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.

Shira Yehezkel | Digital Entrepreneur

YOGA NEST – Enlighten the path to spirituality for people who are not familiar with the different aspects of spirituality (meditation, yoga, mudras, sound healing, tarot etc). Especially during these difficult times, to show people the light and the way they can get heal themselves by implementing these techniques on a daily basis – heal themselves to heal the world. Another project I’ve been working on is – THE CRYSTAL BAZAAR – Beauty & Wellness Treasures Made Of Divine Timeless Gemstones For Conscious Humans. This brand was created in order to educate people about sustainable beauty and wellness products made of high-quality gemstones. These crystals are beneficial for beauty purposes in addition to the fact that these products are working the vibrations of the different stones and also on color therapy when using them on a daily basis. Read more>>

Alejandra Calvente | Co-founder

Working for one of the top 5 media planning and buying agencies in the country, I gained all my marketing experience and knowledge working on campaigns for major companies such as Microsoft, Kraft, P&G, Lionsgate, Vans, and Del Monte. Even though I had a great job, I always wanted to have my own business and use my creative energy outside the corporate cookie-cutter environment. I was never sure about what type of business I would want to have, but I knew a couple of things for sure: I wanted work/life balance and to be very creative. I decided to start a career as an influencer which opened up the doors to a new world of creative marketing that I was not exposed to during my agency days, which I found so exciting and interesting. Read more>>

Dana Bowling | Business and Motivational Coach for Female Entrepreneurs

Having worked as a Casting Director for 15 years, I hadn’t the slightest idea about starting a business. What I did have was ambition, motivation and the positive attitude that “everything is figureoutable” and as long as I just kept trying and didn’t take no for an answer, I would get it done. I started by going all in on something I KNEW I could do: coach actors. After gaining success, I realized my passion was in business, and helping other females start their online businesses, get out of their own way and launch on Instagram and on camera! In January of 2020, I made the official PIVOT and I’ve never been more successful and aligned than I am now. Read more>>

Carlos Makali’i Sosa | Founder

As a surfer and hula dancer, I wanted to bring the surfing and Hawaiian lifestyles into fitness to create SURFCORE Fitness. As our tagline says “HIIT with ALOHA”, I wanted to create a space that welcomes everybody and create a community of like minded people that workout hard, support each other and have a ton of fun. Duke Kahanamoku, the famous surfer used to say “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun” At SURFCORE we don’t judge people on their fitness level, we are super confident that no matter where you start we can help you get where you want to go. Read more>>

Todd Felderstein | Stage and Screen Director

As a screen and stage director, every time you approach a new project is the same as creating a new business: What is your product (story)? Who does it serve (audience)? How do you reach your audience (distribution)? What has a great deal of my attention these days is a platform I formed only days after the pandemic shuttered live theatres across the country. SMARTPHONE THEATRE is a virtual live-streaming reading series that launched on March 27th with a short play written by Gena Acosta. From that moment on we have been massaging this platform with short and full-length productions that have since included casts from multiple countries reaching audiences all over the world via the web. Read more>>

Eva Sparks-Metoyer | CPA & Entrepreneur

My husband and I have been enjoying hookah for over 10 years and it’s one of our favorite date nights. We like to call ourselves “connoisseurs of hookah!” The vibe we both enjoy while smoking hookah is very chill, laid back with relaxing music like neo soul or old school R&b. Over the years we started to notice hookah lounges become more like clubs with a lot of traffic and more hard core rap music, which we still love, we just wanted a more chill vibe for our date nights! We decided to open SparkitUp Hookah because my husband and I wanted to bring back a more grown and sexy vibe for hookah lounges so couples and individuals can come for a night cap or just a chill time with some good hookah. Read more>>

Riley Beres | Actress, Editor & Activist

When reflecting on why I wanted to start Socks for Souls, Inc., the number one thing that comes to mind is the desire to fulfill a need. When it came to my attention that socks are the most needed item in homeless shelters, but also the least donated, the answer practically screamed at me. In front of me was a very obvious need in my community, regarding a topic I’m very passionate about, and I knew I could gather the resources to help relieve that demand. While Socks for Souls, Inc. was in operation, we were one of the very few organizations in the United States dedicated to the cause of socks for the homeless. Homelessness is a very misunderstood issue and having a non-profit focused on a very simple gesture gave us a platform to spread awareness to major companies, and the general community. Read more>>

Ashton Lunceford and Mia Hansen | Publicist

I always dreamt of having my own business and when the opportunity presented itself to partner with Mia it just made sense! She was my original mentor in the PR world (I was her assistant years ago) and it was really a no-brainer to join forces as partners once the timing was right. Read more>>

Lucy LaForge | Songwriter & Performer

When I first set out to become a songwriter, I knew it would be a long road ahead. Musicians aren’t notorious for having lucrative deals, and even most signed musicians have day jobs that support their artist careers in this day and age. But I knew more than anything that I loved writing music. And I knew that I would never regret going for it. I just had to get started. Read more>>

