A Founder’s Journey Requires Accountability With Angelo Ciaramello
VENTEUR spoke with Angelo Ciaramello of the Funded Trader about his entrepreneurial journey. The Funded Trader gamifies capital markets retail trading and provides an immersive experience for users who compete to get funded and earn the top spot on its leaderboard.
The entrepreneurial journey is one of self-discovery. What have you learned about yourself while building your business?
I have learned thus far that the more effort I put into my peace of mind and development, the better results I have in my life in all areas.
The entrepreneurial journey is often lonely. Have you experienced loneliness as an entrepreneur?
I experienced loneliness as an entrepreneur in the beginning. As I look back on those times, I realize that the loneliness feeling was the separation that I was creating away from people and things that were no longer aligned with my life’s direction.
I overcame this by focusing on personal development and creating a network of people dedicated to similar goals. As I began to gain experience as an entrepreneur, those feelings were fleeting as I met more and more people aligned with the vision of my life and business.
What role has intuition played in your success as an entrepreneur, and why do you think this is the case?
I believe that our society is scared to chase its dreams. More specifically, they are scared to bet on themselves when there is so much pressure to conform to what someone else tells them is a good life. You can be anything you want to be. We only get one shot at life, and wasting the opportunity to actualize your dream is scarier than the risk of getting there.
What do you think the most significant difference is between how an entrepreneur sees their career path versus how an employee at a company sees their career path, and why?
When an entrepreneur thinks about their life, I believe they must hold themselves accountable at every turn in their work, relationships, and health to live a great life. But unfortunately, an employee typically accepts that they can leave the work behind for others to do, blame others, and ultimately is not in control in most cases of their mind.
The Psychological Warfare
Entrepreneurs generally sleep less, work more, and let their health slip. This combination, combined with loneliness, often results in insecurity, self-esteem issues, and low self-worth. Have you experienced any of these issues as an entrepreneur?
I try to be mindful of my overall health, especially in running my businesses and having my schedule. That being said, there have been times when I let my health slip, whether due to issues requiring attention during off hours or during periods of prosperity where you celebrate a little too much. You need to have core habits and routines that you return to, which help keep you centered. If you have these, you will be good over the long haul.
What are three mistakes you made early on as an entrepreneur, what did you learn from them, and how can others avoid these mistakes?
1. Losing $100,000 in One Day
One of the most significant mistakes I made when we first started was related to trading. Looking back on it, it was comical, but it was not as much fun at the moment. Long story short, we made a decision that caused us to lose $100,000 in one day. In hours! It was an epic fail at the time and the most I had lost in one day. The lesson I learned was in how we handled it. We looked at it as an expense to the business and that if we were in a position to lose that much comfortably, we were doing something right. Ultimately, we have been a lot more focused on our risk!
2. Trusting the Wrong People
In the beginning, I tended to listen to people who had never done or even tried to do what I was setting out to do. Listening to these people set me back and created a lot of unneeded tension in my life. I would recommend that anyone starting as an entrepreneur first surround themselves with like-minded individuals and mentors who can give them positive feedback and advice.
3. Spending Too Much Time on Problems That Are Not Big Enough
I spent a lot of time trying to fix things on my own. Instead, if I had hired someone to help in certain situations, it would have allowed me to focus on the larger tasks I needed.
What are three things you see that are often overlooked by entrepreneurs you encounter, and how can other entrepreneurs be aware of these things from the beginning?
1. Lacking Discipline
One of my mentors outside of business was a fitness instructor of mine, Phil Ross. They inspired me to instill discipline in my everyday life, and that it was not something that was a chore but rather a tool to unlock the freedom and goals I set. It changed my thinking to be a better person.
2. Taking Care of Their Health
Many people I meet are so focused on their goals or working hard that they neglect an essential thing: their physical and mental health. If you are an early-stage entrepreneur, I would look at your habits and routines and ensure you built those around your health before anything else.
3. Planning Too Much
When I hear people making too many plans, I feel it takes time away from the important things, creativity, and execution. You can leverage a relatively simple plan to have highly effective results. Do not over-plan!
What are three seemingly insurmountable obstacles you’ve faced as an entrepreneur, and how have you overcome them?
1. Starting a Business With Zero Capital
When we started, we put up our capital and instead believed in the model we presented to clients. Through persistence and listening to the customers, it worked.
2. Disrupting an Industry
That Was Very Established When we started, we pitched our idea to multiple other players in the space. They did not believe we could offer the product we were presenting. In the end, through our analysis and intuition, it worked.
3. Affording My Bills While Working Toward My Dreams
I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I faced the reality of working a job to afford my lifestyle. Working these long hours and staying committed helped me get to where I am today.
How can newer entrepreneurs develop a healthy work-life balance even when it seems like an impossible task?
The number one book I ever read, “The Magic of Thinking Big,” helped me a lot while building my business. This book made me realize that it’s not about where we are or where we have been. Instead, it’s about how we choose to show up to our current situations and where we believe we are headed.
What three key pieces of advice would have made your entrepreneurial journey more manageable, and why?
1. Success Is the Progressive Realization of a Worthy Ideal
Anyone that is working towards a goal can be considered a success.
2. Consider Outcomes
When faced with a problem, instead of being reactive, sit and think about what the best outcome can be and try to work backward on how you can get there.
3. Do Not Trust Everything Everyone Tells You
Think for yourself and make your own decisions no matter what!