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.

Mandi Pimental | Cooking Show Host and Journalist

Since the age of 16 I worked as a creative and working for myself always came naturally to me. I began as a singer in the music industry and after recording and performing for 8+ years, I decided to settle down in Arizona and follow other passions – such as nutrition and journalism. The creative drive paired with my own struggles with my health and food, led me to launch my brand Nosh and Nurture in 2012. Read more>>

Dani Christakos | Florist

I started The AZ Flower Garage after realizing there was a real creative need in our community! I had stayed home with my kids for 17 years and I was really missing a creative outlet myself. When my eldest left for college, I decided I was going to start a business doing something I always loved, flower arranging! I remember when I started hosting events I would see the pure joy in people when they spent two hours doing something creative with friends. Read more>>

Brooke Smith | Registered Dietitian & Personal Trainer

Growing up, I didn’t have access to nutrition information that would help me take my athletic performance to the next level. Messages like “eat the largest bowl of pasta possible the night before your race,” “grab a snickers,” or “your pee should be clear” before a tough practice, tournament, or track meet was all I had to work with. Read more>>

Skye Halliday Wilson | Group Fitness Instructor and Nutrition Coach

My business is SkyeFit Nutrition . I offer dedicated one on one nutrition coaching for clients to help create customized programs to help clients reach their health and fitness goals, all while keeping kindness towards their body at the forefront. After I’d first had my macros calculated by a coach in 2016, my eyes were opened to just how little I knew about what my body needed nutrition wise. I was training hard and severely under eating. This was due to years of diet culture messaging teaching me as a woman that carbs would make me gain weight, and that calories should be as few as possible. Read more>>

Christopher Hall | Local Drag Entertainer

I know I found what I loved very quickly. I was once the Executive Director of a non-profit who worked with entertainers often. They often were the backbone to our success – often helping us raise thousands of dollars for causes. I soon thought to self… “I want to stop directing and simply show up and entertain. I don’t want the headache of being the Executive Director.” Here I am several years later still entertaining audiences, but the promoter within me wasn’t leaving. Read more>>

Steve Bonnen | Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach

Well I kind of fell into my career by following what I passionate about and loved to do, which was lifting weights and building muscle. That then turned into family and friends asking me to workout with them and train them. Which then turned into people saying, “you’re pretty good at this, why don’t you become a personal trainer?” At the time I was in college on track to become a physical therapist or chiropractor, so it seemed like a good side job to have while in school. So I got myself certified as a personal trainer and picked up a job at my local gym. It was a decent gig for a college student who loved working out. Well, that part time job ended up turning into a full time thing, and for the next 7 years or so I worked as a personal trainer. Read more>>

Elizabeth Moreno | AZ Brow Specialist & Aesthetician

Where can I start? I’ve always wanted to start my own business since I finished beauty school but did I think it would be happening at this moment? No, but I’m grateful that it is and in the fashion it did because if it wasn’t for that I’m not sure if I would have taken that step. I knew when I wanted to own my suite that I wanted to specialize in something and that was eyebrows! From waxing to tinting to lamination and other things is where I find my nitch but it didn’t stop me from still doing facials because it’s where I started and I still love it just not as my focus. Read more>>

Trey Lane | Photography/videographer

The process behind starting my own business started back in 2013. I was out of work for a year due to the fact I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I needed an escape from my ailment and that’s when I started photography. I started with just my cellphone and gained a nack for it. I started posting my photos on social media (Instagram and Facebook). It was mostly nature shots and flat lays. friends and family started to take notice and before I knew it I was getting requests for photography gigs. Read more>>

Brandon Self | Co-Owner Of Soft Grit Recordings

Initially I just wanted to create a hub for my own projects and didn’t think anyone else would be interested in being a part of it other than myself. I sent my music to a bunch of small labels but nobody seemed into it or they were too busy with other things which is very understandable. I also didn’t know any of them personally. So thats when I started to make my own label. I also though if it the Bandcamp looked legit and had all these different releases by various bands it would look like somebody was gathering a bunch of different artists instead of just me and maybe it would peak peoples curiosity. Read more>>

Taylor Shea | Herbalist & Artist

After I graduated from art school in 2015 from Arizona State University, my father quickly became ill and I was motivated to start studying nutrition and herbalism so I could help him as much as possible. He passed away in 2016 and I was very disappointed by the lack of care he received from our modern healthcare system. It inspired me to become an herbalist so I could help my community reclaim their health and wellness. Read more>>

Monica Gellman | Cookie Baker & Creator

I’ve been baking all my life but never thought of myself as a business person. However, as with many others, the pandemic led to some doors closing and others opening for me. I had been teaching Zumba part time, but was laid off when gyms closed down. I used that free time to work on my technique and my recipes as well as research how to successfully sell cookies. With the support of my husband, I decided to start up an actual business. Read more>>

Sarai Kelley | Live Music and Lifestyle Photographer

My photography business was by no means a random act of events. There were many contributing factors that fell into place over the course of my teen years that curated this love for photography. I am primarily a music photographer, I grew up going to local shows with my brother and family and was immediately drawn to the passion and adrenaline live music brought out of people. Many of my friends began forming bands and creating music so I naturally started to follow them around and capture anything and everything of what they were doing. Read more>>

