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.

Mona Sharma | Celebrity Nutritionist & Wellness Educator

XICAMA™ is an innovative, sustainable and first-to-market functional beverage brand rooted in science, steeped in nostalgia and good for you from the inside out. Inspired by West Coast fruit cart culture, a generational love-affair with jicama, and a surge in functional health food trends. I was excited to deliver its untapped pre-biotic health benefits in three different flavors of sparkling water. As a Nutritionist, Jicama has been on my clients meal plans for a long time since it was a perfect swap for things like crackers and chips, with the added benefit of being prebiotic, loaded with Vitamin C, fiber and great for gut health. I saw an opportunity to deliver a prebiotic functional beverage, especially since there was vast market awareness around probiotic products. Read more>>

Helene Cornell | Real Estate Investor & Comedian

I started a vacation rental business about 15 years ago because I was struggling to make my mortgage payments. I knew a regular 9-5 job was not going to make me happy, and I had to adapt to find ways to bring in multiple streams of income. At the time, I was a photographer and had a lot of seasonal work, with a very high mortgage and not a lot of job security. I rented out one room in my house and it helped supplement a bit of income, and I knew there was room to add on. Without the capital to expand, I found a way to do a trade with a local architect who needed photographs of all of his projects. In exchange, they renovated my garage into a freestanding unit with its own entrance. Read more>>

Andie Leon | Superfood and Cannabis Chef & Reciept Development

The thought process behind starting my own business was I lived with an eating disorder for most of my life. I had to walk away from my life as I knew it to heal. I left behind an acting career and a marriage to do so. I felt I had lost everything. That’s when I reinvented myself through my company. This was part of my healing process. Now my magic comes through the food I create. Bad food almost put me in my grave… My food gave me a second chance and to be able to enrich and give back the healing experience brings me such peace and happiness. Read more>>

Carly Frei | CEO & Founder

As a spray tan customer, I know first hand how difficult it can be to find a company that you trust and love. I decided to start Glow Boss because I know what our market is looking for. Convenience being the big attraction, I wanted to start a company that is solely mobile so that our clients can feel comfortable in their own homes. I knew that this would separate us from other spray tanning companies and this was what motivated me the most, knowing that I had something unique that our clients would fall in love with. Read more>>

Love White | Founder & Owner

The creation of a more natural and holistic approach to hair care came from my own frustrations dealing with a multi-decade long struggle with hair and scalp issues. Itchy, flaky scalp due to dandruff, and frizzy, dry, brittle hair that would split and excessively shed, had been problems from an early age. After years of trying every possible natural remedy with no success, we went a more commercial route. Turning to medicated, dermatologist recommended, professional, and over the counter products, lead to the development of allergies to synthetic, chemical ingredients often found in many formulas. Fast forward to years in the essential oil industry in Formulation, Education, and Business Operations along with a Bachelors and Master Degrees in Clinical Psychology and Public Health. Read more>>

Jazmine Doby | Holistic Practitioner

My thought process behind starting my own business was and will always be to heal and teach. Through my many years I’ve always been drawn to healing modalities and in my younger years I actually was a teacher. I enjoyed teaching but I moved on to further pursue more healing and figure out how I can combine the two. Through combining healing and teaching Oh My Yoni Be… was born. Read more>>

Lisa Litt | Owner

I have been in the bridal business my whole life. Lili Bridals in Tarzana, California has been my family’s business since 1958–I am now the third generation to run the business. Bridal is in my blood. Some time around 2012, I had realized that there were simply not enough choices for the plus-size bride. I did have a collection of plus-size dresses in the store, but I never felt it was “enough”. I had also heard many horror stories of plus-size bride’s shopping experiences in other bridal salons: the selections for the plus-size bride mostly consisted of matronly, unattractive dresses, and I also heard stories of horrible customer service toward the curvier brides. Read more>>

Chelsea Nyirenda | Founder

I was thinking, I wasn’t alone. What I was going through wasn’t too unique – to be misunderstood. I felt Isolated because I wasn’t sharing with others and I also didn’t know who the right person was to share it with. I come from a religious household who didn’t prioritize therapy or talking through our problems. I realized I needed a community, that not only would listen – but that would empathize with my trauma. +BetterDays was developed solely out of the need for sanctuary and reassurance. I wanted to create that space for as many people as I could, because they deserve it. Read more>>

Stephen Scott Day | Renaissance Dude

I’ve had a hard time answering questions about “my business” because it’s been hard finding out what my business even has been, so many freelancers know this feeling– but there’s been a way of looking at things that have helped me and others discover what their business really is. It’s that any project you embark on that has the potential of bringing income is essentially a business. So in that way, I’ve been able to see that every film project I’ve started has been exactly like starting a business, every YouTube channel I run, when I started a film magazine and website, and now lately when I’ve begun development on a game. I don’t go in thinking “How will this make me money?”. I start projects because of a feeling, like literally an emotion that I would like to share with the world. Read more>>

