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.

Melissa Kelly | Owner and Creator of Bello Haven Hair Extensions

The most important thing to keep in mind when starting your own business is making sure it is your true passion. Something you don’t consider work and something you can see yourself showing up for day in and out and never wanting to leave, quit, or give up! Read more>>

Selina Castillo | Owner and Founder of The Skin Societé, Colorado’s Leading Skin Specialist

This is actually so funny because there really wasn’t a thought process it kinda just happened for me. Let me elaborate, before becoming an esthetician I was actually a banker who loved to get her lashes done! Even before that I had been visiting an esthetician since I was 14 for my skincare needs, all thanks to my mother of course. I would visit my lash tech her every couple weeks and I just loved my experience I loved how she made me feel and one day it just clicked for me. Read more>>

Jeffrey & Andrea DeVaul | Senior Placement Advisors

Our thought process behind starting our own business was birthed out of an observed need to help the elderly and their families find appropriate senior-living options. Prior to starting Seniors of the Rockies in 2017, Jeff had been working as a Licensed Practical Nurse for 5 years in a skilled nursing setting. During this time, Jeff encountered countless concerned families coming to him with the same questions: Which assisted living is the best fit for my mom/dad? How will I know their care needs will be met? Read more>>

Khia Glover | Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Coach and Educator

It really has been this ever evolving chain of events. I knew from a very young age that I would work for myself, not sure how I knew, but the desire was always there, I just didn’t know what it would look like at the time. I can remember being really young and hearing about how women and children in other countries were being treated and saying to myself that one day I would do something about that. Starting Notes by Khia specifically, Read more>>

Marie Groover | CEO of The Corporate Psychic & Business Program Manager at Microsoft

There was a distinct moment before this business came together, of fully understanding the value and necessity in integrating all parts of self and showing up authentically in all facets of life. I realized that the best way to guide others into authenticity and wholeness, was to lead in this example. I believe that there is no ‘work’ you and ‘home’ you, but that there is just one you and that authentic work IS your life (and also responsibility as a human). Where we work is where we spend the majority of our time, and that is where the focus of my business is, in guiding people AND businesses into authenticity. Read more>>

Gage Gerardi | Professional Cosplay & Model

If I’m being honest, I didn’t really considering a thought process because I never really thought of starting a business. If anything, cosplay really started off as a major hobby for me; something where I can just escape from the reality of the mundane adult life and enjoy myself. It wasn’t until a few years into this hobby that I recognized that people started to profit off it. Though it was never my full intention to profit off of it, I honestly found myself asking… Read more>>

Savanna Olivas | Baker and Owner

The thought process behind starting my own side baking business initially started as me having a tasty, creative outlet and hobby. The thought continued to grow and expand during graduate school where I studied Strategic Communication and had to create my own creative content for classes. As a school project I thought to myself, “I love to bake, so why not create a fictional baking business that I could create marketing materials and a communication plan for.” After creating my own delicious baked goods to photograph and make marketing materials with for class, I’d often post pictures of my creations to my own social media pages. Read more>>

Dr. Valerie LeComte | Integrative Medicine Doctor

My business is really a reflection of what I wanted for my own health. I had some minor health issues and knew the answers I would get if I went to a regular doctor-prescriptions for my symptoms and not much else. I wanted to know why I was having these problems and how to get rid of them, not just put a band-aid on them. Even with the integrative medicine space, I was frustrated with my experiences. I had been recommended to get thousands of dollars of expensive testing, start on large amounts of supplements daily without a clear plan, and do fasted exercise to lose weight (which I had said was not a goal of mine). So I decided I had to become the doctor I had always wanted. Read more>>

Rachael Levine | Fashion Designer and Artist

While designing my senior thesis collection senior year of college, I was creating outerwear in the form of vests made from my Shibori dyed boiled wool. The wool was very interesting to people so I didn’t want to distract those pieces with any other garments underneath the vests. I decided to create long fingerless gloves and those got a huge response. From there I expanded my line of accessories to include other winter items and took the collection to trade shows after graduation in 2014. Read more>>

Faith Haug | Co-Owner

We wanted to provide a safe space for members of the queer community. Many people are intimidated by auto repair and maintenance and we wanted to make a place where they feel safe, included, and respected. Read more>>

David Delcourt | Chief of Flavor at Seed Ranch Flavor Co.

