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.

Sej Saraiya | Cultural-Conservation Photographer and Filmmaker

My business started quite organically. I am a documentary photographer who had been invited to exhibit my work at some film festivals and exhibitions, and share stories from the cultures my portraits represented. I have been advocating for the incorporation of traditional wisdom into our modern lives— living sustainably and in harmony with other living beings on our planet, embracing one’s wrinkles and aging process like indigenous peoples do, etc. It was then that people started to ask if they could purchase my fine art prints. Read more>>

Denise Hopkins | Mompreneur & Operational Guru

After 10 years in corporate America, I realized that I had brought millions of revenue into the bank accounts of family businesses that were established at a time when my family was not allowed to own businesses. I knew that I had the skillsets to go after my dream of entrepreneurship and thanks to the 22nd century, I was allowed. What I did not know was what business I wanted to have. My best friend, Alexandra Cristin, called me one day with the idea of Tribe 35. We used to go to the gym every day after school and workout together. Read more>>

Allison Osorio | Pastry Chef, Consultant & Educator

I started my business after I lost my job during the pandemic. Like many people, I found myself stuck at home with something I’ve never had before and that was time. Time is a true luxury. I started to find new interests, new ideas, new courage. Plus I had the time to listen to my community. Listening is such a strong skill to develop. Listening to yourself and to others. Through that experience in 2020, I decided to just go for it and start my own business, I really had nothing else to lose. Read more>>

Arif Hodzic | Music Producer, Songwriter, Composer, Performer & Voice Actor

I grew up the son of immigrants that came to the USA from former Yugoslavia. My father is an architect/builder and a go-getter. When he came to this country he worked for an architecture firm in Washington, D.C. and quickly proved his worth. He was asked to become a partner but he had other dreams. About six years after arriving here and becoming a US citizen he opened his own architecture firm and never looked back. I grew up with that idea of being your own boss and always knew that I would do something for myself in that way. Although, my father wanted me to take over the business, music and performing was my calling. Read more>>

Stephanie Rose Solomon | Real Estate Broker

There are some individuals who like to manage things and they are superb in that. While there are another amount of people who like the whole concept of creating something from scratch and watch it flourish and provide value to people. I am of the second kind. But the whole idea of creating from zero is what inspires and motivates me. I decided it was time to start my own business when I realized that I was created to follow my own path and wanted to do it my way. I was prepared to work hard, but I was also prepared to sacrifice capital and freedom today, for Financial freedom tomorrow. Read more>>

Cal Foster | Photographer & Artist

My mission is to create and tell stories through both photography and the moving image, my thought process was purely about putting pen to paper and creating from passion and a need to capture a moment. I take photos within fashion religiously, it’s always been an interesting subject for me and breaking down the rules of the commercial fashion world. That was definitely a big thing that kick started my business; the need to bring my own perspective to how we see and interpret subjects and approach concepts with a “why can’t we do that?!” approach. Read more>>

Emily Jane Furney | Wedding + Portrait Photographer

There wasn’t too much “thinking” behind the start of my business. Photography was always a passion of mine and I was setting up photoshoots from a very young age. It was a no brainer to go down to the courthouse at 17 and officially start my photography business and turned something I loved into my full time job. Read more>>

Alonzo Williams | Creative Director Educator & Choreographer

It was important to create something that focused creating impact through outreach and mentorship through dance and other art initiatives. Professional dancing came into my life as a tool to utilize not for myself ultimate but for others. My goal will always be to share a narrative that connects, inspires, and changes the broken hearts of the world. Read more>>

Iyanna & Lana | Founders of Innersocial PR

We truly love working in the realm of social media and influencers. We really wanted to build something that is ours and allows us to think outside the box and explore our own creative ideas. The idea of Innersocial PR was to bring influencers and brands together to thrive on networking and relationship building. Read more>>

Frank Abney | Director, Animator & Co-Founder of Rise Up Animation

It was a pretty dark time, following the death of George Floyd. Many of us were caught between figuring out what to do in the community, what to do in the world, and in our own personal lives, preserving some bit of hope. One of Rise Up Animation’s co-founders, Trent Correy came up with the idea for Rise Up Animation, as for many of us in the entertainment world, art has been our way to express how we interpret the world around us. The representation on screen and behind it has been severely lacking in the industry, and Rise Up Animation was a way to lend a hand to improve on that issue. Read more>>

Sherifa Gayle | Designer & Creative

It all began in 2010 with me jotting down some design ideas, this was my creative outlet, and being able to produce these designs via a 3rd party website was easy to do and fun. Wearing the tees on campus (CCNY) and posting them on FB gave them traction, so naturally, I began selling them but it wasn’t something I was taking serious. This led to me learning how to screen print and use photoshop to cut production costs. I was, and still am a huge hip-hop head, so BIGGIE was definitely on rotation, leading to me making a shirt in his honor. The design was a pic of BIGGIE’s face, but I didn’t know what to put on the side, so I put one of his infamous lines “black and ugly as ever”. Read more>>

