Hey guys. One of our students chris whoo took a bootcamp a few sessions ago has started to really pick things up. He really went through some real struggles before he got going and consistently making money each day. His road was pretty hard as he put in a SHITLOAD of work literally everyday he was studying. he was tradng real money and working on the simulator. then he would go through the night and go back through all his trades and analyze them. Even after months of that type of owrk he had setbacks where he had holes in his game. AT times his frusteration level would get so high we would fight on gchat where he blamed me for one of his losses because i didnt answer his question (which i didnt as i didnt see it). I would always tell him the knowledge is not enough you have to literally train your brain to overcome obstacles and move forward every step of the way. In reality his biggest problem was his brain kept getting the way as he often would overthink everything. But he kept going and literally went to every class for months on months to get where he is. Now as his account has grown slowy but surely we are aiming for a 3 month deadline for him to leave his job take care of all the loose ends you need to be self employed so that he can live out his dreams of being fulltime trader. He made a quick note for you guys so you can see some of his suggestions that got him over the hump. Im very proud of this guy. He literally seeks me out on a daily basis on chat and sometime even on a friday night we will be gchatting about stocks I think he is going to be a star. At this progress level we are looking at this year in next 3 months for him to quit his job and do this for a living while making great money
Trading is a Journey, Not a Destination
Becoming a professional trader is one of the most difficult tasks you will ever undertake. This business is one where only the strong survive, the weak are devoured and the mediocre eventually give up. The market does not care how badly you want to work for yourself, write your own paycheck or travel the world. It doesn’t care how much money you have, how quickly you lose it, or the effect that the loss will have on your life. It is a pitiless and vile place where the only things that change hands are fortune and misfortune.Still, we can’t get enough of it.When I was asked to write a post detailing my journey as a trader so far I jumped at the opportunity because it allows me not only to reflect on the things I’ve done right and wrong so far, but also to help others who might be starting where I started. To give you a little background, I’m 28, have a bachelors degree in Management Information Systems from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and work full time as a systems administrator. I’ve been interested in the markets for years but only recently – in February of 2012 – began trading them heavily. I took Kunal’s bootcamp after a couple months of watching and learning in the Bulls on Wall Street chat room, and am now on my way to being able to leave my full time job to trade professionally. I’ve been at this for a full year now and have made immense progress from where I started, so I wanted to offer some advice to anyone starting with little to no knowledge of trading, like I did. What follows is a series of recommendations that I believe will help you on your path to success.
1. Do not undertake this journey with money you can’t afford to lose.
You will not make a lot of money right away so don’t try. Trying to make too much in the beginning will almost certainly have the opposite effect, causing you to lose a lot of money very quickly. Take your time, immerse yourself, learn, and have no expectations. If you don’t have the money to spare, work hard and save until you do. Like anything you want to accomplish in life, you must sacrifice. Sacrifice going out every weekend, buy the store brand instead of the name brand, drive a cheap vehicle. Once you have the money, expect to lose at least 50% of it before you ever become profitable. I personally recommend starting with no less than $10,000.
2. Be obsessive.
Professional trading is hard. It takes dedication and you must commit to it. You wouldn’t try to perform open heart surgery before attending eight years of medical school, so do not expect to become a professional trader without going to years of “trading school.” While I highly recommend taking Kunal’s bootcamp, it is only a starting point. To really get the most out of the class you must attend every single night, be 100% focused on the material, ask questions and do additional research on your own. You won’t agree with everything and that’s fine. I know Kunal fairly well and I know that he would probably even encourage you to challenge the things he’s teaching you and to formulate your own ideas using his material! Look for examples of the setups Kunal teaches in the real world. Find examples that didn’t work and ask him why. Be obsessive about it. If you don’t want to understand, for example, why a red inverted hammer candle is a bearish indicator and what it means about market sentiment, you’re wasting your time and money. Do not simply depend on Kunal to answer all your questions either. Do your own work. You must be obsessive and applythe things that you learn in Kunal’s bootcamp to the real world if you are to be successful.
3. Keep a blog and track your progress.
Blogging helps you collect your thoughts and reflect on things you’ve done right or wrong. I started doing this in May and it has helped immensely. It doesn’t need to be professional or special in anyway. It doesn’t need to be structured. A blog post could simply be a two sentence blurb about something you learned that day. It doesn’t matter if anyone else reads it. The point is write it down. When you write it you commit it to photographic memory and give yourself an opportunity to come back later and recall it. My blog, www.chroniclesofadaytrader.com, provides constant ramblings of my thoughts on trading. Things I learn, things I do right or wrong, new strategies I’m testing, it’s all there. I reread my own posts often to reinforce ideas and cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked back at old charts and questioned what kind of drugs I must have been on to make those trades. Also, track every single trade you make. I use www.tradervue.com for this and have over 700 trades both real and paper shared there with notes on why I took them and what my thoughts were. I update my Tradervue every day and run a report once a month to track my win/loss ratio. You should do the same. Here is my tradervue link http://www.tradervue.com/shared?user=1460
4. Become independent, but not too independent.
Bulls on Wall Street provides an incredible service. All the materials you need to go pro are right there at your fingertips. The chat room is awesome, the traders are heavy-hitting pros that make a ton of money, and the lessons you can learn are invaluable. There is such a thing as too much outside influence though. Do not depend on the chat room to make your trades for you. Find your own charts, develop your own strategy and learn what works for you. If Bulls on Wall Street were gone tomorrow and you depended on the chat room to make a living, it would be equivalent to losing your job. Don’t put yourself in that situation. Use the tools for their intended purpose – to help you become a profitable, independent trader.
