#57 Follis

January 23, 2023


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Full-time crypto trader, Twitch streamer and content creator., Follis is a former lawyer with a background in investment funds and financial regulation.

What attracted you to trading?

I suppose it was the ability to work for myself, on my own terms, with a potentially higher financial upside than many other vocations. And while the monetary reward is still a big part of why I trade, in time, I have come to enjoy the process so much that it's nearly as much of a draw as anything else. Trading is a craft; as with all crafts, there comes a pleasure in doing the thing and an even greater pleasure in doing it well. Working for yourself can be a lot of pressure, but it is also incredibly rewarding, and that is something I have realised more fully since making the transition from law into trading full-time.

Trading is a craft; as with all crafts, there comes a pleasure in doing the thing and an even greater pleasure in doing it well.

How long have you been trading and what markets have you traded over your career?

I started trading in February 2021, and went full-time in April 2022. In terms of markets, I only trade crypto, although I reference indices and other asset classes regularly to assist with bias or practice my TA.

How long did it take you to become profitable?

Just over a year. I wasted so much time in my first few months trying to figure out what to do and how to get better that I ended up going in circles quite a bit and consistently having to retrace my steps. The biggest "aha" moment came in September 2021, when I joined a server with some of the traders I admired the most in the space (shoutout MGV for the invite). I think I had 150 followers at the time. The server was only active for a few months, but I asked so many questions and received so much feedback from guys who were all better traders than me that I was ten times the trader when I left.

I made a post about it recently on Twitter, but trading has a reputation for being a solitary game. While there is some truth in that, my experience is that finding a group of like-minded individuals to talk charts with is like a cheat code for progress.

finding a group of like-minded individuals to talk charts with is like a cheat code for progress.

Who did you look up to when you first started trading?

My first exposure to price action trading was through watching Trader Mayne. Although I would say my style now is quite different from his, his was the first I ever truly tried to emulate, as evidenced by the many old folders on my computer with saves of his charts and screenshots from his streams. In terms of refining that style, Phantom FX, ICT, Abetrade, and Josh all greatly influenced how I trade and view the charts, in addition to countless other CT anons.

Tell us about your most memorable trade?

Longing the pico top of ZEN just after the news broke that it was listed on Coinbase and getting liquidated. Lost a monthly salary in less than one minute, fun times.

In terms of winners, I had a 10x LUNC trade last year, which was my only spot play of 2022, as well as shorting BTC at 21.3k just as the FTX bankruptcy saga was unfolding, which resulted in the most profitable month of my career.

Lost a monthly salary in less than one minute, fun times.

What does 'making it' look like to you?

I am about as far away from having made it as someone can be. I am still very much a beginner, although it feels like the path forward becomes clearer to me with each passing day.

"Making it" is such a subjective term, and can mean so many different things to different people at different points in their lives that I will only say that it implies a level of financial and temporal freedom that the vast majority of people have never experienced, nor ever will.

What's the most important quality in a trader?

Patience, without a doubt. Being able to sit on your hands for days on end without taking a position is an incredibly valuable skill to have. As MGNR says, the default position for discretionary traders should nearly always be flat. Zero open positions, zero open orders. In my opinion, that should only change when a high conviction, high probability, asymmetric bet presents itself. Until then enjoy the optionality of doing nothing.

the default position for discretionary traders should nearly always be flat

How would you describe the way you trade?

Price action trading using auction market theory concepts as confluence. 90% of what I look at when analysing charts is liquidity, structure, value and balance. The remainder are things like high timeframe trend and macro/narrative, although I am not an economist, so I try to avoid making very long-term predictions and focus on playing things level to level.

Has the way you trade changed over time?

Completely. When I started I was very much a "jack of all trades, master of none". This is one of the biggest pitfalls for new traders in my opinion. If I could go back now and give myself one piece of advice, it would be to pick one style of trading and devote myself rigorously to it, rather than trying to learn little bits and pieces about ten different styles at once while simultaneously not understanding much about any.

Why do you think you have success trading?

I have good conviction in my own abilities and my capacity to achieve the things I put my mind to. And I don't just mean that in a "meaningless self-help inspirational quote" type of way. If I set my mind to something, no matter what it is, I rarely fail at that task as long as I stay motivated to achieve it.

What's the worst thing about trading and why?

You can get 90% of a trade right and still lose money on it. By way of example, you could have the right idea, the right target, and even the right entry on a trade, but your invalidation might be too tight, which results in you getting stopped out of a setup in which you otherwise had a solid read.

You can get 90% of a trade right and still lose money.

What's something you've learned in the last six months that has made you a better trader?

Sometimes the best trade is no trade at all. Particularly relevant for the market conditions over the last half-year.

What's the mistake you find hardest to avoid when trading?

Shorting strength or longing weakness. Countertrend trading is still one of my biggest weaknesses. Part of the problem, I think, is a desire to be the smartest guy in the room by catching tops or bottoms, however egotistical that sounds. And while there will always be some truth to being greedy when others are fearful (and vice versa), my results typically improve once I wait for price to tell me what it wants to do and trade with the flow rather than fighting against it.

Countertrend trading is still one of my biggest weaknesses.

If you could give someone starting trading tomorrow one piece of advice what would it be?

Be humble enough to realise that there are thousands of people in the space who are smarter than you, and smart enough to try and surround yourself with those people. 

What goals do you set for your trading?

Get better every day. Make plenty of mistakes and learn from each one of them. Keep showing up, no matter how hard things get. Build my portfolio through repeatable setups, incremental gains, and compounding returns. Help others where possible. Make the people I care about proud of me. Validate my decision to leave the legal game to trade full time. Enjoy myself, otherwise there is no point.

Fill in the blanks

Most traders would be better off taking fewer trades.

  • What separates the pros from the rest is experience, intuition, wisdom. Anyone can analyse a chart for half a day, very few can look at it and see in ten minutes that there is nothing tradeable.
  • A good trader should never let a small loss turn into a big loss. Hope is a dangerous thing when it comes to trading, especially when managing positions in drawdown. Never assume that a losing position will come back to your entry.
  • The biggest misconception about trading is that you will make money, which is statistically untrue for most.

Any other comments you'd like to share:

Trading is a zero sum game. One person's gain is another person's loss. Always be kind and stay humble, because you will find yourself on both sides of that equation many times.