One of the best ways to get started is to just start paper trading - but not with real money while you're learning. Use paper trading - which is simulated trading. This could be done with a manual log you keep on a piece of paper, or could use the tools offered by platforms such as Thinkorswim. This way, there is no pressure as real money is not at risk, and fewer emotions are involved. You get to develop and practice whatever strategies you'd like, while you learn how to use your chosen trading platform, and how to read charts. If you haven't started a trade plan, now's a great time to start it. It doesn't have to be perfect, and it's a living document, meaning you'll update it regularly as your trading skills develop and change. You can also start a trade log to track your trades.
Many traders struggle to find a place to get started, or re-started in some cases where you want to get back to basics and find a way to make trading work for you this time. There's an overwhelming amount of things to consider when you start anything new, and this is especially true in trading. Many traders just jump right in, and quickly find they weren't quite ready because they lack the experience they need to make the right decisions, and even how to use the tools needed to trade. What helps many traders is to get started so experience can be gained, but in a risk-free way.
There are few things that you can just jump into and excel at, so it helps to have a coach, some great instruction, and a well-defined plan. At Base Camp Trading, we provide coaching through our live trading rooms and other educational sessions, and we make courses available that provide details on specific trading approaches. You will likely find that you'll gravitate toward a certain live trading room or instructor, both in their style and in their trading approach. Find the one that you like most (you can change you mind later, but pick one for now), and then begin to create your own trade plan.
To get your plan going, start with the things you do before you start trading each day (e.g. check when news events are scheduled), and identify how much you'll trade in each trade, and how you'll take trades, when you stop trading each day, how you wrap up your day, etc. This is your business plan.
The core of your trade plan is your strategy rules. Pick one strategy and write out the rules. Identify the requirements to get into a trade, and out of the trade, as well as how you manage the trade (e.g., sell half, then move your stop to break even, if that's what you'd like to do). Then start following those rules, precisely. Ideally, the strategy rules will identify how you react to any situation that comes up. While you're paper trading, if there's a decision to be made that's not in your plan, then create the written rule for it in your plan. If you're not sure how to react to a situation, refer to any workshops that you have (including Naked Trading Mastery).
Follow your rules, and track your trades in a log. Your log could be a handwritten notebook, or in an online document, or in Excel or Google Sheets. Once you have a few trades in your log, you can start to evaluate how you're doing, and look for ways to improve your technique, update your rules, etc. All the while, you'll be practicing in paper, learning the system, etc. When you get sufficiently good at your system, and it's bringing in paper profits, you can consider switching to "real" trading, following the same techniques you used in paper.
Of course, the decision and paths you take in trading are completely yours to make. These are merely suggestions, but it provides a way to ease into it. You want to make it your own, so you take ownership and build the confidence to move forward.
Article is closed for comments.