Prepare For All Outcomes — Preparing oneself for all potential outcomes is crucial in one’s ability to display resilience in even the hardest situation one faces. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Often times if you prepare for all possible outcomes, you will mitigate problems before they even occur, and those that remain become much easier to swallow.
In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Preston Buhrmaster.
Preston Buhrmaster is the Founder and CEO of Venerated Capital Group, a private financial and investing advice company based in Syracuse, New York. The most popular products developed by Venerated Capital Group include the ‘Investors Institution’ Private Discord Server and ‘Investors Insight’ Weekly Market Report. With Investors Insight, Buhrmaster aims to revolutionize the way in which market data is transmuted and trade ideas are communicated between analysts and traders across alike. Buhrmaster also boasts a reputation for providing the training and resources credited to the success of countless students that have joined the Investors Institution.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I grew up in Saratoga Springs, NY which was known for its thoroughbred horse racing and mineral springs. My journey became around the time I became interested in collecting limited edition sneakers as I then had to come up with a means to fund the expensive hobby. I took to the sidewalks of the Saratoga Race Course with two friends to sell bottled water for 1 dollar and soda’s for 2 dollars. The town brings. In thousands of tourists each Summer, most of which are going to spend a day at the track, if not make it the centerpiece of their time in the city. You could go to BJ’s and buy a large case of water for under 5 dollars and turn that small investment into over 30 dollars by selling each bottle for just 1 dollar. This allowed me to build up capital as I continued the business for a few Summers while building up my connections in the sneaker business with hopes of transitioning to making that passion its own source of income. I began using my earnings from selling water to purchase multiple pairs of shoes on each release so that I could use the profits to pay for the pair I would keep and wear. It was a great gig for a while, especially as a middle schooler, though I knew it had more potential. I then teamed up with one of my partners in selling water as well as his older brother to develop a business, New Release Bot, which provided industry leading sneaker bots to the masses. The bots we offered enabled others to utilize the same technology that we used for purchasing limited edition sneakers automatically, before they sell out, and in bulk with efficiency and minimal effort. This business was a massive success, growing alongside my business of reselling sneakers. I served the needs of hundreds of clients worldwide, which was an amazing feat for such a young age. I followed this by founding multiple other businesses throughout high school and early college, spanning from wireless charging, to clothing, to services, drop shipping, and so much more. While doing all of that, I was focusing heavily on my passion for finance and investing. I interned at an accounting and wealth management firm in my senior year of high school, on the accounting side, and was exposed to the extremely diverse and interesting world of finance. This stemmed a new passion for learning how to study the markets and begin investing once I turned 18. Move a few years down the line and I would found Venerated Capital Group, a private financial and investing advice company, leading the industry in investment education services. Venerated Capital Group is the home of the Investors Institution, a private discord where I mentor students and teach them how to trade as well as Investors Insight, a private business, financial and investing newsletter tailored to the modern trader.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
One of the main reasons that I am so passionate about my career as an entrepreneur is the freedom that it provides, especially with the ability to move on your own schedule, not someone else’s. When I was 16, I planned a trip with a few of my close friends that I resold sneakers and traveled to conventions with. We are all huge fans of Travis Scott and had been dying to see him in concert, so we finally decided to make it happen by fitting it into one of our trips downstate. Travis Scott is still one of my favorite artists to this day and it had been a dream of mine for some time to see him in concert. I set my mind on saving up for the trip, planning it diligently, and most importantly, making it happen. He was doing a show at Terminal 5 in Manhattan, one that would be infamous for Travis Scott due to a fan jumping off the top balcony during the show. The show was absolutely crazy as the energy throughout the crowd was almost indescribable. Someone thought it was a good idea to dive off the top balcony at the venue, hoping they would be caught I assume, though they ended up being paralyzed after hitting the ground on landing. Seeing this occur in front of me really made me realize how fast things can change in life as well as that I need to thoroughly consider every action before I put it into movement. Had I made a thoughtless decision like that person did, I wouldn’t be able to share the even more interesting story that I have from the show. My experience would have been much, much different. Anyways, we got in a massive line that was so out of control that NYPD took to lining the street and managing the crowd outside the venue as we waited to get in. My friends and I got there pretty early and were fortunate enough to be near the front of the line. This was crucial so that we could quickly purchase the merchandise we wanted from the show and rush to the front of the crowd for the best experience. After spending hours in the crowd waiting to get in, we fought our way to