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.

Shekira Piard | Event Planner, Designer & Coordinator

Starting my own business came from the fact that I didn’t enjoy working for other people. Every time I had a job, I would find myself either dreading the entire job and having anxiety or wanting to outwork management. I always wanted to be the boss or the person in charge and that can get hectic when you’re working for a company that isn’t yours. Read more>>

Kim Saira | Artist & Influencer

My own business right now is doing influencer work and commissions for infographics. There was a lot of hesitation at first, but I’ve learned how important southeast asian representation is in the media, even for influencer work. Influencer work is difficult for BIPOC because statistically, we get paid a lot less, and are just offered a lot less opportunities than white people. But I think that breaking this wall is necessary for representation. Nowadays I’m more inspired with this new venture and hopefully it can inspire other Southeast Asians to pursue a creative field as well. Read more>>

Liis Lass | Beauty queen, music producer, real estate businesswoman

Freedom. Freedom to live my life on my own accord. To me that meant a global life. I need the energy of different cities. I started my international life as a model and pageant queen and now I run my international real estate investment firm. I don’t play well with authority so that must’ve influenced my decision to be my own boss as well. I’m more into partnerships than hierarchy. Read more>>

Cora Hirashiki | Digital Marketer & Founder at Fat Moon Creative

From Day 1, my motivating factor has always been, “How can I help people find goods or services that actually do GOOD? And how can I drive people to learn about critical issues and take action on those issues?” I absolutely love that so many people are now demanding to know the story behind their goods and are really supporting those brands and changemakers that are contributing to healthier communities and a sustainable planet. Read more>>

Tyler Rowell | Event Producer & Entrepreneur

The thought process behind Segar was simple; Bring high end food and service to our guests. As the client list began to grow, so the vision for the direction of the company. Our elite cliental had high standards that we often did not see met by other venders on the production side of events. They wanted a ‘one stop shop’ for prestigious party planning so we decided to grow the business and add in- house event production to our menu. Read more>>

William Carnahan | Photographer, Cinematographer, and Educator

At the root of it was pursing something that I enjoyed doing. I learned very early in my life from a teacher in highschool that I would have a much better life if I spent my “work” time doing something I actually enjoyed doing. So it eventually spawned into needed to start my own business. Read more>>

Matthew McIvor | Founder/Smasher

At first, it was simply something to pay the bills. Having lost a majority of the clients in my PR firm, I had to think about survival and making burgers was always something I was good at. I thought to myself, I need to just sell a certain amount to help pay rent but I’m going to take it serious because this could be a new venture if people seem to like it. Read more>>

Jamie Gunter | Empowerment Coach & Motivational Speaker

When I was a little girl, 8 years of age. I watched my father battle cancer, 2 years later losing that battle. That moment I knew helping people was my calling. But it wasn’t until I got sick with a brain tumor which resulted in me being legally blind, that I started to fulfill that goal of advocacy. As a 24 year old blind mother of a toddler, I begin to struggle with life. I dropped out of college, no job or ambition. I was in a dark place in my life and didn’t feel like it was worth living. And a voice told me you’re going to be okay. Read more>>

Yumiko Sturdivant Social Media Strategist & Manager | Founder of FDT (French Dream Team) Social Media Management Company

When I worked for a new luxury brokerage boutique as Marketing Director back in 2016, I was in contact with multiple magazines to see what were the options to advertise this new brokerage. I was in disbelief at how much it can cost you for a tiny ad on one page. Not everyone has a big advertisement budget when you start a new company, so I started looking into social media marketing. Read more>>

Tiara Harvey | Event Planner

I always had a interest in event planning, I just never took it serious. When it came time for a event I’m the person everyone would call to help them. I just had an eye for it because growing up my family would always have parties. I have these motivational talks with my uncle and he tells me you have to invest in things that’s going to make you more money. Read more>>

Jas Jones | Wife | Mama | COO & Owner of Conscious Concoction

We honestly always envisioned ourselves as business owners since we were younger, but never did we imagine our first business would be in the food & entertainment industry. Conscious Concoction which is now also known as Culinary ENT., was not founded based on a business plan or profit margin analysis…it was purely passion. Everyone close to us used to always come over and we would love to cook and entertain and it became the norm. Read more>>

Chrissy Ajisafe | Transformation Coach

I decided to believe that I can help people doing, not only what I love to do but in an area I too once struggled. Doesn’t that sound perfect to you too? Read more>>

Ben Chou | Impresario, Father, and Connector

Our venture was born in the midst of quarantine last year to: Restore the Arts Re-employ the displaced Give back to the community A premium, first run drive in located in the heart of the city is unheard of, but it provides the basis to restoring the arts, and is evolving into a live entertainment venue as COVID restrictions ease. Read more>>

