Starting a business can be terrifying. Weighing the pros and cons, the risks, and other considerations can be so overwhelming that often promising entrepreneurs stop before they even start. We asked some phenomenal entrepreneurs about their thought process behind starting their own businesses. Our hope is that by making the thought-process less intimidating we can help more folks think through whether they should take an entrepreneurial leap.

Siobhan Seymour | Founder of The Kalyana Project, Healer and Certified Trauma Specialist

I was a police officer for the city of Fort Collins for 16 years and spent 11 of them serving in the capacity of a Crimes Against Persons detective. I loved my job and being able to help the community I served, but eventually the work got heavy, and as a result of the direct and vicarious trauma I experienced I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. I was prescribed medication for depression but I didn’t want to take it. I wanted to find a holistic way to heal myself. I began working on mental health as if I was working a case and diligently went down every rabbit hole of wellness I could find to figure out what I could do to get better that didn’t involve medication. I learned about the neurophysiology of the body and its response to stress and trauma and things we as individuals can do to impact and mitigate its effects on our bodies and minds. Read more>>

Carryn Burton | Hostelier

Cohabit was over 3 years in the making. My husband, Bret and I have travelled and stayed in hostels around the world and always knew we wanted to create something similar in our community. We live in an expensive resort town that mostly caters to the wealthy. There was a need for an affordable and more inclusive alternative. I began brainstorming ideas for a hostel or mirco hotel that would allow everyone to enjoy our beautiful mountains. One of our challenges was making sure we were affordable but also offered guests a little more privacy than traditional hostel bunk rooms. After much research, trial and error, we landed on the pod concept. We had the pods custom designed and built in Denver, we settled on an ideal location in Avon and the rest is history. Bret and I spent many years in the hospitality and customer service industry. When we coupled that with our love for minimalist travel and community, it was a natural transition to start our own pod hotel. Read more>>

Aly & Richard McDonald | Aly-Owner – Richard-Winemaker

Aly: I come from a family of farmers and entrepreneurs, so the idea of owning my own business has always been in me. When I discovered my passion for wine, and began my journey in winemaking and hospitality in Napa, California, where every day I tried to learn as much as I could, because ultimately I knew one day I wanted to start my own wine business. Richard: Having grown up surrounded by family who owned vineyards in Australia and traveling the world making wine for the past 15 years, the dream of using the skills I had learned to create my own wine, where I have complete control has been in my mind for a while. In the autumn of 2019 a number of opportunities lined up, and my wife and I decided to take the leap. Read more>>

Jeremy Keith | Tattoo Artist & Entrepreneur

I really wanted to go against the stigma of the “Aggressive” tattoo industry. I wanted to create a safe and comfortable environment for people of all walks of life. It was important to me that DreamHouse be a place where you could get your 1st or 50th tattoo and feel like you had a great time and were welcome back. No judgement, no intimidation, just great art and great people. Read more>>

Beth Wood | Business Strategist

A huge motivator in my life has been being able to do life by my own rules, in my own way, and in my own time. I want to live in my authenticity and truth, and I wasn’t finding anything that aligned with me in the corporate world. I also saw a huge gap in the market for small business owners with small budgets who needed help to get up and running. It’s rare to have a huge budget when you’re just starting out but you hear that you need a website, a solid brand, SEO, merchandise, and on and on. While all these things can be absolutely important to the growth of your business, you have to prioritize in the beginning and stretch your budget. That’s where my team comes in. We help to strategize with you to identify the areas you need to focus on that will build your business, which things you can automate or optimize, and which things you need to delegate. Read more>>

Jackie Isvanca | Owner

I decided to start this business after bring in the industry for 10 years. I had worked at many bakeries over the years and finally decided that this is something I needed to do for myself. We began as a small mom and pop mobile business, in a cupcake trailer that sucesfully ran for 3 months before our brick and mortar location became available. We jumped on the opportunity to open a store front in Wellington and have been loving every minute of it ever since!. Read more>>

Analise Lawson | Photographer

Honestly my kids! I wanted to be able to work my schedule around being a mom. I wanted a schedule that I made, I was in charge of and to be my own boss. I love photography and have worked in the photography field for many years. So starting my own business in this field was just meant to be!. Read more>>

Dr. Joshua & Taylor Logan | Co-Owners True North Chiropractic

We knew that we could make an impact on a greater scale by opening up our own Chiropractic Office. We had so many visions for the mission and culture of our office and knew that we would be limited in that if we worked for someone else. We saw so many people being held back from pursuing their true purpose and passions because of their health. And so our desire is to help remove those health barriers so they can walk forward into what they feel they are meant to live out in this life. We had worked extremely hard during Chiropractic school and the year following to ensure we would be as prepared as possible to open and succeed so we honestly didn’t have a whole lot of reservations about that aspect. We also had some incredible mentors that really guided us through the process and we owe so much of our success to that. Read more>>

