reaching for the star; From Under the PDT to 1 Mil PnL chart, Jack Kellogg

Reaching $1 Million PnL: The Lessons Along The Way

Trading Blog


November 6, 2020

Many traders start their journey by getting inspired by someone else’s success. Jack Kellogg was 18 when a friend of his introduced him to day trading. He started his education with a couple of DVDs and well-known mentors like Tim Sykes. Last year, when we recorded this B The Trader podcast episode, Jack just crossed the $150k milestone. This week, he has crossed the 1 million mark.

It is incredible to see how far people go. It’s so inspiring to see that you can start with a small account under the PDT and grow it into a business and a mission.

The interview below was recorded mere 11 months ago. So many things have changed. However, many things we’ve said still hold. Watch the interview below, and let’s reflect on it.

My interview with Jack Kellogg for B The Trader podcast show.

My favorite part about this interview is our frank discussion about emulating trading mentors. There’s a simple point that so many people seem to dismiss. All traders have their own style. You can’t copy and paste someone else’s strategy; it simply doesn’t work that way. Risk tolerance, patience level, and psychological triggers are just a few of the factors that influence how we trade.

There is no “one size fits all” day trading strategy. Don’t get me wrong, someone might try to sell you one, but there’s no guarantee that it will work for you.

Instead of looking for a magic bullet, you’re much better off investing time into doing your research and developing a strategy that works for your unique strengths and weaknesses. It will take time and effort, but it will be so worth it in the long-term.

Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that the market changes. Like Jack said in the video, OTC land trading was robust when he started trading, and then it got slow, and then it was on the rise again. If you trade only one specific market that has gone slow, you have a choice between waiting for the right trade, dipping your toes into other patterns, or trying out a whole different market. The choice is yours.

No one will be able to give you a 100% guarantee on which choice will be the right one for you. If you have great discipline and are willing to wait for the right situation to come along, you may be better off just waiting for the right ticker. Last year, Jack was still producing $1-2K a week with a slower market while trading only 2-5 setups a week.

Jack Kellogg’s PnL chart

And if you’re feeling more adventurous, you may be better off trying out a whole new pattern or a different market. Learning more and gaining new experience can be incredibly refreshing. However, you have to remember that more trades do not equal more profit, especially when you’re experimenting with brand new setups. As you’re learning, you may be getting tons of “paper cuts”, resulting in significant losses over time. But then there’s always a chance that you may find your new favorite pattern and reach a new height with it. You simply never know what route is right for you until you try it.

Another great lesson of that conversation is to keep on pushing no matter how things go. A couple of years ago, when Jack was already a relatively successful trader, he first went over the PDT only to bounce back down for a short time. That could be disheartening to the best of us, but the point is not to give up.

As a day trader with an impressive track record of losses myself, I can tell you that losing doesn’t get much easier over the years. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first loss or the 100’s, if it’s $10 or $1000. It’s still unpleasant and discouraging. However, your mindset changes with time and experience, and you start perceiving red days differently.

Just like a salesperson has to get used to being rejected, an aspiring day trader has to realize that wins don’t come without losses. The best traders out there don’t win 100% of their plays. Moreover, that’s completely unnecessary. Don’t let the inner perfectionist confuse you. If your goal is to be consistently profitable, winning most trades will be good enough. Jack’s current win rate is at ~60%, and he’s doing great.

Another great moment was when Jack shared his old misconception about day trading. At some point, he thought that he could make bank by trading something big and flashy on Nasdaq. In reality, he always lost money there. So he stayed in the OTC land, and his gains per trade ranged between two and five digits.

You don’t have to chase a particular type of trade because you think that’s a way to go. Follow your strengths and do what comes easy to you. Double down on your skillset and instinct, and great results will follow.

Another message that I loved was the suggestion to walk away from the computer when there were no good trades available. Earlier that month I came to the same conclusion. The more time I spent staring at the screens, the more bored I got, which always resulted in trading random setups and poor discipline when executing my plan. That’s why getting a part-time office job was such a great solution for me. If I didn’t find anything worth trading in the morning, I walked away from the computer without feeling like I was missing out. I mastered setting the notifications for the tickers I’ve been tracking, and automation did most of the work for me.

And of course, the biggest takeaway is that you need to love day trading in order to succeed in it. You can tell that Jack is the kind of person who’s deeply passionate about day trading. All successful day traders are.

People enter this field for various reasons. Some want the money, some want freedom, others want to figure out how it all works. No matter what your original motivation was, you have to fall in love with the process. Otherwise, inevitable losses will knock your spirit down, and you won’t get back up after another fall.

This is why I’ve been focusing on the process so much in the last couple of years. Gains are nice, and they sure spark up the enthusiasm, but that only works for a moment. To stay in day trading and become truly successful, you need to love doing it. Otherwise, it may become insufferable after a while. We did several more interviews with Jack in 2019. You can check them out on my Youtube page. Are there any other traders that you’d like me to interview? Let me know in the comments!


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