Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Day Trader?

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It’s the weekend now so it’s good to reflect on what you’re going to have to do in order to become my next Millionaire Trading Challenge student and it’s a simple truth that many day traders will fail. So, how do you separate yourself from the cautionary tales? Do you have what it takes to be a day trader?

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I began the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge to give new traders invaluable resources to help them find success. By vetting applicants, I like to be able to seek out qualities of success in my students.

If you’re curious about whether or not you have what it takes to make it as a day trader, read through this list. How many of these criteria do you fit?

1. Confidence. To be able to become a successful day trader, you need plenty of confidence. Many successful traders are extremely self confident and this is because it’s what it takes to be a day trader. So why is confidence so important?

As a day trader, you need to be your own cheering section, so to speak. It requires a massive amount of self motivation. As you probably already know from life experience, it’s extremely difficult to remain motivated without self confidence.

Do what it takes to bring out your confidence. Listen to inspirational talks, work out, whatever. But work on boosting your confidence, because you’ll need it to make it as a day trader.

2. A desire to become rich. Most people come to day trading because they want to become rich. However, for many, this is a passive desire.

Massive, hungry desire for wealth is what it takes to be a day trader. You need to want it so bad you can practically taste it. This desire is what will fuel your efforts and keep you on track. You need to be extremely goal driven and not shy about pursuing what you want, no matter how much time or energy it takes.

3. A willingness to do what it takes. If you ask just about anyone if they want to become rich, they’ll say yes. However, to be successful and become rich as a day trader, you have to be willing to do what is necessary. So…what is necessary?

First and foremost, you have to dedicate yourself to learning as much as possible about day trading. I don’t just mean doing a little Googling then opening a brokerage account. You need to really dig deep. This is what I help members of the Tim Sykes Million Challenge team do: learn how to convert basic knowledge of the market into an actionable approach.

It’s also going to take time and plenty of studying, effort and trial and error. This is what it takes to be a day trader. Are you up to the challenge?

4. A steady approach. It doesn’t need to take years and years to get rich. But ironically, part of what it takes to be a day trader is approaching trading as a long term project. If you try to make trades as part of a get rich quick scheme, chances are, you will fail.

However, if you approach the market in a slow, methodical way, as if you’d like to be doing this for the rest of your life, you can learn the methods of making money that will make you rich.

Once again, it doesn’t need to take years and years to get rich as a day trader. But the fact is that the market moves fast, so you need to stay steady on your feet. The way to do this is to take the time to learn the market, so that you can be nimble enough to handle the many things it will throw at you.

5. Social skills. Why make your life (and trading career) harder? Becoming a successful trader is easier and more enjoyable if you have a good network. So, how are your social skills?

By joining a program like my Millionaire Challenge, you’ll gain not only expertise and experience in trading, but also a network. Having peers and a mentor can really help kick you into gear as a trader. Your peers will help you stay competitive (in a good way) and your mentor can guide you in the right direction. Everyone wins when they work together in this way.

6. Restraint. Do you have the ability to hold back? If not, you’d better hone it, because it’s part of what it takes to be a successful day trader.

Successful day traders are able to make a well thought-out trading plan, figuring out their entry and exit strategy before they start spending money. And then, they are able to stick to it. It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and try to make a trade happen. But, if you can have the restraint to stick to your original plan, you’ll generally be better off in the long run. You might miss a little bit of extra profit on some trades, but on others, you may avoid big losses. Over time, it will even out.

7. Self analysis. The ability to look at your strengths and weaknesses is vital to enjoy long term success as  a day trader. When you can really look at yourself critically and evaluate where you need work and where you’re doing well, you can improve yourself in ways that make you a better trader.

For example, say that one of your bad habits is that you wake up right before the trading day begins and don’t give yourself enough time to do research, much less shower and eat breakfast. If you can see the ill effects of this bad habit and work to change it, you will improve as a trader.

8. A sense of humor. This is not a joke. Trading is very hard work and it can be grueling. You need to have a sense of humor and enjoy the ups and downs of this sometimes crazy profession. Not only will it help you keep a level head about trading, but it will keep you happy and sane.

9. Longevity. One of the most important elements of what it takes to be a trader is approaching your career from a standpoint of longevity. This relates to #4, but applies to your career at large, not just making money.

When you begin and as you continue your career as a trader, consider the effects of everything you do in the long term. For example, even if you’re making pennies per trade now, think about how this could grow in time and focus more on refining your methods and increasing your position. By thinking about your career as a long term project, it may indeed become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Learn to love the process, and think of it as a long term lifestyle!

Many traders fail because they simply don’t have what it takes to be a day trader.  They’re not willing to put in the work, nor do they have the proper perspective in understanding this is a marathon not a sprint.

So, what about you? In reviewing this list of attributes, how many ring true for you and how many do you need work on? If you work on developing these traits and attributes, chances are you’ll enjoy a long and successful career as a day trader.

Do you have what it takes to be a day trader? Leave a comment below this post and let me know as I would LOVE to teach you!