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.

Danielle Merlino | Founder, Lantana Collective

I have been working with startups in various industries for my entire career. I have always loved the idea of building something and being a part of the roots of a business – it’s a creative process. Working alongside small business owners has always been exhilarating, terrifying, time consuming, risky and a little soul crushing at times so, I know better! But I still wanted to try it myself. When I got pregnant for the first time I had some thought that I might be inspired to create some kind of product or service in the parenthood space, but I thought it would be something like a lactation cookie or a swaddle blanket. Read more>>

Marshall Rosales | Producer & Director of Photography

What was your thought process behind starting your own business? I was laid off from working for a company that had a video production department in August of 2016, and my immediate reaction was to scramble and look for another similar job. In a moment of clarity it dawned on me that I didn’t really want to have a boss again. Read more>>

Heather Wicken | Art Director & Stylist at Hatch

I’ve always liked the freedom both creatively and business wise that having my own business has afforded me. I’ve worked for myself most of my adult life with stints in more traditional settings but always came back to having my own business. My skill set doesn’t really fit into a traditional role so it’s allowed me to really be able to expand into a lot of different realms without having to be confined creatively. Read more>>

Lane Steiner | Body shop owner

In 1999 I was working as a sub contractor repairing hail damaged cars for a local company in Iowa. When the jobs were done my check was short a couple thousand dollars. From that day forward I decided to start my own business and go get my own work. Read more>>

Valeria Moonch | Professional Photographer · Weddings, Lifestyle & Brand Content

I´ve always wanted to do something for myself, in the right place in the right moment. That moment for me was in the minute that I felt that my product/service is what I want to give to my clients, that means high quality and creativity. In my opinion, for photography, quality is something that you develop through experience. Read more>>

Vanee Srikijkarn | Pen & Ink Illustrator

We all need beauty and meaning in our lives. It’s common for us to think of our basic needs as just the those that keep us physically alive. But, as humans, the intangible parts of ourselves have genuine essentials as well. Both making and enjoying art are joyful, grounding practices that have the profound ability to bring one fully into the present, while creating space to process and contemplate. Read more>>

Lopa van der Mersch | Founder & CEO of Rasa

A few years ago, I had what I now like to call “my own personal 2020.” It was a dramatically stressful year—I had realized I was in a cult (and left it), had an emergency back surgery while pregnant, moved across the country a few days later, had a death in the family, had my baby via traumatic emergency Cesarean, and then a massive falling out with my family of origin. Read more>>

Sarah Bevard | Cake Maker and Artist

I made cakes for friends and family for a few years prior to starting my business. While I had thought about making cakes for a living I never took that final step of quitting my day job. I worked at the post office and I sold my art on the weekends at art shows. Then one day my husband and I had our daughter and we decided that it was time to make the leap! My husband is such a supportive person and made me feel at ease and confident that I could make it happen. Read more>>

Rachel Noall | Marketing Specialist & Poet

Honestly, I love small business owners. When you consider the education system, we (as a society) aren’t encouraged to be entrepreneurs. There’s often a very specific path that’s laid out for us. Read more>>

Addie Bracy | Sport Psychology Consultant

While part of the appeal of starting my own business was the flexibility, it was also the freedom that it allowed me to put out a service that I’m passionate about and that is connected to my own personal values. I feel fortunate that I get to work in a way that allows me to invest in my clients in the ways that feel most authentic to me as a person. Read more>>

Mike Vaughn “TattooFaceMike” | Serial Entrepreneur

This was a two fold process for me. At the core, I knew I didn’t want to have a boss and I wanted the freedom of being able to do “whatever I wanted”. I have worked for people before here and there but I often found that I was generally hindered from being myself. Read more>>

Debbie Seaford – Pitula | Owner: Whistling Boar

My husband David and I, started Whistling Boar because we wanted to work directly with farms and to reduce our footprint as a hospitality company. The path we wanted to follow was very personal to us and we did not find other companies that shared the same passions. Read more>>

Danella Sneed | Personal Trainer

I’ve worked for and managed many companies helping them build their brand didn’t see how that was securing my future so taking orders from a “Boss” just isn’t my style anymore. When I first thought about starting my own business I just thought I can do this I seen many others do it with trial and error. Read more>>

Amanda Matsuda | Salon Owner and Hairstylist

Having being interested in the beauty industry since high school especially in the cosmetology profession, I knew that someday i would own my own salon. I graduated early from high school and then was able to start my Cosmo Career. I started as a booth renter with only five clients. Over the span of eight of years, building a ton of experience and knowledge and generating over 250 clients is when I decided to open my very own salon. Read more>>

Shenna Drain | Owner of dirty hippie CO

I had a candle making business years ago in West Virginia, where I am from. For various reasons, the business ended, however when I moved to Denver I knew I wanted to find a way to bring it back to life. I’ve been in the restaurant industry for 12 years, so when corona shut the world down I had nothing but time on my hands. Thanks to a successful kickstarter campaign, dirty hippie returned! This last year has been a rollercoaster trying to juggle a full time job and a full time side hustle. As of June, I will be focusing on dirty hippie full time. Read more>>