Kristine Hedrick | Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Transformation Coach, Nutrition Coach, & Life Coach

Before starting my own business, I was working 50-60 hours a week and not feeling fulfilled. I knew I wanted more out of life and also knew that I deserved more. I love traveling and I dreaded having to ask my boss at the time for permission to go on vacation. I had a dream of being able to create my own schedule, be my own boss, and have full autonomy over how I do my job. I love being creative and I love helping people. Read more>>

Greg Romero Wilson Comedian & Comedy Teacher | National touring headliner and founder of

When I began teaching stand-up in 2008, it had a very negative connotation. Usually the comedian that taught for a club was the worst comic on the roster. He or she wasn’t going anywhere, so they had had them teach the class. I took a workshop when I first started and I didn’t learn anything. That drove me crazy. It was the only artform taught by people that weren’t good at it. Read more>>

Donna Budica | Founder, dBuEdu || Education & Leadership

I have been an elite education advisor & industry authority for over a decade, working with high-end clientele including royal families, diplomats, media moguls, international students, & high profile families. I also consulted education companies, private schools, homeschools & concierge services on best practices, business development, & operations — and am responsible for driving over 1000% revenue growth for our enterprise clients. Read more>>

Iva Teixeira | CEO and Co-Founder, Good Face Project

The global Cosmetics industry will reach $785 Billion in annual sales by 2025. It is one of the largest CPG verticals. As such, Cosmetics and their ingredients have an immense impact on our daily lives, our wellbeing, and the environment. Moreover, cosmetic products are goods with complex chemical compositions. And, while the industry spends approximately 30% of revenues on sophisticated marketing, it fails to invest equally in science-backed R&D. Read more>>

Jennifer Cox | Owner/Creator- Momma Osa

I started my business as a way of giving back. I knew I wanted to start a company that was creatively inspired and to make product as I am a Designer by trade, but I also knew that the more product I sold the more impact I could have on the world. I thought I could start small and design and manufacture socks and tees and for every pair of socks and tee I sold I would also donate one to charity. I found out that clean socks were one of the most commonly requested items from Homeless people, so originally my goal was to be able to help solve that problem. Read more>>

Arnie Watkins | Photographer/Creative Director

Ever since I was younger I had known that I wanted to create my own company. I started Pacific Interlude because I have been working as a freelance photographer for the past five years. After living in LA for almost 4 years I wanted to offer my clients more than just photography. I wanted to help them take their brand to the next level , whether it be through digital strategy, influencer marketing, full campaign production, or PR. Read more>>

Steve Brickman | Composer | Musician | Producer

Song Quest is a new business that creates personalized song and video gifts which born from the 2020 pandemic. I hatched the idea after creating an original song and video for Mother’s Day for his mom back home in Massachusetts. I relocated to Los Angeles in January from NYC with plans to perform live music. Read more>>

Jess Brewer | Physician Assistant & Founder of Venice Breakfast Club

The thought process was not very linear. I definitely did not wake up one day and decide to start a business. Last year, I consciously decided to go on a self-teaching journey to learn as much as I could outside of my career in medicine. Nothing was off limits: finance, stocks, accounting, or forming a business, which led to the creation of a random LLC. Read more>>

Charity McCowan | Personal Chef

My thought process was to create a legacy of my own. I come from a tradition southern family where the path is laid out for you to follow. I wanted to create my own path and step out on my own faith. I wanted to share more of my heart to people and what better way than to share my cooking! Read more>>

Pam Nayangcharoen | Architect

Thai Orkits is originating from a family-run restaurant during the pandemic. We’re focusing on the authenticity and simplicity of the experience of making Thai Food at home that taste just like at our restaurant. Thai food is complex and delicate. Thai Orkits allows you to simplify the cooking process with fresh ingredients yet guarantee the taste of authentic Thai food. Read more>>

Constance Hartwell | Birth Prep Coach & Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula

I always wanted a career that would incorporate everything that I am passionate about; yoga, ayurveda, and being of service. With my doula business, I get to create beautiful relationships with birthing people while introducing them to sacred wisdom. My goal has always been to nurture every part of the body for a safe and informed experience. I use the tools of Ayurvedic self-care such as dinacharya and dosha specific yoga to help bring more balance to the body, mind, and spirit. Read more>>

Koni Buenaventura | Sound Engineer

I started thinking about opening my own recording studio when I realized that it would be the best way to keep growing as a sound engineer. Running my own business allows me to have the freedom to be artistically open and carry out any vision or concept- the possibilities are endless! Read more>>

