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.

Joli & Alexi Irvine | Cirque Du Soleil Performers, Nutritionist & Personal Trainers

We have wanted to have a business & brand together since we were kids. When COVID shut down our shows and left us with no jobs…we knew we needed an outlet to stay motivated, inspired, and creative with our passions in the forefront… not only for ourselves but also for our community to join along in. We knew that there would be many of our friends, family members, co-workers, and even new comers who would be looking for this very same path to keep their tools sharp which are most prominently our bodies and minds… so we created TheWellnessBlend with Alexi as our Precision Nutrition certified Nutritionist, Certified National Academy of Sport Medicine Personal Trainers, and as well as years of experience as professional performers. We are here to help guide people along on their wellness journey to feel confident in their minds and bodies through a balanced lifestyle. Read more>>

Doug Haverty | Freelance Graphic Design, Marketing and Production

I had worked for three record companies. They were all very successful and were sold while I was working there. The last company I worked for gave me shares (per my contact), so I actually profited from that sale. I had built up a lot of contacts throughout the years, so when I opened up my own graphic design firm, I was able to reach out to a lot of friends in the industry; some I had worked with, some I hadn’t. I had commissioned work to design firms, so I had a fairly good sense of how things operated. So, I felt fairly comfortable going out on my own. Read more>>

Robin Kalota | Art Succession Advisor

Both opportunity and inspiration hit me at the same time. I was at a point in my career as a wealth manager where I wanted to take on new challenges and leverage knowledge and skills I had acquired in the art world over many years.. At the same time, my parents passed away within two years of each other, and my sister and I inherited a houseful of art. I needed help in organizing and disposing of their works of art, and found few resources to access. I realized that if I needed help with the disposition of art and other collectibles, there were many more out there who did as well.. And so, Plan Art was born. Read more>>

Thea Monyeé | Owner & Founder

The focus is always to create global healing opportunities by decolonizing joy, pleasure, and mental health, with an emphasis on Black bodies. Read more>>

Deanna Visperas | Founder & Director

Before, I’ve never really known when the idea for this business is going to strike. I was working in 9 to 5 jobs, although I have this great interest in digital marketing. I’ve always envisioned owning a digital marketing agency. However, I found out early in life that I didn’t enjoy working for others, so I decided to work for myself as soon as I graduated from college. But things didn’t come up the way I planned. With my interest in digital marketing, I’ve learned that it is not some sort of easy task. Even though my course is computer-related, it would never be enough. I realized that I have to gain a massive experience if I have to own a digital marketing agency. I had been working for marketing jobs for different enterprise companies where I gained a lot of marketing strategies for more than five years until I finally decided that it’s the right time to make my dreams come true. Read more>>

Joanna Heart

At the time I was working in fashion Recruitment. I was kind of losing my lack of luster for recruiting is a lot of things in my life for changing and evolving. Over New Year’s Eve one of my best friends had mentioned we should open a coffee shop together over champagne and sounded like a good idea. When you add up my skill sets, Recruitment, a background in design, and an Expensive obsession with specialty coffee, everything seem to make sense to me all of a sudden. My husband pushed me towards the idea and I realized it was something I really enjoy doing! Prior to the coffee shop I had a kids clothing line, and a vintage online store but I’ve never ventured into a brick and mortar. I have been hiring people for brick and mortar stores for some time and I thought why not put on my skills together and have a good time with it plus be caffeinated! Lol. Read more>>

Carly Pepin | Mindset Consultant for Entrepreneurs & Executives

My family has been a big influence when it comes to business. Both my parents are Entrepreneurs, their parents were as well, and I got to see it with some of my cousins, aunts and uncles too. Over a long period of time, you really start to notice the differences between being an employee and a business owner. The challenges and responsibilities you face as an owner are different than that of an employee, but I saw that the rewards were greater. I knew if I wanted to build wealth to a large degree, it would be through the services I provided as a business, not an employee. I could see as an employee, I would eventually reach a stopping point, but as a business owner, if I reached that point, I had the choice to move beyond it and grow a business even more. Once the Why was built, it became about discovering the How. Read more>>

