It takes a lot more than an idea to build a business, but there can’t be a business without the idea. So we asked folks who’ve built wonderful businesses to tell us about how they came up with the idea in the first place.

Bling Queen | Sports Handicapper and Queen of Bling

I have been a talent manager in Hollywood for twenty plus years. My business was completely shut down during the pandemic. I know that was not a unique situation to be in, but nonetheless, panic set in. How would I pay my rent? How would I pay my daughter’s health insurance, how would we survive? I had just been through a terrible divorce and was starting over as a single mom. I had yet to get back on my feet… and then Covid. After a few months of justified anxiety and bouts of depression I took a long hard look in the mirror. Is this what life is supposed to look like? Struggle and survival all the time? I knew I couldn’t really change the issues we were all facing due to the pandemic… but I could change my mind. I could believe that something better for me was around the corner. I started meditating. I started daily yoga at home. I put a smile on my face. Then one night I took out a notebook and wrote down 5 things that I love and am great at. Read more>>

Cimone Holloway | CEO

My motivation behind the career path I chose was my longing to simply help people. For as long as I could remember, I wanted to become a defense attorney. I spent a great deal of time around other lawyers and enjoyed their passion in helping others not only get out of sticky situations but to also make wise decisions concerning their future. One summer, I spent the entire 3 months shadowing one of my favorite defense attorneys. He literally introduced me as his legal clerk and I was allowed to sit directly before the judge and next to our client. Read more>>

Anna Zeig | Founder and CEO of ZeigSkin

A: During research on becoming a mother. I spent my late teens and early twenties with problematic skin. There was a time when I had eczema, psoriasis, and acne concurrently, and my doctor prescribed several topical creams— none of them seemed to be effective. As a real estate agent in New York City, my lifestyle was centered around work, and I didn’t have the time to research what I was putting on my skin—so I bought the most expensive designer products expecting my skin problems to disappear. Yes, I bought into the glamorous marketing campaigns, but, in my defense, time was limited within the daily grind of the city—if I skipped my lunch, I could find time to run into Bloomingdale’s to once again invest in the latest skincare trend. Read more>>

Jay Beckett | Actor and Filmmaker

As an actor I have gotten to experience a lot when it comes to being in front of the camera and in front of an audience. When the pandemic hit I saw the sudden shut down in production. I have always had an interest in the hard work that goes into the behind the scenes of the film industry. I also have a passion for learning and going to school so I decided to enroll in The Los Angeles Film school so I could learn and do my own productions. As I started learning I realized that there are not a lot of resources for people that are starting out or do not have a lot of money to put into productions right away. This is why I started Second Act Productions, to help people that are wanting to start out to be able to have access to the things they need to produce their own films and be able to get out there. Read more>>

Daniel Schulman | Founder of TextMyLink

My friend texted me that he was planning his wedding and wanted my address so he could send me an invitation. After sending him my address we continued to have a conversation about his wedding planning, and that’s when I stopped to think… how many of these conversations is he having and how many people did he have to text asking them for their address? Not only did my friend have to ask over 50 friends, family, and friends of their parents for their addresses, he also had to retype them out into an excel spread sheet. With my engagement around the corner, I knew I had to find a better way. Read more>>

David A. Lee | Professional Photographer

Truth be told, “David A. Lee Photography” was not conceived or developed with much forethought. My photography business just sort of happened… Growing up in Rochester, NY as a “Kodak kid,” (my dad worked for the company for 33 years), I took photos first with Instamatic cameras, moved on to borrowed film SLRs, eventually bought my first “real” camera, and then was off and running with a full-fledged photography obsession. Read more>>

Ekta Sahasi | Proud Mother, Founder & CEO spikeview

When I came to the United States at the age of 10, I did not know any English. Middle school is hard enough for any kid, getting thrown into public school in Queens, NY where no one speaks your language is enough to scar anyone for life. Needless to say, I was not confident, and no one taught me how to present myself in a way that would help me stand out based on my interests, skills, talents, and credentials. Even though I was doing a lot at school and outside, it never felt good enough. After many years of embarrassing failures and lost opportunities, with guidance from mentors and some luck, I figured out how to tell my story, tap into my network and drive towards the outcomes I wanted and deserved. Read more>>