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Do you find yourself thinking about trading whilst you are doing your day job? Do you take a break to trade like most people take a cigarette or coffee break? If that’s the case, it’s pretty clear where your passion lies. And unlike your collection of vintage stamps, trading forex is something that you really can do for a living!

Becoming a professional trader has many benefits, beyond that chance to follow your passion. The lifestyle can be flexible (unless you trade the Asian pairs and live in North America). There is usually no commute. You can work for a boss you love (yourself). But best of all it has significant financial potential far in excess of what can be achieved in a 9 to 5 job.

But with any great deal, there is a lot of hard graft to get where you want to be.

Generally, there are two types of professional forex traders. There are ones who generally work for hedge funds or banks in their foreign exchange division. They are usually business school graduates from Ivy League schools (though not always), who worked their way up the corporate ladder through hard years of overachieving, long hours and networking effortlessly with their slick hair and fancy suits. In any case, if this is you, and you are wondering whether you “Should trade forex for a living?” the answer is “YES!”

We are going to focus on the other type of professional forex trader, however. You couldn’t recognize them if you saw them. They could be anyone sitting at a computer. But what they do have is the dedication, training, temperament and passion that it takes to trade forex for a living.

It is widely agreed that to become a successful forex trader you need to work hard over many years to develop the skills. Whilst it is true that you can have a particularly effective system, the discipline to implement it and be very successful, it is also true that as the dollar values change, so do the pressures, and the best-laid plans go out the window. The takeaway message here is that it is not always the trading plan that fails, but rather the discipline. The training and hard work you put in for the many years as a “non full time” trader, becomes a critical pool of experience from which to draw skills that you can apply once you do start your professional career.

The very beginning of this process is your training. It is possible to be completely self-taught, and work in a vacuum, but you will accelerate this process by undertaking training. Training can generally take the form of online, individual direct training or group training. The best option is group training. For starters, a trainer who has a group must be a pretty good trainer / professional. Also, the group environment will expose you to both your own, your trainer’s and other student’s trading scenarios and their philosophies, a combination that will speed up your personal training plan and style. It provides you with trading partners, potential future business partners and the kind of support you will need on the long road to success.

Good training will expose you to the market, how to place trades, technical and fundamental trading techniques, which methods are the best, risk management, etc. Not always objective and comprehensive, the trainer will often have a biased way of trading that has proven to be successful for them and will teach this method. But it is up to you to expand on this learning through discussion, self-education, forums, and the like, most of which can be done online. After a while, you will figure out the good advice from the not-so-good advice, as your education grows and you become a discerning trader.

The next step after training and education is developing your discipline and plan. This comes through trial and error, with real money at stake. Like any great athlete, repetition, tweaking, and practice eventually make perfect. You will fall, get up, go back to the drawing board, win, fail, win, fail”¦.. Until finally you win, and win, and WIN! The failures are smaller and less frequent because you understand risk management and you will kill off a bad position without mercy. You are now a hardened pro, and ready to trade professionally.

A final word on becoming a professional trader. Most think that when they start out that they will sit in a room, trade and just make money from trading. What they don’t realize is that the business of trading is usually even more lucrative. A good trader can begin to trade on behalf of others, offer an automated trading solution and link other accounts, become an affiliate, trainer, hedge fund, generate revenue from leads”¦.. The options are endless and everything can generate revenue.

Look online and see the success stories. They were once just like you and you can be just like them!