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 Buuck | Founder and Executive Director of CASS Housing

In 2012 the State of Indiana changed how they provide funding for people with intellectual disabilities. Before this time, families needed to wait about 10 years before their child could receive funding to move into a 24/7 residential setting. One family I knew waited 27 years due to a mishap involving lost paperwork. In 2012, the entire system changed. Read more>>

Catherine Elhoffer | Designer & CEO

When I was looking for clothes for my body I was frustrated by what was available. I was too big for straight sizes in most stores but too small for most plus size stores (plus the clothes in plus stores were always hideous). I’ve sewn for years and decided to start making my own clothes to stop being so upset at stores. I also am a huge geek and wanted fashion that was booth geeky and flattering for me, and my friends wanted stuff too. Read more>>

Antonio Cortez Appling | Space Creator | Educator | Restauraunteur | Poet

I heard about an opportunity to take over a restaurant that was moving to a bigger location and that the previous owner was not taking anything with him. This seemed like a fantastic en road for someone that had no experience in restaurant ownership. Also, the place was pretty popular so I know people would recognize the location and associate it with good things. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up and just scary enough to make sense. Read more>>

Amber Lloyd | Nail technician

It was never intended for the public. I was feed up with the nail shops and I thought to go for it and learn to become a nail technician. Once i was ready to be 10 toes down with the commitment I took the necessary step to become a nail tech and own my own business. Read more>>

The Kinswomen | Founders of The Kinswomen

We started Kinswomen as a podcast in 2019 in order to have conversations about bridging the gaps between people of color and white people. We expanded Kinswomen as a consulting business when so many people reached out about racial issues they were dealing within their environments and companies. There was a gap that needed to be closed: a more interpersonal approach to a subject as heavy as racism. Read more>>

Eric Lee | Owner of Vintage Hype

After many years of working for different people, I grew tired of having someone always above me. I was in the military for the past 4 years, and I learned a lot of different skill sets that helped me mature and see life differently. I think being in the military made me want to start my own business even more, because I hated how ignorant some supervisors and leadership was to the lower enlisted men. I also have this philosophy in life that, I would rather stress when I’m younger in life than when I’m older. Read more>>

Alejandro Chavez | Bar Manager and Creative Solutions Director

I have always had the dream of being my own boss. My idea lived in my mind for a long time before I had the courage to invest in myself and take that risk. During 2020 lockdowns, I had much more time, and a lot less income coming in because of the situation world wide. This sparked the fire to look for alternative sources of income, being that my day job was affected. With this extra pressure I was driven to finally start my own business, ( which is still a work in progress) BUT none the less, starting was the hardest part for me. Completely worth it though. Read more>>

Alexandre Berenger | Entrepreneur & Chef

As a kid I would always find ways to make money. From selling lemonade in front of my father’s bed & breakfast place in France, to buying toys in America when I would go visit and selling them back in France to the kids in my school. The entrepreneur in me was always there. As I got older I realized that I wanted my own business in the restaurant/hospitality industry, I wanted to own business and be my own boss on my own terms. It took a bit of time in my early 20s to even begin the process to that step. Read more>>

Catherine Monroe | Interior Designer & Business Owner

I am an Interior Designer and an avid collector of many things. Among them, I have collected vintage crystal stemware and china for many years. During COVID, I began to amass collections of vintage china with the intension of being able to mix and match the patterns. I found that there are many of these gorgeous patterns all over the country that are as beautiful, if not more beautiful than anything produced now. I became convinced that I could create a company where people could purchase unique, one of a kind, carefully curated sets of tabletop. I believe there is enough “stuff” in this world, it is morally responsible to buy and recirculate what already exists and it most certainly doesn’t mean we need to compromise elegance and charm. Read more>>

