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nialfullerNial Fuller is considered 'The Authority' on Price Action Trading. Since starting this blog in 2008 he has written more than 1700 posts and has taught more than 15,000 students via his Professional Forex Trading Courses. Today he has a dedicated following of more than 250,000 traders across 100 + countries including Australia, Singapore, UK, Malaysia, Canada & USA. If you are an aspiring forex trader looking for a genuine trading education, this site is for you. Read More about Nial Fuller here

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How To Grow A Small Trading Account Successfully

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I know that most of you are coming into the Forex markets with relatively small trading accounts. I also know that you want to grow your trading accounts while losing as little money as possible.

treeWhile this is not an easy goal to achieve, it can be done if you are willing to be disciplined and change the way you think about trading the markets. In today’s Forex trading lesson, I am going to share with you my honest and practical insight on how to successfully trade with a small trading account. So, if you’ve been lying awake at night, unable to sleep because you just can’t seem to make any consistent progress on your small trading account, this article is for you.

Before we dive into the details of today’s lesson, it’s worth noting that you are not experiencing difficulty in your trading because you have a small trading account. To be honest with you, the size of your trading account has no bearing on whether or not you are a successful Forex trader. A successful Forex trader is not necessarily a full-time professional trader, this is a myth you need to forget about right now.

You need to view success in the markets as a function of what is possible given the size of your trading account. So, if you have a $2,000 trading account and you are consistently making $200 a month, you should consider yourself a successful Forex trader, even though you obviously cannot live on $200 a month, more on this later.

Some people come into the markets with a $50,000 or $100,000 account and lose all their money in a short period of time. While other traders start with $1,000 and parlay that small amount into a substantial trading account over time. The determining factor of success lies not in the size of the trader’s account but in their beliefs about what successful trading consists of and what they need to do to achieve it.

Focus on trading the markets, not on making the money

It is not a profound statement to say that making money in the markets is a result of successfully trading them, but it’s worth examining this statement further to see just where most traders with small accounts go wrong.

The problem that plagues most traders with small accounts is that they are probably coming into the markets feeling a “need” to make money because they have put all the disposable income they have into their trading account and they really want to quit their jobs / get rich quick / buy a yacht, etc. The point is that trading the markets with a feeling of “need” results in you focusing most of your brain power on money and profits and much less of it on managing risk and mastering an effective Forex trading strategy like price action trading.

A trader needs to be good at trading a small account before they can move on to a larger account. I would even say that even if you do have a large sum of money to trade with, you should not fund your account with all of it until you have proved to yourself that you can make money on a smaller sum of money. Your focus should not be on turning a small account into lots and lots of money extremely quickly, this is simply not possible if you are managing your risk properly.

focus1Instead, your focus should be on becoming a good trader, not on making money super fast. If you learn to trade the market successfully, the money will follow and attract itself to you in increasing amounts as time goes on. You truly need to focus on the trading not on the money if you want to have a chance at keeping your emotions at bay and obtaining consistent trading success as a result.

I can’t even tell you how many emails I get each week from people asking me questions like ‘Nial, how much money do I need in my account to make $1,000 a month’, or any number of other similar questions that just totally miss the point of what successful trading is all about. I am not criticizing anyone for asking such questions, as most beginners simply do not know what it takes to succeed in the markets and have probably been fed lies and rumors by other Forex websites that promise them the world but deliver little in the way of practical trading strategies and insight.

But, traders need to understand that in order to make consistent money in the markets they must first master a trading strategy like price action, build a trading plan around it, manage risk effectively and with discipline, and not stray from these primary tenants of successful trading, if you can do these things you will see your trading account will grow slow but consistently. If you don’t do these things you will be another member of the large pool of losing Forex traders who refuse to stop thinking about getting rich overnight.

Treat a small trading account as if it were 1 million dollars

If you had a 1 million dollar trading account and had one or two big winners per month, you would be making substantial money, and you would have an impressively consistent track record.

You need to think about your current trading account as if it is a 1 million dollar account, because the principles that lead to consistently successful trading are the same. You are only feeling the emotion and urgency to trade now because your account is small and you want to make a lot of money really fast. But, unfortunately the path to make money in the markets is not paved by risking a lot and trading too much, but rather by taking a slow and calculated approach to your trading and never becoming emotional.