Kaleb Abbott | Founder of SunSnap Kids and Optometrist

My journey in starting SunSnap Kids began when I first became a practicing optometrist in Colorado and quickly realized the high percentage of children who do not regularly wear sunglasses. According to the World Health Organization, up to 80% of UV light exposure occurs before the age of 18, however, the vast majority of young children hardly ever wear sunglasses. This is especially problematic in Denver where we have over 300 days of sunshine each year and where our high elevation further intensifies UV light exposure. As an optometrist, I am trained to diagnose a myriad of ocular conditions which arise from excess UV light exposure including premature cataracts, eye growths, retinal damage, ocular inflammation, premature aging of the eye, and even eyelid cancers. The childhood risk of many of these conditions can be greatly alleviated or even eliminated with the regular use of sunglasses. Read more>>

Shawn Stephens | Business Director

In short, corporate burnout and a desire to be in control of my own success or failure. Before I started this business, I worked for quite a few different companies – both large and small, some really good and some not so good. I met a lot of genuinely good people, worked on some very interesting projects, and learned a ton. But I always felt that something was missing. For years I figured that changing jobs would help me find what was missing. I never found anything by merely changing jobs…if anything, it actually made me more aware that something was missing. I don’t remember the specific day or time or event that caused it, but one day I remember thinking that I had to do something of my own in order to find what was missing. From that day forward, I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied or fulfilled unless I started my own business. Read more>>

Maira Holzmann | Somatic Psychotherapist and Nervous System Regulation Specialist.

I left my agency job back in 2016 and went into private practice as a somatic therapist focusing on helping clients healing from trauma. At around that time, I got trained in a therapeutic touch modality called Coregulating Touch, designed to support deep healing for clients that have experienced early trauma, and it utterly rocked my world! As a part of the training, I also got to experience the benefits of Coregulating Touch. So, I started using this touch modality to support my clients and very quickly, my solo private practice blossomed and I got full with a waitlist. I decided to open a group psychotherapy practice because I wanted more folks to have access to the combination of somatic based approaches in psychotherapy coupled with therapeutic touch. Additionally, the Me Too movement was gaining momentum back in 2012 and this really impacted my commitment to bringing healthy, therapeutic touch, not just to clients of psychotherapy but to the world at large. Read more>>

Will Savoie | Professional Audio Engineer & Producer

Working for myself has always been the goal. In my opinion, being an entrepreneur comes with greater risks, but offers far more benefits. Starting Broken Sleep Collective was a way to take the things I truly love as an artist and create a career out of it. The music business tends to be a whole different animal than the others and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Read more>>

Tori Enyart | Freelance Creative and Digital Guru

I graduated last May as a self-taught photographer with a passion for and degree in Music Business from the University of Colorado Denver. I had a really hard time finding full-time work. Graduating during the middle of a pandemic doesn’t necessarily set you up for success with entering the workforce. Maybe more importantly though, I was super turned off by the idea of working for a large corporate company, and I had always had the desire to blaze my own trail so to speak, and find a way to be a full-time creative that worked for themselves. I grew up in a family of small business people. My dad was always a wearer of many hats, owning and operating multiple small businesses over the years and I always just saw that as normal. I was lucky enough to be instilled with the values of running your own show, being passionate about what you do, and learning as much as you can to grow that passion and give it strong legs to stand upon. Read more>>

Salome Syrie | Dessert Crafter & Nursing Student

When I started my own business, COVID was running rampant and honestly, I really wanted to do something that not only made me happy, but other people too! On a random afternoon, I went to the grocery and craft stores, bought a few supplies and started creating at home! I truly did not realize that I would soon be a business owner…things just kind of unfolded for me in that way. Read more>>

Dalaine Bartelme | Owner and Chief Colorist

The catalyst for starting my business came when I wished that I had a small box that I could carry in my purse with coloring supplies in it so I could color when I had down time instead of looking at my phone. My husband and I started researching and couldn’t find anything like what I wanted, so we decided to create it ourselves! Luckily, my husband designs products for a living, so we were able to turn my dream into a product to share with the world. Read more>>

