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.

Jan Meyer: Family Protection Planning attorney & First time Author

The short answer- my family. I started law school with a 9 month old daughter and a 5 year old son. And during my three years of law school, I watched my children grow so quickly and myself miss so much of that growth. I was constantly having to choose between being there for my children as a mom or showing up for myself as a student. Read more>>

Giacomo Muraglia: Visual arts

it’s everything just a passion I have since I was a little kid, being a professional sculptor is all I ever wanted. I basically grew up painting and drawing, but later I discovered this other passion, and a completely new world opened up in mind. Read more>>

Miranda Johnson: Artist, and founder of The Moody Box

I’m someone who suffers with PMS every month. In fact, my symptoms have even gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. At one point I was throwing back three 800mg ibuprofen a day while on my cycle. I understood later from my doctor that large amounts of ibuprofen is bad on the kidneys overtime. Once I came to understand that, I got rid of the ibuprofen, and switched over to acetaphetamine. While that would slightly help… the pain, irritability, and moodiness persisted. I wanted to find ways to naturally help relieve my PMS symptoms. Read more>>

Dan Bailey: Audio Producer & Engineer

I decided to open Fibonacci Sound Studio for two main reasons: I am very passionate about voice over and audio, and I saw a need that wasn’t being met in my community. There aren’t any trained or experienced voice over coaches in my area – and there is only one acting school, targeted mainly at beginners. But, there are so many people that want to get into voice acting.  Read more>>

Taunya Tutt: licensed cosmetologist, makeup artist and skincare line creator.

The pandemic hit in 2020 and all my plans for promoting and getting appointments for makeup clients were stopped before they could be put in motion. I have always wanted to create an all-natural makeup line but I didn’t have access to or even know a chemist so I started where I knew I could which is with an all-natural skincare line. Read more>>

Debbie and Jason Friedman: Artisan wellness and candle crafters

There is nothing like being your own boss and creating products that help people! Read more>>

Krystal Thomas: A Woman Is & I Need You Founder

For six 6 years I was held hostage in an abusive relationship. Before, during, and even after the relationship I suffered from depression and low self esteem severely. Not having the proper resources I lost myself, because I didn’t know how to go about getting the help that I needed. I didn’t want to go to family or friends because those peers tend to be very judgmental, therapist was not an option because I come from an upbringing where you’re suppose to talk to God not therapist, so I suffered until I was able to get out of the abusive relationship. Read more>>

Evan Rogers: Video Editor • Colorist • Producer

After working for other people in film as a video editor, I realized I had soaked up a lot of information about running a business subconsciously. Like many employees, I felt like once I had a good grasp at how my bosses ran their businesses successfully, it inspired me to want to start my own too. Read more>>

Peder Cho: Designer/Artist

I needed to redefine myself. I went to school to become an accountant and realized the career path was unsatisfying. I wanted to work for myself and “be my own boss”. My older brother was my biggest inspiration because he’s a CEO in the Tech industry with no background or prior interest. He redefined his life, so I knew it was possible. My dad opened a tailoring service and they taught me how to sew/tailor my suits. Read more>>

Nadia Calhoun Redd: Author, Writer & Producer

For me my business began with my organic and original gifts. I’ve tried everything you can name and i’m gifted in almost every area so for me getting back to my original gifts was a huge part of my thought process. Doing what i love to do effortlessly. Read more>>

Andrew Lee: Golf Professional and Founder of ZinDrew Chili

Zin and I (Andrew Lee) had no previous experience in the chili oil business or any retail condiment business. When I came up with this recipe for ZinDrew, it was a HIT with friends and family. I figured, part of starting a business is making sure people will like and buy the product. We got that part down so now we just have to start selling. Read more>>

Kelley Hoag: Alignment Coach

I knew there was something missing in the industry when I had a Master’s Degree in Behavior and couldn’t change my own habits. I had multiple eating disorders, was using exercises as punishments, and was filling my day with “shoulds.” I knew there was more to the story than just observable, measurable behavior, and what I needed to address was what I couldn’t see – my relationship with me. Read more>>

Atlenea Beard: CEO & Radio Host

Besides becoming my own boss and generating revenue, my thought process behind starting my own business was and is to educate my clients on how to become successful business owners from the beginning, during and after the process. Read more>>

Megan / Scott Indoe / Herder: Digital Content Creator & Brand Storyteller / Professional Videographer & Photographer

Both of us worked corporate jobs that just lead to very monotonous day-to-day, Scott had just finished a sort of college ‘gap year’ trip and he picked up the travel bug. He knew he wanted to continue to travel and immersive himself in different parts of the world which is why he chose to teach English in South Korea.  Read more>>

Raquel Veisaga: Healing Coach & Empowerment Guide

At first, I didn’t realize I was starting a business – friends, acquaintances, and eventually strangers kept coming back to my studio, Body Rituals, but not just for the yoga and fitness courses. They really wanted to talk to me and hear the insights I had. I found myself giving advice that profoundly changed and improved peoples’ lives. Today, I call them healings or soul alignments, and up until now I have helped with thousands of them. Read more>>

