The first step to starting a business is deciding to start a business.  They say the first step is the hardest and in our experience this is especially true when it comes to starting a business. Getting over the mental roadblocks can be tough, often harder to overcome than the challenges you’ll face once you actually start the business.  Fellow entrepreneurs share their thoughts below.

Santiago Almada | Wedding Photographer

I wanted a career where I could make my own schedule and provide for the family I knew I wanted to have one day. I’m also an avid traveler so being able to make my own schedule, be my own boss, and travel the world doing what I love was extremely appealing. I also enjoy the artistic freedom I have with every event I capture. The ability to get to know my clients, learn their vision and then bring it to life with my creative eye and ability to use light can’t be beat. Read more>>

Majo Mansour | Holistic Nutritionist, Kids Nutritious Specialist & Founder

I’m very involved in wellness and nutrition and after having kids, maybe a mother feeling or everything at same time but I felt More and more need of creating products that are clean simple safe and nutritious, that everyone would feel confident eating and sharing with their family without worrying about highly processed or artificially fortified ingredients. We live in a very fast and buy schedule and the idea of convenience is what comes on many people’s mind but very rare when a packaged product is created that providers the clean , nutritious and tasty aspect together. Read more>>

Christine Hotchkiss | Entrepreneur

I believe everyone has a story in their life that puts them on the journey of their lives. Some find purpose from their pain. My personal story is the passing of my 17 year old daughter Nicole Marie on New Year’s Day 2007. My family and I were in a rollover accident where my daughter Nicole was ejected from our vehicle. The years have moved forward but the memory and loss have been frozen in time. My purpose and mission is to help others heal, inspire and find hope again. Just because something different has happened to you, doesn’t mean you have to be treated different, act different or live different. I am inspired by those who can find joy again and live life as they are deserving. Sharing our personal journey’s/stories gives hope to someone who has walked or may walk a similar path. When you make a difference in someone’s life, you create magic within theirs. Read more>>

Danica LePorte | Creative Event Coordinator

When my son was an infant I had the privilege to find some very supportive mom groups. Once a month as the kids in our group aged we would meet and read a book and do a craft along with the book. We stacked apple blocks and made paint stamps with apple halves while reading Dr Seuss 10 Apples up on Top. We read about seeds and planted flowers during Earth Day celebrations. The moms enjoyed the time together and the crafty projects the kids would come home with. As our kids grew older one of the major questions I was getting from moms was “What should we do for our kids birthday?” The craft projects we had been doing in our groups were an alternative solution to those moms. One party we created “dog” tags for our stuffed animals who were invited to a Secret Life of Pets themed party. Read more>>

Nitrah Neon | Fashion Designer & Musician

The thought process behind starting my own business was that I already knew how to sew do photography, graphic design and model so I could combine all of those skills together and start a clothing brand. Read more>>

Pauline Martinez | Restaurant Owner

The population growth in Arizona was very rapid and as a result there wasn’t much in the restaurant scene that wasn’t big corporate chain offerings or fast food. Mom and pop restaurants were few and far between. So we found a location that we thought desperately need and injection of locally owned breakfast and lunch options. I come from the Midwest and so do many other transplants that navigate to the desert. I saw a gaping hole for the “place where everyone knows how you like your coffee and can greet you by name”. So, once the location was identified we got to work on making that place a reality. Read more>>

Sarah Woon | Founder, Business Owner & Momtrepreneur

It all started while at a local nail salon getting a manicure and pedicure with my daughter. As we were relaxing I watched as my daughter’s facial expressions showed so much joy and happiness. I know how much the experience of getting pampered and feeling extra special is something she loves. I remember asking her if she would like to have a “spa party” for her next birthday. Not surprised by what her answer was, I started doing some planning to make sure she had the best spa party for her and her friends. After looking at all the logistics of getting everyone to the salon, making sure appointments were scheduled, and looking at costs, the idea hit me, “what if there was a mobile luxury spa party business that could come to my house?” Read more>>

Ben Ramirez Reed | Entrepreneur & Leathercrafter

Simply put, I wanted freedom to make my own choices. I grew up around entrepreneurs, my father ran a small family dairy farm and my mother ran her own Dog Daycare facility. I grew up with them setting their own hours and being their own boss and knew I wanted that too. I never thought about working for somebody else’s company, I just knew I wanted my own. I wasn’t sure what it would be, though. I started leather working to make things for myself and my friends. People began telling me I should sell what I made, but I thought that would take the joy out of it for me. Turns out quite the opposite. I love knowing that what I’m selling I designed, crafted, and sold with my own two hands. Read more>>

Kay Cummins | Metalsmith & Enamelist

Well my first line of Jewelry was Out And About Girls – Funky and Found Object jewelry for Cool People. YOU know who you are! I have always dressed for happiness and humor. This jewelry was to share this joy with others. There wasn’t any deep meaning to my art; it was simple; be noticed, laugh and have others drawn to you with the same reaction. I was very successful with this line and the website and custom work are still available. This jewelry included enamel, vintage tins, lunchboxes and billiard balls. My current line uses advanced skills and expanded the materials I use; including Steel, Gold, Colorful Gemstones and Cloisonné enamel. There was another side of my personality that was dying to be introduced. Read more>>

Strange Magic | Lifestyle Streetwear Brand

Strange Magic wasn’t set out or intended to be a business. It was a passion project, a way for us to express ourselves and showcase our art and design work through streetwear. It was a way for us to connect with others and build a community around the things we were passionate about. Pursuing those passions was what was truly important to us and setting it up as a business was a necessity for us to maintain and grow the brand. We highly encourage entrepreneurial spirit and want to see others follow their dreams of taking passions and turning them into small businesses. With dedication and hard work, you can manifest your idea into reality. Read more>>

Kyle Hollenbeck | Owner & Director of Operations

Six and a half years ago myself and Michael went to Chef Tom and told him we should start a food truck. Chef Tom had Graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelors in Hotel and Restaurant Management in just 3 1/2 years, graduated the Ace Program at Culinary Institute of America and was finishing a two year apprenticeship program at the Greenbrier in West Virginia (Known as America’s Resort) when we asked this of him. Put it this way he could have went and worked anywhere. It wasn’t until he came out and we took him to a food truck friday in downtown phoenix where he saw the potential. He knew we could do this and better. I had been in advertising for a long time, working for different tech companies (Yelp and LivingSocial) and i was ready to be my own boss. Read more>>

Brazilian Voices | Non-Profit Organization

It can be a tough road for two female immigrants from Brazil who wanted to start a company comprised of women from different backgrounds, nationalities, expectations, while dealing with numerous challenges in order to harmonize and serve their local community through music in the US… but somehow these two women entrepreneurs proved it’s possible to succeed all the same with a non-profit organization. “We wanted to bring joy, hope and educate through music” says Beatriz and Loren (Co-Founders), which was and still is their attitude behind their business after 19 years. Read more>>

Kaitlyn Martinez | Founder

I started Backpacks 4 Kids AZ when I was 11 years old and one of my friends didn’t have any school supplies so me and my mom got her school supplies and that lead me and my mom to have a conversation about kids not having school supplies. That led to a school supply drive at my school. We were able to give everyone school supplies that needed them and it we turned into non profit organization that gives an average of 2000 back packs filled with school supplies to disadvantaged youth every year. Read more>>