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.

Taryn Smith | Bow Designer

I feel I have always been drawn to the idea of being my own boss, creating something out of nothing and feeling that great sense of purpose. I am the daughter of two successful entrepreneurs, seeing them create their own product and now 25 years later still growing success is motivating. When it came to starting Bowtyque, I was thinking of creating something I already loved, but to share with the world! A company I had been purchasing my own bow scrunchies from stopped selling them. So simply thought of what I would change and got creating. When making my bows, all I could think about was the feeling of confidence. I want to help everyday women feel like they are stepping into the best of version of themselves. We do that with a lot of confidence, a bit of sass and a whole lot of heart. Read more>>

Taybor Guokas | Medical Aesthetician & Laser Specialist

My thought process behind starting my own business was figuring all of the ways I could come forth and help clients in the way that I see best fit for them in my own way with all of the knowledge I have in this field. Of course there are so many people in this ever evolving industry that have been in the game way longer than I have, but I hoped to bring my view on things into the mix and figured I would be a handful of client’s glass of wine (or shot of whiskey if that’s what they prefer)! I wanted to bring to life everything I had dreamed of having from the moment I enrolled in esthetics school. I didn’t have a timeline as to when I wanted to open my own business at that time, and honestly didn’t have running thoughts about it again until a bit after the first reopen from COVID last year. I felt it was what was best for my family and I and hit the ground running with it because it’s either sink or swim in the moment and everyone hopes to swim with their ideas and watch them turn into success! I am still watching it all unfold, while working my butt off one way or another every day to continue to turn this dream into my whole reality!. Read more>>

David Williams | Owner Retail Guitar Store

I had a 40 year career in manufacturing and telecom and was a director of product management in a large corporation. I had a side “hobby business” selling vintage guitars that had been going since 1989. I had always wanted to own a real brick and mortar guitar store and spent a lot of time discussing that path with my close friend and owner of Wildwood Guitars, Steve Mesple. In November of 2017 my son took his life. That changed my entire life and really pushed me to go do what I wanted to do. I stayed for another year in telecom and in April of 2019 opened Monkton Guitars. Prior to opening I spent a year working on a business plan including size, brands of instruments, branding and revenue forecasts for 3 years. Steve from Wildwood was a great help in the planning process. I had always worked in a corporate setting but my side hobby was my own business. The lure of running my own business was always present. It took a major event to leave the comfort of a high paying job to start a new business on my own. Read more>>

Miranda Guerra | Wedding & Event Planner

So I genuinely never thought I wanted to own my business. I come form a long line of entrepreneurs including both of my parents. I watched my parents work so hard and always stress about their businesses and it freaked me out. As I got older, specifically about two years ago I started to understand why my parents chose this life. I not only noticed that I work better on my own, but I have a personality and vision that simply can’t be controlled by anyone other than me. I was starting to get bored of working for others and find myself longing for the freedom that owning a business allows. I also started to hone in on my visions and hope for my future which could only be achieved through be my own boss. So once I started noticing all of this, I thought “well it’s now or never”. My family and fiancé fully supported me through this transition and encouraged me to take control of my future. I know how much I love helping my clients with their most important life celebrations and I knew I couldn’t grow to my full potential with just a “side hustle”. Read more>>

Alecia Wellen | Finance Executive | Strategy & Transition Coach | Reiki Master

I did what most people do, I went to college and climbed a corporate ladder of opportunities. All the while I had a whisper of pursuing something more valuable and more fulfilling, but I didn’t allow time for anything other than making money, paying bills and enjoying free time with friends and family. I obtained a BS in Marketing, a Masters in Finance, various licenses in my field and then came marriage and two little ones. Around my 40th birthday, that whisper grew to a nag and before I knew it I had to really face what was in my heart and intuition. There was something more for me to be doing in order to feel fulfilled and give back to others. Something more valuable with more meaning to it. Throughout my 21 year finance career, I always participated in mentoring programs in both mentor and mentee capacities. In every interaction I found a lot of purpose and many people asked why I wasn’t professionally coaching for a living. I decided to dive head first into that and pursued a dual certification from the Co-Active Training Institute and the International Coaching Federation. Read more>>

