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.

Jorge Monagas | Urban artist

Take my music and my social networks to the next level. Read more>>

Casley Goodwill | CEO & Creative Director

Starting a business for me meant being able to express my ideas on a canvas to inspire others. Whether through a piece I created or someone being inspired simply by me working toward my dream, inspiring those near and far is what I deem as my chosen purpose. Through Scelto’s inspiration, I hope to help people find their true chosen purpose in life through the messages put out through the pieces or my brands mission. Read more>>

Paulina Lillian / Elizabeth “April” Serrano / Savala | Makeup Artist / Cosmetologist & Esthetician

I first decided to start my own business to be able to provide for my family, create my own schedule, and do what I love. I wanted to be able to spend time with my children and raise them in a home that valued time, love, and creativity. Now that my children are growing older the values remain the same, however, now my experience in my business working with women has expanded my “why.” I want to be able to reach women on a larger scale. I believe that women should all support one another and I do that in my everyday life. Each conversation with my client has validated this belief. We are all just wanting to be our own definition of success and with support we can all reach that. Paulina: I was looking for an outlet to be creative and have something to build upon. I was searching for a way to be my own boss and watch myself grow. I had always wanted to be an artist, but never thought of makeup until I met April. When I came on board to the business, I had no idea that my “why” would evolve into what it is now. Read more>>

Nicolas Bates | Editorial and Portrait Photographer

I had worked enough day jobs that were so soul crushing that I literally could not do it anymore. I just had to take a chance stepping out onto my own with photography. Read more>>

Michelle Tieu | Calligrapher, Event Invitation and Paper Goods Designer, Motion Graphics Designer

I went to art school based on my love for typography and drawing letter forms. While working professionally as a motion graphics designer, I kept drawing letters as a hobby. It eventually grew into learning calligraphy–first using pencils and pens, then brush markers, and moving my way up to pointed pen. After a few years of playin around with calligraphy, in 2018, I decided that I wanted to turn my calligraphy skills into a business venture. Unfortunately, at the time, I found myself working for a studio that turned out to be extremely demanding in terms of work hours. I no longer had extra time to work on my calligraphy and well, it really sucked! Flash forward to 2020, a true blessing in disguise, the pandemic resulted in being furloughed from my full time job. I used that opportunity and time to build my business, make relationships with wedding vendors, really put myself out there, filling out all the forms needed to have a legal business. Read more>>

Camille Kauer | SAG-Aftra Actor, Model, Speaker, Podcast host, and Award-winning Radio Personality

A few years ago, I read a statistic that men apply for 60% of the jobs they’re not qualified for, while women will only apply for jobs they are 100% qualified for. After reading that statistic, I felt empowered to apply for more gigs and it worked. I got red carpet opportunities, radio hosting gigs and more. I had auditioned as a teen for MTV VJ and was disqualified for being in SAG_AFTRA, I was crushed and assumed that phase was over. Then when the pandemic hit and I had to transition my radio segment to podcast show, in order to be home with my daughter with virtual academy. With the internet, you can connect to anyone and the world is at your fingertips. Although I haven’t interviewed Diana Ross, Rosario Dawson or Goldie Hawn….I have had some dreamy guest and that’s way more than I could have a hoped for. Read more>>

Edith Vasquez | Spiritual Healer

I thought that my business was going to be so different. I chose my business name thinking that I would start by selling crystals and then offer my healing abilities, however that is not how it worked out. I still remember the first day that I hosted my first event via Zoom which I now host on a monthly basis called my “Sister Circle” and I thought that day maybe I can do these here and there, but I left that event feeling so empowered. I used to plan to start my business with 10K, yet I bought crystals for the first time with only $150 dollars. I am beyond glad that many things did not work out how i thought that they should. For me the biggest lesson was to surrender and trust in the divine plan. Read more>>

