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.

Andre Roper | Clothing brand innovator

Knowing that I was a capable of being anything, I chose to be a leader amongst the doubt and prevail past the opinions of others. I reached a pinnacle in my thought process to listen to me and not the put world. My brand is me, I am my brand. Hopefully my truth births a new generation of believers. Read more>>

Joshua Hallman | Trash Bandit

I needed a way to take action in a way that made sense to me. Direct involvement that I was having a hard time finding through various other existing entities. It feels real and therefore it is real. Finding a volunteer/charitable organization was also a rather hopeless endeavor given the scope of the Covid pandemic at the time I realized I was ready to start making an impact on my community. Read more>>

Collin McMannis | Founder & Creative Director of LLovesick

Honestly? I was sick of my current life at the time. Going back a little longer real quickly, I moved to LA to work in the fashion world for an up and coming men’s wear brand. I was desperate to live in California after seeing it for the first time in 2012, and so I accepted a low paying salary for an awesome work environment and with some really cool people in downtown LA. Read more>>

Takako Saito | Fashion Designer & Pattern Maker

My main goal has been to do something sustainable and ethical, and share what I do with as many people as possible. I’d like everyone to be informed about the benefits of sustainable materials for the environment and the farmers. Read more>>

truekolors | Musician/Producer

I always knew our time in life is so limited and short, but I really felt that with emotions in my mind when I was turning 30. Looking back, I had lived so hard just as the society expects you to which was to study hard at a good college, work at a stable company, start paying mortgage and and settle down. But the satisfaction I was getting from life was nearly zero which made me decide I must live a life for myself and not anyone else, at least from right now. Read more>>

Sara Kenas | Chef & Founder of Anarchy Seafood

I’ve been working in kitchens since I was 15. Graduated from culinary school by 19 and continued my career from there. After about 17 years in the kitchen, 12 of which I was in a management/chef/leadership position, I was burnt out. Working for someone else’s company limits your creativity as you have to stay in the boundaries of their concepts and likes. Read more>>

Paul and Mai Nakayama | Co-founders, Nankai Group. Alcohol Import and Wholesale.

My wife Mai and I discovered an amazing shochu (Japanese craft spirit) while honeymooning in her hometown of Amami, Japan. It was the cleanest spirit we’d ever had and were intrigued. We took a 12-hour boat ride to the distillery and tried everything in their lineup, learning about their unique ingredients and process along the way. Read more>>

Lisa Flory | Photographer & Cinematographer

I started my own business because I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I’m pretty sure that was passed down from generations before who also had entrepreneurial spirits. My grandfather had a commercial advertising business in Los Angeles that he started in the 1940s. My mom also had a side hustle in the 90’s making and selling jewelry. I’ve also been extremely blessed to see other men and women who are successful operating their own businesses. Talk about generational blessings! Read more>>

Elsie Goodwin | Artist

The thought process behind starting my creative business was as a means to stay happy and sane during the early years of motherhood. Read more>>

Brittie Crawford | Preschool Owner/Director

I was a new mom looking for childcare and a new job in 2008. I was looking for childcare that would allow my child the opportunity to play, develop social skills, be at one with nature and the outdoors. I couldn’t find what i was looking for locally and didn’t want to drive outside of my neighborhood for childcare. My solution was to open a childcare business out of my home, hence creating a job for myself at the same time. My philosophy for starting my business was that if I could work as hard for myself as I did for an employer I would be successful. So, I made sure to have the same work ethic that I had when working for myself as I did when I had an employer. Read more>>

Weston Seid | Chief Executive Officer & Commissioner

An individual’s curiosity and creativity drives people to see problems and come up with new solutions – this is the basis of a business idea. At the core of a successful business lies determination and perseverance. Small problems can be fixed pretty quickly by individuals, while more complex problems need a large team to find a solution, thus a business is necessary. Read more>>

Ana Alonso | Mom, artist, entrepreneur

Mama Luchona Boutique was born when I became a mother and I did not know what to wear, the clothes in the big stores said that I had to change my style becuse I’m a mom. If I have learned something working in the Hollywood industry, it is that the image is everything, in all areas it is super important, our appearance says a lot Who we are, Read more>>

Marielle Cruz Cabillo | Freelance Visual Designer & Digital Marketing Strategist

Honestly, it took me up until recently to even consider my services as a business! I had just graduated from college amidst the pandemic, and an old classmate from Elementary school asked me to help design her logo. I thought, “Okay cool, I get to use what I learned from school.” After I posted the work I’ve done for her on my design page, suddenly more and more people started asking for design work. Read more>>

Tehani Sun Tobosa | Entrepreneur

Everyone’s ALOHA should shine. Inside and out. So I wanted to find a way to help do that. Cleansing your skin is a way to help get rid of old skin and help bring new life. My business motto is EXFOLIATE AND ELEVATE YOUR ALOHA! Read more>>

