Secrets to Successful Trading

By: Markus Heitkoetter
You can have the best daytrading plan but you'll never make any money if you don't take action and actually start trading. But how can you start without risking a single penny of your own money?
After all, you are still new to trading and don't want to lose thousands of dollars because you made a small mistake in your trading plan, do you?
The best thing you can do to get started is to get a so-called "Paper Trading Account". And the best: You can get a paper trading account for free from your broker. Or just contact me and I'll set you up with a free paper trading account.
So what is a paper trading account?
A paper trading account let's you trade your system with "virtual money". You will get live quotes and can enter the trades according to your plan. The daytrading system will simulate fills, and you'll find yourself in a trading position. Paper trading accounts show the profit and loss in real time, and you can see LIVE how much money you are making or losing. Keep in mind that we're talking about "virtual money", so actually you're not making any money yet.
Why you MUST trade your day trading system on a paper trading account first.
The biggest enemy of a trader is discipline.

Traders lose because of the lack of discipline. Your day trading plan might be excellent, but if you don't have the discipline to follow your trading plan then you're doomed. Trading your system on a paper trading account will help you to gain confidence in your daytrading system and developing the needed discipline to actually make money with it.
Don't make this mistake
Many traders start "improving" their trading system after they experienced a loss or a few losers in a row. Though encountering a loser might be exactly within the expectations of your system, you start questioning the system. You start "improving" the system by changing a few parameters or adding some filters. You forget that you tested your system on more than 2,000 trades; you traded it for a few days and think that's it needs some "fine tuning".
That's the biggest mistake a trader can make. If you developed your system based on the outline I gave you in Step 1 and tested it against the principles I gave you in Step 2, then most likely you have a robust daytrading system.
Keep in mind that trading a system does NOT mean having an ATM in your front yard. Losses are part of our business, and NO trading system has an equity curve that's straight pointing up without any dips. You need to trade your system for at least 40 trades before you should think about modifying it.
How to become a successful trader
In order to become a successful trader you need a trading plan. After reading thus far you already figured that out, did you? :-)
Equally important is having the discipline to follow the plan.
Lack of discipline is caused by your emotions, basically greed and fear:
You fear losses and if you're experiencing a winner you become greedy. And that's when you start tampering with your system: You might want to give your trade "a little bit more room" and increase the stop, or you want to "get a few dollars more" and start moving your profit goal. And BOOM: You just lost the discipline you need.
By watching your trades on a paper trading account you will learn a lot about yourself and how to deal with emotions:
•Can you "pull the trigger" when your entry signal appears?

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