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.

Michael Kloth | Photographer/Content Creator

Going through school, my role models, for the most part, all did their own thing so it seemed the natural choice to start my own business when it was time. In retrospect, I regret not doing some assisting first, but at the time I didn’t live in a market where that was really practical. I learned a lot of lessons by trial and error but ultimately, I really appreciate the flexibility that being a small business owner affords. Read more>>

Cassy Saba Shovak | Jewelry Designer and Diamond Dealer

I’m from an entrepreneurial family, and knew as a teenager that I wanted to work for myself. Jewelry was the perfect business for me. After college I moved to NYC and started working in the diamond district which made obtaining all kind of goods at wholesale prices a reality. Read more>>

Justin Keller | Founder of The Mixologer

It started when I was at Total Wine looking for Moscow mule mugs. A fellow customer next to me was also in the market for mule mugs and started to complain that he also had to get all the ingredients to make the mules. It got me thinking – there are all kinds of premade cocktails, but there are no kits where you make the cocktail yourself. Additionally, when you buy the ingredients, it is nearly impossible to get the same quantity of all ingredients so you inevitably have waste. I thought of HelloFresh and the market there was for having meal kits delivered. With a trend of more people getting meal kits, then surely there would be a demand for cocktail kits. Read more>>

Steph DaLeigh | Artist

My dad was an entrepreneur, starting his own business and I was around it. I remember when he took rain-gutters off the roof to attach to a printer. I didn’t realize what was going on at the time, but he was looking for solutions. Working for myself is something I’ve always known I would do. I love coming up with solutions, and hope is not a strategy to find those. Being present and aware of where you’re trying to go, or where you think you’re trying to go, won’t always turn out the way you planned. In the moment, that can be really frustrating or drive me right into the sun, but the second you figure out that whatever you’re trying to do is possible, or discover a new way of doing something, it’s worth it. Read more>>

Ashley La Russa | Eventpreneur

As a young girl growing up in rural Southeast Texas, I was taught a ‘proper roux’ was essential for success. A hot seasoned cast iron skillet, a heaping scoop of fresh butter and powerful patience. I would hear the sizzling pan in the kitchen and smell the butter melting. Discovering my father gracefully sprinkling the flour into the pan and with a whisk stirring the bubbling mixture. “If you let the roux cook too long, it will burn” he would say out loud as a reminder to himself and as a life lesson to me. I founded Roux Events LLC in Tucson, Arizona. My management experience and life lessons help me provide organizations and community leaders with creative solutions based in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Read more>>

Rita Goldner | Children’s Picture Book Author/Illustrator

I had long been a fan of children’s literacy and children’s literature. Since I’m also passionate about drawing, I was a regular visitor at the zoo, sketching animals from life. Sketching the orangutans made me want to research their endangered status, Thus was born my first book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy. From there my agenda expanded to other “natural world” issues, and I wrote a book about a drop of water, and his adventures in a desert: Agent H2O Rides the Water Cycle. I predict that my future work will always focus on kid’s education. Read more>>

Yvonne Mahoney King | Fluid Abstract Artist

Honestly I started this as a hobby and it turned into a house full of paintings. My husband suggested that we need to start making room in the house, so I started selling my paintings at a local craft/arts festival. Read more>>