Starting a business can be terrifying. Weighing the pros and cons, the risks, and other considerations can be so overwhelming that often promising entrepreneurs stop before they even start. We asked some phenomenal entrepreneurs about their thought process behind starting their own businesses. Our hope is that by making the thought-process less intimidating we can help more folks think through whether they should take an entrepreneurial leap.

Alison Roessler Campbell | Strength and Conditioning Specialist & CEO/Founder of Truve

I started my business because I felt that Oakland was lacking in a true community space where people could come together regardless of age, race, identity, sexual preference, religion, experience, socio-economic status, etc and find exactly what they need in their life. I wanted to create a space where community and inclusion were the driving force and not profit. A space where everyone feels at home. I believe that we can make the world a better place by making it a healthier place. When you are healthier, you are happier and it has a ripple effect and impacts everyone you come in contact with. Thus Truve was born. Read more>>

Asavari Kumar | Creative Director & Filmmaker

My sister and fellow artist Shivalini Kumar and I had always talked about working together. Both of us were interested in creating something that was bigger than the sum of its parts. As each of us evolved in our individual careers, we began to crave a space that reflected our personal values and allowed us to truly thrive as multidisciplinary artists. Having had prior work experience as freelancers, it was also essential for us to retain our autonomy as artists and designers and engage with the creative field on our own terms. Creating our own studio seemed like the next natural step in both of our journeys so, in 2015, we co-founded Supernova Design. Read more>>

Laura Cathcart Robbins | Freelance Culture Writer and Host of The Popular Podcast, The Only One In The Room

The Only One In The Room podcast was born out of a viral article that I wrote in 2018 for Huffpo about being the only Black person at a 600 person retreat. As soon as the article went live I started getting responses from people all around the world who connected with the feeling of being ‘othered.’ The emails and messages we received ranged from “I am the only one who couldn’t have a baby,” to “I am the only one keeping a terrible secret” to “I’m the only one taking care of my dying spouse”. We decided to launch the podcast in April of 2019 to tell those stories. Read more>>

Tess Kirsch | Acting Coach

I had been working at an acting studio for 7 years when I made the decision to start my own studio. It was very scary, but a fellow Acting coach helped me a great deal. She said that I needed to “create space” for my dreams/ambitions. I was terrified that I would take the leap and fall flat on my face, but I didn’t. It took time to build my own clientele, but I am now incredibly happy that I took the risk. Read more>>

Yasmin Wade | Casting Director & Creator of Yassi’s Butta

I’m a mom, who’s five year old, was suffering from extreme eczema. I was looking for a holistic alternative to cortisone creams and shots which were very expensive and only worked as a temporary treatment. The amount of cortisone that was recommended for my 5 year old daughter was making me uncomfortable, and her eczema would inevitably always come right back. I realized at that point, I needed to formulate a natural remedy. After researching oils that would be great for sensitive skin , I aimed to create a blend that would help soothe her flare-ups. So, I got cooking in my kitchen and Yassi’s Butta was born. It turned out so well that my multi-racial family started using it for different reasons including hair, lips, nails, and even as an antiperspirant. The next fun phase was sharing it in gift bags with friends and family at bridal and baby showers. Yassi’s Butta didn’t have any branding at that point. The feedback was great, and I felt I was on to something. It’s a multi-purpose, clean and organic product (so clean you can even eat it). Read more>>

Sormeh Rienne | Hospitality Interior Designer

I started my business for various reasons, but at the core it was to truly be of service to my clients. I studied architecture, spent several years in construction, and combined all I had learned to create my company. After careful review of the operations of many other firms, I found what I considered to be a gap in the market. Often times designers pass their work off to their staff, and while there is nothing wrong with this process of working, I felt myself disconnected from my projects. I feel, to truly design, I need to be in all of the details. I consider myself a concierge of sorts, I help my clients from start to finish, including branding. I often help influence operations, uniforms, silverware etc. By having a holistic view on the design process, I can ensure that all decisions are with the business’s success in mind. Design for me goes deeper than surface level aesthetics. It’s the movement of a restaurant, the feel of the silverware, the energy of the laughing friends to your right and left. Read more>>

Lee Morton | Human, Creative, Adventurer

You feel like you can make this “thing” that will help or get people excited. The craft and delivering on a promise is inspiring. Thinking differently with creative that would help someone stand out, to make something that someone can FEEL. All those things I would do for free because I’m fascinated with them so may as well earn a living along the way. Read more>>

