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.

Joe Hendricks | Adventure Elopement Photographer

We’ve been running our own photography business for 14 years now. We shot weddings in Nashville for 11, got bored of that and decided to buy an Airstream and travel America while we could still afford it! We were on the road for 2 years, when we had to stop to take of my wife’s Mom. We decided that taking care of her in Colorado would be best for our “health”, so we moved to Montrose Colorado. With my love for photographing the mountains and our 11 years of experience shooting wedding, we decided to give Adventure Elopements a try and started “Elope Telluride”! Read more>>

Vanessa Dominguez | Real Estate Photographer and Mom to 2

I think as with a lot of people during the pandemic, we felt burnt out and stuck. We knew we had the potential, the desire and skills but we needed that driving force to put us out of our comfort zone and into something we love. I know we both have always dreamed of working for ourselves, to have creative power and to build the life we want on our terms. When working our 9-5 jobs, it was more or less the same thing every day. There is no freedom to express yourself, you don’t have a a lot of choice or autonomy, and it left us wanting. We felt we were working for someone else’s dream without taking the time to focus on ours. Read more>>

Anna Meehan | Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Being a helper has been engrained in my psyche since I was a child. Early on, a mentor of mine saw the calling in me and encouraged me to pursue a career in Social Work. I, of course, said, “Nah….” and went a got a degree in Studio Art. It didn’t take long, though, to recognize that the work I was making had much more of a therapeutic and experiential basis than most of my classmates’ work. My favorite artwork was the kind that really dug deep into peoples’ stories, and once I became brave enough, my own story. Fast forward- I had a hard time figuring out how to use my art degree in a way that felt true to me, so I went back to school and got a Masters degree in Social Work. Read more>>

Chelsie Davis | Skincare & Makeup Educator – & – Leadership Coach & Mentor

When I started my own business, I was working full time hours for a bank. I went into it blind and wasn’t sure what would come of it. My husband was a huge part of this decision & if I’m being honest, he was the reason I started. I knew going into it, day 1, if I wanted to make something of myself and this business, I had to go all in. I knew once I started, quitting wasn’t an option. Read more>>

Heather Kemp | Owner, Doula, & Childbirth Educator

At the time I started my business I was a stay at home mom for the first time ever with four kids. I wanted to do something that could make a difference in other people’s lives and share my knowledge. Read more>>

Jim Reed Jeff Schimel | 7th Grade Media Teacher in Brainerd, Minnesota / Professor of social psychology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.

That is a great question. It never really started out as a business. We met back in the 1990s when we were both living in Colorado. Jeff was working on his Masters Degree and Jim was teaching fourth grade in Manitou Springs. We dug casually when we had time and got hooked on the idea of finding cool gems and minerals. We both ended up moving away from Colorado and pursuing our professional careers. As time passed, this little app called Facebook came onto the scenes. We had long since lost contact with each other but we both made trips back to Colorado to dig on others claims and dig on unclaimed areas. Just by chance, we found each other on Facebook and reconnected. We both shared our finds over the years. Read more>>

Cynthia Moos | Founder of Best French Forever

Leaving my country to move to the USA made me realize how lucky I was to have been raised in Provence and how deeply I was attached to my roots. I also quickly noticed the interest of American women for the French culture, whether it be fashion, nutrition, interior design, and lifestyle in general. When the pandemic hit and travel plans were postponed, I saw an opportunity to bring a touch of Provence into women’s home and invite them to infuse French art de vivre into their lives through curated collections of high quality products. Best French Forever® was born. Read more>>

Ashley Coffey | Leadership Coach

Through the pandemic, I decided to leave the corporate world because my passion for supporting women in leadership grew. I found that no matter what consulting job I took or what CEO I coached to build their teams, the conversations were the same; women were still continuously being left out of important conversations, denied growth opportunities and the pay gap was going unchecked. So, I decided to move my consulting business into a coaching business that focuses on the feminine leadership process; normalizing it, supporting it, and empowering it. I have taken on all kinds of Lady Leaders across Colorado since then and I find my work incredibly rewarding. Read more>>

