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.

Leslie Antonoff | Multi-Platform Media Personality and Thought Leader

As a kid I dealt a lot with financial insecurity and poverty. I remember being 8 or 9 and having anxiety about money. For me going into business was always a way that I could do my part to help my mom and family. Which meant starting my first business at 8, which was selling snacks from my own home. I understood early on that generating revenue could come out of what you already had on hand. My uncle worked at Quaker at the time and with boxes of food arriving weekly I used what we had to create snack packs to sell to my classmates, that resourcefulness followed me as I grew up. Read more>>

Chris Han | Fashion Influencer

I have been working as a full-time fashion influencer for five years. My Instagram @chrishanxoxo is my business. I started it when I was in business school pursuing my MBA. I didn’t have any background in fashion or social media but I got to network with people from these industries when I was in school. I was influenced and inspired by a lot of like-minded women in the classroom. We were all passionate about social media and fashion. Back then, social media influencer was still a new word. Read more>>

Thai Long Ly | Music Producer & Audio Engineer

Honestly, I figured if I could make my own hours, I’d never have to wake up early. I’m not a morning person at all. Some people can bounce right out of bed and tackle the day with full speed. I’m the exact opposite… it takes me a couple of hours to wake up, regardless of how many cups of coffee I pour down my throat and I’m usually ready for breakfast around 2pm. With that said, I enjoy late hours and start to find my groove somewhere around midnight. Being a music producer and audio engineer jives perfectly with my night owl tendencies. Read more>>

Teddy Baker | Hairstylist

For me, opening my own business was my only option in a time of crisis. Flashback to 2015: I was working in a boutique salon In Chelsea and had just met the love of my life. I had finally put down some roots in the Big Apple when tragedy struck. I found out that my mother was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. She was given 13 days to live if she did not accept treatment. My world felt like it was crashing down around me. My mom was everything in my life. She was my biggest fan, my loudest cheerleader, and she was even my STYLIST! Read more>>

Jessie Salazar | Founder

Salazar Landscaping or SLA was starting with the goal in mind of creating something different. Throughout school for landscape architecture much emphasis was placed on the build and natural environment and with it came methods of sustainability. It was my view that our field was not doing enough in the social justice realm. Being a social justice advocate, I was not sure if I wanted to continue working in this field if it would mean that my work would not have a direct impact on marginalized neighborhoods. Read more>>

Nellie Christine | Food Blogger & Content Creator

I am a CPA by trade, however, I knew that working for someone will never afford me the life that I envision for myself. I felt it was important to gain stability in my life which is why I pursued accounting in the first place. But once I achieved obtaining my CPA license, I decided it was time to follow my own passions outside of that. I truly believe that if you love what you do, you will find a way to make money doing it as long as you work hard at it. That’s why I pursue food blogging and have done so for many years. Read more>>