Wes Luna | Record Label Owner & Artist

I have my own record label called Crank It! Records. I decided to launch it because in the past I’ve had friends launch successful record labels and I decided to do the same thing. As well as wanting to promote bands I thought no one else would of heard of otherwise. Read more>>

Kayla Opperman | Owner

I wanted to do something that would benefit my community, my family, and my personal growth. I wanted to have the flexibility of a business owner, along with the limitless opportunities that come with being your own boss. I liked the idea of buying a franchise that had already shown demand and success. I wanted to spend more time working from home to be with my daughter, who was a year old at the time, while still holding onto my S.T.E.A.M. background in engineering. Read more>>

Leticia Gonzalez-Reyes | Co-Founder & CEO, 109 World

I was raised in Brazil, a country rich in diversity and contrasts. My upbringing exposed me to an inherent understanding of the injustice that exists between the so-called “haves” and “have-nots.” Realizing this injustice existed globally, I decided to dedicate my life accordingly. I became the Director for the Hult Prize Foundation – The world’s largest student competition run in partnership with President Bill Clinton. For four years, I witnessed entrepreneurs mix with the public and private sectors to work towards a world that cares about a balance of power and that leans toward social and environmental justice. And although being immersed in this community of self-identified “social entrepreneurs” was eye-opening, my biggest take away was unexpected. I realized that it doesn’t matter how impactful your business is for the world. Read more>>

Robyn Shaw, CPA, CFE | Forensic Accountant

While working for Colorado’s 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office as an Investigative Financial Analyst, I saw too many cases cross my desk of business owners who had employees embezzle from them. I always felt I became involved in these cases too late in the process. I decided to leave the DA’s office and open my firm because I wanted to educate business owners, raise their fraud awareness and prevent their employees from stealing from them. And if a business owner discovered an employee had embezzled, I would help them determine what happened, the amount the employee stole, and provide an organized package to law enforcement to facilitate the movement of their case through the court system. Read more>>

Laura Lieff | Owner of Lieff Ink

Before I started Lieff Ink, I was helping people with their resumes, cover letters, and website content to subsidize my income as a newspaper editor. Then I decided that I could make freelance writing, editing, and PR a business and created Lieff Ink. January 2021 marked my company’s 10-year anniversary!. Read more>>

Zac Caputo | Co-Founder & Director, Video Production Company

For me, the thought process was simple. My two business partners, Mitchell Westerman and Cody Mitchell, had already formed the LLC in Austin, TX where Cody and I grew up together. I was in Los Angeles at the time, working for one of the larger talent agencies. My father had just passed away, and besides that I had been feeling largely unsatisfied in my career for some time. Cody, Mick and I had talked at length about starting our own company, but it had always felt like a “what if”. I think leaving my career in LA had a lot to do with the memory of my dad — he had run his own commercial photography business for decades, and despite the curveballs and struggles that come with being a self-employed small business owner, his work was always for something with his own name on it, and he loved that. That’s what I wanted, and in addition to that, I wanted the opportunity to be a storyteller again. So I left LA, and my partners left Austin, and we met in Denver. Since then, I haven’t looked back. Read more>>

Sani Field | Founder

I got connected with a local artist whose work focused on sustainable and healing installations; she asked me to run her blog and social media channels. I had no idea what any of that meant. I had a personal Facebook profile, but that was about the extent of my social media knowledge. I was a decent writer, so I knew that if I learned all the technical aspects of managing a blog/website, and posting on the social networks, I had a fighting chance at being remotely successful. I decided to take the job and teach myself the ins and outs of everything she needed from me as I went along. After a few months, now October 2011, a pilot television program discovered her feature project through her blog and reached out to learn more about her inspiration. That was the moment the light bulb turned on for me. If I could garner that kind of recognition through a blog, what else was I capable of? That event was the impetus for me to start SunnySide Social Media. Read more>>

Patrick Baker | Founder, IT Consultant

Several years ago, I heard stories from my life partner LeeAnn, a personal trainer working with mid-life and older persons, about how her clients were asking questions about their technology. Having been the tech support contact for friends and family in the past, I thought this would be an excellent niche: providing technical support and training for older adults with their computers, mobile devices, and smart home technology. Read more>>