Quadir Moore | Photographer & Videographer

My thought process behind starting my business was really simple at the time. I had a small new film camera (Nikon F2) and I was really infatuated with the process of developing film and actually being able to see my work come out as a physical memory. Something about the finished rolls of film and having that as a memory forever was really impactful for me. I found myself capturing family members before my move over to LA and to have those rolls with me really gives me a sense of comfort. As I started to really learn more about cameras, I began shooting friends and from there the creative floodgates began to open back up or me, leading up to the filing of my LLC this past February. Read more>>

Nicole Daddona | Filmmaker, Comedian, Artist & Business Owner

I never imagined myself working a 9-5 job in a corporate office as a kid. I always wanted to do something creative and be my own boss. It was a big dream of my parents for me to go to college and graduate since neither of them had, but I found college and picking a major that would lead to a “professional position” very limiting. I wound up working a corporate job for a short time out of college because that’s what everyone was saying I needed to do. When I realized that definitely wasn’t for me, I wound up doing tons of odd jobs to make ends meet and it was such a hustle getting me nowhere. Read more>>

Quyknokey Dixon | Boutique Owner

My thought process behind starting my own business – was to start a business to where I could leave behind for my daughter creating generational wealth. I noticed that others loved/admired the way I’d dress my daughter; asking where did I get her outfits. I had already been thinking of an idea of the kind of business to start for my daughter, so I decided to start selling children’s clothes. Read more>>

Teka Martin | Animal Behaviorist

Through countless hours of personal experience and literally thousands of satisfied clients, I have discovered that the missing link between human and animal communication is a lack of emotional and psychological understanding. Simply put, people just don’t know how to handle their pet’s emotions and often end up rewarding the very behavior they are trying to change because they don’t understand how their pet’s mind works. Read more>>

Merissa V. Grayson, Esq. | Lawyer. Author. Speaker. Consultant.

To have freedom. That’s always been the most important thing to me. Freedom in all aspects: freedom to create my own schedule and actually be available for things that matter to me the post, creative freedom, freedom to select the clients I work with, freedom to focus on my purpose and only do what I’m called to do, and of course financial freedom. Read more>>

Alex Solca | Photographer

I wanted to find a job I would enjoy and would make me happy. I also wanted to be my own boss and work with nice people. Money was’t certainly my motivator.
I was driven by having fun and improving my craft. Read more>>

Dustin Treinen | Vegan Apparel Designer & Musician

I lived in Nebraska until 2011 and at that point, vegan or even vegetarian was more or less non-existent. I did a lot of touring in a couple of metal bands in the 2000’s and that was about the only place I’d encounter vegans – through the metal/hardcore scene in bigger cities. For years I thought that it primarily existed as an underground movement adjacent to punk and metal scene. Once I moved to Los Angeles I discovered that vegan restaurants exist! I couldn’t believe how prominent the movement really was! Read more>>

Jennifer Hronek | Event and Wedding Planner

My love of planning weddings and events comes from a zeal for creating opportunities for friends to meet, have fun, and connect. Even from a young age, I was fascinated by experiences that created community – whether it was attending a performance, traveling, or gathering to celebrate. I love bringing people together and watching the magic transpire between them. Read more>>

Bec Doyle | Editor-In Chief, Model & Actress

The inception of the magazine came about early on during the pandemic. As a model and actress I found myself in a position, like many people, with no work and a lot of time on my hands. A socially distanced shoot out in the desert with my close friend and celebrity photographer, Glenn Nutley, initially sparked my idea for M. Citizen Magazine. Read more>>

Jennifer Campbell | Self Taught Chef & Content Creator

I’m allowing God to guide me through this process. Praying for direction has gotten me where I am today. Read more>>

Kira Parris-Moore | Author/Publisher/Licensed Therapist

I have always wanted to start my own business. For 10+years, I tried to think of business ideas but never could come up with anything. I so badly wanted to be on Shark Tank and pitch my business to the team. Well, years went by in Corporate America and my dream slowly faded. Read more>>

