We all wish trading came naturally to us; after all that
would’ve meant saving countless hours, (a lot of) money, friendships that were
broken after having a shitty day in the market
Oh and these reflect my personal views and experiences, I am
sure you could argue for something different
What are those four pillars?
(Wish their was like a way to drop a curtain or something)
Let’s break these four pillars into a section each:
Trading is difficult. Like any other skill it will take time
to master, the only way to through the deep water is to preserver, if you haven’t
given up you haven’t failed.
As long as you get back up after being pushed back down
there is still hope.
That being said, having fallen off (many) horses it does
take persistence to get back up on the horse, the same goes with trading, there
will be losses, there will be mistakes, but there is a need to continually get
back up and get ready for another try.
There is also an undeniable need to spend countless hours in
front of charts in order to develop and test an edge and persist until we feel
comfortable with our own strategy
Trading is all about survival, protecting the assets we
have, making them grow, without getting killed. Keep that in mind.
This point is rather straight forward so there’s no real
value spending too much time dealing with it, we are left with
Risk management is probably the first subject new trades
should look into, we can break it down into two topics: protecting the initial
capital and an understanding of probabilities.
Protecting the initial capital
One of the best ways to screw up your psychology and give up
is by taking huge losses that will destroy the size of the trading account
In order to protect the initial capital, it is key for
traders to understand how to size their positions and (ideally) maintain a constant
Why is it so important to avoid large losses?
If a single trade isn’t properly sized, it is possible for a
trading account to be blown – by that I do mean, it is possible with one trade
to lose all the money (and potentially more) you have in the trading account…
Let’s dive into “smaller losses”:
A 10% loss requires you to make 11% back in order to get
back to the starting point, which when we think about it, isn’t that bad, it
could be worse… However, if you take a 50% loss then you will need to double
your account in order to bring it back up to the starting size…
Yep…. Here’s the example:
10,000+10,000*(-0.5) = 5,000
(Mainly wanted to show the benefits of getting a university
degree, I can do maths now 😊)
The key lesson here is:
MAKE SURE YOU DON’T
SCREW UP THE POSITION SIZE
The likelihood of you preserving and not screwing up your
mental game after such a loss is extremely low so… If you want to have a career
in trading, make sure you size your positions correctly.
Now this one may seem a bit more obvious, but over many
discussions I’ve realized it may not be the case
There will be winning trades, but there will also be losing
trades, this is a given, anyone that promises you a 100% strike rate is either into
high frequency trading (and works at a huge fund) or is trying to get your
money, and the likelihood of the second far outweighs the first…
Now it’s let’s dig into why I think it is key to understand
your trading edge and your numbers (more on that afterwards)
If you are a trader you may have a 45% strike rate (it is
possible to be profitable with a lower strike rate, as it is possible to be a consistently
bankrupt trader with a higher strike rate)
As you can see on the following image, you have a 72% likelihood
of taking 6 losses in a row over 50 trades taken, yep a 72% likelihood, that’s
freaking surprising eh
The likelihood of taking 7 losses in a row is at a “more acceptable”
probability of 49% (which is still super high!?)
Knowing the probability of taking 7 losses in a row is close
to 50%, no better than flipping a coin, how much should you risk?
If you risk 5% per trade, you shall be down 30.2% (assuming
you adjust your $ risk after each trade) that means you’ll have to make back 43%
to get to the level you were before this losing strike… A rather big number
if you ask me – however if you only risk 1% then you’re only down 6.8%
Let’s say you’re trading a 100,000$ account, I would highly
prefer being down 6,800$ instead of 30,200$… Can you imagine the impact on
your psychology? I would be devasted with a 30.2% loss
Don’t forget, trading is a survival game, and you can only
survive if you protect your initial capital and risk the right amount… Don’t show
off… Now onto
Probably the less fun part of trading for most of us (I’ll
admit, I actually love it!) but you’ve probably heard it from many people
psychology is key for traders, it may even represent 80% of the work you need
to do to become a profitable trader
Now what are common traps we can fall into
Sticking to our bias
Trying to prove we know better
I can’t lose so risking more
I just need to get even
I’m just one trade away from being profitable
I always used to get told off for doing more than five
bullet points but there’s so many other examples!
So how can we have a profitable psychology?
Focus on the process – they do not care about
being right or wrong
Understanding the numbers linked to your trading
Having strong opinions weekly held and being
willing to flip sides
The most important part of trading is understanding that the
market doesn’t care about you, and you shouldn’t really care about it. Instead
focus on the process, be willing to jump ship and understand nothing is
guaranteed in the market.
