Samuel Leach launched Samuel & Co. in 2012 while still at university and has since grown the business to achieve £1m turnover. He talks to BQ about how he got started and where he plans to go from here.
What is it the company does?
Samuel & Co. Trading is a government accredited international trading course that helps aspiring traders from all backgrounds achieve success through the financial markets. We have in-house and online trading courses and, since launching in 2012, we have taught over 1,500 people from 64 countries! We seek to demystify the world of trading and teach strategies, including mindset coaching, to build world class traders.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As director, my main objective is to make sure that my employees, and the traders I have taught, are always learning and succeeding. I’m always discovering new ways to utilise the latest technologies and methods to make sure that our trading course is at the forefront of innovation. I also believe it is my responsibility to make sure that my team feel encouraged, happy and valued.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
After being one shot away from becoming a Major League Gamer, I joined a trading course that sparked my love for trading. I started trading independently at the age of 18 and couldn’t get enough – I definitely caught the bug! When I went on to study at The University of Hertfordshire I continued to trade and turned my £2,000 bursary into £170,000 in little over 12 months. My now business partner, Matthew Wright, who I met at the trading course, suggested that I set up a £30 a month subscription package to teach others how to trade and this was how Samuel & Co. was born. After I graduated, we moved the office into my mum’s living room and the team has grown from there. We now have an office in Watford and Madrid and have over 60 staff, it’s an incredible feeling to think that this all began in my university bedroom.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
A great leader is one that listens to their team, because without a team, how can you be a leader? Samuel & Co. Trading wouldn’t be where it is today without the core team, so I have created an open environment where sharing views is encouraged and reward my staff regularly to show I value them. Trading can be emotionally challenging, so giving them time out to recoup as a group or on their own is key.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
As any founder or company head will tell you, it’s a huge responsibility to make sure that your staff are financially secure. I have self-funded Samuel & Co. entirely, and at times this has left me, and subsequently my staff, in slightly more precarious situations than I would like. For instance, moving into our office in Watford was a financial risk, but I believe that you have to take risks in order to succeed and we haven’t looked back – it was definitely one of the best decisions we’ve made.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I try and go to the gym every day, even if it’s for half an hour on my lunchbreak. Trading can be stressful, as many people get submerged in the markets, so physical exercise can be a great way to blow off steam. At Samuel & Co., we also have a specialist mindset coach, Adrian, who is on hand to help all our employees with any worries they have. This is something I am extremely proud of and I believe it sets us apart from our competitors.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was little I wanted to be a RAF pilot, I always thought the idea of flying was exciting and my bedroom walls were coated in pictures of planes. Unfortunately, this dream came to a bitter end when I had my first experience flying in a microlite. I was put straight in control with no idea of what I was doing – the instructor thought it would be funny to scare the life out of me! Now my feet are firmly stuck on the ground.
Any pet hates in the workplace?
Tea slurping has to be the worst trait anyone can bring to the office. One of our traders, Elliot is the biggest culprit and I’m sure he does it to get a reaction!
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Teaching innovative strategies to more traders, in more territories across the world, and perhaps even with more international offices. With the right tools and passion, anyone can achieve the level of success we know is possible via trading the financial markets and I want to make people’s dreams of transforming their financial situations come alive. I’m very active on social media, especially on Instagram, and it’s great to see so many people get in touch to say how my trading course has changed their life for the better; that’s the reason we do what we do.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable, instead view it as the key to success. I like to live by Dr Abraham Twerski’s lobster analogy. The lobster can only grow when it’s under immense amounts of pressure and this is akin to how business leaders should grow, taking situations that are uncomfortable and using them to their advantage.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Work hard but work smart. I was guilty of believing that if you worked long hours you would be successful, which ultimately burnt me out. I learnt that you need to work smart, and working smart is different for everyone. For me it means planning my day every morning and setting goals that I want to achieve; ones that are ambitious but also realistic. This not only gives me a good structure to my day but helps me track my progress.
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