Deciding to start a business is an unusual decision. It’s often considered irrational and yet for many it’s the best decision they’ve ever made. So we asked folks to think back to when they were starting their businesses and to tell us about their decision making process.

Sage Scorse | Marketing and Communications Coordinator

My thoughts for starting a small business were virtually nonexistent before we started The Hesed Project. I have imagined, since marketing struck a chord with me, that I would simply work for a big company and be another day to day employee. To me, the monotony of an office job sounds nice. When I was asked to join the Hesed Project by co-founder and Director of Operations, Hannah Lim, I was confused at the excitement that I felt. I thought I had a plan. The excitement of starting a small business that would be God-centered won over. I had to be a part of this. This is what I wanted, to market and communicate for a business and express their passions and ideas. Read more>>

David Juarez | Owner

Juarez Photography LLC came to be as a team effort between my ex wife and I. I had dabbled in photography in the past and she was really motivated to express her creativity with photography. I have always been a business orientated individual and was intrigued by the low cost, high margin business model. Of course, there was a learning curve and the learning never stops. I ended up really enjoying capturing individuals “aura” as you will behind a lens and adding my own creativity to every shot. To this day, I treat every shoot as if it was my first and humbly provide amazing service to all my clients. Read more>>

Jennifer Cox | Massage Therapist & Spa Owner

At the time I started my business, I worked in a Corporate Massage setting where, Therapists were underpaid, overworked and underappreciated. I also wanted to make Massage Therapy more affordable for everyone. So by starting my own business I was able to Create a better environment for Clients and Therapists alike, while charging Clients less and paying Therapists more. At A Kneaded Touch we schedule extra time to each appointment to give our Clients more time to get dressed, get some water and ask their Therapist any questions they may have, this also gives our Therapists a little bit of built in down time between sessions. Our Therapists are allowed to work independently and are given flexibility when it comes to their scheduling needs or scheduling needs of their clients. Unlike most Corporate settings, Clients and Therapists can communicate directly to work out scheduling needs that work for both. All in All I’m just focused on creating a better standard for the Massage Industry. Read more>>

Cayla Curtis | Portrait Photographer

I’ve always had a draw towards creative hobbies. I first picked up a camera when I was in middle school. It was my parent’s and it also took videos. My friends would come over and we would take photos and record short skits. We would then play back everything we just shot, we would laugh and rewind to watch our favorite parts. In high school, I never took a single photography class, but insisted on shooting portraits of my friends in the rain or with fun props. I was your typical high-contrast, weird composition high school photographer. In 2014, I received my first DSLR as a gift. The next day I drove to the mountains and started shooting everything in my surroundings. I really enjoyed photographing landscape and wanted to post more of my images online. I found Instagram to be a great place to connect with other photographers, and that’s what reignited my love for portraiture. After three years of photographing for fun, I made the leap to start shooting family portraits for friends and family. Read more>>

Gregory Buford | Plastic Surgeon, Published Author, Internationally Recognized Speaker, Consultant & Educator

At the age of 4, I told my parents that I was going to be a doctor and to call me Dr. Bill. Since then I have always sought after a career in medicine but never really thought that I would run my own business or pursue a career in Plastic Surgery. But at the heart of my goals lay an entrepreneurial spirit which has ultimately driven me to where I am today. I know what I want in a business and I know the type of clients that I would like to work with. Being able to dictate the look and feel of my businesses has allowed me to brand myself and each enterprise in a manner that I want without having to ask permission. And that has made all the difference. Read more>>

Sally Spencer-Thomas | Psychologist, Keynote Speaker & Impact Entrepreneur

My brother died by suicide in 2004, and I felt a deep calling to find bold, gap-filling efforts to prevent what happened to Carson from happening to other people. Read more>>

Anna Costello | Founder

I grew up in the Sunshine State (Florida) and now live in one of the cities with the most sunshine (Denver). Clearly this has shaped me so I have a sunshine-state-of-mind! My high school had a tradition where you’d get a laundry basket full of goodies on your birthday. I used to love figuring out what to put in these baskets – what things would people love the most that are personal and thoughtful. For most of my career, I worked in the newspaper industry, and I was drawn to the impact they have on a community. I then moved to a team where I was building a product from the ground up, making me realize how much I loved creating new products and services while pushing the status quo. I had a total “Eat, Pray, Love” moment. I quit my corporate job, went to a yoga retreat in Bali, and realized that I wanted to use these previous experiences and do something to make a big, positive impact. I wanted to make people happy! I also was drawn to this idea: people often talk about not knowing what to say, do or give for someone else’s “life moment,” big or small, happy or sad. Read more>>

Sadie Young | Artist & Gallery Owner

I wanted to create a gallery that was inclusive and accessible to everyone. A place where everyone could enjoy art in all of its forms. A gallery that was inclusive of all types of artists and a place to create out-of-the-box opportunities for artists, musicians, and creatives. Read more>>

René Steenvoorden | Owner

When my business partner Kyle travelled to South America, he fell in love with the ‘smooth and non-acidic’ coffee that seemed to be served everywhere he went. After looking into the differences between the average coffee in the US and what he drank there, we found the secret: natural process (or sun dried) beans. Commercial coffee is often washed and has an enormous negative impact on the environment. With the intent to make natural process coffee more common in the US, as well as decreasing environmental impact and combat climate change, the business idea was born. Read more>>

