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.

Elizabeth Endres + Dale Stabler | Co-Founder’s Sweat & The City & ORRO

Sweats & The City all started with the goal of creating an online community where we could discuss the booming fitness scene in New York City. When we first started exploring boutique fitness ourselves, we quickly realized that for something that had such an impact on our daily routine, productivity and overall well being — there wasn’t a resource that would offer insight, tips and information that would help us navigate the fitness scene. Read more>>

Karielle Law | Filmmaker and Director

For most of my life I’ve always felt behind when it came to my peers. I never really realized the important things about myself until my later years, but the one thing that did stay consistent was holding a video camera. I’ve also never been apart of anything great. All of my sports teams I’ve played on weren’t good, the management at jobs I’ve worked weren’t good, and a lot of projects I’v worked on weren’t good. So I decided to create something that I believe is great. Add that with me being a late bloomer, and you have A Late bloomer Productions. Read more>>

Greg Kendrick | Cinematographer and Lighting Director at Waywest Lighting Camera Inc.

In my first year of college we had a guest speaker. I will never forget this one little sentence he spoke, which went like this, “As a freelancer, if I want a new stereo, I just work another day and buy a new stereo.” He had me at hello. What 18 year old kid doesn’t want a new stereo! Growing up in Hawaii, I took every side job I could find, whether it was picking macadamia nuts, working as a deckhand on a fishing boat, or pulling weeds for a local landscaper. I was not afraid of work, I welcomed it, and the rewards that came with it. Read more>>

Nicole Lewis | Founder, Art 2 the Extreme®

In 2007, I became the first artisan to ever create and sell a handmade crayon on Etsy. This was long before the days of Pinterest, Instagram, and the DIYers out there now. Art 2 the Extreme started off as a hobby, then a way to supplement my teaching income and then eventually transitioned to my full-time career when my first son was born. I never thought I would leave teaching, let alone develop an entire business around my love of crayons and color, but almost 15 years later, I am still making crayons by hand every morning and have plans to scale Art 2 the Extreme with some fun additions in 2022. Read more>>

Jay Maturan | Photographer & Videographer

After graduating from film school, I worked in the industry but I wasn’t really doing what I wanted to do. I wanted to create my own videos and be my own boss. At the same time, I was a freelance videographer trying to pay the bills. I was asked to film a lot of weddings and events. After a year or so, I decided this could be good side business. I was my own boss, created the videos I wanted to create, and it was easy for me. Doing weddings/events every weekend really helped me become a better videographer, editor, and creator. This only gave me confidence to become an all around video creator. Read more>>

Makiko Fukaya | Owner of Comma Unwind – nail shop

The reasons behind are not just one answer. It was complex with many different reasons and mixed feelings. 1) desire to have my creative outlet When I was kid, I was a fearless monster. I imagined and created whatever came to my mind. But then after I grew up, the feeling gradually faded away with my daily life and responsibilities. I wanted to feel so alive just like when I was a kid. Read more>>

Jordan Brett | Creative Photographer

I started my business BRETT / CREATIVE to have a name/place to show people my work. I wasn’t comfortable at the time using my full name as a business and I didn’t want to limit my capabilities by saying “Jordan Ashley Brett Photography” which would insist that I am just a photographer and I can do a lot more than that. Read more>>

Bre’elle Hamilton | Certified Personal Trainer & Nutritionist

When I started Straight Fitnessin LLC, in 2015 my ultimate goal was to inspire the people around me to be a better version of themselves. I felt like most people looked at fitness and nutrition as a difficult task or something they could never achieve especially older adults and even people my age. But in all reality fitness and nutrition in my eyes was all about being consistent with yourself, changing your mindset and making certain lifestyle changes! Hence our slogan “ We Change Lifestyles.” Read more>>

Zach Hagy | Contemporary photographer & film director.

Honestly, it happened pretty organically. I knew I didn’t want to attend college and whatever I would be doing I could teach myself. My mentor at the time started a production company and I would say that influenced me into starting my own agency whether I knew it at the time or not. Going into freelancing I really had no idea what I was doing but it was the foundation of starting my own business. Currently, I now run a business with a designer and that has really pushed the scale of jobs that we are able to do. Read more>>

Alex Litvak | Screenwriter

I’m a screenwriter. My business is selling me – my ideas, my imagination, my ability to put words on the page to tell a compelling story. My thought process behind becoming a writer (I used to have another career, working in Hollywood as a development/production exec) was running out of excuses not to do this because I’ll fail. Read more>>

Sivia Aguilar | Small business owner / full time nanny

My thought process was just to go for it and not think too much otherwise I probably wouldn’t have started my business. I am the type of person who constantly self doubts herself. This was already challenging enough for me to do, but it’s always been a dream of mine to own my own business. I saw the opportunity and took it, not knowing if it was a good idea to start a business during the peak of Covid. I just thought if not now, then when? Read more>>

