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.

Amelia noyes: Artist

In the very beginning my business was a side hustle. I wasn’t sure if people would respond to my work so I started by putting my artwork on Instagram to see if people liked it. I started to see a positive response so I began to build different facets of my business slowly. In 2018 after a difficult personal experience I decided to go all in on my artwork as a full time job. The risk was scary but the results made it worth it. Read more>>

Dillon Artzer: Photographer & Producer

Retail destroyed me. It was sheer madness dedicating any of my time to furthering someone else’s business plans, especially when I didn’t agree with their “philosophy”. Ipso facto, I knew early on that I needed to spend my life doing what I loved, how I loved doing it. Read more>>

Dhirajj Vinodd Kapoor: International Award-Winning Producer. 20+ years of Producing. Heart of an Actor. Mind of an Entrepreneur. Soul of a Lightworker. Body of a Peripatetic.

From a very young age being born into a Business family and household helped me sharpen my mind not only to see its benefits but also the cons of working for someone else Over the years my thoughts became doubly clear as to which direction would I be heading towards and it was the only way all through of an Entrepreneur. Read more>>

Stacy Bareng: Chef/Owner

My thought process behind starting my own business happened pretty fast. During the pandemic, restaurants got hit hard first. Most lost our jobs, few were able to keep them. I had lost my job and was unemployed for a few month. Out of the nowhere, my friend offered to do my own pop up at a restaurant that pivot its parking lot to an outdoor dining area. At the time, restaurants were able to run business with the offer of takeout food and outdoor dining. Read more>>

serge ramelli: Photographer

I wanted to be my own boss and be financially independent. I had worked all my life for other people and made them very wealthy and wanted to the same thing for me. Read more>>

Mychele Sims: Pilates & Fitness Instructor

I created a space for people in my neighborhood to be seen. I knew that people would participate and move more with someone who looked like THEM and was from their area. When we see fitness messaging, social media, etc., you will not see the Ebony Queen mom-figure from the Crenshaw district doing yoga, for example. Fun fact is that SHE DOES DO YOGA but the media doesn’t show you that. Read more>>

Jackson Davis: Photographer

For me it happened kind of slowly. I was taking photos of friends, and then before I knew it I was having friends of friends approach me for photos. It’s Los Angeles so EVERYONE needs photos. I loved doing it and people seemed to be liking their photos I was taking… So at a certain point it just seemed like the natural next step. Read more>>

Tarina Kim: Executive Director of MozArt Music Academy

Music played such an important role in my life and truly shaped who I am today. When my family first moved to Canada, I was a shy, little Korean girl. I felt the world was turned upside down with the abrupt changes of culture, school, and lifestyle. As a result, I didn’t talk for two entire years and I had no friends. Read more>>

Bree XVI: Emotional & Spiritual Practitioner

I knew I wanted to do things differently in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. As someone who wanted to go into the business of helping people, I wanted to make sure I was providing services that aligned with my values, my abilities, and what I enjoy, as not to run into the eventual burnout that many helpers run the risk of. Read more>>

Kai Depusoir: Business Owner

I have always enjoyed art and trying new things. I told myself 2020 will be my year for growth and stepping out of my comfort zone. What began as a hobby turned into a passion and now a business that I am very proud of. I have always been into art growing up. I was very introverted and kept to myself. When I turned to art, whether it was painting or performing arts, that is where I felt more like myself. Read more>>

Becky Gutsell: Owner/Designer – Gg bebe

From an early age I always knew that I’d like to be my own boss/have my own business. I studied languages at school and specialised in French at University, so that was where I thought I’d find my career. After finding a role as a Personal Assistant to the head of a record label in Paris, France, in 2000 I continued this role when I moved to London in 2003. Read more>>

Talo Silveyra: Film Writer-Director

Since I started working as a Film Director, I knew I needed my own space to create what I felt was compelling for me. I was doing great content at the time, working for big brands and companies, but I wasn’t feeling like I was in the right place for developing what I really loved: Story-telling. So without thinking too much, I started writing narrative short films and sharing them as a portfolio. Read more>>

Naoto Yonezawa: Founder of Kuramoto Ice USA., Inc.

