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.

Serena Dobbie | Real Estate Agent & CEO of The SDR Group

I knew our area was missing a modern approach to real estate. A fresh outlook on marketing a property and on connecting with clients was needed. I was working with a land developer and saw so many people coming in who either were not the target audience for the home or buyers who had no idea what they were getting into. Read more>>

Jess Iturzaeta | Creator of Simply Jess Skincare & Esthetician

Back when I started Simply Jess Skincare, I was really mindful of the ingredients I was putting on my skin due to health issues in my family. I wanted to keep it clean but didn’t love the options in the beauty/skincare product space. After working for other skincare brands for so many years I wanted to put my time and energy into creating something I truly believed in. I also wanted to be in charge of my own time as a new mom and have power to create my schedule. I felt compelled to start my own brand and use my background as an esthetician and trainer to help clients change their skin. Read more>>

Shannon Comstock | Co-Founder of Note PR

I’m a pretty risk-averse person, and I never would have taken this leap were it not for my now co-founder, Heloise van Eeghen. We met while working at the same PR agency, bonding over Pad Thai delivery during (too many) late nights at the office. We realized we both were looking for a few of the same things in our careers: the ability to choose the brands we represented and the people we worked with, autonomy over key strategy decisions, and some semblance of work-life balance. Read more>>

Chris Chandler | Artist

I spent 30 years as a tour manger & sound engineer & was looking to retire from the road. My art practice was alway in the background as I toured and I wanted to take the next step and make it my full time career. For me working as an artist allowed me the freedom to be at home and spend time with my family. Read more>>

Kerrie Fitzgerald | Kerrie Fitzgerald: E-commerce & Product Based Business Educator and Marketing Strategist

I started my very first business back in 2016- a high end e-commerce and subscription box business called The Dapper Dog Box. There was virtually ZERO mentors, coaches, courses or support I could find when I was both starting and trying to grow my online shop. I struggled so much trying to “figure it all out” and ended up wasting so much of my time, energy and money. Read more>>

Volonda Reedus | Entrepreneur- Author- Coach -Speaker

My thought process for starting my own business came from a deep entrepreneurial spirit that I have had since I was very young. I always saw myself as my own boss. As a kid I was so fascinated with how my dad made his own schedule and was able to take vacations whenever he wanted. I knew that was my heart’s desire. Read more>>

Jazmin Feige & Matias Gonzalez | Industrial designers

We were in the middle of the lockdown in 2020 and realised that home had become the “go to” place for everyone as it was not possible to go somewhere else. This made us feel that we needed to create a joyful space inside when everything that was going on outside was everything but joyful. Read more>>

Shoné Bozart | Wig Stylist

As soon as I became of age to work, I did just that! While the excitement of having a job and earning my own income THRILLED me, I always knew I would eventually work for myself. Throughout the years, I had worked quite a few jobs in addition to braiding and styling natural hair on the side. Doing hair has always been something Ive enjoyed so its always been apart of me. Fast forward to 2017/2018, I ended up getting fired from my last employer and that’s what really set the tone for my new life. Read more>>

Randee Brookins | Wellness Business Founder & High Performance Coach

I took business classes at Santa Barbara City College years ago now and I was naturally drawn to conversations and people who ran their own business. What intrigued me to business or the thought of running my own is for a few reasons. I enjoy problem solving and being in charge of my professional path and the flexibility it provides. Every job I ever had I reached a ceiling of growth hitting Operations Manger roles quickly and am always looking for ways to improve efficiency & productivity, services, my skills, team skills and hitting those high achiever goals. Read more>>

Pilar Freeman | Entrepreneur & Beauty Guru

The initial thought process of starting my business was rooted in my personnel narrative; in other words, I took an analytical approach to my personal change to find a general solution that may be appropriate for others who share my experience or through observation of my experience could offer a solution for others. I have been challenged with an autoimmune skin disorder called psoriasis from a very young age. Because of this, my skin is susceptible to breakouts due to weather, stress, foods I eat and body products. Read more>>

