Are you thinking about starting a business? If so, we think you’ll enjoy reading about how these seasoned entrepreneurs thought about the question when they were in your shoes.

Amy Savinon | Creative Director & Owner

I started PaperTales about 11 years ago when a good friend of mine came to me asking if I would be able to design a custom Baby Shower Invitation reflecting her unique style. I already had been well into my career working as a Professional Graphic Designer and thought it would be a cute and creative outlet to do something a little bit different than what I had done before. By referral only, I started receiving request from friends of friends who went to the different birthday parties and baby showers that I had created stationary for. I realized wow, people actually really like this, maybe I should look into creating an ETSY shop to take orders. Just like any other small business, the first year was a complete learning curve. Lots of mistakes that lead into great lessons, but overall I had my little hobby that was completely separate from my professional work. When I first opened my etsy shop, I really didn’t take advantage of a lot of the features etsy had to offer. Read more>>

Neena Plant | Pottery Artist, Watercolor Painter, and Photographer

My whole life has been in pursuit of a career in art, with the idea that at some point it would provide all of my income. Once I joined a coop gallery locally, I got serious about pottery which had previously been a “nice to learn” skill at some future point. I then realized I could take advantage of the opportunities afforded to business by our system of government to work toward that self-same goal, by tracking expenses and putting every dollar back into the business. I knew that in doing so I would never have to work outside of art except by my own choice. I registered my business name with the state, filed for a Federal EIN, and have in actual business for just over 3 years. Read more>>

Emily Heaton | Content Writer

The launch of my content writing business is due to a couple of things. First, I love words, and I love to be creative with words. Blogs, songs, emails, to-do lists, haikus, clever captions, you name it! I have always been fond of finding unique ways to communicate. And then you throw in the concept of marketing strategy, and I’m hooked! Words matter. They influence. They tell a story. And I love using each of my words as a tool for the best, clearest, and most relevant story. Second, I found content writing to be a relevant need for many businesses. There are certain elements within the nitty-gritty of wordsmithing and grammar in which it’s much more relieving to pass projects along to someone like a content writer, who will take the heart of a business and delicately craft content with excellence and consistency. Read more>>

Parker Donaldson | Videographer & Photographer

At first, very scary! Having to branch outside of my introvert tendencies to reel in clients, not knowing when my next paycheck will come, definitely not the most comfortable situation I could have put myself in. But being comfortable doesn’t allow yourself to grow!. Read more>>

Ashley Blok | HIIT Trainer & Entrepreneur

Passion. No matter what you do, you have to belive in yourself, your purpose and the difference you’re making to those around you. I was originally a member for over 5 years with a challenging past of back issues,, weak body,, etc. I knew I wanted to recreate something like my gym because of the difference it had made in my life. Sharing that experience, the transformation that’s possible with TruHit Fitness was my driving passion. Instead of opening up my own, I feel like the opportunity to purchase my original gym fell in my lap. Here was the opportunity to take something I’m so passionate about and run with it! It was such a great deal, I would have been a fool to let it slip through my fingers. It all happened so fast and I quite my job in San Diego, moved back, trained to get certified, did our Photoshoot Challenge so I could be a walking example all in a matter of 3 months. When you have Passion driving you, anything is possible. Read more>>

Rene Apack | Disability, Life, Home Care and Medicare Insurance Broker

Complete independence was the reason for being in my business. I know that I am relentless in reaching my goal; therefore, I am disciplined to do whatever it takes to get there. Meanwhile, I have been blessed with creative (not artistic) ways of thinking about accomplishing a better result. Next, I must have access to a product that serves the good of the customer/client. Once I identify that now comes the most crucial part: I have to be the master in knowledge of everything about what I am presenting. My success has been having a caring heart in serving people and doing the right thing for my client, even if it means not making a sale and when a complaint/return comes up, welcoming it no different than a sales opportunity. Read more>>

Serenity Smith | Owner of Workout Envy Fitness Apparel and Certified Personal Trainer

The thought process behind starting my own business began with self reflection, I was forced to face the dangers of how my eating habits and lack of physical activity were translating into the quality of my life.Then, the positive evolution of my health gave me insight on the power of agency and discipline, which allowed me to write my own destiny and come up with my own meaning of what health looks like, which later turned into how can help others do the same. Read more>>

Selina Barajas | Founder & Curator

In 2016, I launched Mi Reina Mobile Boutique in Tucson, Arizona. Our journey has not been linear. There have been many life experiences and situations that shaped our story; still today. I am a fourth-generation Tucson/Arizonan and my roots have always been here. I moved to Los Angeles and received my Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from UCLA. I have experience advocating for social, cultural and economic development initiatives for the community. The street view, community (economic) development and being mobile has always been something I knew I wanted to combine one day. I also wanted to open a business in my hometown, something that would focus on social entrepreneurship; empowerment, community and return back to the streets that helped raise me. Mi Reina Mobile Boutique is the most unique and innovative way to shop for clothes and accessories in Tucson and Southern Arizona. Read more>>

Jake Sullivan | Co-owner, Wooden Tooth Records

When we first decide to open the store, we didn’t have any long term goals or even a real sense of how to run a business. We just had a passion for music and record collecting, and realized there was a little bit of a void for people like us in the 4th Avenue & University area. A long standing favorite store of ours and a staple to the downtown music scene had just closed down, and we thought the neighborhood deserved a cool record store. Beyond that, we just happened to find a room for rent at a price we could afford and decided it’d be a fun adventure for as long as we could keep it going. We kind of just let our passion and excitement lead us! We learned as we went and made it work. Read more>>

Amanda Nash | Bridge Builder & 420 Normalizer/Owner of The Bud Card

I feel like I have always had the entrepreneur mindset. Combine that with the feeling of being a medical marijuana patient and feeling disconnected from the product I was using and you have The Bud Card. A VIP Cannabis Club helping consumers connect to new products such as Undoo, Roll A Bong board game, CBD, Cannabis Door Mats (plus many more) AND save on their purchases from them. Our goal is not only to help consumers learn about new companies, products and services, but also to save on their purchases, some of which may be used for medicine, with no insurance to help cover the cost. In addition to our members we also have a community of businesses across the states that work together, collaborate and support one another. I hope The Bud Card can help patients, adult users and small businesses alike find a community they can connect and grow with. Read more>>

Alfredo Hernandez | Professional Photographer

Freedom, that was the motivating factor behind starting my own business.I wanted to be able to set my own schedule and start working for myself. Basically what every self employed person wants. I knew that since I had been doing it on weekends and my sparetime, I had built enough clientele to get started full-time and keep rolling. Walking away from a guaranteed paycheck is a very scary thing! So making the decision was something I put a lot of thought into, I had to realize that there would be times when it would be Feast or Famine. And it has been like that, especially since 2020 hit the entire world with such a devastating blow. Read more>>

Frank Kitchen | Keynote Speaker

I started my own business after being “fired” for the last time. I realized that I’m meant to work with people and not work for people. I’ve always been a leader and I’ve always thrived in environments that allowed for me to play a role in the outcome of the organization. I also wanted to be rewarded fairly for the results and profits I helped produce. This wasn’t possible working the typical 9-5 job, so I made the commitment six years ago to start my own business and produce the results hungered for by the people and organizations I work “with.” Read more>>

Chavonne Brown | Serial Entrepreneur

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset since I was a child. So it was only fitting that I pursue it head on in my adulthood. I wanted to create opportunities for myself and my family. My goal is to leave a legacy and to forge a path towards generational wealth for the generation in my family. The only way I could see myself accomplishing those goals was to start investing and starting my own business. Read more>>