Instead, focus on yourself, spend time off the charts,
recharge, meditate, empty your mind, and execute your trading plan
The worst enemy you have is yourself – and sadly you’ll
never really get to beat him to the ground, even the famous Greek philosophers
sometimes had urges (some were also doing the exact opposite from what they
Truly believe I can’t make a better point than Yvan:
Confidence is not “I will profit on this trade.” Confidence is “I will be fine if I don’t profit from this trade.”
Yvan Byeajee, The essence of trading psychology in one skill
Try calming your mind, ideally empty your mind from all
greed hesitation and passion, instead remain neutral and in control. The best
way to do that is to meditate, and if you refuse to do that, go for a thirty minutes
walk without your phone, just paying attentions to your thoughts, it should
help you drop all those negative charges.
Tihbo puts it beautifully
Now I could spend an entire day ranting about the importance
of psychology but I believe this is a journey you alone can take since it is
deep inside you and no matter how many quotes I put in front of you the
decision to let go and become present is yours.
Having a trading edge
Yep, this is the last point… Not necessarily because I
believe it’s the less important, but you can make money with so many different
markets and in so many different ways, you can skin the cat yourself.
However, it is extremely important to have identified your
trading edge and be able to prove it exist in the historical market without
having to adjust it, that’s one of the main problems quants are faced with,
they adjust their strategy so it provides great returns in the past but does
not work when the market conditions change
So what do you have to do?
Back test your strategy over several years and several pairs,
forecast possible moves, use your trading plan with a reduced risk for the
first few months in order to make sure the edge is there
Understand that even a profitable strategy will have losses
Here’s an example of my go-to set-ups after having
backtested it over a few pairs for 2019
I have come to realize, that two of my favorite set-ups are not
very profitable for me (the 3rd rejection and the hover) therefore I
will have to adapt, another key point is understanding that my strike rate (without
including BE) is of 34% however as you can see the returns are profitable,
because my average win is a lot bigger than average loss.
Keep on working, keep on testing your strategy and never
become over confident, because that will be your end.
The end 😊
Before I ask you to like this post and share, I would like to thank both Tiho Brkan and Yvan Byeajee I most of the data I used came from their tweets!
What do you think are the key pillars for success in the FX market?
That’s a bloody heavy title… Definitely not going to be able to address it within one blog post, but…
I just listened to an enjoyable podcast with Warren Berger and Shane Parish on Fs.blog and they talk a fair amount about questions…
Here’s a quote from Warren Berger that explains why I believe asking the right questions is key
Now, yes, that can easily be understood for engineers, for entrepreneurs and scientists, but what about traders?
Questions for traders
What is the market?
It helps to think about the entire market, what is the stock market? why does the stock market (on average) go up? Why do currencies exist? Why are there several currencies? Why is the price of a certain currency worth more than another one? How can I forecast that?
Now this won’t improve your trading 10-fold I’ll give you that, but having a larger understanding makes the next steps a lot easier…
Plus, the more you learn the more intrigued you’ll be trust me, I’ve fallen into a dark rabbit hole more times than I wish to admit
You can easily ask yourself, why do I trade FX? Why do I trade this way? Why do I need a trading plan? (I hope by now you know why you need one!!!! Otherwise this blog has failed you I’m sorry! :S ) What are the positives and downsides of having a trading plan? What will I learn from my trading plan?
Knowing the answers will give you the motivation to build one? You can ask yourself the same questions about anything btw, would that be why you want to trade full-time, why you need a routine, why you should eat healthy etc
How do I trade?
How do I build the right foundations to become a full-time trader? What is the process I should follow to achieve my goals? What set-ups am I allowed to trade? Why can I trade those set-ups and not others? Why is limiting the number of trades I take good?
Those questions will probably make you understand that sticking to your plan has way more benefits than downsides, you will understand that the only reason you trade those set-ups is because you are playing out an edge with a positive expected value and you definitely don’t want to start playing around because that will costly…
What questions to ask?
Now I’m not going to list hundreds (I easily could) questions instead here are a few questions I like to ask myself
Why did I take this trade? Does this trade fit my trading plan? Did I forecast it?
Why will the price go in that direction? What is the structure telling me?
Should I stay out? Why shouldn’t I pull the trigger on this position
What would my mentor say if I took this trade?
Would my mentor take this trade? Does it fit with his previous “behavior?”
Why would this trade turn out to be a loss?
How will I feel after taking this loss?
Am I still happy taking this trade?
Hope those questions help you.
I truly believe that everyone has the answers to the right questions (yes even you!) you just need to ask yourself the right questions…
If you can’t answer a question, then dig into it? Ask yourself what do you need to know in order to answer it?
Ask yourself questions and the following questions
How do you make money trading while traveling?
I trade currencies
How do you I make money trading?
By betting that a currency is going to be worth more than another one
Why are currencies worth something?
Because it’s a store of value
How do we know what value that is?