Erin Doty | Creator and Host of ShatterStress Retreats

How can I fulfill my purpose, work for myself, use my strengths, gifts and abilities, be fully myself, and provide a space for people to heal. This seemed like such an overwhelming thought I’ve wanted to start ShatterStress for almost 10 years. That spark inside me telling me to make that dream a reality never went away. It was always there through transitions in my life, getting a new job, going to grad school, moving to a different state. And there was always an excuse, “I’m focusing on xyz right now.”; “I don’t have enough money.”; and the biggest one that was hard to admit to myself, “I’m scared and I don’t know how.” There has always been something missing in my jobs- poor leadership, frustration with hierarchy, not given the space to use my strengths. It finally got to a point where I realized to be truly fulfilled I had to take initiative, give myself the space, and start my business, ShatterStress. I knew I had to take the leap, and it was the hardest step. I’ve worked through the fears of “What if I fail…”; “I’m worried what others will think…” and more for those 10 years. I had to step out of my own way, and let that spark shine through. Read more>>

Savannah Latimer Lynch | Public Figure, Owner of Volare Candles

I started my own business because I never liked having a boss. I’ve never been good at having a daily routine. My brain works in waves so, everyday I have a new idea for my company. Read more>>

Mona Lisa | Yoga Instructor & Guide

I wanted to create a space where creators can commune, support and uplift one another while offering their gifts without competition. Long Answer: I was in the military for almost 10 years before discovering yoga. During this time, I’d grown accustomed to a certain level of camaraderie, connection and community, all of which I expected to experience within the “yoga world”. It wasn’t long after my first yoga teacher training that I quickly realized the reality. In the west, yoga “communities” are often centered around yoga studios. These yoga studios are predominantly owned by affluent white people. This inherently and almost immediately made belonging to a yoga community an exclusive privilege. One that I wasn’t even privy to until I had experienced so much spiritual bypassing and gaslighting that my body got physically ill and I had to sit down and reflect. Read more>>

Otto Sabina | Creative Entrepreneur

Growing up I was always enamored with the design, fashion, and streetwear world’s. In particular, the cross pollination from discipline to discipline was really interesting . In college, I had an opportunity to intern with Jiberish, a Denver based brand. I have Chronic Lymes Disease along with several Co-infections and have been using Cannabis for medicinal purposes since contracting the virus’s. As I finished college, I started working in the cannabis industry with an edible company called Blue Kudu, at the same time I was working weekend’s at a local sneaker boutique called Fice Gallery. During this time, I started to look for points of contact between the cannabis space and the streetwear world. I ultimately joined a startup venture with a good friend from college helping build a concentrate company called Kushmasters. During my time at Kushmasters, I started to have a clearer picture of avenues to create a business which collided my interest’s in an attempt to build something unique. Read more>>

Matt Ford | Entrepreneur, Digital Marketing Expert

Growing up, my parents often struggled with money, and were never able to take much time for themselves because they didn’t “have enough PTO”. Seeing that, I vowed to never have someone tell me how much time I could take off for myself, for my family, for my health, etc — and also that I would make enough money to not only support myself, but also my parents, my friends, and the world at large. Read more>>

Alison Lebofsky | CEO & Creative Director

I always knew I wanted to create beautiful things for this world that were intentional, and from the heart. After college, I found myself working a 9-5 graphic design job at a reputable jewelry company (business name disclosed). This was a place in my life that broke me and built me all at the same time. I became depressed – fueled by the abuse of my manager, a toxic work environment, along with a soul that was desperately seeking to be creative without limits. I turned this depression into fuel and started a graphic design company called Perspektiiv Design Co. I focused on working with entrepreneurs and small businesses because I was inspired by their passion and drive to create for themselves. It’s now been 7 years since the creation of Perspektiiv Design Co., and I could not be more grateful for the journey. My story in this business has been an entrepreneur’s rollercoaster of failing, learning, and growing. Read more>>

Becky Magnotta | Executive Coach and Certified Positive Intelligence Coach

I was first coached 12 years ago, and immediately knew I wanted to support others like my coach supported me. I put the pieces together to complete a training program, get certified, and then to make Homestead Coaching and Consulting, LLC a reality. I spent time determining my niche. It would be business oriented since I had many years of experience working in my family’s business, Homestead House, and Chevron and DISH Network. Since most of my experience was as a senior manager/executive, and coaching and developing leaders at this level, I realized it was my tribe and an audience that I wanted to support. The next hurdle was determining how to actually start, and get in touch with my tribe? I talked to lots of coaches and got advice to start small and grow organically, which worked great. I received a contract to build a leadership development program for a small company which gave me the capital to keep going over the first year. I also kept improving my use of LinkedIn to reach out to potential clients who helped me get started. Read more>>

