“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” . My first 6 Months at a Prop Firm
Here is a recap on my first 6-12 months trading full time at the Prop firm.
For some context, I came from a non financial background. I had my own relatively successful construction company and was trading FX pairs at nights, learning all I could about macro economics and all that drove FX markets. I traded around news and key economic data events using technical levels as entries, but all based around central bank sentiment and the relevant data that may change or coincide with that countries central banks stance toward monetary policy and interest rates.
After about 2 yrs trading a very small account, basically with the sole purpose of learning but not trading a demo account, I finally decided that the only way I was going to make this a career was to get into professional trading. I learned about what Prop trading was from listening to the audio book One Good Trade from SMB Capitals Mike Bellafiore, and decided this is the world in which I wanted to live. I managed to pass the 4 week selection process and was offered a Futures Trainee Trader position at the firm. The firm had some of the biggest individual traders in the country. Traders trading volumes and size that would compete with institutions. A room full of very successful, seasoned traders excited the hell out of me! However, days before starting, I was advised that there was an opportunity to move to ASX equities (I had no idea about equities really), as the Futures Trainee Program was on hold for a short period. I had moved to Sydney for the position trading futures, so I didn't really have much of a choice. I looked at the much more favorable market hours as some decent upside and I accepted the change, and ran with it.
I Had next to no experience in the stock market. I was used to macro events, CPI figures, Non Farm Payrolls, things like that. Now i was going to need to look at individual stocks, and their pro's and cons, safe to say I quickly realised I was in for a very steep learning curve.
I decided I needed to learn a lot in a short space of time, so I did all I could. I would arrive at the office at around 4-5am, go through charts, read news, look at past moves in stocks and do as much research on stocks and the market as I could. I would finish up in the office around 12am-1am, catch the bus home, sleep for about 2-3hrs, get up, and do it all again. I did every single day for a good six - ten months. Trading was a dream of mine and the notion of me not, (for the lack of a better word) "Making" it, was just not an option.
Observing my hard work, in early 2015 I was soon lucky enough to be accepted by an amazing day trader at the firm as my one on one mentor. He was a very humble trader, who traded order flow, mainly scalped and traded momentum. This type of trading was basically the opposite to what I had been working so hard on, but I was all ears, and eager to learn. I was not naive enough to think I could be the best I could be without a mentor, especially one of his caliber.
His mentorship was more of a mate help mate approach, letting me trade, make my mistakes, feel the pain but learn the lessons of losing, all the while showing me things that I didn't know existed. Having him show me the smallest of things sometimes, about something he had observed the depth of market could totally open my eyes up to what was really driving the prices of a stock at that point in time. At no time did he say, "this is a buy" or "this is a sell" it was all about letting me do my thing, and when I asked for help, he was there to add his views on the matter. By doing this, he taught me how to THINK like a trader, which is where I believe my edge does and always will lay.
Reminiscing about this time, on a P&L basis I never really had any draw downs and I had decent consistency. I believe this was because I worked my ass off, and through that hard work was taken on to be mentored by this amazing trader.
I found trading a challenge more than "Hard" and it was more about learning than making money in these early days. I was lucky, as I had the Prop Firm to lean on. I had a great support network, a wealth of successful traders to brain pick, but most of all I had a hard working, never stop learning attitude.
Stats and stocks below for the my first 6 month period, trading small size and learning the markets.