Starting and growing a business is hard, but often deciding to start the business in the first place is even harder. We asked some successful entrepreneurs from around the community to open up to us about how they thought about starting a business.

Jenna Morse | Reiki Master

I always knew I wanted to work for myself. I struggled to work for someone else because I don’t like being told what to do and living by someone else’s rules. I love having the flexibility to create my own schedule and work from home. Sometimes I even see my clients at parks and beaches so it’s amazing to be able to work outside too. Read more>>

Shawna Allard | Psychic Medium, Author and spiritual teacher

There was actually not much of a thought process. I knew beyond all doubt that this was what I wanted to do. It was more of a calling that felt important Read more>>

Michelle Lanning | PORTRAIT/ENGAGEMENT/ WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Starting my own business has been a long time in the making. I have always done photography as a side hustle, but didn’t have the confidence to make the leap into the freelance world until the pandemic came and all I did was sit around and think about doing so. I decided to branch away from the 9-5 world in 2021 as a way to regain some sanity after years of childcare & overtime & little time off. During all those stay at home months during the Pandemic, I decided that I wanted to pursue what truly makes me happy full-time. Life is short. It was a simple decision to make, but scary to actually implement! I had to completely reconfigure my life and just go for it. Its been a process of self understanding, self growth & I am so excited to be here following my dreams! Read more>>

Kenton Hoppas | Illustrator

I mostly just wanted more freedom to explore and learn. I’ve always enjoyed wearing all the hats. I look at starting a business like taking a road trip. You have an idea of where you’d like to go, but you’re not married to how you get there. And the best things are the unplanned things. That’s the spirit of business ownership to me. Read more>>

Ruben Bravo Kane Ordonez | Tiki Collective | Content Creators

We’ve worked as graphic designers/marketeers our entire careers and we wanted to collaborate on something creative that we could call our own. Our love for design, tropical drinks, and aloha shirts lead us to creating the Tiki Collective blog and Instagram page. There we aimed to share everything that inspires us and more importantly connect with other creatives to build a community. Read more>>

Ciera Chang | Chief Pupnic Officer

At the start of the pandemic, I was furloughed from my full-time marketing job and decided to foster a puppy from my aunt’s dog rescue Good Dog-Dog Talk. Fostering quickly turned into adoption, and suddenly I had a foster fail pup always by my side. We spent a lot of time together enjoying picnics, outdoor eating, and in December I planned her first birthday pawty complete with a stylish set up in my backyard with a photo setup, pup-friendly charcuterie, cake, and dog wine. This inspired me to start the first dog-friendly picnic company, Puppy Picnic Co., to provide luxury pop-up pupnics for dog lovers. Since the start of my business in late 2020, my business has expanded to a brick-and-mortar retail storefront at Liberty Station and larger pop-up events in the San Diego area. Read more>>

Kimberly Purchase | Personal Stylist & Closet Organizer

I have been in the retail/fashion industry for 20+yrs working for both major and privately owned retailers. Through the years, I was able to gain the experience and knowledge of retail that goes beyond the sales floor and customer service. I’ve been able to experience the buying as well as the wholesale side at markets/trade shows. While I worked for a private retailer, I was given the opportunity to work directly under the owners wings, learned the business aspects, running a district of stores and even learning what it takes to find a location for opening a store. It was with that company, I decided to take the risk, all the knowledge/experiences/lessons & to fulfill my dream of opening my boutique. Uneeke Boutique”. Read more>>

Savannah Visser | Graphic Artist & 2D Animator

After realizing this goal wasn’t impossible, I made lists. Lists of legal things that needed to get done, lists of items I wanted to create and sell, lists of lists that I ended up throwing away anyway, but my OCD needed somewhere to focus while the rest of my brain was freaking out about becoming my own boss. The whole idea of starting this business was to become freer, not necessarily have more free time, but to let me be me. To let there be creativity in everything I do and to choose the areas and topics that I wanted to work on. Of course, there will always be projects that I’m not 100% jazzed about, but as my own boss, I can learn a lot from those experiences. Read more>>

Joe Killinger | Entrepreneur, Investor, Founder

I was raised by entrepreneurial parents and I saw how they could create their own destiny, I learned that hard/smart work can lead me down a path I would be comfortable with in life. When I say comfortable I am speaking about the ability to do my work in the way I want to as well as with people that I want to do it with. Read more>>

Darreca Leftridge | Owner & CEO

As a consumer, I was spending a lot of money on getting my hair done. I struggled to find quality products for a price that makes sense. I realized that I was spending $500-$1k a month on this habit. Which led me to think that I could just find the quality hair from the source myself and for a better price….. then Virgin Mary Hair Boutique was born. I believe the best businesses are those that include interests that you are already passionate about. Read more>>

Engy Alawdan Johnson | Engy’s beauty lounge owner

I always had passion about beauty and it’s secrets. Being from the middle east had so much impact on shaping my brand,&the way it represents it self. The uniqueness in it is combining the charm of oriental and modern.
I always wanted to empower women in different way kinda the way I grow up seeing beauty around me. Read more>>

Erin Wen Ai Chew | Creative Entrepreneur, Freelance Writer and Real Estate Investor

There was a time in my life when I realized that I no longer wanted to just work purely behind a desk and do a 9-5 job. I wanted to have the flexibility to work when I wanted and do what I wanted. After considering all the options, I came to the conclusion that working for myself and starting a business was the only way to go. The impending question was what business did I want to do and what was I passionate about? I have always been involved in the community and served on a number of boards and committees, but my primary passion was to work to advance and empower the Asian community in my home country of Australia and in the United States. So I knew I wanted to do something in this space and be able to express this work in different ways and that is where the idea of being a creative entrepreneur came about and I set about making this work. Read more>>

JORDI MESTRE | Founder and Co-owner at Nomad Coffee

I got really hooked up by some amazing business concepts I discovered in UK by 2010/2011. I basically found a new sort of cafe and coffee shop concepts, where the atmosphere was way nicer, very creative, very young and spontaneous, every single shop was so well designed and the people working in them were actually nice delivering super good customer services. And on top of that, the coffee tasted so good I couldn’t believe that was actually coffee. I was studying my second degree at that time and I was actually thinking more about the coffee than the subjects I was studying at uni, then I had a clear thought: I wanted to quit everything and just wanted to pull shots at a local cafe, I wanted to know everything about this sort of coffees. Read more>>

Devan Bonebrake | Golf Academy Owner and TV Personality

I was living in Dallas Texas at the time working for one of the all time great golf teaching professionals in history. However, we had a 50/50 split on revenue. Eventually I felt I had learned enough from him to have the confidence to go out on my own. I now had the potential (no guarantee) to keep 100 percent but also scale a business which was never possible before as an employee. Read more>>