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.

Lauren Skunta | Art director, set stylist, visual artist

I was creating window displays for Anthropologie when I began thinking about starting my own business. I loved working with my hands but I also loved sketching out the ideas, submitting them to the corporate offices, and doing material tests to figure out what was possible with whatever materials we were using. There aren’t a ton of jobs out there that still value this type of hand made work so I knew if I wanted to continue this path I’d have to start my own business. Read more>>

Abby Schroeder | Artist

Starting my own business was not something I ever imagined for myself. If you would have told me even a year ago I’d be doing quitting my corporate job, starting an LLC, and going full time as an artist, I’d have said “absolutely not, you’re crazy.” But the thing is, once I started putting myself out there more with my art, getting more opportunities, and LOVING it, I saw no other way. Read more>>

Judith Gaton | Master Certified Life Coach & Personal Stylist

My thought process behind starting my own business was to combine all of the things I love most and create a service that actually helps women. I grew up loving fashion and design, and originally chose a college where I could pursue fashion design as a major. Then I decided to become a lawyer. (That’s the cliff notes story of a long and winding journey.) I made it to partner and found that I wanted to have a bigger impact, especially on really smart women who had figured out their careers, but hadn’t quite sorted out their closets. Thus, my business was born. I help high-achieving women with their personal style and confidence. Read more>>

Chipo Hwami | Los Angeles Fashion Designer

Panashe Designs, a fashion design company, evolved as a result of my experiences as a single mother. Here was my thought process: Due to the hardships I faced as a single mother trying to feed my then 5 year-old daughter and to pay my bills, I wished more could be done to uplift women that had no access to financial support and were struggling to raise their children. With tears rolling down my cheeks I wondered what I could do to make a difference. Then an idea came to mind. Read more>>

Kari Schwear | Executive Lifestyle Coach

Such a great question. My business found me! I wasn’t seeking to start my own business and that’s how I know it’s a God calling on my life. I was led to serve others and have truly found my purpose in life. Read more>>

Selina Muriel | Business Owner | Fashion Designer

Instead of a meticulously planned, carefully considered decision, Carmico actually slowly and naturally came to be. I’ve been selling art in some form since I was 15; at first selling prints and stickers at local conventions, slowly building into bigger and better items. I continued this side hustle as a hobby through highschool and college, where I slowly realized my major wasn’t my true passion, product design was! Read more>>

MANOELA WUNDER | Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist

I’ve been a freelancer in LA for over 10 years, but I had always wanted to pursue my own music. It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race and become exhausted from driving around all over town. As a musician, it’s also hard to turn down gigs, out of fear of not having enough work in a future slow month. However, during COVID I was forced to take a step back and reevaluate my choices. It started becoming easier to turn down work that was unfulfilling and prioritize creative pursuits I had been seeking. Read more>>

Lissa Ziranek | Moving Thread Sewing Workshops

I’ve loved making clothes from a very early age. I’ve worked in fashion and had my own clothing lines. After starting a family and taking some time off to nurture my 2 growing girls, I wanted to get back into the industry but in a more meaningful way. I was tired of trying to sell a product, and put up capital and I wanted to find a career that suited my family life. A friend planted a seed one day in conversation, about her summers spent at her grandma’s through her childhood. Read more>>

Kristen Ley | Owner & Founder of Thimblepress

The thought process behind starting Thimblepress really came out of wanting to create with my hands. Before Thimblepress, I had another company, Cultigraphic Creative, where I did marketing and design for other clients. In that company, I had so much fun getting to work with people and getting to create for different companies and brands. However, I missed painting, drawing and the physical art creation process. Read more>>

Kahlelah Goodine | Co-owner & COO of Designers of Los Angeles, Wardrobe Director of Aspiring Magazine

I had always wanted to run my own business, but when I was younger I had several ideas, with nothing concrete. Singing was my first love . . . God-given talent, but only shared in controlled settings (mainly, church). I think I entered one or two talent shows, but self-doubt and shyness at a young age put an unfortunate stop to that dream. Then, I wanted to be an artist! I love art and artifacts, unique finds to beautify a home or office. I even envisioned myself running a museum. But again, my love for accent pieces and abstract paintings did not translate to a career move. Read more>>

Adam Mars | Artist & Clothing Designer

I began my clothing brand, Adam Mars, when I realized the outfits I was designing for musicians like Post Malone and Billie Eilish were turning into a full-time career. Although I’d flirted with the idea of having a clothing company since I was a teenager, clothing wasn’t really on my professional radar. I earned my MFA from OTIS in 2007 and had received some success in the fine art world as a painter. So starting a brand that focused on custom and limited-edition clothing was a way for me to continue working with exciting musicians and translating my creative ideas onto clothing for a larger audience. Read more>>

Yvonne Marquez | Small Business Owner

We wanted to be ready, not so much financially but mentally. We knew starting a business was going to take hard work and commitment so we needed to feel ready. When the opportunity arose, we didn’t have to think about it, we knew the universe was telling us to go for it! Read more>>

