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.

Ashley Bennett | Co-Owner of Live Life Reiki Studio – Reiki Master Practitioner & Teacher, Sound Healer, Retreat Facilitator

Starting this business was a calling, I worked for a corporation prior to this and had no intention of leaving. The voice of my intuition spoke to me and shared with me that I needed to pursue Reiki and take the leap. I ignored this calling for nearly two years because I wasn’t seeking it out; Reiki and this business wasn’t in the realm of what I had studied or imagined for myself when the calling presented itself. Read more>>

Liz Kamali Camacho | CEO/Founder

My thought process behind starting my own business was freedom. It was the idea that I could be with my children how and when I needed it or they needed it. It meant showing up as myself and giving a little piece of me to the world without feeling it would be curated to something that didn’t align with my core values—owning a business meant having total control of my future (good and bad). Read more>>

Laura Stewart | Artist

I started freelancing in 2013 after I had my youngest child, Major. I had been working for the retailer “Anthropologie” creating their window and store displays but was wanting something more flexible so that I could be home with my family. My business grew very organically with the thought process of “I am doing what I love”. This place of gratitude helped me approach every project with curiosity and excitement. I like to be open and allow things to happen. Otherwise I would be limiting my work and my abilities. Read more>>

Enzo Fiore | Luxury Real Estate Agent and Recording Artist

Since I was a kid, I have always had the desire to be an entrepreneur. When I was 13, I made a powerpoint sales pitch and presented it to my parents on why we should move to LA (at the time for entertainment). 2 years later, we moved to LA from Boston. This proved to me that with proper preparation and a great mindset, anything is possible. No goal is ever too big. Read more>>

Kevin Sack | Owner & Manager

The thought process and idea for the business really began as a tale of man (or men in this case) loves beer. I (Kevin) started homebrewing sometime around 2010, and around 2012 I reconnected with Adrian whom I knew through a mutual friend. We hadn’t seen each other in some time, and had both developed a love of beer and homebrewing. Adrian had started homebrewing with his coworker Christian at that time, and soon the 3 of us were brewing (and drinking!) plenty of beer together. After several batches the hobby started to become an obsession. Increased batch sizes, fancier equipment, and better results led us to the idea that many (if not most) homebrewers get to at some point… Read more>>

Dean Shepherd | Vocal Producer and Vocal Coach/Owner: Vocal Dimension Studio

I had multiple reasons for starting my own business. Having been in the music industry full-time since the age of 13, I’ve noticed that up and coming artists aren’t receiving the support they need. In addition to having to “pay to play” at many clubs/bars, things like voice lessons have become a luxury item for artists rather than a regular part of their development. Read more>>

Caroline Lam | PERMANENT COSMETICS ARTIST & EDUCATOR

At the time, the thought process was mainly what could provide income but allow me to have time freedom so that I can be a part of my daughter’s life as she’s growing up. My mom was always working and I went from babysitter to babysitter so she missed out on some milestones. Even though I definitely understood her actions, I wanted to do more for myself and my daughter so I decided to jump into permanent cosmetics. Read more>>

Janine Durso | Certified Life Coach & Unicorn Slayer

I was a creative director at a New York City ad agency. Tight deadlines, travel, long hours, and getting home way after dinner time were the norm. It became hard to juggle the career alongside life outside the job with my toddler and husband. Even though my life was great on paper and I had a great job and family, why was I so unhappy? It all felt like too much and I wasn’t dealing with it well. I kept searching for things that would make me happy but nothing worked. I kept a smile on my face, even though I felt like I was drowning. Read more>>

Eliot Houman | Co-founding partner of The Accident Guys

Our thought process behind starting The Accident Guys was simple: change the way people thought about personal injury lawyers. My law partner, Omid Dayan, and I wanted to create a law firm where the clients were the main event. From the technology we use to our legal strategies, to providing each client with that important human touch – everything The Accident Guys law firm does is centered around providing the best possible results and service for our clients. We take client feedback very seriously and are always looking for ways to improve and enhance their experience. We stand by the motto that while we may have thousands of cases, we must never forget that each client only has one. Read more>>

Sondra Tillman | Hairstylist & Creator of La Tierra Sagrada Haircare

My thought process behind starting La Tierra Sagrada, was inspired by a lack of clean options. I suffered severe health issues that caused hair loss and I did not trust anything on the market. As a hairstylist between NY and LA, I used hair products on myself and my clients that I believed were the best haircare available, however, when I actually started looking at ingredients and researching the toxicity levels, I was shocked! I wanted a clean hair care line that was salon quality, that focused on the health of the scalp and the hair. Read more>>

