For a Vermonter, living in New York City was exciting for a while. My path from studying architecture and environmentally sustainable design in college had lead me to Chelsea, where I was working in a design firm for four years. But as the classic story goes, the nine-to-five drone was exhausting and repetitive, and I started having doubts about where my life was heading. I wasn’t feeling that I had the career potential that I needed at the job I was working. I wasn’t feeling excited to go there every morning, and I wasn’t feeling challenged.
In 2008, my mutual fund investments were losing money, and I began to explore the idea of trading that money myself. I eventually moved back home to Vermont and reduced my living costs enough to open a trading account. I had learned about the stock market in school, but hadn’t until this point really envisioned myself trading the market. This was new and exciting to me, and gave me the opportunity to do something that was stimulating and put my mind to work in ways that my life in New York hadn’t done for a while.
First starting off trading was not a easy job. I had some big losses during the first 18 months, but was determined to figure it out. I tracked what I was doing, writing down every trade that I made. Within my second year, things were finally starting to come together. I looked at all the data I had and began to really be able to analyze the market and my own patterns. I started to develop strategies that suited my own trading style and that would actually make me profitable from the trades I took.
Making it as a trader means you have to take it head-on. As I learned, trading is something that requires practice and experience. Many traders enter the marketing expecting to start making money right off the bat. This is why most traders fail like I did in my first year and a half—they don’t give themselves the proper amount of time to learn.
All the time spent learning to trade will be given back to you and multiplied. One of the best parts about being a trader is that you don’t have to work 10 hours a day to make a great living. Most day traders focus just on the first couple of hours that the market is open, and then go on to do whatever else they want.
I personally start my day at about 8:30am scanning stock charts and looking for what I want to trade at the open. After I trade the morning (when most of the volume and volatility happens), I’m done trading for the day. This makes trading a great opportunity for people who are looking for a secondary source of income to supplement their salary.
With trading, you even have the freedom to work where you want. If there is a good internet connection, I can work from anywhere in the world. So whether I’m vacationing in the Caribbean or just visiting family a state away, I can still be making money while enjoying life.
As a trader, I learned that you can earn as much as you are willing to push yourself for, as long as you don’t lose sight of your training. My own confidence continues to grow with each day that I trade, which allows me to take larger position sizes. Financial freedom is something that most people wish for but are denied and instead given a reality where it seems out of reach. Having achieved this freedom has drastically improved my way of life and has allowed me the opportunity to spend more time with my family and doing the things I love to do like teaching, sailing, gardening, and playing tennis.
Deciding to be a trader was the hardest and the best decision I’ve ever made. Leaving behind a secure but monotonous job where I could count on a paycheck was difficult and stressful. But succeeding at trading was something I really wanted. Drive, dedication, and discipline are so underestimated in trading, and perhaps in life in general. Skills can be learned, and strategies can be taught. With enough drive, dedication, and discipline, any challenge can be met.
Ross Cameron is a full-time day trader and owner of Warrior Trading, which he founded in 2012 when he further challenged himself to extend his trading knowledge to others in the trading community. You can also find out more about his strategies by reading his best-selling book How to Day Trade.