 Gloria You | Owner of Little Elephants LLC

Some friends and I started a mom’s support group called “Mama Elephants,” during a time when one of our friends was suffering terribly from an autoimmune disease. We got the name from studying how elephants support and defend each other in the wild. Even though it was a hard time, we grew stronger through being together. I began to imagine what it would look like to create a space where families could come and make memories together, where parents could enjoy interaction with their kids, and where friends could spend time together. I wanted to design a playground that had features kids would love, a good mix of educational play and active equipment. At the same time I wanted to include features that would appeal to many parents as well, such as plenty of comfortable seating all around the playground, clean facilities, and a calming atmosphere. It was my dream to make a playground for all the “little elephants” and “grownup elephants” alike. Read more>>

Shandell Maxwell, PhD | Preparing People for Greatness at Covina Animal Hospital

My thought process behind Byrd and Maxwell Coaching Institute was to help people recognize and optimize their personal strengths and talents through professional life coaching. My goal is to prepare people to bring and influence greatness in their lives and the world. The inspiration for the business came way of outreach from friends, colleagues, and former employees who wanted help with identifying their purpose in life, especially after COVID hit. Most of my clients work in the veterinary industry which has fortunately stayed busy throughout the pandemic, but the demand adds on to the existing challenges the industry faces with reducing burnout and the suicide rate. So, for me it was a no-brainer to partner-up Covina Animal Hospital to support the people who take care of the companions that so many people need right now! In addition to coaching the staff, I also lead operations and our goal is to create more efficiency in our processes to reduce the chances of burnout and enhance our client and patient experience. Read more>>

Steadired | Steadicam Operator & Influencer

I had been doing camera work for about 8 years and I felt like it wasn’t exciting for me anymore. While I was at the peak of my career shooting large concerts and live shows, it felt like I had stopped growing. In addition, I ended up working concert after concert where the constraints of the shows did not allow me to showcase any creative camera work. So, I dived into researching other options to increase my knowledge and growth, and that’s when I decided to embark on my journey and ultimately fall in love with the Steadicam. It allows me to get beautiful moving shots, be creative and get right up in the action. Read more>>

Julia Musachio | Founder of Culte Collective, A Full Service Fashion Design and Production Studio

A huge part of my thought process behind starting my own business was freedom. Looking back now I realize maybe how naive that was in certain ways. When you own your own business you do gain many freedoms. You gain the ability to make big decisions, have the final word, shape your business around your life and take on the type of work that you want to. All of those things can be incredibly rewarding and empowering. What I didn’t think about when starting Culte Collective was the cost of those freedoms. When you own your own business, especially in the beginning, it’s a lot like becoming a new parent. You have to keep it alive every single day. It keeps you up at night, you worry about it. In order for it to grow you have to give it all of your attention, work long hours, make major decisions that could potentially have major consequences for its future. What I’ve learned is that there is no such thing as security and you have to surrender to that. Whether you work for yourself you have to be fearlessly ambitious, give it your all, and be willing to take risks. In my mind it makes more sense to gamble on myself. Read more>>

Sam Salman | Owner / Operator

While attending The California Institute of the Arts, it became blindingly aware that that institution had no direct links to the entertainment industry. As I was attending to acquire my higher degree in Theatrical Costume Design, I saw an opportunity for both myself and future graduates who want to work in the entertainment industry. I thought, “wow, there isn’t a costume shop for miles…and nothing in Santa Clarita.” So I worked on starting Northern Costume LLC. Now, the newest IATSE local 705 wardrobe union shop. My business partner, Zach Theberge, and I are elated to be able to bring skilled and talented minds to our industry. Read more>>

Alexa Alemanni | Screenwriter & Teacher

There are two things that are lacking in Los Angeles if you’re looking to start a career. Community and continued education. Film is a collaborative art form, and yet it’s very hard to find a community of fellow artists in Los Angeles that isn’t in some way transient. (Film shoots end, TV shows get canceled.) There are amazing schools all over the country to get an advanced degree in, but there’s limited opportunities, particularly in screenwriting, to continue to practice, learn and grow. I brought those two ideas together when I created Bad Pitch Writers Lab. It’s a place for burgeoning young writers to find that community and continue to learn and better their craft. Read more>>