Ronda Chowaiki | Reiki Master, Pranic Healer & Holistic Life Coach

Around 15 years ago I had breast cancer, and when I came through it all I realized the reason I am here is to help other people heal. Since then I’ve been on a journey of health and healing. I have always placed my hands on people when they were ill, whether it was my family or good friends, not knowing what it was called. but feeling an innate need to channel healing energy to them. Later I began to study reiki and realized that is what I had been doing all along, but with the power of the reiki symbols it became so much more focused and powerful. I started out working on clients from a guest room in my home for the first year until it grew so big that I needed a separate office to accomadate all of my new clients. Read more>>

Jenni Giampietro | Yoga and Group Fitness Instructor

This may sound strange, but when I read this question: I realized it was the first time I looked at Relevation Yoga as a business. When Covid-19 forced CorePower Yoga Greater Boston studios to shut down, I knew I had to find a way to teach; to keep myself sane, and stay connected to people that I knew would be missing the studio. There was no long-term goal of creating my own yoga brand – I just wanted to continue doing what makes me feel most alive. At that point, not only had I never taught a virtual yoga class… I had never even taken one myself. I exclusively taught at and practiced at a few different CPY studios around Boston. It was time to make a big pivot. Read more>>

Michael Obadja | Owner

It started with a dream long ago; as a family we were always hangin’ out at the kitchen counter with all our friends. As my brother in law; Chef Aya, would cook up a storm we would share the food and laugh together—food tasted better because we shared. It has been this way since we moved to America over 15 years ago. We did this almost on a daily basis where everyone had a seat in our house to enjoy fellowship over amazing food. There were times when life wasn’t easy but we’ve always had one another. And together is a beautiful place to be. ​ These communal experiences became the DNA for our dream to create a space where people get to enjoy family while enjoying an elevated home made food. ​Read more>>

CiCi Mann | Chef

I’ve always wanted to start my own business, something with my last name included because I grew up from a small family, not knowing any of my family member the the same last name as me. My grandmother Maxine Mann started a catering company from her house back in the 1980’s, she was famous for soul cooking, good cooking food. My father Daniel Mann, was also know for making the best dishes. I wanted to continue the legacy and leave something behind for my children. MannthatsGood was created from the taste of my good food  and my Last name. I really enjoyed watching the cooking channel at a you g age but didn’t learn the craft until the age of 19. I was self taught through thousands of cooking shows, YouTube tutorials, recipe books and family genes Read more>>

Moonlight Jack | R&B Artists

When I was a child and people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, but I would never know. I did know that everything I had seen grown ups doing is not what I wanted to do with my life. Once I found music it was obvious this was going to be the path I would take. My goal is to live and provide using my imagination for the rest of my life. Read more>>

Paul & Erika Caiola & Villalba | Podcasters, Writers & Actors

For us, we wanted to take control of our artistic careers. We were tired of waiting for someone else to give us permission to be a part of their project, so we created a project of our own. The podcast is a chance for us to be creative and get our voices out there, and also (hopefully) give the listeners some laughs on the way. Read more>>

Sabrina Minks | Co-Founder

As two women working in hospitality and events for a shared period of time of decades of experience, we had a shared realization that we were putting so much of ourselves into the visions of others. Our business Sunset Boulevardier was conceived by Danielle Motor and myself after a combined experience of creatively contributing to cocktail menus at some of Los Angeles’ most esteemed venues, as well as our combined work in the events and entertainment world in Los Angeles. Both of us being creative minded, realized that in lieu of being paid a small fraction of what we contributed, we could create this world for ourselves and the artists and people we love and admire. In other words, we could utilize our vision and passions to create something that belonged to a world we were excited about. Read more>>

Amy Tam Andres Fuentes | Owners

In 2010, Andy & I started Cake Girl in my tiny home kitchen in El Sereno, we only did pop-up events and custom orders while we both worked our day jobs. As Cake Girl grew, we thought of expanding our kitchen to a larger commercial one. We were not thinking of having a storefront. In 2015, Andy came about a space in Boyle Heights, the neighborhood he grew up in. It was vacant old school soda fountain counter inside of St Louis Drug Company. This space felt perfect and that was when we took the biggest chance of our lives to open a storefront for Cake Girl. We spent the next 2 1/2 years working on bringing this space up to Los Angeles city code. Read more>>

Josh Fox | Entrepreneur, CEO, Animal Activist & Environmentalist

It happened right after the 2008 global recession when businesses were struggling to stay afloat, and the unemployment rate was skyrocketing. I had been the chair of my coop that had 400+ units and in my eight years of chairing I made sure not a single common cost went up. I started Bottom Line Concepts with the same goal in mind: to help businesses reduce their common costs without charging them any money upfront and instead sharing in the savings after the savings are realized. Read more>>