Stock option & Startup Finance: Jacqueline Leung

Jacqueline recently quit her comfortable corporate job to dedicate herself to her startup, Pressed. This may not have been possible without her smart money management in the previous years. Check out how Jacqueline has been managing her money to make big changes in her career and life.

jacqueline02

Investing through Stock Option & Budgeting

Julie: I am impressed by your decision to go fulltime for Pressed. How did you come up with your own fund?

Jacqueline: I’ve been working at one of the biggest Canadian companies for the last 3 years. My first week there, my boss told me to immediately sign up for the company pension plan and stock option. My first reaction was –  great idea, but I don’t have any extra money to put into savings right now.

Luckily, I did it anyway. I set it up so that a (very small) percentage of my pay cheque would go toward both the pension and the stock. My company matches a percentage of the contributions, so it’s been like getting free money. I would have been crazy not to contribute. As I continued getting raises and promotions, I stopped noticing, and sometimes forgot, that I was getting deducted every pay cheque.

I’m also very diligent about keeping track of my spending. Every 2 weeks, I input all my spending into a detailed excel sheet. So it was easy for me to figure out how much money I needed to live comfortably for several months without a full time gig. That, plus all the money I had saved from my stock option, helped make the financial part of the decision a lot easier.

pinkfolio_favicon_100_100– Understand employee stock option, and maximize your benefit read here to get to know more. If you want to know more about startup stock options, read this article.
– Budgeting really helps to cut down spending. There are great templates to download including Budget Calculator from FCAC

Julie: That’s amazing. Do you feel you’ve learned anything by investing on the company stock?

Jacqueline: I’ve learned that it’s not as scary as it seems. I used to think investing in stocks meant that I would have to “play the market” every day (which I don’t want to do), but I found out that there are certain industries that are more volatile than others. You can invest in “safer” companies if you want it.

pinkfolio_favicon_100_100– Quality stocks from well-established companies are often called Blue chips
Buy and hold strategy can work for those who don’t want to play the market 

 

 

Startup Fundraising Process

jacqueline01Julie: Now moving on to the startup finance, what is your strategy to fund Pressed during the early stage? Did you come up with good funding resources or partners?

Jacqueline: Right now, my primary objective for Pressed is growth. My strategy is to spend some money on a growth strategy, ask for lots of favours from family and friends, and show investors that they would be crazy not to invest in Pressed.

That being said, I am also on the hunt for early stage investors who believe in me and the company’s vision. I want to work with people who can help me grow the company to what I believe it can be.

 

Julie: Have you found any good resources (books, websites, advisors, courses,…) about startup finances?

Jacqueline: Stanford University has a bunch of lectures online about how to start a startup. And they’re free! http://startupclass.samaltman.com/
I haven’t watched them all yet, but the ones I’ve watched have been incredibly insightful; with real, practical advice. Lecture 9 is all about how to raise money.

Julie: What are the most urgent questions to manage your startup finance at this point?
Jacqueline: What I haven’t found yet is a useful resource that teaches founders about Seed funding vs. all other rounds of funding, and how to value a company. If anyone knows of anything, please send them over!

pinkfolio_favicon_100_100– Very high level, but helpful 1 minute video about startup fundraising stages
– How to estimate the value of a startup MaRS has a great article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *