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.

Bobby Cochran | Photographer/Filmmaker

Honestly, I kinda just fell into it. I’d been working various jobs in the music industry over the years, and on a whim decided to buy a camera. Within a year and a half, I was able to quit my job and focus on doing photography full time. Initially I did whatever photo gigs came my way, but I knew I wanted to work in the music world as my primary focus, so I began shooting shows and building relationships with bands, labels, publicists and managers. Read more>>

Ray Pee | Watch Brand Owner

I was blessed to be pretty good in many things, design, engineering, sports, photography, music and arts, but not great enough in one area to be competitive. I’m somewhat a generalist in this sense and was always wondering how could I best make use of my skills, creativity and experience. When I started my passion in watches back in 2014, I love observing watch designs and then take the elements that I like to design my own watches. But it wasn’t untill 2020, during the pandemic that I took the step of faith to convert my passion into business. Read more>>

Brendan Garland | Photographer/Creative Art Director at CODA Studios

I had recently just moved back to San Diego after a weird year and a half exploring and trying new adventures due to the Covid pandemic. I had first moved to Park City, Utah in Nov 2020 to snowboard and take beautiful photos in Utah’s gorgeous landscape. It was an awesome experience and Park City is an amazing place and I was able to snowboard and take so many great photos. Read more>>

Henry Jara | Owner of Casara Modern

When it came to starting my own business, there were many reasons that drew me into it. I had worked retail management for a majority of my life, and I always wanted to be able to work for myself. My daughter started collecting mid century modern furniture at estate sales and I discovered through her, a love and passion for not just the mid century style, but for a community of people that appreciate this period of design. Read more>>

Shreya Patel | founder of hyve, probiotic-powered + non-toxic cleaning products

Most cleaning products on the market today are toxic to our health, to our home’s health and definitely harmful for our planet. They are loaded with chemicals which hurt/kill everything (including our lungs and skin). Or, they are “natural” and only really clean dirt/grime and leave harmful bacteria behind. Read more>>

Lindsay Vitale | Brand Videographer & Photographer

with my MFA in filmmaking and was desperate to break into the industry as an assistant working with some big fancy production company, but I was having no real luck getting my foot in the door. While applying for jobs, I would shoot marketing photos and videos for my friend’s and family’s small businesses and passion projects as a way to earn extra cash. Read more>>

Magdalena Berger | Sustainable Swimwear Designer & Momma

When I met my now husband I was living in Hawaii and working in forestry conservation on Oahu. He, being a pilot in the US Coast Guard, was required to move every four years to a new coastal location. I knew that if I wanted to spend my life with him I would have to figure out a way to work for myself. I’ve always been a creative person, happiest when making things, so I decided to turn my knowledge of native ecosystems and sustainability into a conscious swimwear company. Read more>>

Megan Wilson | Mindset Coach and Spiritual Enthusiast

I loved the notion that our thoughts create our reality, it felt both empowering and terrifying to have that much power. Dr. Joe Dispenza said something that really intrigued me, “People think 60,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day, and 90% of those thoughts are the same as yesterday.” Read more>>

Marta Giri | Founder & Editor, Locally Well San Diego

The idea for Locally Well San Diego came in the height of the pandemic back in 2020. Like many of us, I was longing for a sense of community and I wondered where I might find people that also shared interests in wellness, healthy living and spirituality. But I didn’t know where to look! So I thought, why not create it myself? That’s how Locally Well was born! Read more>>

Matthew Gerdin Danielle Caramagna | Entrepreneur (MG) and Mixologist (DC)

To be honest, we must have had some loose screws! To start an events based business post COVID and in a recession? Alas, we continue to see a need in this area to provide a curated beverage experience for our client’s special day. (Matthew and Danielle) We met in 2017 bartending at Swift Lounge in Portland, OR and knew one day the goal was to create a bar program somewhere. Matt the salesman and Danielle the mixologist. Late night conversations with drinks and 5 years later Aviation Bar Co was born. Read more>>

Jason Sebastian | Boudoir Photographer

​The business started through my wife and my personal story. In only a few years of being married and having a daughter, my perspective has changed. I’ve come to see how my words influence them both and I take great care to lift them up daily. Conversely, the images they see on TV, social media, and in life relentlessly tell them how they should look and feel, and it breaks my heart that they don’t see themselves as nothing but absolutely beautiful, just as they are. Read more>>

Dr. Yvonne K Scarlett, DACM, Dipl. OM., L.Ac. | Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Since my early childhood, I had dreamed of becoming a doctor, and my academic path in high school was geared to that outcome. I was required to take 2 years of Latin – amo, amas, amat – some of what still remains in my memory bank.
I was even accepted into the pre-med program at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, after which, I quickly realized that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Read more>>

Mohamed Fofana | Artist, painter and designer

I started my art business because I wanted to create beautiful pieces for my apartment. That turned into wanting to create art on clothing so that I could take my art would me outside my apartment. Friends and strangers started to compliment my style and wanted the items I made for myself and so I thought it would be neat to create unique items to make people feel good and special. That’s how The Brand came about, to make people feel good and feel like walking art pieces. Read more>>

Jason McGinnis | Creative Director

After finishing my MBA later in life, I was sitting at home one night watching Shark Tank. I heard Mark Cuban say to someone, “If you want to start a company, then find something you love doing and find a way to make money at it”. When I heard this, my wheels began to turn and I thought of several things I love to do, one of which was flying drones and photography. So, I decided to take a chance and start my company providing professional photography and video production services. I specialize in drone and real estate photography, but our services cover everything from eye level to sky level. Read more>>

