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.

Cielomar Cuevas | Jewelry Designer & Creative Visionary

It’s been an ongoing evolution and self discovery journey. My interest in jewelry started about the same time that I embarked on my first adventure traveling through Europe when I turned fifteen. I just loved collecting jewelry that would remind me of my travels and that I could treasure for years to come. But it wasn’t just about collecting for me—I have always seen jewelry as a powerful form of self-expression. I realized that I wanted to create that feeling of transformation and empowerment for others through jewelry. When I moved to the Bay Area in 2010, Read more>>

Tamara Martin | Illustrator

I always find it difficult to articulate how I ended up with an illustration business without explaining a little bit of my life, since it was this series of personal events –totally unrelated to illustration– that led me to where I am today. I studied and worked as a fashion designer in Barcelona, where I am from, but once I met my husband, we had some options to live abroad due to his work, and without a doubt, we jumped right in. It was first Berlin and Munich, and some time later, Los Angeles. Read more>>

Jennine Nwoko | Lawyer & Founder of Legal 4 Creatives

I wanted to start my own law firm and work for myself, because each time I was working at a law firm (I worked at three firms before starting my own), I would find myself thinking of different methods & processes of how to do things, the types of clients I wanted to represent and how to run a law firm. Unfortunately, most of them were not in alignment with the traditional, “old school” law firm model, and eventually, I realized that I needed to set up my own law firm and do business my way. As an example, most law firms don’t represent one-time clients with small budgets, and I felt like there was a huge need for that type of representation. Read more>>

Beth Smith | Integrative Health Practioner & Online Health Consultant

To be honest, I never dreamed of owning a business. I was content with a 9-5 job, putting in my time, and waiting for retirement. All of that changed in 2020, as I’m sure it did for many people. While the world was in crisis, I began reevaluating my life and aspirations. Several years prior to 2020, I had my own personal health crisis that continued on until I found functional medicine, addressed my health issues, and subsequently found a growing passion for food as medicine. Read more>>

Victor Janer | BBQ Pop Up

The thought process behind my business kind of just fell into my lap. Ever since I was little I enjoyed cooking, as I got older I moved more to grilling and open flame cooking. During my teen/early 20s the best part of cooking open flame was the fact of having everyone around the fire cooking burgers and hot dogs and just having a good time. When we all got older we went our different ways and the fun started to slow down. I discovered the world of competition BBQ and the love came back, this time moved into smoked meats and smokers. Read more>>

Sameen Ahmad Co-Founder | Hank & Ed Management LLC, Artist & Event Management

I wanted the independence of creating an environment where through the training of others, I could continue to build upon-myself. I wanted an inclusive environment that treats women and men fairly and equally. Read more>>

Andrew James | “VEERS” guitar player and singer

As a band in 2022 and as in years before, you really have to be your own manager , label, tech guy, booking agent, engineer/ producer is the easy part…so we just thought we may as well throw business owner into the mix just to top it off. Obviously having full control over everything you make makes sense and especially as you’ve covered all the ground work in the job titles above. Read more>>

Gretchen Salyer | Founder & CEO of The June Care Company

June Care was started based on my own personal experience as a full time working mom, and a full time stay-at-home mom, but really born out of the pandemic. I was a full time stay-at-home mom when the pandemic hit. Although it was hard, I felt fortunate that I wasn’t trying to work a second job while caring for my kids. My friends and neighbors, on the other hand, were not able to leave their jobs and their childcare completely disappeared. And of course this was happening everywhere, resulting in more than 3 million working moms leaving their jobs over the past 2 years. Read more>>

Forest Quaglia | Actor & Filmmaker

After years of working d jobs, I made the jump to entrepreneurship. I’ve been in the renewable energy field for some time and recently began the exciting adventure of filmmaking. I started out as an actor but found my self writing down ideas for movies and characters which eventually led to writing a series of short films. The Hollywood hustle to stardom is one of the most competitive and challenging career paths I know of. Read more>>

Helena Lau | Founder & CEO, Le Bar Marché

Le Bar Marché was founded in 2019 inspired by my affection for India’s beautiful craft, history and the stunning exotic gardens of Rajasthan. The initial intention for Le Bar was to be a carefully curated collection of obsessions from my travels. It was a passion project conjured up on an afternoon of meandering through Jodhpur markets with my friend in search of a good bottle of wine (no where to be found), hence the name was born. Read more>>