Nicole Fonseca | Founder of Fonseca Media, StyleFlow App, and YNFT

I always knew I wanted to start my own business from a young age because the two areas of work I love the most are creating things and constantly being able to learn. Five years ago I self taught myself how to film and edit videos by watching countless YouTube tutorials and from there, I sent dozens of pitch decks to brands which resulted in my first set of clients, some of which I still work with today and some of which have also referred me to additional clients. Read more>>

Devin Williams | Photographer & Chef

My thought process behind starting my own business was mainly just being more involved on a higher scale with current interests that I love. Starting my own business was also influenced by my hometown Detroit, MI. While growing up in Detroit I noticed that a lot of my neighbors and family members were business owners. I watched friends and family build successful businesses from the ground up, owning real estate, hair salons, landscaping companies, sneaker stores, and restaurant’s are just some of the few. Read more>>

Carri Dominick | physical therapist

I never wanted to be a business owner when I was younger. I wanted to be a physical therapist and treat patients and that is it. I had a really bad boss at one of my jobs. She wouldn’t give me the time off to go to a friend’s wedding out of state and after that I said I would never work full time for someone again. For many years I had multiple part time physical therapy jobs in order to maintain my flexibility and autonomy over my time off. Read more>>

Krisztina Marosi | Founder & CEO – Find Benji

A few years ago my family decided to adopt a dog. We knew we wanted a rescue animal. We spent months surveying multiple rescues and applying for pets that we felt were a good fit. However, our applications either went unanswered or were rejected for reasons like not being home owners or having a large enough yard. I understand that rescues have justifiable reasons for such restrictions. But it made me wonder whether the adoption process could be simpler while still being socially responsible. Read more>>

Felicia Ebo | Skincare Artisan & Esthetician

In the very beginning honestly I had no interest in starting a skincare business. I would constantly read about different oils, butters and botanical herbs but it was really just a hobby. Once I began to experiment on myself not only did I love the results but loving on my skin became the self care ritual that I didn’t know I needed at the time. Over time after sharing my products with loved ones their positive reactions and growing interest from potential customers planted the seed of entrepreneurship. Read more>>

Aviana And The Pure Root | Musician, Artist, Producer

Art had a calling upon my life you know. Even if I was engaged in other things throughout my journey, art was always in the background calling my name. It was only a matter of time before I answered the call and decided to become an independent musician and artist. So, the process was surrendering really. Thus, Aviana And the Pure Root was born. In 2019 I also started my company Live While Living by Aviana, which is a health and wellness platform where I offer insight into natural healing. The first products I launched under it are a small collection of organic herbal teas. Read more>>

Cindy Vuong | Artist & CEO of TwinkledJewels

For many years, I have dreamed about being my own boss. When I was barely 16 years old, I started my own clothing business and resold many items. Sadly, those businesses failed terribly. For a while, I was heavily discouraged. Also, I have always dealt with severe anxiety. I was diagnosed with panic attack and persistent depressive disorder, so it was difficult for me to find a job and go to school. I had a break from all of that and started to do different things, finding joy in new areas I did not know I had. Read more>>

Corn Mo | musician

When I was in 3rd grade, my parents took us to dinner to a place called Haussner’s Restaurant in Baltimore. They served local seafood and German food. I don’t remember the food but I do remember wandering around before we were seated. They had a huge collection of 19th-century art. I think I went to the basement where there was no seating. Just art. When I started my band, I wanted to recreate the atmosphere I experienced that evening at Haussner’s Restaurant. I had a broken accordion that was given to me by my friend’s mom who found it in the dumpster at the shelter where she worked. Only the button side worked. I started writing songs and playing shows. Read more>>

Sandra-Lee Shaw | Entrepreneur & Crystal Healing Practitioner

The thought process behind starting my own business began with my own journey of self-discovery. I longed for clarity and balance in my own life. Due to a number of circumstances in my life at the time, I was struggling with feelings of inadequacy and self-worth. I re-discovered my Spiritual side when, with my Mom’s guidance, I started using crystals. I wanted to incorporate them into my everyday life, so I put them in products I was using and began to wear them. Read more>>

DeJon Paul | Rap Blogger & Podcast Host

With A Day In La, I really wanted to bring some actual movement, color, organization, and structure to Los Angeles’ rap scene. I knew initially that we would be a resource for our rap artists, and that we would stand behind them. And I knew that I would be more effective as a blogger and journalist than a manager because I wouldn’t just be working with and addressing one artist, but a plethora. Read more>> 

Jimmy Renallo | Owner, Creative Director

I took the typical college route originally and got a degree in marketing and professional sales. Upon graduating in 2020 I worked your typical corporate sales role for a matter of months before realizing that I couldn’t do this for even another week let alone the rest of my life. Growing up I was always into photography and videography to the point that I was the friend who just always had a camera with him. Road trips, ski weekends, bonfires, and at so many other events I always just found myself with a camera in hand and happy about it. Read more>>

