Adventures of a Trader

On January 29th 2005 I launched the website so that I can focus on trading again instead of teaching.

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE talking about trading. And I love teaching, especially when I can work with somebody one-on-one.

But it was just too distracting for me. But I was proud on my little website.

Since I was mainly trading in the mornings, I put more trading information on my website in the afternoons. And I started to check the visitor statistics. I got excited when I saw that somehow a visitor from a city outside of Austin came to my website! Besides other traders, web service companies found my website, too.

And just a few days after the launch of my website, a company called “XEAL” contacted me and said that they would like to write a press release about my new website.

A press release! How exciting!

If you have your own website or a blog, you probably know what I’m talking about. Aren’t you checking your statistics, too?

Anyhow, they wanted $69 to write and distribute the press release. “That’s less than 1.5 points in the e-mini S&P”, I thought and agreed. A few days later the press release was published on the Internet.

If you are interested, here’s the original text:

As you can see, they even convinced my broker to say a few nice words

And sure enough: More and more traders visited my website and started emailing me their questions. They wanted to know why I trade the futures markets, the exact rules of the strategies that I use, how I develop my strategies, what charting software I use and why… and the list goes on.

Since I know how difficult it can be to fight your way through the jungle, I answered every single email that came in. It didn’t take long, and I was again much busier than I wanted: instead of focusing on trading, I found myself answering calls and emails. And many of the questions were the same, so I decided to hire Jorge to help me answering calls and emails.

My wife didn’t like the idea of having Jorge working in our house, so I rented a small 2-bedroom apartment just down the street, and Jorge and I started working out of the apartment.

My little website became more and more popular, since all of the trading information was not only free, but also seemed to help other traders. And soon I had to hire more help. Lacy joined my little team, and we were all working out of the small apartment that I rented for us. Unfortunately the neighbors didn’t like the idea that we used the apartment for “business purposes” and we received a letter from the management company asking us to leave.

Fortunately I found some small office space a few minutes away from my home, and Jorge and I moved into the new office. Lacy decided that helping traders was not her passion. “Traders are all weird”, she said, and somehow she’s right, don’t you think? 

Anyhow, at this time my little website had quite a following, and Jorge was swamped. I didn’t wanted to get distracted from trading again, so I hired Jyoti to help Jorge answering calls and emails.

I started to like the idea of having my own little company. It’s fun! I was trading in the morning, and in the afternoon I was checking emails and putting more trading tips on my website.

After buying all these trading courses, strategies and other stuff I had enough to write about and could share with other traders what worked for me and what didn’t. More and more traders are finding my website, and my stuff seems to help them in their trading. They share my websites with their friends, in forums and on their blogs, and I get more and more visitors.

The “Ping Pong Strategy” that I developed based on Tom’s advice to “do the opposite” (see Chapter 3) becomes extremely popular.

In March 2006, Collective2, an independent company tracking more than 1,500 trading strategies, publishes a list for “best futures trading systems” – and the Ping Pong Strategy is on their Top 10 list. Since the average profit per trade is rather small, they call it “CoinCollector” and publish a press release:

In the press release somebody says that “Rockwell Trading is the leading vendor of automated trading systems”, and we get a flood of calls and emails asking for the “system.”

We try to explain that there is nothing magic about the “Ping Pong Strategy.” It’s a simple reversal strategy where you just sell the high and buy the low of the bar (see Chapter 3).

Everybody could trade it!

The trick is to be able to recognize the direction of the market, since the Ping Pong Strategy works only in sideways markets. If you are trying to trade this strategy in a trending market, you’re getting killed!

Anyhow, the questions keep coming and I need to hire more and more help. But I’m not very good at running a small business. I hire people based on the “Like Factor”, and within the next few months I add Mandy, Vicki, Natalya, Sean, Nicole, Denise, Mark, Brian, Orr and a few others to the team.

We’re all having a great time! I could tell you lots of stories about the times when we had more than 10 people working in the small little office that I rented, but I might save that for later. 

However, with all these team members costs increase and before I know it, my little business called Rockwell Trading is sitting on a $250,000 loss. 

One friend of mine suggested to ask traders to help cover the cost of running the business. I don’t really like the idea of becoming a “vendor.” After all, I had very bad experiences with “trading gurus” and “vendors” (see chapter 2). 

But in order to continue helping people, I decided to do the following: 

  1. Learn how to run a small business and control costs!

  2. Package all the trading information and charge a small fee to cover the cost of running a business.

I decided to downsize the team and keep only the best team members who are passionate about trading and helping other traders to succeed.

In the next chapter I’ll tell you my vision for Rockwell Trading.