Starting and growing a business is hard, but often deciding to start the business in the first place is even harder. We asked some successful entrepreneurs from around the community to open up to us about how they thought about starting a business.

Phillip Virden | Educator

In 1973, I was part of a small group that saw a need for a place for families and young people to enjoy positive entertainment in our town. We thought a cinema would be a terrific idea to pursue. Once we identified the need and the specific idea, the opportunity to purchase a movie theatre in another town came about. Within a short time, we acquired the movie business (projection and concession equipment, seats, etc), bought land, and built our cinema building in 1975. Read more>>

Dejon Robinson | District4 Apparel CEO

My thought process? I’ve had the idea since I was back high school & always had a vision for how I wanted things to be. I don’t have everything set in stone just yet but I know in due time everything comes with growth so I’m ready to put in the work to see where & how far I can take it. Read more>>

Daniel Sweig | Human and animal sanctuary

Like all of us, I had a lot of time to think as the pandemic shut-down “business as usual.” I was in chronic pain from a series of car accidents I was fortunate to survive; I was also suffering from chronic depression after years of surgeries. I was alone, without hope, purpose or community. I finally asked myself some important questions; what’s important to me, and what do I want to do about it. What sprouted from these question was hope, purpose, (and once I decided to move back home to Boulder, Colorado), community, and New Earth Sanctuary. Read more>>

Chaz Chambers | Musician, Producer, and Entrepreneur

Well, this is a really great question for me and anyone trying to pursue their own business. I have always been one to come up with lots of business ideas but never see them through. So many times an idea will pop up in our head and we can talk ourselves out of it. I traveled to Cuba for the first time in January 2017 as commercial flights from the US had just begun months earlier. I went to study Afro-Cuban percussion while on a break from drumming with Ringling Bros circus. While I was traveling in the mountainside of Cuba in Viñales Valley the idea of Havana Music Tours hit me… I was thinking of how difficult it was to navigate Cuba and find the best live music events. Read more>>

Matt Hondorf | Founder

I started the Colorado Spirits Collective with the idea of showcasing Colorado distilleries via social media and creating a YouTube channel to do interviews with owners/distillers because at the time there was nothing like that currently going on. I felt on the national scale, Colorado wasn’t being represented and promoted like it should be. The week after I started, the COVID shut downs came to Colorado and I wasn’t able to do anything in person which put a damper on the YouTube portion of the idea. Read more>>

Garrett and Laura Johnston | Owners/Founders of The Crease H.C.

Everyone who knows us knows how much we love hockey, and it was our passion for hockey that really pushed us to take that first step of starting our own business. It honestly was a short thought process – we both like what we do for work, but we had that “do what you love, love what you do” mindset and wanted more. Garrett initially approached the topic of opening a hockey facility, and Laura was immediately on board. Shortly before the pandemic hit, we began putting this idea into play. We planned the layout of the facility, had mock-ups drafted, and were figuring out materials and costs. Read more>>

Chris Denu | Landscape Photographer

It all started with wanting to share and inspire people to get outdoors, to really see and appreciate the beauty of our wild places. I have been fortunate enough to travel and recreate in some truly stunning places. I now want to capture these places via photography and share them with others. Not everyone will be fortunate enough to visit the places I visit, so I wish to capture the scenes and bring them to the rest of the world. I really believe nature heals, and I want to bring nature to everyone via photographs. May my work inspire people to protect and share these places with future generations. Read more>>

Kaytlyn Gilner | Owner of Meet Me West

I have always been a lover of the outdoors and a big believer in getting outside and staying active to nourish our mental health. As an extrovert, the pandemic was a struggle for me and it was for a lot of my friends too. Luckily living in Colorado we are lucky to have the mountains and infinite outdoor access. That is how we stayed sane and connected when everything felt so divided. I had always had a personal goal to build my own business and as women doing it solo I knew it would feel empowering. During lockdowns, like many of us, I had a ton of free time. And with the state of things, I felt compelled to help promote inclusivity in the outdoors and find ways to keep people connected and active. Read more>>

Alisa Otto | CEO, Designer

I’ve been wanting to start my own business since 2006/7 when I was working as a fit specialist for a foundations company. I worked with women all day long that needed supportive foundation wear and they would tell me how many activities they wanted to participate in but weren’t able to because they didn’t have the right apparel. I really started noticing how sizes beyond a large/xlarge had limited options in most departments, but especially activewear. Read more>>

Heather Mallander | Artist & Jewelry Designer

The idea and creation of my business Crystalline Nectar is a synergy of my experiences as a human being. It is a melding of skill, synchronicity, courage and awareness. I was born with the instinct to love the Earth, and all it’s creatures. Ever since I could walk I have ran around picking up stones and rocks. I was drawn to their beauty and their direct embodiment of the earth’s magical forces. Each stone had a story and a connection to a moment. Read more>>

Sarah Usinger | Integrative Therapies & Holistic Nutritionist

My initial thought process behind starting my own business was to use my creativity and passion synergistically and strategically. My mission is to carry on the legacy of my family roots while spreading more love, joy, and peace to my community. A little background behind my thought process is; I grew up in my grandma’s house and learned early on what good work ethic was and how to work hard. My parents and grandparents exemplified this. Read more>>

Abe Stopani | Owner

As a stay at home dad with kids entering grade school I suddenly had a lot of free time. My wife and I looked at different business opportunities and when we saw AR Workshop we knew it would fit perfectly in Colorado Springs. Read more>>

Benjamin Toh | Doctor of Physical Therapy and Pain and Movement Expert

After 6 years of working in the traditional healthcare model which is dictated heavily by large corporate insurance entities, I decided I wanted to do things different in a way that is better for patients. Corporations were dictating how care could be delivered, how much care could be provided, which diagnoses counted or didn’t count, pushing productivity and numbers, and not allowing for wellness or preventative care. Read more>>

Chris Seegers | Entrepreneur and Capitalist Missionary

Our mission was to bring life back into a town that had a rich and beautiful history but had begun to fall apart. We love finding things that need new life breathed back into them. One big goal was to serve our employes, guests, visitors and neighbors in a way that provided them a richer life for having spent time with us. We describe our work as “capitalist mission work” and believe business is a fantastic platform with a tremendous amount of influence to affect positive change. We built a healthy, profitable business that could be a cornerstone of the community driven by the mission but founded in solid business principles. Read more>>

Beth Mincher | Be Sunshine

I have always been an adventurer, a bit of a wandering gypsy spirit, if you will. So, it only made sense to me that eventually, I would leave “conventional” work to make a mark, truly of my own. I am most myself, and at most my service to others when I am teaching, guiding or creating. I think the culmination of many different work positions in the recreation and hospitality fields led me to create my current business(es). I wanted to help people find their path to true happiness and wellness, but in their own way. Read more>>

Taylor Moon | Astrologer, Spiritual Writer, Wellness Educator

The thought process behind starting my own business began years before I actually started my own business! I was teaching at the time at a school district in Chicago and I just had this feeling that something was missing from my life. There were aspects of my job that I enjoyed, but something inside of my heart that was whispering, “this isn’t it, there’s something more I’m meant to do.” This is when my goal to create my own business was birthed, but I had no idea what I was going to do. Read more>>