Are you thinking about starting a business? If so, we think you’ll enjoy reading about how these seasoned entrepreneurs thought about the question when they were in your shoes.

Saida Avdic | Makeup Artist

I’ve always had a love for makeup, ever since I was a little girl. I enjoyed doing my friends and families makeup throughout the years. I was nervous to start my business but they encouraged me. Read more>>

Jenna Wood | Digital Creator

It was during my last year at Cal State San Marcos that I realized my career choice was deviating from what seemed normal. While many of my fellow students were lining up internships or entry-level positions, I was experiencing a paradigm shift. There I was trying to map out my future, searching out potential job opportunities at local companies, but I knew deep down that I needed to take a different path. Read more>>

Halia | Digital illustrator

Well in my life i only had 2 “office” jobs, the rest of them had been very random and fun, i knew i wanted a very flexible job. I didn’t find it so i created my own. It keeps me very alive, not knowing what will happen tomorrow or what type of new problems I’ll have to fix, the freedom of taking my work wherever i am it’s priceless, i can travel, explore and keep working! Read more>>

Oseas Villatoro | Fashion Designer

Oseas Villatoro is a woman’s & men’s ready to wear designer. He combines different fabrics with unique patterns and draping techniques to create young, chic, and edgy ready to wear designs. Inspired by his artful interpretation of emotional and romantic music, he integrates different styles of music into his designs. Some even say he always tells a story with his runway shows, couture, ready to wear and swim wear. Read more>>

Ashley Personeni | Owner of Live Aloha Designs

At the age of 19, I started my career in the footwear industry. After many years dedicated to constant traveling, meetings, and landing accounts, I was able to climb my way to the top of the corporate ladder quite quickly – and while being a boss babe at the height of my carrier, I was quite unhappy. Read more>>

Mari P | Yoga Instructor & Retreat Creator

My thought process started when I was asking myself “How can I support myself doing something I love?” in 2021. I was currently living in Guatemala in an off the grid community called Fungi Academy, and I got inspired by so many creators in the spiritual community around me. Read more>>

Luisa Fonseca | Body Affirming Yoga Instructor & movement enthusiast

The community came first and the lack of representation for people such as myself is what initially started it all. There was only about a handful of instructors that resembled me and I really wanted to allow other like me to embrace the practice that embraced me back. Read more>>

Allan Manzano | Founder, Principle Creative and Educator at Dynamo Design Group

The thought process behind starting my own business occurred twenty-three years ago when I was applying to graduate school. At that time, part of my letter of intent talked about someday having my creative agency, where I would make my schedule, make my own design decisions, and pursue projects for social gain. Read more>>

Biriz Karli – Alemdar | Art creator/PR

I created What Did Biriz Do? for artists/art related organizations to be able to get their work/message out to the audience they have in mind. Working artists know that marketing/PR takes almost half of their time, which they would rather use in their creative process. Within this process the goal is to establish connections that would flourish into future collaborations. Read more>>

Angelic Sanchez | Lei Maker & Deputy

Spreading Aloha. Ask any lei maker we do and share the art of lei making not for the money but because it is our passion and we love it. And when people appreciate & love the art that I make that is the icing to hard work that goes behind every floral design. Read more>>

Lulu Trujillo | Business Owner, Rosemary Press Knits

Initially it was a self-challenge, I loved the idea of having creative control over something entirely your own. I tried other ventures prior to my knitting business and failed but all failures make the path to success. By the time I began Rosemary Press Knits, it came easily and things really fell into place. I found passion with knitting. Read more>>

RJ Spina | Metaphysical Teacher, Healer, and Author

My desire is to share the higher-consciousness metaphysics I used to overcome permanent chest-down paralysis and chronic illness so others can heal themselves as well. Everything I share and teach is designed for healing and far greater quality of life in every way. Read more>>

Xochitl Stafford | Business Owner and Full-time Mom of 2 (6 if we are counting our 4-legged friends)

If I am being completely honest, I never had a process when starting my business. I had a need of my own, and just went for it. I know a mood board, creating a business plan, and even having a simple outline of your ideas is incredibly helpful contributing to a businesses success. I am more of a dive in with both feet first and figure it out along the way. It has served me well so far. But I wouldnt recommend it for everyone. Read more>>

