Day Trading for a Living

Guide to Day Trading for a Living

8 min read

Many traders aim to learn how to do day trading for a living. The idea of making $100,000 – $200,000+ per year from home is very alluring. Day trading is buying and selling a stock on the same day. You can hold a stock for a couple of hours or sell it within minutes or even seconds. Day trading can be a profitable game.

On the other hand, it can also be dangerous if you’re unprepared. Make a well-thought-out plan, then stick to it. There is always an underlying theme when people lose and do not stick to their plans.

It takes more than knowing the basics of trading. You also need to know news and events that would affect stocks. When you’re learning how to do day trading, make a list of stocks. Follow those stocks. Research them and watch them each day.

Keep yourself informed of the happenings with your stock watch list. Watch how news, economic outlook, and the Fed’s plans affect the prices of your stock watch list. is a great app for news, earnings, and economic outlook. Read our post reviewing the app.

Practicing in a simulated account is imperative when learning how to do day trading for a living. Using a paper trading account lets you make mistakes without the pain of losing a lot of money.

You’re learning what you did wrong to fix it next time. It teaches good entries and exits, technical analysis, patterns, etc. You learn to control your emotions.

Day trading for a living is emotional, especially if it’s your source of income. As a result, you want to ensure you’ve perfected your strategy. Making hundreds of practice trades before using real money would be best.

Thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade has a great simulated account you can use. Our great thinkorswim tutorial course teaches you how to set it up and use it. Read day trading books. Do whatever it takes to be educated. That’s day trading for beginners 101.

Day Trading for a Living

Start Small

When you’ve learned how to do day trading for a living, and you’ve practiced, start small. You don’t need a lot of money to trade. Never put your entire account into one trade. Only use money you’re willing to lose. Most successful day traders only risk 1-2% of their account per trade.

Be prepared to lose. Traders fail. Even the most successful traders are only successful 50-60% of the time. Losing is ok. Cut your losses quickly. Many new traders will make a losing trade and hold on to it, hoping it’ll eventually turn into a winning one.

You can set a stop loss. A stop loss won’t let you stay in a stock that keeps falling. Another thing that’s good to know when making a trade is what kind of order you’ll use. The different types of orders can and will determine profit and loss. It all works hand in hand.

Stay Calm When Day Trading for a Living

Day trading can mess with your emotions. High-volume stocks move quickly. Never let fear, hope, or greed take over in that event. The market will test your nerves. That’s why you make a plan.

When you stick to your plan, you’ll cut any losses quickly. As you learn day trading for a living, you’ll see that you have to move fast. You don’t have to think fast because you’re prepared.

You have a day trading strategy. Now, be disciplined and follow it. Sticking to your plan might be the most important key to success if you plan to day trade for a living.

Day Trading Course Options Trading Course Futures Trading Course
DESCRIPTION Learn how to read penny stock charts, premarket preparation, target buy and sell zones, scan for stocks to trade, and get ready for live day trading action
Learn how to buy and sell options, assignment options, implement vertical spreads, and the most popular strategies, and prepare for live options trading How to read futures charts, margin requirements, learn the COT report, indicators, and the most popular trading strategies, and prepare for live futures trading

Why Do Most Trader Fail?

Why do most traders fail? They trade off emotions and don’t know candlestick patterns, the most important trading indicator. But it’s also important to realize that patterns still fail, and that’s why it’s important to manage your risk when trading.

Candlesticks and Patterns

Candlesticks are the name of the game. They provide a ton of insight into the psychology of other traders as well as direction. The stock market is a tug-of-war between buyers and sellers. As a result, candlesticks are formed.

Day trading for a living will require all-knowing candlesticks and patterns. Emotions move stocks and markets. This was something a 17th-century rice trader by the name of Homma realized. He decided a system was necessary to gauge emotions versus price movement.

As a result, candlesticks were invented. His system is one we still use today. Candlesticks by themselves tell a story. You can tell if traders feel bullish, bearish, or indecisive on the day. That can affect how you trade.

Group those candlesticks together, and you get patterns. Patterns can tell if a stock will reverse or continue its current trend. They break down, so get confirmation before jumping into a trade.

Both candlesticks and patterns form support and resistance. Support and resistance are the bread and butter of day trading for a living and trading in general. Pair that with technical analysis, and you can be pretty successful day trading for a living. We teach how to day trade in our trading rooms daily. 

Technical Indicators

Learning how to do day trading for a living is all about technical analysis. You’ve got your plan. Now, let the technicals tell you what to do. Everyone wants some day trading secrets so they can get rich quickly. There aren’t any.

Learning technical analysis tells you everything you need to know. For example, moving averages give you entry and exit strategies. The MACD tells you if a stock is bullish or bearish. The RSI tells you if the stock is oversold or overbought.

Charts don’t lie. You learn everything you need to know by reading the charts. Not to mention what the technicals tell you.

Final Thoughts: Day Trading for a Living

It’s important to realize learning how to do day trading for a living takes time, practice, and discipline. Many try and fail. However, taking the time to develop your strategy and practice gives you a chance to beat those odds. Set a max loss for the day. When you hit it, walk away. Don’t try to make it up. Don’t chase profits. Stick to your plan. 

If you need more help, take our day trading course.

Frequently Asked Questions

In February 2024, it was said that the average day trader makes around $97,000 a year. However, there was no context provided with that. What is their account size? How long have they been doing this? Those are things to consider because 90% of traders give up.

Making $100 a day is possible. However, you may need to have at least $5,000 in an account and have a well thought out trading plan that you stick to. 

Yes, you can live off being a day trader. But it isn't easy. There are good days and bad ones, which can be extremely stressful. 

The first two hours and the last two hours of the trading day are the best times to trade. Thus, a day trader works about two to four hours a day.

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