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.

Jusin Bride | Principal | Ascent Contracting, Inc.

I started my business in 2012 with the intent to build a company and a culture that is based on honesty, integrity and quality craftsmanship. Nearly ten years later, I feel very proud of the company and most especially of the family of incredible individuals I am lucky enough to work with everyday. We are very intentional about the people we hire and the most important factor in our hiring is not skillset. Our company culture was built strategically with individuals who have personalities that allow them to create strong, authentic bonds with clients. Each team member highly values integrity and honesty, and they always prioritize our customer’s vision for their dream house. Our clients tell us that they truly enjoy including us as a part of their weekly and daily lives, and that they had fun with the journey of the build process. And that’s our goal, that’s our special sauce, creating that trust with our clients. Each person at Ascent has a strong ability to create that relationship that leads to a shared vision, and ultimately, a dream home and exceptional results for every single project. Read more>>

Bevan Cammell | Co-Owner & Head Coffee Roaster at Loyal Coffee

I wanted to start a business to focus on the things that were important to me in regards to my career in coffee. Which were; to create a beautiful place where coffee can be truly valued for how much work goes into it and a coffee brand that was known for uniting the community it’s in. Read more>>

Kayla Reed-Baum | Founder & Owner of Charming Threads Boutique

After completing grad school, I couldn’t shake this overwhelming need for more. I’ve always needed a creative outlet and it’s easy to let routine and comfort stop you from dreaming and thinking of more. I was inspired to start this boutique after watching my husband continue to grow his own business. I wanted flexibility. I wanted freedom. I wanted something to grow from nothing into something. Charming Threads Boutique has provided me with a community of women who support the brand and also one another! I love being able to provide clothing, jewelry, gifts and more that make others feel and look their best. There’s nothing more important that giving to others and self care. We provide both!. Read more>>

Sandra Hong | Illustrator & Owner of Desk of Sandra

Weird circumstances actually led me to start Desk of Sandra. Up until March of 2020 I was living and working in New York. However, when the pandemic started I lost my job and visa status in the US and within a week I was back home in Toronto. Just like everyone else, the start of quarantine was a really difficult time for me so I turned to illustrating as a coping method as it was the one thing that helped ease my anxiety. I was seeking something to keep me busy so I started my business on a whim. What I didn’t expect was for it to take off and expand the way it did, but here we are. Best spontaneous decision i’ve ever made. Read more>>

Laura Asbury | Registered Dietitian

I have a passion for helping others. My first job as sports dietitian was working at Florida State University with the football team. While I loved it, I knew there was deeper roots in nutrition I wanted to touch and I wanted to have more impactful and meaningful conversations. I wanted to start my own business to connect with people who are motivated to make sustainable healthy changes in their life and want to become the best versions of their self. Read more>>

Saara Haapanen | Movement Motivator

I was fed up with doing all the work and someone else taking all the credit and the funds. I also had negative experiences with 2 different bosses in the field and knew that I could do things better. Read more>>

Erebus Txairu | Certified Herbalist & Entrepreneur

I knew I wanted to work for myself from a very young age, yet I spent many years working for others, for causes that weren’t fulfilling my soul’s purpose. Eventually I decided I could start a business from the ground up, doing something I loved. I knew it would take some time before I was making the same amount of income, but that wasn’t the goal anymore. My goal was to help others while doing something that allowed me to express myself creatively. Read more>>

Melissa Lutz | Coffee Shop Owner, Food Hall General Manager

I came up with the idea to start a business because I wanted a sustainable way to help fund projects for my aunt’s non-profit in Haiti. I had been traveling there with her for years and the idea to start a business was born from the desire to have a greater impact in the community. I have always loved coffee and the community environment of a coffee shop, so I was drawn to the idea of starting my own coffee shop. Read more>>

Rachel Kois | CEO & Founder of Simple Switch

I’m fortunate to have grown up in a family of small business entrepreneurs (my parents own KOIS Real Estate) so the concept of starting and running my own business wasn’t as scary as it is for many people. Entrepreneurship itself appeals to me because I’m able to go about solving big world problems without bureaucracy getting in the way, and I can structure my job around other things I love, like travel, friends and family, and a balanced personal life. (Not that I always do a great job at that!) More than anything else, I knew I had to start my own company because the environmental and social injustices I had seen all over the world were keeping me up at night, and I knew I couldn’t rest until I took action to right these wrongs. This is not only what led me to start the business, it’s what keeps me coming back every day. I would have given up a long time ago if I wasn’t so passionate about our mission. Read more>>

Kaitlin Amanatullah | Wedding/Event Planner & Designer

I never particularly pictured myself starting my own business, but looking back I can see it was where my path was leading! I have always loved being creative (I went to school for art and art history) and knew that I wanted an outlet for that in my future job, but I wasn’t yet sure how to achieve that. I got my first taste of “entrepreneurship” when I was a Sophomore in college. I had been struggling to find support for an eating disorder I was battling, and ended up co-founding a support group on my campus when I couldn’t find the proper resources. Around that same time I got engaged to my high school sweetheart. In the year that followed, the pieces started to fall into place on their own. My wedding planner was my inspiration to explore the industry, and after various internships/jobs (working at a bridal salon, doing floral deliveries, working for a planner, etc) I found myself in a transitional period that opened up the door for me to start my own business. Read more>>

