From Panel Beater to Part-Time Trader
I want to tell you a little about my own story. Today I get personal. More specifically, how I transitioned from just an ordinary guy, working 6 days a week into a “semi-retired” Trader by the time time I was 35. And I show how I believe anyone (with the right mindset) can do the same.
But before I reveal exactly how I managed to replace 4 days income by trading super part-time, I want to give you a brief history of my background.
I didn’t care much for school and couldn’t wait to get home and do something I really wanted to be doing. That usually involved anything with wheels. Bicycles, skates, radio controlled cars and in latter years I added engines. School was dead boring and I didn’t enjoy much however I found maths and computers interesting. After passing my exams at secondary school I went to study Automobile Engineering for 2 years and received my diploma. All I wanted to do was fix cars! University didn’t even cross my mind.
Fast forward 10 years and I get introduced to the Stock Market.
A couple of the guys I worked with bought the odd lot of airline shares and I quickly became fascinated with how prices moved from day to day. I had to get in on the action!
It was probably less than a few weeks before I had a tired old laptop and a dongle for a very bad internet connection set up in the workshop to get share prices. These were the days before smart phones and years before WIFI was present in that workshop.
After talking with a few people and reading as many tips as I could, I soon starting buying and selling shares.
But I quickly become faced with a number of (pretty typical) problems:
- I knew nothing of how to determine which stocks would go up in price from studying their fundamentals – it was a mystery (and still is!)
- I thought that to make money all I had to know was what stock to buy and when.
- I became transfixed with prices, watching small fluctuations hourly.
- TIPS! That’s all I needed – but where to get the best ones?
- So once I had found what to buy and when to buy it, when should I sell and get out? – Who knows!
- After making the odd profit from the odd tip, I constantly questioned how I was supposed to make a long lived consistent career from the Stock Market.
Let the studying begin.
The next few years I read books and traded very small positions. I didn’t make any money but I didn’t lose much either. I quickly picked up some valuable risk management lessons and that kept the trading account from taking a bashing.
So many books, so many authors and so many different ideas. I pretty much picked up the technique from one of the first books I read and tried implementing it for myself. No joy. Looking back at it now, I can see where I was going wrong and could probably make it work but his technique doesn’t suit me, profitable or not.
All this time I was working hard at my day job. 6 days a week. I knew trading was my future but I couldn’t see it producing an income any time soon.
I had saved enough money to be able to go travelling across the USA for a few months and so I went. During this time, I had an ipad with me and WIFI was readily available. So I managed a few few usual trades. But after a while I decided it was time to step it up a gear.
Time to get a real education
I decided to return home from my travels and hire a personal trading coach. We exchanged emails whilst I was still in the USA and within a week or so of my return we met.
After meeting, we had a number of one to one coaching sessions via Skype and I have to say, it was the best thing I could’ve done for my trading. In particular I was introduced to the idea of “rule-based” trading or “systems”. I was shown a number of profitable systems and explored them in great detail.
A rule based system or strategy is a complete trading technique which consists of which markets to trade, when to enter the trade, when to exit the trade if it goes against you and where to take profit.
When trading the type of system I use, you identify trade setups from price charts. It is a “technical” way of trading rather than a “fundamental” way to trade. I need not know anything about who the company is or what it does. If the price action is per my rules, then I take the trade.
A system must have an “edge” or “positive expectancy”. This means that over a large enough sample size of trades, the system will generate a positive return. You can’t and won’t win every individual trade but you will make money in the long run.
So I spent the next few years testing, modifying and trading various different systems. In fact I still do. I’m always looking to improve my performance as a trader. I have a number of systems I trade and will continue to trade until I find or develop a better system to replace one with. I’ve even gotten quite good at tailoring systems as per trading objectives or requirements.
The Foreign Exchange Era
I started in the Stock Market and for most of my trading journey I have stayed with the Stock Market and Stock Indices. However I then found myself entering and testing the Foreign Exchange markets or Forex or FX. Mainly because after starting to help other traders, I quickly noticed the popularity of the Forex markets. Not only did I become curious but I wanted to continue helping traders this time trading Forex too. I first applied the same systems as I had been using for Stocks but quickly noticed a subtle difference in the way the two markets moved. What worked on Stocks, didn’t work nearly as well with Forex. So there was only one thing to do; develop systems that work well in Forex too!
You can see one of my best and in fact most simple systems I trade HERE. I give a full detailed explanation and many real trade examples within the case study. If nothing else, it will give a really good idea of what is required for a full trading system.
This takes me up to my most recent leg of my journey as a trader. I have become to love the Forex markets and most of my own trading these days is in Forex.
Something I couldn’t finish without mentioning is the timeframe I choose to trade. I use daily charts which means I am an “end of day” trader. I’m not a day trader and neither have I wanted to be. My trading consists of checking price charts once a day in the evening. I adjust any open trades and put in orders for new ones. It takes me 10 minutes each day. That’s all. Any orders are taking care of automatically and all I need do is do my daily work for ten minutes the next day. This is the beauty of tailoring a technical system for your own lifestyle. It leaves my days free to do whatever I like. Although these usually consist of helping other traders, writing my blog, creating training videos or working on new systems. It’s what I enjoy!
I am happy to say that I am now able to work on cars only a couple of days a week to cover most of the bills and the rest of the income comes from trading the markets using my systems. Although I wouldn’t call it a direct income as such, because it is my choice to re-invest profits back in to the trading account to accelerate it’s growth.
My advice to you if you’re struggling to make money as a trader is to take out a pen and paper and start from the beginning. Define your objectives; do you want to be a full time day trader? or be like me trading for a few minutes at the end of each day. Or perhaps each day is to frequent too. I have great systems I developed that take trades from weekly charts so a few minutes per week is all that’s required.
If you’re studying companies and trying decide whether or not to buy shares in them but it’s just not quite making sense, or perhaps it does make sense but the price is going in the opposite direction, then maybe a rule based system is more suitable for you too. I would encourage anyone to explore this type of technical trading.
I wish you all the best in your own trading journey and I’m always open to answering questions. You can email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org