A lot of people these days are tempted by the idea of going into business for themselves. We wrote recently about how to become an entrepreneur in the modern economic climate, and this is something more and more people seem to be interested in. But even if you’re not looking to start your own business, the idea of getting into the “gig” economy—performing whatever jobs you can in an independent or freelance capacity—can be very appealing.


For some this means things like web design, content writing, or even selling homemade crafts. But for those looking to work on their own while maintaining a steadier routine, day trading in the stock market often comes up as an option. That’s not to say that just anyone can successfully enter the stock market, but if you happen to be looking for a way to generate income from home, it might have at least crossed your mind.

Anyone with a strong work ethic and a basic understanding of the market can learn the ins and outs of trading and ultimately become a strategically effective investor (which does not mean guaranteed success). But even if you do well and invest the appropriate amount of time in the venture, certain things about the trading lifestyle may wind up blindsiding you. To minimize that effect, here are a few things to know about the life of a day trader.


You Can Work Out A Relaxing Schedule

Some who have never tried it before view day trading as a rather rigid profession. The market opens in the morning, closes in the late afternoon, and repeats the cycle the next day. And a lot of traders will sit there almost unblinking for every moment that the market is over. This is why day trading is generally viewed as a fairly high-stress profession, even though it affords you the chance to work from home. However, it’s also worth mentioning that if you educate yourself on the market and develop a personal style in terms of which market you trade in, which assets you focus on, and how you operate, you can create a freedom lifestyle while trading. There’s not a foolproof process to making this happen, but if you do your research you’ll find countless anecdotes of people who worked out relatively low-demand trading schedules and still made income. It just takes a practiced
method and discipline.


…But Pre-Market Preparation Is Necessary

While some find a way to develop a relaxing day trading lifestyle, it’s also necessary that you understand that the open hours aren’t the only times when you can engage with the stock market and go about your work. One write-up of a day in the life of a day trader invoked Benjamin Franklin’s theory on preparation: that if you fail to prepare, you’re preparing to fail! The pre-market hours in the early morning are sometimes among the most vital in terms of helping traders to predict stock movement over the course of a given day. Even if the market isn’t open overnight, futures projections, industry and company developments, and even general news can shape what will happen the next day. This is all to say that you shouldn’t necessarily look at the opening bell as the beginning of your workday, even if on the whole you’re able to work out a more relaxed style.


Your Environment Matters

Finally, you should also be aware that most successful day traders spend a great deal of time (and money) setting up appropriate home office environments. There’s a misconception among some that day traders are simply lounging around using laptops or checking in on bedroom desktop computers from time to time. But as noted in a post on steps to becoming a day trader, charting software and office setup are two key components. You’ll need strong computers, an office that helps you to focus, multiple monitors for displaying news and charts, and a top-of-the-line trading software to execute your transactions with.