The first step to starting a business is deciding to start a business. They say the first step is the hardest and in our experience this is especially true when it comes to starting a business. Getting over the mental roadblocks can be tough, often harder to overcome than the challenges you’ll face once you actually start the business. Fellow entrepreneurs share their thoughts below.

Terrell Garnett | Podcast & Life Coach

Honestly, this just came to me. When starting my podcast, “Create Your Own Story,” I never thought it would turn into the podcast it is now. I always knew I wanted to help people, which is why I became a Certified Life Coach. So when transitioning the podcast to be more of a self-help podcast, I knew that just like me, we all have a story, and sometimes we cannot tell that story. So that is the beauty of my podcast. That is what sets my podcast apart from any other. I allow anyone on it to tell their story. Read more>>

Samantha Abrams | Professional Organizer, Owner of Clean N’ Done!

It came from necessity. I was newly divorced, newly sober with two small children to care for… My youngest daughter with Autism.. so I needed to start some kind of business…. As finances pressed in, I had to let my house cleaner go but I thought, “House Cleaning.. that’s a low to no start up cost type of company.” I offered Maria, my ex-cleaner, to work for a company I might form. She flaked but I did form the company and started cleaning myself. Eventually, I expanded my services. Today I offer Professional Organizing at about $250-$350 per hour per person. It took me 5 years to figure out how to make real money. Read more>>

Faviola Garcia | CEO and Creative

My thought process behind Femmesualidad was inspired by women showing themselves love on a daily basis regardless of her age, shape and sex. Being a Latina owned brand that promotes body positivity , we do not discriminate against any body type. We wanted to provide a safe space where women can be confident being Sexy! While promoting Women Empowerment and embracing her curves. Lingerie is classy. Its Feminine. Its Sexy. It’s her. Read more>>

Andrew Gomez | Designer, Outdoor Enthusiasts

Starting my own business has been perusing passion and creating solutions. For my EPIC venture it was the absence of a dedicated appeal brand that caters to the alternative outdoor enthusiasts. I’ve been mountain biking for many years and struggle to find T-shirt designs that represent my sport. I understand there’s logo tee’s I could purchase of my favorite biking brand, but few appeal brands dedicated to these outdoor communities. Living in California my entire life there’s been plenty of surf brands, but I think there’s a need for creative designs that represent the rest of us, designs we can wear to let people know who we are and what we’re about! Read more>>

Beth Chen | Founder of BethBlends.com

I’ve spent my entire life with a nut allergy but later in life had to remove grains and dairy for my overall health. Removing one item from your diet is a difficult change but can be done. But when it comes to baking if you remove wheat flour, you’re pretty much left with nut flour which I couldn’t eat. And when you then remove dairy, you can’t eat 99% of what is in the baking isle. Forget about prepackaged or convenience foods, they barely exist for some with these allergies. I remember thinking that I will never be able to enjoy baked goods or any type of bread again. I was sad but it was fine. For a little while. Then my son was born, and he also had to remove nuts and dairy from his diet. Read more>>

Neil Gogate | Chandler (Candle Making Entrepreneur & Marketing Professional

My wife and I had always talked about starting a small business on the side of our day jobs, but we could never think of something we wanted to do. Little did I expect that the inspiration would happen during COVID lockdown. She started making candles during quarantine as a hobby and to pass the time. Around the holidays, these candles became gifts for our friends and family and I saw how much enjoyment they got from the scents she chose. The more I saw her making these, the more I was intrigued. I never expected to like or appreciate it as an art form, but the process was relaxing and getting to discover new scents and fragrances started evoking memories of places I had been or allowed me to reminisce about the past. Read more>>

Asia Little | Writer, Humanitarian, Healer, Business Owner

To be completely honest, I am still in complete shock that I have started my own business, the past two years of my life have been very eye opening and changing for me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I went through a revelation and that has lead me here, although I am labeled as a business owner I see myself a part of a community, I want to feel connected with my costumers on a personal level, I want them to feel every ounce of love, healing, sorrow, sadness, happiness, strength and joy that I have experienced and transmuted into my products because My Journey Is Healing Shop is not focused on the destination but the journey back to self. Read more>>

Emily Holdorf | Registered Dietitian

The thought process and motivating factors behind starting my own business has really been ever-evolving. Initially, as I was completing my Master’s degree, I thought it would be fun to start a recipe blog. I’ve always loved being in the kitchen, experimenting with recipes, and putting my own twist on them. As I got into the recipe blogging world, I started to hone my food photography skills. This was a great source of creative pleasure for me and I take a lot of pride in the fact that I taught myself everything I know about photography and editing images. It was during this time that I realized I could actually make money from this – I secured paid partnerships with national brands and was finding myself go on sponsored trips. Read more>>

