Wanjiru Gishangi, 29, has been trading forex for over three years. While she may have started on a losing note, Gishangi is now more experienced and even offers training to others looking to join the venture.
She shares her journey in foreign exchange and offers tips on finding a living from the forex market.
“What do you do after an MBA and a year of unsuccessful job search? You pause on sending out those résumés and start thinking outside the box.
This is exactly what I did five years ago. I had quit my job as a banker, graduated from the University of Nairobi and I was a tad bored of being a housewife. I wanted more: a job maybe, but none was forthcoming.
One day, I thought of researching on online jobs since I had set up WI-FI at my house and I owned a laptop.
I settled on online writing and even got someone to train me at a cost of Sh3,000. Along the way, I dropped interest and switched to transcription. This too did not work out.
In 2014, I was scrolling through the TV channels when I bumped into one that was broadcasting about smart investment. Because I was looking for something to occupy me, I listened on. The guest was talking about forex market.
I remembered learning about it in my public finance class back at the university but I had not paid much attention. I tried contacting my then-lecturer but I was informed that he had since left the country.
I sought to research more about it and watched hundreds of YouTube videos. Forex trading is the buying and selling of currencies against each other. After two months of self-training, I thought that I was good to go.
“Ah, this is easy, you just buy and sell currencies,” I remember encouraging myself.
I opened an account, invested Sh50,000 and in less than five minutes I lost it all. I took a trade based on wrong market analysis.
One can never trade against the market movement. So if you do counter trades, losses are guaranteed and sometimes really terrible loses.
Then, I did not know much about the trade or the profits. There were not even the loud dissuading remarks that forex trading was a fraud, a bet. It was just me being fuelled by the drive to make myself busy.
I went back online, this time on Facebook, typed forex trading on the search bar and sent messages to anyone who I thought had an idea of the venture.
I contacted about 30 people and those who bothered to respond had discouraging messages.
‘Forex trading is risky business and meant for men; it is too complex to teach, that I should just pay them to run my account and so on.’
One offered to train me at Sh300,000, an amount that I did not have and was not willing to raise. Nine months later, still learning and looking for someone to train me, I chanced upon someone who was selling trade signals.
The signals are a suggestion for entering a trade on a currency pair, usually at a specific time and price.
He asked me for Sh5,000 a week and I got some returns. I even gave him my account to manage for one month.
However, since this was not my long-term goal and he was not available to train me; I withdrew.
Remember the man who had asked me for Sh300,000? He sent me a message through Facebook and told me that his mentor was offering a two-hour open house training and if I was lucky enough to be selected, I could join in and learn.
I did and even got into the trainer’s boot camp under full sponsorship.
No amount of theory can make a good trader. You have to put in the hard work and practice.
Therefore, with all the information I had at hand, I continued to make losses. I even reached out to some of my friends and relatives for money and I ended up losing a portion of it.
‘I have been trying this for one year. Should I just give up?’ I thought. ‘If you give up on it, what else will you do?’ my subconscious mind retorted.
I decided to get a mentor and while on this journey, I discovered that most people are unwilling to offer tips.
I got someone who took me through risk management. Through his guidance, I was able to let go of two things: greed and fear.
Before him, I had reached out to other people who had blocked me or shared plagiarised work after receiving payment.
This time round, I decided to start small. I invested Sh7,000 and gradually increased as time went by. That was in 2016, I have not looked back.
There are a lot of questions and doubts around forex trading. While some people think of this as a money-minting scheme, others rubbish it as a fraud run by scoundrels. Most people do not have an idea of what it entails.
Through my Facebook platform, forex exploits, where I offer free trading tips, I always encourage my followers to approach forex as a business.
First, it is a risk and second, there is nothing like overnight riches. You have to put in the work and adopt a strategy that works best for you.
‘What else do you do besides forex trading?’ People often ask me.
Well, I earn a living from forex trading and I only trade for four hours every day. If you are wondering if forex has good returns, yes, it does.
Depending on how much you invest, you are certain of at least 20 per cent return. I trade in pounds and gold mostly. I earn a living through the trade and meet my expenses through returns made from the platform.
Anybody can join the forex market but you need to start the right way. Have the necessary skills because if you do not, you will sell while others are buying.
Do not get into the trade with a greedy mind. You are going to lose.
Having walked this journey alone, I decided to write an e-book that can help other jobless women and youth learn more about forex trading. Occasionally, I also offer training starting from Sh10,000.
How it works: A trader accesses the forex market for free through a dealer who offers the trading platform (MT4) Example of dealer is FX Pesa in Kenya under EGM securities.
A trader opens a free trading account with the dealer and deposits capital into the account. From the trading platform offered by the dealer, a trader is able to access the live market in real time as it is happening all over the world.
The trader chooses the items he/she wishes to trade in based on personal preference, capital size or risk appetite.
One is free to trade in currencies, metals, commodities, indices and even exotics, all offered in the same forex market under different segments.
After good market analysis of the items chosen, the trader will then place either a buy or a sell of a certain quantity and wait for the market to either follow their analysis or get them out at a loss.
At the end of the trade, session or day, depending on how long the trader held the trade, they either make a profit or a loss depending on their analysis.