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.

Lillian Jackson: Founder of Brown Skin Brunchin

I wanted to create a space where black women could meet other like-minded women and have a safe haven to build connections. Read more>>

Colette von: Art Installer // Curator // Artist

One word: necessity. I started working for myself, officially, in 2015, by running an art gallery in Echo Park, ONE ONE SIX TWO. I had worked for a number of employers where I felt stifled and under-utilized. They wanted “yes” men and that wasn’t me, so I got out of there! Read more>>

Destiny Holder: Artist, Entrepreneur, Dancer, Model, Actress

I do want my own businesses to come out of my Youtube Channel. The thought process behind creating that was that I wanted my own platform. Through life, so many people try to fit you into a box. I have many talents I want to share with the world. So I thought, why not create my own platform? I’m completely open and honest on my channel, as I am in person. Read more>>

Pamela Portnoy Alexa Marie Anderson: Actor & Co-Host

The idea first sprouted from too much wine. We’re kidding… sort of. We’re both actors who worked together at our side hustle and every day after work we found ourselves at happy hour venting profusely because we felt bogged down by our job and the fact that we weren’t coming across opportunities to act as often as we would like. We wanted to build ourselves a creative outlet that would fulfill our desire to act as well as to connect with other people, and hopefully sprout this endeavor into a business. Read more>>

Denise Johnson: Photographer

I originally started my business to help my family out. I was a stay at home mom with two little boys and wanted to help my husband and family financially. I know I had a passion for photography that started as a young child. In 2013 I received a incentive to begin my journey. From that point on, I never looked back and I keep pushing forward by leaps and bounds. Read more>>

Caitlin Evanson: Musician

I just knew I had something else to give, in the music realm- to really help people. To tap into the healing power of music. I wanted to do something like “music therapy”, where it’s about helping others, rather than being on a stage, for myself. Read more>>

LANISA WILLIAMS: Coffee Educator & Trainer

My thought process behind starting my own business was to create a space where everyone is welcome to learn and enjoy coffee. In 2019, after being denied information and passed over for not one but two promotions. (which I was told I was getting). I had to take a step back and reevaluate what I wanted out of life. No one should be denied information or the opportunity to grow. Read more>>

Christine Ryan: Recovery Trainer & Massage Therapist

Starting a business, for me, has, at least partially, been about being my own boss. “Be your own boss”–it sounds so cliche and it’s definitely not a unique motivation. It’s undoubtedly is the primary driving factor when most people want to go out on their own. But there is definitely a reason why that goal is so common. Being able to push a business forward yourself, while absolutely being more difficult and prone to failure than simply being an employee, gives you the freedom to mold the business and develop it as you see fit. Read more>>

Lisset Verde: Owner-Wuitusu

Three years ago I was laid off from a job I loved, I was good at, and I was recognized for. That got me thinking that no matter how good one is at her job, we are always at the mercy of corporate and their decisions. That gave me the push to start my own business. Read more>>

Danit Benito, Lori Kassar, Kristen Uppal: PixieLane Founders

The three of us came from very different backgrounds and work experiences, but share an aligned vision for why we launched PixieLane. We are all women who have worked our entire lives, and once we became mothers, we understood the need for work-life balance more than ever. Raising young children, while working, makes you really evaluate what is important. Read more>>

Elayna Speight: Graphic Designer & Artist

When I first started my business on paper, meaning I registered my name and etc with the state of MD it was 2011 and I was in-between jobs. I had graduated from college the year prior and my first internship/first job just ended. I was already doing a lot of graphic design jobs on the side; wedding programs, logos, church flyers and etc and I guess I figured I needed to legitimize myself. Read more>>

Kym Jackson: Actress, Author, Speaker, Founder

When I came to Hollywood, new actors would ask almost anyone they met ‘what to do’ and ‘how to get started’. After a couple of years, I started working as an actress, but also in production, development, casting, distribution, post-production and screenwriting. It soon became clear that the information gap between working industry members and new actors needed to be bridged. Read more>>

Joshua Beever: Creative Director

My thought process behind starting my own brand was that there needs to be more brands creating quality pieces the right way, without sacrificing methods of sustainability. I knew by creating my own brand it would allow me to direct the whole process of how things are ran from the thought of, to production, to the promotion of the garments. Read more>>

Jenny Stiven: Consultant, Digital Marketing Strategy & Audience Development

In 2004, I had been working full-time on the Agency side in Digital Marketing & Content for over 10 years. I had started in TV Production in the late 80’s, stumbled into Digital Content and Production by accident in the early 90’s, fell in love with the “Wild West” of it all, and had been playing in digital ever since. But I had always thought I had to be at a production company or studio or agency (leftover old school Film & TV School thinking!). Read more>>

SHARON DOZIER: Co-Owner of Herbal Recharge

When we first started Herbal Recharge, We were both employed with IRS and one was a stay home Mom, the shut down caught us off guard, we were determined not to get caught without a back up plan again. We wanted help women see their greatness in themselves and understand that taking control of the around you can completely shift your life. Read more>>

Lauren Triplett: Founder & Marketing Strategist

Starting my own business was not an easy decision. Initially, I wanted to just get as much real-world marketing experience as I could after I finished my MBA. The only companies that were willing to give me a chance were local LA non-profit organizations. It was a rewarding experience that gave me what I wanted (marketing experience) and something so much more: new meaning to my skillset. Read more>>

Javonne Sanders: Business Owner

The thought process behind starting my own business was I needed something different in my life and I needed to create change. I realized every 5 years I get this sick feeling in my stomach to get fired because there was no growth or purpose in what I was doing in the occupation at that time. So I decided to do something different for myself and the community. Read more>>

Evelyn Peña: President/CEO

Although I wasn’t the one who started our organization, Deaf Latinos y Familias, I was blessed and trusted to continue and carry on our mission. Our thought process is to continue to support Latinx families who are raising Deaf, Hard of Hearing and non verbal children by providing them with resources and teach them American Sign Language in their native language, Spanish, all free of charge. Read more>>

Jon Kaplan: Music Mixer, Producer and Composer

Without ever being directly told this, it became apparent early in my life through looking at those that inspired me, my father included, that the best investment you can make is in yourself. No one values your skill and work effort more than you do. Read more>>

Tyler Park: Gallerist

My main thought process during the early stages of starting my business was that if I can make through this with everything going on, all the uncertainties, and difficulties of 2020 that I will be better suited to overcome other obstacles in the future. Read more>>