Deciding to start a business is an unusual decision. It’s often considered irrational and yet for many it’s the best decision they’ve ever made. So we asked folks to think back to when they were starting their businesses and to tell us about their decision making process.

Sarah Vendramini | Wedding Photographer

I have always been in love with photography, and I thought that if I ever did that for work I’d photograph fashion portraits. After buying a better camera I second shot my first wedding and I fell in love with it! So let’s say that it took me years to finally think: WOW I can turn my passion into a full-time job. Read more>>

Hayleigh Hayhurst | Podcast Producer & Coach

I graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in December 2019. I knew I didn’t want to jump right into a corporate 9-5 but was not sure what to do, so I started the process to join the Peace Corps. After a through interview process, I was accepted and was set to leave for Cambodia in August 2020…. and we all know how this story plays out! The pandemic begun. Read more>>

Christopher Sunnen, Esq. | San Diego Divorce & Family Law Lawyer

I have always enjoyed working with people and being of service to those around me and in my community. Lawyers are always given a bad reputation and I wanted to make a positive impact in the legal industry and be able to advocate for others and educate them by providing them with not only sound legal advice but also to help restore hope and help people understand that they can have a better future despite the obstacles they are facing. Read more>>

Mitzi Salgado | Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Cultura Media

I started The Cultura Media out of a need to have more bilingual resources available for Latino and immigrant communities. I remember growing up, and still to this day, I always had to translate everything for my parents, from translating menus at restaurants to translating at a doctor’s appointment, there were never enough Spanish resources available for them. Read more>>

Raeka Morar | Founder & CEO

I noticed a lack of products that provide some sort of connection to the Indian culture. There was nothing out there that had ingredients that I was familiar with growing up in a South Asian household. Growing up, I had skin issues where instead of listening to my mother, I spent so much on buying products that didn’t work, or would cause other skin issues yet I knew from experience that the ingredients I grew up using worked and it was frustrating. That really motivated me to create a line that could provide ingredients suited for everyone but the South Asian women. Read more>>

Derek Soro | Gym owner, personal trainer and boxing coach

I wanted to make a change in the world. I wanted to be a leader and show people it was easier and more beneficial for people to work together and grow as a community. I believe by making a successful business and still give back to helping others achieve success will allow others to connect and grow together. The world we live in is negative and I believe bringing a positive environment can change many lives. Read more>>

Chantell Brooks | Event planner & Balloon stylist

This is 1 of my favorite questions people ask me and I love to tell my story. While pricing decorative options for my brothers baby shower, I was amazed at the cost being so high ! At that point I decided to try decorating myself. I went online, looked at some YouTube videos and said, ” I can do this !” It was at that time I began to invest in myself and started my on business. I haven’t looked back since, I love what I do. Read more>>

 Jen Juliano | Handmade Toy Maker & Early Childhood Specialist

My handmade business actually started out as a hobby. I enjoyed watching DIY craft tutorials on YouTube and decided to try designing a stuffed toy. I loved the process of it and how it turned out. Read more>>

Tralain Roslyn | Singer SongWriter/ Musician

Well, I’ve been musical for as far back as I can remember, so there has always been that musical side of me however, when I decided to make the conscience decision to make my own business out of my musical talent it was simply out of juggling life as a single momma of two and struggling to also make ends meet. Read more>>

Noelle Ibrahim | Public Relations Consultant & Real Estate Professional

I’ve started two of my own businesses, and the mindset with both was ultimately to take control of my work/life balance and to have the freedom to work with the clients and on the projects I wanted to, when I wanted to. For me, autonomy is crucial. Read more>>

Anya Yarranton | Partner & COO of The Nutty Duo

I have always known that I want to have a business of my own. The vision of working for myself and for a company that I whole-heartedly believe in has always been a goal of mine. The idea of starting a granola company was one of those ideas that literally just popped into my head and I instantly knew I was on to something. Read more>>

