Expert Interview Series: Louise Bedford of The Trading Game on Getting Started as a Trader

Louise Bedford is a best-selling author of books on the sharemarket and director of The Trading Game, the No. 1 trading mentor program in the world.

Can you tell us about your background in trading? How did you get started?

It all started for me around 27 years ago. I went to a seminar about the sharemarket and I thought to myself – “It’s about time I took control”. Back then, I was a National Manager for a large Multinational company, and I was flying high. My professional ambitions had finally begun to come true. I started to trade alongside my job and then just a few short years later the unexpected happened.

Over the course of a few short months, I progressively lost the use of my arms through an unexplained tendon condition. I found that even simple tasks such as opening doors had become a painful struggle day to day. Dressing, driving and feeding had now become daily challenges. Because of this, I had to quit my terrific job.

Life was looking bleak indeed.

Actually, I’m completely understating the situation. I felt black most of the time, unable to picture my future and certain that the loss of the use of my arms meant that my hopes of becoming a mother had to be put aside.

As I did my endless physiotherapy lessons at the public pool, I found myself surrounded by people in a much worse condition than I was. Amputees, people with brain tumors, and people suffering the ravages of cancer – they all became my friends. We inspired each other, and didn’t allow excuses, as we struggled for freedom from our bodies that had let us down.

I dug deep, and was able to access a core of strength that I had always known was there – it’s just that it had seemed to desert me when I needed it most.

Then one day I told my accountant that I couldn’t work and that I was going to trade full time.

Well, you know how some people just want to kick you when you’re down? I’m guessing he was just that sort of guy because then I heard him try to smother a cackle.

He said: “You can’t be serious! Barely anyone makes it as a full-time trader. Barely anyone! Especially NOT YOU! Look at you – you can’t even type in your orders into the computer”.

Blam – that’s all it took. I got angry. Really angry.

I learned how to type with a pen in my mouth. It opened up a whole new world for me. I could trade shares online, and email my friends. It meant freedom!

Trading was a terrific diversion to the continual physiotherapist visits. Instead of being stuck at home and bored, trading allowed me to gain control over a major aspect of my life and provided a reason for getting out of bed in the morning.

Over the past few years I have had great improvement in the condition of my arms. Every day when I wake up and can move my arms, I feel a surge of joy run through my body. Today, I am a full-time active private trader and I am thankful that trading has eliminated the need for me to re-enter the corporate world. I’m also a full-time Mum to two fabulous kids who are benefiting from the time I’m now able to spend with them every single day.

I’ve gone on to author four best-selling books on the sharemarket, and provide a haven for my fellow traders where they can learn how to trade safely, and confidently, using technical analysis. I found that my degrees in Psychology and business helped, but really, this is a profession you can enter regardless of your educational background.

What is your approach to mentor traders? How is your approach different from other trading coaches?

I’ve been running our trading Mentor Program for the past 17 years, at www.tradinggame.com.au, in conjunction with best-selling author, Chris Tate.

Our Mentor Program is a repeat-for-free course, crammed into six thought-provoking months. It will provide you with the ability to turn your trading around, and give you everything you need to be a superb trader, across every time frame, and with every instrument, but where you trade your personal trading plan. It’s just like two experienced traders, sitting alongside you as you trade, leading you towards success and guiding you every step of the way.

We give you our personal secrets and tricks to help you can develop a fabulous lifestyle where you call the shots. You also will have a Trading Buddy for while you’re doing the course. The Trading Buddy project is one of the unsung benefits of the Program and we’ve never seen another course replicate this anywhere around the world.

What are the most important lessons you’ve had to learn as a trader?

  • If the instrument you are looking to trade is going up, buy it.
  • If the instrument you are looking to trade is going down, sell it.
  • Keep your position sizes small.
  • And, work on your own wealth mindset because your bank balance will never outgrow your level of personal development.

Where should those interested in trading, but with no experience, begin? What are the dos and don’ts for getting started in trading?

The sharemarket is an equal opportunity employer. It doesn’t care about your gender, background, age or any other aspect of your prior experience. The common thread between all of our traders is that the only schedule they want to answer to is one that they set for themselves. They want to call the shots in their own lives and make their mark. Some people reach this conclusion when they’re 20, and others may take a few decades more. It doesn’t matter – the end result is the same.

