How Do You Become a Full-Time Trader?

By Dale Gillham | Published 03 September 2018

News Flash: "Boom share market rise entices many to the stock market in the hope of finding riches. The bull market that has unfolded has seen average individuals looking to trade the market, so that they can leave work and trade full time... 

Sound familiar! 

Well I have heard it all before - just prior to the tech wreck, the Asia crisis, the 1987 crash, the GFC and the list goes on. 

There is a saying that "we learn from our mistakes", but if this is true, why then do people continually make the same mistakes believing it will be different next time? 

Pretty much every week I receive an all to familiar phone call from someone who has been trading for the past year and had made some money. They tell me they want to quit their job and trade Forex, options or some other highly leveraged instrument full time in an effort to earn their living from trading.

Generally, they tell me that other than reading a couple of books or watching YouTube videos, they have no real education in the share market and unknown to them, they had simply made money in a very bullish market in what could only be described as good luck, not good management. 

But what do you think their chances will be of becoming a successful full-time trader if they quite their job now and do nothing more to educate themselves? Statistically, anyone trading options has less than a 5 per cent chance of being successful long term and with Forex, the statistics are even worse. But that aside, even if they were to trade stocks, what do you think their chances would be? 

If you seriously want to become a full time trader and replace your income it is entirely possible, however, to achieve this you need to follow the ‘Be, Do, Have’ principle. In order to BE a full-time trader, you have to DO what a full-time trader does and then you will HAVE what a full-time trader has. 

How can you BEcome a full-time trader? 

I have been teaching and mentoring traders for over two decades and in my experience, it takes at least two to five years for anyone to become a full-time trader. This may not be what you want to hear but facts don’t lie, as the majority turn and burn and, in doing so, run out of money before they get enough experience to trade well. 

Knowledge is everything in the context of trading. The streets are littered with ‘wanna-be traders’ full of hope in a bull market. Yes, many are profitable in bull markets mainly through sheer luck rather than good knowledge. Strong bull markets will hide mistakes in judgement and lack of knowledge, which is why I say that unless you have been trading successfully for more than two years, you cannot consider yourself a trader.

What does it take to be a full-time trader? 

To be a full-time trader, you need to combine a high level of knowledge with experience in different market conditions. Without this, your probability of success over the longer term is very low. 

You need to remember, when you leave work to trade full time, you no longer have the security and safety net of a regular income; therefore, your attention is directed to making quick profits from every trade to pay the bills that keep piling up. 

Your need for survival will result in you attempting to trade more to make up for any trading losses or your failure to meet your financial needs. The spiral of ever increasing pressure begins, resulting in you taking higher and higher risks to get back on top, just like gamblers do at a casino. Unfortunately, due to a lack of knowledge and experience the majority end up broke, back at work and severely scared from their experience. 

Being a full-time trader does not mean you work every day. It simply means that your trading is paying for your lifestyle. It is absolutely possible to achieve this if you take the right path, as you need to earn the right to make the money. 

Earning the right means getting the right education, not just any education and you need to put in the time and effort to build your skill. The majority who fail do so because they attempt to earn a living from the market by doing everything on the cheap. 

We all know if you do something on the cheap, the value you get is equal to what you pay. If this is the path you chose, then the lessons you learn from the market will be very costly in both time and money. 

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