Becoming a professional trader is much like becoming a professional in any other field.  What you need most is confidence in order to succeed.  But how to do you become confident in your ability to do something new?  Think of education and confidence building as your summer internship for a brand new job.  It’s necessary, but not always fun and you might not get paid until later.  But what do you need to succeed?  Below we outline 3 things you can start today to build confidence for tomorrow.

#1. Learning and Education

As anyone who is starting something new will tell you, practice makes perfect.  But what if you don’t know how to practice yet?  Your first step on this confidence journey is simple.  You need to learn everything you can learn and quick!  There are many places to look for free trading education.  Many trading software and platform companies will offer free instructional videos or articles if you join their mailing list.  Find a website or platform you like and join that email list.  Not only will you now be notified of sales and upcoming events, but you’ll also get some free education right in your inbox!  Check your local library for books on trading and specific styles of trading you want to explore.  

Once you’ve chosen a trading platform, see if they offer any resources on their company website or webinars to help you learn their system.  Websites like Investopedia.com also offer great informational articles on all types of trading and investing with images and links to more articles.  Many companies also have a free trading blog with lots of educational content, much like the one you’re reading right now!  Just do a google search for the article or subject you’re looking for and filter through for obvious blog article titles.  Once you’ve found a good article, you know you’ve found a quality blog to enjoy as well.  

If you’re more of a visual learner, websites like TraderFlix.com have trading videos of all kinds that you can watch for free!  If you’ve got a specific platform or software or trading method you’d like to know more about, check out their official YouTube Channel and make sure to connect with them on Social Media.  Many times this gives you access to exclusive content, so be sure to follow/like your favorites to stay in the loop.

#2. SIM Trading

Ok, now that you’ve read everything that can be read for free, it’s time to practice!  Many beginning or unsuccessful traders often make the mistake of jumping into the markets right away with real money.  We’d advise against this and here’s why: You need to walk before you can run.  If you’ve read 20 articles on Supply & Demand, you are hardly an expert.  On top of that, trading can be extremely stressful due to the fast pace of the markets.  If you were training for a marathon, you wouldn’t start off with running 10 miles on your first day.  You’d start will small runs and work your way up to the marathon length.  The same can be said for trading.  By using a SIM account (with simulated gains/losses), you are able to practice what you’ve learned in a real environment but without the risk of losing all your money.  Once you’ve gotten relatively successful in trading a SIM account, you can slowly work your way up to trading small accounts, then larger accounts.  Currently, NinjaTrader allows you to download their software and trading SIM accounts for free.   This is a great way to practice both their platform usage and your own skills to build your confidence.

#3. Have a Plan

This may seem like a no-brainer but we always suggest having a plan before you trade. Trading is your new business and every new business needs a business plan!  Make sure you figure out what you’re comfortable with and have achievable goals for yourself.  Be realistic about what you’d like to do and how you’re going to accomplish that.  Set concrete numbers for how much you’re willing to lose if you have a bad day trading.  And most of all, stick to the plan you make.  Review it often to make sure what you’re doing is working for you when you’re not actively trading.  You can read more about how to build your own trading plan from scratch in our previous article HERE (https://neurostreet.com/build-successful-trading-plan/).

Sounds easy, right?  Confidence comes from experience, so don’t expect to be amazing right away.  Be patient and spend time learning things properly.  Practice on your SIM account and build rules and a plan of attack for the real markets.  But most of all, be patient with yourself.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are successful careers.  With the right tools and resources, you’re on the right path and that is what counts most of all.