Ugh… I’m not digging my own hole, I’d need an entire semester to debate this
How can you analyze that one currency is going to be worth more than another?
It’s looking at the historical movement of price and forecasting that it will do something similar in the future
How do you forecast it?….
You get it by now right? I can stop this game?
Please.. Say yes…
Ask yourself the right questions and your trading and life will improve. Sometimes those answers will force you to look up something else to be able to answer it but in the end you’ll be better off
It’s easy to make something sound complicated, the truly hard part is to make something that’s really complicated sound simple
Once you are able to explain your trading strategy, why you take certain trades and not others you’ll have truly mastered your trading plan, and that’s exactly what successful traders do – it makes executing it a lot easier!
It’s only with the right questions that our lives can improve
Most of the biggest discoveries started with why or how, so get used to those two words and use them!
Anyway, I will definitely fall into a rabbit hole if I keep writing this post, I hope you enjoyed it! If you did, please do leave a like or a comment 🙂
Now, it may sound strange, why would a trader be scared? I mean, it’s not like he’s risking his life (Well, make sure you manage your risk…If you don’t then yep… I guess)
A good FX trader executes his trading plan with no fear.
A losing trader does not execute his trading plan BECAUSE of fear
Have you ever not taken a trade because you were scared? Scared of losing, scared of being wrong, scared of not being good enough, scared of losing money, scared of what other people will think of you etc?
Hell, I have…
The main idea behind this blog post comes form the book “Way of Warrior Trader” in it there’s a great section about fear
According to the author – there are three instinctual fears: fear of loss, fear of pain and the fear of the unkown
I mean, why are we scared of getting killed by an alligator?
1- Afraid of the pain you would experience while getting chewed up by the alligator’s jaws
2- Afraid of losing your identity as you’re being digested in the alligator’s stomach
3- Afraid of not knowing where you’ll end up two days later after passing through the alligator’s guts
I mean I wouldn’t want to be killed by an alligator (well, definitely would be interesting)…
So why are we talking about this?
(Nearly) all fears we are faced with are either anticipatory or reflective in nature
Fear of the future
We are scared of the unknown, the unknown we are all faced with is the future.
We don’t know what will happen today, and even less so in the markets since we don’t control them (kinda wish we could manipulate them for my own benefit…)
Not being an author I’ll quote the book again because he puts it better than I could:
To render repeated attention to issues that are currently outside our perimeter of control is a waste of life force and a distraction away from the situations we do have an element of control over in the present moment.
Instead of being worried about what will potentially happen in the future, focus on what you can control – and that is the execution of your trading plan.
So what are a handful of tips to control your fear when it comes to placing a trade?
1- Forecast every single morning, and only take the trades you forecasted
2- Have a trading plan – and know the strike rates and expected return every set-up has
3- Backtest, that’s the only way to do the first two points, so keep backtesting
4- Focus on your breath – try to breathe deeply into your abdomen, it’s linked with the vegus nerve that will make you more calm (and also reduce heart beat I believe)
5- Meditate (eheh you thought I’d have given up on this one by now) it will make focusing on the present moment and push away all thoughts a lot easier
Scared of success?
Being scared of succcess, may sound like a strange thing, but it happens to a large amount of forex traders and is one of the main reason why traders blow up their accounts
We all get what we want from the market in the long run
The biggest challenge you will face in the FX market is your mental side. Make sure your mindset is in the right place.
Once again, I swear this is (probably) the last time I quote him for this blog post
Nothing can weaken your resolve to follow through with a plan more than the lack of genuine desire to achieve the end result.
Without such a plan, you can be assured that one or more of the four poisons of doubt, fear, confusion and surprise will eventually infect your mind. Effective planning will always help to minimize (if not eliminate) these poisons.
Accept the loss, understand that you don’t know the future and you’re just playing out an edge, take the position and be happy whatever happens next because you executed your plan.
Executing your plan is the goal, ignore the end result.
Cool video by AK Fallible about fear in the market! Love his channel, definitely would reocmmend
Make sure you’re not afraid to take the trade if it fits your trading plan
Yep, a trading plan, backtesting and forecasting is key, what can I say 🙂
By having a trading plan you outsource the trading (to you) so you get to delegate the responsibility! Definitely checkout the last part of that video tho – one of my fav. scenes in Billions hands down ahah
If you think that it’s the mental side that’s holding you back definitely check out the book, I did enjoy it and hit me up with your questions!
I love digging into peoples brains 🙂
Anyway, have a good one, I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Let me know in the comments if you want me to do more post like this!
Forecasting, backtesting and having a trading plan are the three pillars of successful in the FX market.
Do you have a forecasting routine? If so, keep it up! (let me know what it is)
If you want to become a full-time FX trader, you will have to develop a trading plan, backtest it, and forecast potential moves.
