Many books on startups and business talk about how there are right and wrong reasons for starting a business. So, we asked a handful of successful founders about their reasons and the thought-process behind starting their business.

Bradley Ryan | Owner & Creator at UNDERCOVER

It all started with a dream… I wanted to create clean products that had intention behind them. I had ZERO experience as to how to start a product line or any business for that matter but I did have a deep love for self-care & clean products so I ran with what I was passionate about & what I knew. I would dream journal everyday about names, products, names of products, what retail stores I wanted them to be in, what influencers I wanted to work with, how I would position the brand to people & what we would stand for. Read more>>

Melissa Del Toro Schaffner | Voice Actor

When I started my own business, I did not know what services I was going to provide. I only knew that I needed the ability to work remotely whenever needed, as I became a wife, a mother, and a caretaker. For the past 20 years in Corporate America, I had requested the ability to work remotely at least part-time from every employer. My job as a Project Manager and Electrical Engineer in the construction industry was 80% behind the computer and 20% in the field. Every time, the answer was no. The lack of trust that abounded in the office place was staggering. Read more>>

Dr. Renee Bhatti-Klug | Founder & Chief Trainer

I have served as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Cultural Intelligence (CI) trainer for about ten years at a university. During the initial COVID-19 lockdown—in the midst of both stay-at-home orders and racial tensions—the need for my services grew. In response to this need, my business—Culturally Intelligent Training & Consulting (CITC)—developed serendipitously. Read more>>

Kylie Bokenfohr | Lifestyle & Travel Photographer

I believe in order to be good at something, there needs to be a high level of passion there. Photography has always held that for me. When the world shut down with the pandemic I was definitely lacking passion in my daily life. So I decided to take a leap and start my own side business. A place that would be mine. A place that I could create. A place that during a session I could escape reality. Having those moments of joy really helped me see the positive in a world where we are constantly being shown negative. Read more>>

Whitney Wingfield | Bartender & Business Owner?

I am a HUGE foodie and Cocktail lover, and I have always made other people money by making yummy cocktails and handling the beverage portion of special events.. It took over 10 years for me to take the leap and start my own special event bartending business. It is challenging and stressful every single day.. but all of my clients are always super appreciative of the services that my team provides and in the end thats what makes it all worth it! Read more>>

Alexis Petersen | Tattooed Dog Mom & Co-Owner of Ink Oil LLC

I’ve wanted to get a tattoo since I was in elementary school. The day I turned eighteen I headed to the shop and got my first tattoo. Unfortunately my body was not a fan, I was allergic, I scabbed, and itched, I was miserable and the tattoo looked like it might not recover! My family had always used essential oils for healing so I made a concoction of any oil I could think of that might help and kept applying. It worked, my skin was soothed and the tattoo healed beautifully. I pitched the idea of selling the oil to my mom and she laughed saying there wasn’t a market for a tattoo oil. Read more>>

Ken Carr | Radio personality for The Drive Tucson and Producer of Whats Up Tucson

I run a social media business (primarily focused on Twitter) that tweets local information, news in tweet sized bites, and emergency incidents (crime / traffic / fire / emergency calls) all in real time. When I was a child, I was fascinated by sirens and emergency vehicles while growing up in Kearney, Nebraska. When I was deciding what to focus on with Whats Up Tucson in it’s early days in 2009, I asked myself the question: “What kind of Twitter account would I follow if I could follow the perfect one for me?” Read more>>

Whitney Lowrey | Special Education Teacher

When I first started as a special education teacher I realized I didn’t always have the resources I needed. I was having to create resources that aligned with my students individual needs. First, I started creating behavior charts, then I started creating social skills cards. It quickly dawned on me that other educators like myself may benefit from the resources I was creating so I started submitting my resources to a website called teachers pay teachers. Read more>>

Sonia Montenegro | Microblading Artist

I have always dreamt of owning my own business, the idea of pursuing what you love and making a living from it is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Unfortunately for me, the fear held me back for years from actually taking that leap. The unknown is not something I’ve been been comfortable in facing, that is until I met my now boyfriend of 10 years who battled addiction for the majority of our relationship, and 2 years ago when my twin sister was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Up until those life changing experiences, I always colored inside the lines, I played it safe, I cared deeply what others thought and/or said about me. I settled. Read more>>

