The Reality of Day Trading
In many recent interviews with academy teachers, such as Tim Sykes and Cameron Fous, we received a growing number of requests from students regarding interviews with real traders who weren’t marketers. Although there is nothing wrong with marketing your trading success, there is also a bit of bias information out there as everyone competes to say their system holds the most weight and makes the most money. While this is a conversation for another time, we agreed to look for a legitimate trader who had made money as well as lost money, and had no more than 3 years of experience. This allowed us to locate Jeff Kanoff, a young middle-class guy who always wanted to transition from his nice and comfortable six-figure job into trading full time, but was met with a bit of opposition trying everything in the book with very little success. We chose to interview him as his experience with trading is what we believe to be the most common, and yet the least talked about. Trading is like a real profession and has nothing to do with entrepreneurship, yet it shares elements that make it seem like owning a business. It requires self-motivation and the constant attention of its owner as bad mistakes can cost you big. No different than a real business, it also requires the ability to self-educate yourself and understand how the markets work rather than just picking stocks based on newsletters you receive in your inbox. In this interview, Jeff talks about various companies and methods he has used to learn; we have made sure to not add affiliate links as we cannot endorse or discredit any programs unless we have personally interacted with it. Our goal was to discuss the reality of trading, rather than to focus on the glamour of its rewards when mastered as mastery always takes 5 to 10 years – even if many people want you to believe that mastery occurs overnight.
1. What made you get into trading? What were you doing before?
I was in pharmaceuticals sales and it really wasn’t something I was into. I was making good money but it was not challenging. I didn’t enjoy sitting there talking to people face to face all day long and trying to sell them pharmaceutical products over and over again. Trading sounded like a good opportunity to make better money without taking on another job. I was a skeptical at first because every time you bring up the word “trading”, people are like, “Oh I know somebody,” and all you hear is either a horror story or a success story. I was kind of up in the air about it but I took the leap of faith back in 2012. When I began, I still kept my job. I was still able to maintain an income while I was getting started. I was told, “Yeah, you can make a quick buck. You can make easy money.” As time went on, especially in the first year, I realized it’s a much more difficult business than people try to make it out to be. It required comittment and time like anything else in life.
2. How did you begin?
I didn’t have much direction or guidance when I started. I got into trading by listening to people – I would hear people talking about finances and watching MSNBC and other news channels sitting there discussing trading. I always heard about it but I never had any understanding so I started doing some research to find guidance with possibly trying to make some money off the markets.
The first year was a big struggle for me. I opened up my account and I wasn’t even sure how to begin. I began by trading equities. Trying to go back and forth with Trade Station was such a pain. I tried to get into different trading rooms online. Most felt like they were just throwing information at me while I was trying to keep up. They would teach me 20 different patterns and it wouldn’t work for me. That led me to begin Googling different trading chat rooms while I was in other rooms. The last one I was in was a trading room where you can ask a question but if they didn’t like the response, they would pretty much shut you out. It got very frustrating. As I sat there losing money, I realized I was paying somebody to help me and they were pretty much telling me to go f*&^ myself – in a nice way that is.
Last year, I began talking to different traders throughout the rooms that I was in and a few mentioned Live Traders. I did some research and joined the room so it was kind of just luck of the draw. Live Traders were just much more responsive in helping me. I explored a lot of different online trading rooms and it helped me get better. It’s nice to have somebody to answer a question if you needed some help. I began to understand what the stock market was about.
3. Can you describe some of the obstacles you’ve experienced financially?
My first year was very inconsistent, profit wise. It was quite the learning curve. I didn’t have any support as I had decided to do it all on my own. I didn’t get the support I needed until the end of my second year. In my first year I believed I was doing better than I actually was but what made me feel that way was that I still had income from my previous job so any money earned seemed like a bonus at this point. I became more consistent during my second year but it was still very up and down. I didn’t experience the stress of relying primarily on trading to pay my bills. The psychological weight of it in the last two years has been much heavier than it was the first two years because I was supplementing my income with trading.