I’ve always wanted to have a direct impact on my customers and community. As Chief of Flavor at Seed Ranch, I love seeing people’s eyes go wide and taste buds dance when they take a bite. The “wow, that’s delicious” or “dang that’s good” is so rewarding. When I started Seed Ranch, I wanted to bring the culinary experience into people’s kitchens, from farm, to our kitchen, to their table – making a flavor adventure that’s unique to each person’s taste and spice preferences, yet globally delightful.. Read more>>

Sabrina Bockstanz | Vegan Baker

I remember being 11 baking some box brownies with my uncle, my face was pressed against the oven door. I asked him if there was enough batter in there and he said with a smile, “Be patient, it’ll rise.” And ever since then I have loved baking. I spent countless hours in front of Youtube watching baking videos and even longer in the kitchen with my trial and errors. I always knew that this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to bake and that be my income and in 2018, that became a reality. I started small and eventually was inside of coffee shops and doing weekly pop-ups and events. Read more>>

Chris Draney and Carrie Draney | Artist/Graphic Designer

The answer is pretty clear cut, we were poor college students. As a newly married couple we rented a tiny but charming pioneer home. Chris is an artist and was determined to find an inexpensive way to decorate the walls. The idea was to use free wooden pallets and to paint signs from our favorite places. The first place Chris painted was our favorite national park – Arches. Everyone who saw it wanted one, and we started selling these painted pallet signs at our local farmer’s market. Read more>>

Melissa Senter | Designer creator owner

The thought process behind starting my own business was the desire to create freedom for myself in my life through working out of passion. The freedom to live the life that I want for myself and my family. I have a servants heart so I knew that I wanted to fulfill my purpose with my art. Using my creative skills I offer one of a kind custom products with a service that is one on one for the design process. The one on one of working with the client to meet their dreams of a product to bring it to life. Removing that cookie cutter box store products. These products then become a special gift or decor item that they will look at and remember the story behind it. Read more>>

Mallory McNeal | Wedding/Elopement Designer, Planner, + Stylist

My passion for celebrating your wedding authentically and boldly first stemmed from noticing a need in the wedding planning experience: one which coupled the the freedom and empowerment that comes with eloping with the values of community and togetherness that come with a traditional wedding celebration. I believe that a wedding doesn’t have to be big in size or cost to be big in feelings and memories, and I wanted to forge a new path for couples who wanted to plan their wedding in a way that felt true to them and their core values. Read more>>

Travis Tooke | Jiu-jitsu Black Belt Instructor

I realized relatively young that I had found something I really enjoyed. When I saw the potential to make a living teaching what I love, I knew that it would be worth it and that I would do whatever it took to make it a success. I didn’t wait until I learned about business before I started and I don’t have a formal college education. I learned on the job initially. As soon as I could afford it, I invested in mentors who could guide my business growth. My thought process from the beginning was to remain open minded when it came to learning so that I would not pass on an opportunity that might better serve me and my students Read more>>

Leah Haney | Piñartist and owner of Break Free Piñatas

Though I always wanted my own business, and dreamed of being a professional artist as a kid, I didn’t start making piñatas with that intention. I am a crafter to the core and especially enjoy the tangible arts, paper and sculpture. About 10 years ago I was throwing a party and wanted a pterodactyl piñata. I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I decided to make it. Many how-to video hours later I had a big, green, kind of awkward-looking pterodactyl piñata. Read more>>

Lauren Larkin | Artist

Honestly, starting my own business was something I had to do for myself because creating art was something I’d never stop doing. It made sense. I was constantly seeking opportunities (outside of my day job) to sell my work. I was creating & building inventory as often as I could, so I needed to find outlets to sell. Once I started doing markets, booking shows, & commission work, Read more>>

Duke Armstrong | Founder & CEO of Propello Life, dad, health enthusiast, and soccer fan

After 13 years working for other companies and in corporate America, I knew I wanted to start my own business for three key reasons. First, I saw a gap in the market in a niche that I was super passionate about. Second, I wanted to create a company to share and educate the world around my beliefs on holistic health and wellness. Third, I wanted to break free of the traditional corporate structure, and build a company that values family, community, whole health, quality, and hard work. Too many times, I found myself working for companies that only valued sales and profits above everything else. Success and life is so much deeper than just money – I am on a journey to build a company that is driven by more! Read more>>

Nico Andresen | Woodworker and Designer

In march of 2020, I was laid off when the covid lockdowns started. It was really a blessing in disguise, as it gave me time to reflect on what was important to me. I had already been woodworking as a hobbyist and discovering a real passion in that. I realized I wanted to take my career in a direction where I could work in a more aesthetic design space and also work with my hands. Read more>>

