In this edition of FinanciElle “Statements”, I had the opportunity to interview Jacqueline Leung – Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Pressed.
Pressed is a digital media company that’s changing the way millennial’s consume media that matters. Their goal is to connect people through intelligent conversations by integrating world issues into everyday life. They make the news easy to understand by being concise, speaking like your friend, and giving you context on difficult topics. Their first product is a daily email newsletter that tells you what you need to know to start your day, all from a Canadian perspective. Subscribe at pressednews.com to get real news in real words, a breakdown of the top 5 news stories sent to your inbox everyday.
Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?
Making the decision to leave a comfy full-time job to start a business meant that I was also leaving a stable salary. It was challenging to live off of savings – I had to drastically change my lifestyle. I rarely shopped or went out to eat, and I haven’t been on a real vacation since I launched Pressed. I kept a strict budget and reviewed it every week. What I learned, and what I’m still learning now that Pressed has some money in the bank, is how little a person needs to live – especially when the reason for the frugality is tied to a much bigger goal.
When I started to run out of money, I entered my next financial challenge – fundraising. Most early stage start-ups have to raise their first round of funding through friends, family, and angel investors. I was able to raise enough money to get us to our next milestone, but there have been pros and cons. The pros: obviously, it bought us time – to keep exploring our business model and to grow our user base. Depending on who you bring on, investors can also provide a lot of non-monetary value to your business, like advice and introductions. The cons: you’re involving other people in your risk. It’s added pressure and anxiety to a job (being a founder) that’s already full of pressure and anxiety.
Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?
I wish I got someone to help me set up my books properly right from the beginning. Technically, bookkeeping is easy to do – at least that’s what I thought. I’m pretty good at excel, I manage my own personal budget, and it’s not like I had employees or customers when I started. But things got complicated (and messy) really quick when I hired my first contractor and got my first customer. And since changes happen so quickly at Pressed (the nature of being an early stage start-up), I have to readjust my bookkeeping processes often.
Paolina: What topics would you want to learn more about when it comes to finance and your business and why?
How to find angel investors – Now that I have some experience with this, I get asked this question a lot. It’s mostly just a lot of hustle, but there’s also a lot of practical steps someone can take to find the right angels.
Taxes – I mean… does anyone really know how to do these? Ok, maybe it’s just me. When I started, I needed all the basics – how (and why) to set up an HST #, paying employee remittances, what expenses can I claim, etc.