Scot French, an executive based in New York City, has more than a decade of experience managing portfolios for private executives and institutional fund managers.
Scot founded the investment firm HP Investments, also known as Hopewell Partnership Investments, to service those wanting diverse portfolios.
Scot developed expertise in the financial industry early in his career, working with small businesses and startups. He then developed an understanding of large, established companies, and the tools they need for long-term, healthy financial management.
Scot prefers a big-picture investing strategy that assesses many variables, including company values, culture, and trends in relevant industries. He understands the importance of analyzing the macroeconomic environment while also considering the company’s mission, attitudes and the goals of its financial managers.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
It was an outgrowth of my time in university. At the time, I was self-publishing a private newsletter focused on investments and budgeting advice. I was always asking my subscribers for feedback, of course, and they often came to me with questions. While answering those, I saw lots of opportunity to leverage my expertise, which has certainly grown since those days.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Anyone involved in the investment space has to maintain a daily practice of surveying the markets. That’s arguably more important now than ever, as information and technology has gained speed, forcing us to move faster to keep up. So I spend at least 1-2 hours every morning tracking changes in the broader marketplace, then focusing on how that impacts my own clients and area of expertise, which is mostly centered on New York City. I usually start the day with goals I had set for myself the previous day, which I also add to in the morning. I don’t end the work day until I’ve completed everything on that list.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think DIY investing gets a bad rap. Of course there’s people out there who don’t know what they’re doing. But as more people realize the need for help when developing an investment strategy, they’re increasingly going to come seeking professional advice from people like me. That’s a positive for the industry, people like me, and for the average person seeking to level up their financial knowledge and stability.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Easy: seeking external advice. It’s never been easier to find help answering specific questions or even understanding complex concepts. When I hit a wall or don’t understand something, the first thing I do is reach for the phone and call a trusted friend to pick their brain. Sometimes it’s possible to spend a few hours figuring it out on your own, but that’s not as efficient as simply having the contacts to skip that process and get an answer the exact moment you need it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell him to make concrete plans for achieving long-term goals. This is something that anyone can benefit from, regardless of whether they’re interested in finance. Many people think that long-term goals are something to wait around for until other things have fallen into place. The reality is that you need to create a list of what you need to accomplish to reach that bigger dream, and keep whittling away at those things. That will actually get you where you want to be. Wishful thinking won’t.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Most people tend to look at the glass as half-empty, and that remains true when we talk about the state of markets and investing. Everybody always wants to complain, it feels like. But I think there’s lots of reasons to feel optimistic. This industry used to keep all the tools locked away, or at least in places difficult to reach for the majority of people. Now those tools are available to everyone. I think that’s a very good thing.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read the news! I know this idea is more controversial now that the world feels so much more chaotic. But it’s vital for entrepreneurs to stay apprised of even small changes to the market. You don’t have to read every single story about something terrible happening in the world. Focus on the things that matter. Use Google News or other tools to only receive the news that pertains to your business or industry. But keep your eye on the ball. Entrepreneurs need to see further ahead than the competition, and that starts with information.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Even in 2023, nothing beats the referral. It’s best to ask in person, whenever possible, but equally easy to follow up with emails, texts, or phone calls. This is especially important when you have a happy client. That’s the moment to say: “Hey, can you refer to someone looking for my services?” If it only works a fraction of the time, it still reliably results in new clients.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Don’t only look at traditional investing sources, regardless of the niche you’re focused on. The world has become more interconnected, and that includes financial services and investing. Focus on the details, but also consider the ways other sectors might be opening up in a way that benefits your business or goals.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently spent about that much on a new budgeting app called You Need A Budget. I’ve been doing my own budgeting for a long time, but this software has vastly simplified the process for me, increasing the time I can spend on other tasks. There’s so many ways to automate and streamline our lives now through technology. I think it’s wonderful.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I recently switched over to Empower from Personal Capital. It offers much more sophisticated tools for tracking investments and managing many different portfolios. I use it every day now, and I’m looking forward to learning the rest of the functionality, ‘cause there’s a lot you can do with it.
What is your favorite quote?
“The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself.” — Peter Thiel
- Always ask clients for referrals!
- Software and technology can make you better at your job. Don’t neglect this aspect of self-improvement.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.