Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Vid Ken | Influencer/Social Marketer & Jewelry Brand Owner

My thought process behind starting my own business was seeing an opportunity in the market when I was constantly being complimented on the jewelry I wear. This lit a switch in my head and made me realize that every time I post on social media, it is an indirect ad. What better way to promote something in every post than to promote my own brand? Read more>>

Mark Miller | Content Creator

Having your own business gives you the freedom and pleasure to do what you want, with whom you want, when you want. And you can’t be fired, unless you’re a real masochist. So there’s permanent job security. And in this pandemic age, there’s also greater safety if you’re working remotely. Read more>>

Candace Hynson | Wardrobe Stylist

I didn’t have a specific thought process, I just knew I wanted to go freelance after 1. talking to all of these freelance stylists who were getting to work on really fun projects and 2. hearing the rates they were making and realizing that I was being severely underpaid for my creative resources at my full time job! In all seriousness, I think the idea of having the flexibility, meeting new people and owning something of my own was really the starting point for me. I gave myself a few months, asked a lot of questions of people who were doing it and tried to utilize my connections when I knew I was ready to make that transition. It really has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Read more>>

Matt Dibara | Fourth Generation Mason | Co-owner of The Contractor Consultants | Founder of The Undercover Contractor

I guess entrepreneurialism runs in my family! I come from four generations of proud Masons. My father supported our family as a Mason, and I brought the family tradition out here to LA when I started my first company, DiBara Masonry, several years ago. I learned a lot as I grew that business. I started to understand why it seemed like my dad could never get away from work. There’s too much to do! Everything’s important and urgent. And even if you can afford to hire all the help you need, good luck finding qualified, reliable people for every role. Read more>>

Jillian Gottlieb | Actress & Skincare Guru

My main job is as an actress – I do a lot of tv, film, commercials…and it’s funny because my idea for helping people with their skincare and sharing my knowledge online was born out of the sole concern that I was spending too much time just waiting around for auditions and beating myself up over jobs that I didn’t get. I knew I needed to direct my energy elsewhere while I was waiting around to book work. And the second that I found something else that I loved and I began directing my energy elsewhere…my acting career really took off. Read more>>

Alejandra Quiroz | Podcast Host & Filmmaker

I started thinking about starting a podcast during the fall of 2019. I was finishing my thesis, and I felt I wasn’t doing much for my community other than sharing information about Central Americans on my personal Instagram. At the moment, I was clueless about how even to start, but I knew I wanted to focus on Central Americans around the world and their experiences. That’s how the name came up – Central American Voices! Read more>>

Ashlee Hamilton | Health Coach

I knew I had a passion for health and fitness, but the idea of creating a business out of it didn’t occur to me until I realized how much time I was already spending working on this with folks. Whether it was consulting with family members or helping strangers, I realized that I was already informally doing the work. I was just doing it for free. One day, someone asked me why don’t I charge to help people get healthier. And that’s when it occurred to me that I could do something I’m doing anyway and make money at the same time. Read more>>

Scott Lem | Salami Maker, Sausage Man

Salami and cured meats making started simply as a scratch to a culinary itch. The deeper down the rabbit hole I went, the more I found myself learning about microbiologies and cultures, traditional vs. modern gastronomic techniques, and how to render designs and logos to rock on dad hats. Lem Party quickly became an outlet for culinary and creative interests that I wouldn’t be able to express otherwise. What started as an exploration of recreating a childhood snack has become a conduit for meeting new lifelong friends, sharing wonderful meals and memories, and has been a ton of fun. I am excited to see what LP has in store next. Read more>>

Dopamine | Energy Healer

Honestly I would say it was me being obedient to God. Throughout my life I have had other passions that have brought me to where I am now, however when I became a healer I didn’t realize that that was my purpose. So with me leaning into my purpose is sort of naturally fell into place that I would have to turn my work into an actual business/brand. Definitely scary at times, because being an entrepreneur is definitely something that can be uncertain at times. But I definitely let faith outweigh that fear. Read more>>

Dr. Catherine Chang | Board-Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

I believe starting my own business has been one of the biggest milestone of my career thus far. In Spring 2022, I opened my plastic surgery practice, Privé at Beverly Hills. It has been such an amazingly rewarding journey so far. I am so grateful that I am able to positively impact my patients lives and uphold my commitment to providing the highest level of concierge patient care, customer service and beautiful, natural results. Read more>>