Adrienne Baker | Composer, Performer & Teaching Artist

The classical music sphere is notorious for asking for extraordinary musicianship within the perimiters of conformity. In an industry where we must be available, lest we be replaced, there can be a fear that we should not make waves, stand out, complain, appear otherwise weak. We are many times afraid to report injury, advocate for representation, and fair compensation. In 2013 I had some health issues that sent me to the ER 3 times. A doctor told me that I may have to quit music and spend the rest of my life managing my pain through outpatient pain clinics. At that time, my quest to be extraordinary at the price of conformity left me shrunken, unrepresented, unseen. If I could overcome that hurdle, I promised myself, I would throw conformity to wayside. Read more>>

Alex Gamboa Grand | Co-Founder, Good Intent

crisis and wanted to know what we could do to make a difference in our everyday lives using our individual actions, especially after realizing the limitations of recycling, which has, for so long, felt like our only line of defense. We know the change needed will require massive, wide-scale change at the government and industry level, and while those may seem out of our control, we also know that we have the power to influence both by voting with our ballots AND our dollars. And we can do our best as individuals to figure out ways to minimize our harm to the environment. There are many, many ways to do that, and in reality, it takes a lot of thought, energy, and effort just to figure out what that means for you and your family. We recognized that if we want more people to start applying these more sustainable practices to their lives, we can help by making it easier and doing a lot of that legwork on their behalf. That’s what Good Intent is here to do. Read more>>

karin | Creative Human

I was a creative child and I always loved to make things!! I beaded, macramed, made candles etc. At some point, I realized in order to keep making things, I would need to sell some things. Read more>>

Christina Appleton | Founder & CEO

The original Appleton’s Market was a Mom ‘n’ Pop grocery store founded by my great-grandparents in rural Michigan. Passed down through the generations, the store was where I grew up – riding my tricycle through the aisles and building paper-towel forts. It’s where I fell in love with food.
Like many other millennials, I love snacking (usually more than eating a proper meal!) but am not always thrilled with my snacking choices. Many times I want the convenience and size of a snack, but the fulfilling feeling that I get from a meal. I needed a bridge – lower in calories and effort but higher in all the things I love about meals (greens, protein, fiber, and healthy fats) – that would fill me up, taste delicious, and keep me going for hours. A lot of people told me they needed the same thing – they didn’t have time or money for Postmates, but also weren’t happy with the sugary protein bar or handful of sad almonds sitting at their desk. Read more>>

Monet Allen | Artist & Creative Manager

I started my own business to be in control of my life. I wanted to enjoy going to work , and for me the only way I could see that happening was to create a job based around my passions and strengths. Read more>>

Jaclyn Winters | Owner of The Conscious Method. Certified Nutritionist and Wellness coach, as well as certified Yoga, Barre, Pilates and CPT.

My thought process was to create a brand that helped people love, listen and honor their bodies. I have been teaching fitness, yoga and barre for over 10 years and the one thing that always separated me from other instructors or trainers is my cueing and obsession with proper alignment and mind/body connection. In fitness, we think “working out.” I wanted to create more of a “work in.” Understanding that truly loving yourself is in an inside job that radiates out. Being educated on proper alignment as you move will help you feel safe as you do your work, will help you see results faster because you are going to be active in more than one muscle group, and help you adhere to the program for a long period of time (let’s keep moving in our 80’s!). The mind/body connection component will teach you how to listen to how your body is feeling as you move. Read more>>

The Art Of Chase | Artist / Designer

It wasn’t as much as a thought process but a result from years of painting and selling work. Forming a company is that next step if you want to be perceived as professional at a certain point. Most of my clients are businesses, brands or agencies so it creates an atmosphere of trust when they know they are dealing with an artist who has a company rather than an individual artist who may or may not be just painting on the weekend. The corp also holds all the rights to my work, so legally there’s benefits there as well. Read more>>

