The first step to starting a business is deciding to start a business. They say the first step is the hardest and in our experience this is especially true when it comes to starting a business. Getting over the mental roadblocks can be tough, often harder to overcome than the challenges you’ll face once you actually start the business. Fellow entrepreneurs share their thoughts below.

Camila Badaro | Food Photographer

Photography was always a big passion for me. It started when I was little, my dad had a few cameras (they seemed super high tech back then). He was patient to teach me and let me play around taking photos of the family, specially on our trips to the farm or camping. Back home, we got to see them on the projector. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Then I moved to San Diego, started taking some general education classes in College. I remembered picking up a gorgeous photography book at the library and was mesmerized by it. So I said, that’s what I want to do. When I talked to the school councilor he convinced me to go for Graphic Design instead of Photography. I am grateful for that experience but Photography was still in my heart. So after I got married and had my first child, I was ready to go back to work and follow my real passion. Since I was always taking a million pictures of my son. Read more>>

KYLENE REDMOND | Ceo & Future Therapist

I started Blackdiabetic Girl as a way to show representation in the Diabetic Community. Black and People of Color are under represented and I wanted a way to show people that we are here and apart of this community as well. We also needed more Black Women Businesses in the DOC and in general. Read more>>

Raj Mutti | Owner and Chef

Starting your own business can be very rewarding. But it’s definitely also challenging as well. When I made the transition from being a server and cook in the restaurant to an entrepreneur, I definitely found my new task to be hard. In fact, I always say it’s much harder than just working in a restaurant than to be an owner of a restaurant. It for sure requires commitment and dedication, resources, and sacrifice. Read more>>

Brianna Arroyo | Charcuterie Boards

I started Cheese & Honey in August of 2020. In July of 2020, I made a charcuterie board every day for one week. I realized that I loved making these boards and how fun it was fun to put together different foods that paired so well together and I loved that I got to decide what the end result of the board was. After I went on my strict charcuterie board-only diet, I constantly joked around about starting my own charcuterie business and everyone around me told me to go for it. I kept putting it off until one night at around 2 A.M., I finally created my Instagram account. I had to block all of the negative thoughts- the constant “I will never reach more than 100 followers” and “Nobody will order from me”, and I had to just take a leap for it. It was one of the first things that I truly felt passionate about doing, and I still love doing it to this day. Read more>>

Kierney Loucas | Founder, Filakia

I originally didn’t intend to start a business. Filakia started out as a personal project to foster positivity and connection during quarantine. In July 2020, I came upon some old stationery in a box. I had been feeling incredibly disconnected from most of the people I love, so I decided to start writing snail mail to them. I opened it up to my friends on social media – anyone who wanted a handwritten card just had to send me their address. Within a few weeks I had received an overwhelmingly encouraging response to this project, so I decided to turn it into a business! I tied in another pandemic project – hand embroidery – and Filakia was born in September 2020. Read more>>

Molly Mackenzie | Apparel Designer & Owner

I’ve wanted to launch my own business for as long as I can remember and one day I simply heard an 80’s song playing by Don Henley, called “The Boys of Summer”. My mind immediately jumped to the idea of Four Boys of Summer inspired by my four boys, the transformative loss of my dad, and life in beautiful San Diego. I had an incredible sense of excitement and clarity, designed a logo and envisioned the entire 4BOS concept within a few days. I knew I wanted to start a clothing brand but decided to start blogging and posting photos on Instagram to start. It was really scary to suddenly throw myself out there but my intuition said, “Go for it!” because the fear of regret was much larger than failure at this point. When the pandemic started in in 2020, I decided it was a great time to officially file an LLC, design my clothing line and launch an online clothing brand offering premium (extra cozy) apparel inspired by life in Southern California. Read more>>

Lisa Locklin | Artist

I’ve been drawn to creating my whole life. I have painted since I was a small child. While mothering three young children I’d paint in my free time and year by year I spent more time painting. One day I began sharing my work, friends and family began asking me to share my work. It became a vocation quite organically. Read more>>

Josh Christy | US Navy EOD & Distiller

All the best things in life take time. This is especially true when it comes to whiskey. I have always tossed around the idea of opening a bar one day when I retire from the Navy. I have also dabbled in the theory of distilling spirits for the last 15 years or so. My intention is for Deaf Shepherd Distilling Co. to be the combination of the dream of owning a bar and the practical application of many years of research to supply said bar with the finest spirits I can create. While the bar may still be years in the future, I decided there was no time like the present to start making, barreling, and aging a variety of spirits. Focusing on those spirits with mandated ages written into their standard of identity (straight bourbon, whiskey, brandy, etc) allows me to use time to my advantage while I’m still active duty. Read more>>

Erica Taylor | Owner of Lip Mermaid Cosmetics & Entrepreneur

My thought process was I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I love the freedom aspect of it while also allowing yourself to make your own stamp on the world. I want to leave my own legacy while having financial freedom. My product was the combination of my two passions of events and cosmetics! My muse was from music festival attendees, whenever I would go to music festivals I would see people wearing all this gorgeous glitter on their faces and bodies but anytime I attempted to put glitter on it would explode and make a huge mess in my apartment so I wanted to figure out a way to condense it and allow for on the go application without the mess of a glitter explosion! That is how LMC was born. Read more>>

Abdallah Seoud | Photographer & Videographer

Whenever I started a new business or thought about starting one, the themes were always aligned with my passions and skills. I believe that projects that are linked to our passions are much more likely to prosper. Read more>>

Galen Gibson-Cornell | Visual Artist. I Explore Cities, I Collect Street Posters, and I Weave Them Back Together.

My dream has always been to make a living creating my own artwork. No boss- just me doing my thing, and able to live a comfortable, modest, and exciting life because of it. I didn’t think it was possible even coming out of graduate school, which was very discouraging. But thanks to a fortunate series of events and a great and supportive community of artists, friends, and fellow hustlers out here in Philadelphia, I began to see a path towards sustainability as an artist, and what you can visualize you can do. Read more>>

Erin White | Founder and Owner of White Stone Collection

Since I can remember, I always wanted to start my own business, I came from a family of entrepreneurs. Literally, every one of them work for themselves. There was always a deep appeal to being my own boss and being able to build something from scratch but had no idea what it was I wanted to do. I entered the corporate world directly out of high school through my college years and continued to climb the ladder within hospitality. One of my greatest passions is traveling so it fit me perfectly during that time in my life. I found my niche in the Spa and Wellness world and loved it. Managing spas was like running your own business. I was able to strengthen the skills and knowledge needed and deepen my business acumen. In 2017, our first child was born and when the time came to go back to work, everything I once knew and focused on changed for me. Read more>>

Armand King | COO and Co-Founder of Paving Great Futures

My thought process was “How do I create something that can help save lives and end the cycle of death and incarceration that has plagued the communities like mine for my entire lifetime?”. Read more>>

Emily Binkowski | Founder & Wordsmith

I cannot tell you how many weddings I’ve been apart of where the anxiety of putting together a speech or toast overshadowed the beauty of the day itself. Public speaking is a fear that many people share, but when there’s an added pressure to really perform knowing it’s in the honor of celebrating someone you love, we’re dealing with a whole different ball game. Luckily, words are my passion, and writing has always been something I felt like I *got* to do, rather than *had* to do. I started Good Scribes Only to help create keepsakes in the form of poems, toasts, and speeches, to help those who felt so much, but struggled with putting those feelings into words. Just because you struggle putting pen to paper to commemorate an event or an emotion does *not* mean those emotions aren’t there. Read more>>