Everything you need to know before choosing trading as a full-time career

Generous returns in the post-Covid bull market created an illusion that trading generates easy income

Making consistent returns from markets requires knowledge and experience. Getty
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The money and freedom that comes from being a professional trader attract investors and speculators from all over the world.

It’s not surprising. Not only can you start trading at any point in your life, but you can also do it from anywhere you want. You could trade at home, from an exotic island, in a remote part of the woods, at a fancy spa, somewhere between shiny skyscrapers or wherever rocks your boat.

I won’t post any pictures of traders sitting in Bali, flashing a Rolex. There are plenty of such profiles on Instagram.

People usually start trading as a hobby. Who doesn’t dream of making a living doing what they enjoy? It applies to almost every hobby.

If you play poker, you dream of being a professional player, quitting your day job and travelling the world, maybe going all-in once in a while.

If you enjoy playing golf at the weekends with your friends, you’ve probably thought of how great it would be to play for a living, teeing off with Tiger Woods at the Augusta National.

Doing something you enjoy and getting paid for it is the ultimate career flex. As Mark Twain said: “Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Making a living by trading from home is the ultimate dream of every trader. That dream became a reality for many during the Covid-19 lockdown.

At the time, markets plunged, creating good trading opportunities. Millions of people gave it a try. For many, there wasn’t much of choice — they either watched Netflix, did yoga, baked bread or traded the markets.

After Covid-19, the markets experienced a bull run and many traders made serious money. That created the illusion that trading from home for a living was simple.

During a bull market, almost everybody makes money. It takes a bear market to reveal who is able to withstand the heat.

As famous investor Warren Buffett said: “Only when the tide goes out, do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

Thinking that you can trade professionally after surfing the post-pandemic bull market is a bit of a stretch. You need a lot of knowledge and experience to be a professional trader.

In 2020 and 2021, almost everything was going up. Most traders felt like King Midas, who was famous for turning everything he touched into gold.

The year 2022, instead, is showing us that trading is not easy. Even professional traders are struggling and most of them are at a loss year to date.

So, how hard is it to trade from home? It’s fairly easy, you just need an internet connection. How hard is it to pursue trading as a successful career? Well, that’s more complicated.

To make a career out of trading, you need to skillfully navigate through different markets, assets and cycles
Tomasz Wisniewski, Axiory Intelligence

Making consistent returns requires knowledge and experience, but it’s also very challenging from a psychological point of view.

Mastering your mind is the key to success, but novice traders constantly neglect the psychological factor. That’s because your mind and approach work differently when you trade with small sums as a hobby and when you have a secure, alternative source of income every month.

Things change when you trade for a living and have to make profits to pay the bills. That’s when the pressure builds.

If you want to make a career out of trading, you need to know to trade in all kinds of markets because buying when everything is gung-ho is not rocket science.

To make a career out of trading, you need to skillfully navigate through different markets, assets and cycles. This includes times of high inflation, deflation, quantitative easing, interest rate increases and cuts, wars and global pandemics.

You need to read books, watch tutorials and videos, and top it up with a trader’s psyche. That will make you ready for professional trading.

Tomasz Wisniewski is the director and chief executive of Axiory Intelligence

Updated: August 23, 2022, 1:10 PM