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.

Arin Finger | Owner/Founder

I have been running an i9 Sports Franchise for the past 7 years. My business came to a screeching halt once COVID-19 hit. For the first time in a very long time, I had no money coming in. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills nor support my family. I had to make a pivot and thus started Dough Riders! Read more>>

Connie Dulay Alfonso | Owner/Baker

Sweet Cocoa Flour is a business I started because I love baking. My interest in baking started when my dad bought me a Mrs. Fields cookie cookbook. I started baking in elementary school, and kept at it occasionally up until I graduated from college. Of course, I had different responsibilities, such as work, school, and taking care of my siblings. I would bake when I could! It started off as a hobby I enjoyed. I would bake cookies and cakes for my family and classmates. When my husband and I moved to Arizona, I got a change to hone my skills and utilize them to create a business. Read more>>

Coach KT | Health and Sports Performance Trainer

My thought process behind starting my own business? I suppose it stems from being injured as an athlete and realizing that most people are not as passionate and knowledgeable about their careers as you might think or have the same desire you have of attaining your goals. I guess I was made different, you attaining your goals becomes my goal! As a D1 athlete, I sustained chronic injuries that sidelined my true potential! I was never healed by the therapy or the strength training, I saw that it was all just a system. No one really cared, they just ran you through drills and exercises that they read about and never questioned the root cause of an injury. I realized that I had to fix and train myself if I wanted to fully recover for a healthy fully functional life after sports. I didn’t think of being a strength coach, I just wanted to feel whole again. Read more>>

Tina Nerland | Real Estate Professional

Starting my own business was not something that I thought I would ever do. I had been in property manage for 15 years and I loved what I did. My husband and I had two sons under the age of 3 and it ultimately came down to staying at home and being with them or paying someone more than my 1/2 my salary to watch them. Prior to making this decision I had started making growth charts for mother’s so they could keep track of their littles growth and not have to worry about if they moved homes. My husband and I weighed the pros and cons of each and that is how I started Crafty Nerd. It was difficult at first to build a following but after a couple years I had over 1200 followers and had expanded my product into all kinds of items from wooden signs to epoxied tumblers. Don’t get me wrong, I love to craft. It’s my way of relaxing. It’s something I enjoy to do. Read more>>

WIJ | Artist

When I first started creating art I don’t think I truly understood what it meant to turn something into a business. The only thing I really knew back then was that regular 9-5 was not my style. All while working at small jobs I started really getting interested in the lifestyle of being an artist and not having to report somewhere boring each day to receive a paycheck. The combination of these events lit the fire in my mind and soul to really put in the time and effort to master my abilities as an artist. As I kept pushing myself, my skills grew and so did my client list. This allowed me to fully quit my other jobs and start my own LLC as an artist in 2017 at the age of 20. Don”t get me wrong, starting your business is just the beginning, keeping it alive and growing is a whole different beast. What’s crazy is, I have learned so much since then and I still don’t fully understand this dynamic and intense world we live in… Read more>>

Robert Lafayette | DJ/Producer

The main reason I started my own production was because I was an aspiring DJ/ Producer and I didn’t know anyone in the industry and I how to get any gigs at the time. I realized that if I wanted to play, I need to host my own events and put myself on the lineup. So, I first started to take notes on how other companies and collectives would host their events, everything from how they ran promo to how they wound curate their lineup. I would even look at how their audience would react and respond to said events when they would get announced, all so I could fine tune how to host mine. I also wanted to host events to give others an opportunity to play and share their music in front of a crowed because I knew first-hand how it felt to not be able to do so. I was also the type of person who liked to help people and this felt like a way I could just give back and help other aspiring artists reach their goals. Read more>>

Sara O’Meara & Yvonne Fedderson Sara O’Meara & Yvonne Fedderson | Childhelp Co-Founders

