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Penny Stock Basics

10 Lessons From How I Turned $300,000 Into $3 Million

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 3/20/2023 15 min read

Many trading challenge students and PennyStocking Silver subscribers don’t do enough research or pay attention to all my explanations, but the $600,000 trading account with which I start every year, on which I usually make 50%+/year as you can see here (already nearly 30% gain this midway through 2012), is just a small fraction of my total net assets.

It’s just what I put in these 6 preferred broker accounts to show you how it’s possible to build it, year in year out and as I detail in these 7 free video lessons. I make 50%+ pretty much every year, no matter how many side projects I do like Profitly or Investimonials or how I take incredible trips to exotic places like the Maldives and Bali:

Because that’s the gift and the curse of my strategy which I’ve been refining for over 14 years, I can make several hundred thousand dollars every year…from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection…but no matter how hard I work to being a better trader or how much $ I have in my accounts, the profit opportunity is limited due to penny stocks not being as liquid as every other financial market.

There is one hedge fund using my strategy, they are TIMalert subscribers as I wrote about here, and they have hundreds of millions of dollars under management, but they’re far better traders than I’ll ever be (hence why I’ve also invested in them :))

The good news is that the ability and expertise to make several hundred thousand dollars/year is in great demand for others to learn…as my top trading challenge student Eric has learned with now over $500,000 in profits with my strategy in less than 2 years.

And now subscribers of my 4 newsletters have profited over $5.5 million in just 4 years, nearly double what I’ve personally made from trading aka it’s good to teach others and not just focus on yourself.

And that’s why in the past 5 years since I began this publishing business model (the first year I didn’t have any newsletters, just this book and instructional DVD (email admin@timothysykes.com for specials on all my DVDs), my liquid net worth has increased roughly 10x to $3 million.

I don’t post this to brag…that was when I was a cocky prick in 2003…I post it to teach honestly and openly about my money and how I’ve grown it steadily by following a very specific plan…

…a plan that if you APPLY HERE to become my student will help you grow your wealth steadily too…just like it has these guys.

Here are some lessons to take away from my solid growth in wealth in just a few short years:

1. It’s good, even revolutionary, to be transparent in finance

Thanks to this industry being SO full of frauds, liars and cheats, I have the easiest job in the world, just tell the truth about the money I make and how I SPECIFICALLY do it as I do in interviews like this where I explain how my education business has grown, and how you can se EVERY ONE OF MY TRADES THAT IT TOOK TO GET ME TO $2.86 MILLION in career trading profits and how my trading profits are nearly $1 million in the past 5 years (the average is a bit lower due to my trading with VERY small $ amounts in 2008 and 2009 to show people how to build a small account from scratch when my Thinkorswim account grew from $12,415 to over $200,000 to prove it)

2. New technologies, mainly on the internet, should be embraced

My educational business wouldn’t be able to exist a few years ago…not without great tools like Thinkorswim, Profitly, Profiding, Investimonials, Screenr, Bitly, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LiveStream, Zendesk, Gmail, Infusionsoft, Authorize.net, Amazon, Lightning Source, WordPress, Covestor, Udemy etc.

3. Try various business models until you get it right

As I mentioned above, once upon a time I thought I’d get rich off my book, An American Hedge Fund, (read a free chapter here of how I made $100,000+ in one weekend back in college) since I had a remarkable story about turning a few thousand into a few million all before age 22…then losing 1/3 of it due to my naivety…the press, critics and sales didn’t see it that way, but I still sold roughly 10,000 copies and because it’s all 100% true, it got a ton of people emailing me asking for more education which led me to my current successful business model, all based on teaching people from my experiences.

4. Take advantage of all attention and listen to what your customers want

My book wasn’t my first business, once upon a time I ran a $3 million hedge fund just out of college and that got me enough exposure to be featured on CNBC.

