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.

Brian David Collins | Solo Musician

My business has a two prong approach. My initial reason for starting Brian David Collins Music was to release more original music faster, without needing to confer/compromise creative visions with an entire band. Since the dawn of BDC’s creation, I have released two albums: More Than Shadows and Different Light. Both can be found on all major streaming platforms and I plan to release another full length album in 2021. Now, in 2021, being a solo artist is a necessity. Because of family concerns, The Seers are on break, and so I need to play solo to survive. I have now been playing shows in Wyoming but am excited to get back into the Colorado music scene as a solo entertainer. Read more>>

Cait Curley | Advocate, Educator & Content Creator

There is absolutely a driver in my soul that needs to be independent and my own boss. I can’t think of one employment position I have taken in my life where I haven’t thought “how can I create this business on my own or how do I get out of here”. I have always wanted to run my own business and it was a matter of working up to the point where I didn’t need a side hustle to help pay the bills. Cait Curley Media came very naturally once I left corporate America. I began creating art/ content that caught one’s eyes and released education and advocacy in the captions. The brand evolved beyond activism into brand deals and partnerships. Read more>>

Westley Latka | Wood-fired Pizza Caterer

I have always been entrepreneurial. After going through a few “normal” jobs and sitting in a cubical for 8 hours a day I finally got the guts to push for what I really wanted. I wanted to be my own boss. I knew that I wanted the work I did in my life to be more fulfilling. My wife and I met working at a wood-fired pizzeria and we both had the know-how. I had savings and we decided to make the leap of faith and go for it. I never would have thought that I’d love cooking pizzas as much as I do. We feel like we haven’t worked a day since starting this business because we truly love what we do. Read more>>

Amber Walker | Physical Therapist, Educator, Author & Owner of Origin Wellness

Patients are coming out of the woodwork with persistent and mysterious symptoms that don’t add up. Our conventional medical system is well equipped for certain emergencies and conditions, but individuals struggling with chronic conditions often fall through the cracks. A holistic and functional medicine approach to healing has truly saved my life and shown me that it’s possible to reverse symptoms with the right approach. My personal journey in this arena inspired me to pursue further education and training so that I can provide clients with a “root issues” approach to healing from chronic illness. To me, there’s nothing more empowering than helping others get their lives back. Read more>>

Hudson Wilkins | Trauma Therapist

When I completed graduate school I believed that private practice wasn’t something I’d ever be able to pursue. I’d always been an employee, typically worked in group settings, and was unknowingly stuck in an employee mindset. It wasn’t until I took on my first therapist job that I realized how isolating this role actually is. I had incredibly little contact with my colleagues, wasn’t enjoying my work, and definitely not being paid enough. One day I was taking stock of how unhappy I was. My wife pointed out to me that we could live for a while on her marketing salary alone, and before the night was through I’d written up a resignation letter, and declared as an LLC. I wish I could say that I’d had enough forethought to claim that I’d always known being my own boss was the way I’d feel the most confident and confident in my career; but the truth is that it was years in to my practice before I realized just how much I don’t thrive working in someone else’s system. Read more>>

Melissa DeMers | Family + Newborn Lifestyle Photographer

I started Melissa DeMers Photography about 10 years ago because I wanted to use my creative outlet + turn it into something good for my community, while building a clientele. I am passionate about art + creating art for others to enjoy for years to come. I also just truly enjoy meeting new people, learning their story + in the end telling their story through my photography. Read more>>

Stevie Buggz | Owner, Bright Future Media

I’ve been involved with some really cool companies that have failed for one reason or another. I wanted to take the control into my own hands, I didn’t want outside variables dictating my job stability. Read more>>

Lindsay Metivier | Gallerist / Photographer

When I was 25 I opened an art gallery and at 35 I’m about to open another one. My thought process for both has involved (I might regret admitting this on the internet) very little thought. “This is just crazy enough to work” and “it’ll work out because it has to” are two thoughts I often have. I opened Aviary in Boston in 2011, signing the lease before even multiplying the rent amount by the number of months in the lease (70 months for our first of two leases). COVID and our lease ending with a rent increase we couldn’t afford meant the end of Aviary after almost 100 exhibitions. After making the decision to let go of Aviary I saw a for rent sign in a storefront I’d often thought would be a perfect art space. This time I multiplied the rent by the number of months in the lease before signing it. Peel will open next month. Since moving to North Carolina in 2016 I’ve seen a lot of great art spaces close. Read more>>

