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.


Charis Walgreen | Whiskey Bliss Owner & Bourbon Steward

You always hear people say find a need and fill it. For my husband Jordan’s 40th birthday I was looking to splurge a little and have someone come to our home a walk us through a whiskey tasting. After much research I never found quite what I was looking for, so we threw the tasting party ourselves. We both have a passion for whiskey and love learning more about it, so it was very organic for us. It was a blast teaching our friends about whiskey. We felt like we had the beginning of a unique business idea. Read more>>

Rebecca Sheriff | Horse Trainer & Riding Instructor

My business, Sheriff Horsemanship, grew out of a passion for teaching people about horses and using the horse as a tool for learning more about faith, self, and community. My entire life has been shaped by my involvement with horses. I knew that I wanted to invest back into my community in a similar way that people invested in me when I was young. By pairing my equine skills with a passion for teaching people, my business had a strong foundation in my core values and philosophies. Since opening in fall 2021, I have found not only success but joy and fulfillment by turning my passions into a job. Read more>>

Malia Warren | Owner, Lifting the Dream

I started the business in 2015 after looking for some fun, motivating gear to work out in at the gym. After I had my daughter, Haley, I had a hard time feeling ready to work out. Nothing I owned previously fit me, or looked cute anymore. After not really finding anything that fit my personality I taught myself how to screenprint (which was, admittedly, a disaster at first) and started making shirts. As my fitness interests progressed to doing CrossFit, I started to need the gear. You drink the Koolaid, you need the gear right? Read more>>

Jamie Frederick | Boudoir and Portrait Photographer.

In starting my own business, I hoped to be able to do more and more of what I love to do. And that’s photography, but more specifically photography that makes a difference in the lives of the people I take pictures of. I love the artistry in capturing a unique moment, and being able to empower people with the photos you take. In my business I wanted to be able to offer that kind of empowering experience. I wanted to be able to create an image that lets someone see the amazing person that I can see through my lens. Read more>>

Alexis Michopoulos | Physician, Dog Lover, & Empowerment Junkie

My thought process behind starting my own business revolved around one phrase: “FEEL HEARD”. In this fast-paced, ever-changing world, I’ve seen medicine become way too transactional, particularly for women. The more women I talk to, the more I hear, “I don’t FEEL HEARD by my doctor”. To FEEL HEARD, one must build a relationship with another person. To build a relationship, it all starts with trust. This is where the idea for my practice was born; women’s health is one of the most understudied and misunderstood areas of medicine. Read more>>

Kristi Abbott | Collage Artist

My parents owned their own business since before I was born, so I grew up in a home run by entrepreneurs. Not only did this instill a strong work ethic in me, but it also allowed me to see the freedoms that could come with hard work and independence. I joined the family business in my twenties and for a decade learned all about running a small business and what it took to make it work, from the marketing, operations, finance and strategic sides. This knowledge, and my desire to find a way to sell my artwork to the world, gave me the courage to go ahead and open my own business. Read more>>

Aaron Bardo | Designer & Carpenter

Since I was a child, my father would joke about my approach to life: “Ready, Fire, Aim.” That still holds true although now I’m a little better at planning ahead. I have gone freelance a few times before. I would be employed at a job that didn’t pay well, or sucked my soul away, then I quit and tried working for myself. Eventually I would be strapped for cash and get employed again. It’s like a spiraling cycle of a career path. Work for somebody, have a little bit of security, learn some new skills. Then work for myself, learning to be an entrepreneur by jumping straight in the deep end. Every pass of the cycle I develop and mature myself, trying new things until I find a field that balances my creative output with freedom, flexibility, and a comfortable income. Read more>>

Franz Bittmann | Founder & CEO, namuk outdoor clothing for kids

100% dedication to children’s needs. Kids should spend as much time as they want outside in nature and experience it with all of their senses – no matter the weather. But to do that, they need the right clothes. I have worked for big brands as consultant, brand manager, production lead and designer. When we became parents, we couldn’t find any durable, innovative and sustainable outdoor clothing that‘s developed to meet children‘s needs – and look good too. Read more>>

miranda tillinghast | Photographer and Social Media Management for Luxury Brands and People

