Is Trading For A Living For You? Here’s How To Know

By Yvan


2006 was a pretty significant year for me. First, a dear friend of mine died in a car crash. And a few days after that tragic event, I submitted my resignation letter to quit my job.

I don’t know! I really don’t know what happened on that day. I had what could be considered a good job. I was a count team member in a casino, and the pay was not extraordinary but decent. Yet, I felt deeply unfulfilled. And, I guess, my friend’s passing reminded me of that and made the urge to quit even more pressing–so, I took the leap of faith.

I had the crazy desire to work for myself and travel the world while doing so. And since I had been interested in trading since my teenage years, I thought this was the perfect time to go full-time. Now, self-employed I became, travel the world I did, trading gave me that opportunity, but not without its fair share of struggles.

You see, prior to jumping into full-time trading, I had done all the necessary technical preparations –I had saved enough money for a decent trading account, I came up with a viable trading system, I read the most important books in the trading world (Market Wizards Series, Trade Your Way To Financial Freedom, and so on). But I soon found out that that wasn’t enough.

I nearly blew my trading account over the course of 5 years. The problem was my overall mindset–I was highly emotional and compulsions ruled my trading, which made consistency very difficult.

Now, do I regret quitting my “normal” job and plunging full time into trading? No. Hell no! Despite the struggles, this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life! Without question.

For me, quitting that job gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get moving and change my miserable life. It’s very scary this way because the falling can be disastrous, but there’s no better motivator.

So, without knowing anything about you–where you’re at in your trading, whether or not you have a job outside of trading, whether you like that job or not, and whatever your specific life circumstances are–if you were to ask me if you should right now begin trading full time, I’d first ask you to consider these questions:

#1-  What’s your starting capital and how much do you need per month?

Ideally, you want a big enough trading account that allows you to take small risks compared to your overall account size while still keeping the potential payoffs interesting.  And if you don’t have a large enough starting capital, are you willing to take bigger risks in the short term with poor odds for a chance to grow that account fast?

#2-  Do you prioritize education over entertainment?

Whether it’s studying themselves or studying the market, learning is always an ongoing quest for good traders. If you’re the kind of guy or gal who prioritizes entertainment over education, then it’s very possible that you might not be ready yet to be a full-time self-directed trader.

#3-  What is your perspective on mistakes and failures?

Good traders have an empowering perspective of mistakes and failures. They don’t see those as the end of the road. Instead, they use failures as opportunities to refocus gain new knowledge and adopt new sets of behaviors that will increase their chances of success in the future.

#4-  Do you take responsibility for your actions?

Often, people’s response towards a problem is “It’s not my fault.” A self-directed trader’s response is: “it is my fault, I own it, and I will correct it.”

#5- What is your attitude towards risk and opportunity?

Most people simply want to make money, which they spend on new gadgets and futile things. Traders, on the other hand, are in the business of building wealth. They earn money and invest it right back to make more money. They have a thorough understanding of risk and they make it their ally instead of fearing it. 

#6-  Are you good with money management?

Even though you might have a trading system that has been proven to make money, because of the quasi-random distribution of trade outcomes in the short term, it could be that you might have 2-3-4 losing months during the year. Sometimes even more.

So, do you have the right habits and money systems in place to weather those losing months –do you live below your means? Do you have a financial cushion? Are you ready to put in the work to develop a parallel stream of income that is not dependent upon market fluctuation, so that you’re still making money even though the market isn’t moving your way?

#7-  Are you ready to do what it takes every day to be consistent?

Good traders understand how the content of their thoughts and their relationship with their emotions can influence their trading performance. To make the best decisions possible and to always be on top of their game, they make it a priority to work on their mindset day after day – be it via meditation, exercise, journaling, rest, good nutrition, and a laser focus on the process of trading well.

Are you up for that challenge?

8. Can you practice delayed gratification?

Can you view your trading goals as a marathon and not a sprint? Are you willing to tolerate short-term pain when it can provide long-term gain?

Failure Is Part of The Journey

So, these are 8 important questions you need to ask yourself before venturing down this trading for a living path. The reason these questions are important is that they let you know if you’re ready or not. 

Now, here’s one additional thing you need to know before you make a decision: you will fail. Yes… at first, you will fail. You’ll fall right on your face. And it will hurt. Why? Because you can prepare as best as you can but in my opinion, trading (for a living) is one of these endeavors that can only be learned the hard way. You can’t just learn this by reading or on Youtube, you have to live it, experience it… you have to be in the field and get your butt kicked by the market.

And you know what? You should welcome that. Yes, failure won’t kill you. You will learn things about the market, about the endeavor of trading for a living, and more importantly, you’ll learn things you didn’t know about yourself. Important things!

Don’t expect success right from the get-go. Instead, expect failure, challenges, struggles… those are all part of the journey. The market will push you around… you’ll fall, you’ll fail… you’ll even cry (Maybe). But if you can manage to remain in the game, you’ll learn. You’ll develop expertise. You’ll develop consistency. And those will make you money. A lot of money!

Last few words…

The only way to build the confidence that is required to succeed in life is by taking risks. When you take risks, whether the immediate outcome is “good” or “bad,” it will result in a learning experience. You’ll learn what works, and you’ll learn what doesn’t work.

Trades that result in a “good” outcome will confirm some of your ideas and actions. They’ll help you build confidence. Trades that result in a “bad” outcome will get you wisdom and help you make smarter decisions in the future. All in all, you will learn that failure isn’t so scary. You will learn that success is not always your best teacher. And perhaps most of all, you will learn how much of a mental game trading for a living really is. And this will force you to get your act together.

We delve into this in much more detail in the Trading For A Living Course. Check it out if you’re ready to take the leap of faith. That aside, I wish you a profitable trading week.

Comments are welcome on Twitter.

 

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Memorable Lines From This Post

You want a big enough trading account that allows you to take small risks compared to your overall account size while still keeping the potential payoffs interesting.

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Whether it’s studying themselves or studying the market, learning is always an ongoing quest for good traders. 

Click to Tweet

Good traders have an empowering perspective of mistakes and failures.

Click to Tweet

Often, people’s response towards a problem is “It’s not my fault.” A self-directed trader’s response is: “it is my fault, I own it, and I will correct it.”

Click to Tweet

Most people simply want to make money, which they spend on new gadgets and futile things. Traders, on the other hand, are in the business of building wealth. They earn money and invest it right back to make more money.

Click to Tweet

Trading (for a living) is one of these endeavors that can only be learned the hard way. You can’t just learn this by reading or on YouTube, you have to live it, experience it… you have to be in the field and get your butt kicked by the market.

Click to Tweet

If you can manage to remain in the game, you’ll learn. You’ll develop expertise. You’ll develop consistency. And those will make you money. A lot of money!

Click to Tweet

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