If you had a 1 million trading account, you would have no problem waiting for a pin bar strategy or fakey setup that sticks out like sore thumb on the charts, because you know you only need a few good trades a month to make your money. Granted, it’s easier to not care about the money when you have 1 million dollars, but the point of this article is that in order to make money on your small trading account you need to THINK like you have a big trading account now, because this will deliver you from feeling the urgency and “need” to trade that you probably feel now which is causing you to over-trade, over-leverage, and lose money consistently.

The very reason why most traders lose money is because they simply cannot see the forest for the trees, meaning they get caught up in the temptation to trade every day and over-leverage their accounts because they forget about or are unaware of the bigger picture of trading, which is that slow and steady wins the race, not fast and haphazard. Many traders also get caught up in trying to analyze every piece of news data and all the forex indicators they can get their hands on. Adding such unnecessary variables to your trading analysis only works to keep you deeper in the realm of emotional trading and further away from understanding the bigger picture of what Forex trading success is all about.

A consistent track record can take you places

If your trading account is somewhere in the range of $2,000 or less, we are going to consider this a “very small” trading account and this means your focus absolutely has to be on building a consistent track record and building your confidence as a trader. Then, as you grow and progress as a trader and your track record becomes consistently profitable each month, you can proceed to trade larger sums of money. If you do not have access to more money you can look to an investor, friend, bank or prop firm for trading funds, I even fund some of my successful students from time to time if they have proven themselves to me.

So, if you have a small trading account right now, your primary goals to trade it successfully are to do the following things:

• Forget about the money and instead become “engrossed” in mastering an effective yet simple trading strategy like price action. The more focus you put into the process of trading instead of making money and getting rich, the sooner the money that you desire will find its way into your trading account.

• Build a trading plan off of the price action trading strategies you have mastered. A forex trading plan is essential for succeeding long-term in the markets because it gives you an objective daily guide to follow and will lay out all your entry, exit, and money management strategies, so that you are not just trading on a whim every time you open up your charts.

• Once you build your trading plan you are going to need to track your progress in a forex trading journal so that you can stay disciplined and accountable. If you don’t maintain a trading journal you are probably going to lose your discipline and focus because you will not have a tangible piece of evidence that reflects all your trades.

If you are looking for a backer to fund your trading, they are going to want to see hard evidence that you can trade consistently. This evidence will need to at least contain a legitimate track record that reflects your account history and a comprehensive yet concise Forex trading plan that matches the trades you’ve executed in your trading account history. They are not going to care that much about how much money you have in your account, if you are trading a real-money account and you can provide documents that show your discipline and consistency over a period of 3 months or more, you will not have trouble finding investors or institutions to fund you. So, if nothing else, let this be the motivating force that you need to stop trading haphazardly and get disciplined.

Managing your money on a small trading account

money_management_toolFinally, a few words on managing your money in a small account: it’s no different from how you would manage your money on a larger account, except that you will obviously be trading smaller position sizes per trade. Whatever you do, do not get greedy and trade too large or over-leverage on a smaller account, this is a common emotional trading mistake and it will kill your trading account faster than you think and greatly inhibit your chances of becoming a successful trader.

If you will just slow down and focus on trading like a sniper and not a machine gunner by learning to trade only the most obvious and confluent price action setups, you will be able to trade much more relaxed and care-free, this will help you greatly in your money management. I will not go into my personal Forex money management theory to deeply right now, because I have written about it in other articles, one of which I suggest you read when you finish this one: Don’t measure your profits in percentages or pips. But, basically, you should never risk more money per trade than you are TRULY OK with losing, because you COULD lose on ANY trade, let the be your guiding principle before you enter any trade, because if you really accept this statement you will not ever risk more than you are comfortable with losing.

What to do now

If you are serious about trading your small account successfully and having a chance to take your trading to the next level, you will need to use the insight I have provided in this trading lesson and really try to make a shift in the way you think about trading. I cannot force you to manage your money correctly, master price action trading, or remain disciplined over a long period of time, but if you are truly serious about having a career in trading, you will have to dig deep within yourself and muster up the motivation to do these things and forge the proper trading habits. You can succeed at anything if you want it enough, and Forex trading is no different, so right now you should ask yourself “How much do I want to be a successful Forex trader” and then go back and re-read this article and begin implementing the points discussed here immediately.

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About Nial Fuller

is a Professional Trader & Author who is considered ‘The Authority’ on Price Action Trading. He has a monthly readership of 250,000+ traders and has taught 15,000+ students since 2008. Checkout Nial’s Forex Course here.

