As a young child I was always money hungry and fascinated by entrepreneurship. I attribute my premature interest to my father who was an entrepreneur; I looked up to him and influencers like Grant Cardone. In aspiration to be like them 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 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 knowledge. I created my first stock trading algorithm, the "CPM" 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 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 sold 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 corrupt 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 a new way to deploy my algorithm.
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 trading strategy one day, backtested it and saw amazing backtested results. This new strategy was showing projected returns of 300% per week! I felt as if I won the lottery and I just found the ultimate trading strategy. So, I coded the strategy to make it fully automatic. That way, I’d be making money 24/5. After coding the 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 (thousands of dollars) 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.
(this was me when I lost half of my account value in 15 minutes on my birthday)
I kept on trying new automated 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 3x as much as 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 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 a couple months, finished the strategy's rules then started trading the straddles. I entered a small straddle position 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 started to celebrate yet (lol). 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 over 300% by the end of my junior year. A hedge fund came across my strategy and is looking to buy the algorithm for it. For the time being, I post the straddle picks in my Facebook group every single week.
In the summer going into my senior year I came across another solid strategy. All while I was playing my straddles I was constantly researching new strategies. The straddle strategy is difficult for some people to follow so I made a strategy that only deals with naked options aka the "simple stuff". That strategy uses statistics to find the absolute best options trades every day. It looks for short term trades that have a very high chance of winning with huge risk reward ratios. This is a premium strategy and is available HERE. I've noticed that a lot of group members have small trading accounts and struggle to grow them. So, I started a challenge where I deposited $2,500 into a Robinhood account and will be using the statistical modeling strategy to grow that to $15,000.
I am now to the point where I have grown my personal account, made invaluable connections a few very powerful traders and even have a couple institutions looking to buy my software. The StockedUp Facebook group has 2,300 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 about 9,000 hours of study to this industry and it is relieving to say that my dedication has paid off. I am glad I never quit.
What I learned:
Stay far, far away from penny stocks.
Sometimes you'll get lucky by buying a hot penny stock but over the long run you are screwed. There is so much corruption and stock manipulation with penny stocks. You're always fighting an un-winnable battle of information. There are manipulators "pumping and dumping" those stocks every day.
Trading mindset is more important than strategy.
I can give you a list of the 10 stocks that have a 95% chance of going up next month and most new traders would still lose money. This is because the stocks can go down before they go up. Most new traders would sell their positions when they are down because they are scared they are going to lose more money. So, they panic sell and walk away with a loss. In reality, they should have held and let their investments develop. Sometimes you have to have the guts to hold a position even if it's down.
You will not win every trade.
No matter how good of a trader you become, you will never win every single trade. Some of the best traders in history only won 70% of the time.
It's not about how smart you are.
Keep it simple. If the stock market was for geniuses you'd see a lot more smart people trading stocks actively. Trading stocks is a unique skill that is developed with experience.
Yes, I know, it sounds cliche. However, if you never quit you will eventually find something that works. It took me hundreds strategies/algorithms to find 5 that work. Looking back on my process, I am glad I never quit.