Kunal Desai picked the best, and worst, possible time to start trading stocks. During the Dot-com bubble. When it was great, it was great, but then that bubble burst and…
“I have failed so many times,” Desai explained. “It took me 5 years of failing at trading to get good at it. I had so many ups and downs and moments where I had seen the light and turned the corner – only to fall back down. I had to take some serious looks at myself and make changes to how I do things.”
While Desai cultivated a skill set through experience and self-education, it was a mentorship that really helped Kunal pinpoint his strengths and weaknesses. He was able to develop a trading system that fit his personality and goals and felt he could help others do the same.
In 2012, Desai founded the Bulls on Wall Street (BOWS) program — a multi-million dollar online trading academy. The course has helped countless traders achieve their goals and they’ve built a reputation as leaders in stock trading education.
Best of all, the BOWS team is made up almost entirely of Desai’s best friends.
His decision to hire his bros has served him exceptionally well. Not only has Bulls on Wall Street enjoyed enjoyed amazing growth and success, but Desai and his crew now have the freedom to travel the world together, making memories and money by trading and teaching from their laptops, wherever in the world they find themselves.
Desai sat down to answer our questions about business, mentors and the assumption most people make about him.
When did you first realize your business idea was going to work?
I had a feeling immediately. Social media really started to take off, and it was looking like Twitter was going to be the next big thing. At that point, once I started to build up a following from just posting simple stock picks on my @kunal00 twitter handle, I knew I had something. People were craving information in real time and TWTR really pushed day trading to a new place.
If you could tell a person new to investing one piece of advice about investing or money management, what would it be?
Stick with it. Investing is a life-long skill that you will need no matter who you are. People are living until 100 these days, so making your money work for you is going to be one of the most important things you can do for yourself. This is a profession – it’s no different than becoming a doctor or lawyer. It takes time and commitment to get good at it. But it’s a necessary thing for every single person to learn – rich or poor. We all have at least 401ks and IRA’s. Those need to grow and support you when you get older.
Name one mistake you made with your money that other people usually make.
The best thing you can do is get off the LifeStyle Ladder. It’s very common that as you grow older and make more money, you step-for-step raise your expenses and standard of living. All that happens when you do this is that you end up, really, at the same spot. You spend what you take in. You have nicer cars and clothes but still nothing in the bank. Nothing to invest in businesses or stocks, to get you out of the work-for-money game to making money work for you. I was on that LifeStyle ladder until my late 20s. I had a job, made 100k, leased a Lexus. I was spending what I took in, and in the end I was unhappy not living the life I had dreamed of for myself.
What’s the one assumption strangers usually make about you?
When people see you, they are looking at your public persona – a finished product. They assume that your life is so great – and they are right, it is great! But it’s easy to forget the years of work that it takes to build what they see now. It wasn’t always fun and it is never easy.
Is there a book, movie, quote who changed your life?
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” – Tony Robbins
We talk about that a lot in our company as we try to grow. You can’t be afraid to change, to aggressively try new ways of doing things because that’s the only way to grow and get better.
How important is a mentor?
Mentors are important. I’ve had so many in my life that have shaped me and supported me when I have needed them. I’ve had mentors for trading. I have had mentors like Rahul Sood and Ben Newman in business. I have had mentors in shaping my body with personal trainers. Every aspect of what I do, I have had a mentor. I want to surround myself with people that know things that I don’t! That’s how you grow! I have more mentors now then I had 10 years ago.
I was on that LifeStyle ladder until my late 20s. I had a job, made 100k, leased a Lexus. I was spending what I took in, and in the end I was unhappy not living the life I had dreamed of for myself.
What does it feel like to see a million dollars on a bank statement?
It really didn’t feel like anything. The reason is you don’t just magically wake up some day and have a million dollars or a million dollar business. It was a multi-year process with so much work that went into it before that. I was proud that I stuck with the process; it’s a sign of perseverance more than just a number or success. I survived and thrived.
How long did it take you to make your first million and what is the biggest piece of advice you can give to a new investor on how to get there as fast as possible?
Ten years of really grinding before I could officially say “hey, I’m a millionaire entrepreneur!” I have been trading stocks since I was a teenager, so many years of hard work went into it. When I started Bulls On Wall Street, we did 50k in revenues our first year! Then we did 300k. Then we did 1.2 million. Each year it got bigger and bigger, but it was a process where I had to really grind it day by day for years before I started to see the fruits of my labor and passion. This truly is my life work.
Did you set out to become a millionaire or did you have another goal?
Yes. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and live the way I do now. There were no other options for me.
Do you think in the future it will be easier or harder to become independently wealthy?
Easier. Much easier. Information in this world used to be so tightly guarded that you had to be rich to have access to certain things. Now, a kid in Malaysia can go online and sign up for free classes online from professors at Wharton School of Business, or even Harvard. You can go on Twitter or Instagram and make friends with people with many different skills! Heck, I have met two business partners of mine on Twitter!
Name a specific characteristic a person needs to have to become successful
Resilience. Out of all my students or people that I have personally mentored, that is the trait they all share. When things get rough they come back the next day and get back to work.
If you could start with nothing and do it all over again, would you?
Yes! I love how my life my struggles have shaped me and given me confidence. They fuel me to do more.
If there was no little to no money involved with what you do, would you still do it?
Yes. I am obsessed with trading stocks. Day Trading is my passion. When I am on vacation, I trade. When I am at weddings, I trade. This is who I am. Sure, I own a few businesses and have numerous things that I am involved with – but in the end, I am Kunal Desai the day trader.
Name one mistake you made in college that you learned from in business
Preparation. For years I winged everything. I used my smarts to get by. Then you get into the business world, and you are dealing with the smartest people in the world! Especially in the finance game. My edge is in my preparation. That’s the only thing I can control and is where I get my confidence.
Do you have any regrets hiring your friends?
I have no regrets on hiring my friends. They did me the big favor. As a new company my resources were very limited. I needed people that were willing to work 24 hours a day for the potential to build something! I couldn’t promise a big salary or benefits; all I could promise was a vision. My belief is you hire for attitude and culture and can train for skills. Look at all successful companies. Very rarely do they hire because this person has this degree or that degree. I wanted to hire people that believed in my vision that shared my passion. That decision to do this as a family was what propelled us into a multi-million dollar enterprise very quickly. We’re four brothers with a goal.
Chris Illuminati is a senior editor with BroBible. If you feel your personal story deserves to be told, reach out to him here.