Josh Schuler started as a retail investor in 2009. He transitioned to full-time trading in 2012 and became a broker for a GIB of RJO’Brien, where he used TT technology to help cattle producers execute complex futures spreads for hedging. In 2017, he founded Trade With Profile, a skill development firm focused on helping self-directed traders become consistently profitable. You can find Josh on Twitter at @tradewithprof.
What was your pathway into trading? How did you start, and did you have any mentors worth mentioning?
Josh: I stumbled onto trading. I had some colleagues who dabbled in trading, and after talking with them, it seemed like an intriguing way to potentially grow savings or retirement.
Like a lot of retail traders, I didn’t know how to trade, what to trade or where to find more ideas.
I did connect with a couple mentors. They were great at demonstrating execution and showing proficiency, but they lacked a structured approach to help me build understanding for how the auction worked.
So, at the end of the day, much of what I’ve learned I’ve gleaned from experience, reading, journaling, backtesting, running market replays and behavioral statistical analysis.
My own journey and struggle to find good systematic and methodical instruction is what ultimately led me to found Trade With Profile. What we do in four months with a trader, it took me 4-5 years to discover myself.
How has this global pandemic affected your business and impacted your trading?
Josh: As a trader, it’s significantly impacted the opportunity available each day, but it also means there is so much more risk. So, it’s been crucial to focus on the “fight for good price” on entries and keep risk as small as possible relative to the opportunity I’m looking for each day. It’s also been an exercise in working on staying with the trade until there is reason to exit.
In our work developing traders, it’s been a great chance to demonstrate that increased volatility and ranges do not dramatically shift how the auction works. All of our set-ups continue to perform, we’ve just had to adjust size and risk accordingly. For some, that’s meant switching to options, and for others, that’s meant trading micros instead of the minis.
Your market analysis is centered around Market Profile and Price Distribution. Can you tell us more about these types of charts?
Josh: Market Profile and Price Distribution (TT’s version) charts are a way of arranging 30-minute period market information to give traders a way to see where “value” is developing in a given timeframe. The more transactions at a given price equates as “value,” and that is meaningful to us.
When you start thinking of positioning relative to value, once you know where value is for the timeframe you seek to be active, you can look to buy at or below value and sell at or above value.
These types of charts also help you quickly see auction structure to help you discern if an auction is trending or rotating. If it’s rotating, then good positioning is found fading the edges, and if it’s trending, good position is found with the trend.
Can you share some information about your trading style and how TT software has helped your business?
Josh: I start with a pre-session plan which consists of a directional thesis and areas of interest across a number of products. Then, as the auction evolves, I tend to hone my focus on one or two products each day. I typically look for one to two intraday swings in a given session (more when volatility is higher), and on my good days, I can capture 25%+ of the available range. It’s always been easier for me to fade markets than go with the trend, so I typically look to be active after the first hour of trade is complete when I have a clearer picture of the daily structure.
As for my decision to use TT, it was about risk management and disaster recovery.
I have multiple trading accounts with different FCMs as part of my redundancy plan, and TT allows me to seamlessly execute on all of them from one interface. This reduces errors and helps me execute quickly. Not only that, but because the platform is web based, I am protected from hardware failure or even ISP failure. In the event of an outage, I can simply switch to a back-up machine or, when I need to, manage everything from an iOS device. I don’t know of another institutional-grade platform that provides that type of redundancy.
Through all the volatility of the last month, TT has been rock steady and dependable, which has been a great comfort to allow me to focus on execution and not on whether or not I will be able to even access markets.
What markets do you focus on, and how have those markets been evolving? Where do you see them going?
Josh: I tend to focus on intraday swings in the Nasdaq, S&P, bonds, gold, crude, soybeans and live cattle, but expand to multi-session trades in options and spreads when conditions are good.
As for where markets are going, I’m excited to think about a period of elevated volatility. While ultimately complacency is likely to return (it always does), I’m anticipating at least another year of heightened volatility through the 2020 election and inauguration.