My name is Ross Cameron and I’m a full time day trader and the founder of Warrior Trading.
Today I’m going to talk about my journey to becoming a full time trader.
I took my very first trades in an Ameritrade account during the summer of 2001. At that time, I was interested in investing in the American Ski Company, because I loved skiing. I called my Edward Jones office, and they told me it would be a $50 commission to place the buy order, and another $50 to place the sell order. That didn’t sound great, so I decided to open an Ameritrade account with about $1,000.
I bought shares in companies like American Ski, Exxon Mobile, Caterpillar, Cannondale, US Steel, Pfizer, and American Electric Power. I wasn’t actively day trading, but trying my hand at investing. I don’t think at that point I even realized there were stocks that moved enough in one day to make money as a day trader.
By the end of the summer, despite checking my positions each day and reading about the companies, the values were more or less unchanged.
It’s difficult to remember exactly what made me want to start studying the markets at that time. During the summers while I was in high school and college I worked as a pool boy, mowed lawns, and was an assistant to a pottery teacher. As you’d imagine, none of these jobs paid particularly well.
I knew the stock market had the power to create wealth, and after making $10-20 mowing a lawn, perhaps the ability to make money in the market was appealing. Unfortunately, given my poor performance during the summer of 2001, I was left with the feeling that money could only be made if you already had a large account to begin with, or knew somebody who knew a lot about stocks.
I didn’t think much about investing or trading again until the financial crisis and recession in 2008.
After my father passed away in 2007 I received an inheritance of about $100,000 and invested it with a financial adviser at one of the big firms.
Under the management of that adviser, while the market began to rebound in 2009-2010, the returns were poor. At that time I was living in Vermont, I was struggling to find work, and I began to think that if I managed the assets myself, that perhaps I could generate enough profit each year to justify making it my full-time focus.
This was optimistic to say the least, even if I returned 25%/year, $25k/yr would not have covered my cost of living at that time.
However, I had a friend who made about $16k trading a penny stock, sort of on a whim, and I thought, if he can do it, I can do it. And since I had a larger account, I started to think maybe it was possible to grow the account by 50% in 1 year ($200/day) by trading penny stocks.
That was the beginning of a two year long journey of learning how to day trade. I tried a little bit of everything, penny stocks, small caps, large caps, options, trade alert services, custom buy/sell indicators, but I didn’t find consistency. I certainly learned a lot about trading, but I wasn’t finding success.
Over the course of those two years my cost of living combined with trading losses had liquidated all but $25k of my fathers estate, and simultaneously accumulated nearly $30k in credit card debt. Things weren’t looking good, and my downward spiral worsened when I had a $5k red day as it put my account down just below $20,000.00.
Since it was below $25k, that meant I couldn’t day trade. $25k was the min balance at the brokerage I was using, and I didn’t know at the time about brokers like CMEG that allow day trading with as little as $500. That’s when I began listing things in my barn to sell on Craigslist to raise $5k so I could give it one last shot.
While my account was below the min, I wasn’t able to trade, and instead studied all my trades from the past 2 years. I was hoping to find a clue, or a hint at what might have been working. I found that I actually had a strategy that was generating nice profits.
It was based on trading stocks up 20-30% or more in 1 day. These were typically small cap stocks priced between $2-10.00. I realized that if I stopped trading Apple, and many of the other large cap stocks, that I’d actually be better off.
Once my account was back above $25k, I told myself “This is it. This is your last shot”. And from there, I became a more disciplined trader. The stakes were high, I followed my newfound rules, and I began finding some consistency. I still had a few bumps in the road, I wasn’t entirely out of the woods yet, but that was my turning point.
Through 2014, 2015, and 2016, I was working long hours helping beginner traders at Warrior Trading. Towards the end of 2016, I was regularly trading with a large account, and beginner traders would sometimes ask whether or not my strategies could be used to grow a small account. Since I’d almost always been trading with an account above $25k, I wasn’t 100% sure. I decided to put myself, and my strategy to the test.
In January of 2017 I funded a brand new trading account, with just $583.15. I wanted to prove that my strategy worked on an account that small. In 44 days, I turned the account into over $100k.
From there, I decided I wanted to turn it into a million dollars. It was a crazy goal, and I was only 10% of the way there. I spent the next 2 years growing the account into $1,000,000. I crossed that milestone in May of 2019.
In 2020, things changed in the stock market. The Covid-19 economic shutdown caused a 30% drop in the overall market, and then a dramatic full recovery back to all time highs. During this time, we saw more and more retail traders who were out of work begin trying their hand in the market.
As a result of millions of new traders coming into the market, volume surged, and so did volatility. In 2020 I had my first day to make over $100,000.00 in profits, and then I had my first month to make over $1,000,000 in profits. I finished the year with over $5,000,000 in gross profit, and about $4,500,000 in net profit after fees and commissions. You can see those broker statements here.
January of 2021 was a continuation of the inflated levels of volume and volatility, as GameStop surged from under $20.00 a share to over $500.00 a share in 2 weeks. As a result, I hit a new record of just under $500,000.00 in 1 trading day and nearly $900,000.00 in 1 week of trading.
I’ve now grown my small account to nearly $7,000,000 in trading profits (you can see the latest statements here). While I certainly like the idea of growing this account to $10,000,000.00, I have currently have moved away from setting any type of significant trading goal for my small account challenge or for 2021.
I’ve found that while goals are helpful, ultimately I can only make as much as the market is willing to give me. I profit from volatility, and if we see a lot, I’ll do very well, but if things seem to cool off, my profits will decrease as well.
Since volatility is out of my control, I should not beat myself up for falling short on a profit target if it’s due to markets cooling off. I should also avoid trying to force aggressive position sizing to meet a goal I set if the market is cooling off. Instead, I focus on trading the market I’m in and teaching beginner traders the momentum day trading strategy that I love so much.
For those who are curious, you can see an independent accountants report of the first leg of my $583.15 small account challenge here.