I was personable enough in that interview to catch the eye of a documentary producer who had a TV deal for a show called “Wall Street Warriors”. Hundreds of people had tried out, but he liked me on CNBC enough to give me a shot and when I turned out to be good on camera, I ended up starring in 5 of the 6 episodes which you can watch right here.

Thanks to the success of Wall Street Warriors, I was getting 100, 200 sometimes even 300 emails/day from people wanting to learn and I couldn’t answer any of them due to my running a hedge fund (now I get 2,500+ per day)

My hedge fund was going nowhere fast due to my strategy’s limitations and my overall numbers hurting due to my naive investment in my best friend’s father’s company Cygnus which eventually went belly up (the print@home software is still in use by large companies like Six Flags, and guess what they just signed a new longterm deal!!!!, but a new CEO Steve Brown who was brought in to turn the company around instead bankrupted Cygnus specifically to buy it in bankruptcy court and rename it accesso, wiping out shareholders like me and past debts…my first lesson in unethical business dealings)

So I closed my hedge fund in disgrace, up a wimpy few percent/year due solely to the Cygnus loss wiping out most of my solid short-selling profits which made me the #1 ranked Short Bias hedge fund for 3 years in a row because I saw opportunity in the emails and I knew that my trading strategy was real and teachable.

5. Be inspired by your haters and be thankful for idiots who don’t understand opportunities that exist.

My critics like to point out my “failed hedge fund”, despite it finishing positive over 4 years which would still put me in the top 3 hedge funds in my category, because I knew it was only due to my naive Cygnus investment and none of my investors had asked for their money back. This was no fault of my trading strategy that had made me so much money and I only closed the fund to capitalize on the success of my TV show (now in 20+ countries).

At first the haters got to me, but within a few months I used that hate to work my ass off proving them wrong…which I’ve done conclusively and in real-time as my roughly 2,000 subscribers have learned.

Besides proving my trading strategy, I’ve also proven my business model of simply showing my trades and that of my students works well to inspire more people to want to trade and that’s why I make millions of dollars each year…there are successful traders out there, but it’s very rare to find a successful trader willing to teach their proven strategies and show how they make their money trade-for-trade.

Little selfish old me who wanted to get paid from the beginning, then charge even more later on after you see how successful I am time and again aka rub it in on every successful trade since I knew the value of my strategy and teaching turned out to be dead on right about this new industry of premium blogging and that’s why I’m a multi-millionaire all over again and no other finance blogger has made as much as me.

Thank you to everyone for not understanding the opportunity that existed/exists, I feel bad for the gurus who believed you instead of me, but we all make choices in life (detailed expose coming)

6. Be open-minded when others aren’t.

When I first began teaching, industry leading websites like Investopedia said my strategy of short selling penny stocks was illegal. No it isn’t, you just need to find a broker to get borrows from, like my favorite broker, but Investopedia, like so many others, was misinformed.

Those of us who have been successfully shorting for years never wanted to correct public opinion for it would create competition for our precious borrows when we wanted to short penny stock pump and dumps like this that time and again drop 90%+ within weeks or months (this one dropped 98% within 14 days of my expose here and yes there were plenty shares to short 🙂

Penny Stock promoters don’t want people shorting their pumps before they and their clients can dump shares, so the misinformation continued…until I put an end to it and made a business out of correcting it.

Promoters hate me for hindering their pumps and short sellers hate me for telling others where to find shares to short. Add in that most traders hate me as it’s common belief that a trader should just trade, not teach as the only teachers out there are snakeoil salesmen.

Well, I could care less about the hate, it’s funny since its just because people are protecting their self-interests, not giving a damn about anyone else and I’ve learned that by being selfless in the finance industry is a revolutionary concept.

(And the interesting thing is thanks to my success, more and more brokers are finding new ways of getting borrows to accommodate the demand…they just want commissions so contrary to short sellers fears, I’m actually opening up the market for more borrows…you’re welcome you fools!)

