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Struggling to Turn a Profit? Do This.

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 10/20/2022 5 min read

More than a hundred traders descended on the Miami Riverwalk this week for our trading conference.

Each day was packed with some of the best traders in the world, delivering real-world insights and practical advice.

There’s one speaker I want to highlight in particular…

Mr. Bryce Touhey. You can check out his story here.

Bryce is just shy of hitting that $1 million in career trading profits.

But that’s not what’s interesting.

All 6 ft 7in of him stood in front of dozens of traders and told them that he was basically flat year-to-date.

It takes a lot of courage to come up after a handful of millionaire traders and say,

“Hey folks, I haven’t made money trading this year. But you should listen to me.”

And listen, they did…

Because for a guy who had a bag of caffeine products (literally) to just hand out, he is a remarkably patient trader.

One of his slides, in particular, stood out from the rest.

And the lesson that attendees took away from less than 500 words could be the very thing that helps them turn a profit.

Play Small Ball

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In Bryce’s biography, there is one post that I think stands out from the rest.

It’s titled Sizing Up Slowly – Seriously.

Like most folks who joined the Millionaire Challenge, Bryce struggled to generate consistent profits.

It’s very common, even for traders who’ve been in the game for years.

They either:

  • Win consistently but take a few huge losses, or….
  • Consistently lose with a few magical winners here and there

Addressing your problem isn’t something that happens overnight.

I tell my students to cut losses quickly and keep them small.

For some folks early on, that leaves them with a lot of small losses that keep piling up without enough wins to offset them.

However, that’s right where you want to be and how Bryce made his breakthrough.

In May 2020, Bryce risked $2 per trade for a month and a half.

Some days he’d make $10. Some days he’d lose $10.

His goal wasn’t to hit home runs which you can’t really do with $2.

Instead, Bryce worked to generate a profit overall, slowly and consistently.

That outlook changed everything for him.

Big Picture Thinking, Small Picture Trading

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I suck at trading large accounts.

Every year I reset my account to a nominal size.

When you start small, you stop thinking about making huge profits.

You replace it with a new goal – to just make ANY profits.

In the one and a half months Bryce spent trading $2 per trade, he made a whopping $89.

For about 90 days, Bryce focused on executing each individual trade correctly, ignoring how much money it made him.

The next month, he increased his size to $5 per trade and made $1,000.

Bryce trades actively. Yet, he hasn’t turned a profit this year. But he hasn’t lost either.

Every day, he patiently waits for and trades only the setups he wants.

Given his style and experience, that meant not making money this year.

However, when markets become more favorable for his style of trading, there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll break that $1 million mark.

Spend Less to Make More

© Millionaire Media, LLC

Consistent trading results stem from patience, practice, and precision.

Every trader I know, myself included, as well as Bryce, constantly works to improve their skills.

That’s so much easier when you don’t have to worry about losing thousands of dollars.

If you can’t turn a profit with a $500, you won’t do any better with a $50,000 account.

Do yourself a favor. Prove you can turn a profit over a month with a small account. Then do it for two months.

Slowly size up only when your trading becomes mechanical and second nature.

Even then, always trade scared. Be on the lookout for mistakes you make and curveballs from the market.

I don’t try to make students who take my Challenge millionaires overnight.

I want them to become millionaires in their lifetime.

And I want you to be next.


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Author card Timothy Sykes picture

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

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* 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”