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.

Jenny Williams | Baker

I was planning my wedding and I was a little underwhelmed by the choices of wedding cake and the reliance on artificial ingredients, I enrolled at Grossmont College and started the amazing pastry program with Chef James Foran and the rest is history! Read more>>

Keaton English | Entrepreneur & Real Estate Investment Advisor

The thought itself was innate. The process behind the thought came later. I always knew I would start my own business one day. As a kid, my grandma would call me her Lil “Howard Hughes”. I used to save my lunch money. My friends and I had numerous lemonade stands. I used to rent my video games to my neighbors for $1 a day. I was competing with a blockbuster at 8 years old. Read more>>

Lauren Hong | President

Really from the beginning, my thought was to build something that was not just my own. I started as a graphic designer doing freelance work, but I always knew that was just a stepping stone. I knew design was just one part of the orchestra and you need a variety of top-notch skill sets to really make that orchestra shine. I used that as a portfolio to build from and find our target market. Along the way, I added team members and outsourced all the various pieces to people who could deliver high-quality work. From the start, my thought process has been that it’s really about building exceptional products, exceptional service and an exceptional team. I recognize I can’t do that on my own. It’s a “we” philosophy. As a team, we own this business together. Read more>>

Johnnie Morris | Martial Arts – Self Defense Instructor

I wanted to be able to control my own destiny. But also with my business I would be control on how I would on positively impact people I came across. Read more>>

Martha Waugh | Owner & Event Organizer

We are lucky enough to have a business that started, and has continued to grow, very naturally. We built 12 of our initial Farm Tables for our own wedding in 2014 and had a few friends and family ask to use them for upcoming events. From there, we built a website and started to do some minor marketing. I have a background in web development and my husband built all our products at the time, so we were able to accomplish a lot on a very small budget. Over the next two years, we were able to grown what was a small side business into a full time job for both my Husband (Matt) and Myself. We are both extremely thankful for the freedom running our own business gives us. Our goal has always been to offer high-end, unique rental items & great customer services at an attainable cost. Read more>>

Samuel (Sammy) Obara

Ever heard that quote “if opportunity does not knock, build a door.”? It was intriguing that you would have to build a door just so you can leave it open to opportunities. It was only in 2003 that I realized I had an abundance of opportunities at my doorstep. I was a corporate director for a company in the Silicon Valley and also doing part time Kaizen teaching for a college and other organizations. That year a couple of those organizations asked me for a more intensive support, including helping an American company in Brazil in its operational management. With that demand of just a few days a month, I decided to take a huge risk, quit my job and become an independent consultant living on a week’s worth of income. Read more>>

Adrian Orozco | Graphic Designer

It was a bit of a complicated process, but it was a natural process at the same time. I’ve been living a freelance life for over a year, before that I worked at a design studio and had outside projects at the same time, once the job at the studio ended I decided to dedicate my full time to my design project. It was scary, specially the first months of the pandemic not having a “stable” job, but little by little more clients kept coming, some by recommendation, some found me on social media and a few others happened to see my job and like it, so here I am haha living the freelance life. Read more>>

Pauline Scully | Cinematic Storyteller & Creator

I had all kinds of reasons for starting my own business: be my own boss, make my own schedule, call all the shots, take the effort and energy I was putting into growing someone else’s business into my own, etc. But there was one strong reason that compelled me to finally take the leap. Doing videography was a side hustle for me for a few years. It was very difficult to manage because my actual job was very demanding. My previous executive level job was taking between 50-60 hours of my time a week (on a normal week). And to top it off, I did not enjoy what I was doing. I appreciated the people and opportunities of course. That’s what kept me around for almost 5 years. But that would only take me so far. Read more>>

Ryan Hiller | Musician & Small Business Owner

Simple! To start, I’ve been a musician since I can remember. I went to college for music, and have been full-time ever since. I came to a crossroads in my mid to late 20s where many of my musician friends ventured out into more “stable” career paths. At that time, I was hustling 110%, but not getting where I wanted to be. I was performing 6-8 times per week in those days and started to hate my passion, playing music. I gradually began to notice that there was a legitimate career path in performing for large, private events. The restaurant/bar thing started to evolve into more of an advertisement platform (as opposed to my sole source of income), where I could secure bigger and better-paying gigs. Once I started to grow my business, I formed an LLC, learned how to do payroll, and have also been managing the financial side as well. Read more>>

Dennis-Michael Broussard | Event Producer & Humanitarian

I started my event production company, Silk Road Productions, as a side project when I was still in college. It was meant to be something for me to do other than work full time and go to school full time – and surprisingly evolved into something I could get paid to do. I had always been volunteering for nonprofit organizations and in my college organizations, and I just had a talent for project management, since that is essentially what going through grad school was for me, managing a series of projects that had deliverables and deadlines – and ultimately, that is what producing events is – I just never imagined I would be able to make a viable career out of it when I initially started Silk Road. Read more>>

Wendi Blanton | Dog Trainer & Behaviorist

I never saw myself being an Entrepreneur. I didn’t grow up with anyone who owned their own business, so I thought the path to success involved schooling then finding a career I liked and working until I retired. The problem with that path is that it leads to you making someone else’s dreams come true. I have always known I was meant to be really good at something, but never seemed to find the right path…until I landed in bed on-and-off for years. As I was working my way through multiple surgeries over multiple years, I struggled with my mind being very active, but my body was not able to do much. To help with the boredom, I watched TV and one day stumbled across Cesar Milan’s Dog Whisperer show. Read more>>

Alexis Groves | Comedian

Well, the idea came from always being myself. I was always known for my real personality to be very funny, random, and awkward. It wasn’t until my Grandfather passed two years ago when I finally confirmed that I was just going to embrace my personality and display it on social media. He was my inspiration to do so. It first was just me posting funny skits to make people laugh, however, after the feedback I was receiving I gravitated towards making it a business. To make people’s day by watching my funny videos warms my heart. Read more>>

Vincent Bellino | Natural Landscape & Garden Designer

There were many thought processes behind starting my own business, but the most prominent was finding a way in which I could make the world a better place. At that time, I was very pantheistic in my beliefs. I worshiped nature as the source of life and became depressed at the fact that we were destroying the very home that supports us. I was so passionate about this, that I would spend all of my free time trying to restore my parents property into a natural/native CA ecosystem. It was my way of giving thanks for the past and inspiration for the future. At that time, I was 24 years old and was also trying to figure out what I would do with my financial career.. Due to the fact that I had spent the majority of my life stifled in public education, graduated college in a field I didn’t want to pursue, worked corporate retail somewhere I hated, and bussed tables in poorly managed restaurants. Read more>>