Jane Bradford | Interior Designer

There were many reasons and thoughts that went into deciding to start my own business. One, being a black woman in the interior design and construction field can be challenging and I wanted to make it on my own, knowing that my clients are hiring me for me and not just the company name that I worked for. Another large reason why I decided to start my own business was to challenge myself and to grow as a designer. More responsibilities create more challenges but in return it also allows for more creative freedoms. Lastly, I wanted a better work life balance, haha that was miss conception that I had about owning your own business. But at times, it does allow for more flexibility when needed. Read more>>

JOHN FIELDER | Nature Photographer

I was fortunate to have had a first career in retail. From that I gained marketing skills, and the knowledge about how retailers dealt with product vendors. When I decided to publish books and calendars, I felt comfortable approaching book retailers such as the old B Dalton, now Barnes & Noble, and the 100s of independent book stores. I also started galleries to be run by my own managers to sell fine art prints. In addition, I made my living teaching photography workshops in Colorado and around the world. In summary, Read more>>

Jen Hubler | Hospitality Professional & Realtor

Memorable Experiences was born out of a passion for bringing people together and creating experiences, and just loving fabulous service at wonderful restaurants and hotels. For years I worked for a restaurant brand in Steamboat Springs training Hospitality on large and small scales. I became fascinated with the impact of small interactions and connecting with guests. This passion and excitement lead to the idea of a podcast where Restauranteurs, General Managers, and other Hospitality Professionals can come together and learn from each other. Read more>>

Roger Tratsch | Woodworker

The idea of having my own business was not defined by a specific moment in my life, but instead, it is an idea that has been growing inside me as I sought for my personal and professional growth. My brother and I grew up on a farm where our environment was always inviting for us to learn and develop new skills. We constantly took pleasure in the process of learning. At the age of 12, our curiosity for wood began by us observig our father who was constantly making wood cabinets and/or furniture that where needed for our home. Read more>>

Bob and Sheila Hammervold | Lavender Farmers and High Plains Hosts

We didn’t really start out with a farm in mind. Initially, we just saw that we had a piece of land that wasn’t being used for anything. We thought about putting in wildflowers for the bees, but we were interested in growing something that would be useful to humans too. We ended up choosing lavender because it likes full sun on sloping landscapes with good drainage that we have, and it doesn’t use very much water. Water is a precious resource on the high plains, so that was a big consideration. We took a couple of years to try test plantings, and it was during that time that we began thinking about how we needed to start thinking of it as a farm business. Read more>>

Brandi Marconi | Candle Maker

I wanted to push myself and spend more time creating not just for myself but for others. I wanted to do something that allowed me to work with things I already loved, like crystals and herbs. I also wanted to be able to give back. Starting my business wasn’t about making a profit. It was about creating items that can bring positive energy and aid in Rituals for others while simultaneously allowing me to support other small businesses and contribute to programs and foundations that actively work to help others. Read more>>

Joseph Higgins | Founder of Professional Virtual Golfers of America

Being a golf enthusiast I’ve always loved the challenge and camaraderie of playing a round with friends. Living in a northern climate lends itself to the need for creative ways to continue playing golf year round. After playing in an indoor golf league a few years ago I started devising a way to involve the golf community in friendly competition across the country. Since nothing like this has been attempted before I knew it would be a challenge but knew it would be worth the effort to create a large indoor golf community. Creating something out of a passion is always something that has been on my list. Read more>>

Jessalyn Osorio | Home Baker & Culinary Student

When I got out of the military, I felt that nothing I did really made me happy. So I went back to the basics, baking and cooking. I had been in the kitchen pretty much all my life. My mom had a cake business when I was growing up and she would let me help her make the cakes and make decorations. I also was a Culinary Specialist in the military and worked at the Culinary Arts building on Fort Carson making cakes for units. My dad has been in the food industry for years and graduated from culinary school a couple of years ago. He is now a chef with his own business and he inspired me and made me realize it’s not too late to do anything in life. Read more>>

Pearl Slug | art book & zine studio/artist grop

PearlSlug is a book studio that independently produces and distributes artist’s books and zines. PearlSlug studio began to take shape at the end of 2019 and was officially established on November 25 in 2020 after nearly a year of preparation. At the beginning of its establishment, PearlSlug was inspired and encouraged by many friends and colleagues, and it has also experienced many struggles from reality. However, we always dream of making it a platform that provides inspiration and opportunities for young artists. Read more>>