Kosta Saridakis | Developer

I was 5 years old when I first starting visiting job sites with my Father. I would wear my tool belt Loaded up with all the needed tools. I watched and listened to everyone working. I was amazed with the transformations of remodels and I knew this was what I wanted to do when I was older. After school and weekends were the days I looked forward to visiting job sites. In 6th grade I started learning to do different trades; framing, plumbing, electrical and concrete work also digging trenches, carrying buckets of concrete up 3 flights of stairs on my shoulder, moving lumber piles around to help the framers. Read more>>

Kaitlin Murhy | Master Certified Spray tan Artist

After having three kids, fairly close together in the matter of 4 years and being a stay at home mom for 10 years, I had been looking for something that I could do while also raising my kids and not having to give up any of the important moments. I had been watching a lady online for a while from where I was at the time, and I thought I had to be an esthetician or cosmetologist to do spray tans so for years it held me back until I found out that I just needed to get certified either in person or online. I pulled the trigger and I haven’t looked back. Read more>>

Paloma Ruelas | Lifestyle & Boudoir Photographer

My thought process behind starting my own business was that I no longer want to work for someone else when I have the creativity and ability to be my own boss. I always thought that in order for me to be successful, I had to have that 9-5 job with the 401k but I quickly realized that specific structure wasn’t meant for me. In high school and part of college, I traveled so much, and pretty much my whole life, I was taking pictures of everything and everyone! Even though I started my business before the pandemic, Read more>>

Jamal Flemings | Entrepreneur/ Brand/ Ceo

My thought process behind starting my own business came about from me struggling as a young college student , fresh out of high school coming up into the “real world” not knowing what I was getting myself into . Even though I was broke & struggling , I always kept a positive mindset & had a high ambition & always wanted more for myself & for my family knowing I didn’t come from a rich family. Read more>>

Jiale Tian | The owner of Original Cuisine

I was born and raised in the Szechuan province in China. It is a place that famed for it’s delicious Szechuan cuisine and the hometown of panda. However, when I moved to Arizona and start to study for my undergraduate degree I found there were very few authentic Chinese restaurant. I really missed my hometown food with the original recipe and ingredients of Szechuan Cuisine. Read more>>

Edmond and Tiffani Davis | Entrepreneurs

Once the pandemic began, starting our own business was a matter of survival. Weighing the pros and cons of continuing to be an “essential worker” made it clear that being an electrician was not worth putting our family at risk. It was time to take a leap of faith and pursue or dream to start a unique poutine business! My wife first tried poutine in New York City about 8 years ago and loved it! Our family then had our first bite of this delicious Québécois dish in Florida … we ALL became big fans! It was at that time that we came up with Not Your Routine Poutine. Read more>>

Zulema Garcia Moreno | Licensed Massage Therapist

To be honest, it was a bit intimidating starting my own business. There’s so many things that could go wrong and it’s a huge responsibility, but what drove me to continue is knowing that I can make a difference in peoples lives. My purpose to opening my own practice is to both educate and heal my clients, empowering them to live better and healthier lives. Read more>>

Michael Carter | Business Owner

The start of my business happened naturally. I always wanted to own my own business, but CMH was never planned. It fell into place. I had the opportunity to create something and it grew very quickly due to high demand and my work ethic. Read more>>

Iris Montanez | Yoga Instructor & Holistic Wellness

Coming from a history of domestic violence I turned to yoga and meditation for peace and solitude. What I didn’t realize during that time was that practicing yoga, meditation and breath work was the very thing that would save my life. My yoga journey turned into my healing journey. I was able to reach from within, find all the beautiful things I neglected to love about myself, and fell in love with me all over again. It was at that time when I realized, I was able to create a safe space from within for myself, and thought how can I be of service to other beautiful souls who so desperately need it. Read more>>

Heather Tomko | Blogger & Disability Advocate

As a disabled woman, I don’t often see myself represented. It can be disheartening to feel invisible and unseen. I’m a huge reader of blogs and user of social media, but I didn’t see myself in any of those spaces either – or if I did, they were all focused on the medical side of disability. So I decided to create what I wanted to see and read! A space where I can share all about my life as a disabled woman – the more medical parts, yes, but also my love of style, the books I’m reading, and the rest of my life, too! Read more>>

Jaime Pickering | Jewerly Designer and Owner of Petal & Posy

I was just barely 22 when I first started my business, so to say it was unintentional is an understatement. Like many in creative fields, I kind of stumbled my way into selling the jewerly I was making via friends and family asking to buy it and just went from there. It was all very naive and pure! I was lucky in the sense that at 22 I had relatively few responsibilities beyond paying my rent at that time. Before I knew it, 10 years had gone by, I’d become a full fledged metalsmith and it was something that had grown significantly beyond what I’d ever dreamed. I even had my best years during the recession! Read more>>

Marsheda Ewulomi | Teacher, Lawyer, Life Strategist, Speaker & Creative

I would love to say that I started She-Verse, Ewulomi Works, and She-Versity simply because I saw a gap in the market that needed to be filled. Or say that I was super focused on the consumer initially. But that would slightly be untrue. I launched each business and will continue to build more businesses, brands, and products to manifest my gifts and passions in the world. It’s my responsibility and my purpose. Read more>>

Paul Hilger | Musician

I thought of working independently and making my own ideas and thoughts come to reality. The whole thing started right at the start of the pandemic and I had lots of time to rethink my life Read more>>