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.

Kyle Lucks | Fine Artist

I have treated my art as a business ever since receiving my first commission in high school, and I knew I wanted to eventually create art for a living. Instead of going to art school, I got a marketing degree from Arizona State, thinking that would help me run my art as a business, but also improve my chances of getting hired out of college. That lead to an exciting job in advertising and event marketing, but it required long work weeks, extensive travel, and exhausted my creative energy. Read more>>

Courtney Weis | Small Business Owner / Photographer

My thought process was kind of all over the place. The thought of being self employed is great however, there’s more to it than most people realize. People don’t see the trial and error that goes into starting your own business. They don’t see the money and time spent to not always get the results you we’re hoping for. It’s a very slow process but consistency is your best friend. Rather than looking at this as some “get rich” type of scheme, I looked at it as a way to share my crazy lifestyle with people while trying to get them to ride that same wave. Read more>>

Fort Collins Musicians Association Fort Collins Music eXperiment | FoCoMA & FoCoMX

We started the Fort Collins Musicians Association as a way to support local music in Northern Colorado. It originally began as really informal weekly meetings of musicians / music industry in our community coming together to talk about the struggles of just trying to create and perform music in an ever changing landscape. Our first “meeting” happened after we lost a number of venues within a couple of weeks; Read more>>

Rachel Draper | Certified Health Coach, licensed Esthetician, Integrative Health Practitioner

I love this question because I have not always thought about starting my own business. I worked for many different people since I was 15 years old. I grew up in Dublin Ireland and learned at a very young age, If I wanted something I would need to go get it myself. I started working in the race horse world riding race horses. I worked in this industry for 16 years. When I turned 30 I fell in love with my teenage crush and we moved to Italy together. He is a solider in the Us military and that is when I decide to work for myself. Read more>>

Raphael Dupuy | Real Estate Agent

I had been working in real estate for about 3 years in a salaried position – which isn’t very common in this industry – when the company laid off a large chunk of their employees, including me. I had been considering starting my own business for a bit but the comfort of a steady income was a very good incentive to stay where I was. After getting laid off, I seriously started thinking about what it would mean to start my own business, if it was a financially manageable solution, what the market looked like at this point in time… Read more>>

Keith Kelly | Outdoor Enthusiast and Entrepreneur

The inspiration behind Blackstock Clothing was to contribute in a small way to supporting and bringing back American made high end apparel to the outdoor space. Over the past 20 years or so it became increasingly obvious that the original intent of off-shoring apparel production and keeping prices lower for consumers, had morphed into a sort of Arms race for more and more expensive apparel despite the lower input costs. Read more>>

Omar Nunez | DJ & Business Owner

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset as well as a love for music and DJing. I started DJing at the age of 15, mostly small events at that time. Quickly, I started getting more and bigger events as well as playing in the nightlife scene such as nightclubs and bars. As my skill, talent, and understanding of the business grew, I wanted to bring something different to the market. That’s when I started Nufusion Productions. Read more>>

Britney Hartman | Executive Director of Justice Takes Flight

My journey all started with my niece, Gabriella. Gabriella was murdered and through that I found myself in some grief support groups for murdered victims families. When I joined I quickly realized there was a huge lack of help in Missing Persons, so I started volunteering. At first I would just help any case I could find that needed help. Slowly over time I met likeminded people and we started Justice Takes Flight. We got our nonprofit status in Feb 2020. Read more>>

Karen Reader | Ortho-Bionomy Practitioner, Lifelong Student and Skier

I had spent over 20 years starting, organizing, creating and visioning other people’s businesses. I realized I had enjoyed the benefit of incredible autonomy and flexibility in these roles and run them as they were my own – despite not having actual ownership. I think the thought process behind starting my own business was that it was time to do so, that I had requisite experience, and that it was time to do the one piece of the puzzle I had not yet tried and embrace the actual risk. Read more>>

Lacey Cooley | Barista & Coffee Shop Owner

Honestly, I had never even really considered starting my own business until after teaching middle school English for 7 years and I was burned out. I wanted the freedom and creativity I saw other entrepreneurs experience. My mom started Blessed Brews Coffee Shop back in 2004, which was inspiring in itself, but she was ready to retire and I had the opportunity to move back to Alamosa and take over the shop with my younger sister. Read more>>

Dylan Widger | Freelance Photographer

It’s something that just kind of became a thing. I did photo work in college for the student paper as well as bands that I knew and eventually I started being asked to do freelance work. Since my opportunities were limited, I said yes to pretty much everything that came my way, and it wasn’t a whole lot. I struggled at times (and still do) about a lack of work but I know that as long as I keep at it, things will work out. Read more>>

Amanda Albert | Graphic designer and illustrator

I’d been working as a graphic designer at a state university for a few years and during Covid I’d had a lot of time to consider my priorities in life. I wanted a better work/life balance and work that was more fulfilling creatively. Read more>>

Sam Wagner | Educator, Mycologist, & Myco-social Worker

I worked in the social work field for 15 years and had seen that the systems that claim to help need the people it serves to remain in the system in order to function. The majority or social welfare systems do not operate with the intent of helping people get out of the system and move upwards in class and resources. I also realized that I had not worked in a social welfare system where the class structure within the organization was level either. Read more>>

Charlotte Ford Marc O’Connor | Entrepreneurs with all that comes along with it! Bartending extraordinaires, photo booth wizards, handywoman & handyman, e-mailing desk jockeys, struggling accountants

We always found ourselves working extremely hard as employees to benefit other people’s businesses. While it was often rewarding to be a part of these teams, it also meant that we had less time and energy to realize or manifest any of our own goals. Through starting our own business we were able to commit our full range of talents and creativity to cultivate something for ourselves. There is a big difference between working hard for a paycheck vs working hard and reaping the reward of watching your brain child grow and prosper into a sustainable business. Read more>>

Alexa Pinsker | Art Therapist and Counselor

I wanted to expand awareness of the field of art therapy and the therapeutic benefits of art as a way of healing through both the process of creating art, as well as processing the finished art product. I have worked in many settings as an Art Therapist, including an eating disorder recovery center, a residential treatment center for adults with pervasive and serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and schizo-affective disorder as well as working with adults with Dementia in a memory care unit. Read more>>