It’s hard to believe that it’s already been months since the SteadyTrade Paper Trading Challenge came to a close.

During the competition, winner Chris (aka DJ Dini) seriously killed it with a combination of diligence, determinism, and dedication. But how’s he faring now that he’s graduated from paper trading to live trading?

In today’s episode, hosts Tim Bohen and Stephen Johnson check in with DJ to see how he’s doing, what he’s trading, and to discuss the transition from paper trading to real trading.

How’s It Going?

While making the jump from paper trading to live trading can feel scary, DJ believes that the key to a successful transition is taking paper trading seriously.

He says that the Paper Trading Challenge was almost like a six-month intensive for him, a great basic training for the real trading he’s doing now.

Looks like this mentality paid off: As of this recording, DJ reports that his account is up about $5K!

Adjusting from Paper Trading to IRL Trading

The Paper Trading Challenge ended in March, and DJ started live trading in April. But as he quickly learned, there were quite a few bumps along the road in terms of adjusting, including:

Brokers. On a paper trading module, you can basically execute any type of order you’d like. In real life … not so much. Different brokers have different capabilities, strengths, offerings, and more. Since going live, DJ is getting quite the education.

In his few months live trading, he’s worked with several brokers, including E-Trade, Merrill Edge, Interactive Brokers, and TradeZero. Learn about his experiences and why it’s so important to find a broker that suits your specific trading needs.

Discipline. Is DJ getting into hot water with trades, or is he sticking with his discipline?

DJ confesses he thinks ‘why did I do that?’ about his trading at least once a day. More than once, he’s noticed that his own actions set him back in trades. But this doesn’t need to be a bad thing. The key is learning lessons from these moments. Case in point: Check out his ‘don’t short on Friday afternoon’ lesson.

Motivation. DJ talks about how as a live trader he needs to create sources of motivation for himself. He talks about the power of setting goals, and how programs like can help add a friendly layer of competition that inspires to keep on trading.

Order fills. With paper trading, a stock’s float doesn’t matter much, and your order will pretty much always be filled. But in real life, this doesn’t always happen. There are many more mechanics at work in the actual market. He talks about adjusting to this and how he’s learning to maximize spikes with long positions.

Setups. In the episode, DJ talks about how his setups have changed, and how he’s taking advantage of some other StocksToTrade tools, like Oracle, which offers a step toward algorithmic trading. Programs like this can offer invaluable guidance for new traders!

Top Three Takeaways

DJ has these three tips to offer paper traders who are considering taking the leap to real trading:

  1. If you’re going to paper trade, turn on the virtual fees. Fees are a huge part of actual trading, so it’s best to get used to it early on. Set it to $5 or $6 per trade for a more realistic view of trading.
  2. Use paper trading to verify patterns. Paper trading is the next best thing to trading live, and it can help you feel out how you might react in the heat of a trading moment.
  3. Know that you can move a stock. While you don’t have to pay too much attention to a stock’s volume and float in paper trading, you really do with live trading. Depending on your position size, YOU could be the reason why a stock stops running.  

Got Questions?

Have a burning question about anything in this episode or about trading in general?

Ask away! Added bonus: If your question is chosen as an on-air topic, you could win a SteadyTrade mystery gift box. So speak your mind … we love to hear from our listeners. You can send questions via the SteadyTrade website, YouTube, or by email.

Thanks for tuning in to the SteadyTrade podcast. Stay tuned for weekly episodes featuring the hottest topics for aspiring traders.

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