My minimum profit averaged $2,000-$3,000 a month and eventually raised to averages of $5,000-$6,000 a month. That’s when I decided to speak with my other job and told them that I’d eventually be leaving. After about eight months of holding consistent average profits, I started working part-time for them and they weren’t really having that. Within a year of consistency with trading, I left that job and now I work from home every single day. The last couple of years, I’ve become very consistent with trading so I was able to cover all my bills and build a savings. My focus is to put as much away as possible. In the first year, I thought the smartest thing was stay between a $100 to $200 risk because I heard from a lot of people that had lost over $1,000, $2,000. I initially started with $10,000, so I figured $100 to $200 would be minor if I did lose money.
In the first six months, I probably lost $1,000 to $2,000. After taking some different courses, I wasn’t losing money around the end of my first year but I wasn’t making any money. It was getting a little frustrating throughout the second year when I received similar results. After taking the Live trader PTS course, things changed a bit. I went from breaking even to slightly profitable and then something clicked. I understood that it had to do more with the psychology of trading and understanding the volumes of trading, which I never really paid much attention to before. Volume has such a big impact in trading and no one really explained that to me until I got to Live Traders. How to enter trades and how volume spikes can be beneficial. Understanding volume, the psychology of trading and how to reach for a certain profit.
The truth is, if the trade is not showing me that profit is available, I may let a trade go and just collect a smaller bit of profit from it instead of trying to hit a runner for five hours of my time. Instead of being stubborn and thinking I have to be right all the time, I had to understand the psychology of it. I would just take a half hour profit and call it a trade then move on to the next one. It’s also logic. I think what I came to realize is that the most difficult part of trading is the emotional control and I never put that much weight into the psychology aspect of it until I discovered Live Traders. They told me to read some psychology books. I asked a million questions. Since then, it just kind of clicked. The last couple of years have been an experience. I couldn’t ask for much more at 31 years of age.
4. What is your current financial status today and what do your days consist of?
This past year, I’ve made about $80,000. With the discipline that Live Traders has taught me, I’ve learned that when I’m comfortable, I’m normally between $400-$500 risk with any given day. If I’m having a good day of $2,000 in profit, I’ll just call it a day. That can happen in the first 45 minutes to an hour of trading. I’m on the West coast. The market opens up at 6:30am, sometimes I’ll be done at 7:30 or 8am. I’ll make breakfast and then go golfing. Other days, I’ll stay at it for four or five hours. If the market slows down and the room is sitting around saying “This has just been a bumpy day and there’s minimal opportunity,” after four hours of being in the market, I’ll just call it a day.
At other times, I’ll go ahead and trade until the market is closed. Primarily, I’m working anywhere from 2-4 hours. It’s part-time but I turn it into a full-time situation by studying. When I first joined Live Traders and I was trying to learn from their course, I kept my head in the books every single day. As I became a lot more consistent, the information became engrained into my brain from just rereading the same exact stuff over and over and over again.
5. Can you walk us through your experience interacting with Live Trader?
I went on Google and try to find reviews of Live Traders after I reviewed their site and it seemed that they are more honest than most of rooms I’ve been in. What I mean by that is I’ve been in some rooms where, every single day, they are making $10,000, $20,000, $50,000. I’d sit there, just scratching my head trying to follow the trades that they supposedly said are real. By the end of the day, I’m still just breaking even. I’d ask, “What the hell is going on here?” and never get an answer.
Researching Live Traders, a lot of the reviews were stating how they trade as what their name is – “Live Trader”. It created much more trust for me knowing that they do have their own break even days like normal people. However, every single day that isn’t, they are not making random millions. It looked real and honest.
I joined one of their rooms which was $150/month. I began interacting with Anmol but I tried to chat with anyone I was able to. I figured that the more information I received, the more I was going to learn and profit from. I just started asking a lot of questions to Anmol, and Jared. I specifically took to Jared and he started guiding me in so many ways. He would answer a question and I would write the information down. I have a notebook to keep myself on track. Jared would say, “If you’re not profitable, don’t raise your risk.” Logically, it makes sense when I say that to somebody. When you’re in the moment of trading, you get wound up in your emotions and might make that very mistake. I have that booklet full of hundreds of pages of things I’ve learned and they make up very specific guidelines I follow.
