You’ve probably heard of Wall Street where people have made a fortune trading the financial markets. You may have also watched successful movies and TV series like Wolf of Wall Street and Billions in which traders are portrayed as charismatic, larger than life individuals living a flamboyant existence. While the industry is highly glamorised in the media, it is possible to become a successful global markets trader—especially with a tried and tested strategy.

The question is: how can you get started and improve those all-important trading skills?

Passion for the markets

To become a successful teacher, you need to have a passion for teaching. To become a successful pilot, you need to be passionate about planes and flying. Equally, to become a successful trader, you need to be passionate about the financial markets. This is because as a trader, you will spend most of your time watching financial media, reading financial news and interpreting financial and economic data. If you are not passionate about these, you will not enjoy your life as a trader.

Learning to trade

If you have a passion for the markets, take time to learn as much as you can. Fortunately, you don’t need to have a background in finance or economics to succeed. You also don’t need to attend a course on trading to succeed. There are many books on trading that you can buy, videos you can watch, and training websites you can use.

Learning will help you understand how the currencies and CFD markets work, how to select a good broker, how to initiate and exit trades, how to conduct analysis, and how to manage risks as you trade.

In the market, it is possible to make money trading online. It is also possible to lose all your hard-earned money as a trader. For this reason, you should not be in a hurry to cover everything about trading. Instead, you should take your time to understand the basics. Learn about how other traders have made it and how others have failed.

As you learn, it is also recommended that you use a demo account from a reputable broker. This account allows you to use virtual money with real-time data and practice your trading. You should spend a few months trading with the demo account before you move to a live account.

Develop a strategy

In the hedge fund industry, managers use diverse strategies. Some use algorithmic trading strategies while others use arbitrage and long-short strategies. Also, ones are known for making short-term trades while others are known for their long-term view.

Similarly, as a trader, you need to develop a trading strategy that will help you to make profitable trades. To develop such a strategy, you must identify the markets which you want to specialise in. You can decide to be a currencies trader focusing on major currencies like EUR/USD and USD/JPY or you may decide to focus on minor currencies like USD/ZAR and USD/TRY.

You should then determine the timeframe you want to specialise in. If you want to be a day trader, you should focus on shorter-term timeframes between 5 minutes and 1 hour. If you want to be a swing trader, you should use hourly and daily charts to perform your analysis and if you want to be a longer-timeframe trader, you should use longer-timeframe charts.

It’s then important to identify entry and exit triggers. To do this, think about specific criteria that must be met for you to open buy or sell positions. For example, the criterion for a buy trade could be when the currency pair reaches the lower band of the Bollinger Bands and when the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is below 25. Spend a lot of time developing and testing different scenarios.

Next, it is recommended that you define your risk appetite and create a risk management plan. This is because you might be an excellent trader but fail if you don’t manage your risks properly. A good way to do this is to create a rule on the maximum amount of money you are ready to lose per trade. For starters, a common number is 2%. This means that if you have a $1,000 account, you will risk $20 per trade. As you advance and become a better trader, you will adjust your risk appetite based on your performance track record.

Select a broker

To trade the currencies and CFD market, you need to have a broker who provides liquidity, quotes, and other tools. A good broker should be registered and regulated by industry observers. The most popular regulators are CySEC (Cyprus), FCA (United Kingdom), and ESMA (European Union). Using an unregulated broker will expose you to unnecessary risks.

The broker should also be cost-efficient. Opt for one that charges no commissions per trade, and one that offers tight spreads per trade. Other qualities of a good broker are the customer service, the deposit and withdrawal methods available and the additional tools they offer.

Soft skills to succeed

Other than technical skills, you will need a few soft skills to succeed as a trader.

  • You need to be disciplined. Good discipline will help you initiate trades when your criterion is met. It will also help you manage your risk well and prevent huge losses.

  • You should create a trading journal that lists all your trades and the reasons for initiating and exiting them.

  • You should keep learning and trying new ideas.

  • You should always stay out of the market if you have doubts.

  • Don’t overtrade.

Let’s draw out a conclusion

It is possible to make money trading online but it takes a lot of time and works to succeed. As a newbie, you should be ready to take the long route described in this article. Along the way, you will make mistakes but if you follow the rules and learn from your mistakes, trading will become a lifestyle.