Deciding to start a business is an unusual decision. It’s often considered irrational and yet for many it’s the best decision they’ve ever made. So we asked folks to think back to when they were starting their businesses and to tell us about their decision making process.

Jim Wodark | Artist

I was in a job that I was going to quit or be fired. I had a few jobs before that as well. I was at a point where I realized that what I always wanted to be was an artist and that what held me back was the fear of not making it. What I needed to do was fully commit. Once I had clarity on that, the path was clear, choose to be, or not to be an artist. I chose the first one and haven’t looked back. Read more>>

Run Fastah | Coach

My business came from chasing my passion. As a kid I always wanted to be in professional sports, after running at the highest levels of trail running there just wasn’t enough money in the sport by running. In 2016 I took my endurance coaching / consulting business public. Read more>>

SIMONE SALTON | World Mappers

We started our “World Mappers’ Project” random, by publishing a series of #Face2Face pictures on Instagram and gaining lot of success. From then we decided to keep publishing more information and advise about our travels and to open a Travel Blog dedicated to LGBT Tourism but open to everyone. Read more>>

 

Get Lost with style | Fashion Designer who support sustainability and circularity & Event Organizer

To positively influence society‘s approach of caring for the environment. We do this through upcycled fashion and inspiring music events whilst promoting self expression and individuality. Read more>>

Mo Diallo | I am the owner of Moka Design+, LLC an American construction company that focuses on both residential and commercial design and build. My team has a collective of 20+ years of experience, we provide the highest quality of construction and design work to every project.

I would say finding the right talent and partners to work with was challenging in the beginning for me. Read more>>

Sara Paul | Producer, Activist, Healing Artist

Every venture that I started was inspired by the need for change in the food, entertainment and education industries. Read more>>

Christy Smirl | Home Library Designer & Curator

I was looking for the right equation: work that pays enough to make a living, that inspires me and challenges me, and that allows me to live the life I want to live, schedule-wise. I started to look for services that my skill-set might fit, and I saw that there was room in the market for high end library work. I didn’t see other businesses out there doing precisely the sort of service I knew I could offer. Read more>>

Katrina Calderon | Founder & CEO Regal Fierce Media

The thought process behind starting my business Regal Fierce Media (RFM) in 2019 was to create an all-in-one media team to help local business owners with their marketing to grow their business. RFM provides social media management (organic and paid), video production (tv commercials, reels, short video content), photography (headshots, team photos, product photography), advertising (digital ads, print, radio), website services.The thought process behind starting my business Regal Fierce Media (RFM) in 2019 was to create an all-in-one media team to help local business owners with their marketing to grow their business. RFM provides social media management (organic and paid), video production (tv commercials, reels, short video content), photography (headshots, team photos, product photography), advertising (digital ads, print, radio), website services. Read more>>

Keely, Kyra, & Kaelin Jackson | Entrepreneurs

My sisters and I have always been the do it yourself types. Halloween costumes were made by us from whatever we could find around the house, Christmas and birthday presents were often homemade, and holiday and thank you cards were always made from fancy paper we stole from our mom’s art stash. We have always had high standards and if we can’t find the quality we want, we will set about to find a way to make it ourselves. Read more>>

Kirsten Beal | Farmhouse Wood Sign Maker

The funny thing is, and this is the story of other small business owners…I never planned on starting a business! In the summer of 2020, I was looking at a ton of videos for DIY home decor. Sometime during that time, I landed on a blog that explained how to DIY your own wood sign. Read more>>

LeRoy Romero | Veteran Home Ownership Advocate

My thought process and starting my own business was was focused on bringing home ownership education, inspired by the American dream of home ownership with transparency for the clients we serve. with an emphasis and focus on our veterans. Read more>>

Tonia Swanson | Owner and Creative Director at Dovetail Design

The catalyst for starting my own business came after a job loss. I knew after that I wanted to take a chance and started a free-lance graphic design business. I wanted to feel like I controlled my destiny and loved the challenge of designing and creating for different companies. Read more>>

Helen Krsul | Certified Hypnotherapist

True Life Harmony was started when I realized the power of hypnotherapy. It’s a natural ability everyone has to change their underlying thinking. Your thoughts are the foundation of your actions. Read more>>

Angela McCall | Vintage & Estate Sale Services

I have always had a love of all things vintage. I am extremely drawn to older items. I wonder the history behind the items. Who has owned it, where it has been, what has seen over time. Read more>>

Julie Salter | Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach-CEO JSF Empire

I was on my own personal fitness journey, just sharing on social media per usual, and messages began to flood my inbox for help. Being laser focused on doing something just for me was really important at the time so I just pushed these people off in the direction of my coach, knowing they would be in good hands there. Read more>>

Maria DeCerce | Horsewoman & Freelance Illustrator

I got a “normal” 9 to 5 salaried job with a creative role not long after graduating art school, but it was through that I realized that working for someone else and trying to curate my creativity and workflow to fit into company guidelines wasn’t going to work for me. Read more>>

Carri Griffin | My GripEEZ Marketing Director

GripEEZ was created by athletes for athletes! Our gymnasts kept getting painful rips and we did research on healing rips and after several test runs, we came up with the perfect formula. Read more>>

Taran Emmert | Wellness practitioner, Sound healer, Vocal Coach

My business has drastically evolved over time based on my own growth as a person and my desire to help people. I have dedicated most of my life and my current business to helping people find healing through wellness practices, expression and creativity, with an emphasis on sound healing and music. Read more>>