Haley & Andres Valenzuela | Owners of Solo Brew & Roasters

We love coffee; we would go around and visit local coffee shops in the Bay Area, we would brew some of our favorite coffee shops’ beans at home, and we began to experiment with roasting our own beans so the love for coffee was the driving force behind the decision. It was always more of a thought though, but because we were living in the Bay it was really hard to see family and that began to wear on us. We began to plan to move closer to family, so when we finally moved instead of looking for “traditional” work we made the leap to start our business. It has been the best decision we have made. Read more>>

Jerry Gibson Jr | Ruthless Killa Records Owner/CEO

I wanted to be able to control my own destiny and every aspect of my musical career and also be able to move freely within the industry. With doing business this way it also gives my artists a voice that will be heard and the freedom to be the type of artist they want to be in their own vision. Read more>>

Dallas Paterson | Artist & Designer

For the last 10 years, I’ve made a living as a freelance graphic designer for individual and corporate clients in LA. I’m a designer by trade, but an artist at heart. I worked on projects for world-famous brands in entertainment, took long, ear-popping elevator rides in multiple corporate studios, and met tons of creative professionals who graciously provided me with opportunities to flourish. As time passed, I felt myself hitting a creative ceiling in my current trajectory. Read more>>

Cara Natterson | pediatrician, writer, educator, founder

I am a pediatrician by training, who morphed into a writer almost by accident. I write parenting books and books for kids in middle and high school, but they all converge around one big theme: puberty. As I got deeper and deeper into that world – and as my own kids went through it – I found myself wondering why there wasn’t a company out there that made things specifically for kids whose bodies and brains were transforming? How was it possible that no one was aiming to make puberty comfortable, literally? So that’s why I started OOMLA – which stands for Order of Magnitude, Los Angeles. Because everyone grows by an order of magnitude that’s right for them. Felt like a doctor/writer/puberty expert could help. Read more>>

Shane Butler | Artist / Musician / Business Owner

It happened very naturally. I actually never planned to start a business. I was on tour with my band pretty consistently in my early to mid-twenties and I wanted to find a way to connect with friends back home. So, I just started to make these little drawings of the things that they loved / reminded me of them. Read more>>

Siri Lorece | Urban Farmer, Singer/Musician, Registered Yoga Teacher

I have spent adulthood utilizing my natural talents and learned skills as an influence on my career choices. Having been raised primarily my a single mom, I learned early on to be adaptable and resourceful with my time and talents. Upon cultivating Creative Arts Farm, my goal from the beginning has been to continue utilizing my natural talents and learned skills to help support familial and community wellness with the very things that add to my personal family wellbeing – music, food, and movement. Our mission Sowing Seeds of Wellness through Music, Farming, and Yoga is intended to unify communities by healing from the ground up – from the inside out. Our family is passionate about raising awareness of sustainable living in an urban environment, while assisting others in their holistic wellness goals. Read more>>

Christa Norman | Fine Artist

I didn’t realize I was starting one. Ever since I was 17 all I wanted to do was be a photographer. All along the way, even throughout my fine art program, no one mentioned even one time that if I wanted to be a photographer there was a very high likelihood that I would also be running a business. After graduating, and a year into full-time wedding photography, the realization dawned on me – I was running a business?! Read more>>

Rickie Dewayne | Cosmetologist & Custom Wig Maker

I honestly didn’t have a thought process behind starting my own business because I never looked at myself becoming a cosmetologist as me being my own business. I knew I would wanted to work for myself but I’d always looked at being a Hairstylist as working in a salon under someone else’s name being part of a team. It took a few years in the industry to realize that I could build my own brand as myself. Read more>>

Amy Hui | Personal Shopper/Stylist, Yoga Instructor, Founder of Fit and Flair, LLC, Sunset Flow, Inner Outer Beauty and Ritual Adornments

