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.

Daniel Bronnenberg | Gymnastics coach

The reason for starting the AZ Phoenixes is because there are few opportunities for athletes in our sport over the age of 18 to continue pursuing the sport that we love. By creating these doors of opportunity for athletes post high school, athletes get to benefit from self growth not possible as young athletes. As younger athletes we develop good work ethic, team work, time management, and much more. But as adult athletes we get to challenge and fine tune these skills as we navigate them through responsibilities, priorities, and our ever changing balancing act of life. Read more>>

Liz Borges-Garcia | The Upcycle Queen

I have enjoyed being creative for as long as i can remember., and strangely enough I always found painting rewarding. I was a stay at home mom, but when my son started kindergarten I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I still wanted to be accessible for him but I also started wanting to buy nicer things, and I didn’t want to feel guilty about buying them.. I thought if I could buy, flip, then sell a couple items a month it would give me extra spending money and it was completely flexible around my family. Read more>>

Viviana Garcia | Artist/ Graphic Designer

My thought process when I first started my own business was to think about what I wanted out of it. I then did my research on all the things I can and was able to do. Without knowing what to expect I led with my intuition/ gut feeling and just started. Read more>>

Kiet Kuru | Designer & Creator of Custom Keepsakes for any occasion

The thought process behind starting my own business stems from a desire to bond with my then teen daughter to create unique and functional laser engraved keepsakes. It started out as a hobby, where our initial goal was to help fundraise for school programs and local clubs. Because our small business was driven by a passion to prototype and create new products while experimenting with different media, it helped us develop a broad portfolio of products and eventually established us as the local go-to artisans for custom and quick turn keepsake orders for many occasion. Custom orders also help broaden our product offerings over time. Read more>>

AnnMarie Pena | Owner/operator

I just lost my job I was at for over 10 years because of COVID-19 in April 2020. I was looking for a job frantically because we have four kids to take care of. I love baking and I stress bake. So I baked a lot of stuff for my family. They got sick of it pretty quick. I adopted a cute collie mix dog named Ace in March and I thought I should bake him some treats. I started looking at different recipes and I found that there are no local places that provide healthy treats for dogs. It made me think that I could provide healthy treats to other dogs, too. Read more>>

Laria Herod | Content Creator @ Squally Muffin & Veterinarian

Honestly, I had already started my “business” before I realized that what I was doing was a business. After becoming a parent, trying new products and sharing those that enhanced my life was an unconscious hobby of mine. I would often make social media posts about these things and as I was doing this, my sister encouraged me to start a blog because people were so interested in the products and services that I was finding and sharing. I started receiving DMs and emails from companies because they loved my posts and offered to give me more products in exchange for continued social media reviews. The requests continued to grow and I was loving all the new things that my family was being exposed to. Eventually, companies started getting more competitive and offering more in exchange for my opinions. It was at this point that I realized that there was a legitimate demand for the service that I was providing. I decided to pour more energy into what I was doing to turn my hobby into a source of income to provide my family with more experiences. It’s been such a whirlwind journey and I absolutely love what I do! Read more>>

Amaya Burkhart | Etsy Artist

I started Creativity Cake in my senior year of high school. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the future, but I knew I wanted to something that made me happy. I love expressing myself through art and I wanted to share that with others. Read more>>

Cindy Dick | Creator of If Cats Had Thumbs

My sister and I starting thinking about all the crazy things cats would do if they could. We drafted a list, making sure that the concept was funny. It took several years to find the right illustrator because we wanted the cats to be cute and adorable. We thought that the concept would take off like wild fire but we learned that it takes a lot more leg work to get the products in front of consumers. We started with a list of ideas but when we took three of the stuffies on a road trip, the three cats quickly developed personalities. The next book will be more of a story instead of just funny concepts. Read more>>