Zazel-Chavah O’Garra | Founder/Artistic Director-ZCO/DANCEPROJECT

I started ZCO/DANCEPROJECT to promote the idea of exploring the possibilities of our individual bodies, using dance as a means of personal expression and empowerment. I want to help in creating a community for disabled dancers, and an opportunity for all people to use their bodies in new and exciting ways. As a disabled artist, I want to show our vulnerabilities and strength. How we fall and recover. How we treat the parts of ourselves that love us, support us, the parts that we attempt to correct, chastise and obscure. Read more>>

Gal Bushy | Music Producer, Studio Mixing Engineer, and Guitarist

I felt limited in the environment that I was in and being entrepreneurial by nature it seemed like the logical next step. In 2019 I had been at the commercial studio I was working at for a little over 3 years and realized that it was time for me to take on a studio of my own. I wanted to bring in bands, artists, and songwriters to produce in addition to mixing and recording. I went to the UK for a little trip and when I returned I found what is now Room 2 Studios. Read more>>

Adriana Lemus | Artist & Instructor

I’ve been creating art since I was 2 years old. I don’t know any other way of living life. I love all types of mediums but for the past 5 years, I’ve been focusing on ceramics. I had an AMAZING ceramics teacher in high school and I wanted to be her, I wanted to teach art to others and to facilitate the creativity in others. I’ve been teaching art to children and adults for about 7 years now and I love it. Up until 2020, I always had another job to supplement my art practice. Once the pandemic hit, I didn’t have a job as a Wine Bar Manager anymore and I decided to go full time artist. Read more>>

Liane Agbi | CEO & Magazine Publisher

I started BAUCE Magazine when I first moved to New York City because I was inspired by the many ambitious women of color I continued to meet while I was there. New York City is one of the few places on earth where multiple people are grinding to make their dreams come true and I was constantly curious about how relentless some people are at manifesting and making their dreams a reality. At this time, I was working as an overnight web producer for a TV station; with the odd hours I had a lot of free time on my hands and so I decided to leverage those dead hours between midnight and 4 am when there wasn’t any local news working on content for the website. Read more>>

Kirti Narain | Photographer, Director & Visual Artist

Let’s start with this question. The thought behind this way of visual artist life was to show my vision as I would always be at a loss of words. Words would never be able to express fully of what I felt. I started with my journey with a camera when my father gifted me an iPad Touch, as it would satisfy both – my music love and it had camera to click pictures. I would always carry it and click every single thing I liked. Both these interests of mine have shaped me to now become a director in Indian Music Industry Scene. My business is actually me being a passion driven artist and I believe that my thirst for art is never quenched. It will just keep growing forever. Read more>>

Tara Hayes | Author | Mental Wellth Mentor | Consultant

My thought process behind starting my own business was that I wanted to invest in myself and have something of my own. This journey began when I was laid off from two jobs within a 10-month period. My confidence and self-esteem were nonexistent at that point. Before jumping into another job and risking being fired again, I decided I needed to find out who I was and my true passion. I also knew that I really disliked the shame and embarrassment that came with being fired. If I started my own business, I’d be my own boss and no one could fire me again. Read more>>

Jah Zanotti | Music Artist/ Content Creator

When I started my own business it was mainly for upcoming musician Artists such as for Content Creators and other Brands which it still is there’s a lot of talent out there that’s not being seek so since I got a few platforms I decided to help and seek talent as far as giving them the push they need.. Read more>>

Morgan Aceves | Antique dealer

Considering that my business sprouted from a hobby and love of simply thrifting and sharing nostalgia, there was little to no thought process at first. I, at the time, never thought that this could be a serious career. Shortly after, as my sales boomed, I realized that couldn’t be further from the truth. Perhaps it’s the Aries in me but I almost immediately took a huge leap of faith and quit my day job to pursue this full-time after seeing the high demand for all things vintage and nostalgic. After making the decision to leave my day job, Read more>>

Rylee June | Intuition Master Coach & Empowerment Leader

Being honest, at first starting my business was a necessity. My husband was facing dire health circumstances and needed 24/7 care, we lived far away from family and he only had me to help him so starting my business came from a place of needing to figure out a way to help us out financially. Very shortly into building my business I realized that though it may have started from a place of desperation, building a coaching business was going to require a community. Read more>>

