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.

Leo Dunn & Matt Danitz | Owners – Road Home Exteriors

We had always wanted to start something of our own. Over the past 20 years there was idea after idea that got thrown around but nothing ever stuck. It was the culmination of being unhappy with both of our jobs and still having the drive to want to go out on our own. Unlike the past ideas this idea stuck and we knew it was a winner. Read more>>

Ryan and Hannah Clay | MSW Mental Health Therapists

The idea of our business was to make an ethical, affordable, and evidenced based practice in Equine Assisted Mental Health. We noticed there were many other practices that were doing “Equine Therapy” but many of them were not being kind to the animals and not doing actual therapy. Both owners of the business are Master’s level therapists using evidenced based practices to incorporate the horses into our work. We do not accept insurance as it is limiting to our practice. By accepting money directly we are able to incorporate a sliding scale to help those that typically are unable to afford Equine Assisted Mental Health services. The animals incorporated into the business are personally owned by the owners and are a part of their family so they are treated with kindness and respect and not like a tool. Read more>>

Kat Sonnet | Independent Hairstylist

When I decided to work for myself it was because I wanted time freedom and creative freedom. I wanted to be able to work hours that fit my financial goals, the needs of my family and be happy while doing it. I don’t really think true life balance exists haha but I do think by working this way I have been able to cultivate a career that can adapt in ever changing life and work “seasons”. Read more>>

Robin Arthur | Animal, Abstract and Landscape Artist

My thought process behind starting my custom pet portrait business was simple . . . S-U-R-V-I-V-A-L. Haha! Due to a move, I was in between marketing specialist jobs and needed an income. I combined my BFA in drawing and painting, a talent for portraiture, mad color theory skills and humanity’s love of their fur babies to create my pet portrait business, RobiniArt. Ten years later, I’ve painted hundreds and hundreds of pets for people around the globe, and have expanded my business to include an Etsy store, abstracts, landscapes and new this summer, weekly in-person showings at Horse Cow 57 gallery in Paonia, Colorado. Read more>>

Lauren Lang | Freelance photographer and videographer

I currently own my own headshot photography business, and I do some freelance videography work as well. I’ve always been enthralled with cameras, but I backed into the photography part of things. I started as a videographer when I was very young. I was lucky enough to attend Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, CO, which had a robust television production program. I was fascinated from the moment I first walked into the classroom/studio and got really into video editing throughout my high school career. Read more>>

Ingrid Gamero | Owner of Engage Buzz Media

I’ve wanted to start a business for a long time. At the beginning of the pandemic, I quickly realized how disposable you are at your job. Thankfully, I didn’t lose my job, but I did have close friends who unfortunately lost their jobs and I saw first-hand how important it is to have something on your own and not depend on others. We all know how hard it is to be an entrepreneur – so many challenges come your way and you must learn to pivot, quickly – but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Another huge motivating factor behind starting my own business is I want to choose the people and brands I work with. Helping small businesses, especially now, is truly a gratifying feeling. I enjoy my job each day and the freedom of creativity is priceless! Read more>>

Megan Sutherland | Small business owner

I would say my thought process behind starting my own business was really the fact that everything I do, I do for my daughter. as a single mom I realized very quickly how taxing it was for me to work full time. I knew there had to be a better way to provide for us long term. Read more>>

Lina & Adam Stein | Owners & Dreamers

As a couple, we really started taking the idea of entrepreneurship seriously after the loss of a few family members on both sides of our families. Loss really has a way of putting things in perspective. Our new insights brought about new priorities such as how we’d like to spend our time, how we wanted to grow as people, and how we wanted to contribute to our community. Because of our backgrounds, interests, and amazing connections – our goal was to start a business that focused on growing flowers and making natural topicals that incorporated flowers, herbs, and essential oils. Read more>>

