I hate trading. I have made a living from it. I have traded full-time. It gave me the opportunity for the ultimate lifestyle of money, family and freedom. It freed me from bosses, customers, meetings and water coolers. Sounds horrible right?
I do however love trading systems. I love the process of solving a puzzle and applying it to a trading system. I love the research, the numbers, the testing, the programming and the innovation. It’s just the application of it that does nothing for me.
In an article I wrote in 2011 on figuring out if your position size is too large, I got something completely and utterly wrong:
… it took me that long to realize that my issue was not trading style, it was recognizing physical signs of my emotional weaknesses when it came to taking the plunge. It first hit me when I recognized that each time I tested a method I had developed that seemed to work, I would immediately leave the screen for a break. I did this for years, like I was scared of coming to the end of my system development path. On reflection, this was a sign of fear …
It was not fear that had me stepping away once a system was ready to go, hell I day-traded a $5K account full time with a family to support. I seem to shake off fear (and intelligence) ok. I just didn’t like the act of trading. Sit, watch, click, watch, tweet, watch, YouTube.
What to do when you hate trading
So what do you do when you know trading can provide you what you want, yet you hate doing it?
You could quit, but then the clear path to the life you desire vanishes in an instant.
You could soldier on, grab a straw and suck it up, but then you are just joining the masses of other ‘stuck in a rut’ workers, just on your own, with declining social skills.
Instead, why not treat your trading system as a mini-business with you the founder and CEO. The entrepreneur space is flooded with advice on how to ensure you are running the business rather than the business running you. In trading the fundamentals can be the same.
A hypothetical trading mini-business
Assuming you have a system you know works, you know how to trade it, how can you remove yourself from the process as much as possible?
- Business Plan – Before anything writing your trading system out is the most important. Entry, Exit (especially exit), Money management, Philosophy. It is even more important when it comes to:
- Automation– Some systems open themselves to complete automation. Others in part. Don’t worry if you are not a programmer, you can hire a programmer to automate your system from $7/hr. That’s around $1000 a year for a full time programmer who’s sole purpose is to make you much more than that. Jump on some freelance boards and find brilliant programmers from all over the world at ridiculous prices. Scott Welsh did a great podcast on what automated robots can do recently on The Traders Podcast.
- Staffing up– If you have more than one system going, this is even more important. Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) to track your system. Document entries, exits, market activity, news from the day that effected your trades. Anything that is relevant to your system and it’s performance. Perhaps your system missed a trade it was supposed to take, your VA can research, watch and log why. These types of VA’s are even cheaper than the programmers, starting around $4/hr and above or around $600/yr. Heck my accountant costs me $500 per return. Someone like Chris Ducker, who I met in the Philippines in my recent move there can find you some ridiculously talented people that could do all this for you. They don’t even need to know about trading, in fact it might best they don’t. What about bookkeeping, taxes, filtering emails? There is someone out there who can handle all of this for you for a fraction of what you would expect.
- Market research– Have another idea for a system but don’t have the time? Hire a researcher short term to do it for you, again for a price that won’t put a dent in any type of decent trading system. Ask your programmer to prototype it up for you. Get your virtual accountant to determine the tax implications. Whatever. In the age of the global marketplace, for relatively little you can remove yourself from your trading business just like the “cool kids” in the entrepreneurial space.
Before you know it you have a team with the sole purpose of finding ways to make you money and you are no longer a trader, but a CEO of your trading business.
Just because you hate trading, doesn’t mean you can’t trade for a living.