Three Tips for the Part-Time Trader Turned Full-Time

What challenges does one face transitioning from trading part-time to full time? 

A friend of mine decided to quit his job and begin trading stocks for a living. He had been wildly successful trading stocks part-time for over eight years. In fact, since he started he had more than tripled his stock portfolio. As he was making more money from trading stocks than his full-time job, he thought trading for a living would be a great idea. While he remains successful, he definitely experienced his set of challenges.

Successful traders who trade part-time and then try to do it full-time often experience different challenges, which may produce different results. Just because you were able to successfully trader part-time, does not automatically translate to you successfully trading full-time.

The Need for a Constant Revenue Stream

One of the biggest challenges a full-time trader faces is battling with the need for constant income. If you work a full-time job, you are used to getting paychecks every two weeks. The markets don't tell you when you will get paid. Some weeks or even months you may be down in your trading portfolio. The more you try to "force" trades the worse your trading performance will be.

Most successful traders don't rely solely on stock trading to make a living. They usually have some kind of secondary source of income. For example, some will run stock trading subscriptions or provide lessons on stock trading.

You Start to Over-trade

When your focus becomes solely trading stocks, the hard worker tends to over trade. You begin to think that it takes action to make money. This means you need to be in and out of trades constantly. If you typically hold position overnight, you begin to think that you can day trade. Personally, my personality doesn't really fit that of a day trader's. I don't like to volume trade because, you miss a lot of the overnight gap ups. The good thing is that you also avoid the overnight gap downs.

In any event, it is very easy to start over trading when all you are doing is looking at the stock charts tick by tick. If you ask most traders, the big bucks are made holding overnight and even over multiple weeks and months. Just remember, you make money by holding stocks. Not by trading and paying a bunch of commissions.

Experimenting with different trading time frames

There are a lot of great opportunities out there in stock trading. You'll find that even more true when you start trading for a living. You'll be able to see that some stocks may run for a couple days on momentum itself and others will have pulled back and are ready to breakout again. The problem with this is that a momentum trade could last one or two days, while a pullback breakout could last a week. If you start to trade the momentum trade and at the same time go in on a pullback stock, you now need to make sure that you are trading two different time frames.

It's very difficult juggling multiple time frames. What ends up happening is that you forget that you have a momentum trade and end up holding it for too long and that trade ends up with a loss. Alternatively, you end up selling your pullback stock too quickly.

The best way to make sure you don't end up selling too quickly or holding too long is to trade only what you are good at. If you buy pullbacks then stick with buying pullbacks. Don't diversify your "product line" until you know your business is ready for it.

Approach trading as a business and you'll get further than you've ever imagined. Cut your losses and let your gains run.

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