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.

Ross Cranwell | CEO

After working in marketing for 15 years in China and the US, I saw how important video, especially short-form, was in connecting with your audience. The problem was that it was so hard for marketers to spin up short-form video, and to keep it on-brand. Designers and video editors were a bottleneck for marketers to produce video at scale, so we set up Milk Video to meet that need. Read more>>

Tristan Brown | Lawyer

I spent 20 years of my life working as an employee. I was helping other companies thrive and prosper. Nevertheless, as an autonomous being, I couldn’t continue using my talents to empower entities that I did not own. I realized I was built to start my own business. Read more>>

Micha Alleyne | Founder & C.E.O

My thought process was extremely strategic. I wanted to create the perfect, text-book company, which for me, meant crafting a business that solved a problem on both the supply and demand side of an underserved, but promising market; positioning this business to leverage some wave or emerging trend; and underpinning it with a robust tech DNA. Most importantly, it meant creating a values-based business that brought meaningful impact to a community I cared about and that promoted earth-consciousness. Read more>>

Conner Cherland | Artist & Event Musician

After graduating college at the University of Santa Barbara in 2014, I worked at a tech company called Appfolio for two and a half years making websites for property managers. Most days I would work 7AM-3PM, bike back to my house, and write a song before going to bed. I planned to write 40 songs in 6 months, and got pretty close to that goal. During those years I moonlighted as a musician in town playing bars, wineries, dentist office grand openings. Read more>>

Luisa Alzate | Artist

As a Latina, It has always been extremely important to me to show the world how beautiful, vibrant and amazing the Latin culture is. So I decided to take funny phrases that we say on our day to day and put them on clothes, Iphone cases, pillow cases, totes, hats, etc so we can able to carry who we are with us and also non-latin people can get this products to show support and love. Read more>>

Vanessa Salgueiro | Mom & Entrepreneur

It was mid 2020 (and the “start” of covid), schools were closed, my 2 kids were full-time home, and I was feeling extremely anxious and stressed. I owned a marketing agency focused on PR, but at the time, one of my main clients canceled it’s long term contract, which made my income decrease significantly and bring even more stress and anxiety to my daily routine. I felt the need to start a side business that would connect me with other women, and also bring an extra income. Read more>>

Talia Nicole | Photographer

Starting something new always comes with taking a risk & stepping out into the unknown. I first started my photography business with shaky hands but a confident heart. I was afraid of failure & many more things but if I never tried, I’d never know what the outcome would be. The stressful thoughts that come with starting a new business flooded my head as I stepped into this journey but what remained through those thoughts was my heart behind it all. I wanted this so badly, so I ran after it with my entire heart & I’m so glad I did. Read more>>

Ian Stout | Filmmaker

Creating my own production company, Vertica Productions LLC, was really born out of my passion. I was already making outdoor adventure videos with my friends while skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and then the rafting company I was guiding for during the summer started taking clients that wanted their adventures captured as well. Creating an LLC was the next obvious step. Read more>>

Diana Lecompte | Jewelry Designer

Hi, thank you for having me here! I think I didn’t think about it enough, if I had thought about it too much, I wouldn’t have done it. Starting my business was like jumping into the void by parachute. It was trusting in our idea and in our abilities to overcome challenges, it has not been an easy path, but it has been very exciting. It all started in 2018 when the boyfriend of one of my best friends asked my business partner Ana and me to help him make the engagement ring. And so it was, that was our first engagement ring! Read more>>

Bernard & Rachel Chadwick | Loud Forest

Bernard and I had been in a lot of different bands over the years and at some point, we decided to merge our efforts and start the band to end all bands haha. Loud Forest happened after we had our first daughter; we shifted our priorities and decided to really create something that matters. We decided to do this project on our own, just the two of us. We’ve had help over the years from labels and managers, but really at the heart of the project is a DIY energy that pivots with what we want to do and what we really want to create. Read more>>

Reginald Bond | Brand Owner | Youth Organization Founder

My thought process behind starting my own brand/business was that mainly I just wanted something I could call my own. I have a passion for sneakers and I just wanted to bring my brand to life through that passion. End game is I just want to show our youth that we can just be regular people and still get to heights unimaginable if we put the grind in. The streets have such a negative impact on our youth and I just somehow want our youth to look at me and say to themselves… “if he can do it, I can do it” I overall just want to be a positive role model and use my brand as a staple to help provide positivity on our youth! Read more>>

Victoria Sceery | Textile Artist

Building my own brand, name to be released soon, has given me flexibility within my mind and thought pattern. Creating the beginning stages of a business has given me the ability to grow emotionally, mentally, and professionally. As a child my mom embodied the importance of strong work ethic. As a result my sisters and I value the opportunities that come our way by putting in the effort. Read more>>

