Many books on startups and business talk about how there are right and wrong reasons for starting a business. So, we asked a handful of successful founders about their reasons and the thought-process behind starting their business.

Nathan Miller | Communications Strategist and CEO, Miller Ink

It was 2013. I saw a huge disruption happening in the media environment – and thought there could a lot of opportunity for a boutique communications firm that was hungry, nimble, and understood how to bring together the emerging tools available to deliver a message to audiences. There were so many things that I didn’t understand about running a business when I first hung my own shingle. I’ve learned so much since founding Miller Ink, but I think that the original thesis was right. I am really proud of the company we have built on the basis of that idea. Read more>>

James Woods | School self care strategist and speaker

My first thought was wow I could actually do this. I worked in mental health for years and was used to work with a lot of African American youth and families, and found myself of value to my colleagues and supervisors in general. Once I connected my work to value in the market place as in people need my skills and abilities to solve their problems i started to believe that me starting a business was viable. Previously I just thought that the only way I could do what I loved do which is serving people through mental health and wellness was through a job. But for me a job “aint” freedom, I didnt like the game I needed to play and the person I needed to be to survive at a job so I quit. Read more>>

Veronica Parks | Master Soul Healer

Growing up, I dreamed of making a big impact in the world, helping millions of people feel the magic of the world the way I saw it. Of course, I was just dreaming, but I knew there was more magic in the world to be felt, gifted, and shared and I wanted to be the one to do it. I grew up on a remote farm in Moldova, a tiny country in Eastern Europe. We were suppressed under communism and my family struggled through poverty, but we always had healthy, real food to eat. Read more>>

Alleson Buchanan | Neon Bender & Boss Lady

Every neon sign is handmade by a glass bender. Becoming a skilled glass bender demands years of intentional practice. Not only must you learn the science behind the glow, you must also spend hours in the fire – be comfortable with molten glass in your hands, perfectly match every bend to a pattern, and ensure it’s strong enough to hold a vacuum. Glass bending consists of a lot of failure before triumph and requires emotional endurance and commitment. Read more>>

Josa Maule | Acting Coach/ Teacher, Director, producer, Casting Director

From a young age I’ve always been involved in the performing arts, performing directing and assisting with various community organizations. I wanted to provide serious ,affordable workshops for everyone. Read more>>

Anastasia Sagalovich | Fashion Designer, The Gothic Redhead behind Snarkeez!

I had been in the fashion industry for years before I started Snarkeez. This was mainly during what I would call the “me, myself, and I” age. Everyone wanted to be a celebrity, the Kardashians were queens of the castle, and little girls everywhere were being taught to “glam” so they can find a rich sugar daddy instead of learning to appreciate themselves, and become strong, professional women. Read more>>

La’Toya Taylor-Berthil | Community liaison, yoga instructor and Master Gardener of San Bernardino county

I started Taylor Made Holistic with the needs of the community in mind. As I was studying for my bachelor’s in health & wellness I had an assignment that required me to assess what my community needed the most as it related to health & wellness. I found that our community needed more access to alternative & complementary methods of care that were also affordable. As a lover of all things natural and tea I decided to start a line of herbal teas for wellness to offer something to my immediate community that seems so natural (having a cup of tea a day) to help facilitate a lifestyle change & educate people on utilizing herbs as a preventative & acute method of care. Read more>>

Tanisha Everett | Photographer

Every since I was kid, I was fascinated with the power of words and pictures to capture a moment. Whether it was poetry, hip hop, rock, still and moving pictures, I was always fascinated by how these things shaped the world around us. It took me until I was forty-one before I realized my childhood dream of working in film, in this case photography. Read more>>

Martha Gil De Montes | Communications Expert | Media Relations Strategist | Bilingual Spokesperson

After 15 years in the corporate world, I had enough experience and know how to trust my instincts, feel confident about my skills, and determined enough to know I could be an independent professional who could start her own business. All those years of hard work have paid off. More than anything, they have made me fearless in the sense that I know I can go after projects I want, in areas that interest me and help my community. Read more>>

