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Financial Influencers: How a Plumber's Son Became a Finance Entrepreneur

Alex Morris helps investors know when to wait and when to swing for a hit.

In the modern age, social media has allowed for many new and exciting job opportunities for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. From the science of making your own bread yeast to trading stocks for your personal gain, if you're knowledgeable and engaging, access to an audience is just a few clicks away.

That's a lesson that Alex Morris took to heart. Morris currently runs his own website, The Science of Hitting, and a Twitter account where he chats with 45.5 thousand followers about the stocks of the day and more. He took his site's name from the title of a book recommended by Warren Buffett. Penned by baseball player Ted Williams, the book's ethos was about waiting for the right pitch before taking your swing. 

But Morris wasn't always on track to becoming a finance expert. In fact, he went to college thinking he'd get his degree in building and construction. After all, his father was a plumber – he tells TheStreet that he figured that his place was alongside his dad plying the family trade. 

While Morris was in college, he started to suspect that being a plumber wasn't in the cards. He had "always had a bit of an entrepreneurial bend", and he jokes that the advanced physics courses helped him realize that he was out of his wheelhouse.

It was around this time, with his eyes toward an unknown future, that Morris started reading some of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway  (BRK.A) - Get Free Report letters. In 2007, he and a few buddies were inspired to start a business similar to StubHub but for college events. As the business grew, so did his interest in finance. It was about a year and a half to two years in when he decided to change his major.

Pitching Hits to Social Media

After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in finance, Morris once again found himself unsure of his future. While he dreamed of working for a hedge fund or an investment firm, many of his interviewers told him the same thing: he'd need his CFA or MBA to get a good job in the field. It was at this time, he said, that he felt he was struggling to figure out how to get to the next level.

Morris got a job writing for a few finance sites like Seeking Alpha and Guru Focus while he was working toward his CFA and MBA. And after about a decade of writing, he found that it was really helpful in developing his thoughts. He could also use his reader base as a sounding board for his own ideas – something he found incredibly helpful.

About five years ago, he started posting some of his writing and stock outlooks on Twitter under a pseudonym. It's here, he says, that he found an interactive community. When April 2020 turned the whole world on its head and drove many of us to the safety of the internet, Morris noticed that many writers were moving toward paid newsletter content. After a year spent developing the his site, online presence, and subscriber base, Morris was able to quit his job at an investment firm to finally become his own boss. Today he pens a Substack newsletter called TSOH Investment Research Service and has hundreds of paid subscribers.

Social Media Is Key For This Business

Obviously Morris is a big fan of using social media to get the lay of the financial landscape. His face lights up when he talks about the evolutions of the finance industry over the years. When he first started his journey, the job track was very narrow. You could become an analyst or run your own fund, but there weren't a lot of clear alternatives to that.

Now thanks to resources like Twitter and Substack, it's become easier for experts like Morris to pave their own path. New generations of traders can start on a traditional track and fashion it into their own businesses – a prospect that is clearly thrilling to Morris. As the industry is evolves, technology is a valuable asset for go-getters who are looking at the finance world from a different angle.

Morris is also a big fan of this road less traveled. "You become friends with people," he tells TheStreet with satisfaction. "They become your co-workers in a sense. If you're interested in a certain company, you can ask questions of people who specialize in that industry." 

Morris is eager to mention that he really enjoys answering questions. His content is great for all kinds of followers, from novice DIY investors to folks who've been around Wall Street for a while. He jokingly says that Twitter allows him to enjoy the viewpoints of people who are "much smarter than me."