68 comments - Click Here to Leave a Comment

  1. Carlos says:

    Thanks Nial,

    Another great Article.

    Carlos

  2. Alex says:

    Hello, Nial.
    Great article Nial, I’m really enjoying being part of this trading site. With each of your article, I’m a successful professional trader. It’s really giving me the boost and better understanding of forex trading…
    Thank you very much.

  3. chan says:

    Thank you so much… This is what I needed. Took the last 6 months off of trading to clear my mind and think of a better approach. This was it. Thanks again!

  4. Daniel says:

    I started trading $100k after practicing for several months, much more fun and much less stress to make pips. I happily take my $3k-$10k daily profit.

  5. Edingoe says:

    this is what happens to so this article really is important to me. thanks so much I really enjoy it,

  6. CHANDER PAL MITRA says:

    OK….YOU ARE …FOREX CHAMPION….SAVIOUR FOR FOREX COMMUNITY

  7. Joshua says:

    Great article Mr. Fuller, it really changes my mindset and focus in trading.
    Thanks.

  8. adeola says:

    this article is eye opener to whoso
    ever want to take trade as a profession.

  9. Jude says:

    Great article!

  10. Chaminda says:

    Thanks a million for your great advices……..

  11. TheDoctor says:

    Not bad.

  12. Leonz says:

    Thank you so muck Nail you are not only just professional trader but you are professional coach.

  13. sunny says:

    Thanks Nial, you nail it again you are the best i will take this on board

  14. themba says:

    Hi Nial

    Thank you for the insight. It’s true principles are the same in a million account or a small account. Displine, proper risk management are the root to distiction.

    Thanks

  15. xiucui says:

    Thx Nail, after read this artical, i promise myself i will show n proven tangible evidence for myself.

  16. Fount Shults says:

    I am new with Nial and have been reading his articles and strategies for about a month. I think it is finally sinking in. I need a strategy that I can work with consistently over time. I’m working on that this morning. Three months from now I will have a track record.

  17. Michal says:

    Hi Nial,

    great article as always. Will do my best to stick to it 100%.

    thanks

  18. Kaylen Velting says:

    I’m a beginner trader and have been using Nial’s price action techniques for around 5 months now and have turned a 300$ trading account into 850$ in that 6 months.

  19. shafiek says:

    Hi Nial

    I have just been taken out of a trade and at the same time lost my whole account balance in the process leaving me with no $ to trade with all because I was trying to make money and I never followed my trading strategy. This is an excellent article for anyone starting to trade forex. Believe me I have the t-shirt for over trading and not following my ttrading method and I have blown numerous accounts not because I dont trade well but because I get greedy and jump into trades that does not meet my trading requirements and I end up staying in them because I am so gutted with myself for taking them in the 1st place when they turn out to be losers.

    I have a trading method that when I follow it I end up winning 70% of the time but I dont have the patience to wait for a setup and I spend to much time infront of my charts. I trade with a very small account and when I make 100% on my account I stay in the trade because if I look at it its a small amount of money which eventually turns out to take me out at breakeven leaving me with no profit. This has happened to me time and time again and I notice now it is because of the mindset I have adopted to trading and I am to focused on making money with a small account that I am letting good trades slip away from me. To any new trader starting out in trading, having a trading method is all well and good but if you dont have the patience and discipline to follow it with laser sharp accuracy and patience then you will not succeed as a trader. Starting out I was always told patience and discipline is an extremely important aspect in trading the markets and even though I know it I still go against it and I end up being the loser over and over. But after reading this post I think I have a better grasp on the whole concept of what it takes to be a successful trader and that its not how much money you have in your account but how much successful trades and how good your risk reward is on a trade.

    Good Luck guys and a lesson to myself 1st before everyone else is patience and discipline is just as important as a good trading method. I will be reading this post again and ingraing it in my brain.

    Thanks Nial

  20. Udom, Ubong says:

    slendid article. this will help me nourish my nascent account.

  21. Josef says:

    Briliant article. Going to read it again.
    I cannot say more.
    Josef CZE:-)

  22. DUDLEY SACKALOO says:

    very good advice and direction as usual

  23. rikus says:

    Hi Nial,

    Thanksss a lot. Great articles.

    Rikus

  24. Steve says:

    Great lesson. The message is as consistent as it is simple.

  25. Tony EGEh says:

    Thanks for this great article in fact this is really going to change my trading patterns and surely lead me to becoming a successful professional trader.
    thank you very much

  26. jonesy says:

    Thanks, man, you are superb teacher.

