Readers often email us asking us for advice about new businesses they are thinking about starting and we often find that many of them don’t have a framework for thinking about a more fundamental question: why should or shouldn’t you start a business?

Below, you’ll find how successful entrepreneurs from across the city thought about this very question when they were considering whether to start their businesses.

David Cano | Creator

To be completely honest, at the very beginning it started because of friendship. I started with shooting senior portraits in college of friends who were graduating. I was the only one in the friend group at the time who had a basic DSLR camera, so they flocked to me and offered me $20 to snap a few shots for them to use for graduation announcements and such. Sophomore in college back in the day (yikes, that phrase really dates me doesn’t it?) was a significant amount. Do you know how many packs of instant noodles and dollar menu McChicken sandwiches is? I had hit the gold mine! I jumped on the opportunity and things sort of snowballed from that point. Now what really made it stick for me though was how I got to grow in a deeper friendship with my current friends, and then from there being able to diversify and grow my circle of friends once I began getting referred to others. Read more>>

Brian Bernhard | Chief Creative

My grandmother was a huge entrepreneurial inspiration for me; for most of my childhood, she created, owned and ran a very successful restaurant. One of my first jobs was washing dishes for her. However, this restaurant wasn’t just any old run-of-the-mill restaurant, it was special, it was her world, and her vision, it was the only authentic Bavarian German restaurant and deli in Norfolk Virginia. There was nothing else like it, no one I new, none of my friends, had ever been to or heard of anything like it at the time, until I brought them there. On one of the back walls of the restaurant, a huge mural of Neuschwanstein Castle was on full display, this Bavarian castle was the original inspiration for the Walt Disney castle. I spent many an evening eating my dinner while getting lost in the image of that castle, drifting into may flights of fancy while eating my authentic German potato salad. Realizing that my true calling was to explore a more creative path than the food industry would provide, I went to school, to explore my artistic vision. Read more>>

Suzie Sandoval | Holistic Lifestyle Designer

Being exceptionally well organized myself, it was apparent to me how disorganization was affecting the people in my life. I have always loved to organize things with my mind and my work became a great place to channel my perfectionism. I had never considered becoming an entrepreneur, although I always had innovative business ideas I’d see others profit from throughout the years. When I went back to college at the University of Phoenix in Portland, Oregon in my early 30’s, within the first six months into my college experience I received an assignment to write my 5 year future plans. I had crystal clear clarity and this was my opportunity, I laid my dreams out on paper and was able to admit my truth to myself. “HelpIng people get organized and combine life coaching with my services.” was my original mission. Read more>>

John Petrocelli | Livestreaming Expert & Amateur Baseball Player

Several years ago I was introduced to Prince who wanted to build a direct to consumer music store. I took a file of Purple Rain from a file sharing network and encrypted it and sent it to him. The file when opened asked for a payment of some kind to authorize playing of the song. I got an email back from his team that read “Prince says ‘this is exactly what eye want 2 do” and we were off to the races. Shortly thereafter he asked to build a ticketing service for his upcoming major tour and I got to attend many dates on the tour along with some warm up shows and after parties. It was pretty incredible and I knew I wanted to work in live entertainment. Shortly thereafter I took over a livestreaming company that I had been advising for many years and AEG immediately bought that company. Read more>>

Caleigh Hernandez | Founder & Social Entrepreneur

I knew I always wanted my work to be impactdful, never thinking it would lead me to start my own business in which I partner with artisans in Kenya and share their wares with consumers. I was always interested in economic empowerment efforts across East Africa and spent my time in college studying this. During my sophomore year, I learned about the Well Story, a forewarning that has impacted my work to this day. A nonprofit established a well for women in a rural community. These women had been walking hours each day to collect drinkable water for themselves and their families. An organization realized how silly this was and dug a well in the town center for everyone to use. The humanitarians thought they had solved the problem, saving women several strenuous hours a day lugging water. These women could now spend time on other, more lucrative activities. But this nonprofit returned six months later to the village and found the well broken. Read more>>

Tracy Bowles | Wedding and Event Planner & Designer

At the age of 18 I had already adopted an entrepreneurial mindset. I knew that I wanted to own and operate my own business one day, and I did just that. I opened my own clothing boutique, and after that business failed, I went on to work in the corporate world, but never gave up on the thought of working for myself by owning my own business. I had a passion for throwing events together and designing the layout of the event. I remembered a life coach speaker once said, “if you follow your passion you will discover what you want to do in life.” That stuck with me for a great while. I continued doing events for my friends, family, and for myself, but it didn’t occur to me that this would become my career, and definitely not owning a business doing what I love. It wasn’t until a dear friend who was getting married and asked me to plan her destination wedding. Read more>>

