Our style of trading is very much a lifestyle choice. It fits in with life rather than life fitting in with trading.Sylvia Marshall
Experienced businesswoman Sylvia Marshall is the founder of the Zero to a Million Club, an organisation that aims to teach women to become independent traders, with considerable success – so far this year, every member has made a return of over 20 per cent.
An active trader herself who follows the same trading principles she shows her students, Marshall was named Best Female Trader by trading platform Axitrader in 2017 and is currently posting a personal trading profit of over 150 per cent for 2019.
My trading life
If I look at my trading week, my trading workday is Sunday. We tell everyone in the club to do their analysis after the markets close on the Friday. But most of us tend to do this on Sunday.
So for me Sunday is very much an analysis day, setting up what I want to do for the week. Then in the evenings during the week, just before the markets close, I spend literally just half an hour placing trades, and that’s it.
Our style of trading is very much a lifestyle choice. It fits in with life rather than life fitting in with trading. Most of our members have a day job, or are retired with a busy social life. So for them it’s an ideal, and the least stressful, way to trade.
For me, my style of trading lets me do other things I want to do – running my businesses, doing my speaking engagements, and mentoring other traders and small business owners, which I love. I get my kicks from seeing other people change their lives and I couldn’t do that without my trading, which gives me an income but isn’t time-dependent.
Sunday is typically a late morning. I get up at about 10 o’clock and have a few gallons of coffee and some gorgeous pastries at the local coffee shop with my other half.
Next I read the paper, take the dog for a walk, and do what I call “the household horrors”, like the hoovering and the washing.
In the afternoon, probably around 2pm-3pm when the sport starts on the television and the other half is glued to that, I’ll go off and do my trading.
I do this in my study. I think that’s quite important. I have a sign on the door that says “Trading” or “Not Trading”, and when the door’s shut and it’s “Trading” - enter at your peril! You can’t work on your trading if you’re going to be distracted. You have to be in the zone, with no pets, children or partners, and just do it.
In there I’m identifying trades or potential trades that meet the very strict rules that we trade by and getting those on to a watchlist. I then grade the trades on my watchlist into those I really like, those I don’t actually like but are on my list as I don’t like not to trade, and those in the middle that are stepping up.
I’ll have my watchlist from the previous week, and I’ll be adding things to it, taking things off, and looking for those trades that don’t meet my rules yet but are about to find a fair wind.
One of the other things that happens is that I do an analysis of the wins and the losses of the previous week. I make sure I’ve abided by my rules and that I haven’t had a mad moment anywhere – or if I have, I check what I’ve done and why I’ve done it.
One of the big reasons for doing this on a Sunday is that the market isn’t open so you’re not distracted. What I find is that if I try to do an analysis when the market is open, it will tease me, saying “I’m going up”, or “I’m going down”, when actually it’s not doing that at all.
The time passes very quickly if you actually enjoy trading, which I do. It’s not a chore. Sometimes when putting my watchlist together I’ll surprise myself. I’ll think, “I didn’t know that was going to happen.” But then I remind myself that I actually don’t know anything about what the market’s going to do and I need to take my guidance from the charts.
What’s important is to get into the zone, look at the charts, prepare your watchlist, make sure you’re avidly sticking to the rules – and then your half hour of trading every day is really just pressing a button.
I work until around 5pm or 6pm. Then it’s generally time for a glass of wine or two.
Probably at about 7pm we’ll have some dinner. Then I’ll just chill out for the evening, and start thinking about going back to work on Monday…