Leo Rod | Entrepreneur & Filmmaker

I first became inspired about starting a business when my wife and I adopted our two rescues, Eros and Luna. We noticed that whenever we dressed them with a sweater or a simple bandana, they would sit still and their tails would wag even more than usual. I didn’t know anything about sewing, but I wondered I could just learn. After getting furloughed at the beginning of the pandemic, I bought a sewing machine, watched a few tutorials, and literally started making bandanas for them. Meanwhile, my wife, began making paw balms to help relieve the dryness of their paws, and together we brainstormed about business ideas. Although we just opened in September 2020, we have a vision to incorporate up-cycled fabrics and make our products more sustainable– we already consider eco-friendly processed fabrics. A portion of our sales goes to help shelters and rescues. We got the best gift from them and this is our way to give back and support other pups and animals in need. Read more>>

Ally Macredie | Designer & Owner

My business, AllyMStudio, began as a result of doing what I love, which is creating beautiful small scale jewelry. I couldn’t find the earring styles that I wanted to wear in my everyday life and at a price point that I could afford, so I began making them. I wondered if other people felt the same way. I needed to find out if people liked my pieces enough to purchase them. So, initially, my friends and family received jewelry gifts from me. I could see how the jewelry looked on a variety of people and they provided feedback of what worked and what didn’t. I got to work out some of the kinks. I was fortunate that a local boutique here in Golden, CO picked up my line. My gemstone stretch bracelets sold well there for a while. When the pandemic hit, brick and mortar sales came to a standstill. From there, I opened my Etsy store along with a social media presence. So, my thought process of starting a business has had to be flexible. Luckily I wasn’t married to a particular way of doing things. I knew that I would be learning a great deal during the process and that a great idea at inception might not work as time passed. Read more>>

Bree Angela | Creative Textile Designer & Art Educator

Way before I started my journey as a professional artist, I always loved to play with young children. I seem to have an ability to scaffold play in the most creative ways that children gravitate to. During summers, through college, and beyond I worked in early childhood settings helping to develop successful creative curriculum. After I graduated Pratt and adventured into the commercial art world as an artist I still continued working with kids young and old in after-school programs as an Art Educator, eventually leading me to work in Creative Arts Play Therapy with special needs children. All of these hands on real life experiences with children throughout the years helped shaped the way I see the world, value play, and encouraged me to create interesting tactile design for museums and discovery centers. To me, open ended design for touch and play is the best way to make learning fun. Read more>>

Tiayana Logan | Business WomenI Special Education Leader & Teacher I Middle School Guidance Counselor

The thought process behind starting my own business was simple, I was 17 years old turning 18 and knew what my calling was on this earth. I always had a passion for giving back and helping others. When I knew that my best friend could not attend prom, because she could not afford too, I went to my mother, know board member, and Vice President of Moneét’s Closet. I asked my mom what could we do to help my friend, she had to go to prom, and experience the everlasting memories, and moments, with her friends and school staff, that every senior dreams of, or spends the whole school year preparing for. My mom instantly came to aid finically, and supported my friend in going to prom, at no cost to her family. From this moment, on I wondered how many more girls in the world, are missing prom, because senior dues are expensive, and the amount of care that goes into getting ready for prom itself is costly. Read more>>

Madhoo Seth | Spice Girl

It started off as a side business in September 2002 and we incorporated in 2003. Vipul had a full time corporate job and Madhoo didn’t find opportunities in Fashion Design or Merchandising in Denver. She loved cooking so she decided to start her catering company to earn some extra income. Vipul handled back office, marketing, compliance and she handled everything else. Read more>>

Andrea Tucker | Salon Owner

Born and raised in Denver as a 5th generation Coloradoan I was driven from a young age to become an influence on our city. Many moons ago, Denver was regarded as a “Cow Town” and left quite a bit to be desired by young, artistic and creative individuals such as myself. I was determined to be a driving force in changing that perception.. After graduating from Englewood Highschool, I attended CSU for a degree in Apparel Design to pursue my dream in the creative world of fashion design. It was my hope to one day design my own clothing line and open a boutique here in Denver where I would have the opportunity to influence the fashion direction of our city. While getting the education on how to manufacture clothing I knew it would be equally as important to gain experience in the field, so I took a position as a sales associate at a clothing boutique BEBE. It was there I began to network with other local fashion influencers and before I knew it I was working along side them creating fashion editorial photo shoots. Read more>>

Jonathan Weimer | Sports Chiropractor & Owner

I always had this urge to own my own business, be my own boss and do things the way that I wanted to them. I also had the urge to be involved in healthcare and athletics from a young age, which lead me down the path of getting my Doctorate of Chiropractic and Masters of Science in Sport Science and Rehabilitation. After graduation and after completing a 1.5 year sports medicine fellowship in Vail, CO I began the journey of starting my own business with the long term goal of never having a job interview again. Read more>>

Celestia Howe | Founder

As an athlete and mom working long hours at a tech job, I started using collagen protein to keep me active on the trails, and keep me sustained for my long days. I started using a well known brand, and researched where their collagen came from. I’ve had to change my diet because I have Celiac disease, and that has caused me to research where my food comes and connecting clean, pure food to improving my physical and emotional wellbeing. Researching where collagen came (most are from bovine hides and hooves) made me want to find clean, sustainably-sourced collagen, eventually that led me to start Cofo Provisions. Read more>>

Ashley Stephenson | Cat Mom & Yarn Enthusiast

What was your thought process behind starting your own business? I never imagined that I would be running my own online Etsy business. It was my coworkers that pushed me to start my business. They encouraged me, told me that I should start selling and charging for my items, instead of just giving them away. They told me that I was good enough to have an online business and that there are others out there that would purchase my items. Around that same time my cat Dexter became diagnosed with diabetes and the cost for his insulin was not cheap. I knew I needed to make money fast to pay for the insulin, so I started making and selling more Colorado beanies to my work friends. I was doing really good with those in person sales, but was still hesitant about starting an online business. But I knew I had to get the insulin monthly and I needed that extra income. So I started to read online blogs and watched YouTube videos about starting your own Etsy shop. Read more>>