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.

Car Owens | Writer, Producer

I started my own entertainment entity, Skymans Follies, in order to keep as much ownership of my creative content as possible. I’ve always been an independent producer on some level, (simply meaning I directly fund my own projects). I’m not exactly sure why that is, but it must have something do with failure of selling others on what I was trying to do. I guess I’m not a good salesman! I spent many years sculpting screenplays and then weakly pushed them out into the commercial market without luck. Now, I think I’ve grown into a space where I want to see a project from start to finish. Read more>>

Joyce Abou Chaaya | Owner, Float Coffeeshop

My husband Eddy and I met overseas and when we started thinking of spending the rest of our lives together we imagined a world where we would start our own family tradition of starting a mom and pop cafe at his hometown of Los Angeles. Then we came across Float. Read more>>

Camille Saltzman | I help women transition to different careers

Early 2020, I had a regular desk job at a company I had been with for about a year. I started thinking about what I wanted my next move to be – I was unhappy at the job for a while and knew I didn’t want to stay past the two year mark. I knew eventually I wanted to try having my own coaching business but felt like I had to be very methodical about it – first getting my coaching business, then saving a bit more, maybe trying part time coaching then full time coaching, etc. Pandemic hits, half the staff (aka some of the best people I’ve ever worked with) is furloughed and nothing feels certain anymore. Read more>>

Masha Titova | CEO & Founder of TITOV

As a production manager at Yeezy, I was working long hours traveling to manufacturing facilities. In the middle of a 109° day, wires digging in and boob sweat in all, I took off my bra at work. Embarrassed and annoyed I made it my mission to create lingerie that doesn’t distract me from my busy life. Read more>>

Stephanie Nicole Smith | Founder of Prism Botanics & Professional Makeup Artist

Years ago I developed a bit of an obsession with health and wellness and connected with the idea that beauty radiates from the inside out. A persons lifestyle can really been seen on their face and body. Over time, as I dialed in the best routines for my internal health, I saw the positive changes in my complexion. Topical products were always the icing on the cake – transforming good skin into great skin. Read more>>

Mary Perdew | Cannabis Expert, Model, Skincare Guru

I’ve been passionate about cannabis since I was 15! It really helped me negate through trauma and chaos and watching the plant helping so many others really fueled my passion to move forward educating people! Read more>>

Ricky Odbert | Chef and owner

I have always wanted to open my own restaurant, but the numbers were never appealing in a standard setting. This business model, due to its size and location, has given us the freedom to be creative without sacrificing the quality of what we do. Our priority becomes the experience we offer to the few that get a reservation rather than pushing people through it so we can be profitable. This also allows each of our team members to work 40 hours a week or less and still make a good living with the free time not often given in a fine dining restaurant. Read more>>

Caroline Marino & Jackie Hess | Co-Founders of The Backroom

Our process behind starting The Backroom was our love for fashion and a desire to provide customers, especially in the Boston area, with clothing and home decor that is timeless, one-of-a-kind, and sustainably sourced. When we met at 18, one of the things that really bonded our friendship was our experimental attitude towards fashion; we loved trying new styles, thrifting & repurposing pieces for ourselves and our friends, and especially, using our outfits as a way to express who we really are. Read more>>

Vlad Alecu | Founder & CEO at WiredVibe

WiredVibe was started to solve some of my problems, lack of focus, and proper task management. Based on my research, the concept of binaural beats seemed to help, but few studies have proven the expected results from listening to them. This planted the seed in my mind of building a music platform with an actual scientific process behind creating the tracks. Read more>>

Idania Vanessa Quiroz | Certified Public Accountant & Founder of IQ CPA

I’ve been in accounting for 15 years and know the ins and outs of the industry very well. Understanding how most accounting firms operate, I believed that I could contribute more to my clients by streamlining the process an offering more flexibility by going independent. I work with business entrepreneurs who have a passion for what they are building and partnering with them to help them achieve their goals fuels my passion and that’s why I started IQ CPA. Read more>>

Lizette Lopez | Psychotherapist, Feminist, Dodger Fan

From experience in the field, I know that obtaining low-cost services in Spanish is not an easy task. I wanted to create a space where Spanish speaking people and other people of color could obtain low-costs services with a therapists who is trained in trauma and also focuses on culture. Being a fully virtual company allows me to accommodate peoples busy schedules and makes services more accessible to those who have difficulties with transportation. With creating my own mental health business, I am able to run sessions in my own style and with less wait and obstacles for clients. Read more>>

