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.

Steve Limones | Photographer & Actor

I’m an actor by trade. After graduating with my MFA in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University in 2008, I set off and began working professionally, both domestically and abroad. While I worked solely as an actor, photography was a secret passion of mine. Prior to grad school, I had some extra time on my hands, so I took an Intro to Photography course at a local community college where I learned the basics of photography and film development. The passion furthered as I tinkered with my camera, and I began to assess photos around me (including fellow actors’ headshots). I would think to myself, “I can take pictures like that”. So, for practice, I would reach out to my actor friends who needed headshots and asked if they would let me take their pictures for free. They would give me a little money for my time, and eventually, I started to see how this small side hustle could potentially help supplement my income a bit. Read more>>

Josh McCorkle | Crazy Business Owner

Starting a business from scratch is always something that interested me. Going to college for creative writing, I have long been interested in the creative process. Taking a blank sheet of paper, or in this case an old building, and turning it into something beautiful. is extremely rewarding. Read more>>

Astra Kelly | Songwriter, Musicpreneur & Spiritualist

I think a lot of artists struggle with embracing the entrepreneurial spirit. Either your all in or you’re doing your art on the side while working for someone else to pay the bills. I’ve always thought of my musical craft as a business and knew I had to find a way to be able to be able to thrive financially. Once I took that leap of faith in myself and made the commitment to build a career rather than nurture a hobby, it all became that much more rewarding and fulfilling. Read more>>

Joshua Arky | Freelance Opera Singer

LA CENA began not as a business, but a recital concept. We were discussing one day how we could combine our passions for singing and cooking, and the idea we landed on was, rather simply, a recital that combined singing and cooking. Over the course of a few months, we developed a recital program that featured music ranging in style from German Lieder to Disney classics and centering around a few food-related themes: natural beauty, hosting a dinner party, cooking a feast, eating, and the impacts of our eating choices. We paired these songs with a multi-course dinner, which we prepared and served to our guests throughout the recital while performing the music. These live LA CENA recitals were a lot of fun, but became impossible to produce in its original form once the pandemic set in. When the pandemic began, we moved to creating digital content, and that’s where we are today. We were driven to continue creating during a time when our main industry — the world of professional opera — was shutting down. Read more>>

Haydee Yanez | Graphic Designer & Illustrator

When I initially started my owned business over ten years ago its was an organic idea that started from my colleague thesis. When I studied Graphic Design in Tijuana as a thesis I develop a coloring book of Mexican icons for kindergartens. Looking for relatable Mexican icons to introduce to young kids was the idea that spark the business. But it was not until I immigrated to the United States was that was fully develop into a business. It was my longing for my Mexico, missing familiar faces and being nostalgic for the customs and traditions that push me thru to take a second look to my coloring book and start developing more products because I knew in my heart that there’s was a public hungry for representation and the place they long for. Read more>>

Shelly Anderson | Wedding Photographer

The process behind starting my own business was based on the fact that I had been working for other wedding photographers for a few years (editing, emailing, designing albums, uploading galleries, associate shooting, marketing, etc.) and had an “ah-ha!” moment that I was running others people’s businesses, and could be running my own instead! I do think that working for a few other people and getting to know the ins and outs of the wedding photography world (especially behind the scenes) has been key to my success. It helped me build not only knowledge, but confidence to go off on my own. Read more>>

Bill Harris

Everyone wanted to help me with the money. I found that was a mistake when I did not get paid. Read more>>

Amy Mitchell | Executive Director

A few years ago, there was a little girl who came to one of our exhibits (before starting the Museum of Make Believe we travelled our exhibits across the country to other museums). It was her first time at an art exhibit and her parents read her all of the original stories that went with the variety of artwork shown (our exhibits consist of miniatures, paintings, music, short films, and more). Later, her parents told us that she started making up her own stories about the unique characters she read about and saw at the show. It was reactions like these that inspired us to create a permanent museum. In 2019, we officially created our non-profit and started the process to raise the funds for a permanent space…a place like no other, a place for talented people of all kinds to join together and create stories that will entertain the community for years to come. We are dedicated to preserving the timeless art of storytelling within a uniquely creative environment unlike anything guests have seen before. Read more>>

Chakra Doctor | Entrepreneur

BIG DREAMS! I Have Big Independent Dreams That Working For Someone Else Won’t Accomplish. If You Want Your Dreams To Come True, You Have To MAKE Them Come True. The Bigger The Dream The Greater The Rewards But Also The Harder The Tasks. Read more>>