Starting my own business was by chance, I loved photography all through highschool and after college i went on to be a flight attendant. From not taking too many photos in college, I grew a love for it again from travel and exploration. I adventured through life with a camera and through 43 countries (and counting)! I created goals for myself, like make money off my passion, visit 100 countries, and experience the true culture everywhere I go. From these goals it motivated me to do more and see more. Read more>>

Eunice Diaz | Citizenship Coach

Starting my own business came to me as an AHA moment. At the time I started toying with the idea of starting a “business” out of my talents, I was employed by the Department of Education in Colorado, working a full time job as an English as a Second Language teacher. Teaching adult immigrants basic English lessons and life skills in a new country really gave me a new found respect for immigrants and their families. Read more>>

Laraina James | Owner/ operator of Mountain Girl Pickles

I started making pickles for friends. Turns out that everyone loved them, both friends and strangers. From there it morphed into a business, making and selling them to my community and local restaurants. I really liked working for myself instead of others Making my own delicious and nutritious pickled veggies was something that came naturally and something I enjoyed. Having my own business came hand in hand with these developments. Read more>>

Chelsa Darling | Creative Entrepreneur & Designer

I’ve possessed an entrepreneurial spirit since childhood. I was always starting small businesses. I once asked my dad for $20 to start a lemonade stand and came home that night with over 300 bucks just by thanking my neighbors when they handed me cash instead of offering them change. I am no longer cute enough to run this same hustle. Read more>>

Jenna Wagner | Nursery Decor

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I decided we didn’t want to know gender until the birth. We were considering nursery themes and decided on “National Parks.” As part of the theme, I wanted a sequoia tree growth chart. When I couldn’t find what I wanted online, I asked my brother (who is handy) to make it. While he never said he wouldn’t, it never got done so then I thought, “I could probably just make my own.” Read more>>

heather schultz | Owner: consignment clothing store

I live in a seasonal ski resort and I was working as a ski instructor for over a decade and my husband was a ski patroller, He is the one who nudged me into thinking of a business model In which I thought I could be successful because he reasoned we might not want to be working seasonally for the rest of our lives. Read more>>

Alex Schmidt | Interviewer

My thought process behind starting Alex Interviews was fairly simple, yet deeply complex. On the surface, I wanted the opportunity to simply talk to athletes, but under it all, I wanted the opportunity to give athletes from across the world a proper chance and exposure to more people across the nation. Read more>>

Stephanie Dahl | Estate Planning Attorney

What could go wrong? I had the gift of being naive and not understanding the weight of that question. When we elected to start our business, we wanted to find a different way to practice law. We wanted to be accessible to our clients, we wanted our clients to feel like they found a support system and we wanted to have a practice where we felt we were really helping our clients. While it has evolved over time, we have created that. Read more>>

Carol Fisher | Cook

My thought process behind starting my own small business first begins with doing something I love to do. I have always enjoyed cooking, growing up in a Mexican and Guatemalan family I have had the pleasure of enjoying a variety of flavors. I decided to pressure can my salsa about 20 years ago for gifts and slowly had people asking me to purchase my salsa. And that is the way my small business began, now I hope to one day open up a food truck and enjoy what I do full time 🙂 Read more>>

Tammy Cameron | Fashion and Image Consultant

My thought process for starting my own business evolved over time. It began by simply helping a friend and grew from there. I retired from being a corporate executive and returned to my home state of Colorado. A close friend in Colorado made a career change from running an online business, in a pre-Covid era, to becoming a real estate agent and was accustomed to dressing mainly in athletic wear while working from home. Read more>>

Mason Law | Photographer

Starting my own business was a dream I’ve had for ever. I never knew what I
wanted to do, but when I moved to Colorado I saw the beautiful scenery
that is a short drive away! I saw how much this made we want to walk the trails, explore farther,and take pictures. I hope to inspire others, to live life and go experience what the world for has to offer for them! Read more>>