Karen Stuth | Co-Founder and Owner, Satiama, LLC

Satiama, LLC was born in a conversation with my sister Susan as we envisioned creating something that would offer people what we called “the many pathways” — the many choice paths to what ever was transcendent for them. We believe that there are many pathways to finding whatever is transcendent for each person. We just wanted to invite people to feel free to explore different ideas and thought systems. So we began as a blog, inviting guest bloggers and readers to come and chat. We wanted to provide something positive for people who might be searching — a place to read and explore. Satiama has always had a two-pronged ‘test’ regarding anything we offer on our website. First, we required that all articles come from the heart, from a place of love and respect. Second, we also asked that all contributions be non-exclusive in nature — not propose that the author’s ideas be presented as the only right idea, the only correct way of thinking or living or being. That is the ‘many pathways’ idea that was foundational for us from our first day. Read more>>

Jason Miller | CEO and Business Strategist

Business has always been something that was attractive to me. I grew up in a family of Entrepreneurs so it has always been in my blood. It also provides it’s freedoms along with it’s chains as well but, not having to wake up every morning and work your tail off to make someone else rich is a pretty good motivator as well. Business is passion… It’s passion for what you love and creating a business plan that ultimately supports your life plan. This is what has kept our company driving over and over again despite any bumps in the road. Read more>>

Angela Harris | Yoga Instructor, Postpartum Doula and Family Wellness Coach

When we first moved to Colorado from Canada I wanted to help us out financially but I needed to be free from a 9-5 schedule to help support our family in the transition. I wasn’t sure at first what I wanted to do and over time it became clear to me that I wanted to support families in their quest for wellness. My business now includes yoga for everyone, including restorative, kids, prenatal and postnatal yoga, wellness support for families with natural methods, and postpartum doula work. My business continues to allow me to support the needs of my family as well as the other families I support. Read more>>

Alayna Alariana | Entrepreneur/Owner

Opening a coffee shop had always been my “next career” Retirement plan. After 30 years in the hospitality industry as an Event Planner, traveling the world, creating events for some of the top companies and associations in the world, I decided to take this next career step about 10 years earlier than I had planned. My son was a pre teen and I wanted to be involved in a more day to day. My experience with top chefs, caterers and restaurants gave me a huge amount of experience and knowledge for my coffee shop. Decor and experiences was also an asset. With what our nation is dealing with currently, I believe there had to have been some divine invention. I look at it now and wonder how my son and I would have faired if I had not made that decision. Read more>>

Samantha Wranosky | Owner/Creative

I had been a graphic designer for nearly 15 years working my way from Prepress Assistant to Associate Art Director. As much as I enjoy graphic design and my career, I always longed for a more flexible schedule to balance my family life as my kids grow up. After my 2nd child was born, I finally started getting serious about building my own business. It was a gradual process as I researched product ideas that could sell as PDF downloads through sites like Etsy.com. Finally, I landed on creating an illustrated ABC Book to use as a Baby Shower Activity. I was seeing a lot of blank ABC Book templates being sold and I kept thinking about how uncomfortable some baby shower guests would feel with being asked to create their own drawing from scratch. That coupled with the popularity of coloring gave me the motivation to create my first ABC Book. It was a success and I continued to add other Baby’s First Books and personalized pages to my shop. Read more>>

Cristin Colvin | Musician & Web Designer

The original purpose for beginning my business was just a starting point, and I’ve been lucky to allow Toxoplasma to metamorphose over the last five years. I’m a musician first and foremost, and creating Toxoplasma Arts in 2016 was a way for me to start thinking about my music as a businessperson. Upon hitting the brutal opera audition circuit around the country and also trying to book jazz gigs in Denver, I discovered I needed to consider scaling creatively in the future and focus on legitimizing myself as a business entity. It would also help to have a central identity for tax purposes and bookkeeping expenses (musicians get lots of 1099s and spend a lot of money on their craft). Little did I know that I would pivot enough times to make your head spin! While singing here and there, I was asked by a few local musicians to make their logos, while I was simultaneously working as a web admin and collateral designer for a university. Read more>>