the merchandise stands and purchased some tees quickly. This was no easy task, though we knew they could resell for much more after the show. Mission complete; now time to make our way to the front of the crowd. We all pushed our way through masses of people until we all reached the bar that blocked off the stage area from the crowd. I was dying of thirst after some time being crammed in the swarms of people at the show when something awesome happened. We all started yelling at Travis Scott to throw water at the crowd to cool us off. To my disbelief, I was fortunate enough to have him pour water on me during the show and I even captured it on video. It was a surreal experience seeing something that I could have only dreamed of happen before my very eyes. The show was electric and to this day is still my favorite concert that I have attended to date, even including other times I’ve seen Travis Scott preform.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Venerated Capital Group stands out from other financial and investing advice companies with our specialization in investment education services and our highly detailed financial and investing newsletter, Investors Insight, which is released on a weekly basis. Truthfully, I cannot think of another company who is doing exactly what we are. There are many similar companies in the market, though our unique ability to cater to the needs of traders of all skill levels, experience and even benefit analysts and investors alike with our market reports and insight. The members of the VCG team and I work both day and night to continually provide the support and resources necessary for our clients to become confident and consistent traders so they can start dominating the market like a pro.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
One person whom I am extremely grateful for their help in getting me to where I am today is Venerated Capital Group’s investment analyst intern, Austin Verde. The impact that he has left on the company in his short time with us is immensely positive as Austin continues to push us to improve in every way. When I originally interviewed Austin, he had demonstrated interest in our commission sales associate position, though we both soon realized he could benefit the company with his unique expertise and background much more as an investment analyst. Austin showed a keen knowledge for the markets and his passion and drive aligned perfectly with the company’s values. In one of our first conversations, Austin mentioned the idea for us to create a weekly market report, which was brilliant. I was shocked that I hadn’t thought of the idea prior. Information is knowledge and knowledge is power. The key to becoming a confident and consistent trader lies in one’s ability to build a strong foundation of knowledge and their ability to apply that knowledge to analyzing the market data at hand. In order to trade efficiently and make smart plays before the big moves, it is crucial to have access to premium market data that is provided in an easy-to-use format. We both were so eager to make the idea a reality that we released our first weekly market report within a week of Austin joining Venerated Capital Group. We have been working each week to improve the report and tailor it to our client’s needs, based upon their recommendations and feedback provided. I am so grateful for Austin’s excellent vision and his strong work ethic that is demonstrated in each and everything he does.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is one’s ability to continuously spring back from failure and never accept the outcome of defeat in any given situation. The only way to avoid failure is by simply not trying at all. Anyone who seeks change is going to face failure or defeat along their path toward success in whatever it is they aim to achieve. The difference between the winners and losers throughout life is that the winners never considered accepting failure as an option whereas the losers used as an excuse to claim defeat. One of the key traits of resilient people is their emotional intelligence, or sense of control over one’s emotions. If you are unable to control your emotions, it may enable the highs to be too high and the lows to get too low. Having that kind of a mindset will undoubtedly result in defeat as one will learn to expect to experience the high of their accomplishments and for the same reasons become crushed by the lows that accompany setbacks faced along the way. Never accept failure as an option, it is really that simple. If you are able to regulate your emotions and recognize the subconscious elements behind them, you will be able to control your destiny. Your thoughts manifest into your actions and your actions are what result in the life you live today. Resilient people also demonstrate strong problem-solving skills, which accompanies the rationale of never accepting defeat. A true problem solver uses each setback or failure to craft a more diligent solution to the problem at hand going forward. If you are able to control your emotions and use each problem faced as means of reaching the end goal, you are on the path toward resilience. Keep on tugging along and embrace each step of the journey, as the tough times are where those who are resilient have been known to thrive.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