Alex Ramos | Alex Ramos and Abril Reyes / Owners

The path of developing our own business, started from the desire to capture what we like the most and the way we like to do things. Actually, the process was very adaptative, but the basis of it was always the same. Read more>>

Mickayla Harding | Sublimation Designer

I have always dreamed of being a stay at home mom and creating a home business where I can help support my family. I have always had a passion for clothing apparel and creating T-shirts has helped me reach my dream. I never imagined I could have been this successful. Read more>>

Katie Page | Abundant Ar

My thought process behind starting Abundant Artists was simple. I wanted and still want to connect people. I recall, in detail, going around to local music shows (almost nightly) & was shocked on how seldom connected the music scene was throughout San Diego. Read more>>

Nadalie Bardo | Pinterest Coach, Content Creator, and Author

It was even parts accidental and intentional when I started my business. In a way, I was always a hustler at heart, from braiding hair in high school when I should have been in class, to being a photographer while I was a full-time grad student. Read more>>

Chelsea Maras | Portrait Photographer

I always knew I wanted to live a creative life, one that involved my art in some way. I had a background in Fashion, Studio Art and Art History so photography was the best way for me to utilize all my knowledge. I started my company right out of college. At the time, I wasn’t sure what kind of genre I wanted to focus on but I knew women’s stories was always what drew me in most. So I did like any new business owner does and took on every kind of job possible in order to eventually reach my goal of shooting full time and focusing on women and eventually motherhood. Read more>>

Claudia Navarro-Soto | Dog Lover and first generation college graduate

I remember when I was a little girl growing up in Mexico, I always had big dreams! I wanted to be someone successful! I wanted to earn a degree, have an education, and one day have my own business and be my own boss! I didn’t know exactly what kind of business I wanted to have. But, it became clear I wanted to start a dog related business when my fiancée and I got our frenchie in 2018. We thought about many ideas but we decided on the harnesses since that is the walking accessory our frenchie always needs. Read more>>

Jackie Gough | Goes by Jackie O – Event Producer & Small Business Owner

After nearly 15 years of working in different fields of the event industry, I realized I had done it all! When I was a teenager I worked my way through the culinary & hospitality industry. I was catering large events by the time I was 18. I was a DJ & entertainer in my early 20’s throwing dance parties, live music events & unique experiences. I moved into corporate events & weddings later on in my career & started working large contracts from time to time in festival & stage production. Read more>>

Knengi Martin | Football coach & entrepreneur

We wanted to bring a competitive professional women’s football organization to San Diego. In the past there have been some great organizations but they did not have the business side to back up a professional team. There was a lot of on field success but they did not drive awareness for their team or the sport of women’s football in San Diego. Read more>>

Greg Moran | Breathwork Facilitator & Life Coach

My journey of healing began in 2014 when I encountered severe gastrointestinal issues that eventually had me in a really low place in life. I finally was given the diagnosis of ulcerative colitits in 2015, almost a full year after my digestive issues began. Since then, I have been able to heal my body naturally through completely changing my diet, THC oil (also known as Rick Simpson Oil), and embracing mindfulness and embodiment practices such as yoga, meditation and breathwork. Read more>>

Carolyn Carpenter Nall | Film/Television Producer and Real Estate Agent

I am the owner of two businesses: 5 Talent Entertainment, a film and television production company, and I’m a real estate agent with Equity Real Estate. Read more>>

Mercedes Tiggs | Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Culinary Therapist

Although Eight16 was put on my heart years a go it was physically birthed during the Covid-19 pandemic. I found myself captive in my one bedroom apartment experiencing anxiety, grief, and depression. I was forunate enough to bring myself out of the rut by implementening weekly goals and cooking was one of them. Read more>>

Kimberly Tran | Weddings & Events Floral Designer

Chloe Rose started purely from passion. I had always liked flowers growing up, but I didn’t realize how much I loved them until I got the chance to work in the wedding industry focusing on flowers for weddings. Things sort of just came into place and I found myself feeling right at home whenever I was working with flowers. The moment I realized how passionate I was I figured there was no better reason than to pursue it wholeheartedly. Read more>>

Allison Gill | Executive Director of the MSW Media Podcast Network

One evening in October of 2017, I was watching a re-run of the MSNBC documentary called “All the President’s Men Revisited” which I assume they were airing because of the parallels between Watergate and the Mueller Investigation – which was well underway at the time. I thought to myself that in 20 years, there would likely be a documentary about the Mueller Probe. The historical significance of the Trump-Russia investigation wasn’t lost on me, and I somehow wanted to be a part of it. I noticed a gap in Mueller reporting and I wanted to create one, but I didn’t have a journalism degree or a news desk – so I did what any comedian would do – I decided to start a podcast. Read more>>

Brenna Shields | Market Owner/Operator, Home Bakery Owner, & Onboarding Specialist Manager

growing up. I learned what hard work was from the start. Every job I held once in college was easy to me. The challenge of it didn’t compare to the work of the farm and everything came quickly to me. I started working at Popeyes in 2016 and worked myself up fast and was working full-time hours while full-time in college. I graduated with my hospitality degree and business minor. Read more>>

Jennifer Antoine | DACM, L.Ac

was already a little older than most students and already had a whole career behind me. I believed there was a better way to help people feel better than just taking pill after pill. I knew I could make a difference in their lives and get them back to doing what they love, and opening my own practice was the way to do that. Additionally, my kids were 15 when I graduated, and being able to spend time with them, go to games and concerts and not being run ragged was a priority for me. Read more>>