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Penny Stock Basics

What To Do When Trading Is Slow

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

What to do when trading is slow? If you work as a trader for a long enough time, you become no stranger to hectic times; however, when there is downtime, it can be confusing and the key to success that my Millionaire Trading Challenge students and I have had is PATIENCE.

The market isn’t always ripe for perfect setups like these, but sometimes that can be a good thing. The key is that you shouldn’t just sit back and wait for something to happen; take advantage of the time, so that you can emerge a stronger and better trader.

1. Get networking. When business or trading is slow, it’s a great time to broaden your network. Business deals and opportunities are often strongly influenced by relationships, so make sure you’re forging as many as you possibly can. Go to networking events with business professionals. Meet people, and learn from them….talk with my top Millionaire Trading Challenge students. Often, your next success in business is just one relationship away.

2. Join my Millionaire Challenge. Maybe you’re looking to expand potential income streams by starting out as a trader. Or maybe you’ve dipped your toe in the waters of trading and have come to the conclusion that you could use a little guidance. Whether you’re brand new or have some trading experience, joining the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge is a great way to inspire yourself in business.

My Trading Challenge was designed based on my own experiences as a trader. You’ll benefit from my successes, which I break down and teach you how to duplicate. But, you’ll also benefit from my many failures, in that I can teach you what not to do and therefore help you avoid losing money.

3. Do your research. Particularly if you’re a trader, a temporary slowdown is a great opportunity to catch up on your research. If you’re trading penny stocks, you should never trust the word of self-serving stock promoters or buy without getting the full story. Do your own research, always: it can save you a lot of money and can really give you insight as to whether or not your investment is a good idea right now. If things are slow, take the time to really dig in and research potential investments. This isn’t just busy work. It is investing in future success and helping you mitigate future risk.

4. Brush up on the basics. Maybe you’re already part of the Tim Sykes Million Challenge team and have already learned quite a bit about the process of trading penny stocks. If a business has slowed down for the moment, use this time to go back to basics. You’d be amazed at how much you can learn by going back through the lessons you’ve already completed. There’s always something new to learn.

Honestly, even going back to my Penny Stocking 101 Guide can often reveal things that maybe you haven’t thought about in a long time or some basics that you never properly learned. By going back and really strengthening your foundation, you’ll be ready to emerge stronger when things speed back up.

5. Read everything you can. Entrepreneurs, movers and shakers and millionaires. What do these three types of people (or sometimes one person who is all three things) have in common? They are addicted to learning. If you’ve been so busy that you’ve been neglecting reading and learning, use this time as an opportunity to return to it.

Be obsessive in increasing your knowledge about as many things as you possibly can. Read books, trader biographies, the news. Listen to podcasts. Watch the news. Even follow social media accounts of successful traders to learn from what they are doing with themselves. Investing time in education almost always yields positive dividends when it comes to your career.

6. See what other people are doing. Even if trading is slow for you, even if the market is in an exceedingly quiet time, this doesn’t mean that money isn’t changing hands. Somebody is making money. Find out who or what industry is enjoying success at this time and use that information to inspire yourself. If certain industries or professionals are booming right now, evaluate that and see how you might be able to use that information to improve your own career.

For example, you might be able to expand your income streams–longtime millionaires often have more than one income stream. This is an intelligent way to diversify their portfolio of income and it can keep you afloat if one type of business is experiencing a slow time.

However, looking at what is working for others can also inspire you as a trader. If certain industries are booming right now, you might want to look for trading and investment opportunities in those sectors or in peripheral businesses.

7. Do the things you’ve been dreading. Have you been procrastinating on things you know that you should be doing? Or perhaps you’ve been falling into bad habits because you’ve been so busy that it’s hard to keep up your more-productive (yet sometimes harder to maintain) millionaire habits. When trading is slow, that’s exactly the time to be proactive in the self-improvement department.

Not to oversimplify, but “just do it” is a good mentality here. Don’t think too hard; simply get those tasks or things you need to do out of the way. Just power through it. And, when it comes to cultivating better habits, start the process of instilling them in your routine now. Replace those bad habits with better ones. You’re planting the seeds for positive growth that will sprout when things begin to get busy again.

8. Enjoy it while it lasts. You shouldn’t just do nothing when trading is slow. However, the fact is that if things are less hectic, you should take the time to appreciate it. Enjoy the freedom and slower pace that you have for the moment. It will not last and when things get busy again you will look back on this slow time with nostalgia.

Things won’t always be bustling and busy as a trader. It ebbs and it flows. When you’re in a time of “ebb” versus flow, look to these tips to keep yourself occupied and better yourself, so that you’ll be ready and raring to go when things speed up again.

How do you spend time when trading is slow? Leave a comment and let me know because not trading when there are no great setups is absolutely crucial to your eventual success!


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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

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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 (205) 851-0506 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”