Discovering Purpose Beyond Profit & Loss: A Trader’s Journey to Building a Community

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From Guest Blogger Fred Barnes of The Downtown DC Day Traders………….

The inspiration to pursue an endeavor can come from a myriad of sources such as the lyrics in a song, a
scene in a movie, or even from a blog. The latter being my source. It was July 2010 when I read the following words in a blog: “If you are an independent trader maybe you can start a virtual trading community that shares more trading ideas, giving you a purpose bigger than your P&L?”

To most, this may seem like a random suggestion, but this statement resonated with me (for reasons I would later come to learn). I read it over and over again. I bookmarked this blog post and would periodically come back to read it; especially the nagging aforementioned sentence (subliminal message). Why couldn’t I stop thinking about this statement (suggestion)?

Fast forward approximately 8-months and those simple words pasted in a blog post that had been nagging at me so copiously, had now manifested itself into an actual, in-person “Trader Community” meeting. This meeting, which was organized via the Meetup website, made me realize why I could not stop thinking about the phrase in that blog; why I felt compelled to start my own trader community, and how I came to discover that I finally found a purpose beyond doing something for financial gain. For me, trading and learning the game of trading has become my passion. I finally found something I enjoy so much that I want to share and believe it or not, I do not expect anything in return. When I say “share” I am not saying I am teaching people how to trade; however, I aim to facilitate the development of an individual’s trading ability.

So here I am in front of a conference room full of people who want to learn to trade, wondering if I did the right thing by organizing and hosting this meeting. As we kicked things off and the discussions started, I knew right away that I was in the right “space”.

As each person discussed what they hoped to gain from this community experience, I felt my sense of purpose. I felt the need to facilitate the training needs of each person I spoke to. This was my ministry, so to speak. To hear one person state that he has been trading part-time for six- years, but has NEVER spoken to another trader in person. EVER. He simply said, “I’ve just never met anyone that trades the markets”. Or the one guy who came up to me after the meeting and said, “thank you for doing this, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this group”. Every person in that meeting, like so many others pursuing this game, had a different story, but each displayed an unbridled passion to want to learn how to trade. Of course only time will tell who has the staying power and stamina to survive the learning the curve. Nevertheless, our newly established “trader community” will provide all the support necessary for those willing to stay the long haul.

When I first started my trading journey, I used to hear the term “trading community” tossed about in various forums and blogs and wondered did such a community truly exist. I learned quickly this community is no myth. I was reminded of the vigor of this so-called “trader community” at this meeting. As one of our discussions centered on the various trading blogs and websites, one trader relayed that Stocktwits is a key source for keeping in tune with what other traders are watching/trading and a great way to get trade ideas from some of the best in the business. In fact he indicated that Stocktwits is how he found out about our meeting. He explained that he was on the Stocktwits website and noticed @SMBCapital (which he follows via Stocktwits) tweet about our Meetup Group. So he joined our meetup group (Downtown DC Day Traders) and of course attended the meeting that same evening. Wow! Score one for the trader community.

Trading can be a brutal game, one that takes no mercy. However, having the support of a group of like-minded people, sharing ideas with other traders in an effort to get better every day, and being in a position to guide those that really want to learn towards the credible and reputable sources of trader development makes me glad I didn’t ignore that seemingly innocuous phrase.

Follow me and my new trader community on Twitter and Stocktwits @DCDayTrader. And of course, feel free to join our trader community Downtown DC DayTraders.

Fred “DC DayTrader” Barnes

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