When i talk to prospective traders about learning the skill of trading, i also encourage them to approach it like a business venture. If you start any type of business, you first have to come up with the initial seed capital to get the business off the ground. This comes with the understanding that there’s always risk because there’s never a guarantee that the business will prosper. With any traditional business we will always be subjected to the vagaries of the economy, litigation, and growing competition in whatever field we decide to venture into. This makes starting a business for many people somewhat challenging.
One of the advantages of using trading as a vehicle for generating income is that once a skill is learned, all of the aforementioned challenges that a traditional business faces no longer apply. If you learn trading properly, any market condition can be fruitful because you have acquired the skill of trading in up, down, and sideways markets.
In trading, it is important to draw parallels to traditional business endeavors because, just like selling a service or a piece of merchandise, you need to know who you’re competing against. In the markets there are two distinct groups. Of these, one is always struggling while the other is always making profits. Doesn’t seem like a level playing field, does it? But that is the reality. Obviously, thinking like the profitable group (banks and institutions) makes sense. So how do you go about doing this?
In a traditional business environment you can start on your own and try to compete against well established businesses. You will probably have a tough time of it unless you innovate and figure out what these more successful enterprises are doing and hope that you have enough capital to weather the start-up phase of your business. An alternative would be to look at a business that has a track record of success. Some of these will offer their business model in what is called a franchise. The company will support and teach the model to the franchisee for a payment called a royalty. Ultimately, it’s up to the franchisee to apply the proven systems in their own business in order to succeed. There is an advantage in doing it this way because usually the business brand is established and therefore there is a built-in clientele as soon as the doors are open.
We can draw parallels in the trading realm. You can go out and try figuring this out on your own, or you can learn a proven system that has produced results over long periods of time in many different market conditions. There is a learning curve and the results and individual results are predicated on how well the practitioner follows rules.
When starting to trade, we have to have a trading plan. This includes a mission statement: the driving motivation of why we want to trade. Yes, it is money, but we need to take it deeper. Let’s remember that money is just a means of exchange to get us a better lifestyle. That may include material possessions or simply piece of mind knowing that our financial needs are met. We need to determine specific objectives and the specific financial instruments that will be utilized. Secondly, we must have a clear and concise strategy that objectively defines low-risk entry and exit points with a high probability of success. And lastly, a set of risk management rules is paramount if one is to stay in business for many years.
By in large, being smart in any business endeavor means keeping expenses low, and profit margins high. In other words, keeping losses small and letting winners run. Unfortunately, too many new traders look at trading as a get rich quick solution and don’t treat it like a business venture in which profitability comes only with lots of effort, discipline, and dedication, and the proper training. For those of you that are already treating trading like a business, I commend you for your courage, dedication, and hope that you’re successful for many years to come.
Written by Gabe Velazquez, Online Trading Academy Instructor. Gabe got his start in the markets as a broker trainee for Paine Webber, a mere 3 months before the market crash of 1987. He witnessed the gut wrenching fear of investors during that time period and the wild speculative euphoria of the late 90’s. That experience brought to light the importance risk management plays in trading and investing. In fact, it’s greatly influenced the way he trades today. He spent 15 years as a stock and commodities broker, conducting technical analysis seminars through-out Southern California. After many years of managing other people’s money, Gabe now concentrates full time on trading his own portfolio and teaching. Students will benefit from his first hand experience of daily involvement in the market. He brings with him an acute awareness and understanding of how the markets really work. Articulating this knowledge clearly, succinctly, and with enthusiasm is something students can appreciate. This gift for communicating was honed through many years of public speaking.