As a young child, I was always money hungry and fascinated by entrepreneurship. I started my first business venture when I was in 7th grade, hosting my own Minecraft server with my cousin. I would spend 10–12 hours every day teaching myself how to code and setting up my server. With maturity came leaving behind Minecraft, and the server I created. In the end, I made $600 from this venture and gained a priceless experience that would lead to my success in the algorithmic trading world.
By the time I got to 8th grade, I had a couple thousand in my savings account and was looking at how to grow that. Similar to most 8th grade boys, I enjoyed playing Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA). One day while playing GTA, I came across a virtual stock market and I was intrigued. I invested $20,000,000 virtual currency into an airline stock and made about $35,000,000 profit in an hour. From that second on, I was hooked. Stocks gave me an avenue to get my money to work for me instead of me having to work for money. Unfortunately, there was one major problem — I was 13 years old and I had to be 18 years old to have a brokerage account to trade stocks in real life. So, I went to my father and talked him into making a brokerage account for the both of us. Luckily, he agreed and we invested $2,000 into Apple ($AAPL). After a couple of months of holding Apple, we ended up making $100. I started researching the stock market, how it works, and what makes stocks go up and down.
Moving into my freshman year, I started to combine my coding knowledge from my Minecraft server business with my newfound stock trading strategy knowledge. I created my first stock trading algorithm that focused on catching the low-points on penny stocks. The algorithm would find a list of penny stocks that were likely to go up the next week. I simply had to place the orders for those penny stocks. The algorithm's job was to find penny stocks that fell rapidly and were ready to rebound back up. I offered this algorithm to some of the members in the StockedUp Facebook group. That algorithm worked well but due to the nature of penny stocks being as volatile and manipulated as they are, I needed to find a different security type to deploy the algorithm on. I kept researching new security types such as futures, forex, options, cryptocurrencies, and large-cap stocks. I was continuously looking for new ways to deploy my algorithm to find great setups and to help others with their stock trading strategies.
Finally, the summer going into sophomore year, I incorporated my company, StockedUp, and stopped playing all my high school sports. StockedUp was growing fast and I genuinely had a passion for what I was doing.
By the time Sophomore year started, my plan was to go into the futures market and trade E-mini S&P 500 Futures. I started messing around with code on a new stock trading strategy one day, backtested it, and saw amazing backtested results. This new stock trading strategy was showing projected returns of 300% per week! I felt as if I won the lottery and I just found the ultimate stock trading strategy. So, I coded the strategy to make it fully automatic. That way, I’d be making money 24/7.
After coding the stock trading strategy, I made it my first trading robot — a piece of software that trades completely automatically all day long. I decided to launch the software on my birthday! I launched the software, and I ended up losing half of my account value in 15 minutes. It was a disappointment for me to see my software fail, but it just pushed me to study harder. Looking back on it, I am so glad this happened because it strengthened my character, and forced me to get creative.
I kept on trying new automated stock trading strategies for the futures market for the remainder of my sophomore year. I ended up finding a strategy that I thought had a really high chance of working. So, I tried it out on the first week of summer vacation and … I ended up losing more than I lost on my birthday. Again, it was demoralizing but I just kept on going and researching even harder.
In the middle of the summer going into my junior year, I started to research options. I taught myself the options market and started messing around with a couple of algorithms for it. I was very interested in "straddle option spreads" because they gave the investor the ability to profit whether the underlying stock moved up or down. So, I started experimenting with new algorithms for the options market and started a strategy for the straddles. I collected data for some time, finished the strategy's rules, then started trading the straddles. I entered a small straddle position during my first week and made a 20% profit. I was happy and couldn't wait until next week's plays. Next week, I invested a little more into the straddles and made a 20% profit. It was relieving to see a strategy that worked, but I didn't start to celebrate yet. The next week, I invested even more into the straddles and made another 20% profit. I was on a roll. This trend continued for multiple weeks with a few small losses. But overall, I made all the money that I lost since 8th grade back. I continued to play the straddles and grew my account by the end of my junior year.
I am now to the point where I have grown my personal account, have developing numerous other great strategies for the stock and options markets, made invaluable connections with other traders, and helped educate others along the way. The StockedUp Facebook group has 4,000 members and is growing at a rapid pace. A lot of members like to follow the straddles that I post every week. The group has become an amazing place to discuss trading ideas, ask questions, and network. I have dedicated well over 10,000 hours of study to this industry and it is relieving to say that my dedication has paid off. I am glad I never quit.