If the 2020 market trends hold in 2021, even more people will try to learn how to day trade for a living.
The volume, volatility, and sheer action in the markets since last year have been insane. A lot of people are asking how they can adapt. Personally, I think all this market action makes for a great opportunity to learn how to day trade for a living.
New traders are flooding the market. It’s creating what I call a golden age of trading.
So what does it take to learn how to day trade for a living? I’ll cover the basics here and answer some common questions. Hopefully, you’ll find inspiration to focus on your trading education and better understand how to day trade for a living. Let’s go!
Table of Contents
- 1 Can You Make a Living Day Trading?
- 2 How Much Can You Make Day Trading?
- 3 What Is the Career Longevity of a Day Trader?
- 4 How to Day Trade for a Living: How Does Day Trading Work?
- 5 What Do Day Traders Usually Trade?
- 6 Benefits vs. Risks of Day Trading for a Living
- 7 4 Tips You Need to Know Before You Start Day Trading for a Living
- 8 How to Day Trade for a Living: 3 Steps to Do It the Smart Way
- 9 How to Day Trade for a Living: Day Trading for Beginners
- 10 How to Make a Living as a Day Trader
- 11 Top Strategies to Start Day Trading for a Living
- 12 Example of a Basic Trading Concept: Support and Resistance
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions About Day Trading
- 14 How to Day Trade for a Living: The Bottom Line
- 15 One Platform. One System. Every Tool
Can You Make a Living Day Trading?
I get this question often from people who want to learn how to day trade for a living.
The short answer: Yes, I know a lot of people who day trade for a living.
But like anything in life that’s worthwhile, it isn’t easy. If it were, we’d all be millionaires and no one would have a regular job.
Talk to any successful trader, and they’ll probably tell you that they’re just a regular person. But they put in intense amounts of work, energy, time, and money to reach their goals.
Most people don’t want to pay that price. Let me tell you a secret: It’s always harder than you think.
Want to start with a no-cost education? Join me every day before the market opens! At 8:30 a.m. Eastern, I cover tickers, strategies, and more. Learn more about my Pre-Market Prep sessions here, and sign up for my daily briefings.
How Much Can You Make Day Trading?
Sure, there are traders who make millions. But those results aren’t typical. All trading is risky. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment. So start with a plan.
How much money will you start trading with? How much time will you put into your trading and education? What are your day trading strategies?
These are just a few questions you need to answer before you consider day trading for a living.
My thoughts? Start small and trade part time. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to rely on trading profits to pay bills. That’s stressful and can lead to bad trades. Give yourself space and time to concentrate on learning skills and strategies.
What Is the Career Longevity of a Day Trader?
It depends. For some, a day trading career can last a lifetime.
But if you don’t study or manage your risk, your day trading career can be over in a single trade. That’s why you prepare…
A mentorship program like the SteadyTrade Team can help you do that. There’s a great chat room, awesome community, twice-daily webinars, and so much more. Join the SteadyTrade Team and buckle down on your trading today!
How to Day Trade for a Living: How Does Day Trading Work?
Basically, trading is when you try to buy a stock or other financial instrument at a low price and sell it when it’s high. There are different and more complicated strategies to do this, but that’s the basic concept.
In day trading, you do it more frequently. Instead of buying a stock and holding it overnight or longer, day traders complete their trades all in the same day.
What Do Day Traders Usually Trade?
Day traders usually trade stocks. These could be shares of large companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) or Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). They could also be penny stocks, which are shares of smaller, lesser-known companies like Super League Gaming (NASDAQ: SLGG).
Some traders like to trade commodities such as crude oil, silver, and gold … And then there are those who like to trade groups of stocks in an index like the S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY).
Benefits vs. Risks of Day Trading for a Living
Of course, there are pros and cons to day trading.
Potential Benefits of Day Trading
- Be your own boss. If you hate answering to someone and want to choose your own schedule, day trading could be an option for you.
- Financial freedom. Day trading could be a way for dedicated, savvy traders to make extra income. And it doesn’t have to be a full-time career. If you trade part time with a small account, your gains can add up over time.
- Laptop lifestyle. A lot of people don’t like commuting to an office. Having the flexibility to work from almost anywhere can be a huge benefit.