Jolina Meechan | Interior Designer & Stager

I’ve always loved to design and reorganize rooms. I had never really seen it as a career option until I was deep into my Psychology Master’s program (perfect timing, right?). I seriously contemplated doing a 180 and jumping towards design, but I felt I was too deep into my schooling to hit the brakes. Jump forward 4 years and I had bought my first home with my husband. We invested in a fixer-upper and were (mostly) ready for all of its challenges. I learned SO much along the way & had an absolute blast letting my creativity flow. We were doing this while working full-time jobs, but yet I was always having to force myself to call it a night. Friends and family were eager to see our work, but I was rather shy about sharing with them. My confidence was boosted every time they would compliment the progress or friends would see our home in person. During the pandemic, I found myself looking for more creative outlets as Zoom calls began to drain me. Read more>>

Leanne Jewell | Transformational Speaker & Coach / Writer / Comedian & Actor

I am a transformational speaker / writer and coach and I started The Giggling Guinea Pig® in the Fall of 2017. I had just come through a difficult period that had lasted a few years, which included significant health and relationship issues. I started reflecting on my life and journey up to that point and realized that I had a lot to share with others about overcoming difficulties and challenges in life, and I had an appreciation for my path and the lessons I’ve learned. I’ve had my share of difficulties and hard times in life, but I realized that I have a way of coming through those challenging times with a lot of understanding, grace and humor. I decided that I wanted to share my experiences and gifts with others and I want to help people, more than anything else in this world, to be the best version of themselves and to help them find self-love and happiness. Read more>>

Richard Hammons | Chef/ Owner- Five Star To You- Personal Chef and Catering

I came up through high end hotels, restaurants, and sushi bars. When I reached the level of Executive Chef, I became a bit burned out and wanted to find out how to be able to cook for the love again. So, I started my business to be able to push myself and grow as an independent business owner. Read more>>

Jen Morris | Side Biz Coach & Actor

I was living in NYC pursuing an acting career and juggling multiple jobs so I could pay the bills and have some ‘flexibility’ to audition. I burned out quickly and realized that After doing the whole NYC starving artist thing for a while, I learned pretty quickly that it wasn’t very glamorous. But I wasn’t ready to give up acting, nor was I willing to continue to serve overpriced cocktails in high heels until 4am (true story). I needed something that I could do on my own time, that was completely mobile, that would allow me to create a residual income stream and that utilized all of my acting talents…in a different setting. So I started a side business selling holistic nutrition and lifestyle products and later added a health coaching practice. I quickly realized that all of the stuff I learned in my acting classes, in the audition room, in rehearsals and performances – ALL OF IT made me really good at running a business. I was resourceful, great at networking and relationship building, creative and genuinely enjoyed helping others improve their lives. Read more>>

Leslie Rodriguez | Pre/Postnatal Fitness Trainer

Empowered Fit and Wellness started when I became a new Mama. I was recovering postpartum, experiencing all of the challenges that come with Motherhood and not knowing how to help my body recover. Having been in the health and fitness industry for many years, exercise during the early postpartum season was brand new to me. After giving birth my body no longer felt the same, the workouts that once felt great no longer did and I was struggling. As I researched on exercises I could and could not do, I found little to none conflicting information on the internet on how to recover after giving birth so I begin taking pre/postnatal educational courses. Through this process I got learn how to ease my way back into exercise while keeping in my mind my core and pelvic floor. I also learned about the many symptoms and injuries that show up during pregnancy and postpartum such as diastasis recti, urinary incontinence, low back pain, pelvic girdle pain, pelvic organ prolapse and more. Read more>>

Ann Tucker | Computer Technician and Hobbyist

I first started because I love to cross stitch and decided I could bring some light into someone’s day with it. I now do it, not only for that reason, but in order to help with family costs including the adoption of our daughter. Read more>>