Adriana Tesler | Celebrity Hair and Make-up Artist & Salon Owner

I grew up in a family of small business entrepreneurs. My parents owned restaurants and I saw how passionate they were about their business, from the quality of the products to the customers’ experience. I was a single mom right out of high school, and this pushed me to hustle every day, to make ends meet and provide for my children. Through hard work and perseverance, I achieved a successful career in the beauty industry, as a hair and make-up artist for many years. Then I came to a realization that the timing was right for me to open my own salon, and provide a safe and supportive space for other artists to grow. Read more>>

Gabriela Torcatoru | Yoga teacher & Vedic Astrologer

While I was working to climb the ladder of corporate hospitality and training, in the background my mind was trying to come up with ways of starting my own business, being my own boss. Natural skin care products, herbalism, a catering business, all these were ideas of starting to work for myself. I believe the desire for independence was far greater than knowing what exactly I would end up doing. It began with making natural household cleaning products and offering cleaning services to domestic houses. I did that myself for a few years while in the background my passion for yoga was taking up more and more space until one day I decided I will become a yoga teacher. Read more>>

Glennis Seldon | Fitness Coach/Influencer, Realtor & Entrepreneur

From a young age fitness has been a major part of my life. I grew up in Long Beach, California where I was introduced to fitness through Track & Field/Cross-Country at the early age of 8. I competed up until my senior year in college. I graduated from Oral Roberts University in 2007 on a full ride track scholarship. Read more>>

Morgan DiFucci | Photographer & Business Owner

This question is very interesting to me because I feel like the typical entrepreneur / business owner has a very detailed plan and steps they want to take to start their own business. I, however, did not. I truthfully never thought I would be a business owner, especially at such a young age. I was fresh out of graduating high school and taking courses at my community college when things began to take off. I offered a special for creative portraits and because quickly booked! Read more>>

Amarachi Nwosu | Filmmaker, Writer and CEO, Melanin Unscripted

I’ve always known the power of an image. As someone who is a visual learner, I didn’t resonate with what I was watching on TV growing up and didn’t see an abundance of images like myself through film or photo. This is why I created Melanin Unscripted, not only to create a space for diverse stories, but also diverse executives and creators who bring these stories to life. — I am stepping into challenges to create the representation I want to see and its not always easy, but its bigger than just my efforts alone. Its a collective journey to create change, but it starts with ourself. Read more>>

Laura Adona | Yoga Instructor & Baker

While we were traveling through India we were impressed with many of the guest houses we stayed in. The hospitality we were shown by our hosts and the people we met in shared kitchens and dining halls created a sense of belonging while in a foreign land. We have been weary travelers and wanted to create a space, a kind of refuge for all travelers and locals where they could find a sense of calm. Read more>>

Casey Curley | Owner & Operator

I’ve always wanted to start my own business, but never took the time to explore what venture would suit me best. I had hustled and worked my way into management roles in the hospitality industry over the last 8 years, but was starting to get burned out. Much like other small businesses owners, the pandemic and sudden shutdown really gave me the free time to get clear on my dreams and aspirations. Read more>>

Christine Evans | Apparel Designer & Political Enthusiast

Initially my former co-worker and I decided to sell a product, clever graphic t-shirts with Dr. Fauci’s face on them (using a parody Gucci logo as inspiration), to raise funds for the American Red Cross and all their efforts working on the frontlines during the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The product was so successful that we decided to create a small business based off of our idea, calling our small business, Data Based Fashion (DBF)! Read more>>

Jordin Molock | CEO

I wanted to create something that would last while being an inspiration to people who look like me. It was an idea that started with two black t-shirts with the statement ‘full effect’ I sold a few and got positive feedback as people recognized what I was doing I decided to take my creative mind to the next level. The birth of NOCCFL was born which means “New Opportunity Come Consistently For Life”. Read more>>

