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.

Michelle Salemi | Hairstylist & Ownwer

My mom has owned a hair salon in Long Beach for 40years. I grew up in the shop, always doing hair in highschool and college. I played basketball all through college and After I got my business degree from Cal State LA, I decided to go into business with my mom. We opened a salon at a new location downtown Long Beach Atlanticstudio 425. Aside from working beind the chair, 3 years ago I decided to start a mobile braiding business (Braids Etc) we specialize in pop ups, festivals, and parties! Read more>>

Vigen Yacoubian | Vigneron

Serendipity is the word that comes to mind. Although I’m not a big believer in luck but in this case the opportunity presented itself rather than taking shape as a product of strategic planning. For that exact reason, passion and love are at the core of this project, constantly energizing us, even in the face of challenges and difficulties. While I am a psychotherapist and have a doctorate in psychology, I have loved wine from a very young age growing up in Lebanon with a French-educated father who had a great love for wine. Lebanon had been a French protectorate for a long time and has always had a very robust wine culture. Read more>>

DAME Art Studio Gayle Sanchez and Mia Sanchez | Cofounders & Artists

We love to create art to surprise and inspire people around the world. Right now, we feel that it is necessary to raise awareness about women’s rights and roles in the society. The historical events and global problems proved that men were superior to women. Women and their allies took action against violence, discrimination, and other global issues for many years. Looking at ourselves. We are women. But, we are also Deaf and Afro-Latinas. We endure many barriers and challenges in our lives. It is important to understand that powerful women can endure life hardships and blessings at the same time. But, women deserve their rights to be equal as men. There is still more work to do for this change. Art is a universal language. Read more>>

Brandon Gray | Veteran Operated Pizza Entrepreneur

It started off as a joke. A friend of mine asked me if I knew how to make deep dish pizza, I said yes (after lying and saying I have made them before). I went to brag to my best friend about the new commissioned job and she asked for a pizza as well. Within 5 minutes I asked”is this going to be a thing”, she said “yeah I think it should”, and minutes later we had the name of the new business. Read more>>.

Jennifer Le | Publicist

I knew that I was equipped with the skills and knowledge to carry out my job and to do it well. However, it was my lack of a formal business education that caused me to have reservations. I knew how to be a publicist, but it was the legal, financial, and operational aspects of it, that I was not as well-versed in. However, I trusted that I would learn and seek help from the right people along the way. I figured that if I start at 25, then, by the time I’m 30, I will have had the time and space to learn what I needed to learn, and hopefully, will have mastered these areas by then. Read more>>

David Hicok | Independent Financial Advisor

I believe it was a calling for me. Sounds dramatic, but I never felt like someone who wanted to work for someone else and play by their rules. I remember from my very first job in high school in a sporting goods store I thought about if it were my store how I would do things differently. Not sure I’d be a good employee these days after 30 years of being a business owner. Read more>>

Mike Collins | Painter, Curator, Gallery Owner & Psychologist

When we opened ShockBoxx we were sailing on more momentum that thought. Hermosa Beach was fresh of the heels of a large community movement that lead to the overwhelming defeat of an oil drilling initiative that was on our ballot. Oil drilling defeats don’t always lead to the opening of art galleries, but in this case, the community coalesced around the battle and art and creativity were always at the forefront of this effort. I live about 500 feet from the space that was to become ShockBoxx, and when the building became available, we took the space as what we thought would be a lockout studio. Once we cleaned the place up we realized the potential to begin hosting art shows. Read more>>

Andrea Vavra | Coffee Shop Owner

I have always been a DIY kind of gal, so when I couldn’t find the consistently strong and delicious cup of coffee that I was craving, I wanted to create it myself and share it with others. Looking back, the thought process behind starting my own business was somewhat simple. I wanted to serve up fantastic coffee and I knew that a storefront would also give me the opportunity to support other artisans and causes that I was excited about. These are still the same thoughts and values that continue to steer the ship today…and fuel my love for the business after more than a decade. Read more>>

Marcus Terrell Smith | Avid Creative, Producer & Tech Entrepreneur

It has taken me years, but I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am a bonafide, unapologetic dreamer; not one of those “head in the clouds” kind of individuals who only dreams for himself, but I dream about how to make the dreams of others come true. To be more specific, I look for pain points in the daily lives of my peers, in areas like relationships, entertainment, exercise, and time management. Everybody is searching for how to make what has seemed impossible possible — they want to make friends or find a soulmate; they want to bring diversity to a less than diverse industry like film/tv/theater; they want to find inspiration in an unlikely place. My process behind any business I start always begins with asking, “What is the missing piece? Read more>>

Muhammad Masood | Chief Executive Officer

My thoughts were to raise the awareness of renewable energy and help people save on their electric bill and save the environment. Global warming is big issue and renewable energy can be game changer. Read more>>

Stefano Ashbridge | Drum Set Coach

Well, my life’s goal has always been to play the drums and teach others to love it as much as I do. After moving to Los Angeles about 20 years ago, I pursued the opportunities that have allowed me to do just that. I have a studio here where I teach both in-person and online anywhere around the world. Read more>>

Dina Braverman | Owner & Founder

I knew that Professional Organizing was something that I was great at. I knew that it was something that everyone would need in their life at some point in some place. I knew that my corporate experience coupled with my OCD which manifested in organization, and my drive to be successful was going to propel me and my company to be successful. Read more>>

Julie Funderburk | Founder

My thought process behind starting my company was founded on a need to feel inspired and fulfilled. I was 37 and by that time I had already put 14 years in the corporate world. I am not sure if it was age or just wanting more, but the desire to go after something more would not leave my mind and heart, I needed to go after “it”. I thought about what “it” was for awhile, but the funny thing is, I didn’t have to look far…I just had to open my eyes. I called my parents in the fall of 2017 and asked them what they thought if I bottled moms sauce. Both mom and dad were excited, but also gave me some advice to treat this adventure like a real business from the very beginning. Without using the same words, they encouraged me to do research and development, do lots of taste testings, make the right contacts, etc. I hit the ground running with their blessing and mostly their encouragement. Read more>>