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.

Shelley Jaccard | Interior Designer | Owner at Jaccard Interiors

I always dreamed of starting my own Interior Design business, but was worried about all the unknowns and risk of not having a steady paycheck. I had the formal education and experience under my belt, but needed a nudge to take that first step in starting my own business. Well that came after having two young children and realizing I needed much more flexibility in my daily schedule as well as a better work/life balance. After graduating with a BFA in Interior Design, I was fortunate to work at some well-known and forward thinking design firms in San Diego. I learned a lot during my first years in the industry and worked on a variety of projects from commercial and hospitality to residential design. When the time came to think seriously about starting my own business, I first invested in developing a logo (brand) and building a website. I reached out to all of my design industry trades, contacts and vendor reps to build up my resource lists. I joined ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) and became NCIDQ certified. Read more>>

Eva Hatch | All things Julian, CA

Starting a business has always been a childhood dream. Because I struggled in school, the idea of working for myself seemed like the best career path for me. Fast forward to my freshman year in college I decided to use my tip money to fill a gap in my home town’s economy. Visitors were always asking me where they could buy locally made items, and at the time pie fresh-made pie was about the only option. After lots of trial and error, I decided to make a San-Diego-County-inspired candle line and established Mountain Made in 2017. As I began to get involved in the business community, I realized that there was another gap in the market. The San Diego backcountry, Julian in particular, was in desperate need of quality tourism information. This led to the creation of the Mountain Made Blog. I began writing blog articles centered around the most common questions visitors asked. Over the last year, the Julian community has seen a sudden influx in population as many Americans are leaving cities for less-populated areas. Read more>>

Morgan Spenla | Founder, Creative Thinker and Modern Maker

As an avid maker I recognized a gap in the arts & crafts industry some 5 or 6 years ago and sought out a path to change it. 90% of craft industry sales happen in physical stores – but the next generation of makers today are seeking out convenience, experienced-based learning, and curation to help simplify their busy lives. We developed a simple workshop framework that includes digital content + shipped kits of tools & materials to build beautiful projects from the ground up. Pushing this antiquated (but much loved) industry into a modern era of making is our goal all around. Read more>>

Gianna Mancuso | Professional Witch, Reiki Master, and Tarot Reader

My entire life I had been connected to spirituality. I was born into it! I felt extremely connected to the craft for what seems like forever.. I knew my soul purpose was not to be someone doing a 9-5. I refused it. I attribute a lot of my success to an amazing spiritual guide, intuition, and family! I felt it, manifested it, and never looked back. This was what I was sent here to do. If I could give anyone advice on their own journey, it would be this.. gratitude, trust, and knowing your worth. Read more>>

Ash Wang | Owner and Artist of Love and Fiber

Right now and over the past few years we are really witnessing a rallying of people wanting to support small owned or women owned businesses. I think that is amazing and a big part of what pushed me to think that I can create something others will be inspired to support. I thought, if I can wake up each day and do something I enjoy, have time for travel and to eventually raise a family, that is something I will work my butt off for. To me, creating that kind of freedom in my life while pursing a passion I cared about was the dream. It was a risk. I left a very secure and well paid job to make art. Some may say that is crazy but ultimately, if you have the chance to live true to yourself, you should absolutely take it. Read more>>

Lindsey Morando | Owner, Poured With Love, Mobile Wine & Champagne Cart

We originally wanted a chicken fingers and Chardonnay cart (it was even in our wedding vows). Then wine and food pairing events (hello Riesling and drunken noodles)! There were always ideas in the mix but nothing clicked (well nothing we could agree on)! I started to see these gorgeous wine carts on Pinterest in Europe. It hit me that it would be so cool to have one here! We knew from our wedding that we wanted to support people in creating unique wine experiences for their own event. So we found a horse trailer, rehabbed it and started our business all in 3 months. Read more>>

Athena Espinoza | Owner | Holiday Hipsters, Dazzling Dickens Carolers, The Holly Pops, The Pin-Ups, The Vibrations

