Day Trading is Freakin’ Hard! <<everyone is rolling their eyes and saying come on Wayne…>>
Like I keep saying, this is worth repeating and you should run far far away from anyone who even hints at anything different. Some think I’m a bit of a killjoy by saying this all the time, but I’m just being honest and want people to truly understand what it takes to be successful at this.
You know what though? As difficult as Day Trading is YOU CAN DO IT! You CAN become a consistently profitable day trader. And you know what else? You can become a HIGHLY profitable day trader after that. Day Trading is the best job in the world imho, once you figure out your process and find your edge. Hint: Your edge is in your head™
As you all know, the journey getting to consistent profits is a difficult and multi-faceted one. Everyone’s journey is slightly different too. Today I want to discuss a couple of specific elements of that journey:
1: Is it and should it be a lone journey?
2: How do you keep from giving up on the journey too soon?
Many would describe Day Trading as a one-man sport. They think of it as something you must do on your own. Go it alone. Go solo. Fend for yourself. You versus the markets. And while I agree with this premise and it’s a big part of why I like Day Trading so much, it doesn’t always have to be this way. You don’t have to go it alone, especially if and when you’re struggling at any point in your career. If you’re struggling, you can and should reach out and ask for help. Many have a hard time asking, but there’s nothing wrong with seeking some guidance. Reaching out and talking to your mentor and/or someone who has experience can often shorten your learning curve. Shortening the learning curve when it comes to anything trading related can save you a lot of money. Seriously, LOT$.
Why wouldn’t you ask for help if and when you need it? Pride? Ego? Too shy? Too stubborn? Determination? Whatever the reason, it’s just an excuse. You think professional athletes don’t ask for help when they’re in a slump? Not to mention the countless people they relied heavily on coming up through the ranks. Same with Doctors, Actors, CEOs and probably almost every successful professional person in any field. Ask any truly successful person who influenced them, helped them, coached them, counseled them and/or mentored them along their journey and they can immediately ramble a list of names and talk for hours about how those people helped them in the past. Then they will usually say something like without those people they wouldn’t be where they are today.
You think you and your Day Trading career should be any different? Why? Because Day Trading isn’t a team sport?
For many, I think it’s partially because they’ve been burned by someone in the past. Some “guru” who didn’t have their best interests in mind. That person not only took their money but worse, helped them to develop bad habits that they still can’t break today.
We’ve all be burned by FURUs, cons, and dishonest jerks. The first chat room I ever joined – the guy running it never actually traded! How do I know this? Well, it was really obvious even as a new trader. Recently my suspicions were confirmed when he settled with the SEC for fraud, including “buying and selling certain recommended stocks when no such transactions were actually taking place”.
But you know what? That didn’t stop me from finding someone honest. And truth be told, I actually learned a bit from that fraud. Most of it was what NOT to do, but that’s still something. I didn’t give up, or throw in the towel, I continued to look. That and a few other bad experiences didn’t shake me or scare me away. Finally I found a community of traders who were honest and truly cared about others. Sounds a little silly, I know, but I found THE TEAM I was looking for. As most of you already know, I never looked back…
Ask for help. Discuss ideas. Study. Read books. Read blogs. Attend webinars. Hell, even take a class. Do something different. Do everything until you figure it out! Whatever it takes.
Day Trading is freakin’ hard! You know why it's so hard?
Because the reward, once you figure it out, is so freakin’ great! I’m not even talking about the money. I’m talking about the freedom. I’m talking about all the other great stuff: working from home, being your own boss and not having to deal with that idiot(s) or co-workers ever again, being able to enjoy your afternoon after having a killer morning, looking forward to Mondays, the list goes on and on…
Real quick: The looking forward to Monday is one the biggest wins for me. I can enjoy Sundays now! Back when I had a real job, I used to spend all day every Sunday being miserable and crabby because I knew I had to go to work Monday. I never enjoyed a Sunday because that’s all I thought about. Wow, was I miserable! Anyway…
You must work very hard to get there and then you must work even harder to stay. The day I slack off, the day I don’t do enough prep in the premarket, the day I’m a little over confident because I nailed a few trades the day before, that’s the exact day the market smacks me in the face, punches me in the gut and says nice try, I’ll take my money back now.
Here’s a story to illustrate what we’ve been talking about so far: About a month ago, I talked to a trader who has already lost nearly $20K Day Trading 2017. I spent over an hour listening, talking, offering advice and just trying to help. At the very end of the conversation, I mentioned our class and how I thought it could really help him. Help him by focusing him on a few proven set-ups and giving him a clear concise list of rules to follow. Not to mention he could use our tracker and get feedback on his trades and what he’s doing. His response: I appreciate your time, advice and thoughts. I really do. And I appreciate that you didn’t just try to sell me the course. But honestly, I can’t afford your course right now.