Chandra DeSantis | Musician

Honestly it wasn’t much of a thought process, I decided to stop thinking and just went for it. Music has always been a part of my life. I wasn’t doing anything else that filled me up like it did so I took the leap and took it one step at a time, Read more>>

Luisa Winters | Video editor, compositor, teacher, and musician

I have owned my own business since I graduated college (1987!). The thought was that I could not possibly do what I needed to do if I had other interests at heart. For example, I could not do my video and music, if I had to do projects for someone else. I did hold a straight job for 4 years. I was an instructor for a training company. While I did enjoy the experience, and the company was a great company to work for, it killed my creativity. I had no time to go and create, and experiment. As soon as I quit that job, my creativity and original projects increased exponentially! So, my thought process has always been creativity and whatever I need to do to remain creative and original. Read more>>

Bryan Vereen |

My thought process was that we all have gifts, talents, and creativities that need to be put outside of our mind and seen for others to admire. My creativity within my motivational books, autobiographies, and clothing apparel is to inspire people as I have been with my videos as well. We all want to feel good and look good and that’s what my products give to people. I like to say I “OUTspire” people to be “INspired.” I have to put it out there for others to be INspired. I knew that a start up would be a little rougher than what we want to enthusiastically imagine, but as long as YOU have a great following and a product with a passionate person to push it people are going to be supportive. Read more>>

Becki Klauss | Chef Owner

I actually purchased an already successful business that I had been managing for the previous 9 years. But, I chose to be a small business owner because I had a vision for what I knew it could become. I also had a partner who was a businessman, who knew the ins and out of all the things that I had no clue about. We were poised to enter a dynamic balance of being able to implement all of the ambition and energy to grow our business into what it has become. Also, I had a GIANT heart for that particular business, with that particular community. Read more>>

Jessi Gerak | Potter & Business Owner

I graduated with my BFA in Ceramics in late 2009 and immediately became pregnant with the first of my two kids. My focus quickly shifted from creating art to providing a stable home for my kids and I had tricked myself into believing an artist can’t provide that. For the next 10 years, I didn’t create anything – I just worked a “normal” job and took care of my family. In 2015 I suffered a pretty severe case of burn-out after trying to balance taking care of two tiny humans and working in a toxic work environment without any outside support. Read more>>

Lydia Pawlak | Photographer

My thought process of starting my own business was that I love doing photography and I love making other people happy and I wanted to help and be able to help capture those moments that people want you to take a picture of so then they can keep that memory forever Read more>>

Sarah Temple | Teacher and Spiritualist

The thought process behind starting Temple Talismans was really one of self discovery; I have always taught Norse mythology and gods and goddesses to my mythology classes at the high school level, so working Runes and divination into lesson plans was a no-brainer. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I took an Ancestry DNA test and found that I have ancestral roots in Sweden and Norway that I really began to explore my own spirituality and how the use of Runes could impact my practices and the people around me. Read more>>

Drew Allman | Furniture Designer

At the time, my thought process was: anything will be better than what I’m currently doing. I had been in corporate sales for 12 years and had experienced my share of high highs and low lows. After a tough transition from college to the real world, I finally got my feet under me and started experiencing success at several companies. Despite this success, I turned down a promotion from my employer at the time for a better title and more money at another company. Little did I know that the position would not exist in 3 months once the downturn of ’08 hit. Read more>>

Zach Mangus | Video Creator and Motorcycle Builder

I built a custom bike (i.e., a 2003 Honda CB750) with my dad in 2018 and while it was fun, it was also incredibly challenging. We relied heavily on videos online to be able to complete the motorcycle project. I felt inspired by the online motorcycle content creators putting out videos to help others build bikes. Their passion for creating unique bikes and sharing the process online is was got me started on my YouTube journey. I strive to inspire others to build custom motorcycles. My whole mantra is ‘If I can build a bike, so can you!”. Read more>>

Christy Wood | Entrepreneur & Creative Soul

Honestly, I never really thought about starting my own business. It was truly a need virus’ a want. I was working in a corporate job making great money and selling “treasures” online to make extra money. About a year before I started my first business, I was so unhappy. I was traveling a lot and not home. I was missing out on life with my kids. I did not really like the people I was working with and felt my creative spirit was stifled in my job. I needed to make a change. I thought what if I turned my side hustle into a business and do something I was passionate about. So began the dream of starting my own business. Read more>>