Marcus Lewis | Photographer

We wanted to do something create. Actually use our college degree, ya know? It was an opportunity to just work for ourselves, doing whatever we wanted to do creatively. It’s a graphic design, website development company that organically changes depending on our current goals and inspirations. As of today, slowly transitioning to a more illustrative and photography focus. My main mindset was, freedom. Freedom to be my own boss, travel wherever, whenever while still being able to do work. Read more>>

Tanya Alexis | Intuitive Healer, Crystal Curator, Photographer

Starting my own business is something that has been a long time coming. For years, energy work (Reiki, Intuitive Healing, Crystals) and Photography had been a huge part of my own healing practice. As I began to explore learning different modalities and incorporating them into my photography sessions, I realized that I also found myself wanting to share what I have learned with others to aid and support them into tapping into their own intuition. Read more>>

Samira Bashout | Samira Bashout | Event Architect

Just like everyone else, I was living in fear before putting full trust into myself. Starting your own business takes a lot of courage and the willingness to step into the risks. You have to be mentally prepared which means accepting failure as a beautiful life lesson to keep going. I decided to start my own business because I desired to create my own structures and implement my innovative ideas to life through my unique lens that then presented me with the opportunity for freedom. Read more>>

Kenny Bereal | Entertainment and Business Professional

My initial thought process behind starting my own business was making my own money and establishing a recognizable identity, but as I matured in business my focus changed to building something I could leave behind for my children and creating financial freedom for myself and others around me. Read more>>

Richard Podgurski Jr | Photographer

To be honest i don’t really agree with the traditional “process” of starting a business. Between DJ’ing for 20 years and photography for the past 8, both of those businesses evolved from passion projects. Once you do spend close to 1000 hours doing these hobbies, you can now then morph them into monetized products. You also have to see no end to your idea. Read more>>

Isadora Angulo | Fashion/Shoe Designer

Before I started my own business, I was working as a Wardrobe Designer in Dominican Republic. As a single mom, the work hours were very difficult having a boy under 5 years old. We both felt miserable. Those were really hard times that I don’t like to revisit. After months of feeling like this, I decided to stop. I had to search within me for the answer of how to be a full time mom and a full time creative being without starving to death…and I found it: Read more>>

Bela Patel | Doctor of Pharmacy and Holistic Health Coach

I think my background as a clinical pharmacist and my passion for wellness is something very different than what is out there. When working with a client, I bring elements of western medicine, Ayurveda and nutrition so finding a job where I would fit in wasn’t the best option and so I knew that becoming an entrepreneur was what I needed to do. I also love the independence of making my own schedule, having the autonomy to create content that I value and most importantly providing a unique niche in Health coaching. Working on my own has been challenging at times but when I see the impact I can make on a client’s well-being, the rewards are unmatched. Read more>>

Parker Smith | Owner of Witty Production Company

While I was in Film School, my friends and I started making short sketch comedy videos, we treated it as some sort of practice while we worked towards our degree. As time went on, each sketch started to “level up”, whether it was production value, story elements, or editing, we were making noticeable improvements. Read more>>

Alejandro González Charles | Director, Video Editor and Cinematographer

The thought process behind starting my own business began with the yearning to own a company, becoming an entrepreneur and have a place where I could showcase my work such as my shorts films, and music. Aside from that, Dos Palmas Inc. also is a media production company that collaborates with other creatives. The company offers video editing, cinematography, and music production services having worked with companies such as ShortsTV and Kepo Inc. Read more>>

Ellie Soufi | Owner and Creative Director of the OCHF Academy

My thought process behind starting the OCHF Academy was absolutely fueled by the love and drive to support and mentor the up and coming artists of the industry. With Covid-19 in our midst I knew that we would need to become a hub for children to come and feel safe to create both virtually and in person. Read more>>

Sonia Fregoso | Therapist & Tarot Reader

The idea of starting my own business came to me when I was experiencing burnout in my full-time job as a clinical therapist in community mental health. Burnout is prevalent in these spaces, and it was my second time experiencing burnout in my career. When I first thought about starting my own business, I was terrified, but I knew it was a necessary step to take because I was tired of working for others. Read more>>

Janell Dusi | Owner & Winemaker

Growing up in a farming family and fourth generation of vineyard farmers, I knew I wanted to take our farming to the next level and create something to enjoy from our family passion of farming. I wanted to hold onto my family heritage of growing amazing old vine Zinfandel, but to take it further and bottle some our own zinfandel under our family name on the label. Read more>>

Sarina Krishnan | Student at Princeton University

As the daughter of two immigrants, my parents have told me about their personal struggles in creating a new life in the United States. Aside from the blatant racism and discrimination they faced, they also had to overcome the language and cultural barriers. Through hard work, perseverence, and following their morals, though, my parents were able to create a prosperous life for our family in San Diego. Read more>>

Jackson Defa | Business owner

My business parter and I wanted to being high-quality espresso and coffee drinks to the east side of Los Angeles which had largely been overlooked by the foodie food-movement. It only made sense to us to open our specialty coffee shop in a neighborhood with a rich culture but one without much (if any) competition. Read more>>

