Ideas aren’t everything, execution matters greatly, but starting often requires an idea and so we asked folks to think back and tell us the story of how they came up with the idea for their businesses. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite stories below.

Christel Oerum | Diabetes Advocate & Publisher

My husband and I talked about starting our own business during our first date in 2000. But we didn’t have “the big idea” yet, we’re not inventors, and we were definitely not dreaming of a brick and mortar business with lots of employees. We both got our MBAs and worked for large corporations for years before we found our niche. The big change came when we moved to Santa Monica in 2011 and was blown away by the fit beach lifestyle. I’ve lived with type 1 diabetes since 1997 (an autoimmune disease that requires several daily insulin injections) and have generally been healthy, but after moving to Santa Monica I took it to a whole other level, working out most days of the week at Gold’s Gym in Venice. As I intensified my workout routine, I realized exactly how complicated exercise with insulin-dependent diabetes is. Read more>>

Eleni Asimos | Jewelry Designer

The idea for my business came from a personal need for affordable, quality jewelry. For years I would purchase fashion or costume jewelry but after a few wears I would break out with a reaction to the cheap metals. Even vermeil or plated jewelry would rub off eventually and give me a rash so I would take certain components from my store-bought jewelry and repurpose them with gold filled materials because I found that gold fill is essentially as hypoallergenic as solid gold just without the price tag. After getting compliments from friends and strangers alike of the new pieces I created I decided to branch out onto Etsy with a shop and that eventually grew into the business I have today with my brand being carried in stores nationwide. I realized a hobby could be a business and if I create things that I love and pour my heart and soul into it, others will feel the same. Read more>>

Amy Lyndon | Actress, Celebrity Booking Coach, Award Winning Director & Creator

The mantra I AM ENOUGH was originally created in 2003 during one of my opening lectures to one of my how to audition classes. I found that the reason why many of my students were having a hard time booking an acting job was because they felt a constant wave of judgment whenever they walked into an audition room. They seemed to always be looking for approval to tell them that they were good enough to work. I soon learned that feeling the power within was a huge component to booking acting jobs. Instilling confidence with a technique that worked along with a constant building up of their power within, helped my students book exponentially. So, when covid19 came, I felt it was an opportunity to build my brand I AM ENOUGH and finally get it out to the world. The “I Am Enough Collection” is a daily reminder that you can live the life you deserve because you are strong enough, you are smart enough, you are worthy enough, you are confident enough, you are talented enough, you are beautiful enough… YOU are enough. Read more>>

Ashley Michaelsen | Founder

The business actually came to me once I connected all the dots. About 10 years ago I was designing and running my own fashion line in downtown Los Angeles. On the side however I was modeling part time(To save money and finance my clothing line), styled other fashion shoots, and several side gigs. As I went through the learning curves of my own business designing developing and launching a brand, I started talking to my modeling clients who had established brands about similar struggles their company was facing as well. Everything I learned about my own brand (Like the importance of photography/branding, websites. PR showrooms, sales showrooms, social media trends and the introduction of bloggers/influencers) I would mention these ideas to my network of people, brands, and companies. I really was just venting and trying to get their professional advice. Read more>>

Christopher Kwok | Founder & Beverage Crafter”

I came up with concept of Hey Hey through being an avid cafe, teahouse, and coffee shop goer. I loved the unique experience that each style offered, from specialty coffee shops to asian teahouses famous for boba and dessert drinks. I grew up going to teahouses and later socialized at coffee shops as an adult. I remember often choosing between one or the other and was frustrated that key elements of these cafes were not incorporated into one. During this time, the majority of coffee shops and teahouses took the form of remote offices and public libraries. I felt the industry needed to be disrupted by a teahouse that functioned differently – a play space for adults the served delicious gourmet beverages with a mixology flair. I saw a community and relationship deficit in this digitally connected yet isolated era and wanted to create a place for people to just play and connect. Read more>>

Andrea Anderson | Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Health and Wellness Coach & Nutrition Commission

The idea for changing my career and ultimately starting my business began not from your typical route I’m afraid. In May 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was 30 weeks pregnant. The impact this event had on my life, my unborn son, my family was immense as I ultimately had to decide the route of treatment. I did choose chemo, double mastectomy and radiation while giving birth in between my chemo appointments. During this time I also realized the importance of food as medicine and realized everything I had been eating and my lifestyle had brought me to this point of chronic disease, breast cancer. So I began learning how to change my diet while I also went to another holistic MD to ensure I was addressing all of the variables that had gotten me to this point. It was forever life-changing because it was the difficulty of changing my diet that was almost more difficult to me than fighting cancer! Read more>>

Neil Schierholz PsyD | Founder & Licensed Psychologist

Angeles Psychology Group is a holistic practice, meaning we fundamentally view each person wholly and completely as a mind, body, and spirit, not just a collection of symptoms and not just a mind. My own healing and growth journey involved not just psychotherapy but also a wide variety of other healing experiences and esoteric journeys. How amazing it would be, I thought, if instead of having to cobble together these practitioners, healers, and experiences on my own they were part of a team, working together on my behalf, in concert with one another. This was the beginning of the vision for Angeles Psychology Group. I remember a patient, years later, who would regularly come to session having just left either their acupuncturist or perhaps their massage therapist or maybe they would be going to one or the other or some other healer after their appointment with me. Read more>>

Nancy Spear | Tech Tutor

I’m 55. I didn’t grow up with technology. After staying at home and raising our kids for 12 years, it was time to go back to work. It was hard to find a job because I had missed a whole tech revolution. We had a small Mac at home but I only knew very little. I started managing an office with PCs. When I asked the 25-year-olds around me how to open a new tab, they reached over my shoulder, tapped a few keys, and walked away. I thought I was going to be fired. I know the anxiety my clients feel when they are faced with a new device. I moved on to managing the office of a computer software company. Lo and behold, I started training the clients! I was getting more and more confident. Then one day, my father, in his mid 70s, called and said he bought his first iPhone. The man at the store said he’d need a password but he’d been on hold for more than an hour. No one was helping him. They weren’t giving him the patience and respect he deserved. I knew there was a market. I quit my job and started Nancy’s Tech Help. Read more>>