Ideas aren’t everything, execution matters greatly, but starting often requires an idea and so we asked folks to think back and tell us the story of how they came up with the idea for their businesses. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite stories below.

Troy Pearson | Tenants Rights Attorney

My law office primarily represents tenants who have been in unfortunate slumlord situations. Many have lived in horrible living conditions, such as ongoing rat or cockroach infestations, for years. Many tenants are afraid to complain, for fear of being evicted or retaliated against. So they live with substandard conditions, often paying full rent. This is wrong and should not be tolerated in the community. If a tenant pays rent, then they deserve and are entitled to a place that is safe and habitable. My office saw a need in the community, to help those tenants who were enduring such conditions. I realized it was an under-served portion of society (tenants), yet many were being taken advantage of by landlords. Read more>>

Nina Ruud | Entrepreneur & E-Commerce Strategiest

After losing a pair of expensive sunglasses, we looked for something that reflected the local vibe and culture of San Diego. The options we found for sale in stores were nothing like what we love about this place! Everything was made of plastic, and not everything actually had UV400 lenses, which are essential for optimal coverage. We decided there was an opportunity here… to create something that was made with natural materials, and that all featured Polarized/Uv400 lens protection. And because we were artists, we knew this was something we could incorporate art into each piece. Within a few weeks we had a name, a prototype, and a dream for a better way to see clearly. Read more>>

Adam Iannazzo, BS, MPT, PT | Outcome and Evidence Based Physiotherapist

Physical therapy has a branding issue. The industry is plagued by the “more is better” business model and by pseudoscience treatments that either help or harm the patient. I treated patients with the traditional interventions for almost 15 years with no better result than doing nothing. I was educated to stretch to pain, “break” scar tissue, provide repetitions and sets based on only 3 sets of 10 and use passive treatments with no evidence to back them up. We emulated put too much stock in manual therapy that did not do what it claimed to improve or change. I noticed that therapy was damaged by clinical entropy: Getting worse at your profession while gaining experience by not changing with the times and clinging to original theories that are long since debunked, like icing an injury. There is no evidence that ice helps speed healing and robust evidence that it slows the body’s ability to heal. Read more>>

Kelly Nolan | Time Management Strategist

I’m the last person anyone would have thought would leave law to start my own business. I not only love law, but I’m a pretty type-A, linear thinker who’s wanted to be a lawyer since sixth grade. That said, after 5+ years practicing as a patent litigator, the combative and aggressive nature of litigation grated against the Minnesota in me. I started looking for a more collaborative alternative. As I searched for an alternative career path, I became interested in organizing, but not the physical, Marie Kondo kind. Instead, I wondered if I could make a business out of helping others organize their time and information. Let me back up for context. While I’d been decently organized through law school with paper planners, becoming an adult practicing law overwhelmed me. As a young attorney in a big Boston law firm, I felt buried under to-do lists, post-it notes, and the stress of worrying that something was falling through the cracks and I’d miss a deadline. Read more>>

Rose Irelan | Fine Artist & Art Instructor

I was working as a Creative Director and Graphic Designer. I had been doing this type of work for quite awhile. In the recession of early 2000’s the company I worked for closed their doors for the San Diego office. At that time I had 3 children from ages 5 – 12. I had volunteered at the the local school to teach art there for many years. I would take time of off of work to do this. I felt getting art and creativity back to our youth was so important and something that was being pushed aside because of budget cuts. This really hit me in the heart, because as a young child and into my teens it was art where I found my genius, my confidence and my peace. I was not good at Math and struggled with some other subjects, home life was not good with an abusive and alcoholic father. I may have been diagnosis with ADD if that was a thing back then. Read more>>