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.

Suzanne Fling | Owner, Flingin Pots Mobile Pottery Studio

Transitioning from artist to educational studio was a natural path for Flingin Pots. I always found production pottery very stale, soulless and isolating. I much more enjoyed teaching, interacting with the community and sharing my knowledge for this magical medium. After a few months of displaying my work at Foco’s 1st Friday Art Walk, I asked if I could bring my wheel in and throw with the public. I wanted to give to the public a hands on “experience” that many haven’t had since being a child or haven’t ever had the opportunity at all. The response was HUGE! And Flingin Pots Mobile Teaching studio soon expanded to offering Pots N Pints events at the local breweries and Dirty Dates Nights at CSA, wine bars etc. Seeing smiles appear on faces as their hands touched the clay is something that will never get old. My partner Scott has been an integral part of this business since taking it mobile and really pushed us to try new event and locations and his unwavering support is undeniably the backbone of our. Read more>>

Giovana Bier | CEO and Founder of My Cats And Me Bookkeeping

I always loved numbers, and I consider myself a creative person. Being around creatives, I noticed that they were terrified of numbers. That’s when I decided to serve the creative community. The goal is to give my clients the confidence that they know their finances, they are pricing their products and services accordingly and they have a profitable and intentional business. The thought was really to lean into my qualities, and what is really joyful to me. Read more>>

Sonja Kness | Owner of Boutique By Sonja

The thought started when the shutdowns began in March. Because festivals and events were being cancelled for spring and summer, that greatly limited my ability to sell inventory out of my mobile boutique. I figured I might as well kick my five year plan into gear and obtain a permanent location that I could be at consistently. The circumstances also allowed me to find a great location in downtown Loveland at Cleveland Station, (an older building undergoing considerable renovations). We started renovations in September and opened our doors December 10th. Read more>>

Mark Visser | Landscape and Fine Art Photographer

Years ago I was working as a groundskeeper and two of my coworkers were starting their own breweries, each of them were starting a separate brewery. I enjoyed hearing them talk about the process and getting to design their own company and pour themselves into it. Meanwhile, my supervisor was a Dwight to my boss who was a Michael Scott. He would follow me around from a distance and monitor me and report back to my boss if I took too long of a break or talked to anyone. I hated that feeling, like being back back in grade school and having hall monitors; as an adult that’s a very stifling feeling and I wanted something different. I wanted to create something, I wanted to build out something where the atmosphere encouraged creativity, fun, and innovation. I explored a few different options, I got into advertising for a bit, but my camera I’d received as a graduation gift beckoned me to get outside more. I was in LA at the time and I would drive up and down the coast shooting the surf and ocean. I started to get great feedback from my friends and family, that encouraged me to shoot more and more. Read more>>

Chloe Brown | Pageant Coach

Starting C. Reece Consulting was easy. I knew I had a passion for leading and mentoring young individuals and when I combined that with my knowledge from pageantry, I knew I could tap into that market. I have worked with many incredible coaches and consultants throughout my life, so taking knowledge I had gained throughout many important milestones helped me formulate my program. I had a ton of support locally and throughout our great state of Colorado right from the start. Although I couldn’t have done any of this without the people who love me the most. They saw my potential and gave me that extra push. I give a lot of credit to my dad, Paul Brown who allowed me to renovate an office space in a historic downtown building in Grand Junction, CO in which he owned. I also am very thankful for my now husband, Chad Smikahl for doing all the re-model work inside and of course to all my first year clients who believed in me to help them achieve one of their goals. I think this story goes to show, if you have the right people in your corner, you can achieve anything. Read more>>

Brita DeStefano | Pediatric Physical Therapist

The initial spark for my business came when I was actually out of the workforce staying home with my children when they were younger. When interacting with the community of mothers around me, I realized how little support that parents got regarding their babies’ milestones and how much knowledge I had to share as a pediatric physical therapist. It started with just advising my friends and snowballed from there. I realized that I wanted to show up for parents and families in a way that wasn’t dictated by anyone else but instead by exactly what they/their child needs in that moment. I wanted the freedom to show up for MY family first and foremost and then to create connections in my community and give parents the peace of mind they deserve about their child’s development. Once I had a good grasp on my “why” the rest was a no brainer. Read more>>

L.J. Suarez | Indie Author

I first got the entrepreneurial itch back in my late 20s (I’m 36 now), and had no idea at the time what kind of business I wanted to start. I loved the idea of doing my own thing and having full control over my schedule. But if I was going to go into business for myself, it couldn’t be strictly for money because I knew that if I did do it solely for the money, I wouldn’t have gotten very far. You have to have a driving force besides monetary gain in order to push yourself forward because as we all know, starting a business is not for the faint of heart. For me, the two questions I ask myself before starting any business are: 1) Do I love the industry I’m considering entering into or at the very least have a genuine interest in it? 2) Can I find a way to monetize my idea in said industry? When I discovered self-publishing back in 2014 and saw the success many indie authors were having, I got really excited about the possibilities. Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to write a novel but didn’t think it was possible for me to get a deal with a traditional publisher. Thanks to online outlets like Amazon, I found a way to get my stories out directly to the reader without having to go through the middle man. Read more>>

