Starting a business can be terrifying. Weighing the pros and cons, the risks, and other considerations can be so overwhelming that often promising entrepreneurs stop before they even start. We asked some phenomenal entrepreneurs about their thought process behind starting their own businesses. Our hope is that by making the thought-process less intimidating we can help more folks think through whether they should take an entrepreneurial leap.

Dr. Jason Phan | Naturopathic Medical Doctor & Lifestyle Entrepreneur

Shoutout LA – Interview Questions What was your thought process behind starting your own business? I started LIVV with a mission to change healthcare; to transform how people perceive their health. No one likes going to doctors offices or hospitals; it feels cold, sterile, and unwell. I wanted to combine high-end design, evidence-based medicine, and highly trained doctors to bring a fresh new spin to the healthcare experience. Read more>>

Wes Love | Culture Cultivator + Leadership and Organizational Development + Tenacious Optimist + CO-Founder of CultureStoke LLC

Honestly, I never really thought I would start my own business. Was not even something on my radar. I was working as an internal consultant for an good company, they paid for me to finish both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, making great money, had a lot of autonomy, enjoyed the people I worked with and was completely miserable. But, I had all these good things going for me. It is a very weird spot to be in. Read more>>

Alessandro Jang | Baker/Owner of Out of Thin Air

I’ve always wanted to start my own business. I don’t know if it’s because my dad had his own successful and unsuccessful businesses but I’ve always grown up having an innate feeling to do something I can call my own. Not to say that working for other people is a bad thing, I truly admire all people that are committed to do the very best they can at whatever job is in front of them. Read more>>

Savanna + Liz Smith + Myrick | Content Creators + Wine Educators

We have always been interested in wine and thought taking a wine 101 class would be fun. When we asked a question about the aromas in one of the wines, the teacher rolled his eyes at us! After being in that class, we decided to teach ourselves about wine and create a community where young people can get together and learn while also having fun …. after all, we are getting a little tipsy at the end of the day! Read more>> 

Heather Cook | Floral visual designer & marketing specialist

Starting my own business has always been part of how I visualize living up to my full potential as an individual. Working for myself has always been the drive behind my creativity and happiness. I have found working for companies rewarding, but I also found working for corporations limiting compared to working for myself. Read more>>

Matthew McGloin | Actor/Musician

It’s been my dream and professional goal to be an actor since I was about 10 years old. It wasn’t until around my second year of college while I was earning my BFA in Theatre that I started to think of this pursuit as ‘starting my own business’, but it’s an apt description of the path. Since then, most of my life choices have been in service to that goal. Read more>>

Connie Smith | Certified Soap Maker, Owner of Simply Handmade For You

I retired after working for UC Davis after 34 years of service and wanted to continue to help my local community in some way. Prior to my retirement I was making soap and other skin loving products for my family. My family has very sensitive skin and with research, classes and lots of practice I perfected my skill and became a certified soap maker to provide my family with handmade soap, etc that they could use. Read more>>

LD Thompson | Publisher, author, public speaker

Almost every business I’ve started began with the thought ‘Well, if he/she can do that and succeed, I’m sure I can’. I don’t mean to make light of others’ successes. Rather, every one of my new endeavors – presenting workshops, starting a consulting business, producing television, making documentaries, starting my own production company, writing books, founding a nonprofit – each of these was the result of meeting someone who was doing it and being inspired by their success. Read more>>

Paty Torres | DJ, music promoter and event producer

After I figure out a new name and started to have a more active role into djing, it took a more political instance becoming a very necessary intervention because of the lack of female representation in the dance and nightlife circuits in my community. From there, it feels like it has been organic and I can say that at this point is when it could be a good moment to start applying a thought process behind the character. Read more>>

Nicole Dery | Founder, Design Anthropologist, UX Researcher & Strategist

My co-founder and I started Allelo because we’ve seen, first hand, what the power of outstanding experience design can do. We know that companies with high design maturity see cost savings, revenue gains, and brand and market position improvements as a result of their design efforts. We’ve helped all kinds of companies capture these kinds of benefits. Read more>>

EmmilieLynn Bonura | Multi-Potentialite I Wedding Expert I Designer

Since I can remember I have loved and was destined to be an entrepreneur in some form. I was never cut out for corporate America yet have had many jobs that have shaped my life to where I am now and for that; I am beyond grateful. Read more>>

Ki Kim | Chef Owner of Kinn

I moved to LA during the pandemic from NY. I came to LA to do a popup briefly and planned to move back to NY once it was over. Honestly, I didn’t have the most pleasant memories of LA prior to moving so I definitely wasn’t planning on staying. I was very fortunate to have seen different sides of the city during my popup. I almost instantly fell in love with the culture of LA and felt foolish of myself to have judged the whole city by a bar experience of my early 20’s. Read more>>

Chef Ty | Entrepreneurial Gourmand.

