Are you thinking about starting a business? If so, we think you’ll enjoy reading about how these seasoned entrepreneurs thought about the question when they were in your shoes.

Simon Renggli | Creative Direction, Graphic Design and Sculptures

I had always dreamed of starting my own business. I craved the creative freedom and flexibility that being your own boss allows. I wanted space to make my own art, but I knew I needed to acquire life experiences — to be humbled and to find my own voice and style — before I struck out on my own.
In my 20s, I worked at a few different creative agencies that didn’t afford me any extra time or energy for my own projects. Starting my own business allowed me to structure my day in a more balanced way — carving space to explore my own practice while making a living at the same time. Read more>>

DevRaj Patel | A People Person

I’m an avid daydreamer, which helps me be a visionary entrepreneur. In addition, the experiences I’ve encountered and the knowledge I’ve gained have allowed me to create Jivati. My thought process is always ongoing and it never stops. I continuously try to find new ways to optimize and gain a competitive advantage. There was a lot of research involved in figuring out how to differentiate Jivati from a saturated market. At home, I often create unique formulations by mixing distinctive ingredients to understand different flavor profiles and functionalities. Read more>>

Alex Winchell | Creator of Politics and War

When I started my business, I was 16 years old and had been working at a local restaurant for about a year. I had started as a busboy and been moved up to work in the kitchen as a line cook. Part of my job was scrubbing down the kitchen every night, which was pretty gross work. I remembered thinking to myself that I certainly didn’t want to be doing jobs like this my whole life, and it really motivated me to work harder on building my own business where I could do the type of work that I wanted to. I had dabbled in making web based games before, with a little success, but this time I was bound and determined to make something bigger and better than I had before. Read more>>

Chanookie Coit | Founder/CEO, NOOKS HOUSE

NOOKS HOUSE mission is to provide a safe and creative space where homeless youth between the ages of 16-24 can gain confidence and self awareness while overcoming adversity. We do this by engaging our participants in Hip Hop Music Wellness Workshops! Growing up in the Bronx, as a homeless youth myself and not having any family or resources was extremely hard. Like most homeless youth, due to shame and lack of understanding of my experience, I lacked the confidence to speak openly about what I was going through. I did, however, unknowingly at the time use writing and music as a form of wellness. I always knew music was healing, but was unable to fully understand how powerful it was until later in life. Read more>>

Raya Allen | Owner & Founder

I have always had a deep love for business from selling lemonade in the front yard during summer, to selling candy to my friends on the bus as early as the second grade. I started Ray of Hope Healing after undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, during this time I lost my hair and I began the journey to grow back healthy strong hair through powerful plant based solutions. Similar to the hair care line being created from my personal experience, I witnessed how common skin conditions were treated with harsh steroids and knew mother nature held the solution for common skin ailments as well. Through research inspired by Naturopathic medicine and holistic medicine, Ray of Hope Healing was created. My Grandmother was the kindest person I’ve ever known, when she passed away I rebranded Ray of Hope Healing in her honor and legacy and Petals for Jean was created. Read more>>

Kylie Miyamoto | Entrepreneur & Baker

I’ve always utilized cooking/baking as an outlet to express my love and gratitude towards others. So when I decided to start my cake business, it was towards the end of 2020. By then, I had plenty of time to think about what I missed and took for granted from a pre-COVID world. With social distancing guidelines set, I wanted to offer smaller cakes so that people didn’t need to be a part of a group to celebrate any occasion. That’s why our tagline is “creating moments to reconnect”. It gives what I do so much more meaning when I know that any cake that someone orders was made to remind someone that they are worth celebrating. Read more>>

Samantha Bearman | Entrepreneur & Comedian & Producer

When I reflect back on my thought process behind starting my own business, one phrase comes to mind, if not now when, if not me who, if they can do it why couldn’t I? I will also say I was flung into the opportunity of full entrepreneurship at the early stages of the pandemic when I was one of the many who was furloughed. I had myself a good cry, went to workout, called my best friend and decided, I didn’t know of a better time in my life to go all in on such a risky adventure. And yes, as confident as I am in my abilities to run my own business it is a risk, but the payout is greater than anything I’ve ever felt before. Read more>> 