Sarah Daulton | Owner & Chefstructor of Denver Cooking Classes

In the beginning stages of starting my own business, my thought process was mostly contingent on the desire to work for myself & make my own schedule. To be frank, I didn’t want to work for someone else and I wasn’t that good at it either! I knew in my heart of hearts that something involving food was my life’s path, so a small catering company seemed to be the right answer, however, after some coaching from Jessica Baumgart, owner of Delicious Denver Food Tours, I decided that designing a model around teaching others to cook was my dream. It began several years ago when I met a most wonderful family who hired me to teach them monthly cooking lessons. The father scheduled with me each month, and each month a different member of the family got to choose what they wanted to learn. We ended up working together for almost two years! What I was so blessed to witness each month was this family coming together, time after time, laughing, cooking, eating, imbibing, smiling, talking-all the while a happy father stood by in profound joy that his kids were all together, again. I couldn’t help but share in that joy and think hey, I did this! I was the catalyst for bringing this family together time & time again-why couldn’t I do this for others too? That is ultimately where Denver Cooking Classes was born. Read more>>

Stacy Webb | Owner, Esthetician & Nutritionist of Sesen Skin Body Wellness

My vision was always to create a space that provided services that I wanted for myself: a supportive and nourishing space to guide clients on their health, skincare and nutritional journey, with truly customized services tailored to the individual. Each morning I walk into the new studio, I have to pinch myself…I’ve truly created my dream space, complete with my dream practitioners & offerings. Read more>>

Tyler Rice | Digital Marketing Agency Owner

After working in the food and beverage industry for 8 years and being fired for reasons that did not make sense, I decided it was time to work for myself. It was around this time that I was also setting a plan in action to be able to have the freedom to work remotely to support full-time travel. Read more>>

James Davis-Massey | Change Catalyst. Authenticity Finder. Success Builder.

Humanness. I saw the gap, the need, and the yearning to bring humanness back into the workplace and for people to share their inner strengths in a meaningful way. I saw that employees, leaders and teams all truly wanted this in their careers. I’ve seen so many organizations struggle to really foster authentic, trusting and meaningful human relationships. They leave the “human” out of human resources. I see myself as the catalyst to connect the human part of the workplace to strategy and the bottomline. I truly love people! I thrive on connecting with human beings on a deep level. My superpower is quickly creating a safer space for individuals and teams to build trust and speak their truth. From there, I can foster meaningful and sustainable transformation. Once I decided to start walking towards building a life and career around my soul’s purpose and my strengths versus doing what I thought “I should or ought to do”, an exciting path opened up and gave me the courage to build my own coaching and consulting business. Read more>>

Caitlin Lizza | Engagement, Wedding & Family Photographer

Honestly, I had a really hard time landing a typical 9-5 corporate job after I graduated and so I decided to try something new for myself. I had always enjoyed taking pictures of everything and posting on Instagram and after following a few photogs on Instagram I was really drawn in to the wedding industry. I soon realized I absolutely loved capturing love between a couple and their family and friends. There’s nothing better than seeing the whole day come together. Read more>>

Amanda Schneider | Realtor® & Investor

I’ve always been someone that thrives on setting my own path and dictating my success. I’ve tried working in a traditional office setting for someone else, and it’s just not for me. I feel stifled and unmotivated when I know there is a limit to my growth and earning potential. Plus, I love a good challenge and nothing is more challenging than trying to start a successful business from nothing. Read more>>

Lauren Roberts | Anti-Oppression Coach & Facilitator | Co-Host of ALL THE F*CK IN Podcast

It came down to freedom. I didn’t want to be in spaces where I’d have to silence myself, run away from my values, or conform to anyone else’s idea of “professionalism.” I never really made sense in a 9-5 job, and when I finally embraced being an entrepreneur, opportunities started showing up pretty quickly. It was also clear that there were needs that other organizations and businesses either weren’t meeting or didn’t know how to meet with the tools they had. Namely, activists, politicians, and people who basically give a shit about social justice needed coaching, training, and long-term support for showing up for their work, and I knew that my collaborators and I could help them. Read more>>

Director Ave | 3D Animator & Visual Artist

There was a gap in the rap music video industry. The only people doing advanced 3D visual effects in rap videos were not accessible to independent artists. Most visual effects were done at big production houses that usually work with commercial budgets most independent artists couldn’t afford. Even in 2021 there’s not a lot of people doing it because of the high learning curve. I saw how saturated the independent music video industry was getting and I knew I had to find a way to stand out. More advanced visual effects was the logical conclusion. Read more>>

