Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Mark Ritter | Photographer

To legitimize my hobby. It forced me to put that hobby in order so people would see that I’m not just “some guy with a camera.” Being taken seriously was important to me to get this thing going, Read more>>

Ruth Hale | International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

My thought process behind starting Birth to Breast wasn’t linear but something I was drawn into, like Moana to the ocean. I am a very creative person, and I have a passion for learning. Owning my business allows me to steer my continuing education, provide long consultations, and recommend protocols I have seen the best outcomes with. My business is integrated into my life, so I get to spend quality time with my family while still replying to an 11 pm message a client may send during a night feed. Lastly, owning Birth to Breast allows limitless growth in ways I can support parents in breastfeeding/chestfeeding. Read more>>

Michelle Murray | DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), CCRT. Veterinary Neurologist

I love what I do professionally, but I love my family more. Prior to starting NEST, I had always worked at larger specialty practices, which was professionally very fulfilling, but all consuming. The commute was much longer, and I was either “on clinics” or at home. When I was at work, i LOVED seeing my patients, but felt guilty leaving my family for such long days, staying late, taking emergencies. When I was home, I felt completely disconnected from my patients and clients. Read more>>

Dawud Hasan | I am a forward thinking idealist that has a strong desire to push the boundaries of what’s known.

I have always had an entrepreneurial mind frame. I started off shoveling snow as a kid at 10, 11 years old. Growing up in New York, I would look forward to winter time when we would have blizzards and school would be canceled. Id go out around the neighborhood with my little shovel and ask to shovel peoples driveways and sidewalks for $20. At 11 years old if I hit 5 houses I was rich! So thats where my independent mind came from. Read more>>

J.L. DuRona | Novelist

Before writing “The Berge Sisters Tour the Neitherswarth,” I believed that my creative endeavors would always be a “side hustle.” I bought into the notion that “real grownups” had full-time jobs they didn’t like, existing in a numb misery of their own creation. After the pandemic in 2020, I realized I needed to make a change. I knew that if I didn’t share my work with the world that I’d regret it, so here we are! Read more>>

Phyllis Bowman | Realtor

Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources, and sacrifice. When I decided to pursue a career in Real Estate, my thoughts were to do something I enjoyed doing that provided me a good salary, and I wanted to do something where I could be a source of knowledge to people in the community who perhaps had been limited to receiving information in the past concerning real estates and its many benefits to set them on a path to attain wealth. Most important was leaving a legacy for my two children. Read more>>

Natalie Jameson | Dance Director & Choreographer

I wanted to create a safe, fun filled, boutique/small dance company for dancers that will last for years. After over 18 years of teaching, and working for countless dance studios who had to sell, change ownership, or unfortunately go under; it’s heartbreaking for the students to lose their teachers they’ve grown so much with. The bond a dance teacher and student has is so much more than anyone would think. We, as teachers, are not only helping create strong dancers, but helping dancers find their inner artist, their confidence. We are also role models to these kids. Read more>>

Lisa Green | President/CEO of Blissful Boutiques

Offering an open air European style market to allow artisans and small business owners the opportunity to sell their wares and not have to pay the expense for a brick and mortar. Read more>>

Maison Baker | Accidental Entrepenur & Artist

Honestly, I just had too many pieces and not enough space to store them, but I wanted to paint more. We downsized apartments and I transferred from painting on walls to painting on large wooden pieces, or giant canvases, even drywall pieces sometimes to mimic the feel of a wall. Read more>>

Bianca Ramos | Travel Advisor

I’ve been traveling all my life and have become a go to for how to travel and things to do in destinations. I saw a need – many people want to travel and don’t for various reasons. Most of the time, I found people don’t have the time and/or get overwhelmed with all the details that go into having an amazing vacation. The timing for starting a business was perfect, when the world shut down in 2020. I’ve been looking at going back to school and starting something for years and never pulled the trigger. In 2020 I went back to school for travel and also completed a Destination Specialist Certificate for Hawaii. Read more>>

