Last week we held a great webinar with professional trader and Building a Trader member Gavin Foster. Gavin shared his pathway up the learning cuve as well as the main lessons he has learned along the way.
What follows is a summary of the most salient points.
Since we all go through approximately the same issues, I believe you will benefit from Gavin's insights.
Insight #1 - Structured Learning is Essential
"At first I was a man on a mission, any spare time I had I was on YouTube watching videos, reading trading books, searching twitter for any info I could find which would allow me to unlock the secrets of successful trading..... I was adamant I could spend very little money and find out what I needed to know using the power of the internet.....I was collecting lots of "trading trivia" and information about veteran traders and strategies, but every time when I tried to express this in the markets I would lose money" - Gavin
When people want to become doctors, they go to University and the process is both expensive and exhausting! When people want to become lawyers the process is much the same. When people want to excel in almost any arena, they seek help and are willing to pay a premium in order to receive quality education.
Not so when it comes to trading.
The world is full of people with extraordinary talent who jump into an endeavour with great passion and are capable of learning through the school of hard knocks. Some market wizards and peers that started playing the game in the 1960s/70s did just this. But they represent the exception – the survivors that make history. Most people do not have that kind of talent or time to dedicate to the markets and as such, are better off to seek guidance.
The early traders learned the ropes through a combination of experience and experimentation: they garnered much of their FX trading knowledge from IMM futures traders (who were buying strength / selling weakness and adding on further strength / adding on further weakness). They also experimented with the new concepts Welles Wilder developed in the 1970s (RSI, ADX, etc.) and created the core building blocks that many systems were originally built on. And where did the IMM traders learn how to trade? They experimented with Dow theory, Gann’s studies and stock market analysis from the early 1900s.
All these people were forced to “experiment“. And yet, every aspiring trader seems to believe that by reading books or absorbing free information on the internet will be enough to generate consistent profits in the market.
Here's the truth:
there is definitely some quality information on the web;
there are educators who do trade their own money and also want to help others;
you may never find the information that suits you personally;
by gathering bits & pieces here and there you may never formulate a proper plan;
generally speaking, there's a lack of proper information on trade management practices (which is kind of essential);
you need to "experiment" and find what suits you.
This is why I believe in Coaching. Through experience, I have learned that most traders need personal interaction with a successful trader, in order to quickly identify and remove obstacles that block consistent performance.
Many aspiring traders or breakeven traders go around in circles for years on end, gaining knowledge but never transforming that knowledge into a successful track record. My coaching process is quite simple. If you are starting from scratch, you will learn a robust rules-based discretionary trading model, master the beliefs, principles and practices of successful traders, and climb the learning curve with confidence by interacting with my team.
You will have ongoing access to my video course which takes you from Trade Idea Generation all the way to Trade Management and Trading Psychology. But the real benefit is the constant possibility to ask questions, receive answers, perform drills and get feedback.
A structured learning process and direct interaction with an experienced trader can save you time, energy, money and frustration because you go straight to the point and avoid pitfalls, dead ends and other common bad habits.
Insight #2 - Proper Help is Hard to Find
"After A LOT of research I found some traders offering courses, which were usually around the £500-£1000 mark... I would start a course, absorb all the material and then re-do the course a second time to make sure I hadn't missed anything. I would take copious amounts of notes, fill in spreadsheets and do any additional research and back testing. I would then go the market with my chest puffed out ready for battle and to make some money with my newly acquired knowledge.....But every time what I'd learned wasn't making me money, at best I was breaking even."
"I would contact my mentors for feedback and they'd be extremely difficult to reach, state the market wasn’t acting well for the system or give me a reason why I shouldn't have taken a trade that had never been mentioned before..... I didn't realize at the time, but I was approaching trading all wrong, I was searching for the holy grail, the secrets of trading that all the pros knew but the amateurs don't..... I'd realized at this point most people offering retail trader education...were unable to explain the more discretional parts of their strategies and weren't available enough to answer questions I had." - Gavin