Dayna Olton | Photographer

Ever since I started working, it was always for a company that had multiples of me that could fulfill a service where I was paid a base amount to generate an unlimited amount of income for that company. I was capped but they were not. I wanted to be in that type of position. Read more>>

Aubree Gilbert | Yoga/Mindfulness Instructor for Mental Health & Creative

My business, Mindful Skulls, was built out of unemployment and all the other chaos that unfolded in 2020. I was in survival mode after schools and gyms shut down leaving me without work. I was working with youth in high schools and SF juvenile hall as well as taught adult classes at the YMCA. I am a trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness instructor who specializes in Mindfulness for mental health. A lot of the young people I work with live with anxiety, depression, ptsd and other forms of stress. Read more>>

Sonique Saturday | Artist, Social Disrupter

I think it’s important to know that when I got started I wasn’t trying to start a business – I just wanted to make a bag for myself. Many years later when I realized I had a business, I wanted to create things that I liked. That’s the true magic I tell all creators, make things that you actually like. I wanted to create something that girls would style their entire outfits around. I wanted to create a conversation piece and something that might even offend others. I like the idea of making people uncomfortable through art. So I guess that was my thought process when starting my business. Read more>>

Chelsey Gomez | Artist Known as Ohyouresotough

I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 28. During the first part of my treatment I went online looking for merchandise related to my cancer. Everything I found for cancer patients aligned with the narrative of being “strong”, “brave” or a “warrior”. None of which I felt. There wasn’t any merchandise available that truly spoke to me or my experience. I cope with life through humor and that’s how I approached cancer too. Of course, there’s the sad parts but the sad parts are made easier when we can laugh. I wanted to create products for all sorts of illnesses that would make people smile during hard times. Read more>>

Rochelle McLaughlin | C.E.O & Founder- Twelve21 Executive Group

My first thought was “are you sure you want to do this?” As cliche as it sounds, the first thing I had to do was believe in myself before anyone else could. At times we can be our biggest critic. I know starting a business can be terrifying and overwhelming to many, considering all the risks but I chose to focus on my passion for the creative world whether it is music, fashion, arts or technology and structure a plan and method to introduce my business to the world. Each day I learn, each day I grow and so does my business and the beauty of it all is connecting and growing with other individuals. My thoughts are you don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great. Read more>>

Sonia Mendez | Food Writer and Recipe Developer

My parents were self employed most of my growing up. My dream was to always find something I loved and to be able to earn a living doing that! Read more>>

Marquita Wright | Family & Female Travel Content Creator

Before kids, I was a frequent traveler, professionally and personally. Once I became pregnant with our twins, I was continuously told that I would have to find a different job and stop traveling. Being one who doesn’t a commandment to stop doing what I love easily, I was determined to find a way to continue to travel, with kids. And that’s exactly what I did, travel the world with my husband and kids. I posted our adventures on IG and folks started asking questions about how they could do the same. Hence, the birth of The Traveling Twin Mama. Read more>>

Kevin Tran | Co-Founder of Crater Creative

Crater Creative started over a beer with Patrick Kieley in New York City. At that time, we were both working as freelance editors who specialized in movie trailers working for smaller, independent New York-based film companies. We cut trailers for a lot of prestigious, but obscure arthouse and foreign films. We both wanted to work on bigger films with larger companies and thought the best way to that was to start our own film marketing company. Patrick and I were big fans of each other’s work, but we were a little hesitant with the idea of collaborating with another editor. After launching Crater and working on our first few projects together, it was clear we worked better as a team than individually. Read more>>

Kashka Hopkinson | Stoney Slice Founder & Chef

I grew up around entrepreneurs and owning my own business was always something I wanted to achieve, I just never knew what industry it would be in. After being in Los Angeles after 6 years, and being in the cannabis business for sometime, I began seeing how the cannabis industry was growing and the possible opportunities. I felt the need to create a product that was more innovative than what was currently in the the industry. It was going to be something relatable, something people could enjoy, and an experience that brought people together. That was how Stoney Slice was born. Read more>>

Cyron Clemons | Creative

I wanted to start a business that provides everything artists and brands need in order to push out their product by providing them with design work, photography and videography. Basically I wanted to be a one stop shop for those who make music and has a brand or business. Read more>>