Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Jennyfer Rubio | Branding and Communication Strategist and Consultant

Two years ago I became a mom in the highest boom of COVID19 pandemic. I witnessed many businesses silently disappear at a record pace affected by the pandemic. With social media platforms growing rapidly and new technologies, apps and devices emerging, the way we market is infinitely changing. It is commonly heard that if you are not online you do not exist. Sadly, that phrase could not have been more real since small and medium businesses disappeared, being unnoticed in an online technological world. Read more>>

Willow Hoods | Owner & Educator

Steve Jobs once said : “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful and not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” I remember reading that and not really connecting the dots on what he meant. But looking back now at what I’m making here … It’s like, yeah, I think I get it now: just make the good stuff and keep on making them. Read more>>

Tracy Hill | Doctor of Physical Therapy & Certified Master Neuro Coach

As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I had the opportunity to work with patients rehabilitating from injuries, help them feel more confident in their body & get back to the things they loved. I always looked to the source of where the issue was coming from, rather than treating the symptoms. What I began seeing, however, was that I could give people the greatest strategies to move better and manage their pain, they had underlying stories in their head that kept them from achieving their greatest potential in their body. Read more>>

Kailee Skubal | Swimwear designer

I started Viva Brilhante in the spring of 2020 because I was unable to find a bikini that fit and flattered my body type. I started to make my own swimwear and then friends and family began to ask me to make them some. After this, I started a custom swimwear line. Read more>>

Beth Scarano | CEO & Principal LaunchPM

Honestly, I was tired of hitting glass ceiling. As a woman working in the construction industry was and is still not easy – although it’s getting better. I also knew I wanted to be more in control of my own destiny. Starting LaunchPM was one of the best decisions I ever made. Read more>>

Jillian Leaver | Co-Founder and CEO of CCAP Across The Map

My best friend, Hunter Ackerley, and I graduated from high school back in 2017 and wanted to do something to help the world. Hunter was prelaw at the time and I was and am still premed so we wanted to find the best way to combine our skill sets, which landed us in the realm of a health-oriented nonprofit organization. Now it was about finding what we would focus on. Read more>>

Martin Joseph | Influencer

I have always wanted to start my own business ever since I could remember. I started making YouTube videos back in 2011 and I was in 4th grade trying to start any business I can and make money. I started to try to make T-Shirts and sell them on the Facebook marketplace for my youtube channel, and ever since then, I have always just been doing YouTube and starting ventures. I soon became known as the “youtube kid” at my school and made amazing video projects because I knew how to edit, and would edit videos for kids and they would pay me, and I just loved it. Read more>>

Cruze | Barber & YouTuber

I looked at it as an opportunity to start over and take what I’ve learned my entire career and put it into something that i could be proud of. I was already a barber but I wanted to create a environment that people really enjoyed. A place where everyone could have a group discussion about anything from sports to current events and things we all deal with on a daily. Anyone could give a haircut but what we try to do is build a relationship with every client and doing that is a lot easier when everyone has the same vision. Read more>>

bryan leon | Owner

The thought process started during the pandemic we are a family base company at of New York New Jersey area when Covid hit the city was completely shut down and I did not know when business would reopen so I decided to take a chance and leave the east coast and expand the business to other states we settled on Arizona because my girlfriend is a travel nurse and had an assignment in Phoenix. Read more>>

Justin Martyr | Artist, Musician and Entrepreneur

I actually started two businesses and both of them are music related. I started my Record Label “Verbal Renaissance” LLC in order to take my music career to the next level. I also started the label in order to elevate other artists, musicians, producers and talented individuals in the music industry that I believe in. A label is a great platform to gain notoriety and visibility. I’ve been signed to a few labels in the past and I took many mental notes and made observations while signed knowing that one day I would create my own label and sign artists. Read more>>

Joshua Cantor | Curator of a Creative Environment

I always wanted to start a business, ever since I was a kid. I didn’t realize until later in life that the driving force behind my entrepreneurial interests was a hidden desire to prove myself to my dad. When I discovered this secret motivation, during some intensive personal development work in Werner Erhard’s methodology, I saw that a new context was needed for my participation in my company. So I created the context that my company was the opportunity for me to develop leadership skills. Eight years of business ownership later, there still seems to be a daily opportunity for the development of leadership skills. Read more>>

Kylie Long | Founder @ Kahenmei

I spent the last two years reflecting a lot on my identity as an Asian American living in the United States. Though, I would argue that 2020 and 2021 practically held my head against a mirror and forced me to self-reflect. It really was one of the only silver linings that came out of the past two years. I remember being raised in the suburbs of New Jersey and feeling like I never quite belonged. As an Asian kid, I’ve had my fair share of lunch box moments all the while never being “Chinese” enough for my grandparents. I know the feeling of being a citizen of nowhere and everywhere all too well. Read more>>

Olivia Yuen | Artist & Art Educator

My small art business, Liv Makes Prints, began as a way for me to reconnect with my creative self. After working for a few years as an art educator and planning art lessons and experiences for my students, I wasn’t dedicating any time to my own personal art practice. Though painting and drawing were my art mediums of choice at the time, I found that exploring something new could help to reignite my creative passion. Read more>>

Suzy Albanese | Occupational Therapist & Yoga Teacher

I never thought I’d be someone who started a business. I’m someone who enjoys working on a team and collaborating with others. I also can’t say I’d call myself a natural-born leader. The thought of starting my own business was daunting, to say the least. Like many of us, however, the pandemic made me take a step back and evaluate my life and my career path. Read more>>