I’ve been a professional singer and performer for over 20 years and have worked in various vocal groups, bands, and theatrical performances throughout San Diego and Los Angeles. I got to the point where I kept thinking about how I’d like to start/create a vocal group of my own and tackle both the creative and business side of things myself. I’ve always loved singing Christmas music since I was a kid singing with my parents (also professional musicians), so I decided to start with a Christmas caroling group and go from there. So, in 2016, I started the Holiday Hipsters, a quartet singing urban, contemporary versions of Christmas carols and songs. This quartet sings Pentatonix covers (yes with beatboxing!), vocal versions a la The Manhattan Transfer and many of our own original arrangements. With the success of this group, I’ve been able to add additional Holiday vocal groups, Dazzling Dickens Carolers (traditional Victorian) and The Holly Pops (a trio of lovely ladies) as well as create new vocal groups that perform year-round, including The Pin-Ups (1940s girl group) and The Vibrations (beach themed fun). Read more>>

Bridget Grimes | Financial Planner to Female Attorneys and Women Executives

I decided to start my own business for a few reasons. First, I wanted to serve the women whose lives I believe I can truly impact, regardless of how much money they have. Second, I wanted to serve my clients in a less conventional way, but in a more meaningful way that helps them avoid the four financial derailers that trip up women executives. Third, I wanted better quality of life. I wanted to structure my client work so that I could take time off to spend with my family when I wanted. And lastly, I started my own business because I wanted to get paid what I was worth. All of these wants outweighed the tremendous fear of failing that I had when I decided to go out on m y own. Read more>>

Erica Friedman | Pre-& Postnatal Fitness Coach

I was inspired by my own birth/postpartum experience to start my business. After my first son was born I felt completely lost in the postpartum recovery process. I received the “all clear” from my medical provider, but. my body felt and looked “different.” After further research and a visit to a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist I learned more about diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction. I learned that my body needed a little TLC and pelvic floor/core rehab + foundational work before I could head back in to my favorite bootcamp classes. I spent two years diving in to Pre & Postnatal Education (still learning/taking courses), educating myself on training strategies for all stages of motherhood, from trying to conceive to postpartum and beyond. I’m in that stage of life where a lot of women I know are getting married, trying to conceive, and having children. I wanted to be a resource and coach for them to turn to with questions. Read more>>

Vivian Glyck | Global Humanitarian

I started in 2006 after I had two miscarriages in two years. I wondered “What do I do now? What is the next right thing for me?” Should we adopt, should we try to have another baby, or try IVF? But an inner voice kept saying, “I don’t want just one more child, I want 10,000 kids.” But that was crazy, because I didn’t know what that meant, or how to do that. I researched and learned a massive amount of information about the issues that were facing children in Africa. Like every 30 seconds a child was dying of a mosquito bite and subsequent malaria, and there were 12 million children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. All the while, I already had an adorable two-year-old that I would do ANYTHING for. Did I really need one more child or could I make a difference by finding my own voice and standing up for the children in the world who were voiceless, instead? Everyone thought I was crazy when I first went to Africa. But I took my camera and shot a story, and told a story, and told the world. Read more>>

Adrianna Moran | Hairstylist

My first thought was whoa this is a risk and will it pay off ? I then started to weigh my options and the more I thought about the pros of investing in myself the more inspired and excited I became . The choice became very clear after that . It’s been a dream of mine to be my own boss and it took a lot of rejection and unprofessional people to finally push me into my own business .. it’s something you have to be ready for it’s not just something you can do without putting in the work. Read more>>

Laura Bravo Mertz | Boudoir Photographer

I wanted for the women that stood before my lens to feel gorgeous, feel free and to really let me in to capture a true expression. I do shoot men and men are fun to shoot as well! I feel that shooting the ladies is an almost spiritual experience for me. To get the ladies to “let go” is tricky sometimes but I manage to do it, and make it fun for both of us. Read more>>