Michaiah Goodwin | Influencer/ Clothing Line

Honestly I hate working for others it’s so miserable at times. So I was like “hmm what can I do to work for my self” lol, and I’ve already had a decent following so I was thinking “I have to do something” Read more>>

Shanelle Workman-Gray | Owner of Shanelle Gray Studios-La’s Top Conservatory for the Artist

Ever since I was a small girl, I remember always wanting to “sit in a desk” and just “write” and pretend I was bossing people around ha! But not really bossing-I just mean guiding teams. I feel like that is what owning a business is-guiding and supporting teams. Because without my teams-I truly am nothing. Read more>>

Tiffany Renee’ | Natural Healer. Intuitive. Medium.

I began my own business once I realized I was working hard, stressing, making someone’s else’s dream my life, while watching my dream move further away from being realized. For this reason, I had to take that leap into entrepreneurship and it was the absolute best gift to myself! I needed to take a chance on myself, and see what I was capable of, to stretch and continuously grow beyond my perceived borders. Read more>>

Sophia Zhorne | Publicist and Owner of Palms Publicity Group

My thought process has always been to work smarter, not necessarily harder. I am a book publicist. I represent speakers and authors from all over the world and help them build their platforms. In doing so, I help my clients gain traction before their book releases which in hindsight, sells more books. I started this company to help better an existing field. So many huge PR firms today will put out one press release per month and hope for the best. I choose to do things differently. I cater to my clients needs and wants and alter my strategies accordingly. I work with them as a teammate, and we do it together. That is the most crucial element that separates my firm from the rest. Read more>>

Brittany DeVall Heyden | Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner & Health Consultant

When I first returned to school to finish my master’s degree, I didn’t really have a clear picture of the next steps, but because I had been sick for quite some time, I began studying holistic nutrition and health and wellness. I was fascinated by an alternative approach to health and well-being. At that moment, I decided to obtain a post-masters, become a nurse practitioner, and practice functional medicine. Owning my own business has always been a dream of mine, partially because I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so dreaming, brainstorming, and designing business plans was not a new concept. Read more>>

Carin Kim | Esthetician

When I first got out of college, I believed it was the norm for everyone to work in the corporate world so for 7 years I strived to move up the corporate ladder. However, I always felt unhappy and unfullfilled. I realized that I needed to do something I love and thats when I decided to become my own boss. I knew I wanted to be involved in skincare which led me to selling Korean skincare products online. After noticing that many CEO’s of skincare websites were estheticians, Read more>>

JoJo Williams | Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Yomassage Therapist, Reiki and Craniosacral Practitioner, Doula

It has always been my passion to provide bodywork and doula support in a way that made sense to birthing families. With the loss of my prior employment during Covid, I was presented with the opportunity to do just that in starting my own business. Read more>>

Zachary Solov | Talent Agent and Marketing Mavrick

I wanted to create an environment where I could make deals, work with my clients, and really thrive with my entrepreneurial spirit. I also wanted to change the traditional agency model. We work with all talent on a non-exclusive basis. This is something that works great for me and the other agents under Z Group LA. Read more>>

Rey Medina | Beadsbyrey

I started my business unintentionally in 2017. I started getting into crystals and I was looking for a way to have them on me without carrying them in a bag all the time. My friend gave me the idea to buy a bracelet. I shopped around on Amazon and bought a bracelet that I wore all the time and still have till this day. However I wanted a bracelet with my favorite crystals in it (onyx and pyrite). So I went to the local crystal store and bought some beads to make my own. A few friends noticed my bracelet and asked if I could make them one. Read more>>

Rob Moffitt | Interior plant stylist & owner of The Haus Plant

I have been wanting to start my own business for years. Straight out of High school I was torn between going to art school and nursing school and ultimately decided on Nursing School. Although nursing has been a rewarding career it never allowed me to explore my creative side. I finally decided to start a business in the middle of the Pandemic. Between the stress of the hospital as a nurse through the Pandemic and the extra free time at home I started to really think about what I wanted out of life and what my next career shift might be. I opened the Haus Plant truck during the Pandemic and it has been a fun rollercoaster ever since. Read more>>

