For over 12 years I have been meaning to write down my path to day trading. My day trading story per se. I am finally getting around to it now. I am not doing this to blow my own horn or pat myself on the back or because I find myself and my story particularly interesting. I’m doing this because I think you, if you have any experience at all with day trading, might be able to relate to my story. To see yourself in my story and give you hope that your current situation may not be as dismal as you might think. I offer my story only as hope that your story can change for the better. Or if you’re new to trading, to give you some understanding of what I’ve been through and to earn some trust from you that I really have learned a lot of things the hard way that you won’t need to.
I get the opportunity to talk to day traders a lot and find that most of the traders that haven’t found any traction in their trading yet are very interested to learn how I got here. Not just as a full-time day trader. But as someone that has developed a highly successful trading system and helped hundreds of other traders along the way. To be honest, I find it rather bizarre myself. That’s because for about 7 years, I was certain that I was the worlds worst trader. I was absolutely horrible. I would jump from trading system to trading system on a weekly or daily basis. Sometimes I’d even do it in the middle of a trade. If I couldn’t make a system work, I added stuff to it. I combined systems. I created my own from scratch. I bought black box auto traders. I bought education programs and trade room subscriptions. I took every piece of information I had managed to pick up and I’d throw it all into one trade just to see what would happen. I just knew that next little piece of information I could find out there hidden in some back corner of the internet would be the big thing to suddenly make everything fall into place for me. I just had to keep looking and trying… and trying…. and trying…
So, how’d I get into day trading? Like most of you, I had a profession that I worked at for nearly 20 years prior to learning about day trading. I owned a small construction business that did remodeling. Mostly things like room additions, porches, decks, and sunrooms. I also had a couple of hot tub stores. Both the construction business and the hot tub stores were doing very well but required too much of my time and after 20 years I was just tired. I wanted something easier. I wanted fewer headaches. Fewer employees and subcontactors. Fewer responsibilities. Fewer working hours. Less time sitting in traffic. And for sure, less stress.
One day I was meeting with one of my customers when somehow, we got around to talking about day trading. It was something that he was trying to learn and had a lot of good things to say about the person that he paid to teach him. He showed me some stuff on his computer and at the time I remember being only mildly interested. Mostly just to be polite. I asked a few questions and quickly moved the conversation to something I needed to talk to him about on his remodeling project.
A few typical days go by and I found myself thinking about that conversation more and more. It occurred to me that maybe day trading would be a good alternative to the stresses of my current work situation. Nice and quiet. Get to work from home. No employees or subcontractors. No customers to deal with. No more sales. No more late nights or early mornings. My earnings would be all mine with very little overhead costs. It really seemed like something I should check into more.
So, with my dreams of doing something easier and less stressful in my hands, I began my “research” into trading. And much to my surprise after just a few minutes of searching, I found LOTS of information that fit exactly into my preconceived notions of what it was going to take to be a day trader. In just a few minutes or hours a day I could make as much money as I wanted. That fit PERFECTLY into my dreams of a new life. Seeing how much “information” was on the internet, I was certain I was going to be able to do this trading thing just as soon as I learned the secrets behind it. This should take me no more than 6 months, probably much less but because I’m so smart. RESEARCH DONE! I’m doing this.
First stop, the trade room that my customer recommended. I talked to the guy that ran the trade room on the phone to make sure I trusted him. In hindsight, I was really just asking him to talk me into doing something I had already decided to do. So his job was easy. $500/month was all I had to pay to learn everything I needed to know. Considering the $20,000 a month overhead I had in my other businesses and what a college course costs, I figured that was a bargain. My customer liked the guy, so why not.
If you have been around trading for any period of time, you have been in trade rooms like the one I had just committed to spend $500 per month on. Somehow, the moderator always won while I always lost. Other traders in the room would always post wins, but never losses. The system changed about every other week. The moderator would only talk about trades in hindsight. Never called out a trade ahead of time but would come on the microphone and say, “Who’s in this with me?” every time he saw a setup that had already worked out. Boy did I feel stupid most of the time. Why didn’t I see that? Why didn’t I understand what to do? If I asked questions, he would just belittle me and say that I missed an especially important part of the setup, so I quit asking. It seemed that others in the room were getting it and I just wasn’t. I decided to hang in there until I did…. But I never did. In hindsight I now realize I never would either. Every 2 weeks or so, it changed. We were constantly kept off balance. It was his business plan to keep us confused. I later found out that most of the other traders that posted wins either were not real traders or were just wanting a pat on the back from the moderator, so they lied. Yes, people on the internet lie. It took me awhile to figure all this out though.
Let’s jump ahead 7 years. 7 long years of more trade rooms. More trading systems purchased. Auto traders purchased. I even tried Building my own trading system which I’m sure most of you have done too. More information gathering. More computers, monitors, hardware, software, etc. etc. I just needed that one little SOMETHING that was going to get me over the hump. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I just knew I’d know what it was when I found it. I was heavily reliant on my gut because in most other things in life, my gut had served me pretty well.
7 long years. And then it hit me. In a moment of despair, I had an epiphany. I realized that if I was honest with myself, I was no more likely to win the next trade than I was on the very first day I started trading. I had no confidence in my skill or abilities or in any of the tools I was using to help me make trading decisions. I had a lot of information to be sure. But how was that information helping me? The more information I had, the more confused I got. But I thought information was power and always heard people say “you can’t have too much knowledge” which to me equated to gathering more information.
You know how sometimes we can see warning signs but ignore them because we really don’t want to see them? I had had many warning signs over the seven years, but I really wanted this day trading thing to replace my income that I took 20 years of hard work and experience to earn in the construction business. I was blinded by desire to change my life and truly believed that day trading was the, in fact my only, solution.
There had to be something I was missing. There had to be an answer. I have never failed at anything and I won’t let this be a failure. It was my dream to live a life that I had decided was possible with day trading.
Continued in “Tonys Story Part 2” to be posted soon