Isabella Janovick | Remote Marketing Consultant, Professor and Ultra Runner

I worked as a Senior Level Marketing Director in the corporate world for many years and decided to get my Masters in Business Administration to climb up the corporate ladder. During my time in grad school, my eyes were opened to the Entrepreneur life. When I graduated, I decided to launch my own marketing and communication company, Janovick Communications, instead of going back to corporate. I wanted more flexibility with my career, be my own boss and have time to travel and run whenever I wanted to. (Trail running is my passion). Read more>>

Mandi Graziano | Author. Super Fun Public Speaker. Sales Coach. Conference Booker/Contract Negotiator.

Actually, I didn’t really think about it. My business found me. While I was working in corporate life, a client asked me to help her organize her business and grow her sales. She needed a “satellite” director of sales. I was already doing that job in a corporate setting so it was an easy transition. We met at my kitchen table, came up with a plan, her business grew and a sales coaching business was born. Read more>>

Ashley Wilhardt | Photographer & owner of Cayenne Agency

I started Cayenne because at the time I was really looking for a community of creatives that were passionate and eager to come together. I had also just come from working at a magazine in LA, so print was really exciting to me. I wanted something tangible, and although in the beginning I didn’t know exactly the direction Cayenne would go, I knew I wanted a big enough umbrella to contain my many passions and ever changing ideas… Cue Cayenne Agency, a creative agency that makes art, publishes print, and keeps it spicy. Read more>>

Dawn Myers | Human Resource Consultant & Business Coach

After a long and successful career in hospitality human resources, I moved to a large employer organization to work as a consultant. I worked with over 80 small business owners and leaders to help them develop workforce strategies, policies, and procedures. Read more>>

Bret Whitman | Spearfishing Mentor & Podcast Host

The goal behind Spearfactor is to fill a void within the Spearfishing industry that I believe to exist. I thought there was a significant lacking of positive influencers that truly wanted to help newcomers get introduced and grow within the sport. Read more>>

Grace Peterson | Somatic Practitioner & Freediving Instructor

Starting my own business wasn’t necesarilly an intentional thought process. My business happened organically from outgrowing my private practice of massage therapy. I got to a point in my career where I couldn’t handle the client demand as a solo therapist so it was at that stage of my growth that encouraged me to expand my practice. Read more>>

Jason Mack | Co-Owner of Barrel Aged Games

Caleb and I (Jason) decided to create our own board game as a creative outlet. After coming up with the basic framework we headed to Gencon, the largest table top convention, to pitch out game to publishers. Given the theme were were unable to find a home with any of the large companies. They seemed to only be looking for more of the same themes. Read more>>

Anna Vocino | Bestselling Cookbook Author and Founder of Eat Happy Kitchen

I’ve spent an entire decade of my life and then some as the cohost of a podcast focused on health and fitness. That time was spent nurturing a podcast audience and building the credibility that goes along with what we were talking about. That gave way to eventually self-publishing my first two cookbooks, Eat Happy and Eat Happy Too. Read more>>

LiV Warfield | Founder and CEO

It was important to me to take what I’ve learned artistically and turn it into action in my community. My organization is called LenaBlu Foundation. Named after my Aunt Lena. She had Blue hair, was the life of the community, and made sure to pour in to everyone she met. She had the ability to recognize talent when others weren’t able to see the gifts they had within themselves. So, I wanted to create an organization/foundation that carried the values she instilled in me. Read more>>

Marcie Lemieux | Fitness Instructor & Health Coach

When I decided to start my own business there were a lot of factors that motivated me. For starters I knew cutting the middle man out made it more cost effective for my clients as well as more profitable for me. It gave me and my clients a way to develop a more personable relationship that could be customized to each client’s own needs. Read more>>

Amee Vora | Software Engineer, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer & Stylist

Having a nourished body, mind & soul has become an integral part of my wellness journey to become the healthy & happy person I am today! Growing up, I lacked awareness on how important healthy eating is… It was a huge realization for me that what we eat can affect our health so notably. Read more>>

