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.

Apiwe Bubu | Studio Owner, Music Producer, Audio Engineer, Composer & Dj

I’ve always had a sense of mind and perspective that is independent. Somewhat seeking to go against the norm quite often and questioning conclusions, ideas and processes. Why?- why that, why this way etc. In starting my own business I’m able to honor that and do things perhaps my way, independent of oversight and someone else’s vision. It so happens I have a talent for music, – composition, songwriting, performance, music production, dj’ing and audio engineering…including a talent to self determine and steer a business towards fruitfulness, relevance and positive impact. In essence, starting my own business happened quite naturally and unplanned. Read more>>

Mary Demircift | Founder & CEO of L’Brandier ~ Talent Manager

As a child growing up, my mom who immigrated me to the U.S. always shared things about the powerful females that she looked up to. Therefore, I began to idolize successful women and became enraptured with the idea of becoming one myself. My thought process has always been to move forward in my life with authenticity. and if I am to be authentic to who I am today, then that means becoming an entrepreneur, female founder. As odd as it sounds, Covid-19 created the perfect setting to do just that! It takes bravery to believe in yourself and to believe that what you have to offer is going to make a difference in somebody’s life. With that thought and leap forward, L’Brandier was born- a digital management and marketing company. My goal is two-fold, firstly, to help clients recognize the power they already posses and secondly, to guide them towards meaningful growth with strategic partnerships and conscious content creation. Read more>>

Yosmel Montejo | Producer, Composer, & Bass Player

I wanted to not depend on anybody and come up with a way to provide for myself. It can be tricky and sometimes scary but at some point you have to grow up and stand up and do the stuff that you need to do. It’s important to show myself for who I am as an artist but also a way to express what my brand is. This is how I show who I am. Read more>>

Erik Jourgensen | Music Composer

I had spent my high school and college years creating music for fun by myself and with my friends, and making music was something that made me feel engaged and motivated to improve without any external force pushing me or any goal guiding my decisions. Music has so many intricacies like theory, practicing an instrument, new technologies and I knew that if I could make a living from it then I could probably always keep learning, stay engaged with what I did everyday, and work with other cool people that were similarly interested in these things. I also liked the idea of taking my own path and trusting that I could find a way to consistently get work. Read more>>

Jessy Covets | Music Producer, Songwriter & Recording Artist

I would love to be transparent here and say the honest truth! I work, learn & thrive best when I’m in my own momentum. I love learning from other’s and collaborating but when it comes down to it, I work best running my own career. Once I built the knowledge of my craft and the trust in myself, I jumped two feet into music and never looked back. I have been producing & writing music for 8 years now & I am grateful everyday for making that decision. Read more>>

Damon Brown | Artist | Owner

I wanted to start my own business to gain more control over my life, schedule, and creativity while still being able to do what I love. I started my own business in an effort to combine two of my goals, creative freedom, and sharing my passion for art with others. Originally, I wanted to become a full-time artist. Not knowing exactly where to begin, I eventually embarked on a career in the field of graphic design and illustration. I have had a successful career working for a variety of companies which has allowed me to engage in all types of artistic practices. As time went on, I found myself wanting to get back to my original love for art. I wanted to share my creativity and artistic ideas with the world. This led me to starting my own creative business and art studio. I love that I’m able to control all facets of business from my own personal working environment while also working on my own creative projects for my own clients. Read more>>

Nika Shneyder | Chill RV Co-Founder

Having the flexibility to create my own schedule has always been one of the most important things to me. When I was in college, I interned at Paramount Pictures, and while I absolutely loved the work I did there, I quickly realized that clocking in and out did not suit my personality. I knew that the only way to be truly in control of my day, was to build my own company. Luckily I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I grew up with the expectation that if I didn’t want to work 9-5, I had to work 24/7, at least for some time. I didn’t know exactly how my business was going to pan out, we didn’t sit down and create a business plan or forecasts, no charts were involved. We just saw that there was a need for a new type of RV rental on the company, there wasn’t a lot of competition at the time and we saw lots of opportunities to stand out. We felt like we could start this business with a relatively low risk, if things didn’t work out. we could just sell the RV and close the company. Read more>>

