Trading at home can be a dream come true for many, but did you know that plenty of traders also encounter some unique challenges once they actually get their chance to do it? Perhaps you’ve even run into some of them yourself?
If so, you’re definitely not alone, as I’ll soon share with you the story of an accomplished floor trader who found that he flat-out stunk when he made the transition to trading at home! What he did to turn the tables is quite a fascinating lesson, and one that goes to show how the environment you create for yourself can—and should be—entirely your own.
So really think about how you feel when trading at home, complete with any obstacles you feel you’re facing, and let’s look at how environmental factors that are well within your control can be swung decisively in your favor!
When trading at home for as little as 10 minutes a day, you may wonder why your environment matters at all, and to be honest, that’s not an unreasonable question. The answer is because—and this is one of the biggest misconceptions there is—most of your time trading isn’t actually spent placing trades! Instead, you commit most of your time and resources to analyzing the markets, isolating set-ups, and continually learning and improving your methods. And, with that, your environment is one that’s for learning and concentration, not just for trading.
So even in an era when TV commercials portray busy traders on the run, or happily trading at home using data and charts on their tablets and smart phones, every developing trader needs their own time and space, and an environment that’s specifically intended to make trading at home as welcoming and advantageous as can be for them.
Privacy – Creating a working home-office setting and being able to close the door will allow for a well-defined space, and prevent children and/or the dog from running in at the least-opportune times!
Comfort – Warm colors on the walls, a suitable desk/chair combo, and ease-of-access to your screens, books, and any and all other trade-specific resources will keep traders awake, alert, and well-equipped to conduct research, demo trade, and/or plan and execute actual trades for as long as they choose to spend there each time.
Technology – Reliable high-speed Internet service and backup power sources are must-haves for trading at home, and likewise, external data storage is a worthwhile consideration. In addition, traders who focus on news and economic data will require a real-time feed and/or television access from their trading desk, and everyone will need a phone handy to call their broker in case of a trade- or technical emergency.
I often laugh when watching those aforementioned TV commercials where busy people trading at home succeed despite simultaneously packing their kids’ lunches, getting them ready for school, reading the morning paper, having coffee, and walking the dog…all as the market opens for the day! Indeed, that scenario mostly only happens on TV, although the alternative, which is trading at home in total silence and isolation, isn’t always a great one. I want to share with you a story that supports that.
You see, I recently learned about a 30-year-veteran floor trader who ran into a serious problem when he first made the transition to trading at home. The problem, you ask? Well, as he put it, “I sucked at it! It was boring to me and all I did was fall asleep at the desk.”
Now, after three decades trading exclusively amidst the noise and chaos on the floor, it’s rather understandable, but at the same time, he faced a potentially devastating problem that could’ve ended his career on the spot. So, what do you think he did about it?
Well, at the urging of a friend and colleague, he overhauled his home office, got rid of his desk chair and went back to standing, and piped in crowd noise complete with bells and all the other sounds he heard all day, every day for all those years. Turns out it made all the difference, and he became his successful self again by making trading at home feel more like trading on the floor!
In this case, creating distractions, rather than eliminating them, was actually best for this trader, and as you work to determine what’s right for you, think about how and when you trade your best, your own unique trading personality, and what kind of learning environment best suits you. As you see here, what’s strange or non-traditional to some may be just right for you, so when trading at home, make sure you control your environment, and don’t have it control you!
See related: Are You Set up for Trading Success?
In what is yet another testament to how “perfect” has no place in trading, many come to realize the dream of trading at home, only to run into unforeseen challenges—some serious—that must be overcome along the way.
To do it, it helps to remember that trading at home isn’t necessarily easy, and that even professionals and traders who are far more experienced than us have had to fight to find their way as well. Most importantly, however, know that you can—and should—exercise control over your surroundings so that trading at home is every bit as friendly and accommodating as any of our other endeavors.