10 Steps To Become A Trader

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

These days there are many people who want to become a trader.

But as you know, it's not that easy!

Every day I am getting emails from traders who tell me that they have invested a lot of money on systems, strategies and courses, spent countless hours in front of their screen staring at charts.... and yet they still struggle to make a living with trading.

How can that be, if these days there are so many "experts" and "gurus" willing to share their "trading secrets" for only a few dollars?

I don't know about you, but I am getting emails EVERY DAY about the new "secret system to making money", trading robots and all this other stuff.

Here's why more traders are struggling than ever before:

They are infected by a "mind-virus!"

A mind-virus is an infected way of thinking that causes traders to unknowingly take self-destructive actions. And these self-proclaimed "trading gurus" are taking advantage of it. The way how they "teach" people to become a trader, real success remains outside the reach of almost everyone - no matter how strong your desire, how hard you work or what resources you start with.

You'd think that eventually traders wake up, stand up and say "Hey! Anybody noticed this isn't working?" - But they never do, because they are already  brainwashed by a multi-billion dollar industry and have been infected by the mind virus.

If you want to become a trader and achieve the success, wealth and freedom you desire and deserve, you are going yo have to make a shift! You are going yo have to change your approach.

  • Stop believing that you can buy a system that makes money all the time!
  • Stop buying "magic black-box indicators" that are supposed to tell you the next move of the market!
  • Stop buying into the hype that "the answer to your problems is here, just buy this course!"

Trading is a business. It's a profession. And like any other business it needs planning. STRATEGIC PLANNING.

Here is a SYSTEMATIC WAY to become a trader:

  1. Decide what kind of trader you want to be
    Do you want to be a day trader or a swing trader? Do you want to trade stocks, futures, forex or options? Do you want to use fundamental analysis or technical analysis? Do you like to rely on chart patters or on indicators? - There's no "right" or "wrong" way to trade. Every trader is different. For some traders day trading is easy. Other traders don't like making quick decisions and rather take time to analyze the charts in the evening.
    Note: THIS is probably the most important step! - So make sure you know what trader you want to be.
  2. Find a strategy that suits YOU.
    There are thousands of profitable trading strategies out there. But you have to find one that works for you. As an example, if you like a high winning percentage, you should consider a scalping strategy like "The Seahawk Strategy". If you are looking for a trading strategy that takes advantage of trends with a smaller stop loss than profit target, then you need a trend-following strategy like "The Simple Strategy". Make sure that the trading strategy fits YOU, otherwise you'll never have the discipline to follow the rules of the strategy.
  3. Get a charting software and a trading platform
    Once you completed the first two steps, you can now select a charting software and a trading platform that supports YOUR trading style and YOUR trading strategy. Don't do it the other way around! I've heard from many traders who FIRST select their charting software and then wonder why you can't display the indicators or time frames that your trading strategy demands.
  4. Practice the trading strategy
    Never ever trust ANY performance statistic unless it's your own! You need to practice the trading strategy that you selected for 3 reasons:

    1. Make sure that you understand the rules and can EXECUTE the strategy.
    2. Make sure you're comfortable with the strategy.
    3. Make sure that the strategy is actually making money!
  5. Learn chart reading to improve the performance of your strategy
    A trading strategy is either trend-following or trend-fading. To date I haven't seen a "hybrid" strategy. A trend-following strategy performs well in trending markets, but has more losing trades in sideways markets. Therefore it's important that you practice your chart reading skills to easily identify whether the market is going up, down or sideways. Trade a trend-following strategy like "The Simple Strategy" in trending markets, and use a trend-fading strategy like "The Ping Pong Strategy" in sideways markets.
  6. Understand money management
    It is a proven fact that without proper money management you can lose money despite having a profitable trading strategy. You MUST understand money management if you want to become a professional trader. You might have heard of Larry Williams, who turned $10,000 into $1,000,000 in only 12 months. I asked him about his secret, and he said he couldn't have done it without flawless money management.
  7. Create your trading plan
    There's a huge difference between a trading strategy and a trading plan (check out my other blog post for more detailed information).
  8. Execute your plan on a simulated account
    Yes, a simulated account is not the same as trading with real money. But if you can't make money on a simulator, chances are slim that you will make money on a real account! Take your time and practice your plan. Make sure that you make consistent money on the simulator before committing real money to trading.
  9. Execute your plan with real money
    Start small - grow big! Even if you already traded larger size on a simulated account, start with the smallest number of contracts or shares possible when trading real money. Keep in mind that trading real money is different than trading on a simulator. Fills will be different, and you might experience some emotional pressure. Make sure that you still make money on a real account before increasing your position size.
  10. Use money management to grow your account
    You can't trade small lots forever! If you want to become a trader and make a living trading, then you need to increase your position size. But as I said earlier: Without proper money management you could lose money despite having a profitable trading strategy, so make sure to apply solid money management to grow your account.

As you can see, there are no shortcuts!

It's not easy to become a trader. It's hard work. And I'm glad it is, because otherwise everybody and his grandmother would do it. Trading is a profession. It requires hard work, lots of practice but most importantly: a systematic approach how to become a trader.

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