Joshua Helm | Head of Sales and Outreach at The Bear Game

Near the end of my junior year in high school, I took on the position of sales rep at a company. Coming in with no experience, I soon worked my way up and became the top Sales Representative in my office and the top 5 in my entire district within a 3 months period. Around the same time, I heard that 3 of my friends were creating a tabletop card game. With the extensive boredom from quarantine, they wanted to create something unique that would bring families together. Their team consisted of Austin (a digital designer), Colton (a board game enthusiast), and Steven (head of artwork). Read more>>

Matt Yates | Living Art Creator

This was always a passion project. My entire childhood there were two constants my love of Art and a fascination with exotic wildlife. When I first started out I just wanted cool pets but eventually realized I could create living art the animals being my canvas and the various pattern and color mutations being my medium. Since then I’ve continued with that evolution except instead of treating it like a hobby I now run it like a buisness and buisness is good! Read more>>

Sherry Finzer | Musician, Founder and CEO of Heart Dance Records

I began my label Heart Dance Records solely releasing my own music back in 2009 after learning that people were using an early recording of mine to help them relax, as an aid with insomnia, and bring calm and peace into their lives. I wanted to explore how meditative and relaxing music might help as a healing tool. The mission with expanding the label, which now has released the music of more than 80 artists, was to help bring as much peaceful music into the world as possible. I had no idea when I first began this journey how our catalog would effect so many people around the globe in so many different ways. Read more>>

Yoshira Gutierrez | Artist

At the time of starting my business I was a stay at home mom and my son had just been diagnosed as autistic. I also had just received guardianship of my disabled adult brother. It was a lot of life changes. I have always been creative but needed an outlet and painting vintage pieces became that for me. It gave me something that was mine. Read more>>

Kemi Moon” Balogun | Writer

Freedom. More than anything else I wanted to be free as an adult. When I was young, my dad and uncle owned a couple of dollar stores together. My dad worked there full time and during school breaks I would get to go “work” at the store helping stocking shelves and tidying up around the store. I listened and learned a lot of things that were outside of my scope of understanding at the time, but as I’ve grown older those memories came flooding back. Read more>>

A. Shenae McCoy | Chef

I’ve always known that diet can heal many things, but I never realized how serious it was until I was found with ten tumors in my right breast and diagnosed with cancer. At the time, I was the owner and operator of a Meal Prep company that sold animal products and some processed foods. During my treatment, I closed that business and changed my diet completely. I researched natural herbs and what foods could help heal my body. Read more>>

Tim Ehler | Business owner

I’ve always had a side hustle of one kind or another most my life. I’m not one for sitting around on the couch I like to keep busy. My first one was hanging flyers on people’s doors, I was probably 15. After that I moved onto selling water filtration units that went under your sink those weren’t really entrepreneurial jobs, I was Still working for somebody else. My current business started as a hobby. It was probably back in 2014, Read more>>

Steff Reed | Music Artist & Social Impact Leader

The thought process was wanting to create and build an institution. Something that will create sustainable impact at scale and outlive me. Read more>>

Sherry Khachatryan | Holistic Coach

Being a nurse for 25 years taught me that medicine is not the best way to be healthy. I saw people get sicker and sicker. The medication lists were getting longer and longer. So I’ve decided to help people prevent disease with natural food and a healthy lifestyle. I started researching holistic nursing; however, I stumbled over to health coaching school. As I was checking the IIN website (Institute For Integrative Nutrition), Read more>>

Jesse Galvon | Co-Founder & CEO for G-Tech Apparel

When G-Tech was first starting out, they were building heated pouches solely for football players in the CFL and NFL. As soon as I saw one of the first samples, I knew they would be a perfect fit for golf. Growing up playing in Western Canada, as well as down in San Francisco, I always struggled to keep my hands warm. Being able to keep your hands warm while playing golf is essential, due to the game’s use of finesse in touch and feel. Read more>>

Erik Batchelor | Owner & Pit Master

My wife and I have a son with special needs and we wanted a place where he could always work. Free of managers that might not treat him the way he should be treated. Opening up our restaurant allows him to work in an environment where he is free to learn at his own speed and meet new friends daily. Moreover, we wanted a place that would grow and create generational wealth for both our boys. Once my brother and his wife partnered with us then we have created something that could support that dream for both our families. Read more>>

Jacob NAgle | Handyman

I’ve always wanted to start my own business. I’ve read many books on the subject and listen to podcasts about businesses as well. When I was in school this was even my focus. I was a part of DECA and FBLA. The thing that was always missing was I didn’t know what kind of business to start. I didn’t feel I had any skills that people would want to pay for. That all changed when I found my purpose. What gets me up and out of bed every morning. The desire to do good and help someone. Read more>>

Hernan Castro | Founder

Initially I just wanted to use medicinal mushrooms to help people all over the world. I was doing it for free to help those who were in need. after discovering that I could grown my own medicinal mushrooms or forage them in Mt lemmon one of the mountains with the highest diversity of fungi in the country; my family really pushed me to start the business. Read more>>

Jordan Bender | General Contractor

My Father owned his own business for a good 10 years of my childhood. Even when he was working for an employer, it was usually contract work. He would have his entrepreneurial ideas that he would chase during said work. No matter how they ended, it was always an adventure and he would let us kids help out in different ways, He put his everything into any idea he perused, so it showed us that you really can do anything you set your mind to. By the time I was 14, I had a landscaping hustle with multiple neighbors who hired me to do their weekly maintenance. I was building websites for multiple clients. Read more>>