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It's My Job: Teresa Leno gives finance advice via newsletters

Teresa Leno's company, Fresh Finance, produces newsletters that workers in the financial industry can send to their clients. Kia Farhang / The Forum

Fargo - After years of working in the financial industry, Teresa Leno set out on her own.

Leno’s company, Fresh Finance, produces newsletters for financial firms. The firms’ employees customize the newsletters and send them out to clients.

She writes about topics relevant to consumers, such as college loans and credit scores. Most of her clients are on the East and West coasts.

How did you get into this work?

I was a financial adviser, and back in 2009 I went to a large company. They didn’t have anything to go out to their clients.

A friend and I were sitting around and I said, “I want to come up with something that’s got good information for clients.”

And so we created our first one. And the company I worked for, I presented it to them and they started using it.

What made you decide to do a newsletter?

I felt that there was a lot of misinformation in the media during the financial crisis, and people panicked. And in some cases that panic made them make really poor decisions.

And I felt that if people knew a little more about the types of investments they had and ways to protect themselves and remain calm, I think they would have made better decisions.

How do you come up with ideas for what to write about?

A lot of it is just past experience of working with people. Or I might see a story on the news. Or I might read something and it might spark a thought.

A lot of times what’s going on in the media, if it’s a big deal, I might investigate that story a little bit and respond to it.

And do you do all the writing?

Currently I (do). I probably write between four and six articles a week, and I don’t reuse articles. It’s kind of like once they go out to a firm, they don’t circulate again.

What has it been like going from working in large companies to now being on your own?

It’s more efficient. I can get things done a lot quicker.

I still take time making important decisions, but I’m allowed to make decisions that move things forward. Where in a big company, there was so many steps to get something completed. It was very frustrating for me.

Are there any challenges that come with being smaller?

I think having enough resources. I take care of everything – except not the graphic design, because I’m horrible at it.

The people that help me are great; they know what they’re doing. But it’s being the salesperson and marketing person. The writer. You know what I mean? Kind of wearing all the hats. And sometimes that makes things move a little bit slower than I’d like it to.

But we are starting to see some national recognition, and some big companies we’re talking to that I would say two years ago would have been like, “Never heard of you.” And they’re starting to hear about us.

To submit an idea for “It’s My Job,” email