On February 7, 2024, Brightstar Training, LLC marked 18 years of educational service for traders. Brad Stych founded the company to help traders who wanted better training than what they found elsewhere. Over time, Brightstar has grown to include services for day traders, inter-day swing traders, and long-term position traders. In this informative interview, the founder provides details about company activity and direction.
Q: What is the main thrust of your business?
I specialize in training nonprofessional traders to become more effective market participants. Nonprofessionals use their own money in the markets and are not employed by financial institutions in a trading-related capacity.
Q: Where do your clients come from?
My client base is international in scope. I have interacted with people from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, and the United States. In America, clients have contacted me from Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Q: Has language ever been a barrier to training?
Everyone speaks English pretty well, sometimes with local accents. On occasion, it has been a logistical challenge to train people in different time zones. Traders sometimes gather together in an online group, but one person may have been up for only a few hours while another person is nearing bedtime. Sleep impacts motivation, as you know.
Q: Are most of your clients interested in part-time or full-time trading?
It is a pretty mixed group. One of the great things about trading is that you can incorporate it into your life-style as needed. For sure, some of my clients strive to become full-time traders. Others are content to supplement their current incomes with profits from trading.
Q: What has brought you the greatest pleasure in teaching?
As much as I enjoy hearing about the market successes of clients, my greatest pleasure comes from watching them have “aha” moments when they learn new things. Even more enjoyable is helping them overcome bad trading habits and embrace better ways of making money.
Q: What types of clients are the most frustrating?
Every instructor encounters problematic people. I am bothered most by arrogance and obstinance because both of these things work against growth. Arrogant people think that they know more than they do and that makes them difficult to help. Obstinate people do not wish to try new things. How can you become a better trader if you are not humble enough or flexible enough to change what you are doing?
Q: How do you handle these types of people?
Fortunately, I have been blessed to have really good clients. Most people who come to me want to improve their trading skills and are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. I also attempt to weed out “bad eggs” before I agree to training. Through some initial interaction, I can usually determine whether someone is trader material and, more importantly, whether our training relationship will be a positive one.
Q: Are there any differences between male and female traders?
The financial industry is weighted heavily in the male direction. No question. In some ways, my female clients have performed better than male clients. Their learning capabilities are not any better, just different. Females tend to be more risk adverse. So, I do not have to persuade them that certain things may be beneficial for their trading progress. With males, an inordinate drive to succeed can sometimes make them impatient, distort their judgment, and facilitate a tone-deaf posture toward ideas that are different from their own.
Q: Do you have any memorable moments with clients that you can share?
Some of my clients pay wealth managers sizeable sums to manage their money. Naturally, they want to learn to trade for themselves in order to save money on fees. During the 2008-2009 downturn, one my of clients had progressed far enough in his training to identify market trend and understand how to make money in an up or down market. At the time, his management company was establishing long positions in the market and losing money in the process. My client was understandably angry because he was taking a double hit. As he said, “I’m paying them to lose my money for me.” Before he went to meet with company representatives, I told him that he would probably discover two things about them: (1) they were obligated to take long positions in accordance with their prospectus and (2) they did not have a good understanding of technical analysis. After his meeting, my client and I met at a restaurant to discuss the matter. In sum, the company informed him of the two things that I had mentioned previously. From an educational point of view, my client came to a better understanding of how the industry works—namely, that everyone does not have the same level of expertise and that nonprofessionals can sometimes perform better than professional money managers who claim to know what they are doing.
Q: Is there any particular level of education needed to be a trader?
Not really. It helps to have some college education. But even that is not entirely necessary. Back in the day when floor traders controlled order flow in the markets, it was common for people to be recruited from the street. The main test of success was whether you could work with numbers and learn to play the game. The same is still true today even as people trade from computer screens. My clients come from many walks of life and most of them do pretty well at learning regardless of education level.
Q: How does your day trading book fit into your business?
Although day traders are not my only clients, they do represent a core group within my client base. I highly recommend the E-mini Dow futures market as a place for day trading. My 2021 book is a much-needed update to the previous edition which was published in 2015. In addition to providing advanced trading material, the book emphasizes the importance of process in learning. Becoming a skillful trader is a matter of exploring how you learn to trade as well as what you learn.
Q: How do you advertise your services?
The best form of advertising is word of mouth. So, I do not really do much advertising. For the most part, people hear about me from others, find me, and then we have a conversation about how I may be able to help them. Overall, I talk with people in person, on the phone, or online. I also continue to expand my websites, publish materials, and teach. It is not a sophisticated approach, but it works quite well for my purposes.
Q: Where do you see Brightstar Training, LLC going from here?
Demand for my training services continues to increase. In response, I am creating additional training formats and avenues of outreach. My latest expansion is in eLearning. Traders can now select courses that focus on specific areas of market participation and learn more at their own pace. This is a growing area of my business. So, stay tuned for more updates.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone who might be interested in trading?
Learning in the present is your best preparation for the future. Many people get lulled into a false sense of security by current market activity. At various times, prices change direction. When that happens, it is usually difficult to catch market turns—especially if you are a long-term investor. Smart people learn to see danger coming and then take appropriate action before bad things hit them in the face.