You wouldn’t learn to drive without an instructor, so why invest your hard-earned money online without guidance?

For many investors new to the self-directed investing world, the idea of taking command of their money can be in equal parts exciting and nerve-racking, since no one wants to make a mistake with their own hard-earned money, and the options can feel so overwhelming.

Jason Storsley, president and CEO of RBC Direct Investing, says the biggest hurdle direct investors face is gaining the confidence they need to feel like they can succeed.

“Being a self-directed investor is really about building confidence and ensuring the decisions you make are the right decisions for you,” Storsley said.

Contrary to what the online investment world was like many years ago, a majority of online investors today are not sophisticated day traders but regular people looking to meet their own, varied financial goals with direct investing.

Many more first-time investors are going online every day, and Storsley says the overwhelming message they are projecting is that while they want to take control of their own investments, they don’t want to be left out in the cold.

“What we’re hearing from our investors is they do want to do this themselves but they don’t want to do it by themselves — they’re looking for some guidance,” Storsley said.

Going it alone can be a daunting prospect for even the most seasoned investors so RBC offers a wealth of help and advice in its guidance and planning section on the main direct investing site. There, investors can get informed on all aspects of the investment world, starting with basic concepts and goals all the way up to advanced trading and investment strategies.

For newer investors, having a strong understanding of the investment process will give them a powerful foundation from which to build a successful investment strategy.

“You need to know things like, ‘How do I start and how do I even set investment goals?’” Storsley said.

With the personalized learning section, you can create a learning plan that will be tailored to your specific needs and investment goals.

Savvy traders might want to learn about advanced equity and options trading and strategies, while newer investors might want to get a better grip on how mutual funds work.

Whatever your knowledge level, creating a personalized learning plan on the RBC Direct Investing site is a great way to put expert advice to work for you.

“It really is a place where an investor can develop a tailored learning plan that will be fitted to his or her individual needs and objectives,” Storsley said.

Once you’ve grasped the knowledge you need, the next step is to determine just what kind of investor you are based on what your goals are.

Do you want to try to maximize your returns in a shorter period of time and can manage some risk, or are you looking to step in for the long term with less intense investments that provide steady growth?

How you see yourself, your needs and your investment objectives will be a strong determiner of what kind of investment strategy you should pursue.

“You need to think, ‘Do I have goals that are short term or long term?’ Your portfolio will look very different depending on your answer to that question,” Storsley said.

Storsley says among RBC direct investors the three most popular investment objectives tend to be planning for retirement, saving for a home and trading for profit, and RBC Direct Investing offers investors learning and investment plans already set up to reach those goals.

For investors that are ready to implement their investment strategies but don’t want to risk real money just yet, a practice account with RBC Direct Investing makes it easy to see the outcome of investment decisions without having to risk anything.

“You can evaluate your performance in a risk-free environment without putting your own money on the line,” Storsley said.

If you think direct investing is right for you, make sure to use every resource you have at your disposal.

“Our clients are asking for guidance and tools more and more because more of our clients are getting interested in self-directed investing — and that takes guidance, careful planning and consideration,” Storsley said.