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.

Daphney Brown | The Brown Styles Group

The true reason for starting my business came after finding out I was pregnant again and my other child was in her last year of high school. I knew the long hours I worked and how it affected family time while raising my oldest and didn’t want to do the same with the newest addition. After long consideration I thought “Why not start a real estate business?” It was something I’ve always thought of, but never truly had the courage to pursue. Real estate was important because I wanted to teach my children, family and friends the benefits of investing into real estate and creating generational wealth. Read more>>

Joanna Rosholm | Former Press Secretary to First Lady Michelle Obama and Founder & Partner of Original Strategies, a specialty public relations and public affairs firm.

When our time in the Obama White House came to end, I was fortunate to have a lot of opportunities in front of me. But as I ventured out into the world, I realized that what I loved most about working in the White House was 1) the incredible people I met and worked alongside and 2) the fact that our daily work on the most important social issues of our time had direct impact on real people, our country and even the world. I saw so many former White House employees – especially men – launch their own firms with other White House alums. Why not me/us? Read more>>

erica quillen | holistic health & nutrition coach

My thought process with starting my own business stemmed from the fact I had finally solved the problem I had spent YEARS trying to solve. It became very clear to me in my first job after college that I deeply craved having the freedom of being my own boss. I wanted to do things on my terms, give my full heart and reap the rewards of that. So once I finally figured out food and how to create a healthy lifestyle I didn’t need a break from, I knew that I could help other women solve this same problem that they were DESPERATE to find the answer to. Read more>>

RISO | Musicians

We’ve been playing music together for nearly fifteen years and are at the point where writing, arranging, and recording together has a real ease and flow to it. We hadn’t previously thought to just strip everything down to a duo–in past projects, we’ve always been in bands; but when we were envisioning the next decade of music and planning for the possibility of continuing to tour and record, it felt like a really viable, sustainable, and exciting long-term plan. Read more>>

Alison Hoffman | Flutist & Educator

When I was 18, I wanted to go into music education. I was a typical band kid in high school, I knew I loved teaching and helping others, and it seemed like the right step to become a band director. Halfway through getting my music education degree, I realized how much I despised the strictness and inflexibility of being a school teacher, and I also realized how much I wanted to pursue performing since I always preferred being in the practice room and enrolling in competitions to writing lesson plans. Read more>>

Christy Desai | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist + Co-Founder and CEO of Okay Humans

Starting a new business – or anything new for that matter – is extremely daunting. Most of us immediately jump to all of the things that can go wrong; “What if I fail? What if it doesn’t work? What if I lose everything?” but one day I decided to ask myself all of the things that could go RIGHT. “What would happen if therapy was more visible instead of tucked away in a medical building? What would happen if more people had access to mental health services? Read more>>

Erika Rodriguez | USC Graduate Student LMFT c/o 2023, Wife, Mom, Photographer

I knew photography was a passion when I was about 23. I loved capturing moments with my family, especially candid ones. As the years went by, I was often told I had an eye for taking pictures. At first it was for fun then one day my sister asked me to take pictures of her event, and everything came out beautiful! As a full time, Latina, First-generation graduate student, mom, wife, photographer and entrepreneur, Read more>>

Jacqueline Carrillo | Fashion Designer & Educator

After working in the fashion industry for nearly a decade, I was witness to (as well as a victim myself) to numerous labor code violations. Working 7 days a week, for months at a time, with no overtime pay. Bounced paychecks. No health benefits. Often working without lunch breaks. Being on-call 24/7 to my job at the time. Of course, part of this was my fault for not enforcing better boundaries with work, but because of the extreme competition within the industry, I felt I had no choice but to suck it up and pay my dues, not fully realizing I was enabling a horrible practice. Read more>>

Sherwin Loyal | Hospital Supply Chain Specialist & Serial Entrepreneur

My thought process behind starting a business is simple. -I created the acronym “A.$.E.T.”— Analyize your desired market, $ecure Funds, Execute, and finally, Troubleshoot. These 4 pillars are my basic blueprint for starting a business. Though there are many strategic bullet points in between, If you dont know where to start, A.$.E.T. is an exeptional base formula to get on the right track to building a successful business plan. Read more>>

Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley | Writer, Author & Bookstore Owner

In 2018 my first book was published, The Gift of Crisis: How I Used Meditation to Go from Financial Failure to a Life of Purpose. Between the book’s publication and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, I was trying to get my foot in the door with appearances at book festivals and on author panels, mostly unsuccessfully. Then the shutdown took place, in-person book events were canceled and I had some time to sit and think. Read more>>

Kristian Franklin | Natural Hair Specialist

My thought process behind starting my own business was helping women like me. I wasn’t taught how to cater to my natural hair. I had to learn through trial and error. I wish I had someone there to help guide me. I figured if I wanted that maybe someone else did too. So, I started Angelic Organics. I started with a protein rinse to help add thickness and strength to my natural hair. From there it grew. I now offer the protein rinse, organic shampoo and conditioner, and an avocado hair mask. Read more>>

