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.

Celeste Talley | Luxury Chef & Owner

In order to talk about me and where I came from, I think it’s best to start with the two people that made it possible for me to be here, my mom and dad. They both grew up in the South. My dad was adopted and my mom was raised by her biological parents. My parents got married at a fairly young age and started the family early on. My older brother is 13 years, my senior and my sister (of whom they adopted) is six years older than I am. Hearts of Lettuce was a restaurant that my parents used to own. They were both entrepreneurs. My parents did not have much money but they made due with the means that they had. My mother and father purchased used equipment to get the restaurant started. It was an establishment that was way before its time in the late 80s to early 90’s. They served very healthy cuisine including soups, salads and sandwiches. Read more>>

Serenity Risvik

I started at the age of 7, when I was making bracelets & selling them at school. Years later I was making & selling even more inventory. Fast forward, & I owned a clothing boutique. Then a successful booking & event agency. I love creating something I’m passionate about, & sharing it w/ others to better their lives. I have been successful, I have failed, made mistakes, & changed my mind lots! Which I used to think was a bad thing. But finding your true calling takes some trial & error. There is no success without failing. Now, constantly studying plant nutrition, spiritual health, & herbalism, I’m passionate about sharing how to live a healthy, balanced, plant-based lifestyle. I believe in the power of organic food, love, & laughter! Read more>>

Sharon Skaar & Erin Dodd | Owners & Founders

Starting a new business is hard!! Starting a new business during a pandemic is insane!! The only reason it makes sense to start a new business in a saturated market segment like anti-aging skincare is if you’re going to do something that’s completely different than the others. It has to be a game-changer. A brand that’s effective, simply to use and doesn’t cost a fortune! Read more>>

Kal | Guitarist

I wanted to start my own band Because I wanted to play every genre of music ! When most people start a band they first decide what kind of band they are, whether rock , jazz , reggae , etc. I didn’t want to be put in a box , I like playing all types of music so I made my band called The Color 8. “Color” represents the different variety of sounds and music their are and “8” represents infinity in the possibilities of different outcomes you can make with music. Read more>>

Carrie Marill | Artist

If it works for you and you have the grit and tenacity to roll with the highs n lows I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know it comes with a hefty price at times of not having the kind of security working for someone else might have and that can be scary. It’s not easy and sometimes I work insane hours – up at 3 am to get projects finished before the kids wake up – I’m wired like that. I knew early on after working many customer service jobs and at museums I wanted a different daily routine – one in which I couldn’t wait to get to work each day! Read more>>

Steven Shipler | Owner & Chocolate Maker

Freedom and quality in unison. It really is the American dream to start your own business, that’s what was on my mind when I started Stone Grindz Chocolate with Kasey McCaslin. I wanted to have the freedom to create everyday something that makes people say “wow”, something that makes people think, and something that makes people inspired. I stumbled across a video online of a guy grinding his own chocolate from bean to bar at home, and I knew this was it! It was unique, and after I had done some research into the art and craft of dark chocolate I realized how incredibly difficult and artistic the whole process is, which to me was intriguing because I love a high skill cap and I love to be creative. Read more>>

Rick Elmore | CEO

Simply Noted is an automated handwritten letter company founded on the idea of making it easy to create simple, scalable, powerful, and meaningful real penwritten communication. Simply Noted combines technology with a personal touch, putting real pen and ink to paper to create beautifully crafted products for every occasion. Read more>>

Patrick Niederdrenk & Max de Melo | Luxury Real Estate Agents & Developers

Max and I always preferred being paid for our performance and not our my time. The hardest part is getting started in a commission based industry since you will have to be able to get by without a guaranteed income for a while, or any income for that matter. Owning a business or being an independent contractor is the stressful and hard work, but it is the only way to guarantee success, as an employee you are always at the mercy of the boss and many other circumstances you can’t control. We work 24/7 for years but we don’t regret it for 1 second. We’re willing to outwork everyone for as long as we have to, to make it to the top. Then we can start enjoying the rewards and enjoy life. Read more>>

Scott Utter | Classic Car Dealership Owner

My thought process behind starting my own business dates back to when I was a kid in school. I have been into cars since I could talk. I was always playing with hot wheels and model cars, constantly reading car magazines and collecting automobile coffee table books. Since I can remember, I had always wanted to own my own dealership, buying, selling and restoring classic European cars. I started flipping cars early on in high school, buying one at a time and fixing them up and selling them for a profit. I went to work for the Jaguar/Land Rover dealership here in Scottsdale AZ right out of high school spending 4 years in the sales department and then went to work for Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auction here in Phoenix for 2 years. I learned about the classic car world world with them and when I turned 25 years old I felt then was the time to take the leap into my own business. Read more>>

Doug Varsano | Founder & President

Very simply put, optimize talent and opportunity…..starting with myself. Having served the hospitality industry for the past 30 years under someone else’s brand, culture and organization, the desire to build my own was overwhelming. With the great inspiration of a son who at age 12 said, “dad, when I’m ready to work, who will hire me with my Autism?” the calling was clear. Everyone deserves the opportunity to optimize their abilities, positively impact others and squeeze as much juice out of life as possible. While resources abound for individuals and families impacted by invisible disabilities like Autism, 85% of impacted job candidates, that have a college degree, are unemployed! Clearly, the employer needs help in recognizing this untapped talent pool and successfully integrating it into their organizations. With that mission in mind, Expectrum Group was founded to properly answer my son’s question and also to allow me the path to bring out the very best I have to offer the world. Read more>>