Kate Stone | Dog Groomer

My thought process behind starting my business was through the struggle many are facing with the pandemic. I had plans to start a grooming salon in my home town but the construction has had its set backs. My husband was laid off in the spring of 2020 and my family was under a stressful outlook like so many others. I have had a successful mobile grooming business in the past and knew the safety measures I could put into place to make it work under COVID. While the thought of opening a business during a pandemic was slightly daunting the obstacles to come for my family were worse. I did what I needed. Read more>>

Ruth Wharton | Wilderness Rite of Passage Guide

We saw a need for more accessibility in wilderness rites of passage programs. During these times, it seems more people are looking for places to retreat and connect with nature and themselves. To take the time to grieve and let go, celebrate, or transition to something new. We wanted to support activists and those from marginalized communities to have a place in nature to rest, recharge, and be nourished and held by the land. Moving away from a capitalistic model, we are offering donation based services calling in accessibility, reciprocity, and abundance. Read more>>

Brynne Dunning | Owner & Occupational Therapist

For me, the thought of starting my own business seemed overwhelming and daunting in the beginning. Like many small business owners, I was afraid of taking this huge leap of faith. For years I had worked in pediatric therapy settings where I saw cracks in the system but had no way of changing or impacting these systems in a significant way. I was frustrated with the status quo in the therapy world and the idea of letting insurance companies tell me how best to do my job. But ultimately, my tipping point was seeing these amazing children and their families get less than what they deserved. And so the idea behind Made to Play Pediatric Therapy was born here. I was finally ready to take the jump into small business ownership and to be a part of something completely different in order to help every family and child gain the necessary tools to live out their best life. I wanted therapy to truly be fun and functional again for these kids, while also making the logistical side of therapy less of a headache for families. Read more>>

Dani Rodriguez | Content Creator & Online Educator

I was the social media guru, but got to a point where I didn’t want to be there anymore. I was itching for more freedom, truly. I pushed those feelings aside and continued to work until I was up for a promotion. During that meeting I completely let my guard down and went on and on about how I didn’t see myself working at the company anymore, but ironically enough I was too scared to quit. So instead, I was fired. I decided to take this as an omen and start applying the social media techniques I learned to my own channels. This lead me to pitching brands, getting paid for photo work and becoming a full-time influencer. Eventually I was able to grow my brand, Dani The Explorer, to what it is today and have the freedom I was always searching for. Now my mission is to help others feel that freedom too. Dani The Explorer is all about inspiring others to explore new possibilities, recognize the magic in the world, and live their absolute best life. Read more>>

Stephanie Zavislan | Values and Experience Expert

I started People and Practices with people in mind. I believe in people as the fundamental core of good business. All the great strategies in the world won’t ever come to fruition without people executing them. I had some unfortunate experiences in the business world where I saw employees being mistreated and management being clueless about the power of good HR. Particularly in the nonprofit world, where I’ve spent the last decade of my career, I saw a lot of passionate people come to nonprofits to make a difference and feel good about their work, only to be disregarded, unappreciated, and asked to be more of a robot than a passionate contributor. I’m committed to good business. I’ve learned that the best businesses stay afloat by doing things right and working with heart, with more than just profit or a balanced budget in mind. Good business ultimately comes down to values, and I saw that first-hand. The majority of people I speak to don’t know their company’s values. Read more>>

Sirine Swed | CEO of Battington Beauty

I was a VP of sales in a Pharma company. I was laid off when I was pregnant with my son. Ive always loved makeup and wearing false lashes. I did however feel there was a need in the market for more natural and comfortable lashes. I also wanted to create lashes that can be worn everyday. I figured as a new mom, it was the best time to start my own business and fill a void in the lash category. That’s how Battington came about. Our first product when company was launched was our line of silk lashes. Each lash is handmade out of 100 % silk and can be used 25 times. The lashes are made out of a cotton band which make them super comfortable and easy to apply. Read more>>

