On the day that Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin launched email newsletter theSkimm in 2012, the two 26-year-olds had a fridge stocked with fresh groceries and pre-cooked meals.
Sitting on the floor in their New York apartment, the two friends, who had just left their media jobs at NBC, thought they could save money, eat well and start a profitable company at the same time.
"Then all of a sudden, real life hit," Weisberg tells CNBC, "and we had no time to breathe."
Their morning newsletter geared towards young women was a huge hit, and their company was taking off. Soon, the entrepreneurs didn't have time to cook meals, take a part-time job or look for other ways to come up with money.
With every month of rent, takeout meal and investment made in theSkimm, the goal of staying financially healthy while growing a start-up seemed more and more of a pipe dream.
Their $4,000 in combined savings was dwindling fast.
So in order to eat, pay rent and continue building the company, the two entrepreneurs went into credit card debt — a lot of it. The duo won't disclose how much debt they were in, but say they paid it off recently, "within the last year," according to Zakin.
"We made the decision together to go into credit card debt," Weisberg says. "It was really not as much of a decision, as it was the only way that we could afford to live and pay rent when we weren't making any money yet."