Think you’re done with demo trading? Well, Mike gives us his 3 tips to keep in mind before you go live!
Who is Mike, you ask?
It’s been 5 years since Mike became part of the BabyPips community. And ever since, he’s been dedicated to sharing his forex trading journey with us all.
We’ve witnessed how Mike has grown as a trader throughout the years. From his first few months of demo trading up to the exciting live trading stories he has each day-- Mike never fails to discuss all the relevant learning opportunities on his thread My journal journal from demo to live, and beyond…
Today, he lets us further into his mind in hopes of inspiring new traders, especially those gearing up to take their trading to the live market. Are you ready?
1. Tell us something about yourself. Perhaps something you haven’t shared with the community yet through your trading journal?
My name is Mike Wolski. I’m 51 years old. I live with Trish, my partner. We live in Pgh, Pa. We’re second time around’ers. She has 2 kids, I have 3. Been together for about 9 yrs now. At one point we had 3 living with us (my youngest and her 2). Then it went down to 2 (hers). It went down to 1, about a year ago. But now, her daughter just left the nest. College.
And now, it’s just us and our dog. Needless to say, this is a first, Life without kids. That’s all we’ve known, for the last 28 years. My oldest daughter is that age. We’re looking forward to, and plan to build our lives, from here on out.
2. For years, we’ve seen your passion and dedication to trading. What is fueling this passion? When did you realize that forex trading is the “last passion” that will complete you?
Well, what’s fueling the passion for trading has got to be how much I love the game!
There’s no such thing as having to get motivated to do something when that’s all you think about. It goes deep.
Being this old, and when you finally find out what you want to do when you grow up, and who you really are, it’s just exciting. Like more than anything. I was 45 years old when I found this. You get so excited that the only real problem is trying to slow the ship down. You can mess things up when you don’t go about it the proper way.
3. What do you like best about the BabyPips community?
I love the smart people here in BabyPips. Not only the geniuses behind the scenes, but the geniuses on the floor.
I truly believe that there isn’t a question that can’t be answered in here. Everything needed is well documented somewhere in the archives. And yet, the same questions keep getting answered in slightly different ways. It’s all about knowledge. I’m thankful for those staples that never leave.
4. You’re constantly updating your topic: My journal journal… from demo to live… and beyond. And we noticed that you have a unique and interesting way of writing your entries. It’s as if your journal is an actual person! What made you decide to take on such an approach?
Well, I like to talk (in typing only). And I have made my Journal into a smart person who will just sit there and listen to me. It’s just the mindset for me to begin getting things off my chest. It’s a release. Kind of like being in a room with a therapist. Sometimes that’s all we need. Someone who will listen.
I can’t offer a whole lot to the community, in the way of answering questions, but I’m sure if anyone would pay attention, you would see that we all experience the same feelings, trials & errors. This is just how I deal with those issues.
5. On the earlier thread, you also shared your transition from a demo account to live trading. If you could go back to that transition period, what would you have done differently?
I know I started out with the demo to live transition. Well, that’s because it was at the beginning of the 4th year, on my journey, that I took that step. Yeah, and I thought that I would make some serious headway because of how far down the road I waited. I mean, sure, I was right in the fact that I trade seriously on demo just as much as I do on live. I mentioned that.
But, the lesson that I didn’t somehow learn along the way, was on my position sizing. I was way out of control. Way too much. That’s the cause of crashing and burning twice, 6 months later.
When I think about it, maybe my strategy at the time would’ve worked out. If it wasn’t for risking too much. In fact, I don’t think I even knew how much I was risking, at the time. I keep track of that now, like gospel, but not back then.
And the other thing learned was the goal setting thing. I set goals and tried to reach them. That whole premise is wrong. It’s best to master each small step in the process first. Goals get met after the process is developed. So, in short, concentrate on the process, not the goal. That’s very important.
Well, that led to me getting mentored ( now that came from God above). I learned so much from that guy. I went through a six month stopping period then. No trading, just figuring out stuff about myself. See, and this all was during the 4th year of my existence!
I guess all that I was doing beforehand wasn’t real learning. Well, about the most important stuff anyway. Lost of wasted time I guess. Hey, maybe some people can get it much earlier than me. I couldn’t. I don’t know, it’s just my story. And that’s what my journal is all about. It’s my story. A simple person’s story.
6. What is your advice to newbies out there who are also thinking of going live soon?
I do feel bad that I don’t participate much on the forums. I mean, I’m not that smart yet. Technically anyway. And most people have technical questions. I’m not adept for that. Now, deep rooted psychological issues about why we do what we do, maybe. But it seem like no one questions themselves in that manner.