Tyler Lenn Bradley | Founder & Artistic Director

Since I was young, my life mission has been to help people see the good in themselves and others. This personal mission really drove my thought process when I decided to start my company. This journey began when I was in undergrade. As a senior, I wrote, directed and choreographed an original dance production called, HUMANITY that addresses various social issues through theatrics and dance. After I graduated, I began to tour HUMANITY to various venues and soon realized that the most rewarding part of producing the show was the impact it had on people. I’ll never forget when one of my cast members told me that their involvement in the show helped them feel comfortable accepting their sexuality and coming out to their family. Read more>>

Kellie Bowman | Entrepreneur

I wanted to honor my father in a way that makes sense for me. Not looking to replace my father, but instead honor him as his daughter that would represent our relationship and all of the things he taught me, hence my business name Sebi’s Daughters. Read more>>

Lorena Flores | Founder, Foodie & Forever Student

It was a combination of a few things, but for the most part I think I am at the core a creative. Yes, starting a business requires a lot of business-y things I don’t understand or love to do. But, it’s also is something that is completely your own and that you can build from the bottom up, which takes a lot of imagination and creativity. That’s ultimately where I thrive. So I knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to something I knew would fulfill me, challenge me (I get bored easily) and that is centered around something I have expertise in. I am also motivated by the idea of not having to answer to anyone and having no ceiling for my growth. Read more>>

Nathan Cool | Photographer & Writer

It wanted to balance what I love with making money. Doing “entirely” what someone loves to do rarely becomes profitable. So pragmatically I knew there had to be a balance. I pursued various genres of photography that mostly went nowhere and worked a fulltime day job to pay the bills. But when I ventured into real estate photography, it was like a window opened and rays of light shone through. It was a major turning point. I found I had a knack for real estate photography and clients liked my work enough to hire me. Moreover though, I saw potential in repeat business by going after clients more than just gigs. At the same time though, I was able to do something that was very comfortable and rewarding personally, while turning a profit. Read more>>

Matthew Heron | Owner & Creative Controller

My thought process was simple – to be my own boss and to build a flower and design company that would strike a cord with the World. To offer an escape from the day to day even if only for a few days. To introduce flowers that are on a whole different level both in terms of style, design and reaction. Read more>>

Brittani Zonker | Celebrity Spray Tan Artist

I started my own business because I wanted to help clients feel confident, empowered and beautiful. I wanted to create trust and a safe space for each client during their service. In creating my own business, I loved the idea that anything I wanted to create was possible. Every dream, every vision and every improvement would happen if I just worked incredibly hard for it. I was taught to dream big and always prepare for the next level of your career/life. Read more>>

Roe Sie

Milling is one of the most important jobs in the world. Without millers there would be no bakers and without bakers, no bread! Fun fact, Miller is the second most common job-related last name in the US. When I discovered home milling, I felt a calling to reintroduce people to this lost art. In the old days, there was a mill close to every community, today, something like 80% of all our flour is mass produced in 3 massive factories. We’ve lost thousands of community mills in the last century – so I opened the King’s Roost to teach classes and to make home mills and local whole grains available to everyone. The second you start milling your own flour, a universe of whole grains opens up to you – you can source from local farms, or discover grains from other countries, mill your own spices and even mill gluten free grains. I’ve even discovered that grains even have vintages – you will find differences in flavor from one harvest to the next! Read more>>

Nicole Cloeren | Puppeteer

I believe in the power of play! I founded Puppets a la Carte because I wanted to offer hands on puppeteering opportunities for children and adults alike. For years, I saw my puppeteering as a hobby. When I had the opportunity to invest more time in my art form, I started my business. Making my efforts official in this capacity validated my creative work to myself as well as to the community. At first, I considered starting a non-profit, but I was advised by several wise mentors who have worked in the non-profit art sector to pursue a business license instead. I believe strongly that all people should have access to the arts, and so I choose to partner with non-profits whenever I can. I currently have a GoFundMe campaign (Puppets for Foster Youth) to support Project CHELA in offering educational and arts opportunities to foster youth. Read more>>

