Kunal Desai has accomplished a lot in his career. He became the VP of his company at 25, but knew that he wasn’t following his passion. He had been interested in the markets for a while; after months of trading in his free time, he decided to make the plunge and trade full time. He is now the founder and CEO of Bulls on Wall Street, a firm dedicated to teaching students of all ages and experience levels how to trade stocks. His business has freed him to travel across the globe in his spare time and spend plenty of time with his friends. We spent some time getting to know Kunal and hear what advice he has to offer for those who are also interested in trading and following their passion. Learning from others who have walked the path before you is one of the most important keys to becoming a millionaire. Here is what Kunal had to share.
Kunal’s Advice for Aspiring Millionaires
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice when you started trading, what would it be?
1. I would go back and tell myself to treat this like a job. I thought that just waking up one morning and reading some books gave me the right to go out and make money to make my dreams come true. No, I was dead wrong! This is a job; it’s no different than learning how to be a doctor or lawyer and you need that same level of commitment and preparation. Think about an elite athlete or some other high performer, think about what they do to get to that status. Then go about learning how to trade in the same way. I literally prepare myself like an Olympic athlete. Beyond just perfecting my technique, I need to work on my body and mind in a 360-degree program.
You were very successful in your career before starting Bulls on Wall Street. What was the ‘ah-hah’ moment that made you decide to leave that behind and trade full time?
2. When you dream about making great trades, you’re a trader! When you’re sitting there on the toilet and you’re thinking about stocks, you’re a trader! When you’re out talking to pretty girls and your mind wanders off to stocks, guess what — you’re a trader! Now at that point I wasn’t very good, but when it’s in your heart and soul, you have the obligation to yourself to do every single thing you can to get there and make it.
Between trading and teaching/mentoring, you seem to have a packed schedule, yet you also spend a fair bit of time traveling. How are you able to handle that work/life balance?
3. It’s hard! What you see now is a finished product. What you don’t see is the 10 years before that with no vacations. No time off from the 24-hour grind! Now that I’ve hit some of my goals I enjoy myself a lot more. In order to balance things it’s really about managing both your schedule and your energy. If you’re going to work and be productive and also have fun, you can’t afford to waste any part of your day. I don’t just mindlessly work, I ATTACK my day in a systematic fashion. In the morning I get my big projects and creative work out of the way since that’s when I am freshest. I only answer emails very late at night when I’m tired and I don’t need to have much energy because they’re energy zappers. Doing your mindless tasks when your brain is at its peak performance is a waste! I analyze my schedule the same way I would analyze a stock or investment, making sure I get the most bang for my buck. Everything from what I eat to how much I sleep to how I exercise has a specific function to make me an elite performer; this is no different from an athlete like Tom Brady (my favorite football player!). If you can do that then you can travel the world, make money, be healthy — you can have it all, just make sure your work has a purpose.
There is so much information out there on trading, and hundreds of different strategies. As far as an entry point, what would you tell someone who wants to get into trading but is intimidated and doesn’t know where to start?
4. Find out what type of trading your interested in. There are investors like Warren Buffet that hold stocks for 10 years and then there are traders that move around in different stocks every single day. From there, really learn every single thing you can about that type of trading. Read books, go on YouTube, read blogs — see if this is of interest to you. I want to stress this: really make sure you have an interest before you start spending money on a type of trading. Once you know the interest is real, go find a mentor. Every elite performer has an elite coach. Think about Michael Jordan; he didn’t become a 6-time world champion without Phil Jackson! There are websites like mine — bullsonwallstreet.com — that are solely focused on building traders from the ground up. If not me, find someone else! There are so many good folks out there.
Are there any specific industries/sectors you’ve got your eye on at the moment?
5. Right now I’m looking at oil stocks, as the price of oil is at an historical low. The question is a matter of timing. Many of the oil companies that people are looking at are going to go bankrupt; even if oil goes up 20-30% the damage has already been done. So I really am digging into which stocks will survive, then which ones have the ability to go up the most with the least amount of risk. Don’t get suckered into seeing an oil stock at 2 or 3 dollars, thinking that it’s cheap. Cheap gets cheaper — a lot of well-known oil stocks were 100 dollars and now are sitting at 1 to 2 dollars. Most likely those are bankruptcy risks. Find the liquid ones that will survive.
If someone wants to trade with you, what should they know and expect from your program? What do they have to do to get your attention?
6. When people enter our program I let them know this is no different than going to med school or law school. Sure it won’t take as long, but I need the same level of commitment from them. You give me 100% and I will give you 110% back. It’s a 360-degree program, from live classes 4 times a week to weekly homework, quizzes, and group work with your peers. Once that is all done I put my students on simulators and watch them to make sure they are getting the techniques down. I give all of my students attention, but the truly great ones stick out because they are tough. They are resilient; they do their work diligently but that’s a given. Working hard just gets you in the door. To reach next level you have to dig much deeper and keep attacking the process with passion. Learning to trade or just being successful is tough. It’s a given that you will get knocked down. That is the only certainty you have, but it’s your choice to get back up and rise when you don’t think you can. That type of toughness and greatness is a choice. Greatness has a cost you must be ready to attack everyday every moment.
Mastering the keys to success and paying the price necessary to get there isn’t always easy, but anybody who is committed can do it. What is the cost you are going to have to pay to reach your greatness?
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