Introducing Overdraft: Deeply Personal Stories About Financial Struggle

Collage of illustrated portraits of merchants for Overdraft series

In 2010 I was $40,000 in debt. Some of it was student loans, but honestly, it was largely the bad kind. It’s not that I’m especially terrible at money. I wasn’t a compulsive shopper. Putting life on credit was a way to move forward while interest payments conspired to hold me back. (Nine years later, I’m debt free. Well, the bad kind, anyway.)

This vicious cycle is not an uncommon story, and it’s one all too familiar to small business owners in the early days of their growth. However they ended up at their own financial rock bottom—deep debt or moving back in with their parents or taking care the needs of the business before their own—they all did it because they believed in something. In this series, I speak with people who know what desperate feels like, people who survived the lowest point of their business. While now blooming with success, they share with me their deeply personal struggles and lessons learned on their way back to black.

You’ll meet:

  • Dana Donofree, a breast cancer survivor who started her business while paying costly medical bills;
  • Ting Gong, a tarot designer who spent her life savings on her first print run;
  • Oscar Muñoz, a resourceful founder who turned trash into a plan to save his family;
  • Taryn Rodighiero, who quadrupled her business debt after bringing on a partner;
  • And more founders every week.

Have a story you want to share about financial struggle? Tell us more.

Illustration by Germán González