So thank you stubborn shorts, sleazy promoters and narrow-minded traders, your selfishness opened the door for someone like me to barge through with a simple and transparent business of basically just telling the truth since nobody else will. Best job in the world!

7. Work your ass off, but never forget about taking care of yourself either.

There’s a ton of money to be made in nearly every industry, especially finance, but too many people forget about balance and not being a complete slave…I was very guilty the first 2-3 years of running this blog business, but I’ve since become wiser and now I have solid employees and we try to automate the distribution of education, like we do thanks to Aweber software which automatically emails these 7 free video lessons once/day for a week.

Sure, sure, it was a lot of work to make those, but now my job is a lot easier just giving people this link to signup for them and then the software takes care of the rest….just like my 600+ video lesson library that was bitch to create, but now simply exists with no more work for me and tons of education for my students (see the 30 best video lessons here)

Yes, I have a great job and I’m in the enviable position of being able to choose my students (we reject more than a few morons who don’t want to study hard or ignore instructions sent to them), but I NEVER take a day off because there’s always more and more worthwhile students to reach via my videos, webinars, blog posts, tweets, FB updates, chatroom, Skype, etc….

And mind you while I do work hard, I’ve learned to treat myself too because it’s not only therapeutic for me, not only is it good to teach my students how to work hard and play hard, it’s actually great for business to inspire my students and to show that I can work from anywhere in the world in amazing places like these:

…and indulge in toys like these exotic cars and submarines:

8. Keep things in perspective

I talk a ton about large amounts of money, like this post with lessons from my biggest loss of 2012…but try to always think about the big picture.

With that loss of $16,000, yes, I screwed up, but I’ve made it all back in trading in just over a week and I was right to cut my losses as it looked like it could become much bigger, especially as 2 other newsletters took advantage of my transparency and squeezed me.

Just 48 hours later, I was dead on right as that short crashed and 2 weeks later now, my profits would be $100,000+, but I don’t regret covering since I am a teacher first, then trader. It’s good to teach to cut losses quickly and it’s sad that some teachers don’t trade in a disciplined manner and they blow up. I messed up by taking too large of a position, but I made it right by cutting losses quickly, no matter the eventual profitable outcome had I held.

Remember, my trading nets me $300,000+ every year, I’m already up $160,000+ midway through 2012 and my teaching business makes in excess of $3 million/year, this year we’re on track for $5-6 million, up from just $750,000 in 2010, which equates to roughly $100,000/week.

So while a $16,000 loss is bad, it’s nothing in the grand scheme of things and it was a great lesson for my students delivered via an online video lesson and a great 2-hour live webinar I was doing for my trading challenge students as the trade was happening.

Same goes for my “splurging” on travel and toys, they’re all just a few days or weeks work and again it’s good for my students to see what’s possible when they become a successful trader and ideally a successful teacher (Michael Goode is not only my best teacher and chatroom moderator, he’s also one of my best students, up over $300,000 with my strategy…read more about him here)

9. Keep it in the family and run a tight knit organization

Both of my parents work for me and nearly every one of my employees has learned from my DVDs and successfully implemented my strategy for profits. Heck one of my students/employees even named his baby after me…seriously, read the blog post and see baby pics!!!

We not only all trust each other, but we all believe in the mission of selling great education at a massive discount to what it’s worth when students take it seriously as everyone in my team has seen it firsthand.

10. Never forget who pays your bills

Yes, I do brag a ton about my greatly enjoyable lifestyle like this wild week where I met Gretzky, Jordan, Griffey and the money I’ve made, but I’m FAR more interested in how much my students are making and how they’re living. Their $5.5 million in profits now and stories like these below are what truly motivates me these days and that’s good for business since it’s my students who pay my bills so I’m tied to their success…as every teacher should be.

My student who turned $500 into $25,000+ in a few months

The recent college grad now up $70,000 in just over a year

How one student taught my teachers and I a lesson on this trade

What I can give back to those who protect our country

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”