Luis Garcia | Partner

The thought process was that no-one was making candles that fit our cultura. You had the standard big box store brands with generic smells, but nothing that represented our cultural scents and artesanias. We felt we had to represent our culture in a Nostalgic and Unique way. Read more>>

Erik “Wolfie” Wolford | Owner and Cinematographer of Wolf Team Production

As a cinematographer, its very much on oneself to carve out a career. When I first started out, I bought a cinema camera and some carefully chosen lights. I moved up through the ranks, and was a gaffer/ lighting designer for music videos and commercials, such as U2, Beyonce, Apple, Sony, those sorts of brands. Since I came from a film lighting background, I was quickly hired to shoot a low budget feature film. I am very good at having conversations with people who own companies, and helping them realize what they need filmed. Since many of the companies that I generated shoots from were outside the film world, it became clear that the easiest way to handle it was to produce the shoots myself. Read more>>

Zabina Bhasin | DE&I Expert + Child Psychiatrist + CEO, In KidZ

“We are more similar than we are different. Remember, our differences make us unique but do not separate us.” – My Mom, an educator for over 40 years instilled this saying in me and it is now my company’s mission. A mission that comes straight from the heart. As a 7-year-old, I looked at my mom with eyes wide open and glare on my face, but in my mind, I had no clue what she was talking about. Similar? Different? Unique? What would I know about all this? As A young child, my parents immigrated to Southern California before I was born. The earliest memory I have at 7 is being surrounded by my family and extended family, where love was abundant. I grew up in a culturally diverse neighborhood and went to school where there were many different cultures, Mexican, African-American, Chinese. Yet, I still stood out. I was different and I knew it. Read more>>

Ayo Thomas | CEO and Creative Talent Goat

My thought process to starting my business originated from a deep desire to create employment opportunities for creatives. I formerly worked as a human capital professional for over 15 years in the both public and private sectors. During my tenure as a career professional, I launched a magazine (Women Own Excellence). As the Editor in Chief, I used my creative gifts in content creation and media to produce the digital go-to guide for women seeking to soar in their personal and professional lives. In a short amount of time, WOE became a trusted publication for its everyday readers and influencers who grace the cover. After launching my magazine, I discovered my creative genius was identifying superb talent and creating opportunities for them to showcase their specialized skill sets through media. When I discover amazing talent, all of my senses light up. It’s like lights start popping off in my head (lol) as a sign to say, “she’s the one” or “he has something special”. Read more>>

Anja Skodda | Biotech Scientist , serial entrepreneur & animal lover

I have always wanted to start my own business as I saw my father running his. I started 2 other ventures before HAPPYBOND. HAPPYBOND simple started because of a special bond with my English bulldog Tony. HE had issues in his shoulder and could not skateboard (his passion) anymore. My science background enabled me to formulate HAPPYAGAIN our first SKU. He was back within a week and I knew I need to help more dogs. Read more>>

Budd Diaz | Filmmaker & Comedian

My thought processes was, “I’m going to have to find a way to bring down this federal tax liability.” Read more>>

Seejai Erquart | KBS Owner & Musician

Kings Before Slaves was a concept I began thinking about in 2010. I was inspired to put out a line of clothing that customers can be proud to wear based on history. Not all black people in America are descendants of slaves, nor were all slaves poor upon arrival. Unfortunately many wealthy people and even royalty were enslaved during the transatlantic trade. I was and am focused on leaving a legacy behind that my family and community can be proud of. Read more>>

