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.

Thana Alexa | Vocalist, Composer, Producer

As an independent artist it is important to establish a brand with your music very early on. This brand grows and changes over time, just like your art grows and changes as you develop as an artist, but from the very beginning of my career it has been important to stay true to my artistic integrity. For me, my music serves as a platform for a larger discussion around social justice, Women’s rights, equity and equality. Read more>>

Franchela Ulises | Founder: Mujeres of all shades, Stylist and Model

I was born in St. Thomas United States Virgin Island and my parents are from the Dominican Republic. I grew up in two different islands with people that looked similar to me. In 2010, I moved to Arizona. That is when I realized that not many people understood why I spoke spanish. One of the many questions I am asked are ” where did you learn Spanish?” and “You don’t look Latina” I did not understand why that question was being asked so much, if I am Latina. Read more>>

E.S. Brown | Author

When I first started writing, I didn’t think about “writing” as a business. Obviously, though, the writing resulted in a product that I wanted to sell. So even though all the processes were there – development, production, sales, and marketing – for some reason, the correlation didn’t initially click. Once I had my first book in my hands, though – an actual physical printed copy where I could admire the vibrancy of the artwork on the cover, feel the crispness of the fresh pages with my fingers, and take in the uniquely euphoric fragrance that only a new book provides – it all became very real and I knew that what I did next was up to me. Read more>>

Jordan Elder | Photographer & Business Owner

When I first started messing around with photography in early high school, it was completely passion-driven and I didn’t even consider charging for shoots until years later. I did my sister’s senior photos on my mom’s old camera with close to no technical photography knowledge (I shot in auto-mode, had no idea how to back up my files, and left them un-edited). All I knew is that I loved getting creative with angles and lighting and wanted to make her feel beautiful and radiant in her own skin through the photos. Read more>>

Jaycee Reidhead | Photographer

For the last 10 years I have used photography as a way to capture all of the memories with my dog, Kai, and I. We love to hike, camp and explore, and I used my love of photography as a way to showcase all of our adventures. However, I realized that the way I take pictures to remember moments with Kai, I wanted to do for other people. I wanted to be the one to capture the moments that they’ll remember forever, or that will capture the most special events in their lives.  Read more>>

William Nicholson | William E. Nicholson Jr. | Alkaline Hut

My thought process was to create a community where I could help myself, my family, and others find better alternatives to healthier foods. I figured maybe the ailments that many of my relatives and people face today could be combatted by plant food that gives, and restores energy and life to our biological DNA. Read more>>

Ed Dentzel | Missing persons expert and podcaster

For a short time–5 episodes–I had done a missing persons podcast between April and July of 2016. Then it felt apart due to my co-host deciding she just didn’t have time for it. I was truly devastated because the podcast had caught on fairly quickly. However, despite its popularity and only producing 5 episodes, I discovered there were problems. Mainly, I didn’t like how that podcast was really just a process of going to Wikipedia, the Charley Project, Websleuths and elsewhere, copying everything, and then regurgitating it to the audience. It felt like plagiarism and cheating. In addition, it wasn’t the kind of podcast that would listen to if I were in the audience. Why? Because even in listening to that podcast, it sound like . . . plagiarism and cheating. Read more>>

Mary Spry | Photographer & Entrepreneur

As a single mother and former model I thought that being behind the camera would be a great way to capture my boys childhood. Once I began taking their photos, friends and family started asking me what I would charge to take their photos as well. It was then I decided to make this into a career and created my own business. Photography has ALWAYS been a passion of mine and I have always been a bit artsy. Doing this for a living has been an absolute dream! Read more>>

Christian Bryant | Writer, director, producer, gaffer, editor, & owner of 52 Productions

Well, let’s see here. My thought process behind starting 52 Productions. Well, to put it bluntly, I didn’t really have much of a thought process to it at the time. I started 52 Productions back in high school during the early or mid of 2018. At that time, I was just planning on being a freelance editor for content creators online. At that time, I wasn’t even thinking of the potential that this dream of a production company has started to become. Read more>>

Borbay | Just one name… Borbay, fine artist, co-founder NFToftheART

After graduating with a BFA from Boston University, I worked as a graphic designer at a weekly newspaper; did reality TV; performed stand-up comedy; assisted in financing skyscrapers as a Legal/Development Associate; placed talent as a creative recruiter; and provided business direction for a front-end design and development ad agency. On July 2, 2009, I became Borbay, a full-time self-represented artist. It was time to harness what I learned as an employee to follow my dreams, and build something authentic. Read more>>