Eric Chiappetta | Chef/Owner

Honestly, it was just for fun during the early days of Covid-19. My girlfriend at the time suggested that we make Chicago Beefs for dinner. The giardiniera was something that I used to make at two of my former restaurants – Larimer Hot House, and Chia’s Breakfast & Lunch Counter. My customers loved it and suggested that I sell it at the restaurant. So, I made giardiniera and garlic dill pickle spears. They sold like crazy. So, I made some for her and I. Being a chef, I struggle with cooking for two and ended up making a few gallons. I jarred it up in big Mason Jars, posted it on Facebook and Instagram and sold out in literally minutes. It was very cool to have such amazing response. So many people from the Midwest immediately ordered, and some folks that had never heard about it wanted to try. I started to think about what I wanted to do next in my life, and this just dropped in my lap. It really invented itself – I’m just a passenger at this point. I’m very lucky. Read more>>

Spencer Stackhouse | Baker & Chef

After having completed culinary school and worked in other chef’s kitchens for almost a decade, I decided it was high time I started something on my own. Initially this started as a part time side gig while working for another small CPG company in Boulder, but things continued to grow and grow until it became a full-time gig. It’s been super rewarding to be your own boss and set your own schedule, but it also means you’re pretty much working all the time! I really enjoy the chance to try out new things, especially when the farmer’s market is in season and we can easily bring new options to test out and get feedback from customers and samplers. I think the two motivating factors to getting going were wanting to be in charge and also to be able to have the creative outlet with cooking/baking that is often pushed to the back burner when you’re focused on someone else’s business. It’s also been great to have the opportunity to learn a lot more about the side of the culinary industry that isn’t in the kitchen, from marketing and branding to the more tedious accounting and regulatory requirements that must be maintained. Read more>>

Hannah Huffman | CBD Educator

When I saw the opportunity to start my own business I took the leap. As with most industries, the CBD industry in particular is filled with thousands of companies, so how do our customers even know where to start?? We have stayed true from day one. Broad Spectrum 0.0% THC. What does this mean? Within the marijuana plant there are 113 different cannabinoids. CBD is one, THC is one, then there’s CBN, CBG, etc. There are SO many benefits to utilizing the ENTIRE plant. Most companies are using something called isolate. This means they are using only the CBD cannabinoid, and it is usually at a pretty low concentration. I’m not saying this is wrong, but why use just one cannabinoid when you can have many more benefits using the entire plant?? The Broad Spectrum Oil we use is also 0.0% THC. This means none of our products will show up on a drug test. We pride ourselves in providing the highest quality CBD. All of our products utilize 3rd party testing and are bottled according to pharmaceutical standards. Read more>>

Sorin Thomas | Licensed Professional Counselor, Co-Founder & Executive Director

We wanted to create something new – a nonprofit community mental health organization centering queer & trans experience, from a contemplative and social justice counseling lens. It was important to us not only to provide much-needed services, but also to be guided by the wisdom of our own queer & other marginalized experiences, and to truly celebrate queer brilliance by creating platforms for folks in our community to work, grow together, and thrive. Read more>>

Charlie Harding | Founder and CEO

My brother Mike and I started Let’s Roam because we love getting out and exploring cities together, and there really was no other activity that allowed us to see landmarks in a city, while having fun connecting with friends or family. We created our own scavenger hunt one day in St. Louis as something to do, and realized that we could create hunts in other cities for other people to also enjoy. I have had a very entrepreneurial mindset since I was a kid, and both Mike and I enjoy the technical side of developing the app. We combined these passions and our company was born. Read more>>

Hollie Collins | Barber

Because I am a booth renter I guess you consider that my own business but I chose the booth rent route so I would have full control over my schedule my money my hours my clients and my business would have the most potential it could have. Read more>>

Stephanie Davies | Wardrobe Stylist and Owner of Polished

I was an actress in LA for years (1998-2014) I did TV, movies and commercials… I got divorced at 35 years (2014) old and moved back to Denver to go through my divorce with my family. I had NO CLUE what I was going to do with my life or how I was going to make money. I have no college degree and I was a 35 -year-old actress. I have always loved fashion and dressing up. I used to help dress my family and celebrity friends for the red carpet, but for free and just for fun. I had an old agent of mine in LA tell me that I should be a wardrobe stylist in Denver. I laughed and said “No one in Colorado cares about fashion… I will go broke!” Which was partly correct. The first year went like this…. I was super poor and had to save up to buy business cards. I traded a closet overhaul for my website to get built and then I just went about my life. Wearing cute outfits that got questions and attention but NOW with business cards and a website, I felt more comfortable saying I was “a stylist”. I worked as a personal asst during the week to pay my bills and I would style anyone who would let me FOR FREE on the weekends. I would do closet overhauls, shop for them, and make outfits. I wanted to see if I was any good at it and if I even liked it. Read more>>

