How I Became a Profitable Day Trader

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Hey everyone, Ross Cameron here! I want to share my day trading story with you and lay out the three steps I would take if I were starting over today. You might have heard about day traders who get rich quickly and succeed right from the start. That wasn’t me, and it probably isn’t you either. Most people don’t have beginner’s luck in day trading.

My Early Struggles with Day Trading

My first encounter with the stock market was in the late 1990s. My school had a class on the stock market during the dot-com bubble. We traded pretend portfolios, and I worked with my friend Cooper. Even though we were dealing with fake money, the experience got me hooked.

I saved up some money from my paper route and other odd jobs and went to buy shares of the American Ski Company. The local stockbroker dashed my hopes, explaining that the commission fees would eat up my entire $100. That was my first letdown.

In 2001, I funded my first real trading account with $1,000 from my summer job. I bought shares of companies like Exxon Mobile and Johnson & Johnson. By the end of the summer, my account remained almost unchanged. It was another letdown, but it didn’t diminish my interest in trading.

Lessons Learned from Failures

One of my friends in high school made $166,000 on a penny stock. His success made me want to try again. However, my next attempts, including applying for a hedge fund internship in 2008, didn’t go well. I ended up working at an architecture studio instead.

In 2008, during the Great Recession, I moved back to Vermont. I needed to make money, so I decided to get back into trading. I set up an E-Trade account and started trading a mix of penny stocks and options. I didn’t find any success.

First Step: Learn a Proven Strategy

If I were starting over today, I would find a proven, profitable trader and learn their strategy. If you’re interested, I offer a small account strategy worksheet you can download. But honestly, it doesn’t matter if you learn from me or someone else. The key is to learn from someone who is actually making money in day trading.

Second Step: Practice in a Simulator

Trade in a simulated environment first. You’ll make beginner mistakes, and it’s better to make them where you won’t lose real money. Practice finding stocks, entering, and exiting trades. Prove that you can trade profitably in the simulator before moving on to trading with real money. If you are looking for a simulator, check out the Warrior Simulator.

Third Step: Move to Real Money

Switch to trading with real money as soon as you can trade profitably in a simulator. This step is crucial because you need to experience the emotions that come with gains and losses. Start with small amounts, even just 10 shares, and gradually build up as you gain confidence and consistency.

Finding Success and Overcoming Big Losses

My first year showed some beginner’s luck, and I made about $30,000. But the next year, I lost $30,000 and ended up in serious credit card debt. I hit a big turning point with a huge loss in August. I reviewed my trades, got more disciplined, and focused on trading setups within my strategy.

Recovery wasn’t easy. I grew my account to $50,000 and then had a horrible day, losing $25,000 in one trade. Yet, I didn’t give up. I rebuilt my account, eventually reaching $100,000. Each setback taught me valuable lessons about discipline and strategy.

Conclusion

The road to becoming a profitable day trader is tough, filled with setbacks and lessons. If you’re just starting, learn a proven strategy, practice in a simulator, and switch to real money trading as soon as you’re ready. Don’t expect overnight success, but stay disciplined and learn from your mistakes.

If you want to learn more about my strategy, feel free to download my small account strategy worksheet. Remember, trading is risky, so manage your risk and take it slow. Happy trading!

Stay Connected

Warrior Trading was founded by Ross Cameron in 2012, and is now a thriving community of thousands of traders. You can learn more about joining the Warrior Trading community here.

Check out my new book, How To Day Trade: The Plain Truth.

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