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3 Proven Ways to Squeeze More Profit Out of Your Winning Trades

maximize trading profits mindset mastery options trading profit-taking strategies pyramiding a trade trade like a pro trailing stop-loss orders Apr 21, 2024
Maximise Your Trading Profits:How to Ride Winning Trade | OptionPundit

Winning trades feel good, but are you maximizing your profits? Too many traders leave money on the table by exiting too early. Discover 3 proven techniques to squeeze every last dollar out of those hard-earned wins. 

Legendary investor Warren Buffett famously said,

The first rule of an investment is don't lose money. And the second rule is don't forget the first rule.

Warren Buffett

While I certainly agrees with the importance of minimizing risk, I'd add a third rule: Don't be afraid to let your winners run.

In the previous posts, we've explored the power of patience and the critical role of risk management in achieving consistent success. Now, it's time to shift our focus to the other side of the equation – maximizing your profit potential.

In my opinion, the true measure of a successful trader isn't just how often they win but how much they win when they do (and how much they lose when they lose).

Many stocks and options traders, especially those new to the markets, fall into the trap of exiting trades too early.

The fear of seeing a winning trade turn into a loser can lead to premature profit-taking, leaving substantial profits on the table.

However, by employing strategic techniques and cultivating a profit-focused mindset, you can learn to confidently ride your winners and maximize your gains.

But how do you do that? 


Harnessing the Power of Trailing Stops

One of the most effective tools for riding the winners is the trailing stop-loss order.

Unlike a traditional stop-loss, which remains at a fixed price level, a trailing stop-loss automatically moves upward as the price of the stock rises.

This technique allows you to lock in profits as a trade progresses in your favor while still giving your winners the room to run. At OptionPundit, we use specific strategies for setting trailing stop-losses based on market volatility and technical indicators.


Example: Trailing Stop in Action

Let's say you purchase shares of XYZ company at $50.

You set an initial stop-loss order at $45, limiting your potential loss to $5 per share.

The stock price begins to climb steadily, and you decide to implement a trailing stop-loss that trails your entry price by $3. As the stock reaches $55, your stop-loss automatically adjusts to $52. If the price continues to rise to $60, your stop-loss follows, now positioned at $57.

However, if the price suddenly reverses course and drops below $57, your trailing stop-loss will trigger an exit, securing a $7 profit per share.


The Art of Scaling Out

Another valuable approach is taking partial profits.

This involves selling a portion of your position as the stock price appreciates.

For example, you might sell 50% of your shares once a certain profit target is reached, allowing you to secure some gains while keeping the rest of your position open to potentially capture further upside.

This strategy offers a balance between securing profits and staying in the game.

Example: Partial Profit-Taking

Imagine you bought 100 shares of ABC company at $20. The stock surges to $30, giving you an unrealized profit of $1000. You decide to sell 50 shares, locking in a $500 profit. This leaves you with 50 shares still in play.

If ABC continues to climb, you benefit from the additional upside. If the price falls, you've still protected a portion of your initial gains.


Pyramid to Amplifying Profits in Winning Trades

Pyramiding is an advanced trading strategy where you add to an existing position as the price of the asset moves in your intended direction. Its concept stems from the idea that if you're right about a trade, it makes sense to increase your exposure to maximize gains.

How it works:

  1. Initial Position: You thoroughly analyze a trade setup and enter a position with a calculated risk.
  2. Confirmation: The market moves in your favor, supporting your prediction.
  3. Adding to the Position: With your initial profit acting as a buffer, you increase your position size. This can be repeated multiple times if the trend remains strong. 

Pyramiding isn't for novice traders – it demands experience and a strong understanding of risk management. While potential profits increase, losses can also snowball if the market turns against you.

However, when used correctly, it can be a powerful tool for squeezing more profit out of your winning trades. It's extremely important to learn it under some guidance before applying it.

It is also vital to pre-determine specific entry and exit points, along with strict stop-loss placement.


Developing a Profit-Driven Mindset

The psychological aspect of trading plays a crucial role in maximizing gains.

Overcoming the fear of giving back unrealized profits is essential for long term trading success.

OptionPundit's approach emphasizes focusing on the big picture and understanding your long-term goals. By reminding yourself of your objectives and sticking to your trading plan, learning the technical skills for order and profit  management, you can gain the confidence to ride winners without being swayed by short-term market fluctuations.

Not every strategy suits every market. Scaling out might be better in a choppy market, while trailing stops might excel in trending markets.


The Importance of Balance

Finding the right balance between risk management and letting your winners run is key.

It's crucial to note: There's no single "best" way. Experiment and find what works for your trading style and the specific market conditions you're trading in. The goal is to hold winning trades for as long as possible while also protecting your hard-earned profits.

By combining the core principles we've discussed – patience, risk management, and profit maximization – you pave the way for significant growth in your trading account.

But sometimes, even with all the right strategies in place, riding winners can be a nail-biting experience.

Share Your experience: Have you ever secured a massive gain on a trade by patiently letting your profits run? What strategies helped you stay disciplined and overcome the temptation to exit early? Share your experiences and any techniques that have helped you become more decisive.

Unfortunately, not every trade will be a winner. Knowing when to cut your losses quickly and decisively is just as important as milking every last dollar from your successful trades. Do you sometimes struggle with exiting a losing trade, hoping the price will recover? 

That's the topic for next week.

Happy Trading.

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