As someone who has tried out for multiple funded futures trader programs the last year and had relatively good success (funded by 3 of 4, and kept 2 of those funded accounts) I like to think I have a few tips I can pass on to someone brand new to the scene.
These programs may seem easy on the surface, but the reality is only about 5% of those taking the funded futures trading evaluations pass and keep a funded account. There are quite a few rules to stay on top of, and biggest of all is managing ourselves and our emotions.
Let’s get to 5 tips from the Canadian Futures Trader that hopefully will help you. Believe me, these lessons are all ones that I learned the hard way.
Take Your Time
Sounds simple right? The reality is when you see the criteria of “trade a minimum of 10 days” most of take that as “I’m going to pass in 10 days and not 1 day more”. 10 days (or 15 in some) is the MINIMUM days, not maximum. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, rushing to finish as quickly as possible.
Keep in mind most evaluations have a monthly fee. Still with approximately 22 trading days in a month, you have ample time to pass and not incur a second months billing.
Take days off. Step away if things aren’t going well. It’s amazing what a nights sleep can do for resetting your mentality. I’ve had days where I felt like I had no hope at passing only to put a $3,000 winning day up the following day. Fortunes can turn quick if you give yourself the opportunity.
Regardless of how many contracts you are allowed to trade, those are the maximum not the minimum to trade. You can trade a 1 lot all day long if you like. Is it pretty hard to meet a $9,000 goal trading 1 lot? Sure is. But even if its just for your first day or 2, ease into things. If this is your very first trader evaluation believe me, they can go sour quick. When you are paying the rest fee and cursing that big trade you just yolo’d on, you’ll wish you didn’t go full force for 12 lots into a trade that got out of hand real fast.
Overall my strategy is the first few days build up a nice little balance trading smaller size. Now you have a buffer if you do have a bad day. For example say your goal is $9,000 in a $100K evaluation. Days 1 through 3 you make $2,500 in profit. Great, now if you have a losing day, you’re still ahead from where you started.
Less Trades, More Wins
It took me a long time to get into this mode. Now this again is just my recommendation, you can do whatever you like.
When I first started trading I wanted to trade as much as I could. I loved sitting there trading away, feeling like I was really in control of my destiny. The problem is when you start out you aren’t exactly the best trader on earth regardless of how you feel about yourself. And while you may have some nice winners, you’ll probably take some losers also.
After sitting there for 5+ hours with ups and downs over and over, you could well be ahead on gross profit, but you made so many trades your commissions more than ate that profit up. I’ve done it myself, I’ve seen others do it. A $2,000 gross profit day ends up being a $200 net profit day because there were so many trades involved.
Then at some point I realized that while its fun to trade, it’s not profitable to go on trade-a-thons. Now I go quite the opposite. If i can get 1 good trade to start, that’s it, done. If you watch my YouTube videos you’ve probably seen this. I’ve had days where I had 1 $300 winner and called it quits, I’ve had days where I had 1 $3,000+ winner and called it quits.
Commissions don’t eat you up, you end the day up from the previous day, you freed up the majority of your day to do other things, even if they are trading related like study, reading, listening to podcasts, etc.
Have A Pre-Trading Routine
Some people do lots of market prep, that’s part of their pre trading routine. Not me. I scalp, I don’t really care what the market did yesterday, what it did overnight, what it did 10 minutes ago. I’m a price action depth of market scalper, so no pre market prep is going to help me.
I still have a pre trading routine though. I have a list. It’s in my phone and/or on my computer using a Notes app. What is on such sage advice list you may ask? Basically a summary of everything that’s really, really important for me to drill into my head on a daily basis because I still make stupid mistakes. But if I read this list, sometimes I’ll be hovering my mouse over a trade entry, and something from that list will flash in my brain, and I’ll stop myself.
Something like “is this a premium set up”, “am I trading because I’m bored?”, “Be a sniper, pick off high probability winners”. It’s these type of things that are on my list. It’s about 20 bullet points long. I’m not sharing it because I think everyone should develop your own list. Call it a list, call it a really long mantra, call it a morning reminder. All I know is reading that list every day puts me in the right spot to trade how I should be trading.
I know it may sound hokey, but I’m telling you there will be a point when you are on tilt because you just had a bad trade or maybe a few, and you are hovering your mouse over your next bad decision entry, and one of those bullet points from your list will come in your head, and maybe just maybe it’ll stop you. I know it has for me.
Develop Your Own Trading Style (And Don’t Copy Others)
It’s almost sad the amount of traders I see in different forums or groups who are looking for someone to just copy. They want to be spoon fed what trades to take. I can 100% guarantee you this is not a recipe for success. Honestly, what’s your long term plan? Just copy other traders? Do you really deep down think this will lead to long term success? Is there any fulfillment in that?
Master trading. Develop the skills. Enjoy the process. Explore different trading styles. Find what works best for you and appeals to you. Master that, tweak it, refine it. It’s a long process. When you are taking trades because you have a method you’ve developed and refined you will feel far more fulfilled, and not only that if it doesn’t work you will be the one to know why.
My recommendation – hard stop, hard no on “trading gurus”. Don’t pay a dime for any trading course. Don’t pay for a special indicator. Don’t pay for a chat room with some “expert”. They are making money selling all these things, they aren’t making money trading.
Use me as your case study, I learned everything I know for free from YouTube. Everything. I then put it in practice, refined it, developed my own style. All the things I typed 1 paragraph ago. There is no shortcut to success. Don’t believe me? Circle back in a month or 2 and revisit this. Maybe it’ll resonate then.
Funded futures trading evaluations are can be passed. I’m living proof, I’ve passed several. There’s a lot of trip wires along the way, so if you can navigate them carefully you will be rewarded with a funded futures trading account. Believe me, it’s a great sense of accomplishment when you do pass.
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Futures and forex trading contains substantial risk and is not for every investor. An investor could potentially lose all or more than the initial investment. Risk capital is money that can be lost without jeopardizing ones’ financial security or life style. Only risk capital should be used for trading and only those with sufficient risk capital should consider trading. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.
Hypothetical Performance Disclosure:
Hypothetical performance results have many inherent limitations, some of which are described below. No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profits or losses similar to those shown; in fact, there are frequently sharp differences between hypothetical performance results and the actual results subsequently achieved by any particular trading program. One of the limitations of hypothetical performance results is that they are generally prepared with the benefit of hindsight. In addition, hypothetical trading does not involve financial risk, and no hypothetical trading record can completely account for the impact of financial risk of actual trading. for example, the ability to withstand losses or to adhere to a particular trading program in spite of trading losses are material points which can also adversely affect actual trading results. There are numerous other factors related to the markets in general or to the implementation of any specific trading program which cannot be fully accounted for in the preparation of hypothetical performance results and all which can adversely affect trading results.
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