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.

Ian Chen | Co-Founder and CEO of Discotech

The idea for Discotech came to us from the customer’s perspective – we were creating a solution to a problem that we were dealing with. Back in my mid-twenties, I was frequenting nightlife venues and traveling around the country in search of parties and music festivals – probably having a little too much fun for my own good. Despite the fact that I was a customer trying to spend money at these establishments, I found it very challenging to do so. Back then, it was necessary to track down a human promoter, call/text them, and negotiate on pricing. This process was very inefficient and non-transparent. I believed that there had to be an easier way for customers to get information on nightlife events, and to make direct reservations and purchases. Other industries have already seen human middle-men disrupted by technology, including OpenTable for restaurants, and booking engines such as Expendia, Booking.com, Kayak disrupting the travel reservation space. Read more>>

Clayton Wheeler | Blacktop Restaurant Group Inc., Restauranteur

I love the challenge of putting together the many pieces to make something work. From building forts and skateboard ramps as a kid to growing up in the restaurant industry loving the interaction with guests and co-workers, it seemed only natural to figure out how to put the pieces of a restaurant together from scratch. My business partner Craig Applegate and I shared a dream of opening our own restaurant and Casero Taqueria gave us that opportunity. It has had its challenges, especially in COVID times, but we have been able to adapt and navigate well and continue to grow the business. Read more>>

Lauren Turton | Business and Career Expansion Specialist

My thought process behind starting my own business was that I didn’t want to be dependent of others. After years of working for others I had started to feel trapped and suffocated because of their demands and schedule. I realized I needed to take the leap into full time entrepreneurship into order to live the life I desired and deserved. Read more>>

Caroline Abkar | Realtor

I always had an entrepreneurial spirit where I wanted to be my own boss while at the same time make a direct impact on people’s lives. I learned so much from corporate America but after over a decade in that space, my desire of starting my own business and helping people with their dreams only grew stronger. Read more>>

Sam Kumar Tandon | Mastering Engineer

1. I knew I wanted to do something different and I didn’t know any better. Of course, I’m half joking. I wanted to assume a career path that was different than what the the people around me were pursuing. While people were planning to study for a career in computer engineering, medicine, or finance, I was looking into the various options that I had in the world of business ownership and freelancing. Read more>>

Dennis Haynes | Author & Writing Coach

When starting my publishing company it was important to set a foundation that would have an impact on sharing knowledge with and about the Black community. I knew my calling was centered around writing and as I thought about the impact I would like to have, helping to create more readers and writers was vital and very near to my heart. Read more>>

Jamie Reid | Board Chairman and Broker

We operate in a very stagnate, old school insurance industry. We felt the timing was right to create a different work environment in the commercial insurance agency space. We were right. We started in 2017 with 22 team members and three years later we are close to 100 teammates. Our flexibility empowers every individual in our organization to flex out and work from home, shift their work hours around what is happening in their life and it embrances work-life balance in the modern era. When we launch a job on indeed we usually have over 100 applicants and our work place culture is the reason why. Read more>>

Stephanie Sacks | Brand & Web Designer | Grandview Collective

Ever since I was young I had an interest in design. Throughout my professional career, I have worked in various marketing and design jobs which allowed me to grow my skill set. I was always keeping up with new trends and after designing a logo and website for my jewelry business, I fell in love with the process. I wanted to open a studio where I could work with other creatives and entrepreneurs and to create the brand of their dreams! Read more>>

Kira Finkenberg | Entertainment & Event Marketing & Ticketing

I was young and naive when I started my business, so I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into, but my father was an entrepreneur as was my brother so it seemed like the right thing to do. I had a ton of support and a client ready to hire me, so the timing was right! Read more>>

Roy Silverstein | Recording/Mixing/Mastering Engineer & Studio Owner

I was working a Corporate job and was getting a bit burned out after 10 or so years. I couldn’t really see myself just going on in that environment forever. Recording music was my true passion and I spent most of my spare time and idle thoughts on it. So I guess it just seemed like the only other direction to go for me. Read more>>

Anne Engert | Florist

After marrying my husband and receiving my green card (I am originally from Norway) I began working for my mother in law, who then owned Del Mar Floral. I worked for her for 8 years before she made the decision to retire. The company was sold to a nationwide chain and I stayed on as a manager for a year. I completely disagreed with their business practices and eventually left the company. I kept in touch with the rest of the staff and they informed me after about a year or so, that the chain was selling off their stores through bankruptcy. My husband and I purchased Del Mar Floral back and spent several years building it back up as it had taken quite a toll from going through a major change; centralizing phone lines, deliveries, design out of a warehouse essentially keeping our location as a walk-in/cash & carry only satellite store. Read more>>

Gregg Oliver | Musician / Manager (Bass Player in The Serenade)

I started looking for musicians that were NOT typical musicians. A band is a partnership with members bringing an aggregate of all they things they love about the art. Hopefully, they have a few things in common and LOTS of differences too, in order to produce a unique sound. I think that there is an audience for nearly any kind of music you can think of, so we might as well make our own blend, and FIND the people that identify with it. Of those musicians, I looked for good business partners. To me that meant, 1) committed and eager to put in the work needed to realize the opportunity, 2) curious as to what we could make together and willing to criticize and be criticized until we created something that met our standards, and 3) able to do MANY things that are not related to playing their instrument or writing songs. Read more>>

HappyRon Hill | Songwriting and Music Mentor

The shutdown over the virus has made being a musician even harder than it was. Film and TV are some of the few avenues open to people. Even Mozart made money from having students, so if being a teacher is good enough for him it’s good enough for me. In terms of teaching music, it came out of me having had such challenges in learning music that I realized that the challenges of the student aren’t always dealt with by many music teachers. For instance, the process of how to memorize movements (sometimes incorrectly called “muscle memory”) isn’t always taught in a way that It sometimes is “just do it, it was easy for me it should be easy for you. You aren’t doing your homework.” I teach my students how important it is to relax and learn the movements slowly. The slower you move the faster you learn. Read more>>

Shelley Anderson | Advertising Consultant, Media Planning and Buying Specialist

Advertising is an interesting business. You get to learn about a lot of different industries as you work with them crafting their advertising campaigns. I have always been an independent self-starter and wanted the independence and earning potential of being my own boss. I had been working for several other advertising agencies for more than a decade. I was laid off after one agency I was working for lost a major amount of business during a recession, which happens. Fortunately, I had already started planning my exit and had a good client on board when I started my own venture, and shortly thereafter landed a major client, which made my company’s launch a good one. Read more>>

Camille Hinkle | Handmade Craftor and Licensed Home Baker

I have always wantd to be my own boss. I guess I get that from my father who was very successful in the end but it took him a while to get there. Delving into many business and finally finding one that would be his bread and butter for his family. I probably never looked at it the same way as he did as I just needed a job. And I have had a great few jobs over my long years. But my passion has always been to create in some for or other. So as you create you need to have a home for all of the lovely creations, so finding an outlet for them became the goal. Do you consign? Do you craft show? Do you sell online? Well I have tried all 3 and maybe a few more. But having a small boutique has always sounded like fun. So when the opportunity presented it self, I took it. Read more>>