On the 16th of March 2016, I opened my eToro account and started investing. In these 6 years, the S&P 500 $SPX500 returned 116% while my portfolio returned 492%. I was able to beat the markets by 4X in 6 years. Even though it looks great, it is not that simple. At some points, I was down 30% when I first started. I've not gone through a bear market yet (2020 doesn't count - too short) and I cannot really call myself a good investor before that. However, I've learned a lot during these 6 years.
The main reason why I started investing was not actually to invest but to trade to solve my money troubles. I started with $100 on eToro which was half my monthly income. I opened a highly leveraged trade in oil $OIL and made $24. I thought that this game was easy but the next day, I lost $56. In the first six months of trading, I lost nearly $700 on $2000 invested. That's when I decided to become a value investor. Today, I'm one of the approved value investor on eToro. As a Value investor, My returns improved as I've returned 47% per year or 730% in 5.5 years.
I was always sharing my analyses (even though they were not as good as today) and eventually, I got copiers as my stats improved and I became a Popular Investor. At some points, I decided not to do a Masters' Degree in Theoretical Physics and focus on investing.
I still had some problems with my portfolio, I had too many stocks, at some points I had 32 and all of them were correlated with each other and with the market. Apple $AAPL was over 20% of my portfolio. I decided to focus instead on smaller companies with lower correlations with the market and with each other. I took profits on Apple and invested in Skyworks Solutions $SWKS instead. Gradually, I started investing in special situations, doing arbitrage, I invested in a bankrupt company until I saw the greatest investment ever, GameStop $GME . The stock was a cigar butt stock on a brink of a short squeeze and nobody was talking about it.
Investing is a long-term game. You don't need to aim unrealistic returns. Even compounding at 15% a year for several decades can make you a fortune.