I tested my strategy for 4 months on demo before I opened cent account. After half a year trading cent with 3 last month of consequent profiting I went to live account. I could have started live even earlier but I guess I was experimenting too much at demo and cent stages.
Strategy developing takes time, and as everyone knows the trend is always shifting, the time of shaping a profitable strategy is not certain. But one can start with the daily analysis provided from the forex company, get to know why do they have this prediction and how do they set the pivot. This would help a lot.
How long to test a manual system depends on which timeframe the system uses and how many trades it places in general. For a daily timeframe you should at least test it with 6 months with at least 200 trades.
For lower timeframes the number of trades may increase and the time period of testing may also increase.
The most important thing is backtesting which will save a lot of time in forward testing.
According to my memory, I tested strategies and tried to trade on demo account for couple of days. When I finally understood that I was ready for live trading, I deposited money to my broker platform and started trading. Everything because I had theoretical base on that moment. So, if you understand that you don't know enough information about trading and you haven't determined which would be your strategy and on which timeframe you would trade, then perhaps you have to stay on demo, until you find good conditions and find the most suitable timframe.
CROforce posted: How long do you test your “manual strategy” before you can say, “yup it’s working, I am going live now”? I have started Demo account and I am going to use that same amount on the Real account. My entry and exits (SL/TP) are controlled manually (I am pretty much in front of the computer all day and if I am away from it, I have my phone connected to the VPS). Overnight trades are controlled with tighter SL or trailing SL. I don’t risk more than 1.5% of my account and my strategy allows me (so far 2:1 or higher ratio).
Developing human qualities is the first and foremost duty of a trader because it builds the attitude of profit earning.