Thinking through whether to start a business – whether to take the risk, whether to go out on your own – isn’t easy. So we asked some entrepreneurs we admire to tell us about how they thought through the process of starting a business.

Jen Fairchild | Photographer

It was a culmination of knowing from a very young age that I wanted to do something creative, and the fact that after trying so many other jobs and creative outlets, I continued to come back to photography. As someone with an addictive personality who’s always seeking novelty, the idea of working in a project based line of work that allowed for constant creativity and exploration was really appealing to me (vs a task based job that was more or less the same thing every day). After a few years of growing my skills as a photographer while still holding a day job, it came to a point where I noticed myself really eschewing my day job and only ever wanting to work on my photography stuff so I thought at that point it was time to take the plunge and see if I could swim! It’s been 7 1/2 years (somehow) and still a constant rollercoaster that I enjoy riding (for the most part lol). Read more>>

Fahmina, Artist, Eco-Designer, DJ Entrepreneur | model/actor (Screen Across Guild member for past 25 years) + art & design & djing ,

Coming from a fashion conscious family , my mom & my sisters were fashion designers & I was coming from the fashion modeling world & I saw so much waste is produced in the procrss So I have decided to be a part of the solution & not part of the problem.As a child I have taken a oarh to be good to nature & help mother earth aliviate this overwhelming trash problems. I wanted to stay authentic to my inner child. Read more>>

Kadidja Dosso | CEO/Founder of Dosso Beauty

From a very young age I yearned to constantly learn while simultaneously helping others in any way that she possibly could. Inquisitive by nature, I would watch my mother and grandmother style their hair and would ask a million questions so that I could mimic the same styles on my Barbie Dolls. As I grew older, I began braiding and styling my own hair, my friends’ hair and various others through referrals while in middle school, high school and college while simultaneously falling in love with cosmetics. Where I found my niche and gap in the beauty industry was the lack of affordable organic, cruelty-free and vegan hair care and cosmetics within the market. Every time I would enter into our local beauty supply store I would see thousands of warning labels and many ingredients in which I would not pronounce. I knew from the age of 10 that one day I would build an Organic Beauty Empire similarly to my role model is Madame CJ Walker, the first female self-made millionaire. Read more>>

Andrea Hawken | Field Guide Los Angeles, Creative Director

I started my business in 2016, and if I’m completely honest, I just wanted to stop spending so much time on the 405 freeway and spend more time with my children. I had just had my second baby and the thought of going back to work (I was working at The Getty at the time) made me so sad. With a freelance job as a copywriter, I decided to just take the leap. I thought I’d really dig in with writing, but the path to owning a creative agency fell into place more naturally. My friend Erica Chidi had just opened her space Loom and she needed some graphic work done, she asked me if I knew anyone who could throw a few things together. My sister gave me a contact for her former intern, Kylie, and soon enough, Erica was recommending me to other people and Kylie and I started working together. Today, Kylie is one of three incredible designers, Josh and Sam, who do work for Field Guide. I still write for clients, but I hired a copywriter, Izzy, as my role has shifted to more creative direction. Read more>>

Kathryn Galvin | Founder & Owner of GRAU Women’s Boutique

Since I was a young girl I have always loved fashion, especially those unique pieces you can find in boutique stores. It’s not just the items in boutiques that make them special but the tailored experience and customer service you receive when shopping them. Growing up I really admired the fashionable women that owned the boutiques I would frequent. Something I noticed about them was that they really loved their everyday lives and truly enjoyed creating real relationships with their customers. I wanted to have a life that reflected that joy and connection to others as well. Read more>>

Shannon Smith | Retail spice shop owner

I have a daughter who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy a disease with no cure at age 3. By age 11 she lost her ability to walk. I had to constantly take off work for doctor visits and hospital stays. I love to cook so I started a seasoning and spice business which allows me to be flexible. I can make sure I don’t miss appointments and I can attend therapy and OT with my other daughter. I can also take them to work with me. Read more>>

