1) Trading Style: Everyone is different. We all do the same things, waking up, going to toilet, have a shower, eat breakfast, go to work, etc…But everyone is doing this in a different way. Trading is no different. Trading is buying and selling stocks but the way we do it differs. Everyone’s trading style is unique. I strongly suggest the new comer to give a good thought on this. What type of trader do you want to become. Can you spend hours in front of the computer, or do you have to work and perhaps check it once or twice a day? It is always to have a good idea of what kind of trader you will be (day trader, swing trader, long term, short term, etc.) BEFORE you start trading with real money. The good thing is, you can always change your mind or adapt to a different style that suits you later on…
2) A Realistic Expectation from trading: When traders first start trading, they are generally attracted to trading from a website or documentary they watched. They have seen these successful traders making a killing! How difficult can it be to buy or sell a stock and make a mint! The answer: VERY Difficult! In fact, 95% of the traders loose all their money or left trading before loosing everything. Put it this way, if I told you to give me $25K of your hard earned money and tell you there is 95% chance that you will never see that money again, would you give that to me? Think about that for a second. That is what market is telling you! I strongly suggest to have realistic expectations from your trading and only use money that you can afford to loose!
3) Select A Good Broker that can match your trading style: There are numerous brokers out there. Some are great for shorting and there are some others with low brokerage fees, etc. Do your homework, compare the brokers and choose the one that matches your trading style. Once again, if they don’t deliver, you can always switch to a new broker.
4) Try to find a ‘Low-Risk High-Reward’ Trading Method: Stock trading is a very risky business. No method is 100% risk free, otherwise all of us traders would be billionaires! For example. choosing stocks with good news, good momentum, good historical trend and positive ratings (for long trading) could be a relatively less risky way to start your journey…
5) Find a flexible trading method: Will your method work in most market conditions? Unfortunately, the stock market doesn’t just go up or down. Sometimes it might go sideways for days, too. Consider these factors while deciding on your stock trading method(s). If your method is working only in bull or bear market, then you won’t last long…
6) Trade The Best Stocks Available: Easier said then done! Finding the BEST stocks takes advanced skills and experience. If you are a day trader then the best stocks will be high volume / momentum stocks. If you are a swing trader, you need to be able to see the swing patterns and accordingly. If you are a member of a stock trading community, it would be a good idea to follow the daily recommendations to start with but make sure to understand how they select their stocks, what tools they use, etc. If you don’t want to pay for a service, there are so many people on twitter posting their watch-lists daily. Find the traders that match with your trading style and start following them. Try to understand why they choose those stocks in their watch-list, etc. Ask them questions, most will be happy to help (however, avoid asking questions during stock trading hours).
7) Know When To Exit: From what I see, most new comers focuses on what and when to buy (or short) a stock, yet few ever consider the best time to exit. Paper profits only become real money when you convert them to cash. Know when to exit!
8) Educate Yourself: A “winning edge” consists of the favorable factors that set winners apart from losers. You must have a reliable advantage to consistently make money trading. The first thing I suggest you do is to familiarize yourself with all the available trading tools. There is ton of information on the web (for FREE) where you can learn simple trading methodologies, how to use free tools (such as FinViz etc). The more you have in your toolbox, the better trader you will become.
9) Cut Your Losses Quickly: If there is only one tip that I can give you, this is it! We have all been there, done that. Hoping and praying that a bad trade will turn into a good one. Some traders even add to their losses and make the already awful trades into a disastrous ones. CUT YOUR LOSSES QUICKLY! I can not stress this enough. Probably this will become one of the most difficult things to do, however, ALL consistent traders have learned this and use this tip daily – that is why we are still in the game.
10) Learn to Smell the Bullshit from a mile away: There are so many wonderful people in the online trading community BUT unfortunately there are number of people out there who are simply scam artists and/or Fake Gurus (FURUs). If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Try not to pay for FURU services / alert services or ‘tools’ that will make you a millionaire overnight! Question everyone and everything in the trading market before purchasing anything. Don’t be a SHEEP, be a WOLF.