Francine Day | Co-Founder

The concept for our business came together organically. It was a lot of slow growth for my partner and I, which made us realize our corporate jobs were out of harmony with the rest of our lives, and we needed to make a change. But of course, that didn’t happen right away. We were both crazy busy with our careers and comfortable with the security they provided. The dream to build something around community and sustainability was an idea we often discussed without taking steps to pursue. But, it was during that time that the pieces began to come together. Mostly, we wanted to slow down – to have less and do more, to spend more time with our friends and less time in an office. To be a part of the slow fashion movement, rather than continue careers that promoted excess and consumerism. Read more>>

Gemini Ferrie Rosegold M | Love Coach for Women

I made so many painful mistakes in my love life that led me to give up on love altogether. I knew I was a great catch, I had given every relationship my best and it still wasn’t enough to build anything meaningful with anyone. I truly believed that some people get love and others don’t and that I must be one of those unlucky people who would never have love. So heartbreaking, when all I wanted was to love & be loved. So I decided to focus on myself and learn to be happy without a man, otherwise, I’d be miserable forever. And I didn’t want that. I was 29 then. Once I learned to make myself happy, whole, and complete just as I was, love came to me. Now I’m married to the man of my dreams and each year we grow deeper in love. I realized that there are still too many wonderful women in the world who are just as confused about love as I used to be. Read more>>

Cassie Petrey | Co-Founder

When we started our business, the job we wanted didn’t exist. We probably would have been perfect for a social media manager role, but it was non-existent in 2007. We started Crowd Surf because we absolutely loved helping artists use MySpace to connect with their audience, and wanted to expand further into that space. Read more>>

Crystal Quinonez | Owner & Stylist

Ever since I started doing hair I never realized how much I needed to be in control of my own business. I would spend hours behind the chair and not realize how much money I was loosing by renting a station. I also had no control over the days and hours I worked. I decided it was time to make the change and opened Leos Manes, my very own salon. I was able to work on days that local salons were closed and I didn’t feel rushed to get my guest out of the salon in time for closing. I believe in working less and making more! I also believe in giving my guests the experience they deserve. Read more>>

Bethany Michaels | CEO & Founder

I didn’t really have one. Notoriously, many people have a grand plan and strategy, but I stand by the fact that my business actually found me. I had been praying for months and months, stuck in an office job with dim lighting and an even dimmer company culture. It was hard to shake, and I constantly yearned for deeper purpose in my career. The stars eventually aligned. I was “let go” due to unforeseen circumstances while simultaneously suffering the loss of my fiance. All hope had flown out the window. I spent time on the beach here in Orange County, staring at the waves and questioning my next move. Thankfully I received unemployment pay, and it was during the quiet hours alone that I rebuilt myself and found the courage to step into the unknown. Read more>>

Richard Kepler | Audio Engineer & Creative Director

Having a background in audio production from a young age, I always gravitated towards music gear I couldn’t afford. I’d often find myself digging through yard sales or sidewalks looking for discarded treasures (you can ask my roommates from university… I traumatized them with my musky pile of speakers in the basement). I would collect “vintage” 3-way speaker cabinets produced between the 1960s and mid-1970s with the intention to either fix the damaged ones or use them as a furniture display if they were too far gone. While collecting, I noticed that a lot of people in my generation didn’t seem to understand what happens behind a conventional speaker grill. I attribute this naivety to the modernization and shrinkage of contemporary speakers as the average consumer will end up buying hand-held Bluetooth speakers with metal grills covering the entirety of the speaker’s face. Read more>>

Alen Kevorkian | CEO

I used to work for an prominent Engineering office in Pasadena California, called Parsons, during my 10 years working there I was laid off twice, while these were still tough times for me to lose my income that I had come to rely on, it made me think of others who were in the same position as i was, except they were much older, and have a wife, kids and a mortgage to think of, where I did not. I was still in my early 20’s. I started to think of what if I was 40 or 50 what would I do, if i was laid off then? I needed to think of an exit strategy from Parsons while I am still young. While I was thinking what i wanted to do as a career for myself, our internal department at Parsons wanted to put a website together specifically to be used by us only…. I took this challenge to teach myself how to do this, and during the process i fell in love with web design, from that moment, I started teaching myself more and learning more about it. Read more>>