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What Does it Take to Become a Successful Trader?

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 11/10/2022 5 min read

Imagine one moment you’re a valet driver in a small town…

Three years later, you’re a multi-millionaire trader

While it sounds almost too good to be true, it happened for Jack Kellog.

How was he able to make the quantum leap, and what can you take from his story to help you along your journey?

Believe it or not, it has less to do with trading strategies or your starting account size.

On his way to earning more than $10 million, Jack made plenty of mistakes.

Last October, Jack spoke at our Traders Conference in Miami about what it takes to become a successful trader.

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For him, a guy who went from a valet to one of my most successful students, it started with developing an unbeatable mindset.

The lessons he covered are so POWERFUL that I believe you can apply them instantly.

You see, mistakes will happen.

So will losing trades.

But how you handle them is what sets great traders apart from the rest of the pack.

Face Your Fears

jack kellogg and tim sykes
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In 2017, I asked Jack to speak at the trading conference that year.

He had just become reasonably profitable, but was nervous about speaking on stage.

This year Jack revealed his fears over the years:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of giving back profits
  • Fear of sizing up
  • FOMO

Fear is healthy. Your mind wants to keep you out of trouble.

Listen to it, but don’t let it own you.

It’s tough, but successful traders work with their fears.

First, they identify them. Then they accept them. Finally, they work through them.

The process is the same but the journey is different for everyone.


The general public tends not to hold a favorable opinion of day traders.

I hear countless stories of folks put down by their friends and family, telling them it’s a waste of time and money.

At the end of the day, trading is between you and yourself.

You need to be able to motivate, focus, and manage yourself.

As Jack pointed out, networking at events such as the conference is a great way to do this.

With a group of like-minded traders on the same journey, you can lean on one another for support and prop each other up.


Jack’s got to where he is today because of his losses.

Losses can either own you, or you can own the losses.

In my mind, he has one of the BEST mindsets out there.

Instead of wallowing in losses, Jack reviews every single one.

None of them are wasted and he uses many for quick inspiration.

For example, Jack took some sizable losses in AMTD Digital Inc. (NYSE: HKD) and Intelligent Living Application Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ILAG) this year.

Rather than get down on himself, Jack looked into the trades and discovered they showed bad volume near the trade, and his size was too big.

Nothing will improve your trading faster than a trading journal.

Honestly assessing your trades, good and bad, regularly and objectively will help you uncover problems and find opportunities.

Bear Market Trading

jack kellogg and sykes in italy
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2021 was a GREAT year for trading.

2022…not so much.

We take what the market gives us, not the other way around.

You can expect strategies to work the same way in bear markets as they do in bull markets.

Adjustments are needed.

Jack recognized the extra risk and began locking in profits quicker this year.

He reduced his position size and leaned more on the first hour of trading to avoid getting chopped up.

More importantly, he’s not forcing trades, which frees him up to take more vacations, study, and learn new ideas.

A Motto to Live By

Jack’s parting words are ones to live by.

Trade to live, don’t live to trade.

Study hard. But make sure to have fun.


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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”