Eight Expectations to Becoming a Successful Trader

As head trader of the Apiary Fund, I get a lot of emails from people describing the various challenges they’re having as they learn to trade. There are a lot of obstacles people face, but it’s generally been my experience that the biggest challenge is learning to properly frame the definition of success.

It’s a sad fact that most people go about learning to trade with flawed with self-destructive expectations. If you don’t approach learning with the right expectations, then success will always remain beyond your reach – irrespective of your desire, how hard you work, or what other resources you bring to the table.

If you want to become a successful trader and realize the wealth and freedom you desire and deserve, then you are going to have to adjust your expectations! Trading is a profession – plain and simple – and just like any other profession the road to mastery is marked by incremental achievements based on realistic expectations.

Here are eight expectations that are self-building and will empower you with a framework for success in the Apiary Fund.

1. Expect to learn from yourself.
No two traders are alike. Each has a unique personality, experience, and background that will influence their decisions and strategy. The great thing about learning to trade with the Apiary Fund is that you can learn from others, which is why our community and professional traders are so important to the success of the program. However, the false expectation some of our traders have is that others will teach you everything you need to know. You must learn to extract the lessons others give you and learn how to apply it to your own personality, knowledge and experience. The Investor Profile is a great tool to help you in this process since it helps you learn which of your personality traits support and hinder your progress.

2. Expect to study strategy.
There are thousands of profitable trading strategies out there. With over 1000 hours of strategy-focused trainings, the challenge in the Apiary Fund isn’t a lack of information but finding one that works for you. The false expectation is that you have to make decisions that fit the strategy when the real objective is finding the strategy that fits you.

When you go to the shoe store, you spend a lot of time trying on different shoes to find one that fits your goals, shape, and personality. Choosing a strategy is similar – you have to try out several strategies to find the one that fits! If you fail to find the strategy that fits, then you’ll never have the discipline to follow the rules of the strategy.

3. Expect to study time.
Time is important to traders. Not only because you need to dedicate time to learning and practice, but it’s also a critical component in performance and strategy.

Performance is time based. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how right you are in forecasting direction if you’re wrong in your timing.

Strategy is also time based. Swing trading strategies require more time than scalping strategies. The underlying patterns might be the same, but the time needed to mature is different.

The Apiary Fund operates in a global timescale. We have traders working every time frame in every timezone holding positions for any time cycle. Time is important so make sure you spend some it learning how it works in the market.

4. Expect to focus on money management.
In the same way you have to be right on direction and timing, you have to be right in how you manage your money. Traders learn quickly through the structure of the Apiary Funds risk management system that money management is critical to success.

The risk management system enforces good money management in the same way a concrete barrier keeps cars on the right side of freeway – it doesn’t prevent an accident but it helps minimizes the impact. The correct expectation for money management is to monitor yourself and don’t rely on the median to keep you safe.

5. Expect to practice and test your strategy.
There is a reason why the Apiary Fund suggests 3 months of simulated trading. I like to tell new traders, that you should be quick to choose a strategy but prolonged in testing it. There are three objectives when testing out a strategy:

  1. Understand the rules so you can execute the strategy.
  2. Execute the strategy with “natural” ease.
  3. Evaluate your personal profit potential with the strategy.

Please note that profit potential is the last of your objectives. If you cannot understand how to execute with ease, then performance will not be consistent enough to be adequately evaluated.

6. Expect to learn through observation.
There are precious few “laws” that govern the market. It’s important that you practice your chart reading skills to easily identify whether the market is expanding or contracting, whether it’s trending higher or lower, whether it’s volatile or consistent. There are certain lessons that can only be learned through observation and experience.

For example, you can attempt teach someone how to drive through exceptional instruction, but they will not really learn to drive until they start driving. Through observation and experience a person is able to take instruction and gain a greater understanding of driving – or trading!

The traders who succeed at the Apiary Fund are focused on learning through observation. Every mistake is designed to teach a lesson. Every success is designed to do the same. Good traders are constantly learning from the market – and I am no exception to this rule!

7. Expect to transition into real money gradually.
Start small – grow big! That is the philosophy behind the different levels of the Trader Development Program. We are not so naïve as to think you can create a Wall Street income at our first level of funding. You are still learning. It is a transition stage. Trading real money is different than trading in the simulation account. The road to success in the Apiary Fund is marked by several transitions. With each transition comes a responsibility to make sure your performance and strategy execution stays consistent.

You should also remember that if you want to become a trader and make a living trading the Apiary Fund (or any account), then you have to progress to bigger and bigger lot sizes. You need set an expectation to work and push yourself forward through the different funding levels.

8. Do NOT expect shortcuts.
It’s not easy to become a trader. It’s hard work, and I’m glad for that. If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it. So think of trading as a profession. It requires hard work, lots of practice, but above all else it requires a proper framework for expectations.

Shortcuts are not allowed.

About Shawn Lucas

Shawn Lucas is the founder and fund manager at Apiary Fund. He began his career as a broker for Fidelity and Charles Schwab where he worked the trading desk and processed orders for high net worth investors. An expert in the field of technical and economic analysis of the financial markets, Lucas has since established his reputation as a thought leader and guest speaker for several financial companies including Reuters and TD Ameritrade. He has traveled extensively throughout the world providing lectures, training, consulting, and expert testimony to companies and individuals on the art and science of financial analysis. Lucas has authored sixteen books and studies on the use of technical and economic analysis in stock, option, and futures trading. His simple and methodical approach to the markets has helped thousands of investors better understand and improve their performance and profitability in the financial markets.

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3 Responses to Eight Expectations to Becoming a Successful Trader

  1. Eckhard Mueller February 1, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Thanks Shawn, well written. I look forward to our cooperation.
    Kind regards from Germany
    Eckhard

  2. Cynthia Kennefick February 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    I enjoyed this very helpfull article Shawn. It is exciting to be part of a company where we are all striving for a common goal. People from all walks of life and from all over the world working together! Thank you for letting us be a part of your vision!

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