We reached out to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and asked them to think back and tell us about how they decided to start a business. Check out their responses below.

Dante Bartolo | Co-founder of Our Pueblo

We are from Pueblo and have a strong love for our community. However, we have not always been able to hear about the great things happening in our town. During 2020, we saw that businesses were hit hard. We decided to leverage the connections we had and started to develop a website and social media to encourage local consumers to connect with local businesses. In August of 2020, we started showcasing local businesses, events, and some of Pueblo’s rich history. Read more>>

Narkara Bishop | womb wellness consultant

to help other women holistically in aiding and maintaining womb health as naturally as possible. Read more>>

Cullen McHale | Freelance Photographer and Videographer

I wanted to start my own business in order to create the life I’ve always wanted to live. I am grateful for the jobs I have had in the past, but I always knew I wasn’t doing what I truly wanted to be doing. Through my freelance content creation work, I have been able to shoot at optimal times rather than being pushed to shoot during normal work hours. It’s also provided me with opportunities to work at the Dew Tour, Burton US Open, and other skiing/snowboard competitions that I’ve always dreamed of working for. Due to owning my own business, I have been able to donated five percent of my profits to a children’s home in Kenya called Restart Africa, which is not something any job I’ve had in the past has prioritized. This organization has helped me and I would love to continue giving back to them. Read more>>

Kelly McCaskill | Commercial Photographer

After a career as an interior designer, I knew the next step was to do my own thing. I always wanted the freedom of working for myself. I had dreamed of starting my own photography business and worked towards that goal on the side for years. When I started booking jobs in the commercial photography world, it was clear to me there was a need and opportunity for growth in my area. Not many people, especially women, were capturing the types of imagery I offered- architectural, real estate, branding, products, automotive, food, and drone. Read more>>

Matt Solomon | Advisor | Consultant | Educator… and Author

I have started and launched several businesses. Each was a unique opportunity to offer products or services that were not readily available at the time. In the beginning, my thought process was an overwhelming excitement as I learned new markets and the “how to” for starting a business. Now, that same excitement is applied to planning necessary systems and future steps that come with growth. Addressing the next steps before they are realized, so that the business delivers in a way the client expects, is a big portion of the workload as I fully embrace and enjoy the process of creating, delivering, and sharing “something new.” Read more>>

Mary Elizabeth Graff | Photographer

Cancer. Cancer changed me and my outlook on life. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and going through surgery, recovery then 18 weekly chemo treatments that just about sucked the life out of me I realized how precious time is. It pushed me to chase after my passion–documenting everyday moments, special moments and milestones. I’d always been passionate about capturing life but something about potentially looking at the end of mine pushed me to focus on growing my business. Read more>>

Natalie Andersen | Photographer

I honestly never thought I would start my own business, not in a million years. I had always worked in the corporate world, but when I had my daughter (now 7) I felt the need to stay home and raise her as I was working 12 hour days. I’ve always had an interest in photography. My mom had a Canon camera when I was growing up and I remember always taking it from her and taking photos at whatever event we were at (usually a sporting event). I started to appreciate the art of capturing a specific moment in time and turning it into a memory that would last a lifetime. Read more>>

Sherry Smith-Faler | Tattoo artist owner/artist

Well i opened my first business in 1991, The Lab, it was a night club. Then i opened another nightclub, Industrial Nation in 1998. After i sold my last nightclub i took a year off to figure out what i wanted to do in life. It was decision between tattooing or culinary school. I decided on tattooing and went and sought out an apprenticeship. I was with my mentor for 3 years when he he decided he was closing his studio. I had a decision to make again. My wife ,Denise, and I discussed what to do. I could work at another studio or open our own. I was a baby artist at the time and was still learning the ins and outs of tattooing.I could continue making %50 of the tattoo price or i could open a new studio and make %100. In reality i don’t get %100, bills and rent pretty much take it up. We decided to open a tattoo studio, Skin Evolution Tattoo LLC. in 2009. Read more>>

Taylor Olson | Bridal Makeup Artist

When I originally started by business I think the thought process behind it was that my parents had been self employed entrepreneurs my whole life and I didn’t really know any different. I stared my business at 17 years old. Throughout the years it has grown and evolved into something I never really imagined it could be. Read more>>

Essie Lamar | Jewelry Maker

I didn’t plan on starting a business; it was something that was a result of being bored during quarantine. I was looking for a new craft to start and found some old clay I used when I was younger. After a lot of trial and error, I produced my first pair of earrings: macarons! I made a few other styles and eventually put them up on Etsy. I’m a sophomore in high school, so I have to balance school work with jewelry making. I participated in several weekend markets this fall. Piante Pizzeria has been an excellent host for these. Read more>>

Kate Hanson | Designer & Art Director

I love sending snail mail, but I always found it difficult to find greeting cards that weren’t too cheesy. I wanted to merge two of my favorite things, design and music, to create a fun line of greetings cards that would make people smile. The key was to keep the insides blank so customers could write their own, authentic messages. Read more>>

Tony Busnardo | Owner

Kent and I are best friends from college. After traveling a number of years post-graduation, we really hoped we could share life together in an intentional and meaningful way. The business was just an afterthought. We had some friends doing interesting things in Breckenridge, so we decided to move there. Both of us grew up painting, so it seemed a way to be together and hopefully pay the bills. Read more>>

Jill Trotter | Publisher/Franchisor

I started my community magazine to connect people. As a 20-year local in the Vail Valley, I have noticed most publications in our Valley are geared towards tourism. We love our guests and treasure those visiting our communities. However, the locals are the ones who provide the services making one’s vacation truly epic and there is little here focused on or highlighting the local residents. Living in a mountain town brings with it many challenges; cost of housing, great expense in raising children/finding childcare, securing equitable employment to name a few. My publication not only brings people together by introducing them to their neighbors, schools and community leaders, but it also highlights young achievers, pets, things locals find of interest. A mountain community can be a transient community and it is difficult sometimes to feel like you belong. My community magazine is meant to give residents a feeling of connection and a sense of belonging. Read more>>

Chris Presnell | IT Technician, Influencer and Sports Journalist

When I started my travel Instagram page, I was really just looking to build an audience that might be interesting in buying a photo and poem book from an epic trip I took up the West Coast of the US after I got married. When the book project ended up taking much longer than anticipated, I fleshed out the Instagram page to become a full travel social media page. I wanted to not only showcase my photos, but give travel advice and drive narratives about travel based on my own thoughts. Read more>>

Adrian Muckle | Adrian The SnapGod – Photographer & Videographer

When it came to creating my own business, I decided after graduating with my bachelors from Florida Atlantic University, I didn’t want to have a traditional 9-5 life working for someone else’s company. I enjoy my craft so much I decided I was going to put all my efforts into making it my career. I had all sorts of jobs throughout college and the thought having a boss over me didn’t sit well and motivated the entrepreneurship in me. Read more>>

Shannon Demos | Artist

Before meeting my husband, I had no idea I had an artistic bone in my body. I was creative in the kitchen but never realized that I had talents outside of that in a creative sense. As our relationship grew I started to become interested in art as my husband is a muralist and artist. I started out working with old vinyl records and painting them with acrylic paint pens, and as time went on I became interested in making jewelry. At the time, I was doing this in my free time and selling to friends and family. I think what really jump-started my interest in creating my business was the death of my Step-Father. It was very sudden and unexpected and became a huge catalyst for change in my life. Read more>>