That’s (more or less) everything you need.
What is forecasting?
Figured I probably should do a quick explanation of what I mean by forecasting…
It’s basically “guessing” where the market will go next and how…
Sounds rather easy right? It doesn’t even take that much time
This is my forecast for EUR/CAD, I just drew on trading-view the potential scenarios that could happen, I know there are many other potential ways the market could evolve during the day, but in my view, this is the most likely.
You could use different drawing colors based on “I’m willing to take this scenario” & “Not willing to take this scenario” (that’s actually a good idea, I should do that)
If it’s this easy what’s the benefit
Let me start this section with: I go a lot more in depth with my forecasting process, just scroll down if you already know the benefits
There’s five key benefits for a trader, but I was lazy while building this infographic so here’s 3 key points...
1- It will increase your confidence, you are able to track whenever or not your forecast actually took place, which in turn will increase your confidence in your ability to be a few steps ahead of the market (which is key to be profitable)
2- You’ll be prepared, doing your forecasting is basically drawing out all the possible/probably scenarios – you’ll be able to decide ahead of time what price action you’ll want to see before taking a trade – all you need to do is execute your plan
3- It’s easier to profit, having done your forecast in the morning you are a less likely going to miss a trade during the day since you are able to place your alerts at all the key areas. Plus, it also increases the likelihood of you sticking to your trading plan
And the bonus two…
4- It will decrease your emotional attachment to potential trades, and trades you are currently holding: by drawing out several possibility you know that there is no guarantee that the price will do exactly what you want it to, it doesn’t care, instead it makes you realize, we are only playing an edge
5- It allows you to switch from analyst to a trader.
It’s really important to be an analyst when it’s the weekend and when doing your forecasting, however, when the markets are live, and there’s a potential trade set-up in the making you need to become a trader, not an analyst. Having done the analysis that morning will help you execute.
Here’s a video explaining it if you don’t like reading…
My forecasting process
Now let’s dig into my process, that’s probably why you’re here (sorry for making you wait)
I recently did a tweak so here’s a breakdown of what I used to do and what I do now, not a huge difference, but really happy so far
I used to draw at least three possible scenarios:
Two potential entries, so how the price gets there and where I’d be interest
One scenario where I wouldn’t be able to take the trade, either the market goes in the opposite direction or just impulses through everything I was eyeing up
That was done first thing in the morning and last thing before going to bed, because that way I would force myself to think about the possible, the probable and admit, the price isn’t necessarily going to go where I want it to
In the morning it was to plan the day ahead, at night it was to have my subconscious think about the market while I was sleeping, and once again, forecast where the price would go over the next seven/eight hours
It was a really cool exercise, but I wasn’t getting the most out of it…
Now I do my forecasting somewhat differently
I use my trading journal to track those morning forecasts (I keep everything in my excel file, from reason to trade, to monthly asr, to journal, to forecasting etc, I like having everything in one place)
So to quickly explain, I track the day of the forecast, the pairs I’m interested in, the direction, then three potential scenarios that could play out (out of many), a screenshot of the potential moves + drawings.
Then here’s the addition, I then come back the next morning and figure out which one happened, sometimes it was a fourth option, that happens.
But here, you can see I had forecasted the move 12 times out of 15 – not picture perfect but pretty darn close.
How do you think that makes me feel? How would that make you feel?
More confident in your skill? Yes
Happy because you get to collect more data? Yes
More likely to execute the next time you see a trade set-up? Yes
I highly recommend you to do the same
It takes less than thirty minutes in the morning, yet you have the entire day planned ahead
You know what you want to see before taking a trade – that’s key, it reduces your hesitation to trigger a trade, and avoids you from taking low quality trades
You are also able to be “free” and that’s one of the main reasons people start trading, they want to have free time. If you don’t know what you want to see in order to take a trade you’ll just stay in front of your computer, and basically be a slave to the market.
Don’t be a slave to the FX market: Forecast in the morning
I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you did, please leave a like or share it? ❤ Would mean the world to me!
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.
Yep, you read that right, I’m here to say that doing absolutely nothing is (a hell of a lot) better than taking trades every single day.
Okay, this subject is mainly going to be about trading and investing,
but it may apply to over industries too…
Do you know why you shouldn’t take too many trades? (Think
about it for a few seconds)
There are three key reasons you may have thought about:
1- Trades in your trading plan don’t happen every single day so you definitely shouldn’t be taking more trades than what your plan tells you to. (Absolutely agree with this one)
2- Your broker commission, hell, I enjoy trading with FXCM, I don’t have (too many) issues with them, yet I’m still paying 5% of the risk I am willing to take per trade on average… (Fuck… I just realized it, it’s way too much )
3- Focusing on quality trades instead of just average trades.
