As someone who has been in online business for more than 10 years, I can tell you one thing: Building an online business is not as easy as people think.  It’s much more than just setting up a website, slap some content on it, and you’re ready to make plenty of money.  Just ask our guest in this exclusive Q&A.

Noobpreneur.com is fortunate to have an opportunity for an interview with Timothy Sykes – the flashy millionaire stock trader that is known for his day trading expertise, turning his $12K into $4 million by 22 and now – using online platforms – teaching thousands of students who want to achieve similar success (in fact, several students have achieved the millionaire status.)

Tim Sykes

In this interview, Tim shares his story, as well as his insights on how to identify and build a successful online business model.

Ivan Widjaya (Q): Hi, Tim – please introduce yourself to our readers

Timothy Sykes (A): I’m a stock trader who made my first million and created my own hedge fund in college after starting with just $12,415 in Bar Mitzvah gift money. I currently run my own financial education business at TimothySykes.com where I teach over five thousand students how to profitably trade lower priced stocks & I’m the first stock trading teacher to have several millionaire students, one notably was featured on CNN after he turned $1,500 into $1 million in 3 years and now he’s up over $2.7 million in his 4th year as my student. My charity foundation The Timothy Sykes Foundation has raised over $600,000 since I started it a few months ago and I’ve spread the word about my crazy life and teachings on several reality TV shows like “Wall Street Warriors” and “Below Deck”, most recently on E! Entertainment’s “New Money”.

Q: You became a millionaire at 22, and claimed to turn your $12,415 Bar Mitzvah gift money into $4,305,000 – how do you spot the opportunity? What’s your ‘eureka’ moment?

A: I got into trading fairly early on in life and I’m forever grateful to my parents for giving me control of my Bar Mitzvah gift money that was just sitting in a savings account back in 1998. Most people would’ve kept that gift money in savings bonds, but I knew there was a way to grow my money much faster as the stock market was booming and I was injured from my tennis career at the time so it just made sense to try. I knew the basics of investing, and I also knew that day trading was high-risk/high reward so it really just came down to me being willing to take on the risks of day trading. After I made my first $100,000 senior year of high school and nearly $800,000 Freshman year of college, I used most of my time in college to make stock trades and focus on this fascinating new hobby of mine. Obviously there was a bit of a learning curve, but I caught on to how to profit consistently fairly quickly, and my earnings took off from there.

Q: You transform from someone who document your journey via blog posts to a teacher of more than 5,000 students.  What does this transformation offer you, professionally and financially?

A: Professionally, teaching students for a living keeps me on top of my game every day. I couldn’t exactly stay in business, let alone have a business that has doubled every year for the past few years, if my stock market strategies and lessons didn’t work and no one could profit from them (which describes the majority of the sad financial education industry). So teaching essentially forces me to continuously study and refine my own strategy so I can make sure I’m telling my students how to do it all properly to maximize their knowledge and profits. Financially, teaching is basically its own feedback loop. The financial support I get from my students allows me to produce all of my DVD’s (as well as all of my free videos I put on my YouTube channel here http://tim.ly/sykestube). It all feeds back into producing more useful and better resources for my students.

Q: To be honest with you, I know you because of your haters keep talking about you and your lifestyle on the web, label you as ’scammer’ and other stuffs. How do you deal with your haters?

A: I can’t help but laugh at them as they really don’t understand how important it is to inspire my students and reinforce rules every day, education is severely under appreciated in our society. I know that isn’t very unique, but it’s honestly the best way to deal with them. If someone really wants to take a chance and become one of my students, I’ll take them under my wing and give them all of the resources they need to be successful, but we reject many applicants since I have ZERO time for non-dedicated students or people who just want hot stock picks. The loudest haters on the Web are also the ones who we rejected because they didn’t, and still don’t have the right mindset, to be a successful student/trader.

Q: Although it seems easy (at least that’s what people told me), I think online business IS hard. But I do need to hear from you, who have your fair share of success and failure: How hard is it starting out and get to where you are right now?

A: You’re right, running a business (online or offline) isn’t exactly ‘easy.’ I used a lot of personal connections in the beginning, people who knew how well I was doing and wanted to learn about how exactly I became so successful. From there, a lot of it was just getting the word out about my lessons and success of my students. You need to get your name out there and keep putting it out there over and over, otherwise people are just going to forget about you. That’s just the way modern culture is. And to have successful students, you have to create great content every day that will literally change their lives so they will brag about you on social media and help your business grow via their testimonials.

Q: Any advice for our readers who want to start an online business on how to evaluate an online business model, so that they can achieve success faster?

A: Yes, don’t think about your customers as people who just pay you as too many businesses do. Your customers are your greatest salespeople for if you do well by them, they will become your greatest assets in helping you expand and tell others how great your product is. Too many online businesses think you just can create mediocre or subpar products and get away it; you can in the short-term, but ti’ll come back to bite you long-term and online entrepreneurs should always be thinking about the long run since that’s where the real money and fulfillment comes in.

Q: Off-topic: What do you think of Bitcoin?

A: Bitcoin has great potential, as do all lower priced stocks with revolutionary hopes and dreams, but until the chart trends higher and ideally breaks the former highs, it doesn’t interest me. This is a very simple yet effective rule in the stock market; ignore hopes and dreams, focus on whatever plays are hitting new highs and actually are hot right now as opposed to possibly sometimes in the future. I’ve seen tens of thousands of companies with great-sounding futures fail and their stocks collapse so I’ve learned to focus on price action above all else. People feel they have to dip buy and get in at a good price or else they’ll miss a big runup when in reality if Bitcoin is going to be huge, just buy the breakout of the former high and if it’ll spike big, you can still ride it nicely. If it never gets back there, it most likely will never spike that much so ignore it, and all stocks with similar dismal patterns, until they prove themselves worth of your hard-earned money.

Many thanks for your time, Tim!

Takeaway

A solid online business – especially the one that focuses on intangible products or services, like content-based educational website – needs to start with what you’re good at and grow as you share your knowledge and experience to your audience.  Establish your expertise and use online platforms like a blog, online training platform and other platforms to expand your revenue potential.

What’s your takeaway? Please share it with us!