Kristen Clarke: Actor & Producer

Ivy Production Co. started at the height of the pandemic when theatre was seemingly dead. We wanted to create a platform for artists to continue to create and share their work with the world to keep all of us connected. Ivy is a place for writers, actors, directors and artists to share their work and to meet other people like them during a time of isolation. Read more>>

Victory Omotayo: Sales & Positioning Coach

Entrepreneurship wasn’t always the plan for me. It was out of necessity as even after graduating with a bachelors degree, I was grossly underpaid at my jobs. I had to turn to side hustles to make ends meet and initially thought I would be a “forever side hustler” until I was let go from my job in 2019. This could not have happened at the worst year as I was planning a wedding, I had just bought a property the year before and I was moving countries. Read more>>

April Sigman-Marx: Thumbprint Studios, Founding Artistic Director

In 2019 my business partner (and friend) Jaina Alexander and I began daydreaming about what our ideal performance training program and theatre company would look like. We’d talk for hours about how things could be done differently to shake-up the status quo. After months of finding our conversations turning to this topic, we made the decision to bring our daydreaming to life by planning to open Thumbprint Studios in Spring 2020. Our entire year of programming was planned. Then the pandemic hit…. yes, I know, great timing. Read more>>

Obed Magny: Emotional Intelligence Trainer and Coach

In the current climate in policing, there is a lot of turmoil where communities are demanding change through reforms. Communities are looking for their officers to show more compassion and empathy, especially in black communities. Read more>>

Roszien Kay Lewis: Author & Publisher

When it came to starting my own business I was afraid. I wondered whether or not I was making a big mistake. Whether I would be taken seriously. I also wondered whether or not people would actually want to trust me with publishing their books. Read more>>

Phia Strojny: Owner & Founder of SLO Scrunchies

My parents would tell me as a child that there is no such thing as boredom. Instead of grappling with the complacency of mundane life, we would simply create something to do. As the years passed, the more imaginative my deflection from boredom became. When quarantine ceased regular life, I occupied my mind with different hobbies and creative pursuits. Read more>>

Aicha Sebaa: Doctor of East Asian Medicine & Skincare Formulator

What was your thought process behind starting your own business? It really started as an idea that simply wouldn’t leave me. In my clinical practice, I have a front-row seat to the range of health issues and insecurities that plague women today. So often women come to me seeking bodily healing and rejuvenation—a return to healthfulness on a level that satisfies the body in spirit and aesthetic. But the divide between wellbeing and skin’s appearance was/is very palpable. Read more>>

Madonna Wade-Reed: Music Supervisor

I never wanted to punch a clock that was set by someone else. Also, when I started my career as music supervisor, I was a new mom and I wanted the ability to make my own schedule so I could balance my work life with motherhood on my own terms. Read more>>

Curry Tian: Visual artist

Love what makes you, you. As a female storyteller, through my art, I’m always questioning and exploring the various definitions and expressions of true beauty. I’m always seeking the meaning of true existence and in doing so, attempting to convey the concept of duality in my work, a duality that is particularly related to the many permutations one undergoes through his or her lifetimes. Read more>>

Troy O’Conner: Entrepreneur and business owner

I decided to start my own businesses to provide myself financial freedom and ownership. I believed I had gained enough knowledge and experience from jobs to understand that if I didn’t work hard on my own dreams, someone else would keep hiring me to work on theirs. I wanted to create something I could call mine and be proud of, but more importantly I wanted to create generational wealth. Read more>>

Will Wheaton: Recording Artist, Songwriter, Real Estate Broker, Mortgage lender,business Owner

The thought process behind starting my business was very simple. For me it has always been about freedom in every way. I learned early on that I was a good worker. However, I also learned that I never wanted to be told what to do, job security was a lie, and you will never get rich working for someone.. LOL. Read more>>

Naomi Hutchinson: Dancer, Yoga Teacher & Wellness Entrepreneur

When I started Healthy+Well, my driving force was the desire to serve. I knew how important health and wellness was and I wanted to share the benefits of it with my community and serve them through my offerings. Beyond service, my other desire was freedom – freedom in my schedule and freedom in my finances. Knowing that my business can be anything I want to be gave me the courage to create my own lane and to sculpt a business that honors my wellbeing. Read more>>

Derek Sulek: Director, Producer & Writer

I wanted to start a production company that specialized in created powerful stories but also understood how to operate on a reasonable budget. I also wanted to pick individuals that I worked well with and create a team of my own. Thankfully I have been able to assemble an outstanding team with diverse individuals from unique backgrounds that has helped elevate and evolve my company. Everyone has a right to tell a story and I wanna help make that happen. Read more>>

Kyairra Johnson: Owner

When I learned of a successful black tycoon. I didn’t even know the definition of the word tycoon. I was only in the 6th grade came across a teacher who seen something in me, than he proceeded to show me videos and articles of different entrepreneurs and I ask what’s that? He went along to explain and showed me a black woman who was an tycoon and showed me people of color, my color that are billionaires and multi millionaires. Read more>>

Rebecca Newton: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist & Relationship Expert

