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.

Erica Rood | Life Coach for Parents, Teens and Young Adults

I always had a passion for working with young people and during my career as a teacher, I became especially interested in helping girls develop confidence and resilience. When I heard about a career called Teen Life Coaching, I thought this is it. As a Teen Life Coach, I can focus on supporting girls through one of the most challenging and exciting stages of life- the teen years. I completed two life coach trainings, and took a leap of faith, leaving my full-time teaching job to start my coaching practice. I was and continue to be guided by my passion for serving youth and their families. Read more>>

Tabitha Frost | Top Rated Pinterest Strategist & Blogger

As an early childhood educator turned stay-at-home mom, I was craving something to call my own that I could manage as a stay-at-home mom. My husband and I started a blog called All Natural & Good ( in 2013. It eventually became the core to my success today. Back then, blog traffic was easy to find. It was a great way to earn residual income at the time. About a year in, social media and Google algorithms made a huge shift. My 5k Facebook audience was no longer seeing my Page’s posts. Blog readers were less likely to click on ads and affiliate links. All of these changes were for the greater good of course, but it was a major shock to my side gig as a blogger. Read more>>

Courtney Finley | Organizer & Interior Designer

I knew I wanted to start my own business after working for someone else for so long and that it was time to start it. Also I wanted to be able to charge what I wanted to charge and make my own hours, basically be own boss!! Read more>>

Kate Nazif | Photographer

My business began twelve years ago when I was living in London as an expatriate. Because I was there for only one year and staying home with my one year old daughter, I could not work outside the home. I photographed her incessantly with my small four megapixel Canon point and shoot camera. I soon purchased a Nikon D40 with a kit lens, took a photography class and, from there on out, began to teach myself more complex composition, lighting scenarios and technical skills. With practice, I moved beyond simple photographs and utilized these more advanced skills and an experienced creative eye to realize my artistic voice. During my time in London and subsequent stint in Dubai, friends and neighbors began asking me to photograph their children and families. Read more>>

Claudia Rodriguez-Biezunski | Business Owner & Designer

When I opened my sewing studio, Sew Loka, I knew that I could not fail. Six months before signing my first commercial lease, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and that transformative experience really changed my life forever. It provided me with an overwhelming amount of drive and self confidence; two attributes that really helped me to overcome my own self doubt. I always knew that I was really good at sewing, but for so many years I did not believe that I could run a business. But after the birth of my daughter something inside me clicked and the fear and self doubt fell to the background. Everyone around me told me I was taking a huge risk by opening a business, but in my head it was not a risk, it was a challenge – and I knew that I could not fail. Read more>>

Griffin Thall | CEO & Co-founder

When I started Pura Vida with my best friend (turned cofounder) Paul Goodman, we had just graduated from college. We didn’t have jobs yet, and nothing was tying us down. We had a “nothing to lose” mindset. We stumbled upon a great product truly by accident. We were on a surf trip in Costa Rica and met two artisans, Jorge and Joaquin, who were crafting simple string bracelets. We saw a business opportunity and felt like starting our own company was high risk but also the highest possible reward right out of college. That feeling of risk and uncertainty is what has always driven me in my professional career. Read more>>

Tyler Sickmeyer | Founder & CEO

Fidelitas started almost by accident as an indirect result of my time in the concert promotion industry and my marketing successes there. A lot of it was being in the right place at the right time, but I was blessed to be the first in my industry to use Facebook and Text Message Marketing. That reputation for a forward-thinking approach helped launch Fidelitas back in 2008. I’ve never had a “real job” since college and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Read more>>

Christianne Dowd | Newborn and Family Photographer

I never thought I would own a business, but sometimes life takes some turns and if you are open minded enough to just see where it takes you, you might find something so much better just around the corner. The start of my business was one of those situations… I’ve always loved photography but it was always a hobby for me. After leaving my corporate job, and with the encouragement of some friends to at least try to become a photographer, I decided to offer free sessions to a few friends and see how I’d feel about it. I loved it from the very beginning and just the thought that it could actually become a real business was mind blowing to me. Not having a job at the time was the best thing that could’ve happened: I was able to dive in and dedicate 100% of me. I feel like if I still had my corporate job at the time, my business would’ve been just a side gig and would’ve never taken off. Read more>>

Reginald Washington | CEO & Founder

As a young man, I was emotionally illiterate. I was not cognizant of how not knowing how to express my emotions in a healthy manner impacted my choices. When I was sentenced to life in prison, it forced me to deal with some harsh realities about myself. It was in the healing circles in prison where I learned more about myself and my emotions. I then made it my life’s mission to teach others the importance of emotional literacy. While involved in the prison system and serving a life sentence I got involved in a therapeutic community and started taking a look at my trauma, and also realized that I would never have an opportunity to be in my child’s life if I didn’t work on myself. It was in prison, Project A.W.A.R.E. was created. Read more>>

