In most any other profession, the first day means you show up, maybe get a quick tour and tutorial, meet a few co-workers, and then plop down at your desk and get to doing some real work. When you get started trading, though, things are—or at least should be—very different, and I’ll tell you why…
First, consider the obvious: That most traders work all alone and are self-directed, so there’s (usually) no office to tour, nor any co-workers standing by to help “show you the ropes.” Add to that the fact that many rookie traders begin their careers with no training or experience, and it’s no wonder that most simply jump in all alone and wind up struggling mightily very soon after.
Now, because that’s not the fate that you want—nor deserve—for yourself, we offer some honest advice intended to get you on a proper path much sooner. So rather than toiling away on your own, follow these steps to get started trading with the kind of clarity, purpose, and consistency that you’ll want to carry with you throughout your entire trading career.
Get Educated & Well Informed
Most newbies assume that their trading career begins whenever they place their first trade, but in reality, you can get started trading right here and right now without even considering an actual trade. That’s because it’s important for every new trader to have—or at least acquire—proper, working knowledge before making their first foray into the markets.
Some will opt to first develop technical analysis skills, like the ability to read candle charts, identify pertinent chart patterns, and recognise support and resistance levels. This is crucial baseline knowledge that will ultimately enable you to choose which markets and/or currency pairs you’ll trade, and most importantly, how you’ll trade them, whether it’s using technical indicators, pure price action, or some other, proven methodology.
But we’re also talking about vital introductory concepts like:
- How forex and other market transactions work
- Different currencies, their symbols, and traditional behaviour patterns
- Seasonal cycles and other known correlations between the equity and currency markets
- Currencies most closely tied to oil price volatility
- What leverage, or margin, is, and the implications for traders who use it?
No need for worry, though. As it happens, we have an entire library of courses, instructional videos, and technical analysis basics inside the Lazy Trader Members portal, so you needn’t look any further than that for your first steps once you make the ultimate decision to learn to trade.
Learn to Become Proficient at Only One Thing First
Here’s the #1 idea and piece of perspective I wish I had back when I started trading: For all the trading strategies, methods, indicators, and set-ups out there, you should always strive to become an expert in only one first, rather than trying to be a student of everything! To get started trading is like entering a vast, new universe, and while it’s tempting to try to soak up every pattern, market, time frame, and methodology, that quickly becomes overwhelming. Plus, it’s counterproductive in that it divides your attention and ultimately slows your learning curve.
Instead, make it your business to identify just one pattern, analysis technique, and/or set-up that fits your specific risk profile and your unique personality, and then pour your entire focus into learning how to trade in that manner. Know going in, though, that you’re looking at committing several hours of reading, research, and practice to gaining knowledge and experience and honing your craft…and all that and more needs to happen before you “officially” get started trading your first position.
See related: Which Chart Pattern Should I Learn First?
Choose a Mentor
If you were taking a holiday road trip to parts unknown, wouldn’t it would be wise to ask a person who’s been there before for directions and recommendations about how best to enjoy your time? And the same might be said if you were starting a new business venture, or perhaps pursuing a career in sport, or the arts. Gaining knowledge and insights from those who have already succeeded in your desired field is often invaluable, so as you get started trading, why not consider working with a mentor or trading coach?
Look, the plight of the new trader is well documented, and I’ve even told the story of my own, early struggles in trading. But for new traders who want to avoid the hurdles that most self-directed traders encounter, the key is to do what most traders aren’t doing, and partner with a coach or mentor to help empower your learning process and develop your trading skills.
Often times, working with a mentor or trading coach can help speed up the learning curve, although there’s another important step to undergo before placing that first “real” trade, too: Demo trading.
As you hone your skills and strategy by trading a demo account, your mentor or coach is well-qualified to help assess your process and results, and work alongside you to develop consistency and profitability. And, after a few consecutive months of positive demo trading results, you’ll know that you’re ready to start trading real money, and can rely on your mentor throughout the inevitable twists and turns of that journey, too!
Bottom line: New traders don’t have to go it alone; most simply choose to. But you can be different, and can have a better overall trading experience because of it. So as you get started trading, use all your available resources, including the education, trade ideas and analysis videos, and personalised mentoring that are yours via The Lazy Trader.
Latest posts by Rob Colville (see all)
- Trade with The Lazy Trader in 2017! - November 18, 2016
- Round the Clock Trader Live – How to Trade the News - November 8, 2016
- Why There’s Little Room for Expectations in Trading (or in Life) - October 14, 2016