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.

Angie Rhoades | Dental Hygienist

I had been in the dental field for 15 + years and I was not liking the trend of offices being purchased by corporate dental chains or relying on consultants who did not have clinical experience. In Colorado, dental hygienists have a very unique opportunity to be independent of a dentist. The combination of frustration in my current situation and an opportunity arising at the exact same time made the idea of being my own boss something that I could make a reality. Read more>>

Marc Gutman | Brand Strategist & Entrepreneur

“I can do this for myself!” That’s what I thought when I started my first business, Lighthouse Conferencing a tech communication service provider, that I’ve since sold. Underlying that thought was the idea that I was bored at my job. I was swimming in a single lane and doing the same thing over and over again. This has it’s advantages but I didn’t feel challenged. And I was I challenged alright! I found out quickly that starting your own business is never easy but it is the most fulfilling thing I’ve done. My business today, Wildstory – I started because I had this knowledge of what it took to start a business. I also learned that you really need to love the work you’re doing because not every day is great. If you don’t love it you’re going have a hard time getting through the low times. I had a first career of sorts as a writer in the movie business. I wanted to get back to that. Telling stories. Creating. Read more>>

Ashley Gibson | Personal Trainer & Aerobics Instructor

I have always been an active and energetic individual with a passion for helping others. I graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitative Science learning to help others in the realm of Substance Abuse, Behavioral Therapy, Human Services, and Gerontology. All of my practical years in school combined with my professional years working at Vasa Fitness in Operations and as a Group Fitness Instructor led me to meet some amazing people who encouraged me to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Under the guidance of my fitness manager, Maura, my Group Fitness classes expanded fast and she encouraged me to learn and teach Aqua Fitness, Cycle, HIIT, Tabata, and Studio Red Circuit Training. Read more>>

Mahri Relin | Owner & Founder

I was a dancer for a long time in NYC before becoming introduced to the ways that fitness and dance could come together in my first fitness job. It was a revelation! I was asked to work with pregnant women in this job, and I quickly realized how little fitness studios and other wellness professionals understood pregnancy at that time. I had lots of ideas about how to develop my own method, and I was especially passionate about supporting women through pregnancy as well as other important transitions in life like fertility, postnatal recovery, perimenopause, and beyond. Our NYC and Denver work is focused on in-home and virtual private training with a range of folks (including men, too!) — but I’m particularly proud of our work in these specialized areas. Read more>>

Glenda “Aiwa” Florez | Professional Polynesian Dancer and Instructor, Owner & Founder

When I moved to Colorado in 2007 I wanted to keep up with my passion which was Polynesian Dance. I had just worked and entertained for 12 years at the Famous Mai-Kai Polynesian Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, FL. and I wanted to continue dance and eventually pass this Culture to my Daughter. Read more>>

Tasha Dixon | Wellness & Self-Care Advocate

Luvthemama is a “luv-yourself” self-care subscription box and apparel shop for moms! The idea came about after talking with a girlfriend one summer. She asked me if I had thought about creating a self-care subscription box for moms because I was always “preaching” about self-care to my friends. I also have a background in mental health counseling, so I am very in tune with how self-care and good mental health correlate. My passion for self-care came about after I became a mom in 2012. I was so enthralled in motherhood and this new sweet baby, that my life started to feel imbalanced. I recognized that in order for my life to be fulfilled and sustainable, I needed to fill my own cup first, and then I could pour into others. After seeing the startling rates of post-partum depression and anxiety amongst mothers in America, I knew that education and advocacy was the key to decreasing these rates. Read more>>

Vanessa Barcus | Owner & Designer

Talisman actually started out as an in-house brand within my former clothing store, Goldyn. We had sold fine jewelry for quite a while, and it seemed natural to make our own version. When I closed Goldyn in 2018, my focus shifted to designing and hand-fabricating Talisman, and the collection evolved from there. As far as thought processes in starting my own business in general… Entrepreneurship is really just in my blood. It’s what I do. In fact, my other work involves consulting for other creative entrepreneurs as they move through the business development process. It’s nice to be able to support like-minded individuals, and help them avoid learning things the hard way, as I did. Read more>>

Jamika Watie | Entrepreneur & CEO

I started Ajourd Luxe because I wanted to start saving money to fund my ultimate goal of owning several health clinics and hospice facilities to combat health inequalities and disparities. I knew that I wanted to be a business owner, I just didn’t know what kind of business would be suitable to start off with but the universe has a way of conspiring in your favor. At the time that I decided I were going to start a business, I was really struggling to get my confidence back as a domestic violence survivor. One day, I were getting my hair done and my friend asked if I wanted to try eyelash extensions and I agreed. I started getting lash extensions more and more and two months after I started wearing eyelashes, I started letting a well-known makeup company Cemjo Beauty Co. do my makeup. As a result of the compliments that I would receive, I started feeling like myself again and my confidence was boosted. Read more>>

Margarita Bravo | Founder & Chief Creative Officer

Several factors come to mind when answering this question. First, I always wanted to control of my own schedule, the time I spend with my family. I didn’t want to rely on someone else to decide when I could be with my kids and my husband. Also, I always wanted to have my own business. And particularly, I always wanted to do something I really care about. This is not to say that I didn’t care for the jobs I had in the past but I always saw them as jobs. Owning your business is not a career. It is a life style that you attempt to adapt in the pursuit of personal freedom. All these factors came into my decision making process of starting my own business. Plenty of mistakes along the way with many more to come. But I would not change the opportunity to have my own company for anything else in the world. Read more>>

Jeff (J.J.) Bebout | Neon Artist

I have always been drawn towards ownership and management. I ran the family plumbing company as a kid, and always ended up in management rolls. A couple years ago I decided to take my art more seriously but needed to make money, so going into business for myself was a perfect way to make it all work. Then when my partner and I decided to have a baby I was going to go get a 9-5 to have more security but the world had other plans and keeping with self employment was the obvious choice! I suppose entrepreneurship has always just been “the thing” for me. Read more>>

Jourdan Block | Jeweler & Gemologist

I wanted to have the freedom and flexibility to help my clients in more than one area. I wanted to be able to come to them, do house visits, and make the jewelry buying process more convenient. I also wanted to offer more than one service, from buying beautiful items, to designing custom pieces, selling unique jewelry, and being able to appraise it as well. Read more>>

Taylor Strope | Owner & Events Coordinator

When I decided to start Mountainside Events, it felt as if I was taking a huge leap blindfolded. I had no idea where I landed, but I trusted those around me that they wouldn’t let me fail. Starting this company was the best decision I have made in my career and I absolutely love what I do! Read more>>

Lalania Simone | Co-owner & Curator

My business partner Flor Marquez and I were friends and colleagues at a local non-profit. We saw the opportunity to create something beautiful with the intention to help others heal and grow. We are both deeply spiritual and entrepreneurial minded women who desired to be of service to others. I am grew up in the Curtis Park area, so it felt very aligned to work and serve this community as well as the greater Denver area. Read more>>

Siera Capesius | Gym Owner, Personal Trainer & Nutritionist

I knew from the age of 16 that I wanted to start my own business. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I knew I was going to open up my own personal training studio. The concept behind my business, Nourished Personal Training, developed while I was working for a corporate gym. I met hundreds of people who had personal trainers in the past that never gave them any guidance with nutrition and how to eat. This is very common because trainers do not have the educational background in the field of nutrition. This is a huge problem in the fitness industry, because one of the key components to changing the body and health is based off of nutrition, I knew I could solve this problem, and is why I created my business. Read more>>