Isaac Thompson | Entrepreneur & Creative

The month before I started The Puff Club, I had just turned 29. I really started to feel a time crunch to be closer to “success” heading into 30. Even though I had years of experience in different fields, I didn’t have a set career path. At the same time I felt like I wasn’t going to be satisfied with a set career path. When I started the business I had the goal in mind to build something solid for the future. I took everything I had saved and partnered with a close friend who already had a space in a same venue. From there I just took every step of the way with an open mind, it’s been a learning experience. Read more>>

Ivey Higuera | Creative entrepreneur

I’ve always wanted to impact peoples emotions and thought processes in a positive way, I just didn’t know exactly how. I have always been into holistic therapy and practices that are beneficial to our spiritual most highest selves. I desired to share the greatest feelings of vibrational energy through my art. So I started Glivyn. The art of giving and living. Read more>>

Erin Tandler | Photographer/Homemaker

When my son was born in 2015, I was gifted a really nice camera for my birthday so that I could take pictures of my son! I had to learn the ways of the camera and learn how to shoot correctly to be able to produce good quality images. That took me down the rabbit hole of photography. I started to shoot my son, my oldest daughter and my family and I began to realize that I could actually create something beautiful with my camera! It gave me this creative outlet that I didn’t know I needed in my life. As a newly stay at home mom, I wanted to contribute a little bit to the income and decided to turn my hobby into a business, I felt this pull to be able to create beauty for others and to give them the magic and emotions of capturing life and love! Read more>>

Jennie Caterinacci – Preston | AirBNB Superhost, Realtor & Designer

I have always loved curating beautiful spaces, for as long as I can remember. The first memories I have dabbling in design was back in middle school when I convinced my parents to let me sponge paint by childhood bedroom with various shades of navy. (Honestly, it wasn’t really terrible!) In my college years, I convinced my (also Italian) roommate that we should transform our dreary Ohio dorm room into an italian inspired villa. I spent nights braiding together vineyard inspired garland with faux grapes and roses, and shopping for matching red duvet covers for our bunk beds, and decorating the walls with “Italian inspired artwork,” Read more>>

Bobbie Thomas | Blogger and Social Media Influencer

FamilyFindsMN started as an idea from my husband as we were sitting at a restaurant for dinner. Food has and will always remain an important part of relationship building. At every celebration, food is at the center.  We have always been the known foodies and travelers of our circle and often got requests from people on where to eat and what to do. Having the perfect place to share food experiences matters and we wanted to share the best places for those experiences with more than just our immediate circle. Our blog FamilyFindsMN was birthed from those thoughts. Read more>>

Monica Magoon | President/Co-Founder, Sara K Foundation

On February 11, 2018 my daughter Sara passed away from an accidental fentanyl overdose. However, her death does not define her LIFE. Sara had a kind, playful, accepting and vivacious spirit. She loved her friends and family with her whole heart and made sure they knew it. When we lost her, our whole world changed and to deal with the grief, we started this foundation. Our goal is to show kindness, give to others in need without judgment, and bring awareness to issues in mental health and grief to keep her memory alive and hopefully help others in the process. Read more>>

Tammy & Dennis O’Bannon | Owners of Hillbilly Grind

I have been in the restaurant industry since I was 15yrs old (over 30yrs) and I knew one day I would open my own restaurant. When we lived in San Diego I told my husband that I wanted to open a woodfired pizza truck after we moved to Arizona in 2019, but that did not workout. We did so much research on the pizza trailer and it was way out of our budget. I put things on hold for quite a while and figured if it happens it happens. Well I was just sitting at home getting board from not working as my husband was working his butt off to provide for us, I told him it was time for me to go back to work so that I don’t lose my mind. I did I found a waitressing job at a local restaurant and it was so weird everyone was so much younger than me, Read more>>