Contact / My Story

Dear Friends, Clients and Fellow Traders,

As of 12/31/17, I will no longer be continuing with the Pro Trader Network. Until that time, I will no longer be posting any additional analysis or content. I will still return emails and work individually with clients.

Contact Me

protradernetwork@gmail.com

My Story

My business life has been one of both successes and failures, but fortunately more successes. I have been happily married for 29 years, so I’ll add that to my list of successes as well. I have two college age boys and I have lived in Kansas since 2006 – transplanted from Los Angeles where I spent 23 years in Real Estate Development and Telecom. I originally grew up in Kansas through Middle School, High School and College. I lived in a college town all that time and the Midwestern work ethic and education served me well. I grew impatient and saw little opportunity in Kansas at the time that was outside the very ordinary, so I sold what little I owned and move to L.A. in 1984.

L.A. was great, but as I got older, it got more crowded. I became somewhat claustrophobic and had to get some air. Planning to semi-retire, I figured Kansas would be a good place to return to for my boys to grow up in their formative years. It turned out to be a good decision. My family has enjoyed our relocation and adapted very well to the slower pace of life here and the abundant resources available.

I am not liberal or conservative, but a realist. The only agenda I have is to always improve and help those around me that are willing to put some skin in the game – either fiscally or physically. I have an open mind, but also enough experience and battle scars to know what works and what doesn’t. I formulate my opinions from my own research and experience as a business owner, job creator, investor, mentor, expert and entrepreneur.

I find that most people just talk and very few actually perform. I think it is extremely easy to be successful because so few are willing to do what it takes to get there, and after you achieve it once, every time after that is easier. Think about the successful people you know and I think you will agree they had to go the extra mile to get there and had to endure failure before achieving success.

I have been in the markets sporadically for over 25 years – previously just dabbling here and there. If was not until 2002 that I really considered trading as a possible vocation and career. I have been trading Forex for just over 14 years and trading professionally for just over 8 years. I have pretty much done and seen it all and like you, I’ve had major mistakes and reboots.

This blog/website was started because we (I) have become impatient – frustrated at the garbage that is out there and the bad information being regurgitated ad nauseum in the forums, chat rooms and webinars. Some of it may be useful, but you must know what to retain and what to filter out. The fact is, our filtering mechanisms are not all that efficient, so the noise can be deafening.

I thought it might be valuable to share with you my own story and perspective. Many of us that discover trading come from varied backgrounds and are introduced to the markets in many different ways. I hope you find some similarities between my experience and yours. That is my intent – to make sure you realize that I am/was just like you – I was predisposed to certain ideas and methods that I had to unlearn to become a successful trader. Needless to say it was very enlightening. I hope you enjoy it and find some value in it. Here goes . . .

I was introduced to Forex trading in 2002. At the time I had co-founded and grown several telecommunications companies in the Southwest United States. Our timing was perfect and we hit the explosive growth curve of an industry on the way up. I had hundreds of employees, several regional offices and was working feverishly to make the most of this opportunity. It was one of those chances that you only get once in a life time. My partners and I had done well, but I was exhausted from working 16 hour days, traveling constantly and dealing with the trappings that come with being an employer and an owner.

I had some investments at that time paying large returns and was pleased, but mystified at their size and consistency. The young broker handling my account arrogantly told me my return (5% per month at the time) was being achieved the first few days of the month, and my capital was making him and his associates rich the remaining days. During a visit of his to the states, I asked him what he and his group were doing to provide such a lucrative return. He told me “Forex.”

I’d never heard of Forex, but I did know, that with the exception of my broker friend and his associates, I had never made money relinquishing control of my investments to another broker, institution, or expert. When time constraints made it necessary for me to enlist the investment services of others, my portfolio was always seesawing up and down, netting little, if anything. My preference was always to manage my own investments and when I took control and responsibility for my own money, I was fortunate to make decent returns day trading just a few stocks. The “business” aspect of trading had great appeal for me. What had always attracted me to the markets was I could participate on my own, with no employees or typical business owner responsibilities, and be free from the requirements of a typical job. My ultimate goal was to be a trader full time when my businesses had run their course (Our exit strategy was to build up the companies and sell them while the market was hot.) As we were nearing the end of our telecom streak, I was looking for a Plan B and trading was my first choice.

I asked my broker friend if I could learn how to trade in the Forex market. He informed me that Forex was just being opened up to private, retail investors and referred me to a group teaching Forex trading in northern California. I bought new laptop, paid my $10,000 registration fee and eagerly went north to learn Forex.

