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.

Dylan Lovinger and TimM O’Connor | Hyperspace Engineers

(Dylan) TimM and I have always wanted to start a business together, but this one wasn’t planned. The Hyperspace Lighting Company started over two years ago with a single viral video. At that time the HyperCube was nothing more than a personal hobby project, inspired by the art at music festivals and burning man, and an attempt to add another dimension to an infinity mirror. Not to mention just a fun way to tinker with electronics and LED art, turning code into illuminated art. This first video I posted of the HyperCube immediately went viral on Facebook, racking up over 1.7M views in the span of a few weeks. Read more>>

Karen Tinney | Artist/Designer

At the very beginning, my business started quite naturally – I was working full time as a home decor designer and was making my own things on the side. With many years of professional experience in the home industry, I knew that the work that I was producing was unique in the home market, and that there was a desire for it. At the encouragement of my friends and co-workers, I started to sell my work to retail shops and on my own website. I wasn’t very happy in my position as a designer and was looking to leave, so as my personal business started to take off that became a realistic option for me to pursue. Because I was already gaining speed while selling my work part time, I knew if I devoted 100% of my energy into my own work I could have a viable business. I saved up as much as I could until I was ready to strike out on my own. Before I left my full time job, I made sure to have some big projects and orders lined up so I knew I would have enough income to fund my business and pay myself, and from there I’ve been able to self-fund my business ever since. Read more>>

Ruth Fromstein | Contemporary Painter

I have fearlessly embarked on a plethora of career paths in my life. In 1979 I earned a degree in Vocational rehabilitation, but I have always been attracted to business and art, so in 2017 when I suddenly lost my full-time job of 10 years, I decided to pursue my new passion of abstract painting. My previous experiences as owner of varied retail businesses, jewelry maker, furniture painter and art kit developer prepared me well for my sudden, unexpected business decision. I knew it was not going to be easy to make a living as a painter, I knew the odds of success were against me, I knew all the hard work that lay ahead and I also knew there was a great deal that I did not know! With all this knowledge, a bounty of confidence and fierce conviction, I was determined to succeed. I registered for several painting classes in San Diego, supplied myself with a swath of materials from Artists & Craftsman in my Hillcrest neighborhood and researched marketing strategies. Read more>>

Kristal Coral Marie Molina | Artist

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an Artist. My Mother and Grandmother encourage my talents. When it was time to go college I thought and Art Teacher would legitimize my dream. However my fist intro to education classes made it very clear that was not the career for me. After my first child was diagnosed as Deaf aft. The visual world of art and ASL felt beautiful on my hands. I have participated craft shows and artisan markets for years. I started with crafty projects, various types of mixed media art and jewelry. The craft shows are typically seasonal. It was a fun side hustle . After completing my interpreting training program I began working for the local community college as a Sign Language Interpreter, Then March of 2020 happened and the situation and my jobs ended. I stayed home and painted. I sat in my art studio and painted through the fears of the novel pandemic. I began to post my artwork and friends and family began to ask for prices. Read more>>

Alex Bergan | Singer/songwriter

Honestly, It kind of plays hand-in-hand with anybody else’s process. We are tired of working for the man and we want to do anything and everything to make our work not really work anymore. Of course, there’s a high mountain to climb to get to that point, but the end goal is to turn what we love into our day jobs. Read more>>

Jen Burns | Crystal Resin Artist

My business began very organically. I used crystals and Art as a way of therapy for myself. Being a Mother of 3 and a wife I found myself completely focusing only on my husband and children. I had forgotten about myself. Which was ok for awhile but then my own issues from an abusive and toxic childhood began unraveling before me. I found that the more hours I put into my art and getting quiet with myself the better I felt. At this point it was not a business. It was a pile of canvases. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to display them because they were so personal my emotions and feelings right there for everyone to see. But as friends and family saw my pieces they encouraged me to begin selling these pieces. That is where Healing Art by Jen began. Read more>>

Shaira Espino | Freelance Artist

The thought first came when I realized I am living in the golden years, my 20’s. Here I was, working 40 hours a week in an office job for 2 years, and I already hated it. Money was steady, yet I was the most depressed I had ever been. Do I see myself doing this for the rest of my life? No. I decided right then and there I would make as many mistakes as I needed to in order to answer that question with a solid “yes”. Why waste any more time on something I find meaningless, when instead I have the opportunity to work for the life I’ve always wanted? From there, my business was born in fear I would waste the only life I have on a mediocre lifestyle. Read more>>

