Investing in stocks can be a great way to increase your net worth, but it can also be risky. Knowing which stocks to choose and when to buy and sell them can make a big difference in your success as an investor. Fortunately, there are tips and strategies that can help. Below are a few basics of buying and selling stocks with some tried-and-true rules and strategies for investing in the stock market. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to making smart decisions and developing a successful investing strategy.

Check your emotions at the door.

The key to success when investing in stocks is to have a strong temperament and not let emotions dictate your decisions. Oftentimes, investors make poor decisions because they allow their feelings to get the best of them. To be successful in investing, keep your emotions in check and focus on making sound decisions based on facts and data. Following these tips can help you cultivate the temperament needed for long-term success in the stock market.

Pick companies, not ticker symbols.

As you search for potential investments, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of information available. To narrow down your options, try to view the situation from a business owner’s perspective. Focus on the details of the company, such as the industry it operates in, its competitors, its long-term prospects, and whether or not it offers something unique compared to your existing investments. Remember: purchasing a portion of a company’s stock makes you a co-owner, so ensure that you are making every purchase with a strategic business perspective.

Plan ahead for panicky times.

When investing in stocks, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared for periods of uncertainty. Writing down your criteria and expectations can help you stay on track when making decisions. Before buying, make sure you have a clear understanding of the company and the opportunity you see for the future. Identify the potential risks and determine which of those would be “game-changers” and which would be temporary setbacks. Additionally, set a prenup that outlines circumstances that would make you sell the stock. These should be fundamental changes to the business that will affect its ability to grow long-term, such as losing a major customer, the company taking a different direction, new competitors entering the space, or your investing thesis not delivering results.

Build up positions gradually.

Investing in stocks is easier if you build up your positions gradually. You don’t need to time the stock market to become a successful investor, you just need to be patient. Consider incorporating dollar-cost averaging, buying in thirds, and “buying the basket” into your investing strategies. With dollar-cost averaging, you invest a set amount of money at regular intervals. Buying in thirds means dividing the amount you want to invest into three and buying shares at each point. With “buying the basket,” you purchase all the stocks in an industry to ensure you don’t miss out on gains from any one of them. Following these strategies can reduce your exposure to price volatility and help you determine which stocks are the best investments for you.

Avoid trading overactivity.

When investing in stocks, it is important to avoid trading overactivity. Instead of constantly checking in on your stocks, it is better to check in once per quarter when you receive your quarterly reports. This helps you avoid overreacting to short-term events or focusing on share price rather than the company’s value. If one of your stocks experiences a sharp price movement, it is important to find out what triggered the event. Consider whether the stock is the victim of collateral damage or if something has changed in the underlying business. Ask yourself if the short-term noise (such as headlines or price fluctuations) is relevant to the company’s performance in the long term. Using your investing journal to remember what rational decisions you make during calmer times can help you stay the course during ups and downs.