Having your own trading plan, is (probably) the most important part to become a successful trader, would that be stocks, FX, commodities or whatever you want to trade.
Why is a trading plan so important?
It gives you the opportunity to write down exactly what you can do and how you should do it.
It’s like a cooking book, the only way to really improve a receipe is to know what ingredients to use, the amounts and how long you should cook it for.
I’m awful at cooking (Really bad, my old roommates refused to eat anything I cooked)
Why do you think I spend so much time in cheap countries where I can eat out three times a day?? (Maybe it’s because I don’t need to cook)
Anyway, back to the subject at hand…
Becoming a good cook is relatively easy, you just follow instructions, it’s the “chef” that makes up the dish and writes down how to do it properly.
You can work in a great restaurant and make a lot of money if you’re a really good cook, especially if you work well with a famous chef.
Trading, is rather similar to working in a restaurant (not talking about the insane hours, but sometimes…)
The only way to become a chef (a really really good trader) is to become a cook (someone that can implement a trading plan), it will take time, but the more practice you get as a cook the easier it will be for you to become a chef.
Ask for help building your first trading plan
You become a good cook by learning from others how to cook, would it be your parents, siblings, a cooking book, youtube videos, an online course, a bootcamp etc etc
It’s the same with trading.
Learn from someone else
Find yourself a mentor, whoever that is (not me) and ask them if they can explain to you their trading style and share trades they took.
Once you know how they look at the market, the trades they took you can break it down.
Bring a bottle of coke to a lab and they can reverse engineer it.
You could know the exact ingredients Coca Cola use for their famous drink.
Do the same with a trading plan.
Create your first trading plan based on someone else, even better, if you can copy it. My mentor shared his to all his students, that’s what I used at first.
- The entry types
- What he wants to see in order to take a position
- How he manages trades
- How he records them
- His risk profile
That’s all I needed, I more or less copy pasted it at first.
Once you have a trading plan, backtest it
Now it’s time for you to work, you can’t let someone else do all the work for you…
You know what set-ups your mentor looks for so go and backtest.
Try them out, figure out their results and ask yourself
- Do they have a good strike rate?
- What is their average return?
- Do I like trading them?
Based on those questions and the answers you have for them you can quite easily make your mind up, should you keep those set-ups in your trading plan? It’s up to you.
Those are my results with a backtesting exercise I did earlier this year.
I was able to figure out which trade set-ups I prefer and how I wanted to manage them.
It also gave me a lot more confidence in my trading, I saw what was possible, and it became way easier for me to execute on my trading plan.
Once you’ve backtested your plan you can then decide what to edit, what to change, what to ignore, what you want to focus on etc…
Make it your own.
Make sure it becomes your own, don’t copy the exact same trades if they don’t fit you, adjust the trading plan to your own personality – and backtest it once again – it’s all about refinement,
To go back to the cooking comparison, a chef will try out so many variations of the same dish just to make sure he has the perfect mix of flavors, smells and texture.
It’s the same with trading, just keep trying it out.
Tweak it until it becomes your own, your precious, your trading plan.
Now, you can easily argue that you don’t need to write it down, it’s in your mind, or you can easily draw it.
The best way to learn is to teach someone else.
But you don’t need to teach someone else, you just need to be able to explain it on a word document.
Take screenshots of your favorite set-ups
Write down what you want to see before being able to take a position
Explain how you are going to manage your position once in the trade
What are your rules in term of taking a second trade once you got tagged out of a position, are you allowed to re-enter? Once? Twice? Three times?… Create rules and put it in your trading plan.
If you want a video about creating a trading plan, check-out this interview on Chat with Traders, I’ll admit, I have only watched it once, but Chat with Traders is hands down one of the best podcasts out there for anyone interested in trading.
Now I feel like I’m probably rambling… but…
GET YOURSELF A TRADING PLAN.
Honestly, I truly believe it’s the best way to improve your results if you’re in the FX market.
Copy someone else trading plan, (or spend countless hours trying to build one)
Backtest it (it’s worth doing the work!)
Make it more personal, something that fits your personality
Backtest it again, keep updating it
Write down your rules
Stick to it.
The only way you can improve your trading is to have a process, otherwise you may just be lucky or unlucky but you wouldn’t know because your trading is not consistent.
Being consistent with your process, will turn you into a consistently profitable trader.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did it would mean the world to me if you could share it! Or let me know in the comments what you would do!