Whitney Ebert | Teacher & Blimey Box Creator

Blimey Box wasn’t meant to be a business. In fact, My husband and I created the portable escape game kit as a screen-free way to keep our son occupied at restaurants. We simply wanted to find an engaging way to teach some basic learning tasks. But when we saw how he and his friends responded to the excitement of trying to get to the prize, we felt we were on to something. We had figured out how to get kids to do “homework” for fun! We knew that busy parents could benefit from a product that focuses on hands-on educational tasks as opposed to a cartoon on an iPhone. Most options for academic skill practice at home are limited to boring workbooks or screen-time on a learning app, both of which we wanted to avoid. Our love for escape rooms, treasure hunts, and mysteries inspired us to create a portable escape game kit that used math and reading to find secret codes to unlock real locks. We couldn’t believe the academic leaps our son started making once he played our games regularly, so we created Blimey Box to share this idea with other parents. Read more>>

Kristen Pritchard | San Diego Based Photographer

It came in a very natural and organic way. I was originally already taking photos of landscapes. I would travel on weekends to National Parks and Forests and really got to learn the ins and outs of lighting, different weather conditions, and how to use a professional camera. Over a little bit of time I started to get great feedback and support of my work. After about a year of landscape work I took the dive into booking sessions with couples and families. It took off from there and I never looked back! It was definitely learn-as-you-go process in terms of building my business. But I knew that the intention behind my business was to capture beautiful memories that clients will cherish for a lifetime. Read more>>

Rachel Margis | Jewelry Designer

My thought process was a recipe of my gifts, passion, excitement & skill! We’re on this world for only a limited time and I’ve wanted to make people happy and excited for something. One of my gifts that God has given me was encouragement and that’s something I truly wanted to lean into when it came to my work. Excitement and happiness are some of the most fun emotions we experience. Starting when I was just 12 I started making my own jewelry and people really enjoyed what I created. Fast forward to my early 20’s, and I attended my first music festival. The exciting and fun setting of it all inspired me to combine my passion for jewelry specifically for music festivals that can also be worn every day. I also was amazed at the beauty of crystals which shows the beauty of this Earth, and also wanted to combine this element into my collection, as well. The overall style and energy of my jewelry is to consistently encourage those to live their life to the fullest every day and remember to embrace the fun in moments. Read more>>

Kendall Zundel | Owner | Creative Director

I started Lu & Elle as a creative and entrepreneurial outlet because I wanted to build community, give back to my favorite causes and somehow figure out a way to support my love of travel. I had a surplus of vintage fabric and textiles that I had collected throughout my travels and I wanted to put it to good use. So one Saturday morning, I took my education in pattern making and made a simple pouch and learned how to sew in a zipper via You Tube. Once I got a stack made, I took them down to the local boutique and they bought them all up! I still sell to that boutique 🙂 It was important to me to highlight the beauty of different cultures through embroidery, color and texture, and in turn, build a strong community of support and friendship. It was also important that a portion of all retail sales were donated to a new charity each year. I am proud that so far, we have given to animals, oceans and babies. Read more>>

Jonathan Araujo | Photographer & Lifestyle Video Creator

I never set out with the intention of starting my own business. I had been working in sales leadership for about a decade and felt extremely burnt out. With the unexpected nudge from some personal unfortunate circumstances I left my job and set out to spend six months or so chasing happiness and doing what I love, creating. I set out with my camera and began capturing photos and video content of the beauty southern California has to offer. Once I began sharing what I was creating with others, the business part began to take shape on its own. However, when I found myself being able to generate some income, have fun, and put smiles on peoples faces I knew it was something I needed to start thinking about more seriously. Read more>>

Nyla Olsen | Restaurateur

I was offered an existing business that wasn’t successful, but I felt with consistent food quality, upgrading and regular cleaning/maintenance of location, and constant presences on social media, business could improve. Read more>>

Karissa Barney Reckling | Elopement Photographer

When I started Wildflower Photo Co., I wanted to build a business around helping wedding couples build and document a day truly rooted in them. My business combines my love of photography, documenting couples’ stories and the outdoors. I wanted Wildflower to be a place that no matter who you were or what your background was, that you could feel supported and heard as you plan your adventure that kicks off your marriage. I wanted to document couples honestly, genuinely, and with a respect for their unique story. Read more>>

