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.

Cayla Renee’: Designer & Entrepreneur

In college, i was always unsure of my personal reasons for being enrolled. i was the student that changed my major a few times before I found my “reason” for higher education. After switching from history to art, I stumbled on business as a major and fell in love. After Ace-ing my entrepreneurship class I knew starting a business was my calling. I embraced the free thinking, creativity, and freedom in entrepreneurship and I felt like jumping right into creating my own business would be right for me. So proud that my business is still thriving 8 years later so I can see and feel that it was the best decision for my life! Read more>>

Grow Sista Kelcie: Essential Edible Cook & Delivery Service

I have always loved to bake and cook since I was young. Once I got old enough, I became interested in cannabis! I loved the way it looked, smelled, and tasted! My friend Jordan (Backwood Pat) who passed away in a car accident in 2015, introduce me to edibles in 2011 and I really enjoyed them! I had a terrible experience with them in College 2013, lol I will just leave it at that, and never really thought about them until 2017. I had just lost my boyfriend at the time Vinshay, who always told me chase my dreams and do what I love. Read more>>

Shaunda Brooks-Green: Event Producer, Marketer, and Music Business Professional

The idea for my nonprofit, 6D Networktainment, was established while I was in grad school at Columbia College Chicago in 2017. I took a business development course where we had to come up with a company and go through the process of building it out. As I started thinking through different ideas, I knew I wanted to do something that tied to my interests as an emerging music industry professional and my trajectory in the field Read more>>

Jacqueline Patton: Photographer/Artist

Growing up, I always knew I was an artist at heart, but wasn’t sure how I would be able to sustain myself financially just doing the fun stuff. I went to NYU and studied Communications, but secretly (or not so secretly) wanted to life a life in the arts. I graduated and took off to Spain for a while, avoiding “adulting” for as long as possible and finally came back to the US about a year later. Read more>>

Godwin Thurton: Entrepreneur

My first thoughts came from a college branding course at CSUN.I was informed that we support brands that have generational wealth and we have yet to see the CEO’s face who owns the brand. The day I heard this information, I started naming the brands we wore on us from the supplies we carried in our bags we supported and was amazed I was so unwoke. I then said I would like to create a brand that’s a masterpiece and leave behind generational wealth for my family. Lastly I always wanted to start my own clothing line and podcast due to being a Kanye and Charlemagne Tha God fan. Read more>>

Antoinette Golden: Annie’s Delytes Catering

My thought process behind starting my own business was that I wanted to be able to work for myself. I thought about having my own business when I went to college and studied Culinary Arts. Of course your going to have to work in the beginning to be able to start your own business, but I knew it wouldn’t be for long. Starting your own business, your going to have a lot of ups & downs due to it not being easy… but you can’t GIVE UP! I know for me that’s my motto because I know that this is something that I love to do. Read more>>

Kelsey Schulte: CEO/Founder Stir Crazy Cocktails

I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, but imposter syndrome is REAL. I always thought owning a cocktail event company would be an amazing gig, and with the pandemic’s parameters I figured, why not give a delivery service a go? Truly being put between a rock and a hard place financially allowed me to push through the imposter syndrome and just go for it. I’m very happy that I did. Read more>>

Katherine DiMaggio: Mindfulness Coach

I considered starting my business for several years before actually taking the leap. As a coach and teacher in the mindfulness space, I always thought I could make more of an impact if I could work with clients in my own format. I wanted to be sure I was intentional with my approach and very clear on the value I would be providing, so I worked with a number of coaches myself to hone in on my vision for my business. Read more>>

Risley Cline: Psychic Medium, Animal Communicator, & Reiki Practitioner

I am pursuing a career as a psychic medium and reiki practitioner, simply put, because I felt the call to be a Healer. Starting my business felt more like a long overdue build-up to trying other avenues of healing or channeling that felt more “legitimate” than being a psychic and energy worker. But I knew that I would never be satisfied with any of those other paths until I took the chance on myself and followed my intuition. Read more>>

Nikita Krishnan: Founder of Creature Comfort and Care

I was moved to start my own business after finding few resources for low cost animal prosthetics. I discovered that the average cost of a prosthetic for an animal could range anywhere from 1 to 20 thousand dollars depending on the nature of the prosthetic. With this in mind, I wanted to find a sustainable solution that would benefit the planet and people’s wallets. Read more>>

Maybed Romero: Cake Artist

I never intended to have my own cake business – I always cared about specialty & clean ingredients. I taught a classes in ancient grains where i learned about all types of flours and the role they play in baking. As a chef i already admired fresh and clean eating but something was missing. Ive always known my secret love was dough and batter. Read more>>

Kyle Joshua: Artist, Singer, Song-writer, Producer, Engineer

I always had a vision of creating a brand and being seeing as more than just an artist. I used to book sessions for myself as my manger and I would tell them that we didn’t need a producer or engineer. When I would show up, they would realize it was me they were talking to on the phone and that I didn’t need any extra people because I would be doing everything myself.  Read more>>

