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Option Trading Tip - Are You A Jack Of All Trades & A Master Of None?

Aug 17, 2007
I make a living out of trading options...and a pretty good one at that!

For a long time I couldn't say those words as I struggled just to hold on to my capital, let alone make it grow.

Though there were several reasons why I struggled (including being grossly undercapitalized and at the same time placing too much of my trading bank on individual trades) the main reason for my struggle I believe was a lack of focus.

By 'lack of focus' I mean that I was constantly jumping around trying to implement too many different option trading strategies from basic call and put buying, to putting on multi leg spread tades, believing that the more complex the strategy, the greater my chance of success.

I had become a 'Jack Of All Trades & A Master Of None' and the only people that were making money from my option trading were my brokers.

One day a friend of mine (a very successful futures trader) said to me, "You don't need to know everything about trading the markets to make money and be a success. You just need to 'focus' and become an expert in one or at most a few different trading strategies and know exactly when and how to use them. The rest is just practice!"

Those words rang loudly in my ears and from that point onwards I narrowed my focus.

I decided that I would go back to the very basics of option trading and only buy calls and puts with the intention of becoming very good at picking the short-term direction of stocks.

Today, almost 2 years later and after going through a steep and often expensive learning curve, buying calls and/or puts is what brings in the largest portion of my current monthly income.

I also use a couple different spread trading strategies when the market moves sideways, but my main 'focus' is on picking the short-term direction of a small number of stocks that I have gotten to know VERY well (through backtesting), and then buying the appropriate option based on risk vs reward and my short-term outlook.

The success I'm enjoying today (19 profitable months out of the last 24) is due to becoming proficient at reading stock charts and developing an option trading system that I am comfortable with and performs well and by applying my trading rules consistently.

Ultimately you only need to know a few different strategies to be able to trade any stock up, down, or sideways.

The options themselves are simply the 'tools' to make money from your 'opinions' and in my experience the tools that are the easiest to use, have also been the most profitable.
About the Author
James Thomas is a successful private option trader and trading mentor. Get your free course, "What The Wall Street Hot Shots Won't Tell You!" for a limited time at: http://www.option-trading-tips.com
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