Where to start….
I will try not to make this too long but I think it’s important to understand what I have went through to get to where I am today. I’m a God lover and I’m a young/old guy. What do I mean? I’m 38 years old so by definition from the “younger” guys I work with I am old. However, I’m hardly “old”.
I’m a prior United States Air Force Veteran of 9 years, a husband of 19 years and a father to two almost grown kids. I’m from Louisiana born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days, (Some will get that reference.) and honestly I did spend the majority of my time outside growing up. However, I always had a draw to computers, technology and video games. So to put it simply I am half country and half geek.
I currently work full time as an Oil Field Engineer and attend online college with Liberty University in pursuit of a Project Management degree in Business which I intend to follow-up with a Masters in Strategic Management.
My first attempt at trading was in the early 2000’s when I took part of my re-enlistment bonus and ventured into the depths of the stock market. To this day I’m not 100% sure how I got sucked in but man did I have the fever. I initially learned from reading books, Jim Cramer, CNBC, etc. I started off on the right track with a focus on medium to large cap companies. I worked the night shift in the Air Force and spent countless mornings following the market, listening to conference calls and pretty much immersed myself into stocks. At some point I learned of course learned about penny stocks and of course this is where things went south.
The deal with penny stocks is they are where most new traders start but yet they are exactly where we shouldn’t. I had no idea what I was doing and man talk about emotions ruled everything. I can trade pennies now without a problem but back then I got completely fooled by several but the biggest was GameZnFlix. They were basically a spin off of NetFlix except for game rentals and I fell head over heels for the KoolAid. I was such a believer that I convinced many family members to join in on the world changing plan. Let’s just say that killed $10,000 bankroll on the quick. Coming from a hard working family and raised very frugal this was hard to take. I’m as brave as they come but getting beat down this way really did a number on the psyche. I stayed in the game for several years but I wasn’t able to daily like I wanted.
Several years later I started trading again but not heavily. At this point I had some experience and had learned many lessons that I honestly think are required in trading. Probably the worse thing that could have happened to me or any new trader is they have immediate success. My second time around I had some basic technical analysis skills but they weren’t rock solid and tested. I just understood probably more than the average trader which helped and hurt.
I started to get more involved and decided I would take $12,000 and try to turn it into $120,000 which I changed at some point to $1million. I started up a website called WithWingsLikeEagles.net and built it based around me being 100% transparent with my trades in hopes of documenting my success or failure and helping others succeed. Again I started off great and with this time I had a real winner. A friend of mine gave me a tip of a pharmaceutical company called Ariad Pharmaceutical ($ARIA). My work schedule is pretty hectic but I am on a 15 days on call and 6 days off schedule.
This schedule allowed me to spend time at home following the daily market and I was fortunate enough to see some major institutional buying in Ariad which I followed for a entry price around $6.50. Understand at the time that I wasn’t using sound risk management and honestly I didn’t truly understand what that meant. So with my limited experience of managing risk I decided to buy $12,000 worth. Why not right? lol
Well, my observation was correct and shortly after the news reported Ariad will be bought out so I woke up to a $10+ price within the first hour of the open. I literally was frozen and didn’t know what to do but held in hopes of getting a full buy-out price. This tends to happen when you see profits in your account that are hard to believe but truly it was from a lack of experience. I should have immediately set a stop or a trailing stop but I don’t even think I knew what those were yet. Within the next couple of days to a week I watched the stock sell-off and actually drop below my buy price and what do you think I did there? I panic sold of course. The next thing I know Ariad had another buy out rumor and spiked again which seemed to happen several times until finally a Japanese company bought them out for around $24 a share.
A Whole New World
After this my world was really rocked and to save reading time I basically just floundered a while until I met my mentor Steven. Steven is a professional trader from New York and I believe we either met through Twitter or Stocktwits. Shortly after the whole Ariad fiasco and attempting to recover from my second huge trading mistake I ended up getting sick and being out of work for several months. Steven really “took me under his wing” and decided he was going to re-wire my brain (As I like to call it.) so I learned what trading really was.
The thing that I don’t think most of us understand is that our brains are wired for two things: Fight or Flight. These instincts will actually kill your trading career before you even get going. Typically the way you feel about what is going on with your trade is the opposite of how you should react. Steven helped me get past the emotional side by forcing me to spend 8 hours or more a day doing nothing but learning pattern recognition. We setup a scanner in my ThinkorSwim and I literally looked at charts all day everyday. I linked my scanner to the chart view and would hit the down arrow only looking at bad charts for maybe a second or two. I would stop on what I thought were the good charts and then discuss my opinion with Steven.
From there he would consult with me about whether or not I the chart was a good or bad setup. After hours he spent a ton of time teaching me what to look for, what are buy signals, what are sell signals, breakouts, etc. Shortly after I took to streets and signed up to be a Prop Trader. I took $5,000 that I had left from my failed attempt at trading and had $100,000 in leverage. I attempted to day trade with Stevens help and while I had learned a lot I still wasn’t ready for day trading. The experience itself taught me more in a short period than I think most people learn in a lifetime but I needed much more time in the market and a much larger bankroll to not feel so much pressure to succeed.
Here and Now
I’m rebuilding my account again and this time I’m using all the techniques and training I learned by experience and with my mentor Steven’s help. Rather than start heavy in my account I’m adding monthly allotments to it and testing my strategy. Nearly all of my trades have been successful with some I’ve closed out early to move capital to a better opportunity. I am a work in progress as we all are but I know that I am destine to be a full-time trader. My goal is to become so proficient at trading that I can quit my high paying job any day and walk into my new career with no pressure. In addition to that I am trying to become the best I can be at trading so that when I retire and I have serious money to manage I won’t destroy my finances. To me this is very important and should be a goal of anyone who manages their own money.
The Boss Traders
Now the takeaway from all of these combined experiences is that I learned how critical it is to have help. Starting fresh in the market without experience is pretty much like getting thrown into the Gladiator ring with no training but a shiny shield and a fancy sword. It is very difficult if not impossible for the average trader to find a mentor but the good thing is the internet exists and help is out there. This is where I hope I can help newer traders as well as build a community of traders through our forums that will share knowledge and ideas. I also hope that we can share ideas on trades and all make money together. Trading takes a sense of confidence and that confidence is gained by experience and a system. My system is technical analysis and buying and selling using signals with high probabilities. I’m not an arrogant guy by any means, in fact I’m probably one of the most humble guys you will ever meet, but when it comes to trading I’m a Lion. I want to become the very best trader I can be and eventually quit my job which I do well at to become a Professional trader. I want to help everyone I can to avoid those wasted years of trading and losing money so they can trade like a boss and become ‘Boss Traders’.
Thank you for reading and feel free to ask for help anytime. You can contact me by email, stocktwits, twitter or my hope is that you chose to become a Boss Trader and join our community on the forums.Join Forum Now
Mark aka TheBossTrader