Diana Rosario | Owner & Creator of Relax + Restore Loungewear

I decided to start my own business during the covid-19 pandemic and the idea came to me at a time where coping with my anxiety and depression was becoming a daily challenge. In that year, the company I was working for had announced that they were closing their doors, due to the covid surge and I would be laid off, putting me in a tough financial situation. I found fulfillment investing my time into building my business because for me this meant finally having the freedom to create a life that I can live on my own terms. Read more>>

Adrian Paul | Makeup Artist & Actor

The thought process behind starting my own business, PRIDE BEAUTY was to prove that with hard work and passion anything is possible. Going into this I told myself whether I made one sale or hundreds of sales, I knew it was something I was going to be proud of. Being able to see my vision come to life and hearing that others love my products as much as I do is a feeling I can’t explain. Just like Selena Quintanilla said, “Always believe that the impossible is always possible.” Read more>>

Brea Holmes | Costume Designer and Fashion Designer for Electrik Misfits

My thought process to starting my own business has always been to fill in a need. For me, I love the look of tech wear and futuristic inspired clothing. However, I don’t want to spend my ENTIRE paycheck doing so. Thus, I created Electrik Misfits to fill in that need. If I find it as a need in the apparel industry to have affordable futuristic clothing, then other people would want the same. I wanted EM to be the fill in with the futuristic vibe that I loved at a price that anyone can afford. Read more>>

Yesenia Gonzalez | Student & Small Business Owner

When I was about 4 years old, my mom used to make bracelets for her friends as a gift. I come from a low income family, so she couldn’t buy expensive gifts, and instead she did these bracelets for them. I used to see her doing them, and I wanted to make them too. I used to sit next to her until she taught me how to do them. My mom also makes clothes, and at that time, she used to do yard sales, and for the little girls’ outfits, I used to make a bracelet so that my mom could hang it with the outfit and sell it. At the end, she would give me a dollar for each bracelet or outfit sold. Read more>>

Carly Kincannon | Business Owner and Freelance Singer

I’ve been in the musical theater community in the city for the past 15 years. In that time, I have met more talented and incredible women than I can count. The job market is so saturated – if you aren’t currently working on Broadway, it isn’t a reflection of your talent. I felt these women needed an opportunity to work in between other gigs. A place to use their talents, to inspire others, to give back to the community…America’s Sweethearts is the connective tissue between those jobs. Read more>>

Nelson Nio | Women’s Self Defense Instructor

In 2003, a friend of my coworker was brutally assaulted while walking from her car to her apartment. That incident prompted me to research about sexual assault in this country. I still remember the exact moment when I first read that women are sexually assaulted every 2 minutes in the US. It was so mind boggling for me to hear that statistic. So my first thought was…what if I create a self-defense training system specifically for women and girls to fight back against sexual assault? That’s how SHIELD Women’s Self Defense System® was born. Read more>>

Maria Lucero | Body Sculptor

Many things came into perspective when deciding to start my own business, I knew I would be able to positively impact many lives. Coming into this I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but as I always say; nothing worthwhile comes easy. I was aware that there would be difficult times, but I chose and promised to bet on myself every time. Life is about the risks you decide to take, and that’s what also goes into starting a business. As most people say, “scared money doesn’t make money”. Alongside that it shows that I am a regular person, it could help motivate the next person, my spouse or even my kids. If I can do it…Why can’t you? Read more>>

Soraya Benitez | Soraya Benitez: Founder of MommaBear/ Yoga Lover

I was born and raised in Queens, New York. The oldest of three, and child to two Colombian immigrants. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot. But we did have wonderful, caring parents who raised us with many of the botanic traditions common to their homeland of Colombia. My father was born and raised on a farm in Cali Colombia near the foot of the Andes mountains, while my mom is from Bogota, the capital. My dad had to leave school when he was just a boy in middle school, to help his family financially. Read more>>

Paige Borowski | Founder and Director, Collegiate Arts Prep

Over the length of my teaching career, I have worked with hundreds of young artists that all, come high school, approach me with their questions about collegiate performing arts. Each dancer I work with has, not only a unique list of desires and needs in a college experience, but also a distinctive developing artistic voice that is crucial to place in the correct pre-professional environment. Read more>>

Nisha Patel | Mental Health Therapist

Brown Girl Trauma started as a passion project in July 2020 as we were going through a pandemic. It was intended to create a safe space for adult children of dysfunctional families as many were trying to navigate difficult and toxic relationships during quarantine. As I shared content on social media, I realized my narrative mimicked the story of many South Asians who grew up in dysfunctional households and sought a space to heal. During undergraduate school, Read more>>