I’ll mainly focus on this third point (even though the
commission one just pissed me off ugh)
The importance of focusing on quality trades & not over-trading.
This may sound pretty obvious, but sadly it’s a lot harder
to actually follow this rule. Mark Hutchinson (from Falcon Trading) brought up
an interesting concept.
80% of the trades taken should be high probability trades and the other 20% can be valid trades.
You want to wait for those high probability set-ups before putting a trade on, but sometimes you can have a gut-feeling the trade will just go in your favor before you see the perfect set-up and you should still act on it.
I really like that rule, usually my trading follows a very similar breakdown between valid and high probability, and I do believe it’s really beneficial for me.
That being said, I didn’t stick to it last month (July) and I ended up having a negative month… Yep… It happened I have no shame, I committed a few mistakes, anyway, that’s not the subject.
You may know of Michael Marcus (he was one of the traders interviewed in Market Wizards) who, in less than 20 years, managed to turn 30,000$ into $80 million trading commodities.
One of the quotes of his I really enjoyed is:
“One of the secrets to trading success is cutting down the number of trades you take”
When someone with his track record talks, I tend to listen,
and that advice, is (I think) spot on.
Taking too many trades reduces the quality of your
Now let’s think about an investment portfolio, your returns will
be the sum of all the trades and opportunity cost is really important here (in
FX too due to leverage requirements) …
If you take trades that have a lower expected value you’ll reduce your overall yearly return and therefore make less money while increasing your risk, is that something you’re into? (I’m definitely not, I want the opposite)
I came across a cool website by Safal Niveshak – which I would highly recommend checking out (especially if you’re into investing)
In it he argues that we want our stock portfolio to be a museum and not a warehouse, which makes sense, so do go and check-it out
In it he quotes Jason Fried book Rework (a book I really enjoyed) :
“You don’t make a great museum by putting all the art in the world into a single room. That’s a warehouse. What makes a museum great is the stuff that’s not on the walls. Someone says no … There is an editing process. There’s a lot more stuff off the walls than on the walls. The best is a sub-sub-subset of all the possibilities.”
Jason Fried – Reword
Makes sense when explained like that? Right? We want our trade portfolio to be a “sub-sub-subset of all the possibilities” and only the ones where we truly believe to have an edge in.
From there, he picks the explain of Costco v. Walmart
We want to focus on returns on
invested capital, 28% sounds a lot more attractive to me than 12% (which is
Less is better – quality over
Now in this part of the post I’m
really tempted to bring up Bruce Lee quote about not fearing a man that practiced
a thousand kicks once, but fearing a man that practiced one kick a thousand
times (see what I did here?) but that won’t be my main focus.
Instead I’ll just pick a recent
One of my friends (Aldo) realized
that taking better trades is not only more enjoyable but also doesn’t necessarily
reduce your trading returns. Especially while traveling and not being able to
spend as much time on trading.
That being said, I’m kinda forced
to bring it up, I mean I love the guy…
Bruce Lee has another quote (not
about the number of kicks this time)
He probably didn’t say this quote
thinking about investing or trading, but it applies to everything in life.
Anyway, I hope this was
If this was useful and you enjoyed reading it, it would mean the world to me if you’d leave a like or even commented 🙂
If you’ve recently came to realize you could take your side hustle/passion
and make it your primary source of income congrats! That’s amazing, I still remember
the day I realized I could sustain myself trading forex – was when I was
writing cover letters for jobs just before graduation, I didn’t end up applying
for those jobs after that realization (except one, McKinsey but they shot me
down – something I’m grateful for)😊
But yeah, congrats, that’s really impressive! Would it be trading, photography, your blog, designing cool tee-shirts or whatever it makes me so happy when I hear people are making a living doing what they love.
Maybe you take photos of fruits and vegetables and somehow managed to turn it into a business… I mean it looks cool!
That being said, it’s not because you are able to go and turn
your hobby into your sole income that you should quit your job or become a
digital nomad – first you need to transform it from a hobby into a business and
start looking at it that way.
When it’s a hobby it’s amazing, you get most of the upsides and
you are quite blind to the downsides while being able to stop whenever you wish
since that’s not the only thing you do.
Be prepared for the transition!
If you decide to take your trading and make it your income
source and quit your job then be prepared for:
Having lower returns that what you’ve come to expect
in the first first few months since you’ll have some added stress, it happens
to a lot of people who just took the jump
Create a rather strict routine, it’s not because
you don’t need to be at the office at 8 or 9am that you should still be in bed…
You will have nearly no external barriers to becoming a couch potato, you will
be the responsible for everything. While making sure you prioritize sleep, I
didn’t in the past, and that’s one of my biggest regrets, making sure the brain
gets its off time is really important
See your income fluctuating, you won’t be making
the exact same amount every month/every quarter (which is why I believe it is
extremely important to have a six-month cash buffer before taking the step
(mainly to reduce the pressure)) That being said, if you make three times more
(on average) than what you spend you can probably just take out a fixed amount
every month/quarter depending on your choice.