Benjamin Lavender | Sculptor

Well, as an artist, the idea of working for oneself started early. It’s just taken the time to juggle everything else involved other than creating art. Read more>>

Donna Logsdon | Interior Designer and Author

My love for interior design started when I had the privilege of designing my own new home many years ago, and it grew from there. Everyone loved what I did and wanted help with theirs. Then circumstances landed me in Charlotte, NC where I was faced with a new start. I was offered a good job with good pay but there was a tug inside that was pulling me toward my interior design path. Read more>>

Gabriela Peña | Architect & Visual Designer

The process was, and I guess still is, a process of self-discovery and trying to find out how we (my partner and I) wanted to live our lives. Like any other creative process, it’s been a series of trial and error trying to find a work method that tailors to our home life and also brings added value to our clients. We decided to start our office (Studio NA) to focus on communicating strong visual projects that connect our client’s brands with their target market. Read more>>

Angela Wong | Documentary/Commercial Director and Editor

Most creative people dream of starting their own production company and that was one of my goals as well. However, I also want to create a team that is female, LGBTQ, and minority led. I think we offer a different perspective in this male dominated industry, while also producing content at our highest level. I also strive for fair pay and positive working conditions so we’re able to collaborate as a team. Read more>>

Katie Slater | Photographer

I knew I wanted to be an artist from when I was young. I was constantly pursuing the art path throughout grade school, high school, and college. So it was a given that once I graduated with a Fine Art degree from the University of Virginia, that I would try to transform my passion into a full time profession. I wanted to get into brand and fashion photography because of the creativity and movement it allowed me to express. The process of collecting clients took a few years to learn, but none the less has paid off and only motivates me to continue in this career. Read more>>

Anthony Helmer | Full Time Creative

I have worked as a web developer for the past 10-12 years. One of my managers/mentors and friends advised me to incorporate myself as an independent contractor. I started my business shortly afterwards and have appreciated the flexibility of being able to work from anywhere at any time. I have met so many interesting people and clients from starting my own business! Read more>>

Valerie Niggl and Myrna Perez-Topping N/A | Co-Owners & Operators of Checker Box Donuts

As coffee and donut connoisseurs, we wanted to start something for ourselves where we could extend our love of donuts and coffee with our clients. We began pursuing this passion for creating a small business just like we do everything-from scratch. We dreamed of operating and owning our own catering business someday and when the opportunity to begin Checker Box Donuts came around, we knew we had to take it. Read more>>

Gilbert Smith | President and Executive Producer

I was asked by our founder actor Ricardo Montalbán to work with him to establish a center for the performing arts with the acquisition of the former Doolittle Theatre. We are now 15 years into this project. The pandemic created its own ecosphere to mange debt and to organize our grant applications. Fortunately, our teamwas successfulwith the landing of all of the grants. We would have preferred making new shows and events available to the entertainment industry and to our community. Read more>>

Johnny Mata Mata | CEO /Founder

I wanted to help people, especially children. To see children accomplish their goals is amazing, same with adults. Read more>>

Luke Shalan | Aaron Denner | Creatives

We created Stone and Leaf Tea Co as a channel to share our personal passions with our local community in the Big Bear Valley as well as the larger tea and ceramics community. With Luke’s experience working with ceramics and Aaron’s years of following the way of tea we discovered our passions have a rich intertwined history that we wanted to continually learn from and share with others. Read more>>


Jenna Valdez | Rapid Transformational Therapy Practitioner, Self-Empowerment Coach, Usui/Crystal Reiki Master Teacher

Starting my business began with my own healing journey. Like many, my childhood was filled with its fair share of trauma which gave me the drive not only to keep pushing forward, but to empathize with others on a deeply personal level. I always knew I had a purpose to help others and that purpose became truly evident when I left the high control religious group I was raised in. Read more>>

Emma J. Anderson | Director of Operations, Walk With Me Impact

Early in my adult life, I worked with adolescent males age 12 – 18 in a group home setting. Although working with the youth warmed my heart and I felt valued, I needed to earn more money while raising a child in San Diego. I began working full-time as a sales representative in 2006. This lasted roughly 16 years. Read more>>