Trading in financial markets is exciting and gratifying!
Giovana Vega grew up in Peru. She´s the oldest of four siblings. Life took her to Spain and then to Holland. She fell in love with trading and is now successfully running her own business, teaching women the basic knowledge in technical analysis and the Forex market, to become better traders and reach financial independence through financial markets. She is also writing a book, Trading for Success: Eight Secrets Why Women are Better Forex Traders. Giovana has transpormed from being bullied in school to making her dreams of a life abroad and being an entrepreneur come true.
How do you remember your life as a young girl, growing up in Peru?
Growing up in Peru can be a quite different experience depending on your circumstances. If you have educated parents and an upper middle-class standard of living, you can live really well. In reality, it´s not that different from how you live in Europe. My parents are exemplary and I love them so much. They´ve always instilled values and morals in us. I remember having a life full of responsibilities and apart from going to school, we also had our sports and hobbies. I loved to draw and paint when I was little, and I also took ballet and swimming classes. I loved to swim; I remember that I had to train every morning before going to school. That helped me develop discipline.
However there is another side to the coin. It could be the case that you grow up in a simple family that doesn´t have economic resources. The experience of growing up in that social class is different. I never did agree with the extreme social differences in Peru. There are families that are extremely rich and families that are extremely poor, and it´s something that I´ve never understood why it has to be that way.
You left Peru to move to Spain at a young age. How was this experience of leaving your family and safety and to start a new life in a new country?
Yes, it was a really hard experience for me at first. Now I realise that I made the decision based on what I felt and I didn´t think much about which were the pros and cons. My desire to get to know other cultures and countries was greater than my fears and failures. However, in the beginning, I cried almost every day while I was lying on my bed, missing my life in Peru, my family, brother and sisters. I remember that after three months living in Spain, I really wanted to go back to Peru, but I couldn’t give up so easy. So every time I experienced that moment of sadness and loneliness I focused on the reasons that had brought me to Spain and the goals I wanted to achieve in my life. I realised that it was going to imply change, but I didn´t imagine I would be facing all of them. I was lucky to meet nice people that supported me and helped me feel at home. It´s an enormous advantage to have that type of people in your life. After adapting to the new city, I started living unforgettable experiences.
Living out of your country opens your mind and turns you into a much more empathetic and enriched person. I left Peru very young, before turning 20, and I lived in Europe. I´ve lived in Spain and now Holland, and it´s allowed me to understand the customs, people, and way of life in each place. In the beginning, I think it´s always hard when you get to a new place where you don´t know anyone or anything about it. But with time, you start learning and adapting. Later you can decide if you like it or not. But I think in the background, whether or not it´s a good experience, it will make you a better person.
You found love in Spain that took you once again to a new country. What were the challenges you had to face when moving to Holland?
I never actually stopped to consider what living in Dutch society would entail. First of all, I think the biggest challenges that I had to face were the language, the culture, and also the climate. I couldn´t find my place in the beginning, in Holland. However I was really in love, and even though that sentiment helps you a lot, I missed my social life, my friendships, my independence. I knew there was a new language to learn, one I thought at the time had vague similarities to German. I didn’t really know what else to expect as an expat in the Netherlands. My naiveté would soon be revealed.
There were many cultural changes awaiting me, some insignificant and others so notorious they hit me like ice water. One example is the weather in Holland, which was very hard to get used to with the cold and rain. Another example was not speaking the Dutch language well early on. The challenges that every foreigner faces when integrating into the Dutch culture depends on the situation of how they enter the country. In my case I have a Dutch partner, and that makes the integration into the Dutch Society in some ways easier. For example, to get your paper documentation in place like a visa, permission to work or residence permit etc. However if I had decided to come to Holland alone as I did when I went to Spain, I definitely think that the challenges would have been more difficult to face.