- Challenge and purpose. So many people don’t like their jobs. A skill like day trading can add excitement and purpose to your life — especially as you improve.
- Useful skill. If you make trading work for your life, you’ll always have the skills to navigate the market.
Risks of Day Trading
- Losing money. Day trading is risky. Even if you know what you’re doing, you can make mistakes … You can also lose more money than you expect.
- Hefty time investment. If you take day trading seriously, you’ll be putting in a lot of time studying. That usually means sacrificing other things in your life.
- It’s HARD. Be prepared for a long road filled with lots of lessons and failure. You gotta love this and want it.
- It can be an emotional rollercoaster. You’ll experience many highs and lows. You have to learn how to manage your emotions.
4 Tips You Need to Know Before You Start Day Trading for a Living
These tips may help you on your journey toward day trading for a living.
1. KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)
If you over-complicate the process, you can make it harder to learn and improve. As you simplify, you may find that you’ll improve faster and the learning process becomes much easier.
2. Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Remember, don’t put yourself in a position to depend on your profits to live. It’s smarter to treat your trading career like a side hustle until you build skills and confidence.
3. Be Realistic About Your Profits
Don’t swing for the fences. That’s a good way to blow up your account. Smaller positions allow you to have more chances at bat. There’s no shame in going after base hits. Take the meat of the move and go on to the next trade.
4. Capitalize on Low-Priced Stocks
Penny stocks are priced on the low end and are more accessible to traders — especially those with small accounts. You don’t need a lot of money to get started. But study and prepare. Don’t go in thinking it’s a fast or easy way to make money.
How to Day Trade for a Living: 3 Steps to Do It the Smart Way
1: Start With Paper Trading
All beginners start awkwardly, especially when it comes to something as complicated as day trading the stock market.
The first several months will be trial and error … mostly ERROR! Give yourself permission to fail.
Technology allows traders to use real-time data to mimic a real-life trading environment. With paper trading, you can practice your setups without using real money!
One of the best platforms out there is StocksToTrade. It has a robust paper trading feature so you can hone your skills without the fear of a dwindling bank account. Start a 14-day trial for only $7 here!
2: Trade With Money You Can Lose
Even the most skilled traders lose money … It’s just part of the game, because you won’t win every trade.
If you’re a beginner, the likelihood of losing on trades is much higher. When you start your trading journey, only use money that you can afford to lose. Think of it as an investment … Or even the tuition you’re paying to “go to school” and learn a new skill.
If you trade with money you need for bills or basic necessities, you’re trapping yourself in a corner and setting yourself up to fail.
3: Study, Study, Study
If we were to gather a bunch of successful traders in a room, we’d find that they all have at least one thing in common: They all constantly study and prepare.
It’s true that it takes a while to pick up the right skills to be successful at this game. If it were easy, everyone would be successful, right?
But most people aren’t. Not only does it take a lot of time … It takes a lot of study and preparation. Everyone learns at a different pace, but the best way to shorten the learning curve is to study and prepare so you don’t have to learn the hard way.
How to Day Trade for a Living: Day Trading for Beginners
Ready to learn more about how to day trade for a living? Awesome. Let’s get to it!
How Much Money Do You Need to Start Day Trading?
You can start with a small account. How small depends on you and which broker you choose.
In fact, if you’re just getting started, I recommend you don’t use any capital at all. You can use a trading platform — like StocksToTrade — with a paper trading feature to mimic live trading with fake money. A 14-day trial of STT is just $7 — sign up for yours now.
How Do Day Traders Make Money?
A day trade is when a trader buys and sells (or sells short and covers) a stock within the same day. That’s how day traders try to make money.
Regular trading hours for the major U.S. stock exchanges are from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern every weekday, except holidays.
How to Make a Living as a Day Trader
To make a living as a day trader, you have to keep learning and improving.
If you want to put in little effort and make money consistently, look elsewhere. Day trading isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a never-ending process … but the rewards can be great. Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction.
1. Design Your Strategy
Day trading is risky, but you can potentially limit your risk with the right strategy.
So you must understand chart patterns.
Don’t enter a trade just because a stock’s moving. Watch for the patterns that can work with your strategy. If you see a stock moving and it fits your setups, put together a trading plan.