Duy Tran | Designer

The biggest influence was that I control my own work schedule and the freedom for a healthy work-life balance. But most importantly, I recognized that I was not able to grow to my max potential while working at the previous firms. It was either the firm was too big where you were struck doing the same repetition of technical drawings or at a small firm, the type of projects we would receive was not attractive within a big firm. Read more>>

Alex & Nathan Packard | Co-owners, Canvas Services

We are brothers who bought a small business that has existed since 1978. One of us, Alex, has worked in the marine canvas industry for several years and for the previous owner for a few before the owner retired. We saw the potential for the business in a boating community like San Diego and have wanted to be business owners for a while, so we bought Canvas Services. Our thought process was that we have always worked well together, complement each other’s skillsets, and can bring a fresh perspective to an old industry and business. Read more>>

Eric & Melanie Edisen | Co-Founders & Collaborating Artists

Painting started out as a hobby. Eric would come home and spend hours creating new pieces of work. It wasn’t until a year and a half, and about 75 paintings later that the idea to try and sell his work even crossed our minds. We were both really humbled when people started to show interest in his work. I made a website for Eric’s art for his birthday last year and that’s when the business side of his hobby really started to take off. Read more>>

Tony Adams | Owner & Operations Director, Mill Valley Pasta Co.

Well, Mill Valley Pasta Co. had an unconventional start in almost all ways… I was a chef who was furloughed during Covid and was starting to go a bit stir crazy after already completing all of the “if I had one (or two or three) month off, what would I do?” projects. So one day I decided to start making pasta for my neighbors because I needed something to keep me occupied, pasta was something almost everyone eats and many love, and it was something unique in a time where everyone was cooking at home. Read more>>

Bob Muller | Father and plumbing Contractor

I honestly had no thought when starting my business. Back when I started , all I had was a skill , not knowledge. My skill was thinking being the best plumber would lead into a successful business. The truth is I thought I knew more than my boss and I truly never liked working for anyone. I always was a leader at everything I ever did , so the next challenge for me was to start my own business. I’m now in the phase of my life where I’m giving back , and am writing my own book on this subject matter. I truly wish i had knowledge and would have read the type of book I can now write. Read more>>

Bayan Ghahramani | Food Truck

This is not my first business I have started. I have opened multiple businesses in different industries. This is my first business with a tangible and perishable product. Opening a food truck has taught me things beyond owning a business and I receive daily lessons and blessings on this journey. Read more>>

Izumi Yasukawa | homemade food creator

I’m the mom of 2 kids ( 15yrs and 13 yrs old). Im a home made food creator. I have made their lunch boxes every single day for past 12 years so far and also, snacks and dinner which means I cook most of the time for my family.
At some point,I realized that how much I love being in the kitchen and cooking then I started wondering If I could do something with my cooking. Read more>>

Koya Bell | Self Published Author of Children’s Literature

Back in January of 2019, I wrote on my vision board “write a children’s book”. At the time I had no idea what my children’s book would be about. A little background about myself, at the time I was working a 9-5 job in the medical field and I LOVED what I was doing. I would say around 2020, the year of “vision” something within me desired more and I knew that it was more out there for me. My entrepreneurial spirit was calling and I wanted to become my own boss! Read more>>

Andrea McClew | Military Spouse, Actress, & Cosmetic Line Owner

When I created my lipstick line “Luv Her Lips”, I really was just looking to find the right lip colors for my skin tone. I had no idea that this would turn into a business. I was just trying to make lipsticks i loved for myself. I started looking at companies that customize cosmetics and thought why just stop with making colors for myself, So I thought I’m going to create a vibrant lip line for women of all skin tones which became a success. I am now launching a second set of neutral colors called the ” Nude Line” in November 2022. We are very excited and hoping to go beyond online sales with talks of being in some boutiques around San Diego Spring of 2023. Read more>>

Erin Yoonsun Oh | Multi-Hyphenate Creative and Lifestyle Influencer

I was in Luxury brand Fashion PR in Korea and 3 years went freelancing in all areas regarding fashion PR, from helping with brand launching parties to events and working with magazines and photographers. Tuning up a brand image and putting together a brand story came naturally for me. I always loved looking for the essence and story of a brand and making the most beautiful version of it. I believe we can do that with our everyday lives also. Read more>>