Simon Timbers | Photographer

When I was 13 years old, my brother taught me how to use his Nikon d3300 camera. By 14, I had saved up enough to buy my own and went out and bought the exact same model. I quickly began to fall in love with taking photos. My only problem was that I did not have anyone that I knew who shared the same passion with me besides my brother. Eventually, I joined the photography club at my high school and began shooting with other photographers. Read more>>

Michelle Quirk | Run Coach & Pediatrician

Five years into working as a pediatric hospitalist, I found myself in a place of burnout without a clear direction forward in my medical career. I knew there was something more, but I wasn’t sure what that meant for me, and I thought about quitting clinical practice entirely. At that time, I was also spending a lot of time with myself as I trained for my first marathon. When I returned home from the race, I wanted to shout from the rooftops that everyone should go run 26 miles, and that it would change your life! I tried to get everyone I knew to start running, to start moving their bodies. I dove into reading about run physiology, began writing training plans for family and friends, and became a certified run coach through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). Read more>>

Lulu Olguin | Bandida Brand Owner & Designer

I’ve always thought there’s nothing better than doing what you love, that way there’s nothing to loose. I love drawing , painting, art & fashion . Street fashion is my style. I thought why not combine all my passions and make unique , custom made , hand painted fashion pieces that match my style & if they don’t sell I’ll just keep them for myself. But once I made the first pieces I had an amazing response and they sold out, and that’s how Bandida Brand started. Read more>>

Jeriyah White | CEO and Founder of Riyah’s Keto KItchen

Even when I was a little girl, I had dreams of being my own boss. I’ve never wanted to work for anyone and the pandemic really gave me a chance to find myself and what I wanted. I wanted to help people change, and potentially save their lives. My mom started her keto journey earlier this year and since I cook for my house, I had to adapt. I realized it was harder than I thought it would be making the switch. You have to get the macros just right and I don’t think I’ve ever paid such close attention to that than I have the past 9 months. I wanted to make the transition smoother for people so that taking that first step wouldn’t be so daunting. Read more>>

ayelookitsBRADY | Song-Writer/Producer

I always tried to be as self sufficient as possible. I just started to apply that to how I invest my time as well. Plus, I wanted to have a way to monetize my passions. Read more>>

Maria Quan | Entrepreneur

Ever since I can remember, I have always had very sensitive skin. And growing up my mother always made homemade skincare masks, and taught me the importance of not just eating organic products, but also utilizing them on my skin and hair! Due to COVID-19, I lost my job. I struggled to make ends meet, until one day it hit me! Every day for fun I focus on natural ways to improve my health. Whether it is inner health, skin, or hair health. I reflected and realized I am very experienced, knowledgeable, and PASSIONATE about natural skincare, and I would love to share it all with the world! I hope that people experience all the love and good energy every product has! Read more>>

Mari Salinas | Fashion Stylist/ Plus Size Model

The first thing that comes to mind is freedom, I wanted to have that feeling of being my real self. Also, I have learning disabilities reading and writing are not my strong points so I knew I wanted to focus on the things I was good at which was something visual and working hands-on, also when I realized I was “blessed with the eye” I just went for it. Read more>>

Lucy Simonyan | Founder of Miray Collections. Burbank Cultural Arts Commissioner

Miray Collections started as a passion project that turned into philanthropy. The idea to start my own business came from love of traveling and finding unique jewelry and accessories that I am not able to find in department stores. Today Miray Collections curates more than 40 designers of Armenian decent from around the world, who make one of a kind jewelry and accessories. Read more>>

Anna Welsh | Founder of Littlebags by Anna | Entrepreneur, Artist & Student

Littlebags by Anna was born out of a clutch bag, a compliment and a class. I had been taking needle arts and sewing classes since I was six. When I was 12 years old, my sewing teacher gave me a clutch bag pattern and funky fabric. My mom carried the bags and received compliments from boutique owners—with many saying ‘you could sell those here’. I was flattered, but thought they were just being nice because I was young. It wasn’t until a month later when I started an entrepreneurship program for middle and high school kids – that I realized I could turn my passion for sewing into a business. This was the beginning of my interest and drive to becoming an entrepreneur. In 2017, six months later after the program ended — at the age of 13 and being in 6th grade — I opened an online store and was accepted into my first juried artisan event. Read more>>

Stefan Williams | CEO of Eleveightgroup Agency & Health and Wellness professional.

