I think I’d have taken a lot more time to appreciate the journey rather than rush through life at the crazy pace that I have done.
Greg (born 18 February 1975) is an entrepreneur, master trader, philanthropist and international speaker, but most importantly a father. Founded the Knowledge to Action Group in 2003, which consists of the following companies; Learn to Trade, a leading global trading education company with offices in London, Johannesburg, Sydney and Manila. SmartCharts Software, providing the latest in trading technology, Capital Index, an exciting new city brokerage firm, FX Capital a managed account forex investment service. The Greg Secker Foundation, a not-for-profit organization committed to positively improving the quality of life for people around the world.
These organizations represent Greg’s passion and commitment to positively improve the lives of others – through education, coaching, strategy and support.
Greg’s career began in Thomas Cook Financial services. He then moved over to the foreign exchange business to run a brand new business entitled the Virtual Trading Desk™. VTD was the first online real-time Forex trading platform, allowing customers to receive real-time quotes for huge foreign exchange transactions. His career quickly progressed and he went on to be a Vice President at Mellon Financial Corporation, then a major Fortune 500 investment bank in the United States. Here he was lucky enough to be working around some of the very best traders in the world. Using these very same trading strategies discovered on his travels around international trading floors, Greg’s personal trading account grew to the extent where he decided to leave Mellon and set up a trading floor from his home. In just 3 short months Greg’s company Learn to Trade was born. Over the past 13 years, the company has grown to hold offices in London, Australia, South Africa and the Philippines. Where over 200,000 people have been educated in the Learn to Trade program through ongoing seminars and workshops.
Knowledge to Action was prized as a finalist in the 2009 London Excellence Awards, and the company claimed 49th place in the 2010 Sunday Times Fast Track 100 Awards – a Sunday Times initiative co-sponsored by Virgin that recognizes the UK’s Fastest growing companies.
Learn to Trade has been awarded Best Educator by World Finance Magazine for two consecutive years 2012 & 2013. In 2015 Learn to Trade was awarded Best Forex Trader Training UK and Best Trading Education Product by Wealth and Finance Magazine. Global Banking and Finance Review Awards awarded Learn to Trade with Best Forex Educators in UK, Europe, Australasia and South Africa in 2015, 2016 and 2017; and, with Greg at the helm of Corporate Leadership, his Company, Learn to Trade was awarded position 17 of “Philanthropic 30 Most Caring Companies “in the UK.
Greg is passionate about Philanthropy and this is recognized through him being nominated position 151 by Richtopia 2017. A list compiled of the Top 200 Most Influential Philanthropists & Social Entrepreneurs who have pro-actively increased the social awareness of important issues around the world. Greg was nominated as a Finalist in the 2017 National CSR Awards, recognizing his role in Outstanding Individual Corporate Leadership.
SOFTWARE, BROKERAGE AND INVESTMENT
Greg’s most recent entrepreneurial achievement is the launch of SmartCharts, Capital Index and FX Capital.
SmartCharts showcases the latest innovation in trading technology trading, simplifying the trading process by adding a level of interactivity, functionality, performance and ease of use never before seen on other trading platforms. This has assisted in the success of the Learn to Trade program and the many awards it has gained throughout its lifetime. It works by taking all the legwork by allowing clients to place a trade in just one click. Giving everyone the chance to gain Financial Freedom through using simple, easy to use software.
Capital Index is an award-winning regulated broker which offers fast trade on Forex, CFD, Futures and Indices. Giving clients access to advanced FX charting technology, coupled with sophisticated order-management tools helping you to monitor and control your positions quickly and efficiently.
In addition to providing competitive pricing in the market, Capital Index has also been recognized in 2016 as Best STP* Forex Broker and received the Best FOREX ECN/STP* Broker at the UK Forex Awards. (*Straight through Processing).
FX Capital is a client service providing a professionally managed account service, primarily covering the global Forex markets. Using Learn to Trade strategies and SmartCharts algorithmic approach to provide consistent growth, whilst safeguarding their investors capital.
Consistently ahead of the investments market, FX Capital demonstrates their credibility by using independent auditors, Wellers, to verify the trading results of both the Prosper 30 and Prosper 20 strategies. Prosper 30 Strategy achieved 41.3% in 2015 with Prosper 20 achieving 36.4% in the same period.