Sarie Taylor | Psychotherapist & Coach

I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and panic disorder in my early 20s and ended up being hospitalised. This was the beginning of many many years trying to fix myself and find a way of living without so much suffering. This was not an easy path and I tried almost everything but eventually I was able to understand so much more about what it meant to be human. I was a trained psychotherapist at this point and started to work one to one with clients. Read more>>

Josephine Mwaniki | Hair Stylist

I did not want to be tied down to a 9-5. I decided to take a passion and see how far it would go. It was not the drive to capitalize. Yet, the drive to see Black Women honor and celebrated in non-European hairstyles in spaces that were not typically accepting of such styles. Read more>>

Tara Guillaume | Founder, COILBAR

During my natural hair journey, I’ve sported extensions, hats, and ponytails. But I never learned how to style the coils I was born with. That is… until the Covid-19 pandemic forced the temporary closure of my stylist’s studio. So, I began watching videos about natural hair, experimented with various styling methods, and tried a variety of shampoos, conditioners, and stylers made for curly hair. Some methods and products worked, many did not. But because I didn’t know why, I kept on digging. Read more>>

Talia Boone | Founder and CEO of Postal Petals

During Covid lockdown in 2020, I was looking for a particular service: a company that would deliver fresh cut flowers to my home, for me to arrange myself. After quite a bit of online research, I realized that what I wanted didn’t exist. While there were several flower delivery services to ship professionally designed floral arrangements, there were no options for DIY flower arranging. That was odd to me, considering that particularly at that time we could get just about anything delivered to our homes and I was certain that I wasn’t the only person who enjoyed the experience of arranging fresh-cut, high-quality flowers. Read more>>

Clara Chavez | Artist, Photographer & budding videographer

I went to school and became a licensed cosmetologist. However, I never felt like I quite fit in- plus when you add in the physical demand on the body- it became too much to press on. While I re-calibrated and figured out what to do, I went back to the drawing board and worked at the LGBT center in their mental health department. I loved working there, it taught me alot about empathy and compassion, being an ally and how beautiful the human condition is. Read more>>

Matt Suarez | Musician | Content Creator | Twitch Partner

In late 2006 I was let go from my day job and I just never went back, I had been playing some residency gigs in San Diego at the time and that was the start. Things kept growing and I kept learning how to evolve within this business of music, I continue to try and evolve consistently. Over the last two years during this Pandemic has been the ultimate test within the journey, I’ve been forced to continuously make myself more creative and so many ways with my music and content. The mindset always has to be set on constant evolution and progress, “adapt or go work at Home Depot” Read more>>

Taili Wu | stop-motion artist, illustrator, and animal detective

I started my company, Monster Shaper, back in 2011 initially to sponsor my own O-1 visa. So that besides my other O-1 visa sponsored by my employer (a full-time position), I could take on personal commissions and projects legally. Having my own business has some other benefits, too. When a bigger project comes, I would be able to hire my friends as freelancers and team up together. There are so many cool projects out there, Read more>>

Jessica Samson | Founder of Every Cycle

Starting my own business was never truly my plan. I was always focused in working in real estate until 1 night I had an idea I could not shake. My midnight experience drove my curiosity about menstrual product waste: I dove deep into the internet and was shocked by the amount of waste and carelessness around single use disposable tampon applicators. With every shocking statistic I learned, I realized that we can do better than this, and decided to take matters into my own hands. Read more>>

Keishana Lee | Hair Stylist and CEO

Braids and Brides Studio was something that I dreamed up only after going through my very own wedding process. Being in the hairstyling industry for close to 7 years now I never realized the extreme lack of black wedding stylist, especially here on the west coast. I took my love for braiding and my new love for bridal hair design and combined the two to make Braids and Brides Studio. We offer luxury braid and bridal hair styling and makeup sevices as well as a variety of special occasion jewelry and accessories. Read more>>

