Who is Greg, the man behind Learn to Trade?
I’m an entrepreneur, philanthropist, international speaker and most importantly, a father of three wonderful children. There’s no typical day for me, between running 23 companies and my own charitable foundation I try to embrace the diversity in my day. My biggest passion in life are my children, we are particularly fond of snowboarding and skiing, we’ve actually just returned from a ski trip. My entire year revolves around them; I’ve been known to fly across to Australia and to then fly right back to them the very next day.
What can you tell us about your success?
Entrepreneurial spirit was instilled in me as a child, whilst all of the other kids I grew up with were getting pocket money I was told that there were no handouts and that I’d have to fetch for myself. I’ve always had a natural curiosity for opportunity and it was with that mind-set that I began to look for opportunities to not just succeed, but to excel.
By thirteen, I was running my own car wash business in my village; I had three kids working for me, 33 clients and I was making £7 profit on each car we cleaned. I developed and trusted this instinctive sense for opportunity throughout my time at university where I started to take an interest in business and technology solutions. After completing my studies, it was with that interest that I took a role running a brand new business platform entitled the virtual trading desk; it was the first online real time forex-trading platform.
It sounds quite simple, but I learned to trust my business instincts and developed an eye for opportunity, by the time I was 25 I was VP at Mellon Financial Corp. It was during that time that I realised the business concept for Learn to Trade. I had attended a lot of business seminars, from some of the best traders in the world and at that time most people either learned to trade on professional trading floors or they would watch Bloomberg and have a crack at it. I realised that by connecting the natural separation between the two there was a business opportunity to take all of what I had learned on trading floors across the world and to impart that knowledge to others.
What is it that makes you passionate about helping people learn how to be entrepreneurs?
The problem is that there are far too many people in jobs they don’t really like doing. Passion doesn’t just drop into your lap; and whilst I believe you have to take an enthusiastic approach to everything you do. You’re never going to become a master at something if you don’t like it enough. I was lucky enough to find what I was passionate about in life – helping others. That’s the ethos behind Learn to Trade, giving back the knowledge I’ve gathered on how to achieve financial freedom.
Once people have found their passion and are willing to dedicate time and energy to it, they need help. You have to impart knowledge that works, you need to coach them, actually sit with them and help them trade. Just as you would when learning to drive, you would have an instructor, you wouldn’t just read the Highway Code and jump into a Lamborghini would you?
I founded Learn to Trade because I wanted to really help people learn about how to achieve financial independence on their own terms. Let’s be honest – it means I make some money too, but that’s a by-product, it’s not my only aim. The thought of making more money will not get you up in the morning year after year, the only thing that will is finding a real purpose. My purpose in life is helping people find their passion whether it’s financial freedom or how to give back, I want to show people what I have been privileged to learn.
How did you get the reputation for being the number 1 trader coach?
What was being offered from computers in the industry when we started out 15 years ago was a simple 2-day seminar where delegates were given workbooks and a theoretical understanding with no practical hands on experience. We rose to prominence because I knew that hands on experience was essential. I had a unique insight into how to capitalize on potential profit making strategies but more importantly, I knew how to impart the trading strategies that I had learned in a form that was supportive and controlled.
Practical experience is paramount, that’s the way Learn to Trade works, it’s a programme designed to coach you one on one. When we first started, nobody in the market was doing one on one trading coaching, that was the piece of the puzzle within our offering that contributed to the success of thousands of traders when we first began. We taught people how to not only start successfully but to continue to trade in a risk managed and professional set-up that went beyond just attending a seminar.
My competitors went out of business because we offered professional coaching from experienced currency traders, this created the ability for beginners to first learn the knowledge and then to put it into practice under the watch of one of our experienced traders. We took this success and replicated the model across the world to become the number one Forex education provider globally.
What does it take to become a multi-millionaire currency trader?
Well, for starters a fair amount of capital. I think many people underestimate how difficult it is to become a millionaire currency trader given the amount of patience, risk management and access to capital needed. Beginning currency traders in the retail space can sometimes have delusions of grandeur about becoming a millionaire and do not realize the amount of capital, patience and discipline they require.
This combination of patience, discipline and capital can get you to your first million but never underestimate how much emotions can affect you when the numbers start to build; some start taking considerable risks that could quickly and significantly reduce their amount of funds or even wipe out their entire account. Currency trading is a game of risk management, it’s a game of discipline and it’s a game of capital, you need to come in prepared to learn the tools and to put the work in, like anything else in life.
Can you tell us more about how you set up a trading floor from your home, and in just 3 months your company was born.
I left the banking world to trade from home using digital brokerage platforms. I had access to the market through intermediary brokers and quite quickly, my trading portfolio grew to a size where my friends began to notice that I didn’t need to work.