Bree Lauren | Designer & Founder

Secret Garden Panties are the seed of my brand. The unique design in our collection that supports reproductive organs no matter what phase or identity the person wearing them connects to. These panties were born out of my own trauma from becoming a woman – when I got my first period when I was a teenager, it never stopped. Read more>>

Jesse Gomez | Restaurateur

I grew up in my family’s restaurant. It was started in the early 60’s by my grandparents. El Arco Iris was a neighborhood restaurant for over 50 years in Highland Park. I was always amazed and influenced by how my immigrant grandparents from Mexico with no language and no money were able to create a successful business that endured for so long. I wanted to start my own business because I wanted to continue their legacy and create one of my own. Their influence has always carried me in a positive manner throughout my career, Read more>>

Dani Michaux Samson | Independent Artist & Owner of Calico Flower Studio

Dreams of starting a business brewed in my heart for quite some time, but it was really difficult as an artist to decide what shape I wanted my career to take. Every path was unique, and some were more eclectic than others. What was my focus? Gallery representation? Teaching? Online sales? Commissions? Exhibitions? Commercial art? Some combination of these? MFA expectations and six figures of debt can put a lot of pressure on a gal. Read more>>

Ashley Watkins | Business Coach

I really wanted freedom from the toxic work environments I worked in. I have always been a critical thinker and communicator. It was astonishing , that those qualities were not often welcomed in corporate settings. After graduating college with my Bachelor’s Degree, I was very disappointed in the leadership at many of the jobs I worked at. I knew I was underpayed and undervalued, but more importantly, I noticed how coworkers and superiors were unhappy and not open to change. I knew then, I would own a company and change that for the people on my teams. I was determined to create a happy life filled with peace doing something I loved. Read more>>

Sivram Jackson | Photographer & Cinematographer

At the beginning of my journey, the plan to become a business was the last thing on my mind. It was a task granted to me because I held a camera. I did a couple graduation shoots and didn’t think to much of it, but it was at the second time when my equipment was stolen that I realized that there was a specific reason as to why I was placed on this path. After coming to that realization the thought of making something I truly feel happy doing my life came to be. Read more>>

Debbie Jackobs | Plant designer and hair designer

I was a hairdresser / booth renter for many years in different salons in the Cypress area. I wanted something of my own where I could use the many things I had learned in the different salons I worked. I tried many things in my space since 2009 when I opened. Started the salon as a hair and art salon, where I could feature local artist. The artist part never really took off so I Rented to as many as nine stylist (it’s a pretty small space), then changed to less renters and started adding jewelry and other retail items. Read more>>

Sara Ahumada | Handmade Clothing Shop Owner

I started my business when my third child, and first daughter, was born. I have had a passion for sewing since I was a young girl and my grandmother taught me the basics. I struggled to find cute, modest clothes for little girls in big box stores and decided I could make them myself.  Read more>>

Daniel Becker | Digital Marketing Specialist

When your back is against the wall, you are flat broke, and you have lost everything I dont think the thought process is well defined, at least it wasn’t for me. When I found myself at the lowest point in my life, the only thing I was thinking about was how am I going to eat dinner and put a roof over my head. The decision to start a business was more logical than it was strategic. Read more>>

Jonaa Darrie | CEO and Founder of TOSCA HONEY

Representing luxury brands for over twenty years has made me intimately familiar with the world of fine fragrance.. These experiences , combined with my love of world travel, art, music, dance and the history of story telling through fragrance inspired me to create my own brand. When I started TOSCA HONEY I wanted to create a niche collection of candles using the most exquisite ingredients, while staying socially conscious. Read more>>

Maya Benperlas Kalli Quigg | Co- Founders of Viva Rescue

Both Kalli and myself started rescuing animals in need in our free time aside from our day jobs which both happened to be within the animal welfare world. The point where we decided to create our own nonprofit really came out of necessity for our community. We saw the vast majority of horses that were not finding homes in rescues were either old, medically complex or not rideable. We saw a huge need for permanent sanctuary for these horses with innovative high quality care and when we couldn’t find that, we decided to take our experience working in the animal welfare world and apply that to running a nonprofit animal sanctuary. Read more>>

Laryssa Wirstiuk | Digital marketer for the jewelry industry

I consider myself a born entrepreneur and can’t imagine ever going back to working for anyone else. Even before I seriously entered the working world, in high school and college I was always pretending to be a business owner. I would pursue whatever small freelance projects I could and took it very seriously – putting together a professional website, doing some DIY “serious business lady” headshots, and making my own business cards. Read more>>

Magical Katrina Kroetch | Magician and Circus performer

I started performing magic shows in Los Angeles as a Magician in Hollywood while working for a different magic show children’s party company as a princess at children’s birthday parties in Los Angeles. I was always doing magic shows in Los Angeles several hours away from my home in Hollywood and driving a lot. My boss was always promising longer magic shows and more activities than I could do in an hour to these clients. Read more>>