growing pains and scaling as a day trader

Growing Pains And How Experienced Day Traders Overcome Them

Trading Blog


January 22, 2021

No matter how experienced you are as a day trader, growing – scaling, increasing size, being comfortable with bigger risk – is always a challenge. Every day trader deals with it in their own way. Nevertheless, every single trader goes through it multiple times during the course of their career. It is a challenge for me now, and it’s a challenge for Tim Grittani, a 10 million dollar trader.

Last year, we talked about his journey as a day trader and the hurdles he faced along the way. We chatted about him trading on his laptop for two years while his apartment in Puerto Rico was being fixed after the hurricane. He shared the advice he’d give his son if he decided to get into day trading, and we had an honest conversation about the disconnect between the expectations and the reality of trading for a living. You can check out the full video below.

This was an all-around great conversation, but what struck me the most was how truthful Tim was about the growing pains of a day trader. It is incredibly refreshing to hear it from a consistently profitable trader that they apply no matter how long you’ve been trading for. Both new and experienced traders go through the same thing, it’s just now the number is 100x of what it used to be. And this is just another reminder that moving forward and pushing yourself to become a better trader is not a one-off thing; instead, you have to do it every single day.

A challenge that’s with you for as long as you’ll be day trading

Succeeding at day trading takes time. Many people jump into it thinking that it will be easy and quick, but nothing can be further from the truth. It’s so inspiring to see experienced traders like Tim Grittani, Humbled Trader, or Jack Kellogg make a living and succeed. However, it takes years of hard work to get where they are. And if you’re only starting out, you need to have realistic expectations of what’s ahead of you. Starting big right out of the gate is very unlikely.

Don’t get me wrong; you may be uniquely talented at understanding how the market works. However, that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be instantly profitable. As a beginner trader, you’ll still need to learn so much! Day trading is far more than just recognizing the patterns. It also involves learning about trading psychology and understanding how you react in various situations. It’s about overcoming fears and embracing the right midnset. It is also about discipline, consistency, and research. You’ll need perseverance and patience in order to win this game because you’re getting in for the long haul. Anytime I hear that someone plans to take out a loan to fund an account, make great money within a year or two, and get out, I just want to shake my head. The decision is ultimately yours, but chances are, things might not go your way. 

To quote Tim Grittani, “There are a lot of demons you’ll have to battle along the way.” There are so many things you’ll need to overcome, and most of them are in your head. And trust me, adjusting to a higher reward and a higher risk will take time and effort. So my suggestion is to keep your eyes on your goals while standing firmly on the ground. Slowly increase your size over time in order to grow your account, but don’t push yourself too hard to a point where anxiety and overwhelm take over. Allow yourself to get yourself to get comfortable with the idea of higher profits and inevitably higher losses.

Day trading is not a simple “if-then” algorithm. There are always multiple things at play. Two people will look at a trade, and each will see something different to take away. So never let anyone tell you that there is just one thing that you need to master in order to become a consistently profitable trader, because it doesn’t work that way.

Doing whatever it takes to succeed

Another great takeaway from the interview was to prepare for the unexpected. Tim once made a $10k trade at a Panera Bread location because the internet connection was down at his house. That shows that you’ll need to find ways to be creative and inventive about what you do. He could’ve taken a day off. But because Tim saw an opportunity, he made a decision to take advantage of it no matter what.

If you’re passionate about day trading, it will show in its every aspect. I’ll show in how you make your watchlist, how you track your trades, and how you develop your strategy. And if you compare the routines of someone who’s in for the money as opposed to someone who’s in to learn how trading really works, you’ll see a huge difference.

For example, I was willing to go back to having a day job in order to support my family while day trading on the side. Tim Grittani was willing to pick up a night shift as a bartender to make some money on the side.

Bad trading habits and ways to combat them

We also chatted about bad trading habits. For Tim Grittani, the worst type of trading is when he thinks about his profit goal first. Say, he wants to make $50k on a trade, and that’s what determines the number of shares to be purchased. This way, it’s way too easy to overlook the total risk and get into some serious trouble. And if you enter the trade without realizing how much is at stake, and the trade turns against you, you might exit way too early and choose to cut your losses out of fear instead of following your plan and seeing this trade through.

This is why attaching a dollar sign to each trade is so damaging to your mindset. You don’t want to overdo it to a point where your judgment of the size depends solely on how much money you’d like to make. The higher that number is, the higher your risk will be as well. And if you’re only getting used to a new size, you might get out of your comfort zone way too quickly. That may lead to impulsive trading based on your emotions, not reason.

That’s why risk management is such a vital part of day trading. No matter if you are a new or experienced at this, emotions can get the best of you. A black swan event can happen to anyone, and getting out of a bad trade is a skill that needs to be mastered. This is why it is generally not recommended to deal with big size until you have all parts of your plan developed. You’ll always have a chance to increase your size and risk later when you figure things out. Not risking too much right at the beginning will make all the difference between losing your account within the first couple of months or surviving long enough to see profitable times. Learning how to pace yourself is a virtue, especially when you’re only starting out.

Staying inside your comfort zone is not always a bad thing

Also, there are always multiple ways to make money on the market. If you’re scared of risking more on a single trade, you could find other ways to bump up your earnings. For example, you could expand your setups and trade several patterns. This is the switch that I’ve recently made, and it’s working out well for me when paired with other strategies. However, this might be a route for more advanced traders since it takes a lot of knowledge and experience to keep several strategies tracked and well-researched. Tim did mention that he went too wide too soon at the very beginning of his career, blowing his $1500 by trading too many things at once. However, now he is perfectly comfortable going both short and long, and he trades multiple patterns because he knows them very well.

So growth is possible and even inevitable if you put in the hours, some hard work, and a lot of patience. Moreover, it doesn’t have to happen the same way for everybody. Don’t be afraid to find your own unique way to  overcome growing pains.

I’d love to hear what you think of this interview with Tim Grittani and your personal experience with growing and scaling! Feel free to leave the comments below the video, and please subscribe to my Youtube channel to become a part of this growing day trader community!


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