Are you thinking about starting a business? If so, we think you’ll enjoy reading about how these seasoned entrepreneurs thought about the question when they were in your shoes.

Melissa Loyd | Artist

There were couple of factors that collided at once which spurred me on to pursue beginning my own business as an artist a couple of years ago. At the time, I had just given birth to our fourth child, whom we knew completed our family. I had spent the last 8 years at home contentedly caring for our children, but with the birth of our fourth my thinking began to reorient further down the road. We had always planned for me to work once the kids were in school and it hit me, that was now only five years away. Read more>>

Sarah Graham | Photographer

The thought of starting my own photography business was honestly one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. I fell in love with photography at the age of 18 right before having my daughter. Having a little one so young was incredibly stressful and photography really helped me take my mind of the day to day stress, I absolutely fell in love with it. Photography was a hobby for a lot of years, but when 2020 rolled around and the pandemic caused me to lose my job as a server I knew I wanted to really take the time to invest in my business. Read more>>

Tobi Blakeman | Lash Artist & Esthetician

Thankfully my parents raised me to have a strong work ethic, so I have always been a hard worker with a lot to offer any employer. After high school I quickly realized that college was going to be short-lived because I wanted to travel and explore more than I wanted to find a job. So my main goal was to find a career that allowed me to do both! I knew I was an outstanding employee to any business that I worked for, but I also knew that my availability was limited, so I had to commit 100% to my own journey! After years of working many different jobs, in 2019 I officially decided to go to school to become a licensed esthetician & to be my own boss. It was the best move I ever made for myself! Read more>>

Carol Gove | Fine Artist

I was a creative kid that loved working with art materials and getting my hands in them. It is safe to say that I always wanted to be an artist, but I never took the necessary steps to pursue the path formally until later in the game. It didn’t seem like a realistic way to earn a living and honestly, I didn’t know many artists or have a creative community around me to encourage the notion of being an artist. I majored in business administration and marketing in college and am grateful to have fallen into graphic design as a career. I had always dabbled with painting, but it wasn’t until I turned 30 that I made the decision to make the career switch. Read more>>

Nico Spadafora | Owner & Lead Educator of The Fossil Team

When I was a kid I started collecting fossils and bones. I studied them and wanted to become a paleontologist. Unfortunately I was unable to go to college due to a lack of income but never wanted to give up my need to be around fossils, so using my collection I decided to start sharing my passion and collection with others. Now we have collected quite a few fossils and we continue to share our passion with our patrons! Read more>>

Randy Silkwood | Personal Power Coach and Podcaster

At first, I wanted to be able to own my life and be my own boss. Over time, it developed into a need to be able to love people where they are at and to empower them to turn their very own passions into their purpose. I understood that the biggest thing that holds us back is our beliefs and if I was able to inspire even one person to believe in themselves even just a little more, then I did what I was meant to do. Read more>>

Lo Mansfield | Registered Nurse, Educator & Writer

To be honest, I never would have predicted that I would be in the place I am now. My first degree was in business, my second was in nursing, and my third was in healthcare administration, so each step I took was working towards some sort of nursing administration/clinical liaison type career. Then, I had a baby – and my mama was actively dying at the same time. I had to step away from my career (I was working acute care as an RN at the time) to be with my mama, care for my baby, myself – and then ultimately, to grieve and try to heal after losing my mama. Read more>>

Sophie Shepherd | CEO SHE Talks Health

Honestly, I just wanted to help women not stay stuck in sick bodies. I had no idea what I was doing at the beginning, no one had trained me in business, that came later. I just knew that there was a better solution to women”s mental, gut and period health issues. There was a deep guttural need to pay it forward and to empower the women of this world to become the CEO’s of their hormones & gut. I just knew that through my own healing journey and the years of functional nutrition and health coaching I had invested in, that I could teach women how to take back control of their health and learn how to love themselves again. Read more>>