Heeva Asefvaziri | Founder & CEO at Flush Packaging

The idea for Flush Packaging was born out of the desire to create and make accessible high quality packaging products that solve universal packing, presentation, and shipping damage challenges experienced by small and large businesses alike. I am absolutely in love with packaging. But throughout my career, I always noticed this glaring problem when it came to the minimal accessibility of truly helpful packaging products. The definition of “custom packaging” seemed to be synonymous with “custom printing” but the premium paid for a box with custom printing does nothing when it comes to trying address the universal problem of how to ship products safely and economically while setting a high bar for presentation. Read more>>

Jake Tilk | Digital Marketing Manager, Investor, Influencer

Starting a business is something I always knew I wanted to do deep down. But it took me working jobs that I didn’t get any sense of achievement from or satisfaction for me to realize that in order to find that I needed to create something that brought me those feelings; something I was passionate about. So in creating my own business, I didn’t know everything, in fact, I still don’t know anything. But it’s getting out there and trying that matters. You will fail and you will suck at it at first, and that’s just the truth. It’s how you fail forward and learn from these experiences that matter. Read more>>

Heather Schiefer | Independent Graphic Designer, Web Developer and Photographer

It was less of a thought process than a series of events. Which is a whole story that started back in 1994. My whole life I loved art. I never thought it would be my career though. I didn’t think artists made money. While attending high school from 1991-1995 I never touched a computer or enrolled in creative courses. My guidance counselor confirmed that an artist would not be a great career choice. I chose social work. Then, one day I was helping a friend in our senior year after school in the art room. She was having a hard time with perspective and I was helping her figure it out. The art teacher came out and hollered, “Hey! Who are you? Read more>>

Niki Ghazian | Attorney

Even at the very start of my career, I knew I wanted to be my own boss. Life and work balance was the key component to my decision to leave a firm I was at and start my own practice. I was working fourteen hours a day, and not reaping the benefits. I knew I wanted to be my own boss, and work smarter rather than harder. I started Ghazian Law Group in 2016, and I became a mother in 2019. I am able to spend the mornings with my son when I am not in court, and I go to the office at lunch. I would never be able to have that luxury, and traveling when I like, if I was employed by someone other than my own firm. Now I work less, make more, and have executive control over the clients I take. It isn’t easy being an entrepreneur, but when executed correctly, it is well worth it! Read more>>

Callie Smith | Wedding and Event Planner

At the time I was starting my business, my daughter was 3 years old. In my freetime I was assisting newly engaged friends with their wedding planning. I absolutely loved it! I wanted to show my daughter Kennedy that taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone had its rewards. With help from my boyfriend, we came up K. Rose Events! I decided to name it after my daughter Kennedy Rose with the hope that she sees women can run businesses as well as their homes. Read more>>

Gabrielle Stewart | Dietetic Student

When I was younger I developed a passion for studying more about cancer in children and the cause after visiting a children’s hospital. Though my research in in 6th grade, I learned that there are so many diseases and illness that stem from food related causes. I noticed there were so many people that looked like me diagnosed with food related illnesses that I later learned was a product of lack of education and access to resources, especially in the black community. Read more>>

Jeron Jackson | License Barber & Barber Instructor

I believe to start a business you gotta have a plan and in order to have a plan you have to have a Passion and through my process I fell in love with my Passion and then did my homework on that Passion to manifest the career of my business which is Barbering . Anyone can Start a Business , however there was this thing called MindMapping that I learned while on Barber school , that helped me envison my Goal and Transcend the craft and the technical skill into a lucrative business that it is today Read more>>

Willie Robinson | Business owner. and single father.

I was in corporate America for over 25 years working for the same company at a Director’s level. I decided to start my own business after several changes at the top took place. This was best decision I made despite the pandemic. Read more>>

Amy Bouse | Artist & Educator

The “Here and There” series started during the pandemic as an old-fashioned means of recording daily conversation and observances. Particularly during the earliest days of the pandemic, humans kept larger physical distances from each other while connecting online, sometimes in a dramatic way. During those days, I spent a great deal of time walking around outside in my neighborhood, observing at a remove. I wanted to record the shifts in my neighborhood and in the people who live here. Read more>>

JC and Angela Johnson | Owners of The Serving Spoon Restaurant

My thought process behind starting my own business was really to continue the legacy of my Dad. He worked hard to build this business and when he decided to retire in 2004, my husband and I purchased it from him. He had already made an impact in the community and we didn’t want his labors of love and care for the community to go to waste. Read more>>

Ellen Craig | CEO of Ellen D Creative Management Talent Agency

I aways say that understanding the entertainment industry is to actually BE in the entertainment industry. I spent a considerable amount of time managing my own child and along with some great moments, we also experienced some not so great moments to include me legally having to negotiate him out of bad contractual agreements. Unfortunately you hear a lot about this happening to many individuals in the industry no matter how big/popular the talent is. To add, every aspect of the industry is competitive across the board. Read more>>