I also had to get used to Dutch customs, such as cycling! There are kilometers of bike lanes that go as long and as wide as the country. And the land is so flat. In Peru, we have mountains. The contrast of seeing a country so flat really caught my attention. I remember that it impacted me to see the older community, people over 60 and pregnant women, riding bikes – that´s something you just don´t see in other countries, but it´s very Dutch. Getting my first bike in Holland was a lesson in local culture.
I also enjoy how environmentally friendly they are. Most companies will reimburse employees 100% for their travel expenses as long as they use public transportation. Bikes can take people almost everywhere. Holland is a safe, clean, practical, green and pleasant country to live in.
I like Dutch people; they are gezellig which in English means cozy, tolerant, and obviously liberal – the total opposite of where I come from. They enjoy life in their own way. When you take the time to get to know them, they´re very friendly, but they keep their distance until they get to know you. They´re sincere, direct, and always tell you what they think. I personally like that.
You have a passion for trading, has it been difficult to get into the industry as a female?
When I think back to my first steps from beginner to experienced Forex trader, I remember the first stage in my journey, comparing the climb to the top of a mountain. Without a doubt, when I started to climb that trading mountain, I had no idea how steep the climb was to the top. If I had known how “hard” it was going to be, I probably would have chosen a safer, fixed salary job. However, despite the tough and intimidating terrain, the market recessions that were turbulent seas sure to drown me, I say with all sincerity that learning to trade in the financial markets has been the most exciting and gratifying journey of my life!
Now, four years after having started on this path, I´m stronger, more experienced and wiser, not just in the financial world, but also in all areas of my life. I´ve learned vital skills and life lessons like discipline, concentration, patience, endurance, and commitment to finish what I start. Many beginner traders don´t make it through the first stage of the learning process; they give up a little after starting; they feel the difficulties and turn back to their comfort zones. Those that get through the first stages enjoy their struggles because they know they´re close to making it. You have to love it to become successful because otherwise there´s no way to overcome those obstacles to reach the top of the mountain.
It didn´t feel difficult to me, to get into this sector. In fact, I remember a story from one of the seminars that they gave in Madrid. I was the first woman to have entered the room, and the men were really surprised to see a woman there. The speaker noticed my presence, and they applauded me just for having that interest to learn about the financial markets. They made me feel really good. I think that men like to see women in this sector, and they believe we can make good traders too. But I also think, like everything else, we women have to wait and give it time. I´m convinced that women are the best traders and the reason why is very simple – it´s a biochemical matter. Women have inherent characteristics to our gender that benefit us, without a doubt, to make less temperamental decisions than men do. It´s in our nature to be more reflexive, so women and trading is a good combination, as it was in my case.
My advice to women would be: To keep an open mind, because you learn over the months of being a trader, that there are no absolute truths. Be aware that you need training and gain your own experience. Without an adequate background in trading, you´re going to go up against well-trained people in the market, and you´ve got to set yourself up for success to face them. It´s also fundamental to participate in serious trading formative projects or trading educational institutes. And above all, give it time; you can´t learn this in a weekend, and you should be prepared to put in a lot of dedication and persistence in the beginning. Don´t try to rush it, take your time and learn from your mistakes, because you´ll surely have them.
How do you manage your family life, being a mother and being an entrepreneur?
On my new journey as an entrepreneurial mum, it was a daunting and demanding experience; I think that all entrepreneurial mums go through the same thing. Looking for a balance between family and business is a big obstacle, most of all in the beginning when your business takes up a lot of time, while you´re still learning about everything and trying to build the foundations. But when you do something that you´re passionate about, and you create a company based on that passion, you want to dedicate time to it. Sometimes I get these pangs of guilt for not putting as much time towards my family, especially in the beginning. You´re so passionate when you start out, and the hours pass and pass and you don´t realise that you´ve been working 10 hours or more every day. It can create some difficult moments with your loved ones, so being your own boss is challenging. But in that sense, I can say I have the perfect partner because he´s always met me with unrelenting support.
Giovana is Global Woman Club Ambasador in Amsterdam