Dr. Jill McDevitt | Sexologist, Human Sexuality Educator, Coach, and Consultant

I knew since I was a teenager not only that I wanted to become a sexologist, but that I wanted to do it on my own as an entrepreneur. I had visions of filling auditoriums, giving talks on human sexuality to thousands of people, writing books, and having my own TV show to help normalize these conversations. I started designing the business plan when I was 18 and even had business cards made up. But it was more of a long-term plan, and I hoped in the short-term to land a full-time job as a sex educator after undergrad. However, I graduated in 2007 which was the height of the Bush-era abstinence only education standard (meaning no jobs for sex educators fresh out of college), and the start of the recession (meaning no jobs for anyone). At this point, the thought process behind starting my own business was one of survival- I had no job prospects, and my first student loan payment was coming due so at just 21 years old I just started my own company. Read more>>

Amber Baker | Founder of Collective 108

Before starting Collective 108, I was working as a marketing director in the health & wellness industry. During my time in the industry I noticed many things. A lack of organic affordable skincare products & transparent CBD companies which I was in search of. But most importantly, I noticed a lack of representation for people of color/BIPOC in the wellness industry. Being a Black & Latina woman, this last part really hit home. I was simultaneously in search of a remedy for my very problematic and sensitive skin. After countless failed attempts and thousands of dollars wasted on products, I decided to make my own organic face products! They ended up working so well, my husband encouraged me to share it with my community. And that is how Collective 108 was born! Read more>>

Brittney Osborne | Founder B’CAUSE womenswear

Growing up, my parents always gave me free rein to be a creative thinker. I was never pressured to be someone I wasn’t, and I think I found a lot of freedom in being able to explore my passions. At a young age, my sisters and I would set up lemonade stands, sell snow cones & go door to door slinging homemade cookies. I attribute half of our success to self-motivated grit and the other half to nice neighbors, ha-ha. Needless to say, I was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. Fast forward years later and BOOM sparked B’CAUSE! The “B” in B’CAUSE stands for the 4 strong women in my family (Brenda, Bridgette, Brooklyn & myself, Brittney) and the “CAUSE” is my heart’s intent to create one of a kind pieces that armor our customers in confidence and love. Read more>>

Allie Duffy | Physical Therapist & Pilates Instructor

For many years I convinced myself that running my own business would be way too much work, too stressful, and not “secure” enough for me. However, as I continued my physical therapy practice in other settings, I began to notice processes and standards of care that did not align with my own personal beliefs. I found myself wishing I just had “a little more time” with one patient, or a quiet environment to provide care for another patient, and started to envision what my “ideal” clinic would look like. I even considered leaving the field out of frustration with the current practice environment. Read more>>

Oz Blackaller | Entrepreneur/Chef

I began to evolve the idea of being an entrepreneur at a young age. My mom launched and made two businesses successful when I was growing up so I got to see her working hard to be successful and that inspired me. My dad told me a story of how he and his brothers in law tried starting a business when the Mexican economy crashed in the early ’80s but it didn’t come to fruition. I grew up being taught that I was going to go attend University to secure making a living. Entrepreneurship was always part of our family conversations. That idea matured a little bit during my first two years in college. Read more>>

Megan Borman | CEO & Head Creative

Starting my own business gives me the freedom to do many things! First, I get to work from home (a luxury that is more common now due to the pandemic) but in terms of a work-life balance, I love this layout. Second, I appreciate so much the ability to choose the people I work with. My team is amazing. Lastly, there is no limit to the amount of people I can work with, tasks I can take on and creativity our agency can produce! Read more>>

Alisha Cadoret-Sturges | Owner of Valomie Boutique

I wanted to leave the corporate 9 to 5 job and do what I am passionate about which is all things fashion. After I had my second daughter I knew I wanted to start my own online boutique named after my two daughters. I knew right from the start this was going to be a hard task but the end result would be worth it when you work hard. Read more>>

Nathan Ball | Clothing Brand Owner & Art Lover

While growing up, I always had a fascination with apparel and style which eventually met up with my entrepreneurial tendencies. A clothing brand just made so much sense, but I knew my business needed to mean more. Looking around at the struggles my family had overcame, I was heavily inspired to create a brand that celebrates the way people turn their struggles into strengths and remain UNSHOOK through life’s disasters. From day one, our mission has been to electrify the world to live in confidence, and it’s been a hell of a ride so far. Read more>>

Kaeya Hill | Handcrafted Jeweler

The thought process behind my business was exploring my passions. I started creating jewelry out of love for making beautiful pieces that inspire joy! I was encouraged to build a business after receiving overwhelming support with my debut to the community and a love got inspiring them through my art. Read more>>