Kristen Cox | Executive Director of Long Beach Community Table

I had been deeply involved in the political process for many years and saw that things are only getting more difficult for almost everyone, rather than lives improving for the majority, except the extremely wealthy. I have always served the community in one way or another and was raised in a family that did the same. As my activism made me more and more aware, the current system is not working at all and only benefits those at the very top. Politicians are far more influenced by lobbyists than voters/average citizens. This has been true for many demographics for much longer than average US citizens. People of color, women, and other marginalized communities don’t have the ability to make their case to politicians or people who can do something about it and, honestly, most wouldn’t listen anyway. I was a party delegate, I led large grassroots campaigns, I tried to save my children’s futures and those of everyone who just wanted a better life. My activist friends and I went to Standing Rock twice and put our bodies on the line to help stop DAPL. Read more>>

Carlton Sabbs | Co-Founder • Director • Producer

As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to create experiences for people. As a kid, I always found myself trying to replicate moments in the most authentic way possible – like attempting to recreate the Chicago L-Train system at my home with my model trains, or reenacting Wrestlemania Pay Per view events when my friends would visit with costumes and real theme music from a WWE soundtrack I had, or producing a makeshift 2 on 2 March Madness style basketball tournaments for my birthday party at 12yrs old – creating color coordinated uniforms for everyone to play in. I truly didn’t realize I could use my imagination as an official career. I spent many years working in Sales, Operations, Advertising with a mindset as my only options as a professional . But meeting like-minded individuals like Corey over the years, truly helped the creative career path feel like more of a reality. Corey Colvin: From the start it was something I felt I was good at. Read more>>

Lizzy, Lizzie Seguin, Hendrickson | Fashion Stylist + Actress

The Know Wear Files was born out of our love for fashion. Pre-Covid we were each other’s shopping buddies. It’s always helpful to have someone you know and trust to help you make smart purchases. While COVID was in full force, we were heartbroken to see small businesses and brands affected by the pandemic and wanted to help. Live Shopping was brought to our attention and there was an a-ha moment for us both. Shopping virtually was just an extension of what we were already doing together. Why not help and guide those at home who have trouble shopping online, and support small businesses as the same time?. Read more>>

Zara Solava | Tattoo Shop Owner/ Artist

Once I had my daughter and had been in my industry for 6 plus years, I knew I wanted to start and create my own space. I want to leave a legacy and name behind for my daughter. I would be doing myself a disservice by not going for bigger and better things. I want my clients to come to a safe space they trust and can relax in; and I believe, I’ve done that with Opal Tattoo. Read more>>

Anitra Terrell | Owner, Reflektion Design

I was laid off in 2013 and took it as a sign to forge my own path. But before deciding what to do next, I sat and thought about the happiest moments in my life. An 8 week trip I’d taken to Ghana a couple years prior surfaced repeatedly and I knew the next chapter in my life had to involve sharing that experience. One day while shopping for home decor I noticed there were nice things on the shelves but nothing that resonated with me or reflected my lifestyle – that was my lightbulb moment. Reflektion Design was born to fill that void and offer authentic African decor and accessories for the culturally inspired. Read more>>

James A. Janisse | Host & Media Commentator

I’ve always liked being in control of my own time. I knew that working for other people, no matter how enjoyable the job, would ultimately leave me frustrated. It’s hard for me to get excited about improving someone else’s bottom line. To be entirely honest, in past jobs, I wasn’t always the best worker because I’d be more interested in my own side projects than the actual work at hand. Working for myself gives me the freedom that I desire in my life – I choose my own hours, my own projects, my own associates, and my own goals. Read more>>

Matthew Fischer | Clothing Designer / Photographer

When we started One Lucky Cat, it was out of concern, exhaustion, and heart break. Last September (2020) our cat Pepper had been diagnosed with FIP. FIP (Feline infectious peritonitis) starts as a Feline Coronavirus that usually acts like a common cat cold, but in rare cases, enters the blood stream and starts attacking the cells in the immune system and in the brain, resulting in FIP. And the worst part- it’s almost always fatal. Most cats who are diagnosed with FIP are euthanized within a few months of diagnosis due to it overtaking the immune system, and the lack of available treatments. And this happens to thousands of cats a year. The idea that there is a well known feline disease that just… doesn’t have any treatment options, was absurd to us. We knew we needed to do something about it. Read more>>

Ryan “Lingo” Fletcher | Musician & Entrepreneur

I’ve always had a take charge mentality accompanied by good problem solving skills. When I first started making music I was broke and couldn’t afford to record at high priced studios, so I learned to work with what I had and reinvest what I made into myself. When funds were no longer an issue, I continued on the DIY route because the more I learned how to do myself, the less I needed to rely and wait on others. When I started Grind Mode Cypher I applied the same thought process and made sure we were able to do everything we need in-house. Read more>>

