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.

Jessica Navarrette | Boutique Owner & Entrepreneur

My thought process for starting my own business was an easy but hard one. And although starting my own business wasn’t something I thought of until my late 20’s (you know what they say, never too late to follow your NEW dreams!) I was excited and ready to put in some work. Of course it is easy to ‘decide’ that you want to work for yourself and start your own business but it is the reasoning behind it that can push you to work harder, your WHY, and of course HARD WORK! I am always striving to be better than I was the day before and I do not like to sit and waste time. If I am not doing something productive with myself, I will make sure that changes. Read more>>

Jay Brown | Graphic Designer & Small Business owner

When I started thinking of Fatal Flaw, I was still a young amateur artist. I would draw countless hours in my room and if not that, then I was out looking for the next car show or event. I thought “why not mix them both?” I started drawing and designing so that others in the automotive community could relate to. Drawing had always been an outlet for me and being able to get that out there and have it reach so many that have a passion for cars like me, makes that original dream come true. Read more>>

David Valdovin | Cuts & Slabs Charcuterie owner

When I first thought about started a charcuterie business I had no idea what I wanted it to become and what it would actually be, I had this idea back in October of 2020, i wanted to do something different, I had multiple jobs and I was unhappy with the current job I had at the time. I wanted to do something completely different and out of the box, so Cuts & Slabs Charcuterie was created. In March of 2021 I made it an official business. After getting my business license I really needed to secure I idea and vision of what I wanted my business to be and what I wanted to provide to people. There was little to no charcuterie businesses here in Tucson so I wanted to make Cuts & Slabs Charcuterie a well known company. Read more>>

Catherine Marben | , RN Medical Aesthetics Injector

I have been a nurse in Primary Care and Learning and Development since 2005. I was lucky enough to develop relationships with my repeat patients over many years. Doing so, I walked with them during their ups and downs. My role as a nurse was to keep them in their best state of health. My goal was to treat each individual as I would my own family, with compassion and empathy, and to provide a response and plan that would encompass their own wants and needs. In doing so, I became aware that every person has a different path to wellness, but all required a state of happiness. Read more>>

Michele Peterson | Cryotherapy Specialist

To help as many people as I can to be the best version of yourself without breaking the bank. I know it sounds cliche, but, I’ve been in the fitness industry for a long time and I know how expensive it can be. People think that their only option is surgery, not the case! I want men and women to always feel their best! Read more>>

Damala Badon | Chief Executive Officer-DB Dessert Company

After working in corp America like many of us for all of my adult life a turning point in my career came after watching many fellow co-workers be laid off from there jobs due to various reasons like down sizing , position elimination and budget cuts . Seeing that happen to people who spent there entire career giving to companies and being let go so easily bothered me deeply. From that point forward I decided that securing additional revenue streams were critical especially to create some type of wealth for my family there i started brainstorming the path to entrepreneurship. Read more>>

Katerina Papoutsis | Co-Owner

Initially, it was just two best friends dinner table conversation that evolved into a career change and dream. Isn’t that crazy? We were both working in a dental office together at the time and we just spun ideas about a side hustle that would fulfill a part of that desire to accomplish something. Never in a million years did we believe that we would quit our careers completely, employ a full staff and become a multi=million dollar grossing company! Read more>>

Erica Rose | Owner of Designs by Er

I’ve always enjoyed creating designs on my own. I thought about selling them but not really knowing how to get into it. I heard about Etsy and how many people sold items on their site. So I decided to first make an Instagram and Facebook and then expanding it to Etsy. This was the best decision I could’ve made. Making and creating designs is something I look forward to doing every single day. Read more>>

Fiinix | Artiste, Songwriter, Producer

After 6 years in the classroom (teaching), I realised there was a much greater calling for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved teaching, the look on a child’s face when you’ve taught them something new gave me great joy, but there was still that force pulling me back to the life of being a performer/producer/recording artiste/songwriter… After ignoring the urge for a over a year, I decided to be brave (or some may say stupid) and take the dive; and as they say, “necessity is the mother of all invention”–because I wanted us to own all our creations, we started our own production company, Ragga Royal Productions Ltd., so we would have better control and direction of our projects because we want to maintain the purity of our concepts and intentions–we want the world to hear and feel our music exactly as we intend. …You may notice I keep referring to “our” and “we”, that’s because the company is a partnership between myself, and a friend who I’ve been creating with since high school and who I consider to be a brother. Read more>>

Brandon Tigrett | Chief Creative Officer & Founder

After spending the first half of my creative career as a commercial photographer, I realized there was a Grand Canyon-sized gap between business goals and creative production for small to medium-sized businesses. I would be hired to create “cool” imagery, and then see it underutilized after being delivered to the clients. This wasn’t always the case, but more times than not there was no synergy between growth strategy and creative strategy, if there was a strategy at all. I realized marketing teams were merely creating graphics, photos, video, and written content because they knew they were supposed to, but there was no rhyme or reason behind the specific assets I was being asked to create. Not only does this issue cost them more to convert customers when running campaigns, but it also creates the lack of a consistent identifiable brand. Read more>>

Kathy Luzzi | Hairdresser & Realtor

My son! I have been a hairdresser for over 12 years and when I had my son in 2019, I wanted a career that I could be super flexible with. I made the decision to leave my 9-5 job after my maternity leave to do hair full time. In the past I mostly did it part time with a full time position elsewhere. I did that because I was afraid of risk. Well fast forward to the birth of my son, I took a leap of faith to build a clientele just under 2 years and I’m BEYOND happy I did so! In the middle of it, my husband encouraged me to get my realtor’s license, which is also another flexible career, in a great time for real estate! Read more>>

