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.

Mary Lewellin | Owner

In 2015 we just had a baby and my husband had to switch his job schedule, which meant I would have to quit my job to make our life work. We decided that we had a good opportunity to start a business that would allow me to work from home in spare moments. RIght away my husband decided on loose leaf tea as a business. Over the years we had been growing herbs in our backyard and making herbal tea blends for us while learning about the health benefits. Read more>>

Maddi Stoltman | Owner of Level Up Apparel

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, I wanted to have the adventure of trying something new and learning along the way! Read more>>

Chevis Trotter | Business Consultant and Manager

My thought process with starting We Handle Your Business was to help people along the way properly manage and grow their business. I began my corporate journey Read more>>

Troy Rivera | Mindset Life Coach

I have been in education for 20 years. During this time, I was always told, “you know how to help me and always have the right thing to say at the right moment. You are a great mentor.” After hearing this from multiple people, it got me thinking about becoming a coach. After many years later, I decided to take the adventure and worked on getting my certification as a life coach. I focus on the mindset and confidence that affects all aspects of your life. Read more>>

Jace Stenersen | Photographer

I’ve been taking nature photos since the age of 9 and have had many years of encouragement from others. Before starting my own business I would often be invited to attend local art events. Seeing the joy people got out of viewing and purchasing my printed artwork made me realize that I can do way more than just post a picture on social media for people to scroll past. I can offer fine art prints to customers, and unlike social media, it won’t be forgotten about the next day. After years of support from friends, family, and happy customers, I decided to take the next big step and open up my own art gallery in June 2021. I thought to myself “what’s the worst that can happen? I’m only 19!” Read more>>

Margo Game Brandenburg | Postpartum Wellness Advocate & Entrepreneur

A career pivot felt right. I recently had my firstborn, and now change didn’t seem so scary, it felt necessary. I was ready to take a chance on an idea and bring it to life. Read more>>

Dwight Hargett | Coach

I was tired of working in sales teams for services or products that did not do what they claimed. I wanted to believe in what I was doing and use my skills to serve my community the best way I could and that, for me, meant teaching martial arts to kids and adults. Read more>>

Tony Abrams | Music Lover, Musician and Promoter

I was hoping to create community friendly events, that brings people joyously together and raises needed money for local non profits. Read more>>

Melissa Statom | Co-Owner

Running a business and opening a storefront has always been something that we’ve wanted to do. Making soaps and other products for others was a hobby for many years. We had first to believe that we could do this and be successful. We also did a lot of research to understand what needed to be done and were comfortable taking risks, knowing that we may fail. Ultimately, we saved up our money, invested in our small business, and dove head first into starting our ‘Little Dragons Soaps’ shop. Time will determine the success of our shop, and what the future holds, but we are having a lot of fun building our business. Read more>>

Barry Raber | President /Carefree Covered RV Storage

I always knew I wanted to try starting a business. It’s in my blood. My dad was an entrepreneur in the auto industry. I saw the freedom that provided him and our family, and I wanted that for my own family, too. It was just a matter of when and what business. While I had opportunities to follow in my dad’s footsteps, I realized the auto industry was very complex and competitive. Read more>>

Maureen Bissonette | Canine/Equine massage therapist

I wanted to be able to help animals. I want to release there pain and trauma. I want to get them out of shelters or kill pens. I want to know what its like to be loved Read more>>

Andrea Haymond | Small Business Owner and Dreamer

As an immigrant, I learned that America is the land of opportunities. From a young age, I had a thing for clothes. In high school, I wanted to pursue fashion but I was coerced into pursuing a safe, high-paying career path. Sitting in my freshman introductory biology class, I knew that pre-med was not the move for me. I switched my major to business not knowing what I wanted to do in the future. Sitting in my business classes, I felt like I was in the right place. I later on added a fashion minor, thinking it wouldn’t hurt. Read more>>

Brian Pannuzzo | Men’s Health Coach

I spent 20 years on Wall Street as a bond trader. Everything in my life appeared perfect on the surface. I was making great money, I had a beautiful family, we took nice vacations and lived the life you’d expect from a husband & father who was financially successful. But underneath the surface, my life was falling apart. I was overweight, my body was broken down, my marriage was on the brink of divorce and I had casual drug, alcohol and gambling addictions. Read more>>

