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.

Naeemah Smith | CEO Amelia’s Hands & Body

Naeemah Smith, from the south side of Chicago. I enjoy doing hair, makeup, traveling, and being an awesome entrepreneur. What made me decide to start a business? Over the course of time, I naturally learned how to take care of my hair with the help of my grandmother who happened to have a beauty salon in her basement. I learned early how to pay attention to our hair, it allowed me to grow our hair healthy and strong. My sister Enyonah was the daring one and would cut all her hair off and start over, on the other hand, appreciated my length and growth over time. I decided to move to Colorado back in 2016 and my hair and skin had a whole fit. Read more>>

Katie Wall & Courtney Jacobson | Co-Founders of TheCultureBiz and Play Experts

Culture is so important to the overall health and success of organizations. In fact, a positive office culture is becoming one of the biggest benefits that new applicants look for when searching for a job and one of the main reasons employees stay at or leave an organization. The idea for TheCultureBiz came out of a design thinking exercise to solve how we might help teams collaborate more effectively at work – the answer was to be intentional about organizational culture and do it through play. We compared successful teams, like firehouses, professional sports teams and theater ensembles, and the biggest commonality between them all was a strong culture developed through play and trust. Read more>>

Paige & Rachel Nix & Barrera | Co-Spa-Owners

Our thought process behind starting Mia Bella Esthetics was to open a safe & comfortable space for everyone’s beauty & skin care needs. Separately we bring something different to the table,as well as what services we specialize in. Our combined passion & love for esthetics,and our clients makes us stand out in the community. Read more>>

Hayden Boyle | Landscape Photographer

My interest in photography originated for my love of the backcountry. Backpacking, hiking, climbing, you name it – getting out there and exploring is what it’s all about. Photography has given me the chance to create value through the pursuit of my passion. Summiting a high peak for sunrise is a great accomplishment in itself, but being able to properly execute an image from that experience not only helps me relive it, but allows me to share that feeling with others. The constant dedication and search for that shared feeling was the fuel for me to embark on my biggest journey and project yet: Sunrise, sunset, and nightscape images from the summit of Colorado’s 14ers. Read more>>

Cody Stevenson | Serial Entrepreneur

I’ve always been fascinated by business from a young age. The idea of creating your own thing and growing it was very appealing to me. It wasn’t until I got my first real “corporate” job in the defence industry that I knew I would not work for other people for long. I watched people drone away from 9 to 5 with hopes of climbing the corporate ladder. The problem was the people at the top looked like zombies and they were physically aged much more than their actual age. Then I started realizing if I kept at it and climbed the ladder too I was essentially capped at what the executive pay scale was. Being capped at a certain income and the time it would take to get there was not going to work for me. By year 3 of leaving that position and starting my own company, I was making more than what any executive at my previous company would make. More importantly – I was happy – and you can’t put a price on that. Read more>>

Stacee Gillelen | Founder, Dragonfly Designs

It wasn’t my intent to start a business. I went back to school pursuing social work and early childhood education when my oldest children were ages 5, 4, and 3. While attending classes, I started making jewelry as a hobby and couldn’t stop, I just loved it so much! I began selling jewelry to friends and some boutiques, and the business continued to grow and morph over time. It’s been so special to me because it brought together my love of children, teaching, and creativity. Read more>>

Nicole Cacciavillano | Owner of The Black Box and Sub.mission

After producing events in Denver for 10 years, I quickly realized that owning my own venue was the way forward. Sub.mission’s dedication to underground music and the community it fosters has attracted fans for nearly a decade. I saw The Black Box as a unique opportunity to unite the community under one roof in a venue dedicated to Denver’s underground music scene. Read more>>

Catherine Putt | Writer and Poet

It wasn’t so much a thought process as it was a sudden smack of inspiration. Writing has always been my passion but for the past year and a half, I have been trying to make it big on Instagram because I also love traveling and sharing my expereinces with others (@catherineputt). Toward the end of July 2021, I traveled to Kenya to meet with a group of fellow female travelers and 4 IG influencers. The purpose of the retreat was to learn how to brand yourself, how to collaborate with brands, take photos, negotiate, understand rates and so much more. But during the trip, I realized that I actually didn’t enjoy brand collaborations and being a content creator as much as I thought. Read more>>

Quinha McBride | Founder & Owner

In 2017 my mother passed away from cancer and just 9 years prior to that my father died from a drug overdose. These were pivotal moments in my life. Having grown a love for fitness myself I knew as soon as my mom was gone that I had to impact people in a healthy and positive way. My life completely changed forever and it became my mission to execute a plan to start my own business in the fitness industry to change the lives of others by creating a safe community around health and exercise. That’s how Studio Q Fitness was born. In 2019 I opened my doors with 10 coaches and 1 small cycling studio, 6 months later COVID hit but it wasn’t going to stop me. Read more>>

Ian Reeves | Owner and Head Chef

Who doesn’t want to work for themselves? My love for cooking began at age nine when I started helping my mother make family meals. Opening our three delivery and pick up menus has been a dream of mine since I started cooking professional. The pandemic afforded me the opportunity to do this (as many in my industry, I was laid off) and gave me the time to really develop what we believe to be an exciting unique dining options. Read more>>

Garth Jones | Blogger/Publicist

Initially, my first thought was independence. I wanted to be my own boss, set my own rules, and work on my own time. I felt that if I continued working my nine-to-five job, I was destined and predetermined to be working the same routine until retirement. That idea and thought process scared me as a creative person and being the natural go-getter I always knew I had been. I wasn’t quite sure what business that would be in that moment, but I knew creating one was inevitable. Read more>>

Beeda | Comic Book Retailer and Artist

I hadn’t read a comic in years and then I picked up Saga by Brian K. Vaughan as a recommendation….it blew my mind! This was not like any comic I read as a kid; this was a fully fleshed out story with amazing artwork. Needless to say, my interest in comics was rekindled and I wanted to offer a place for everyone to enjoy comics and nerd stuff. At the time in my life work was bringing little joy to my life and I craved the couple of hours a week I had to read new comics. Then I wandered into a comic book store in a mall….IN A MALL! Comics were now super cool, but most comic stores were still operating with fringe culture. Read more>>