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.

Joe Barrette | Co-Founder of Creators Assemble

It started with a love of comics. My wife came from a background in libraries where she was a strong advocate for using comics to promote literacy and engagement in education. One of the most useful tools she used for reluctant readers and those finding their way back into casual reading were graphic novels as they provided a gateway into complex literary themes blended with captivating visuals that kept the reader engaged. I myself came from a writing background and spent years creating stories and found the visual medium of comics to be incredibly entertaining and one of my favorite formats to write for. We shared ideas and we were given an opportunity to bring together educators, creators and aspiring industry professionals at WonderCon 2019 for a roundtable discussion about the comics world. Read more>>

Natalia Robert | Interior Photographer & Founder of The Grove Studio

With my photography business, I was looking for a creative outlet after being in a dead-end job. In retrospect, I wasn’t very prepared or organized for the first year, but my focus was just on hustling enough to get by and survive another year! For The Grove Studio, I was laser-focused on creating a resource and safe space for women in interior and architectural photography. The branding, messaging, and community has come together much quicker because of this, and I’m experienced enough now to quickly learn and pivot as the brand grows. Read more>>

Ted Pickell | Executive Director Conduit Studios LLC & Opera Singer

Being an artist has a major impact on ones life. So the ability to not participate in live music was so jarring for me that we wanted to create a new and interesting way to invigorate the arts, while also empower artists during this especially challenging time for performers. My business partner and I sought to create a product that could market high-fidelity videos at a relatively affordable price so that artists could feel fantastic about producing very high quality video and audio without needing to purchase the equipment or develop the skills necessary to do so. It all started from a project I was a part of called “An die Musik”. An online series through Palm Beach Opera to showcase their young artists and promote digital music production. Read more>>

Tiffany Blaise | Contemporary Landscape Artist

I was exposed to entrepreneurship from a young age while watching my dad, a serial entrepreneur, work on several of his different ventures. He always encouraged me to get my ideas out into the world. I started my own business because I love the thrill of being an artist. The idea of finding inspiration, creating artwork from scratch, marketing and selling it has always been very exciting to me. Read more>>

Caitlin Higgason | Wedding + Elopement Photographer

I’ve always loved photography, but when I got to college I just figured I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills going that route, so I got my degree in graphic design. After being at a cooperate design job for about 2 years I was super burnt out and dreaded going to work everyday. I followed all of these adventurous wedding photographers on Instagram and thought “why can’t I do that?” So I decided to sign up for a wedding photography workshop and it was then that I decided I was going to put in my 2 weeks when I got back to work. If running my own business didn’t work out I could always just get another cooperate job. Thankfully it did work out, and I’ve never been happier! I have the freedom to create my own schedule and do the work I love. It’s amazing! Read more>>

Rich Varville | Owner of RSVP FILMS, LLC

I have been self employed most of my adult life. From the early days of being a fine finishing contractor, to building and operating a recording studio, followed by a small record company, the transition to starting a film production business was really second nature to me. The difficult part is acquiring new clients and building sustainable business relationships. Especially in today’s Covid climate. But, I have never been the type to shy away from a challenge. So far, it’s been paying off. Read more>>

ALoN DaviD | Founder & CEO of 90X®

When I started 90X®, my goal was to create the perfect goal planning system that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I tried dozens of planners, and none fit my needs or the needs or my team, so I really wanted to create something valuable. I had created several 6 and 7 figure businesses from the ground up so I knew exactly what was necessary for a goal plan, and put everything I had into it. Read more>>

Crisinda Lyons | Fused Glass Artist

I’m a fused glass artist working out of The Studio Door art gallery in the Hillcrest community. I first found my calling for fusing glass 45 years ago during a art workshop. For years, work took precedent until a decade ago when I returned to seriously explore the art of glasswork. As I retired, I let my artistic calling come to fruition. I began taking more workshops and began exhibiting. The success of my artistry and craftsmanship began to take off. I decided to develop my artistry as a new career and set up my first studio at the San Diego Art Department on Ray Street in North Park. There I had the opportunity to meet Patric Stillman as he was establishing The Studio Door. He became my mentor on the business side of art and together we developed a business plan to grow my art sales. Read more>>

Carla Jay Harris | Artist and Curator

My business was born out of necessity. I have always had a passion for art. However, I am not in a position to invest endlessly in art supplies, classes, or materials without ever seeing a return. Starting a business to generate income to invest in my work was a logical and necessary step. Read more>>

Rosina Guerra and Danny Ortega | Writer, Graphic Artist, Artist, Teacher

We had been working locally in San Diego with the music scene and although the business was successful and going really well we had mixed out in terms of what we could do for local music. We definitely wanted to grow our skill set and move beyond just promoting shows and gigs. Because we knew we wanted to continue working in the music world, expand our skill set and take some risks as well we decided to focus on writing reviews and interviews; music blogging if you will. This has been one of the best professional moves we’ve made. Why? Because we have opportunities to work with national and international PR companies. I personally, get to write in a genre that is new for me; most of my writing is the narrative and instructional form. Read more>>

Matthew Schwab: Colorist + Artist

Among the greatest feelings in my life was obtaining a business certificate from the registrar’s office. Everything about it felt right. It was born out of my desire to create art and design, to craft beautiful, meaningful, and impactful things. My business has changed a lot from when I started 15 years ago, and I can’t say it’s easy. But to be self-disciplined, working with other creatives, and creating art every morning is a gift. Read more>>

Harry Decker | Freelance Creative Director

My business has two parts to it: I am a Freelance Creative Director in my traditional day job, and a painter and artist in my “other” job. Hence, the Name Double Decker Design. In my design career, I came up through the ranks of advertising agencies, from Junior Designer back in Germany to Creative Director here in San Diego. While my background is in print and advertising, my experiences over the last 10 years evolved to include strategic branding, copywriting and content creation across all digital channels. My experience with agency leadership, client relations and team management added even more strengths to my resume. During that time, I also started digital painting as a counterbalance to the fast-paced agency stress. About four years ago, when my last agency downsized, I took the opportunity to open my own creative consultancy. Read more>>

Salvador Cerda | Insurance Agent

I wanted to have a bigger platform to help my community by giving back. Since I’ve been a business owner 04/01/2019 I have had the pleasure of hosting a toy drive, food drive and during covid-19 we donated 1000lbs of food to people who were struggling to make ends meet. Read more>>