Admit it, the thought of making a living by punching in a couple of buy or sell orders each day from your couch has you excited.
However, most aspiring home traders fail because they simply do not take the work seriously enough. Most traders certainly have the correct intentions and enthusiasm, but what most are lacking is the structured, disciplined approach that a regular 9-5 job usually institutes for them.
In order to overcome the uphill battle of starting an at-home career in trading, you should first implement the following four habits into your daily lifestyle before ever logging into a brokerage account:
1. Be Organized
You are working from home, which means most likely your trading room also functions as your home office, laundry room, home gym ... You get the idea. You are constantly surrounded by your belongings and only keeping the essentials (computer, pen, paper, calculator) on your desk will do wonders to stay focused. Create separate folders for your broker statements, and get rid of any other distractions -- and yes, that means your poster of Elvis should go.
2. Treat It Like A Business
The media and brokers make this business seem like a game, but if you treat trading like entertainment, you are making it very difficult on yourself to make money.
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The fact is, trading should be boring to the extent that you have your rules, stick to them and move on. Emotions are best left for post-prom parties and should be entirely cut out of trading. If you look at each trading loss as simply the cost of doing business, then accepting those costs becomes easier and the urge to make rash decisions diminishes.
3. Have A Routine
Because no one is looking over your shoulders and asking for deadlines, you are free as a bird. However, this freedom is dangerous unless you put a structure in place. Once you know which market you are trading and what your strategy is, ensure that you get up on time, take routine breaks for meals, workouts and errands. Make sure you leave the house often, so that coming back to your home office feels like returning to work.
4. Dress The Part
Sitting at your desk in a button-down shirt and dress pants will make you feel more official and professional. Do up your hair, shave, shower ... all the things you would do if you went to an employer’s office (hopefully). In short, no pajamas.
Trading is a business; if you treat it as such in every aspect, then working from home may just become the most satisfying and profitable endeavor you've ever had.
Editor's note: This piece was originally published on June 19, 2014.
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