Still trying to mentally recover from my complete spacing out on a ton of profit yesterday. So far, today seems like a normal Friday. No major headlines. Just a few more earnings but nothing major. And the volume as of 07:30 EST is relatively normal.
On the calendar today, Nonfarm Payrolls and Unemployment Rate at 08:30 EST, and ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI at 10:00 EST.
At the Bell
Paper traded in the premarket just to satisfy my boredom, and good thing because neither trade worked out. A lot of chop leading up to the bell after 08:00 EST.
The first 10 minutes was more slightly bearish chop without a clean entry, so no plays taken. Need to remember to stay disciplined to my strategy and not let the failure of yesterday carry over into today.
Writing this in hindsight, way after the fact, because this is another day where I almost didn’t post. I had a little study/practice session of the morning session after I completely bombed the day losing $970!!! After I got my emotions back under control, wanting to destroy my office from my trading struggles of the day, I looked back at my trades and realized I made a lot of mistakes.
Basically, I made things way more complicated than it needed to be, especially on a difficult day as today. Then I capped the day off by breaking my three-strikes rule on CL, revenge trading with FOMO. As a result, I cannot take any trades (including paper trades) on CL Monday, plus a move that would be a loser to make up for the extra loss I had today.
At the end of my back trading in my platforms replay mode, I actually should have had a green day (smh). Why do I love to learn lessons the hard way? Gots-ta-do mo betta!
To end this on a positive note, it was still a green week! 🙂
This guide is not so much about the detailed steps of how to create a trading strategy but will go more into what to do while you build out your first trading or investing strategy. The specifics for how to build your strategy are completely up to you. Use the power of your inner trader to develop a simple and easy trading strategy. Simple and easy is the key as too much information is typically not a good thing when it comes to trading the market.
Now that you have all this delicious brain food of trading and investment knowledge, it’s time to start putting that knowledge to work. Knowledge is power, but what’s the use of having a power that you don’t use right? Anyway, without getting too preachy…
By this point you should have an idea of which direction you want to take you trading. If not, don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be solid by this point. For instance, my interests began in swing and day trading stocks, then swing trading options on stocks, followed by forex, before I eventually settled on day trading futures, all in about a three-month span.
Lay the Foundation
For this next phase you will be using what you learned to start developing your strategy. There are tons of ways you can go about building your strategy. As well, there are dozens of resources at your fingertips, from websites, to trading platforms, to apps. The world of trading is literally as easy as the click of a mouse. These sources will be key in your strategy development.
There’s so much information that it can feel a bit overwhelming when starting. Just pick the asset class and time frame (day trading, swing trading, or long-term investing) that interests you the most and go from there. Chances are this will change and evolve as time and your experience progress, but you just have to take the first step and get started. You can look at this phase as laying out the foundation of your strategy.
Disclaimer! Once you build out this foundation of your initial strategy, it is extremely important you do not stray away from this foundation. You can make adjustments but do not change this strategy. Here’s the thing. All strategies work! Yep, every single strategy you can imagine works, just not all the time. More importantly, your strategy is not going to be what makes you a successful trader. Your thoughts and emotions are going plays a huge role in your success as a trader. What you do not want is your strategy adding to the difficulty of overcoming the psychological barriers you are bound to face. If you don’t pay attention to anything else in this guide, remember this. DO NOT change your initial strategy. Once you have mastered the psychological aspects of trading you can use whatever strategy you want. And by this time, you will have a solid strategy that you can always revert back to when things start getting shaky elsewhere.
Don’t Test with Real Money
Once you have created the framework for your strategy you will want to test it out. The best way to do this is by using a paper trading account. This step will get you familiar with your strategy as well as build confidence in your ability to successfully trade the strategy. As with most things, practice makes perfect. The more you practice using a paper trading account the better you will become at executing your strategy, relieving the stress of making unnecessary mistakes in a live account. The more mistakes you make here the better as people typically learn their most valuable lessons from mistakes. You want to make the mistakes here, (not on purpose of course) so you learn from it without wasting your hard-earned cash. It already sucks to lose money trading which is inevitable. What’s worse is losing real money doing something stupid.
No matter which direction you decide to take your trading journey, there are many platforms available. Some paid, most for free, that offers paper trading. One of the most readily available paper trading platform can be found on Investopedia’s website. If you open a TD Ameritrade account, you will have free access to their paper trading, called paperMoney, on their Thinkorswim platform that allows you to paper trade just about every asset class. Some of the data on their paper trading platform is limited, but what I do is use the data on their live platform and sign into paperMoney on the mobile app to place the paper trade. It can take a bit longer to place an order on the mobile app but since I’m only paper trading I’m not too worried about timing.