5. Watch and learn.
If you’ve never actively traded before you have a lot to learn. If you decide to take the bootcamp (which you should) do not trade with real money until you are completely comfortable. Whether you blow your entire account in the trading simulator or you double or triple it, I promise you the first time you trade real money it will be completely different. Watch and learn, be patient, and only trade one or two setups that you completely understand until you become consistent. Kunal teaches 9 go-to setups in his bootcamp. You only need to be a master of one of them to consistently make money. Pick one you like and tear it apart until you can trade it in your sleep. I have literally had dreams of trading flag patterns. No, I’m not kidding.
6. Don’t hate the haters.
When you surround yourself with people who support your mission to become a professional trader, you have constant positive reinforcement to drive you and that’s absolutely required. Too much positive reinforcement can make you lazy though, so I also recommend keeping at least one or two skeptics around. They will challenge the things you say and tell you that trading is impossible or that it’s just gambling. They will make you second guess your ideas and reconsider things you thought you were sure of. You need these kinds of challenges so you don’t become biased or think you are smarter than you are. Trust me – it doesn’t matter what the subject is – no matter how much you know, somebody else knows more than you. A long time ago Kunal yelled at me when I tried to blame him for a loss I took. He said, “Your mouth and your brain are your biggest enemies!” and he couldn’t have been more right. I was being a cocky jerk and needed to be put in my place! Believe me, the feedback you don’t like hearing is the feedback you should be most receptive to.
7. Interact outside the chat room.
The Bulls on Wall Street chat room is awesome. What can enhance it tenfold is having a contact or two outside the chat room that you can talk to all day about trading. I have 3 or 4 people like this and I can’t tell you how much it helps. They challenge my setups, give me new ideas and provide second opinions on my thoughts. I’ve developed some really awesome friendships with these people and we often talk long past market hours. Even on nights and weekends I know I can always just jump online and these guys will be willing to BS about stocks! I recommend gChat (www.google.com/ig) – just create a gmail account and add the chat widget. I also encourage anyone reading this to add me to gChat at email@example.com and drop me a line to talk about trading!
8. Stay physically healthy.
Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat right and get a healthy amount of social interaction. Trading can suck the life out of you. There have been times where I would literally get achey joints from the stress of trading because all I did was watch trading videos on YouTube and look at charts and talk about stocks. In the first few months I traded I dropped over 20 pounds because I never ate lunch since I would just be staring at my trading screen all day! I was 6’0 and only 140 pounds (there is a post on my blog about this with details)! Personally my performance in trading is drastically affected by how healthy and happy I am, so I can only assume the same is true for other beginning traders. Stay happy, stay healthy, and make trading fun. It doesn’t matter how much money you make if you lose the quality of life that you love.
9. Have another job while you learn.
I lost $5,000 before I ever became profitable, and even now I’m not terribly profitable. Even though I lost that money though, I worked my ass off and got up at 5am every morning so I could go into work early and get “work stuff” done before the market opened so it didn’t matter if I was screwing around trading all day! In the last year despite losing $5,000 while learning to trade I have saved enough cash to live for nearly a year without income, received two raises and a performance recognition award at work and found time to study for a professional certification! The point is, you don’t want trading to be your only source of income until you know you can do it profitably. You should be ending each month with a net gain regardless of how much you lose in trading, until you are profitable enough to make a consistent net gain without your full time job. Trading should be a hobby until you are consistently profitable, and even then you should have several months worth of money saved to account for the learning curve you’ll inevitably face when you do finally go full-time.
10. Don’t give up, but know when it’s time to quit.
The most important piece of advice I can give is to know your limits. Trading stocks can be addictive, and like any addictive habit it can be destructive if the addiction gets out of control. You must realize when it’s time to call it quits and admit that professional trading might not be for you. If you are struggling financially, trading is probably not right for you right now. Work on getting your life in order before you take on the risky endeavor that is professional trading. When you play with money you can afford to lose you will be less stressed and make better decisions. If you’ve got the means to take on the risk, then by all means do so. Just know that it will not be easy.
There are probably a thousand other things I could say about this topic but I think these are the most important. Like I said above if anyone wants to talk on gChat just hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me an email. I post frequent updates on my blog about my journey to become a professional trader and just recently posted a detailed review of four trading platform options, so check that out at http://www.chroniclesofadaytrader.com and follow me on Twitter at @ckz8780! Any questions you have just let me know and I will do my best to answer them!
I really hope this post helps because I really enjoyed writing it!
Best of luck and happy trading to all of you!