Arif is an entrepreneur who left his steady job at a bank during the pandemic. His businesses include currency trading and freelance writing
“Boss, I’ll have that report you need first thing Monday morning!” or “I’ll make sure to hit that sales target the company has set out.” “Yes, Sir, right away, Sir.” “I’ll be more than happy to kiss your butt every day with the hopes of one day getting promoted, Sir.”
Sound familiar? These are nothing more than the common, albeit miserable, things a typical employee of a company might say. Five days a week, hard-working people go to work early in the morning and participate in the repetitive corporate structure that they are obligated to. And if you don't, well, don’t expect any deposits in your bank account come payday.
If this kind of life applies to you and you’re completely fine with it, then that’s great! Don’t let this angry entrepreneur tell you otherwise. I do not mean to disparage the average working person. In fact, I think it is a noble path. It just was not the right path for me.
How It All Started
I worked at a very established bank as a telesales executive. My job was to sell personal loans and credit cards to clients over the phone. The pay was not too bad. It was just enough to make ends meet every month.
Every day, I heard a ticking sound, like someone was holding a stopwatch over my ear—a metaphorical timer of reality that signified that I was getting older and realizing I only had one shot at this thing called life. So, I asked myself—was this the life I really wanted?
The answer was an astounding no! I wanted to become an entrepreneur—to be my own boss. That was the dream. So, I had to come up with a plan.
Oh, and in case you missed it in the title, this whole journey began right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic (what great timing . . .). The economy was waning, businesses were closing, and many average people were struggling to make ends meet. Jumping headfirst into the entrepreneurial path during such a time sounded risky at best, but I had to try.
The plan was simple—work long enough at my current job to gather some extra funds, start a business while still employed, and leave the company when the business started showing some solid financial results.
The business I chose to delve into was day trading. I traded the spot gold markets, meaning I tried to make profits based on the difference in the gold price at different times throughout the day. Buy low, sell high.
Trading was something that I have always been passionate about. Five years prior, I had started studying the markets and trying to learn the proper techniques. I opened small accounts and lost it all. I learned from my mistakes and tried again. To me, trading was the path towards becoming a successful entrepreneur.
In order to do that, I needed a considerable amount of start-up cash to be used as initial capital to fund my trading account. So, the plan was to take out a personal loan. I needed to borrow RM20,000 (Malaysian currency) from the bank, which is equivalent to about $5000 USD.
This was a massive undertaking for me since my income at the time was just average. It was a huge financial risk, but I had to give it a go. No significant amount of success is achieved without an equal or higher amount of risk.
My Transition to Independence
I managed to attain the full $5000 amount loan with a 5-year loan tenor. I deposited it all into my trading account. And with all the knowledge I gained over the years, along with some techniques I learned from a day-trading education center I joined, my trading journey began.
Things were good for a while. I only traded at night after working hours. I managed to make about an average of RM1300 ($300 USD) per month. This was a relatively small amount, but I was overjoyed. It was the most money I had ever made trading.
For a good five months, my trading profits were steady. I was able to meet all of my personal and familial expenses every month.
One day, I thought to myself. “Okay, it is now time to do this full-time.” It felt like it was the right time. To add to that, the pandemic had made most potential customers reluctant to take on massive financial liabilities (i.e., personal loans). My sales numbers were pretty abysmal, so I was not making much in commissions from my job. I was miserable because I was working in such a negative environment. The misery of the mundane office life had taken its full effect and it was time for another path.
I had to leave.
Around the end of March, I mustered the courage to leave the company to become a full-time trader. I had finally found my true calling, and my path ahead was clear. The board was set. The pieces were moving. Fate had somehow reached out its hand to pull me out of a chasm of mediocracy.
I was optimistic and hopeful about the prospect of earning good money along with the free time freedom I had so desperately coveted. I thought I could get rich and buy everything I ever wanted. Trading would come easy to me. Especially after spending five years trying to master it.
Alas, my presuppositions were painfully roseate. The road to the light was paved with thorns. The journey was not easy sailing as I had thought it would be.
During my first month of trading full-time, I posted the worst performance since my entrepreneurial inception. I had done better while I was still working at the bank! This meant I was a better part-time trader than I was a full-time trader.
How could this be? I barely pulled in enough income to cover the personal loan payments I had to make every month and my financial obligations to my family (like house payments, bills, and food.
My dream of being an entrepreneur seemed to fade away. Fear had blinded me to all forms of rational thought. I had to do something. I had to change. I had to convince myself that this temporary failure was just another obstacle to overcome—a faceless demon in disguise, tricking me into thinking that my potential was limited by my insecure mind. I had to triumph. After all, something worth achieving was something worth suffering for.
I had to recalibrate my strategy and my own way of thinking. I had to truly discipline myself and not give in to emotions. Most importantly, I had to be patient. Because I was trading full-time, I had no other sources of income. It was do or die. I became even more determined than ever to become successful.
My Life Today
After painful days and long nights, I finally made more money from trading than I did at my old job. I was able to pay my bills and help out my family. This was a great start, but I was nowhere near the finish line. My goal is to hit five figures a month.
Every day in this entrepreneurial life, I feel like I am peeling back more and more layers of myself and finding my purpose. I feel awake. I feel enlightened. I feel like I am on a mission—a marathon—a pursuit for happiness.
But the thing about marathons is that they’re long and tiring. That’s what success is—a marathon—not a sprint.
And my marathon has only just begun.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Arif Ismaizam (author) from Petaling Jaya on June 03, 2021:
thank you so much
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on June 02, 2021:
Well done. Very inspiring.
Phun Kein on June 02, 2021:
Inspiring journey! Your actions demonstrates a high level of determination and confidence in yourself. Always keep fire burning within and view failure as part of the game and take failure as a learning experience to realize success!
Ranjit on June 02, 2021:
Inspiring journey and mission. Being determined with a world of obstacles is never easy and that's why i would say that you have defined your journey. You're realizing yourself in many different forms and layers and it will reveal different colors of you. So keep going towards your goal because the good things are coming your way!!
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on June 01, 2021:
Welcome to the Hubpages community. It's fascinating to note that a lot of people are thinking of looking for alternative means of earning but only a few take the leap into the unknown. The pandemic has driven many to search for better opportunities. I commend you for taking that step. More power to your endeavors.