We reached out to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and asked them to think back and tell us about how they decided to start a business. Check out their responses below.

Laura Vorreyer | Writer & Entrepreneur

My journey to entrepreneurship wasn’t exactly a smooth one. After years of working as a sales representative in corporate America, I thought I’d found my “true passion” and went back to school to become a makeup artist. While initially I was thrilled with this career change, I also found myself with a lot of down time, where I wasn’t earning any money. I assumed I’d find more work in Los Angeles and so I moved from Chicago to LA to pursue more steady work in film and television. Well, that didn’t work out so good either, as I I found myself walking dogs to make ends meet. Very quickly after that, I was walking dogs and caring for pets and hardly ever doing makeup anymore. My business naturally evolved from my side hustle and I’ve never looked back. Read more>>

Jack Farmer | DJ, MC & Host

It can be scary betting on yourself and starting a business on your own, but the truth is, it was more scary to stay employed. I worked at a company that was constantly going through restructures and expanding and cost cutting and reworking their business model and every time news of another update to the company broke, there was a fear. A fear of where do I fit in? Will I still have a job? Will they scale my role back? Will I be asked to relocate? While the promise of a weekly paycheck can feel very comforting, the truth is, like most things, it’s not guaranteed, and that weekly paycheck can end just as quickly as your own business can fail. I started on my own, even though it seems counterintuitive, to create stability. I don’t worry about what the company I work for will do now because I make those decisions. Read more>>

Dr. Zelina Medina | Holistic Doctor

When I discovered the healing power of acupuncture through my own healing journey, I was convinced that I had to share this medicine with the world. I felt it was my calling. I enrolled into acupuncture school not long afterwards and I felt passionate about sharing not only the medicine, but also my story to uplift and inspire others on their own healing journeys. I had some business background and I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, even as a kid, so I was confident that this was my path. There have been many learning opportunities along the road, but every day I am so grateful to be living now, the dreams I had years before. When I work with someone and they are able to feel better about themselves, it’s completely priceless. It is an honor. Read more>>

Matthew Hall | Entrepreneur

My thought process behind starting my own business began the way one might expect. Simply by following my current interests until they reach their logical conclusion. When I was in college, I liked to work out and studied science so I became a personal trainer. Through this experience I discovered I love to teach. Upon graduating, I found the financial bedrock of this whole journey. I started an independent math and science tutor service for college and high school students. After a couple years of growing my business, I got REALLY into chemistry and transitioned my tutoring service into something I called “Covalent Tutors”. I performed radical, but somewhat sketchy, experiments while explaining the chemistry behind it. Read more>>

Lilian Tahmasian | Influencer & Media Marketing Agency Owner

I began creating content on YouTube in 2009 and became a full time influencer in 2014. Once I finished my Masters in Media and Marketing, companies began reaching out to me, to work with them full time and that is when my brother and I opened our Media Marketing agency, called Tahmasian Media Marketing. Read more>>

Debra Morrison | Owner & Principal Photographer

Over the years, I have worked as a hostess, a Jenny Craig weight loss consultant, a studio manager at a successful photography studio and came to the realization that working for someone else is not for me. The only time I enjoy working for someone is when I second shoot for other wedding photographers. I am able to be creative while doing my own thing. Also, I never wanted to work for someone else’s dream because it separated me from fulfilling my own dream. For as long as I can remember, I loved taking photos. My parents tell me that I was in diapers when I started taking photos with their 80’s camera (we used film back then). Growing up, I took piano and dance lessons and my dad was always there with his big video camera (we used VHS tapes back then). I guess you can say that I was used to being filmed and loved seeing the finished product. Read more>>

John Locke | SEO Consultant

When I started the company, I was working in a commercial bread factory, and the pension was underfunded, and my employers were also headed towards bankruptcy for the second time in six years. On top of that, I had repetitive motion issues which were causing me to have muscle spasms. I knew I had to make a career switch, so I started studying web design and web development in my spare time. In 2012, I started making websites for small businesses and doing subcontract web development for branding agencies. After five years, I pivoted the business to doing SEO along with web design. Starting the business was a calculated risk, but staying where I was and hoping for the best was sure to lead to a future where my earning potential was capped. I wanted to create a business that let me be creative and didn’t limit my future. In hindsight, it was the best thing I could have done. Read more>>

Jazzi Richardson | Musician & Business Owner

The thoughts and inspiration behind starting my business really spawned from me asking myself, “Why wait?” Many times, we look for the perfect scenario, the perfect timing, a sign from the sky…and I was over it. I was tired of down playing my potential and I was ready to just jump in and do the work to begin anew. Read more>>

Ryan Hickman | Environmentalist

I was only 3 1/2 years old when my dad took me to our local recycling center and I wasn’t really thinking about starting a business. I just thought recycling was fun and I asked all of my neighbors to start recycling with me. Soon, I was collecting bags from all of them full of cans and bottles and I decided I would make it a business. My dad made me a logo and business cards and I started handing out informational postcards to potential new customers. I figured if a kid like me could help make a difference, what if I could help hundreds of people or thousands of people do the same thing? Now I’m 11 and I’ve inspired millions of people all over the world to recycle and to think about a clean environment. Read more>>

Jarred Fixler | Owner & Race Team Director

I started Motorsport Exotica out of necessity. I had recently moved from the East Coast to LA and was unable to find a local shop that did work to my standards. Some specialized in just one thing, others claimed they could do anything I asked for. Few delivered what they promised, had good communication, fair prices and specialized in performance modifications. I finally had enough and started working on my bike as well as my close friends just to help out. Eventually it took over. I had 20 bikes in a 2 car residential garage. Building engines on my washing machine, tuning forks next to my hot water heater. My girlfriend at the time finally had enough and told me to step up and open my shop or stop. Clearly I stepped up! Read more>>

