Want to become a millionaire by Christmas?
It's an old cliche, but unfortunately many people fall for the promise of instant riches, says Trade with Precision founder Nick McDonald.
His company teaches people how to become home-based traders, and one of its biggest challenges is getting the message across that wealth takes a long time to build, versus the false hopes and promises of rivals.
"You are not going to pay us $5000 and suddenly you're going to be great and making a fortune next month. You pay us $5000 and you have to work really, really hard for a number of years and then you might get good enough if you put in enough effort."
McDonald founded TWP in 2006 after a career in the London banking sector.
The company teaches people the so-called "technical analysis" method of trading, which basically means studying historical price movements to predict where prices will trade in the future.
This method can be applied to the foreign exchange market, stocks, indices and commodities.
The business has 13 staff in Australia, the US, France, the UK and New Zealand, a few thousand individual clients around the world and eight corporate clients, said McDonald.
One of its key strengths, he believes, is its attraction to major brokers and exchanges.
For instance, CMC Markets, one of the biggest traders in New Zealand employs TWP to teach methods to their home-based traders.
People from all walks of life were attracted to home-based trading, said McDonald, albeit mostly men. Why? "Maybe it's the element of risk-taking involved."
Since he was a teenager, McDonald has admired veteran US investor Warren Buffet, who recently gave away a large portion of his estate to charity.
In response to the devastating Christchurch and Japan earthquakes last year, McDonald organised a fundraising event that raised $80,000 for the Red Cross.
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I wanted to work for myself from a very early age. I did not like the conformity required of either school or the corporate desk. Most of all though, I did not like having my income capped by someone else. I wanted my earning potential to be capped by me and me alone.
What have been the biggest obstacles in running your company?
Running a global business with staff and clients in North America and the UK has its challenges, but long days and odd working hours are a small price to pay to be bringing my children up in New Zealand.
Name one thing you've learnt from while in business and from who?
Have a plan, keep it simple and stick to it. My business mentor turned non-executive chairman Stephen Haupt is always telling me that the more I treat the business like my trading (since the same criteria applies there too), the more successful the business will become.
What are your business and personal goals?
I would like to start more businesses in the trading industry at some stage. I see lots of products and services where I think we can do things better and have the skills and contacts in the industry to make it happen.
Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?
Keep things simple and get really good at doing the basics extremely well. I teach the exact same thing in trading. Everyone is looking for the secret, the answer, the next big thing. Sure you might find the next Apple or Facebook, but the next big thing is how only a small minority succeed in business.
Do you feel better off than at this time last year?