If you still have a 9 to 5 job, becoming a professional trader in your spare time can be quite a challenge. Pursuing the goal of quitting your day job to become a profitable trader often seems like an unrealistic task for most people. But there are certain steps that can help you improve your trading while working 9-5 and finding time for hobbies and your family at the same time.
Here are our top 13 steps and tips that will help you improve your trading while still working in your regular 9 to 5 job:
1. Find a trading style that suits you
It’s so important to have a trading style that fits your personality AND your schedule. The two broad categories and trading styles traders have to choose from are swing-trading vs. day-trading.
Usually, swing-trading is better suited for traders who have limited time and restricted access to charts throughout the day. As a swing-trader, you do your chart analyses during the weekends and before/after work and you manage and execute your trades when you get back from work. Swing traders also don’t need to observe the markets all day long which can free up even more time.
If you are a Forex trader, you could easily fit in a few hours of day-trading in the evenings since you’ll usually always find some active currency markets at any given time – but make sure that you can remain focused after a 8 hours working day.
ForexFactory offers a great tool that helps you understand which markets are active during different times and it also shows how liquidity changes during the day so that you can find the best currency pairs based on your schedule:
Tip 1: Decide whether you want to be a swing trader or a day trader. Audit your weekly schedule and your personality to see which style suits you best. Then, choose the markets and instruments accordingly.
In our premium course, you get access to both a swing trading and a day trading system at the same time.
Take a look here: Our Premium Forex Course
2. Don’t ride the learning curve
This is the cardinal sin of trading; “system-hopping” refers to traders who frequently change their trading method every few weeks or months. Those traders usually never see any real improvements in their trading and profitable trading is impossible if you don’t fully commit to making one thing work.
No system will work right from the start so be prepared to go through ups and downs. This is very normal so do not fight it and don’t try to avoid this necessary step on your way to becoming a profitable trader.
Tip 2: For the next 12 months, pick one system and make a contract with yourself that you will not change your method again. No matter what.
3. Why I only trade 1 hour per day
Your weekend should be your most important day of the week. I personally do 80% of all my trading work on the weekends and then do very little throughout the week. During the week, I do not spend more than 1 hours in front of my charts.
Every Sunday, I sit down and go through all the markets that I consider trading and perform a detailed chart analysis. I adjust and re-draw my support/resistance levels, I study my indicators, review the last trading week and cross-check with my previous Sunday analysis.
Then, throughout the week, I just wait for my price alerts to get triggered and I update my “if-then” scenarios based on what happens during the day. This approach takes up a few hours of time during the weekend, but it frees up so much time during the week and it is ideal if you have a day job.
You can get my weekly setups as part of our Premium Forex Course.
Tip 3: Price alerts are the ultimate time-saver and the most overlooked trading tool. Use them after you have done your weekend analysis.
4. Active improvement as a trader
We mentioned that you should avoid system-hopping at all costs, but the question that then naturally comes up is: “how do I turn my current (losing) trading method into a winning one?” Here are 2 tips and things you should focus on to improve as a trader:
#1 Identify your biggest problems and take responsibility
Traders often mistakenly believe that their lack of trading success is caused by their trading method which then usually leads to system-hopping. However, failure typically comes down to undisciplined trading, a lack of professionalism and a pure gambling mentality.
Thus, the first step for you should be to identify your greatest problems and your most commonly made mistakes. Traders who always try to blame their system avoid taking responsibility and look for excuses instead of doing the work that is necessary.
Tip 4: Over the next weekend, review your past 30/40 trades and see what caused your losses. Then come up with a top 3 list with your most commonly made mistakes.
#2 Process-oriented thinking
Most people act from a goal-oriented mindset where they automatically connect winning trades with good trades and see losses as failures. Such a way of thinking shows an amateur mindset. The professionals, on the other hand, act from a process-oriented mindset where they look at how well they have executed their trades and how disciplined they perform. Thus, for a process-oriented trader, a loss does not necessarily equal a bad trade if they have done everything they could.
Tip 5: Avoid monetary goals and for the next 2 months, stop looking at your P/L. This will be tough but the impact will be huge.
5. What do you really want out of life?
There is an interesting survey I came across and it shows how people structure their day. The average employed American spends 7:45 hours at work on a regular workday. At the same time, the average American watches 2 hours and 9 minutes TV each day and only invest 25 minutes per day in education.
Also, the average sleep time is at 8 hours and 48 minutes which exceeds the recommended 8 hours per day by almost 1 hour.
