Share Trading for Dummies

Two years ago I knew nothing about share trading. I didn’t have my own investments and I barely even knew how to invest. I was certainly interested, but I was also a little confused and too lazy to learn. Then I was offered a job writing for a share trading magazine.

“You’re a great fit for what we need!” the client told me after finding my profile on Upwork. “But your portfolio doesn’t say anything about trading. Do you have any knowledge on this subject?”

A good freelancer is an honest freelancer. But an honest freelancer is also a broke freelancer, so I lied through my teeth. After three emails, the client believed I was a trading guru who spent his day crunching numbers and checking tickers (if I sound like I’m speaking the lingo, it’s purely by chance). What followed was three months of blagging my way through a project I had no right to work on.

My only guide was a beginner’s book on share trading and the knowledge that my client wasn’t really all that clued-up on the subject, so I only had to blag to a basic level. This sounds like a recipe for disaster. By rights, it should have all caved in on me. But it didn’t. I made it through. I took my pay and I went on my way.

The fact that I was immediately thrust into this world without knowing a thing gave me quite a unique perspective. I was forced to be a guru to beginner traders who actually knew more than me, even though their knowledge was incredibly basic. So, once the job finished, I decided to put some of that basic knowledge to the test.

Ask a Stupid Question

One of the prevailing trends I noticed when playing the role of faux guru was that no one wanted to ask a stupid question, even if they were desperate to find the answer. And because no one was asking those questions, no one was answering them.

One of the most common questions I received was, “Why can’t I buy shares in [private company].” It’s a question that is obvious if you have any knowledge of the stock market, but they didn’t, and because I had been in the same position only days before, I could sympathize with them.

I actually answered one of those questions on a site I purchased while working on this job. The article focused on buying shares in Aldi. This seemingly obscure article stood alongside 300+ others on a site that covered shares, binary options and a whole lot more. The guy I bought the site from actually joked about it, telling me that if I was going to populate his site with such nonsense, he’d have to step in.

But within 4 weeks, that article was attracting 80% of the site’s traffic and that same owner then became convinced I was practicing some form of virtual voodoo.

The truth is, I just answered a very simple question that many wannabe investors were asking but no one was answering. I did it again with another site, and another. These articles went straight to the top of Google because there was so little competition.

A year later, I was a little less oblivious and a little more informed. I even had my own portfolio (“had” being the keyword, because I quickly discovered that being a professional blagger is no substitute for smart trading). So I setup the BuySharesIn website. I began posting answers to all of the dumb questions that I’d had a year previous and that I had been asked myself.

I showed that site to a professional trader and he thought I was joking. Then I showed him the numbers.

The Moral of the Story

I wanted to write a short guide on share trading. That’s what this article was supposed to be about. But as soon as I wrote the first paragraph I knew I couldn’t blag my way through more content. Not when my bank account is still reeling from when I took my own advice.

So, instead, I decided to put out this honest account and this one message: don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions. If you’re not sure of something, ask away, especially if that something is stopping you from getting involved. This is an exciting industry and if you do things right, then it can be a profitable one.

For me, I’m too much of a gambler (and an idiot) to be a successful share trader. But I asked stupid questions, I got stupid answers and in my own way, I profited from that.