OSO Sean | Music Producer, Artist, Songwriter

I got tired of working for other people. I worked security, I worked retail, I worked in property management, and leasing. It seemed like the road to my income matching my desired lifestyle would take too long to travel because of politics. I got my Bachelors Degree in Business Management thinking that a degree would earn me a higher wage. I was a wrong. I observed someone on my team without a degree receive a promotion I was pursuing, even after being complimented on how good of a job I did by management. I want my work, my faith, and my effort to determine my level of success. I don’t want a gatekeeper deciding how high I go up the ladder and how fast. I bet on myself. I am a leader. Those that know me confide and believe in me. I want to be an inspiration to them, and others in the world. I want to prove that you can create your own system, at your own pace, on your own terms. Read more>>

Marius & Shawna Gedgaudas | The SoK Company

. We started our business because we found that our daughter had unbelievably sensitive skin. Since she was a baby every bath caused her to break out in red blotches. After exhausting every store brand and home remedy we did what every exasperated parent does. We got on our phones and scoured the internet for answers. We had to research what was in the body wash and soaps we were using on her that may be causing this issue. Once we found out how many chemicals were in washes and soaps(along with watching a few documentaries on cancers caused by the things we put on our skin) we decided that we simply couldn’t trust anything we bought in stores. Read more>>

Tahira | Small business owner & Model

Well, I’m a perfectionist and have always been obsessed with my skin. I’ve always achieved for it to look and feel it’s best. It wasn’t until I became a freelance MUA that I learned what a true skincare regimen was and from there my love for skincare snowballed. After 1.5 years or so dedicated to my new obsession I realized that I was spending so much money on product and just decided to make my own. Why? 1) I love a good DIY and experimenting 2) At the time there weren’t many natural brands available with simple ingredients. I started by making body scrubs for myself and my family. Read more>>

Carolyn Freyer-Jones | Professional leadership coach

My thought process was, “I don’t know how to do this. Can I do this? Will I be able to do this?” I had a lot of thoughts, many of them fearful ones. Having my coach with me throughout was the key to me proceeding and seeing that I could do it, and I could do it well. I was not concerned about my ability to coach others, I knew I could do that, I had done that part-time for a while. Could I run a business doing it full time, and really make it work? Read more>>

Adrienne Lynn | SFX MakeUp Artist & Artist

There was a definite defining moment in my life where the idea of starting my own business was dreamt up. I had just gotten home from a really long work week and was feeling pretty unfulfilled in the sense of not having time to devote to the things that make me happy outside of work like getting involved with my community which is something I’ve always been a part of since Iwas young girl from planting trees, to working with vets/the homeless, women’s shelters, food banks, etc.. Iwork long hours as a SFX/MU Artist in the Film Industry and absolutely LOVE what I do for a living but I don’t get a lot of free time to do much else aside from that.. Read more>>

Katherine Oostman | Filmmaker

As a female filmmaker, I’ve spent a good chunk of my career trying to prove that my perspective is worthwhile — that I deserve a seat at the table. Through that journey, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some incredible female filmmakers doing the same thing — PAs, designers, directors, producers, grips, cinematographers, editors, composers, post production coordinators and everything in between. Read more>>

Chris Harbur | Fitness Trainer for Kids

I kept hearing stories about kids that were being bullied at recess or left out of games because they weren’t good at them, or were overweight, or awkward etc. I’m super sensitive to this kind of thing because I basically came home from middle school crying everyday (did anyone NOT cry everyday in middle school?) because the kids were awful to me. I called a Mom one day and told her if I could create a super fun, one on one, after school fitness + sports program specifically catered to kids who could use a confidence boost, would she commit to a weekly time spot? She said if I could get her kid excited to get outside and exercise she would make sure I would have more business than I could ever dream of. Read more>>

