If I were to name the two most important criteria to become a successful options trader, I would pick managing portfolio and managing risk. The ultimate goal to trade options is to stay in the game and to make money consistently. In order to stay in the game for long, we should be very discipline and never ever allow any single trade to ruin our portfolio.
Quoted from George Soros “It’s not whether you’re right or wrong that’s important, but how much money you make when you’re right and how much you lose when you’re wrong.” This summarize the essence and the important of managing our trades and portfolio.
We can decipher portfolio management into technical and psychological aspects. From technical perspective, for a small account (<USD10k), it is recommended to follow 7:2:1 ratio in which 70% should be attributed to conservative income investing style via buying good stocks and selling premium to enhance the yield periodically; 20% should be moderate risk income investing style such as structuring credit spread and the remaining 10% can be used as high risk leveraging trades such as debit spread or straight call or put. There is no one size fit all but the ratio recommendation can be a good starting point for a new beginner. For those who are more adventurous, the ratio can be adjusted to 6:3:1 etc. The rule of thumb in options trading is try not to lose money and try to build up the portfolio slowly and steadily at the beginning. When your portfolio is growing healthily throughout the years, it will be encouraging and you will continue to stay in the game!
Psychological aspects is a bit difficult to teach as it requires the traders to go through the process and experiencing it. However, it can be improved by adhering to few rules such as using the options strategy which enable you to feel comfortable in the worst case scenarios (price drops 10%, 20% or rises 10%, 20% etc), joining an options mentor or group of traders that are discipline and stick to the core plan, never sell naked options as a retail investor etc.
Lastly, we need to be patient! While we always find ways to enhance our portfolio’s yield, we need to ensure we do not over-leverage. If we have too many open positions and our overall position is too screwed to one side (either too bullish or too bearish), we may expose to a higher market/event risk and that will hurt our portfolio if market go against us (either up or down). Do remember, a lot of time, slow and steady wins the race! Cheers!