Starting a business can be terrifying. Weighing the pros and cons, the risks, and other considerations can be so overwhelming that often promising entrepreneurs stop before they even start. We asked some phenomenal entrepreneurs about their thought process behind starting their own businesses. Our hope is that by making the thought-process less intimidating we can help more folks think through whether they should take an entrepreneurial leap.

Allie O’Rourke | Family & Wedding Photographer

I started doing photography in high school, and I never thought of it anymore than a hobby at the time. I noticed that some of my classmates liked my portraits though, and a few of them asked me to take their senior photos. That same scenario happened pretty frequently throughout college. Someone saw my photographs, loved them, and wanted something like that for themselves. I didn’t even realize I was creating a business! Slowly that grew into where I am today. When I realized this was a real business, and something I truly loved, the thought process was to start here and always grow. I have always known the ultimate end goal, and it is to be a full artist and true to my talent! Read more>>

Chloe Matthews | Chief Chandler & Honey’s Main Human

I started making candles for personal use. We are an asthma household and I also love candles. However, I noticed that the candles I bought from the big box stores were either causing us breathing issues, did not smell as lovely as when you picked it up from the store or just flat out will not light up after a few tries. Then Honey, our goldendoodle arrived in our lives. She is my husband’s and my first dog and I know this sounds cheesy, but I did not understand the bond between a pup and their humans, until she came into our lives. We were instantly in love. We decided we need to save more of her out there so we started volunteering and fostering for a local animal rescue. We saw how challenging it was to raise funds for the animals – and then it clicked. Read more>>

Barbi Niblick | Abstract Painter

I’ve worked in the corporate environment since I was 19. I wanted the opportunity to set my own schedule and not feel badly about doing things in the daytime if it was a weekday. Working in the corporate environment is so constricting for me and after a lot of thought and support from my husband, I decided to get serious about my hobby and become a professional artist. Read more>>

Chelsie McCormick | Master Stylist and Salon Owner

Is, “because I’m bossy” a good enough answer? Only kidding! Like most hairstylist I started out behind the chair in a big corporate company that had its own vision, its own ideas, and played by its own rules. But that’s ok because it was everything I needed during that time! As a freshie out of school I was only prepared enough to handle the person in my chair, not the marketing, inventory ordering, and all the responsibilities that comes with running your own business. I was with that company for 10 years! Each year I would challenge myself to grow in every aspect of my personal and my professional life. I started to imagine my own vision, my own ideas, and my own rules. And than put in the work to make it happen. And thankfully I’ve always had the love, support, and encouragement from those surrounding me. Read more>>

Zachary Rippy | Grammy Nominated Recording & Mix Engineer

I wanted to provide a service which I thought was lacking in my local music community. I was inspired by working class engineers before me like Don Fury and Steve Albini who went out of their way to fill gaps in their local music community. I tried to do the same thing here in phoenix by providing my friends, piers, and other locals artists a space and the tools to create their own art. I used to be in a band and when I was, I quickly realized how much of a need there was for decent artists “behind the glass” just as much as the ones on the cover of the album or under the spotlight center stage. I want to be the missing link between link minded people and their goals. Read more>>

Rae Shimmel | Arizona Photographer, Model & Creative Artist

My thought process behind starting my own business was the chance to reclaim freedom. The freedom to create in the moment, the freedom to pour passion into my work, the freedom to express myself in such a versatile way while personally achieving creative goals I set for my life. As a mother of 2, I was chained to daily 9 to 5 job that allowed me to pay my bills, but I found I was not leaving enough room to create and feed into my passions. I wanted to have a career, which meant my entire daily routine needed to revolve around something that does pay the bills but comes along with that freedom I needed available to feel confident enough just create. See as a creative soul, your mind never turns off. Read more>>

Mitch Prager | Founder and CEO of Soberman’s Estate

Soberman’s Estate is a state licensed, nationally accredited, world class residential treatment center for adult men to recover from alcoholism and addictions. The thought process for starting this business was based on the loss of my older brother Jeff to an accidental opioid overdose in 2010 and the loss of my best friend Jerry who died of alcoholism in 2012. Both Jeff and Jerry may be here today if they were treated in a residential treatment center exclusively for professional adult men. As none existed to the best of my knowledge I began a journey to create the most comprehensive treatment program for adult men. I toured treatment centers throughout the US and Internationally and having experience as an Executive Search Recruiter, recruited the most respected industry veterans to build the team at Soberman’s Estate. Read more>>

Kirk Brewer | Lover of Life & the Opportunities it Offers

I am a serial entrepreneur! Ever since I was a child I had the bug of capitalism – creating something, working hard at it, and selling it to people who wanted or needed whatever good or service you were providing. As such, I have started many business over the years, some having been modestly successful others being eventual failures. But none have been the home run that I think all entrepreneurs strive for. And each time I have started a business my thought process has been the same: (1) love of the independence of being the one calling all the shots; (2) the fulfillment of taking an your idea and making it a reality; (3) the satisfaction of creating something that becomes a household name (whether locally, nationally, or globally); and finally (4) the thrill of creating something and never truly knowing how it will be received in the marketplace (despite all your research, testing and focus groups), and the hopes that it might meet overwhelming market acceptance and success! Read more>>