Jessica Lei | Jewelry designer

Starting my own business came out of a need for good quality wearable jewelry in my own life. I have always loved jewelry but I workout most days and I have two children that I’m constantly running around with so putting on jewelry everyday wasn’t feasible. I was afraid of breaking my expensive jewelry while doing CrossFit but when I wore cheaper jewelry it would turn from shiny gold to a dull silver fast. The solution was to make my own gold filled jewelry on stretchy string. I am able to wear my jewelry to workout classes since it it comfortable and I don’t have to worry about the gold changing since it is tarnish resistant. In 2020 when covid hit and everything shut down, my husband was out of work and I decided it was time Read more>>

Dr. Ashley Froese | Physician

Being a physician can be challenging with work/life balance. It can also be frustrating to see patients in a 15 minute timeframe like many offices do. So, I wanted to design a clinic where I could have as much time as needed for all patients. This allows for my clinic to be a no-frustration zone. I don’t get frustrated about not having enough time with patients and vice versa. This way, my mental wellbeing is better, I can still pickup my kids from school every day, and my patients feel like they get the care they deserve. Read more>>

Rozanna Brown | Doll Maker

I grew up watching my Mom (Teresa) and Aunt (Alice) take on the latest fad of crafts and I would join them on trips to craft stores looking for supplies. As I became an adult I adopted the same love of crafts. I started to gift various things I made and the one craft that seemed to stick with me was crochet. Crochet really started to stick with me because my family was undergoing some serious health issues which meant I spent a lot of time visiting in hospitals. Crochet is a very portable craft and easy to work on while your waiting in hospitals, It helped ease my stress and it was always a conversation starter in waiting rooms. Read more>>

Maxie Mendez | Small Business Owner

Ever since I could remember, I have always wanted to have my own business and be my own boss. I have always been into fashion and being in the modeling industry, I wanted to start my own clothing line and boutique. I wanted to sell clothes that was a staple for everyone. So I thought to myself, “what is the one thing that every women has in their closets?”… leggings! So I decided to start my own activewear/ athleiuse online boutique! Cute, sporty and comfy over everything. Read more>>

Chris and Denise Vann | Owners. Nibblzcookies and Nibblzcaters

We started at the beginning of the pandemic. Everywhere we went we saw people that were not smiling, we knew we could make a difference and we decided simply to make people smile. You can’t help but smile when you say cookie and you can’t help but smile and share that smile when you eat our cookies. Read more>>

Magdalena Alvarez | Chef & Owner of Ensenada Street Food

My thought process behind starting my own business was being my own boss and being able to create something original that had connections to the place I call home, Ensenada. I wanted to create something that wasn’t really seen in business industry, mainly food truck business. Which was all women owned business. I wanted to create a place of comfort, safety, and good food for everyone. Read more>>

Jennifer Beach | Plant-Based Chef

For the last seven years or so I had been working as a personal chef where I mainly offered luxury services. But when the pandemic hit, I like so many others lost business and had to re-strategize in order to keep going. I wanted to create something that was available to everyone. People were afraid to leave their homes and restaurants had been shut down. Freshly cooked food was hard to come by and people were becoming discouraged. So I decided that my best contribution to society a well as a good business plan was to launch a plant-based meal delivery service offering weekly meals, as well as specialty catering orders. Read more>>

Maggie Ciechoski | Certified Personal Trainer & Your HypeGirl

I’ve spent most of my life encouraging others to be happy and follow their hearts. I’ve always had this sense of responsibility for lifting others- which is the biggest reason I pursued my Master’s degree in Social Work. The ironic part is that for as long as I could remember, I was hyping up other women, but I couldn’t find the self-worth to empower myself. I would do everything possible to make someone else smile and feel good, and then as soon as I was alone with myself, I would pick myself apart. It was crushing, but I never knew how to love myself. Read more>>

Todd Zuccato | League Operator

We are strong supporters of youth sports. The lessons of teamwork, discipline, hard work, and learning to deal with failure can be applied throughout life. We believe in community, and we wanted to bring the opportunity to our community for a fun and exciting way to get some exercise and build character while doing something the kids enjoy. Read more>>

