Marilyn’s Business and Life Plan- Step 1: Figuring Out What You Really Want


By Sherrie Nish

On Friday, the thirteenth of October, Marilyn began the first in her series on helping each of us begin thinking about our business plan. It has been said that trading is the ideal business because of low startup fees, no employees, accountants, inventory or stupid customers!

At Apex Investing, some traders want to turn trading into a business by becoming profitable traders. Others simply want to augment their income. Quitting current jobs and turning trading into their livelihoods is the goal of some Apex members. Actually, others are in the process of transitioning into doing exactly that.

Taking the time to figure out what you want, committing that to a written plan, and then executing that plan is well worth the time and effort…but only if you want success.

Most people find doing this uncomfortable at first. However, as you learn to work with your plan and make adjustments from time to time, you will look back and realize just how valuable an exercise this has been.

Over the next few weeks, Marilyn will walk us through how she does what she does. She is a successful trader. Her business or life plan ideas may or may not work for you. Apex Investing is Traders Helping Traders and Marilyn wants to help you get to where you want to be.

At times, it may feel like a challenge and/or a nightmare. You have to keep asking yourself, “What do I want?” This might be the first time in your life you are asking yourself that question with the answer that it can be anything you want!

It certainly is possible to make a six- or seven-figure income. It depends on you. You are the key. The life plan has to be personal and individual. You can’t ask your spouse to do it for you, just like you can’t ask your spouse to place a trade for you as you rush out the door. It doesn’t work that way. It is 100 percent you. You are the business. It’s your life plan.

For your life/business plan, ask yourself, “Why am I trading?” Your answer may be to make money. Well, what is that going to do for you? Trading is fun and interesting, but it can be very frustrating unless you have a real serious reason for doing it. If you only want to push buttons, go play video games! Pushing buttons is not going to bring you success.

As we go along from week to week, you’ll see how it works. For this week, here are the things you need to do. Make it your homework.

One: Marilyn uses a three-ring binder and two sets of dividers: One set of five-cut and another of eight-cut. Here is an example of the different dividers.

Sticky notes are handy, too.

Two: You will also need a journal. Darrell has said he has never seen a successful trader that did not journal. Marilyn has tried using a notebook, the computer, a small journal and none of those worked very well for her for different reasons. It was too easy to “skip” a day or two….or three. Furthermore, too much back and forth of using the mouse for trading and other things with another distraction while trading is not helpful. For her, a much more structured format is necessary to keep on track. There is a great one, easily adaptable to trading available on Amazon. It is made by Panda Planner and is the “Daily” edition. It is the only one rated with 4.5 stars on Amazon.

Three: Take a piece of paper. Draw a line across the top. On the far left hand side, put the year of your birth. On the far right hand side, put 100 years later than your birth year. In the middle, put 50, and then divide for 25 and 75. Somewhere on that line, put a little v or mark where you are on that line right now. For example, if you are 37, put a mark about halfway between 25 and 50. This will remind you where you were when you started this. Then make another line with 2018 on one side and 2028 on the other side with a line halfway in between for five years. Depending on your present age continue making 10-year (or if it is easier, use 5-year) time lines. We are going to use this in the binder. An example is shown below.

If you have kids, you may want to use a colored marker to show where in the big picture of your life timeline you will have the financial responsibility for them as well. This lays out your life in a visual way. Everything to the left of the top line is over……gone. Everything to the right is what you expect to have left: use it well.

Today, it is important to get started. This should be enough to get you started thinking about your business plan and why you are trading. It may be the first time you have sat down and thought about what you want. Make it as detailed as possible. Then, come back next Friday for Marilyn’s continuing insight on developing your business plan. We will begin to flesh out the binder/business plan as the “big picture” and then move on to the journal, which will be the daily nitty-gritty of trading.

To read the story Marilyn told about a University Professor and his Grad Students, click HERE.

Marilyn’s Business and Life Plan- Step 3: The Planner Is Your Daily Operating Manual
Marilyn’s Business and Life Plan- Step 2: Setting Up The Binder
Marilyn’s Business and Life Plan- Step 4: The Number One Priority For Your Business

I’m finding different things for 5 and 8 cut dividers. do I want 3 ring binder dividers or seperate 5 and 8 cut divided folders? I can’t tell from the pictures. thanks.


My understanding is a 3-ring binder and then dividers that have 5- and 8-cut tabs. I don’t think Marilyn has said anything about folders.


ok thank you Sherrie. I just didn’t want to get the wrong thing.


Marilyn and Sherrie thank you for sharing this with us. I just started it and I know it will help me to be successful and more organize. I really appreciate that you are doing this for us.

If someone wants to buy the Panda planner from Amazon I have 10% coupon. Just type: PANDAFAM.

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