The week long course was enlightening and daunting at the same time. There was a lot of information, but little application. The course consisted mostly of a well dressed presenter describing charts, candle patterns (less than what we now consider to be the basics) and how to subscribe to the charting package and open a account at his preferred broker. The week ended and I went home with great enthusiasm. I excitedly opened up a live account, and literally within minutes, got a rude and abrupt awakening on the volatility of news releases while being on the wrong side of the market with no stop loss (it was a Friday morning during NFP.) In truth, I did not have a clue. I was anxious, unfocused and ill prepared. “Trading Plan” was a term I had never heard during my class. “Back testing” was also never mentioned. The teachings completely oversimplified what was actually required, but I would not know this until after getting slapped around by the market and losing all of the money in my recently opened trading account.

I was embarrassed and humiliated. I immediately went back to study my notes to see what I had done wrong. There was not much there to correct from what the class had provided. I was still determined and truly believed I could figure this out. I thought perhaps I missed something during the class that would have made a difference in my disastrous results. I decided to go back for a second time and see where I dropped the ball.

One huge mistake I made early on is that I truly believed I could eventually teach myself how to trade successfully. The reality was I couldn’t. I went back for another session (at a slight discount) with the same group to see what I had missed. I only returned because I could find no other resources at the time. Strangely enough, I got the feeling they were expecting me to come back – as if they knew either I was inadequate or the course material was intentionally designed to be. This seemed typical of the process with most of their students. I would find this out when I saw many familiar faces at my second attendance of the course.

My notes were all there, I could efficiently work the software, but I still had no real plan or system to apply – and neither did they.

After all this, I came to the unsettling conclusion that my previous stock trading successes were just luck because I really had no plan when I made those trades – and from that success, I had a false sense of accomplishment which led to my belief I could figure this out on my own.

Around the same time, I had a friend who was learning with me (although he did not attend the classes.) He befriended a guy that claimed to be a successful trader. He (his guy) knew the Forex market and shared a lot about indicators and trading ideas. Listening to this trader revealed more insights into the trading business, the Forex market, and his trials and tribulations before being able to trade for a living. With this new source of information, I was able to reset my approach, calm down and develop, albeit loosely, a makeshift trading plan.

Even though I felt I was gaining ground, I was still an emotional wreck. Every time I placed a trade, I had no system to determine risk, profits and just sat frozen most of the time hoping the market would move favorably in my direction. I would close trades 2 pips in profit, wipe the sweat off my brow, and then, like Russian Roulette, enter another trade full of emotional chaos. I did this over and over again. What a mess!

One day I received a spam email for a trading “robot.” I had not seen such a thing prior to this and read intently all of the things this robot would do for me – all while I slept or played golf. This was it! After all, my methods were not producing any lasting results so I though I would give it a try. I paid my $197 and placed it on a small live account.

Within seconds after loading it, the robot opened 5 trades, all with full lots. My platform was blinking wildly, notifying me my margin was within 3% of being exceeded. I could not close the trades fast enough – my platform did it for me – and just like that, within seconds, I had lost several hundred dollars and margined (a nice way of saying “blew up”) my account. I sat there dumbfounded.

It then seemed like every day I would received a new email for the latest and greatest robot. I am embarrassed to say I purchased over 100 of them. It got to the point that I returned so many of these on Clickbank and Primus, they would not let me purchase any more. During this same time, I must have purchased the same ridiculous amount of indicators, systems and almost anything I could get my hands on.

I wanted so badly to be a successful trader that I was willing to try anything. Along with buying everything on the market, my other biggest problem was that I had no patience to give any of my purchases adequate trials to see if they really worked. If I realized no miracle in a few days as they all claimed, I was on to the next gizmo.

During this time, I had totally abandoned all rationality and actually thought my success depended on sorting though all of the sales pitches and emails to find the right “magic” product. I had even forgotten what little basics I had learned in my first course and completely believed my success would have to come from someone else. I was really in a tailspin, but for some reason, still not willing to give up. I am just one of those people that does not accept failure very well. I wanted to get more information, but every website seemed to be pitching the same crap – all using the same get rich quick psychobabble. I felt like a total sucker. Was this industry real? Were people actually trading and making money? Who were they and where were they?