Joey Scher | Jewelry Designer / Arts Educator / Artist

I started Joey Shares in the beginning of 2019 after I decided to make some serious life changes in my personal and professional life. I graduated from school studying video and fiber arts and I was trying to distance myself from institutional art making. I wanted to a way back to crafts. To go back to craft after learning about capital “A” Art, meant that I would have to retreat to childhood. I had to embrace a style that was both flamboyant and saccharine. During the process of making my signature resin flower beads, I was thinking a lot about the symbolism of flowers and candy. Read more>>

Anthony & Janique Edwards | Anthony Edwards, Jr, CEO / Co-Founder | Janique Edwards, COO / Co-Founder

Our business started as a passion project. When we moved to Brooklyn, New York in 2016, starting EatOkra was a way for us to get to know more about the community we were living in. In a way, it was also our form of activism, through making a conscious effort to local Black-owned businesses and creating a platform for other people to do the same. Read more>>

Alex Sovoda | Editor in Chief, Enzo the Magazine.

There has been a few things in my life that have given me that, “What is this? You can do this? I can’t believe this exists,” feeling. Along with growing up with no direct influence or guide that wasn’t an already established and successful artist, I wanted (and still do want) to make things that give people that feeling that whatever idea they have is something worth trying. The more out of the box the better. While also being accessible personally. Read more>>

Marrin Costello | Jewelry Designer + Brand Architect

Regarding my jewelry company — I didn’t choose jewelry, jewelry chose me. I have been making jewelry for decades — since before the age of 10 — and the ‘brand,’ so to speak, was created organically over time. As I developed into a woman, and as my brand inadvertently took on an eponymous identity, it naturally grew with me. It wasn’t until I had 22 years of design experience and had dabbled in other career opportunities that I decided to go all in with the Marrin Costello brand in 2018. Read more>>

JOVANNI SOTO | FASHION STYLIST & DANCER

Starting a business is not easy. Not only is there a lot that goes into making a business successful but it also requires a tremendous amount of time that at first, I was not sure I was capable of managing. Aside from founding and operating FitsByJVNI, I have been a professional dancer for 14 years. I have gone on to share the stage with notable credits such as Paula Abdul, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Selena Gomez, and many more. With the demands of having to attend auditions, be on set, travel etc, I couldn’t imagine adding more to my plate. Read more>>

Justine F. / Christina L. Flores/ Lozada | Picnic Directors

We launched our business during the Pandemic. The idea was to create a gathering space where people could meet, connect, and try new things. *Picnics with a Purpose* Our sister company, Get Inspo, used to meet with non-profits, businesses, and children, but because indoor meetups were no longer an option, Inspo Meets was established. Our picnics serve as a source of inspiration. Our picnics slows us down and helps us feel a sense of peace with activities like Vision Board Picnics and Wellness Picnics that include mediation, yoga, and more. (Message us about personalizing your picnic!) Read more>>

Buckley Sampson | Image Consultant and Stylist for Actors

Being a working actor and also working in casting I saw something missing in how actors were presenting themselves at auditions and in headshots. Being a good actor was simply not enough. One needs to know their personal brand, and pay attention to what they were selling, and how to dress for that part. I saw so many actors simply not dressing for the audition whether it was commercial or a theatrical. I’ve always strived to bring my A-game in terms of wardrobe to audition opportunities and thus (thankfully!) booked A LOT of jobs. Read more>>

Lauren Fontein | The Artist Tree Founder

I started The Artist Tree brand with my co-founders Avi Kahan, Mitch Kahan and Aviv Halimi to highlight the synergy between the arts and cannabis. Our vision was to create a destination for cannabis exploration where visitors could consume cannabis while experiencing live music, comedy, and visual artwork from local artists. Throughout history, cannabis has inspired artists and enhanced our perceptions of art. Although The Artist Tree team has operated other dispensaries in California for over 13 years, we decided to develop The Artist Tree brand in 2018 to distinguish our West Hollywood retail and lounge locations from all existing cannabis businesses and to shatter public perceptions of cannabis. Read more>>

