Starting and growing a business is hard, but often deciding to start the business in the first place is even harder. We asked some successful entrepreneurs from around the community to open up to us about how they thought about starting a business.

Katie Shorey | Professional Singer, Songwriter & Stevie Nicks Tribute Artist

Financial freedom, and the freedom to choose my work schedule. Read more>>

Elena Shelton | Owner & Designer

Creatively I was a Fashion Designer in the first half of my adult career and transitioned from a corporate setting to freelance. During my time freelancing, I enjoyed being able to make my own schedule and have more of a balanced lifestyle. During this time is when I decided to pivot creatively and start my floral design studio called Solstice Bloom. I was craving a new challenge and have always dabbled in floral design. I knew that the time was right to make the change and take that leap of faith, and I’m so glad I did. Read more>>

Dorothy Kolb | Founder & Sports Enthusiast

I had worked in finance, production, operations and HR within the media and sports space for 20 years which took me from NYC to LA to the California Central Coast and to Baltimore/MD. It is a very male-dominated industry and I had my share of #metoo moments as well as very long hours and lots of stress. I missed far too many events and moments with my young family. About 6 years ago, I found myself getting a divorce, facing being a single mom of 4 sons and I realized that things had to change. Leaving my house at 7am and returning at 8pm just wouldn’t work anymore. I needed to be available and I wanted to be present for my kids. I had an opportunity to start a “side gig” while working in a 100% virtual company (that actually smiled on that type of thing!). As my outsourced CFO/accounting business began to build, I took that notoriously scary step of jumping into it full time. Read more>>

Kent Speakman | CEO, Founder & Exec. Producer

I saw that there was a large gap in the live production space between the traditional televised live events and all of the amazing people that were supporting important causes. I found a passion for helping non profits, organizations and individuals be able to reach and connect with greater audiences, at a higher production quality. As this started to become more effective it was time to create a company behind it so we could grow and scale, and quickly after that we launched the digital platform to be able to show these events online, which lead to the Apple TV, Roku and Google Apps. It came from a place of how can we help more people more effectively reach more people, and from a place of doing good vs going after making a profit. Read more>>

Kate Grayson | Money Coach

Growing up, I never dreamt of being an entrepreneur… Even through the first phases of my career, I never thought of opening my own business – I was happy with the stability and perks of a full-time job! But in my late 20s, everything changed. The life that I was steadily building came to an abrupt halt when I received a life-changing diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease. I realized that I would have to leave my career, which plunged me into deep distress and anxiety about money. I was suddenly an unemployed, full-time patient, watching the career and bank account I’d worked so hard for slowly slip away. I found myself questioning my priorities, values, and purpose, and I knew that I’d have to find a new way of life post Lyme treatment (80 hour work weeks just wouldn’t be possible anymore!). Read more>>

Brandon Allen | Motivational Speaker, Author, Spoken Word Artist, Creative Entrepreneur & Apparel Designer

I believed that I was called to make impact and be a bridge to a generation that have been disconnected to purpose. Life has a way to muzzle our identity and I wanted to establish a space to not only remove muzzles but also to bring volume back to stories. Creativity and culture are always a means to people. So I chose to use my clothing and my voice to bring revival to the heartbeats of people stagnant. So I began seeking God first, creating plans and maintain drive. Now even in the midst of the Pandemic, purpose is even more important and being connected to your why is the need of our security. Read more>>

Michelle M, Perkins | Business Strategist, Career Reinvention & Money Mindset Coach

It was a bit of quiet desperation that kickstarted my business. During my 15 year corporate career, I had fantasized about being more creative in my work, helping people more directly and enjoying more flexibility. Early in my career I had been a consultant in an entrepreneurial services division of a large firm. I never forgot the excitement the start-up founders had for their ideas as they discussed their business plans. The difference in energy and attitude those entrepreneurs had vs. those I worked with in corporate really struck me. I had kids later in life, and I decided to raise my kids and start a business. I was so naive about what raising children entailed that I used to bring a book on coaching to the park to study, but never was able to pull it out of the bag. So, I focused on being a mom and eventually started helping my husband with a career transition and buying, selling and building dental practices. Read more>>

Lisa Holmes MSHR | Health and Wellness Lifestyle Guru

In my career, I’ve been passionate about training and coaching professionals to unleash their full potential to gain career success. While helping so many others be their best, I was silently managing a health issue which resulted in me gaining 100 lbs. ​After struggling with this condition for more than 20 years, I had a pivotal moment that led to conquering the disease and losing the weight and regaining my life. Now, through my site Honey + Company, I want to share my journey to Be Well & Live Well with others. T Through my social media interaction and ecommerce, I’ll inspire and introduce others to unique artisan accessory, beauty, food, home and wellness products that will activate you to live as your best self. Read more>>

Gregory Stebbins | Master Coach

I was working with two other individuals in a small consulting company. While the pay was good and we were building the business quite rapidly, I began to see changes in the marketplace that the other two individuals either did not or could not recognize. For example, about six months before I left, it was clear to me that a recession was on the horizon. Knowing that one of our major clients would cut back on outside vendors, I let my partners know what might happen. Their feedback to me was that I was being “negative.” Six months later I left to start my own company. While it was at the beginning of a recession, I knew I had the marketing and sales skills to make my own way. Today, the company has been in business for 31 years, and continues to grow and positively influence our clients. Read more>>

