The success rate for making a living from day trading is 4%, says Steve Burns of New Trader U.

This is the actual rate I witnessed while trading at a proprietary trading firm for many years and in conversations with other firm operators. Making some money from day trading (side hustle), about 10%–15% prop firm trainees could do that. For many, the amount they were making was not enough to justify the time. These people put in over six hours per day at the office, day trading five days per week. The capital was available to them, along with experienced traders to ask questions to (few did).

Can You Make a Living Being a Day Trader?

The minimum time it took people to make a living from trading was six months to one year (I had a part-time job up till month seven). Some people took longer. No one shorter. Putting in less work or time prolongs the journey or drops the success rate. I believe low success stats apply to “I’ll give it a try” people (most people). NOT people who are passionate about trading. Passionate people do what it takes. Give-it-a-try people...try, and lose.

I often hear “But I see loads of people making a killing, it must be easy!” This is Availability Bias. Believing what you see, without considering what you don’t see. People don’t talk about losing, and if they did, you probably wouldn’t follow them on social media! When learning, you follow people who seem to know what they’re doing. It’s the only world you’re seeing; it’s not the only world that exists.

How to Be in the 4% Or Even the 10% Of Day Traders

At least want to trade. If you are just going to “try it out,” don’t bother. Traders LOVE Mondays. Dedicate at least six months to learning a SINGLE method. Jumping around and experimenting prolongs the journey to profitability. Putting in hours is NOT practice. It’s only methodical practice that counts. Reviewing mistakes, brainstorming solutions, and finding ways to slightly improve risk/reward and win rate.

Confidence comes from doing something so many times that you believe in it, and you believe in yourself executing it. Most “trading psychology” issues are alleviated by practicing so much the method becomes second nature. You don’t think about money, or not making money. You just execute, like any other repetitive task in life. That’s only possible if you trade the same way all the time. If you constantly try different things, you’ll lack confidence (for good reason) and profits.

Learn more about Steve Burns at