2. Choose Your Broker
Ready to trade? First, you need an account with a stock brokerage.
There are many different brokers. Find the one that fits your needs. Not all brokers are created equal … and some are better for particular strategies.
Do your research and pick a reputable broker. Need tips? Start here.
3. Keep a Trading Journal
It’s so important to track your trades in a journal.
Learning to day trade feels like drinking from a fire hose at times. There’s so much to learn!
Tracking your trades will help you organize. You can better see where you need to focus so you can use your time more effectively. And you can evaluate your mistakes and then adjust.
So much goes into learning how to day trade for a living. You can’t remember it all. That’s what your journal is for.
4. Never Stop Practicing
Trading is all about execution.
With day trading, you can create the perfect trading plan … but get caught like a deer in headlights when you start trading with actual cash.
Being a skilled trader involves spotting chart patterns … and entering and exiting trades with solid timing. And when things don’t go the way you expect, you have to manage your emotions and stick to your original plan.
Nothing will replace screen time and practice when it comes to learning the process. Start small and improve a little each day. That’s how to build real trading skills.
Top Strategies to Start Day Trading for a Living
Before you get bogged down with advanced technical indicators and chart patterns, focus on the basics of how to day trade for a living.
The basics can build a foundation for an understanding of what really works so you can learn to adapt that to any market.
How to Day Trade for a Living Top Strategy #1: Risk Management
Risk management is one of the MOST important things when it comes to day trading.
Everyone who decides to trade a stock is taking a risk. There’s no way around that. The key is to limit the risks you take. By creating your own process and rules, you can reduce your risks so your trading plans have more chance of working out.
How to Day Trade for a Living Top Strategy #2: Time Management
There’s so much to day trading. If you’re not careful, you can get distracted and end up wasting your day, missing a great setup — or worse, losing on a trade.
Day trading takes extreme focus, so time management is key.
How to Day Trade for a Living Top Strategy #3: Key Levels
It’s important to be aware of key levels on a stock chart. These levels are support and resistance for price movement. Knowing these areas will come in handy when making your trading plans.
Let’s dive deeper into this concept …
Example of a Basic Trading Concept: Support and Resistance
Support and resistance are levels on a stock chart where the price either pauses or reverses direction.
When you study charts, you’ll see a stock hover around certain price levels repeatedly. Look at the Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) chart below…
The red line (around $640) is a support and resistance level. Notice how the price hovers around that area a lot. For some reason, the stock had difficulty breaking through that area in December. In February, it dipped back down to that level and bounced — proving that the $640 level was still a strong support area.
It’s important to keep things like this in mind when making your trading plans, no matter which strategy or setup you favor.
Need great charting software? Try StocksToTrade. It has gorgeous and easy-to-read charts so you can keep track of those key levels and create your trading plans. Start a 14-day trial for only $7 today!
Frequently Asked Questions About Day Trading
Yep, there are even more questions. Let’s check ‘em out…
What Percentage of Day Traders Make Money?
The harsh reality is that most traders lose. If you’re serious about becoming a day trader, realize it will take a lot of work and a long time. It’s gotta be a passion for you so you’re inspired to keep learning.
Does the Average Day Trader Make Money?
Unfortunately, no. Day trading requires dedication and skill, and most people don’t put in the time and work to make it work for them.
Who Is the Richest Day Trader?
That title goes to George Soros. George is a legend among trading fans. He’s known for the extraordinary feat of making $1 billion on a single day.
How Do I Become a Day Trader if I’m Starting With $100?
Becoming a day trader with only $100 is no different from starting with a $1,000 … except you have to choose a broker with a lower account minimum. Once you’re ready to trade, be ready to trade small. Look for low-priced penny stocks to practice and build your account.
How to Day Trade for a Living: The Bottom Line
That’s a wrap on my ultimate guide on how to day trade for a living in 2021.
It’s a lot … but don’t get overwhelmed. The important thing is to get started.
You don’t have to go it alone — come join the SteadyTrade Team. Every day we provide you with guidance, trading education, and community. It’s all to help you build a process and become a smarter trader.
How do you feel about day trading for a living? Leave a comment!