Kevin Lawrence | Technologist & Record Label Owner

I spent a good amount of time working for other businesses and I began to realize that there are certain tradeoffs. While you can sometimes get a good amount of job security while working for another business, usually you’re delivering about 5 or 10 times the value of what you are actually being paid. When you start your own business the pressure is on but you are also building your own skillset, your own network, and your own brand. In America being a business owner is heavily favored compared to being someone on a full time or part time salary. There are numerous tax write offs for business owners and you can reinvest a lot of your businesses earnings into other budding aspects of your business rather than giving a large chunk to the government in taxes. Your entire lifestyle can be built around your business whereas if you work for someone else you will always be aiming to achieve some type of “work-life balance”. Read more>>

Traci Kalaba | Home Chef/Baker

I’d have to say that my thought process in starting my own business was initially financial independence, But as it has evolved I have begun to realize that it’s really about bringing joy to people. Financial independence is a benefit, but bringing people joy gives me a sense of accomplishment and fuels me to keep building and creating. Read more>>

Again Again Anne Montone and Jennifer Cook | Progressive kids Music for Young Minds and Their Adults

We created Again Again, with the goal to teach kids life lessons on progressive topics because we thought there were subjects that needed attention now. Anne and I were already music partners and first time moms singing made up lullabies to our babies. Anne thought, why not record some of these compositions. I loved the idea. Shortly there after, Again Again was born. Anne and I released our debut album Listen. Love. Repeat. in October 2019 along with our companion coloring and lyric book. Listen. Love. Repeat. has received accolades from notable family publications and blogs as well as made it on Phil Sayblack’s 2019 “Top Family Music Albums of the Year” list. We were super pleased to be selected as a 2019 Parent’s Choice selection. Catching on to the sounds of Again Again are kids stations including WFDU-FM, KCSS-FM, WAWL FM, WVEW-FM (VT), WXPN-FM (PA), WTUL-FM (LA), KDXH-FM (MO), WFDU-FM (NJ), KDXH-FM (MO), Radio Nursery -Jonzie Kurian, KUTX-FM (TX), KDXH-FM (MO) as well as Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music. Some of our song topics include: Blended/Multicultural Families Families with two dads or two moms or just one parent. Read more>>

Adolfo Girala | Artist

When I started painting I had no idea it would turned out into a business. My thought process was truly enjoying the idea of creating and experimenting with my work. I am still very interested with the process of painting. The business fallows. Read more>>

Annique Arredondo | Owner and Creative Director of Player One Arcade Bar

There were certainly a multitude of factors that inspired the inception of Player One, including having worked for terrible former employers. I remember saying to my partner, “I will never work for anyone again. I don’t know how I’m gonna do it, but I swear I won’t”. The drive and the gumption to want to work outside of the systems and procedures that had been instilled in me to follow (get hired at a “good” job, secure that job, stay at that job indefinitely for money, benefits, etc) was something that only snapped itself in me when I hit a personal epiphany. In my final former job as an personal assistant to a well known actor, I found myself working 15-16 hour days, constantly condescended to, and even felt pressured to come back early from major surgery. It wasn’t until I was let go for “not doing enough” that I realized that unless I could find a way to break out of the institutions that kept me as a worker bee, I would never have the freedom and life i had always envisioned. Read more>>

Amber Brinkley | Owner & Creative Designer

Starting Amarie Designs began as a vision that came about in 2018 when I was searching for something different. I was working a job that I wasn’t happy in and was looking to make a change. While I was in a 90-day Influence Program with Benchmark Courses, I began searching for a more fulfilling path for myself. I realized that I have always had a passion for creativity, and my love language is giving gifts to others, especially one-of-a-kind and personalized gifts. What started as a hobby of making custom and personalized gifts for myself and others grew from a hobby into a paying business, and Amarie Designs was born. Read more>>

Sasha Verruno | Designer

I always knew I wanted to have my own brand but I also knew that meant more than just the fun of designing. I needed more experience and knowledge of the industry before I felt ready to take on that adventure. I started working as an intern for Kimberly Ovitz in New York right after college. The company was small, only nine people, so I got to be very hands on in the design and development process. After a six month internship, they offered me a job as a technical designer, where I learned the production side of the business. The other people that worked within the company were veterans in the industry, from the likes of Alexander Wang and Donna Karan. They took me under their wing and taught me the ins and outs of running a label. Their mentorship gave me the confidence to start my own line when I moved back to LA. I wanted to make a brand that empowered women, by making them feel confident, sexy and sophisticated. I’ve always been inspired by the natural curves and the shape of the female form, which led to my design practice of draping and featuring untraditional lines. Read more>>