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.

Nathan Concepcion | Storyteller, Photographer & Videographer

For along time I thought that the only way to be successful was to finish school and find a good-paying technical job. I recently left a more corporate 9-5 setting as a Junior Video Editor, and in the process, I realized that the only way I could keep doing this photography thing was if I did it my way. I hated sitting at my desk, editing the same kind of video everyday and just thinking to myself that there are stories that I could be telling right now and I’m sitting here, Read more>>


Before starting my business I had been the creative director for a large church for over 15 years and like so many people during 2020 I felt disillusioned with my current work. The lockdown really opened my eyes to what I was doing and how I was doing it and I wanted the freedom to work from home and for myself. So summer of 2020 my wife and I went away to think about our future and while away, I had this overwhelming feeling to take a risk, go out on my own and start a creative agency. Read more>>

Leslie Herbert | Fine Jewelry Designer

I have always loved jewelry since I was a young girl and always thought of it as wearable art. More importantly, jewelry should be intrinsically unique to the wearer and should silently provide a window into their soul. I also feel strongly that jewelry should be worn and enjoyed on a daily basis, rather than only on special occasions or tucked away indefinitely for safe keeping. Read more>>

Libby Lefanowicz | CEO, Kula Ice Cream

I wanted to be able to work on something that mattered to me and that I was passionate about. I had worked in technology and in internet security and healthcare technology and never had a strong drive for it. I have always been passionate about food. I have been cooking with my family from a young age and loved cooking and experimenting with new recipes. Read more>>

Tammy Herron | Owner and Baker

Being a stay at home mom has always been my dream and priority. I wanted to start a business where I could work from home, make my own hours, only work part-time, and have fun in the process! In 2019 we did a fundraiser to raise money for our daughter to go on her 8th grade trip to DC. We sold my homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and we raised enough money to cover her entire trip! After the fundraiser was over people still wanted to buy cookies. That’s how Cookies Beyond Measure began. Read more>>

Victoria Ramos | Owner & Baker of Sweets By Victoria

I have wanted to start my own business for as long as I can remember, as I feel working for myself, towards my dreams and goals is much more fulfilling and rewarding than working for a corporate company. We were all brought here to serve a purpose in this world and I believe mine is to share delicious vegan baked goods with high quality ingredients. Throughout my journey to starting my own business, I worked in local small businesses throughout San Diego which opened my eyes to how important it is to support each other’s passions and dreams. Read more>>

Journey Shannon | Inspirer of happiness / Chocolate Artist – Hug Yourself – Kiss Yourself – Bring Someone In

My mother, father, and father figure were all self employed. I grew up that way. There were never talks about me following in their footsteps but one becomes, what one sees and experiences. As a child my mother and aunt had parties of celebration with great delicious food and music. I got caught up in the romance of it all and 35 years Noir d’Ebene was born. I bring people together and remind them that their life is worth celebrating and they are deserving of sweetness. Read more>>

Saurin Gandhi DO | Physician & Artist

TheDoctorDoodles did not come from a business mentality. It evolved from my passion for creating sharpie-based art. Since I was a kid, I always doodled, but never thought I had what it takes to become an artist. As I went into medical school, I became more serious about creating pieces of art that I wanted hanging on my walls. Read more>>

Jazzmin Yoshieko | Wellness Entrepreneur

Starting my own business was a way for me to be liberated from the constraints of working for other companies for little return or lasting benefit. I knew that I wanted to offer my skill set to the world and utilize the degrees I worked so hard to attain to create a business that would add value to the world around me while simultaneously allowing me to live a beautiful life. Starting my own business has been a great challenge, but also a great blessing. My goal is to scale my business and brand in such a way that I inevitably create jobs for other people and help them do work that is intrinsically rewarding and contributing to the peace we want in the world. Read more>>

April Douglas, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC | Owner and Physical Therapist

I had been working as a Physical Therapist for 10 years before I started my own business, specializing in Orthopedics and Pelvic Floor. I had just finished working with the US Navy, with the privilege of treating many patients from Special Ops teams. Although I had had wonderful experiences and absolutely loved my patients, I was very frustrated with the healthcare system and treatment of the military family. I also felt that many postpartum patients needed better care and attention. Read more>>

Katherine McMahon | Travel & Lifestyle Blogger

In August 2020, I launched VineyardsandVoyages on Instagram as a way to turn my passion for travel and food into a career. I have a deep love of travel, discovering hidden gems, exploring this beautiful world, and experiencing great food and wine. I have a deep desire to see every inch of the world. I have often told with friends about my experiences. I had been doing that on my personal Instagram account for over a decade and I would get many messages from friends asking for help with travel plans, tips on places to go, reviews of restaurants etc. Read more>>

Jamie Fleming | Certified Financial Planner, Wealth Advisor & Business Owner

Starting my career in a male dominated, financial industry 30 years ago was a huge factor in my decision making behind starting my own business. Thirty years ago, less than 5% of financial advisors were female. Today that number has only increased to 24%. I wanted to contribute to the footprint of working with women business owners to increase their financial confidence and financial success. As a female business owner myself, I was personally invested in this process, but women were not a target market 30 years ago and there was not a lot of support in working with successful women in this way. Read more>>

MALLORI JALAIE | Functional Ceramics Handmade in San Diego, CA

The thought process behind starting my own business was pretty organic. Created out of a need to share my work so I didn’t drown in pots. I’m originally from San Diego County (Vista specifically) and never found a shortage of things to do here. When I moved to Seattle in 2019, I realized I needed an indoor activity to keep me occupied because it is so dang cold and rainy there. I had taken ceramics classes here and there throughout my life – I went to an arts magnet school and did a few community college classes – but never kept up with it consistently. I found a community studio is Seattle and instantly was hooked. Read more>>

Elia Nikolaev | Neurofeedback Provider & Yoga Therapist

As a yoga therapist of over twelve years, I have always been interested in the mechanisms of health and wellbeing. Up to about 2020, I have learned and administered only those techniques that work in a bottom-up fashion, meaning that by recruiting physical techniques such as posture, movement, and breath, they exert an influence on the brain and mind. As for many others, the Covid pandemic made making a living difficult, and the future of my profession uncertain. Read more>>

Sidney Haitoff | Founder and Pay-As-You-Go Healthcare Zealot

It was pretty straightforward. I saw a massive problem that needed to be addressed, that impacts millions of people, and that no one was tackling in an effective way. I pushed it off for the better part of a decade before I started taking small steps towards starting Mishe. It got to the point where I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t pursue it, so I didn’t have much of a choice. I’m not afraid of failing, but I was very afraid of starting. I joined full time about 18 months after forming the entity and have been at it for 11 months since then. Starting Mishe was the best decision I’ve ever made. Read more>>

Chantrece Mcknight | Entrepreneur/Marine Wife/Stay at Home Mom/Trendsetter/ Fashion Buyer/ Designer

I always loved Fashion and Designing since High School, and wanted Storefront Boutique but with my Husband being in the Military we travel a lot, so God put it on my Heart to open my Online Boutique and that’s just what I did. Fashion is my Passion and when you look good you feel good. I want women to feel good comfortable and confident in my Designs. Forever Blessed Boutique shows you the latest styles at a affordable price and you can look good and stylish without breaking the bank. I’m a Thyroid Cancer Survivor, Healed and Forever Blessed. That’s when I thought about the Name of my Business. Forever Blessed means to me “Everlasting Favor of God” You have to keep God in everything you do, I know I can’t make it without him! Read more>>