Alando Durrett | Entrepreneur, Basketball Trainer, Model, Actor

I started my own business because i wanted to be an owner of my own brand, i wanted to be financially free, i wanted something i can build my own wealth off of for my family going into the future. Read more>>

Kirk Hawkins | Real Estate Agent

I have always wanted to make a difference in the world. That’s why I got into broadcast journalism. But, I also loved nice homes. And I wanted to own one of my own some day! Ater a lot of thought, I decided to get my real estate license, and make a tangible difference in the lives of my clients by guiding them through the process of buying their own homes. I have never had so much fun, worked so hard, and been as exhausted and exhilirated as I do in this role. What’s most important to me is my fiduciary duty to my clients by helping them make the biggest investment decision of their lives. Read more>>

Tamika Chandler | Business Owner/Founder & Hair/Beauty Product Creator and Developer

I have always been a creative individual by nature. Never did I imagine that I had what it took to even fantasize of owning my own business someday. As the third oldest child of nine, and raised by an immigrant single mother, Individualism was not at the forefront of my mother’s Child rearing styles. We were not groomed to Take risks but encouraged to “go with the flow.” Maybe it was a defense mechanism my mother picked up along the way in her endeavors to acclimate into the American culture. It became second nature for me as a young woman to assimilate and to do enough to just get by. Read more>>

Maira Solis | Mariachi Tierra Mia, LLC (Owner)

When I started the endeavor of creating this mariachi band, I knew that I wanted to do two things: provide high quality music for our clients and to create better working conditions for my musicians. I wanted to create a group that recognized the efforts of its musicians with not just the music, but the pay. I had worked for great bands but they were often plagued by low pay or micromanaging. I knew that I didn’t want that for myself. I wanted to be able to offer a group that provides a good work-life balance; where taking a day off is permissible, getting paid well was possible, and there was good musicality! I am happy that today we are able to offer that to our clients! It has taken a lot of work but I am excited with the opportunities that we have gained by starting our own group. Read more>>

The Moon Rocks | Punk Band

Cola and Babs were introduced to each other through a mutual friend from the New York comedy scene. Babs played guitar and Cola played bass so they decided maybe they could play some comedy shows with joke songs together. What happened instead was several weeks of Babs and Cola playing pop songs as punk covers. They had a nice little set list of covers when Babs suggested they bring it all together and get a drummer involved too. Read more>>

Beckii Morales | CEO of Ken’s Porkstickers

The opportunity for my family to start our own small business came unexpectedly. Before we started Ken’s Porkstickers, my parents worked in the restaurant industry and suffered job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we didn’t let this setback weigh us down. Instead, we started to brainstorm how we can adapt and come out even stronger during these unprecedented times. This is when the idea for Ken’s Porkstickers began. My dad Ken started curating different dumpling recipes in the kitchen. After all, it was hard to keep the chef out of the kitchen. At first, we wrapped dumplings for our close friends and family to enjoy during quarantine. Read more>>

Katelyn Dowling, Ph.D. | Author and Entrepreneur

I don’t think there is anything particularly revolutionary about this statement, but the idea for Quantum Clinic started in my dreams. I kept asking myself, how can I be of service to others at this moment in spacetime? So I leveraged my training and experience in multicultural community psychology along with a passion for unified physics to build the infrastructure for people’s deepest transformation. We’re so excited to be opening the doors to the Quantum Clinic in Summer of 2022! Read more>>

Stephanie Sakalian | Event Bartender

I had years of industry experience from working in various types of settings (including dive bars, clubs, events) and wanted to apply that to getting my own business going. I saw many young entrepreneurs thriving in doing so, and I wanted to get on that same level! Read more>>

Demetria Graves | Certified Family Law Specialist, Owner, Graves law Firm

At the time I started my practice, I was just six month out of law school and just finished working at a firm that was not the right fit for me. I tried for months to find a job to no avail. One day, a mentor at the time encouraged me to considering opening my own practice. My own practice seemed like a big task at the time, but as time went on, I decided to give it a go. Of course, I did not know ANYTHING about running a business or running a practice, but here I am, 17 years later! Read more>>

Syeeda Gee | Advocate for Love & Biologist

The thought process behind starting my own business is due to many factors. I’ve never had an issue with working for anyone. But I did notice a pattern of me overly indulging in my role without feeling much appreciation. Long story short, one day I decided why build someone else’s when I can build my own while fulfilling my life’s purpose. Because not only was I feeling underappreciated, I felt the need to have more of an impact on everyone I came across with the intention to spread love and be a part of the movement that uplifts and shifts the culture and mindset into a habitually positive manner, so that we can heal ourselves and ultimately heal the world. Read more>>