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.

Amanda Melby | Acting Coach, Actor & Producer

When I moved to LA from Cleveland in 2000, I had a pretty big ego. I had been booking work. I had joined the unions. I had a B.A. in theatre. Why would I need to be in a class? Well, after about a year of only auditioning for tiny parts in bigger productions and always getting cast as girl next door, I was dying for some challenging roles to play. So, I audited Howard Fine’s Master Scene Study class (after researching a ton of studios) and decided to enroll in his Foundations class. It was quite long – 12 weeks? – I can’t remember – and we met twice a week, during the day. It was a revelation for me. For the first time in my life, I could actually articulate how I was doing what I was doing. I solidified a technique within the many years I studied here. When my husband and I moved to Phoenix from Los Angeles, I started looking for a Scene Study class for professional actors like me to be in. Read more>>

Katie Murwin | President

The thought process was simple. We wanted to create something that didn’t exist for our family. An environment that supported kids and adults with special needs and in addition supported their families. We wanted to be the people that said “we get it”. We have faced your challenges and our children have faced the same thing as yours. We know how hard it is to raise of family of kids with diverse ways of learning. We wanted to be the people who said, “please try”, when someone said “I don’t think he/she can do it.” Social Cooking Groups both in person and now virtually, have been a shining example. Read more>>

$Tragedy$ | Recording artist

I just feel like humans are not robots all simply designed to go to school, graduate, and find a conventional job. I tried hard and even excelled in a traditional role in society as far careers go but I was never truly happy. I don’t have anything against traditional jobs I am just happier doing my own thing. Read more>>

Beverly Carlson-Bradshaw | Pastel Painter

I have always loved art and drawn from an early age. It was difficult working full time over the years and not having the space to devote much time to painting. I would take night classes sporadically throughout the years. When I started my Interior Design business in Seattle where I lived for 35 years I did take one-on-one classes with a pastel artist/teacher for about a year until my business flourished and made that impossible. After moving to AZ in 2018 with my husband who retired, and deciding I really wanted to follow my true passion in pastel painting, I started full time in 2019. Read more>>

Emily Schramm | Illustrator & Owner

After a couple of years working as a graphic designer and a surface pattern designer for other companies, I realized that finding the right fit long-term was going to be really difficult. I’m a very agreeable person, but deep down I’m very opinionated and wanted more control over my work and room to grow. I’ve always had so many creative interests that I wanted to pursue and was spending all of my free time developing those. After having my first daughter, my free time evaporated and my desire for flexibility in my work grew. At the same time, I was so inspired by my new role as a mother and felt like there was plenty of space in the children’s market for my style. I knew it would be a ton of work, but now I either love what I’m doing, or keep finessing it until I do. I’m the only person standing in the way of what I can accomplish and that is a freeing feeling. Read more>>

Laurel Darren | Team Leader & Cactus Hugging Specialist

Four years ago when I started Wild Bunch Desert Guides, LLC my thought process was to remain true to myself and create adventures that were safe, all private, educational and extremely fun. I also wanted to have guides who were genuine, kind and true to who they were and able to share with our guests their personalities and stories as they guided and had a good time in the field. Read more>>

Mario Esquer | President

I have been a serial entrepreneur my entire life. I started young when I was only 7 years old selling candy and baseball cards at school. That was my first introduction to business, and I fell in love with it. I started Avadium, a product design company a few years after graduating college. I loved the feeling of creating a new venture and leading the direction for the company became a passion for me. The ability to shape the culture and business strategy was one of the most important aspects of starting my own company. It was an amazing feeling to see the company grow each year and allowed me to work with different organizations bringing their products and brands to market. Read more>>

Markus Neustaedter | Skate True Owner, Operator & Skateboard Instructor

I was passionate and excited about the potential that skateboard instruction and skateboard programs had through my former employer a skateboard school in Mesa. I saw that it was possible to run a legitimate business that was successful focusing on skateboard instruction for kids but I had philosophical differences on how I thought it should be implemented. I was being asked to instruct my students in a cookie cutter manner where I was teaching the same tricks to numerous children simultaneously with no deviation or freedom to cater to the individuality of each child. For me that’s the whole magic of skateboarding, that everybody moves differently and everybody’s mind works differently, and that comes out in trick selection and style on a skateboard. As such I felt that I could easily do sessions where I could watch somebody skate for less than 5 minutes and make suggestions and recommendations individually based off of what they were trying and doing to help them progress and push them relative and unique to them. Read more>>

Jason Etzel | Creator & YouTuber

It’s a fun story actually.. I had been following Justin Scarred’s YouTube channel for a while and in one of his videos, a friend of his, Spike, had made him a tiki style sign. I thought that sign was awesome looking and I wanted to know how it was done, but I didn’t take any actions to find out at that time. About a month later, a close friend of mine asked me to create a sign for her daughter. And this is the fun part because I haven’t done any woodworking in over 20 years.. not since high school, in fact. I had been doing graphic design and web programming at that time. I actually started my company doing that but it wasn’t really going anywhere. So when my friend asked me to create this sign, I jumped at the idea and immediately bought myself a router and reached out to Spike on Facebook and asked him to teach me how to create that tiki style as I wanted to create that style of sign for my friend. Read more>>

Anthony Perez | Salsa Chef & Owner

Initially when we started this business I worked in the Corporate world. I would bring salsa to work for potlucks and coworkers told me I should jar and sell it and I even started selling containers of salsa at work. My Family and I loved going to Farmers Markets and buying local products for many years. With so much support from my Wife, Family and Friends I decided to try and sell my salsa at local Farmers Markets. My 1st Farmers Market was the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market. This business started as a fun way to make a little extra money on the weekends but little did I know that it would turn into so much more. Read more>>

Josh Whiteley | Acupuncturist

I saw a lack of accessible and affordable healthcare options available to the community and wanted to fill in that gap. I practice acupuncture and Chinese medicine which has traditionally been practiced in a way that allows it to be a very common part of people’s lives. As an independently minded person and not a lot of jobs out there for what I do anyway, I knew the only way to successfully create this opportunity was to build a clinic that filled this need in the Tucson community. I knew using a model of high volume, low cost acupuncture would be successful and embraced and I have been grateful for the response the clinic has gotten. Read more>>

Nicole DAgostino | Innovative & Creative Event Planner

My thought process behind starting my own business Events by Nicole Monea LLC, was to create a legacy for my 4 children. I have a passion for event planning and I wanted to leave something that if they wanted to pursue event planning themselves or hire individual’s to oversee Events by Nicole Monea LLC. they could do so . My thought process was very simple. I have always been the “party planner ” for family and friends. I decided to capitalize on it and turn what I love to do which is taking my clients special milestones and turning them into a dream event with lasting memories. Read more>>

Trudy Maples | Health & Wellness Influencer

I have also had an entrepreneurial mindset. I knew I had the grit and the hustle to do big things, so I started my first business when I was 25 and have loved pouring into and serving others ever since. There are so many incredible things about owning a business, and my top two are: Financial Opportunity, Time Freedom. It’s an incredible blessing to walk up each day and design your day around what you love and be able to impact the lives of those around you. Not only that, but I love being able to partner with my husband, Nathan, to strategize and pray about what we envision for our business and our team and be able to work together to execute on it all. It comes with challenges as does anything, but owning our own business is truly so rewarding! Read more>>