The Black Writer’s Collective | Screenwriting & Production Company

The Black Writers Collective started as a writer’s group seeking to showcase the talents and voices of underrepresented people of color. We then were inspired to collaborate together and create stories that are overlooked by mainstream media. Our ultimate goal is to help other creatives of color bring their stories to life, following in the footsteps of those who paved the way before us, like Shonda Rhimes. Knowing that stories change the world, we wanted to tell stories that would enrich our communities’ experiences. We aspire to change the face of media, allowing Black and Brown people to see themselves in the fullness of who they are. Read more>>

Angela Auer | Reiki Master and Esthetician at Sugar and Chakras

In the midst of the pandemic I found myself contemplating my mental health and my true happiness. Did I love my job? Was I feeling appreciated, seen, and rewarded for my work? Was I feeling satisfied with my work/life balance? Being an esthetician during the pandemic was a tough job to have….I was on unemployment most of 2020. Keeping myself healthy mentally and physically was difficult. It was a lonely time, and very depressing. A friend turned me on to Deepak Chopra’s 21 days of Abundance meditation. I started with that, which really helped me focus on positivity. After that I did a free 3 day manifestation workshop with Manifestation Babe (Kathrin Zenkina) on Instagram. Read more>>

Alissa Taylor | Freelance Designer & Social Media Marketer

After graduating from undergrad, I had every intention of becoming a custom bridal designer and while I still love to design and create clothes, I realized that what my city needed more than another custom designer was better access to the materials that allow us to create. This is when I discovered my passion for the creators in my community and that is when Donai Fabrics was born. Read more>>

Bill Ratner | Voice Actor

I was in a friend’s house, a big-time FM radio deejay in San Francisco. He was showing me his voiceover studio—a fancy, expensive mixing board, lots of equipment—but the place looked a little dusty. He said, “I thought I’d build it, and clients would just appear.” Apparently they didn’t. I vowed then and there that I wouldn’t build my own studio until I could guarantee to myself I had enough work to justify the cost and effort. All at once three full-time voice actors and I got fired from A TV station in L.A.—a great gig: fifteen minutes of work a day for over two hundred bucks. Management had given the gig to one guy out-of-town, non-union. So I called him, pretending I was a potential employer, and said, “So, tell me all about your business.” Read more>>

Sara Olsher | Children’s book author-illustrator, speaker, and founder of Mighty + Bright

I started my business for the reason many people start businesses — I saw a problem, and there was no solution on the market. Mighty + Bright began as a co-parenting calendar to support the mental health of children of divorce. It is based on the science of relieving anxiety through routine and showing kids what to expect. Using the calendar, kids can easily see when they’ll see each of their parents, which relieves their stress during a time of major change. Read more>>

Pia Beck | CEO and Business Consultant

There wasn’t much of one, to be honest! My story starts in the tech and startup world: 60+ hour weeks in People Operations where I crafted departments from the ground up, doubled national teams, and spun up infrastructures to hit goals faster and fuller. I realized there was only so much change I could make from within a container built by someone else. And so, I set out to build my own business from the ground up, and to do what I’ve always been great at — being organized AF, grounding the big vision in the details, and creating intuitive systems that can be implemented in a replicable way. Read more>>

Liz Ward | Food and Lifestyle Photographer / Content Creator

As many others, I was laid off during the pandemic and for the first time in several years, I had the time to think about what I really wanted to do. And I decided that what was most important to me was to have the freedom and creative control over what I did on a day to day basis including which brands I chose to work with. I love that I set my own hours, work with whom I want, set the expectations. and decide what I want to do for each brand. Read more>>

