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.

Wylie Bee | Fine Artist & Illustrator

Even before entering college, I knew I didn’t want to spend any of my time working on something I wasn’t passionate about. I pursued my art degree knowing that there were no promises of financial success after graduating, but chose to stick through it because of the love I have for creating. Of course, I spent years working customer service and retail to make ends meet, but continued to market my artistic talents to whoever would hire or showcase my work. Eventually, I gained enough momentum in my side hustle of gallery shows, murals, and graphic design to get out from behind a desk at an office and settle comfortably into my own traveling studio. Read more>>

Lisa Kuntze | Serial Entrepreneur, Co-Founder InstaMommies

My thought process for starting my own business was truly based around my family. As a Mother, you do not get much in benefits and time for maternity leave in the United States. With my children’s father making a greater income, as is the case for the National average (I believe Mothers make .59 cents to Fathers 1.00), I needed to be more available for our children. It made logical and financial sense for me to take on the parental care, as I was a nursing mother and work around their father’s hours. At the same time, I wanted to be more available. I wanted flexible income options and I wanted to be able to generate income for and be present with my family. Read more>>

Dezmin Staley | Massage Therapist

I truly wanted to be on my own time an schedule. I had an issue at work for being too slow but the thing is that I’m very detailed. I hated rushing my work. I also disliked seeing others cheat clients on their time due to being on a cookie cutter schedule. I didn’t want to quit the spa life for good. Also why get only a percentage of the work I had to perform, I had a gift and I was reminded by a good friend to utilize it. So here I am as Golden Gloves Massage. Read more>>

Taylor Trbo Donohue | Multidisciplinary Artist

All my life I have had a front row seat watching a brilliant example of a business owner, that I get to call dad. One of his mantras to me and my brother has always been the phrase “design your life” Being an artist has been a lifelong dream of mine so there was never really a question about doing this- the only questions were when, how, and what medium. (Except for a brief moment in 7th grade when I thought I wanted to be a physical therapist like my dad- until I was told I needed to take physics.) I’m 6’3″ so I was devoted to sports since I was 5 but my incredible mom always made sure I never stopped drawing. So thank you, mama! Read more>>

Breezy Nowlan | Recovery Housing Advocate

I never thought I would want to start my own business, but I was so unbelievably passionate about the recovery world and what was happening with sober living homes that I felt like it was almost my duty. When I got sober, I went through a sober living home that was quite the opposite of what it presented itself to be and was very chaotic. Unfortunately, the sober living owner didn’t actually care about the women in his home and most of them ended up relapsing. Our house manager was also currently using and it was a very messy situation. Read more>>

Carl Jackson | CEO and Motion Picture Executive

I honestly got tired of seeing major studios like Paramount, Warner Bros, and Universal, make money off of black and brown people, but not make films that uplift or enlighten them. Read more>>

Bee Johnson | Owner, Purple Ghost Apparel, LLC

My thought process behind starting your own business was first my love for artistic expression. When I was a child I started drawing at the age of eight. By sixteen, I was making homemade comic books with my best friends. We were completely into Anime before it became as popular as it is now. Read more>>

Kimberly Bell | Entrepreneur and Visionary

A dream of being an entrepreneur and owning my own business has ALWAYS been a dream of mine. I knew I was a leader at heart. Although I grew up a little insecure of myself, the leader in me never went away. As an adult, if I had an idea or vision of something, I would write the plan down and begin the process to execute the vision and it didn’t matter what it was. The FIRST thing I would do is PRAY! I would write down what I wanted and I would pray to God about it. In time, (some years) things would start to align and I would begin the journey of entrepreneurship. Read more>>

Jennifer Zerrer | Owner & Designer

I grew up watching my dad spend days building parks & early mornings plowing snow from the street. He was an entrepreneur at heart with an incredible work ethic that instilled in me early on the importance of believing in what you do and giving it all you got. That experience really shaped how I approached my career, and led me right out of college to become a business reporter covering retail and surf apparel companies in Orange County. Read more>>

Corissa Alvarez | Food Freedom & Fitness Coach

I began as a passionate fitness and health professional, preparing to teach at the university level. As I became more & more stressed in grad school, my binge-eating challenges and food obsession became worse. And, when I moved to Santa Monica, California while still in grad school, my body image and self-confidence also got worse. Through this experience and time in my life, I chose to dive deeply into self-growth and personal development. I discovered immense mental freedom as I continued to work on myself and understand how my mind worked. I was able to transform my deep insecurities, negative body image, and food relationship through this personal work. Read more>>

Jasmine Arthur | Owner of Corking Creations / Inventor of the Wine Glass Necklace

I had always been told by friends and family that I should start a business, but I always thought they were crazy, and that I was terrible at sales and knew nothing about business. I always knew that I loved wine and the wine industry and that If I could find something to do that would incorporate that into my work, I would “Never work a day in my life” which was always the goal. When I came up with the idea of Wine Glass Necklaces, it was just because I wanted one and could not find one that was elegant and fashionable so I made one for myself. Immediately people started asking me to make some for them, and thats when I knew, “I have a business!”. Read more>>