Meraiah Danielle | Outer Beauty Professional and Inner Beauty Expert

I have wanted to start my own business since I was 19! I didn’t know what I wanted to do just yet but I had been introduced to the idea of becoming an entrepreneur and couldn’t get it out of my head. The thought of being my own boss and creating my own schedule with no limit on what I could make except the limits I put on myself, while somewhat scary, was mostly thrilling to me. It wasn’t until I was about 22 though that I realized the beauty industry is where I wanted to establish myself. I had done some modeling and fell in love with makeup and that’s where my passion started. I’ve done makeup as a side gig for the last 5 years while working full time at a corporate job, working my way up and really excelling in my company but I just knew there was only so far I could get being an employee. So I had to make a move and finally decided to phase out of my job and begin to create a real business for myself. I learned new skills so that I could diversify the services I offer, and then just kind of dove in! I guess I just got sick of playing it safe and wanted to see what could happen if I just went all in. Read more>>

Valerie Chaika | Jewelry Designer

I grew up in a challenging environment in post-Soviet Ukraine. As capitalism was associating with something bad for many generations of people, the process of learning was extremely challenging and sometimes even brutal. My generation grew up in the realm of trade wars, organized crimes, corruption, etc. On other hand, the economical crises, and all ups and downs of the developing economy, demonstrated that dependency on salary can be even scarier than doing your own business. I remember the time when engineers and scientists were below the poverty line. So for me, the choice of starting your own business was the most logical, safest, and rewarding among all options I had upfront of me. Only after 8 years in the USA and when I start thinking of my own kids, I understand how challenging can be the process of starting your own business in the realm of a more stable economy, high salaries market, etc. But for me the most important part of having a small business is that I control my own time. Read more>>

Saverio SAGE Principini | Music Producer, Songwriter and Recording Studio Owner

I have pretty much always been an independent self employed individual, I don’t think I have held any position ever in a corporate company, so for me starting my own business was kind of logical and natural… first it was the production company with international musician casting and executive production for the recording industry and consequently the recording studio with the music production company. I wanted the freedom to work my own hours and pick and choose projects, wanted the freedom of creativity, although when you get hired as a producer you have to be open to the thoughts and choices of the artist you are working with and of course the label executives… It sure is a big lap of faith in investing money into your own business but I think it paid off in the long run. Read more>>

Sabrina Porsche | Freelance Hairstylist

The whole thought process behind me starting my business is, I realized I didnt want to work for anyone anymore. I worked in the corporate world for about 10 years as an administrative assistant and the thought that I was helping someone else become successful really got the best of me and I didnt feel like I could grow because I didnt have a college degree which made me realize that I wasnt going to move up much. I knew I had to make a change if I just wanted to be happy, so as hard as it was I quit my job and moved from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. It was scary to quit a job that I was so comfortable in, but getting myself out of that comfort zone really helped me realize I had more hustle in me that I ever knew I did!. Read more>>

mariam anna barska | Entrepreneur & Fashion Designer

“être” means TO BE / BEING “la” stands for LOS ANGELES Back in 2015, I, founder of être-la, Mariam Anna Barska, had a vision of creating a brand for women with a singular aesthetic. Based in Los Angeles, the brand will surround the appeal of a modern uniform through clean cut design, meticulous craftsmanship. Inspired by women’s lives and needs, the ambition was to define a dress code and wardrobe that backs their purpose of unique but wearable. After spending many years as a TOP fashion creative for well know brands such as Hérve Léger, Guess, Bebe, BCBG , BAILEY44 I asked myself: “what to wear that is comfortable, sustainable, environmentally conscious that also works for coffee runs, traveling, weekend fun & all-day wearability?” Read more>>

THOMAS ILAND | Certified Human Potential Coach & Toastmasters International Accredited Speaker

As a person on the autism spectrum, I started my own business, Come To Life Coaching, for several reasons. After I left my career as a certified public accountant (CPA) and began working with my mother in her business of delivering autism presentations and consultations, I knew in the back of my mind that she wouldn’t be around forever. This was made abundantly clear with her recent diagnosis of breast cancer. In addition, she and I had differing opinions on several items. Even though we’d written a book together, “Come To Life! Your Guide to Self-Discovery,” I had the growing desire to create my own brand and clientele as opposed to continuing to live in her shadow. Read more>>