Kiki Bello | Harpist and Singer-Songwriter

It came in my blood. It was inherited. Playing the harp is something that has come from many generations. Writing songs, came from my dad’s grandfather. He was a composer and musician. I was born a songwriter. Read more>>

Shai Kim | Artist

Starting my own personal brand has always been on my mind. It was always one of those options on the table that have been there but never chosen when I was deciding what to do with my life. Once Covid-19 hit, and the industry I was working in stopped to a standstill. I had to take a step back and take a look at my current career path and figure out how to progress next. I decided that the desire to focus on my own personal vision for what I wanted to create and spend my time doing outweighed the risk and fear. Read more>>

Kao Wonder | Creative Director/Brand and Creative Consultant

To be honest, I got tired of doors being slammed in my face! Lol they say in life when one door closes another door opens, or, you can buy tools and build your own doors and set your own rules. Yes it is a lot of work, and I will repeat, ALOT of work, but to go to sleep at night knowing that my investments will work one day … priceless!! So when I wake up , I repeat the narrative, grab my tools, and continue to build!. Read more>>

Ronit Falevitch | Mom, Esthetician, Founder and CEO of Skincare 90210 and Arilan Skincare.

My father was self-employed and he always told me to think and dream big. I’m an immigrant and a hard worker, but I never envisioned myself working for others. I had to learn the business first, so I worked for the top dermatology and plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills. It was an amazing experience and I’ve learned a lot. I’m free-spirited and I realized that I can do better when I’m free to do things my way. I’m so happy I had the courage to move on to my very own skincare studio where I can thrive, grow, and enjoy what I do. Read more>>

Holly Moore | Cosmetic Ingredient Expert and Business Consultant

I would say my strongest interests are people, cosmetic ingredients, and the interaction between the two. At university, my classmates nicknamed me ‘Dictionary’ for being somewhat of a walking encyclopedia when it came to cosmetic ingredients and any known health or sustainability concerns. I was very fortunate to be surrounded by some of Boston’s best libraries, labs and public health minds. Social visits with friends would inevitably conclude with a list of product recommendations and a trash bin full of vetoed or expired cosmetics from their bathroom. I was always looking for products that could add value to people’s skincare routine and, ultimately, was fascinated by the cultural forces that determined beauty. Your skin is your largest organ and making informed choices about the care for your skin is important – it matters that your cosmetic products support the health and function of your skin. Read more>>

Heidi Abra | 2. Artist, Designer, Alchemist, Creator of Beauty

I did not have a particular thought process on starting my design business. There was never a moment I “decided”. It was a completely organic process. After spending 6 years as a model and traveling around the world, I enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) to study fine art photography. Modeling in Europe gave me the opportunity live full time in Paris, where I delved into art, architecture, history and travel whenever I wasn’t working. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do creatively, only that I wanted to be creative and making a living at it. I decided to start with one of my loves which was photography and see where that led me. While studying fine art and photography in school I started designing and handmaking jewelry using gorgeous antique Czechoslovakian glass beads. Read more>>

Caesar Osiris | Director & Entertainer

LAB H Media came from the need of creating opportunity for myself as a filmmaker-director and content creator. Social media played a big role in allowing me to reach out to new clients, showcase my work and enabling me to create opportunities for myself and other creators. At the time I was just fresh out of film school and not everyone would take the risk of hiring me as a director because I was young and unproven, so I decided to start a sandbox for myself and also to support my creative communities. Read more>>

Jillian Bobinski | Owner & Lead Planner

It sounds kind of cheesy, but I first found my love for event planning as a Freshman in High School in New York. The class president, also a close friend of mine made me responsible for the coordination and planning of all our events, which I ended up doing Sophomore, Junior, AND Senior year! I’m a bit of a neat freak and always plan things in advance, so I knew this was perfect for me. From there, I interned at different venues while earning my bachelor’s degree at East Carolina University (Go Pirates!). Shortly after, I made the courageous yet common leap from New York to Los Angeles to continue establishing myself in the event planning world. Pretty crazy to think I have now planned events in New York, North Carolina, Atlanta, and California. While I’ve always loved event planning and wanted to start my own business one day, I never thought in a million years that I would happen!. Read more>>

