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.

Geraldine Lapid | Dolldine Designs

I wanted to start my own business in invitations and paper stationery due to the demand and need I found when designing for numerous family and friends. Everyone was interested in personalized stationery and my creativity took afloat. I started designing and doing things I liked, I knew I had to pursue. It was a working progress for many years and while I wish it bloomed overnight, it took years of dedication and hard work. Read more>>

Nicole and Cristina | Pop-up Picnic Planners

We have been friends for over 28 years and every year a group of us get together for a dinner. It was my turn to decide the place, due to covid I decided to do a picnic at the park. Cristina said I have all this China we could use, as her mom had passed away a year ago and had left it to her. Then we decided to let’s start and outdoor picnic business. SD Outdoor Soirée was born and we never looked back. Read more>>

Ziggy Zendejas | Co-Owner & Center Director, Code Ninjas Chula Vista

Our middle son, J.P., has expressed an interest in coding and computer science since he was in elementary school, this was about eight years ago and we found that there weren’t a lot of options for kids at his age to learn about computer science in the area (Chula Vista). When the idea of Code Ninjas was brought to our attention, my wife and I knew it would be a worthwhile venture as we are both strong believers in the benefits of STEM learning for young kids. Code Ninjas allows us to bring a fun, educational experience to other kids here in the South Bay. Read more>>

Robbie McCarthy | Classic Car Consultant

I did not set out to become a business. Air-Schooled was “discovered,” almost, by driving around the United States and chatting with owners of classic cars. It turns out, many owners have a desire to bond with their vehicle by doing repairs and maintenance themselves, but lack the confidence, tools, or skills to do so. By bridging that gap, I empower people to become more independent while discovering new ways to enjoy their hobbies. Read more>>

Cameron V. Peebles | Co-Founder of Claryti & Consumer Marketing Specialist

We wanted to give back to the world. Both Nixie and I have had successful careers in other fields. When we came to the next chapter in our lives, we wanted to make sure that we created a business that not only delighted our customers but created a positive impact on our planet. We created Claryti with those two things at the forefront of its inception, and it guides every decision we make, every day. Read more>>

Mike Trieu | Automotive Performance Tire and Parts Specialist

I was working in the automotive industry for about a decade before starting True Performance Motorsport. My career began as an automotive parts specialist in the racing and performance division at a well-known performance shop in Orange County. In addition, I was honing my skills on the racetrack as a competitor and eventually became a driving coach. This gave me a better understanding of how the parts enhanced the driving experience for different cars. I also immersed myself in the racing world and it showed me how the community was closely knit. Because I worked in the industry and was a racer, I noticed that club racers and car enthusiasts, like myself, needed high performance tires and parts. I wanted to pursue this market, but couldn’t due to restrictions at the current company. This sparked the idea to start my own company in order to service this niche market. Read more>>

Diane Marie Pascual | Diane Pascual | Designer | The Gypsy Goddess

Growing up in San Diego, I was raised by entrepreneur grandparents who worked really hard to build a life for all of their 7 kids and grandchildren. They showed me the value of working hard and never giving up on my dreams, they showed me what was possible. I am so grateful to have grown up and have such an amazing and supportive family and friends in San Diego. I have been freelancing and contracting as a Graphic Designer & Illustrator since 2006, I also worked long days and was lucky enough to build a network of freelance clients over the years. I started my own business because I wanted freedom and flexibility to spend time with my son, family, and friends. For so many years I sacrificed my time to work. I wanted more quality of living and to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. But most importantly, I wanted to have more time to be creative, to work on passion projects. To work on things that bring me joy and inspiration. Read more>>

Laura Cooper | Marketing Strategist

People often talk about having very lucid dreams while expecting, and I experienced this exact experience when I was pregnant. Whether I was awake or asleep, all I thought about was how I could be more present with my growing family along with everything else in my life. I was constantly working on ways of generating income, while keeping a healthy work-life balance. I was obsessed with finding a way to become present both physically and mentally for my children, and it became my purpose. Once I realized what my mission was, I took an interest in local companies and markets. I quickly realized that with so many small businesses in my community, that marketing on their behalf was what I needed to do. I could create a local marketing agency that captured their voice and aspirations all while helping them create revenue. Read more>>

