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.

Jon-Lee Jonni” Campbell | Actress

I became a paraplegic at the age of 16 due to a car accident, but I have always loved acting and performing. Acting roles for disabled actors are few and far between, because even though (according to Google) about 26% of adults in American are living with some form of disability, the disabled community is only represented in 1-2% of TV and films. Read more>>

Heather Long | Founder

Being a wife, a mother of three, and living in the world of Corporate America, finding time for myself seemed impossible. My cell phone was always ringing, the kids needed help with homework, the emails were non-stop, the laundry needed doing, and so on. It was only when the kids were in bed, the kitchen cleaned, and the house picked up that I snuck away to my tub. There I sat for as long as it took. Read more>>

Damodar Cordua | Relationship Coach, Life & Empowerment Coach, Yoga & Yoga Wisdom Teacher

I have been on a healing path for many years now. Through studying yoga, eastern wisdom, bodywork, wellness, self growth, relationship psychology, and coaching work I have been gifted the opportunity to bring many empowering tools, ideas, and wisdoms into my life. Read more>>

Michael OBrien | Owner/Publisher The Arizona Beehive Magazine

I label myself as “unemployable.” Not unemployed, but not available to corporations who would employ me. I have lived through corporate downsizing and layoffs and feeling like a liability rather than an asset. So I have dismissed myself from that professional lifestyle in favor of business ownership. Read more>>

April Petasek | Massage therapist, yoga/meditation/sound healing instructor, life coach, reiki master and somatic breathwork practitioner

My thought process behind starting my own business was why not? I’m talented and I’ve been doing massage for over 12 years. I know I’m great at what I do and my clients agree. So why wouldn’t I want to keep all of my earnings? I had been struggling in corporate massage. Typically resorts will only pay around 30-35 dollars per massage. Read more>>

Misty Cosper | Energy Coach & Heart-Centered Accountant specializing in Abundance Coaching

The reason I started my business was because there was a deep knowing in me that knew there was a different way. A different way to be in relationship to business, a different way to be in relationship to money, and a different way to be myself in business. Read more>>

Doug Floyd | Musician & Facilitator

Going back to high school, I’ve always had an interest in creating/building things, whether it was a music project or a craft or really any sort of project. I like all of the things about it, from the planning to the accounting to the writing to the managing. Every job I had was about understanding how to create and run a thing, so right after college, I immediately started mapping out things I was interested in. Read more>>

Kathy Kim | Creator of Kathy’s Kitchening

I was extremely lucky and starting my own business really found its way to me. Just like many people during the pandemic lockdown, my personal Instagram account was quickly dominated by posts of the food and baked goods I was making at home. Read more>>

Jose Chanez | Owner/operator

I opened redstacosmore with a thought process of getting my moms recipe and our culture out there for everyone to try and also to provide and help grow our community! I came from mexico as a baby raised in Tucson Az , Read more>>

Roger DiFiore | Professional photography instructor

My business / career was in the automotive field, repair and collision centers. Photography was an advanced interest mostly to photograph the automobiles I customized. This was during the 80’s at which time a freelance photographer that had been a student and assistant of Ansel Adams photographed me drag-racing and provided me some images. Read more>>

Vee Gonzales | Licensed Massage Therapist & Reiki Master-Teacher

When Vee graduated from massage school back in 2018, they knew they didn’t want to work for anyone else. We wanted to create a safe space for healing, bodywork, connection, and integration for our community. With all of our previous work/life experience, we just started with hopes others would be called to receive our services. Read more>>

Jacquelynn Buck | Photographer and Business Owner

I definitely didn’t grow up thinking I would ever own and run my own business, and when I look back at the stepping stones and building blocks that I had to assemble in order to get here, I also am not sure I could have planned it to happen the way it worked out. Read more>>

Amber Lohrman | Entrepreneur

I have always loved create things for gifts and for fun. Friends would tell me I need to sell them. My friend opened a store and asked me to be a vendor. From there, it has evolved into having my DIY creative studio. I have two small children and starting my own business was something I could work around their schedule and a place where I could go for time for myself. Read more>>

Christine Davanzo | Artist, Author, Explorer

When I started my business – a handmade line of greeting cards – in 1995, I had a vision of being a licensed artist with books and product lines, all aimed at inspiring others to create a meaningful, creative life. Read more>>

Joshua Bishop | Cook and Proprietor

Honestly, my father instilled the idea in me at an early age. Some time in high school he told me that I should look at being an entrepreneur. I think I liked the idea at that time because I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. He started a restaurant sometime later, and he taught me how to cook. Read more>>

Lindsay Conklin | Licensed Esthetician and Educator

I decided to finally start taking my own advice. I have been a licensed esthetician since 2007 and an esthetics educator since 2016. For years I’ve been guiding students to become successful beauty professionals all while thinking “one day I will have the guts to do that” I have worked in full service salons, spas, wax centers, beauty schools….Read more>>

Linsey Tweed | Old Fashioned Butcher Shop Owner

I was tired of watching the disgusting things that were happening at grocery stores. I always wanted to be my own boss. I always knew I could do it and went for it. The idea was to leave my kids something that would be a future for them. Not just a handout something they needed to work for. Read more>>

