The latest trader to face our Trader Dozen questions picked up the trading bug at just 18 whilst trying to prove to his dad he could make it in the business...
Etienne Crete is the living, breathing example of the trade and travel dream sold at numerous trading seminars and trading courses, however it didn’t come easy for him. Unlike many that have tried before him and since, Etienne refused to quit and now is able to fulfil his digital nomad dreams of trading and travelling for a living.
Etienne goes on to provide some of his thoughts on failure; the two things that helped turn his trading around, and what he’s picked up from interviewing successful traders on his Desire To Trade podcast.
Failing is part of the process to becoming a good trader. It’s very hard to stick to your trading plan if you never experienced what gambling is like.Etienne Crete
1. Can you please provide a brief background to your trading journey? Can you remember when and why you got into trading, what do you primarily trade, how do you trade etc.?
I began trading in 2013 when I turned 18. I had developed an interest for trading a few months earlier and decided to go with Forex as I had attended a beginner online workshop before. I wanted to prove to my dad (who had lost quite some money in the market) that I could do it. Turns out I wasn’t better than him at first, but I didn’t quit!
Over the next few years, I probably tried dozens of strategies, none of which I could stick to for very long…. But I eventually went on to study abroad for one semester, and that made me want to get more serious about “trading for a living” instead of just trying to make money.
I then began to surround myself with traders through meetups, and asking to interview the traders I looked up to. That eventually led to developing a reversal trading style I was good at executing, and going on to travel and trade full-time in 2017,
2. You’re a ‘digital nomad’ and trade whilst travelling, so do you fit your life around trading or does your trading fit around your life and adventures?
It’s a little bit of both! I have to be there for my trading. But I probably wouldn’t be as fulfilled if my trading took six hours or more of my day. I plan my day-to-day very carefully and leave plenty of time for travelling/exploring. I also began using algos to help with my trading and automate a lot of the “mechanical” stuff.
3. What would you say motivates you to constantly work on improving your trading and enjoy what you’re doing?
At first it was money and freedom, but now I just love getting better. I enjoy the process of learning new things and fine-tuning my strategies and algorithms. I also love the ability to connect with traders all around the world and see how they do things – that always gets me more motivated to work on my stuff!
4. Throughout your journey, are you able to pinpoint a moment or a routine that you start doing that then made all the difference to your trading and/or life?
Definitely! There are a lot of them…
1. Journaling: this isn’t specific to trading. Every day, I write down what went well that day, what didn’t, and how I can improve. It makes a big difference and allows me to improve 1% at a time.
2. Reaching out to successful traders: in 2015, I understood how important it was to surround myself with the right people. If I wanted to become a good trader, I had to surround myself with great traders. So every week, I’d simply send five emails to five traders I was looking up to. They could be authors, coaches, prop traders, etc. I’d ask to interview them, and that’s what drastically improved my trading mindset. Eventually, my skills followed.
There are a lot more habits that I practice daily, but those are definitely the ones that helped me the most!
5. I’m presuming that you’ve come up against failure in the past. What has been your approach on getting past these failures and has this evolved since?
If you have a true passion, failures don’t matter. Earlier in my trading journey, I felt like I should stop trading several times. Sometimes this came after a series of losses or a really bad trade. I did stop trading for a few weeks at times, but I never quit.
These days, my approach to failures is a little more refined. It doesn’t do any good to be down on ourselves when things don’t go well. Instead, self-soothing is what top-performers use to get back on track. They know they failed, but they don’t feel bad, they instead plan for doing it better next time.
6. When it came to scaling your trading account, what was the most challenging aspect?
The uncertainty was the worst. With a $5,000 account, I could be down say $500 maximum. But with a $100k account, I’d have the possibility to get down $10,000. That sounds very scary at first. People say “well, it’s just different numbers!”, but those people usually don’t understand how your mindset around money really works.
You’ve got to train yourself about scaling up. That is still something I’m working on and it’s a continuous process.
7. You have a podcast ‘Desire To Trade’, where you have interviewed a number of traders. Has there been any main advice or tip that you’ve heard repeatedly from your guests?
Out of most traders I’ve interviewed, none had the exact same trading style. People all have a different way of doing things…so there’s no best strategy or best currency pair to trade. Here’s the first commonality.
Next, most traders agree that you can’t force the market to give you consistent profits. The only thing you can do is to be consistent in your approach to the market. Not only that but you can’t treat your trading like a hobby of trading when you feel like it. In this world, successful companies don’t open when they feel like it. They’re always there at the same time each day. That’s part of treating your trading like a business.
And in line with that, you can’t dwell on your losses too much. This would be the equivalent of a Fortune 500 CEO looking at all the refunds of his stores every day – and thus feeling bad. CEOs and great traders focus on the big picture.
8. What advice do you have for those who fail, give up or never get started? For either trading or something else in life.
My guess is that people who give up trading haven’t found what they’re really passionate about yet. They have to keep trying new things and one day they’ll find something that’s almost effortless to them. Failing at trading is different though. Failing is part of the process to becoming a good trader. It’s very hard to stick to your trading plan if you never experienced what gambling is like.
Similarly, it’s very hard to get good results if you never experienced the bad ones first.
9. What was your first goal in trading? Have you achieved it? Has it changed? Did you even have one?
My first big goal was getting freedom to travel the world while making enough money to do so. I wanted to be able to go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted. I achieved it by now. This made me shift my focus…to the point where my goal became to help other aspiring traders do the same. I like to keep my trading sharp because it’s helping me show other people how to gain more freedom in life through trading
I don’t believe that being in a job you hate is a fulfilling way to live life. There are so many things to see and experiment around the world. Trading when done right is a good way to get there!
And of course, I want to keep traveling!
10. Knowing what you know now and how you got to where you are today. Is there anything you would like to have done differently, maybe done something earlier in life (or later) etc.
I’m not the kind of person who has many regrets. I got to where I am today because of the pain and failures I experienced earlier. Without those, it’s really hard to move forward in life. As humans, we can’t get everything right and part of our job is figuring out our own way to get to what makes us happy.
11. You’ve started a podcast, a YouTube channel, a Facebook Group, all to help budding and experience traders continue to learn and improve their trading. What is it that drives you to helping others?
A lot of people aren’t living the life they desire, and usually it’s not because they lack knowledge. In 2020 and since many years, we have a ton more knowledge available at our fingertips.
I think many aspiring traders who are motivated simply lack support and experience in the market. I want to be there to bridge that gap, and help them get to the lifestyle they really want with trading.
12. Trading has been your full time income since leaving your corporate job, how did you find the transition and how did you come to the decision to make trading your full time income?
Looking back, I probably made the shift too early. Right after I completed university in 2017, I began traveling and trading. I had saved up a bunch of money from my jobs & internships earlier. My trading was solid back then, but I didn’t anticipate what the jump to trading full-time really was.
A few months later, I hit a heavy 10% or so drawdown that lasted about three months. I eventually got back home in Canada for a few months to build back my cashflow. And I returned back to traveling again with a more solid trading.
13. Do you have an interests or pursuits outside of the markets?
I’m very interested in getting an airplane pilot license in the next few years. Planes really fascinate me.
And I’m always learning new things in various topics. I think it’s important to go after the things that interest us…even though there’s no money on the line. It’s all about creating a lifestyle we’re excited about every day.