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.

Mosi Holmes | Recording Artist , Professional Dance , Designer

My thought process behind starting my business was a complex yet simple concept. In the beginning I was worry about finances and resources. The hardest part was the beginning because I had an idea where I wanted to be and what I want to accomplish but so many factors came into play when trying to problem solve. From learning about the actual business like getting my LLC and filing taxes and all the jazz AND THEN its the creative side. The marketing and getting your business out there. Last but certainly not least you have to have a dope product your selling. It was so much I had to learn and that I am still learning. Its fun though, I learn something new every day. Read more>>

Keren de Zwart | Small Business Owner & Lawyer

My story isn’t as magical as many other journeys of entrepreneurship. My business initially started out as even less than a side hustle–it was a thing I did to support friends and family who knew I was a business lawyer while I was working in the corporate world. Sometimes I didn’t even charge my “clients” to do work for them. But referrals starting coming in and it turned into a more legitimate side hustle by about 2016. I operated the business on the side of my full-time corporate job–while raising a toddler and a baby–until it became apparent that something had to give. The safe choice would have been to drop the side hustle and stick to the well-paying corporate gig, but by then I was butting up against the old-school mentality that I wasn’t ambitious if I operated within the time constraints that motherhood allowed. Specifically, the industry in which I worked was not flexible, and my career growth was stymied by the fact that my kids’ daycare hours required me to leave the office at 5:00 pm each day. Read more>>

Angela Lovell | Psychic and Co-Founder of

After working as a phone psychic and content creator for some of the largest companies in the world, I realized what the industry lacked most was authenticity. Despite recruiting real psychics, these companies remain deceitful in what they hope to accomplish: keep clients on the phone as long as possible. I was once told by Human Resources, “If these people had anyone else to call, they wouldn’t be calling you.” I’ve seen it all. Clients I’ve worked with have been ripped off after being told they suffered from ancestral curses, required aura cleansings, and even had evil attachments. My previous employers deliberately created an abusive relationship between psychic and client. So after working for several different companies and feeling disheartened by every one of them, I created my own. only offers whole bookings—no pay-per-minute emotional manipulation. Clients can search for exactly the sort of session they want, book it, and get the answers they need. Read more>>

Howard Clay | Writer & Director

Funny thing is, I came to Hollywood with no experience, no money, and no idea how to make it in the Film Industry. All I had was passion and a strong belief in myself. My thought process was simple, I felt that my African American culture needed proper representation in this industry, in front of and behind the camera, and it was time. And the best way to control the narrative was to create my own business. Here’s the problem. Over the years, there has only been a small collection of positive films for the culture. Can we truly say that’s enough? Can we truly say that the films that Hollywood produces represent us as a whole? The gap of proper representation in the movie industry in the presentation, staffing, and various depictions of minorities has gone on for way too long. While there has been immense progress since 2000, needless to say, traditional award ceremonies are still lacking in accurate minority representation. Read more>>

Clarissa Karunaratne | Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher | Founder of Sweat With Riss

I was a total type-A planner, I planned out my entire year in terms of the goals I wanted to achieve and by which months I’d achieve them by and up until last March, this had been the way I had lived most of my early adult life. I still consider myself to be type-A but now with more room for “allowing” – allowing life to unfold in front of me, set my goals but at the same time leave room to grow + pivot. I once read a quote, “the key to success is to start before you’re ready” and over the past year, this has deemed true in many ways. Before the pandemic, I had been working in social media for a fitness brand and teaching yoga at one of L.As most premier hot yoga studios. When the world began to close and the stay-at-home order was put in place, my first thoughts were “how can I ever take teaching class online?!” Well… one week later, I was playing loud music from my TV, hosting donation-based yoga and fitness classes to more than 50 people who had tuned in for class. Read more>>

Chef Beanz | Entrepreneur

My thought process behind starting my own business came from my desire to want to live an autonomous life. I learned that creating ways to add value to others would help me attract the abundance and prosperity necessary to set my family up for success. Read more>>

Ruben “MusicMan” Garcia | CEO

My thought process was to somehow have the ability to choose how I do and who I do business with, to have a high standard of service and remain honest and with integrity. As an employee in different fields such as Teaching, Music, Audio Engineering and Broadband, In each job I had, I was always put in a position where my integrity would be tested, where I had to choose between my Job security or my integrity, the answer was always my integrity comes first. Thats being said I had to leave the job behind. It was always an “Expensive” decision to make financially but nothing is worth more than your dignity and integrity. This is what ultimately lead me to start my business and I have not looked back since. Read more>>