My initial goal behind developing my own brand was To build something that I actually on. Many influencers and creators to invest time and energy building brands that they won’t be a part of for the long-haul Read more>>

Dr. Yelba Maria Carrillo | CEO and Founder

I was finishing up the Masters in Social Work program at USC and was completing an internship at a legal firm assisting survivors of domestic violence. Many of the clients I was meeting with were younger in age and so engaging them in mental health services was a challenge. I noticed the generational gap between traditional mental health interventions and the clients we were serving. I thought to myself, “How can I make mental health services more appealing?”. Read more>>

Kelley Girod | Playwright, Producer, Mommy

I founded The Fire This Time Festival back in 2009, a year after I graduated from Columbia’s MFA Playwriting Program. After going through three years of my writing program, I came out knowing that I would need to make a space for voice in an industry that was still producing mostly plays by white men, and saving one slot, if that, for “diversity” in their season. I come from a big family in Louisiana, and my father was the first to integrate an all-white high school as a teenager, and then went on to establish a Family Medical Practice in Baton Rouge, so I was accustomed to the idea that many times Black people have to become trailblazers out of necessity, if there is a need,we find creative ways to address it. That was my thinking 15 years ago, and it remains the way in which I operate and approach programming and curation – what is missing, where is a space that needs to be filled and how can I do that? Read more>>

Marcus Malone | Creative

For my kids clothing Lunch Box Crew i wanted to tap into my childhood stories and inspire kids and show them how to respect , love , and befriend properly though adversity , race, gender etc. For my cannabis + cbd brand Rich Soil my focus was to tell a story from a woman’s point of view and how amazing they are and the products they use to balance them throughout the day Read more>>

Christina Chon | Designer/Creator/Mother of Kono

My mother was an incredible strong force who battled stomach cancer. Through out some of the dark stages, my mother and I used to make these friendship bracelets and it really helped us bond and get through such a hard time. When I was pregnant with my daughter, Kono, it brought back so many memories I had with my mother of creating and building this relationship. I wanted to honor the past and the future and created Kono & Co. for the present. Although, Kono & Co. started initially by creating modern beautiful friendship bracelets, once Kono came into the world, my new inspiration has brought our collection we have today. Read more>>

D’Angelo Jordan | Athlete Agent & Brand Manager

Prior to our date of inception, Central Florida Scouting, LLC (“CFS”) was an afterthought. The inordinate thought of starting a business one (1) year ago today (November 12, 2020) was not very appealing to me. I’ll give you a little background, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Fitness and Sports Management. I knew by the middle of my freshman year in college what I had a passion for, all things Sports. A little less than two (2) years after undergrad, I began scouting athletes at the collegiate level to refer to (“DNA”), at my own volition. After sometime my agent David “Dave” H. Walkowiak of DNA Sports Management began asking me over the course of 5 to 6 years (starting in 2015-16) to become apart of the agent industry at (“DNA”). Dave wanted me to turn my work into a profit working in partnership with (“DNA”). Read more>>

Lamarr Family Values | Seattle Hip-Hop Trio

We’ve always been passionate about music, but once we got into recording music in college we realized there was no need to deal with labels and studios if we could operate on our own. At first we were recording our albums at school or in our bedrooms, but two years ago we got our space, No Seasons Studio. We wanted a creative space separate from our regular lives that we could operate more professionally. It made creating our own stuff even more fun and allowed us to record other people and collaborate. Our last album is the first album we recorded here, but we are starting to work with other local artists and hope to keep growing the studio. Read more>>

Wendy Thorlakson Svehlak | Producer & Entrepreneur

I used to be a filmmaker. I have been in the entertainment industry most of my life. After getting married and having a child (and having Harvey Weinstein negatively affect my career) Hollywood just wasn’t practical for me anymore. I could not make movies and a family at the same time. I took some time off to raise my little girl and help my husband occasionally with his business. My husband Dr. Steven Svehlak is a successful plastic surgeon with his own practice in Beverly Hills. Being married to a plastic surgeon has it’s perks, one being getting my Botox injections in my kitchen. Read more>>

Lex Kilgour | Photographer & Social Media Manager

I had spent the better part of ten years pursuing a career in the entertainment industry in New York and LA. Despite having a strong, secondary, skillset in administration and project management, I wasn’t fulfilled in my day-to-day work. Hustling for the big screen was losing its sparkle too. I knew I needed a change, and that I wanted to stay in a creative field, so I turned to my favourite hobby – photography. I’d been shooting casually and semi-professionally for over a decade. I could be in control of the creative outcome when I was behind the camera. I was also getting noticed and hired for my work; but I kept letting the financial leap scare me back into “practicality”. Read more>>