Dhaarmika Coelho | Parent and Educator

Curiosity and the desire to nurture kindness in my local community is what motivated me to start Camp Kindness Counts. In 2012, new to the area with a 2 year old and 6 month old and reading about bullying in schools and unkind occurances in the world, I wondered what could help to change that. I wanted my kids to live in a place where kindness mattered and caring was common. I was certain other parents desired the same. I wondered what would happen if we focused on the positive and the goodness versus the negative. Read more>>

Timm Freeman | Founder & Director of Business Development

It wasn’t so much a process as being open to the universe and the signposts popping up all over the place. At the time I left the big corporate job (global visual merchandising for the biggest cosmetics company in the industry), I had (on paper) the biggest and best position of my career of 20+ years. But I was miserable—company “culture” was a myth and management was perfectly comfortable taking nights and weekends away from salaried employees. Read more>>

Sherman Perryman | Executive Producer| CRE Invest Advisor| Business Consultant

1. What was your thought process behind starting your own business? My thought process was to do or die when it came to starting my own business. It is something I was born to be and it’s in my DNA. 2. Social impact: how does your business help the community or the world? When it comes to social impact, my business helps the community by offering financial literacy and helping people manage their finances. Coming from a community where financial literacy is a major challenge. My business instantly makes a difference because of how many ways and educating while also providing a service Read more>>

Courtney Carter | Talent & Brand Manager, TV/Film Producer & Cultural Connector

While I loved working at CAA, I saw a white space in the industry and an influx of emerging talent and lack of suitable management that understood the new and existing media marketplaces. It sparked the creation of CMG–a management and media company that represents innovative and inclusive people and stories, primed for shifting culture and perception. CMG consults and advises entrepreneurs, brands, companies, and talents who are often considered the ‘onlys’ in their spaces; Read more>>

Lena Chao | Founder and CEO of Clean Circle

If you’ve ever lived in New York, you’ll know that it is so common to go from work straight to the gym. You’re carrying all your gym clothes, gym shoes, and toiletries in your work bag on the subway. And I got tired of using makeup wipes to remove my makeup before and after the gym. Makeup wipes wreaked havoc on my skin, leaving it sensitive, dry, and with rashes. I even tried washing the solution off the wipes to ease the stinging and burning on my skin. I also hated the waste that I was creating with them. Read more>>

Tony Luu | Global Entrepreneur

Starting your own business starts with your idea, and your blueprint of how you want people to perceive your brand. I’ve always been a creator more than a consumer. If I walkthrough any store, all I see is business branding and how each product was packaged or marketed. Creating an eco-system of products and services is key to keep a life-long loyal client in your database. Read more>>

Kristel Jones | Owner & Founder of Uplift Us Marketplace | Kendra Settle – Owner Uplift Us Marketplace

The thought behind Uplift Us Marketplace came after an influx of information and feelings that came about at the peak of the George Floyd movement as well as watching a ton of documentaries on Black Wallstreet. We wanted to help be a part of the change that is needed in America for the black community, for us that meant helping to give small Black owned businesses an opportunity to grow by being in a place where they could reach people outside of their own network. Watching the documentaries, Read more>>

Niamani Knight | S.T.R.E.A.M. Founder + NextGen Advocate

When I was 13 years old and as a middle schooler I loved sports, basketball was my favorite. As a starter for the team in my 8th-grade year, and as a member of Peer Leaders and student in Lego Robotics, my schedule was pretty busy…or so I thought. On this particular day as my mom drove me to school, she shared with me an opportunity coming to our local community, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA), a program designed to teach middle schoolers business principles. As she explained the program, she “volun-told” me that this was something that I had to apply for. ​Read more>>

Ron L. Dowell | Author/activist

I have an undergraduate business degree in accounting from CSUDH. I passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination in the mid-80s. At the time, I worked in public service as a program auditor and wanted to mesh the best of public and private business approaches while preparing to leave public service for the private sector. Working for the public sector was viewed by the private sector as a disadvantage during the 80s. I was never employed by private, public accounting firms that could offer the experience I needed. I experimented with private sector business strategies while working for L.A. Read more>>