At Topstep, we've funded more than 3,000 traders over the past 7 years. That's a whole lot of live capital we've given to a whole bunch of amazing people.
It's also more than 3,000 stories. Not to get all sentimental, but one of the best parts of this job is getting to sit down with our traders and learn what they're thinking.
Here are some of the most insightful things they have told us:
Charles B. from Idaho
"Everybody loves the bounty of the harvest, or scoring the goal, but I became much more consistent when I became more focused on the build-up play."
With over three years in a Funded Account, Charles B. from Idaho is one of our longest tenured funded traders. You don't develop that sort of resilience without knowing a thing or two about patience and preparation.
One common thread among many of our successful traders it that they enjoy all phases of the trading game, not just the paycheck. If practice and research are not things that you find particularly interesting, chances are the markets will eat you alive.
You can read more about Charles and his story here.
Gabriel F. from Spain
"Understand that you have to end up being comfortable in uncertainty and have to accept losses as part of the process."
Earlier this year, we introduced you to Gabriel F. from Spain who got off to an absolutely blistering start in his Funded Account (which we breakdown in detail in this blog post). Not surprisingly, Gabriel embraces a rather "zen" interpretation of the markets.
Make no mistake, you cannot control the outcome of your trades. But you can put yourself in the best place to succeed. Even great traders have losing days, and it's impossible to know exactly when or how they will occur.
You need to learn to take the "sweet with the sour" so to speak — keep a level head and move on to the next trade.
Gavin F. from Illinois
"Trading is a performance skill, like swimming. You can't learn swimming by just reading a book and watching videos—you've got to swim."
There are a lot of books out there about trading. Some of them are good, while many of them are complete trash. One thing that they all have in common is that they won't make you a better trader in isolation. The market will always be your best teacher.
This is not to say that you should set your personal finance library on fire and start launching orders through the market. That would be... well, completely insane. But as Gavin F. explains, you shouldn't expect to grow as a trader without "doing."
Test your ideas in a simulator, or with significantly reduced sized. After all, things that seem great in theory might not work in practice. The only way to find out is by getting your feet wet.
Yose D. from the Dominican Republic
"Trading is not about making a lot of money. Trading is about controlling the bad days."
Good gravy. You think you've heard every piece of trading advice out there and then you stumble upon a pearl of wisdom like this: trading is about controlling your bad days.
It's not the small losses that will kill you, it's the giant loss that usually comes at the precise moment you stop acting rationally and cease to see money as a real commodity that can be exchanged for goods and services.
Mike Tyson once said that, "everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Well, guess what? As a trader, this is when you need to be at your best. Set your stop losses, stay true to your risk management rules, and for the love of God — don't lose a whole month of profits trying to catch a falling knife.
Kevin M. from Australia
"Just enjoy your journey trading... always set goals and work hard. Don't give up, and I do believe you will be successful."
Whether you're trading futures or forex, the basic mechanics are the same. Supply and demand meet at a magical point called price. Some people find profiting off the movements in price to be rather enjoyable.
But you know what's a great thing about trading? If you don't like it, you don't have to do it. Seriously, if you are not enjoying your trading journey, maybe the industry just isn't for you. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But if you do love it, you need to commit to improvement. Market conditions are always changing and you don't want to get left behind. This is the real "journey" of trading. And if you enjoy the journey, we too think that you will likely find success.
If you enjoyed hearing these stories, subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest interviews with TopstepTrader users. And if what you saw here intrigued you, find out more about how to get your own Funded Account with us.