Many books on startups and business talk about how there are right and wrong reasons for starting a business. So, we asked a handful of successful founders about their reasons and the thought-process behind starting their business.

Mallory Kessel | Photographer

Starting my own business was something that I never pictured for myself. I’ve loved and appreciated photography as an art form for as long as I can remember, but didn’t think it was even an option as a career path. When I was in undergrad, I decided to change majors but couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do! I asked my mom for advice and she suggested majoring in photography and I said, “I’ll never make a living from photography!” I think about 20 year old me often and how glad she’d be knowing how wrong she was. Read more>>

Julia Messinger | Artist

I decided to take on creating a business of being a full time artist mid 2021. Graduating from college in May 2020, some of the craziest times in the pandemic, gave me a lot to consider when deciding what to do or be in life. I have painted and created as a hobby for as long as I can remember, and never really considered it to be a career path. Around the time of graduation, my boyfriend and I decided to start a small business, where I painted cutting boards and serving trays that he built. We stuck with this for about 9 months and decided to end the business. Read more>>

Luz Tijerina-Garduno | Immigration Attorney & Content Creator

I was working for a law firm that did not align with my ethics. In addition to that I had a 2 year old son who I felt like I was missing out on because I would be out of the home from 7 am to 7 pm from Monday to Friday and also some weekends. I knew what I could make an impact both in my community and my son’s life if I became my own boss and opened up my law firm. Read more>>

Philip Al-Hajj | Studio Owner & Drummer

We always have been, and probably forever will be, musicians first. More importantly, independent musicians which always meant, recording our own music, releasing our own albums and planning our own shows and tours. After touring and living in our tour bus with our first band (Clepto) for a year and a half back in 2012, we decided to take on a space in mid City Los Angeles and turn it into a recording studio (originally, just to record our next album release). It turns out that having your own studio has too many advantages and ever since then, we have been on the quest to having a self sustaining studio where we can practice, record and keep alive while we tour. This gave birth to our latest business Orange County Sound Studios for our current band The Hajj. Read more>>

Hayden Almeida | Doctor of Physical Therapy

I wanted to start my own physical therapy business because I had a different vision of what physical therapy should be. I was starting to become run down and burnt out in my physical therapy career and I was only 2.5 years out of school at that point. I wanted to create a physical therapy business that I would want to work for. I wanted to create something to help my community here in Long Beach. I knew I would never be satisfied working for someone else and following their rules, so I had to create something of my own. Something that I was proud of. Read more>>

Tim Shaeffer | Co-Founder Best Coast Bagels

We lived in San Diego for years and couldn’t find a bagel that was the style and quality that we were used to on the East Coast so we decided to figure out how to make them the way we wanted them. Read more>>

Alexa Grimshaw | Photographer

I have always wanted to own something and be able to say, I did this! I want my kids to see their mom be successful and do what I love. I come from a big family and family means everything to me. Being the oldest child and grandchild, I learned to help, share, and do everything together. I wanted to be able to do something as a family where I can take my kids with me to shoots if I can and they can see me at work. My husband has a huge part of helping me with this and getting me started, he helps get the word out, helps at shoots, made my logo and business cards. I don’t think I would have gotten this far without him by my side. Read more>>

Cecily Kelly | Yoga Instructor and Entrepreneur

Connection. Bringing people together. Like minded people, people searching for something more, people wanting to get outside of their comfort zone, people looking for growth. I wanted to create a safe space with wellness retreats, workshops, yoga classes, yoga parties so people were able to enjoy not only movement of their body but a shift in their mind as well. Being able to grow upwards while also finding deep roots in the present! Part of Twin Star Yoga and connection is yes, about connecting to ourselves and the people around us but also our community! At a lot of Twin Star Events we encourporate local and small businesses to help showcase them! Bring to light how so many people have branched out on their own and created amazing products. Read more>>

Aaron Gray | Co-owner & Piano, Voice and Organ instructor.