Oladotun Idowu | Sisters In Media Founder

One day I was at work and experience nepotism for the first time. (This was my first job out of college so I was pretty green). I felt a lot of neglect and frustration being the only Black person in a lot of rooms. I started Sisters In Media because I wanted to offer women like myself more opportunities to connect with each other and also provide more media career opportunities for women looking to enter the space or grow in the industry. When starting Sisters In Media, my hope was to help women of color navigate the industry better with more networks and opportunities. Read more>>

David Clayton | Creative Director

It was always a dream of mine to start something of my own. After a number of years as a designer, followed by art director and then creative director, beginning a new chapter by opening a studio just felt like the next logical step. What that looked like constantly evolved and U-turned based upon my experiences in the entertainment industry, each iteration having a different set up or model. But Plucky was not born out any particular plan… more like she was born out of necessity. While taking some time off after exiting a previous position, my partner (Jeff Marks) and I were just beginning to kick the tires on what starting our own shop would entail. Then the phone rang. Not once, but a number of times and before we knew it, we were creating pitch decks, storyboards & animation from my garage in North Hollywood (to the chagrins of my wife, as this was her office, not ours). Read more>>

Erika Schlick | Health Coach, Blogger & Cookbook Author

My business sort of happened by life and the changes it threw at me. I got very sick with Lyme Disease in 2012 but was not properly diagnosed until 2014. For 2 years I went doctor to doctor with a list of over 60 symptoms that were debilitating me. My blog and business began as a way to track my recovery from Lyme. After 3 years of treatments, I finally made it to remission and that is when my business really started to thrive. I added more content to my blog, I started adding healthy recipes, gluten-free travel guides, my cookbook and health coaching to help others on their own path to healing and wellness as well. Read more>>

Krysti Litt | Artist and Actress

As a creative person, I have always craved the freedom to manage my own time and resources to when I am feeling inspired. The flip side of that coin though, is that the only person keeping you accountable is YOU. No one’s looking over your shoulder, you have to set your own deadlines and goals. It’s a constant learning process!. Read more>>

Masha Nova | Artist

It kind of started naturally. I was always self employed and my grandmother was adamant about me doing taxes every year. I started claiming that I run my own business at seventeen. I did modeling then and had some write offs. It stuck and the nature of my business shifted over the years. I never really consciously “started” a business, it just gradually morphed and shaped as I moved and am moving through my life now. I work in the entertainment industry now for the past nine years and still claim that I’m self employed. Read more>>

Julie Kuo | Co-founder and CEO

My parents came to the United States 40 years ago to find a better opportunity and future for their children. They built a successful footwear business that is one of today’s industry leaders in fast fashion. They were able to make fashionable, trendy yet affordable styles for your everyday woman. They allowed footwear to be an extension of a woman’s beauty and self-expression. That same spirit of celebrating a woman’s strength and individuality is what led my sister and I to create AVRE.
We wanted all women to feel empowered and authentic in their own skin yet conversations were happening in the industry. We were made aware of how practices in the fashion industry were damaging our planet by creating excessive amount of waste and high levels of carbon emissions. The industry was evolving and we needed to change with the times. Read more>>

Sarah Desage | Photographer

I am from the French Riviera, actually from a medieval village nestled in the mountains close to the Italian border. I studied Economics, and the curriculum included an internship at the Valentino boutique in Monte Carlo. The boutique is gorgeous, overlooking the Mediterranean sea, right next to the Casino, between l’Hermitage and l’Hôtel de Paris. And yes, that’s where the world famous restaurant Louis XV par Alain Ducasse is located. That was my office for two months. At the end of the internship I was offered a full time position, right out of school! I had to make the first decision that would impact my future. It was an amazing opportunity, but one thing I learned during the internship was that I was not cut out for a 9 to 5 office job. Instead I decided to go to Milan and pursue the modeling opportunity that was offered to me. Easy choice one would say! All I know is I never looked back, and for better or for worse, I have been self-employed ever since. Read more>>