I was on a mission to finally find a legitimate source that would interact with me live and not just exchange emails. I soon realized that live interaction was never going to happen. This was the way these guys could stay at arm’s length and not be inundated with the onslaught of questions from struggling traders like me. I started to look for legitimate education materials and get “back to basics.”

Not long after, I purchased other courses – online videos, DVD’s, e-books and manuals. They were all great at explaining the author’s systems and methodology, but none of them addressed how to overcome my emotional challenges. I was learning a tremendous amount about the markets, but still lacked confidence and a profitable trading plan.

Because I bought into the marketing juggernaut selling all of the robots and indicators (that I had gullably purchased,) I was now receiving endless notices and emails for everything under the sun, including webinars – all of which were extremely hokey with the same sales model. Some slick presenter selling a system would drone on for a recorded hour about nothing, pretending to be “live,” and then use a “fear of loss” technique to get participants to order his system that was only available for the next few hours. I’d had enough and was proud of myself that I did not order all of this stuff like before (just maybe one or two.) The possibility that I could trade successfully with little or no effort kept me curious and was still part of my strategy for trading success, even after I had muddled through several more courses. I was determined to find someone or something that would give me the shortcuts to trading wealth and believed they/it would eventually arrive in an email. What an idiot I was.

I finally woke up one day and was just looking at my charts with kind of a blank mind. I had stared at them countless hours before, hoping that through some kind of telepathy I would receive some divine insight. This particular morning, they were jumping out at me. I can’t explain what happened, only that there was remarkable clarity. I saw opportunities – I saw a cash register. At that moment, I realized I had to totally regroup (yet again), start fresh, and really get serious. I knew this no longer was a “hobby” or “opportunity” I could play around with. To get the cash register ringing, I had act like a professional and get a professional education.

I started looking for trading books. I made a vow I would only purchase “real” education materials – no more indicators, systems or robots. It struck me that my previous business success had come from hard work, commitment and the need/requirement to become an expert. I would now apply those same techniques to trading – to my new “trading business.”

I was excited, recharged and totally focused. I read the books “The Discipline Trader” and “Trading in the Zone” by Mark Douglas. Incredible! I went back to basics – really studying price action, support and resistance and the timing of the impulse moves during each market. I became much more aware of the emotional and psychological aspects of my trading and started to write down how I was feeling as well as documenting my trades. I started to develop the same routine every day before sitting down to trade. I felt as though I had come full circle; from knowing nothing, then trudging through the noise and the crap I’d purchased, back to the simple elegance of just looking at price action. It was empowering.

Even with this re-energized enthusiasm, I eventually began struggling again. Why was I still not making any money? I was still being impulsive and emotional. I still lacked control.

I thought I was getting it all together, but there was no doubt something was still missing. I felt I was on the right track, but the discipline after placing a trade was still not there. I was still schizophrenic – a roller coaster of emotions every time. I was convinced that by sheer will I would be able to overcome this behavior. I knew I was close. I had to be. I began taking an inventory of the money I’d spent on classes, materials and miracles. Was I that stupid? Was everybody else making a fortune except me? Was there a tipping point after certain amount of money where divine intervention would lead to to success, or was I just a step or two away from the abyss? I wasn’t sure, but I was frustrated and tired of waiting. Should it just forget all this and give up?

About this time I received an email advertising a live webinar. (Here we go again!) The title struck me – “Why Most Traders Fail.” There was no doubt I needed to know the answer to this question, because in my state of mind at the time, I fit squarely into the category of failing trader (OK – maybe not totally failing, but floundering and for sure struggling.) Interestingly enough, there was no pitch for a system, indicator or robot. There were no claims of riches or the typical advertising webpage tricks I had seen before. This approach was so different that it was thoroughly compelling. It was a relaxed and straightforward introduction with a very simple message – Trading Psychology is the key to your success. The information in the webinar would emphasize the importance of psychology in trading – not unlike the Mark Douglas books I’d read. This approach was very different though. First of all, the presentation was actually live. He explained with complete clarity actionable tools and methods to overcome my emotional challenges. I’d never seen or heard anything like it before. I totally connected with the presenter and felt he was talking directly to me. He knew everything about what I had gone through – even describing my current situation with deadly accuracy. I listened intently and deliberately – this guy had me on the edge of my seat with every word. I could only think of the old saying “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” . . . and I was ready.

The “Why Traders Fail” webinar information was transformative – as if the presenter had been in my office watching me trade and had been with me throughout my entire trading experience. It was life changing. Here was the missing information I was looking for. I was furiously taking notes and could not write fast enough. When it was over, I sat stunned.

