check mate, giving up on day trading full-time

How I Gave Up Day Trading Full-Time

Trading Blog


October 6, 2020

There were several formative moments in my journey as a day trader. We all have that one day, one event that changed the way you look at your life and the things that you loved to do.

In November 2019, almost a year ago, I was still trying to figure things out. Regardless, I knew that day trading was my passion. I’ve already spent two years learning it. I’ve already owned a Youtube channel and hosted a podcast show with several hundred subscribers. But most importantly, I’ve already had a trading plan and some confidence.

They say that strategy is the key to becoming a successful day trader. And while a solid plan definitely gives you an advantage, my biggest challenge was simply staying true to it.

I’ve often had these moments of clarity when it was obvious what I needed to do. Day trading was becoming a system. If these requirements are satisfied, do this. If those conditions are met, don’t do that. It was a system that has been proven time after time, and it’s been distilled by me through trial and error. It wasn’t a universal foolproof day trading recipe, but it worked for me.

However, it only worked if I followed the rules to the T. Unfortunately, that’s where I had the most trouble. And it was frustrating as hell.

On the one hand, I’ve had weeks and even months that were delightfully green. But on the other hand, I’ve had days when I had inexplicable lapses in judgment. And because I measured my wins and losses in R (as I still do), it was easy to see that a bad trade could easily cancel out multiple green days for me.

AIHS stock, day trading pattern. day trading strategy
AIHS stock, over 2019

For example, I traded AIHS on November 15, 2019. It opened gapping at 100%. It broke one of my rules right away since it was trading a full float. I knew that it was about to rotate. Nevertheless, I went ahead with the trade.

It opened at $1.20 and went down to $1.05, and then skyrocketed. I was shorting it at $1.18-1.20, risking the high of the day at the opening. I added to this position when it broke since I was hoping for $1.40 and got out. But then I reshorted it even though it was already rotating its float, and I was already wrong about this stock once. And that’s the rule I absolutely cannot break because I pay for it every single time.

AIHS trading graph, day trading full-time, day trading pattern
AIHS trade graph, November 15,2019

By the end of the trade, I lost 6R, which is huge in terms of my 3:1 strategy. It wiped out two full wins and left me feeling defeated.

And the most upsetting part was not the loss itself, but the fact that it was my lapse of discipline that led to this bad trade.

It’s very frustrating to build a system for two years and have it fail. And it failed not because the system was bad, but because I was too eager to try my chances even though I knew that they were slim.

There were two mistakes that I’ve made in the course of the trade. These are the rules I shouldn’t have broken:

  1. Be careful trading a stock that’s rotating its float (a rule at the time but it now has changed)
  2. The golden rule: don’t jump back in on the same stock once you’ve been wrong.

So that’s where I was last November. I felt devastated, frustrated, and unsure of the future. Day trading was my passion, and I wanted to keep going with it, but the monetary aspect was not fulfilling enough. In my opinion, it’s far too easy to get emotional about your trades when you’re relying on a consistent revenue from it.

So I decided to look for a day job and trade on the side. The idea was to find a place that would provide me with high enough income so that I could focus on my passion for day trading as opposed to how much money I was making with it.

To be entirely honest, this decision didn’t feel great and right at first. It felt like a step back since I’ve previously quit my job to trade full-time. However, there were a few things that made me change my opinion.

First, I’ve already been an experienced trader by then. I didn’t have to sit in front of the computer all day studying the charts and learning the patterns. I knew the basics and then some, that was never the issue. And now that I knew what I was looking for, trading took roughly 30 min a day. Even when I was trading full-time, I’d normally set up my trades in the morning and let them play out on autopilot during the day.

Second, I realized that not being attached to the result would solve my discipline issue. Consistent income allows a certain level of detachment from the financial outcome since I’m not chasing a quick profit. I can finally approach it as a craft to be learned and practiced rather than a source of income and stability for my family. The pressure goes away, the curiosity and the challenge stay.

And last but not least, I redefined what the word consistency meant for me. All traders want to become consistently profitable, but what does that even mean?

For me, consistency means that I’ve found a pattern or a strategy that consistently works. However, it doesn’t mean that I’ll be consistently profitable. Instead, it means finding and sticking to the strategy that I’ve developed and tested. I know that it works, and money will come with time.

It also means trading and doing my show for the right reason. I trade because I want to, not because I have to.

And of course, my idea of day trading centers around discipline. But even when that’s been mastered, there are still no guarantees. Discipline and a good strategy can lead to profitability in the long-term, but it doesn’t mean that every day or each week will be green. I’ve interviewed plenty of successful traders on my show “B The Trader” who’ve had red days, weeks, and even months, who have recovered and learned from their experience only to become even better at what they did.

This was when I started looking at day trading in a different way. There’s no ultimate destination; it’s a journey. Of course, I still have goals and challenges, but now I’m trading for the love of trading. And that small mentality adjustment made all the difference in the world.

Now I’m sharing the truth of how it feels to trade, what it really means to be the trader. So often, all we want to see is the shiny green win. We perceive everything else as a minor or a major disappointment, a misunderstanding of sorts. And that’s how day trading becomes more of a “get rich quick scheme” rather than a complex dance of algorithms and conditions to be studied and recognized.

I want you to have a realistic understanding of what it’s like to be a day trader. If I only show you the highs, you’ll have no idea of the lows that every day trader experiences on a regular basis. This way, you’ll have no idea how many losses it takes to get to that great win that people love bragging about on Twitter, and that’s not a full picture.

If you choose to focus only on the big numbers, fads, celebrity day traders, and tweets, you’ll be missing out on a lot of nuances and science that goes into day trading. 

But if you pick to see the full picture, this journey will change you as a trader and as a person. It sure did that for me. If you’re in for the long haul, subscribe to my Youtube channel, follow me on social media, and let’s trade together!

P.S. AIHS, thank you so much for the lessons. I will not forget you anytime soon)


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