Christa Chase | Lagree Studio Owner & Instructor

I have always been a workout fanatic. Playing soccer, running cross country, and doing Pilates. I was an interior designer for the past 15 years, and realized when I had my two boys, I needed more flexibility in my life. Lagree was my favorite workout, so I was on a mission to design the best Lagree studios in Colorado! The workout changed my physique and stress levels. I knew I could inspire others to feel strong and healthy, no matter what their size, gender, or age was. Read more>>

Jessica Taylor | Owner of The Ground/Pilates Instructor and Fitness Professional

I started a non-profit dance company in NYC at age 25 and then my fitness/wellness studio at 33 and I think both times it was the same…I had an idea and I thought, “I won’t ever know how this will go unless I try it”. I am more of an innovative thinker by nature, so starting things from scratch is really where things excite me. Read more>>

Tina Joiner | Wedding Photographer

I started my business in January of 2013. I was working at Compassion International at the time. I had some amazing photography mentors at Compassion who were photographers. They helped me take the leap into making a business out of my photography hobby. By March I had 20 weddings on the books and I gave my boss 2 months notice so I had time to train someone in my role there. My photography business quickly took off and has been growing every since. I now have a team of 5 photographers and we shoot between 80 and 100 weddings a year. Read more>>

Esmeralda Zavala | Photographer

Starting a business is a very nerve wrecking thing. When I started my business my intention was to remain as organic and authentic as possible. Of course I wanted my business to take off and to have a major impact, but in the back of my mind I repeatedly told myself to do things for me, things that would make me happy. Eventually if people enjoyed my work, it would get the recognition I craved. To this day I keep this thought in my mind. Remaining true to myself and my work has allowed me to succeed in an immense amount of ways. Read more>>

Anna Mae Flynn | Professional Trail Runner for Hoka ONE ONE & Coach

I’ve been running for myself since I started competing in the sport of running since I was 8 years old. Accomplishing racing goals often feels self centered. I’ve raced 100’s of races now, and am a professional trail runner for Hoka ONE ONE. After having won a prestigious 50 miler Lake Sonoma in 2019, I reflected on the accumulation of my running career, and thought this was it. What more could I do? Truly, the sky is the limit when you are driven in accomplishing your goals, but more than that for me it was the passion for the lifestyle I live as a result of the days, months and years of training I’ve put in. Thus, I decided to give back to my running community, and create an athlete centered mountain endurance coaching company. I want to assist other in discovering the wholeness of the lifestyle. The long term goal over the short term racing pursuits. Read more>>

Jim Wilcox | Laser Tattoo Removal Specialist

We had the idea of offering Laser Tattoo Removal for coverups within the tattoo studio simply because my wife gets a lot of coverup requests and always wants the client to do laser before she works on it. After doing some research we found that it was a very possible thing for us to do so we pursued it. Read more>>

Eric Anderon | Product & Marketing Leader

In 2018, I underwent some pretty drastic, positive lifestyle changes. Among the many results were a huge boost in mental energy and a renewed sense of purpose. Somewhere in that blissed out state, I got the entrepreneurial itch and decided I wanted to start something on my own. I explored a handful of options with the help of some trusted friends. I quickly settled on a marketing company focused on promotional products and branded gear. It felt like the right way to learn the ropes of entrepreneurship while leaning heavily on my background in Marketing, Sales and Product Management. Read more>>

Tyler Gohl | Photographer – Only the Best Photos

My dream started in my senior year of high school. About March or April of 2018. I was talking with my super close friend about getting a “professional” camera to take pictures of our cars, so one day, I went out and spent the money I had been working so hard to save up, but little did I know at the time, that it would flourish into what it is today. In the summer of 2018, one of my close friends asked me to do her senior pictures. This was my first paid shoot, and I always remain humble about it, because it meant so much to me that someone believed in me enough to take pictures. I didn’t really start getting serious about photography until later in 2019 when I finally got a photo editing software. Once I got that, I started gaining more traction. Though I am still working very hard today, I would not have gotten here without the constant support from my peers. With all this being said, When I launched my brand name in 2018 after the senior shoot that I did. Read more>>