There are these two day traders… one is full-time and the other part-time. The one who’s full-time works 8+ hours a day making trades. Whereas the one working on it as a side hustle, only works 2-3 hours (on a good day).
Who makes more money?
The full-time day trader…
or the part-timer hustler?
It may surprise you to hear that more often than not it’s the part-timer who makes more money.
There’s a very simple reason why, which I’ll get to soon. But first, it’s important to know WHY someone wants to become a full-time day trader to begin with. Maybe that’s you.
Maybe that’s the reason you’re reading this right now…
If you’re busy and never seem to have enough time. You leave your job, rush home and have something to eat before spending a few hours in front of your laptop. Maybe you’re doing okay day trading. You’re beginning to build some momentum and make decent money.
Not enough to leave that job you hate, but enough to pay some of those bills that stack up.
The thing is… it isn’t sustainable, is it? I realized this as I burned out from all the work I was doing. I spent each day glued to my laptop screen working on one trade after another.
I didn’t sleep well. I lost touch with my friends. I became obsessed about making more money and pushed my health, diet and wellbeing to one side. I felt I had to. Finally, I’d begun to make some decent money with day trading. But, I felt like I was leaving so much money on the table.
I was ready to move on up and become a full-time day trader. I knew I was ready. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was ready! This was the problem. I wanted to become a full-time day trader for the wrong reasons.
- To prove my father wrong and show him I was a success…
- To prove everyone who said I’d get scammed wrong…
- To prove my ex-girlfriend wrong and show her I was a successful man…
Maybe you can relate to some of these things. Maybe you have other reasons that motivate you: to escape that job you hate; or to make enough money so you don’t have to worry about paying the bills each month; or to take care of your family and no longer feel like a loser…
Or maybe, like I was, you’re in college and set to graduate.
You have your whole life ahead of you and no idea what you want to do with it!
Although all these reasons are understandable, none of them will help you become a successful day trader who yields profitable results nearly every single day. I consider myself one of the lucky ones because I did ‘figure it out’ before it was too late.
But it didn’t come without pain. I hustled so far (hustled so “hard” perhaps?) that I felt extremely stressed, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. Well, after a while it got worse. I woke up in pain each morning. I went to the doctors, hoping I didn’t have anything life-threatening.
Luckily it wasn’t. But I did have a severe stomach ulcer due to all the stress and overwhelm.
It could have been much worse.
I know people who have suffered much worse!
They sacrificed everything to become a full-time day trader.
Yet, ended up making less than when they worked part-time.
Why Part-Time Day Traders Make More Than Full-Time Day Traders.
Okay, first thing’s first… what’s the difference between a full-time day trader and a part-time one?
When I talk about someone full-time, I mean a person who has built enough momentum with their trades that they can leave their normal 9-5 job. I’m not talking about a Wall Street trader who works for someone like Goldman Sachs.
This is the person who sits on their laptop, day-trading for hours on end.
Whereas a part-time day trader is the person who still does have their 9-5 job (or some other job that takes up a lot of their time). Often, they’re new to trading and inexperienced. They have no time. They have A LOT to learn.
So really, a full-time day trader should make a lot more than a part-time one.
Yet, this is often NOT the case because these people with no time to waste are more ruthless!
They don’t have enough time as it is, so they don’t over-trade or spend too long at their screen. They come up with a plan and stick to it.
Whereas those who sit in front of their laptop for 8, 10 or 12 hours each day…they have more than enough time to think, over-think and second-guess their decisions. When the market hits 1pm and everything fizzles out, they continue to pursue trades because they have a “good feeling about it.”
Instead of working off just 1-2 proven strategies, they try and make 7-8 work.
They think by doing more they will earn more.
Yet, the opposite is true. The less you do, the better.
How profound is that? The less you do, the more you will earn.
Again, I got all of this wrong in the beginning. At first, I worked on my trades part-time because I had to study and get to my dead-end job. Plus, I was in college and faced the very real possibility of having to return to China soon.
I won’t go into that stage of my life here as I’ve shared that story already. What I will say is, I tried to make the most of my time; spend it with friends and enjoy the American culture as best as I could.
I didn’t have time to spend all day staring at my laptop screen!
So, I’d study the markets for a few hours each night while working my graveyard shift.
I’d then trade for an hour or so in the morning before my classes started.
That was it!
And it worked. Once I found a few strong strategies and based my trades around proven patterns that yielded big results, I doubled $27,000 in a matter of weeks and kept on growing.
Then I graduated. This is when the real problems hit. I now had enough money and opportunities to stay in America and I suddenly had all this spare time on my hands. So what did I do? Yeah, you know I sat in front of my laptop for hours on end. I figured if I could make the money I had so far off a few hours each morning, I could make millions if I spent all day at my screen.