Amy Leverton  Founder and Author of Denim Dudes

Funnily enough it was actually a bi-product of moving to Los Angeles. I launched my first book, Denim Dudes in LA in 2015 and on that trip decided that this was where I wanted to live. I was talking to an immigration lawyer about how to go about it and he suggested registering an LLC and starting a business out here. Based on my experience and expertise in denim I had the opportunity to apply for an O1 visa meaning I didn’t have to come out here attaching myself to a company, which would give me the freedom to work for whoever I wanted and stay as long as I liked. So essentially it was an immigration guy who actually gave me the impetuous!. Read more>>

Jon Rou | Photographer

I began selling my photography through a friend’s company that specializes in art for the home interior industry. Much to my surprise, my landscapes were popular and sold well. About five years ago, I branched out on my own and began selling directly online. Since my day job is mostly photographing people, I was really excited to try something new. This work has allowed me to travel and photograph some really beautiful places. I’m excited to get back on the road and find even more cool spots to shoot. Read more>>

Jimmy Chen | Father’s Factory Founder

When we became parents, we found that the toys our kids play with were overstimulating. Kids get bored with them easily. Most of the toys don’t allow children to think and imagine on their own, and they are designed to be consumed at a fast pace. However, the majority of them were made with plastic. When they got thrown out, they would end up in the landfill. This became a frustration for us when we selected toys for our girls. The toys out on the market were also not designed to aesthetically fit into your home. It was either we had to give up our space to fill with uncoordinated color toys or no toys at all! Because of this frustration, Jimmy often built toys with cardboard for the girls to play with. The most basic and unglorified toys spark their creativity and imagination. Over time, these cardboard toys had become the canvas the girls built their own play on. Seeing the many magical moments that his work bought to his family, Jimmy was inspired to spread joy with parents and kids around the world. He started to design toys that would bring families together and create memories that would last lifetimes. Read more>>

Jenna Stellar | Owner and Designer of STELLAR Moto Brand

I always knew I was going to start my own business while in Fashion Design school although it took me 20 years until I finally pulled it off. I always had my own aesthetics when it came to fashion let alone my motorcycle alter ego so after years of waiting for someone to make motorcycle gear for women that was actually cool and protective I decided to do it myself and it was my own accident that encouraged me to make haste. I felt if I needed protective gear specifically for fashion conscious women then other female motorcyclist would as well. Read more>>

Damien March | International Artist

It was a spur of the moment realization or epiphany that hitting my 40’s something was missing in my life. I had always been a creative person in my youth and achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree by the time I was 21, but only occasionally pursued it in the subsequent years. My mum having a stroke and Dad being diagnosed with dementia close together reinforced that life is very short. Everyone has god given talents in this world and we should use them, mine is painting. What started out as drawing and finding escapism through this medium developed into full on mixed media painting. I got great reception for my work through social media then had an exhibition. During this first solo exhibition since university I managed to sell out all work displayed. This was the catalyst for my thinking I can actually make money by doing what I love, the wheels were then in motion for my business. Read more>>

Audra Colino | Creative & Performance Artist

My business, KREEPSHOW, was created very organically. During quarantine, I began painting for fun, and soon a coworker of mine gifted me all her oil paints from art school when I told her I started delving into this craft. In the summer of 2020, my partner and I wanted to work on a creative project together, but due to COVID-19, we were forced to come up with something on our own. We pieced together both of our artistic sides and developed KREEPSHOW, which just launched at the end of February 2021 this year. I wanted to make KREEPSHOW very performance-based within our packaging, promotion, and the items we created. My partner and I have studied theatre for years, and wanted to incorporate theatrical elements to truly make our brand unique. Read more>>

Mike Robinson | Musician

I guess I have to substitute “business” for “project”, but the goal behind Food On Tour is to be a curated list for touring musicians to reference while they’re on the road for food and drinks. These are all places that I have been going to for years, sometimes a place I just found, or a place that was sent as a recommendation by friends that I think have great taste. The podcast component of the project was started during quarantine and I wanted it to be an escape for 30min to an hour while everyone was stuck home and waiting to get back out on the road. Hopefully it provides some sense of vicarious travel. Read more>>

Tall Order Productions | Production Company

We met each other on a little indie film in New Orleans in 2018 that we were both set electricians on. What started as an easy afternoon throwing up lightweight LEDs all of the sudden turned into an overnight of running gigantic HMI lights around on mambo combo stands in the rain saturated City Park–till 6 am the next day. After that 17 hour day, the bond was sealed and we realized there wasn’t much we couldn’t accomplish together. By the end of that year, we had realized a mutual passion for being more than just a part of the filmmaking process. We wanted to follow in the footsteps of the filmmakers and companies we admired and learned from, and create our own path to success. We filed our LLC, taking the name Mitchell had used since he was a ten-year-old making film any way he could, and Tall Order Productions was officially born. Read more>>

