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The Border Chronicle

Constructing the financial structure to grow a news business

The Border Chronicle readies for growth after exiting incubator program

The challenge

Melissa del Bosque and Todd Miller launched The Border Chronicle, a reported newsletter offering original reporting and analysis from the U.S.-Mexico border, with support from the Substack Local program. Facing the end of their financial support from Substack, the team knew that becoming financially sustainable and creating new revenue streams was critically important to their survival.

Melissa and Todd also had questions about which business structure would best suit their needs. They needed to build an accurate budget and a reliable accounting system to ensure they could keep track of their expenses and contributors. Bottom line, Melissa and Todd applied to the lab to build the financial structure to support and sustain their important journalism.

"I Can Probably Get Way Too Ambitious And Load A Bunch Of Things On Myself And Then Get Really Discouraged. I Think This Lab Really Helped Me Look At The Business More Incrementally, And Realize It’S A Marathon And Not A 100-Yard Dash."

Melissa del Bosque
Co-founder, The Border Chronicle

The results

Coach Ingrid Marielos Marthy helped Melissa understand the pros and cons of each business structure and outlined steps she would need to take to incorporate The Border Chronicle. Melissa and Todd decided to register as an LLC and find a fiscal sponsor for grants. With Ingrid’s help, Melissa filed her LLC paperwork, registered for her EIN, opened a bank account and began working on an operating agreement to formalize her and Todd’s relationship with the Border Chronicle. She also learned how to track the operation’s cash flow and create financial forecasts. Bringing structure to The Border Chronicle’s financial operations increased Melissa’s confidence in her own abilities and helped her feel more confident as a founder.

Ingrid also helped Melissa think about how to break down her large-scale revenue goals into incremental, metric-driven milestones around membership conversion and revenue generation. Instead of focusing on a seemingly-unattainable “big number,” Melissa now has a roadmap of incremental goals and milestones to work toward that will eventually lead The Border Chronicle to stability.

Successes:

• Won their first grant

• Nearly met their incremental earned revenue goal of $38,000

• Filed LLC paperwork and opened a business bank account

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