We reached out to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and asked them to think back and tell us about how they decided to start a business. Check out their responses below.

Kurt and Deanna Mangum II | CoupleyFit Co-Founders

We started CoupleyFit in 2016 to share our passion for health and fitness! We would receive frequent requests from friends, family, and co-workers about our daily routine, workouts, and nutrition tips to improve their fitness and lose weight. Our first client was a co-worker who lost over 60 lbs in under a year on our program! In addition to exceeding her weight loss goal, Maricela’s life transformed, and her family’s health and wellness greatly improved. Our virtual CoupleyFit wellness program and app makes getting fit easier by focusing on four areas of physical health: sleep, water, activity, and nutrition (S.W.A.N.) Read more>>

Kaitlyn Bailey | Licensed Esthetician

I think deep down I always had this desire to become an entrepreneur because I was attracted to the freedom. I wanted something more for my life than the standard 9-to-5 job where I was required to follow another company’s policies and experience a lack of power. I was sick of feeling like I had no voice when change was needed so instead of remaining “stuck,” I decided it was time to break free. And to be honest, the pandemic was just the push I needed to get started with my own business. I remember thinking after I graduated school I would go work for someone else and absorb as much experience as I could before jumping out on my own. Read more>>

TA Holmes | Creative Fine Art and Portrait Photographer

I’m not sure there was an initial thought process behind the start of my business. It happened gradually. When I became an empty nester a few years ago, I started getting back into photography seriously. Instead of simply taking random family photos, I started refreshing on all the basics, and practicing in earnest. At that point, I remembered how much I loved the way light can stop me in my tracks. The education process began in earnest then, as well as the gear addiction. Add in some travel, and my expensive new hobby needed to start paying for itself. Originally a side hustle to make ends meet, it evolved into something I knew I’d love dedicating my time to fully. That was when I took the leap. Read more>>

Ykm Yosh | Creative Director & Musician

My thought process was always, “will you be able to build this business up in an organic/authentic way” Then it turns into “is this business going to provide longevity” Then it turns into “what will i have to provide to make this business function and bring back my initial investment” Once all of those questions are answered then i start to accumulate materials and start to form tha base of tha business that way when you eventually expand you always have your reference point to look back on. Read more>>

Carolyn Odisho | Chief Crafter & IT Product Owner

Crafting has always been a passion of mine and when I bought my first paper craft machine, I knew it was love at first sight. I started making projects for myself, family, and friends. It wasn’t until a friend of mine pointed out that I can start doing this as a side hustle. I began selling my crafts on an online marketplace designed for artists and crafters and it gave me a way to channel stress into creating beautiful crafts. I have set a goal for myself and my business to learn something new every year and hence began the love of resin art. I have an array of products ranging from shadowboxes to resin coasters and I have a new exciting project I am working on that will soon be added to Caro’s Craft Corner. Read more>>

Presley Woodall | Artisy

I have always had a crafty side to me and wanted to provide a service where I can bring peoples ideas to life. I have always been big on thrifting and like to refurbish items for my own home. I like the idea of finding an interesting piece, new or old, and transform it into something that fits you and the theme of your home, room, office or any place that needs some color. Sometimes people have can envision something and life it too short to not have it. That’s where I come in. Read more>>

Jill Diffendaffer | Interior Designer

It started off with friends asking me to help them decorate their homes and encouraging me to use my skills to help others. I have never thought of myself as a business owner, but looking at it from the perspective of helping someone else love their home made me take the leap. Throughout the years several people have told me they are overwhelmed when they think of putting a space together. It can feel like a daunting task when you aren’t sure where to start. When I look at a space to decorate it energizes me, I love bringing a space to life. My goal for every home is for it to feel welcoming and inviting to everyone who enters it, from the moment they walk in there is peace and comfort. Read more>>

Roscoe Smith | Owner and Creator, Knuckle Sandwiches Mesa and Tempe Arizona

Well I had many years in the restaurant business working for others. When I got into business, I felt a real desire to have something of my own. Something where I could make a real mark on people in different ways. I feel like as a business owner I have a responsibility not only to my guests, by providing them a high quality and unique product in an enjoyable environment. But also, I have a responsibility to my employees to teach them life skills and job skills that they will carry for the rest of their lives. Read more>>