Lauren Johnson | Physical Therapist and Pilates Instructor

I have been a Physical Therapist and Pilates instructor for over 10 years. About 5 years ago I became a mother and 2 years later, a mother of two. I have to admit that even with my professional background I was very naïve about the delivery process and struggled with my personal recovery. I never thought that being a Pelvic Floor therapist would be something I would be interested in doing, but after getting additional education in the subject, I learned the need for this profession and discovered a passion for the subject. Not only do post-partum mothers need assistance with education and recovery, but all persons (male, female, non-binary) can have issues linked to the pelvic floor. From back pain to TMJ, there is researched based evidence that pelvic floor therapy can help with recovery of these issues. Pelvic floor therapy can also help with incontinence, pelvic pain, and issues with bowels. After moving to Indian Hills a year ago, I felt a great desire to be a part of the local community and contribute my skills. Read more>>

Brittany Bull | All Natural Soaper

I didn’t really set out with the intention of starting a soap company. We live on a little slice of heaven at the base of the foothills just outside of Loveland, Colorado. We raise and show Dairy Goats. We use their delicious milk for so many things. I quickly found out how much milk they produce and I was running out of ideas on what to do with it. I was introduced to making soap with goat milk and all the amazing benefits it has for your skin. I fell in love with soaping. After years of making soap just for family and friends, I decided to take the risk to start my own business and start marketing myself and my products. Being a stay at home mom of five, our farm and all the responsibilities that go along with that. I didn’t know how I would find the time to dive all in to start my soap company. My passion for health and intimate love of nature was my inspiration and living where we do has been the perfect backdrop for creating the natural products that I do. I’m a naturalist and someone who lives the simple life. Read more>>

Jennifer Kloeppel | Community Builder and CEO of Showers For All

From a very young age I would look around and look at the injustice in the world wondering how I could work to be a part of the solution. Showers For All is a nonprofit that grew from years of trying to imagine small ways to provide safe spaces for others. I believe deeply in community, I believe that so many people aren’t given a fair chance to be a part of one. Too many people lack access to basic necessities that they need to feel dignity or hope. So as I imagined what Showers For All could be I spent time on the ground hearing stories from unsheltered individuals, I asked questions about what their hopes and dreams were, I asked about their path to homelessness, and I asked what they have the least amount of access too. While I was in college I spent time on Skid Row in Los Angeles and then through work I took kids and adults to volunteer in cities around the US, I heard too often that it had been months since someone last had a shower or put clean clothes on their bodies. Read more>>

Jose Beteta | Co-Founder/CEO

The thought is always to identify a need in society. In our case we noticed a need for Latinos to be included in the craft beer industry. We proceeded to create a project that would be inclusive of that need, but that would also include current craft beer lovers too. Read more>>

April Alsup | Composer of Musical Theatre

There’s an old expression, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. Right? Well, not exactly, because you can’t say, you don’t actually have to work. Au contraire! It just means you love your work so much it never feels like you are actually working. I’ve been writing music for as long as I can remember. My mother and I would sit at the piano and create stories. It was never about the notes on a page, we would create thunder, lightning, raindrops and church bells. What started as simple childhood games turned into a passion for writing music theatre works. Read more>>

Brooke Harrell | Business Owner & Pastry Chef

I never really thought about starting my own business. Baking was a hobby for me growing up and I loved making things for people to eat and enjoy! I was working at a coffee shop in Colorado Springs as a baker and the owners gave me the creative ability to make up their pastry and breakfast menu. I wanted ultimately to promote their coffee so I made pastries that would complement the drinks they already had. This got me thinking, can I do this for other shops too? Or even, for people? To promote peoples likes, interests, design and taste? So that’s when Just BE’s Pastries began to form! I started my business to provide for other businesses. I wanted to fulfill a need that the coffee shops and vendors had – to make pastries that would promote them and not myself. Just BE’s mission statement is to create special and unique pastries that would just be for that business, vendor or person. Each pastry, cake, bread, muffin and cookie is not alike – because each business or vendor or person is NOT alike. Read more>>

Nicole Domanico | Portrait, Lifestyle, & Fine Art Photographer

Honestly, an extremely toxic and dehumanizing job that pushed me to burnout. I put in my notice and don’t regret it. I want to feel in control of my life and passionate about what I do. Even if I am not wildly successful, I know it will lead to more expansive opportunities. Life is too short to spend the majority of your weeks miserable and thinking small. Read more>>

