Over deliver. Give more value than people expect.
Matt Badiali began his career as a scientist. He holds a B.S. in earth sciences from Penn State University and a Master of Science in geology from Florida Atlantic University. He spent five years at the University of North Carolina working toward a Ph.D. — until 2004, when a friend introduced him to finance.
This friend held a Ph.D. in finance and wanted “Matt Badiali” to work with him, to help him develop methods of investing for the average investor. He realized Matt’s experience with and knowledge of science and geology would add a crucial element to his investment advice. The goal was to craft investment advice that would appeal to the average American. Because of this, Matt often writes with his father in mind. After he watched his father struggle with successful investing, he realized this was a way that he could use his unique blend of education and experience to truly help people.
Since then, Matt’s been hooked on helping investors find the absolute best investments in energy, metals and natural resources. His readers have regularly made high double-digit and triple-digit gains.
He launched his newsletter, Real Wealth Strategist, with Banyan Hill in May 2017, and has quickly built a network of loyal readers who eagerly anticipate his natural resource stock recommendations.
One thing that’s notable about Matt is his “boots on the ground” approach. He travels all over the world. When he needs to speak with an expert, he goes where they are. He’s been as far as Peru, Papua New Guinea, Iraq, Hong Kong, Singapore, Haiti, Turkey and Switzerland. He’s visited countless mines, oil projects and company headquarters in search of great investment ideas.
Where did the idea for your startup newsletter come from?
Writing a newsletter about natural resource investing requires an unusual skill set. Natural resources are highly cyclical and speculative. You need to understand finance, markets, companies and science — it’s simply the only way to invest successfully in this sector.
It’s a perfect fit for my combination of education and experience. I hold a B.S. in earth sciences from Penn State University and a Master of Science in geology from Florida Atlantic University. I’ve been in finance since 2004, when a friend asked me to help him develop methods of investing for the average individual — people like our parents.
Since then, I’ve been hooked on helping readers find the absolute best investments in energy, metals and natural resources.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts early, around 6:30 a.m. I get up to see my daughters off to school. I have a cup of coffee while I read through the headlines. I usually turn on the television to get the latest from Bloomberg and the Weather Channel.
I like to be in my office by 8 a.m. I try to spend the first two or three hours writing, because that’s when I’m at my most focused. I find that I can write two, three, even four pages at a shot on a good day. Then I’ll answer email and read through the latest news until lunchtime. I keep my eye on all the companies in our Real Wealth Strategist portfolio as well as those I’m thinking of adding.
After lunch, I take care of phone calls, meetings and reading. I like to read every day.
Then I’ll write for another hour or so. However, in the afternoons, I find I’m a less productive writer. I use the afternoons for reading, because I can go to the gym and get in a workout while I read.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I use my experience to bring readers with me on a journey. I draw on actual experiences, which makes my writing more “real” to readers. I spent decades traveling around as a geologist, as far as Peru, Papua New Guinea, Iraq, Hong Kong, Singapore, Haiti, Turkey and Switzerland.
I like to make topics relatable by drawing on that experience. And if I want to write about something new, I go out and see it. That helps me to write real, compelling stories.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
We are on the brink of a major change in energy consumption. The shift toward an electric-centric world is huge. It’s as important as the shift from whale oil to kerosene.
The real leap won’t happen until we discover a municipal-scale battery — a battery big enough to power a small city.
We don’t have that yet … and lithium isn’t the answer. But that technology is coming. When it arrives, it will be a huge, disruptive advance.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?
I focus on one important thing at a time. I’m able to block out distractions and focus on one thing to get it done.
That’s helped me hit my deadlines consistently.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked as an environmental geologist in Miami. That might sound interesting … but it actually meant I went to the worst parts of the city to collect samples of contaminated dirt and water. It was dirty, often dangerous work. I knew that if I wanted to get out of this line of work, I needed to go to graduate school … so I did.
I’m grateful for that experience, because if I hadn’t gotten my M.S. in geology, I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing now. I truly love my job.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
One word: internships.
I’d go work for free for companies that I was interested in. Want to work for an oil company? Go intern there. Fetch coffee for a summer. Get your foot in the door. Make contacts.
Fill your résumé with experiences that are more than “mowed lawns at the golf course” or “built sheds.”
What is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read. You simply can’t read enough.
I burn through The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The Mining Journal and others.
I need information to put together ideas and strategies. I need to stay on top of changes that are often on the other side of the world. Reading is critical.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Over deliver. Give more value than people expect.
For example, we publish a free e-letter, and I write an article for it once a week. I try to put a good idea in every one that I write. If I provide readers with ideas that they can use to make money in the free e-letter, it develops a good relationship. If they remember even one or two good suggestions I’ve given them, they know I’m credible and trustworthy — before they’ve even spent a dime to join my service.
What is one failure you had, and how did you overcome it?
I was wrong on some investment ideas.
However, I didn’t hold on to the stocks and drag out the process. Instead, I owned it, sold the stocks and moved on.
That’s what I would do as an investor and what I would want someone to tell me to do. Nobody can be right 100% of the time. But if that’s how I handle it, we deal with the problem and move on.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My business idea is related to the huge shift to electric vehicles. Remember: The automobile is powered by a technology that’s over 150 years old. The shift from the combustion engine to electricity is massive and disruptive.
There are fortunes to be made here, from the widgets that go into the cars, to the software that runs them, to the miners that find the materials that go in them. The whole world wants to ride in cars. There is an enormous amount of money there, waiting for a business to take it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought my daughter and her team two new softball bats. They were lighter and longer than the ones they already had.
The girls used them successfully, and the team improved. In addition, the girls’ confidence improved. Anytime I can do that, it’s satisfying.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I use the Bloomberg Terminal. It’s a great tool. I have tons of data at my fingertips. Its news feed is up-to-the-minute on all kinds of subjects.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean is a wonderful blend of history, science and storytelling. I listened to it with my family on a road trip. We hated to turn it off!
- Over deliver. Give more value than people expect.
- Make topics relatable by drawing on that experience. If you want to write about something new, go out and see it.