Michael Price | Doctor of Physical Therapy, PT, OCS, CSCS, Cert. TDN

What was your thought process behind starting your own business? I decided to start my own business because I wanted to have autonomy in the way that I practiced physical therapy. Before I started my business I was not happy in my profession and that needed to change. I love this profession and I love what I do. I get great satisfaction in helping others and every day I have the opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s physical condition, overall health, and quality of life. Since then it has been my passion and mission to become the best physical therapist I could be. So, after a kinesiology degree, doctorate degree, clinical rotations, orthopedic residency, and other certifications I was finally ready to practice and fulfill my dream of being a PT. Read more>>

Kristen Scatamacchia | Yoga Instructor & Owner of Blue Moon Yoga LLC

When I started Blue Moon Yoga, I had two things in mind: freedom and purpose. I used to work in the legal field for a major bank. I started in an entry role and eventually moved into Management. I felt I was good at what I did and enjoyed helping others build skills and develop professionally, but the further I moved up, the more distanced I became from this. I spent long days at a computer screen managing the pressures and stresses of the job. Eventually, I experienced stress-related health issues, which became a turning point. Yoga always helped me manage anxiety and practice self-care during difficult times. When I became a teacher, I learned how important it is to slow down, check in with myself, and look at the big picture. Read more>>

Cody Graham | Founder/ President

I worked for a larger logistics company for 5 years out of college. Through my experience there I learned about the industry and corporate America. I saw inefficiencies created through a larger size company for both employees and customers. I viewed this as a huge opportunity to create an environment that catered to customers wants above all and gave team members the tools and autonomy to succeed. I always really liked the idea of controlling my own destiny through my decisions. So with all this in my mind, I started the company. Read more>>

Ashanti Adams | Owner of SexDOLL Exotic Wear

I’ve always wanted to be something BIG . I used to make and sell headbands and other things and I really enjoyed it . I started this business because women always need something to make them feel comfortable in their OWN skin and what better way to do than to buy lingerie. Feel and look sexy while drinking a glass of wine even . Men enjoy it too ; this is something for men and women in a way . Read more>>

Rod Hardy | Recording Artist and Entrepreneur

I’ve always been very observant and a visionary. I knew for me to be who I was born to be I couldn’t waste time working for someone else’s dream. I knew starting my own business would give me the freedom to think and implement all these ideas in my head. I also also wanted to change the mindset of what you can become in life for my family for generations to come. Read more>>

Dr. Matt Rysdyk | Physical Therapist

The current healthcare format was the initial trigger for my business. I felt like I could offer a higher level of physical therapy and performance services than what any other physical therapy clinic would allow me to do. I know that I can help my clients to the fullest when offering hour long sessions in a high-level fitness environment. Most all other physical therapy clinics that accept insurance limit how much time you can spend with your PT, so I want to offer my patients the chance to spend more than twice the average time with me alone to get rid of their pain. The structure of my business makes for easier documentation and billing on my end, and it allows my clients to know exactly what they are paying for and what to expect, which most people often times get confused by medical appointments and billing. Read more>>

Kasia Foulger | Foot Health Practitioner

Helping people combine foot health and beauty. Read more>>

Abbey Yoder | ASU student, Pilates Instructor & small business owner

As a creative from the start, growing up as a dancer. I have always felt a pull to be creative. Creativity keeps me endlessly inspired. As an artist, I decided to take that as my foundation in starting my own business. I wanted to turn my creativity into. a business through my products, and my services because I find so much joy in: making one of a kind designs, connecting with others through movement, inspiration, and story, and building other people up mentally, physically, and in their brands. You see, my passions are many but I know that I have a gift to share, and I know that everyone out there also has a gift. My thought process was as simple as that, My goal is to give people the tools they need in order to build themselves up and feel supported always. I want people to feel safe in knowing that we all have flaws but by connecting, sharing and growing together we are truly unstoppable. I am here to create a positive environment around and spark joy! Read more>>

Noushin Mazlaghani | Mind body spirit mentor, guide

Many many Life challenges which I chose to turn it around 180 and support others with my own personal experiences. Read more>>