“Ours was less of a ‘thought process’ and more of a ‘heart process’ when we discovered 11 orphaned children on the streets of Tokyo while performing for the troops in Japan during the war. They were cowering from a typhoon and we could not pass by without helping. What started as 11 little lives needing shelter became a mission that is now close to 11 million children rescued.” -Sara O’Meara. Read more>>

Bonnie McMahon | CEO – One Sports Nation

One Sports Nation started from actively engaged parents that had a vision to deliver a better youth sports experience for their kids and the families in their community. It has always been our goal to create a youth sports experience that resembled our own childhood youth sports experience. Great memories, and personal physical growth in a community that was kid centric. So we developed ONE Sports Nation to give our own kids a better youth sports experience. We want to share that same unique approach to youth sports with your kids in your community. ONE Mission A Dual Focus: To provide physical development for young student athletes and prepare them for their next level of competition while keeping them excited about an active lifestyle and playing sports. Read more>>

Mary Purkiss | Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer ~ Iron Medical Systems

What was your thought behind starting your business? In 2000, my husband and business partner, Ed, and I owned a 500-person travel call center when we discovered I had breast cancer. Unable to continue to manage the day to day operations, we decided to sell the business so I could deal with what I needed to do for treatment and spend time with our 3 kids, who were all under 10 at that time. Having been very healthy with no family history, we were shocked when we heard the news from a very unsympathetic surgeon, “Yeah, Mary has cancer and needs a mastectomy. Call my nurse to schedule it …” It was a very robotic spiel. We could tell he said it many times, but that was the first time we had heard it. Over the next several years, I battled cancer, endured multiple surgeries and experienced all different kinds of physicians during this journey. Read more>>

Sarah McLeod | Director of Client Relations

There were a lot of reasons that I wanted to strike out on my own. I wanted the autonomy to make decisions that could really dramatically impact my professional growth and the growth of an organization. I also wanted to challenge myself personally to take on something that felt big and scary at first, but turned out to be one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my life outside of building my family. But in terms of why I chose this industry in particular, working at a healthcare marketing agency was also an area I was passionate about—I really like being part of a sector that helps so many people. Read more>>

Dr. Shannon Bennett | Naturopathic Doctor, Owner of The Healthy Psyche

Personally, going into private practice was never on my radar. I always wanted to find a way to get the most amount of information into peoples hands, to help them help themselves. It was very clear to me, even before school, that seeing 1 patient at a time limits the impact and amount of people who can heal. The beauty of being in the Naturopathic Medical field, is that there is an endless amount of options in how you can impact in the world. My goal is to bring hope, education and options to bridge the gap between mental health and natural healing. Through my own experience of healing a traumatic brain injury, post-concussion syndrome, PCOS and other brain related diagnoses, hormones and brain health became a very clear path to addressing mental health concerns. Now I see patient 1-on-1 and guide others through online education towards their own self healing. Read more>>

Kyla Morris | Social Media Marketer

When I graduated High School, I was working in a restaurant, deciding my path for college, and starting a social media marketing internship. I have always enjoyed staying busy, but I quickly found out that the traditional college route was not for me. I was lucky enough to have supportive parents that wanted me to be successful even if that meant choosing to not go to college. My internship taught me so much about marketing, but I felt like I had no room to grow, I wanted to be helping every client that I could. I continued waitressing at a local restaurant and loved connecting and serving other people, but I always knew it was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I became exhausted working early mornings on my internship assignments and then clocking in from 3PM-1AM at the restaurant every night. I decided that I was done working for someone else, requesting time off work, etc. I have a big passion for travel and quitting my “normal” job just felt like the right thing to do. Read more>>

Jon Rauhouse | Musician

Being a musician, especially a sideman, you kinda have the business aspect of entertainment foisted upon you. As i started to get more successful both workwise and monetarily i had to embrace all the aspects of a small business: accounting, Banking, scheduling, transportation, assets, taxes, etc. I had to figere out if i wanted to be a professional musician, I had to become one. Read more>>

