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.

Emily Lane | Fiber Artist & Photographer

Finding the work life balance can be challenging – especially when you’re trying to grow a small business while also working a full time job. At first, I was just doing it for fun in my spare time and I would just sell a piece here or there so it was easy to manage. But as the business grows and more and more orders come in – it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Making a schedule and planning out both work and personal things can help to find that balance. At the end of the day, I could always be doing more to grow my business, but I think it’s important to remember that you will be your most productive and enjoy your work more when you take the time to take care of yourself and feed your soul doing other things that make you happy. Whether it’s waking up early to take a hike with my dogs or scheduling an afternoon off to spend time with a friend. Giving myself time to relax and enjoy all the other great things in my life, gives me more energy and drive to work hard towards creating a bigger and better business for myself in the future. Read more>>

Desiree Lawn | FDN-P & NES Health Bioenergetic Practitioner

I wanted to create a business that focuses in a positive way on what people with autoimmune or mystery illness want…which is to be free of autoimmune and mystery symptoms, and to be able to do the things they love again. People just want to feel better, and get their lives back. They want to be in control of their health, and explore root causes so I created Autoimmune Health Freedom. Read more>>

Peggy Smedley | Author, Sustainable in a Circular Economy, Founder and president of Specialty Publishing Media (SPM); Editorial director of Constructech and Connected World; and host of The Peggy Smedley Show

I remember being told as a young child I didn’t have what it took to be a writer. Perhaps that was my motivation. There is a power you are given and there is the power you take. To start my business, I knew it was all about the power I needed to assist the needs of the manufacturing community. I recognized that I needed to believe in myself and that I needed to work harder than everybody else just to get it done. And I did. I never stopped learning and I continue to pass on the knowledge I receive every day, in everything I write or hear. That’s the love of writing. That’s the collaboration. That’s the mentoring. That’s the technology foundation I keep building. That’s my passion. Read more>>

Marni Battista | CEO Institute for Living Courageously and Founder of Dating With Dignity

The institute for Living Courageously takes professional, successful women through a duplicatable, repeatable process that reveals the root cause of what is keeping them single and stuck, heal it using a research based, proprietary and holistic system that’s cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and somatic, and help to them attract a quality man for a fulfilling relationship and a meaningful life that’s in alignment with the authentic self. What sets us apart from other personal development organizations is that we are research based in that the processes we use to create change for our clients is based on the latest research in neurobiology and cognitive psychology. In addition, we have a very in-depth approach to ensuring our client success so that on a regular basis we are tracking to make sure they hit the milestones that they need to achieve so that they can have the results and outcomes they desire. We are very proud of our results. Read more>>

Ruth Govea | Licensed Esthetician and Certified Massage TherapistShelby Rios & Emma Teasdale | Co-Creative Directors

I had previously worked for other wellness and beauty companies and was dissatisfied with the way they treated clients. Most of them operate on high volume traffic. In and out every hour, on the hour. 5 minutes at the beginning to prepare for your service and 5 minutes at the end to put yourself back together and out the door you go. When I went into business for myself I decided I wanted to focus on the client’s overall relaxation experience. Quality over quantity. One of my priorities is to allow ample time in between clients to not only provide the service the client has come in for, but to also answer any and all questions they have. I like to visualize what my clients see and feel as they walk into my treatment room. Is the space clean? Is the music at just the right level? Is the treatment table comfortable and perfectly heated on a cold day, or the AC at a refreshing temperature on a hot day? I believe the right ambiance can take your relaxation experience to the next level. Read more>>

Shelby Rios & Emma Teasdale | Co-Creative Directors

Elsewhere was born out of a time where the future of art and experience seemed uncertain. It was right after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we both missed the things we loved the most: self expression and connecting through the arts. We orginally met through bonding for this appreciation of them during our time at SDSU. Therefore, we decided to create a platform where we could strive in continuing to build collaborative communities that unveil the growing elements of art, fashion, music and more. Our mission and vision through Elsewhere Magazine is to provide diverse and unique content creating a vision for the future. Read more>>