Falynn Love | Floral Designer

So I started at a flower shop in my home town of hacienda heights in my teens. I didn’t know that this opportunity would be laying the foundation for what I do today (floral designer). I went on to work for Starbucks for about 10 years, all the while creating floral designs for my now business partner aka my MOM who is a event planner. She suggested I start my floral business based on the positive feedback we got from us working together. The truth was I was ready to create my own legacy and my thoughts to do something that was truly fulfilling So I did!!! I worked both jobs (flowers & coffee) for awhile until deciding about 5 years ago to leave the coffee industry & use my talents elsewhere…… thus solely pursing Flawless Flowers By Falynn which eventually morphed into the mother daughter duo of Flawless Weddings & Events. Read more>>

Vincent Anter | Host & Founder

There were two main factors. Number one, I saw a hole in the market; there was no “Bourdain of wine”. No one had made a TV show that helped you learn and understand wine. There were some people in front of their webcams on youtube making wine videos, but no one was combining food, wine, and travel, and showcasing the wine world the way I knew it should be presented. When I was studying for my sommelier exam, I was looking for these video resources and couldn’t find them, and knew there had to be more people looking for them as well. The second was that I had a unique set of skills that lent themselves perfectly to starting the show: I still believe no one else could have created a show like mine without a large team and a lot of funding (I started the show with just me and bootstrapped). Read more>>

Jose & Nayeli Cardenas | Wedding Films & Live Streaming

I saw a huge gap in quality video production. I felt as if people were being cheated out of their memories. I have 15 years of experience now so I wanted to help anyone who wanted a skillfully crafted video. “Why start something if you aren’t going to do it well” has been a principle of mine to start Milestones of Love. We use new technologies to capture, archive, and tell a story to propel our business forward to the future. We are looking into new styles and edits to stay relevant with the times and not stay stagnant. We are always learning and growing on a personal level as well as at a business level. Every film we create is made to tell your story so, we put our utmost care and love into our films and don’t take shortcuts. A lot of emotion goes into it as well I find myself tearing up while I’m editing because it’s such a beautiful experience. Read more>>

Kira Turnage | Owner, CEO & Director

The Dollface Dames became an official company January 7th 2009. I’ve always loved live entertainment. I have a background in dance and theatre and when I moved to Los Angeles I was introduced to burlesque, which combined variety acts and the stage together in sexy and fun ways. I love the freedom that this artform brings, and how it can be so empowering to women. I’ve always been passionate about supporting women and I wanted to start a company that gave artists a space to create, provided performance opportunities, and offered them the freedom to explore who they truly were, both on and off the stage! The Dollface Dames started with just four women, and now under my parent cabaret company, Lola Boutée Presents, we feature thousands of artists from around the world. Read more>>

Aaron Glascock | Photographer & Navy Veteran

I spent nearly 15 years abroad in Asia and Europe and when I returned to California last year the job market (predictably) didn’t really welcome me back with open arms. I sent resume after resume out and signed up for at least a dozen different job sites but got little to no response and ultimately no offers. In lieu of watching my savings dwindle, I started driving for rideshare apps, or delivering groceries and meals. I drove for 60 hours a week to make ends meet and I wasn’t getting ahead or devoting much time to bettering myself or getting ahead. That’s when I decided I needed to work for myself and put my energy into something I’m passionate about. I studied photojournalism in college and started to really fall in love with photography overseas, taking hundreds of pictures whenever I’d visit a new city or location. Read more>>

Tess Levin | CEO & Founder

I honestly get into my head a lot. I second guess myself plenty and I poo-poo (technical term) my ideas frequently. Usually those ideas will shrivel away, never to return again, which proves to me the ideas were not viable options. However, the one thought that always came back to me and nagged at my brain and soul was starting my own business, Fluff Cups Specialty Desserts. I praised the idea of working by myself and for myself. The though that, “the harder you work the more you will progress” stayed steadfast in my brain. I knew that if my passion was a business, and I worked incessantly to bring that to life, there was no stopping me. Whereas, working for a company, there are confines to your role/progress/impact. I really embraced the idea of breaking the mold and trusting myself to work hard and get to where i wanted to be. Read more>>

Stephen Hasemeyer | Entrepreneur

I was tired of seeing cool things happen in other cities and wanted to create a that made people my age and younger want to stay and keep their talents here in Riverside. Read more>>

Katz Carter | Film Director & Producer

My thought process was I wanted to be able to sign checks under my production company. I was shooting my 1st short film with a budget and I wanted to look like a professional shoot. I was hiring the cast and crew. Money was coming in and I wanted it separate from my personal account. My banker said in order for me to do that I have to have an official business license. Read more>>

Ale’drienne Parker-Calip | Event Stylist

Decorating has always been one of my therapeutic hobbies. While I was caught up in simply doing something I enjoyed, unbeknown to me, I was developing a reputation as the ‘go to’ (within my family) for decor assistance or ideas. The more people began to reach out to me for assistance the more I started playing with the idea of possibly turning a hobby into a business. After years of being in my own head about the idea, one day I found the courage to just go for it. Read more>>