Chaquanzha Stephenson | Youth Activist & Entrepreneur

My thought process behind starting my own business was the ability to obtain time freedom. I have a ton of passion projects that I would love to work on, but I always had to exchange my time for money. Owning a business gives you flexibility and most importantly, you can control your income. My prayer was the ability to walk in my purpose without trading my lifestyle. #GodIsGood Read more>>

Kirsten K. Shockey | Author & Co-founder The Fermentation School

Honestly, as cliche as it sounds I want to do work that makes a better world. I am a writer, creator, and educator. Each of these roles feeds the others. As such I have spent nearly a decade traveling to teach people to ferment their food and connect with their food in new ways. For many years, I have wanted to offer online courses as a way to engage people that want to learn but may never be able to make it to a live event. The excuses of no time and not feeling comfortable in front of a camera instead of a live audience kept this from moving beyond a “someday” idea in my head. Read more>>

Mariah Williams | Chief Executive Officer, Maddy Bear Bakes

What’s funny about it is that we never really had the idea to start a business at all! Our mom is a teacher and we are students, as well as doing martial arts and cheer. We were happy with that life. We made cookies and shared them with the community just to give people a reason to smile and to try to get allergy-friendly treats to more kids who cannot afford them. People actually came to us asking to pay. At first, we would not accept payment. But as the cookies got more popular, we started to accept money because the cost to our mom was getting out of control. Once we started accepting money, Mom thought that we should go ahead and make it legal. So, we just kinda jumped in head-first, no plan. Our thought process has always been to increase the access to and affordability of allergy-friendly sweets. We just focus on that goal and, even though it is often overwhelming learning about business as we go, the support we’ve gotten from the team of people around us has made it manageable and so worth it! Read more>>

Claudia Rollin | Event Planner & Company Owner

When I began Harlow & Dahlia Events, my thought process was creating a luxury event planning company with an emphasis on distinctive design. Weddings and events are magical however what distinguishes a nice event/wedding from a “this is the best wedding we have ever been to” type moment is the details, the beauty of the design, the thought behind special one of a kind moments. I strived to create a company whose focus was crafting events that extracts our client’s personalities and vision onto the design pattern of the event. Read more>>

Nefertiti Mitchell | Director of Ghettoff’s Intimacy Consultations

Nefertiti Mitchell is a woman of many hats! I am a mother, an HR professional within the retail sector, and one of the few African American women entrepreneurs in the global adult toy market. I have been in a lifelong student of sensuality as a fundamental aspect of human and divine life. I combined my interest in sensuality to heal her own childhood sexual trauma, and knowledge of the retail industry, to establish my own business dedicated to Black love and sexual health. As a Chicago native, I chose the “Black Mecca” of Inglewood, CA to headquarter my company. My center of operations is inconspicuously located on one of the busiest intersections of the city and serves as a processing and shipping hub to her global clientele. The executive office suite also features a boutique-style showroom for consultations, VIP guests, and special events. Read more>>

Nik Hampshire | Model, Photographer, Videographer, Actor & Influencer

I personally just couldn’t abide allowing other people to dictate such a large amount of my life. When and where I had to be. The freedom to travel and work when and how I want has always been really important to me. I’ve always just strived to be as me as I possibly could while exploring and finding how I fit into the world around me and being stuck in a place working 5 days a week to put money into other peoples pockets and allow THEM the freedoms I wanted just never sat well with me. My freedom and creativity is worth more to me than a steady paycheck so I’ve been working for myself in one capacity or another for most of my life even when I had other jobs. The goal was always to work for myself so that I could be free to get the most out of this world and life as I possibly could! Read more>>

Marisa Zaremba | Baker & Artist

I think that uncertainty was a big factor in starting my own business. When the world was put on hold in March 2020, I found myself bunkered up in a trailer away from my family in the middle of the California desert. Little did I know during this strange time the concept of my small business would begin to blossom. My fear and creativity would be channeled into baking. All of my interests, values and talents were like ingredients and for the first time I started combining them together in the same bowl, creating Minns Baked Goods. In the preceding months of the first Covid-19 lockdown I was in overdrive mode, curating my own art show to culminate the past two years of art classes I was taking at a local community college. I had decided I didn’t want to pursue my degree in elementary teaching and the part time food service jobs were getting old. Read more>>

Milena Mortati | Artist & Founder Of CRE8

The deep desire and wish to build and belong to a tribe of like minded artists wanting to express their ideas, ideals and make a difference through the power of creativity,.. crossing boarders and bringing communities together by celebrating life through bold colors and unconventionality! Read more>>

