five Pieces of Start-Up Advice From the Founders of theSkimm

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Source:   —  July 10, 2016, at 12:15 PM

Four years later, theSkimm has become the fastest growing newsletter on the market, and is presently expanding into paid subscriptions with the recently launched Skimm Ahead app.

five Pieces of Start-Up Advice From the Founders of theSkimm

In two thousand-twelfth, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin famously quit their jobs in TV production to launch their own media company, theSkimm.

Four years later, theSkimm has become the fastest growing newsletter on the market, and is presently expanding into paid subscriptions with the recently launched Skimm Ahead app. For $2.99 a month, Skimm Ahead automatically populates your digital calendar with necessary events like the premiere day of "Orange Is the New Black," the State of the Union address or when Beyonce tickets go on sale.

How did this pair, who met during college while studying overseas in Rome, construct a business with twenty-two employees and lift more than $8 million in funding?

ABC’s Rebecca Jarvis sits down with theSkimm founders on "Genuine Biz With Rebecca Jarvis."

Here are their top five pieces of business advice:

One of the things that makes theSkimm so unique and beloved by its 3.5 million faithful subscribers is the writing style, which the pair characterize as conversational.

Early on, Zakin and Weisberg developed what they call “theSkimm Bible,” including outlawed words and fashion points.

Some banned things: "rock" when talking about a diamond ring, "bucks" instead of dollars, and exclamation points … unless something is meant to be sarcastic.

“That was our first large milestone that we needed to prove to investors,” said Weisberg. “They were like, ‘OK, great, you guys have traction, but can you actually train people to write in the voice of theSkimm?'”

One of the best pieces of advice theSkimm’s backers told them early on? “Don’t think about the revenue -- obtain the ideas out, obtain the growth,” said Zakin.

By growing the newsletter first, Zakin and Weisberg believe they’ll be able to convert their millions of faithful users into faithful paid subscribers and future customers.

“That was a error that we made really early on,” said Weisberg. “I think we’ve tried to be more opportunistic about grand people who love the company, and don’t have what we’re looking for right now, but can we hire them because we’re going to necessity them in six months?”

It might sound counterintuitive, but Zakin and Weisberg consent that when they lift new money, they should be targeting the bare minimum because every penny comes with strings attached.

“Do we necessity this capital to do what we’re doing presently and what we’re doing next?” Weisberg said. “And if we get it, are we hurting our employees?”

Unless it’s absolutely necessary, theSkimm founders would rather leave that fundraising money on the table, aka, more money more problems.

It seems self-explanatory, but this is frequently easier said than done.

Weisberg and Zakin have used it as a driving principle, particularly when it comes to asking for necessary things and networking.

“We have to give each other pep talks, and be like, ‘They’re just a person.’” Weisberg said.

“But that’s how you obtain in front of people,” Zakin added.

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