Brittne Gowdy | Business Owner & Buyer

My thought process behind starting my own business was a no-brainer. I’ve worked in retail since college. I started by doing an Internship with Nordstrom during my sophomore year of college. After my internship was complete I stayed with the company because I enjoyed the values and business aspect. Nordstrom has multiple departments, each department having its own Manager. I worked my way up from intern, to interim manager, then assistant manager then finally having own department as a Manager. After having success in my first department and the other to come, I was able to manage different departments. Each department was unique but the overall gist was me owning that departments business. So, once I decided to part ways with Nordstrom after 12 years, I knew it was only right to start my own business. I combined me owning my own business with the type of person I am. I love to keep classic pieces in my closet, as do many other women. So I figured why not offer that to other women. Read more>>

Stephanie Baudhuin | Graphic Designer turned Vegan Food Entreprenuer

Crummies came about out of necessity really. Back in the summer of 2017, I went plant based and my husband did not. He was responsible for most of the cooking in our home at that point and we embraced the changes and challenges with grace. We found that amongst the many struggles of a “multivore” household, Taco Tuesday was becoming the hardest day of the week to cook for. Meatless Crumble products that were available at the stores were very chemically focused and not at all what I was comfortable switching over to. Why would I trade 1 ingredient, meat, for 20 in some cases. We got to work with R&D and in 2019 launched Crummies Meatless Crumble. a plant-based meat alternative product that behaves like ground meat in any recipe, but all our 7 simple ingredients come from the land and not the lab. Read more>>

Tiffany McCray | Aesthetician / Makeup Artist

When I first started my own business I was a single mom. I wanted to be able to have the flexibility to there for my son as well as be my own boss. It was extremely important to me to not miss the important moments in being a first time mom. Also, I wanted to show my son that I could be successful being an independent business owner. Read more>>

Jackie Shambora | Rustic/Boho Lifestyle Shop, Photographer, Explorer, Jewelry Designer, Stylist

My thought process for starting my business wasn’t very organized or deep actually. I’m not one to do much in the way of planning and tend to follow my gut and my instincts. I have always been a creative…painting, sewing, making. In college my father pushed me to pursue accounting or something related to computers which I did try…and failed at miserably! I realized half way through my sophomore year that I was absolutely a “right brain” individual and that attempting to fit my square peg self into the round hole someone else wanted me to fit into just wasn’t going to work. I had been working for a local department store part time and they quickly moved me into merchandising which I absolutely loved. Thus my major changed to Retail Management/Merchandising. I worked for a major department store chain in the Midwest for 14 years out of college but always felt tugged to do more with creating. I felt I had a bigger purpose other than executing spelled out, black and white “playbooks” from corporate. Read more>>

Trenise Watson | Entrepreneur

My own self-love journey and a huge need for clean products that work led me to start Asili Naturals. When I first started making my own products in my kitchen in 2007, there was a lack of organic, vegan, or cruelty-free options on the market. If there were options, they weren’t affordable. This left me with few options and as a teenager with a tight budget. I had to settle for drugstore skincare products. While using the products, I noticed regular sensitivity, irritation, and dryness to my face, leaving it in terrible condition. As I struggled with skin issues, I witnessed firsthand what that can do to a woman’s confidence. This was the catalyst for me to start really doing my homework and reading the list of ingredients on my conventional skincare products. I knew that I had to make some changes. Frustrated with the skincare market, I took matters into my own hands and began making my skincare products using only natural ingredients. I wanted to be in control of what was in my products down to ingredients, packaging, and more. Read more>>

Matthew Crowe | President – Master Mechanical Contractor

I have always wanted to own my own business from a young age. When I was in high school a friend and I had a mobile detailing business. We didnt make much, but it was fun and we were 16. Fast forward to my college years – I got hired out of Purdue with some large players in the Mechanical Contracting industry here in Denver. I spent time working on hospitals, hospitality/lodging in the mountains, data centers, power plants and much more. I loved what I did but was always chomping at the bit to get ahold of my own company. In early 2015 I connected with Tim Ketsdever the owner/founder of Vectra. He was looking to retire and we struck a cord with my background to date in the industry. Since then, we have grown the company 4x the size and have a residential division to accompany the commercial services we offer. Read more>>

Laci O’Reilly | Virtual Assistant/Social Media Manager

2020 dealt me a lot of hands. I lost my job, my school went 100% remote, my sons school went 100% remote, I got married, my husband joined the military… The list goes on and on. Good and bad. Not having a job, and spending a lot of time at home gave me the opportunity to evaluate what I wanted out of my career. Working for myself and helping people were at the top of my list! So I decided to start a virtual assisting business. This allows me to be creative, work for myself, and help people. Read more>>