Crystal Egli & Parker McMullen Bushman | Co-Founders

As women of color who have regularly experienced discrimination and daily micro aggressions in the workplace, it has been so wonderful to be leaders in a company where diversity is valued first and foremost. Our business was created to answer the problems we ourselves face, as we travel, work, and recreate. We are here to demonstrate that a for-profit company can be synonymous with equity and inclusion, and you don’t need to sacrifice one for the other. It’s even more empowering than we imagined, with leadership lessons from our work also having a positive impact on our personal lives as well. Read more>>

Brian Schneider | Founder and Co-host

Back in 2014 we were doing a ski share house in Killington, VT. At the the time, we were both living in Northern NJ and were making the 4-hour each way drive almost every weekend. If you’ve been in a car with the same person for period of time, you know that you need something to talk about. Our journey usually started discussing the weather or how much snow is or would be falling, then morphing into “hey, did you hear…” stories of happenings in the ski world. Besides our love of skiing, we also work in technology and there were always plenty of interesting stories to talk about. Read more>>

Carissa Mina, Jerilyn Patterson NA | Co-owners of The Wandering Jellyfish Bookshop

During the pandemic, we’ve missed our writing community, and the idea of being able to bring our writing community together was a significant driving force behind our decision to open a bookstore. As writers ourselves, we were really interested and excited to bring the writing and reading communities together into one magical place. We wanted to create a space where people could gather, enjoy books and stories, and talk and learn about the creative process. We decided to open up our own bookstore (rather than working for an existing bookstore) because we had a vision of how we wanted to shape our community. Read more>>

Maha Nasrallah-Babenko | Psychologist, Sex and Relationship Therapist, Coach, Consultant, and Author

I’ve always been passionate about Psychology, and so I knew I wanted to pursue my doctorate in the field. I also knew I had found my calling when I started my sex and relationship therapy training in London. Wanting to have some flexibility in my career in terms of hours, vacations, and just in general the clients I work with, I figured it would be a better fit for me if I had my own private practice as opposed to being employed in an organization. Although being employed has some benefits in terms of stability and security, to me the risks of having my own business were worth the benefits of the flexibility and growth. Read more>>

Olga Halkina | You 1st Realty

The possibility of being my own boss, building something and growing it has always been exciting to me, even though it comes with a lot of risk, extra hours at work, no sick leaves and no benefits. Read more>>

Farnosh Family | Founder of Ayurveda Mama, herbal ghee company

I started my herbal ghee business once I felt that this was a product that people would benefit from and would enjoy. I experienced first hand how transformative the practices, foods, and herbs of Ayurveda, the traditional form of medicine from India, can be and I wanted to share that with people. I began working with clients one-on-one and I would prepare customized ghee blends for them. For them, it was a great and easy way to get certain herbs into their foods and bring new flavors and tastes to their foods. I loved having this impact on the way people ate and how they were feeling. To me, the more ways we can access foods that are good for us and help us feel like our best selves, the better. Read more>>

Gabrielle Scarlett | Policy Researcher & CEO of The Crochet Mane

I have been wearing crochet braids since 2016, and I would always get stopped and asked where I get my hair from and how I install it. So I started The Crochet Mane to provide a community for ladies who wear crochet braids to find quality, affordable extensions and a space where they can get the most out of their crochet installation. I also wanted to eliminate the myths around crochet braids and show everyone that it’s the perfect, low-maintenance protective hairstyle for naturalistas! Read more>>

Elizabeth Flater | E-commerce Wine & Business Coach

After 14 years of teaching special education for the public schools, I had to take a step back after my third baby was born with some health issues. As much as I love being a mom, I also love to work, and after 4 months at home with my youngest, I knew I needed to launch a business that allowed me to have the best of both worlds. I needed to be present for my kids, and help my baby navigate her tricky first year of life. The opportunity to rep wine for Scout & Cellar checked every box that I needed it to. Read more>>

Tristen Rogers | Owner and Head Coach of HAT HOUSE Endurance and HAT Altitude Team

