There are two fundamental requirements for the value/behaviour of the BTC - from two virtually opposing groups of users - and they clearly contradict to each other.
1. The miners would like to see the value of the BTC to be continuously and steadily rising, ideally without any fluctuations - the greater the gain in value over certain period, the higher the profits the miners can realise when they sell their Bitcoins.
2. The speculators, on the other hand, would like to see the value of the BTC be as low as possible (but still be just above the cost of mining), but what excites them most is the trend, which should fluctuate as wildly as possible - the greater the fluctuation, the higher the profits the speculators can make when they trade many times over the shortest period of time.
I started as miner at the time the difficulty was not that great. At the time I've looked at speculating, but did not trust my understanding of this market - I thought it was not safe for me to invest cash into it, as everyone was telling me how difficult and dangerous the speculation is, especially if you don't know what you are doing.
Hence I've started building my BTC wealth by mining for them in a pool.
While mining I've joined many others in their frustrations, i.e. looking the value of BTC raise steadily over a year or so, then violently jump up and down (eventually mostly down) until that made me dizzy and even more frustrated.
Then it suddenly occurred to me - I don't need to get mad - just change and adapt the requirements I have from the BTC and it's market.
As a miner I was glued on the value line and I was expecting it to grow, as I could not see how could I possibly make money from the BTC reducing it's value or the value fluctuating so wildly that one could not use it as a medium of exchange.
I thought that I must change my perspective and understand all aspects of BTC value - before declaring that mining BTC's is not as clever idea as I thought it was when I started.
Realising that mining is only one side of the Bitcoin, I rushed to read as much as possible on investing in currency markets, particularly finding the most basic strategies, the idiot-proof-models to start speculating without loosing my precious stash in this.
From there on it was quite easy for me - I waited for a steady period in the BTC trend and sold small number of BTCs (not affecting the market), set number of reasonable orders (both buy and sell, staggered symmetrically around the value I sold my BTCs at) and wait until it start swinging again.
The first time I waited for the roller-coaster only 4-5 days (the average waiting time later was about a week or two, but you can see the history of the value of BTC yourself, and build your own understanding of what will be ahead), but the volatility lasted about same length before it stabilised - and for that short period I've made speculating more BTCs as profit than when I mined for the whole past month!
So, here is my advise - don't get stuck with one way of extracting the utility value out of Bitcoin - set yourself to explore ALL opportunities the young BTC market has presented to you.
1. When the market is steady and above your cost of mining, mine, as there is nothing else you can do to extract value out of BTC.
2. When the market goes crazy, start speculating - the more violent the value of the Bitcoin is, the higher the profits you will realise - if you don't do something extremely stupid like buying high and selling low (it has happened times and times again)
3. When the market calms, sit back, count the new chickens, and go and check that the mining rig has not hanged or something, as now will be the time to live (go and get laid, check if there are new gadgets you can consider buying, or check e-bay for any loosers selling their rigs out of despair)
4. So here is my advice - don't be a MINER or a SPECULATOR - be BOTH, at the right time!
5. Eventually, very soon, you will find yourself in BTC nirvana!
If you find this advice useful, don't just enjoy it, say thank you by throwing some bone in my direction: 1M8wpSfQSVPeXbizWAqQBkBxDYzicEKqMt