Alisha Marie Anglin | Modern Abstract Artist

The term “life is what you make it” is definitely something I live by. Some people choose to stay stuck in the situation they may be in, and some prosper and stay focused on their dreams. I chose to pursue my Art career and become an entrepreneur. It took a lot of courage to quit my day job in the medical field and the right mindset and place in my life where I was able to put together the proper business plan for my future. Motley Eye was the perfect name I came up with for my specific business. Motley means colorful and It fits well for my profession. Being able to work for myself doing what I love each and every day has truly changed my life. Having more time with my family, the freedom, and being creative everyday fills my heart. Being a business owner is also in my blood. I was taught hard work pays off from a young age. My grandparents have been inspirational with owning their printing business for 38 years and counting. Read more>>

Sherry Finzer | Musician, Record Label & Radio Promotions Company Owner

Music was only a part-time career for me at the time that a woman named Nancy approached me and told me how much one of my recordings helped her with a physical ailment that she was dealing with. I had been exploring the possibility of recording relaxing music – music that would potentially help others in healing and well-being, and after this interaction, I felt compelled to turn my career in this direction. It was in 2009 that I recorded my first “New Age” flute album titled Sanctuary, and over 20 albums have followed. One with guitarist Darin Mahoney, a stage 4 liver cancer survivor. After hearing Darin’s story of how relaxing acoustic music helped get him through his time in the hospital while in an induced coma, it then became a mission for me to help release music into the world that would help others, whether through my own music or others. Read more>>

Doug Boyd | Metal Artist

Freedom. I wanted the freedom from the 9 to 5 world. I wanted the freedom to not work if I felt that I wanted to go hiking or simply take a day to sit around and read a book. I was ready to work just as hard for myself as I had been for someone else. That being said, I’ve never really worked a “normal” job except for the couple jobs in fast food that I had back in high school. I spent the better part of 30 years working and often travelling in the entertainment industry. In the entertainment industry, its not uncommon to work long hours and often wear many different hats. Every show I worked and every position I held prepared me for this moment in time. I can say with ease, that every decision I made is what got me where I am today. Read more>>

Kimberlee Morrison | Writer & Yoga Teacher

When I started my freelance writing business there were several motivating factors: I was a young, single, working mother and corporate life was not friendly. I’d like to say balancing a full-time job with motherhood was difficult; the truth is that it was pretty much impossible. I could kind of pretend during the school year, but when summer came, I couldn’t afford child care, nor did I want to leave my kids home alone for days at a time. I was fortunate that my boss and the Editor-in-chief for the magazine was also a single, working mother who understood my challenge and agreed to let me work from home during the Summer. This was the exception though, and I hated returning to the office during the school year, when my kids went back to being latchkey. Meanwhile, I was working with a couple of freelance clients, dreaming of the possibility of going freelance full-time. Read more>>

Millicent Russo | Founder and Director of Integrated Aesthetics Institute & President of the Integrated Aesthetics Association

I created Integrated Aesthetics Institute in response to the need for quality, product neutral, post graduate education in the medical aesthetics industry. Skin care professionals have limited resources for quality continuing education. Skin care technology is advancing at such a fast rate, education needs to keep up! All my courses are product neutral (meaning I do not sell or rep a brand) and backed by contemporary scientific data. My goal is to elevate the medical aesthetics industry by providing a world class educational experience. I created the Integrated Aesthetics Association and Scholarship Fund as a means to create community, networking and educational opportunities for aesthetics professionals. Read more>>

Heather Promise | Yoga Teacher & Owner of Gilbert Yoga

Entrepreneurship is a reward, in itself. It is truly satisfying. I started my own business to create and innovate. Read more>>

Natalie Picht | Photographer

Well, I wouldn’t so much call it a business as an artist collective. (Can you even call it that when you’re the only artist within it?? Who knows?) But in starting my own art, it really was just a thing of passion. Everyone has their own art style, and I wanted to really hone my own style. In recent years, I’ve been working a lot with appropriation and occasionally, pastiche. Really, my goal was to invite people to view new artwork by sort of luring them in with things which they are already familiar. Read more>>