What does it take to be a profitable trader?


Whom do u follow for motivation inspiration guidance for small~big decision making in life etc ? Whom do u consider ideal role model in life ?

Are u self driven / self motivated ? Or do u need a jack in your life ?

@nithin after reading the article, I felt that you have written it personally for me because I have made all the mistakes that you mentioned. Enjoyed it completely.

If it’s not too much to ask, can you or your team write an article about such low risk option strategies?

@nithin - Do you think for sustaining as a successful trader in coming years, an individual trader must learn/get into algo trading as it will become increasingly difficult to generate profits with AI/Quants competing against you?

So advantage of any manual trading learning will diminish with time unless you start translating that learning into piece of code and keep updating it with time?

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Which platform Nikhil uses to execute order , I guess it might be Bloomberg EMSX , also since you might now be taking positions worth milllions of dollars , how does it feel to be in position to move the markets. Btw how many traders you have to execute trades and manage positions.

Very nice article, we have come across similar learning many times, but have never followed through consistently. What it took me the follow these discipline and and risk management(no averaging down, mandatory SL), identity and sticking trend was Streak.
I had tried many other things, my own coded systems, ami broker, tips, new, but finally what clicked was, when I took all the learning and ideas and put into Streak and followed it diligently (now for over 1.5yrs), even through rough market patches, at the end every month, I have been comfortably up.
What took a lot of manual constraint now has been automated, you call it feature or lack of feature, I trade only if my conditions have meet, be it on any of over 50 stocks I track.
Thanks you Zerodha for it :pray:


A program is only as good as the programmer behind it, who is again a human. If you try to trade high frequency or other such strategies where latency (faster spotting the trade and execution) is important, you’d definitely lose out to a program. But if not, manual trading still works and will maybe continue working for a while.

That said, even before computers and programs, all manual strategies also had the same issue of not working with time as more people adopted it. This business of trading is extremely competitive and people go to great lengths to get an edge over others - with or without computers.


He uses Kite to execute trades. Traders generally have a problem of somehow thinking that they can suddenly start doing well if they had access to some fancy platform with all bells and whistles or if they had access to more trading capital. Your trading platform is only for execution - the simpler and easier, the better it is. Of course for analytics and spotting trading opportunities you can use the Bloomberg and Eikon’s of the world. But these platforms don’t really have as much as an edge any more today where news and information reach social media faster than on these platforms, and there are many online platforms available for free that have the same information. Btw, most people who use Bloomberg, do it more for connecting to other traders around the world.

About trading capital, trading large sizes is a huge disadvantage. Retail traders have a huge edge of being nimble - ability to get in and get out whenever you want. Imagine being in a trade and not being able to get out even when you know it is a wrong trade (a problem of trading large sizes) - it feels horrible.


Zerodha and its management is becoming the “Amazon” of the Stockmarket!!! I used to think Zerodha is just a Supermarket(Pun intended) for various instruments… :laughing:
Fabulous strategy executed with patience and foresight. The idiom “Brothers in Arms (Biz)” comes to my mind.

I never knew about True beacon venture till date.

Zerodha is passionate about providing platform for traders / investors to profit in short term, while True Beacon works for the same traders/investors who invest their short term profit for long term returns. A Synergy or an edge!!! It would be an unshakeable “Edge” to Zerodha’s initiative Rainmatter with all the existing eggs that it is incubating.

I used to pass by Zerodha’s office in Bangalore everyday for my work for 5 years. Fascinated with the ticker tape running at the entrance Zerodha’s office, I opened trading account for my entire family (me, dad and mom) with Zerodha. I was very naive about the markets at that time…

Today after 5 years, Zerodha has become an inspration. Seeing such a growth and wealth creation we may have finance/ information company that may one day become Bloomberg of India and more. Keep up the awesome work…


Okay, got it. Based on your insight about the markets, can you please share an estimate of what % of current trades on NSE are -

  1. Manual trades
  2. Algo driven manual trades
  3. Completely automated trades

Will be very helpful in analyzing present world trading environment from a learner’s perspective. Will also guide other traders.