INTERNATIONAL AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKING
Greg has spoken on most major market channels including CNBC and Bloomberg. Now as an internationally recognized speaker, Greg is regularly invited to speak alongside renowned personalities such as Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor dad), T Harv Eker (Secrets of the Millionaire Mind), Anthony Robbins (Unlimited Power) and many others. With these events Greg is also working with other prominent charities such as Sir Richard Branson’s ‘Virgin Unite’, to create events such as The Global Success Summit in South Africa.
Bringing together guest speakers such as South African Rugby legend Francois Pienaar, Dr John Demartini, Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street), Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and many more. Discussing such topics as wealth, health, psychology and entrepreneurship to bring about radical change in both personal and business, to unlock the doors to life
Greg has shared the stage with Tony Blair at The National Achievers Congress in Asia and has spoken alongside a dozen ‘Success All-Stars’ including friend, Sir Richard Branson on several occasions.
GREG SECKER FOUNDATION
One of Greg’s most proud and passionate achievements is The Greg Secker Foundation, a not for profit organization born in 2010. Aligned with Greg’s focus, the Foundation’s commitment is to improve the quality of life for people around the world. Focusing on Education, Life Skills and Youth Leadership initiatives, the foundation strives to equip communities with the essential skills for success.
The Foundation is changing lives through its various programs: The Christmas Basket Brigade, Youth Mentoring Program and Early Childhood Development Program (South Africa), including the ‘Young Leader’s Festival and Youth Leadership Summit as well as supporting the ‘Ubuntu Education Fund’.
Closer to home in London also supporting charities such as ‘Barnardo’s UK’ while running regular events such as the ‘Global Tradethons’ and ‘The Flying Trader Project’ with participants from across the globe taking part raising funds for these causes.
Most recently Greg travelled to see the devastation in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, on his visit Greg came up with the “Build a House, build a Home, Restore a Community Project”. The project is to rebuild an entire community capable of withstanding future typhoons. With the funding from the Greg Secker Foundation 100 homes will be completed by the end of summer July 2017, providing all the necessities for life in a sustainable community to be enjoyed for generations to come.
This work has been effective at influencing people and growing the awareness around the world for social issues as well as supporting the mission of the Greg Secker Foundation to better the lives of the less fortunate around the world.
Where did the ideas come from?
It was born partly out of opportunity and partly out of boredom. I used to work for a large asset management bank in the foreign exchange department; and having moved back to the UK (after spending many years on trading floors in the United States), I had more time to focus on my own trading. After a while of trading from home I decided to start teaching people – feeling it would inspire me more than being sat behind trading screens at investment banks all day, becoming a product of an environment I felt I was growing out of.
The idea was always to motivate people to give them the same tools and ideas that I had learnt that allowed me to make enough money so I could choose not to work for the bank if I didn’t want to. It then swiftly became an obsession – teaching people to have the same choices. I quickly analyzed the market place and realized that was currently being sold in the market place was misrepresentative of the truth and was not an adequate system to teach people the intricacies of technical trading and economic consideration, by actually sitting down with each individual trainee 1-2-1 and physically implementing the process fully.
So, on my quest to try and make something already established better, by setting up the UK’s first trader coaching business and found that those who attended our coaching / mentoring programs were vastly more successful than those that were left to their own devices following a two-day immersive training program – and from there we built a business model which rivaled the status quo and allowed us to become market leaders – a model we have now replicated many times over and has made up number one in the industry.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
It’s fair to say that no two days look the same, given I am stretched across multiple companies in our group – but most of my time centers around living and working from home – I even run the majority of my board and core business meetings from my house. Failing that, I will travel when I am speaking on stage for motivational tour content and spend 70% of my time directing the Foundation through networking and making connections, something I must admit to being new to.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I think the most important thing is to think of the idea many stages down the track and really fall in love with your illusion of what your, for example, ‘paradise island’ would look like; and then, when you get acquainted with paradise island – in other words how something good could be great or how something un-started could be fantastic – then metaphorically look behind you or see in your mind’s eye, and imagine what steps you would have taken to get to the promised land.
I think if you pre-vision what you are about it to, your brain has the opportunity to go through the steps a couple of times before you do them for real and you get the benefit of running scenarios over in your head so you don’t make the mistakes. I think this technique prepares you, as you have seen the ideas come to life before they really have. The brain is always much more efficient at following a route it has done before (whether in reality it physically has or not), so pre-playing the steps in advance are critical to bringing them to life.
