It can be tough to learn how to trade with a full-time job. On top of that, obligations to friends and family can make it hard to study trading courses, backtest and trade.
I totally get it.
But if you really want to enjoy the freedoms that trading can provide, you will have to figure out how to make it work within the constraints of your current situation.
…and you will also have to make a few sacrifices.
So if you are NOT ready to commit to learning to trade after/before work, then you can stop reading right now. There is no magic trading system or “insider secret” that will replace hard work.
However if you are ready to put in the effort to make your dream a reality, then let’s take a look at how to learn as quickly and efficiently as possible. We all have 24 hours a day and you need to make every second count.
How Much Time Do You Have? No, Really.
The first thing you need to do is accurately assess how much time you have to spend on trading. In your Lamborghini-fueled enthusiasm, you will probably overestimate how much time you have to study and trade.
Almost everyone does.
So take a couple of deep breaths.
Then do this…
Start by counting up the number of hours per week, that you think you will be able to devote to learning to trade.
Be realistic and only count distraction-free hours. For example, if you have to watch your kids, that cannot be counted as quality study time.
Count your hours right now.
You can do it mentally or write it down on that piece of paper on your desk.
Now cut that number in half.
Great, now you have a total weekly number of hours that you can spend on your trading education. Even if it’s only a couple of hours, that’s fine.
You need to start somewhere.
Next, figure out the specific times that you will be able sit down and study trading.
Is it from 9pm to 11pm on Tuesday and Friday?
Write down a schedule that would work well for you.
Excellent, you now have an education calendar!
Again, even if this schedule looks like too little time to make progress, don’t worry. You have to start somewhere and even a couple of hours a week can make a huge difference, if you use the other tips that I will give you in this guide.
Have you heard of the 10,000 hour rule?
If you have, then forget about it because it’s worthless.
Some people require a lot less than 10,000 hours to achieve mastery, and some people need more.
My point is that dividing 10,000 hours by the number of hours you will spend in a week, will not necessarily determine how many weeks it will take you to become a profitable trader.
It is the quality of the time that you spend on mastering trading, not the quantity.
If you don’t believe me, then read this article.
Now that we have that out of the way, it’s time to turn your schedule into a habit. If you’ve had trouble sticking to a new schedule in the past, then this is what you may have been missing…
Habits Rule Everything Around Me
After reading The Power of Habit, I realized that there are certain actions that I do, that are not entirely my fault. However, once I learned that, I understood that it was my responsibility to forgive myself and figure out how to change the habits that are not helping me reach my goals.
Everyone has these habits…both good and bad.
Knowing how to create good habits and get rid of bad ones is crucial to your success.
In the book, Charles Duhigg cites studies of people who have lost their ability to remember things, due to injury or disease. There is one study in particular, that vividly illustrates why our habits are not always logical and why willpower alone can be useless.
A man had a disease where a virus destroyed the parts of his brain that are responsible for short term memory. He could not remember even the simplest facts, for more than a couple of seconds.
One day, his wife could not find him in the house and she freaked out. She was about to call the cops when he walked through the front door.
He didn’t know where he had been or how he remembered that this was his house. But somehow, he was able to take a walk around the neighborhood and find his way back home.
How was this possible?
It turned out that his wife had taken him on frequent walks down the block and back to their house. They had taken that walk so many times, that it was engrained into a part of his brain that was not damaged.
In other words, it was a habit.
So he was acting out of habit, instead of memory or willpower. This shows that habits reside in a part of our brains that is separate from memory.
Therefore, simply remembering that you need to work on your trading will not help you create a habit. Putting it on your calendar is not enough. Trying to use willpower to overcome previously engrained habits can be equally futile.
You need to do a positive action repetitively, to turn it into a good habit and overwrite bad habits.
The secret to success is to start small because you are more likely to do a simple action than a complex one. Even if you start with only 10 minutes a week, just get started. You will begin to see results and your confidence will grow.
For more great tips on how to form rock-solid habits, read this article.
Join a Community
Most trading sites will tell you to start your journey by taking a trading course. While that can be helpful, I believe that there is a step that should actually go before taking a trading course.
Find a community of like-minded individuals.
When you join a group that is committed to the same goals, you gain strength from each other and you will be more likely to persevere through tough times.
It doesn’t matter what group you join, as long as you feel motivated and safe there. If you have trouble finding one, then consider joining our free community.
To get focused accountability, you can also choose to join our paid trading mastermind.
Once you have found a group, it’s time to move on to finding the right education…
What Should You Study to Become a Profitable Trader?
Aright, now that you have a study schedule set up, you understand how to turn it into a habit and have some trading buddies, let’s address the elephant in the room.
What you should study to become a profitable trader?
Instead of recommending a particular course or trading system, I’ve found that it’s much more useful to setup some filters on what you won’t study.
Otherwise, you will try to study too many things at once and get overwhelmed.
One key filter is the timeframe filter.
Since you have a day job, you will have a very limited number of hours to study and trade. Therefore, you should limit yourself to the following options:
- Trading the weekly or daily timeframe
- Daytrading, but only during a fixed number of hours, like the London or New York open
If I had to suggest one timeframe for people with 9 to 5 jobs, it would be the daily timeframe.
This allows you to check your charts for a few minutes, once per day. Then you can spend the rest of the time reading or testing.
To learn some daily chart trading strategies, go here.
If you would like to see the complete backtesting results of daily chart trading systems, join the Trading Strategy Development Program.
There are a couple of tested trading strategies in there that have a high win rate. However, that is not the only key to success in trading.
Wondering how to choose the best timeframe for you? In reality, you may have to do some experimenting, but the key is to choose one timeframe right now and stick with it until you have a valid reason why it doesn’t work for you.
Jumping between timeframes is the worst thing you can do and will slow you down.
Worried that you won’t get enough trades on the daily charts?
You can simply add more trading strategies or trade more pairs.
Fundamental, Trend, Countertrend or Breakout?
From there, you should set a trading style filter.
Are you more of a fundamental or technical trader?
Again, you may not have enough experience to understand which one you are best at yet. The key is to stick with one and only study trading strategies that fit that criteria.
Start with the one that appeals to you most.
This will allow you to maximize your time and give yourself the best chance of getting good at one thing, instead of being terrible at multiple things.
Need some resources?
If you need a jumping off point, you can follow this guy for fundamental trading.
Want to daytrade? I suggest following her.
We also have tested technical trading strategies here.
Many people want to quit their office job and start trading full-time as soon as possible. But in reality, the move to full-time trading is usually a gradual transition, not a cold-turkey type thing.
Trying to do too much at once will burn you out and turn you off to trading altogether.
To avoid that, take it slow…
Focus on one thing at a time, form the right habits, and you will probably be surprised at what you can achieve. Even with a day job 🙂
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