You’ll spend way more time on your computer (next to an ikea plant)thinking that it will mean you will make more money – sadly that doesn’t go in hand, I wish it did, but instead it’s actually important to start disconnecting from the charts, if you spend too much time looking at them you will likely want to take a trade or micro-manage them – which in turn will probably have a negative impact on your income/returns.
Accept the fact that your passion is now your job,
which means you will need to find a new hobby and start learning something new
in order to maintain your self development and your brain plasticity.
An advice I would give to anyone
about to go full-time with their trading or side hustle would be to measure the
amount of time they spend on it while still spending time at their job. Why?
If you spend an hour and half on
the charts while working per day, make sure you don’t spend more than three
hours (the double amount).
I understand that it may sound counter-productive,
after all, you have now way more time to improve your craft and boost those
returns, but if you were able to get to this point and replace your income with
if there’s no need to spend that much more time working on it. There’s a point
where spending more time will not only bring you diminishing returns but also
reduce the enjoyment you get from it.
Something Neil Cartwright also points out is keep doing what brought you to this point, keep doing the exact same thing, don’t become too cocky, it’s not because your trading as really improved that you should stop your previous routine, if you used to watch content everyday, keep doing it, if you were meditating, keep doing it, if you were back testing three times a week, keep doing it. You probably got the point by now, but, just keep doing whatever you used to do.
It brought you here so it must be
a good thing!
Now it’s your primary income… It’s a business
Now it’s a business, so start thinking about your monthly
costs, how can you optimize and streamline the process, how can you leverage up
and increase your profits, get in touch with a great accountant and figure out
how to reduce your taxation etc etc.
While talking about the business side it’s also important to mention the fact that most successful businesses don’t pay out a 100% dividend, instead they constantly re-invest in the company (usually they do it to buy new machines or have more marketing or hire more staff, for us that just means leaving money in the trading account).
Now, if you’ve already been on this blog you’ll have noticed
I also provide a monthly trade recap, which is basically an overview of my
month (I have one way more detailed that I keep for myself) but the reason I do
this, is because I’m treating my trading as a business.
Businesses need to publish quarterly income statement and
all the other stuff, why wouldn’t you? If you run a business selling tee-shirts,
wouldn’t you be looking at your revenue/profit/ad spend/ROI etc? If you don’t I
would be surprised if your store keeps on going.
If you own a coffee shop, I’m sure you will be looking at
your profits, revenue, costs etc while trying to figure out a way to boost your
profits and potentially open in a new location?
Trading is a business, so make sure you spend time treating
it as one. Don’t forget to think about the monthly reports, create a trading
report where you will write down every single trade you took, the return, the
reason for the entry and exit and all of this.
Obviously, you will have to keep doing your Advanced Self
Review and spend time trying to find the tweaks you need to go through in order
A good example would be my mentors, even tho they have been
trading for more than five years profitably they are still reviewing their
months in order to make sure they are still on their top game and continuously improving.
Make sure you still enjoy it – and don’t only do it for the
It’s not because you are going to turn your hobby/passion into your primary income source that you’ll start to despise it, I still enjoy trading and learning about the market remains one of my favorite things to do. But, you must start treating trading as a business instead of a fun activity you do because you think it’s nice side income or just because you want to keep yourself busy. We all get what we want from the market, so make sure you align your wants to this new reality.
Lastly, it’s something I’ve only recently started to realize
but it’s not because you are now making money doing something you love that you
should be blind to other opportunities. Diversity in your income source makes
you anti-fragile and that should be the end goal.
Aim to become anti-fragile – being self-employed and having turned your passion into your income source is fantastic but keep in mind there’s no shame starting something new on top of that or even potentially getting a job in a industry you’re really interested in.
For example, I’m really into space because my long-term goal
is in that world, if I get the opportunity to work in a cool start-up with
really smart individuals in that industry I’d jump on that chance.
Anyway, I hope this was helpful.
I hope this was useful! If it was it would mean the world to
me if you’d like this post or even leave a comment if you’d add something to
Let’s face it, trading isn’t as easy as it appears to be
while trading either demo or (especially) on Instagram if you follow any of
those gurus or even ever posted a photo with #forex and heard about how Mr. X. just
sends you signals and you can become a multi-millionaire following them
starting with 50$.
But it’s possible, I mean yes it’s hard, but running a mile under 4 minutes is possible, more than 1,400 individuals have beaten it, but no-one had ever managed until one person did – and he didn’t have any super powers knowing that others have now managed (and beaten him).