Jody Boyman | Hungry Planet Co-Founder + CPO

Hungry Planet began as a passion project. Todd Boyman, my sibling co-founder and I, wanted to do something meaningful to solve two of the world’s most pressing problems: the health of humankind and the health of our planet. We set out on a mission to craft a wide range of proteins to feed our growing human family, prevent environmental destruction, avert global pandemics, and reduce animal suffering. Crucially, they had to be a simple switch for conventional meat, while also delivering superior nutrition. After a decade of culinary R&D, we developed the most authentic and complete range of plant-based meats available in the world – and the innovation continues! Read more>>

Teresa Adele | Writer & Yoga Teacher

While working in publishing, I’ve pursued multiple entrepreneurial journeys. I’ve become a yoga teacher, a freelance writer, an integrative nutrition health coach, and (soon) a certified personal trainer. Throughout it all, I was teaching and writing as much as possible. Read more>>

Ed OConnor | Sports Performance Coach

Early in my career my primary focus was on immersing myself in sports performance coaching, and gaining as much experience as possible. I had the fortunate opportunity to work at the collegiate level and private sector early in my career. After leaving the collegiate level, and shifting my focus towards youth athletic development, I decided to go out on my own. Read more>>

Amanda | Small Business Owner

Owning a clothing line has always been a dream for me. However, I’ve struggled for many many years with eating disorders and a distorted body image. I felt like I was missing out on all things fashion- I didn’t fit into the clothes and styles that I love and struggled to find clothes that made me feel “safe.” I started Bulletproof Basics as a part of my own recovery and combatant to my ED and body image. Read more>>

Briana Rorex | Stay-at-home Mother & Founder of Queens Wrld Boutique

Growing up and even till this day Fashion has been my outlet and has helped me with my experience of mental health issues such as depression, post partum, and low self-esteem. Developing Queens Wrld is derived from us wanting to be that outlet for other women! Read more>>

Lance Kittel | Angler

I saw a niche market that has capacity for creativity. The more I pushed into new directions, the more positively my following responded. Eventually, I settled on a design that was uniquely me, while still fitting the identity of the larger picture. Read more>>

Ashley Gassmann | Owner & Founder

While attending Iowa State University, I found a passion for entrepreneurship. From, pitch competitions to being in a summer accelerator program, I took advantage of all the opportunities ISU had. Immediately after graduating I was lucky enough to start my own Event Planning business, Elowen Events. In 2020, I had a lot of clients asking for neon signs & saw the trend of them being used in weddings. That is how Mariglow Neon was created. In 2021, I added the customizer tool that allows you to design your own sign & have continued to sell custom and rental signs for weddings, businesses & home decor. Read more>>

Casandra LaFong | Owner and Operator- Licensed Esthetician and Massage Therapist

After covid I realized spending more time with my daughter was more important than overworking. So, my first thought was that making my own hours was a better option for the two of us. Then as I started moving forward, I realized it’ll be overall better for my career because I can spend more time making real genuine connections with my clients and giving them the quality service, they deserve. Plus, it was so much fun designing my own personal studio with my sassy twist to it. Read more>>

Lee Walters | Entrepreneur

Starting my own business was something I’d always wanted to do going back to high school. When evaluating different businesses to start I looked at over 100 different concepts across all types of businesses. It ultimately came down to finding a business where I felt like there was a growing need and where I felt we could actually help people in so many ways. Pearle Vision just fit those parameters better than anything I considered. Read more>>

Vanessa Campbell | Baker

I never thought I would have my own business, I had a 9-5 Job for the last 14 years at a small embroidery company here in Colorado Springs. My nephew’s 1st birthday was coming up and I decided to give making his cake a try, and to my surprise I enjoyed it so much; despite having 3:00 am bed time that night!
I decided to try more cakes so I offered my friends and family the opportunity to make one each month for free just so I could get practice. Read more>>

Anthony Ryder | Painting Instructor

I wanted to offer a better product. In my case that meant more more model time, longer programs, a dedicated space, and better control over lighting. The name of my business, the Ryder Studio. Read more>>

Marilyn Hammond | Grower and cottage foods producer

When my husband and I were in grad school we had a huge prolific garden. Thad when I taught myself canning with the help of the internet. I kept gardening and canning through a move to Erie, having two kids and moving to our current farm and I had been told all the time “You should sell these.” So when we did move to the farm I started doing that. We also got chickens and bees and I started selling vegetables and fruit too. Read more>>

