How long does it take to become a successful consistant day trader?


Active member
111 0
Just wondering from the guys and gals out there who are "Day Trading for a Living" how long it took to get to that stage.

Presumably you were in a full time job before which wouldnt have aloud you to watch/trade the markets all day (unless your an IT contractor).

So how long was it from giving up the job to being a consistantly profitable day trader.

Are you trading the same instrument/s you started out with using the same indicators or has it developed into something completely different.

I'm an IT contractor who decided at the start of this year to have a go at day trading as the IT contract market was quiet.

I'm still day trading now but struggling to get any consistancy but I know its what I want and that I can do it, but how long do I give it.


Active member
229 2
The "average" is supposed to be about 3 yrs, according to mkt wizards traders, some people much shorter, some longer or never. To say you can do it in 6 months is definaetly hope over reality.

Personally , took me 2 yrs in stocks and about 3 yrs in futures (some overlap doing both)


330 5
I think 3-5 years is about right. It took me a year of losing money, a year of breaking even, and now my third year I am making money. Doesn't mean I'm consistent, of course. Will only know that in the future.


8,655 981
The answer is about 8 hours if you believe the likes of Darren and Vince.



Senior member
2,879 22
I think you know pretty quickly if you're going to make it or not. It can be learnt but discipline is the key.
You must feel comfortable hitting that button.


Junior member
16 1
I too was an IT contractor - got fed up with it and started trading full time just over two years ago.

Initially started trading actual shares - knew no different. First year was a total disaster. Eventually moved on to spread betting and CFD trading which has made the second year profitable although it has not exactly paid all of the bills.

I have stuck to trading the UK market. I tend to day/swing trade FT100 stocks only now - fed up with the spreads on many of the other stocks.

I used to trade mainly on indicators (RSI, Williams, Bollinger ...). Although I still scan for likely candidates end of day and also like to glance at the indicators prior to entering a trade I now favour simple intra-day price action for entry/exit points in combination with trend lines, median lines and pivots. I am quite a fan of candlestick analysis.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time writing my own EOD and more recently real-time scanning/charting software. At least I can see exactly what is going on in the market now - even if I still don't always make the right decisions !


Legendary member
5,167 749
Could Do Better

Well - I thought I had the hang of it until this week when I managed to be in the red most days on Dax and Dow Futures.

Looking at my notes I see that each loss was down to jumping on a trend near it's end, instead of patiently waiting for support/res lines to break etc. which would give me a nearby stop loss exit point.

jumping on a trend some time after it's initiation gives the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing where the safety net is.

All this due to walking away from the computer at various times - and I only have to sit there for 3 hours !

Must resolve to do better next week.



8,655 981

If say you had been profitable on all of these trades this week do you think it may have given you negative re-inforcement ? ie that your trading was all OK and it would be fine to carry in this way in the future ?

Also you have clearly analysed your losing trades so do you do the same with all of your profitable ones as well ?



Legendary member
5,167 749
Could Do Better

Yes Paul,
It would have installed a false sense of confidence if I had been "lucky."

Profitable trades have come from stalking price action - by sitting there watching each bar unfold. I usually keep a higher time frame open for the bigger picture.

Even marking higher highs/ lower Lows etc would work, I feel , if you sit and watch and ruthlessly chop trades that fail to move the right way within a stop loss range. Types of price bar shapes (length, position of open/close - all give clues)

At least it gives a framework for entering/exiting trades.

So - must do better next week



7 0
Considering you have started to get comfortable with your trading methods/tools and risk management limits after a year or two - regardless of trading equities/futures..

What would you be expecting to make on a capital investment of

(A) £15k

(B) £25k

(C) £50k

(D) £100k or more?

Infact, what is your average capital investment :cheesy:


Active member
128 0

I found the dax very difficult this week. Could'nt see any decent opportunities all week...................sometimes the market is lousy it's not always possible to get it right.

Go easy on yourself !


233 0
what time frames are you measuring returns on ?

I assume 1 year , in which case my answer would be :

anything up to 50 K : about 2-4 X my risk capital

100K : 2-3 X

what about you ?


7 0
Seems reasonable, but as I'm currently trading an account of around £25k, I would expect better returns for a larger account between £50-100k (something I may increase my capital pot by releasing some assets I have in property)..again with a larger account I would expect the returns on 6 months, unlike my current situation where I set returns annually !

What is the take of other members?
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