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.

Nicole Poppell | Muralist & Art Director

I feel like I knew from a pretty young age that I wanted to start my own business. For a long time, I felt like I was too young or inexperienced, or that I didn’t have a “good enough’ idea to start. There was an overwhelming mental block preventing me to just start. After working for both a global corporation and several small companies (under 4 people), I gathered all the information I had learned over the years and finally felt ready to make the leap. Read more>>

Haley Zazueta | Arizona Family & Lifestyle Photographer

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved capturing moments through photography. Whether it was a fun creative shoot with friends or celebrating a special occasion, I was known to have some sort of camera on me at all times. As I got older, I watched others turn their similar love into a business. I was in awe of their talents and their way of becoming successful doing something they seemed to love. I kept telling myself things like, “You’ll never be as talented as them.” Read more>>

Brienna Wilde | Instagram marketing coach for chiropractors

The thought process behind starting my business was that I want to help people. I know that sounds cliche, but I want to help chiropractors build their practices, and I want more people to learn how much chiropractic care can benefit them and their health. Unfortunately, most chiropractors don’t know how to market their practices effectively. They pay for Facebook or Google ads, only to be disappointed when patients come, but only for a “quick crack.” Read more>>

Tara Evelyn Cavanagh | Holistic Wellness Provider & Teacher

I opened Health Resonates in 2016 as a one room private practice. I needed a space to store my extra furniture and massage therapy equipment. I found an office space right up the street that was a few hundred dollars a month. It was prefect. I could set up my extra stuff as an office and make a little extra money in my free time. At the time I was working two part time massage therapy jobs that where paying the bills but at the end of the day not very satisfying. I went ahead and started Health Resonates really as a hobby and distraction. Read more>>

Elizabeth Tellez | Artist, Product Customizer

Before I started my business I was doing art and painting as a hobby so my thought process behind starting my business was to first ask my self some questions. First, will I be putting in my best effort into producing these products? Do I enjoy doing this? Is it profitable? and lastly, Is this something I see myself doing 3, 5, 10 years from now?  Read more>>

Wei Wei Chang | Founder and CEO – Imagine Life Coaching

We all experience failures in some ways. I experienced an unexpected demotion from an executive leadership role at a Fortune 500 company. After that, I soon had a family of my own. Changing from being a career woman to a homemaker to bonding with my daughter was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Although finding who I am after 12 years of a successful career was challenging, spending time with my family while my kids were young was worth it. Read more>>

Brian Loeffler | Owner, Unledded99 Photography, LLC

I worked in the Investment Industry for nearly 30 years, and what takes place behind the scenes can be a real eye opener. I lived with most of the eye opening experiences but this last experience was the deciding factor for me to take my life in a different direction. I sat down one day and thought of what would it take to be successful in the photography industry especially living in Arizona given all of the opportunities. I put together a plan October 2021 and it slowly came together, and in January 2022 is when I went live with my business. Read more>>

Ally Thompson | RylieMay founder

The ultimate inspiration behind starting my business was my dog, Rylie. I’ve had Rylie for 15 years and we have a very unique story. After everything she has helped me though, I always felt called to do something in her honor and to spread awareness for animal rescue. I was working in a job that left me feeling drained, burnt out, exhausted, and very unsatisfied and just knew it was time to take the leap to start something sooner rather than later! Read more>>

Ken Naiff | Astrophotographer

My life-long passion for astronomy began in 1957 when, as a young boy in England, using a small telescope, I watched in amazement as Sputnik orbited the Earth. I was an “armchair” astronomer until I retired to Arizona in 2004 with my wife. June, which gave me the opportunity to get “off the chair” and to learn to be an astrophotographer. Read more>>

Jesse James | Comic Book, Arcade and Trading cards store owner

I was a 12 year old working at the Las Vegas Friendly neighborhood Comic book store in 1982 to 1985. It just never left my over all game plan to own a Comic Book, Arcade store in the future. Even when I was working with Nordstrom’s across the nation, it was all about going to the Comic book store to get my new issues every Wednesday. I would be in the store saying to “myself if they just did this or moved that”. It dawned on me that it wasn’t going to be a nice income to feel my void. When I decided it was time. Read more>>

Molly Santosuosso | Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD)

I started my practice because as someone who has a chronic autoimmune condition, I felt there was something lacking in the conventional care I received that I wanted to provide to people as a doctor. When I was 15 years old I was diagnosed with Grave’s disease (autoimmune hyperthyroidism). While I am forever grateful for the medication I was provided that helped me get back to living my life, Read more>>

John Scully | Owner of 19th Hole Golf

I started my own business because I am really passionate about golf and fashion. Unfortunately the two have never truly mixed well. I was tired of all of the boring one colored golf polos in my closest. I was also tired of spending $70+ for a golf polo. So, I started designing golf polos and manufactured one for myself and some friends. I got a lot of compliments on it, so I designed some more, and more. And now I have a lot of designs in a high quality golf polo that I am able to sell for $45. Read more>>

Lexi Taylor | Entrepreneur, Promoter, Marketer, Consultant, Life Coach

You need to be internal connected with a purpose of change and enlightenment, that others want to be part of and feel. Ideas that change the societal norms and bend the rules of structured business and thought. People want to be inspired with an idea a brand, an identity, an experience. It takes time you to need to listen to yourself, be kind to yourself, travel, be alone with your own thoughts, observe how others interact with others for change. Read more>>