My career path has always been about educating and helping others reach their potential. It started in my high school years when I would coach and referee youth sports, and evolved to graduating college with a teaching career in Physical Education and then a masters in Athletic Administration where I became an Athletic Director and ‘coached the coaches’. I have always had a strong connection to how sports teach us valuable lessons about ourselves and how these sessions help us navigate life outside of the playing arena. After 18 years in education, I realized I wanted to educate/coach adults in the endurance sports world, and help them reach their potential through lens of sport. Read more>>

Indigo Violet | Producer, DJ & Founder of M.1317

After working in management and the wellness industry for 10+ years, I was satisfied helping others improve their health and using my professional skills. However, I was never completely fulfilled in simply working for others’ companies and leaving my full creative potential untapped. I did not enjoy having my desire to inspire and move others be limited by the ideas of people who were no longer in touch with their mission. Read more>>

Evangeline Beatrice | Performance Artist & Entrepreneur

I started my business, Evermore Arts Collective, because I love creating spaces for artists to work together and make something beautiful. Our upcoming Art Salon Event on April 1st is really just a big celebration as we are finally able to congregate again and share art with the community. Many of our artists have their own thriving business and online shops, and this event allows us to bring all of that talent into one exciting evening. Read more>>

Juli Kramer | Certified qigong, meditation, and TCM beauty secrets instructor, as well as a trained face reader.

In 2016, I was fortunate to spend two years as Director of Curriculum at Soong Ching Ling School, one of the most prestigious schools in Shanghai. Living there convinced me that people in the West were needlessly suffering and dying. Everyday in Shanghai, I was in awe of how much people understood about their own bodies and keeping healthy. They knew what to eat and drink for myriad conditions, what to wear during different seasons, when to eat certain foods, how to exercise, and more. Read more>>

Dr. Debra J. Dean | Author | Speaker | Chief Spiritual Officer

I had not considered starting my own business before 2018. I really thought I would work for the same company until I retire. On February 14, 2017, I earned my Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. The week of Thanksgiving 2017, I took time off work to read a book. Little did I know it would have such an impact on my life. The book is called Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance by Bob Buford. Read more>>

Carla Spencer | Energy Reader & Healer

My thought process or goal behind starting my own business was and is to remove the world out of the fear-based world, into a love-based world. Everything right now is based on fear. The television shows, movies, music, religion, school and the workplace, everything has fear behind it. And my goal is to remove it. I knew in order for me to do that, I would need a very powerful team behind me. That is why I partnered up with the Most High, Archangels and I channel with the Galactic Federation. Read more>>

Sarah Jones | Professional Pet Sitter

The thought process behind starting my own business began when I found myself struggling in my day to day occupation. I was working as a full time veterinary assistant, while providing pet care/sitting whenever I was available. It all became too much as I was trying to do all of this while dealing with a chronic illness. I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease in January 2020, meaning I deal with a series of chronic symptoms and pain on a daily basis. My position as a veterinary assistant was becoming too physical, stressful and time consuming for my illness and I began exhibiting more flare-ups. Read more>>

Raj Rawat | Author, Speaker, Advisor

I wanted to do more to contribute, serve, and inspire people than I was able to in corporate America, even though corporate jobs paid well and they planted and nurtured marketable skills. I wanted to make a bigger impact, live a more authentic life, and have more control over where I directed my energy. I had taken early retirement from Xerox at 42 and only a few months later, IBM gave me a challenging opportunity that I could not refuse. When I started my own consulting work after IBM, I felt inspired and enthusiastic about making a meaningful impact on my clients’ lives. Read more>>

Michael Patrick Murphy | Commercial Fitness Photographer

The thought of owning my own business didn’t occur to me until I realized that my “day job” was making me miserable. Until that point, I defined success on how well I was fulfilling other people’s expectations for me and not necessarily what was best for me. I spent approximately a decade as a CPA. Each second I spent sitting in that cubicle, it felt like more of my soul was dying. Near the time I was at my lowest point, Instagram was becoming popular. One day I decided to take a 15 minute break from my misery and walk around the city to take some photos on my phone. In that moment, it hit me. Read more>>