Brecken Dale | Real Estate Coach for New Agents

From a very young age, I’ve always had the mindset of wanting to be my own boss and start a business of my own. After years of working in real estate and in different fields that all sort of centered around real estate; I finally found a way to combine my years of knowledge with my passions of helping others through my own business. Read more>>

Julie Harper | Artist/Crafter behind Lacey + Mowbray

I’ve always loved to work with my hands ~ and to share what I make with others ~ so my business was largely born out of me making things that I love, and seeing if others would like them, too. Read more>>

Michael Robinson | Founder of Steep Tea Company

The thought process of Steep starts with the goal of bringing tea to the United States. We specialize in high quality organic loose leaf teas, served to our consumers in a modern way. We make plant based tea lattes, elixirs, & speciality drinks. Read more>>

Zero Kazama | Filmmaker/Actor/Stuntman

Aww man, hope this stays under the character count…
“So you’re just gonna pack up your camera gear, and what? Sleep in your car in Humboldt and see what happens?” An old coworker in Colorado Springs asked me. Read more>>

Gary Lipsky | Real Estate Developer

I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a young kid, I learned early on that I couldn’t work for anyone else because I get bored easily. I want to play a large role in whatever I get involved in. This doesn’t mean I don’t need a great team to support my vision, I do. Read more>>

Lisette Perez | Cinematographer/Photographer

Starting my own business wasn’t ever something I thought I would do but it somehow made it’s way to me and I am so incredibly grateful that it has. I’ve always been an introvert and the thought of having to interact with clients used to give me an immense amount of anxiety. Read more>>

Abimael / Karla Ramos / Gama | Artsy Kaptures Photography

Our thought process behind starting our own business was to create something new and unique. It all started as a hobby at first, we did photoshoots of each other just for fun and photographed anything that looked interesting. Read more>>

Phil Bosco | Food and Beer Pairings

My biggest inspiration came from Michael Scott’s book, ‘Somehow I Manage.” It really struck a chord with me and gave me the strength to take the leap…That may be too much of a deep cut for non The Office fans. Honestly, I’ve had businesses in the past around my creative and consulting services. Read more>>

Kayla Olmstead | Jewelry Boutique Owner

I knew I wanted to be my own boss and still be able to be at home with my kids. I started my business while working a full time job and being a full time student. Read more>>

Tony and Laura Elizondo | Custom Furniture Builders and Woodworking Artists

I started building furniture out of need. In 2005, I was just out of college, had moved out of my home state, and had purchased my first home. I didn’t have extra money to furnish my new house with the furniture I wanted so instead of spending money on furniture I didn’t want, I purchased some tools and learned how to make simple furniture pieces. Read more>>

poulett morales | intrepenur

well, that’s a good question , because after coming back from my master in europe, my family almost die when i told them i didn`t want to follow the family business, i wanted to do my own thing,, be know from me and not for been the daugther or the niece of someone else. My family had furniture stores, very well known in Panama. Read more>>

Evelyn Cucchiara | The Toy Tamer – Custom playroom organizing that actually works!

I’ve been an entrepreneur for 25 years – and I change businesses when I am no longer excited about a business when I wake up in the morning. So that’s what happened when I created The Toy Tamer. I was the owner of a kids art school, and the predictability and routine were getting old after 20 years. Read more>>

Quineth Aghaukwu | Creative Writer & Entrepreneu

Business has always been a huge part of my life. Both my parents were into business and the majority of what I know, I learnt from them while growing up. Deciding to start SLB Giftshop was first, a means to empower myself as a woman living in Africa. Secondly, I saw an opportunity to create a culture of giving using original African products. Read more>>

Kaye Akkerman | Owner/Operator of kayesboutique.com

The thought process was quite simple. It is impossible for me to work for anyone else. I have a mental illness that the symptoms dont allow for me to work in the public. I am Schitzophrenic with PTSD and cannot work around others so an online business was right up my alley and because I was a model when I was younger fashion was my first choice. Read more>>

Jihad Abdallah | Owner & head mechanic

For years I’d worked as a mechanic for another company and had always felt I was undervalued and mistreated by the management team there. Read more>>

Maureen Rzeppa | Owner of Perspire Sauna Studio Paradise Valley

My career had been in financial services. In my last position, where I spent almost 20 years working for an amazing wealth management/investment advisory firm overseeing operations, finance, and regulatory compliance, I was an equity partner. I loved working with the firm and the team, helping the firm grow and develop over two decades. Read more>>

Cynthia Simos | Artist, making fine art mobile sculptures

My business began accidentally. I have always been interested in crafting, making things, in art and creative pursuits, from drawing and painting, to sewing and home repair. Read more>>

Luke Raley | Custom furniture and cabinet maker

We’ll, I started working in a custom cabinet shop in Texas, with no experience about woodworking, the more I worked, the more knowledgeable I became, and the more fun I started to have. One year before Christmas I was trying to figure out what to get all of my family members and I thought to myself, “why don’t you make cutting boards for everyone, it’s cheap, it’s easy, and everyone needs one!” Read more>>

Michael DeSanti Pablo Garcia | Owners, The Vital Guide LLC

For many years my business partner and I were in the health and wellness space. Mainly around nutrition and lifestyle coaching. And we noticed that at all the conferences and classes that we were attending the ratio of participants was around 90% women and 10% men. When we saw that we felt that there was a missed opportunity that was not having men be in the conversation of health and wellbeing. Read more>>

Jeff Milkey | Singer, Musician, Producer, Engineer, Inventor

Well the first thing I would like to say is my story isn’t an overnight success, its been a long and winding road. I have been playing professional for over 50 years with my greatest success coming as a solo performer over these past 8 years. Read more>>