MM | Owner/Artist of MM Fabrications

For me personally it just happened, it was meant to be. I started working in the Special FX makeup world and the industry really didn’t take to me. I don’t have the personality to be around people all day and be able to fake like i’m enjoying it and such. I’m very serious about my art and my work and that monopolizes my mind. When I get started I was told that I wasn’t talented, That my work was “haunted house bullshit”, That i wasn’t pretty enough or social enough to make it in this industry so I set out alone. The beauty of being alone is that the only light you have to follow is your own mind. I stuck to it, i kept working at it, and im so glad i did. It’s what made me exactly who I am today. Starting my own business was a must. It was my calling. Read more>>

Calvin Lofton | Co-Founder | VGBootCamp

With my Production company (VGBootCamp) it all started with community. The Smash Bros. scene was tiny and my brother Matthew and I wanted to provide a service to help grow it. We had a shaky start, but when our Twitch and YouTube Channels blew up at the end of 2013 we were able to go full time and turn it into a real company. Read more>>

Ashley Lyle Williams | Strategist & Writer

I started my business to be able to solve for problems in the music industry around personal and professional development among creatives and business professionals. In addition, it was a way to be of service to the music community in a way I wasn’t able to previously because of job titles, industry politics, and company policies I had to adhere to accordingly. Read more>>

Rochelle Webb | Founder and CEO of Optimist Made

When I started Optimist Made, I knew I wanted to leave the world a better place than where I found it. I wanted to combine all of the things I love since I would be working on it 24/7, 365. I have had plenty of help in my life to get me to where I am today as a black woman part of a well-defined minority, and I wanted fewer people to feel that feeling of hopelessness until magically that helping hand comes along. I wanted to be proactive about helping the Underdog and discover them and scale them to much larger retailers that would allow them to realize the scale of their talent and create better lives for themselves. These makes have hustled long enough living hand to mouth, and it is about time that someone come along and recognizes their worth, and that person is me!. Read more>>

Tatiana von Slomski | Interior Enthusiast & owner of Billie Bloom

I owe the beginning of all things Billie Bloom to a few dear girlfriends who saw something in me before the seed of Billie Bloom had ever been planted in my own head. Growing up with a mom who appreciated the arts and finer things, even if we could never afford them and whose idea of a good time was taking me to open houses instead of preschool, helped me develop a taste for design at an early age. Without realizing it, I took for granted that not everyone can visualize a space and pull elements together in their head to bring their vision to fruition. Then, as my friends began to hit a stage in life where they were purchasing their first homes and trying to decorate on their own, I became quite popular (unlike in high school)! All the sudden, I became the go-to friend for everything décor-related! The actual process of starting my own business began with a life coach who helped me find balance in the form of finding a creative outlet. Read more>>

Josh Luellen | Artist, Actor, Gamer, Copyright Specialist.

I wanted to start something that can evolve beyond music. So I started BRMF as just a gaming clan tag and then it escalated to my label name that I use when I release music and I plan on producing my first visual project under the same name. I want it to be a place for small creators to show off their talents and not have to go through a label for big benefits. Read more>>

Zack Hosseini | Music Video & Commercial Director

Every field worth being a part of is competitive. That holds true for film, commercials, music videos. So when you’re one of the new kids on the block, the toughest thing is convincing people to trust you with their money to make things. A lot of it boils down to proving that you have interesting ideas, unique takes, a great visual pitch, et cetera, but even more of it comes down to what kind of projects you already have under your belt and who you know. So after moving from Atlanta to LA for USC film school, and entering into the most saturated film and TV market in the world without any of the connections I had in Atlanta, it became a question of how I could start making stuff right away and get my foot in the door as many places as possible. It was really important to me to start directing, and I realized the surest company that would hire me for directing jobs would be my own. So Chaos Theory came to be. Read more>>

Elaine Morrison | Founder of Elaine Wellness

I never set out to build a wellness brand but I had an idea that I just couldn’t get out of my mind. As a certified Pilates instructor, the journey that would completely transform my relationship to wellness and beauty began in 2013 when seemingly out of now where my health took a complete nosedive and I built it back up from within. I was burning the candle at both ends working six days a week teaching and managing two Pilates studios for a private club in Los Angeles. My symptoms began with a new pair of pants that wouldn’t zip up, even though nothing about my diet or fitness had changed. Next came the fatigue that wouldn’t go away even after ten hours of sleep. My skin lost its glow, becoming dry and lackluster and I developed Guttate psoriasis from my scalp to my ankles. Then, a chilling question from my hairstylist: “What’s going on with your hair? It’s breaking and falling out.” Desperate for answers I read Sara Gottfried’s “The Hormone Cure” and the lightbulb went on when she described my exact symptoms and their cause. Read more>>

Jenna Schoenefeld | Freelance Documentary Photographer

I was ready to take a risk, but I knew it would be a scary one. My thought process was to simultaneously do my research but also hit the ground running. I was moving to Los Angeles, a city with a lot of news, a lot of incredibly talented photographers, and also a lot of apartments with high rent. So I had to figure out my business. I had to adapt. I did some market research into who may hire the kind of photography I do- news publications, event planners, commercial brands with an interest in documentary style, businesses looking for portraits, etc. My thought process was to act smartly, diversify my clients, get some momentum going, and hopefully not mess up too much along the way. Read more>>