There is then the secondary benefit of allowing yourself to get quite enthusiastic about your ideas; and if you have the counsel of friends, family, business colleagues who can also get excited about the idea – it allows the sales pitch to start with yourself and emanate out to everybody else – and if you can get yourself enthusiastic, you’ve got a great chance of getting other people to fall in love with the idea and helping you on your mission. Remember people do what feels good, so enthusiasm must always be used in abundance. Make those around you see your vision in technicolour!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I think the trend of dissemination of power from the major TV and video broadcasters to the hands of the masses is the most exciting thing to have happened in recent years. I think society is tired of being told what brands to trust, what products we should use, how we should live our lives, what media we should consume and what propaganda we should willingly or unwillingly subscribe to.
Technology is bringing about freedom of thought, choice, competition, reverse auction (where companies are competing for client business), and of course more importantly a collaborative economy where participants discuss ideals, values, principles and beliefs giving us a greater insight into ourselves. With the use of very clever technology which learns our behaviors, auto suggests products, interests, fascinations, (that we may or may not yet have or heard of), making us more informed investors, parents, friends and ultimately people who know themselves by the enhancement that technological collaboration is bringing about with the current trend.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Giving myself time to think. Many years ago, I met a man in Dubai who was from a very wealthy family connected to property development – and he told me ‘In this game of life, you can think or you can work, but you cannot do both at the same time’; meaning of course that when we are so consumed with working we don’t give ourselves time to think about how to do or make something better, we are just trying to get stuff done. And conversely, when we are thinking we don’t have time to work and do the daily grind.
I truly learnt this lesson of working and thinking when I had my children and decided to build a home outside of London, meaning I was no longer in the business office every day and being distracted with the operational day to day runnings. This gave me the space to actually look at the business, as if I was almost hovering in a drone looking down at it all and figuring how to best organize it, and which resources to use. This is when I had the time to think about my expansion plans, and what I wanted our company to stand for and animal it would become. Were we going to be a company that was solely about profits or were we going to be a company with a focus on making a difference?
For us it’s about not only having a charity foundation to try and make a valid contribution to the world but also having a company which is trying to give people opportunity and freedoms that they wouldn’t otherwise have. These thoughts can only really happen when you haven’t got the distraction of ongoing hour by hour meetings and operational based decision making – you have to find a way to trust other people, despite things sometimes going wrong, in lieu of building something that the whole is greater than the sum of all of its parts. It’s about working on the business not in it to have maximum impact and I think you have to fall really in love with that idea.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was working at a bar – a job I only had a short time. It was at the local country club where my parents lived, and I quickly discovered that customers can be very impatient, people can be downright rude and people who drink too much becoming increasingly more annoying and the pay was never worth the job. What I did take from it though was an ability to handle people upfront by reading their body language to figure out what tact I should take with them, in order for the night to run well. Learning body language gave me something to focus on – if I stared any longer at the warm beer and salted peanuts in front of me, I might well have lost the will to live!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Starting over, I think I’d have taken a lot more time to appreciate the journey rather than rush through life at the crazy pace that I have done. I remember being on a life mastery program in Fiji at a resort owned by personal development guru Tony Robbins; and during this time, we were assigned in teams to climb a 60ft telegraph pole with little pegs jutting out from the side, and of course it was a test not only to see who was brave enough to climb the pole, but also who was brave enough to jump off from the top and trust their harness would support them.
I whizzed up the pole, reaching the top, and as I was about to jump off the top, one of Tony’s most astute and enigmatic coaches reminded me to ‘not worry about jumping and to pick my chin and to take a look at the view’; and as I looked around I realized we were at the highest point in the island and I could see the crystal pristine blue coastline encased in white dusty sand. Had I not picked my chin up to look around, it again could have been an experience I may have missed whilst rushing to the finish line. Life is to be enjoyed and not finished is one of the lessons I would take back to the beginning and perhaps slow the rollercoaster down a little bit.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur, I highly recommend reading books, not in any particular order, I don’t necessarily start at the beginning or finish right through to the end. I tend to pick up books, dog ear pages, pull chapters I find of interest and scribble notes in the margin. But one of the things I love about books is that you can learn a lot about how different people feel about life, and how they see things through very different filters.
One of my favorite things is to read autobiographies of people that are little known for their fame and fortune but maybe instead for their strength of character. Autobiographies give us the opportunity to see the world through other people’s eyes and perhaps learn a bit more about the world we live in.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
I love the idea of thinking a strategy through, testing it, and then of course -once its proven, putting your foot on the acceleration pedal and pushing it. I find, too often, that people have a good business model but for some emotional barrier they aren’t brave enough to put their money where their mouth is and get into it. Too many of us are ruled and controlled by fear – but of course, the irony of life is that the only thing to truly fear is the fear of not doing something that you could have otherwise excelled at. So I say, build the model, test it like hell and then volumize it as much as possible – be brave and give it a good go, you are only here once.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We learned we needed to do more research into the countries into which we were expanding into; many years ago for example, we tried to launch (unsuccessfully) into India. Our team became acutely aware just how unsuccessful it was at the enrollment tables of our seminar, when we discovered that we were not licensed to allow people to trade foreign exchange due to the imposed state exchange rate controls. This one oversight on our part caused us to lose the best part of a $500,000 and ruin the launch of our company into India, which we initially saw as a very exciting market.