So, the first step is to work out why you want to trade. Traders with the clearest objectives are the ones who have the grit to stick this out.

Then, start by reading some books on technical analysis. I suggest my books – Trading Secrets and Charting Secrets and Chris Tate’s, The Art of Trading. That will get you started beautifully.

The truth of the matter is that independence freaks most people out.

The thought of standing up and taking responsibility for the birth and success of a trading business is terrifying and most will refuse to even entertain the thought. But I’ll tell you the truth: As scary as being independent is once you’ve tasted it, you’ll be hooked.

This, by the way, is why you should be careful who you talk to when you first start out. This is my somber warning to you.

You see, some of your current crop of friends won’t applaud your efforts. They’ll think you’re ape-crazy for daring to even consider there could be a different way of making money and providing the lifestyle you crave. They may even consciously or unconsciously sabotage your success and progress because when YOU succeed it kills their main excuse for not succeeding themselves. Most people believe success is about luck and magic.

However, you and I know the truth. When you dig in and actually do the work necessary to succeed, you’ll stomp all over their world view that “The Little Guy (or Girl) Can’t Win.”

What you’re doing will set you apart from the majority of people out there, hoping their lives will get better.

It’s fun. It’s thrilling. It’s scary (to begin with). However, once you settle into trading, it becomes methodical, mechanical and even boring. Weirdly, that’s the goal.

What are the benefits of working with a trading mentor? What do new traders need to know about this relationship?

If you had unlimited time, an unlimited budget and endless fascination about the markets, without much else happening in your life, then by all means – go it alone.

I did. When I started trading, I didn’t realize how much time and money I would have saved if I had have found a Mentor. It took me three years to break even. Three miserable, confusing, self-doubting, scary years.

I don’t want you to make the same aching mistakes that I made, and a Mentor can short cut the whole process for you. The only thing is, you need to find an experienced Mentor, or it might just be a case of the blind leading the blind.

The new traders who move the fastest from knowing nothing to being confident in the markets have a growth mindset. They don’t set limits on themselves, and they know that where they are now is only their first version of where they’ll ultimately end up.

What have you found are the most common mistakes or oversights traders make? What should they be doing differently? What are the risks of making these mistakes?

Get any group of traders together and you will notice that the novices tend to talk about indicators and charting patterns, whilst the professionals discuss trading psychology and money management. In the beginning, you’ll underestimate the importance of these two key areas.

Also, I suggest you treat trading as a business, not a hobby. A hobby is something you can put down and leave for long amounts of time. A business is something you’re committed to with all of your heart, your mind and your actions.

Most loss of wealth comes from carelessness. When you stray from your trading plan or don’t actually follow one, money dissolves.

Most creation of wealth comes from calculated effort.

The $100 note you’re holding will only multiply to become $1,000 if you revere it. Don’t let small amounts of money drip through your fingers. Treat it with respect and it will grow. Dribble it away and it will deplete.

What are the must-have tools or resources traders should be using? What are your go-to trading tools?

Why, candlestick charts of course! I couldn’t trade without candlestick charts, so if you haven’t yet been exposed to these little beauties, you’re in for a treat. Convert every one of your charts to a candlestick chart on your charting package, and watch them come alive.

What advice do you find yourself repeating to clients over and over?

Overhead resistance is your enemy: Have you heard about how they train fleas to perform in a flea circus? They keep the poor little guys in a shoebox for a couple of days. Every time they hit their head on the top of the box, it hurts, so they learn to jump to a height just under the lid. As a result, when the box is opened, the fleas never again try to jump any higher than the rim of the box. Callous, yet effective. They really need to form some sort of union, don’t they?

Shares are the same way. If they have kept hitting their head on over-head resistance in the past, unless they take some lessons from Superman and ‘break through resistance in a single bound – they’re likely to just keep dropping back down.

Trade breakouts, supported by heavy relative volume, past previous levels of resistance – or you will suffer the consequences.

Remember to Get Back In: Yes, it hurts when you get a hit in the markets. It can sting, not only your account, but also your ego. However, unless you learn to suck it up, you’ll stay out when the markets have begun to throw money around again.

Yes, it hurts, but get over it. Try again. Enter on your very next trading signal. Then you’ll be in the right place at the right time when the markets boom again.

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