A lot of people first get involved in trading to fulfill "The Dream". For some it's freedom from having a boss, for others it's the desire to work from home to spend more time with the family, while a handful see trading as an opportunity to travel the world and take their work with them wherever they go. The potential for total career and financial freedom as a professional trader is no doubt very compelling to many people . While this is certainly possible, the path that a person must take to become a consistently profitable full time trader can be fraught with perils so it's essential that you're properly prepared for the task ahead.
Becoming a full time trader isn't about getting rich quick or taking shortcuts. It's about having a clear development plan and being determined enough to keep moving forward until you reach your trading goals. If you can remain focused and stay on the path other professional traders have taken, then it won't be long before you are a full time trader yourself.
Trading From Home and Abroad
While becoming a full time trader is certainly a difficult task, it's possible to navigate around most of the pitfalls of trader development through a combination of good planning and a thorough market education. The effort is well worth it however, as the flexibility of the day trading profession is truly unparalleled. Not only are the potential earnings fantastic, but you will be able to pursue your career on your own schedule. Would you like to work for only an hour or two in the mornings to spend time with the family in the afternoons? Want to take Mondays off every week so you can focus on another project? You're the boss so it's up to you. Others take their career flexibility to another level by taking their work with them as they travel around the world, as anywhere that you can find an internet connection for your laptop instantly becomes your mobile trading office.
Becoming a Full Time Trader
Whatever your trading goals, it's the journey along the way that truly matters. In order to make sure you survive where others have failed it's vital that you stack the odds in your favor by taking the best possible approach. While the path to achieving your trading goals is not a straight line and will see ups and downs along the way, there are a number of key elements that can make the journey far smoother. There are clear differences between the approach of those who are new to the markets and those who are consistently profitable professional traders, so it's a good idea to emulate those who have come before and have successfully become the type of trader you want to be.
Setting Realistic Expectations
This is the most common trap out there for aspiring traders and devious marketers of trading programs know it. They promise 1000% returns every week, $10,000 per day, and millions in your first year. While there is nothing in the trading game that is truly impossible to achieve, these attention grabbing claims are usually very unrealistic for the total market newcomer. These poorly aligned expectations encourage traders to take on too much risk in their search for huge, instant profits and the resulting combination of greed and anxiety often completely destroys a trader's efforts by leading them into poor trading decisions.
The market veteran no longer thinks in terms of potential profits, but instead prefers to focus on risk and allow the profits to take care of themselves. They don't over-leverage their positions or take trades outside their plan because they are know that keeping their risk manageable and building consistency is what will bring them better results over the long term.
Becoming a full time trader is similar to developing any other skill - it takes time, effort and determination to reach your goals. If you are willing to apply yourself to a set path that focuses your trading development and you stick to it, you will reach your long-term goals. There will be good weeks and difficult weeks, but over time your consistency will improve until you are the type of trader you originally set out to be.
Stick to the Trading Plan
It's vital that when you start trading that you have a clearly defined plan. This means having a trading system you are confident in, but also the focus and determination to follow it and stick to your rules. It's easy for novice traders to let their emotions get in the way of their trading which leads to losses that are too large and wins that are far too small. By keeping your discipline and following a plan with well-defined rules you will be able to counter some of these emotions and build your confidence as a trader. Confidence is a vital element to long-term trading success, and without structure to your trading it will be extremely difficult to develop.
Honestly Review Your Performance
This is a crucial element of trading development that is far too often neglected. If you don't take the time to thoroughly review your trading results it's extremely unlikely that you make large leaps forward in future weeks and months.
One reason that many market newcomers don't fully review their results is because they are embarrassed to confront their losses. They feel that somehow a single losing trade is a reflection on their ability as a trader, or worse, of their intelligence. A professional trader knows this couldn't be further from the truth. Losses happen to all traders, but what separates those who make a profession out of trading and those who don't is that the full time trader carefully analyzes all their results and adapts as needed. They embrace their losses and see them as opportunities for growth and improvement as a trader.
Master Your Trading Edge
Another all too common trait of novice traders is something called "system hopping". Many new traders have an extremely narrow focus when looking at their results and the first time they have a small string of losses they suddenly jump ship to another trading system, looking for the new Holy Grail of trading that will never have a losing trade again.
Of course, this perfect trading system doesn't exist which means that this patterns repeats itself over and over. Since the trader is jumping to something new at the first sign of trouble they are essentially always moving to a new trading approach at a point where their results are at a low point. They go from low to low and eventually this leads to a complete account implosion.
The experienced trader knows that a single trade is unimportant in the big picture. They take a broader approach, understanding that they need to look at a larger sample of trades if they want something that is statistically significant. Through a combination of a solid trading plan, a tested system, and a thorough trading education, they have the confidence to stick to their methods and allow their trading edge to come through.
The Importance of Money Management
Many aspiring traders stumble on their path to becoming a professional and far too often it is due to poor money management. Money management is a topic that deserves a few articles on its own, but suffice to say that it is a crucial part of any trader's plan and without well thought out rules to define your trading risk you will only set yourself up for trouble.
The professional, full time trader knows that managing their risk is the most important element to their success. They understand that making money can be easy, but recovering from a large draw-down of their account is very hard. For this reason they keep their maximum risk on any trade within their personal comfort zone and focus on trading opportunities where their reward to risk ratio is high. This allows them to thrive over the long term in their day trading career.
The Development Approach at Samurai Trading Academy
At STA, we take a realistic approach to trader development. We understand that traders develop at different rates, but the key element for any aspiring trader to achieve long-term success is that they are provided structure and support. We don't rely on incredibly complex indicators or "black-box" software that is curve fit to work well in historic simulations. Rather, we focus on learning to read the structure and price action within the developing market so that we can trade with full confidence.
We combine comprehensive educational material, a clearly defined system for trading Emini S&P 500 futures, and the vital guidance to keep traders on the optimal path for their long-term development. If your goal is to become a full time trader, then Samurai Trading Academy is here to help you achieve it.