Despite what many on social media will have you believe, there are many stages to go through if you want to become a successful trader. It is not as easy as reading a few books, watching a few videos, being given a strategy that has a ‘’high hit rate and is easy to follow’’, fund an account and then away you go on your path to success. In fact, it is because many are sold these dreams and unrealistic expectations, that leads many retail traders to fail. As they have not approached trading in the right manner. Trading is a skill that needs to be developed, and like any new skill or profession, it takes time, and there are stages you have to go through to reach a point where you can be successful. 
Think it: 
All good things start with a thought. Therefore the first stage of becoming a successful trader is to think it. Have the thought that becoming a trader is something that you would like to do. 
Almost everything we do in life we are taught by someone else. Our parents, our siblings, our teachers, our mentors, and even the YouTube videos we watch on how to do an odd job around the house, is information being given to us by someone else. Whenever we start a new job, we have someone assigned to us to ‘show us the ropes.’ 
Getting the right education in trading is essential for your long-term success. If you do not have the right education, it will be almost impossible to achieve your trading goals. 
Too many educators concentrate on strategy. The secret to long-term success in trading is in educating and understanding the risks involved and how to manage those risks responsibly. You will also need education on how to manage your emotions in trading to stop them from hijacking your decision-making process during your trading sessions. Yes, you need to learn a strategy and build a plan, but unless you have the correct risk strategies in place and the emotional intelligence to follow this plan you will ultimately be fighting an uphill battle. 
A successful trader does not always mean they are also a good teacher. It is important to do some due diligence and pick an education provider that has a track record of educating traders. I have taken many trading courses over the years, and the best ones by far are from traders that do not use flash cars and fancy holidays in their promotional material. The best by far, are the ones that give you the information that you NEED. 
So the 2nd stage is to choose an appropriate education provider. 
You now have the thought and the desire to learn to trade. You have chosen an educational provider that you feel comfortable with. The 3rd stage is developing your skills. 
This should initially be done in a Demo environment, whereby you are not committing large sums of money into the markets. Yes, as some will tell you, it is true that it will not prepare you fully for live trading, due to the limitations on the emotional responses you will feel. However, when you start trading you lack the skills to take on a marketplace that is full of career professionals. You will make mistakes, which will ultimately cost you money and set you back on your path. To some, It can also cause irreparable emotional issues, that stop them in their tracks before they have even really got started. 
It is important to exercise patience and work in a Demo environment to develop the necessary skills to take forward. 

‘’Focus on the process of trading before you focus on the profits’’ 

Whilst you are developing your skills, you need to analyse your performance. If you do not analyse your performance – how do you know when you are ready to go live? 
This can be done through trade journaling and should incorporate a variety of metrics to measure your performance. 
You need to make sure that your trade plan has an edge, a positive expectancy that if followed consistently will make money over time. 
Only once you have achieved consistency in the execution of your trade plan, and demonstrated a clear understanding of your risk strategies and the discipline to follow them, can you move on to the next stage. 
Go Live: 
This is the stage that everyone wants to start at, and too many education providers tell their students to start here. But only once you have completed the first 4 stages successfully are you truly ready to fund an account and go live. 
As mentioned before, this is where your emotions will come into play. If you have chosen a good education provider, you will already have been working on your mindset to give you a head start on this stage. 
However, it is still important to only commit a portion of your funds to your account. This is because you will need to gradually work your way into live trading and go through parts of stage 3 again, where you are developing skills that can only be done in a live environment. 
As you continue to develop your skills in a Live environment, you will need to continue with the 4th stage – analysis. 
You need to analyse your performance to make sure you are creating consistency in your mindset, performance, and execution of your trade plan and risk management strategies. 
Only once you have demonstrated consistency at each level can you move onto the final stage towards achieving your success as a trader 
So you are now showing that you have a trading plan that has an edge, as well as the fact you have developed the skills, mindset, and discipline to follow that plan to make money consistently from the markets. 
You are now ready to progress towards your ultimate goals. 
This should also be done in a gradual manner and you should continue to go back to the other stages as you continue along the final stage of your path to success – progression. 
This is where you compound your account (the idea that you use your profits to increase your account size to be able to make more money from the market in a responsible manner). You can add further funds to your live account, or maybe even look to funding programmes now that you have an established track record, and can demonstrate your consistency and skill sets as a trader. 
This may be a slow process depending on where you are financially and where you want to get too – but you have proven you have what it takes, as long as you continue on the same principles, to achieve your success as a trader. 
Now go and Make It Happen. 
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