K. C. Kanaan | Servant Leader

My own parents lost their ability to drive themselves due to medical issues (Leukemia in the case of my father and memory challenges in the case of my mother). My siblings and I struggled to find suitable service to help our own parents stay independent, healthy and socially active. None of the existing services were designed to help people like our own parents, so we decided to create a company to help the elderly and the infirm. Read more>>

Arturo Nicolas Del Aguila | Pro Licensed Massage Therapist & Owner

When we created Zenbody we had one goal in mind, help people live their most capable lives through therapeutic bodywork. My inspiration in starting my career as a massage therapist is my mother. Her motherly love made me such a mommas boy so when she began to feel ill, I knew I had to take care of her as much as she did me. In a span of around 6 years, her health slowly degraded and we had no idea why. Countless visits to all kinds of doctors and specialists, in and out of the country, no one could not figure out why her motor functions were failing. What was sure is that something was happening to her and we could not stop it. Over time, her ability to walk and talk was failing. She went from walking along walls for balance, to a cane, walker, wheelchair, until finally she lost all ability to move at all. Read more>>

Jennifer Franciose | Owner & Creator

Starting my own business was a scary thought in the beginning. However, I couldn’t imagine not owning my own company now. I was a children’s photographer and I began getting burnt out over time. I found that my real passion was in home fragrance. I began experimenting at making my own products, and the rest is history! Read more>>

Alyashah Muhammad | Owner

My initial thought process on starting my own was to, BE MY OWN BOSS. I wanted to have something that I’ve created and grow from that. When you’re passionate about what you do the work will show. Read more>>

Tracy Dempsey | Pastry Chef & Bakery/Wine Shop Owner

The idea behind starting my business 11 years ago was probably not as well thought out as it could have been. The fact that we were still emerging from an economic downturn as well as the side effects of a pretty major expansion within the company, my decision to leave the position I’d held for nearly 5 years at an independent restaurant that I really loved was two-fold. Given the financial troubles at the restaurant where I worked, I knew that my little dessert bar concept under its umbrella would not be able to come to fruition. In addition, my paycheck and those of my co-workers were not always easily cashed. I knew things were bad and felt it could be the right time to venture out on my own and relieve the company of my salary and still be able to pursue my dream of a small dessert bar. Well, the dessert bar never happened. Read more>>

Stacey Coronado | Salon Owner & Founder

I have always had an entrepreneur spirit and a desire to create something. Also, I enjoy the flexibility of working for myself. But it’s not just working for myself, I love the feeling of empowering others to be successful. So when I started 2o Volume, my goal was to have the best salon experience in town with a place people would come to work and love being a part of my vision. It would feel like a day with family and not feel like “work”. Read more>>

Laura Leah English | Co-Founder & CEO

I always wanted to own my own business, from the time I was young. My parents were entrepreneurial-minded which set the foundation, and the thought that I could have control of the work I did and the outcome it produced certainly appealed to me. My Mom and I, who started the business together in 1996 with one small retail store, just simply wanted to make a difference in the lives of the pets we served (and their people, of course). After losing a dog to cancer, when he was only 7, we felt strongly that we could contribute something meaningful to our community by creating a place where people felt comfortable shopping and asking questions, with products that they could trust, and people – our Ambassadors – with a higher level of knowledge around pet health and welfare. Read more>>

Elias Jade Not Afraid | Bead artist

First I wanted to make sure I was ok with the fact that I was going to start a business selling my beadwork. Then I decided, well if I’m going to sell beadwork, then use and collect the highest quality of vintage and antique glass seed beads and sustainable materials my ancestors used back them in their beadwork so I did extensive research on my tribe (Apsaalooké aka Crow tribe) and studied the beadwork and designs. Then typed up a business plan and built up a social media following based off my beadwork. I also set short and long term goals as well to keep me focused. Read more>>

Lynne Gabrielson | President

I started Pixie Dust Marketing 4 years ago while chatting with my childhood friend. I was running the Marketing department for a local hearing aid company at the time and out of nowhere said “I wish I could do this for myself instead of working for someone else.” She replied back with “Why don’t you?” I laughed and said “I can’t start my own business.” That was the day Pixie Dust Marketing was born. Read more>>

Ashley Blue | Color Specialist

When deciding to start my own business I mostly thought about all the creative freedom it would give me. To be able to utilize the skills I have learned over the years to create beautiful hair for my clients in a beautiful space. Read more>>

Lydia Sweetland | Home Staging & Design Professional

Starting my own business seems like a natural progression. I grew up in a military family, moving often and always buying the worst house on the best street. I’ve been renovating houses since I was nine, nearly 50 years ago! That, coupled with my love of helping others, led me to working with friends, family and neighbors to remodel/decorate their homes. Through word of mouth and referrals it just snowballed… luckily I figured out how to translate that into a paying job! Having the background in design and marketing (from hands-on experience and as my chosen educational path) provided the foundation for starting the staging side of my business. I have been doing this for over 25 years now – crazy, considering it took nearly 20 years for it to become part of our daily vernacular. Read more>>