Aleksei Stojanovic | Surfer Entrepreneur & Recent ASU Graduate

The idea behind GoSurf started when I was giving surf lessons at a surf instructor at a local surf camp in Carlsbad, I was getting severely underpaid or paid late at a time when I needed money badly. I attempted to advertise private lessons because that is where most of the money is made in surf lessons, but I found that channels of advertisement were outdated (flyers, Facebook groups, etc.). My thought after this was to create a platform connecting surf instructors with those in need, this way surf instructors would make more money, make their own hours, and have one place to find new clients. I came to my friend Cameron Christian with the idea and he loved it! Cameron and I would surf together every now and then and originally met at an entrepreneurship competition in high school. A couple of years passed, and I found myself on a surf trip near Matosinhos in Portugal in spring 2018. Read more>>

Louis Frey | Illustrator

I have always loved making art and since after high school that was always the path that I was going down. I wasn’t sure at the time what that would be and so it sort of naturally became freelance illustration over time. I loved drawing and making illustrations so I did a lot of that and developed a style of my own that other people also liked which, through social media, started landing me various freelance jobs. I still have a lot to learn about running a business which is not my strong suit, but drawing illustrations for freelance goes hand in hand with it. Read more>>

Amber Larsen | Florist

My LOVE for succulents! Oh man, did I love those spiky, soft, colorful plants. I had no experience starting a business nor was I old enough. But never the less the fire to start a business all by myself when I was 20 was in me. I had no experience and no idea what I was doing, but I enjoyed creating hand make bouquets and being able to ship them right to the brides front door. There was a wide open market for the growing popularity of succulents, and succulent bouquets. Which there was maybe but a few on the market for purchase, so I took the opportunity and ran with it. Thus far, it has brought me the most joy to hear the brides praise and joy meant when they receive my arrangements. Which has been my biggest blessing so far. Read more>>

Angela Carroll | Family Childcare Owner/ Center Director of Early Head Start Center/ Early Childhood Educator

My thought process behind starting my own business was to provide my family with financial stability and we wanted to leave a Legacy behind for our children and our grandchildren that would continue on way after we are gone. This is very important to us!. Read more>>

Robin Katz | Chocolatier and Owner of Nola Rose Chocolate

At the time I started my business I had just had my daughter Nola Rose and worked as the Sous Chef of the Marine Room in La Jolla. When I became her mother I immediately knew that the hours of a Chef wouldn’t work for me or for her. I needed something that would give me the ability to be with her more and give me the freedom of having my own schedule. I was also starting to get bored with work and needed the ability to control and progress my own creativity. I became really submerged into chocolates when I was pregnant and found myself always craving them. I searched far and wide for high-end artisanal chocolates but found that there really wasn’t much in San Diego, so I started making my own. I began developing the chocolates with a chef’s background so I toyed around a lot with different and unique flavors, plays on nostalgic classics, etc. I decided early on that I wanted the chocolates to be pieces of artwork–each one hand painted and unique in its look as much as its flavor. Read more>>

Torri Hughes | Owner, Ripped Radio Network LLC

I knew I was getting into a genre where not too many had an actual “network” at that time in 2009. So in 2009, all the plans were in place, and we launched in 2010. I knew there was a good chance it would not work, but also an equally good chance that it would. Read more>>

Dr. Lisa Dunne | President and CEO of CVCU

After 20 years in higher education, I got a glimpse at what was happening behind America’s academic curtain. I saw the dropout rates, crushing debt, and floundering students, and I knew there had to be a better way, a simpler way, a more effective and efficient way to educate the next generation. It would have been safer for me to stay cocooned in my well-planned career path, but I knew I had to take a risk if I wanted to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Go where there is no path and leave a trail,” and that was a perfect driving quote for me. There was no precise road map to follow because what I envisioned had not been done before, at least not in the modern era. So, I began formulating a hybrid model built on research and development from studies in business, education, interpersonal communication, psychology, neuroscience, even history. Out of that came a university system that is unique for two significant reasons. Read more>>

Scott Shellstrom | Creativity Thought Leader | Live / Virtual Motivational Speaker | Creative Director | Artist | Host

We are all “starting our own businesses” these days. In the near future, there will be more independent contractors then employeeses. It is a natural progression to consult as you become a thought leader at the peak of your career. Read more>>