My advice for new traders is this.
— Make it a goal to make break-even on demo for 6 months. If at the end of 6 months of demo trading, you are at right around even, from the amount that you started with 6 months ago, then move on.
See, boy, I wonder if I could have done that. Because, a lot goes into what your goal is. The strategy will correlate to that. You would be very conservative. And also not as risky.
It all gets messed up the higher we shoot. You won’t understand how hard it is to do that. That would be impressive.
— Trade live for 6 months with a small amount of money. Your goal is the same. Can you make even after 6 months? That’s the same amount that you started with.
And by small amount of money, I mean something you won’t miss, but substantial enough to mean something to you.
— I feel, if all that was accomplished, then it’s time to build. You’ve proven your strategy. And you’ve proven you’re psychologically ready. A year out of your life to accomplish everything up to that point, is pretty dog-gone good. Especially as a new trader.
Look, I’m no expert. By far. I do not want anybody to think I know something. Hindsight is 20/20. We only know things because we went through it.
But, if you would have told me to do that very thing, back then, I probably wouldn’t have listened. And I was 45 years old!!! Just like kids. They don’t listen. For as bad as we parents want them to avoid the bad things in life, by listening to us, they don’t listen! Nor learn! But, they do learn things the hard way. Maybe that’s the only way we, as humans, will truly learn something. The hard way.
7. Tell us more about your trading strategy. How do you think it reflects your personality and how has it changed throughout the years?
The core of my trading strategy revolves around, what I call, average price.
I’m still trying to perfect it, but I can’t think of anything better. I use Heikin Ashi candles, which are average candlesticks. And I use ema’s. They show what the average price has been. See, I’m simple minded. That’s not always good, but not always bad either.
When actual price wants to go, my ema’s will tell me. Their also much smoother, and more predictable. Well, more than actual price. In my mind. I would rather chase average price than actual price. Surely there’s more fake outs with actual, than with average.
8. If you were to choose 3 community members you look up to, who would they be and why?
Well, for any new comer here, I would say this. @Clint is the Godfather. He’s the smartest man to ever walk this earth. Oh, I bet you he can walk on water too. So yeah, honestly, I thought of him as a god. He’s just that intelligent. When he talks, you better listen. I hope all is well with him and his family. And @Peterma also. He’s another Godfather. Reminds me of ‘Lord of the Rings’. The old wizard. These men just know stuff!
Big brothers. Geeez. Where do I start? Well, @Manxx is nothing less than a genius. If ever you get a talk from him, count it as coming from above. He’s super intelligent. There’s no shame in bowing down to these guys. @Dennis3450. @Falstaff. @Krugman25. @LaughingCharlie. @TradeViper. Even @PipMeHappy. He started back when I did. We’re talking smart guys here.
Man, now that I’m doing this. I think we need a members tab. Cause I know for sure that I’m going to miss a lot of intelligent people here. Just something grouped to where we can easily see these gods. And how about putting the staff up there with them? A group tab, at the top, next to the tools tab. Members. I know people come and go, but there are those who are staples.
Well, I just want to say I’m sorry for missing a lot of people. We’re like family. We all have one thing in common. And some of us are smarter than others. Some have more experience. So, why wouldn’t we have a place to go and see everybody? I would probably be more incorporated that way. Cause it’s not really about questions, for me, but relationships. I could get into that.
9. Apart from Trading in the Zone, is there any other book you would like to recommend to the trading newbies?
The 2 trading books that had the most impact on me was Thinking, Fast and Slow. Kahneman It’s all about ourselves. The smart side of us, and the not-so smart side. Anything to know myself better is what I’m all about.
The other is Trade Mindfully. Dayton. Again, it’s all within. I would like to know if anyone practices mindfulness. Boy…that’s deep stuff. I kind of think that that’s a road no one really takes, for the long haul. I mean, I do. But, I also search my own soul, to some great depths.
10. Non-forex related question! What was the biggest non-trading-related risk that you’ve taken in your life?
The biggest risk that I have taken has to be what has happened to me recently. Yeah, I lost my day time job, but I very well could have worked as a mechanic somewhere else. This was a crossroads for me. I chose to stay home and work this business of mine. My trading business.
See, I’m not even guaranteed that I will be getting unemployment compensated. This is still yet to be determined, 7 weeks later now. And somehow, if it gets rejected, then I’m screwed. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Because, I really, really do not want to work in another shop again. But, we still have bills to pay. So, it’s definitely a risk. We’ll see how it all turns out. Stay tuned to my journal. It’ll be in there what happens.