Just think how much I could make if I implemented more strategies…
Now look, I still made money during this period. Good money, too. But I traded my time and freedom for it. I didn’t look after myself, lost touch with my friends and ended up with a stress-related illness.
If I could go back and change things, I would. Since beginning to trade, I’ve built a portfolio in excess of $4.7 million. That’s real money too, which you can verify yourself by looking at my profit.ly account.
Great money, right?
Sure. I’m proud of it.
Yet, if I had done things differently in the beginning, I honestly believe I’d have a $14+ million portfolio now. That’s the power of doing things the “right” way versus the hustle-as-hard-as-you-can way.
This is also why part-time day traders often make more than full-time day traders.
Not because you can’t generate incredible wealth as a full-time trader. You can!
Rather, most people burn themselves out, ruin relationships and fall out of love with trading because they take the hustle-hard approach. This is one of the reasons why 94% of new traders fail during their first year. I nearly joined them.
So if you want to become a full-time day trader because you think you’ll make millions by sitting in front of your laptop for 8+ hours each day… this article is NOT for you.
Whereas, if you want to become an EFFECTIVE day trader who has time, freedom, health and wealth… I’ll share the 4 steps I wish I had taken when I took the leap from part-time to full-time.
If I took these 4 steps, I’d have 3X as much wealth by now.
Don’t make the same mistakes I did.
Follow this roadmap instead…
1: Study A LOT!
From a young age, I’ve loved to study what interests me. At school, I’d get good grades in some subjects and bad grades in others. I enjoyed Chemistry and Physics, so I’d study hard. Whereas other subjects like English… I didn’t even try.
But when I study, I study.
And when I first got into day trading, I studied HARD.
My engineering background takes over… I don’t want to know how something works, but WHY it works. I like to break things down and rebuild them. Improve them. See if I can make it work in another way.
I talked about this previously here: Why 94% of new day traders fail in the first year. A lot of it comes down to learning — not just learning how the markets work, but why they work the way they do.
As a day trader just entering the market (and before it became my primary source of income), I studied a lot. As I worked my dead-end job, I studied the markets hard. I immersed myself in different strategies, broke them down and rebuilt them. Yet, as soon as I gained some momentum and was able to work on my portfolio full-time, I stopped studying.
At least, I didn’t study as much as I could have.
When making the leap from a day trader with a day job to one who can focus on it full time, you NEED to keep studying the markets hard. The longer you stare at your laptop screen won’t yield greater results.
The more trades you make won’t, either.
Focus on 1-2 strategies that work and study them until you know everything about them.
Focus on a few proven patterns too, and study them until you know everything about them!
The more you study, the more money you’ll make. Yet, most people make the leap to full-time and think they know enough already. This is the trap I fell into and it cost me time, money and my health.
2: Find a Community
Remember how I said that I became so obsessed with making more money that I lost touch with my friends? Yeah, making the leap to turn day trading into my primary source of income became one of the loneliest periods of my life.
I isolated myself, not just from friends but from the connections I made online.
While I studied the markets hard, I joined a few strong communities full of people like me.
We would bounce ideas off of each other, help one another learn and share successes. Yet, when I made the leap, I tried to do everything on my own. Maybe it was all ego, or maybe I just lost track of time. It’s hard to say why I did it, but I did get caught up in my own head.
I’d stare at the laptop each day, making trades and trying to do more.
Before I knew it, another day had passed me by. Sometimes I wouldn’t speak to anyone.
This set me back.
Everyone needs a community.
Whether it’s an online forum, paid membership or mastermind, it helps to surround yourself with people doing what you’re doing. Ideally, the community you’re part of has people at the same level as you and those further down the road.
Often they’ll be led by an expert (which we’ll get to soon).
They can offer you advice and show you what to do and not do.
There are many benefits of being part of a community like this:
- They keep you accountable (they force you to show up and do the work you need to)
- They guide you (without you having to waste precious time searching for information)
- They are there for you (to share your successes with, but also when you suffer failure)
- They get you out of your own head (having an outside perspective is a powerful thing)
Finding a community where you feel like you belong is one of the most powerful decisions you’ll ever make for your day trading career. It doesn’t matter how much money you make or successful you’ll become, being part of a community will always serve you.
3: Make Paper Trades!
As a part-time day trader who was still in college full-time, I made A LOT of paper trades.
Now, if you’re not sure what paper trades are, it’s basically setting up a fake account and running a simulation. You make trades as though you’re using real money, but don’t face the risk of losing it all.
It’s a great way to test strategies and patterns.
And in the beginning, I did this A LOT!!
But, then I made the leap to focus on day trading full-time and stopped doing paper trades as often as I should have. Again, maybe it was down to my ego. Maybe I just felt confident that I would make money and was willing to take the risk.
Either way, it doesn’t matter.
Not doing this COST ME MONEY!