Paul Hageman | Lead Vocalist and Rhythm

Story we like to tell: A man, I think his name was Captain Planet, came from the sky and gave us each a ring with powers. Naturally, we had to hide our identities so we went undercover as a band. Turns out, we are way better at making music than we were at saving the world so we quit our days of crime fighting and decided to devote our lives to what really matters, music Read more>>

Edward Harpham | Designer/Manufacturer

When you know you were born to create, the process of starting a business comes naturally. Any person who has the passion and desire to design and create beautiful products will stop at nothing to get their products out in the world. People comment that our products make them happy and we just want to provide more beauty and happiness. Read more>>

Daryl Yong | Health & Fitness Coach & Digital Marketing Specialist

In regards to digital marketing: my professional background and college education is in marketing. I believe that the current and future space of marketing is hugely digital and social media is one of the biggest channels to reach the masses! I started with a food blog and managing a foodie page and scaled that up into a full time position managing social media accounts and handling promotions. Handling a personal training business that offers online personal training also pushed me to develop my own digital marketing skills such as SEO and local lead generation. Read more>>

Abigail Litthachack | Massage Therapist and Artist

Well… there are two main reasons. One, would be situational and a pretty hard story to share, but it has almost been a year since my incident so I think it’s a good time to open up about… In October of last year, during COVID, I didn’t sleep for six and half days and next thing I know I was falling from my second story veranda into my dining room. I was rushed to the hospital after my mom called 911 and the truth of the matter was that I had broken my jaw; therefore, I needed emergency maxillofacial surgery and a tracheotomy. Read more>>

Renee Porter | Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach

I absolutely love everything related to health and fitness. And I also love working with good people and being a part of their lives, helping them to strive and accomplish their goals. By starting my own business, I was able to be selective with my clientele. Imagine a working world where you enjoy and look forward to every hour and each person. Well, that’s the world and the business I created for myself. Read more>>

Erika Lin | Architect

I did my Architecture studies in the City of Tijuana, but from the beginning I knew that it was not the ideal city to start my career with Architect-interiorist in luxury projects, so when I completed this, I went to Mexico City to continue my learning and work in specialized design firms. After two years, I returned to Tijuana and founded my design firm Erika Lin Architects—now part of EL Design Group. I started with a very small office in the mezzanine of a furniture and decoration store, with very small projects, such as furniture design, bathroom remodeling and that is how we have grown until today, designing big houses, buildings, developments and corporate projects. Read more>>

Troy Tintiangco | Creative & Forever Student

Ever since I was in high school I knew I was going to start my own business at some point in my life. It really started when a classmate, Darren Vongphakdy, created a brand named “Evil Doer” and I thought it was coolest thing ever. Since then, the seed was planted in the back of my mind and it just kept growing. I never thought I was going to pursue it so early. Since then, I went to CSULB and got a degree in Broadcast Production. I ended up not pursuing that career and instead freelanced as a videographer/video editor. I was a kid trying to navigate the freelance environment out in Los Angeles. Read more>>

Rachael and Joe Nalevanko | Owners

Both of us really wanted to start a business to get out of the usual grind of working for other people. It took some time to figure out what we wanted to do, but eventually we decided that helping people discover the benefits of Hemp/Cannabis products and educating them was what we really wanted to do. We wanted to do something that would leave a lasting impact on people, and help them while also working to break the stigma around Cannabis. Read more>>

Emma Schonenberg | Surface Pattern Designer & therapeutic Art Facilitator

My thought process was very basic and came from instinct. I had discovered an industry that was very appealing to me, but having no information here in El Salvador, I had to do research on my own and experiment/try out trade shows. I really had no idea what I was doing, I just knew I needed to dedicate my work to Surface Pattern Design. Read more>>

Katie Godec | Founder & Head Designer

Doesn’t the saying go “Why work 9 to 5 for someone else when you can work 24/7 for yourself?” LOL. I think I was around the age of 7 or 8 when I established one of my earliest life goals: I want to leave a memorable impact on our world. I don’t need a bronze statue of my head, but I do want to leave a legacy for myself and my family that demonstrates something good we did for society, for people, and for the planet. And so began my company ALDRI SUR – a business that is less about making maximum profit and more about building a community around inclusion and sustainability in the outdoor industry. Read more>>

Jodi Farrell | Private music teacher & professional musician

What made you decide to open Jodi Farrell’s Music Studio? Way back in the early 90’s, I had been giving music lessons in my home. I was considering the idea of teaching outside of my home when another music teacher told me of a place for rent on Main Street. I went and checked it out and, at that time, it was located directly behind a sheet music store so, that was a plus. I decided to try it for one year. Fast forward and I am now going on 29 years at the same location. Turns out, it was a very good move! Read more>>