Yesterday, I wrote an article about the Challenges of a New Trading Business and the typical conversations that go on inside our heads as we begin our new trading business — day by day.
While working from home can be great, we should not only look at the positives but also the negatives (also known as pros and cons). By identifying the Challenges of a New Trading Business, we become aware of the pitfalls and can implement techniques to overcome them, in advance.
Common obstacles for any work-at-home person include:
Separating family from work
Staying focused on work
Working too much because we get bored at home
Feeling isolated or lonely (no more networking by the coffee machine)
Lack of a steady paycheck
Challenges of a New Trading Business
Notice on Day 1, my son comes in and interrupts me, after all I am at home and he feels that I am more accessible and can stop and chit-chat with him anytime. Probably somewhere along the way of planning, I actually told him one reason I wanted to work at home was so I could spend more time with him.
Then on Day 3, I knew that I should not trade but I was bored. I am use to working twelve hours or more on any given day. I love what I do and why not do it as much as possible? The result is Day 4 — I am already tired before I even begin. This causes me to forget checking for market reports and it cost me the profits I built up on Day 2. While I could perform, I was not at my best.
Of course, after suffering a major loss, I then begin to question my entries, which then causes me to lose money because I wait for the entries to prove themselves. Only after the setup proves itself, do I decide to trust my setup, which then causes a loss because the trend is over. Then I begin to beat myself up mentally. And, having no one to vent with, only compounds the barrage of negative thoughts. Of course, having to tell my husband that I made no money for the week isn’t going to be easy either. He was hoping that my income would help pay bills.
By Day 5, I’m toast. I lack the self-discipline to even try and take a trade. I don’t even want to look at my charts. Not only am I dealing with the struggle of having a negative week, but I have no one to talk to. I feel alone and scared. I know there is a potential argument looming with my spouse over losing money, I can’t focus and I feel so stupid for even thinking this can work.
Most of these issues could have been avoided, if we had planned.
First, we must set guidelines. When I am working, then my family should be understand that I need to focus on my work. This means that during specified hours, I may not be available to my son or other family members, unless it is a true emergency. And, my son wanting the latest pair of sneakers is NOT an emergency. Perhaps, simply hanging a DO NOT DISTURB sign would do the trick. This way if I am not trading, they would know and could come in and catch a few extra moments with me.
Second, a frank discussion with my spouse explaining the pros and cons of a running my own “at-home” business would take the pressure off. My spouse needs to understand that as a business owner, I have no guaranteed paycheck. We need to be able to exist without my steady paycheck. Even great traders have months where they do not make money. Do we have sufficient funds to cover expenses during these times? Trading with the stress of having to pay bills from a trading account will cause me to take trades that do not qualify. Plus, I need his support and should not be worrying over arguing with him because I couldn’t perform. Worrying over a potential argument, takes my focus away from focusing on my trade setups.
Third, try to find an online support group for traders. Finding others that face the same frustrations and problems you face will help build your own confidence and allow you to express “industry specific” issues — issues of how to handle the negative thoughts, how to deal with boredom, and even failure to pull the trigger. Just be able to vent is extremely helpful and knowing that you are not alone with these unique issues will help. Luckily our new website will offer a support forum for all our members to discuss these issues and more.
Fourth, set a weekly schedule for your new trading business. Although this can be the same hours every day, you also have the flexibility to set your own hours based on the market reports. Devote an hour or two on Saturday or Sunday to plan your upcoming week. Set-up alarms using your phone to alert you 15 minutes prior to a market report. This way even if you get “caught up” in the moment, your alarm will warn you of the upcoming report. Instead of just rolling out of bed and grabbing coffee, structure in time for your normal morning routine and breaks throughout the day. Add time for reviewing your entry and exit criteria and practicing your price action skills. Adding structure and alarms is vital to any business, including trading.
Fifth, realize that you still need to balance your new trading business and family life. Yes, your office is always accessible but that does not mean you should use your work to fill your hours of boredom. Remember one of the reasons you wanted to work at home was to have more time for family, friends, and doing the things you enjoy. Your trading business is not your hobby and should not be designed to circumvent your boredom. Instead, find other ways to fill your extra hours.
While working within the structure of a business office, these issues are typically absent. And, although a trading business is very unique in so many ways, it is also very much like any other “at-home business” endeavor. The issues that are addressed in setting up a new trading business, are issues that every “work-at-home” business owner faces. Again, it is adding the structure and identifying the issues ahead of time that allows us to plan for success.