When I think of resilience, there are many people that come to mind, though one person in particular is Elon Musk because he truly has never accepted defeat as his outcome. He has had companies on the verge of bankruptcy, countless setbacks with his innovations pertaining to each of his companies. Elon always says that failure is not an option and that is what I feel true resilience is. If you fail with a given task, take it as a lesson and use what you have now learned to creatively solve the problem and make it a success. Failure is only an outcome if you accept it and that is something that Elon definitely embodies with every project at hand. I use his endless resilience as motivation to keep pushing toward my goals, no matter how far away or impossible to reach they may seem. Building self-driving cars and rocket ships is no small task and failures are imminent along the path toward innovation with his companies Tesla and SpaceX. There were endless people rooting against the success of Musk and his companies, though he has always embraced that as more reasoning to continue pushing toward his goals. I work each and every day to hold myself to the same principles as they are proven to deliver results and I too hope to change the lives of others for the better.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
More times than not, I have been told that my ideas were impossible, rather than that I could make them a reality. One time that I recall in particular is the countless times my parents told me that I should give up on learning how to trade and give up my passion for being an entrepreneur because it wasn’t a sound path. Personally, I would have skipped attending college to pursue the two full-time had it been fully my choice, though attending Syracuse University has been a lifelong goal of mine. Throughout high school, I was told that reselling sneakers was not a solid source of income, even though it is what allowed me to save up to purchase my first car and fund all of my high school fun. The worst thing that I ever did was giving into their negative influence and stopping reselling sneakers to begin working for our family’s business. At that age, I already knew I would not be carrying on the business as I saw far greater potential in taking my own course and hence working there yielded no benefit aside countless hours of manual labor each week. I was trading my time and energy for an hourly wage of which was much less than I valued my time at. I knew what I could make on my own and eventually quit, setting back on the course to found my latest startup, Venerated Capital Group. Though I gave in to their pressure for some time, it further solidified my interest in forging my own path. A year later now, Venerated Capital Group is continually growing and I am excited for what the future is set to entail for the company and all involved.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
This story is one that I took a long time to come to means with and begin to move past, as it was easily my greatest setback at the time, though I learned such valuable lessons from it. Over this past summer, in July 2020, I had excellent returns throughout the month from trading options contracts. I was heavily focusing on strategies for day trades and occasionally swing trades. An account I started with not even 500 dollars grew around 9x up until this huge mistake. My small account challenge was going great until I had the idea to short Tesla stock after the insane run the stock experienced at the time. I continually added to my positions until all of my free margin was in these puts, all of which didn’t hit. I erased a whole month worth of gains in a mere 3 or 4 trading days due to revenge trading and adding to a losing position. This taught me that what comes up can go down and you need to practice the same risk management strategies regardless of the current returns you are showing. This setback humbled me a lot as I saw all of my time and hard work conducting analysis and finding perfect entries for trades get wiped away far faster than it took to build up. This forced me to take a short break from trading in order to reevaluate my trading rules and strategies as well as analyze my losing trades so that this wouldn’t reoccur in the future. Looking back, I am truly grateful to have experienced this so early in my career as it has only pushed me to further develop my skills and knowledge of the markets.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
There are many experiences that I had growing up that contributed to building my resiliency, though I will share one recent experience in particular. Over this past Summer, I set out to earn my New York Life, Accident and Health Insurance Agent/broker Examination Series 17–55 license. I attempted to do such while working all night, taking Summer classes during the day and in the midst of founding Venerated Capital Group. I honestly just had way too much on my plate at once, though I pushed through it and made it all work anyways. Fortunately, I had a great boss who was lenient when I had assignments or had to drive across Long Island to test for the license exam. I also was able to get an A in the class that I took over the Summer, which was a nice boost to my GPA. The one part where I had to show resilience was in passing the license exam, which I failed multiple times and even missed once due to traffic delays. On my first two tries, I failed the exam due to inadequate preparation as I lacked the time around my already hectic schedule. When I attempted to take the exam the third time, I got stuck in the ferry line and was late to my exam which meant I was unable to test on that date. This was a huge feeling of defeat as it was my last chance to test over the Summer and I would now have to figure out how to test for the exam while at school. In the beginning weeks of arriving at school, I spent much of my time preparing thoroughly for the exam and finally was able to pass the exam on that attempt. This felt amazing to finally accomplish, especially with all that I had to give up in order to make it possible. This is an accomplishment that I am very proud of because of the circumstances in which I had to overcome in order to achieve it.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
Resilience is most definitely a muscle that can be strengthened with the proper steps and a consistent effort. Resilience is not something that is naturally found within every person, though it is something that one can strengthen if the proper steps are taken each and every day.