I started my own business for freedom. I had worked in the mental health field in various agencies and felt cramped by the limitations that were put on me. I have always been little outside the box in how I manage my time, and I really wanted the freedom to create a schedule that worked for me. That was really my driving force. I am a vary fast, efficient person. I wanted to create a schedule that allowed me to work at a pace that felt productive and efficient, and allowed me the flexibility to take care of personal tasks that needed to be attended to, also. Read more>>

Dymond Green: Journalist

I was struggling with finding plant-based, hand-made feminine care products on the market so I made my own. Then I thought, why don’t I offer these products to other women? The potential to simultaneously help other women, have social impact and gain financial freedom was enticing. Read more>>

Erin Montgomery: Jewelry Designer and Owner at Relic the Label

I started making jewelry in the fall of 2018 while I was a freshman in college at UC Berkeley. What started as selling a few pairs of earrings to friends became a side hustle to support myself through college and eventually a career. Before fully committing to my business, I was on path defined by my family’s view of success. I took all the right classes in high school, got the right grades, was accepted into a top university, and was studying to be an architect. Read more>>

Hanna Yocute: Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Vintage Reseller & Creative Entrepreneur

It is kind of wild to think back and pin-point when the “process” of starting my own business began because a lot of the ground work for me was exploration, conversations which lead to thinking, deep thinking, to eventually an action plan. I remember as a college student, I preferred when guest speakers would visit the classroom to talk about a business they had started as an entrepreneur or hear an artist describe themselves as a creative entrepreneur who managed to successfully create various streams of revenue for themselves. I personally do not believe in being a starving artist. Read more>>

Daphne Tenne: Programmer & Actor

As an actress in LA, I found the process of searching and submitting myself to auditions tedious, mundane, and expensive. I despised spending so much time and money to religiously look through all those casting notices, deciding whether or not I had the “model body” they wanted, knowing full well that getting called in to actually audition, let alone booking the gig, was a near impossibility. It was frustrating to see all the major casting agencies making money off struggling artists trying to fulfill a dream. Read more>>

Emmelyn Lao Joel Benavides: Co-Owners

We have been working office jobs for 10+ years and realized how burnt out/boring it is. With both of our experiences and skillsets, we created a business that reflects who we are so we can get off the hamster wheel and enjoy life! Read more>>

Teodor Karakolev: Creative Producer

Ever since I was a teenager, I always wanted to create a business of my own. At first me and my grandfather had the idea of creating a cherry tomato farm. We saw the potential market for it as we both loved the little tomatoes, but there were always an import from outside the country. I should say, I am originally from Bulgaria, a place where there is less variety in fruits and vegetables. Read more>>

Remi Jones: CEO, executive producer, and TV host

When I began my media career, I was a correspondent for a show interviewing artists at various locations as well as at red carpet events. I realized that I loved what I was doing and was passionate about it. Working under someone else no longer felt right for me, so I took a leap of faith and decided to start own show, which I called Remi TV. Using what I learned from my correspondence experience, I built a show that catered to the type of stories I wanted to share and the type of shows that people wanted to watch. Read more>>

Laura Flynn Endres: Personal Trainer & Founder of Get Fit Done, Online Team Fitness Game

My thought process was, “I could do that – and better.” And even though that sounds arrogant, it isn’t meant to be. The fitness industry is very off-putting and daunting to the clients I work with, because it’s all burpees and “little black dress” and no pain no gain. I knew I could provide something different – workout programming that is truly in my clients’ best interests, helping them regain mobility and strength and endurance in ways that don’t leave them crushed or feeling inadequate. Read more>>

Anthony Volz: Illustrator

After college ended, I knew I had to stick with my passion, and working on my own would be the best way to fulfill myself. Working for myself allows me to produce art that I love, and also leaves my free to make art for arts sake. Producing art is important to me, and having the time to work and share what gives me a great sense of accomplishment. Read more>>

Maria Azellea Sanchez – Ordóñez: Owner & Animator

Maria Azellea Sanchez-Ordóñez created her non profit blog/website Hustle – N – Heart as a way to bring resources & information to aspiring professionals so they can have their own starting line as they begin their professional journeys. Hustle – N – Heart began as a mindset to hustle everyday while keeping your heart on your sleeve. Read more>>

Brooke Jonson: owner/operator

Honestly I was bored at my day job and in my life and wanted to switch things up a bit. I have no prior experience in the restaurant industry, I have not even worked in one. I was a wedding planner and had a good grasp on how to organize, work with vendors and design events logistically. So I thought, “how hard could it be too open a restaurant from scratch?!” I just dove in feet first and had an amazing group of friends and family who supported me along the way. Read more>>

Bethanie Jean: Interior Designer, Style Host, Author

I realized I had an opportunity that I truly thought would never come. I dreamed of becoming an Interior Designer when I was a child. My love for decor started at about age 7. So, in 1987 I thought I had found my calling. Much to my dismay the college I attended in 1998 didn’t have a Design program quite yet; nor did my home area have much demand for it either. I did the most practical thing that all creative types did as means of profession, I went to Beauty School. Read more>>