Taneil and Jared Dennis | Owners of CrossFit Low Oxygen

My husband and I have always been very passionate about fitness. We were apart of the CrossFit Low Oxygen community as members and I coached there full time as a coach. When the opportunity became available for us to purchase the gym we knew that was exactly what we wanted. The timing of us purchasing the gym was not great as we closed one week into the pandemic with the thought that it would only last a couple of weeks. To our surprise and everyone else we did not open our doors as business owners until 8 weeks later on a very limited basis. Jared and I were confident that if we could make it through that we could make it through anything! Read more>>

Randall Julio Chambers-Vargas | Personal Chef & Entrepreneur

I have been in the commercial restaurant industry for almost 20 years. The commercial restaurant industry is full of unhealthy lifestyles, alcohol abuse, low wages. I worked for a few chefs that I would see as “my future.” They would be divorced five times….had trouble walking … drinking problems….I realized that that CAN’T be me. I have to figure something out. Read more>>

Brittany Steinman | Creator & Mixologist

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I’m always working on something other than my 9-5 job. I had worked in the restaurant/bar industry for 14 years before I quit bartending and got an office job. I knew this type of job wasn’t for me to begin with. After the newness of the job wore off, I realized even more that an office isn’t for me. I wanted to get back into bartending without the schedule. I had the idea of private bartending on my mind for years. When it came time to make a move, I knew it would be event bartending. The creativity of it all, the planning, and making the customer feel good, is what excites me. Read more>>

Molly Box (McCarty) | Grachic/Web Designer & Artist

When I first began in my career field of design and marketing, I noticed a trend in the places I worked…The work for an individual company was often feast or famine. I would typically start, enjoy the process of rebranding, building a new website, designing a new logo, writing a marketing plan, etc. Then things would often slow down dramatically. I also started volunteering with a local dog rescue, and realized how much nonprofits and small businesses were in need of professional help with design and marketing (especially social media!), but did not have the budget to hire an employee or an expensive agency. They were relying on volunteers or staff that often didn’t have experience, or had to put their projects on the back burner. That needed to change! Read more>>

Shani McNamara | Nurse and Business Owner

“I created Blue Skies Nursing, LLC after recognizing several service gaps in our ever-changing health care environment. During my career as a registered nurse and nurse administrator, I have seen more and more medical needs being delegated to hesitant family members, untrained personnel or the patients themselves due to insurance restrictions, budget cuts and lack of staff. We are also living longer and have an increasing population of aging yet active Americans in the “Baby Boomer” generation. They want to continue the quality of life they are accustomed to and deserve. Many times this requires assistance from others.” Read more>>

Bradey Hall | Outdoor Media Company Owner and Operator

Originally, my business started out as a hobby. I have always had a passion for fishing and taking photos and videos but didn’t really take it very seriously. I started out teaching myself how to edit and made Youtube videos using myself as a test subject for editing. I worked for a small start up media company that ended up going under where I than had to get a quick source of income and found myself working for a restaurant in Lakewood. From there I got a job as a customer service representative at a fly shop where I did that for about 6 months. Read more>>

K.C. Pomponio (Zingmaster Flex) | Musician, Author, and Entrepreneur

I was able to peer through the common place standards in the industry, which inspired me to construct an innovative approach to the way clothes, music, and books aided people in self actualization. Read more>>

Jessica Lopez | Crochet Artist

It’s quite a long story, but the short version is, the pandemic, and circumstances that arose because of covid during the time frame of March 2020 to June 2021 caused me to re-evaluate my life and career path entirely, after being an educator for over a decade. I learned how to crochet right before I got married in 2010 and absolutely loved it. A few years later, I started a Facebook page for my “hobby business” and began selling items here and there to friends, family, and co-workers. As time went on and I continued furthering myself as an educator by obtaining additional degrees and other credentials, my free time became less and less, and I didn’t crochet as often. Read more>>