Aesha Tahir | Human Movement Specialist & Posture Coach

My entrepreneurial journey has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. It started eight years ago on one of my vacations. In August of 2014, I walked into a room filled with 30 people on the bike, riding to jamming rock tunes and sweating buckets. I hopped on the saddle of a Spinner bike and started riding with the crowd. I was part of this tribe in ten minutes, pedaling to the beat and getting lost in the experience. That ride was the stimulus I needed to follow my passion as a fitness enthusiast. Read more>>

Monica Echeverri | Artist

It’s crazy even reading this question because I never thought I would start my own business! I’ve been painting for over ten years and have always treasured it as a hobby. I didn’t consider selling until a little over a year ago. I was getting my masters in nutrition during the pandemic and working part-time but I wanted to do something different and fun to expand my creative side. So I started researching nearby art fairs and that’s when I found a little outdoor urban art market in Ventura County that runs once a month. Read more>>

Apryle Dalmacio | Musician

Music has always been who I am, so I knew since I was young that I wanted to pursue music as a career. From busking on the streets to big corporate events, I’ve learned the ins-and-outs of the live entertainment industry. Over 15 years, my experiences have helped me shape, create and brand myself as a business. I wouldn’t say that I had much of a thought process. I didn’t sit down and think to myself, “This is how I’m going to do it” and brainstorm. I pursued a passion, believed in myself, never gave up, and through trial and error it grew and blossomed. Read more>>

Chris Straley | Commercial Photographer + Director

I honestly never really thought about being a photographer when I was young. I grew up surfing, skateboarding and playing music and taking photos become my outlet that allowed me to do this with my best friends. When I was about 20 years old I really dove into the world of photography to allow me to travel the world and document surf culture I had grown up in. Photography was just my outlet to help later pursue an actual career in art. Read more>>

Stephanie Maine | F45 Training Franchise Owner

Honestly, my career as a pro-am snowboarder had me constantly trying to find ways to spend less time at work earning maximum dollar amount, so that I could spend as much time on the mountain as possible. Read more>>

Sally Kelly | Entrepreneur

I have forever longed to own my own business. Read more>>

Roy Belzer | Personal Trainer and Content Creator

Starting my own business was never really a question for me. I spent years working in and for gyms, but almost all of the time I spent doing so I was working for companies that were more concerned with making a dollar instead of helping people. My job as a Health Coach and Personal Trainer is to change lives, not make money for a gym. Running my own business gives me the freedom and autonomy to help people in my own way and focus on the needs of the client rather than sales. Read more>>

Kelly Hamilton | Food Blogger & Photographer

My business actually started off as more of a hobby than an actual business- I was a college lacrosse coach at the time COVID hit and our season was canceled, leaving me with nothing but time on my hands. Read more>>

Ty Nolte | Makeup Artist

I’ve always had an eye for fashion and beauty. When I first started doing makeup, I was applying it to myself. Creating looks no one would dare wear out the house. But it made me feel powerful in my own skin! I had this confidence that no one could take away from me. Read more>>

Caleb Claeys | Makeup Artist

My thought process behind starting my own business was simple, deciding to do what I love doing – makeup. For years I worked for corporations, starting at 9 and ending at 5. I always had a huge passion for makeup and would do it on the side for friends and family. Everyone kept telling me that I had a natural gift and needed to follow it. Read more>>

Dr. Shaz Zamanian | Creator of Stretch Dr.

I decided to open Stretch Dr. because I saw the traditional medical model was missing something. After working in the medical field my entire adult life and getting my doctorate I saw the same reoccurring overuse injuries. I wanted to come up with something unique and creative in preventative care. For example, if you have a back pain your options are the MD, Chiropractors, physical therapist, acupuncture or massage. I want Stretch Dr. to be the other option. Read more>>

Vanessa Marie and Carlee Spath Founders of The Switch Suites | San Diego Luxury Spa

Carlee and I first met at our previous job together. It was there that we were cultured into the elements of luxury with a high-end level of service provided for clients. However, as much as we loved what we were offering, we wanted to create something more inclusive and inviting for every type of client. Read more>>