In a few words: Desperation. Necessity. Surrender. I was working in a corporate setting and was very happy with the company but unhappy with what I believed was an underutilization of my skill set. After pursuing some paths to ascending to a higher role in the company, I found myself desperate for change. Read more>>

Ashli Finuoli | Marketing, Sales, and Event Specialist

I come from a family of entrepreneurs and I was able to learn from them all. I was inspired by their careers and saw how much they loved what they did. I really wanted to do something for myself at my own pace, I wanted to create a brand that could be a future of brands within one brand. Read more>>

Melissa Belio | Owner-Designer

When I had my first son in 2015 I was supposed to return back to my interior design career 2 months after he was born . My maternity leave was coming to an end and I was so sad thinking of having to leave my son. Having a bachelors in fine arts and design I knew I could use my creative design side and start a side hustle so I started Miss Darling Designs In My Spare bedroom of our home making trucker hats, shirts and stickers for local boutiques. Read more>>

ZenZag | Neo Soul/ Reggae Fusion

ZenZag started as a husband and wife duo, we used music as a way to connect with one another and to connect with ourselves. We started writing songs together and once we got going the music started to flow. Organically over the course of a few months we had formed a full six piece band. With every new member, the sound shifted and transformed to what it is now. Read more>>

Spencer Kirksey | Freelance Content Creator

I was a PE teacher and Athletic Director for an about a decade but when Covid made its first appearance I was in the first wave of cuts. I’m true transparency I was done dealing with the politics of being in a school setting and after having a heart to heart with my wife, I decided to enter the great unknown of freelance photography and social media marketing. It was something I did on a very surface level but loved creating content for brands and figured if I fully committed I’d be able to do something noteworthy. Read more>>

Michael Green | Hotel Owner

My husband and I wanted to create a small B&B like the ones we had stayed at all over the world. We were both in the marketing business and had done a lot of marketing for hotels, and we knew about running a business. So we put all those things together and focused our efforts on creating a B&B business! Read more>>

Jody James Watkins | CEO / Founder

I wish I could tell you I had an extensive ProForma with a 10 year plan. I didn’t. My business literally evolved organically from an opportunity that came up during an Adventure Princesses event I was attending with my daughter. Read more>>

David Crabtree | Medical Doctor

Can you imagine talking to your doctor about all of your health concerns in under 15 minutes? Unfortunately, this is the health care system of today. Doctors are often rushed, though patients are always complex. What do we do? Working at an urban academic medical center, I found myself conflicted about not being able to provide the best care possible to my patients. Too little time, too many patients, not enough resources. Meanwhile, individual patients suffer. Read more>>

Victoria Ngo Border | Owner

Vinya: vino + vinyasa is the first ever yoga studio and wine bar with a full kitchen and retail boutique in one community space. The concept for Vinya was born in 2016 after always needing to decide where to go and then having to drive to the nearest bar if we wanted to hang out with our friends after a yoga class. Read more>>

Mary Beth Larkin | Chief Creative Officer

My thought process for starting my own business was to provide a fashion alternative to athleisure. Women are settling for wearing activewear/athleisure for all occasions solely because they are comfortable. Comfort is winning, leaving a huge gap! The solution is athglamour which is redefining comfort and style everyday casual glamour. Read more>>

Keven R | Cosplayer

I have been cosplaying, making costumes, and going to cons for the past 10 years. Only recently have I realized that this is truly my passion. I’ve always thought that one day I would be working for myself, leaving my day job behind. This past year I decided to take that leap and begin my journey. I knew I wanted to cosplay and some how make a living but I didn’t know how or where to even start. Read more>>

James Pakootas | Storyteller, Performing Artist, Producer & Filmmaker

Thoughts become things, but only when met with action…and belief. I remember floating through my 20’s without any real sense of direction of where I was going & where I wanted to be. I felt useless and uninspired as I worked menial jobs to help others shape their vision. My real passion was music, but I didn’t have a record deal or regular play on the radio. Read more>>

Kate Cowen | Yoga Teacher, Occupational Therapist and Researcher

I’m a solution focused person. I was unhappy and wanted to change that. I moved to the UK in 2006 and found it very hard to settle. All countries seem to love their own qualifications so although I had a degree and an established career in social services, I had to start all over again at 30. Read more>>