Verónica Guerrero | Business owner – Sales Pioneer of Tostadas La Penita in USA

I am Verónica Guerrero, I Was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. I grew up in the tortilla industry as that’s what all my family did for a living and still does actually. However, I tried to step away from it several times, some how it always came back to me. At age of 22 , I made the decisión to quit my job, at the time I was working for my uncle, but I felt the need to leave if I wanted to grow. So, I enrolled in an exchange program I had heard about, they tell you that you may me chosen in any state in the US. I secretly wanted to come to Los Angeles, although after I signed up i wasn’t getting any calls or messages, frustrated, I would call the agency to ask why I wasn’t being contacted by any families, they’d tell me that’s how it works sometimes and would ask me to be patient. Read more>>

Juleyka Andino Rivera | Creator of Pot of Jules

The thought process behind starting my own business was truly desire driven. I had no desire in starting a “business” but I did have a desire to keep painting pots for plants. During the pandemic I got really into plants and decided to paint my own pots instead of buying them. It was therapeutic and I enjoyed potting a plant baby in a pot painted just for them. I enjoyed this feeling so much that I wanted to share it with the world and after a few friends and family saying “do it!” Pot of Jules was born. I have however always said I wanted my own ceramics studio one day so I guess my business plan was always in my head I just didn’t envision it as big as a do now. Read more>>

Sabine Combrie | Licensed Physical therapist, Certified Cranio sacral therapist, Sophrology trained .

I was working already for more than 20 years in the medical field, as a physical therapist in France and in US. I worked in different settings and specialized different specialties along my years of practice. I wanted to be able to combine everything I know, and have learned along the way to be able to give people a better personnalized way of being treated . Read more>>

Alexis Dosamantes | Small Business Owner

I’ve always known that I wanted to start something of my own, and that I wanted it to be in beauty because that is my passion! The confidence and the transformation that adding lashes to my makeup look gave me, was something that I wanted others to also experience through my brand. Applying lashes was always my favorite step in my makeup routine, but I noticed that there was a problem. We all love wearing a great pair of lashes on a night out, but when we’re ready to take them off they usually end up getting misplaced or damaged because there’s no where to store them. This is the reason that I decided to launch my brand with packaging that would help solve this issue by giving my customers a convenient on the go lash case that they can take anywhere they go! They also have a mirror inside so you can always make sure that your lashes are looking flawless! I hope to expand my lash cases in the future to have compartments for other lash tools, and continue to empower others to enhance their natural beauty with Wink’d Out. Read more>>

Tracy Sanders | Attorney, Author, Speaker & Founder of Legal Talk With Tracy Sanders and the Attorney Tracy Sanders Foundation

Legal Talk With Tracy Sanders ( has been established to provide legal aspects of currently trending events. What sets me apart from others is that I have an exceptional ability to help my audience understand how legal system affects our daily lives. I am most excited about speaking engagements and providing insights about the United States legal system. I have a record of success based on my legal skills, knowledge, and education. It has not been easy, but I am grateful for support from family, friends, and team members. I have overcome challenges by focusing on my vision, mission, and accomplishments thus far. Read more>>

Richard Friedman | Film Composer

It was a decision that in a way was pre- selected for me. My mother, who was a trained classical musician (French) started me on the piano at 5 Years of age. Though I attempted a brief diversion in my freshman year in college towards the study of medicine, my calling for music emerged victorious. I went on to finish my PhD in music, then came to Los Angeles working in the studios as a keyboard session musician, eventually working as a composer for Film and Television. Read more>>

Treasure Thompson | Founder/Owner of Nu Energy Spa

In the beginning, I started with a desire to give my children a better and more lavish life than I was given. I wanted to be a boss – but not just a boss, a Boss with a Purpose! I needed to create generational wealth. One of the most important factors behind my new business, Nu Energy Spa, is consistency and well-being. I’ve created a fool proof business that solves a problem, addresses a self-care need, and one that I can monetize. None of this came without hard work and determination. I had to make a conscious decision to stick on this journey no matter the obstacles or how hard it got. Goals may seem unattainable because we believe they are. I changed my mindset to be more intentional, and that was the best thing I’ve done for the success of my business Read more>>