Mischa Scott | Life & Relationship and Mindset Coach

My thought process for starting my own business came from a deep entrepreneurial spirit that I have had since I was very young. I have always seen myself as my own boss. I remember as a kid myself, a classmate and two of my cousins wanted to make $10.00 so we could go to Woolworth and get these pretty ribbons, barrettes, and give Mr. Leroy the shoeshine gentlemen on the corner $2.00 for a Greyhound bus ticket. The night prior I overheard that he was struggling to get $5.00 for a bus ticket to Texas for a funeral. Read more>>

Julieta Calcagno | Degree in Economics and Administration

I was really struggling with mental health, so I started to knit to help with my anxiety. It was a beautiful hobby, it allowed me to found calm an color when everything around me seemed to be so dark and stressful. Soon after everything started to suddenly grow, friends were asking for a sweater, strangers started to follow my account interested in buying and that’s when I realized I was doing something different that needed to be explored more seriously. Read more>>

GeNienne Samuels | Mindset & Pro Cheer/Dance Coach | ABC WOAY Primetime Anchor | Host/Emcee | Consultant

I had been working in corporate America for 10 years. I saw a lot of success in my role and moved up in a company ranked number 15 on the Fortune 500 list in a very short period of time as a consultant. I excelled at what I did but I wasn’t passionate about the work. So I volunteered for a release in force in an effort to go pursue my true career passion… Being a news anchor. In the process of trying to figure out my next move, I started my own consulting company. I focused on process improvement and quality engineering for the government and small businesses. Read more>>

Krishna Chavda | CEO, Illustrator, and self-proclaimed Pun Queen at NANU Studio

I always knew I wanted to do something in the arts and have my own business, like my parents and their architecture firm. It wasn’t until I took an illustration class during a study abroad program that I pinpointed illustration as my career path. I went to grad school to study illustration as my undergraduate degree was in fine art and I had no concept of the ins and outs of an illustrator’s life. Read more>>

T’aira Peters | CEO of Baw$e Aesthetics LLC.

Baw$e Aesthetics originally started as Baw$e International with intentions to be a female empowerment lifestyle brand for women of all backgrounds, reminding them that regardless of what they do, when they do it and whatever life path they endure, they are still a BAW$E in their own way. At the time, within my generation or surrounding associates, I felt like there were a lot of start-up clothing brands geared towards males and money-motivated tag-lines for male apparel and nothing for the female community, acknowledging that we can hustle just like them if not better. Baw$e is an acronym that stands for and represents all BADASS WOMEN SECURING EVERYTHING. Read more>>

Jamila Moore, M. Ed., Esq. | Business Strategist and Attorney

I have been entrepreneurial since the age of 13. In middle school I started my first business as a candy saleswoman! My thought process behind starting that business was to increase my income so that I can have more things. Fast forward twenty years and I scaled my business from an attorney as a solo practitioner to a full online business that helps people build out profitable businesses, monetize their skills, and legally protect their businesses and profits. Read more>>

Christine Carlson | Founder & Designer

My lifelong love for beautiful fabric and elegant dresses has been the foundation for my fashion industry career, from my first job designing Scaasi gowns to more recently working with Vera Wang and Jenny Packham at David’s Bridal. And while I loved every minute I spent working in the industry, I couldn’t ignore the importance of environmental sustainability. I realized that the bridal industry needed eco-friendly options, and the idea for my business, upcycling vintage gowns using deadstock fabrics, was formed. Read more>>

Dexter Washington | Founder | Creative Director

There was multiple pain points running through my head in my thought process of starting my own business. One of those things was making sure that I created an environment not only for myself but for others that was easier to work in and it was an honest and transparent space. Coming off of bad management in my last jobs, one of them I worked at an ad agency and the environment was so bad that the co-workers would hold “venting sessions” throughout the week to talk about the unreasonable and unwarranted attitude coming from the CEO and management. Read more>>

Joel Bear | Artist & Creative Director

Starting a business is like setting sail across the ocean to a new world. Business is a journey filled with windless days, stormy nights, and potential mutiny, but it’s also a creative adventure, and that’s what’s beautiful. Over the last nine years, I’ve been working in the creative industry as a founder, creative director, photographer, director, designer, composer, and stylist, among other roles. Over the years, with the different businesses I’ve started, each one has new possibilities and new skill sets that need to be acquired. Read more>>

Tara Goldsborough | Actor & Self-Tape Director

As an actor, I’ve experienced the not so great versions of self-tape studios. I wanted to create a space that encompassed all the things I wished I had but never quite got all in one place. – adjustable lighting – readers that feel more like scene partners – insightful direction and collaboration – an external monitor for real time playback – quick turn around times And for me it’s about way more that just the tech. I knew I wanted a space where actors felt comfortable and free to do the work. That has always been the #1 intention behind everything I do. Read more>>

Amanda Leibowitz | Chief Cleaner With Benefits at The Cleaner Soul

After a shock breast cancer diagnosis I realized that I needed to use only non toxic chemical free cleaning products. On my journey to find suitable safe products I saw how we, the consumers, are being duped into buying products that we believe are keeping our homes clean and healthy when in fact we are being sold toxic poisonous chemicals disguised as household cleaners. We spray these in our homes believing that we are protecting our precious families from germs when in fact we are creating more problems by making our homes and the air that we breathe toxic and dangerous. Read more>>