Savinay Chandrasekhar | CEO

I actually didn’t start this non-profit (but I’ve started others), but I certainly run it as my boot-strapped start-up baby. 🙂. Read more>>

Jill Callan | Boutique Owner and Creative Enthusiast

I studied fashion in college, then started my career in NYC. I started designing menswear right out of college, then moved into children’s wear since it aligned with my personal creative side. In 2008, many people in my industry were being laid off due to the jobs going overseas. I felt bad for my employees as well as all the others in the industry. I was trying to think of a way to employ us “artists” so as to not be dependent on large companies. That’s how the idea started. I wanted to open a shop that sold a collective of local artists designs. I expanded past my town and found many designers on etsy who were willing to sell to me wholesale. There was a good variety of product geared towards children. It was “the” place to shop for unique items. Over the years, I’ve expanded my view by reaching to European countries as well for their unique items. That brings me to today, a beautiful store with European and local designs, all the while maintaining exclusive yet affordable products. Read more>>

Cassidy Winsor Ty Dowdy | Owners & Photographers

We started our business to provide elopement and intimate wedding photography to couple who may not feel represented by the wedding industry. Society likes to tells couples what their bodies should look like, what skin color is more beautiful, and who they should love. Society even tries to tell couples what kind of weddings they should have and how their love should be celebrated. We started our business to create a safe space for our couples to truly be themselves outside of the constraints that society may place on them. We document weddings that authentically represent who our couples are as people. We believe that all love deserves to be celebrated – regardless of age, size, or sexual orientation. Read more>>

Brandi Mason | CEO & Lead Trainer of BB Ties

From the outside, I felt like I had it all: a successful career, a loving husband, 2 incredible children, a strong support network of friends and family, a house in the mountains of Boulder, Colorado. Still, something felt like it was missing. After investing in therapy and coaching, I realized that none of these things would feel fulfilling unless I decided to live a life based on my meaning and purpose. By using methods inspired by ancient Greek philosophers, I stumbled upon an effective way to do this. As a seasoned executive, I leveraged my expertise in strategic planning and sustainable productivity to develop a system that allowed myself and others to consistently live in a contented state of being happy, healthy, and prosperous, or as Aristotle called, “Eudaimonia”. This system is composed of a framework, accountability tools, and physical reminders which are designed to bring and maintain a feeling of fulfillment in three core areas: family, work and self. Read more>>

Lorne Jenkins | CEO of Mini Money Management

I started MMM because I had seen how little financial education is provided and how negative of an impact that can have on people of color. I started this company after I left my job in the financial sector, and I realized that I could either complain about people not being taught about money, or I could actually do something about it. Read more>>

Rachel Dinda | Artist and Muralist

As an artist and muralist, the thought process behind starting my own business is to marry my passion to paint with creating a unique experience for my clients. I work closely with my customers to provide a service that identifies their culture, brand, or values and magnifies it through a colorful work of art. When a business hires me to design a wall, they are promoting value to the arts, small business and beautifying the community. I offer my service to commercial business, residential, and for projects funded by the city. Read more>>

Jonah Trople | Artist, Designer

I started Clementine Art Department as a way to help move my work out of the fine arts studio and into a commercial realm. I sit on all these beautiful ideas that, for the most part, sit in my studio – they make it into my paintings and sculptures for sure, but I really wanted to move my work into a more accessible domain. My work wants to be seen and utilized. Clementine was my way of helping move these airy design ideas back onto the Earth plane. The thought process behind starting a more commercial focused studio I could open myself to more projects – more opportunities to put my work, talents, and voice into the world. Read more>>

Jenny Nuccio | Founder of Imani Collective + Co-Founder of School of Ethical Impact

Imani Collective actually started as a training program first. Over the years of traveling to Kenya, I had become great friends with the women and noticed some major gaps in education and opportunities for women. So in 2013, we started Imani Collective – a socioeconomic women empowerment program to empower women through education and training. Then over the years, we grew organically to the brand we are today. Read more>>

Nikita Coulombe | Artist

I started my own business because I realized that making art is what I love doing most and life is short. Why not give my own dreams a shot? I’m not afraid of failure and rejection, but I didn’t gain the necessary confidence until I worked for other people and saw that no one really knows what they’re doing until they do it. I decided to just go for it and figure it out along the way. I have always worked hard and wanted to see what could happen if I put my energy, talent, and organizational skills into something that I was truly passionate about. Read more>>

Nikki Brooker Founder and CEO YANAM2M | I Run The Day-To-Day Business of a 501c3.