Mark Holtzman | Aerial Photographer

I was fortunate growing up to be able to pursue many of my interests. I started playing the trumpet at 4 years old and continued through college. My father had a darkroom and I spent many hours developing pictures. When I was 17 I became an ocean lifeguard (and at the same time got my pilot’s license). My lifeguard experiences got me interested in becoming a paramedic. I just followed my interests and tried new things that seemed interesting. After graduating college, I started to work in the movie industry as a medic. My father became ill a few years into my medic work. I would alternate days between working as a medic and taking him to his treatments and then dropping him off at his business – a truck dealership. Since I was with him the whole day, I started selling trucks while at the dealership. Read more>>

Samara Caughey | Owner

Starting my own business was a huge, risky undertaking for me, but it was even more risky for me to not start Purple Twig. I was teaching classes here and there at local art institutions. I had 2 children under the age of 6, my son was 2 and my daughter was 5. I was the main caregiver for these two little humans and I loved taking care of them, but it was important for me to be financially independent, building towards being able to financially take care of them as well. Working part time wasn’t going to make that happen. A career in an office or institution just was not a viable option for me emotionally. Looking back on it I think my ignorance about business might have been an asset. I didn’t have a business plan but had a lot of curriculum for teaching art. Read more>>

Krista Castro | Owner & Founder

My original thought process behind starting my own business was…what can I create that will increase the joy in my life AND provide joy to others? I was great at the “corporate game” in sales and management, but it really didn’t create any joy in my life. I had a very happy life, but I was stuck in that stereotypical rat race of corporate, and it was just this waste of space in my life that was “meh” at best. I looked at the next 30+ years and thought…this just isn’t good enough. I have this one life, and I want it to be filled with joy. And what brings me joy? Working with dogs! I have been surrounded by dogs my entire life (personal pets, rescue work, pet sitting, dog walking, etc.), and I knew that dogs created this natural and fulfilling joy not only in my life but in the lives of others. Read more>>

Yaffa Doushy | Entrepreneur

The first time I heard about Amber Teething Necklaces was at my New Mom Support Group, the more seasoned moms talked about their miraculous properties and how they turned their miserable babies into happy babies. One of them pointed out a website where I could buy them and that was the first thing I did when I got home. After waiting for almost 10 days to get it, I saw no difference whatsoever in my baby, he was still a teething mess, so I went to Dr. Google to find out why my baby was not responding. After some research, I learned about the importance of the authenticity of Amber. I did the tests recommended and the necklace I bought ended up being just plastic beads. I set up on the mission of getting my hands on a genuine Amber necklace. After finally finding it I noticed a real change in my miserable baby. Read more>>

Stella Shirinda | Co-Founder

My partner Sean and I decided to get get into business together, when I was pregnant with our first child. When a space right next to his design office on Lincoln Blvd. became available, we jumped on the opportunity. The concept of being a cafè, full service flower shop and a retail shop in one, happened little by little and is still evolving all the time. Read more>>

Milena Mortati | Artist

Over the past two decades I’ve been actively confronting myself with the thought of how to add value to society by doing what I love and what makes me happy. I started in performing arts and gradually moved into visual art. I express my creativity through various mediums such as photography, sculpting, painting, mixed media, video art and fashion, hence the name “Rays Of Art”. This journey has led me to the desire to essentially start my own Art Gallery. The deep wish to build and create a community for artists that can support each other. This community is now called “CRE8” which has an exciting new year ahead. Read more>>

Sasha Gold | Hair and Make Up Artist

It was sort of process of illumination. Being a hairstylist in itself is Like having your own business even if your renting a chair from someone. I opened almost 6 years ago. I was freelancing and wanted to work in Long Beach. I was then working in Newport And living in Long Beach. Long days and long commutes were taking it’s tole. So I set out on my journey to find a salon home. I was looking for a chill vibe and I didnt want to work in a space that allowed brazilian blow outs, perms and acrylic nails. A “clean salon” then was considered Aveda. I also didn’t want to work for a chain. I don’t think I even knew what a less toxic salon was or even put those words together. A little space that was walking distance from my house opened up. I was like maybe I should just do my own thing. No drama? I could have things how I want them? Can control what services I offer? Sign a girl up. Read more>>

Brigitte Beasse | Skin Care Expert

Being raised and strongly educated in France, I have always been aware of the extreme value to be able to transmit professional skin care expertise and strong work ethics. To become a successful esthetician in the heart of Beverly Hills consists first of a strong will to constantly be in the process of learning the latest facial techniques and breakthrough ingredients. Doing clinical facial experiences, applying good ethics, altruism and dedication to others are essential to lead you to the top of this giving profession. Soon, I was able to embrace my work with success and launch my professional skin care line of products named brigitte BEAUTÉ, all made in the respect of natural & botanical ingredients, cruelty free, with the latest physician approved active ingredients. Read more>>

Blair Paysinger | Creator

I never saw myself as an Entrepreneur. But after talking with my mom and realizing that what we needed and wanted was missing from the market I knew this was my calling. I wanted to build the place I wanted to shop. So that’s what we are doing. As a wife and mother, I am constantly buying things for my family, in doing that I wanted to be able to support small black businesses, and I wanted that all in one place. Read more>>

Ngozika Okeke | Conscious Fashion Designer & Philanthropist

My thought process behind starting my business was that I wanted to build a company that fused my love for creating, fashion and philanthropy.,; specifically philanthropy that aided survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. Read more>>