Clementine Levy | Floral Designer

At first, i was looking for a place similar as a coffee shop but i knew i needed something more, as so many coffee shops were opening at this moment in Paris. So i’ve been searching for something which hasn’t been done yet, and suddenly it appears to me that mixing a coffee and a flower shop might be a good idea! I’ve started learning both jobs and then PEONIES was open. Read more>>

Priscilla Araujo | Behavorial Therapist

Before anything, I’d like to mention that my small business bloomed in the middle of the pandemic just like thousands of others. It was something i relied on for income for about a month until my unemployment finally kicked in when first loosing my job. It was a time where I new I had wanted to do something like this for a while, but did not have the courage nor confidence to do so. So I finally just went for it. I feel like so many key elements came into creating my small business, so Ill tell you a few.I am big on self care, and really look into what I put on my skin and things i buy interms of keeping it as environmentally friendly as possible. Its almost as if its extremely toxic to go inside of my body then why should it go on my body? Thousands of big companies are responsible for a portion of global warming and the waste land. When I was really thinking about creating something, I did not want to fall into that factor even though I am a small business. I wanted to do my part. So that is where, my business, cillasglossin, became something. Read more>>

Elizabeth Waterson | Founder/ Chef at Confessions Of A Baking Queen

Starting my own business has been the most rewarding and most stressful experience of my life. I am 100% in control, which can be a good and a bad thing. But ultimately having more control and flexibility was the driving force for starting my own business. I knew that building something from nothing is one of the most rewarding experiences for many people, but building something I was also passionate about would be that much more rewarding. Read more>>

Timothy Kwong | Exercise Physiologist & Culinary Enthusiast

K&T Kitchen started as a fun project inspired by our love for culinary experiences, and a desire to bring nostalgia to everyday meals. My business partner, Kiti, and I both have full time careers in the medical field and happen to share a passion for cooking foods that remind us of our unique upbringings of living in China and Thailand. Our staple product came about when I was working on perfecting my own unique chili oil and I would have Kiti taste test the creations. Once I had perfected the recipe that is now our “OG chili oil”, we both shared it with family, friends, and co-workers. Although our original intention was never to turn it into a business, we began to receive an overwhelming response to the oil: everyone who got a taste loved it and wanted more! From there, we thought it would be fun to make the product available to anyone who wanted to try it. And thus, K&T kitchen was born. Read more>>

Carrie Phair | Marketing Maven | Strategy and Marketing Consultant

If given the option to work 8 hours for someone else, or 16 hours a day for yourself (sometimes unpaid), which would you choose? Some of us pick the latter. Call it crazy or entrepreneurship, but either way, it’s equally grueling and glorious. Straying from a steady paycheck, a dedicated team, and an established brand was a risk. I had been in marketing for over a decade but not in one specific sector. Many folks establish a deep vertical base (say hi-tech or healthcare) before going out as a consultant., but the call of working for myself and not be siloed into one industry, was loud. So I took the plunge and opened my own strategy and marketing firm. Fortunately, marketing is one of those functions that can be applied across almost any business, and the learnings from one can be reused and threaded into a new campaign elsewhere. And it’s actually what made me want to start my own boutique marketing consultancy: the chance to stretch my brain and implement insights into a variety of small to medium-sized businesses. The thought was and is that by going out on my own I can capitalize on my top priorities: accountability, untapped creativity, efficiency, and efficacy. Read more>>

Christiana “Nana” Behnke-Simmons | Dance & Health Motivator

o be honest I’ve been my own boss for the majority of my life. I’ve had jobs and worked in restaurants but knowing that I cannot increase my income getting paid per hour made me really rethink the way I earn my money. I am a mother so I do want to spend time with my kids as well and see them grow up and not be stuck in a 9-5 rat race having other people raising my children. Creating financial freedom and abundance is my goal to live the life I want to live and prepare a path way for my children and our legacy. Now being able to combine my why with my passion which is sharing the joy of dance with others and inspire those to become healthier overall just was a bonus to create the life I’m loving now. Read more>>

Alma Pedroza | Nutritionist

The only thing I knew is that I didn’t wanted to work for anybody, I wanted to be my own boss. I have always love desserts and mostly cookies. I started this business with the purpose of earn money to be able to travel and turn out to be more than just that. Read more>>