Ivan Martinez | Commercial photographer & videographer

After 22 years of a career with newspapers in advertising sales, marketing, and new media, I wanted to do something different> I wanted to have a career that gave me creative freedom. After exploring options, the idea of having my own business as a photographer made a lot of sense. Initially, my friends and family did not know what to think. They thought I had gone crazy. I took the time to draft a plan. This helped me identify opportunities and concentrate my efforts. I wanted to leverage my professional experience, my education, and my passion for photography in a way that will help me build a unique selling proposition. I built the company to help businesses tell their stories. Read more>>

John & Brenda Patrick | Kayak Tour Guide & Instructors

We kn0w how beautiful it is at Lake Pleasant Regional Park and wanted to share the experience with others. We make it easy for others to get out and experience the lake and what the lake has to offer. We do all the work and all you need to do is show up and enjoy. We even provide plenty of water and a healthy snack. Read more>>

Alexis Torrence | Entrepreneur

The irony is that I’ve had businesses, but no true sense of a true business mindset until the pandemic. I used that time to relaunch the business with all the correct entities in place. The process has been about creating another stream of income that I can control, the ability to hire family and grow and expand. Read more>>

Deborah Davis | Estate consultant in International Auction, Estate Sales and Appraisals

I absolutely fell in love with the auction and estate sale industry in 2013 ,when my best friend’s talented son asked if I would like to join him in his new auction house venture. That’s when I knew I found the my niche in the world of business. After a couple of years I was recruited by then Arizona’s premier auction house and learned so much in the four years with them, Unfortunately, I found myself jobless in 2019 when the auction house filed for bankruptcy, leaving clients and employees in the lurch. Read more>>

Painted Soul Entertainment Desiree and Damon White | Performing Artist & Live Entertainment Service

At the age young of 20, my world felt like it was crumbling quickly and without going into depth, my family and I were advised my father would soon die and we needed to prep funeral arrangements immediately. In that moment, I clung to my faith and prayed as often as I could. I pondered deeply, “If my father lives what do I want to share with my dad the most?” I Instantly thought of how much the joy of music carried our family through multiple forms of adversity. I told myself WHEN my dad gets out of that hospital, we are going to start a band and bring joy, laughter, family and faith to each crowd we entertain! Read more>>

Mathew Molyneux | Owner and Creative Director at The Row Media

I had a pretty interesting jump into self-employment and entrepreneurship. I was working with an agency doing photo and video work and to say I was happy with where I worked would be an understatement. The people in the company were great; I was able to build many great relationships with them. My boss was a very understanding and motivating person who allowed me to grow and learn in my space. The clients were fantastic to work with. Even the office space was somewhere that just made me want to come in to work. Read more>>

Angel Sanchez | Makeup Artist/Creative Director/Educator

My thought process on starting my own business was challenging because it’s not something that I knew a lot about and it was definitely intimidating for fear of doing it incorrectly. It’s always something I’ve wanted to do but where do I begin. It was one of those things where I had to tell myself, do your research, go talk to your friends who own business, and figure it out. You either sink or swim but you lose nothing trying. Read more>>

Ilu Ulinwa | Photographer & Retoucher

I never really thought about starting my own business, it just kind of happened. My sister had bought me a camera as a gift since I would always make jokes about being an “iPhone photographer”. I had not touched this camera in a year because I was a bit overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to use it. I finally studied and built up to courage to begin shooting and found that I was not bad at it. I created an Instagram page to showcase the photos I had taken of my sister and friends. Read more>>

Alli ReauVeau | Artist and CBD Educator

Skoolie Lifestyle is our “passion-business” for our legacy years. We took all the things we love, travel, golf, health, boho art, and thrifted treasures. We put them into a 40ft bus (skoolie) to supplement our income at festivals and events. The rest of our lives will be about connecting with others, working smart and living tiny. Read more>>

Marcus Heckman | Head Chef & Owner

My thought process behind starting Fry Aholics is to deliver great tasting loaded fries with a variety of choices. To open multiple restaurants around Tucson and Phoenix. Also to create amazing tasting food that puts a smile on everyone’s faces. Read more>>