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.

CHELSA COHEN | Event Planner & Concierge | Founder & President of Evoque

During our initial stay at home order last year, I was cleaning out some old boxes (like so many of us did during that time) and found a letter I had written to myself from 2008. In the letter I had talked about the importance of giving back to the community and building relationships with hospitality professionals, because someday I would have my own event planning business. At the time I wrote that letter I was 23 years old and since then I have been continuing to do just that; a trusted resource and connector for my clients to all that wonderful things Arizona has to offer. Evoque was first conceptualized in the summer of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As companies were forced to downsize, make budget cuts, or restructure their business model, there became a major shift on how we see the world of business moving forward. Employees were ordered to work from the safety of their own home, which created a “new normal” of how we conduct everyday business. Read more>>

Steve Feld | Business Marketing Strategist

Having started and operated 6 total businesses and ran 3 others, I wanted this new business to be crystal clear on my mission. I put a lot of thought into my “Why”. Why should I build this business? Who are you going to serve? How are you going to serve them? What problems does your target market have? Who is your target market? How are you going to solve these problems? What kind of results are you going to get for your clients? What tools will you need in the business to achieve your goals? Who will be on your support team to help you build the business? What other resources will you need to be successful? What is your exit strategy? Anyone can ask these questions for themself before starting a business. I spent a very long week writing everything down. Calling who I thought I wanted to serve and interview them to make sure I am on the right track. Then did lots of research to make sure I had all the tools and processes I needed to serve my clients and solve their problems. Read more>>

Grace Tessein and Dennis Ritter | Ceramic Artists

We started Sugar Jaws Pottery in 2016 as a summer side project that grew into a collaborative business. We both have practices in ceramic sculpture and the pottery gave us another creative outlet in the medium. It became a way for us to make some income which mostly gets fed back into our art making expenses. We called it Sugar Jaws Pottery after our rescue dog, Sugar Jaws. We did that jokingly claiming we could try to write off our dog’s vet bills since he was the mascot; that didn’t work, but the name stuck. Sharing the process has allowed us to rely on each other’s critical eye, take advantage of our individual strengths, and to share in the work. Early on we began using animal imagery to draw people in. Humans often have a special relationship with particular animals; a chance encounter with a wild creature, a beloved pet, or a common pest that pulls at our hearts can make a pot special to an individual. The florals/patterns are often sourced from victorian era fabric, illustration, and print. Read more>>

Breanna Stone | Founder & CEO

Starting my own business was one of the greatest decision I’ve ever made. Prior to this, I worked in retail, restaurants, and more — making minimum wage and barely keeping by. When I was 19, I moved to Arizona for better cost-of-living and I’ve loved it ever since. I started working in marketing for a credit union, but my career really took off once I began my employment with Facebook. Working as a Marketing Expert, I gained monumental experience that set me up for success to launch my own company. In that role, I worked with hundreds of advertisers every month, educating them on how to optimize their marketing, elevate their creative, and maximize their ROI. With this valuable experience, I made the risky choice to go out on my own an launch my own advertising agency. Since doing so in mid 2020, I’ve amassed several clients and am making over 3x the wage I was previously, with sights on a six-figure salary within a year. Read more>>

LaVonna Roth | Motivational Speaker, Consultant & Chief Confidence Illuminator

After months of it, I came home one day and told my husband that I was quitting and starting a company where I would treat people right! I jumped and started my own consulting company having no idea what I was doing. My 3 degrees are in education, not business. But over the past 12 years, I continue to figure it out and make it happen. In the beginning I would consult on anything educational that I had experience in. That led to me finding a passion in brain science resulting in authoring 8 books. However, my true passion was lit when I married the brain science with helping others find confidence. We now say, “We sell confidence”. It’s at the heart of all that someone does… or does not do. Sometimes unwanted circumstances can lead us on a journey that we didn’t plan, but are right. I LOVE what I do. I’m happier. More fulfilled. Read more>>

Johnny Saffire | Musician, Songwriter and Producer

Although the “New Rock Music Revolution” isn’t officially a business, it is something we started and value highly. But before we dig in further, let us give you a little background on what the New Rock Music Revolution is and why we started it. What we keep hearing most from people who love music is how much music today sucks. The biggest complaint is always that it all sounds the same. To the average listener, it’s hard to distinguish one song from another. Although this might be just another generational difference of opinion, an AI study done in Spain, the Million Song Dataset, looked at nearly half a million songs from the 1950s to 2010, and concluded that contemporary pop music is indeed louder, less diverse, and more basic than it has ever been. “We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse,” Joan Serra, first author of the research and artificial intelligence specialist at the Spanish National Research Council, told Reuters. The Simple Explanation is songs are sounding more and more similar to each other every year. Read more>>

Jenna Leurquin | Pastry Chef

Being from Belgium, I grew up with traditional bakeries around every corner and I always loved a good bread or croissant. When I moved to the US at 17 to attend college, I could not find the quality baked goods I grew up with and started wondering if there would be a demand for such products. I also have always loved baking and wanted to combine my passion with being able to provide high end products to the community. I quickly realized there was a great demand for traditional, authentic and high quality baked goods and we love being to grow a team that shares our passion and concept and provide those products to the community. Read more>>

Teresa Hansen | Cannabis Chef & Nutritionist

My thought process for starting my own business wasn’t necessarily a well-thought out, developed business plan with years in the making. It came from one simple desire; to help people. That is why I became a Chef and Nutritionist, to help people heal through food and improve their quality of life. My business Chef Hansen, LLC was born out of passion for helping others versus wanting to build a brand. When someone asked; “Hey, do you know any personal chefs that can come to my home and cook my family a healthy meal?” I was available to meet that need and it aligned with my personal beliefs! Now as I start a second business, High Vibe Kitchen Collective, LLC I am taking a more methodical approach as I’ve learned a lot about running a business over the last 6 years. However, my underlying mission “to help others” remains consistent and is the foundation of this new venture. Read more>>

Erika Clary | Hair Salon Owner

I have always been determined to do things my way. Hard work and strong work ethics were instilled in me at a very young age. I carry a high level of expectation for myself and being a goal oriented individual combined with cutting hair for almost 20 years owning a salon seemed inevitable. I had a vision of where I wanted to work, the feeling I wanted to accomplish and what I wanted my clients to experience. After dissecting and researching every aspect of the industry, I built Arcane Hair Parlour from what I felt was most important. I was inspired by individuals like Robert Cromeans who took their love of the craft and a commitment to learning and made that accessible to young professionals and I too incorporated this in my plan. I took my knowledge from past work experiences and used these skills to carve out my own space in the industry. The idea of bringing others along came from the thought that together we could learn, grow and thrive in a collaborative environment and really create something magical. Read more>>

Nickolas Duarte | Writer/Director

Probably mostly selfishness. I think it takes a certain degree of selfishness and arrogance and ignorance to start a business. At least it did for me. Arrogance of youth. Not just youth of age but also of career. That feeling in your gut that you could do it better. Ignorance of risk- of course I knew the risks intellectually but not experientially. Ultimately though, I think it came down to selfishness. I needed to start a business to serve as a structure for my filmmaking career. I needed to finance my projects in an extremely costly medium. I could do that by working for someone else or working for myself. Neither of those options are inherently good or bad. They’re just good or bad for certain individuals. Personally, there are few things I value more than autonomy. So it made sense to start my own company (Crown Chimp.) I think many artists have entrepreneurial spirits and many entrepreneurs have the souls of artists. Oftentimes it comes down to what role we need to play to get done what we need to get done. And I had films that I selfishly believed needed to get done. Read more>>