Thinking through whether to start a business – whether to take the risk, whether to go out on your own – isn’t easy. So we asked some entrepreneurs we admire to tell us about how they thought through the process of starting a business.

Chesa Mendez | Health & Wellness Advocate & Teacher

I started my business to say my life. I had been in pain for years. In hind-sight, I would say from the age of 4 to 35-ish I was a miserable person, with a miserable spirit. I hated the world, I was detached from self and others and I suffered tremendously. I am grateful that I had an ah-ha moment. Something inside of me wanted to try life one more time. I was ready to do the “worth it work.” Read more>>

Candice Mason | Cancer Researcher & Cancer Entrepreneur

US skin cancer rates are on the rise. I know first hand because I am one of those statistics. I am a two time melanoma survivor. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. After I was diagnosed originally in 2017, while sitting the infusion chair, I started brainstorming about what I wanted to do to turn my cancer diagnosis into a positive experience by promoting sun safety, skin cancer and skin cancer awareness. Sun safety is often ignored. Thus, I created a UPF50+ apparel and accessories brand. Read more>>

Katie Ronstadt Arellano | Web Designer & Digital Marketer

My family has a deep history here in Tucson, back in 1882 my great great grandfather moved to Tucson from Mexico and started his own wagon and carriage company which eventually became F. Ronstadt Hardware and now is commemorated in the Ronstadt Transit Center. Since then my family has continued entrepreneurship in Tucson and have developed many businesses of their own; from insurance, real estate, recording studios, guitar building and more. Read more>>

Breanna Griffin-Lewis | CEO of Luna Luxe LLC, Jewelry Enthusiast & Stylist

I’ve always been an independent thinker who wanted to run my own show. While working on my Fashion Marketing degree I interned at a local boutique in Downtown Phoenix and was so passionate about running this shop that the owner trusted me to run it alone. I was able to order inventory, work on marketing materials, style mannequins and the women who came in the store.  Read more>>

Maia Dilek Yilmaz | Owner of Dilek Apparel & ASU Student

Growing up, I’d always been interested in entrepreneurship. In high school, instead of getting a traditional job, I started my own tutoring business. I wanted to be my own boss, have a flexible schedule, and earn a higher income. The experience taught me a lot about marketing and service-based entrepreneurship. Now as a student at ASU, I wanted to continue my love for entrepreneurship, but this time as a product-based business. Read more>>

Ross Cooper | personal trainer and type 2 titan

I saw a gap in the fitness industry; I didn’t see myself represented there. it was all ‘perfect’ bodies or those that were just getting off the couch; essentially beginner or advanced. I wanted to create something that spoke to the in-between and just as importantly, represent type 2 diabetics Read more>>

Clifford Summerhill Jazmine Reyes | Please credit both of us as Owners.

Jazmine Reyes: I think Cliff would agree that our business was a product of frustration. Frustration for the small business community and how unaccessible affordable marketing is. We ultimately decided to turn our frustration into something good. Read more>>