Dime P | Music Artist, Creative Director, & Designer

How do I show other’s around me to believe in their dreams? That’s where it all began. My friends and I would always talk big about something, start it, execute it but then someone would lose the passion along the way. I would always question why? Why are you not passionate anymore? Why are you in a depressive state thinking you can’t do what you just did. You started it, now finish. But no, that went no where but in one ear and out the other. So I decided to take my passion, my drive and discipline to show the people around me what happens when you believe in your dreams. When you believe in yourself. When you apply consistency to action. Read more>>

Max Tepper | Early Childhood Music Specialist

After playing in a touring rock band for several years (The Natural History- writer of Spoon’s Don’t You Evah), I began working with young children as an assistant teacher at preschools and enrichment centers (My Gym-type places). I earned my degree in early childhood education and worked my way up to co- and lead teacher in the preschool classroom. After 7 years of being part of preschools, I found that I was missing a certain freedom that I experienced in The Natural History. I loved being with, teaching, and nurturing young children, so my work was to figure how to create a scenario that was a better fit. When I started Music with Max in 2012, I was combining my love of music and working as an early childhood educator with a more “freelance,” “independent contractor” lifestyle. I immediately knew this was my “home.”. In some ways, I’ve had to work a lot harder- hustling for clients, lots of cold calling (still an essential part of my job!)- but I’ve found the experience very rewarding. Read more>>

Joseph Kraft | Artist + Restauranteur

My wife was very hesitant to me opening a brick-and-mortar business in the city. She didn’t want to be rooted in city life long-term and ultimately had a heart set to plant our lives in the mountains. So, in regards to opening our restaurant, my thought process was along the lines of 1. If the business is successful, it could sell it in a few years to help finance the move to the mountains. 2. Keep the location and see if we are capable of running it remotely without us having to be involved in the day-to-day operations. 3. The assets we would have accumulated in the process of having our own business could always be packed up and used in whichever mountain town we moved to whilst subleasing the property we built up to another restauranteur. Read more>>

Charles Nwokolo aka Young Dick Tiger | 84’ Olympian, Former Pro Boxer, Coach and Owner of Tiger Boxing Gym

From age 13, when I switched from soccer to boxing, I always knew that boxing would inform the rest of my life. When I married my late wife, Patricia, we made a plan: I would continue my pro boxing career until age 41 and she would study to become a doctor and we would raise our children together. After my pro career I planned to open a boxing gym. But everything fell apart when she died suddenly of a brain aneurysm in 1997 at age 30. I was left all alone with my 11 year old son, CJ, while my younger son, Emeka, was in Nigeria. I was so devastated for 2 years that I had to leave boxing and just care for my son, who helped me to survive. One night, my wife came to me in a dream and told me to go back to what I knew: boxing. So I started to train people at a friend’s gym. And then one day while walking near our apartment in Hollywood, a psychic came outside and told me the woman behind me wanted me to talk with her. There was no one. So I knew it was my wife guiding me. Read more>>

Rick “Wind” Herrera and Alexandra Gutierrez “Spiritual Cloud” | Podcasters, Artists, Content Creators

The reason we began creating content as a team started with the Podcast. Rick was reaching out to a variety of Podcasts to interview him so he can put himself out there more and most of the time heard silent no’s. He then said wait I should start my own podcast. He told me about it and I jumped on board. Our Podcast came from the drive to create, not wait for someone else to open the door for us and more importantly highlight the everyday people like us. In society we glorify celebrities but we don’t really know them. We wanted to highlight our everyday people, their journeys, the challenges, successes, lessons and successes. We believe that when you want something you have to go after it. When you have faith, passion, perseverance, the drive and motivation to put in the work nothing can stop you, only you. Read more>>

Nancy and Mars Resendiz | Event Designer

Our thought process behind starting our own business, was that we didn’t want to continue working a 9-5. We wanted to embrace our creativity into something would would enjoy in the long run. Read more>>

Triple Play | Musical Trio

Ever since each of us have studied for years, graduated college with degrees in music performance, and traveled the world performing professionally, we have been forming our careers into combining the vast array of projects and ensembles we have collaborated with throughout. Our individual journeys inspired us to create our own businesses over the last 10 years. Triple Play was born out of the need to create new opportunities for us to share our talents in any way we could considering the circumstances of the pandemic. Artists have the ability to interpret what is currently happening in society by communicating their thoughts and emotions through their art as well as offering comfort during difficult times. Read more>>

