Readers often email us asking us for advice about new businesses they are thinking about starting and we often find that many of them don’t have a framework for thinking about a more fundamental question: why should or shouldn’t you start a business?

Below, you’ll find how successful entrepreneurs from across the city thought about this very question when they were considering whether to start their businesses.

Courtney Kelm | Medical Provider, Entrepreneur

I was literally sitting at my kitchen table “mad teary eyed” after a frustrating day at work seeing 28 patients in a day and said to my spouse Navin, “I just want to go back ‘Full Circle’ to the days where we actually took care of people.” The days when we spent time listening to patients, honed in on the true diagnosis, and actually fixed the problem. Not pumping through people like numbers and giving them “cookie cutter” treatment plans. I also wanted to create a relaxed, friendly environment where people didn’t feel scared or deterred to come get help. Lastly, I wanted to treat people’s health comprehensively and discuss the “Full Circle” of treatment options, not just surgery, medications. Read more>>

Julie Waterkotte | Artist | CEO | Serial Entrepreneur

I love creating and I love running with ideas. I used to work in the video game industry for EA Sports, which was great but also exhausting. Often times at the start of the project I would be fired up with new ideas and wanting to showcase them and implement them into the project. By the time the game was released I was disappointing that all the really cool ideas got art directed to death and the final product was no where near it started and some amazing ideas and artwork were stifled. I started working freelance on the side of my normal gig just so I could have a creative outlet that wouldn’t get art directed to death and it has never stopped, it actually has grown! I enjoy being able to not only create what I want on a daily basis, but offer others the chance to do that. I mean how rewarding! The power to create and giving others the confidence to not only create but allow themselves to get caught up in the moment to create is something powerful. So for me, it not only becomes empowering to myself to be able to release my artist, but so rewarding to be able to offer that gift to others as well. To bring confidence in someone while they create. Read more>>

Miguel McLaren | Hair Artist

Honestly the thought process behind starting my own business was very idealistic. Mostly I think i got in My own way thinking things had to be a certain way. They don’t. When I realize there is no one size fits all plan. I just took a leap of faith. I am a strong beliver in, you do things woth good intentions and heart and they will work out. Read more>>

Nami Milivojevich | Founder/Designer of Reka Kaftans

Having been a fashion designer for over 20 years working with big brands like J. Crew, Geoffrey Beene, and Victoria’s Secret in New York, Moschino in Milan, and Puma in Nuremberg, I wanted to get back to my roots and create a product that made sense to me and my way of living.  Also, because there are so many clothes already out there, I couldn’t justify contributing to the oversaturation unless they were somehow made in a way that was the least wasteful and the most useful.  For this reason, reka kaftans are produced using only GOTS certified 100% organic cotton and factories that uphold a high standard for working conditions. Read more>>

Ed Cunningham | CEO First Responder Decon

Around 2005, Cancer took over as the number one cause of Line of Duty deaths for Firefighters worldwide. I began creating a toxic mitigation program for my department to do our best to minimize the exposures we face in toxic environments that we respond to. The difficulty was that the normal cleaning products barely removed surface contaminates and did nothing to render them inert. Through exhausting research and work, we discovered a compound that had been invented for Military use that not only removed more toxins than any other cleaner on the market, but did so to a depth that none can compete with. I created a kit to deploy the compound and began making and donating them out of the restaurant that I currently own. The demand was overwhelming and so we decided to create a small LLC to meet the demand for this break through system. Read more>>

Logan Harding | Photographer & Cinematographer

I’ve always had a passion for the photo and video work that I do. I got a bachelor’s degree in Media and knew I wanted to start my own business when I graduated. I ran it as a side gig for 6 years while building experience with a few part time jobs and finally 4 years in corporate, also doing video and photo work. I’ve been let go from jobs twice in my past, and I decided I wanted more stability for my family and no income cap. Running my own business was the perfect solution. I took it full time in March of 2020 and it has proven to be extremely successful! God has blessed and given me favor in the community, and I couldn’t be happier!. Read more>>

Dr. Sailesh Rao | Founder and Executive Director

I worked on the internet communications infrastructure for 20 years after graduation. Then, in Dec 2005, I came home from work, turned on the TV and there was Vice President Al Gore talking about climate change. I was so shocked by what he said that I decided to look into it and within 3 months, I realized that our ecological predicament was much worse than what he was saying. That’s when I closed down my internet business and wrote to Mr. Gore asking how I can help him. I spent the next two years giving his slide show to audiences and then decided to start my own non-profit, Climate Healers in Dec 2007, dedicated towards healing the Earth’s climate. Read more>>