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Penny Stock Basics

Stop Doing These 5 Things, Improve Your Trading

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 1/10/2023 6 min read

There are plenty of things that you can do to improve your trading, which I have detailed in previous posts like this one and rules that I go over and over again with my Trading Challenge students. But now I want to talk about what you should stop doing to improve your trading.

These are some of the common bad habits that keep traders from finding the success they crave so if you stop doing these five things, you will absolutely see positive returns on your overall performance:

1. Deflecting blame. There are plenty of people out there who won’t accept responsibility for their actions, their place in life, or their lack of means. There’s always someone else or something else to blame. For instance, some people claim that since they have young children, it’s impossible to change careers and rock the boat of stability. Others will claim that they can’t become traders because they never went to graduate school. There are any number of circumstances that people might assign blame to for their lack of success. But the truth is, nothing is going to change until you change yourself.

Andy Warhol said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” To create lasting change in your life, and to have any hope of finding success as a trader, you need to begin to own your actions. Ultimately, if you are unhappy with your place in life or your bank account balance, it’s on you.

So what can you do? Decide to change things. Take responsibility, and commit to becoming better.

2. Wasting your time. If you’re spending all day dreaming about the things you want but don’t have, but not taking any action, then you are wasting your time. Stop squandering the time you have! To make a change in your life, that means you have to jump to action.

For many, creating a big change in their life without guidance is very difficult. But that’s simple to solve: find a guide. In trading, this means having a mentor…at least start by reviewing free guides like this ASAP.

You don’t need to make it harder than it has to be. In the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge, I act as a mentor, guiding my students in gaining the knowledge and techniques necessary for success as traders. My challenge offers a time efficient and carefully guided way to learn how to trade.

You could try to improve your trading without my Millionaire Trading Challenge. Plenty has tried. But, why would you waste your time learning the ups and downs of the market when you can cut out so many of the growing pains? The Challenge offers a way to learn to trade in a practical and easily applied way.

3. Living beyond your means. If you want to become a trader because you have grandiose dreams of throwing money around, you’ve got a long road ahead of you.

The fact is, to become a successful trader, you’ve got to make a stronger commitment to saving than you possibly ever have before. Basically, as a trader, it’s in your best interest to make a habit of saving the majority of your earnings. This allows you to improve your position in the market, and to make more impactful trades as your account grows.

In time, as you continue to earn, the amount that you have free to spend will become larger and larger, so that even while you continue to save, you can begin to treat yourself to those things you’ve always wanted. But be aware: it takes time and a lot of discipline to get to that point. Save now and savor the rewards later.

4. Doing it all by yourself. It’s true that trading can be a highly singular activity that requires a lot of alone time. However, to say that trading is something that you can find success in totally alone would be a lie. You absolutely need support. You don’t need to do it alone and, quite honestly, you shouldn’t.

Having a great network is key. First and foremost, you’ve got to get yourself a mentor. Someone who is further along in their career is an invaluable resource. Meeting with them regularly is like pressing fast forward on your career. You can receive advice, learn from their mistakes and downfalls so that you don’t have to go through the same things and get tips on how to proceed with various projects.

Second, you need a good network of peers, both at your level and who are a little further along than you. Other traders will keep you motivated and will inspire you to keep it up and often, to do better. Also, by observing what they do and how they conduct themselves, it can give you ideas for how to become a better trader.

Students in the Tim Sykes Million Challenge Team get both of these invaluable networking resources in one fell swoop. Students keep up with each other online and I act as a mentor.

5. Seeing mistakes as failures. When you make a mistake, what do you do? For most of us, we hang our head and hide out feeling sorry for ourselves, at least for a little while. But, if you want to be a great trader, you have to be man or woman enough to get back on the horse, so to speak, and to keep trading.

Mistakes are only failures if you decide they are. But if you have an open mind and a strong constitution, mistakes can also be powerful teachers…the absolute BEST teachers! The trade that went bad today can teach you a lesson that can keep you from losing ten times that amount next time. Alternately, a mistake can open your eyes to what you need to focus on in your studies.

Ultimately, if you are brave enough to learn from your mistakes rather than seeing them as failures, you will become a far better trader.

Sometimes, self-improvement isn’t just a matter of cultivating good habits. It’s also important to let go of bad ones. By working hard to stop doing the things detailed in this post, your trading will improve big time.

What’s holding you back as a trader? Leave a comment below and be honest with me and yourself so we can cut it out and improve your trading ASAP!

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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”