Those guidelines helped me minimize my losses and find more consistency with my profits. Being in the room, everyone is pretty down to earth. Collectively, they are pretty receptive and have helped me even if I needed an answer immediately. I wasn’t setting the world quite on fire in the first couple of months, by my standards, but I was noticing a change in my trading.
Live Traders kept me pushing forward in so many different ways. A lot of it had to do with emotional control and things I was never taught before reaching them. Things such as order entry, the importance of certain volume spikes, route of strength and route of weakness.
6. You jumped into this with no experience compared to those who followed the markets before taking that leap. What made you choose to start your journey using chatrooms over joining someone pennystock guy or a forex marketer?
I think that was the transparency. I came from a room where they were making a killing every single day, $10,000, $20,000, $50,000 – similar to that pennystock guy. He was killing it and it I had a bad taste in my mouth from a previous room. I researched those forex and pennystock guy. I know a little bit about them but I felt that there was a lot of charades in their trading. Not saying them, specifically. I was looking for something I could relate to on a better scale. When I found Live Traders, I would watch them trading live every single day. For me, it was hard to fathom making $50,000 -$100,000 every single day or even week. I’ve never made that much money. Hopefully one day I will. I think it was just easier for me to connect to a room that seemed more on my level like something I could actually accomplish. If I could make $2,000 a month, great. A $200 risk making $2,000 a month then I would just have to up my risk to $500 and then I would make 2.5 times that. This was my thought process. At the time, my account wasn’t that large anyway and those profits seemed completely out of reach.
Some of the rooms I found tried to charge $300, $400, $500 depending which way you’re trying to go. With the smaller size of my account, my main focus was not to lose money. One thing I kept in my mind were all the horror stories, “I know a friend that lost a lot of money.” I had a lot of fear that I had to get over when I first came began. Even the cost of a trading room or spending $2,000 on learning was a lot to me.
7. What was the attraction to trading? Was it the lifestyle or was it the money?
The lifestyle of being your own boss and the freedom that comes along with it. I didn’t quite realize it at that time that being your own boss, you have to fix every single problem every single day. You lose $500. Well, you need to fix that. You’re not there to lose money and I didn’t quite understand that because I’ve always had a boss to worry about it instead of me. The lifestyle and having freedom was also a big attraction. I like to travel a lot and I don’t have kids. Eventually, I will. Now, I spend time on the east west coasts. I have family on both sides. I can bring a laptop and a second monitor and try to make some money while I’m on vacation. It’s kind of hard to beat that.
8. Have you had any trouble from other traders?
The room I spoke of earlier where I was paying to receive help. They were making $50,000 a day and I was losing $500 by the end of the month because I had a small risk. I was losing money and they were not willing to help me. Yet, supposedly, I was also taking their trades even though I was still not profiting. I would ask a question and have to repeat the same question two more times while they would put me to the side. They would shove me aside because the knowledge they were giving me wasn’t consistent. They were not helping me find a breakthrough of, “Well Jeff, this is why this is happening.”
When I found Jared, he said to me, “Jeff, you’re overtrading. You are revenge trading,” and it was a big hindrance for me. I wasn’t controlling my emotions. I’ve been in different trading rooms they would treat me like a number. They only cared about getting paid, there wasn’t anything personal involved. They didn’t care that my name was Jeff or that I was struggling trading. They only cared that I was paying them every single month for a room. I asked them specific questions about their trades but it wasn’t working how they said it would.
The results weren’t backing up what they were saying. I would try to corner them at certain times because I was so frustrated. It’s okay to lose money but by the end of the month, I was there to make profit. They would not give me the answer that I needed so they would just shove me away while I was trying to dissect what they are doing from a genuine standpoint. Well, the end result felt like they didn’t give a shit. That’s probably why I went through four more rooms before I met Anmol, and Jared in Live Traders.
I felt like I was being scammed. They should be helping me, not hindering me. If they were profiting off of me, they would be helping me out hand over fist. Since they only cared about taking money from me, they got my money and I was put at the back of the line. I wasn’t a student. Normally, you want your students to do well. From what I hear, a lot of rooms are like that. I was told in the first month that I was going to be highly successful. When I began struggling a little bit, I became another number to them.