René G. Boscio | Composer

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been terrible at adhering to other people’s schedules, especially when it comes to fixed work hours. In the entertainment industry, post-production can easily run into 12-16 hour days, 7 days a week. And while you’d think that as creatives we would be “living the dream” every single minute of the day, the truth is, burn outs are sneaky and can lead to unhealthy lifestyles. So when it came time to choose whether I wanted to find a new job working for someone else, or take the risk of going my own way, my creativity, health, and happiness all pointed towards the latter. As an artist, developing your voice is probably one of the most important aspects that can determine the way your career unfolds. Another factor that heavily influenced my decision to carve my own path, was the drive to hone in on figuring out who I was artistically. Read more>>

Sophie Davies | Salon Owner & American Board Certified Hair Colorist

I was inspired by a small hair salon in Florida off the beach where the vibe was calm and smooth, the stylists got along and enjoyed themselves. The people were happy to spend time there and enjoy each other. This was evident as a guest and I never wanted to leave. This was the goal. Being in Los Angeles, I found a lot of larger salons and the feeling wasn’t the same. It could be an antagonistic environment at times and I didn’t want to grow into that. After gaining some confidence in the industry and having a small cleinetellte, I took the plunge and opened a small hair salon with the goal of achieving a pleasant working environment for guests and stylists that came to visit. With some dedicated work and much trial and error. Read more>>

Eric Junker | Artist, Designer & Teacher

I’ve always either been a freelancer, in various creative industries, or had my own businesses. I’ve often joke that the main reason that I’ve always worked for myself is that I hate to wear shoes. There are few paths in being employed by others that offer career advancement without having to wear shoes. Shoes aside, it’s crucial for people wanting to start their own businesses to know that you will work much harder as your own boss (and the boss of others) than you generally will working a regular job. If you run your own business, you’re always working. You might not be “at work,” but you’ll be working weekends, working on vacation and probably working while you sleep. For this reason it’s extremely important to only start a business doing something that you are very passionate about. Read more>>

Garrett Gilchrist | Illustrator, Writer & Filmmaker

I went to USC film school in Los Angeles in 1999. I was making no-budget feature film comedies with my friends, and directed about 12 features, and wrote about 12 screenplays. We’d all heard stories about Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez getting famous off of low-buddget movies. So I figured I could be a Hollywood movie director. But the economy changed after 9/11 and I graduated into the start of a recession. I didn’t have family wealth or industry connections that could get me into the film industry. It really is who you know, not what you know. And my background was in making my own films, animation, writing and artwork. I didn’t have the traditional resume of somebody who works a 9 to 5 job. Read more>>

Emma Isaacs | Founder

I’m a career entrepreneur, having never worked for anyone else (apart from a casual job while at school.) I started my first company when I was 18 years old. There was very little thought given to it! I didn’t even know what the word entrepreneur meant back then – I just saw an opportunity and went for it. I think being that young helped me and still to this day believe that naivete in business can be used as a competitive advantage. The beginner’s mind offers lots of creativity and every entrepreneur needs this to get ahead – building and scaling companies is all about problem solving and thinking differently and when you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s a unique opportunity for innovation and making it up as you go. Read more>>

Noah Baron | Actor & Producer

In 2011, I was taking a casting director workshop with a new friend I’d met in Los Angeles. After the workshop, we started talking and a question suddenly occurred to us, “Instead of spending our money to get in front of casting directors, why don’t we take that money and create our own content?” We had no idea where to begin, but this question ignited a spark in both of us. We knew we didn’t want to leave it to other people to determine the fate of our careers. We started our own production company, Just Another Production Productions, and created our first digital sketch, a shot-for-shot parody of the Fight Club trailer called Cuddle Club. It went viral. We were astonished by the number of views, news articles, and subscribers who wanted to follow us. Read more>>

Tige (TIE-jee) Charity | Founder, CEO, Visionary & Author

My thought process behind starting Kids in the Spotlight, Inc. was multifaceted. The journey started after an encounter with a group of girls living at a foster care group home. It was an encounter that cracked my heart wide open and compelled me to pay it forward. I wasn’t exactly sure how to pay it forward so for over two years, I did nothing. In 2009 when the economy was in a recession, I was laid off from my 9-to-5 job as a litigation claims specialist. It was the first time in my 16-year career that I was involuntarily jobless. I wasn’t really concerned about getting another job because my knowledge, experience and skillset as a Claims Specialist would land me another job. The problem was, I didn’t want another 9-to-5 job. I wanted to make a difference in the world. I wanted to know my purpose, my why. Read more>>

Francesca Marciano | CEO & Founder

When I first started Curate Spirits, I knew I wanted to create something that didn’t quite exist on the market yet. Tea infused spirits is a niche–you typically have hard tea, a liqueur, or if it is a tea spirit, it’s heavily sweetened. I wanted to create something natural, preservative, sugar, and dye-free, with organic ingredients that would appeal to everyone. Tea doesn’t need a whole lot to taste great. I had the idea and the love for the product, but I wanted to ensure that I had the experience to back it. This part took a long time. Over the span of five years, I took on various jobs to learn more about both sides of my product: the tea and the spirits. I worked for a few tea houses, tea and spice shops, and read any book I could get my hands on. Read more>>