Emmanuel Marzía Dondadío | Spanish teacher and screen writer

I have two businesses and both were born with the same goal. To be able to travel freely and not depend on the lock downs or problems of the pandemic. My first business is to teach Spanish online. My second is to make movie scripts on request. Read more>>

Braxtin Angelo | Autistic, Proud Dissabled Artist & Trauma Healing Coach

After becoming a mom of my, now 9 year old, twins, I not only felt isolated, but my disorder really started to take over. I felt incredibly lost and sad, so I decided to start creating. At first I started off with wire and then I had a funny idea to create my friend a Taco necklace, hence leading me to my clay medium. Eventually, over the years, I discovered that within my own self healing, I wanted to inspire that healing spark in others, so I shifted to working on empowering art as well. Read more>>

Courtney Hollis | Designer & Shop Owner

The pandemic really rocked my World, as it did all of ours! After losing a job I deeply loved I felt pretty lost, but within that confusion also came a sense of empowerment to try and make something for myself. The stakes for everything felt different, everything felt like a risk at that point. I’ve known from a small age that sewing and designing are what make me the happiest, so I thought why not try to harness that energy and find ways to sustain myself that way? It felt like a really natural progression in the wake of such unknown territory, and it has been a beautiful way for me to connect with other creatives. Read more>>

Natalie Di Raimondo | Food Stylist – Catering

When I started The Graze Mama in 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, I thought, “will anyone even buy platters from me during a pandemic?” “What if I fail?” “What if no one supports me?” I went back and forth for a few months, doubting myself. But I wanted something to keep me busy, something for myself. At the time I was “just” a stay at home mom to 4 children. Two of which were adjusting to distance learning, a 3 year old and a newborn. Read more>>

Shawn Kim | Fresh Peaches Founder & CEO

I actually wasn’t thinking of starting a business in the very beginning. I created the very first batch of Fresh Peaches Toilet Paper Gel because I couldn’t find a solution that worked for me. Most of my life I used toilet paper, and after 30 years, I had to admit it was a subpar solution to getting you fresh. I then tried wet wipes and I enjoyed them! Finally I could get fresh without feeling like I was using sandpaper. However, I quickly learned that even the “flushable” wipes weren’t actually flushable and they aren’t eco-friendly. That was when my dilemma started. Read more>>

Fatimah Williams, Ph.D. | Leadership & Growth Strategist

I wanted freedom. At the time, I didn’t really know what that word meant. But I knew I felt stuck in my job. I managed a high-profile project at an economic development agency. But often felt like a “creative misfit”. Colleagues and supervisors loved me, my strategic thinking and creative problem solving, but my work environment was traditional and heavily bureaucratic. This gap left me feeling stifled and underutilized. Read more>>

Andre Soto | Filmmaker / Creative Director / Photographer

My thought process has always been the same, focus on the big picture first. Whenever I make a decision, as minor as it may be, I base it around my long-term goals first… Before I opened up my studio, I had already made that decision years before I signed my lease; all I had to do was save up enough money, find the right space, and obviously have a clear business plan. Read more>>

McKinsey Jordan | Photographer

I’ve found that I really enjoy all aspects of running a creative business as opposed to having just one task (i.e. photographer). My easily-bored Sagittarius brain is satisfied by completing all the little tasks that go into running my own business; from marketing to production to editing. It keeps things exciting! Read more>>

Taylor Mock | Actor/Leatherworker

It’s funny really, the thought process wasn’t there at first. I kind of fell into it. It definitely snowballed into something more concrete and professional, but it started as a hobby, and just a new craft to keep me occupied during the Covid lockdowns. It was something that I just really had a passion for. I started making items for myself and my motorcycle, then I used my hobby to make gifts for friends and family, and eventually by word of mouth other people wanted to buy my leather goods. So it kind of took off serendipitously. Read more>>

Danielle Hardge | Candle Maker

My thought process behind starting Leveaux Candle Bar was to provide a variety of scents to our customers that would allow them the opportunity to remember their loved ones and or friends with a candle scent. Due to us being military I understand the value of having a love one around you everyday then one day they’re gone because they had to deployed. Read more>>