Taking things one step further, some platforms, such as Thinkorswim, has tools where you can back-trade a previous day as if you are trading it real-time. These tools are essential to fine-tuning the execution of your strategy. TradingView also has this feature, called Replay, that I use frequently. I prefer Thinkorswim’s OnDemand vs. TradingView’s Replay, as Replay will only ‘replay’ the chart information. You won’t be able to trade it with paper money. These are the only two I know of. Check with your broker to see if they have a similar feature in their platform, as you will want to do this with the same platform you trade real money.
TradingView also has a user-friendly paper trading platform which allows you to place trades directly from the chart. TradingView also gives you plenty of details about the paper trades you placed. You can sign-up for a free account and have immediate access to their paper trading platform, as well as some additional features beyond what you get without an account. They also offer free trials to their more advanced features and data. Click the image below to get started with TradingView.
Here’s an example of how this process would work. Keep in mind, this is only an example. I am in no way telling you to use this specific information as a strategy for any asset class.
So, let’s say you have decided day trading stocks using the VWAP is the direction that seems the most interesting to you. Let’s add more detail to that and say you want to trade stocks in the range of $10 – $50 because that fits your budget and you favor the typical price action of those stocks. To begin, you will pick a stock that you know and like in the desired price range. For our example we will use Twitter, ticker symbol TWTR. Pull up a chart using and plug in the ticker. You will want to use the platform you plan to use to trade real money if they have a paper trading companion, which most do. That will help you build familiarity with the platform minimizing mistakes for not being well acquainted with how the platform works. For our example here, I will use TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim.
Once you have the chart up with TWTR’s data, start looking for patterns you could take advantage of based off the price action in relation to the VWAP. Of course, for this you will be looking at historical data, rather that’s the previous day, a day from last week, a day from last year, or whatever. My recommendation here is to look at as many different days as you need to. This is what’s called back-trading, which helps you build the memory muscles needed to execute your strategy with minimal mistakes.
Once you feel you are comfortable with the VWAP and the stock you chose, you will then pick another stock and do the same thing all over again. It is highly recommended to go through this back-trading process as much as possible without letting it consume your life outside of the stock market, of course.
If your knowledge building phase was thorough enough, you would know the importance of also looking at multiple timeframes for your strategy. For example, using the same day trading off the VWAP strategy, taking a look at the five-minute, 1 minute, and daily charts could be very beneficial to helping you make trading decisions.
In the beginning, this may seem very time consuming but the more you practice this the faster and more accurately you will be able to flow through this process. Just like a basketball player practicing his jump shot. At first, he will struggle to make baskets with the appropriate form. But over time, with practice, the shots will start going in more frequently with greater accuracy, requiring less mental effort. The same is true for making money in the stock market.
Keeping Track of Your Progress.
It’s a good idea to have a spreadsheet to track your trades. This will help you see the big picture of how well your strategy, and more importantly your trading habits, are performing. If you like you can email me at email@example.com for a sample spreadsheet tracker. There are also numerous examples available on the internet which can be found with a quick Google search. Some information you may want to keep track of is:
Entry and exit price
Entry and exit time
Date trade was place
Date trade was exited (if different from entered)
Profit and loss
Number of shares
Notes of thoughts, feelings, and reasons for taking trade.
You can also sign-up for a Tradervue account where you can input your trades for purposes of tracking. Tradervue also breaks down your trades which allows you to see an abundance of statistics which can be used to optimize your trading strategy. For example, your accuracy, your total P&L, your performance at specific times of the day and much more. For paper trading you may need to input the data manually. Tradervue has linked with most brokers to input the data directly from your brokerage account.
Get Out There and Take Action
Now it’s your time to get started building out your very own strategy and putting it to the test. Remember, the key takeaway here is it’s not the strategy that makes or breaks the trader. It’s the mentality of the trader that separates the winners from the losers. You are building your strategy here to have a methodical way of getting hands-on experience with trading the market. In the famous words of Ms. Frizzle (Magic School Bus) take chances, make mistakes, and get messy. Did I just show my age?
The one thing I hear the most from beginner traders is “How do I get started?” or “How to start trading stocks online?”. These are good questions but is often taken in wrong direction with sells pitches or biased opinions.
