, and share it with the world. That’s the way to live a healthy balanced life without any regrets. Don’t fear changing direction just because you have invested time in somethingMost people refuse to change because they have invested so much invest time, love, energy, and money into something. So they keep holding onto it even long after it has stopped serving them. The truth is that you will always invest and lose but learn in the process. Andrew’s takeawaysDon’t listen to the naysayersIf you want to do something, forget what other people say. Just go on and do it. Ultimately, it’s about your own satisfaction and pursuing your dreams. Learn how to quit the things that don’t workWhen you realize that a relationship, a job, or whatever, is not working for you, you better quit it. (Ari Gunzburg) is a rising new star in personal growth after experiencing trauma as a child and then extreme volatility as a teenager. As an award-winning international speaker, Ari motivates people using personal stories filled with triumph, tragedy, and transformation. Ari also helps inspire people using one-on-one coaching and his books for both children and adults. New in 2020 is his debut non-fiction title, ( The Little Book of Greatness).   “If something truly isn’t working, the sooner you realize it, the better off you are.” Ari Gunzburg   Worst investment everAri used to deliver a book called The Advertiser while growing, a small book full of advertisements from the community businesses and delivered to every home in Baltimore. Starting his own book of advertisementsAs a young man, Ari had a dream to start a similar book, and the opportunity came when he moved to Cleveland. He reached out to the people running it originally and made an offer, and they accepted. Ari started working on the book, and he put everything into it. He went knocking on business owners’ doors, trying to sell them to the idea of advertising in the book. In Baltimore, all the business owners believed that they needed to be in the book because that’s where people look to find out what is going on. In Cleveland, though, things were different, and the business owners needed some convincing. A poor startThe book’s uptake was not encouraging, but Ari persisted and kept trying everything he could to make it work. Things didn’t get better; in fact, they got worse. Simultaneously, a website that many people in Cleveland went to for information and news was also running an advertising section and charging low advertising prices. The website was giving Ari real competition. Doing the math and cutting his lossesAfter three years of giving this book his best and still barely making any money, Ari started thinking about closing it down, but he didn’t have the courage to do it. One day, Ari spoke with a business coach who asked him to consider a scenario in which his book suddenly became wildly successful, and every single business in town started advertising with him. What’s the maximum amount of dollars that he could make? Ari ran the numbers quickly in his head and realized that that number was about half a million a year before taking out expenses. This number made Ari realize that it was time to close shop. It was just not enough to keep him afloat. Lessons learnedPersistence is not about persevering in every situation at all costsPersistence is about recognizing when you should stick it out and when you should throw in the towel. Being persistent with things that you don’t want to be doing, or that are not working for you, or an investment that’s just losing money is pointless. Be aware of the advice you’re getting and where it’s coming fromIt is good to have sounding boards that can help you process your advice and decide if it is in line with where you truly see yourself going. Always feel free to say no to advice if it does not suit you. Andrew’s takeawaysUnderstand the actual market size and potentialAs you are researching your business, make sure you calculate your actual market size and income potential. This will guide you on whether you should invest your money and time in that business. Advice is good, but you must process itIt is good to receive all advice, but you must process that advice and identify what part of it is right for you and which one is not. Welcome advice, but accept that not all of it will come from a place of genuine understanding. Consider external factors that might affect your businessWhen starting a business, you must consider external factors that might affect your business. External factors can easily crush your business if you are not aware of them... (Sanjeev Chitre) is the Managing Partner at ( U-Group) and a four-time successful entrepreneur. Sanjeev has 30+ years of starting, growing, and executing the liquidity of several major small and medium-sized companies. He brings together an integrated team of industry and growth partners to creatively build value for The U-Group clients. Sanjeev earned his MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US, and a BS in Electronics & Telecommunications from the University of Pune, India.   “When you make a mistake, accept that it was not the right thing to do and make an effort never to do it again. That allows the world around you to change.” Sanjeev Chitre   Worst investment everSanjeev’s worst investment ever happened when he was building his first public company. The company had five people only and had less than a million dollars in revenues. The company was in one of the not so desired spaces of the venture capital space, semiconductor and semiconductor chip-making equipment. At the time, the company was worth $25 million. Growing his portfolio of companiesAfter taking his first company public, he bought another company that was 30 times bigger than the first one but was illiquid. However, this acquisition made Sanjeev very confident, and he went on to acquire more companies, and now he had five companies in total. Two were performing well, two were average, and one was simply horrible. Letting