May 9, 2022
KRTrades is a former prop trader turned defi & NFT degen.
What attracted you to trading?
At first, it was the draw of quick money, making enough to live just by spending a few hours a day on my phone or at the PC a day, but that quickly changed as I was haemorrhaging money and my stubbornness and drive to understand the markets kept me in it. It was an obsession, really, and it still is. My mind is always thinking about the markets because it’s a game that never stays static. You can never think you know it all or stop studying because that’s when it’s over for you.
How long have you been trading?
I’ve been trading for about five years now, starting with equities just before 2017.
How long did it take you to get profitable?
It took me about 6-9 months to get profitable in each market/style I’ve tried throughout my career. The learning curve gets shorter after the first few times as I already have a general framework. This helps me know how to attack and evaluate my skills in each market or style.
How has your trading evolved?
My style has changed tremendously over the years, from pure tape reading to price action and profile trading. I’ve tried my hand at quite a few techniques over time and picked the things I did and didn’t like from each to combine them into my own framework.
One of the biggest things was understanding what tools to use when and what other traders would be looking at in certain situations. Now I use a hybrid of Volume/market profile, price action, and order flow to nail down entries/exits.
What's the worst thing about trading?
Trading isn’t an easy sport and has a very high turnover. Most traders don’t make enough to live on, let alone be wildly profitable over a long time horizon. Trading is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I constantly question if I belong here or truly am a trader.
You have to have the confidence and emotional stability to weather the ups and downs over a long period. Sometimes it weighs you down, especially after a rough day or significant loss. My process and records of what I’ve done and how I did it have always helped pull me out of slumps.
Additionally, the stress of scalping low-timeframes has had a lot of adverse effects on my health. Ultimately, this is an obsession, and I believe that’s the only reason I am where I am today.
“ULTIMATELY, THIS IS AN OBSESSION, AND I BELIEVE THAT’S THE ONLY REASON I AM WHERE I AM TODAY.”
How have you combatted the stress of LTF trading?
Honestly, just understanding I don’t have to be in the market to catch every micro swing or even that the flow will be there after a week or two has done wonders for my mental health. When I was growing my accounts, I felt like I had to be there and capitalize on every opportunity. Now it’s more of a cost-benefit analysis from both a mental & trading standpoint. For example, if relative vol is down a ton and we’re in unfavorable macro conditions, do I need to be trying to catch every move, or can I sit back and pick my spots and even be more patient with my trades?
What's the most important quality in a trader?
Willingness to learn and admit they’re wrong. This is difficult for me as I always wanted to be right, but if the market is paying me, does it matter?! Some of my best trades have been ideas or thesis that were completely incorrect, but I recognized my error early enough to profit on the other side.
Also, a willingness to learn. Everything I do today stems from 10 traders I’ve met/been mentored by in my career; while I don’t trade anything like them today, they all have a massive impact on how I view and approach the market.
“I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE RIGHT, BUT IF THE MARKET IS PAYING ME, DOES IT MATTER?”
10 Traders that shaped me:
All day Faders (literally everything)
Tom Dante (levels, discipline, routine, trading systems)
Merrit Black (context & profile)
Glimmery (thought process, flow, market dynamics)
Cuban (aggression, conviction, flow)
TraderSZ (price action, FX)
Brian Watt (unorthodox trading styles)
John Grady/NoBs Daytrading (Tape reading)
old prop boss
AT09 (tape reading, scalping/daytrading equities)
Why do you think you have success trading?
Stubbornness and obsession with the markets. When trading, you can’t be stubborn and fight the market, but I would not give up no matter how many times I lost or got kicked down. It was plenty, and it hurt, trust me.
What does making it look like for you?
As cliche as it sounds, making it for me is freedom - financial, mental and physical freedom. All of it.
When the conditions are ripe and fit your frameworks, you need to take advantage of them, but the ability to step away from that and understand when you can enjoy life and embrace it is underrated.
I spent so much time watching markets I used to forget to enjoy the little things, but being able to step away from the screen just to escape, spend time with family or just go for a drink with a friend is what makes it all worth it. There’s still a lot further I need to go to ‘make it’, but taking those beginning steps keeps me motivated.
There’s a fine line between keeping your finger on the market's pulse, waiting for opportunities and obsessing over every little move while away from your desk.
What's the mistake you find hardest to avoid when trading?
Overtrading, I’m a very impulsive person, and I always act first and think about it later by nature. This is why process and routine were so crucial for me - without them, I would have no edge and be punting trades left and right.
“PROCESS AND ROUTINE WERE SO CRUCIAL FOR ME - WITHOUT THEM, I WOULD HAVE NO EDGE AND BE PUNTING TRADES LEFT AND RIGHT. ”
Are there any resources or processes that helped you become more disciplined?
Before I had a solid trading plan and daily trading sheet, my trade selection, sizing, and management were all over the place. I identified my most significant intraday trading flaws and made a checklist that I had to fill out when entering/managing/exiting a trade. It would then grade my decision making outcome regardless of the trade outcome. If I was in an active scalping session, I would take a break every 15-30 minutes to evaluate my series of trades and keep myself from getting on tilt.
This review would tell me how my overall trading session/day was progressing and show me if I was following my initial plans and scaling processes. I also tracked hard stats from my trading session like PnL, time in the trade, # of executions, maker vs taker etc.
If you could give someone starting trading tomorrow one piece of advice what would it be?
Unless you’re willing to lose money and get your ass handed to you day after day for the next year before you even start to understand what’s going on, don’t do it. It’s the brutal truth. Two people gave me this advice early on in my career, and while I doubted it at the time, they were right, and I will always be thankful for their honesty. This game will rip you up and spit you out; unless you’re ready to go through that and willing to endure the pain, you’re better off being an investor, not a trader.
Fill in the blanks
Most traders would be better off using little to no leverage or trading daily timeframes.
What separates the pros from the rest is thought process, routine & discipline.
A good trader should never risk it all in one trade but at the same time know how to push an edge aggressively.
The biggest misconception about trading is it’s easy or requires minimal effort ie. ‘Just clicking buttons’