Angela Friis | Goat Therapy With The Mending Muse

I originally started my company as a way to heal myself through my own personal difficulties in life,  love and loss. I threw myself into work, always being a creative spirit and wanting to make a difference in the lives of others. I started thinking about opening a business to keep my mind busy, my anxiety at bay and fill my time while making a living to pay for me and my kids. I got to brainstroming and decided since I’ve had many jobs, what could I do or create that spoke of who I was. I was a huge animal lover, worked in the entertainment industry for years both behind and in front of the camera. I have worked w goats as a wrangler and even a stylist,, so where to go next with it all? Finding a logi, I chose the goat as a symbol for my logo because goats aid one in self belief and self esteem, which after all I have gone through was lacking in that area. I started taking photos of me working with goats , goat adventures,  outtakes from being on sets, and inspirational quotes and would donate money each paycheck to various animal charities. Read more>>

Debika Sen | International Tour Operator

The idea of starting my own business was to create experiential travel experiences for an intimate group of people. I felt there was a dire need to help create a story where people are able to connect with a destination on a spiritual level. Read more>>

Deanna “BombChica” Colón | SheEO of Bomb Chica Apparel, Body Normality Activist, Entertainer and Personality

Bomb Chica Apparel was birthed from a song I had written years ago, “I Am A Masterpiece”. That statement, claiming it for oneself, is in my opinion the epitome of self love, respect and appreciation. Claiming yourself as a MASTERPIECE has been my whole platform and focus for a long time! It’s my movement. I had printed the statement in Gold foil on a black tank top about two years ago. My goal was always to turn that tank into a bigger picture. A full blown self love/ confidence line for every BODY! So, in July of 2020, during the pandemic, I did just that. Here I am now, 8 months later with over 12 designs, followers, celebs wearing my designs and a feature on FOX SOUL! The goal always was and still is feeling inspired wearing my designs and inspiring everyone you meet in my designs! If everyone puts on one my designs and loves themselves just a little bit more, Bomb Chica Apparel has truly served its purpose!. Read more>>

Gabrielle Paciorek | Director, DP, Photographer

I’m a director and photographer in commercial production, and there’s a kind of process or protocol for that. Companies hire ad agencies to come up with creative ideas and agencies hire vendors, like production companies, to execute that creative. I’d spent a lot of time trying to get on the radar at production companies, which is no small feat when you have connections. It’s definitely harder when you don’t. When I finally got meetings at production companies, I could see people not getting what I had to offer. I had been Director/DP for almost 10 years, with professional experience in VFX and graphic design. I have four Emmys. I used to be a professional storyboard artist. I could write and design my own decks and treatments for pitching. And as much as I hate to admit that I’m good with people because I’m an introvert and socializing can be exhausting, I’m good with people. Read more>>

Sofi Newmyer | Founder & CEO of Ma’am Shoes

I really wanted to make shoes that my girlfriends and I would want to wear. Modern women who want to look chic and feel good all day long while working from home (as many of us are these days), to sitting in the boardrooms we’ll all hopefully be in again soon, to lugging through traffic on the 405, to picking up kids from school, etc . We’re busy working women who should be able to check everything off our to-do list without punishing our feet. My goal with Ma’am Shoes has always been with the customer in mind. To make shoes for women who are looking to invest in high-quality products that are meant to be lived in and loved for seasons and years to come. Before launching, we spent a long time crafting our shoes through carefully selected materials, thoughtful silhouettes and attention to detail. We analyzed and tested every part of the shoe to create something durable, comfortable and stylish so our customers can ‘walk the walk’ year after year. Read more>>

Ale Gambini | Italian Food Ambassador, Author, and Cooking Instructor

As an Italian food advocate, author, and cooking instructor I was quite shocked when I relocate to the US in seeing so many misunderstandings and misleading information about Italian cuisine. That’s the main reason why I started a blog and a collaboration with Italian food organizations to promote authentic Italian food in the world. Read more>>

Jose Antonio Santana | Creative Director, Photographer, Storyteller.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I never wanted to start a business. What I did want to do: Was create. So… I used empathy and my ability to connect with others easily, and started applying towards creative services that I knew would allow me those opportunities. My intent when I started my “business” was based on the sole experience of connection. Whether that be the viewer of my artwork, the client who received the service, or my own fulfilment. Call it cliché, I know I do! But it’s what works for me. So I’ll keep doing it until the day it doesn’t – then I’ll find something else to drive me. Read more>>

Ify Yani | Food Photographer & Stylist

I simply wanted to build something for myself. I think it’s important to have something that is yours, something that you’ve created that has meaning to you. It was also important for me to do things on my own terms, with my own rules and expectations which allows me to be true to myself. Read more>>

