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Penny Stock Basics

8 Ways To Trade Stocks With A Full Time Job

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 6/13/2023 7 min read

Most students who enter the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge are looking to make a change in their life and career and are trading with a full time job, however, some of them are currently working full time jobs, which can limit their time and energy for trading. At least in the beginning, it’s likely that they’ll need to juggle working full time with their new trading career as studying is FAR more important at the start than actually making trades…if you remember this great penny stock trader took 9 months before he became consistently profitable and that was just by studying and practicing every day…so it takes time to actually make enough income from trading to quit your job.

This begs the question: how do you pursue trading with a full time job? How do you make time for trading and studying while maintaining a good work ethic at your day job? Here, I’ll offer some helpful tips that will help you navigate what can be a challenging time of transition.

1. Know that it’s going to be challenging.

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I don’t want to discourage you by saying this, but it’s a simple fact that juggling working full or even part time and trying to be a day trader will be challenging. However, being prepared for this and making a game plan can really help.

Remember: many of today’s successful traders formerly held full time jobs. You too can be a success story. Knowing that the short term difficulty can deliver positive long term results can be comforting.

2. Focus on your goals.

To help maintain motivation for trading with a fill time job, consider your ultimate goals. What is it that you hope to get out of trading? For many students in the Tim Sykes Million Challenge team, the most immediate goal is to change gears from their current career. Does that sound like you? Perhaps you’re working a dead-end job, or maybe you just want to try something different. Day trading can be the vehicle that helps you make change happen.

But don’t just think about career goals. Think about your long term goals and what you really hope to gain from day trading. Do you want to buy a new house? Or maybe an island in the Caribbean? Considering these long terms goals can help give you the determination and energy required to start trading while maintaining a full time job.

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3. Get clever with time management.

Trading with a full time job will require some creative time management. You’ll need to juggle commitments and make time for day trading. Waking up earlier, doing research on potential plays very early or very late, or working up potential trading strategies on Sundays are all just a few ways that you can make use of your free time so that you can maximize the minutes you have to trade during market hours. While many people will claim “I have no time,” it’s incredible how much the you can make if you cut out frivolous things like mindlessly watching TV or YouTube for hours at a time.

4. Alter your work schedule.

More and more, employers are open to offering flexible hours for employees. For instance, you may be able to work on weekends to free up more time for trading during the week. Alternately, you may be able to work out an agreement wherein you work four days a week for longer hours, or cut out lunch breaks so that you can leave early. Any time during trading hours that you can free up will help your career big time. Talk to your employer and see if any of these options might be available to you.

5. Get organized.

Since time will be at a premium as you embark on trading with a full time job, it’s important to get really organized. Being organized both at work and at home will reduce mental clutter and maximize free time, so that you can focus on trading.

For example, if you have a family, you might consider establishing blocks of time that are reserved for you to focus on trading. During these times, your partner might be responsible for cooking, taking care of the kids, and so on. You can also consolidate errands and necessary tasks such as paying bills to certain times, so that your attention won’t be scattered. Anything that you can do to organize your life will give you more time and space for trading, and there’s real value in that.

6. Just say no.

It can be hard to say no. But to pursue trading with a full time job, you’re going to have to learn the power of no. Your time and mental energy is at a premium now, and you don’t want to overexert yourself or you’ll burn out, have a mental breakdown, or both.

But this doesn’t mean that you have license to be a flake. When asked to do things that will take you away from your trading career, weigh the pros and cons. For instance, you may not be able to skip your sister’s wedding, but you could probably skip other events. Be clear and firm and say no rather than saying maybe and then flaking out later.

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7. Remember: it’s not forever.

I won’t lie: maintaining this double lifestyle as a full time employee and a trader is not going to be easy. However, it can be helpful to remember that this is a temporary situation. As you get more established as a trader, you may be able to cut down to part time or even quit your job entirely. You might have some tired days and long nights, but remember your goals and what you’re working for. You’ve got this, and it’s worth it.

8. Be consistent.

Of course, none of these tips will be very effective if you’re not consistent. Trading rewards consistency and practice. Keep this post bookmarked to refer back to if needed. With time and consistency, following these tips can help you make things happen while trading with a full time job.

Establishing yourself as a day trader while maintaining a full time job isn’t necessarily easy. However, for many new traders, it’s the only option. Keep following these tips and stick with it, and in time, you will begin to see positive results.

How do you make time for trading? Leave a comment below and let’s give each other suggestions to help each other do better!

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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”