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.

Melissa Ward | Owner and Principal Designer

When I was in choosing my major for college I was deciding between graphic design and becoming an elementary school teacher. Ultimately I chose graphic design for a couple of reasons: I wanted to have a job that was in some sort of creative industry and ( most importantly) I knew that one day I wanted to start a family and when I did, I wanted to have flexibility in my job so I could be home with my children at least part time. Graphic design was a skill that could potentially allow me both of those things. I worked in the non-profit sector right out of college but in a very creative role and then eventually moved into a professional career with a well known company that was small enough that I could learn many different aspects of the business including project management, product design, marketing, sales, operations and working with manufacturing partners in Thailand and China. Read more>>

Isaac Salcido | Retirement Specialist

My thought Process has always been a bit unorthodox I never wanted to start a business in the industry im in. Found myself Forced in to it by seeing the lack of training, honesty and above all Leadership. I truly believe my team and I can build an amazing company that can impact and shift the American household. Read more>>

April M. Henley | Founder/CEO Dogs On The Run

In 2002, I rescued a 1 year old German Shepherd named “Kona Kai” from Animal Control in Coronado. She was a sweet, beautiful dog, but she suffered from severe separation anxiety. When I would leave the house, she would go out the doggie door and whine and howl in the backyard. It was so bad that the neighbors called animal control to report that “this dog must be neglected.” Of course, after an officer came to my home (on two separate occasions), the officer realized that the dog was far from neglected, she just suffered from separation anxiety and was a tad bit spoiled. She missed me! As crazy as it sounds, I quit my job to stay home with her. I knew that this was not a long term plan. I researched and studied more about the issue and realized I wasn’t alone. Read more>>

Kristy Lamb, MD | CEO BOLD Health & Psychiatrist

When I first graduated from medical residency (after five years of training in family medicine and psychiatry after medical school), I was working in a number of different environments practicing both general medicine and psychiatry from a concierge clinic to a homeless shelter and even in the jails. I had a passion for serving underserved and marginalized populations, but wanted to expose myself to all different clinical environments to see how things worked. It was clear that the medical system in the US creates a great chasm between the haves and the have nots. In the county clinics I had less than 15 minutes to see a patient and taking extra time to do any type of therapy was frowned upon because the system was so impacted. Read more>>

Sasha West | Founder & Designer

Smiles & Rainbows emerged after my work as a designer of spaces and experiences came to an abrupt stop when COVID hit. I wanted to make a positive impact in what felt like a helpless scenario and channeled my grandparents who were a huge inspiration to me throughout my life. They taught me that attitude is everything and you have a choice in the way in which you view the world, so why not make it positive and pass it on! Grateful for this opportunity to build a brand I have always dreamed of and spread joy when we need it most. It starts at home. Read more>>

Karen Quinn | Co-Founder,, author of Testing For Kindergarten

When I started, I knew a lot about what pre-K to 1st graders needed to know to do well on tests for gifted programs and school admissions, and I just wanted to share that information with other parents. I understood how difficult it was for parents to find out what was on tests for little kids – schools won’t share that info and it wasn’t easily available at that time, so I started the business with that in mind. There was a need and I wanted to fill it so I could help other parents. It was that simple. I’ve since expanded the mission – we now help families with children from pre-K to 8th grade, we do online tutoring and virtual academic and enrichment classes, but the thought process at the beginning was very simple. I think many businesses start out small like that and then grow as their customers’ needs become more obvious to the founders. Read more>>

Tyler Albrektsen | CEO & Creative Director for Meltdown Prod. LLC

As an artist I knew immediately that once I completed college I would be working for a company and would have very little creative freedom as an entry level employee. Since I had already spent nearly a decade in the U.S. Military serving others, I knew that I wanted to be my own boss and get to make the things artistically that brought me joy, the only way I could achieve these goals was to start my own design/art company. Read more>>