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.

Halleemah Nash: Underrepresented Talent Specialist

As an entrepreneur I knew I had an opportunity to differentiate my business model based on what I hear from the students I’ve worked with over the last decade but in my full time roles have been restricted to accomplish. To take the leap during the pandemic is courageous for anyone so I salute folks who have done it also. I figured I would model betting on myself the same way that I ask companies to bet on young intern talent. Read more>>

Sam Hiegel: Resin Artist

This is such a whimsical question because the idea of starting my own business really came to life organically. I never set out to sell my work, but to create it at a time when I needed a little extra joy and connectivity with my artistic side. As a military family, we were stationed far away from our home and I took to painting and creating as a way to feel more connected to those places I missed and the people I love – specifically the ocean. Read more>>

Ashley Stuart: Fashion designer

Honestly, I just wanted something that was mine. I’ve been a model for some years and I got really tired of just being behind others and their vision. I wanted to test myself and my drive to actually kick start something that meant the world to me. Also, I’ve had body issues in the past and I always wanted to just have things that fit the right way and sometimes I wouldn’t get that. I decided it was just time to make whatever I wanted. Having your own business takes lots of drive. You’re your own boss, you’re the money that comes in, if you don’t move , the business doesn’t get off the floor. Read more>>

Jener DaSilva: Creator

My background is in acting and tv/film production and this seemed like the perfect way to merge two things that I loved to do. Read more>>

Bernice Sioson: Storyboard Artist & Online Shop Owner

Truthfully, it still doesn’t feel real to call what I have “my own business”- but I suppose that is what it is! I started my online shop because there were things I wanted to make both for myself and for other people to use and enjoy. I’ve been penpalling for over a decade now and I really really really love stationery and paper products.  Read more>>

Amber Mayfield: your local flower girl

The thought process behind deciding to start designsbyher was also deciding whether or not I was going to let fear dictate my future. I was extremely fearful and constantly doing the “what-ifs” in my head…”What if no one supports me? What if Fail? What if I don’t make any money?”. I eventually came to a crossroad and had to make a decision – If I was passionate enough and willing to bet on myself. I am so beyond grateful for all of those in my corner pushing me to start. Pushing me to continue (It can get really hard sometimes). Deciding to start my business has been a daily lesson but more so a joyous adventure. And I wouldn’t change one bit. Read more>>

William Tabanou: Sound Designer/Re-Recording Mixer

The reason I created my own business was primarily to make sure I could be in charge of both my career and family life, as well as to create a pathway to professional longevity. I have found over the years that maintaining a good balance in the entertainment business can be quite a struggle, but is achievable if you have your head on straight. Read more>>

Trevor Kowalski: Composer

Nostalgic, dream-like, hopeful, with a tinge of the bittersweet and mysterious. These elements are what I try to create as a modern classical composer, and that has been true since the start of my career. I never would’ve guessed it would lead to 100 million listens in 2 years. Read more>>

Mackenzie Palmer: Yoga and Pole Dance instructor

During the pandemic, I thought that it was a great opportunity to take my life and career back into my own hands. I lost my 9 to 5 corporate style job, a job I already did not like, a job I had been gearing up to leave. This just kind of pushed me towards that direction even quicker. It showed me how valuable time is and what I really wanted to be spending my time on.  Read more>>

Dan Sundstrom: Master Brewer & Owner

We [Dan and Joann] have always wanted to own our own business and have always had a passion for the hospitality industry. After a camping trip where a buddy of ours introduced us to some home-brew he had made, I [Dan] immediately fell in love. As soon as I got home I jumped right into learning how to home-brew. Read more>>

Todd Vande Hei: CEO and Founder, Stark

My thought process behind starting my own business came as a result of recognizing what I wanted didn’t exist. There were several personal issues I experienced which lead to that: I no longer trusted my General Practitioner to guide me toward better health; I recognized that my Orthopedist wanted to perform surgery on my shoulder which didn’t address the underlying problem; two well-known neurologists weren’t able to identify the cause of a cluster of grand mal seizures; Read more>>

Natalie Seagriff: Architect

I’m not sure if it was as much of a thought process as it was an inner knowing early on before I even began my career that I wanted to have my own business. Pair that with stubborn determination and valuing one’s freedom to steer the ship; I believe that is what eventually led to opening my own firm. I spent the early part of my career learning the ropes and working toward my license. I took a few years off to stay home with my children and as they grew into elementary school age, I knew that was the opportunity to take to start my own business. Read more>>

Robert Fulton: Professional Ballet Dancer & Business Major

Éclaireur was born out of a desire to help my friends and the ballet industry. Over the pandemic I chose not to be stagnant, and was driven to fill my time with purpose. The idea for Éclaireur came to me in 2019 while I was still in training to become a professional ballet dancer. Several of my classmates suddenly were cut from our training program, and had to scramble to audition last minute. Read more>>