Nasha & Kyle Dequillettes | Retail Design Center

We opened in the worsest economy 2010 , no where to go but UP. Read more>>

Dissaya Theerakaosal | Founder

Starting from not knowing anything was the biggest challenge. There are 3 big parts; First, what drove me to start Shroomeats was the realization to do something important and something that could make an impact I cared about, which was the food we eat. I was lucky to be able to travel and see the World and could really see how nature has changed and died from climate change, and that was when it inspired me to do something bigger than myself. Second, the practical part was really to put together how what I wanted to do would make a difference, how mushrooms could make an impact on the environmental level from substituting meat, how it would affect the healthy of people and the planet overall. And then, the most practical part was to break down the process and go step-by-step how I could execute my plan that included lots asking around, lots of researching, lots of making phone calls, lots of listening, and gathering as much information and know-hows as possible. Read more>>

Miranda Aponte | Founder | Herbalist

I started Mariposa last year after realizing that the knowledge I’d gained over the last several years working in the wellness and natural skincare industry and on my own personal healing journey could help others. I launched Mariposa a month after the passing of my grandmother who was a medicine woman. Written in her obituary it said, “She had a healing touch. There wasn’t an ailment we met that she did not have a remedy for.” She had a little aloe garden in her backyard. They were twisted and so large you could even see them growing through her kitchen window almost as if there were trying to get closer to her. When I was living at an ecological center in Ibiza, my relationship to the same plant grew as they had an aloe farm there. There, I learned about living in stewardship to the land. It’s my belief that when we heal ourselves, we heal the land. Through Mariposa I personally share plant medicine, spotlight healers and their modalities with respect to the ancient wisdoms and cultures they are rooted in. Read more>>

Heidi Gantwerk | Consultant: Stakeholder and Public Engagement, Facilitation and Strategic Dialogue

I had been a with a small firm for more than ten years doing fascinating work in civic engagement around the country. It was a wonderful opportunity, and towards the end I was heading up some of our most significant projects, from initial proposal through final report, but still reporting to the President of the firm. I was contemplating a move to a senior management position at a larger organization when our company president and majority owner suddenly had to step away from all his responsibilities. It fell to me to complete all our ongoing projects, and I had the choice at that point to take up leadership of that firm or branch out on my own. I had been on the road for years, all while having three young boys, working on public policy and planning issues all over North America, and made the decision to stay put in San Diego, apply my skills in my own city and branch out on my own. I liked working directly with clients to meet their very specific needs, I loved the variety and challenge of the projects that came my way, and I loved the flexibility it offered me while my kids were still in school. Read more>>

Jeff Fasano | Professional Photographer

The Thought Process behind beginning my photography career was that I was unhappy in the corporate world in which I was working. I was not happy with my life and knew I needed to move on and create an entirely new one. I found my passion for photography in my early 30’s and created a [plan and path for my self to eventually leave the corporate world and create an entirely new life. I was one with that part ofmy life and at 40 quit my job and the rest is history…still re-creating itself. Read more>>

Mel Gill | Founder and CEO of Steamy Lit

The idea for The Steam Box stemmed from my passion for reading (romance being my favorite genre) and constant conversation within the book community about women being uncomfortable discussing their sexuality or even speaking about the steamy scenes in books. As I dived into romance I realized I had to go out of my way to seek out romance authors that are women of color. I realized I had to look a little harder than what’s displayed at Barnes & Noble to find women who liked like me or my friends and family. I also wanted to read about love stories that reflect the world, and there’s more than just hetero romance. I decided then that I wanted to. uplift these stories and that’s a big part of my box. Read more>>

Julia Montanez | Design Curator, and Co-Founder of The Design Release

I had been working for Architectural Digest Design Show, a large trade event for emerging design and trade furniture, in NYC from 2013 to 2020. In order to scout new talent for my section of the show, which focused on emerging design, I began traveling to other trade shows around the world. Now, most large furniture trade shows function as an anchor for even larger city-wide design weeks which feature tons of events. While traveling to see these design weeks, I saw that the best exhibitions, and the coolest talent, were being featured in lesser-known, small exhibitions. I wondered how I could create a job for myself that focused on my favorite aspects of working for AD Show: international travel, discovering emerging and collectible design, and organizing it extremely well. I met my co-founder Leo Lei, and we decided to combine forces and create The Design Release, a one-stop website for discovering design exhibitions around the world, and RSVPing and routing from event to event during larger city-wide festivals. Read more>>