Deciding to start a business is an unusual decision. It’s often considered irrational and yet for many it’s the best decision they’ve ever made. So we asked folks to think back to when they were starting their businesses and to tell us about their decision making process.

Heather Knight-Willcock | Interior Designer & Ceramic Artist

Working for myself means ultimate freedom. I have spent years studying and working in the creative field – museums, art schools, galleries, design businesses – and through that I was able to gather the skills and foundation to know what to do and definitely what not to do when it came to business values, client management and pushing design boundaries. I had just moved back to southern California after living in London for nearly a decade, slaving away for someone else’s vision and I knew this was the moment to take the leap and build my own brand. Read more>>

Londyn Nikole | Creative Image Consultant & MultiMedia Creative

Transparently, I started my own business because I felt like I didn’t have a choice! As a makeup artist first, turned Creative Director it was extremely competitive and challenging to get signed to an agency, as an artist or creative. Most agencies require a degree, a minimum of 10 years as experience, or you must know someone. As a women of color, I felt like the options were limited for me. After working with creatives and music artists planning content , I started to see so many women in business who needed the same help with image and communicating their vision and brand image . I wanted to have a company that was personal ! Working with anyone on their professional image and career is extremely personal and I wanted the freedom to get to know my clients! From their mission, to overall vision, I wanted a personal company that focused on who that person wanted to be, instead of just hitting a quota! Read more>>

Fabiola Lara

My husband Sabith and I come from cultures with strong craft traditions– India and Mexico. We both come from families that promoted learning and education but also appreciation for traditions, handcrafted pieces and respect for the people making them. Read more>>

Alena Saz

Inspiration is everywhere! Nature is a great source of inspiring energy, but also all kinds of art from classic architecture to modern murals, food, traveling. People inspire me a lot as well. Sometimes I get inspiration during meditations or in my dreams. Life is full of inspiring concepts and it’s all about being open to seeing them in everyday things around you! Read more>>

Love Fool Podcast | Podcast

We wanted to create a safe and thoughtful space for women to tell their stories, especially the ones we often feel we have to keep buried. We are a feminist comedy podcast about self love and relationships of all kinds. Each episode feels like a philosophical ladies night (with a few inappropriate jokes in between). If you’ve ever wished that Mae West and Glennon Doyle had two gorgeous, ginger babies (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?), you’re going to love this podcast. As Elaine Welteroth says “there’s so much wisdom locked up in the stories that women don’t tell”. Read more>>

Carlye Morgan | Founder, CEO of Chalonne

My inspiration and thought process for Chalonne emerged when I purchased my first Apple Watch a few years ago. I loved my watch, but wasn’t satisfied with the accompanying silicon band. Luxury Apple Watch brands simply didn’t exist at the time and I didn’t want to sacrifice style to sport the latest tech. Hence the inception of Chalonne. The design process came very naturally to me as I’ve always been artistic. There’s truly nothing like seeing my sketches become a reality and holding the finished product in my hands—it is so gratifying. When I first started designing, I planned to work with precious materials, but also wanted to work with some non-conventional materials like shearling and denim that would appeal to different aesthetics of women. Everyone has a personal favorite, and every strap is inspired by my personal experiences. Read more>>

Ava Wolf | Illustrator and Online Shop Owner

After I graduated college and struggled to find a job in the entertainment industry, which is what I studied in college, I started getting back into art and illustration. I was working a few different part time jobs and I just needed something to do outside of work that made me feel more fulfilled. It started out as a side hustle, but later grew into a full blown business with a mission to help people connect through punny greeting cards and colorful art. Over the years it’s also become a place to bond over deeper, more meaningful illustrations about self-reflection and growth. Read more>>

Michelle Schaffer | Founder of Girl Power Alliance & The Radiant Leadership Academy

I have been in the entrepreneur space my entire career. I had always believed that I should be able to work on my terms, take vacations when I wanted too and earn as much as I was willing to work for. The traditional job or corporate roles were not a fit for my independent spirit and desire to create leverage. Early in my career, this was what drove me. Every career move I have made has had this as the foundation. As I grew and evolved, my desire to have an impact on the lives of other people became stronger and stronger. I felt not just drawn to it but CALLED to it. I knew that my life could not be about just serving myself and my family. I knew that God was calling me to serve and lead others. In 2019 I felt a call, a loud voice, and a magnetic pull to something. I wasn’t immediately clear about exactly what it was, but I knew that it was about creating a community for women. Read more>>

Tanya Crooks | Small Business Owner

I always had a heart for the incarcerated population because of my father. Growing up, every holiday, occasion, and birthday, I always had a really hard time finding a card that fit my family’s situation. Families are so limited on what they can send through the mail, so being able to send a card is like a present. Some states and institutions still do not allow greeting cards. Greeting cards also gives me the ability to work from home while working a full-time job. Read more>>

Amelia Rose | Fitness studio owner & Master Trainer

I wanted to build upon my own interests and goals. I found, probably like most people, I do my best and most inspired work when it is as close to my personal “flow” as possible. Starting my own business just seemed to be the next natural step to improving my personal satisfaction with my career. Read more>>

Hillary Lauer | Artist

Last year, when Covid hit, I was working full time as a marketing manager at Ink Monstr, a graphic design and printing company. During a time of such uncertainty, fear and isolation-art was my outlet. I was quarantined indefinitely and then working remotely, giving me more time to focus on my art. It was nice to hop off of a work call and paint when inspiration hit As I posted more of my art process on social media, I started to get a lot of a requests for custom paintings. Around May, I found myself so busy with art commissions that I decided to leave my job and focus on painting full-time. Read more>>