Robert Burcar | Artist and Art Instructor

Basically, my thought process of going into business for myself as an artist went from a place of being naive, practical, fearful and limited to a place of inspiration, possibility, passion, sharp focus and pure excitement. This thought process certainly didn’t happen overnight. Prior to going into business like so many naive college students, I think I was still in the process of finding my own artistic identity after art school. I had my drawing and painting skills pretty much intact by then but had very little knowledge at the time of the business aspects of how to go about selling my art or earning a living in the arts. Read more>>

Brittany Golden | Multimedia Entrepreneur

IGL Nails started organically. 2020 had everyone learning how to DIY at home and I was an avid customer at the nail shop. When the nail shops closed I taught myself how to do my own acrylics. I loved it so much that I was switching my nails out every 10 days which was damaging my nails. So I started to look into press- on nails at the local drug store and could never find a style or length that I liked. So I started making my own press-ons and my family, friends and IG followers loved them. Some even asked me to make them a custom set and so IGL Nails was born. Read more>>

French Bulldog Health Products | FRENCH BULLDOG HEALTH PRODUCTS

As a French bulldog owner for many years I know how important it is to provide the top quality care and ingredients in your French Bulldogs life. Our site provides you with french bulldog health products, including french bulldog wipes and shampoo to keep your bulldog living a long and healthy life. These specific products are targeted to prevent French bulldog health issues and French Bulldog health problems. Read more>>

Lindsay Merowitz | Lover and Creator of Tyed with Love

My business was born from a hobby and something I used as an outlet! During the summer 2019 I went to a birthday party for my sons friend and ended up helping the birthday girls mom with a tie dye event for the kids. I left the party wanting to create more, so I purchased a kit online and made my two kids some new pajamas. I posted them on social media and have never looked back! I have been creating pieces everyday since then! Read more>>

Matthew Glasgow | Woodworker & Musician

I liked the idea of being able to create items that were useful to others and would sell but, also keep my interest. I wanted to try and get away from the monotony of what work can be. Read more>>

Dr. Lourice Boutros | Optometrist

“See good in all things” – you can find this in bright neon lights when you first walk into See Clear’s optical shop. Of course we want you to be able to actually see but the play on words is bigger than what meets the eye. Given every situation, I truly believe there is something good to come of most situations. Even if we can’t always understand it or know it at the time, trust in the way things fall into place and they will. If you give something your all and keep at it with good intentions, the light at the end of the tunnel will only shine brighter. Read more>>

Serena Valentine | Executive Director of CORE Initiative & Diabetes Peer Educator

I wanted to find a way to help people that would greatly impact lives and help others to succeed. This came out of my own challenges…..my own health challenges. I have been living with Type 2 Diabetes for almost 18 yrs now. Most of my health challenges derive from a lack of knowledge & understanding of the illness that I was living with. Read more>>

Kevin Kim | CEO at mobile game startup Brave Turtles, Inc.

7 Years ago, I worked at a visual effects studio in Melbourne, Australia. I rented an ocean view apartment on St. Kilda Pier. The studio offered me a used bicycle, so I rode it to commute. One night on my way back home, I stopped my bike by the pier to sit on the rock to catch my breath and watch the night sea. I loved the cool breeze made by black waves, but soon I felt flooded by worries of my future. I am not so young (late thirties), divorced, and far from home (Los Angeles), with no savings and no plans for the future. From this night, sitting on the rock and watching the night ocean became my daily routine. Read more>>

Victoria Adams | Founder ,COCOLUXE BEAUTY

I launched COCOLUXE BEAUTY in 2012 because I took notice of the numerous women of color struggling to find clean, eco-friendly yet highly pigmented lip products that match their skin tones. There has always been a disparity when it comes to women of color in the beauty community. I noticed there weren’t many women of deeper complexion used in advertisements for most of the products that I purchased. This often led to questions of how my beauty fit into the industry. My goal is to provide a better buying experience for women of color by creating a brand that is not only inclusive but also luxurious. My brand is clean, eco-friendly and focuses on enhancing and highlighting one’s own natural beauty. Read more>>