When you are working towards becoming a profitable trader, you have to be clear about your priorities and make sure that your actions align with your goals. Are you willing to wake up one hour ahead of schedule every day, stop binge-watching random TV series, skip a night out with friends every now and then and re-invest that time back into your trading? Granted, those are tough calls to make and you might say that “you still need to live a little”, but putting in the work now to reap the benefits in a few years will take your life to new heights.
Tip 6: Audit your week and identify time wasters. Then, just eliminate 1 such time-waster and use it to work on your trading.
“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable prerequisite for success.”
― Brian Tracy
6. Don’t focus on the when and the how much
I often get the question of how much you can make and how big your trading account needs to be to live off your trading profits. When I then counter with the question how much those people are currently making as traders, it becomes obvious very fast that they are focusing on the wrong things at the right time and they are not even profitable yet.
Especially at the beginning of your trading journey, you should not worry about how big your annual return can be and how much capital you need to save before making the transition to trading full-time. Focusing on those things will get you off track and keep you from making progress – it can also demotivate you when you see how much work is ahead of you. Instead, focus on your problems and struggles that you have RIGHT NOW.
Tip 7: Focus on the immediate task ahead and work on your current problems. Small improvements over time add up.
7. Spending vs. Income
This is another very overlooked aspect when it comes to full-time trading. Most people only focus on making more money, whereas there are two sides to the equation of being able to live off your trading:
The regular view – focusing on making more money: Income > Spending = Enough
The opposite view – controlling your expenditures: Spending < Income = Enough!
I sometimes get critiqued for this point, but mainly because traders have a completely wrong perception of full-time trading and they believe that all full-time traders live on yachts, drive the latest sports cars and go Rolex shopping each weekend.
Tip 8: Controlling expenditures can often help people make a transition sooner. And then, you can still upgrade your lifestyle later on!
8. The dangers of demo trading
There is a place for demo trading, but most people stay on demo too long.
What I have seen in my own trading and from the traders that I helped in our premium course is that demo trading often lets people adopt negative behavioral patterns that are then very hard to unlearn. When your actions don’t have any real consequences, you are more likely to repeat mistakes and engage in the bad trading behavior. I typically suggest staying on demo for the first 6 – 12 months until you have a good understanding of the nuts and bolts and then take your trading to the next level.
Tip 9: The pecking order is: Demo > small live account > decent live account > an account where your winners are impactful
And make sure that you learn your lessons from the first trading account(s) you lose!
9. 4 tips for growing a trading account
If you are like most traders, you probably don’t have the capital to start with a trading account that allows you to generate a decent income right away and that’s totally fine. But you have to make sure that you follow the right path.
Here are our top 4 tips that will help you grow your account and enjoy the process:
#1 Patience and expectations
Let’s start with the most important point. Having unrealistic expectations very quickly lead to frustration when those expectations aren’t met. Always keep in mind that what you are doing is creating a new life and a new career for you. You have to get away from the get rich quick mentality and accept that this is a long-term play.
Traders want “to trade for a living” but then act like they need to retire next month. Stay patient, learn the basics, manage risk & enjoy.
— Tradeciety – Rolf (@Tradeciety) 2. August 2016
#2 Recognize your true edge as a part-time trader
This is often your greatest advantage over full-time traders. When trading is not your only source of income, you can eliminate a lot of the pressure that often causes traders to make mistakes. Also, when you are not glued to your screen all day long, you are less likely to make bad trading decisions just because you are bored or haven’t taken a trade in a while. Maybe you don’t even have to become a profitable trader and just trade a few hours every day and grow your savings or up your lifestyle?
Tip 11: Understand your motives and become self-aware about how you perform best while achieving your life goals.
#3 Honesty with yourself
The cold, harsh truth is that, in the end, no one cares if you make it as a trader. That’s why it so important to be honest with yourself and with your current situation. Analyze your approach to trading realistically, your level of professionalism and whether you are serious enough about it. The failure rate in trading is somewhere around 99%, but it’s not necessarily that high because trading is so damn hard, but because most don’t give it their full attention and just see it as a quick way out.
Tip 12: Are you serious enough about trading? Be honest with yourself and evaluate your current approach to trading.
If you are ready to make the next step in your trading and take things seriously, take a look here: Our Premium Forex Course
Testimonials appearing on this site are individual experiences, reflecting real life experiences of those that have used our products and/or services in some way or another. However, they are individual results and results may vary. We do not claim that they are typical results that consumers will generally achieve. The testimonials are not necessarily representative of all of those who will use our products and/or services. The testimonials presented on Tradeciety are applicable to the individuals writing them, and may not be indicative of future performance or success of any other individuals. Tradeciety cannot and does not guarantee results.