Erna Blooms | Branding Expert, Business Growth Coach & Creator

Five years ago, I left my 6-figure corporate job of 15 years to pursue my new life purpose. One day, I dedicated one of my Curious Morphologie art, called Hedgehog Dandelion, to a distant stranger in Germany on IG, named Tina. She told me she couldn’t follow me back because of her RA disease without possible cure. The moment I dedicated this art, with a concept of letting go of your pains and uncertainties in life and turning them into wish and hope, she immediately followed me. That moment made me realize how powerful a meaningful art could be in connecting people from different parts of the world to take action. Since then, I’ve made a decision to only work on inspiring projects that connect people or inspire positive actions. I chose to work with passionate people who love pursuing their brand and business excellence. Read more>>

Jenna Dillon | CEO, Founder & Executive Coach

I realized I had the right ingredients in my life to create something delectable. Ingredient 1 – The work I do I believe is truly a right fit for me. I’m both creative and analytical – i.e. right and left brain oriented – and in executive coaching, it allows me to use both qualities. Ingredient 2 – I deeply believed in the work. I saw it create incredible positive impact on my clients (that is, the work works; there’s evidence), and was a continual need in the world. Ingredient 3 – A dynamic, professional community. Not only do I thrive working with people rather than alone, but I love surrounding myself with people who are FAR better than me. I saw many of my colleagues who were elite experts in their field, all excelling and in work that complimented that complimented each other. Read more>>

Andie Cohen-Healy | Owner & Designer

My story is an odd one, to say the least! I’m one of the few people who can honestly say that chickens changed the direction of my life. I basically went from the corporate world of television to being a headpiece artisan and vintage hat curator….definitely not your typical entrepreneurial path! There wasn’t an exact linear thought process of how and when I started my business. It developed organically over time through a series of odd circumstances and I followed my heart. The “short” version is that I moved to Los Angeles from New York City, where I had been the Director of Transmission (Satellite and Fiber Optics) at MTV Networks, to be with my (then) fiancé, who is now my husband. When we bought our house, we were inexplicably gifted 2 baby chickens by the sellers. As a New Yorker, I had no earthly idea what to do with chickens. But I fell madly in love with them and they became an important part of my life. Read more>>

Michelle Hanabusa | Founder & Creative Director

In 2016, there was a notable and undeniable shift in our society. I had a feeling a revolution was on the cusp of happening. I don’t mean to instigate war, but something as impactful and life-changing. As projects evolved, the name matured into WEAREUPRISERS because it takes a whole village to create change. Read more>>

Kathryn Miller | CEO & Jewelry Designer

I used to think that starting a business would be like a lightbulb going off in my head! Turns out, it was a much more gradual progression. Looking back now, I understand that from the moment I entered the work force, all paths have led me to where I am today. I grew up in a family of jewelers – my grandfather would design and make jewelry for my grandmother. My mother learned from him. Growing up, I would go everywhere with my mother – jewelry trade shows, downtown LA to all of her manufacturers and of course, I was practically raised in her retail jewelry store in Pacific Palisades, CA. When I was 12, I got a worker’s permit to work at Fred Segal making and selling jewelry in the bead department. I loved making jewelry but I also wanted to find my own way. Read more>>

Shelley Gottlieb | Owner

When I went to college I graduated with my BS in interior design. I worked in the field for about 5 years. I wasn’t happy and felt that I wasn’t passionate about the line of work I had chosen. I knew the one thing I was passionate about my whole life was animals and caring for them. I quit the interior design job I had due to being unhappy with the company I worked for and the work itself. I was in a position to start something new and explored the world of pet sitting. As rewarding as it would be to care for animals either as a veterinarian or rescuing animals in need, I wanted to work in a field where animals were at their happiest. I did volunteer work at an animal hospital and it helped me realize that emotionally I wasn’t strong enough to care for injured animals. For me, the field of pet sitting is a place of joy and that’s why I chose to get involved in that area. Read more>>

Paul Alan Smith | Talent Representative & Social Rights Activist

I wanted to prove how a Capitalist entity (for profit business) could transcend liberal rhetoric and emulate an ideal society in such a way its employees, their families, customers, and the like could learn from it. Everything, from the manner by which profits were distributed, business was conducted, company culture was manifested, natural resources were utilized, virtually EVERYTHING was designed to reflect a value system that needed to be implemented within an ideal community, state, or country. Read more>>

Pat Kramer | Writer For Hire

I started my career as a news journalist working in radio. After about ten years in that industry, I got burnt out on reporting on mostly tragic news and left radio to pursue work in cable TV marketing. However, after a few years in that industry, although I was making more money, I missed interviewing people and writing news stories. Once a writer – always a writer! One day, I was invited to attend a business networking organization’s meeting by a friend of my family. When the woman asked me what I did for work, I told her I was a writer but I didn’t have my own business. At that time, I was working for an advertising agency, 9 – 5, as an office manager. Well after attending that meeting and saying I was a writer, I began to believe that I could start my own business. Read more>>

Jacqueline Fae | Founder

My whole life I’ve always been Entrepreneurial. Of course, not all my businesses were lucrative or successful. I had a clothing line, production company, and even a Yoga studio. I was actually doing life coaching and hypnotherapy when one of my clients asked me to be his dating coach. Within 3 months of doing dating coaching and helping him fix up his online profiles he was in a relationship. One thing lead to another, dating coaching turned into Matchmaking and I realized there was nothing greater than helping people find love, because we all deserve love. So, I opened I Deserve Love Matchmaking and Breakthrough Coaching. Read more>>