I had been having an idea about my current business for a few years. I considered of doing it as my own business or at some company. But since I was so passionate about it, I decided to make it my own business. I think that in order to succeed in something, I’d need a commitment, focus and willingness to take risks. I did of course calculated the budget, target sales, profit and running cost to see if I can make a living. Read more>>

Ajia Munns: Founder, CEO of Geminae Productions

I started off as an actress and quite frankly I’ve been acting all my life, mostly acting up. I made the brave decision to move to Los Angeles in 2012 right after my grandfather’s passing. Throughout my time in LA I have had some amazing opportunities, being the lead in two pilots was the highlight of my career. However, I have also been a part of so many indie projects and over the years I observed a lot! Read more>>

Renika Allen: Founder & CEO of Scribbles N’ the Skye LLC and Canvas Your Thoughts

My thought process behind starting my own business was simple. I’ve always wanted to have my own. To create a space that I felt would lead to many positive attributes. Things that would create change, generational wealth and provide opportunities for those coming up with me and after me. I’ve had many ideas since I was a little girl. Read more>>

Los Angeles Spoonie Collective: Disability Justice Organization

We started the Los Angeles Spoonie Collective because there wasn’t another organization that offered what we need as a disabled peoples. The Los Angeles area didn’t really have a Disability Justice based organization and many organizations in the area excluded, marginalized and made disabled, neurodiverse, and chronically ill people feel unwelcome. Read more>>

Grace Nguyen: Co-Founder/CEO of LOUPN

Starting in my early twenties, I knew that I wanted to start my own business one day – a business that would help others overcome some of the most challenging phases of their lives. I lived everyday believing that a positive mindset coupled with confidence can dictate your future, and that they are the key ingredients to a successful life full of significance. Read more>>

Brooke Elise Young: Professional Character Performer and Children’s Book Author

From a young age, I’ve always been passionate about Entreprenuership and the freedom it creates in your life. Living through my two core values: which are to create meaningful things, and to serve the world at large, is best done through Entreprenuership and I dived head-first into that venture at 15 years of age Read more>>

Kyle Kuhns: Founder & CEO, XX Artists

If I’m being entirely honest with myself, the business I set out to start is entirely different than the business that I run today. In the early 2010s, after more than a year of applying and being denied for jobs across the entertainment industry, it became apparent that my CV (which was zero at that point!) was not one that was going to get me into the world of entertainment. Read more>>

Robert Beddall: Co Founder and Story Teller at Time to Tell a Story

As two expats with family all over the world, we always struggle to give creative and thoughtful gifts to our little nieces and nephews. So, instead of the usual, shipping a gift from Amazon for her birthday one year, we recorded a special story for our niece in Sydney. Read more>>

Zeek Ruvalcaba: Full time artist

When I first started working I knew that the 9-5 wasn’t something I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life, specially if I wasn’t focusing my own time into my own business and self care. The amount of times I told myself what do I have to lose if I don’t give it a shot always crossed my mind. Read more>>

Nancy Pothidang: Founder of Luna Bake Shop Co.

It all started coming together when I was still employed. I would bake cookies for my colleagues to enjoy and the feedback I would receive would be to sell start selling them. When I was let go from my job, I started to seriously think about selling the cookies as a new source of income. When the pandemic hit, I saw all over social media people were starting their own businesses. That’s when I was motivated to start my own. Read more>>

Angelina Espinosa: Tax Specialist/Business Owner

I wanted to share my unique approach in the business world. I believe that we can be impactful in others lives and create wealth simultaneously. I believe our business principles should be centered around the faith principle. Read more>>

Casey Follen & Lex Deprey: Animation Wild Card Co-Founders & Project Organizers

Well… we aren’t exactly a business—what we are is a collection of animation artists that come together to bring joy to the masses! We compile our light-hearted short-shorts into episodes, while also strengthening the connection, collaboration, and diversity of our animation community. We share our episodes on our YouTube and Instagram and feature our creators and their work individually on Instagram too. Read more>>

Oji Singletary: Executive Producer & Director

My thought process behind starting my own business was actually really simple. I was tired of working for people I felt like I knew more than. Not that I am some brilliant individual, but I do have common sense, passion, and a strong work ethic… And I can’t say that was the case with some of my superiors. And no shade… Big shout out to all my bosses who shared their knowledge. But looking back I honestly I learned most from people showing me .what not to do, so when I got my opportunity I was ready. Read more>>

Megan McNulty: Educator & Writer/Actor

Starting The Tiny Tutor was really the culmination of 20+ years devoted to making kids feel confident. While the name itself absolutely flashed in my brain one night (which led to my husband promptly securing the website for me to build later), the actual concept materialized into a startup business from the many tiny steps I’ve taken since 1995. I always knew I wanted to be a special educator. In middle school, I sat next to a dear family friend with Down Syndrome, while she lost her battle with leukemia. Read more>>

Eric Ramsey: Owner/operator Ramsey Security

The thought process behind starting my own was to see how I could add another scream of income to help increase our household income. Read more>>