Kate Grutsky | Family and Wedding Photographer

My story began back in 2014 when I moved to Arizona. Everything was new and different for me: new country, new city, new people, new home. I was not entirely sure as to what the future held for me. I was trying to find myself, find a place for me here. The door to photography opened up for me a little later, just a couple of years after my move. In July 2017 we welcomed to this world our son, Andrei. Like any other mom, I wanted to take pictures of him everyday, so that I could keep those memories for a lifetime. Can you relate to that feeling? So I started learning and doing photography as a hobby. It quickly grew to be a side business for me and now it’s my full time job. Read more>>

Melissa Harlan | Owner & Founder, Drink Me! Tea Room

I had been a corporate employee for most of my career but knew I would be leaving. I knew that I wanted something different but was not sure what the next thing was going to be. During this time, I visited London with my family who loves to travel and try new things. We visited a number of tea rooms during our trip and those visits quickly became the most enjoyable and memorable part of our trip. It inspired me to create something similar in my neighborhood. I started writing my business plan on our flight home. I wanted a place for people to gather and enjoy a tradition with my own modern touches. Read more>>

Lee Ingle | Reptile & Amphibian Shop Owner

When I got stationed here at David Monthan AFB I was blown away by how many people were actually into reptiles. The scene was amazing but I didn’t feel like the shops I’ve been were living up to today’s standards of reptile specific husbandry. It’s one of the reasons I named the business what I did. Ever evolving to strive for the best care for the animals we are so lucky to keep as pets. So I figured I’d get out for the Air Force and try out this crazy idea for a better experience. Read more>>

Rich and Shelby Satnam | Joyful Creators of Let’s Knot and Say We Did, an Authentic Based Wedding Company

Our thought process on starting Let’s Knot and Say We Did was of gradual unfoldment. Aside from the unfulfilling and demanding work within the corporate world, we started by offering officiating services as a way to spark personal creativity and joy that I wasn’t finding in my current work as a banker. This was really a passion project that quickly turned into something greater. I (Rich) quickly found my calling of curating and personalizing the most intimate part of a couple’s wedding day. When the pandemic hit, many of the larger weddings condensed in size and couples began getting creative with how and where they would do their ceremonies. Read more>>

Kyle Getz | Food Blogger for Local & Small Biz

Candidly, it was never a thought really at least in the beginning – I mean I was simply doing what I enjoyed most, which is eating, then critiquing my experience and sharing thoughts with the online communities. Then once this pandemic hit, I saw an opportunity to use the following I grew and leverage that to help raise awareness for those local & small businesses who were impacted. Since then, I’ve been able to partner with others, collab with & highlight businesses whom may not have the reach that I do! Being able to both monetize my appetite while helping others improve their reach and grow business via a social media presence is truly a win/win. Look forward to creating several success stories 🙂 Read more>>

Susan Bryenton & Tom Malengo | Co-founders, Brandjectory; Co-founders, The Litchfield Fund

After our corporate careers, we moved to Scottsdale. We wanted to start our own business in a field that not just excited us, but one in which we took an active interest. We have always been nutritionally focused, ‘foodies’ for our health and pleasure, and Tom is the chef. We wanted to use our business knowledge and experience to help emerging brands in the natural products food, beverage, health and wellness industry. So we set up The Litchfield Fund, to invest, advise and consult in the natural products industry. The Litchfield Fund is named as a tribute to our common farming heritage. Tom’s family was raised on farms in Western Pennsylvania and Susan family’s heritage comes from Litchfield, Ohio. Read more>>

Rajan Jog | Abstract Artist & Scientist

Since the time of my birth, creative thought processes have always been inculcated in me via the people and life struggles. At that time there was no widespread of social media as of today. People felt inspired by their parents, siblings, relatives, friends and neighbours. Back in the time, I used to write poetries while in college for a short time, I have continued the process in bits and pieces now and then. I wanted to write a novel since that was a novel era, wherein several Indian fictional writers emerged and diffused in every household of India. I drafted a few chapters, however, was unable to complete the entire novel. This was while I was entering the professional world back in the 2010s. Read more>>

Colleen Montague | Owner of Moissy Fine Jewelry

When I began to think about creating what is now Moissy Fine Jewelry. I wanted to offer to clients not only a product of value, but a product that would ADD value. I myself had experience with the lab crafted gemstone Moissanite, because I had been wearing it for years. The product over the years had remained as beautiful as the day I had bought it, and continued to impress me after such a long period of wearing my moissanite ring. I realized this product was valuable and sustainable. The product itself had added value to my own life, as it was my engagement ring from my husband, which was one of my most prized possessions. Read more>>

Tara Coté | Owner, Nail Artist, Body Sculptor and Permanent Makeup Artist

I was in the process of trying to move to a salon in Gilbert, closer to home. I was having a horrible time finding a salon that prided themselves on cleanliness, had a convenient location, was a full service salon, and had a friendly team. That’s when I started looking for my own location. I knew I had the background that would allow me to create what I was looking for. Read more>>

Erica Sullivan | CEO & Founder

I have always been intrigued by entrepreneurship. I loved the idea of finding a need in a community and creating a solution to better the lives of those around me. Sitting in a classroom was always a struggle for me because I had a hard time understanding the practical application of what I was learning. My mind would go off into a whole different universe, and instead of learning fractions in 3rd grade, I was daydreaming of starting a magazine called Spontaneous. I’m not sure how I remember this, but I was the kid that would go home after school and print out a dozen “magazines” complete with an advice column, fashion advice and more. That love and creativity to create transitioned to founding my blog, What the Clique, in 2011 when I was only in the 7th grade. Read more>>