Feb. 6, 20209 min read

Day-Trading Versus Your Day Job — Self Sufficiency At Its Best

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Written by stockstotrade

“Yeah, if you could just get me that TPS report…”


In case you’ve missed the obvious, day-trading means freedom more than just about any job you can think of.

You can do a lot of things from home, but most of them don’t make you money—and there is no real freedom without money.

Being your own boss and being able to make ends meet—or well beyond this—is the only way to throw off the shackles of 21st-Century corporate slavery and hoist yourself out of whatever Hell on Earth you’re currently inhabiting.

And who could ever forget Wanted’s boss-of-the-year Janice??


Those movies were funny precisely because they create a pretty accurate–and horrifying–picture of what office life can be like.  

Be a cowboy rather than a cubicle monkey—this is your chance at independence. This is living; not just surviving.

And despite common public opinion, day traders don’t need to sit at home. You can be pretty much anywhere (and you can usually afford to be anywhere).  

Download a cheat sheet of this post.

And if you’re your own boss, you can take as many ‘lunch’ breaks as you like, with no one to answer to:


And if you are at home, you can even feel free to work in your pajamas.

So what’s the difference between a day job and day trading?

Learning Curve

Both day jobs and day trading include a learning curve, but while a day job has structured learning that is likely broad in scope and tailored for the masses, learning for day trading is self-paced, allowing you to pick and choose what is relevant to you based on your trading goals, and based on your existing skillset.  While a day job will confine you to a rigid training structure, day trading allows you to learn as quickly or as slowly as you would like.


Similar to anything of value, both day jobs and day trading will require a lot of your time.  The main difference here is flexibility. Most day jobs have a set number of hours per week—not to mention that you must work the specific hours your employer requested—whether or not it’s convenient for you.  For day trading, you can trade anytime during normal trading hours.  And you can fit in your prep work and any other training hours anytime your heart desires.  If you are a day trader and you want to put in 10 hours a week, you can put in 10 hours a week.  If next week you have higher goals and want to spend 40 hours trading, then you can do that.  If you want to take a day off, go for it—you don’t need permission from your supervisor.


Money is not only the foundation of freedom, it’s also what buys you time in a day. As a day-trader, you cannot only make money, but you can have time to spend it, too. All time is YOURS and belongs to no one else. No-one breathing down your neck and calculating how much time you’ve spent sitting at your desk.  

As for compensation, day traders are compensated based on results—not time.  Very UNLIKE any day job, with the exception of sales which are often paid by commission. What this means for the day trader is that you can make a big trade at 9:30 in the morning, and take the rest of the day and chill in front of the pool.  Or do your grocery shopping. Or run your third youngest to soccer practice and your oldest to basketball. You get the idea.  You aren’t required to spend any particularly amount of time doing any particular task.  You do your job—and you’re done when you say you’re done.

Taxes, etc

The difference between day trading and a day job when it comes to taxes is that as a day trader, you’ll have to pay your own taxes, instead of having an employer pay part of it.  No worries, though.  This means that as a day trader, you’re in control of all aspects of your business—including your taxes.  Hire an accountant if it seems too confusing, but unlike an employee, day traders have a few more options when it comes to how to handle your taxes.

Of course, it’s important for day traders to recognize the tendency for work-from-homers to trade one form of slavery for another. Instead, you should make some money, and then enjoy that money. Don’t become your own slave-driver.

Further Reading: Finding & Vetting The Best Day Trading Tax Software

Is Day Trading Right For you?

Well, that depends.  Are you disciplined? The same reason you’ll love day-trading—profit and flexibility—is the very thing that gets many people into trouble. We caution Average Joe about dropping everything to become a day-trader without also being disciplined enough to view this as a business rather than just a playground.  

If you feel you are disciplined enough to put in the time and effort required to learn how the market works, how to read charts, and what strategies work for you?  

If you feel that you are qualified and are interested in hanging up your day job and becoming a successful day trader, read on.

First Steps

  • Find a solid mentor. Use others’ successes and failures to your advantage. Find a mentor (who is successful, and who has proven his or her success) and learn everything you can from them.
  • Do your homework. You can’t skip this step.  So many day traders think that after they open up a trading account that they’re good to go, but successful traders will tell you that there was a steep learning curve involved, and they had to invest much time into reading, watching videos, following patterns, and interacting with other traders on chat boards—BEFORE they started making trades.  And the learning doesn’t stop when you begin to trade.  There is a lot of information that you’ll need to keep up with on an ongoing basis, and there is always room to learn more.  The more you learn, the better you will become.
  • Learn from the really good traders—pick a few successful traders to follow on Twitter, profit.ly, and other trading message boards. There is no excuse not to use this tool that is available to absolutely anyone.
  • Plan your exit strategy. If you are considering trading in your day job to become a day trader, don’t just wake up one morning and not show up to work.  Don’t burn bridges, and don’t shirk responsibilities.  Plan your exit carefully.  Make sure you have saved up enough money to trade with, as well as to sustain yourself during the learning curve.  Ideally, you should begin your learning curve before quitting your day job.
  • Be patient. Don’t panic if your first few trades are disasters.  Ideally, it’s wise to begin with paper trading.  If you’re not that patient, it’s important to just keep in the back of your mind that you WILL fail a few times in the beginning, and that’s just a necessary learning process. 

Why We Like Day Trading

  1. Nothing beats being your own boss, setting your own hours, setting your own goals, and feeling like a king when you’ve hit them.
  2. There are few greater thrills than winning big on a single trade in the stock market, even when you lose, trading is akin to intellectual gambling, and is still a rush.
  3. High reward. Unlike a day job, the opportunities for a day trader are endless.  There is no limit.  No salary cap.  No 1.5% raise for you to look forward to at the end of the year, or that $200 Christmas bonus.  Just endless opportunities where the sky is the limit.
  4. Now is a great time to take advantage of the technological trading revolution. Today’s day trader doesn’t have to go it alone. There are numerous online resources to assist you, and in today’s trading environment you will have access to veteran traders that will help you to cut your learning time dramatically.
  5. 90% of traders lose, and that’s a fact—but if you can swing landing yourself in that elite 10%, you’ll have a shot at making big money, and have the knowledge that you are one of only a few.
  6. Keep more of your money. If you felt so inclined, you could set up your trading account through an IRA, which will allow you to keep more of the money you earn in your own pocket. Yes, this means that you can’t access your money until you’re near retirement age, but it does mean that you’ll get to keep much more of your profits.

We’re sure that we didn’t cover all the benefits of trading, but if you really want to make a trade—trade up, to a new life. It’s as risky as you allow it to be. Nothing good in life comes without risk, but be smart about it. Jump into this new life with the tools you need to do it right—and understand that like anything worthwhile, it requires hard work, patience and ambition.

In the end, your time will be worth a lot more.