(and it could cost you a fortune as well)
Just because day trading suddenly becomes your primary source of income, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t thoroughly test new strategies and patterns. A lot of the time I don’t think this is a conscious decision. It’s part of the hustle. You don’t even think.
You’re so busy making trades and doing more-more-more that you don’t step back and… think!
- Have I tested this new strategy enough?
- Is this pattern the real deal?
- Am I making decisions off real data or based on my emotions right now?
Paper trades are a great way to perfect your strategies without risking your money. This is an important step to take no matter how much money you have to risk. Never risk more of it than you need to. Without paper trades, I wouldn’t have found patterns that occur 60 times a year and generate 25% returns about 85% of the time.
Yet, when I made the leap to focus on my day trading full time, I stopped making them.
I wish I hadn’t because I would have made a lot more money otherwise.
4: Find a Mentor!
This is a big one. Possibly the most important part of this whole article. Because if you want to make the leap to become an effective day trader who doesn’t waste time and lose money…you cannot do it on your own.
I mean, you can, but it will take you years to get there.
And you’ll waste a lot of time along the way.
AND you will lose a lot more money than you have to.
The reality is…You Need a Mentor.
Someone who has been where you are and knows what to do and when. Again, a lot of this comes down to ego. I went through this. I had mentors in the beginning, but then when I made the leap I wasn’t sure I still needed one.
Not because I felt like I knew everything I needed to.
Rather, I had just come across so many “fake gurus.”
It’s hard to know who to listen to. Everyone seems to have a course, program and community to join. You don’t have time to join them all. Plus, you only ever need 1-2 mentors in your life at any one time.
I was unsure who to trust and invest my time and money into. So I did nothing and tried to do it on my own for a while. Big mistake. It’s possibly the biggest reason why I lost myself in the hustle and gave myself a stress-related stomach ulcer.
Because I had nobody there to tell me to “STOP!”
You need a mentor. There will never be a period in your life where you don’t need one.
But how do you find one? Well, this is what I look for in a mentor to help me level-up:
- They should have a verified track record — look at the last few years of their records. If they don’t let you see what they have done, it’s a huge red flag.
- They need to PROVE that what they do, works — don’t rely on what they say, listen to what other people who have worked with them do.
- Avoid “experts” who focus more on the lifestyle than the trades — you want a mentor who talks about the data, not one who talks about their Bentley.
What’s worse than having no mentor is one that wastes your time. It’s important to find the right one because you should only ever have 1-2 in your life. Too many mentors add to the “overwhelm,” but none at all will send you down a dangerous path.
How To Become a Full-Time Day Trader Who Makes MORE Money Than a Part-Time One!
I remember how exciting it felt when I made the leap from part-time to full-time. I believed I would make more money, have more time to live the life I wanted and enjoy all the success I dreamed about.
In reality, it didn’t work out like this.
At least not at first!
Focusing on my day trading full-time created more stress, greater overwhelm and I had less time than ever before. I was still making money, but I didn’t feel like I was able to do anything with it. In the end, it sent me to the doctors. It was scary; my stomach ulcer forced me to take a step back.
At first, I worried I’d lose everything.
All that money. All that momentum…
Yet, the opposite happened. I made more than ever, even though I spent just a couple of hours each morning at my laptop screen. I fell in love with studying the markets again. I reconnected with friends and built an amazing community of students and peers.
I traveled more, got healthier than ever and felt relaxed and fulfilled.
And that’s the best part of trading 2-3 hours a day. You don’t only get to earn a lot of money if you’re following the right strategies, but you get your time back so you can carve out the life you want. For me, that’s spending my time traveling, going to the beach and being in or near the water. Whatever it is that you’re looking to reclaim your time to do, I’m looking forward to seeing you doing it too.
If I had followed these 4 steps, I would have achieved all of this MUCH sooner!
As soon as you build some momentum with day trading, you should look to make the leap to full-time. Unless you absolutely love your job, you’ll soon make more than enough money to quit it.
Done right, focusing on your trades full-time can yield you six (and even seven) figures of income relatively quickly. It frees you up to live the life you desire, so please don’t see this article as an endorsement to working on your trades part-time and hustling as hard as you can.
The point is that making the leap will bring great stress and overwhelm into your life!
Unless you follow these 4 steps and don’t make the same mistakes I did.
I mean, you don’t want to end up with a stomach ulcer (or worse), do you?
I didn’t think so.
1. Study A Lot!
2. Make Paper Trades!
3. Find a Community!
4. Find a Mentor!!
Follow these steps and you’ll become an effective day trader who no longer needs a 9-5 job.
And if you would like to work with me personally inside a program that offers all 4 of these steps (among many more), have a look at The Freedom Challenge and see if it’s what you need to help you make the leap from part-time hustler to full-time day trader, leading the life you’ve always dreamed about.