Lindsay Jewell | Lindsay Jewell, Realtor, RMP

I don’t know that there was a thought process versus a draw to owning my own business. I have always enjoyed challenging myself to work harder, do better and accomplish more. I am the kind of person who wants to beat my best score and see if I can do better. I always enjoyed working with a team and I have never been afraid of hard work but there is a lack of freedom and flexibility in that. Having a career in Real Estate and Property Management allows me to customize my brand, be myself and push myself to do better. There is a great feeling of success when you can see the growth and challenge yourself from within. Read more>>

Jax Nelson | Farmer

The process behind our business was not to just provide fresh produce to families in the area, but to also educate. I want people to get a hands experience of what it’s like to grow and harvest your own food. Many people don’t know that a tomato actually grows on a vine, or how potatoes grow. I love seeing their eyes light up when they learn something or get their hands dirty when they harvest their own food. Read more>>

Corey & Erin Heft | Ball Python Breeders

We have a passion and love for ball pythons and wanted to share that passion with others. We pride ourselves on providing people with knowledge to not only own a possible pet, but to also give information about snakes in general. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the animals we work with and we strive to help educate people and show them what we love about these amazing and fascinating creatures. We already enjoyed these animals, but really having a love and dedication to creating that dream goal carries you through each day Read more>>

Justin Menning | Iron Titan Gym Owner

I’ve been training / competing in the sport of Strongman for nine years. I’ve been a part of several gyms & crews during that time and the biggest pain point I noticed was how Strongman are treated in “regular” gyms. Most of the time they are put in a corner and told to not be too crazy, don’t scare anyone, and don’t use any tacky ever. They get the blame anytime something is broken and typically get the “we need to talk” discussion from the owner. I wanted a place that a strength athlete could call home. Read more>>

Connor Bowers | Digital Artist

I knew that if I wanted to make money in life, I wanted to do it in the most enjoyable way possible. For me that meant a few things. I wanted to work for myself, knowing it would give me more flexibility in my life outside of working. I also wanted to do something that is entertaining yet challenging at the same time. With that in mind I eventually decided I wanted to start by creating a sticker company. Read more>>

Clay Lunney | Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Coach

It was 2012, I was a student at the National Personal Training Institute in Colorado Springs. We were given the assignment for our final project to present an original idea for our own gym. Until then I had not put any thought into running my own gym or having my own brand. But the more I worked on the project the more I envisioned the possibilities the future could hold and the idea of starting something of my own began to excite me. I saw a fitness facility focused on the health and fitness of it’s members. Read more>>

Char Montana | The Creative Visionary

The thought process behind starting my own business was to share to the world my talent, creativity, passion, and nevertheless becoming my own boss. I love to express myself through fashion, beauty, and creating content that motivates and inspire others to be the best version of themselves. From creating empowerment platforms, to running clothing brands, and promoting beauty along with self care has allowed me to bring my visions to life, and share them with the world. Read more>>

Joseph Wilkey | Multi State Certified Private Firearms Instructor

Honestly, I wanted to have a hobby that I loved, be something that I made a living from. It’s true, that not everyday is fun. But most of the time I really enjoy what I do! I also have a large family, siblings, nieces and nephews etc. Someone is always doing something. And I love being able to take time off as needed to support whatever they are doing or need help with. It makes it convenient to balance work fun, and fun fun. Read more>>

Justin Brown | Chef/Owner

I was enamoured with trying to find a way where I could make an impact on this planet. I knew I always wanted my own restaurant but, for what reason. I realized at some point it was because, of the people that I get to interact with and meet, help grow into better people and the most important part of being able to learn about oneself during that process. Read more>>

Dana Suazo | Intuitive Energy Healer and Reiki Master

I am a fourth-generation Colorado native and proud of it. I feel Colorado is part of my soul; loyal, honest, and generous. People describe me as having a presence of peace and harmony. I embrace the concept that we should all be compassionate, kind, and humble to those around us because we are all here to help each other grow and flourish. I fully embrace that we are all at the same level, where no one person is below or above the other. Read more>>