How to make the giant leap to trading full-time
Nobody calls it the ‘$166 billion dollar step that could have ended in a total catastrophe.’
But that’s exactly what it was.
When Neil Armstrong delivered his famous line and stepped off the lunar landing craft, it was the culmination of a nation’s will. That’s a full decade, 10 missions, and a few lives lost along the way.
A zillion things could have gone wrong. And many of them did.
The mathematical complexity of putting a man on the moon? It’s like trying to hit a gnat from a moving car going 60 mph, 40 miles away.
Yet, in the blink of an eye, what seemed absolutely impossible… totally out of reach… unimaginable to even comprehend… was now a reality.
The United States put a man on the moon. With 600 million people watching.
If you have ever dared yourself to entertain the thought of turning your side-hustle of trading into a full-time gig… you may feel like taking that step is as complex as putting a man on the moon.
In fact, if you’ve tried and failed… You might prefer to attempt a moon landing instead.
Well, here’s the good news that institutional traders don’t want you to hear: It’s not that hard. In fact it can be easy and, dare we say… wait for it… fun.
The one thing that helped ensure a successful landing? A step-by-step process that had been troubleshooted, tested and validated leading up to that moment.
A process? Yeah, a process.
Here are five easy steps anyone can take to make the leap.
Three unbreakable rules that will save your account
What nobody talks about is the fact that the Apollo Missions took the better part of a decade… leading up to that culminating moment. Literally millions and millions of sequential steps that had to be taken.
Missing one… or messing one up… had massive consequences.
The level of discipline required was monumental.
If you’re going to turn full-time trading into a reality — you need to see it the same way. Well, except for the ‘monumental’ part… we’ll make it easy.
But you do need to have discipline and focus.
Failure to launch. You can avoid blowing up your dream of trading full-time by following a few simple ground rules.
So, a few ground rules first before tackling the steps. Nobody likes rules, so we’ll limit this to three. Think of them as the three ‘demandments’ of your mission.
- Track everything. Turn on the trade tracker within your platform — if you haven’t already. Keep a daily log of your experience every session you enter a trade — even if you only enter one trade.
- Pay attention to yourself. Closely monitor how you feel and what you’re thinking as you trade. Keep an eye out for any changes, shifts or even spikes of any kind. Remember, you’re shooting for an even keel.
- Balance. Don’t let the trading consume you. Sure, you still have other things going on — but trading has a way of overtaking your thoughts. Don’t let it. Pursue the rest of your life outside of trading.
Okay, with that out of the way… let’s get to the five steps.
Five easy steps to full-time trading
For all the complexity of the Apollo missions, it essentially came down to a handful of basic, yet critical phases. There was the launch, followed by the Lunar Module extraction. Travel to the moon, and landing. Then redocking and reentry.
You can take the same approach in pursuing your dream of trading full-time.
In fact, it’s better to make a transition with sequential steps. This allows you to stop, troubleshoot, and restart the process without feeling like you’re failing.
It starts with an honest, simple plan.
Step 1 — Prepare A Business Plan:
We’re not talking about the next great novel. We’re talking about a one-page plan for your trading business. It should cover the basics of your trading in a way that anyone would be able to understand. For the sake of clarity it should address:
- Strategy At-A-Glance: If you can’t explain your strategy in less than two or three sentences — it’s simply too complex and probably won’t work.
- Session Targets: Based on your strategy, detail exactly what you expect a typical session to look like. This includes number of trades, time in the trade, risk-reward ratios, etc.
- Profit Targets & Loss Limits: Using your initial capital investment as the starting point, break down your profit expectations and loss limits.
Step 2 — Test Your Strategy With 1:1:
Want to see if your strategy will actually turn a buck? Set your profit loss ratio to a simple 1:1. If you’re scalping, run your trades with a 4-tick target and a 4-tick stop. Swing or reversals? Run it with a 10-tick profit target and a 10-tick stop. This is like high-altitude endurance training for your strategy. It will help you determine if your strategy for entries is as solid as you think it is. The key? Don’t move a thing. Just follow your strategy — make your entries, and let the chips fall where they may.
If you’re able to achieve at least a 60% win rate, you’ve taken a step towards making a full-time income with your trading.
Step 3 — One-Week Bootcamp:
Put your strategy to the test. See if you can find a way to take a week off. Treat trading as though it’s your new full-time job. See if you can deliver on your profit targets without breaking your account. Monitor your physical state while you trade.
At the end of the week, take inventory. Revisit your plan and see if further adjustments should be made. Remember, even if you have a great week — that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to start trading full-time.
If you don’t have the week that you were hoping for — it’s not a set-back. It’s just another step. If you’re tracking everything, this will be a great opportunity to go back and pinpoint exactly where things went south.
Step 4 — Mentor Review:
Perspective is critical. You can’t be the only one that’s looking at your trades and evaluating your results. Find an experienced trader that you feel comfortable with. Pitch them on your strategy, and then have them look at your trade history. Ask them to provide detailed feedback on your entries, exits, and risk management.
Schedule a session where you can trade together. Hear what they have to say as entries are evaluated, and either executed or passed on. Have them watch you make an entry — and talk them through your process for managing your targets, stops and exits.
Above all… get their honest assessment on your state of readiness to start trading full time.
Step 5 — Morning / Evening Transition:
There’s a myth that all of the great trades only happen during the cash session for futures. Not true at all. You can actually work a full-time job — and ease into full-time trading simply by trading in the mornings and evenings.
And the truth? You can clear a full-time income doing this alone.
There are plenty of short-term price action trades to take advantage of. The strategies can be extended into the cash session and the results can be used to build a foundation for your future as a full-time trader.
Plan to take at least three months, ideally six, trading in the mornings and evenings. Apply your business plan and track your results.
If you can achieve a win rate that generates profit — guess what?
You’re ready to take the next step that leads to a leap.
Making the leap to full-time trading doesn’t have to be a NASA-like undertaking. Quite the contrary. It can be a simple and, yes — fun, process where you make money along the way.
It’s time to stop stalling and take the first step!