South Dakota-based MarketBeat is one of the top venues for stock market news and data thanks to its website and successful newsletters.

MarketBeat’s roots lie in Paulson’s personal finance blog, which he launched while in college. He noted he was listening to a lot of financial podcasts at the time.

“I thought, well, I know how to write and I know how to make a website,” Paulson said.

The recession in 2008 and 2009 led Paulson to start to shift focuses from personal finance to writing about the world of stocks and investing, out of which MarketBeat was born.

“It was kind of a shift from writing educational content to writing about news,” Paulson said.

With MarketBeat (which was originally known as Analyst Ratings Network), Paulson created an email list and a daily newsletter that now boasts over 900,000 subscribers. The site aims to collect and disperse analyst recommendations and several varieties of important financial data (for example earnings announcements and dividend declarations), making them available through MarketBeat’s website and newsletters. Previously, the information MarketBeat gathers would have been scattered and fragmented across a constellation of other sites, limiting its usefulness.

MarketBeat has grown steadily over the years, but in part because his successful business grew naturally out of a hobby of online writing, Paulson was slow to self-identify as an entrepreneur.

“That’s a term that took a long time for me to own,” Paulson said. “It was a classic case of imposter syndrome.”

Paulson worked as a web developer at Factor 360 until MarketBeat grew to a degree that allowed him to quit his day job. The company now has six employees.

“When you’re getting started it’s a constant comparison game,” Paulson said.

MarketBeat sets itself apart from other finance newsletters through its efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

“I can acquire a financial newsletter sign-up cheaper than anyone else can,” Paulson said.

MarketBeat’s development has not been without surprises: It has ended up being primarily an advertising-based business rather than primarily a subscription-based one, a dynamic Paulson did not predict.

“That was a big shift,” Paulson said. The reason for it was the value of MarketBeat’s audience to advertisers—the site allows advertisers to reach a demographic of people interested in stocks and finance directly.

Future ambitions for MarketBeat include launching another financial brand aimed at a younger audience, including an easy-to-read, mobile-friendly newsletter.

For more information on MarketBeat, visit 1 Million Cups Fargo takes place each Wednesday from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. at The Stage at Island Park.

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Austin Gerth