This is a loaded question! It took many years of seeing what I brought to the table for the companies I have worked for, and owning who I was and how much more I am worth than what I was being paid for. The stability of the income, and working in a structure environment was safe, but no longer rewarding. Making good money was no longer enough. I felt there was something my clients kept returning to me for, and it wasn’t just the products I was selling. Read more>>

brandi stephens | fitness trainer

I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and to help others, so those were to two important factors that played a huge role in starting my own business. I’m confident in knowing i can put all my hard work and dedication into something i’m skilled at and keep educating myself on, which is health and fitness. i wanted my business to reflect me and what i am put on this world to do. i also knew it was going to take daily sacrifices to get to the point of success. i aint ever scared of a challenge! Read more>>

Barbara Lamperti | YT Creator & Food Blogger

A good idea that also fulfills a common need can transform into a blooming business with the help of passion, patience and a bit of luck. That’s how BuonaPappa was born. Ten years ago my Luca was around 6 months of age and, as a first time mom, I had to learn everything about baby food, introducing solids, baby meals schedule and baby nutrition. It was a totally new world for me. Read more>>

Will Overman | Singer-Songwriter

There wasn’t one really, I mean there was, but it came in time. Music is unique when it comes to other small business because generally the business part is an afterthought, at least it was for me. I got into music for the love of it and never even thought about making it a business until I was in it for at least a few years. However, I will say that until you realize it’s a business you’ll never make a sustainable career out of it. There are plenty of insanely talented musicians with zero idea how to make a living out of it. Read more>>

Ramona Ferreyra | Social Entrepreneur and Founder, Ojala Threads Inc.

I found myself dealing with a chronic illness that made traditional employment impossible. I knew I had to create a revenue stream for myself as I navigated financial insecurity and health challenges. I tried to tap into existing businesses, skin care sales, pyramid models etc. None of these spoke to my heart and I failed at them fabulously. Read more>>

Edward Garren | Psychotherapist focusing on Family Systems, Cultural & Racial Justice perspectives as they relate to healing of trauma.

I had always worked for myself on the side. When I was younger, both in college and between “regular” jobs, I did repair work to make extra money. I know how to fix cars, major appliances, can do some plumbing, electrical, and carpentry. But I never thought about working for myself full-time as a therapist until I hit my early 50s and realized that I was virtually unemployable. Read more>>

Heidi Hornbacher | Writer/Director & Co-Founder PageCraft Writing

Aside from the fact I just don’t like working for others, we saw a gap in the market. My husband and I both graduated from UCLA’s screenwriting program and thought we were prepared to be working writers. In some senses we were but we realized churning a script out quickly isn’t the only skill set needed. Read more>>

Eyal Resh | Filmmaker

I wanted to share with people the way I see the world, and to do it by using filmmaking. Read more>>

Kimberly Maiden | Founder

I started Maiden Community as a way for businesses to survive during the pandemic. It started with a simple idea that through community support we can come together and each contribute to keep that business alive and thriving. I wanted members to get to know who these owners were and really learn their stories and get to the heart of their business. Read more>>

Chelsea Ward | Artist, Author, Retreat Host, and Cat Lady

When I first started my Etsy shop back in 2011, I was 6 months out of college and living/working in Italy. The only listing I had available was a “Custom Children’s Book.” To my surprise, someone in Nova Scotia actually ordered one up. The whole process of sourcing supplies in Italy and shipping to another country was addicting, and solidified in my mind that I could MAKE a business from scratch and take it anywhere with me. Read more>>

Cody Renegar | Hairstylist to the stars, author and artist

I have always loved my freedom and having my own business takes for advantage of that. Read more>>

Brandi Perse | Animal rescue

After having both my boys, I really felt the need to have something that was my own. Something that allowed me to stay independent and strong within myself. I also wanted to be able to give back in some way. Working with abused and neglected animals has given me huge purpose. It shaped who I was and I truly feel it led me to my true self. There is no way to describe the joy and pride I feel when I see defeated animals end up flourishing and being treated with the love and compassion they deserve. Read more>>