Also does the % distribution in above 3 categories differ largely for Cash / F&O segments?

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100% true. A computer doesn’t know

  1. It’s expiry day.
  2. There’s modi speech
  3. If Elon musk tweeted.
    Even backtesting a strategy will not be accurate.

Have you checkedNSE market pulse? Check for page 98 onwards to see details on who contributes what turnover.

I’d say around 50% of trades or executed orders are algo based. Only order placed (including order placed, cancelled, etc) algo’s will be much higher. A lot of orders placed by algo’s never gets executed.

It will not be possible to differentiate between 1 and 2 as orders are placed manually.

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I total agree with Nitin as I have an live example as my uncle bought Prakesh Industries at 150(average price) and not it has been 7 years he has not been able to exit the position.

@nithin My understanding is that account size can also be a critical factor in deciding trader success. In your personal experience what should be minimum capital required for someone to get into trading in Indian context. (Not necessarily full time trader) Also have you met any outliers who has done extremely well with relatively small capital? (No need for names just curious)

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@nithin Maybe we can wait for another 2 years or 10 years for a Stock Market crash. And invest during that time :thinking:

or wait for a debt-free stock to come near its intrinsic value and buy a little number of shares and wait for some time to buy more.

“There won’t be any scarcity of opportunities in your lifetime but there are days like you feel there aren’t any.” - Warren Buffett

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You can trade with any amount of capital, as long as you don’t have any pressure to generate income from trading. But if you want to trade futures and options where every contract is around Rs 5lks to 10lks, even though you need to just put a margin of around 1lk per lot or could buy options for much lesser, I’d say atleast Rs 5 to Rs 10lks in your account.

The reason for at least this much is because, as I have said in the post - the idea is to keep a stop not more than 1% of your trading capital per trade. With Rs 5lks that is Rs 5000 or say around 50 to 60 points if trading Nifty (1 lot). If you had only Rs 1lk, your stop would need to be around 10 points which is extremely tight. Closer the stop, higher the chances of getting chopped by stops.

If you are deciding to trade for a living, assuming you need to make atleast Rs 50k per month or Rs 6lks per year, I’d say atleast Rs 25 lakhs.

There are people who have done well with small capital, but the odds of that happening is much less. With lesser capital, you’d have to take riskier trades, higher the risk - higher the chance of things going wrong. I have seen many traders do well with small capital, but give it all up on a drawdown eventually as risk catches up, and if you are not following the right process it is tough to make money in the long run. Back in 2009 when we were sub-brokers of Reliance one of our clients turned his 1lk into Rs 2crores by buying out of the money call options just before we had two circuit up days after the election results. But over the next 6 months, lost the entire Rs 2crores by taking similar high-risk bets.


The issue here is, when prices crash, there is panic and seldom do we see retail investors put their money in stocks around those times.


Bank nifty
500 points a month trading futures
RR : 2:1
Lots : 4*25=100qty
50K p.m with Capital of max 2Lks
I know one can’t compound with this return but I believe the returns can be achievable.

is my thinking correct or am I missing something?

I know it seems easy when you put it this way, but it ain’t. I can’t think of one person who has been able to do this. It is extremely hard to get to 500 points of Banknifty.

Btw, this approach of trying to make “X” amount of money is flawed in the first place. The target while trading has to be that you will follow all your rules to enter, exit, stop, etc. Money has to be a by-product. You can’t control how much money you will make, you can only control what you do on your trades. Focusing on money is usually detrimental to trading.


I 100% agree with your point. Even I don’t think of money. It has to be the process. This was just an example for your 50k with 25Lks example.

But I don’t see why 500 points can’t be made in bank nifty per month.
There was an average of 250 points between days high and low every day for the past 4 years. That comes around 4000-4500 points per month.
25% of that not achievable?

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Hmm… you could make it for a few months if you are lucky. But I don’t think it is possible to do this month on month. The months you don’t do it, there will be drawdowns which will eat into the months when you did. Retail traders btw generally suffer from hindsight bias.