Ep 68 – Tim Sykes and the Art of Grinding

Today is a red-letter day for the SteadyTrade Podcast. Finally, after 15 months of podcasting, we’ve nabbed super-trader and trading teacher Tim Sykes as our guest on today’s show.

In the episode, hosts Tim Bohen and Stephen Johnson get real with Tim Sykes about his story, his thoughts on what it takes to get ahead as a trader, and what’s happening in his life right now.

Sea monsters, Stephen in the hot seat, and plenty of great trading advice await!

Who Is Tim Sykes?

Tim Sykes is one of the most prominent penny stock traders around.

He famously started his trading career with about $12,000 of bar mitzvah money in his late teens. His parents gave their blessing, figuring he’d probably lose it all.

But he didn’t. He turned this nest egg into a few million dollars in just a few years.

He went on to manage a hedge fund and was featured on the Wall Street Warriors TV show, which turned him into a household name — and led to plenty of would-be traders reaching out to him asking for advice.

Ultimately, Sykes shifted gears from the hedge fund world to focus on trading and teaching full time.

What’s Up With Tim?

Tim is killing it as a trader and has more students than ever, but some of his passion projects actually have nothing to do with the financial industry.

In the episode, you’ll learn about Tim’s latest charity project, Karmagawa, and the must-see video he recently helped create to raise awareness about endangered animals, “The War Against Poaching.”

Tim on Trading

In the episode, Tim dishes out plenty of no-holds-barred trading advice. Among his many missives of wisdom:

Trading and S&M. So many traders are suckers for punishment. Why is it that so many traders seem to have a need to feel pain to feel pleasure, like Stephen in the wake of his most recent series of losses?  

With great power comes great responsibility. Tim says you need to learn about both short- and long-selling approaches. Not only can it help you be more tactical, but it can help you to be more versatile as a trader.

The market always changes. Nothing is ever a sure thing in trading. You can perfect a setup and be profiting for weeks, months, years, but then one day it won’t work anymore — that’s why it’s so important to keep studying.

Learn to respect the rules. Tim thinks it’s a good thing for new traders to get burned a little bit because it teaches them the most important lesson of all: why it’s so important to cut losses quickly.

What he gives his students. Tim shares what he wants to impart to his students, including helping them learn the rules of trading. Stephen weighs in and talks about how his time in the Tim Sykes Challenge was pivotal in shaping his trading career.

His biggest success stories. Learn about Tim’s most successful students, including Tim Grittani and Michael Hudson. He also talks about how these traders, while very successful now, experienced huge losses at the beginning of their career. Keep things in perspective!

Tim’s teaching and trading approach. Tim reverts to a $12K trading account every year, effectively going back to his roots and trying to grow his account again. Trading with a small account keeps him on his students’ level and helps keep him realistic and relevant as a teacher.

Patterns repeat themselves. Tim’s a huge proponent of following patterns. Remember, we spent an entire 14 episodes discussing his oeuvre of a video, Trader Checklist. Check out episodes 51 through 64 to really delve into Tim’s process and his indicators.

Learn to love the process. One thing that Tim can’t stress enough is that you’ll never ever be a great trader if you don’t fall in love with the process.

As one of Tim’s heroes, Ray Allen, says, it’s all about the “boring old habits.”  

And, as Tim says, “Celebrate the highs and respect the lows but also understand that it’s a marathon. Any one trade doesn’t matter unless you let it.”

Got a question?

Do you have a question about trading or this episode? Visit the “submit your audio” portion of the website to ask us anything.

Thanks for tuning in to the SteadyTrade Podcast. Stay tuned for weekly episodes featuring the hottest topics for traders of all levels.

Did you love this episode? Be sure to leave an iTunes review!