Successful traders will select stocks, direction, and individual trades based on set criteria. Whether that is through fundamental or technical analysis, or a combination of both, is individual choice. But a trading strategy is of paramount importance.

One of the easiest ways to turn profits into losses is to make decisions outside of a trading strategy. It can be very tempting to make an 'opportunity trade'. Sometimes, a tip, or seemingly sure thing, will turn out as profitable. But a single bad trade outside a strategy can lead to profit being wiped out, and then, even worse, in attempts to claw back the loss even deeper losses could be realized.

The first rule of trading is to stick to a trading strategy. Don't chase trades. Cut losses early, run profitable positions, and learn to protect those profits.

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