Nicole Oden | Attorney/Entrepreneur

I leapt without a parachute, believing that I would figure things out. After giving birth to my daughter in 2016, I struggled with postpartum anxiety. I was hanging by a thread, crying on my way in to work because I didn’t want to leave my daughter, crying on the way home from work thinking about the workload I was leaving behind. 12-hour work days with an infant at home weren’t working for me. Read more>>

Lori Brenneman | Jewelry Designer & Owner

I was a dental hygienist for 30 years up north and after moving to Florida because of my husband’s job transfer, I found that I couldn’t practice dental hygiene with the state licensing laws. I’ve made jewelry all my life as a hobby so I thought I’d bring on career #2! Read more>>

Emily Sharpe | Business Owner/ Influencer/ Communication Specialist

My thought process behind starting my own business was ownership and creativity. I wanted to create a space where I am able to control how I want to design or manifest my styles and visions on camera and off. Rather it is someone wearing my clothes or I inspired someone to start their own business; one of my goals is always to make an impact through art and creativity. I know it was going to be hard and it still is, however I am determined to work and hustle for my dreams. Read more>>

Natcha Morrow | Real Estate Agent

First of all, I learned since my childhood that I love freedom. I love freedom that give me opportunity to do what I want to do and be who I am. I am a creative person who can also manage to balance with logical thinking. After graduate from my college, I worked in an international corporate in Thailand as a sales representative. I love the nature of the job. However, I think that there was more to life than a 9-5 job. So I decided to pursue my dream and started to explore my options. To be able to be our own boss, we need the entrepreneur mindset which is “GET THING DONE”. Read more>>

Dresden Weil | SMP Technician

At the time I was working for a corporate company and had dedicated about 7 years of my life to them . Tired of the regular nine to five and slaving my life away , a really close friend of mine had mentioned and brought my attention to this new industry that was on the up and coming and has life changing results . Finally a chance for me to break free to start my own business and be my own boss , I decided to take a training course and the rest was history . Read more>>

Tyler Chronicles | Comedian/Writer/Actor

I started doing stand up comedy for fun. Then someone gave me some money to do it. I have my MBA and have worked in the corporate world but never truly thought about being/running a business until that happened. So I guess the thought process was, I need to protect this money, and find a way to make more. Read more>>

Nora Ounjian | Founder & Creative Director

My thought process behind starting my own business was to work harder now in order to be able to play more later. I always wanted to be my own boss and have the flexibility to work and do as I pleased in the future; whether this meant having my own family, traveling the world or both. Throughout the years, I volunteered for a few non-profits and after gaining a great deal of experience, I decided it was time to start a side hustle doing what I truly loved and what made me happy, event planning. I helped plan my close friend’s weddings for fun, and after the 5th wedding, Trés Magnifique Productions was created. Read more>>

Henry Bond | Meditation Teacher

I founded Journey Through Meditation with an idea— to make corporations happier, healthier, and more productive places where people can thrive. I decided that providing guided meditation experiences for companies was the perfect way to do so, and I began facilitating these events for employees on-site and via zoom. My guided meditations are 30 minutes long and allow employees to briefly disengage from work so that they can return to their responsibilities feeling recharged. Read more>>

Nikki Rifkin & Ash Glenn | Co-creators of Heartprint Press Letterpress Greeting Cards

The past couple of years have been immensely challenging for everyone. We felt compelled to create an accessible platform for people to reconnect with each other in a real, genuine, and sometimes humorous way…and if we can’t be together physically, what better way to connect than with the written word? Let’s be honest, there’s a joy to opening your mailbox and seeing a handwritten envelope with your name on it. The anticipation of what’s inside and savoring every word that someone you care about took the time to write. We added our own twist to the time honored tradition of letterpress and letter writing with modern sentiments to help people express what they are actually feeling and thinking. Read more>>