A little history. I came up with next to nothing. Most everyone I went to school with either died in there 20s or went to prison. I have failed much more than I’ve succeeded. I’ve worked in the Oilfield all my life. Its a demanding occupation. On call 24/7, working 60 hrs a week is normal, working 60-100 hrs a week for more weeks than I can count. I’ve had many 60-90 days straight and 108 days straight is the record without a day off. I have started 4 oilfield service businesses. 3 did not make it past 5 years.
I shared that history for context. When I say I worked hard, you will understand what that means to me. When I say I didn’t quit, you will understand that I have never quit anything. Sure I have admitted defeat and lost many battles, felt completely beaten and destroyed physically, mentally, emotionally, but I have not lost the war. And yes, to me, being married for 27 years to the same person, raising 6 kids, running 4 businesses with totaling over 60 people and their families and their kids, in a world that wants to take everything from you, is a war….
Make no mistake, the stock market is just another battle in the war. In fact, its one of the toughest battles I’ve ever fought. Not physically of course, but mentally, emotionally and financially. You just click a couple of buttons and poof, your money is gone?!? WTF is that?
Starting a business can be very expensive. Very risky. Very scary. Maybe I did it wrong, maybe I was just poor, a dreamer, but the first businesses I started, took everything I had to start it. I got $150K in debt and put everything on the line including my house. For the first year it was just straight survival mode. If your fortunate enough to make it past the first year your doing better than 90% of the people that try (sound familiar?). Year 2-5 was still survival mode with transition into growth mode. Plan was to reinvest every dime into growth with the big picture in mind. The homerun coming somewhere after year 5.
I killed it in every way. I survived year 1. I stuck to the plan. I reinvested every dime into growth, and I mean every dime. revenue was doubling every year (so were expenses). 175K yr 1, 350K yr 2, 790K yr 3, 1.8 mil yr 4. I was 30 years old with a thriving business, living the dream. Well if you consider living the dream not taking a vacation in 4 years, working 100+hrs a week, watching your family grow up without you cuz your never home, being responsible for 28 employees and their families, watching everyone make money off of you and your ideas besides you because your “reinvesting in growth for that home run” after 5 years. That’s right, living the dream…
Then literally 4 years and 8 months in business, the bottom falls out of the oilfield. Oil and natural gas prices are crashing. All the production companies stop drilling, stop spending, instant survival mode. 75% revenue gone in a 3 month period. Yes that’s right 75%. I’m sure you are starting to see how I will tie all this into trading soon. Long story short. I ended up closing the doors and selling everything. Decided to take up a new trade that wasn’t so dependent on a commodity price.
Now lets tie this back into trading. The big mistakes(lessons) I made(learned).
1a) If your starting a business, do it with something you know and understand. I didn’t just jump out and start a business. I mastered the craft first. I sought out the best in the business and I went to work for them until I felt they had nothing else to teach me, then on to the next. Understand that these were the best of the best. Highly respected in the industry and I was going to be competing with them if I wanted to chase my dreams.
1b) Get educated. You cant learn trading at a university and if you could, it sure wouldn’t be free, so when you do get good free material, be grateful, respectful and let them know you appreciate it. There is lots of great free material out there, here are some of my favorites:
Quick tip: read EVERY single word in the blogs….
read 1a again. Yes I am suggesting that you learn from not just one trader, but every one of them you think has something they can teach you. Don’t get caught up in the hype of this or that. Just go to there you tube channels, watch there videos and spend money on the ones that you think have something to teach you. Its that simple. I don’t care what anyone says, I don’t need a verification website to tell me if someone is legit or not, if their PnL is real or not, I don’t care! All I wanna know is, is there a nugget or two I can get from them, and, are they going to be my competition when I’m trading. If I feel they will be actual competition, then I wanna learn from them, period…. listen to Tim Grittani http://tradetheticker.blogspot.com/ https://twitter.com/kroyrunner89 you don’t wanna be buying his short sells… Know your competition
2a) It is possible to double your revenue annually, if you can survive long enough, it is inevitable, you will be a millionaire, just do the math. But you have to protect your capital. Without it, you are done.
2b) Be realistic here. It is very possible to double your capital or more in a year. but the lesson I think is to be realistic. You have to reinvest some of it, or all of it if you like. If you come in with realistic goals you will have celebrations along the way of reaching or surpassing the goals. No where in this story is there a lesson on getting rich quick and swimming in pools of cash. I’ll leave that for the kids. Also, keep this in mind when searching out people to learn from. There is no such thing as getting rich quick…
3a) Pay yourself along the way. I had every opportunity to pay off everything I owned, and save quite a bit along the way. But I chose to hold for the homerun and it cost me.
3b) Pay yourself along the way in a trade. I don’t really wanna explain what it does for you. Just do it for the next 10 trades, no matter what the voices are telling you, and see for yourself what it does. Pay yourself along the way with your capital. I don’t have a number in mind here. All I’m saying is withdraw some and enjoy, or pay things off, while you build your account.
4a) Diversify. I had everything hanging on a couple of commodity prices
4b) Lots of ways to apply this lesson. Diversify your trading setup. Don’t rely on one setup. Yes its great advice to find one and only one that is working for you, to build confidence and capital, and focus on it. But that doesn’t mean forever. As soon as you can add another without affecting the first, do it. Your going to want to build to a place where you have at least 1 long and 1 short setup with small caps, and the same with large caps. I know large caps are to pricey and you can only buy 100 shares, but check the range, all things are relative. Better yet, you can trade options on them, with a cash account, NO PDT, funds settle T+1 so your cash is available overnight. Options can be very complicated. They can also be VERY simple. Options Trading will simply compliment your stock trading and make you a better trader.
Here’s a quote from one of my earlier blog posts, “Being a great short seller will make you a better long buyer. Being a great long buyer will make you a better short seller.” Stick with one setup of each and master them both. Then expand your tool box. The same goes for options. Understanding how to sell options will make you a great buyer, understanding how to buy options will make you a great seller. I have enough “A List” setups, that not a day goes by that i don’t find a trade. If your experiencing a slow market and cant find a setup, it might be time to get more tools in that box.
Never stop learning. When small caps are hot pop and drops are plentiful and shorts are killing it. Then we get a multiple float rotation long. Stubborn shorts are blowing up. Not stubborn shorts are cutting losses. But the well rounded trader is always trying to be non-directional biased recognizing a float rotation. Getting long here pays very well. Then Crickets… small cap land is zzz zzz zzz. It must be earnings season for large caps. Killer range long and short. Trend trading, counter trend, reversals… you get the picture. Point I wanna make is, don’t get stuck in this mindset that there is only one way to make money. We hear it a lot on twitter, “stick to your niche”, well my niche is small caps, long and short, large caps long and short, options long and short, and this market is smoking hot EVERY SINGLE DAY!