Jeri Marie Gregory | Mom and Serial entrepreneur

The Single Moms Diary came about in my everyday walk as a single mom. If I’m struggling to find the balance, while smiling, teaching, cooking working and creating a brand and life for myself; I know another woman out there is too. Read more>>

Owen Davey | Illustrator

As a kid, I was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up and I said I wanted to write and draw pictures for children’s books. I was pretty single-minded about that throughout education, and most illustrators work freelance, so that’s why I’ve built my own business. Read more>>

CASSANDRA SAMPSON | CEO/Founder & Pastor

Actually, it wasn’t my idea to start my own business. My Pastor suggested that I start a church and not join a church; which I did. After 5 years, I had an opprtunity to merge with another church (I jumped at the idea); however, seeing the success of the outreach and leaving families that had come to depend on us for support was the driving factor. My thoughts were that people are constantly coming in and out of the lives of these families; I did not want us, to do the same. Everyone deserves a level of stability in their lives; I wanted Living Waters-West LA., dba, A Child’s Dream-CA to be one of them. Read more>>

Jason Brown | Owner & Founder of Game OVA

I took the idea of starting my own business seriously at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when all we had was time at home to think and reflect. I figured that since I had so much time to spare, I might as well create something out of it. The idea had been a seed in my mind for a year prior, and the pandemic was the opportunity for it to sprout. I also realized that the pandemic would, in a way, level the playing field in the economy since everything was in a state of pause, making it just a bit easier to launch a business. I knew that by the end of the pandemic, there would be a new generation of leaders and companies that embrace the coming change, and I knew that I had to be apart of it. Read more>>

Christine Schneider | Licensed Massage Therapist for Professional Voice Users & Movement Specialist

I started off as a professional singer, who had gone through a life-saving thoracic surgery when I was 15 years old. For the first several years of my singing career, I would try and convince friends to become a manual therapist specializing with singers, and no one seemed interested. Finally, after 2 long contracts and being out on the road, I thought ‘maybe it should be me. maybe I should be the one to help take care of singers!’ So I enrolled in Massage School at the Swedish Institute College of Health Science without telling anyone. Read more>>

Nelson Egharevba | Director / Content creator

I have owned several businesses in the past so I kind of know the basics of owning a business. Before I got into Directing/Photography I owned an e-commerce company where is sold clothes and I did this when I was in college. Shortly after I started a shoe design company with a friend of mine. My thoughts when starting my own creative company wasn’t as bad because I had prior experiences and was ready to fail. I wasn’t intimidated by the challenge of what it comes with. Read more>>

Serena Fanti | owner or owner of Stradora Los Angeles

Linda, my partner and best friend, and I have always lived for fashion and clothes. She successfully runs two women’s clothing stores back home ( Stradora Rubiera and Stradora Formigine) and once I moved to LA, and was done with business school, we decided to do it.. we wanted to open a clothing the products that we carry. immediately we realized the crazy expenses we are going to face in opening a store in prime locations around LA. Read more>>

Ellen Cho | CEO

When I started my business, I was mostly just looking for a new hobby. I really like anime and pets so I started making bandanas for my dog. As I kept making/telling my friends about the bandanas, more and more people wanted them. Then, I decided to launch as Kickstarter to see if I would be able to successfully turn this hobby into a business. Ultimately, the Kickstarter did not succeed, but whoever supported me then helped me to grow the business to how it is now. Read more>>

Jennifer Febre | Brewery Owner/Idea Girl

After a divorce and remarriage, I was in the position of coming out of a “work hiatus” during which time I was raising two boys. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, so rather than going back into the 9-5 world, I took advantage of my clean slate and decided to take the plunge with business of my own. In my former marriage, we had reached a certain financial level that I was not willing to give up on, but to get back there I knew I had to go big or go home. Read more>>

Yasmine Wahab | Founder & Owner

Starting a business for me has always been about using my passion for offering fantastic service and experiences that brings joy to others and in return, I get to do what I love and be my own boss. During the pandemic, I started a food blog, WhisknWhip for fun to share some of my personal and family favorite recipes without any idea as to where it would lead me. It quickly filled my life with so much joy and inspiration and over time, I started to see my recipes touch people’s lives and end up on their dinner tables. I slowly started to sell my popular banana bread at food pop-ups with others in the food community as a side hustle. It made me think that there is a real opportunity for me to start my own business, so I dedicated myself to saving, planning, using every waking minute in between work hours and funds from my job to put towards my dream. Read more>>

Gabriel Negash | Housekeeper & Creative

I really wanted to start my own business so I could make an honest living, while being able to make my schedule flexible enough to spend time with my children. Ive always wanted to build something that I can call my own, and in 2020 I got my LLC up and running. Read more>>