Mike Pointer | Master Coach

When I first started doing commercials I was really successful at it in a short period of time. I started booking commercials within the first few months of moving to Hollywood. Because I was booking big national commercials, people were beginning to recognize me in public. At my church they would even comment on the commercials they had just seen me in that morning before the service. Then my Wife and I started booking commercials together. We booked 5 big national commercials as a Husband and Wife team. Read more>>

Josephine Adeoye | Mental Health Advocate, Influencer & Motivator

My thought process behind starting my own business was really contradicting. I was so worried about if people would support what I do. I feel as though my brand is unique from others given that it’s Christian based. However, I felt in my heart that I was called to do what I am doing today which is helping others besides myself while using the word of God: because truly we can’t get through life without God. Read more>>

Sarah Wang | Wedding Planner

My journey actually started on one sleepless night, where I was praying and meditating on His Words. I was pondering on the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. The story talks about this rich master gave his three servants each a few talents. When the master returned, two of the three servants traded the talents to gain double of the amount of what they originally had. The third servant hid the talent in the ground and returned the exact amount back to the master. The master was furious that the third servant didn’t do anything with the money and so he took his talents and gave them to the two servants who were smart about their portion. Read more>>

Aaron Kaplan | Music Producer, Composer, Session Musician

As a professional musician, I have to think like an entrepreneur in order to actually create a living from the work that I produce. My business is the culmination of the sound and vibe I bring to my musical productions and must represent that sonic identity as a brand. Read more>>

Nicole Fabian | Education Consultant & Intuitive

I have always been spiritually guided toward my chosen career paths. It was never a process of discovery, per se, but rather an innate knowing my entire life. “Nicole Fabian Consulting” was a calling akin to my calling toward the teaching profession at the age of 11. In the 6th grade, I already knew I wanted to be a Special Education teacher; it wasn’t a mere childhood wish or fantasy, but rather it was what I knew I had to pursue. Teaching for 20 years and working with students that struggle emotionally, behaviorally,academically, and socially has been an indescribable gift. Read more>>

Scott McCafferty | Proud father, husband and owner of Closet Solutions

After spending nearly 20 years running and growing businesses in the corporate world, I decided to pursue small business ownership so that I could enjoy the flexibility to build a business that reflects my personal values, treat customers with the respect they deserve, and be in charge of my own destiny. In the corporate world, I always felt challenged to sacrifice important things, such as customer service or long-term business health, in favor of short-term profits or goals. As a result, I’d never felt completely fulfilled in the corporate environment, and that created a level of discontent and stress that impacted my personal life negatively. Read more>>

Mike Willson | Producer, Audio Engineer, Drummer

I was initially motivated to open my own studio because I had such a terrible first recording experience as a young drummer. My high school band at the time decided to hire a producer that we knew personally and trusted with our music. He charged us an arm and a leg for a minimal amount of studio time and I was completely disappointed with the final product. When it came time to record with my next band, I decided to figure out how to engineer everything on my own and fell in love with the process. I produced my first record with that band at my parents house in Huntington Beach and ended up finding a commercial space to open our first studio later that year. Our first priority was to never let anybody have the same terrible recording experience that I first had and provide a comfortable space for artists to create. Read more>>

Shamika Lynch | Small Space Design Wizard

I left the corporate world about 5 years ago (very soon after entering it) because it just wasn’t a fit for me. It was a major risk, but as soon as I got a taste of what it was like to be an independent contractor and work the gig life, there was no turning back for me. I took all the odd jobs with a few slightly more stable jobs and learned everything I could. Looking at my resume, you’d be hard pressed to put me in a single category– that’s how I knew I was a creative. I’d always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but never believed in myself enough to take the chance on myself. Finally, in 2018, I got fed up with working for other people on their terms and decided to work on my own terms and start a business. It was scary, but if I didn’t take a chance on myself, I knew I’d always wonder “what if”. Read more>>