Taylor Draper | Designer Menswear promoting mental health

My thought process behind the business was to bring a safe space for men to feel confident in themselves, and take that confidence to overcome things like depression and anxiety. I want to redefine what it means to “man up” or “be a man”. I wanted to create a community of men to dress better, and be able to lean on each other when they need it. Read more>>

Katie Sevenants | Direct Sales Leader and Mentor, The Midlife Makeover

I started my Direct Sales business almost 20 years ago because I have been in sales in the cruise industry for 20 years but found myself after 9/11 unemployed and the company owed me back debt when they filed bankruptcy. I had 2 small children and one more on the way and knew I needed to make money but wasn’t looking forward to putting my kids back into daycare and missing all the “moments” of being home. I knew I had a lot of experience to share, I wanted to continue my relationships and adult conversations but still wanted a flexible schedule so I could choose to be more available to my family. Read more>>

Kelly Bull | Permaculture Landscape Designer and Garden Coach

My husband and I became first-time homeowners last year and buying a house felt like being sent home from the hospital with a newborn. All of a sudden, we became responsible for this house, which also means we are responsible for messing it up. I have so many questions about the plumbing, the electricity, the insulation (why is the wall 200 degrees in the summer when we are going to bed?). Read more>>

Veronica Peterson | Fitness Professional

Starting my own fitness brand is something that I have thought about for years! I’ve been teaching group fitness in Denver for over 8 years now and am incredibly blessed to be apart of such an amazing community. When Covid hit a couple years ago, like many people, I started wondering what the comeback of the group fitness industry would mean for my future. During that time, I decided to expand my knowledge and earn my NASM-CPT license. Read more>>

Beth Goltz | REALTOR® and Interior Designer

I left a steady job in the corporate world with the intention of doing something I love. I have always had a passion & appreciation for making a house a home and I thought if I could do that for a living, I’d be so lucky! Initially, I started on the real estate path. I got my real estate license and was working as a broker associate at Goodacre & Company, a boutique real estate firm in Boulder. However, as I went in and out of properties on a regular basis, Read more>>

Amanda Kuhl | Professional dog groomer

When I first thought about starting my business I had already been a groomer at PetSmart for 10 years. I knew some mobile groomers and that sparked my interest. I was tired of working for someone and knew mobile could be great for me but it’s expensive to get a van or bus! I started to do my friends dogs in their homes and they loved it! Read more>>

Becky Hill | Integrative Nutrition Health Coach & Plant-Based Baker

Prior to launching my business, I worked in advertising for about seven years. I worked really hard, and I climbed the corporate ladder quickly. Most of these years I felt stressed and overworked. I had finally reached my goal of working with a client that I felt morally good about, and that felt like a true partnership. However I still had this nagging feeling that there was more to life. What I was doing on a daily basis wasn’t meaningful to me, or contributing to bettering the world, and I didn’t want to be stuck in the advertising agency milieu forever. Read more>>

Jeremy Gomez | Bigfoot

Showing my kids that anything is possible if you want it hard enough. I just want them to know that if they have a dream they can make it happen because this was mine. Read more>>

Cori & Josh Swanson & Assor | CEOs/Founders of Creative Streak Entertainment

We always knew we wanted to grow a company together. During the pandemic we threw around a lot of different ideas but kept circling back to an entertainment company that specializes in live events. We are both creatives with a variety of experiences and we want to showcase a high taste level of live entertainment! Read more>>

Jon Cleveland | Entrepreneur | Leader | Educator

For the last several years, I’ve known that I want to own my own business, both to create something valuable for others and provide an additional income stream for my family. I knew I needed something I was passionate about because of the time and effort it was going to take to make it amazing. About a year ago, I joined 9Round, a kickboxing fitness studio, to get in shape. After a few months as a member, I knew it was the business to pursue. Read more>>

Raphael Kroshay | Master Crochet Artist

My thought process behind starting my business was making things I could not afford. As my business evolved, it went from that to making things others could not find. Read more>>

Marisol Garcia | Makeup Artist

My thought process behind starting my own business was that I simply felt I wanted more freedom to be creative. I didn’t want to be on someone else’s schedule selling lipstick anymore. I started out doing makeup at MAC cosmetics. I worked there for 10 years. While I never had any formal makeup artistry eduction, I can say that working at MAC served as my school. Read more>>

Michael Rieger | Photographer, Artist, Arts producer

In starting my own business, was my passion of the arts and my community. Read more>>