Cindy Grossman, LCSW | Executive Director, Kids’ Turn San Diego

Although I am not the founder of Kids’ Turn San Diego, I joined the organization in 2013 as the Executive Director. Kids’ Turn San Diego empowers children and heals families. We change family relationships in positive ways so children experiencing family separation, divorce and military transitions have happier childhoods. I am an adult child of divorce and when I learned about the organization, the mission resonated with me. Read more>>

Becca Weinstein | Intuitive Energy Coach & Artist

My background is rather varied and it’s been a winding journey to get here. At one point I was on a medical track with an eye to humanitarian efforts. Then I switched focus to international affairs and ethics in conflict/peace. Being in an office away from people and restricted in how to go about our goals didn’t feel right to me. I saw so many possibilities and missed direct contact with people. Read more>>

Del Rodrigues | Brazilian entrepreneur

So many thought motived I started my business, I can get couple principles: one was make money to have a great life doing something that I really loved to do, cooking. The second one and actually was the most important were find something that motived, improve my knowledge, give me a way to follow. Read more>>

Richard V. Tong | Fitness Coach

There came a point in my life when my past, present, and future all combined to create an optimal professional venue. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to optimize my years of experience working in various fields such as entertainment, fashion, health, and fitness with my four year Exercise Science degree and multiple accreditations (including ACSM) to create RichardSport.com, a multi-level management company to meet the demands of an ever-changing and evolving sports and fitness media industry. Read more>>

Thee Oddz | Jazz Funk & fusion trio

Thee Oddz is a group that focuses on creating the highest quality live music possible at any venue. Starting out, we played at a myriad of venues from dive bars to weddings. Every live performance we viewed as an opportunity for honing our sound and promoting our brand. Eventually word got out about our hard work and we now enjoy a busy schedule of work as live performers! Read more>>

Penny Payton | Life Coach

Originally, the thought process was just to understand my own issues with food. Which became a ten-year deep dive into research on childhood trauma and including the use of the hypnotherapy needed to find the origins of the triggers and release the repressed emotional energy. As I cleared my subconscious I became more conscious and far happier. Throughout the process I knew I had to share what I was learning. Read more>>

Jamila Bell | Business Owner

If you’re like me, you have an itch to experience the world. I started my travel business because I wanted to make it easier for people to fulfill their dreams of seeing new luxury places and bucket-list adventures. I started my travel business because I wanted to empower people to look at the greater things in life and explore what our beautiful world has to offer. Read more>>

Charlotte Martin | Professional Singer, Music Producer, and Studio/school owner of Something Like A Voice Lesson Performing Arts

I have always wanted to be a teacher, and I have always wanted to be a professional singer/songwriter. I started studying opera at 7 and went on to get a degree in opera performance in college. In high school and college, I was already running my own private voice studio and had 25 students but had to stop because my school schedule got to be too intense. After graduation, instead of going to graduate school, which had been my plan so I could get a masters, eventually PHD and teach music at the collegiate level like my dad, who taught woodwinds at Eastern Illinois University for 53 years. Read more>>

Terry Morgan Norwood | evolutionary entrepreneur

What was your thought process behind starting your own business? Repurposing. Too many items are filling up our landfill. People need a place to buy repurposed items. They can do this through social media yet many people still love to shop in person. A shopping center full of thrift stores in our area closed in 2019, yet the need for economical retail and a place to belong was still desired. In 2021, I formed a non-profit, The Rise Concept, capitalizing on the opportunity to revitalize the sense of community that was missing. Read more>>

James Grace | Drone Pilot & Photographer

The thought process for starting my own business was an unexpected layoff from Sony Pictures in November 2018. I worked at Sony Pictures in Culver City for almost 19 years, and when I first got let go it was scary to think about what was next. I thought long and hard about starting my own company and becoming my own boss. It was great working for a large corporate company, but it’s even better working for yourself. Read more>>