There is no single formula for success in the financial markets. That is why each trader has their own trading approach. But what sets pro traders apart from everyone else? What gives them an edge in the markets? Here’s how pro traders trade.
1. They have a plan
The professional trader has a detailed trading plan that outlines exactly what they want, and when they will trade. A pro trader is patient with their trades, and will not spend the whole day randomly flipping through timeframes, nor looking at charts when there is nothing to do.
A professional trader does the things that require effort, but ultimately improves performance including regularly formulating and refining trading plans, sticking to and improving one system, rather than changing everything all the time.
- Update your trading plan to include new ideas and eliminate bad ones.
- Don’t cut corners. Long-term success is achieved by perfecting strategies and taking a disciplined approach to trading.
- Stick to your rules. Trading rules help you minimise losses and improve decision making. Disregarding the rules leads to a lack of discipline, creates room for second-guessing, and great losses.
2. They are focused
Professional traders know the importance of 100% focus when trading. Instead of doing multiple things like watching the charts, as well as a YouTube video, or chatting on Skype, a pro will focus on just the charts. They may have a site open to monitor any market movements and keep up with news releases, but that is it.
Due to being focused, a pro trader does not trade in emotion. They are focused on each trade and will not be overconfident after a winning streak or less confident after repetitive losses. Being focused allows the trader to stick to their plan and follow their risk and money management rules.
- If you want to be a pro, trade like a pro. This means focusing on trading when it’s trading time.
- Never take losses personally. Trade ideas are not always right.
- Focus will help maximise the wins and minimise the money lost when things are bad. As one of the most famous traders, George Soros, once said: “ It’s not whether you’re right or wrong, but how much money you make when you’re right and how much you lose when you’re wrong”.
3. They don’t lose
All traders will lose at some point but pro traders don’t view losses the way amateurs do. For the pro, losses are simply the markets’ way of disproving a trade setup and giving the trader constructive feedback.
· Learn from your losses and view each loss as a business investment that will yield returns in future.
· Instead of letting frustration take over after a loss, learn to walk away and take a break to reflect and regroup.
4. They think in terms of risk
A pro trader always calculates their risk before putting in a position. The trader doesn’t use an arbitrary percentage to calculate risk but they define the exact amount at risk before placing a trade.
A pro also always watches out for warnings and the risks these warnings pose. Multiple technical warnings normally occur before big losses and pros don’t ignore them or allow hope to replace discipline.
· Be realistic. Professionals objectively look at their trading performance and development and they base their risk on their past performance and future or long-term expectations.
· Be responsible. Pro traders don’t ignore warning signs and end up blaming their losses on other factors including their brokers.
5. They never give up
“You can’t fail if you don’t quit.” Pro traders know this and they keep on going.
Becoming a pro
When it comes to trading, there is no finish line. Even the pro traders have more to learn and achieve. Ultimately, being a pro is about continuous learning and improvement, exercising patience and discipline, and creating a trading approach that can survive in the long run. Anything less is likely not worthwhile.
What are your tips for trading like a pro? Can you add to our list? Join the conversation and share your valuable insights.