Amaël Lemaitre | Cartoon mascots illustrator

I was nineteen years old when I became an independent artist. The funny thing is, it all started by accident and I had pretty much no idea of what I was doing. At the beginning, I was two things : a design student taking a gap year because superior schools aren’t cheap, and a regional class motorcycle racer dreaming about MotoGP. Read more>>

Tucson Tome Gnome | Co-Founded by Mary Ellen Flynn, Jody Hardy, and Emily Walsh

Tucson Tome Gnome started as a small community book hiding and sharing initiative in 2021. The idea was hatched over dinner between the three of us (Emily Walsh, Jody Hardy, and Mary Ellen Flynn) in July of 2021. The pandemic was such a difficult time, and it was important for us to put our energy into something positive to help us get through the general craziness of 2021. Read more>>

Samantha Slater | Jewlery Designer, Maker and Teacher

I wanted control over my schedule, my salary and what resulted from my efforts. It felt as though I was working really hard to help other people reach their (business) dreams and goals and I wanted to see what would happen if I worked really hard to reach my own. Read more>>

Dr. Daniel Sluyk | Cosmetic and Family Dentist

I wanted to do things differently. I knew that by having my own practice, I could structure it in a way that set myself apart from other dentists. I spent the first couple years of my career working for other dentists. I had some good mentors and learned a lot. Read more>>

Marie Olson | Certified Professional Aromatherapist, Investigative Nutritionist™ and Clean Beauty and Skincare Educator

For as long as I can remember, I have had an entrepreneurial spirit. This may be because my parents have always owned their own business, or it may be because I’ve always been independent, or a combination of the two. Read more>>

Emily White | Creator & Founder

I always had this thought or feeling that I would grow up to “have my own business”. I would tell people this when they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I actually did not know what kind of business, that part changed almost weekly until I graduated college and took a job in New Mexico. Read more>>

Kylie Sweet | event stylist

I have always enjoyed bringing people’s party ideas to life. I have done all of my families birthday parties, baby showers, graduations, bridal showers, etc. So I finally decided to take a leap of faith and start my own business. Read more>>

Valerie Herrera | Illustrator & Small Business Owner

My main goal with FroginaSweater is to provide a sense of comfort with my art. In college, one of my favorite classes was “Illustration for Children’s Books,” and I remember my professor praising my drawings that were simple and cute over the more detailed, realistic pieces. I never knew there was a market for cute art until that class. Read more>>

Jennifer Thompson | Owner

My thought process behind starting Sweet Revenge Baking Co was definitely to share my passion in creating fabulous vegan and gluten free desserts and confections for all to enjoy. Providing the ability to eat something so delicious, you forget you even have a food sensitivity. Read more>>

Belle Hunt | Managing Partner/Owner/Operator

I was working at a local dispensary when it became recreationally legal to smoke and grow your own cannabis in Arizona. I had hundreds of people wanting to grow their own but had no idea how to get started, let alone where to find what they would need to have a successful growing experience. Read more>>

Holly Wall, Ed.S | Creator and founder of Broccoli Boxes

September 2020, I was burned out. I was a former classroom teacher turned work from home mom, helping my husband start his dream business and had begun homeschooling my preschooler due to Life in 2020. Read more>>

Kelly Stevens | Photographer

My business stemmed from following my passions outside of my original career. I enjoyed learning everything I could about photography and trying all different aspects within the field. Read more>>

Alyce Bender | Photographer

Being an Air Force veteran and married to a spouse who is still active duty, I was looking for a career that could move around as much as we did instead of jumping from job to job every 2-3 years as the military moved us. When considering what I might be able to do, Read more>>

DIane Palacios, LPC LISAC, PMH-C | Owner & Psycotherapist of Palacios Crew Counseling LLC

The thought process of starting my own business was multifacited and my family life was a major decision making factor behind starting my own busienss. My husband had open heart surgury unexpectedly in June of 2020, right when COVID was ramping up. Our children were and are young, in Elementary School and I realized that my family needed more of me. Read more>>

Diane Awdeh | Artist & Painter

I have been painting and drawing ever since I was in kindergarten. Art has accompanied every phase in my life, in all the changes I’ve been through and everything that I experienced. Throughout my career and the last couple of years, I have constantly had doubts about keeping Art as a passion and something that I enjoy doing in my free time, Read more>>

Miles/Kayla Barth/Galloway | Miles Barth & Kayla Galloway – Co-Founders

There were two reasons we started Primal Provisions. The first was a need for a healthy snack food that doesn’t come with a compromise with the addition of added chemicals or unhealthy nutrients. The second is Tiger Nuts! This ancient SuperSnack made up 80% of our ancestors diets and in modern times they’re hardly seen anywhere! Read more>>

Yovanna Sanchez | Owner of Desert Treat, LLC

Our thought process with Desert Treat was a combination of things. It mostly started off by creating products for our daily lives that would be beneficial health wise as well as cost efficient. It started with creating recipes for our own dogs, we have a senior dog named Thunder and a two year old named Jack. Read more>>

Kate Lavut | Playwright, graphic novelist and publisher

I started my own business by accident. I was contributing bi-weekly comics to a local distro, who copied them and dropped them around the neighborhood. This was a free organization, and there’s nothing I love more then something that is free. Read more>>