I think 'retail trading' is split into three defined areas, both with different levels of difficulty.
The first being the dreaded learning curve, before you even attempt to place a trade, or generate a trading plan you need to learn the 'language' and you need to get a good foundation. This part is not high on the difficulty list, as its just a matter of learning text book examples, and in some cases drawing pictures ;)
The second level, and this is by far the most difficult and time consuming in my view, is the trading method/plan stage. You have you basic knowledge, and now you have to do practical testing - Demoland as I call it. This takes a long time as your are in hindsight generating trail and error methods of trading until it can be seen that you have a possible edge. Once this is found, you then have to do ample back and forward testing to see if your own back-testing was biased in any way. After all we all want to show success, and sometimes we can influence our results to make this show.
The final stage, which I find easy, is the real time implementation of your now 'new found' trading edge with a live real money account. Providing you have done ample testing in the previous stage, you will have many bench-marks to work from, you will know what is normal, and what to expect. You will also know what is unusual, and if this happens in your live trading you know to stop and re-analyse your own trading.
So many new traders trade the markets with a live accounts and have no idea if their results are normal, or way outside the expected!