Kelsee Curiel | Personal Trainer & Health Coach

Ive always had the desire to own my own business one day. I have been very independent and an entrepreneur since I can remember but never really pushed myself to succeed as a legit business owner. So, once I got married and had 2 boys I decided to be a stay at home mom. At that point I had a lot of time to think and started to really miss “working”. But I knew I did not want go back to working for someone else. As I was learning to be a Mom (which is a full time job), I realized I had what it takes to start my own business. Read more>>

Allie Doody | Director, Actor & Writer at Allie Finale Studios

In the beginning, I created Sasha Says, my web series about a sassy spy who dispenses wisdom to the masses. It was all about lifting people up during the pandemic, giving them something to look forward to weekly. However, I felt this intense creative passion rise in me and knew that I had more ideas that I wanted to see through to completion. Read more>>

Vonte Mack | Nonprofit Business Owner

The first thing is I knew that starting a business would be a lot of work, but I also knew I could do it. While I was not in foster care, I was considered a ward of the court and so I grew up very independent. I started working as a clerical assistant at my high school at 16 and then worked as a sales associate, where I hit my sales quota every day. Also, I wanted the freedom that came with owning your own business, so I was motivated to work hard. Read more>>

Oliver Ponce | Cinematographer, Photographer, and Creative Director

I had never really thought about starting a business just about creating art with my friends and sharing it with the world. But after 10 years of investing my own money into my own projects; I finally started to make money and created my own business and now I get to pay my friends to help me share art to the world. Read more>>

Javari Newton | Podcaster & Media personality

Starting my own business stemmed from being over worked and over looked at any job I applied for. I felt like my work ethic could only be appreciated by myself so I set out to figure a way to not have to be bogged down with doing jobs or things I didn’t much care for. Knowing that I had a natural disposition for leadership I set out to build my team and make a name for myself in this Industry. Read more>>

Gage Coleman | artist

I really didn’t have one, I started painting/drawing seriously in 2014, and I think it was a sort of coping mechanism. I had always been resistant to looking at art as a business, because I never wanted to give up creative control, and I also doubted that I was good enough. It is kind of weird because I’m just now starting to see it as a potential ‘business,’ so that’s all still very new for me. it’s exciting. Read more>>

Rina Mehta | Dancer, Choreographer, Entrepreneur, & Educator

I was never really interested in starting my own business. Growing up I was a typical Indian American kid. My parents encouraged me to do well in school and pursue a financially sound career. I attended UC Berkeley and received my degrees in Immunology and Public Health. After graduating, I started working and climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. Dance had always been a part of my life. In high school, I studied Bharatanatyam, South Indian classical dance. While at UC Berkeley, Read more>>

Dennis Duban | Owner of a CPA firm and affiliated real estate and capital management entities

There were several components of my decision to start my own business. During High School and college I discovered my interest in accounting and taxes. I had always enjoyed figures and early on considered being a mathematics teacher but I also wanted to be in business so I studied accounting and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not many people end up with a passion for accounting but for me it was finite, if you did your work correctly then typically everything “balanced” and when I realized how useful accounting could be in terms of helping people understand how their business was doing and also how important income taxes were to retaining as much of ones income as possible, Read more>>

Francisco Moreno | Business owner & truck driver

I always aspired to work for myself and work for a brand that is me is an amazing feeling. As well as being the person behind the brand it feels rewarding hearing good feedback Read more>>

Marie Dagenais-Lewis | Pridefully Disabled Art Activist

Truthfully, I never imagined myself becoming a multi-hyphenated entrepreneur. I was really forced to create my own career after I lost my former broadcasting one to disability discrimination. I needed to figure something out, so I turned to art and began to create art that spoke out against the Ableist Society we are forced to live in. I started by creating a coloring book I self published through KDP called Chronically Spooky as a way to communicating life with a disability while at the same time providing a distraction that makes someone who lives with one feel both seen and heard. Read more>>

Elva Fonseca | Home Organizing Expert

and I couldn’t see myself sitting in front of the computer all day. I also acknowledged that I craved being around people. Although I am an introvert, I needed to switch gears to something that involved interacting with people. I believe the RIGHT people give you energy and can propel you to go beyond your own limits. Read more>>

