By: Steve Smith
Almost 25 years ago, I worked as a commercial real estate agent.
It was around 1998, I had been roughed up in the soybean market (different story).
I was feeling both financial pressure and no sense of purpose or career path so I moved from Chicago back to NYC and got a job at one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the city.
My thinking was that I could build a career which would have an annuity-like feature; I work hard to attain clients that will become lifetime repeat business.
The big problem? It was basically a sales job.
And lest there be any question in your mind…
I suck at sales!
For one, I absolutely was willing to take “No” for an answer (the kiss of death in any sales job).
But that wasn’t the only issue. I was supposed to wear a suit everyday AND come into the office clean shaven every morning.
I couldn’t stop thinking, “Who can possibly live like this?” (Remember, up to that point I had ALWAYS been a trader. Well, except for one unfortunate year right out of college that I worked in the advertising business… but again, that is a different story.)
I had some modest success… but I was miserable.
Finally, after banging my head against the wall for almost two years and seeing how even the “successful” agents still had to grind out every sale…
I acknowledged I was completely incompatible with the work, the culture, and what my ultimate “success” would look like.
I went back to trading and quickly took the opportunity to become a contributing columnist with TheStreet.com in the burgeoning online financial publishing arena.
I even enjoyed going into the office four days a week and bullshitting with co-workers in the open-floor newsroom.
(And yes, Jim Cramer is as kooky as he presents himself.)
I was finally back doing what I loved!
Have you ever heard the old saying, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Yeah, don’t you believe it! HA!
No matter what you do for income, you need to put in the work to be successful. Even hobbies require practice, time, and discipline (what I call grunt work) before you can be good at them.
And it’s hard to really enjoy something, after the honeymoon period, when you aren’t good at it.
(Golf is the exception. It will never be fun.)
As I wrote yesterday, I love trading.
I’m incredibly lucky to have developed a skill set that allows me to “earn a living” the way I do.
(I hate that phrase — why does anyone have to earn the right to live?)
I also love, and am very proud, of being able to help Options360 members boost their income in a consistent, low-risk and low-maintenance manner over the past seven years.
I don’t mention it much, because it sounds boastful…
I was also one of the first to offer a real-time option based trading service. Since then, there has been a proliferation of newsletters with varying degrees of success and credibility; however, I don’t know anyone else who has kept their subscribers “in the black” for more than 20 years.
That’s why I don’t view any other trading service as competition to Options360.
We just keep to ourselves, chugging along, delivering an average annual return of 56% over the past seven years.
The aspects I love about the trading lifestyle I call the three Fs:
My Fate is in my own hands.
Sure, there are events I can’t control, like whatever the Fed has been doing for the past decade. However, I don’t have to answer to anyone and my success doesn’t depend on anyone else’s decisions. The state of the economy and sector trends are opportunities, since I can be both bullish and bearish.
Financial freedom is obviously a huge attraction.
There are few other jobs that offer unlimited earnings power with very minimal capital outlay. It takes very little money to get started and no recurring costs beyond whatever news or data services you want to subscribe to.
Of course, if you intend to make your trading your primary source of income, you will need a certain amount of risk capital to scale up your trading size sufficiently.
But even $5,000 is enough to start using options to generate supplemental income to help maintain or boost your lifestyle.
And then there’s the Flexibility!
I can work from anywhere and no one is looking over my shoulder to see I’m trading today.
Some people decide to really dig in and eat, sleep, and breathe trading. Others just want to use the extra income to allow them to lessen other workloads or pursue other activities.
Hopefully, as you get older it becomes more of the latter. For example, on Wednesday morning, I decided on an unscheduled trip up to NYC to spend a few days with my kids. I’m typing from their mom’s couch and soon we’ll rent some e-bikes and zoom around Central Park.
Practically no “job” in the world allows this kind of control over your time and location.
Heck, even Musk or Bezos have demands on their time that they can’t ignore. So in terms of lifestyle and flexibility, I could argue that I’m richer than they are.
It’s so nice, it got me thinking… everyone should have this opportunity, no matter what kind of job they have or how much money they make right now.
So I told my publisher that I wanted to do a special offer, in honor of Labor Day…
That’s it. One buck gets you in the door. It’s the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
One dollar to see all my trades, past and present.
One dollar to find out how I’ve traded my way to a 23.7% GAIN so far this year… while the market is down 17.4%.
One dollar to see how the three F’s can be part of your lifestyle.
But don’t wait around too long. My publisher is pulling the plug on this crazy offer when he gets back to his office on Tuesday. There are no strings, no commitments. If it’s not for you, you’re only out a single dollar.
But if it offers you a bit of control over your own fate… financial freedom… and flexibility that so many other JOBS lack, it could be the best dollar you ever spent.
Whatever your job is, I hope you both enjoy it and enjoy this Labor Day weekend.
To your success!
Steve Smith have been involved in all facets of the investment industry in a variety of roles ranging from speculator, educator, manager and advisor. This has taken him from the trading floors of Chicago to hedge funds on Wall Street to the world online. From 1987 to 1996, he served as a market maker at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) and Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). From 1997 to 2007, he was a Senior Columnist and Managing Editor for TheStreet.com, handling their Option Alert and Short Report newsletters. The Option Alert was awarded the MIN “best business newsletter” in 2006. From 2009 to 2013, Smith was a Senior Columnist and Managing Editor for Minyanville’s OptionSmith newsletter, as well as a Risk Manager Consultant for New Vernon Capital LLC. Smith acted as an advisor to build models and option strategies to reduce portfolio exposure and enhance returns for the four main funds. Since 2015, he has worked for Adam Mesh Trading Group. There, he has managed Options360 and Earning 360, been co-leader of Option Academy, and contributed to The Option Specialist website.