I started working very early than most people. The average age for most people is 17-18 taking summer jobs or a grocery store. Well, I started. I think about 14 or 15. I fixed computers, installed software, set minor servers or misconfigs. Back then, people were very paranoid of computers and systems in general. I was audacious – I took this opportunity to learn everything I could get my hands on and make money simultaneously.

I also saved money my mom used to give me for travel and invested that in myself and new tech. Made more money, invested that again in self-learning. Made more and kept the cycle running. I’ve also made a decent 5 figure in advertising (Google Adsense) till now but stopped it as I did not see any point in continuing. It was free money, yes, but my heart was never in it.

During undergrad, an app I designed with my friend also made me a small amount of money off the paid version. Again, after almost hitting half a million downloads, I had no urge to continue with it. I just never thought the best use of my passion was designing and developing mobile apps. I knew from the very beginning that I have something that most people don’t – A severe discipline and knack for passion. Individuals search their entire lives to find their passion. I found it at the age of 9.

It took me three days and 4 hours of work in total to set up this very website. Right from setting up server/hosting, WordPress, Cache, CDN (Content Delivery Network – Cloudflare), DNS, and everything that comes with it. I can’t believe people pay money to other companies to manage all this when anyone can do it by a few hours of googling. I have a feeling everything is overpriced and oversold in tech (PUN intended)

During undergrad, my work activities certainly bumped up a notch as I took more projects, even from final year students. Yes, I built and sold final-year projects right from my first year. They were straightforward websites and applications. Nothing fancy.

I certainly made a decent amount of money which I splurged into new gadgets. Mom was always curious where I got all the money from; colleagues thought I was filthy rich. Some part of me liked the notion of everyone thinking I was rich. They hated, respected, and kept their distance from me. I saw it as a win-win.

Postgrad was hard. The fees were enormous for me to fathom. Internships helped me to stay afloat, but I knew I couldn’t sustain it for long. That’s when I started looking at people who were gambling in the library. I stayed almost 10-12 hours in the university library every day and I certainly made a few friends. I saw someone do something on a screen with a few thousand dollars. I was curious about what he was doing. After walking up to him and talking, he told me he was day trading.

Long story short – I became an options trader. It took me 5-6 months to truly understand the hows, whens, whys, etc. I used my money earned during internships to gamble in the market. It was a high-stakes game. I like to say “game” because I would’ve lost if I didn’t think of it as a game. I want to think options trading is not for the weak-hearted. You genuinely need a risk appetite even if you are not high-risk-tolerant. The other half of the money was made from “Winning” hackathons. I say winning because if you lose, you get nothing. Three days of hacking to win anywhere between $1000-$5000? Not bad at all. After gaining some traction and luck, I became a mercenary for other teams. If someone wanted me to build and walk through creating their product or pitch, I would chime in and take a percentage of their wins. Is this allowed? Well, I didn’t see why it “wasn’t” allowed. I’ve bent many rules to get by every day, but I’m proud that I never broke any.

At 18, I still remember talking with a broker when I wanted to enter the stock market; he mocked me, saying I was too poor and naive to make any money. I wiped off my tears and told myself, give me ten more years, and I’ll change the tide. I managed to do it much sooner and would lie by saying that I didn’t enjoy this or get a kick out of it. I enjoyed most of it as long as it didn’t end up me being homeless. Would I do it again? Probably not; I am still an options trader, never left it entirely but stopped everything else.

Most of my investments are currently in just two tech stocks. Diversification is for wealth preservation. Consolidation is for wealth accumulation. You cannot (always) make money playing it safe.

When playing in the stock market, many confuse two words – probability and risk.

  • Probability is the likelihood of something happening.
  • Risk is the probability multiplied by the consequence, so even though the probability is low, the risk is high.

For a start, a property is no longer the default investment, technology stocks are. That’s the way most of the wealthiest have made their money, tech stocks have massively outperformed property over the last few decades, it’s where most of the smart money is going, risks can be reduced by diversifying.

And owning the home you live in doesn’t make as much sense as it once did – it is expensive – think about buying and selling costs, ownership taxes – and it goes against the new mindset – being lean. Life moves so much faster these days, renting means you are free to move as your life changes, you’ll be more willing to take advantage of job opportunities. Successful people tend to move to opportunities, less successful ones stay stuck where they are.

Most people I know my age are trapped by their mortgages, private school fees, and high-maintenance partners – you just don’t want to go there. Security has value, sure, but it’s not worth your freedom. Forget needing to own your home, embrace a modern leaner way of life.

Asim Qureshi

I’ve forgotten most of the bad things I faced growing up, but I’ll never forget why I’ve always pushed my boundaries towards learning, passion, and the resilience that has got me here. I like the strict schedule I’ve built round the clock for work, health, family, and personal time. I don’t intend to change it anytime soon as long as it makes and keeps me happy.

If I take a step back and see how far I’ve come, I see that everything I made, I’ve reinvested in myself to grow out of that situation or surroundings. I don’t regret anything—still, a very long way to go.