For many people, trading stocks is the perfect home business. It can be done from anywhere in the world that you have an Internet connection. It doesn't require any employees, and you can start with a computer, a brokerage account and a few thousand dollars. However, don't be fooled by promises of easy riches. While there are a lot of pluses to the business, it is not the easiest one to succeed in.
Open up a brokerage account online. Three companies that you might wish to consider are E-Trade, Ameritrade and Scottrade (see Resources section). Each of these companies has been around for more than 10 years. As of 2010 you could able up an account for as little as $500. Whichever brokerage you choose, make sure that it is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, and the Security Investor Protection Corp., or SIPC.
Download and install your broker's trading software. This is free and available from the broker's site. This will allow you to place trades from your account once you have funded it.
Find a trading system by visiting trading forums. It will take a lot of research to find a system that fits your financial goals and personality. A couple of places that you might consider are EliteTrader.com and Trade2Win.com. These forums are frequented by professional and amateur traders. They contain third-party reviews of trading software, educational courses and other tools that will help you get started.
Set up an account simulator. You want to experiment with simulated money before you start trading with real money. You can do this by signing up for a virtual stock trading account at Investopedia.com or Marketwatch.com. As of March 2010 both of these sites offered free services.
Palmer Owyoung holds a Master of Arts in international business from the University of California at San Diego and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and is a trained molecular biologist. He has been a freelance writer since 2006. In addition to writing, he is a full-time Forex trader and Internet marketer.