I thought to myself: How can you NOT afford our class? And then suggested this: At least stop trading for a bit and read a few books…and start tracking your trades!
We see this all the time, people willing to throw money (sometimes LOT$ of money) at the market but not willing to spend a dime investing in themselves.
I briefly spoke with this trader again a couple of days ago. He’s now down about $27K on the year and is just about to break the $25K PDT mark. I asked what’s he’s be doing to improve his trading. What’s he been studying? Tracking his trades? Who has he been talking to? I hadn’t heard from him. Any books or blogs he read? Basically, who else has he reached out to for help. I’ll paraphrase the answers: Read one book. Talked to no one except some random people. He’s still going it alone. He’s throwing money at the market daily and losing. He knows all this but just can’t help himself. Basically, he’s a gambler. He’s too stubborn (even his wife agrees). He sits at his desk every morning and says TODAY will be the day. TODAY is going to be different! But today isn’t. Yesterday wasn’t either. And tomorrow will just be the same (sans some luck). Insanity defined.
Please don’t be like this trader. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone. You can get help. Listen, read, learn, study, grow, break habits and overall move FORWARD on your journey. How long will your journey be? No one can predict that. Everyone’s is different. The important thing – always be moving forward. It’s ok, good and humbling to take a couple of steps back now and then. Quickly learn from those backward steps then continue to push forward.
Now for those saying I’ll never be like that guy, let’s discuss the 2nd part of this – giving up too soon:
What’s the hardest part of any project or journey? THE LAST 10%. So many traders say and feel like they are “so close” to getting there. If they could just put those final puzzle pieces in place. They’re almost there…
Unlike the other guy we just talked about, I completely agree with them. There is a point in everyone’s career when things start to click and they just need to finally get over that last hurdle, that last obstacle and/or that last roadblock. Many ways to describe this. Hopefully you get the point:
The last hurdle is often the hardest one to overcome. Sometimes it’s the most difficult to even put your finger on and figure out exactly what IT is. This is when you can’t give up! Unfortunately, it’s at this point where too many throw in the towel and/or run out of funds.
I argue, this is when you must work even harder. Dig in. Figure it out. Push. Give yourself and/or let someone else give you a kick it the butt. Watch the scene in season 2 episode 1 of Billions when Wendy is giving her motivational speech to the folks at Krakow. Her point: people can't be ashamed to use all the tools at their disposal. She’s a performance coach for traders. Wouldn’t it be great to have one of those? Sorry, just had to get a Billions reference in my blog at some point. Box checked!
You’re SO CLOSE. You just have one more wall to get over. Are you going to climb over that wall, go under it or crash right through it? That depends on YOU, but get over the damn wall!
If you think and feel you are at this point, now is NOT the time to slack. Now is the time to roll up those sleeves and work even harder. Give up now and look at all the time, effort and capital you’ll have wasted.
I received an email last week that I wanted to share that I think helps to illustrated all of this:
Quickly, I'd like that thank the sender of the email once again (publicly this time) for not only sending the email but allowing me to share it. THANK YOU!
Back to our topic:
You think the sender of this email would have tried to climb some of the world’s highest mountains without hiring Sherpas who were experienced and knew exactly what they were doing?
OF COURSE NOT!
So why are you trying to conquer one of the toughest jobs in the world without one?
Think about that… REALLY think about that.
One thing to keep in mind when you’re looking to hire your “trading sherpa”:
Make sure the advice you listen to and take to heart comes from someone who actually trades and is profitable from trading. There are so many people out there who sound like they know what they are doing, but can’t execute themselves. Trading successfully is all about the execution. The theory behind what and how you should trade is easy to teach and preach (just buy low and sell high for example) but the actual process behind what, how and exactly WHEN to trade – that’s the hard part and what most have no clue on. Make sure your Sherpa has mastered all of that and isn’t just regurgitating theory you can find in countless books. If they haven’t, how can they possibly help you? You don’t want to be climbing one of the highest mountains in the world with a FURU sherpa who can barely make it up a hill.
Also, make sure your trading sherpa wants to be one because they enjoy teaching others how to trade. They must have a passion for teaching and helping. You don’t want a trading sherpa that only does that job because they can’t freakin’ trade. Nor do you want a sherpa who’s only great at marketing. Someone great at marketing is fun to watch and listen to, but more than likely they aren’t going to help you with your wall.
So, still plan on continuing your journey alone? Still plan on quitting because your wall is too high? If I changed one person's mind, convinced one not to give up, and/or not go it alone and invest in themselves, this post was worth every second of our time.
Questions? Comments? Reach out and/or leave a comment below.