Rylee Bruhn | Owner of Desert Willow

Both of my parents are very creative & resourceful so I’ve always had the passion for design. My dad’s craftsmanship and my mom’s imagination were the building blocks for my admiration of giving new life to unwanted things. The combination of their skills has been rooted in my artistry. I am someone who struggles with anxiety and depression. So creating, painting, drawing and/or building has always been my outlet. When I’m feeling low, my artistry becomes very therapeutic for me. I strive to find the beauty in everything. So I decided I wanted to create a business to do just that. I am thankful to be blessed with a creative side which has led me into a world of opportunities. Read more>>

Daniel Howard | Entrepreneur | Director

Being different, Working & Answering to no one besides myself & knowing what I was capable of accomplishing. Read more>>

Carrie Ballas | Family Nurse Practitioner & Owner of Boulder Integrative Health

I remember being a senior in high school and realizing that I did not want to work “for the man” when I “grew up”. My parents were both teachers in the public school system and despite loving their careers, there were many dinner conversations around the bureaucracy of business and how this was impeding their way forward in educating their students. Fast forward to being a Registered Nurse, in which I was in the hospital setting for 8 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a more autonomous career in nursing, where my influence was more directed and more influential in the larger picture of community health and vitality. Part of the alure of becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) is the autonomy that is allowed in my state of Colorado, which also means owning your own business. Unfortunately, when I was getting my master’s degree the education on owning a business part was abysmal at best, and therefore I realized that if I wanted to hang my own “shingle” it would have to come to me in another way. Read more>>

Shanora Ali | Teacher & Entrepreneur

DiDi-N-Tingz was an idea that came to me after several of my friends kept asking me to prepare sea moss. I would tell them “of course!” They always insisted on paying me. For my daughter’s first birthday we went to Jamaica and met a lot of people. One of the kind souls reached out to check on the kids and I to see how we were doing with COVID. He was asking if I found any hobbies to pass the time. I told him how I was researching herbs, sea moss, and how to make soaps for my daughter’s eczema. He asked if it was ok to send me something in the mail as a gift and I said sure! A few weeks later I had 25 pounds of sea moss in my apartment lobby waiting for me. I contacted my friend and asked him “what am I supposed to do with all of this!?!” He simply replied, “try it, if you like it sell it to people and come and buy some when you need more.” So, that is exactly what I did. I am thankful for the kind and pure souls I have come across in life. Read more>>

Alicia Karczewski | Artistic Director & Owner of MOVE! Dance Space & Arts Center

Premise As a trained dancer,(choreographer and teacher of movement) who’s life has been connecting physically, emotionally and mindfully regarding movement: the, discipline of, physically and artistically intentional, and how we exist in space, time, energy- observing others moving has become innate, habitual, and really very intriguing. Reality #1 I watched my mother aging. She had quit her physical therapy after a fall and over the past 6 years a rapid decline in how she moved. She had lost touch with how she perceived her body, the “stories” she convinced her self about how her body moved, and she insisted that moving (or there lack of) and staying connected to movement to improve or at least maintain her ability to be physically active, was not the solution. Reality #2 A few years ago I had a very very difficult situation in which my whole world was turn upside down. Read more>>

Sara Lea | High School Social Studies Teacher & Creator

I am a full time high school social studies teacher…not a business person. I had a difficult journey in life in 2019, followed by all of us experiencing 2020 in our own way. I knew I needed to find an outlet / hobby so that I wouldn’t be so consumed in the negativity that was surrounding me. But like many things, my story was by fluke and I really wasn’t ever thinking I would be an entrepreneur. The seeds of Peace Crane Creations was planted in 2013 when I traveled to Japan and met Mr. Ito. The Japan Society of New York sponsored an Educators’ Study Tour for teachers to go to Japan in 2013. 10 teachers from around the United States were selected to participate, and I was fortunate to be one of those teachers. The tour visited a wide range of cities: from Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Aichi, Wakayama, and Fukushima. Read more>>