Lyndsi McGee | Leatherworker

I was finding these amazing bags from the 1970s in vintage shops around Los Angeles but they always seemed to suffer the same fate. A missing piece, a broken clasp or leather that had been neglected for far too long. Having grown up running around my grandfathers tack room, I was no stranger to leatherwork. After wearing and repairing a few bags past the point of no return, I eventually decided to try my hand at creating a bag from scratch and thus Mean Jean was born. Read more>>

Monica Jones | Owner and Creator

My thought process behind starting this business was never having to rely on another business or corporation. It’s hard planning for the future If alot of jobs are constantly hiring and firing…due to wages. I find it best to be able to rely on myself. Read more>>

Desmond Beristain | CEO & Co-Founder of Festiie

I wanted to take everything I had learned through the game of basketball and apply it to the world of startups. The hard work, sacrifice, vision, and attention to detail during each step of the journey. I vividly remember hearing how 9 out of every 10 startups failed and when I compared that statistic to the odds I had overcome in order to become a pro basketball player ( where 3 out of every 100 high school athletes go on to play college, and even less percentage of college athletes make it pro), I had a strong sense of confidence in pursuing this new venture. Although this would be considered my own business, I knew that the ultimate success of my mission would be based on team efforts, just like in basketball. So as long as I could draw the parallels between the business world and basketball, I could transform the world of startups into my new basketball court. Read more>>

Averjill Rookwood | Doula, Benefits Strategist and Founder

It was always my intention to be a doula and “somehow” make it work with my corporate career in benefits. My reasons for becoming a doula are vast and earnest in origin, all stemming from my calling to women’s and reproductive health since high school. If I am honest, somewhere deep down, I didn’t want to acknowledge that it was never going to work. There was no way I could be in an executive meeting with a team depending on me to persuade the powers that be to green light seven figure line item decisions or integral process changes all while being on call for a mother in labor. It wasn’t until Covid lay offs gave me the opportunity to dive deep into my passion for helping not just birthing people, but also their employers. My point of view, training and experience led me to prepare my business to expand in scope to fill the gaps that were widening in family benefits. Read more>>

Gabriel Barrera | Visual Artist, Mentor, Artivist

I always wanted to work for myself and practice social justice as a means to influence the art world. Having my own business allows me to practice my values in social justice through my art and practice. For me the two are inseparable and I don’t have to compromise my identity in order to make my artwork. Read more>>

Natalie Mal | Content Consultant & Yoga Instructor

I have always known that I wanted to start my own business. I come from a family that has endured many challenges together, and I can see clearly in hindsight how impactful it was for me to share with them the information and tools I learned to overcome my challenges. From my personal experiences, I know that these resources can mean life or death. I am very fortunate to have formed relationships with people in my life who have challenged me to go beyond what I think is possible. My most adventurous friend Candice got me all the way to Nepal to volunteer and to trek to Everest Base Camp with her nonprofit, Trek Relief. This experience opened my life in so many ways. This type of belief that she had in me is something that I know I get to pay forward. There are far too many incredible heart-centered people out there who are filled with knowledge and wisdom of self-development, health, and wellness that absolutely need to be shared, but they haven’t quite figured out how to share it all yet. Read more>>

Devin O’Bannon | Producer and Owner of Black Irish Entertainment LLC

They say “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life”. This quote holds a special place in my heart because I’ve always believed I’d be right where I am now. I’ve lived the 9-5 life and always felt like I was limited on my potential and often hit ceilings with zero room for growth. My thought process behind starting my business first began with desiring to find peace. Waking up to jobs that sucked the life out of me with a limited return, got old really quick, but you do what you have to do to survive. Right? I did what was need to make sure my family had food on the table and a roof over their heads, all while slowly but surely building the foundation for my dream job. Black Irish Entertainment LLC is the foundation for my passion to create music and build relationships with like-minded creatives while also making a solid and comfortable living doing what I love. Read more>>

Kyrsten Brannon | Founder of Kae Kosmetics

My thought process behind starting my own business was organized. I didn’t want Kae Kosmetics to be just another “beauty brand” I really made sure to take the necessary steps needed to launch my brand. Read more>>

Ivan Leon | Creative-Art Director

My thought process for starting iiEntertainment was inspired through my experiences as a Professional Dancer. Having full control of my time and creativity is very important to me, it allows me to produce art without any limitations. I knew starting iiEntertainment would allow me to collaborate with Artist that truly want to impact the world. With iiEntertainment we will continue to create incredible art by building the bridge between movement, fashion, and culture. Read more>>