    One typo:
    “not stray from these primary tenants of successful trading”
    TENANTS should be TENETS

  27. Tom barasa says:

    Good advise Nial. Seems like you have been watching what I have been doing for the last 4 months. I need discipline and patience. Not just jump in trade. Keep what i make instead of giving it back. Has been my problem for the last 4 months.

  28. Todor says:

    Simple but wisely as always. Many thanks, Nial. The serial article which made me feel touched. My lesson from this one is to remember what needs to be managed first-myself. Pay my respects to you and your team. Merry Christmas to you guys and to our community and may we all have a happy and a prosper new year.

  29. Galen says:

    Hi Nial

    I have stepped back for a few months to reverse a losing mind set and to get serious as to what it takes to succeed with a winning mind set. Ironic as your student, I have come to a point in saying “I will follow the Master” after deluding myself for two years. My desire is to trade the market successfully, this is my foundation.

    Your student
    Galen

  30. Jiri M says:

    It is truth ,thanks Nial.

  31. murume says:

    thats very true,i started a mini acc,tripled my acc in weeks then lost all in a day,got greedy n lost everything,very useful info you provide us

  32. Manjula says:

    Great lesson Nial.Very essentials facts for growing

  33. steveCAN says:

    I’m going to pay more attention to price action trading strategy. A question for you Nial: Apart from price action, what other strategy can one have in his arsenal, or can one get all one wants from price action strategy alone?
    Many thanks and God’ blessings

  34. jatinder says:

    Nail I think u can read minds how do u know that i am looking for this article….

    thanks

    jeet

  35. Yomi says:

    Hi Nial,

    Another thought provoking, direct and well thought out write up as usual.
    Just as with thousand others, I have a small trading account and while I never risk more than 1 per cent (which I can conveniently afford to lose) of my account on any trade, I have missed out on a lot of good trades out of FEAR!
    I am thus focusing on mastering price action strategy and trading plan development and hope this will help beef up my confidence.

    Thanks once again.

    Yomi

  36. tino rumac says:

    truer words where never spoken

    thanks very much Niall

    have a great christmas

    tino

  37. jean rodriguez says:

    THANKS THANKS THANKS NIAL.

  38. Justin says:

    This article came at the perfect time – right when I am about to fund my very first account. Well done, and thanks.

  39. Suparat says:

    Useful information ,Open my eyes to real forex

  40. Gurpal says:

    Hi Nial,

    Hope you are well. Thank you so very much for this detailed and fantastic lesson.

    Thank you for all your help

    Thanks and Regards

    Gurpal

  41. Baz says:

    Thanks Nial – great timing! I’ve been with you a few months now and I know my trading is in much better shape. I have funds to increase my account with but for all the reasons you state am keeping it small until my consistency is right. However I have recently considered adding to it as I feel I am becoming a little too ‘comfortable’ with the win/loss value levels. Your lesson here has put me back on track. Many thanks and merry Christmas. Baz

  42. Sher says:

    Thank you Nial, I am certain a lot of persons will benefit from this article, I sure did.

  43. Don says:

    Thanks nial, focus donny on the method. In the last year since I joined the ltttm community I have learned heaps. I can say that I have experienced a lot of the emotions you speak of. In my opinion 90% of this business is managing my thoughts, by far the hardest part. 2012 its the year of simple diciplined pa trading

  44. Jean says:

    Thanks Nial,

    I’ve read all of your articles and I can relate to this article and the “sniper” article.

    Growing my account slowly instead of wanting to double it really fast.

    You give me hope that I will have the DISCIPLINE to follow my plan.

    Thanks a LOT!

  45. Anthony uche says:

    wonderful article NIAL

  46. Nitka says:

    I so needed to find Nial’s website. His educational articles are brilliant! and YES. I have tiny account and am very happy to trade micro for a long while yet. Since my friend send me Nial’s link to his website I became a very eager but patient sniper and I keep my money now..:-) I am learning with GM markets and have $2k demo/training account there trading 0.05 and 0.1 contracts. Since reading Nial’s publicasions (1 week ago) I made and KEPT $156 there..:-) my aim is to have real account of that size and make $100 – 200 per week to top up my super when I retire at young and healthy 55..:-))in my real account I have $100 and made and KEPT $15 on 0.01 contracts…:-))your advice of LESS IS MORE became my new mantra Nial – as for trading less…thank you ..:-)))

  47. paul says:

    great article again from you nial, thanks and God bless

  48. Lionell Dixon says:

    Another great one! Thanks Nial.