Alex Shalhout | Business Strategy Consultant & Real Estate

Well, I feel like I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset. I turned my grandmother’s front porch into a “coffee shop” when I was 10 or 11 and proceeded to sell all of the neighbors what was essentially hot chocolate mix stirred into a cup of coffee. I was really enamored by the world of real estate, probably starting around the time I was a sophomore in high school. I began my real estate career in 2009 when the “crash” was in full swing, I was working in foreclosure sales and we had files basically coming out of ears, it was insane, and very hard to manage. I have always had a knack for business systems and organization, basically streamlining. While I am a licensed real estate agent and have practiced real estate sales for many years, I continuously have always had other professionals in my industry coming to me for help with things like upgrading their software, hiring and training and assistant, or elevating their marketing campaigns. I saw a gap in the market. Read more>>

Katelyn Parsons | Certified Intuitive Eating & Body Image Coach

Overcoming my own struggle with food + body image. I’d battled disordered eating on and off for over 15 years. When I finally hit my rock bottom and got the support that I needed to heal, I had a strong gut feeling that I was supposed to help other women who were going through something similar. My initial thought was “If I could just be a sounding board for others to share their own food + body shame- the voice that I wish that I had in my life at the time when I felt all alone.” From there my coaching elevated into educating clients through what I was learning in my own health + body image training. Today I consider myself a Health At Every Size advocate for my clients and community. I’m passionate about destigmatizing the conversation around disordered eating and providing practical, therapeutic, evidence-based tools for healing our relationship with food and body so that we can live our life with more passion and purpose! Read more>>

Adam Martindale | Owner

I have worked in hospitality all my life as Food and Beverage Director in Hotels, Resorts, Conference Centers, a museum and for major cruise lines. I wanted to start my own business and do what I know and love so decided to purchase a travel franchise with Cruise Planners/American Express and focus on Food and Wine Group Cruises 5 years ago. Read more>>

Ryan Landry

Life isn’t fair. Seriously. Deal with it. So many people have ideas that they cannot make come to life. I want to be able to help them with that. If someone is willing to invest in themselves, they should be able to make it happen. No one should get to the end of their life wishing they had done something when they had the means to do it. Read more>>

Heather Pendley | Indexer, Copy/Line Editor & Proofreader

I’d never thought of running my own business until my husband began worrying about retirement. Since I wanted to move back to my (more expensive) hometown when he retired, I starting considering how I could work remotely. I hold a degree in accounting and worked in banking for 15 years, but it wasn’t my passion, so bookkeeping was out. I first found online work typing up closed captions for the hearing impaired. About a year later, I recalled what I had loved when I was younger: reading and writing. Accounting colleagues had told me I had an eye for errors, so I took a basic proofreading course, then added copyediting which, after a year or two, gave me a nice part-time income. Read more>>

Lars Helgeson | Founder & CEO

I left the Air Force after 4 years with the sense that I wanted to be out of the enormous government bureaucracy. I had learned a lot and got to do some great things, but felt that owning my own business would give me greater ability to control my own destiny. At first, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and supported myself by doing consulting work. When the idea for my first business hit, an email marketing service provider, I wasn’t sure how well it would work, or if anyone would use it. Fortunately, we were early movers, and we were able to grow the business quickly. While there were many long days and nights that went into building that business, it was worth it to know I had built something I could call my own. Read more>>

Evan Walker | Personal Injury and Property Damage Attorney

It comes down to disaffection and conviction. For almost 6 years, I worked as an insurance defense attorney and was disaffected with the work. I didn’t want to defend insurance companies and people who had hurt others any more. So I decided to do plaintiff’s work. As to conviction, for a short period I worked for a plaintiff attorney. Doing so caused me to realize I could do that work and do it on my own. I was convicted that was my path. Read more>>

Dylan Jones | CEO

I was very fortunate to find myself in various start-ups across North County San Diego. I had a lot of different roles over the years in those companies, from warehousing to Director of Operations and Director of Marketing. Being involved with start-ups was an amazing opportunity to learn what to do and what not to do, with little risk on my end. Eventually, the last start up I was involved with had a change in corporate structure and as a result I was laid off. That became the greatest opportunity I had to take everything I had previously learned and apply it to an agency model where I could assist many businesses at one time, while training a team to grow into more sophisticated roles. I figured that if I could successfully grow one business, I could start an agency where I could assist many- and it paid off! Read more>>

Philip Linssen | Business Owner

The community, our business was built in 1975, and over the years has struggled to exist, so when the Linssen Family took over the ownership in 2000, we started to define the business as a big family, making sure all the business divisions, the family fun center, the hockey sports division, the skating division and the Sports shop worked together to provide the community youth and adults a venue that was centered around having fun, and learning. A facility for youth to grow physically, mentally, and one that provides opportunity to participate in the many facets of a business. The senior management team are no skaters, but follow business fundamentals, concentrating on long term cost cutting opportunities, and building long term revenue programs to stabilize both operating costs and program revenue. Read more>>