They started to come over and they would learn to trade by spending time with me in my living room. At one stage I had over 40 people camped out on my floor and, much to the frustration of my girlfriend at the time, it became a bit of a boys dormitory. So, I decided to move the concept out of my house and looked for a premises in London. I then formalised my business quickly, I had already decided that I wanted to impart the knowledge I had gathered on trading and put into practise the concept of teaching trading strategy. From my friends and family I could see that that there was a positive success rate and that they were responding to one on one coaching. I also knew that there wasn’t a similar offering currently available on the market.
What is it like working with big brands and companies in America, in comparison to the UK?
Irrespective of size or geography, for my businesses I realised that there was greater value in investing into creating our own software to best assist and educate our clients. When we first started out, we worked with different software houses and trading technology partners in the US, after a series of tough lessons it became clear that for my business I needed to develop my own software to cater for our clients’ needs with speed, reliability and responsiveness. There truly is no comparison with being able to do something for yourself.
Who is your inspiration for doing what you do and why?
Tony Robins and Richard Branson are major inspirations for me. I truly believe Tony Robbins changed my life, 20 years ago, I watched one of his seminars and was blown away. He understood that life is driven by your values and you have the ability to make your own rules, what he said resonated with me and I found him infectious. He was an instrumental force in the formation of my desire to help others achieve success and in identifying the vessel I would do it with.
Similarly, Richard Branson is a businessperson and philanthropist I truly identify with, he is someone who like me believes that we have the power to change the world. Through his own business approach he has been able to do good while doing business. Branson once said that if “every company focused on one challenge we could solve many of the world’s problems and companies would benefit too.” Companies need values and need to value giving back and doing good for wider society. I really look up to both men and I have been honoured to have worked with them numerous times over the years, it’s always a pleasure when we can get together and discuss our shared outlook.
What is the biggest mistake in business you have made that you have learned from to date?
The biggest mistake I have made to date is putting the wrong people in a management positions. It has cost me millions of dollars in the past, I’ve now learned that it’s about understanding the values of the individual and matching them to the role. Some people are fantastic at being sole producers and working in a vacuum and creating fantastic content or products; and other people are great at managing other people to do that work and one of my more recent mistakes was taking an incredible producer and trying to turn him into a manger and it’s a lesson I will never forget. You need to be able to correctly fit the person with the right skillset to the position in your business.
More than 200,000 people have attended you various trading seminars and workshops across the world, what tips do you have for young entrepreneurs who want to grow their business?
It’s all about identifying your target market – today we have lots of incredible tools via social media marketing platforms that allow you to target clients based on demographics such as age, sex, industry preference and so on. Consequently, we can get much better (or more specific) in our targeting – but these days what really matters is your reputation and community. It all about building a community with your clients and constantly getting their feedback as to what products and services they require from you, maintaining a dialogue with your clients, and by keeping that conversation current and active it allows you to gain market share and provide the best service possible to ensure that you are delivering a valuable product.
Greg, you’ve had a lot of success, at an early age, however, you also like to give back to the community. Can you tell us some more about your charitable causes and why business should exercise their corporate social responsibility?
I believe that we all have a responsibility and duty of care to give back to the world we take from. I also believe that business as we know it is set to change. One hundred years from now we will look back at the current UK PLC model and see things in much the same way we look at the workhouses of 150 years ago. I believe that in the near future businesses will be based on a model that balances philanthropy with profit. It was with this in mind that I formed the Greg Secker Foundation 7 years ago to fully control how, when and where I wanted to give back.
The foundation is committed to positively improving the quality of life for individuals and causes around the world. We now have a lot of the team involved in philanthropy; whatever we are doing we try to get the team involved as much as possible. The feedback we get is that our team feel they are working for an organisation that cares about people, rather than just profits.
We have 23 companies in our group and put the foundation at the centre. Whether they make a profit or not they have an obligation to give to the Greg Secker Foundation. The business in South Africa for example has to give £40,000 a month to the Foundation, while Learn to Trades’ business model in 2017 saw 17% of pre-tax profits donated to charity
We don’t think charity is something we indulge in after having a profitable year, it is day to day businesses. We have a commitment and contribution we want to make; we make sure we contribute to charities first. Now we are trying to get other companies to think differently about how they give back
What do you have planned for the future of your company over the next 5 years?
We’re planning to help more people find financial independence, expand our businesses further internationally and take our philanthropic work even further to communities and individuals around the world who really need it. I want to do a lot more with entrepreneurs and successful businesses to show them how they can also replicate our model and how they put giving back at the heart of their operation. I’ve also got a book in the works, so keep an eye out!
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