Thinking through whether to start a business – whether to take the risk, whether to go out on your own – isn’t easy. So we asked some entrepreneurs we admire to tell us about how they thought through the process of starting a business.

Kellar Wilson | Owner/ Operator Dagr & Nott

I knew I always wanted to make knives. Every since I was a kid I had deep obsessions with knives and building things with my hands. The business was always a long term goal that showed up sooner than expected and took on life out of necessity. I always kept in mind: anything is possible with dedication, time and hard work that far exceeds what others are willing to do. The original plan was to build up my personal skills in knifemaking while working other jobs to self invest in my company. Read more>>

Abubaker Katende | Mechanical Engineer

To fulfil my dreams and gain control of my own success. Like each day has it own motivations and challenges, so being able to deal with such enabled me know and determine that my own daily hard work and daily rewards depended on those key factors.. Read more>>

Alexa Squillaro | Owner and co-founder, Whole Sol Blend Bar

Coming from our fast-paced lives in New York City, my husband Phil Dumontet and I wanted to work in a space where being healthful and eating mindfully is the main focus. After delivering untold numbers of pizza through Dashed, which Phil founded, we knew there had to be a better way. We came to Colorado and loved it immediately; Read more>>

Stephen Ehrmann | Illustrator and Cartoonist

I have always pursued a career in art in some form or another, at first I thought what I wanted to do was concept art, and then it was illustration. While I felt like I was always swimming in a good general direction, I always felt like I lacked some intangible piece of what I needed to achieve this end. Maybe I didn’t hustle hard enough, maybe my ego was in the way, maybe I was self sabotaging, or maybe It was a combination of a hundred little hurtles I didn’t understand. Read more>>

Sarah Phillips | Bunsnbubbles general manager & chef

It has always been a dream of mine to have my own restaurant. I have been working in the restaurant industry on and off for more than 15 years. So when my brother and sister-in-law approached me with this opportunity to open up our family-owned-and-operated restaurant, I could not resist it. The best thing about this whole experience is to be able to work alongside my family, my beloved ones. Read more>>

Holly and Scott (Holly) Marks and (Scott) Franz | Photographer

We were spending lots of time sheltering in place in our basement rental unit last winter because of the pandemic. The atmosphere was grim and gloomy. We started looking through our photos on our hard drives and they brought us a little more peace and hope. We thought that our photos could bring that same joy to others if they were displayed in people’s homes. Read more>>

Chris Tracy | Photographer

I’ve been involved with the music industry ever since I was in high school way back in 2000. I was in a local band back then, but I booked all the shows and handled the business side of the band. I’ve also had a long history with photography. I mainly got into it when I took photography class in high school, back when we had to learn how to develop film in a darkroom! Read more>>

Mallory Griffith | Speech Language Pathologist

I had always envisioned my career shifting into a leadership role as I gained experience within my field. While I love the therapeutic side of being a speech pathologist, I find great joy in creating new content, exploring ideas, and collaborating with others. For me, I imagined I would work at a clinic and gradually buy in to it. Read more>>

Ajith Dharma | Empower and igniter of Fire Within in entrepreneurs.

I come from a business family. I was the first family member to attend university and work for a Fortune 100 company. During my career in corporate environment I witnessed may lay offs, corporate mergers and acquisitions where it affected employees in many negative ways. I was also able to witness corporate politics where some of hard working team members not rewarded or recognized where as inferential parties unreasonably get rewarded. Read more>>

Maleah Gluck | Owner of Madams Jams

In my old life, I worked in the world of education for the past 15 years. My most recent job for the 7 years before I started Madams Jams was as a Director of Admission at boarding schools. Although I absolutely loved my job, loved the students and loved the work that I was doing, I found myself at a crossroads. Read more>>

Marie Button | Business Owner & MSW Student

Towards the end of 2019, I made the choice to return to school to get my Master’s in something related to mental health. I was teaching second grade at a school I loved, but I knew there was more that I wanted to do for my students. I have my Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, and I had found that the impact I hoped to make in kiddos’ lives was in the social, emotional space. Read more>>

Miranda Meyer | Functional Nutritionist

I started my business because I wanted to handle client care in a way that felt authentic, and also to protect my mental and emotional wellbeing. There’s such a high burnout rate in healthcare, with so many practitioners being overworked and underpaid. After years of working in high volume clinical practices, I was exhausted and considering a career change. Read more>>

Matt Walsh | Founder-CEO

In January 2018 I published a book entitled Weed! What? This was a guide for the novice investor and how to invest publicly traded stocks within the fledgling Marijuana Industry. The more I researched the more I became intrigued with CBD derived from the hemp plant. Read more>>

Merrill Bennett | CPA, Father, & Foster Parent

Ultimately my thought process behind starting my business was creating a position that simply doesn’t exist outside of being a small business owner – setting my hours, true flexibility in the amount of money I make (or don’t), and the ability to choose the businesses and individuals that I work with. There is no job working for someone else that provides these benefits. Read more>>

Anne Holzem | Maternity, Newborn & Children Photographer

I always loved taking pictures. My kids mean the world to me and we all know they just grow up way too fast. With a blink of the eye they are growing, changing, every day they are learning something new. I wanted to hold on to those moments. Remembering these special moments and share them with my girls when they are older. Read more>>

Lauren V. Davis | Personal Branding, and Experiential Marketing Consultant, for Thought Leaders, Entrepreneurs, and Live Events

When I was 19 years old, my boyfriend (at the time — now husband) and I decided to start a record, clothing, and accessories store in Rockford IL. This was in 2006, in the middle of a recession, and we faced a lot of hardships at first like flooding, lack of startup cash flow, which forced us to get REALLY creative. Read more>>