Mark Top | Business Owner

Before my business was an actual legal business, I was doing it part-time as a hobby on the weekends. I always wanted to do it full-time, but it was never a good time to “take the leap”. I have two children, one 12 and one 6. My wife and I discussed it many times, but thought we needed stability for our family. My full-time job at the time was a surgery nurse. When COVID hit, my job became very stressful, which led to some unfortunate circumstances, and I quit my job abruptly. I just needed to get out of there. Read more>>

Rachelle Ramirez | Urban Planner and International Development Director

Afghan Hope Foundation ( was born out of my personal and professional experience during my tenure in Afghanistan working for the United Nations and US Government (2008-2014). It also came about from a very personal place recalling how my family was uprooted from the Philippines due to the political situation. It was at the time of the Marcos dictatorship where most of family’s assets were confiscated by the government. My grandparents had to restart their lives in their late 50s while I came at young age of eight. Read more>>

Ryan Steele | Golf Content Creator

I started Golf Weekly in the heart of the pandemic in May of 2020. I was always researching the latest releases of golf apparel, equipment, and accessories, anyway, so I thought that if I could distill my research into a consumable video format (Youtube) we could grab some attention. Golf is also one of the fastest-growing sports in the world right now, and there is evergreen content since new golf gear comes out every year. There are a few different ideologies when starting your business: Read more>>

ianthus Barlow | Craftsman/artist

For me by 23 I have had over 1 different jobs in a wide range of trades from concrete, framing, remodeling to working at target, godfathers pizza and down east furniture. After all that time it finally dawned on me that can climb much further and learn much more if I started my own business. I started my first business with two high school friends by 24 in remodeling. I learned from that and soon found my passion for hand crafting high end furniture. Read more>>

Sina Shah | CEO and Creative Director

I have always had a knack for planning and I even planned my own wedding. Following my wedding, I started to do my friends weddings and I began to unlock the passion I have for event planning and wanting to help other couples have their dream weddings with ease and minimal stress. I believe bringing organization into someones events is very important, and that is what I wanted to emphasize when I started this company. Read more>>

Erica Goldstein | Founder, Brand Strategist, and Artist at The Blank Canvas Company

When I started my business, The Blank Canvas Co., back in 2014, it was truly just a means to re-focus on creating. I sort of fell into it. I graduated from Business School in 2013, moved back in with my parents, and felt like I needed to bring back a creative outlet to balance work and the gym, so I picked up my brushes. I started casually posting the finished canvases on Instagram, and people started inquiring about purchasing them. From there, it all spiraled into place. Read more>>

Crystal Rector | Nanny for Companion Animals

The thing really underlying my ultimate decision to start my own business was a deep and abiding yearning to live and work according to my own personal values. I had taken care of other people’s animals on a casual basis on and off for over a decade, and in that process I found myself going the extra mile…not because I thought I would make more money for it, but because those extras felt like the right thing to do at the time. Read more>>

Dekyla Alonzo-Dupree | Caterer

I’ll start out by saying starting my own business was laborious. Growing up I was always told “you gone be a lawyer” I had the loud mouth I was talkative and could persuade anyone. All my life I heard that but that wasn’t me. I never really knew exactly what I wanted out of life , I’m always learning new things so at first I thought maybe i could be a cosmetologist / Hairdresser. That wasn’t it either. Every now and then I’d say things like “I’m going to have my own restaurant some day”. Everyone around me knew how to cook .  Read more>>

Ashley Day | CEO of Wandering Lotus

Growing up, I’ve always dreamed of being the owner of a company that has the power to make a true difference in the world. Owning a boutique has shown me all of the resources I have that I can use to make a positive impact in my community. My goal for Wandering Lotus is to become a company that supports its community while keeping its eco-conscious, social-good values at its forefront. As a business owner, it is my intention to sustain a community of manufacturers and vendors with stories behind their clothing. Read more>>

David Berry | Creative Director, Camera Operator & Video editor

I knew what industry I wanted to get into, but there was an absence of people that looked like myself that did it and were able to afford to pursue media and film. I saw a lot of people around me that had the opportunities because, from what I perceived, they had other people investing in their on the job training. On my part, it seemed that no one trusted my ability to learn or that I have/had an eye form filmmaking and DP composition. Read more>>

Kimberly Schapiro | Interior Designer

There was a lot of thought put into deciding to open my own interior design business. It was the middle of the “Great Recession” and I had lost my job due to lack of work at the design firm I was working at. I had just given birth to my second daughter and decided to stay home a while to care for her and see what opportunities’ may come along. I ended up taking a job with a flooring company and soon realized that this is not what I wanted to do. Read more>>

Kristina Bhimineni | Running Coach & Health Coach

When I first began pursuing my personal training certification, it never occurred to me that I would become a business owner. I assumed I would be working for someone else, but still helping others get healthy and fit. I have a huge passion for health, fitness and staying active. Without even realizing it, I was giving advice to friends of mine when we were out running. It was small, simple things like how to relax your arms or to breathe correctly when you are running so you aren’t constantly short of breath. Read more>>