Everyone Has A Story
To Tell - Here's Mine
Back in 1995 I had my own business and was working 12 to 14-hour days, 6 or 7 days a week. I hated it! I was looking for something else. I read a quote from Zig Zigler, "If you can't get 100% into what you are doing, then you should get 100% out of what you are doing". I decided then and there to find something that I could get 100% into.
I guess fate intervened because a few days later I got a package in the mail from a "cigar-smoking cowboy" about trading commodities. He made it sound like anyone with half a brain could learn to trade commodities and make a fortune almost overnight. I felt I qualified for half a brain anyway so I purchased his $200.00 course. I read it, got excited, and even sent him another $5,000 for all his other courses, even though he said his first course was everything I would even need to learn how to trade. Yea, I was stupid.
I studied everything he sent me, watched all the VHS tapes ( do you remember them?), and maybe 10 paper-back courses two or three times. I thought I knew how to trade (I didn't) and borrowed some money from a friend promising him I was going to get rich in just a few months and pay him back. I don't think I have to tell you what happened. I blew the entire $20,000 account in less than 90 days!
I looked at it this way; if I lost $20,000, then someone else made $20,000. I just had to figure out what they were doing right and what I was doing wrong. Sounded easy; it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.
Rather than getting mad (I really did though) I tried to analyze what happened. The bottom line was I didn't learn the basics first and I didn't have a mentor. I thought I knew what I was doing. Truth is, I didn't.
I spent the next two years reading every book I could find on trading. I even flew to Chicago and took some classes at the Chicago Board of Trade. I met some great traders as well as other people just like me that were on the same quest. Some had even bought the same courses I had from the "cowboy". We all had a laugh over that one. I was determined to go back home and learn what the successful traders were doing.
I dove back into the books one more time looking for a "common thread". It was a frustrating time in my life but I kept at it. Then one day, the light turned on. Even though every trader did things a little differently, they all had one thing in common; technical analysis. Almost without exception, they all used it in their trading. That was a life-changing time for me.
I spent the next six months studying just technical analysis. I read all the books again and finally, it all started to make sense. I opened an account with $5,000 and took it to over $20,000 in about six months. Soon the people that had laughed at me for trading commodities in the first place, started asking me how I was doing. I told them and they wanted me to show them what I was doing.
Almost every night friends would come over and we would sit at the kitchen table, drink coffee, and look at paper charts together. The more I showed them what I had learned the more interested they became. After a few months of this my wife, not so politely, told me that if I was going to teach them I should go get a classroom. That's what I did; I rented a classroom a couple of nights a week at a local college. My friends came, then they begin to bring their friends. This kept going until I had almost 30 people in my "commodities class".
Every week I prepared lessons, had them printed, and handed them out during the classes. Before long, I had almost 200 pages of course material for my "students". Then one night a student told me I should turn all this into a course. That got me thinking so I ask the other students. They all agreed that I should do it. One of them said I should call the course Common Sense Commodities because that's what it was, just a common-sense approach to trading commodities.
I continued to trade and was doing well while at the same time putting together my first course. Today they would say that it went "viral" but back then it was an "overnight" success. It wasn't quite overnight counting all the years I put in learning how to trade.
During that time I became a CTA (Commodity Trading Advisor) and was registered with the NFA and CFTC. I began holding seminars in the USA, Canada, England, Russia, Central, and South America.
Well, that was over 20 years ago. Then, I opened my own brokerage firm, Common Sense Capital. It was small, with only a couple of brokers. But my students at least had a broker that understood how they wanted to trade. About 10 years later everything went to electronic trading and most brokers became a thing of the past so I closed it.
I finished writing my second course, Common Sense Options and I moved to Boquete, Panama in 2006. I bought a villa in Valle Escondido which is rated the #1 place to live in Central America. I kept trading and started writing again. I wrote some magazine articles and started holding seminars in Panama.
Now, everything is online which I guess is a good thing. Both of these Courses are still for sale on Amazon but they are old versions and don't have any videos.
If you want to read what some of my students have said, I included a few of them on a WHAT STUDENTS SAY.