Hailima Yates | CEO of Luv Mrk, Author & Transformation Speaker

When I started Luv Mrk, I originally planned on it being a company that focused on celebrating kindness. I wanted to promote happiness and bring people together by exhibiting the various ways we leave our mark in the world with love. I then thought about the struggles we face individually and as a society that I didn’t want to put a band-aid on our issues and wanted to get to the root of what causes our battles so we may explore life-changing solutions. Therefore, Luv Mrk is a coaching company that guides people to value themselves and others. Through transformative workshops, events, and multimedia productions we promote self-empowerment to foster social, emotional, and mental wellness; and diversity, equity and inclusion training to endorse humanizing views of others to cultivate respect for diversity and establish equitable and inclusive environments. Read more>>

Austin Black | Designer

It was less of a “thought process” and more of a sudden switching-of-gears and a leap of faith. I lost my job in 2019 when the business I had been working at closed, forcing me to figure out my next move. My biggest hobby at the time was refinishing and flipping furniture, but I only had a handful of pieces under my belt. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and the thought of using my Business degree to find a run-of-the-mill desk job sounded excruciating. So, in the span of a couple weeks, I decided to start a furniture refinishing business, came up with the name (Styled by Austin), created my website, filed all the paperwork, and leased a warehouse space to use as my workshop. I jumped in head first and haven’t looked back since!. Read more>>

Theresa Brighton | Zero-Waste Event Enabler

I love celebrating the good things in life and feel coming together to share a meal with family and friends is one of the best ways to enjoy our time together. I started BrightHeart Decor after years of working for the most beautiful wedding venues and talented caterers along the Front Range. As much as I loved being a part of meaningful celebrations, I would come home afterwards feeling sickened by all the trash generated during the event. It’s difficult to imagine the amount of trash left to throw away after a wedding, until you are the one lobbing it in the dumpster at the end of the night. I would lay awake in bed wondering how we could change this pattern of wasteful celebrations. I realized we could solve the problem if hosts had a way to easily rent cute, useful supplies and decorations, vs. buying them to use for a one time use. I decided that if I could raise awareness, and provide a roadmap for hosting sustainable events, I could make a big difference in our community. And thus, Brightheart Decor was born. Read more>>

Stephanie Block | Henna/Mehndi Artist & Painter

In a nutshell it all comes down to “Yes!” But if you want the long story… I never intended on starting my own business but I fell into it. I’ve always been into the arts, especially drawing and painting but I never said one day “I’m going to be a henna artist”. My freshman year of college I met a really nice lady at a craft fair and she asked me if I new how to draw. She asked if I would go with her to an Indian pre-wedding celebration called mehndi night. She was doing henna (or mehndi) for the bride and she needed someone to put henna on the guests. I said yes! When I showed up she gave me henna cones and said “here’s the henna, you can do it, just go do it!” It was definitely a divine appointment. The ladies at the party were so patient and kind to me, even when it took me a half an hour to do something that would take me 5 minutes today. Read more>>

Hunter Davis | Photographer

I was inclined to start my own business in order to enable my clients and myself the ability to have the artistic freedom that I feel best represents the desired end goal. Often times photographers are limited by the companies vision, while I want to make sure my clients are not limited by a vision of others that might not be shared. Read more>>

 Lena Leyva | Founder/Creator Zola Oil Co.

Zola came about after I just couldn’t find simple, low-ingredient, AFFORDABLE natural products, so I just started making them for myself. I realized that with a bit of research and some fiddling, it wasn’t so hard to create products that actually WORK from plant based ingredients. As I began to create and share with my community- it occurred to me that we didn’t have what we needed because the skincare industry as a whole hasn’t really catered to the “other” of the world… the brown, the queer, and folks not necessarily “of money”. This kind of knowledge has been around in indigenous cultures for a long time- I am Native Hawaiian and Mexican and plant medicine has always been a given, a regular go-to. The idea was just to weed out reliable information… information that has often been obscured, written off, and devalued by big pharma and mainstream/colonial culture. Read more>>

Taj Nahar | Travel Content Creator & Drone Pilot

I see myself as a traveler, explorer and storyteller. I was born with the travel bug in my veins which has fueled my desire to turn this passion into something more than just an idea. After years of producing commercials, corporate videos, and feature films it was time that I turned my focus towards what truly makes me happy-traveling! As much as traveling brings you happiness is also provides other people’s lives meaning too; by sharing your experiences on social media platforms such as Instagram all these followers are able to live vicariously through your adventures! Not to mention the added benefit of promoting these incredible destinations to others around the world. This is where Empyreal Films was born. Making premium quality, short, social video content more available to more hoteliers and vacation rental owners worldwide. After staying at some of the top resorts in Southeast Asia and shooting some content for fun during a trip in January 2020, I knew I had something special and just had to go for it!. Read more>>

Cristina Del Hoyo | Abstract Painter

I wanted to be able to share my art with the world! I also wanted to make it more sustainable and make an income with my art so I can create more art. Read more>>