Chelsea Isabella | Founder of Chill X Chel

My thought process behind starting Chill X Chel came from me seeing a need for more safe spaces that brought creatives together. I always say if you don’t see it, create it. After Covid, I really looked within and looked at the things I enjoyed doing that I felt could become profitable. One of those things was throwing events that really gave people a customized experience that they couldn’t get anywhere and that advocated for connection, community and conversation. Read more>>


The beginning of our business started with a story very close to home, my grandmother fell and broke her hip and needed 24-7 care. The doctor called us and said that exact line and the immediate thought was “oh no, who is going to quit their job and take care of her 24-7?” and second, “I am not built to be a caregiver”… then you start thinking of the options that come to mind… well we could give her in-home care! A caregiver who comes to live in her own home
and we can give her 24-7 care and love and attention… or maybe we will put her into a…home… Read more>>

AnnMarie Aguirre | Owner/Photographer

What really inspired me to become a photographer was my mom. When I was a child she was always taking photos and she was always capturing those memories. When I got big enough to use a little kodak throw away camera, she started getting them for me so that I could capture memories as well. That progressed slowly over the years (we didn’t have a lot of money back then). Many years later and thousands of memories later I got my first 35mm camera when I was in high school & I was also taking photography classes. Read more>>

Yun Gee Park Gallery | Yun Gee Park, Gallerist, Curator & Scott Duerstock, Managing Director

Scott: When we decided to open our own gallery, we wanted to create something different- an arts-centered destination that fully embraced the unique qualities of the Tucson region, yet that was also international in scope, so that both visitors to the region as well as Arizona residents could draw enjoyment and inspiration. What we created is a gallery and gardens complex. Read more>>

Micah Dennard | Owner & Graphic Designer

The thought process behind me starting my clothing line business was simple. I wear/buy clothes; so why not have my own brand that represent/means something to me personally. It has since grown to wanting to build generational wealth for my family and eventually for my children. Read more>>

Meghan Rae Shaw | Arizona Photographer

Growing up I’ve always loved taking photos. I have a pretty large family (5 generations). I’ve always been the one to capture beautiful moments at all family gatherings and bringing the family in for family pictures. I print them and provide copies to family who either wasn’t there or like my grandmothers, they don’t use modern technology. So I wanted to create my own business because I love capturing moments that captivate the heart. It brings people together. It’s a memory that will last a lifetime. It will always be there even when the ones we love are no longer there. Read more>>

Mariah Hawkins | Makeup & Lash Artist

I was born into the beauty industry . My mother is a cosmetologist and my father a master barber. Finding my way in it came naturally . Read more>>

Andrew Lomeli | Graphic Design & Illustration | Printing Services

Originally i wanted to start off by only doing graphic design & Illustration at the start of my business. I had no intentions on producing any sorts of prints, but it came naturally. The reason how i got into my business was my wife, she knew i had an associate degree in Graphic Design and pushed me to not only better myself, but for our family. I worked previously in the warehouse industry for 8 years and that’s all i knew how to do, just as of December 2021, i quit my fulltime job and took the leap of faith to start my business known as Drews Dexterity. With the support of my wife Cecilia, Read more>>

Tarah and EJ Kerwin | Business Owners/Therapists/Podcasters

We started Relationship Renovation because we know relationships are at the heart of individual, family, and community wellness. When an individual’s relationship is loving, stable, and enriching, they function at a much higher level. They are more effective parents, professionals, and community members. We also thought that there was a gap in the mental health field. Read more>>

Nayla Bahri | Leadership coach, podcaster, professor

I’d worked in large organization for 20 years, and there were lots of things l loved: resources, colleagues, significant impact, the ability to do things at scale. But as I was growing in my own professional identity, it became clearer to me that being interested and able to do a lot of things was part of my professional need. I wanted to teach AND coach AND facilitate AND advise AND write AND research, and there wasn’t always room in one job to be experimental and cross-functional. Read more>>