Stephanie Vu | Photographer & E-Commerce Entrepreneur

My photography business started from pure enjoyment of the craft but the journey has evolved it to something even better than what I could’ve imagined. The main goal was always to create, make people get joy out of what I made, and that fact that they could grow and benefit was the cherry on top. I’ve always been very business forward and I think I really enjoyed being an additive benefit to my customer’s brands while doing what I loved. It seemed like a win win and that mindset has always been behind my thought process. Read more>>

Karla Guinn-Thompson | Orthodontist

When I finished my residency, I worked at several different offices that saw a plethora of patients, each with differing and more complicated problems than just needing straight teeth. Although these offices helped pay the bills, they did not provide me with the fulfillment I longed for due to management disallowing me to treat the patients how I wanted to. Read more>>

Cozi | photographer, fashion designer, producer, artist

Honestly, Im one of the people that likes to wake up when I wanna wake up. A 9-5 is great because its consistent income which allows you to build stability but I don’t always wanna wake up at 5-6 in the morning to do the same repetitive task. Thinking about it I love taking pictures, making music and beats, making clothes and other accessories and on the flip I like making sure then energy in everything is cozy and a vibe and be able to work when I want to allows for that to happen. Read more>>

Briel Emani | Braider & Cosmetology student

It was very simple, I knew I wanted to work for myself in about the 6th or 7th grade. The last job I worked at was Macy’s before I gave birth to my first born son. I knew i wasn’t going back after my maternity leave. I had to do what I knew best. That was doing hair. Read more>>

Monique Harris | Owner & Creative Designer

Starting my own business was never in my foresight. It’s really something that chose me. Actually I never even considered myself the artsy or hobby type especially not making body adornments. My business came about when I was experiencing a rough patch in my life which sent me on a spiritual journey of discovery. Read more>>

James Mullis | Owner of Fill Bakeshop

In Hawaii we never show up empty-handed, it is customary to bring a favorite dish when invited to another’s home. At the age of 21, California called to me and I accepted the invitation. I love the beautiful islands and the warm, rich culture of Hawaii, but the diverse cities and eclectic lifestyles of California offered a new adventure. With appreciation for my upbringing and gratitude for this new opportunity, I wanted to bring California something tasty and unique – something that I grew up craving. Our menu and the flavors that we use are inspired by the many dishes that I had back home and that is what drove me to open the shop. Read more>>

Kelleia Sheerin | Dancer/Director/Designer

Hello, I’m Kelleia ~ a professional dancer/director/designer who made a wild & wonderful bag to carry around my world! I was traveling a lot with work and I needed a Better Bag – something practical that wouldn’t wreck my body. One that could carry ALL the things I needed. And… it needed to be stylish (because hello?). A bag that I could wear on my body, freeing my hands for work, my shoulders from stress and my mind from worry. A fanny pack if you will. But for the hips! A hip hip bag Read more>>

Shem Goltz | Social Media Content Creation Specialist

My thought process behind starting my own business was to provide the best social media content creation services to creators and influencers around the world. I want Goltz Media to be known as the go-to place when it comes to creating the highest quality content for social media platforms. Read more>>

Doug Murphy | Owner of Plasticgod Toys and Art Works

Sometimes decisions are made for you and so you roll with it. Lemonade from lemons as they say. In my case starting a business was not as cut and dry as someone who decides one day to start one. My case is a story of evolution. After the dot com bomb of the 2000s, everyone had time off, I took that time to get back into painting. I did a few paintings, put them in some shows and they started to get noticed, continued that for about 15 years and then saw and opportunity to create vinyl figures from my designs, that’s when the “decision” was made to go full throttle, into toy design and manufacturing. Because I knew the entire plan of how to make the business grow, this gave me the confidence and drive to invest in that future. Read more>>

Ivan Fatovic | Modamily Founder & CEO

I noticed a general trend of people delaying having kids and getting married until later in life. Many of those people face the ticking of the biological clock and need to make a decision sooner rather than later. They were exploring alternate family formation options like using a sperm donor, surrogate, or seeing if they can find a friend who shares their vision and value system for raising a family. I also noticed the younger generation that identifies in so many different ways and were exploring alternate ways to start a family, hence Modamily was born. Read more>>

Viola Sutanto | Entrepreneur & Designer

I come from a family with over 4 decades of experience in the luxury bags business, so I have a lifelong appreciation of the beauty and quality of high-end craftsmanship and materials. But the price points felt elusive to me, and many other working women. I saw a need for beautifully designed, well-made everyday bags from sustainable materials and sought to fill that gap in the market with the launch of MAIKA. Read more>>