Readers often email us asking us for advice about new businesses they are thinking about starting and we often find that many of them don’t have a framework for thinking about a more fundamental question: why should or shouldn’t you start a business?

Below, you’ll find how successful entrepreneurs from across the city thought about this very question when they were considering whether to start their businesses.

Kerry Spark | President/Founder

The idea of Cinderella’s Attic originated when I witnessed so many young women not having the same opportunities that I did as a young girl. By beginning Cinderella’s Attic and focusing on the organization’s mission, “Building Confidence and Self-Esteem One Girl at a Time”, we assisted girls with the ability to attend their high school prom looking and feeling their best by providing them free formal wear for their big event. As time has progressed, fifteen years later, we have now added an annual Scholarship Fund to our programs and we are very much looking forward to seeing the success in that as well. Read more>>

Sarah Roberson | Artist

I think for me turning my art into a business was a no brainer. I had a strong belief that you should make a living doing what you love and invest in yourself. So when I started creating artwork I knew that was it. When you find something you’re passion about you want to do it all the time so having it make you money is key. I also just went into it knowing it was going to be years of learning and failing so I prepared myself for that. I think that’s important for new Artists to understand. Read more>>

Alyssa Gaspar | Photographer

My thought process behind starting my own business and was what can I do to expand my horizons and my passion for photography? Being is full time student, it was hard to work a full time job so I thought this was a way for me to earn some extra money to help make ends meet while showcasing my love of photography. Read more>>

Mark Kohlenberg | Coffee Roaster

For a long season I was on a hunt for a simple, but good, cup of coffee. I never was a Starbucks fan and I was just looking for something consistent and tasty. At least twice a week I would try new coffee shops searching for this thing that shouldn’t have been so hard to attain. While of course I found good cups of coffee, eventually, I realized this wasn’t sustainable. My brother in law had actually tried his hand at roasting coffee beans with a friend of his up in San Luis Obispo. When he moved to San Diego we knew this was our shot. We decided to see if we could roast our own beans and create that perfect cup of coffee- and to us, this is it. Lance, my brother in law, is a Veteran who has always wanted to create a business that supports and honors those who have served and we feel that Canteen Coffee has done exactly that. While we are still new to the coffee business, we have been able to provide consumers with coffee that is equitably sourced without sacrificing the taste. We are a coffee company for people who love coffee. Read more>>

Darby Velazquez | Elopement Photographer

I think my thought process has evolved a lot regarding my business. It started as a way for me to really feel connected to people and capturing them in their element. I think it has evolved to creating a fun and stress free experience and environment for couples to be themselves and vulnerable to be able to capture the intimacy in their relationship. So now I am revamping my business to create real, raw, and intimate photos of my clients. I want creative expression to be able to lead my couples through this experience and trust to be able to push people to get weird and to have some fun while doing it. Read more>>

Laura Rose | San Diego Maternity Photographer

Starting my own business has been instilled in me. I have never been one to want to do what everyone else was doing. I have always wanted to be my own boss. My Photography Business that I have now ids my 3rd Business adventure. It came actually after a back injury. Read more>>

Anastasia English | Artist and Yoga Instructor. I am Always Creating, Exploring Outside and in My Studio. I Use Calm Colors and Symbols that Represent Nature’s Organic lines with Brush Strokes. Creating my Art Has Become a Process of Self Discovery with Texture, Rhythm and Flow.

I started my art account and website in 2018 while I was an art major in college. Mostly to share my work I was creating, then I got messages about purchasing and commissions. I soon used this as a side hustle to buy more art supplies. I think the key to starting your own business, is finding your passion and making that into a career. I’ve fallen in love with the hard work that it takes to develop my dream. Read more>>

Sierra Marin | Musician and Music Producer

After receiving my degree from UC Santa Barbara in Psychology, I had a deep realization, and one that I could not ignore. It was not in my ability to spend my life working for someone else or working on something that I didn’t believe in. After attempting to begin full time work and realizing that this among other things in my life at the time we’re not in alignment with my truth, I decided to hit the road. I left home with my backpack, my guitar and $100, and I didn’t end up returning for about a year. I travelled all over the west coast to amazing festivals, hot springs, towns, and national forests and met many amazing unique humans along the way. My entire journey was fueled by playing my guitar everywhere I went. At every farmers market, town square, you name it. I lived for that year entirely off of the tips accumulated by singing my heart out, which had always been my deepest dream that I had written off as a hobby. The feeling of fullfillment and Freedom was unlike any other. Read more>>

Olivia | Jewelry Designer and Artisan

I wanted to make beautiful engagement rings available at affordable prices without compromise. To feature gemstones in their untouched and natural beauty. Ethically sourced with no harm to the earth. To show that you can have a beautiful ring without overspending. Allowing more freedom to focus on what’s most important and celebrating the love behind the ring. Read more>>

Alicia Wallace | Co-Founding Partner & COO

I never dreamed of starting my own business! After college I went on a trip to Sierra Leone on a medical mission to help a group of volunteers check patients into a clinic. It was there that I saw capable and hopeful men and women eager to find ways to provide for their families. I saw poverty that I couldn’t forget. I came back to the US and knew I couldn’t unlearn what I saw and I had to do something. I started researching organizations and reading books to learn about the best way to help. I didn’t want to provide just a “white man savior” solution, making myself feel good about the help I was providing but not doing anything empowering and lasting. I interviewed people, studied and critically thought about what I could do and what was needed. I ended up going to a fundraiser for a non profit, where I met my future business partner Greg. Read more>>

Denise Luce | Editor-in-Chief

After spending a good amount of time researching publication options, getting published and also getting rejected, I had a spark of inspiration to offer an inclusive, diverse platform for artists at any stage of their career. I instantly knew that I wanted to bring Lauren on board, because we’re both creatives with over 12 years experience in the photography, graphic design, and make-up industry. Lauren thought it was a fantastic idea, so we started making plans to bring our vision to life. Read more>>

Kathleen Lisson | Board Certified Massage Therapist and Certified Lymphedema Therapist

The first massage therapy class I ever took was a business class. I crunched the numbers and saw that the only way I could make massage into a career vs. a job was to open up my own business. Chain massage businesses emphasize that being an employee means you don’t have to advertise or book clients, just come in and do the work. I knew that the important part of owning my own business would mean finding a successful niche (why do clients need to come to you vs. any other massage therapist?), marketing effectively (how will clients and plastic surgeons find you?) and providing good customer service (why will clients rebook and refer their friends?). Read more>>