Erica Padilla | Food blogger

For me it was a love for food and posting to my personal page, aznomnoms evolved from that. I also love going to new restaurants in the West Valley that I new i wanted that to be apart of my page.. I really wanted to showcase all the places I love in West Phoenix because I felt it never was shown in local food blogs.. Read more>>

Mónica Vilches | Photographer & Producer

I’m not going to lie to you, I had a mixed of feelings, fear, nerves, fear again, emotion, anxiety, however I didn’t want to stop this feeling, it happens to me every time I create a new project; I read somewhere that when you have half fear and half emotion for an idea it is a good sign, and my life is full of signs, so I decide day by day to flow with emotion, you will always have good and bad days, but you must hear your inner wisdom, that will be your guide, what you feel in your stomach, what makes noise until you achieve it, and the result is the most wonderful feeling Read more>>

Haley Witt | Marketing Consultant & Website Designer

I jokingly tell people that I became a business owner on accident. I was in the midst of applying rather furiously to full-time jobs when contract work kept flooding my way. Eventually, one thing led to another and I had a full plate of clients. I was fortunate to meet other spectacular entrepreneurs along the way who let me ask real, candid questions about rates and work-life balance. Read more>>

Adylia-Rhenee Gutierrez | Founder of Yhorlife & Creator of Build Yhorlife Coahing™

Youthful ignorance lol. I created the concept of Yhorlife while I was at Business School because yes I saw a gap in the market but also because I wanted to prove a point to my dad. I didn’t see or believe in risk or failure. I knew I had a good idea and went full speed ahead. Read more>>

Melanie Franco | Crystal Shop Owner/Metalsmith/Yoga Collective Co-Owner/Mom/Soon to be published author

In 2018 I was working in finance, and had spent the past five years advancing in the field. With each year that past my work/life balance began to dwindle more and more. I’d be away from my child for 12 hours of the day Monday-Friday, and squeeze in as much as I could over the weekends. Eventually I became pregnant with my second child. At the time I decided that I wanted to focus on being a more present mother. I wanted to enjoy both of my sons and spend as much time with them as I could. So I resigned, seriously cut back on all of the little luxuries, put a pause on traveling, and adjusted life in a way that would allow me to sustain on my savings and my partners income. Read more>>

Christy Hall | Founder of Mikel Kristi Skincare and Board Certified Physician Assistant

I wanted to design skincare products that help restore your skin’s natural healthy function, using plant-based ingredients that really work. My desire to create Mikel Kristi came from my own experience as a medical professional, the stories and concerns from thousands of patients that I’ve seen throughout my career, and my own transformative journey to plant-based, high-quality skincare. My passion is to provide you solutions that address your skincare needs, as well as an educational path that truly serves you.” Read more>>

Roshi Patel | Calligrapher & Artist

I decided to start my business because I figured I had nothing to lose. Art has always been a passion of mine. I enjoyed it without making money from it. People responded so well to the pieces I created, so it felt right to start sharing my art more publicly. I have always wanted a job that doesn’t feel like work. RSP Designs has become that perfect outlet for me because I enjoy everything I do for it. Read more>>

Elsa (Jackie) Martinez | Eyelash vendor

I always wanted to be my own boss and to have my own business has always been a goal in my life, but so much would go through my head so I knew I had to take a risk and not be afraid to fail, I knew if a fail I would at least say I tried but if I didn’t try I felt like I was failing myself . Sometimes you just have to be a risk taker Read more>>

Sarah Neumann | Dermatology Physician Assistant & practice owner

After working at a large group practice for years, I saw The quality of patient care suffer, I wanted to create an office where patients concerns were addressed in a warm welcome & friendly environment with an emphasis on quality care with a commitment to customer service. Read more>>

Troy Plewa | Tech Account Manager & Personal Fitness Coach

My brother and I wanted to live the vision of fulfilling very specific fitness goals and serving as a symbol to others like us that they too can achieve certain looks or athletic feats with the right lifestyle. So having a fitness business was our way of living the dream of being an athlete full time and committing to that disciplined lifestyle. Since a business becomes one’s life, it allows for full self expression without anyone telling you not to live your life a certain way. Read more>>