Adam Candler: Aloe Vera Enthusiast

NaturSense is a family company. We started in 2014, with an eye toward making simple, natural products. We chose Organic Aloe Vera as our core product because it had so many benefits to healthy skin. Most of the Aloe Vera you buy at the grocery or drugstore is this sticky, goopy stuff that doesn’t have much aloe in it; and is filled with chemicals that actually work against you. Read more>>

Melissa Gunn: Certified SuperSlow Specialist, Fitness & Nutrition Coach, Founder & CEO Pure Strength LA, Inc

It definitely stems from my childhood… My dad passed away from lung cancer when he was in his early forties, which began my passion for taking care of myself. I believe there are many things you can do to prevent disease and have more energy, stamina, and greater well-being primarily by eating right and properly exercising. Read more>>

Deisy Garcia: Founder of Sweet Dazee

It actually wasn’t intentional in the beginning. I started making pom pom earrings as a creative outlet to destress from my 9-5 design job. Sitting in front of the computer was becoming so draining and I needed something that would continue to fuel my creativity but in a tangible way. Read more>>

Dany Paragouteva: Fine Artist/Illustrator

Now or never…It’s been seven years since I quit my full-time job and dedicated my time to fine art and illustration. It was not without much hesitation on my part. I liked earning money and I didn’t want my husband to be the sole provider in our home. But he was the one to encourage me to pursue a dream I’ve had for most of my life. Read more>>

Alexis Bailey: Unique’s Cleaning Services

First, let me start off by saying starting a business was terrifying and especially in a middle of a pandemic. So, my thought process was definitely all over the place. I had this idea about starting my own cleaning services and immediately I took action. When I say “I took action” I got up and went to the store and purchased cleaning products which were inexpensive. Read more>>

Kohl Fergerson: Designer and Creative director

My clothing company is called Means Nothing but Everything. To me clothing means a lot and tells a story, the main one is that clothing to me means everything and nothing to a lot of people. Read more>>

Imani Lia: Clothing/Accessory Designer & Style Maven

My thought process behind starting my own business was to make people feel their best by looking their best. I care about how people feel and I know their are people who love my style and point of view but only want it for themselves in small doses; it’s like helping a person be their best self with a tiny bit of me thrown in. Read more>>

Lil Bandít (Destiny Isiguzo): Clothing Brand Owner & Painter

My thought process behind starting my own business was solely to create something that couldn’t be taken away from me no matter what I was going through in life. And then it progressed to this larger project of showcasing that you can become something out of nothing. My thought behind the brand was that I needed to eat; no one was going to give me a handout and I didn’t expect anyone to. Read more>>

Mohamed Sentissi: Founder

I was always interested in history and culture and specifically my own Moroccan heritage. So after graduating from business school in D.C and working a corporate job for a few years I was really feeling pulled to do something that I truly cared about. My grandfather was one of the first people to bring Moroccan artisan-made goods to the United States back in the 60’s. Read more>>

Shanee Finley: Birth/Postpartum Doula, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Bodywork Therapist

Coming from a lineage of strong women, I naturally felt compelled to empower, support and uplift other women. Therefore I created a business that allowed me to hold a safe space to fully honor a mother’s rite of passage during birth as a Full spectrum Doula, develop personal connection through yoga and meditation and improve overall well-being with body-work and energy-work services. Read more>>

Jaleel Harley: CEO of OpenHandEntertainment & OpenHand Catering (Coming Soon)

My thought process for starting my own business was to make it happen on my own! I was tired of endless let downs and what if’s. I wanted to solidify myself like my mother taught me to. Coming from Syracuse , NY , it wasn’t easy and I wanted more. So I asked myself how could I turn what I love into a solid foundation. Read more>>

Selin Ozoglu: Small Business Owner & Developer

The thought process behind starting my own business was to get a sense of freedom and have a creative outlet. I have always been focused on academics and starting a career to the point where I lost sense of my creativity. After starting my business I was able to restore that aspect of my life and I was also able to give back to the earth through it. Read more>>

Avante Gilstrap: Chef/Owner & IT Professional

Initially I can’t say there was a thought process behind my business, I just did what I enjoy doing, which is cooking. As a college student at Western Michigan University often times our food options could be very limited. So most weekends I would use my EBT (food stamp card) to fill my fridge with groceries I would cook during the week. Read more>>

Ann Savala: Certified Massage Therapist

Since I graduated high school I have always worked in the healthcare field in some aspect. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life managing a psychological office. About 5 years ago I wanted to do more for the mental health community then just scheduling appointments and billing claims. That’s when I learned about the benefits massage had on the central nervous system and how it aids in reducing stress. I started out at a high end spa, but knew that to do what I wanted to do I needed a different structure, so I ventured out on my own. Read more>>

Ally Jacobs: Co-Owner/CEO Starry Nite Studios, LLC

Susan Knight and I were volunteer art docents at our kids’ elementary school. We shared a passion for all things art and sharing our passion about art with kids! We created a dedicated art studio for the kids to use to get away from their classrooms and come create in a studio where it is OK to be messy! Read more>>