Rob Leifheit | Art Fabricator & Laser Wizard

I consider myself a deep hobbyist—starting my business has been my second experience turning a hobby into a career. I started my previous career in the Great Recession, taking an IT job at a bank because the work was available and I loved working with computers. Over the years, though, I realized that it was so much more fulfilling for me to be creative, to make things with my hands. Read more>>

Arize Ifejika | Founder/CEO

Was really inspired by the modern day hip hop mogul and didn’t see that on the sports side specifically basketball. Where the platform built by basketball could be leveraged into other endeavors. I’m passionate about so many other things and it was always a hard sell to potential employers. They didn’t understand YouTube, social media, PayPal and how those things plus an LLC could blend and the result would be an amazing business Read more>>

Alison Freed | Founder of Cherry Bomb Weho

My thought process was- now is the time. I moved to LA in 2011. Since that time, I watched all the spaces geared towards women slowly disappear. I wanted to do something about it, and I looked into it about six years ago. At the time, the amount of money it would take to open a brick-and-mortar home base was overwhelming, so I kept working hard and knew I would come back to it some day. Read more>>

Jimmy Horn | Artist, Designer, Printmaker, Creative Problem Solver

In the shortest sentence possible, I was tired of being exploited. Ready for the more long winded answer? I worked in the Ad world in NYC for some time, and it destroyed any and all creativity I had outside of the work place. not that the creativity the agencies allowed was all that creative. I was lucky enough to find a new avenue of creativity through motorcycles, which kept my mind distracted and on a different track when i was out of the office. Eventually though, the office crap caught up. Read more>>

Nancy Taiye Aragbaye | Strategy Execution Consultant & Global Speaker

Everything I do now is a direct result from my experience as an Educator. During my experience as an educator I was able to identify gaps in the education system. It was there I discovered how the gaps in the education system which was a lack of entrepreneurship & business education and formal leadership education. I knew that if we wanted to combat poverty and help communities and families thrive, small businesses is what would support that. That is when I had the epiphany to create Strategic Solutions LLC – we are a boutique consulting firm providing practical a business & leadership education to women. Read more>>

Jonathan Monroy | Albatross Surfboards

I always was fanatical about surfboard designs. I’d search and search to find anything and everything; rare designs, unique shapes, everyday designs, really everything. I love the journey of finding new feels when riding waves. I shaped a few boards here and there, but I suppose timing wasn’t there. One day about 7 years ago I had this simple thought pop in my head; why am I not making my own boards for myself? And that’s exactly what I did. I just started making them for myself. And… they worked. It was such a gratifying feeling to create something that actually worked how my mind wanted it to. Read more>>

Anthony(Tony) Avery | Pop/Soul Recording Artist, Non-profit Founder, Arts Advocate , Black & LGBTQ+ rights activist.

The vision for Tony Aye Artistry Foundation Inc. came from my own experiences as an Independent Artist since 2016 but more specifically the experience I had as an Artist during the pandemic. I was very fortunate to still be able to create, perform and overall progress in my music career during this time and I realized it was due, in great part, to the connections and relationship I made. That started to make me think about the severe lack of resources facing independent artists especially those in marginalized communities due to race, sexual orientation, gender, identity, economic status,etc. Read more>>

Krista Jones | Owner, Truth Skincare

A couple of things actually. One, I have a business degree and I really enjoy building businesses from the ground up. In my career, I have worked at various start-ups to help build other people’s businesses from inception all the way through IPO. I wanted to take what I learned in school and at work, and apply to something of my own. Read more>>

Dionna Lipscomb | Esthetician wax specialist

My thought process behind starting Wax with D was to help other women like me understand how to take care of their epidermal skin and how to obtain a smooth, radiant and vibrant look. Wax with D understands the skin plays a crucial role in keeping us safe. We can still look good and keep the microbes out. Read more>>

Sam “Moouse” Messina | Videographer, Owner of Moouse Media

It’s funny there really wasn’t much of a thought process behind me starting my own business. I was lucky enough to have a skill that I was passionate about which was creating videos. Once social media became accessible to everyone, I started shooting random lifestyle video edits and posting them online. From there, I was very motivated to create more now that people were able to see my work so easily through social media. After creating content for myself, I started to have brands reaching out to see if I could create custom content for them. Read more>>