How To Become A Profitable Trader With A 9 To 5 Job – 12 steps

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How To Become A Profitable Trader With A 9 To 5 Job – 12 steps

If you still have a 9 to 5 job, becoming a professional trader in your spare time can be quite a challenge as I know from experience. 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.

The problems which keep traders from making the next step are:

  • No structure
    • Most traders are all over the place, always changing their approach, every trade looks different, they jump from one timeframe to the other, change indicators, chase price and so on
  • No vision
    • It is very demotivating if your results are all over the place and nothing you try seems to work. System hopping and the “gambling” mentality are often the consequences.
  • No accountability
    • Trading can be very lonely and if you don’t have people around you that help you grow, trading can become very frustrating. And even if you are in contact with other traders, often it’s not supporting your development as a trader.

 

 

My top tips for becoming a professional

Link: Premium membership

 

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 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 and 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 also 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 your 8 hours work 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 – or sometimes even days. 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.

If you always change your approach and don’t follow any rules consistently, all your trades will look different and you cannot analyze and make sense of your data. The only thing that will become obvious is that you lose consistently but you won’t find out what your greatest struggles are (except for a general lack of structure), what you should work on and what already works well.

You need to get a consistent approach and even though your results won’t look great in the beginning, at least you can start making sense of your trade review and slowly work on becoming better.

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. The money is made by waiting – trade your plan

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 I do very little throughout the week. I mostly just follow my trading plans and do a quick trading plan update every 2 days.

As Jesse Livermore nicely put it:

“After spending many years in Wall Street and after making and losing millions of dollars I want to tell you this:  It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight!”

Most traders easily over-trade because they don’t have a plan and they don’t fully know what to look for in a chart or a good trade. Become clear about your rules, then you can create trading plans and then it’s just a matter of waiting for the price to come to you. No more chasing and impulsive trade execution!

Tip 3: Price alerts are the ultimate time-saver and the most overlooked trading tool. Use them after you have done your weekend analysis. This means you have to do your weekend preparation as well 😉

 

4. Active improvement as a trader

I 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.

Unless you trade 100% automated, YOU are the weakest link in your trading routine.

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.

Process-oriented

 

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? You can easily find 2 hours right there.

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, it becomes obvious very fast that they are focusing on the wrong things at the right time and they are not even profitable yet.

Don’t try to run before you can walk!

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 to quit your day job and travel the world.

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 and how far away you are from reaching your goals.

Instead, focus on your current problems and struggles. Then you can start making baby steps and slowly (but surely!) become a better trader without all the distractions.

 

Tip 7: Focus on the immediate task ahead and work on your current problems. Small improvements over time add up.

 

 

7. 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 (max!) until you have a good understanding of the nuts and bolts and then take make the next step towards live trading.

When there are no consequences of your bad behavior, you won’t learn any lessons and, in the worst case, you won’t be able to unlearn your negative patterns later in your live trading.

 

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!

 

8. 4 tips for growing a (small) 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.

Tip 10: Adopt realistic expectations and avoid monetary goals.

 

#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.

pyramid

If you are ready to make the next step in your trading and take things seriously,  take a look here: Our Premium Forex Course

Below is a message from David who is one of our pro members. After joining our course, he is optimistic again about reaching his goals and becoming a full-time trader.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The experience reports and comments shown constitute the personal experiences of our users. These are individual results that do not permit conclusions to be drawn about future developments. In particular, we make no claim that these are typical results that can be achieved by our users on a regular basis. Tradeciety can neither predict nor guarantee the occurrence of certain developments or the achievement of profits nor will it do so.

Comments ( 11 )

  • Bryce Goulet

    Hi,

    Just wanted to say to Rolf, your material seems to be very straight to the point and very easy to understand.

    I’ve read books ranging from financial planning, investing in penny stocks, stock market, becoming a day trader and most recently started a 5 book series on forex. I’ve been reading and studying for about a year and half and developed a decent understanding of how technical analysis works.

    I came across your profile on Instagram and took a look and what you offered. With SO many people offering “lessons, classes, tips/tricks, secrets” it’s very hard nerv racking for me to go ahead and spend hundreds of dollars and get screwed with crap. I work shift work, so I work half the year.

    The past 5 days off I’ve been watching almost all of you’re videos to learn new things and get a refresher on others, and also read all your articles.

    I now feel extremely comfortable with you and your material. I just wanted to take the time to let you know, great work with your free educational stuff and that I WILL be joining your pro service my next week off on Monday.

    Looking forward to it.
    Cheers!

    Bryce

    • Rolf

      Thanlk you Brice. I appreciate it and thanks for taking the time to leave such a nice comment 🙂
      Rolf

  • Vivek Patil

    Nice one .

  • Roy

    since i moved to higher timeframes my win rate is about 40% yet i still am profitable. i only use two strategies for now i’m just trying to look at the chart at the daily close and make my decisions then. This article is golden, thank you Rolf.

  • Trading Guides

    Thanks for the tips and thanks for Traders Checklist, been watching that recently and it’s one of the most organised approaches to deciding what to trade I’ve found.

  • OLATUNJI

    This is quite helpful and motivating

  • Benjamin

    Quite possibly one of the most profound quotes I’ve ever read. Thanks for great article!

    “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.”

  • Peter Green

    Thanks Rolf, lots of common sense much of which I practice over the months I have been learning. And have a long term view of the required learning process
    I am still in the early stages using my demo accounts to get more familiar with the nuts and bolts.My biggest challenge at the moment is learning how to put on a trade which does not seem as simple as it sounds
    Many thanks for your article it is appreciated and I will persevere.

  • Milind K

    Hey Rolf,

    It was really a learning experience from this blog, especially not changing styles and taking ownership. I think this gives a fresh perspective to think ahead with a straight mind.
    I liked it personally.

    Thanks
    MK

  • Luis Paulo

    Very nice and important points. Your material is always very useful! Thanks a lot for share with us your knowledge.
    I wish you the best. =)

  • Jean Didier

    Oooh no, I wanted to check my past 30/40 trades and look for losses to understand what I am doing wrong, but they are all wins 🙁
    gg ez nobs, reKt

    Best method: be very picky on your trades, aim for very high win rate, make small consistent gains (not that small).

    No matter the system I think the best thing anyone can do is backtesting it, maybe making some stats filling excel files.
    If people are too lazy to do that they deserve to fail over & over and lose their money.

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