- Master Emotional Intelligence — Emotional intelligence is at the core of resilience as it is truly impossible for one to be resilient if they cannot control their emotions. You need to learn to embrace the highs and build from the lows, though you cannot allow either to overamplify itself. The ability to regulate one’s emotions is the first step toward rising through resilience.
- Block Out Outside Influences — In order to remain resilient through the toughest times, it is essential to block out all outside influences, both negative and positive. You need to remain in control of your environment in order to rise through resilience. The cheers may get you too high and the criticism may push you too low if you listen to it. You know what is best for you, don’t let anyone else sway you differently.
- Find Your Personal Meaning — In order to be resilient, you also must have your own “why” and develop a purpose behind your actions. If you approach a situation with purpose, resilience will often follow because the purpose will fuel your drive to push through even the toughest times. When you establish a clear sense of purpose, it helps to view setbacks from a broader perspective and move forward even stronger from them.
- Always Be Seeking Growth — Another key element to rising through resilience is to always be seeking growth from every aspect. If you are comfortable where you are and fail to seek change, things will remain the same, or even get worse. You need to be constantly seeking growth in order to push through situations, because even the toughest ones only help you grow.
- Prepare For All Outcomes — Preparing oneself for all potential outcomes is crucial in one’s ability to display resilience in even the hardest situation one faces. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Often times if you prepare for all possible outcomes, you will mitigate problems before they even occur, and those that remain become much easier to swallow.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If there is one reason and one reason only to rise through resilience it is that average sucks. Those who lack resilience often lack the steps I shared because they are scared of change, or even worse, they are comfortable with where they currently stand. Comfort kills creativity and if you lack creativity, it is hard to rise through resilience when tough situations or setbacks face you. Why would you want to stay in the same place as today a year from now, 10-years from now? I wouldn’t even want to be in the same place 6-months from today. If you do not continually push for change, you will be stuck living just another average life. Personally, I couldn’t fathom doing such. Average sucks. I am more scared of living another boring, old, average life than I am of any change or struggles that could come from forging your own path. If you too embrace the simple message that average sucks, you will be amazed by the new perspective that it gives you when rising through resilience. No matter what you aim to accomplish or achieve in life, keep in the back of your mind the following two words: average sucks. Never settle for less than you deserve, and that is the best.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
If there was one person that I could have a meal with to talk about resilience, it would be Gary Vaynerchuk because everything he preaches is so valuable in rising through such. He is a firm believer in just doing you and staying true to who you are, regardless of the struggles you face. Gary is such a motivational person and the positive messages he spreads are often one of the things I listen to when I wake each morning. I’m sure I would be able to gain so much valuable information from a conversation with Gary, let alone the fact that he would most definitely be an enjoyable guy to have a glass of wine with. The way that Gary carries himself is something to admire as he is truly authentic and that is why his messages spread so far. It is so rare to find someone who you can genuinely relate to when seeking advice or listening to a motivational speaker because they all share the same generic advice. I hope to someday share my knowledge on the scale that Gary does, as I too hope to positively influence others to change the world.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow me on Instagram at @prestonbuhrmaster or Venerated Capital Group at @veneratedcapitalgroup. My Twitter handle is @pbuhrmaster and VCGs is @VCGmarkets. I am also active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest (@prestonbuhrmaster). Venerated Capital Group can also be found on LinkedIn and Facebook. I currently publish writing on my Medium, @prestonbuhrmaster and am in the process of launching a blog at www.VeneratedCapitalGroup.com to share strictly investment-centered pieces in the coming weeks.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!