  49. Vilem says:

    Absolute Truth. I look forward to join your membership side in soon furure. Respect to you and many thanks for articles like this. I wish you and all the learnhowtotradethemarket very nice and mary Christmas. Vilem, Prague, EU

  50. TRACY says:

    MAKES SSSSSO MUCH SINCE, NIAL! I’ve had a very small account for a little over a year now, and I’m focusing more on winning the trades. Staying consistent isn’t easy…but that’s why we have you as a coach. Another platinum hit, Nial! Thx. :-)

  51. larryK says:

    Good stuff Nial very good stuff…. Thanks larryK I will be contacting for back up money soon.

  52. Isah AA Bokuta says:

    This article is an eye opener to me.

  53. Ramli says:

    Thanks Nial.

    Great achivement build-in in great discipline.

    Cheer

    Happy holiday….

  54. Lucas says:

    “The process is more important than the money”
    I’ve read tones of financial best selling books of how they became successful.
    How i made 2million $ in the stock market by Nicholas Darvas
    Rich dad series by Robert kiyosaki
    Richest man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason.
    just to name a few
    They all spoke the same language as Nial that is follow one path till successful and focus more on the learning process rather than money.
    Thanks Nial.

  55. vijay says:

    very true,
    Excellent article Nial,You always rocks !!!!!!!!!

  56. Filopastry says:

    TOPS!!
    At the start I thought I could make a million in 1 year. Now a year on I dont know how much I will make .
    All I know is I trade to my plan.
    Thanks again Nial
    P.S. Daily charts rule>

  57. Colin says:

    Your comments are so true. I have a small trading Acc of $2000. Sometimes it drops to $1400 then back up to $2000. So I think I have to start trading less & start being like a Sniper. Stop giving the money back to the market. If had a $100000 acc & traded just 4 times a month taking only the best setups I think I would do really well. As part of my money management I will not trade or risk more then $20.00 per thousand. Thats with $2000 or $200000 it will still be the same. Now I have to trade like a sniper, Its all starting to make sensce now. Thank you Nial for all your help. All the best to all the Traders out there Colin

    4

  58. Daniel Sebag says:

    I have been trading micro lot since July and still 5 months later i am in the same area, never consistent Need to get your course and change my thinking. Thanks Nial always great advice.

  59. HDJ says:

    A great reminder Nial!

    Cheers!

  60. Sanjay says:

    This Is the One I Have Been Waiting For!!
    This is truly a XMAS present. I have not even read the artical yet, but from the title I cant wait to study it.

    Cheers
    Sanjay

  61. Steve says:

    Another gem of wisdom Nial.

    Your statement:

    ” Treat a small trading account as if it were 1 million dollars”

    This says it all to me. Run my trading business as a pro and the money will look after itself.

  62. Piotr says:

    This one was specifically for me :)
    Thanks a lot Nial!

  63. T Allen says:

    Spot on article – plain and simple with great seeds for thought. Thanks.

  64. Keith(from england) says:

    Have you been sitting behind me over the last month??!! I have a tiny account and can totally relate to this article. I am learning to drastically reduce my scalper approach and to stamp out just jumping in to be in a trade. Besides eating and drinking too much(hic) over the festive period I am refocusing all my efforts to being a more disciplined and successful trader.
    Many thanks again Nial and hope you have a good one.

  65. xback says:

    thanks nial

  66. Reymond says:

    Very nice piece and powerful reminder message

    Thanks a lot Nial. God Bless you more

  67. Steve20555 says:

    Yep too true what you say Nial, I now try to act more like the sniper and take only the best Daily Setups. Great lesson and motivation for anyone just starting out.

    thanks Nial

    Steve20555

  68. Paul says:

    Hi Nial

    Once again a pertinent and focused lesson that appears to have been written specifically for me.

    No doubt about the truth of every word you have written above. Must ‘just’ be true and honest to myself to become a competent and consistent trader. Stop thinking about / worrying about growing my ‘micro’ trading account to a sufficient level that will enable me to make a living from my trading. Until I can demonstrate to myself (and thereafter others) that I know what I am doing and am worth funding, from their perspective. Need to achieve these things in the appropriate order

    Many thanks and best seasonal wishes to you and your family
    Paul

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