his ego beat his business acumenEven though that one company was a poor performer, Sanjeev went ahead and outbid another buyer for it. He could have paid $12 million, but he paid $30 million for it. Sanjeev’s ego led him to believe that he could pivot the company and make money from him. He had this big plan to reduce the cost of materials by reprocessing them in real-time. This plan, however, was not risk mitigated and was purely led by ego. Losing the investmentSanjeev spent the next three years trying to prove that his plan was a good one. He ended up decimating the value of the shareholders and lost over $100 million as he tried to build that investment. Lessons learnedMitigate your risk before investing in somethingThere are so many revolutionary disruptive changes that all entrepreneurs want to make. Do not do it unless you have a risk mitigated path of execution. Listen to the people you work withListen to what the overall team is saying, respect their decisions, and their feedback. Know the expected outcome first before getting into any businessDon’t get involved in a competitive landscape where you do not know what that outcome is going to be. Cut your losses as soon as possibleIt is vital to cut your losses early enough and move on. Do not change direction pivot your business insteadThere is a difference between changing the entire direction of your business and pivoting it. Pivoting your business involves changing your vision to align with the reality of the marketplace. Changing direction entails exploring an entirely new market with a new product. Andrew’s takeawaysTake it easy on yourself; mistakes are part of lifeDo not beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Remember that you made the best decision at the time, with the knowledge and tools you had. Diversify your portfolio to manage riskHave a diversified portfolio to manage your risk. While you will never get all your investments right, at least the good performing ones will cover the poorly performing ones. Have an exit plan for all your investmentsWhat is your plan for cutting loss? One good exit plan is to have a ( stop loss) for all your investments. Actionable adviceLook at where solutions exist and bring them into your business to create a much more workable solution. If the model has worked in other... (Kathleen Ann), a corporate escapee, is known as the “Money & Marketing Champion” for heart-centered women entrepreneurs (and enlightened men!). She is the Founder of ‘ (Power Up Your Marketing)’ and holds multiple Money and Marketing Coach certifications. Kathleen works with service-based women business owners to help them create and grow financially successful businesses based on their passion and unique brilliance. Her marketing expertise and insight have helped women around the world to stand out and position themselves as experts in their field. As well as move away from charging by the hour and package and price their services instead, so they can charge what they’re worth and get it.   “If you are not prepared to invest in yourself, then don’t quit your job.” Kathleen Ann   Worst investment everKathleen had been working in a corporate role, had a good position, and had built a great career in direct response marketing. Everything was going great until she got laid off. And just like that, she was jobless. Starting her own businessKathleen had 20 years in the direct response marketing industry. It happens that Kathleen had started losing interest in the corporate arena, and so when she got laid off, she decided not to go back to another corporate job. Instead, she started her own business doing the same thing she had been doing in her 9 to 5 job. The challenging journey of a solopreneurThings were working out for Kathleen at first. She managed to get a few clients, and she was making money here and there. The excitement of working for herself got the best of her. Kathleen just went in without much thought about her solopreneurship and the journey with time became tough for her. There were times when she could barely make any income. Rethinking her business modelKathleen started rethinking her business model as it was not working well for her. She found a lady who was running a three-day course on rebranding. Kathleen attended the training, and after that, she rebranded her business, refocused her niche, and the business has taken off since. Lessons learnedBe in the right mindset before leaving your 9 to 5 jobUnderstand ( what it takes to run a business). Research your market, and be sure that it is indeed what you want to do. Be prepared for the risks that come with running a business and once you are sure you can handle it, then quit. To be a successful business owner, you must invest in yourselfTake entrepreneurial courses to learn how to run your business. By investing in your growth, you will be investing in your business and your future. Andrew’s takeawaysYour business won’t have the same infrastructure as your employerWhen you start your own business, you won’t have the same resources you had in your employment. You won’t have staff in various departments to help you out, and you won’t have all the technology you need or even a lot of working capital. So embrace yourself because running your business is a different ball game. As a business owner, you bear all the riskAs an employee, you bear no risk should anything happen to the company. However, as a business owner, all risk is on you. Actionable adviceFind somebody who has done what you want to do, have the type of business you want to have, and hire them to help you with your business. No. 1 goal for the next 12 monthsKathleen’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to launch an online program that will help people learn from her over 12 years of experience running her business as a solopreneur.   Parting words  “Good luck with your endeavors.” Kathleen Ann    Connect with Kathleen Ann (LinkedIn) (Twitter)
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