When two moms took their lives and the lives of their children, we knew we needed to do something to support moms. We created YANAM2M (You Are Not Alone Mom-2-Mom) so that no mom ever feels alone or that they are not enough. It was a “call to arms” for all moms!. Read more>>

Christina Pannone | Clothing Designer

In college I interned in Paris for a small designer who built her brand making one of a kind clothing. That experience showed me that it was possible for me to start my own clothing line as an individual and focus on the things that are important to me, and that I didn’t need a huge startup investment to make it happen. I wanted to make a clothing line that focused on USA made fabrics and ethical production. I wanted to do it on my own terms without compromising on sustainability or ethical production so starting a business just felt natural. Read more>>

Kassandra Brown | Cuddlist, Relationship Coach, and Online Course Creator

When my family decided to move to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in rural Missouri, we knew I needed to do something different. I had been a yoga and meditation teacher and a stay at home mom for the last decade. My husband was an electrician. While those careers worked well in Boulder, CO they were not going to cut it at a car-sharing ecovillage in the middle of a county with more cows and soybeans than people. I chose to pivot with my decade of experience working on wellness and awareness and my immersion in the world of attachment parenting to become a parenting coach. I met with my clients over the phone and Skype. It was great work and very challenging. When I moved back to Boulder in 2017 I decided to work with people’s bodies as well as minds – we store so much of our past, our longing, and our true selves in our bodies. I became a Cuddlist and love using my coaching skills in person to support people having a broad spectrum of relationship health. Read more>>

Amy Biondo | Vocalist, Dancer, Composer, and Vocal Coach

In the fall of 2018, I separated from my husband of 9 years. I had been performing as a vocalist in several bands in the area, but it was very part time and I had primarily been a stay-at-home mom for the last 8 years. Faced with the question of how I would support myself and my children, I began reflecting on my own journey with my voice. My relationship with my voice had never been easy, and while I lived for my moments on stage in front of an audience, it was also fraught with stage fright, doubt, and lots of self-judgments around not being good enough, not knowing enough, and not having enough to offer. I would get so paralyzed by fear before a performance, and often even became physically ill, that at times it wasn’t even fun anymore. Yet I knew deep down I had a voice that I still wasn’t fully sharing, a voice full of power and emotional expression. In a quest to discover this hidden voice and experience more ease and joy in my singing. Read more>>

Jassmyn Mcleary-Strode | Community Activist & Leader/Entrepreneur

Back in December of 2019 I had just had my son, I was feeling down about my body not being the same, trying to learn my baby and being a new mom was tough. Fast forward a few months we break out into a pandemic the world pretty much shuts down! People all over the world losing jobs, not knowing how they are going to pay their bills, no more social events. So I started this group to uplift women and to help women understand that we are all in this together! We are an organization that focuses on empowering women from all over the world and embracing our different experiences. The goal is to empower each other through a series of workshops, events, activities, community involvement and volunteering. We operate as a sisterhood and encourage each other through different life changes by practicing positivity, optimism, manifestation, and other life changing skills. Read more>>

Becky Wareing Steele | Small Scale Sculptor

For me it came naturally. I grew up surrounded by artists and small business owners who demystified the process. I first began selling my original artwork in the form of pin-back buttons when I was 18 under the name Becky’s Buttons. I was living in Fort Collins, Colorado and attending Colorado State University. I collected pin-back buttons through high school into college and decided to invest in a button maker. From there I started approaching small businesses in the Old Town area and was met with encouragement and support. Once I started selling my designs to the public there was no turning back. This eventually evolved into my current art practice working with small scale sculpture that supports me to this day. Read more>>

Martin Kier | Digital Marketing Agency Founder

I had always been leaning towards entrepreneurial activities since a young age. No matter how much I tried to ignore it by taking regular jobs, I couldn’t escape that feeling. Since age 13, I have launched about 18 different business experiments. 3 were profitable. When I started Brand Buddy 3 years ago, I wanted a way to be flexible and help fellow business owners. I had seen tons of other agencies overcharge or not have a clue what they were doing. We all know the stories of “I paid thousands and didn’t get any kind of ROI”. After hearing that story over and over, I figured there was room in the market for an agency that knew what they were doing and not charging obscenely high rates. I wanted to represent the smaller businesses that needed a helping hand in their digital marketing efforts. Plus, digital marketing as a whole is a wonderful blend of technical and creative which was a perfect match for me. I knew that businesses were going more and more digital every day, so it seemed like a safe bet to jump in. Plus – I knew I had control over my work load and income which is a wonderful, limitless feeling. Read more>>