The market can be a difficult place to make money. A lot of the hedge funds, they are not idiots. They hire very intelligent people who you’ll be up against. The market is full of sharks. It’s full of people who are trying to take your money in various ways. I learned that the hard way. Jared opened my eyes specifically with the PTS course and simply having conversations with him. Using the logic that should be discussed, explaining to me that the market is difficult. He reminded me that every day is not going to be a perfect day and that I was ultimately there to make money.
Someone is buying and someone is selling. You want to be the person selling for a profit. You don’t want to be getting stumped out all the time. People are there to take your money. You have to hold that in your perspective at all times. I somewhat understood that ideology but not until Jared really drove it into my head over and over and over again. For my situation, the proof is in the pudding.
9. What is your total profit to date? Did it meet your expectations when you first started?
To date, approximately $110,000-$115,000. Possibly 90%+ of that has come since I’ve been with Live Traders. This is a collection of my overall trading career in the last 3.5-4 years. Taking into consideration that the first year was a very rocky road and the second year was a semi rocky road. The last two years were very good. However, my profits have absolutely blown up in the last year. Since I’ve began on Live Traders, I haven’t had a single losing month. When I first started Live Traders, I was at $200-$300 risk as I was not consistent. Now, I’m upwards of $500-$600 risk. I’ll have some $8,000 months and $10,000 months along with $3,000 months as well. Hopefully by the end of the year, I will be about $1,000 risk. I would go to $1,000 risk right now and just double profits. Emotionally, I’m not sure if I’ll quite be able to handle it yet. In guidance from Jared, close to $600 risk and possibly next month or in two months, I’ll try $700 risk. Trading, like everything else, takes time. People misunderstand that concept. People will try to feed you unrealistic goals, “Oh yeah, you’re going to make $200,000 your first year.” Well, my first year wasn’t even close to that. It was about $200,000 short.
10. If you were to advise a new person who, just like you, was intrigued about being their own boss and making their own money, what would you tell them?
I would say the first step is being diligent. Conduct your research on different trading rooms and trading tactics. Find out what you want to be involved in and don’t put the cart before the horse. Take your time. Trading is great when you’re successful at it. It is one of the best things in the world, in my opinion. However, understand that you aren’t trading the day before you started and you’re not going to learn everything overnight. The charts will take time. Keep your head in the books. Stay focused. It can be difficult to stay disciplined when you have your emotions pulling you in various directions. Understand the risk of losing $500 or $5,000. We’re not used to that and it can really weigh heavy on the psyche.
Listen closely to whoever is teaching you. They are trying to help you. Take your ego out of the equation because it is going to take a beating. You’re going to be wrong a lot. You won’t want to be wrong, but it comes down to making money and if you want to be a successful trader, do your own diligence. Find a trading room like Live Traders. It opened my eyes to so many different opportunities with trading. Find someone that can assist you but not hold your hand. You’re learning for yourself and you will only lose your own money. Listen to everything they say. Don’t take it with a grain of salt. Write it down and reread it every single day. When you get up in the morning, reread what you’re having a difficult time with. If you’re not sure what you’re having a difficult time with, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The truth is, it’s only going to benefit you and if you’re not sure why you keep losing money, keep asking for help. If you find the perfect pattern, print that pattern out and put it on your wall in front of your desk.
Above all, remember that you need to help yourself out. Do yourself a favor and purchase a course because you’re going to find yourself going in circles. The market is full of sharks so be diligent. The courses are expensive but there’s a reason why they cost that much. You will receive a lot of valid information and if you listen to your instructor along with the knowledge coming from that course, your chances of success will dwarf probable failures.
We hope you enjoyed this inside look into the reality of trading and have a better understanding that trading like everything else in life takes work. Regardless that you want to focus on trading, forex, penny stocks or any variance of trading, you must understand that simply following a newsletter or stock picks will never actually get you to the point of having a self sustained career as a trader. It requires discipline above all, starting with the discipline of self education.