5 Tips to Close the Gap Between Professionals and Retailers | by Xander | January 2024

Take it as a trade

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I knew a guy – let’s call him Jack – who killed it at a prop shop I joined in London in the spring of 2011. A few months after I started, Jack decided to quit; he can handle it all by himself, he thought. A few months later, Jack stepped onto the floor again – his confidence shaken, but he was happy to sit down. And although he started performing again from day 1, he just couldn’t make it as a retailer.

There are many such stories.

Being a successful professional trader is no guarantee of success as a retail trader. The pros only realize all the advantages they had after they leave the trading floor.

Which one, you ask?

A regular source of income for starters.

If you trade with a hedge fund, bank, or legitimate prop house, you get paid. This will take a huge amount of stress off your shoulders.

The first difference between a professional trader and a retail trader is so obvious, but everyone misses it. A professional trader is an employee and a retailer is an entrepreneur. The latter is infinitely more difficult.

As an entrepreneur, you live, breathe and dream about your business. Every second, every day.

Your mind runs from payslips to invoices and you just take a break to think about how the economic downturn will affect you.

As an employee at a trading firm, you hate your boss, that broken Excel spreadsheet, that broker you should be friends with, and why on earth that trade didn’t go as expected.

But once you leave the office, you go on with your life. You have outsourced all the issues related to running the business. Someone else is taking care of it; you are just an operator.

Your boss will ensure that your strategy is in line with the philosophy of the company. The risk department oversees your exposure; must be in accordance with the recommended guidelines. The research team will keep you at the top of your game. The desk guys even bring you lunch so you can focus (at least we had some at my company.)

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