If you want to play golf, it’s pretty simple. Just book a tee time at a local course, rent some clubs and swing away. Sounds easy, right? Just because it’s easy, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at it. You still have to practice, put in the time, do post analysis of your game and continue to work hard at it.

The same goes for investing. Getting involved in the stock market is fairly simple. Just send money to a brokerage firm and boom! You can start trading! Heck, you can even do it all from your smart phone. Just transfer money from your bank, download an app, and click a few buttons. Before you know it, you’re on margin and having a blast.

Here’s one of the biggest problems with investing: Many people mistake the ease of entry into the stock market with how easy it is to be successful at it. I’ve been trading for 20 years now and the biggest lesson I can pass along to new investors is you have to work hard! It’s not just researching companies; it’s working on your mental toughness, reading books, studying the best investors, learning how to read charts, understanding seasonality, using option flow to your advantage, and most importantly, finding a style that fits your personality. This all sounds easy, right? I’m kidding. It’s a journey that takes time but can be very rewarding if you’re willing to work at it.

One advantage for new traders is there’s a plethora of resources that didn’t exist 5 or 10 years ago. The challenge is figuring out what is important and what is just noise. I think most people learn how to differentiate between the two as they gain experience. The most important thing is to keep working hard. Tiger Woods didn’t become one of the best golfers in the world because he went to the driving range a few times. He was IMMERSED in the game ever since he was 2 years old. If you want to improve your investing skills, I suggest putting in the same dedication. Good luck!

I can be reached at: jfahmy@zorcapital.com