There were to be follow-up presentations – a series that would take me through the psychological development required to be a disciplined and successful trader. There was still no mention of indicators, systems or robots. In fact, the presenter went so far as to state that the trading system did not matter. It was the “belief” in the system that each trader must obtain. This belief was achieved through repetition, testing a trading system using statistics, and then practicing with complete commitment and focus. Amazing!

After the presentation concluded, I called the phone number at the bottom of the page. The actual presenter answered the phone! Imagine that! I had just heard this man deliver the most insightful and professional trading presentation I had ever experienced and he answered the phone! I was frozen for a moment and then proceeded to tell him how much I appreciated his work. I was anxious to find out more. He helped traders through his training program overcome the psychological barriers all traders encounter. He was developing trading systems that had empirical data showing their profitability and equity curves. With over 15 years as a trader and trainer, he had a wealth of information and ideas that I had to get.

I immersed myself in the information. It totally transformed me and my trading. I learned that I needed to emulate someone that was successful in the trading business – that trading is a skill that can be learned just like any other. I learned that discipline, focus and emotional control are the keys to my trading success. The most important thing I learned was that I had to work on me. I had to get out of my own way and trust myself – but the only way that would happen was to do the work. The “work” was back testing my trading plan using my rules for entries, stops and targets to statistically prove my trading system performance. This was the only way I could overcome my emotional challenges and place a trade with total conviction and belief in the system. I got to work. This catapulted my results and re-invented my approach to the markets. I could finally see myself as a successful trader.

It was just when I was ready to call it quits that I found the missing piece that made it all click for me. I thought my story would be worthy of sharing because I have heard similar stories from many other traders. They have all had/have a moment where something clicked – where the missing piece was filled in and their trading transformed. Another key revelation was that trading is not easy. It takes the same commitment and knowledge required; just like learning any other business. And just like any other business, it will be more difficult for some than others. I had achieved success in my former profession, so I assumed the my previous successes would apply to trading. That was where I had to let go. I had to get rid of any preconceived notions about what it would take and how smart I was. None of that mattered to the market. This was the most difficult revelation . . . to admit I was the issue. I was truly a total idiot when it came to trading and was going about it all wrong – trying to take shortcuts, thinking I could grind this out on my own.

My ego wouldn’t let me get passed the obstacles. I finally stopped lying to myself about the fact that trading would be a matter of endurance and that eventually I could become successful at it without help. Soon after that admission, I could focus on learning, not trying to impose my will and satisfy my ego.

In spite of what was my greatest trading challenge – my trading emotions – let me say that I am and was otherwise very healthy emotionally and was also when I started trading 13-14 years ago. I have a great family and an awesome, supportive marriage and had achieved a comfortable level of financial success. I had to reconcile the fact the the market couldn’t care less about me or what I had achieved in the past. It was emotionally neutral about me, my desires, and any sense of entitlement I brought with me. It was when I let go, when I stopped being emotional, the market began to reward me. When I was patient and disciplined, the market would continue to reward me.

It wasn’t long before I began to look forward to waking up every day to attack the market. I was no longer helpless, I became relentless – relentless about following my trading plan, becoming a professional trader and achieving the freedom that I knew this business could provide.

There were two commandments I began to follow that I borrowed from the great internet marketing guru Frank Kern “Thou shalt not f**k around” and “Thou shalt not be a pu**y.” That means get serious and stop whining. You get out what you put in.

My story may reach too deep for many of you, but to realize the potential this opportunity can provide, you need to get real and deadly serious. You have to be willing to do what others won’t because we know there is a 90-95% chance you won’t make it. And yet, no matter how much I say it, share it or scream it, nothing will happen until you decide to make it happen. Once you decide, you can’t let anything stop you. I know because not long ago I was sitting in your exact same seat wondering how to do this and I had to decide I would make it happen for me and my family.

My purpose here is to reinforce that most professionals, myself included, are/were just like you – with a desire and vision to become consistently profitable and perhaps inevitably make a living from trading. For all of us, trading has been one of the most difficult things we have ever mastered. It takes a total commitment, hard work and is unlike any other “real world” environment you have experienced. And for all of us, it has been totally worth it – and it will be for you as well. I know that if I can do it, so can you. You just have to decide.

The good news is, we’re here to help.

So . . . that’s my story and I hope you found some value in it – it’s been quite a ride!

Rick