Christina Calautti | Owner of Mr Speck’s Beverly Hills

Living in Los Angeles and being a new pup owner 4 years ago, I searched high and low for the best place I felt my dog was safe but also where I can buy him really cute stuff. For some reason, every place fell short! I couldn’t believe in LA there was no place that was not only a second home sweet home for my fur baby but nowhere that sold adorable pet wear. I took my fashion and marketing background and started making a plan. I knew I had to create a place that people loved, felt at home, knew their pup was safe in their care, AND absolutely adorable! In Los Angeles, pets are our children. I wanted to create a space where other pet owners feel the same and want the absolute best for their fur babies Read more>>

Ludgina Dieujuste | RRCA Certified Running Coach & Speech Language Pathologist

Creating something that is needed by others and is also something that you’re passionate about is what starting a business is about. I’m a Certified RRCA Run Coach that has been running for over 23 years. I’m passionate about helping beginner “Movers” realize their amazing potential. The treadmill has played an important role in my training as a runner/mover. It’s an amazing machine! So many people love to hate the treadmill and don’t use it to it’s full potential. I wanted to create workouts that were creative, beneficial, efficient, effective, motivating and fun! I also wanted to make sure both walkers and runners left feeling challenged and strong! Read more>>

Kate Murray | letterpress printer and stationer

I had been working in letterpress studios and managing those shops for over a decade. After graduating college with a printmaking degree, I had no idea how I’d make a living and the women I worked for were such an inspiration for me. I realized I could definitely do what I love and get my work out to people in the form of greeting cards. Read more>>

Brandon Hardy | Owner, Artist, & Difference Maker

My thought process first and foremost was praying God, “how do You want me to impact the world with what you’ve given me?” His reply was don’t be afraid I’ve already given you everything you needed to be successful. With that in mind and my family behind me I knew just how vital it was for me to embark on a journey that not only would leave an imprint on this world but leave a legacy for my kids when it’s all said and done. Read more>>

Josh Taekman | Entrepreneur, Investor, Mentor, Philanthropy, Adventure

I have always been inspired by ideas and ability to bring those ideas to life. EBOOST was actually founded because of a failed deal I was putting together with 50 Cent and a big Supplement Manufacturer and when 50 Cent didn’t show up to the last meeting and the deal fell apart one of my closest friends and I said WHY IS THERE NO HEALTHY ENERGY Powders in the market. Read more>>

Jenny Arevalo | Business owner

I just had my 2nd child during the pandemic. I really couldn’t go back to being a cocktail waitress anymore. I always knew I wanted to be my own boss. But on my own terms. I always loved to go above and beyond at my work place and felt under appreciated. My husband has always been very supportive and suggested I start a business. I knew that crystals have been such a big part of my life, I just knew my business had to have crystals involved. Little did I think I’d be making jewelry. I’ve always been crafty and hands on. It took a lot of practice but I really wanted to try making jewelry. It was important to try and make affordable jewelry with authentic crystals. Crystals help me so much in my life. I really want to provide genuine crystals to help and heal. Read more>>

Naomi Johnson | Real Estate Professional

Starting a business is always something I’ve wanted to do. Growing up my aunt had a entrepreneurial spirit, so I feel it rubbed off on me. I will always remember helping my aunt sell her flower arrangement and baskets on Valentines Day and Easter. Seeing how much she enjoyed what she did really peaked my interest in entrepreneurship. I made the Decision to go into Real Estate, because aside from all the popular real estate shows on T.V. and how awesome they make this industry look, Read more>>

Elise Brisco | Founder, NearSight; Beauty, Fitness & Wellness Creator, Ms. Woman California United States

I founded a new vision wellness company called NearSight because I kept seeing more and more vision problems related to our heavy dependence on digital devices. Our screentime increased dramatically during the pandemic with working from home, online learning, and zoom meetings. This resulted in even more vision problems. Vision problems include not being able to see their mobile phone without needing to carry reading glasses with them, dry/tired/red eyes. and the myopic epidemic, Patients were complaining that the current solutions weren’t good enough and haven’t adapted to our changing needs. Read more>>

Kimberly Koffler | Founder/ South Bay Music Connection

As the mother of a teen musician I spent a lot of time looking for venues and gigs for my sons band. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, as there are not a lot of places out there for a teen band to play. South Bay Music Connection started in 2018 as a Facebook group. The goal was to start a Community of Music in the South Bay for teen and young adult bands and performers. Make it a place for local bands and parents to get to know one another, post gigs, share videos, and have their music heard. Read more>>

Talia Schwartz | Swimwear Company Founder & Doctor

Starting my own business was something I never thought I would do, as my education is in medicine. It began as a way to fill a hole that I experienced personally. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42, and once I completed treatment, I looked everywhere to find products that would allow me to feel like myself again- confident, sexy, feminine. But what I found in the market for breast cancer survivors did not resonate with me. I didn’t want to hide my body; I wanted to embrace it and continue to wear swimwear that I would have worn pre-cancer. Read more>>