Meagan A. Culberson | Writer & Project Manager

Single Girl Club initially started off as a personal blog about my transition to LA and dating in a new city, But I soon began to shift my focus from dating and finding a mate to focusing on my personal improvement instead. During this growth process I learned a lot of vital information on how to build a strong foundation for my future. I then wanted to collect resources and create content that would help other single women on their personal growth journeys too and then my personal blog transformed into what Single Girl Club is today, a lifestyle brand teaching single women the importance of self-love. Read more>>

Brisa Marie | PhD Candidate & YouTuber

Historically, graduate school has not been organized for diverse and different types of people to thrive. I had always wanted to get a PhD. My parents were always so encouraging and really reinforced into me that I could do it. I went to Penn State as an undergrad and had a lot of success, but when I got into my master’s and eventually my PhD, I realized things were a lot different than anything I knew. Read more>>

Kindra Moné | Beauty Editor at Estée Lauder and founder of theStylingSOUL.com

When I started my blog and podcast StylingSOUL, I was simply trying to find the types of conversations around style and beauty that I wasn’t seeing out in the world. I’m interested in sustainable fashion and clean beauty products—but that doesn’t mean I don’t also love a full nail set and pop culture. I have a passion for self development and an entrepreneurial spirit, but I also want to live a life of rest and pleasure. StylingSOUL is for the person that wants to style their soul just as much as their wardrobe. Read more>>

Teddy Sourlis | CEO & Founder of Men’s X Mental, Inc.

The steadfast goal behind our Men’s X Mental movement has always been to break down the barriers and stigmas behind the MENtal health 0f male athletes around the country. Having lost multiple friends and teammates to suicide, I have realized that this issue within our society has become more prevalent than ever. In some of my darkest moments, I have experienced pain, grief, depression, and anxiety of all levels, making my personal mission to ensure that nobody goes home after a game, or practice, feeling alone like I once did. Read more>>

Isiuwa Igodan | Creative Producer & Art Director

I am the owner of Igodan Creative Studio (Isiuwa.com/studio). We are a branding and marketing studio providing companies, influencers and business owners with marketing tools, sophisticated and timeless designs to help reimagine how they speak to their audience. My thought process behind starting my own business was my love for telling stories. I believe that everyone has a story and my purpose is to help tell and share their stories in any creative form that I can. Read more>>

Maisy Crawford | Owner of COWGRLCROCHETS

I decided to start up my business during Covid. The rumours about a ‘freedom day’ had begun and I was ready to start making my clothes for festival season having learnt how to crochet during lockdown. After I made the first few pieces I had so many of my friends telling me that I should start to sell my stuff. I then set up an instagram page and it kind of just grew from there! Read more>>

Reeshema Whititngton | Owner & Owner Operator

I have always wanted to be my own “Boss,” but I did not know where to begin. I have a love for beautiful skin. I am in love with the beauty of skin, all shades, colors and nationalities. During the Covid-19 pandemic I began making Body Scrubs in my kitchen. One day my eldest daughter came to me and stated, “Mommie, these body scrubs are awesome!” She suggested that I sell them and that is where it all began. I began selling to family and friends. My clients began to ask for body oils, body creams, and etc… Read more>>

Jesus Rocha Centeno | Business owner of chueytacos

My thought process behind starting my own business. Wasn’t simple I always wanted to be my own boss. But I didn’t understand how to start a business, I went to college and took business classes that didn’t help me much. I begin reading books of Entrepreneurs. After reading some encouraging books like “ Rich Dad , Poor Dad”and “ Think and Grow Rich. in 2018 I decided to start my catering business and that’s how chueytacos started. Read more>>

Tara Owens | Beauty Entrepreneur

After being a fashion model for 20 years, I became a beauty editor of a local magazine. Learning a lot about the beauty industry, especially the perfume industry, I became engulfed with the idea of starting my own perfume company called Seren Apothecary. After working closely with a perfumer, we blended three beautiful scents which turned into our first perfume Willow, which people gravitated towards, and in turn growing in popularity. Read more>>

Stacey Fiant Morris | Florist

I decided to go into business for myself because it is something I enjoy and due to what I have learned in the industry I felt I would be able to offer more customer service that I felt was important. I consider it a privilege to represent one’s love for another through flowers and taking a little extra time to text a photo of the arrangement and delivery confirmation with details is so comforting and appreciated and it only takes me a few minutes to do. Read more>>

Nadia Angelini | Life Coach/Counselor

I wanted to create a business where I could really be of value to people. It all started with my own healing journey and my determination to find a way to move past my traumas and wounding and create the life I always wanted. Which I did. I went on to get my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and used that with a combination of spirituality, mindfulness and my experience as a recovered addict, to help people in the best way I could. I truly believe we all have the power to heal ourselves, given the right tools. Read more>>

Joss Gomez | Publisher/Director

I wanted to start my own business because there is too much competition in what I do (acting) so it was really hard to get auditions and to book jobs, so I decided to launch my own magazine to promote myself to the key people in the industry and that is how my entertainment magazine started 12 years ago. Read more>>