Making $200-$400 a day (average), realistic goal for a new trader to grow into?

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by bryan942, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. bryan942


    I have recently been exploring the possibility of making trading a career. Currently, I own and operate a small business (3 people) and enjoy what I do, for the most part. During the past few months, our company has hit a dry spell and has had me thinking about ways to generate alternate income. Looking at the bigger picture, I have come to realize my current career choice may not lend to being a long term solution, for reasons not worth discussing at this point.

    Because this is a forum, I figured I would post looking for feedback from others who may have made a career change into professional trading and the experiences they may have. First, as the title of my thread suggests, I would ideally like to make $200 to $400 a day, assuming roughly 20 trading days a month. $200/day would allow me to basically maintain my current lifestyle, $400 would put me in a happy place! In regards to those goals, am I shooting for the stars or is this somewhat realistic? If so, what kind of starting capital would be expected to achieve those numbers.

    I am also not one of those people looking to find the easy way out. I understand that there is a lot to learn and I do not expect overnight success. Also understand that I am open to trading anything (stocks, forex, futures, etc.) With that in mind, does trading any one of these things makes sense over the other?

    Finally, just for informational purposes, the reason I have been drawn to trading is that it allows me to continue my current business on a limited basis, if I choose to do so. I have also dabbled in trading over the years, mostly long term positions, and done well. The trading world has always fascinated me and so does the allure of being able to manage my own schedule and working from home.

    Maybe this is all just a large, unrealistic pipe-dream, but I have always had the mindset that anything can be done as long as you have the determination. My objective from this post was just to look for some basic guidance and expectations from those that have been there. Some of the most beneficial knowledge I have ever gained has come from people with experience and what better way to start than with an international audience of traders.

    Thanks in advance for any useful feedback.
  2. Bryan,

    Here is a link where you can download a simulator and simulate trading various futures markets:

    I think you have a realistic goal, it might take less time than you think to make that much every day or it could take longer to get to that point, but if you enjoy trading and work at it you can achieve it. I think the simulator is a very good learning tool. And one point, a trader that can make money on a regular basis and over time has to have an edge in the market. Some one who trades long enough with out an edge will for sure loose money. So I would recomend trading on the simulator and work on trying to idenify an edge for yourself that you can turn into a trading method and repeat on a daily basis.....
  3. In my opinion it matters how much expierence you will have.. and money/patience/flexibility as well.

    At first 1-2 month try to break even and then work up from that an remember....

    The only mistake that you can make is not learning from a mistake

    Good luck...
  4. Certainly is realistic... I'd explain what I do but then it would just downright seam extraterrestrial so I won't bother. In any event, for the more terrestrial, take a look at the opening orders thread. Those guys do your type of figures day after day. Of course, there is the other end of the range but ET has yet to believe that anyone in ET actually operates at the other end... In any event, you can peak at Don Bright and his folks. There are some more interesting posters IMO...
  5. If you can make 200 or 400 a day consistently then you have a good strategy, edge, whatever you want to call it.

    Thats a big deal because then you shouldn't have a problem making 400 to 800 or 800 to 1600 a day.

    I think your focus on dollar amount is pointless...
  6. Making $200/$400 a day avg is not a realistic goal for you right NOW. It CAN certainly be down the road (maybe 8 months, maybe a year, maybe more?), and not that hard to accomplish once there, but you will have to go through much study, trial and error, ups, downs and everything in between in the meantime. You will need to spends hundreds of hours, learning all you can about the market you chose to trade and the time frame you chose to trade as well. Your going to have to learn how to adapt to the many mkt cycles, mini cycles, big range days, small range days and how to identify and react to the almost unlimited number of variables.

    Your brain will need to take in all this info and create a database where, once properly trained, can recall all kinds of situations on the fly so you can react in time to catch trades. Mkts are fast and everyone is ultra competitive so you need to have the knowledge to know, not only what to look for, but also have the confidence to pull the trigger in time which is the result of hard work and just lots of experience.

    If you're willing to really immerse yourself, and are a very determined and passionate about trading, I'd say go for it.

  7. bryan942


    Thanks for the inspiring feedback so far. I think one thing that I have come to learn in owning my own business is that nothing happens overnight. My expectations are not to spend a lot of time over the next few weeks and then be a career trader. I feel there are so many things to learn about from the psychology of trading to developing consistent strategies. If it takes me years to make the transition, so be it, but it's good to know that with the right amount of patience, understanding and willingness to learn, that my goals are achievable.
  8. Experience is key. Having experience of losses and the market teaches you what to do and what not to do in certain instances.

    I mean, you can't really teach experience. It takes time. Some parts you can pass off to people (ie. tell people not to do this, etc), but until you experience things for yourself you're unlikely to learn it.

    At the same time the experience has to be meaningful. Don't risk too much but risk enough that the losses are painful so you force yourself to learn from them.

    A lot of mistakes such as entry, knowing where to exit, knowing when to hold or take profits, knowing whether to place a hard stop or not... all come with experience.
  9. Dustin


    It's realistic in the 6-12 month range if you spend the "screentime" necessary.

    Remember that in the first year it's much more important to avoid a big loss, than make a big gain. Never dig yourself into a hole as a beginning trader.
  10. Adobian


    How true this is. Ususally, you get wiped out in the first year, because of greed and lack of experience.

    If it were I who ask this question, I would start with at least $200K capital, and have a lot of discipline, to aim for this consistency.
    #10     Jun 9, 2007