Mike Ruckles | Voice teacher and Singing Voice Specialist (SVS)

I taught at the University of Northern Colorado for eight years in their musical theatre department and our students would graduate and move to NYC with the dream of working on Broadway. When I made occasional trips to NYC, I’d teach our alumni and their friends who lived there, and slowly began to build word-of-mouth about my work. At the same time, I was completing my masters degree at UNCO and I knew that I had become valuable to their program. Read more>>

Thomas Trieu & Michelle Kha | Owners

This was actually very spontaneous! We’ve been predominately eating home cooked, plant-based meals over the last 2.5 years, which means we’ve tested MANY recipes from various cuisines and flavors. We knew we had a lot of passion around cooking, food, and sharing healthy, delicious meals with our loved ones. Read more>>

Avery Wagner | Magic Maker & Founder

So, if I look back it really is wild how all roads have (kind of) led me straight here. Let me bore everyone with a far too long story about…well…me real quick…I graduated from college in 2015 with a (completely useless) degree in Communications. Like what even is that degree, idk? But while I was in college, it would be safe to say that I was pretty obsessed with social media. I was always the b*tch with the most updated facebook photo albums (remember when those were a thing??) and I adopted Instagram (and snapchat –RIP lol) very early when they came on the scene. Read more>>

Sasha Piligian | Owner & Baker May Microbakery

I didn’t really have a clear thought process it was more out of necessity. I didn’t follow any real steps I just started doing things intuitively and asked a lot of friends for help. I think a lot of it is about going with your gut and being true to yourself. I had to be confident int he product I was putting out into the world and knowing I build a strong community. Community is everything to me, sourcing quality ingredients and being intentional with what I do and don’t do. Read more>>

Brandi Fontenot | Licensed Esthetician | Certified & Published Pro Makeup Artist

I thought… if not now, then when? When am I going to create the life I want to live? Punching in and out of someone else’s time clock is not how I envision my life. I want to make a career out of my passion so that I never have to “work” a day in my life. I want to enjoy life being inspired by the world’s beauties while knowing I’m putting something out in the world that feeds my soul and my family’s bellies! I thought… jump and figure it out as you go. Read more>>

Rahat Khan | Founder at Desi Ever After

As a young girl growing up in the United States, I was always on the lookout for clothing that connected me to my rich and vibrant culture. I was uninspired by standard American fashion but I also wanted to go beyond the traditional three piece suits that are quite often the norm in desi culture. Inspired by my love for Bollywood movies and the elaborate textiles that are synonymous with desi fashion, I began sewing my own designs – initially for my dolls and pets and later for my own wardrobe. Read more>>

Danielle McPartlin | CEO/ Founder of Plate Therapy

To be honest, I started this business without knowing I was starting a business, I have two autoimmune conditions My first, Vitaliago, I devloped when I was 10 in 1985 and then several years later I developed Hashimotos, Hypothyroidism. after my second baby in 2009. I felt like crap and starting doing a lot of research. I found that if I didn’t make a life style change I was likely to develop a third and forth autimmune disease. I learned that by cutting the gluten, dairy, refined sugar, soy and processed crap out of my diet is was very beneficial for your immune system so that is what I did. Read more>>

Jasmin Shupper | Founder and CEO of Greenline Housing Foundation

The impetus for starting Greenline grew out of a burden, and the experiences in my personal and professional life are what helped me to see that burden clearly. I was born on the South Side of Chicago. My paternal grandmother purchased a house in the 1960’s that she willed to my father upon her death, and that was the house I was born into. The equity from that house is what helped my parents to purchase every house I lived in throughout my childhood, Read more>>

Jameice Yoshi” Cockrell | Director

I always wanted to show everyone how important it is to believe in yourself. Also, wanted to show that anything is possible no matter where you come from. Regardless to what you have or don’t have you can still achieve ANYTHING. I come from an era of great music and one of a kind inspirations and creators such as Martin Lawrence, Beyonce, Dame Dash, Jay Z, Kanye West, Will Smith & so many more! Read more>>

Steven Marusarz | Principal Interior Designer

I wanted to get in easy with multiple different firms in LA to see how they all work. There is no better way to learn everything at once then starting somewhere at the bottom, me being design assistant. If you’re even half qualified, you’re in. Now soak up everything you see, talk to everyone, yes, even accounting. Then you can start to put together how you will pick and choose what systems work for you, and create your own business structure that you yourself can, and want to follow! Read more>>

Dr. Koffajuah Toeque Ed.D | Founder/ Owner /Development/Design and Business Relationships at Eddipanion LTD

I thought process that I used was starting a business was thinking about how can I make an impact on an industry that is currently thriving how would my business fit in when it comes to the industry that I selected. I also had to think about how will I reach my customers and how will I provide services my customers and in what capacity. Because my customers are other businesses, The mission of my organization had to include how I planned to solve a business needs for client and that is the approach that I took behind starting my own business. Read more>>