Che’Rae Adams: Producing Artistic Director of the LA Writers Center

I started the LA Writers Center in 2006 because I wanted to give playwrights an artistic home where they could develop their work, free from the expense and pressure of production. I had seen how much readings and writing workshops had helped playwrights while interning at the Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory Theatre and The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Read more>>

Michael Laskin: Owner, The Michael Laskin Studio

I wish I could say it was meticulous, but I decided I wanted to try starting my own acting studio, and my theory was (and still is) that when you want to start something, just start. Period. You will figure out things as you go along. When starting something you can either plant a seed or plant a fully grown tree. The seed, if taken care of, will become the fully grown tree. For me that was the most organic way to begin. Read more>>

Nicholas Barisone: Co-Founder

It was the last camping trip of the Season and my brothers and I were sitting around the campfire celbrating the occasion around a campfire. I pulled out a bottle of Laphroaig 18 along with my favorite mini-mason jar to drink out of. This jar also happened to be my favorite bar glass at home and I packed it on top of the bottle of scotch to save space in my pack. Read more>>

Ilea Alfaro-Matthews: Artist

I never actually intended to start my own business it kind of just presented itself. I was making dog clothes for my little chihuahua and I started posting them online to show how cute she looked. The function of these clothes were mainly to help keep her warm since she has little to no fur on her body. She was also in-between normal dog sizes so I could never find anything that fit her correctly. Read more>>

Sean Nunley: Movie Director

have always valued independence in relation to a career. For me it started as a child while I was attending grade school. I was always told to “study hard because one day this will all pay off and you will be able to obtain a job that sustains you in life”. But nobody in school really pushed me into thinking outside the working for someone else 9 to 5 realm in regards to my career choice. I knew that I would never be satisfied working for anyone but myself, so I moved my way towards career independence with a focus on me at the helm. Read more>>

Justin Sayre: Actor, Comedian, and Playwright

Well, I think I have that “thing,” whatever that is which makes me want to make my own work, to foster my own voice. I like helping people with their projects. I love working with a team, but I like to be my own boss, and to foster my own vision. So I’ve always made my own work, from my shows in New York to now my plays and work in Los Angeles. I like making, so I like to make. Read more>>

Denise DaVinci: Writer, Life Coach, & Mom

My thought process began with the need I observed within people around me who need to talk. Just talk. The way you talk to a friend who doesn’t judge, or compete, or tell you what to do with your life. The way you talk to a counselor, but without the conditions or cost. Read more>>

Jana Smith: Educator & Flavor Curator

Starting my business was a very roundabout process. I have always wanted to do “something” with food. From as early as I can remember I have loved being in the kitchen creating. Through being in the kitchen and creating my various concoctions and then sharing them, I realized even more than I enjoyed preparing food, I enjoyed the feeling I got when people tried my dishes. Pre-COVID I started a venture as a caterer to do just that; share my food with others.  Read more>>

Liz Zaslove: CPA & Tax Professional

After working in corporate for multiple years, I found that I was very restricted in how I was able to serve my clients. I was limited to what I was able to do or not do. And when I was able to help my clients, I was expected to charge them by the hour. This ultimately made me unaffordable which led to clients not consulting with me. Read more>>

Eugenia Gamero: Fashion Stylist & Designer

After many years working for different brands and companies I would always find the need to express myself outside of the lines of what was already set and expected as a creative, so obviously starting my own ventures has always been about satisfying that inner kid that is still crossing things out of her bucket list and of course for that outer artist that is not being heard in every space so I had to create my own. Read more>>

Tekesia (Doctor TK) Jackson-Rudd: Clinical Psychologist & Therapist Business Coach

As a Clinical Psychologist, I was taught the fundamental strategies to become a great therapist. After attending graduate school, I realized the desire to have a private practice. I successfully opened an individual and group practice From Ground Zero, and my businesses have been very successful. However, I began to recognize the need for the mental health industry to have leaders available to mentor and teach other therapists how to have a successful business. Read more>>

Steffany Ayala: Entrepreneur

Since I was a little girl I always had dreams, and part of those dreams was that one day I would run my own business. I didn’t know which direction or type of business I wanted to pursue, but I knew that I was going to build something creative that would make a difference within the community. Read more>>

Elatia Abate: Futurist & Global Keynote Speaker

When I left the corporate world in 2013 to start my business because of the phenomenon that most of the planet, 87% in fact, is disengaged or highly disengaged at work. I read this as bored to miserable, or worse. It is INSANE to me that 87% of the working planet spends more than half of their waking hours this way. What a waste of human potential and possibility! How much better could the world and all of our lives be if we were able to transform this – even a little bit. Read more>>