Walther Adrianzen | CevicheStop Owner & Executive Chef

My goal has always been to make a Peruvian Fast Casual Franchise so I systemized my recipes for easy and fast reproduction. I want my restaurant to be a cook’s paradise. A place where the cooks are the stars of the show and can interact with the patrons. Talking with my friends while I cook. The employees to be seen as more than just a paycheck. I’ve worked at many places where the owners just care for their money, then the customer, then the location, and last the employees; the people who generate the money. I want to treat my coworkers with respect, pay them on time and fairly, offer them benefits for themselves and their families. The ultimate goal is to give each one of them the dream of owning their location. I’m proud to say I have invested in a team of lawyers, human resources, accountants, marketing, and more for the benefit of the workers. If they work happily, they cook with love, and that is my secret ingredient. Read more>>

Christine Andranian Sherry | Baker

I spent my twenties and early thirties working at a small hedge fund. It was a passion, but it was an incredibly good way to pay my bills. I enjoyed the work but several facets of Wall Street work weighed me (and my conscience) down. Around the time that my twin daughters were born the business I’d spent 11 years building ended up shrinking to a point that was no longer sustainable and I found myself making the complex choice to retire a bit earlier than I’d hoped, turning my attention and energy towards raising my kids. Fast forward a few years and I was planning and catering preschool kid parties with all the precision and vigor of an equity analyst. My kids’ friends’ family’s became my clients and I suddenly found myself running a catering and meal delivery company. Read more>>

Dr. Dotteanna Moore | Therapist & Spiritual Coach

As a former school psychologist, I provided over 13 years of therapy to children and families. During that time, I noticed that although traditional therapeutic practices were effective, my clients struggled to find their own identity and sense of purpose. Some people have trauma that consumes them and makes it difficult to become more than their human story. As I embarked on my own spiritual journey, I realized that people want to evolve and raise their vibration, but don’t always know how. I struggled with my own personal trauma and letting go of the old limited beliefs that stopped me from seeing beyond the reality I created. When I started my spiritual journey, I was buying so many tools and physical objects, but not doing the work to heal before stepping into more advanced spiritual practices. Read more>>

Susan Bowling | Recovery Advocate & Coach

It was a progression really. I had worked at an addiction treatment center for a few years, interviewing and assessing people’s needs and then referring them to treatment programs throughout Southern California. I would go on to help to establish a pilot program with the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Police Department responding to public intoxication arrests, going into the jail and speaking with every arrestee and offering them a bed in treatment. That project taught me a lot about the physiological needs of a person in active addiction. Meanwhile, I was getting a lot of calls from family members who had loved ones in jail who were arrested for drug-related crimes and were looking for someone to help. Read more>>

Sumiyah Mshaka | Founder/Owner, 722 Sweat Mvmt

I work full-time as a licensed clinical social worker. Most social workers I know–including my beloved mother–a side hustle. My side hustle from June 2013–March 2020 was teaching group fitness classes at a national gym chain three to six days per week. When the gyms shut down here in L.A. in March 2020, I had five permanent (weekly) classes and I often subbed additional classes when I had time. When the first quarantine shutdown occurred, my fellow instructors and I had no idea what was going on–we honestly thought everything would be back to normal in two weeks. Little did we know. On June 10, 2020, the gym laid off hundreds of group fitness instructors across the nation, including me. I was in shock for three days. Read more>>

Kenneth “The Phenomenal Hawk” Massey | Multimedia Creative Artist

Having a legacy to pass to my family has been in my thoughts most of my life. While working for other people, I also desired creative freedom to produce based on my dreams and visions. I wondered, how can I create enough resources to provide for me, my family, and five generations to come; while having creative freedom in all areas? So, three years ago, I wrote a list of my goals and one of them was to register my businesses as an LLC. I had it in my mind that I was capable of having a legitimate business of my own because I’ve seen it done by others. But I think in the back of my head I didn’t believe I could do it and I was blocking myself from taking the leap towards that specific goal. I would look around everywhere in the city of LA and get inspired by how many businesses have been established and all of them were receiving business from customers. Even the street vendors had legitimate businesses. Read more>>

Deb Stilson | Part Owner of Stilson Cellars

Honestly, there was not a fully developed thought process behind it, but rather a dream that we chose to follow. What started with a love of wine, and a yearning for a challenge of making our our own, turned it into Stilson Cellars. Read more>>

Daniel Prophete | Music Producer/Audio Engineer/Artist

I was working at different studios where the owner would charge a certain amount say ($50/hr) and would pay me $20/hr while I was the one doing all the work so I thought, why not open my own studio, grow my clientele and be my own boss. Read more>>

Adonica Shaw | Wingwomen Founder & CEO

Wingwomen was born out of a need to support women who wanted to be active participants in their own health. During the pandemic, I witnessed women from around the world actively participating in conversations around mental health, wellness, and their own health history more publically. I wanted to ensure that even have the pandemic ended that there was a safe place online for these conversations not only to continue but for women to meet other women, healthcare professionals, and physicians that would support their commitment to their personal health. Read more>>