Jim Perry | Podcaster with Euphomet and Founder of DEFY Wrestling

I really thought to myself, “you have learned how to take insight and use creativity to make things for someone else. What would that look like now if you did that for yourself?” I sort of used that as a way to convince myself to take the plunge and quit my full-time job knowing that, I can’t be scared of what I don’t yet know, because that insight, when needed, can be found. Read more>>

Anika + Kaniya | Health Practitioners + Social Impact Entrepreneurs

“All of this is preventable” are the words that birthed Rooted. We believe that everyone should have access to quality and respectful care that centers on the voice and autonomy of the individual. Growing up in the Bay Area, we experienced a healthcare system that was more reactionary than focused on preventable solutions to the most pressing public health concerns of our communities.  Read more>>

Mark “Mach Keys” Collantes | Audio Engineer / Music Producer / Entrepreneur

There’s a business behind everything. And if I want to become successful in doing what I love and passionate about, then I should know how to run it as a business. Read more>>

Christine Jeanjaquet | Entrepreneur & Industrial Designer

I was a voracious reader growing up. There was something in books that I have read that stood out for me. Whether it was central to the plot or just a little side story, there was always a store that was central to the community. Its existence was woven into people’s lives as they came and went. I thought it was magical. I grew up in Manila at a time when there was a store in every corner. They were called sari-sari stores. These stores were like the NYC bodegas that sold everything under the sun that the neighborhood would need. As soon as I learned to cross the street, I begged my grandfather to send me on errands to our corner sari-sari store. He would watch me cross the street from our house until I get to the store. The owner of the store would then have one of her staff walk me back to make sure I get home safe. Read more>>

Vanda Ayrapetyan | Corporate Banker and Children’s Book Author

The catalyst behind my writing and publishing of children’s books was my inherent desire to unite the many different worlds within me, as it relates to creative and cultural expression through a love of storytelling. I’m a corporate banker by profession, and while I’ve sincerely enjoyed many aspects of my career, corporate banking and finance is not a field that lends itself to creative self-expression. Having grown up with a genuine love and appreciation for the arts and books (thanks to the passionate upbringing I received from my mother), I’ve always had an innate desire to connect with others through writing, music, and artistic expression. Read more>>

Ginny Horstman | Chocolatier

Well I have worked in other chef’s kitchens basically my whole life starting from when I was two and used to help my grandmother bake pies for the family restaurant so honestly being second in command was very natural to me. I worked for various chef’s throughout the years in restaurants, pastry kitchens & chocolate shops. I could take direction well and learned to adapt to the different personalities and I always thought I would just work for other people and raise my kiddos but then Covid hit and we were all at home. I just started making chocolates for friends and gifts and a friend of mine approached me to make a big order for her clients and after that it just all took off and I have been hanging on tight ever since! I guess you could say I was sitting in the ocean and a set wave just came and took me and I had no other choice but to ride it…. but it’s been pretty fun. Read more>>

Jeff Mendoza | Licensed Esthetician

I was stuck in the rat race of corporate America. I worked side jobs for years on top of my regular 9-5 and have sacrificed vacations and holidays but I’ve always had the dream of venturing out with my own business and using my creative side. When the pandemic hit, everything changed. As businesses were closing and people were losing their jobs, the only upside to the devastation in the workforce was that a lot of people could change their careers and follow their dreams. I was still lucky enough to keep my job however but I did get the chance to work from home and start pursuing my skincare studio.
I took control of my destiny and renewed my license in esthetics. I finally opened up my skincare business and never looked back. It’s been scary but I couldn’t be more excited for the journey. Read more>>

Lino Martinez, Psy.D. | Podcaster/Author/Writer

When I lost my voice for two years, (because of a rare genetic disease), I made a vow to the higher sources that if I got my voice back, I would use it to motivate people and help those who want/need to be heard. So when I found the right doctors who put me on the medications that are now saving my life, I regained my voice and have a Podcast now dedicated to motivate people tell their stories. I also wrote a book about my entire life of all my struggles and how I overcame them. It will be released November 19, 2021, titled, A LITTLE LESS FEAR, like my podcast. Read more>>

Patrick LeShore | Creative entrepreneur

The thought process behind Creators Sessions was to give the truly gifted underdogs, people who just want to share that aren’t normally seen a platform to be seen & at the same time connecting people to work together in the process. So many people try to grab celebrities and higher people to get a quick boost. But if you look at some of the biggest stars in the world they are still working with the people they started with or there is a connection maintained. So Creators Sessions LLC is here to give people a place they can connect and grow and build as a team as a family. Connecting the tribes. ( it takes a village) Read more>>

Dee Hagler | Entrepreneur

At a young age I knew that I wanted to be a business owner. I have always had a business mindset and I love the process of creating and developing business ideas. For my 30th birthday I wanted to give myself a special gift. I was not interested in going to the club, turning up or vacationing, you know all the cool stuff society and social media says to do. I wanted to do/give myself something that would make me grow personally and professionally. After sitting down and doing some reflection, i decided to start myself a business. I started with thinking of things that I love and had some type of skill at that is when I decided to start my own mobile car detailing business. Read more>>