Jonathan Williams | DJ & Hearing Instrument Specialist

I have worked as an audio engineer for a long time. The one downside is I would spend a lot of time away from family. Doing sound for concerts and events have taken me all over the place. 10 days in Pueblo, 4 days in Copper Mtn, 6 days in Telluride…all of that time spent away from home made me miss my family. Realizing this brought on a change of career paths. I quit my job as an audio engineer and started studying to work with hearing aids. You know, my way of giving back after producing sounds up to 120db. Read more>>

Doctor Purpose | Parenting & Life Purpose Coach

I started Project Purpose/ Troubled Teen Mentoring Program in 2014. I started the program a few years later after my experience volunteering at a local High School located in Aurora, Colorado. A group of students ranging from Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors frequently visited a restaurant that my wife and I were Managing Partners with during the year of 2011. The students would eat at our restaurant everyday. One day the students asked to speak with the owner. What happen next blew me away! Read more>>

Aaron Posey | Vegan Chef and Nonprofit ED

The most important thing for me, was finding a way to positively impact both the community and the industry. While simply feeding the existing vegan community is a sustainable business model due to a lack of dedicated vegan restaurants in Colorado Springs, it’s more important to me to treat this as a form of activism that will both enrich people’s lives by offering a creative balance between heathy plant forward dishes and decadent comfort food, as well as change people’s perception of what vegan cuisine is and subsequently grow the market for all of our fellow vegan business owners. In order to help facilitate that, we need to do our part to bring stability back to the industry. So, we founded Eat the Springs, a 501(c)(3) focused on promoting stability and wellness in our local service industry by providing a directory of resources, workshops, and financial assistance. Read more>>

Christine Han | Attorney and Managing Partner at Han Law Group

I wanted to have a modern law firm that is different from traditional firms. I wanted to assist clients in a meaningful way and get the best results possible for them. Read more>>

Peter Olivetti | Custom Bicycle Builder and Designer

I am a pretty dedicated, loyal and hard working person. In positions I’ve had at companies other than my own, I would find that I would get frustrated by how much I would put in, and how little I would get out. At a certain point, I felt like if I was going to put in that kind of effort for other people to prosper and succeed where they were, I might as well put that hustle into my own business and endeavors. Beyond that, I had to consider what are the things that match my values and what I think adds value on social level. In my current business, I really see a lot of movement to high paying tech work or similar type jobs which tend to chip away, in my opinion, in what people tend to see value. Building something beautiful, tangible, and has a real world use became my big motivators to go down my current path. Read more>>

Brian Dougherty | Watch Maker

I wanted to start a business that aligned with my passion and allowed me to teach my sons the mindset I learned as a Navy SEAL to help them succeed in life. Starting a watch business would be challenging at best. Still, I also knew it would be a tremendous opportunity to teach them about failure, handwork, self-awareness, and determination. Read more>>

Christopher Hallock | Certified Personal Trainer and Business Owner

I opened Incremental Strength in August 2021 to introduce people in my community to the benefits of resistance training with barbells and weights. Learning the fundamental barbell movements and how to effectively structure a resistance training program has truly changed my life, and I want to share that gift with others. I’m the kind of person who needs to do something active nearly every day to feel satisfied and productive. After graduating from college in 2009, I was fortunate to have found a remote job in the healthcare industry with a flexible schedule. This allowed me to relocate to Colorado where I was able to carve out time for running, cycling, hiking, and swimming, which the observant reader may have noticed are all endurance activities. At the time, I had a very basic understanding of resistance training; while I did incorporate some dumbbell movements into my routine, weights were never the star of the show. Read more>>

Jonathan Stock | Rehabilitation Expert and Personal Electric Vehicle Repair Expert

I’m not positive I have a thought process before I start a business. I have owned and operated my own and other peoples small businesses for over 15 years now and I can say I don’t have a standard operating thought process. It will vary business to business and industry to industry. When I first started I’m sure my process was simply “That would make a great business…” but it has evolved from there. It definitely starts with a vision and industry need and blossoms from there. Usually any thought process is simply problem solving. What is the problem? Can I help? Will the investment in time be worth the payout from work? Does offering this solution to the public change how people live their lives for the better? I would definitely say at this point my focus is sustainability. Read more>>