I’m in no way comparing running a mile under four minutes to
being a profitable trader, I think the run is a hell of a lot harder – and the
numbers probably prove that.
BUT, in both cases it required a lot of training, visualization and time in order to achieve it. I think it’s rather similar
Anyways, here’s what I think are ten small challenges that
traders are often faced with
1- No patience, they expect to be profitable from the get-go
We all dream to be able to pick up trading within a month, but that’s not really the truth, I mean you can learn quite a lot in a month, (highly recommend reading Scott H Young blog) but a to become a lawyer you’ll have to study for around five years? A doctor? Even more no?
I mean, the same goes with anything, you can’t expect to
become a professional footballer by just playing for a month
Another example would be video games, I mean if you start playing League of Legends to playing professionally within a month? It’s possible, but good luck
(I already wrote about this, but during the first three years I lost money every single time… Yep… That happened)
2- Do not understand the true nature of variance
Trading is all about probabilities, I mean screw that, it’s
not even exact probabilities, but yep, it’s all about applying your edge over
and over again.
Variance is the technical term that we use to describe the
routine ups and downs that are built into trading, poker and so many different “industries”
in which there is a large amount of short term luck involved.
It’s important to remember that it’s possible to “run bad”,
sometimes even if you only take high quality trades you can still take three,
four, five losses in a row, you need to accept it.
Even if you have a 60% probability of getting a winning
trade (so 40% chance of a loss) you can still take a loss – I mean there’s a 1%
chance of taking 5 losses in a row if you have a 60% probability of success.
There’s not much you can do about it, it’s just
probabilities. That’s why you shouldn’t focus on the short term, instead look
at your results on a monthly (and even that) basis, even better look at them on
a quarterly and yearly basis.
Trading is and always will be a long term game. That not only applies to Forex trading, or penny stocks or even equity trading, anything that is a question of probability will be a long term game.
3- Failing to maintain their risk profile the same
The issue with changing your risk profile is that it screws
up the entire probability model – if on one trade you risk 1% and another one
4% but the probabilities of them happening is the exact same – can you please
tell me why?
The only reason I see is because somewhere your confidence
increased or you wanted to make more money without really considering it
That being said, if one type of trade you take has a 70%
probability of playing out, and another one a 40% and you know those stats
because you have taken those trades a hundred times or more then that’s fair.
I personally only risk 1% while trading because I believe my
trading plan is profitable.
4- Don’t stick to their trading plan
If you have a strategy, stick to it.
Don’t change your type of trading and chase a shiny object
all the bloody time.
Don’t try tweaking your strategy after a month and decide to
follow a completely different way of trading every month, that just isn’t going
to workout sadly – you will just get stuck in this negative environment and get
stuck – never fully seeing the results you want.
(Sorry not writing much on this one, it’s pretty straight
Don’t get me wrong, thinking and making sure you take the
right trades is bloody important – but there’s a point where it’s too much.
If it’s in your trading plan, take the trade, if it’s not
Make sure you are a trader during the week, not an analyst.
By that I mean, during the weekend it’s really important to forecast
all potential scenarios and figuring shit out. Once the market is live tho, you
must be willing to jump into trades if they are in your plan. Don’t hesitate,
just pull the trigger.
Another issue can be learning too many strategies – don’t
get me wrong, I love learning more about macro trading, trading news and all
those cool different ways to trade the FX market, afterall it’s my passion, but
make sure you stick to what works fo you and don’t try to mix up too many
things, find your niche and work on it. Once you have an extremely solid
foundation then you can start adding more confluence factors on top of it, but
it’s important to keep it simple.
I love the “KISS” acronym, I think that’s key to trading too
– keep it simple stupid (short).
6- Not enough capital
If you are planning on going full-time within a year that’s
more than possible, people have done and people will keep doing it, but it also
depends on how much capital you have and how much you need to maintain your
If you need 4k per month to maintain your current lifestyle,
trading with a 20k account is probably not enough, you’d need to make 20% per
month to achieve that monetary return and that’s without even including taxes.
But if you have 100k accessible to you – it becomes a lot easier – instead of having to make 20% you could just make 4% – which is still a lot tho…
If you have a lot more then it becomes easier yep
So make sure you don’t have unrealistic expectations, you will need some capital in order to make it & on top of that will need to have money saved up on the side – you don’t want to feel the need to make money every month, and accept the fact that you will never make the exact same amount month to month, this isn’t a job.
7- Not being willing to spend the time in front of the charts to learn
You will have to sacrifice a certain amount of time, would
it be a few hundreds or more you will have to there’s no choice.