Selena Cerami | Art Lover, Collectors & Gallerist

My art business began very organically over the years. My initial goal was to create an art platform that promoted international emerging artists while cultivating and encouraging dialogue with the audience in a less rigid and uptight environment. The focus has always been to raise awareness on various societal issues, tackling and questioning racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia through art.  In 2011 I started collaborating with art organisations witnessing an underrepresentation of female artists, black/Asian artists, queer art and uncomfortable topics, so I have decided to start a project on my own. Read more>>

Séverine V. | Actress & Environmentalist, Founder of Watertrek & Wiifilm

My structure is a charity (an actress and environmentalist, Severine is the founder of eco-NGO Watertrek dedicated to protecting water, and founder as well of a social production structure, Wiifilm, developing impactful storytelling). So I guess my process was slighlty different from that of a proper Business owner, but the intention behind it is similar: the will to undertake, make a difference, create my own space to experience new ways of doing things, in my case to raise awareness and have people of my communities reconnect to water. The freedom to do your own thing – to put your own sensitivity, perspective and creativity into it priceless. Read more>>

Taylor Carr | Hypnotherapist & Feminine Abundance Coach

There are a series of thoughts and feelings that lead up to the officially start of my business, from healing myself from an incurable pain disease and walking down a holistic path, to my spiritual awakening, to learning about mindset and embodiment, to working through painful traumatic experiences that lead me to a life of absolute pleasure, love and joy. I think, especially when it comes to working with women, I watched my mother suffer in painful, abusive relationships my whole life that absolutely drained her. I saw what an impact this makes and promised myself that I would never settle, nor would I let another woman suffer if I had any say over it. Read more>>

Kathy Ly | Founder & Co-Owner

After a few years of working in finance, I left The Walt Disney Company in 2018 to forge my own path and pursue entrepreneurship. My goal was to combine food with art to create a meaningful experience that everyone can relate to, this led me to build Donut Life Museum. Donut Life Museum is an immersive, interactive pop-up experience where we have partnered with local artists to create donut-themed rooms for our guests to take Instagram-worthy photos and make sweet memories. I have a passion for donuts because, in my eyes, this sweet treat reminded me of the circle of life so I took some of life’s most significant moments and told it through a creative world of donuts. I used the word “donut” in various messages/puns to inspire guests, allow them to make sweet memories with their loved ones, and remind them that life is limitless once they enter our doors. As a female-led organization, we are passionate about women entrepreneurship and we hope that young girls visiting our museum will feel inspired by what we are able to create. Read more>>

JEPHTHA | Editor-In-Chief and Creative Director of PEWM Magazine

When considering starting my business, I was very wary of the fact that many of them do not make it past the 1, let alone 5 year mark. The more I thought things through, the more I realised that 100% of businesses dreamt up by insecure business people most definitely fail. So even though I had no disposable income myself and I didn’t know how profitable my seed of an idea might be, I decided that with courage and followthrough, there was no way I wouldn’t accomplish something I was proud of. On the other hand, I have developed an anticapitalist politic over the past few years, and I definitely struggled with the idea of entering the market– where profit comes first. I study NGOs in school and am an artist by nature, so the idea of creating things to get something back is not something I find purpose in. But I maintain that even though I will need to make money to stay afloat, as long as I can offer content and goods to people at all levels of accessibility. Read more>>

Marlena Rijn | Jeweler & Photographer

I worked in hospitality for over a decade. When you are in the public eye all the time, you tend to get comments on what you are wearing. Read more>>

Jeff Garner | Sustainable Fashion Designer & Artist

At the time of inception, I was working as Creative Director at Stiletto Entertainment who represented Barry Manilow, Fleetwood Mac, and others…One would say I was on my way in LA. However, my gut led me down a new path of desiring to help bring about a shift in conscious in fashion. Thus I began my journey with Prophetik designing couture and wearable garments out of natural fabrics and plant based dyes and what a journey it has been!. Read more>>

Daniel Max | Murmur Co-Founder & CEO

“This is going be tiring.” That was my first thought. I don’t know how it works for other people. But, when I’m thinking about jumping into a long project with high rates of failure, I’m searching for a reason not to do it. My brain kicks into gear and unleashes all sorts of excuses why I shouldn’t go forward. From there, it’s jiu jitsu between the head and the heart. I imagine the same is true when opening a restaurant, writing a book, or training for a marathon. Before Murmur, I was trying to do anything but start a company. I was in pursuit of security, status, and a paycheck – all the things my parents wanted for me. And I got them working as a lawyer at Uber. Or, so I thought. As time went on, I could no longer convince myself these things were so important, that I liked the work, or that I even felt good in the environment. Read more>>