Jenna Kuiken | Juicepreneur

To be honest, it transpired very organically. I had lost about 100 lbs and found a love for REAL FOOD which included juices and smoothies. For almost 10 years I was a makeup artyist and working in retail surrounded by mall junk food, eating healthy was a constant struggle. My coworkers were always asking me to bring in my juices into work for them. One day my manager asked me to make her a juice cleanse and thats really where it took off. Word spread about my cleanses and soon after I was delivering all over town. Read more>>

Amanda McCarroll & Carolina Vivas | Owners of Buddhi Yoga La Jolla, Your Buddhi Online Yoga and FlowLIFT Fitness

In 2009, our yoga students asked for a way to take our classes when they were on vacation or couldn’t make it to the studio. To fill this need, we started recording the audio of our classes with our cell phones and sold them for $10 on a website we created called yourBuddhi.com. We came up with the name yourBuddhi because we liked the word Buddhi. A simple definition of this Sanskrit word is “wisdom” which is an important aspect of yoga. Read more>>

Jessica Rizzotto | Newborn & Baby Portrait Photographer

I have always loved photography as a hobby, ever since I was a teenager and learned how to develop my own film in a darkroom. However once I became a mother and experienced firsthand just how quickly my babies grew and changed, the importance of capturing those fleeting moments became paramount. I realized that I wanted to help preserve these memories for other families as well, not just my own. I always feel so honored to work with growing families, to be a small part of their journey and capture all the tiny details of their precious little ones for them to look back on for years to come. Read more>>

Loren Leigh | President and Reptile Enthusiast

When I was in my early years of college the web was starting to become what it has today. I was a reptile fanatic and was breeding some lizards for hobby. I was also working a small start up reptile business at the time as well. I saw at this time a ever increasing interest in the reptile hobby and also saw a radical shift of them not just becoming more popular but slowing becoming mainstream. The stereo typed big burly guy with tattoos and his big python in the backroom was becoming the 9 year old kid with a pac-man frog in living room. As this shift in interest and consumer began, the massive interest in the reptile hobby, the internet, the croc hunter on TV making reptiles famous I saw a opportunity to fuse all this together around a brick n mortar store and online presence. Read more>>

doc PEACE | Empowerment Guru

I’m Dr. Peace Uche, also known as doc.PEACE. And I’m the creator of The GOLDen Program, The GOLDen Speaking Program and GOLDen Business Excelerator. Through The GOLDen Program I help women who are feeling stuck in their lives & unfilled, clearly define their purpose and confidently advance towards that purpose. Thru The GOLDen Speaking Program I help entrepreneurs gain the visibility to grow their business organically by speaking on other people’s platforms and authoring a best-seller. Read more>>

Jess Villela | Sales and Leadership Coach

As I worked in my corporate life and grew in my career, and built skill, and impact ,and income, it felt good to succeed and to be rewarded, but I also noticed that with each promotion or opportunity, I had less and less influence over my own time. As I was thoughtful about the next promotion… I realized that the pressure and tension and guilt of building someone else’s bottom line over having the freedom and ability to be more flexible for my family meant I’d have to make a choice. I chose me. I chose the life that I deserve, and to be able to be fully authentically who I am while living out my priorities with my three kids and my husband. That meant controlling my time and taking private coaching clients in a rhythm that fuels me. Read more>>

Maggie Slater and Melinda Staab n/a | SHE VIP Co-Founders

Maggie and I are no strangers to entrepreneurism. Like most entrepreneurs, the impetus for SHE VIP came when we saw a need that was not being met–a pain point for our small business community. Even before the pandemic, so many small businesses were struggling to gain new, and keep, loyal customers. Big box stores, online shopping and larger companies with unlimited marketing and advertising dollars were taking a large share of the consumer base. Read more>>

Mae Hirota | Fake Food Artist

I started creating fake food in 2015 when I used to work at a bank, and the artist in me was hungry for creation. My soft spot for sweets and love for crafts led me to the world of fake food. I was enamored scrolling through images of beautiful desserts made from silicone, resin, and styrofoam. I started searching for tutorials but found very little information. I sought apprenticeship from veterans and found each kept their “recipe” a secret. Read more>>

Ty Nolte | Makeup Artist/Creative

When I first started my business, my main goal was to make people smile, I just loved to see the reactions on their faces after a complete transformation, but it’s more than that. I began to enjoy meeting new people, sharing experiences/ideas, educating people on techniques and so much more. I started my business with just one simple idea and it blossomed into something greater! Read more>>

Sarah Bruno | Artist, custom portraits

I have always wanted to be an artist, to have a business of my own and to be my own boss. I love drawing and it’s not work for me, it’s just fun. If you are passionate, independent, extremely driven, and organized, starting your own business could be one of the best things you ever do. Starting your own business may come with amazing rewards, and it will definitely come with lessons you can learn from. I knew I had to start my own business to continue progressing as an artist. Read more>>