Growing your knowledge of the market will help you determine which route you want to take. Rather you want to trade stocks, options, futures, forex, etc. Do you favor technical or fundamental analysis? Is your preference day trading, swing trading, or long-term investing?
How to trade in your preferred method and market. Such as do you need a limit order, a stop order, or is it ok to just enter on a market order? Then, which can be more challenging but extremely important, how do you exit the trade to take profits?
If what you just read sounds like a foreign language, that’s a huge reason to build your knowledge. Sure, you can simply enter with a market order to buy and hold until you’re ready to exit the position with a market sell, but that’s like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and just eating one item from the bar. There’s many more ways to profit from the market which you can use to your advantage for minimizing losses and maximizing profits. All in your very own special way!
The very first thing you need to do is simple. Learn! This article will be going over the various ways you can build your knowledge to intelligently participate in the market.
Books: Reading is Fundamental
As with most things, great knowledge can be found in books. Schools from kindergarten to college use books as their primary teaching tool to grow the minds of their students. Building your trader knowledge is no different.
At this point there are tons of books on the market containing an enormous amount of information about the markets and how to participate them. So much in fact that it can get overwhelming when trying to make a decision which one to pick first to get you going. But really all you have to do is just pick one, any one. You won’t get everything you will ever need to know from one book, so it really doesn’t matter which one you start with.
Next, I will go over some of my favorite books that I recommend for trading. These are in no particular order, just three of my favorites.
Mastering the Trade by John F. Carter is one that was key to developing the advanced elements of my strategy. The author details various aspects about his trading preferences and strategies. He covers each market, key times to be aware of, various indicators and more. In fact, this book is what got me interested in trading Futures. I reference this book frequently as most of what he discusses is still relevant today.
How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market is another one of my personal favorites. The author Nicolas Darvas tells the highs and lows of his journey from taking his first trade to becoming a multi-millionaire off the stock market, all while living and traveling abroad. This is the first stock market book I read cover to cover and gained a lot of insight about the psychology of trading, providing high entertainment value.
Trading in the Zone by Mark Douglas is what I would consider a must read for all traders. It focuses in on the psychology of trading which must be mastered if you seek to consistently profit from the markets. While it doesn’t cover any technical information about any of the markets, its magic lies in preparing the trader for the psychological challenge they will face. And if you don’t know by now, this is going to be where a majority of your success is made.
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The Internet is Your Friend
Another key resource you have at your disposal to build your knowledge base is the internet. Just about anything you want to know can be learned with a quick Google search. Many traders and investors, just like here at Mv3 Trader, have developed websites as their platform for sharing the years of knowledge and experience they have acquired along their journey. Most of these sites charge a fee for some of the most useful information, but there are still plenty of sources offering significant insight for free. Let’s get into some of the best places to find free educational trading content.
Investopedia (investopedia.com) is one of the absolute best online resources for learning the basics of the market. They provide very detailed information for just about every aspect of the market in an easy to understand way. This was my bible when I started building my knowledge.
For more targeted information, perfect for beginners (as well as seasoned) traders, Real Life Trading (reallifetrading.com) is one of my personal favorites. All the training provided on this online source is 100% free for anyone who wants to learn. If you like their content, you can take it a step further with their premium programs, such as day and swing trading rooms, and weekly options newsletter, for a very reasonable fee. But those premium programs are not necessary, as the good stuff lies in the free content. If the information on their site isn’t enough, they have tons of videos on YouTube for your viewing pleasure that covers an array of topics. A link to my playlist is below where you can access their YouTube channel.
Which brings me to my next, and probably most used, internet resource, YouTube. it’s safe to say the popularity of YouTube is well known at this point. There are tons of videos on YouTube that discusses anything you care to learn about in terms of the stock market. A majority of the elements I use within my strategy was learned off YouTube and I didn’t have to pay a dime. I’ve included a link below to my playlist on YouTube of some of my favorite videos I referenced in building my strategy as well as the channels I am subscribed to. Another one of my favorite YouTube channels I have yet to mention is Warrior Trading. I watch his content daily, as he gives his insight and reviews his plays of the day after his session.
The last key web source I feel is worth mentioning is the Bullish Bears community. They also offer a ton of free education on their website, as well, with the added bonus of sharing their daily watchlist on their Facebook page. Much of their free content was used to build the core principles of my strategy.
These are just a few of the many trading resources available on the internet with free content to help guide you on the path to success. You don’t have to know everything there is to know about the stock market to earn consistent profits. But the knowledge you gain will be your roadmap to success as you start trading stocks online. So, get out there and get learning!