I had always played with the idea of opening my own music studio, but never really pursued it, until one day I got fed up with my full time job at the time and walked out that day. I decided finally that I was going to work for myself and immediately started grinding. I reached out to a friend of mine, Sam Specht-Burns, who ended up becoming the co-owner of Practice Makes Perfect. Read more>>

Leanna Friedman | Owner De La Beuh Body

My goal was to create alternative bath and body products aid in healing the mind and body. I wanted to start this woman owned line to help inspire other woman to create their own identity by using a creative mind. Coming from a family with a history of skin problems, and having an autoimmune disease of the skin myself, I knew skincare products would benefit my family and peers. Read more>>

Christy Sohie | Owner & Creative Designer

I started Sage & Rue (then known as, Sohie Design Company) in April 2014. I was working at a job that I loved with a difficult team. The discord eventually became too much to bear, so I started to look for another job. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a comparable job that paid similarly at the time, so I decided to make my own, thinking, “how hard could it be?”. Around this time, Etsy had become pretty well-known and I loved making handmade greeting cards. Read more>>

Winnie Goh | Founder of & MUTTS Co. | Small Business Owner

Entrepreneurship has always intrigued me, but I couldn’t put a finger on what kind of business I would start, nor did I ever think was ever possible for me. At a very young age, I have always been an animal lover and had a strong passion in learning more about them. There was nothing else that sparked my curiosity more than animals and wildlife, which led me to pursue my B.S in Animal Science & Management at the University of California, Davis. Read more>>

Katie Koehler | Entrepreneur & Baker

Starting my own business has always been a dream of mine since I was young. Through high school and college baking was a sort of therapy for me, and a way to step back and take some time for myself. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in education and absolutely loved teaching, but being a military spouse made it difficult due to us moving so frequently. After we welcomed our two sons into the world, my dream of starting my own business while being a stay-at-home mom came to fruition. I wanted to be able to be completely involved in my children’s lives while also pursuing something for myself. I’m so blessed to have been able to find that balance. Read more>>

Jessica Dowsett | Entrepreneur

I’ve wanted to start my own business since I can remember. Several people in my family are creative and have started their own businesses. I think seeing them pursue their dreams and succeed was what inspired me. I’ve had a lot of business ideas but making toffee came naturally to me because I love to bake and try new candy recipes, especially chocolate so it kind of fell into place when I was just doing it for enjoyment. Read more>>

Paige Freier | Photographer

I had been doing photography for about six years before I finally felt confident enough to start my own business. I was a manager at a restaurant and in January of this year decided to take the plunge and go after what I love. Read more>>

Karyn Frisby | Social Media Manager/Marketing and Podcast Host

In 2019, I took the leap of faith and ventured out on my own path after owning and operating a small business with my ex husband for year.s My thought process was I knew I understood what it took to create a business from the ground up, the blood, sweat and tears, if you will. I had been through the highs and lows, the long hours, the risks, the successes of owning a small business and I felt I could help other small businesses. My strength as well as passion was marketing and branding. I also could see how important social media was becoming to help market small businesses online. Read more>>

Calli S. | Photographer, Videographer, Interviewer, Event Host, Artist Manager

My thought process behind starting Cloud Kill was really about having a platform to give further exposure and organic reach to underground artists. Primarily the underground rap scene. I work in the Los Angeles and surrounding areas. I also reach out to artists across the states and around the world. The thought was to unite these artists with the events I provide as well as give them exposure through my other offers such as media and design. Read more>>

Keny Marie LeepierFreeman | Owner

KayEmElle Art was originally born from my love to create and re-create things. As a cannabis user, I noticed that the market was limited on what kinds of designs you could find on trays, and you can hardly ever find matching accessories. With that in mind, I started making customized three-piece sets. The sets include a metal epoxy coated tray, matching grinder and lighter. Each items image is fully customizable to my customers liking. I researched to find the most affordable items so that I could pass on the savings to my customers. We strive to provide quality sets at a low price. Read more>>

Ryon Smith | Owner of Primal Function Personal Training/The Lab Supplements & Wellness

Fitness and nutrition have always played a massive role in my life. I worked for several gyms and managed a GNC for a few years early in my career. While I loved helping clients reach their goals in these settings, I knew I could make an even bigger difference by doing it my way. Slowly but surely, I began my journey toward independence by taking my own personal training clients outside of the jobs I was already working. I’d train them in my garage late into the night or in their homes early in the morning. I refused to settle for anything less than my dream. I’m now living in California (moved from IL in 2018) as the proud owner of both Primal Function Personal Training and The Lab Supplements & Wellness. Read more>>

Jovaunee Pierre | Entrepreneur

I started my own business because I wanted to have something that I can grow and build for my children. At the time when I started Misunderstood Tribe a group of friends and I were spending a lot of time out around the beach. From the time we spent our families got really close. That’s when I decided to create Misunderstood Tribe. I was inspired by my new family. My new Tribe. Read more>>