Andy Petranek: Professional Life, Leadership & Relationship Coach

I was drawn to it, very early on. After 4 years as an officer in the USMC and then 4 years as a sales rep for a Fortune 500 company, I was tired of jobs that required me to conform to other people’s ways of being and thinking. I was ready to decide for myself how to operate in my life. And while I could do that, sort of, within the confines and structure of a big company, I’ve always been an “all in” person. Read more>>

Tamera Hill: Writer & Filmmaker

Starting my own business is what I was taught to do by my parents. My father owned his own janitorial service and my mother owned a clothing store. They both taught me very early the importance of owning my own business. That is rare in black families, especially mine because both of my parents came from very modest backgrounds. What gave them the fortitude to start their own businesses? They wanted better for themselves and for their children’s children. Read more>>

Aleksandr Vardanyan: Professional Photographer

My Idea of starting my own business is to share my skill with the world and make it a better place by offering my creative services to the rest of the world. Read more>>

Velma Sellars: Entrepreneur

I started going through a self awakening back in 2018. I started reading and praying a lot more. My relationship with God got stronger. I was reading about rich African history. The two together woke me out of a sleep I can’t describe. You will know when it happens to you. I wanted to share the feeling of knowing who you are. There is a bigger picture and you are more than capable to live up to it. I wanted to make clothes that had small messages on them to remind you. And look good doing it. Read more>>

Dani Renee’: Content Creator & Yoga Instructor

My thought process behind No Chill Zone was a progressive one. No Chill Zone has layers, it started off as an encouraging blog on Tumblr, then I transitioned it to a Youtube channel, and now it is a full service website that includes blog posts, Youtube videos and products for purchase. Read more>>

Emily Kay Sallach: Wedding and Event Planner

I have always had a passion for hospitality and serving others others. I am one of those people that really enjoyed waiting tables when I was younger. I was a Barista with Starbucks for many years, and loved brightening a person’s day by giving them the best cup of coffee to kick off their morning. As my family began to grow it became more difficult to work the hours needed for that industry. Read more>>

Lawyer Beaty: Bartender & CEO of DRINKS by InDisguise

When I started DRINKS by InDisguise, I only had one goal, and that was to create a way for people to feel good, including myself. I received my bartending license a week before the world shut down, due to  Covid-19. . Everything happened so fast. One thing, I was in Tucson, AZ trying to finish up my last semester, planning my graduating weekend. Next thing you know, I am packing up everything I had in Arizona and driving back home to Los Angeles, CA to finish school, remotely. Read more>>

Bryan Rone: Creative Professional

Aside from placing top priority on total independence with how fast to grow, to choosing the projects we get to work on, I started my business as an umbrella organization, a one-stop shop, for what me and my teams are known for in the entertainment industry: namely visual production, education, wardrobe styling, and choreography. Read more>>

Samira Stefanutto: CEO Bisa Cakes

The pandemic broke everyone’s routine, forcing a complete stop and rethink of what is important in our lives. It was about that time I missed not being able to jump on a plane to be with my grandma and experience the amazing things she loved doing for family and friends. Read more>>

Heather Allen: Founder of Crooners In Coffeeshops

Crooners In Coffeeshops was formed at a time in my life where I was feeling stuck, career-wise and in life in general. My spark had almost entirely dulled out because every time I thought about starting it, I convinced myself that it wasn’t “the right time.” Around that same time, I had been seeing articles and videos interviewing people on their deathbed on what they regretted most in their life. Read more>>

Kathryn Kim-Zahedi: Custom Artist

While working a corporate position in product line management, the things that made me want to start my own business were gaining more independence, making my own schedule, having more creative control, and more control of overall branding aspects. When shutdown due to Covid started, it allowed me to focus on building something from scratch since it put the fast pace of the outside world on pause. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel like I had a million errands to run every day and so many external factors distracting me from putting a plan to work. Read more>>

Nicole Mangi & Leah Sprecher: Broadway Music Educators | Producers | Content Creators

We had both found ourselves in Los Angeles after pursuing Broadway careers in New York City and were sort of ready for a new chapter in our lives. Nicole had spent an incredibly inspiring couple of years in the Broadway revival of Gypsy and Leah was fresh off a stint in the Groundlings Sunday Company. As long time friends, we decided to join forces to create something that combined all of our passions and skill sets and gave us more control over the trajectory of our careers. Read more>>