If you’re reading this pretty obscure blog I’m sure you’ve
already heard of the 10,000 hour idea to become a master at any craft – would that
number be right or not, it’s for sure going to take time.
As much as I wish you could learn all about it by reading
blogs and books it’s not really possible. You will definitely have to spend
time back testing your strategy but also spend time learning in a live
environment, it’s way different than paper trading, trust me on that.
On top of that, even once you are full-time you’ll need to
actually be in front of the charts when there’s a trade.
The 4hour work week isn’t really a thing, you will have to
be in front of the charts when a trade alert is triggered. But sadly, trade
alerts don’t always happen exactly when you want. It’s important to realize
that. A lot of people talk about taking trades while going to the bathroom
while working – it’s never been to that point for me, I just have trading view
open on my laptop but… It could be your reality
8- Not studying their past trades – both willing and losses
Best way to discover what you are good at and also missing
out on is to review your own actions. It’s great to learn how someone else
trades and getting their own perspective on how to do something, but in the tend
trading is a lonely game, it’s all about you.
The only way to get to the next step is review what you do
right and what you do wrong and work on improving those things.
In life we are the average of what’s great and what’s shit about
us. To improve you need to get your positive even further along that side of “greatness”
but you also need to improve the lower end on that curve, things you suck at,
because once again, you are the average of those great and “shitty” things.
Make sure you know what you are doing good, and what you suck
at, that’s the only way to improve.
9- Revenge trading
It feels good to take another trade after being tagged out –
I swear – it gives you control on what’s happening instead of being incapable of
controlling the market (I wish my trading account was big enough, SEC come to
me (please don’t use this against me in a case).
But, taking a trade because you just got tagged out isn’t
the best thing, make sure it’s a valid trade, heck, sometimes it’s worth taking
another shot at a potential trade, but… as a rule of thumb, it’s not.
Understanding your emotions is key, acting on them less so,
especially in trading, when it comes to relationships it can be useful, but not
Denise Shull is my go to when it comes to emotions and trading, highly recommend it. I think it’s called Market Mind Games – it’s basically Wendy Rhoades in Billions.
Denise Shull has a great series of videos with Real Vision
10- Not knowing when to disconnect from the charts
That’s one of my favorites, the reason most people get stuck
into a bad spree is that they decide to micro-manage all their positions, jump
on the 15 minutes then the 5minutes.
Not disconnecting from the charts will really make you want
to trade more often, it will also make you want to micro-manage your positions,
it’s really not going to be any good.
Go out, enjoy life, spend time with friends and family, learn how to do something new, enjoy it.
That’s probably the hardest part of trading, or at least it is for me, I mean it’s human, we correlate making money to doing good because that’s how we are brought up – if you do well you will be rewarded. It’s pretty counter-intuitive that doing something great will end up making you lose money.
(Maybe if we were to give more to charity that wouldn’t be the case, but I am myself not the biggest donor out-there so I am not going to preach you to do something I personally do not do)
But in trading you will have to accept the fact, sometimes a “perfect” trade will be a loser.
Sometimes a shitty trade you definitely shouldn’t have taken will result in a winning trade.
Yet, you should feel bad about yourself when you make money by taking trades that aren’t part of your trading plan, and feel great when you end up losing capital when taking a trade that fits your trading plan.
We are in the industry of playing out our edge, the aim is to stick to it and in the long-run avoid fucking it up.
One trick you can do to start accepting the fact that you will take amazing trades – that result in losses is look at the balance statement of your favorite company. Are you thinking about Amazon? Tesla? Blizzard? Starbucks?… Whatever it is, they all have costs associated with their business, even your local coffee shop (even if you live in Amsterdam)
Try to understand and see trading as a business, not as something entirely different.
Another trick to trade your plan instead of your profit and loss is, once you are in a trade, hide your risk reward – instead of managing it according to your potential return it really increases the likelihood of you moving your stop according to the structure instead of potential return
For example, I am currently short on EUR/USD my stop is “randomly” placed a 1.14% profit, had I placed it at 1.25% or 1.5% I would be out of this trade by now, I barely stayed in it
The only reason I placed it at that level is because I didn’t know it was 1.14%, otherwise I would’ve made it a round number
If you use tradingview to get your charts, here’s how to hide your RR tool:
Don’t forget, trading is a business, you will incur a loss and a similar business model to ours would be a casino, they make insane amount of money every single year, but they have down days too when there’s a really good/lucky player betting big
Like read this:
The University of Las Vegas found that the 23 Vegas casinos bringing in over $72 million each in the 2013 fiscal year ended up with over $5 billion of their visitors’ money, altogether. That’s an average of over $630,000 a day, per casino
All they do is apply their small edge day in day out and they don’t care about the daily or even weekly profit, they know that in the end, they’ll make money.