Kevin Noyola: Blogger & Enthusiast

Starting LedByWoman, a women-based business website was a matter of thinking about the important women in my life. Women are empowering each other more than ever and we’re seeing a new revolt against the norms in business. Since many studies have already shown the benefits of women entrepreneurs, it seemed only right to dedicate a website towards the success of women. Read more>>

Dot Findlater: Talent Agent/Casting Director

Established in 1996, Mirror Images. came about through its founder, Dot Findlater, realizing a dire lack of quality look Alikes within the entertainment industry (a realization that the demand was continuing to increase). As a result, she set out to establish the most highly regarded agency of its kind. Read more>>

Taleiah Todd-Hill: Natural Product Enthusiast and Founder of CaLoveCo.

To be honest, there wasn’t one. I’d started experimenting with making skin care and hair care products because I didn’t like all the synthetic ingredients on the shelves. Plus, at that time, the “natural” products that were available did nothing for my skin. They left me very dry, which is not a good look on dark skin. So, I bought some oils, some butters, and some aloe and started mixing them together.  Read more>>

Jenny Johnson Kjeld Clark: Chef, Entreprenuers, Business Owners

Kjeld’s Question and Answer: What was your thought process behind starting your own business? Founding à bloc allowed Kjeld to Channel his passion for cycling culture, coffee, and food together with his 30 years of entrepreneurial skills into one amazing environment and realize a dream to build a community for people to enjoy all three. Read more>>

Michael Pineda: Medical Assistant & Freelance Photographer

My thought process was more like, “man, we have to go all in on this and strike while the iron is hot!” While the actual start of our business kind of came together by itself it was the steps we took after the start that really got the ball rolling. A few years back, Kim and I went on a trip to LA and shot a bunch of photos of each other for a date. Read more>>

Chrishon Lampley: CEO and Négociant of Love Cork Screw wines

Well, there were two motivators behind Love Cork Screw. As a former co-owner of an art gallery in Chicago’s South Loop, I was on the verge of losing everything after a terrible flood ruined the building and forced us to close. During that time, I was also working with well-known distributors in sales, so I was on the frontlines regarding newly released wines and consumer demands. Read more>>

Noreen Barcena: Attorney & Certified Immigration Specialist

When I first started practicing law, my plan was to work for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. I thought the idea of becoming a prosecutor was so interesting, and I wanted to be able to help people. Unfortunately, there was a hiring freeze when I first started practicing, so my dad encouraged me to start my own business. Read more>>

Brianna Goldberg: Bow Restorer & Maker

I didn’t set out to start my own business, and it was never something I thought I had the skills to do. I spent most of my life as a freelance double bassist, playing in several different part-time orchestras. There seemed to be a lack of people willing to work on bass bows in the Los Angeles area, and a lot of my colleagues were shipping their bows out of state. Read more>>

Marc Antonio Pritchett: Co-Artistic Director of Sacred Fools Theatre Company

Sharing The Spotlight was born out of a desire to connect underserved artists to those with the power of upward mobility. I started my entertainment career over 20 years ago and as such have had a front row seat to the obstacles people of color have navigating this industry. The overarching goal is to do the things I wish someone did for me in my early career. I was in an EDI meeting between several artistic directors last year and constantly heard the complaint that they just didn’t know how to find underserved artists. I knew then that I wanted to make sure that no one could ever say that again. Read more>>

Robert Berger: Vintage furniture dealer

I have been self-employed since I was 23 years old. Within six months of graduating photography school I started my own business. After nearly 3 decades of shooting architecture and interior design, it all came to an end with the collapse of the economy in 2008-9. It was a difficult time. Not only did I lose my source of income but also my identity. Read more>>

Apryl Syed: Business and Executive Coach

The thought process behind starting my own business is that I wanted to be able to really help people. Working with large clients and working for various companies throughout my career in strategic roles – I could only move the needle so far. Now, when I work with clients – I see their success – I see the progress they are making in their business and lives. It is extremely rewarding to be able to impact others. Read more>>

Maureen Crichlow: Crystal Reiki Master Healer

Moonstone Chandlery/Chakra Healing began as a passion project. I am a strong advocate for holistic wellness and alternative healing methods. As a Reiki Master Healer, I work closely with my clients to assist them on their self-healing journey. Many of them expressed a need for spiritual tools that would help them to remain aligned with their new ways of being. Read more>>

Tharathip Soulisak: Lao cultural expert and Lao food creator

There’s many reasons that contributed to me starting my business. It was a combination of missing my mom’s home cooking, the lack of Lao food and Lao presence in Los Angeles combined with other Lao and non Lao in LA that wanted Lao food, a passion to share my culture with others, a way to show the Lao community that there isn’t just a place for Lao cuisine but a demand for it and lastly trying to find something that would make me an income free from your normal 9-5 job. Read more>>