We learned from this that we needed to understand more about the regulated trading marketplace and as such we set up, not only a strong compliance team – in our now brokerage, but a compliance team that governs our entire group advising us on such things as taxation, exchange rate controls, trading violations and any domestically applied policies that would prevent, or enable in some cases, the trading of OTC (Over the counter) Foreign Exchange and the education and strategy dissemination thereof.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Somebody should develop an app that learns about the behaviors in which you, the user, likes to indulge: what restaurants you like to visit, what films you like to watch, what sports teams you follow etc. and then the app should pre-populate your calendar with relevant suggestions for activities, dinners, concerts etc. that you like.
By accessing your calendar the app would understand when you are available and can auto suggest ideas for you, preventing you from missing out on things you would enjoy, and that a concierge service may only bring to your attention on an ad hoc basis. Wouldn’t it be great to look at your calendar and have 10 ideas for things you could do that week based on your personal preferences already in your diary for you?
I think an app that understands how you live life on your terms and then suggests things to you would be so handy. Imagine if you were at a business meeting, the app could suggest a suitable spot for lunch based on the time gap in your diary, the location of your meeting and also your food preferences.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
My grandfather on my mother’s side was a founding member of the Magic Circle and for many years I have collected magic tricks and stored them in a 800-year-old Chinese medicine cabinet with lots of little draws for each trick. I remember collecting them from flea markets on family holidays, of course back then I was the worst magician as I’d always show people how the trick was done – I liked showing people how things worked and was always fascinated as to knowing how to make things tick.
With the aim of keeping the magic of magic in the family I recently invited a close friend who has just become himself a member of the Magic Circle to come to my home to teach myself and my kids magic tricks. I recently purchased a very clever little box which has a pack of cards in it, and you tell the person to think of a card and then deal the deck down and magically at the end of the trick a little piece of paper is left in the box with the predicted card written on it. It’s a genius trick and is the best $100 I have spent recently because its passing down the love of magic to my children.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I’m particularly fond of Salesforce as an app as it allows me to simultaneously monitor my companies and keep them on track with our global business processes, giving real time stats, cash flow, projections etc. and of course, I am very fond of SmartCharts, being the owner of the company. We have developed one of the most impressive pieces of retail trading software for investors in the last 10 years. This is evidenced by the fact that more and more people are choosing to become professional, self-directed traders from home using software which effectively almost creates users a certain income without having to work for someone else – which is life changing for many people, who have not yet realized the basic reality of ‘freedom’ that exists in our lives today. Finally, I always used to consider Facebook to be a product which people generally use to look up and see who their ex-girlfriend or boyfriend from college is now dating; but I have found that its business use in the last three years has become nothing less than eye watering. In fact, marketing and advertising have seemed to de-select traditional routes in favor of the social media and the proliferation of the collaborative economy.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Tim Ferris Tools of Titans – it’s a left turn, with an unconventional format broken into specific sections and has volumes of helpful insights, pearls of wisdom and fresh ideas. A must- read recommendation.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I think Gary Vaynerchuk is a very interesting character and his concept of turning people into products that he uses to sell to large conglomerates in advertising space is nothing short of genius. More power to him! I think the world is becoming more collaborative in its approach and we are seeing a shift away from a few organizations which may have contributed to the brain washing of our society, to now becoming a more eclectic and more diversified group – who are not brainwashed, as much as they are aware of their own choices with the help of technology to make those decisions.
- I think I’d have taken a lot more time to appreciate the journey rather than rush through life at the crazy pace that I have done.
- I love the idea of thinking a strategy through, testing it, and then of course -once its proven, putting your foot on the acceleration pedal and pushing it.
- I think the most important thing is to think of the idea many stages down the track and really fall in love with your illusion of what your, for example, ‘paradise island’ would look like; and then, when you get acquainted with paradise island – in other words how something good could be great or how something un-started could be fantastic – then metaphorically look behind you or see in your mind’s eye, and imagine what steps you would have taken to get to the promised land.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.