More Interviews

Interview with John Hoagland – TopStep Funding

For those wishing to Learn More About Getting Funding to Trade using 100% of TopStep’s money, visit http://tracking.topsteptrader.com/SHOz

Topstep is the world’s first and most established funding opportunity for futures traders. Founded in 2012 in Chicago, Topstep enables traders to grow and profit in the financial markets without risking their own capital. Pass our objective evaluation, the Trading Combine®, and Topstep will give you proprietary capital to pursue your strategies. You keep 80% of the profits — we take 100% of the losses. Guaranteed.

QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Would you like to share with everyone who you are, your background (current and previous career, education, etc). And your role with Topstep?


My name’s John Hoagland, Senior Performance Coach at Topstep and Chicago born and bred. My Dad was on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade for over 40 years. Personally, I went to art school but ultimately didn’t want to starve for my art and got my first job on the trading floor of the CME and the rest is history. I got to start and learn from professionals, which is something that is missing for traders today. I am a married Father of 2 great people, a musician, and a foodie.

QUESTION – For our readers who may not know. What exactly is Topstep and how do you serve the trading community?


Topstep is exactly what the industry is missing. With electronic trading being available to just about everybody, I think there are too many people funding their own personal accounts with little or no knowledge of what it takes to be profitable as a trader. It’s never easy, and it breaks my heart to hear the losses so many have taken. A random SIM account does nothing to prepare a new trader as there are no rules, accountabilities, or consequences. Without that sense of duress you have no idea how you will respond when you have real risk. Topstep gives traders the sense of having that skin in the game, in a much smaller way, some basic risk management rules everybody needs — and on top of
that, funding. Topstep is the first, and only place for traders.


QUESTION – Can you explain your rules that you have for potential traders who join your firm. With such strong rules, how can the average trader thrive and make money with Topstep? Explain the pros and cons of them for better understanding.

All of our rules are based on creating good risk management habits. Professional traders have loss limits, and we all should. I have blown up accounts because of 3 little words, “But what if.” It is vital to understand when your strategy is not in alignment with market state, or if we are personally compromised by emotion and can’t follow your process. As a performance coach, I have spoken to thousands of traders, and almost all of us have something in common. We are hardwired in our
brains to respond to the market and risk in the exact opposite way that successful traders respond. In losing trades we default to “I’ll just wait, the market will come back” or any number of rationalizations, and after creating some large losses the next winning trade is cut too soon, just to “feel better.” I had the benefit of family in the industry and I can still hear my Dad telling me “Learn
how to take a loss.” Performance coaching has me creating good risk managers and changing the “wiring” of traders to cutting losses quickly and letting winners run. To me it’s all about math. Winning trades twice what your losses are, be right half the time. Another “Dad” wisdom,”Money is easy to make, easy to lose, and hard to keep.”

QUESTION- Now some non-trading questions. What personal or professional failure/setback haveyou experienced in your life that has set you up for this success?

Well, it’s not just one, it’s the whole journey. I quit almost every day for a while but I always kept coming back. I learned a lot of hard lessons and I consider those lessons to be priceless. I don’t really feel successful because I know this can end any time, so I just keep trying to enjoy the ride and it’s a rollercoaster. I like the rollercoaster.

QUESTION : This is becoming a favorite question for many – plus readers get some good gift ideas from it. What purchase of less than $100 have you made in the past year that you simply could not live without now?

Oh boy, okay. My wife and I recently reupholstered our kitchen chairs. So a spring loaded staple gun
was not doing the job so I bought a pneumatic staple gun, I think it was about $80. Now I think about what I can upholster next, and the chairs look great! I don’t need much, at one point in my life, everything I owned fit on the back of a motorcycle.

QUESTION – If you could choose three dinner guests dead or alive, who would they be?

— Jesus
— My Dad
— John Bonham (drummer Led Zepplin?)

QUESTION – Can you explain the markets today versus the markets from years ago, decade ago, etc. And where do you see it five years from now?

Without being too obvious, the way the transactions are established has forever changed. I can’t see my competitors eye to eye. Markets are just about 24/5. I remember sweating in a position all night because I couldn’t get out. 8:30-3:15 was it. On top of that and to reiterate we are all alone out here. We can’t see our direct competitors. In the future I see more self-directed investors and traders, and I
shudder to think of the consequences for some of them.

QUESTION – What advice would you give to your younger self and to someone just coming out of school (college or high school)


10% rule. Save and invest 10% of every dollar you make, no if, ands, or buts.

QUESTION – What are your thoughts on cryptocurrency and will your firm have any role in them down the road?


I’m of the age that I am very distrustful of them. I feel like the governments of the world are going to find a way to either delegitimize or take them over, and if the government gets involved, they’ll screw it up like they do everything. Topstep is looking at adding it as a tradable product as we want traders
to have access to it, but I don’t have any kind of timeline.

QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you,including on social media. And is there anything else you like for our readers to know about you?


You can share any messages for me at support@topstep.com. Come say hello during Topstep’s daily Market Forecast at 7:45 AM CT and Market Recap at 3:00 PM CT on Youtube, or during our free Group Coaching sessions every Monday and Wednesday at 1pm CST!

For those wishing to Learn More About Getting Funding to Trade using 100% of TopStep’s money, visit http://tracking.topsteptrader.com/SHOz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s