Coach Sheika-Ann Ambatali: Basketball Skills Trainer & Entrepreneur

When I thought of my business model, I thought about my mission and my vision as well as longevity and the meaning for the brand name I chose to use. When I came back from coaching from the Jr. NBA in India and the Dongguan Basketball School in China I had a new found love for this game of basketball. Read more>>

Alexander Klebanoff: Actor, Producer, Guitar Instructor

I am an actor, producer, and guitarist. Classic film and 60’s and 70’s rock have been an integral part of my life and creative inspiration since I was a kid. During the pandemic, a fellow actor friend and I executive produced and starred in a crime thriller movie titled The Decipio. The plot is as follows: After years of working undercover, an agent becomes unhinged as he discovers things aren’t as they seem. Read more>>

Nesha Lee: Founder and CEO

The process of starting Eumerika ( U-merika) was for the everyday woman, “Interchangeable woman”. As I am a really busy woman and wear many hats which in return are all different. I noticed how at times, I need to change my attire to take me through a days worth of business. Read more>>

Jason Tanzer: I do things. Sometimes they’re good.

I have always loved music and wanted to be a part of it. As I got older and the business of music became more interesting, I found myself frustrated that people were sharing music for free. I then turned my attention to professional outlets like becoming a hired gun, production shows, and cover bands.  Read more>>

Rachel Zeppa: Actor/ Model & Entrepreneur

I am in the process of launching two online businesses and both have been ideas that have slowly started to come to life over the past few months. With “Modern Karma Co.” I am creating a brand that is a new take on modern with our classic basics and handmade statement pieces.  Read more>>

Luca Severi: Film Director (and motorcycle rider !) between Los Angeles, Rome and Berlin

I didn’t always wanted to be a filmmaker. Or, at least, I didn’t know I wanted to be it until I found myself in the position to try to be a filmmaker and because I loved it, I wanted to learn everything about the film industry and those successful professionals I saw in front of me and possibly learn from that. And that’s when the hard part came in. Read more>>

Jemar Michael: Actor & Artist

I started my business Frenchwood Studios simply because I was tired of feeling all of the negativity the world has to offer. I felt myself and people around me becoming very dark. So I wanted to find a way to bring some life, joy, and color to my world, so I decided to make tie dye t shirts. Read more>>

Leah Eber: Wellness and Nutrition Coach & Fitness Trainer

When it comes to health, many people don’t even know where to begin. They are overwhelmed by what they see and what they read. There is so much information out there! I wanted to be able to help people solve their most pressing questions in regards to their: health, wellness and nutrition. I wanted to make a direct impact on people’s lives and help give them a solution that would address their needs. Read more>>

Whitney Brooks: CEO, Founder & Designer

The crazy thing is I didn’t go into this thinking I wanted to be a business owner. Owning a business was something that I thought about doing later in life; it was never part of my “2020 plan”. Of course, life always finds a way to go a bit different than you expect. Read more>>

Brian Mac Mahon: CEO and Founder of Expert DOJO

The story of Expert DOJO started approximately 6 years ago with an idea that 96% failure rate within early-stage entrepreneurs is not acceptable. We wanted to see if we can find out the reasons why so many technology entrepreneurs were failing at such high rates. So we opened up a space on the top of the Santa Monica shopping mall and we decided to turn it into a laboratory for early-stage startups. Read more>>

Christina DuBois: Acupuncturist & Yoga Instructor

Six years ago my sister asked me to teach a yoga class on her wedding morning. Her wedding venue was a compound in the Santa Cruz mountains, so friends and family were staying on the property. The class was under these big redwood trees and we laid out blankets for everyone to stretch, breathe, and start the day. It was a perfect start to a beautiful and important day filled with love & forever friendship. Read more>>

Heather Pink: CEO PinkDear LLC / Social Media Consultant

I was at my dream job… and miserable. I had grown up there, and learned so much but my managers were blocking the ceiling of my growth. I realized I wanted to go more into social media and I thought of a vision for social media, when I don’t think my superiors had the same vision. When I was job hunting for my next venture, I would hop between agencies and brands and felt like the jobs I was interviewing for weren’t going to fill my buckets.  Read more>>

Lisa Tran: CEO, Coach, Philanthropist, Nail Tech

My thought process behind starting my own business, to love what I do and influence the world in a positive way and to send a message to always live life above the bar. Not only did I want the monetary compensation but I wanted the freedom of owning my own business being in control of my own time and creating a legacy with a purpose Read more>>

Kaitlyn Marie: Small business owner & entrepreneur

I’ve always enjoyed being the boss for other companies, I realized it was because I want people working for me and not the other way around! Just like so many other people, I’d much rather work for myself than anyone else. I want the “work life balance” to be a legitimate thing and it can’t when working for someone else. Read more>>