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.

Cassidy C. Bulwan | Makeup Artist & Owner of Summit Beauty Makeup Artistry

I live in a unique part of the state of Colorado. The Durango area has become a popular destination location for weddings. It’s also an area full of amazing companies and small businesses who needed makeup artists for styled marketing photos shoots. I have been doing makeup since 2008, but I never took the time to start up a real business for myself. I wasn’t even sure I had what it took to run a success business. After observing, researching, and talking to several friends within the beauty industry, it became clear this area needed makeup artists. Read more>>

Sarah Caton | Writer, Artist & Human Being

The initial spark for Voices Rising Press came one day while I was taking a shower and thinking. How could I possibly one day get my book published? I worried not only about finding a publisher to take on my work, but also I was afraid that once published, my book—my memoir—would be owned by someone else, someone who they could do anything they wanted with it include alter it in some way. Read more>>

Karen Gwartzman | Private Label Product Strategist

Starting a new business, for me, stemmed from fulfilling a need to service a gap in product development and open the opportunity for entrepreneurs, on a full-time or part -time basis , to enter into the e-commerce space from the comfort of their own home. Retail Business as a whole has changed dramatically with the introduction of e-commerce. Never before has anyone been taught the step by steps to successfully start and build a retail business online, make a residual monthly income and have more personal time to do the things they love. I had the knowledge and step by step processes in place to share with entrepreneurs around the world. Read more>>

David Sizemore | Santa Claus for Hire & Voice Over Specialist

After working as a Seasonal Santa Claus professionally during the 2018 and 2019 Holiday seasons for a local Connecticut company, I decided to start my own business so that I could build up my own client base and better control my hours. As fate would have it, I needed to have my own business for the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to the pandemic, Read more>>

Lisa Pezik | Business Strategist, Content Marketer and Solo Theatre Actor, Singer, Songwriter, Playwright

I didn’t want to live with regret. Aspirational goals and dreams for a certain income, lifestyle, travel are all great motivators, but also there is regret. Before I became an entrepreneur, I was working as an RN, first in the Intensive Care Unit and then as a Palliative Care/ End of Life Care Nurse and I had many death bed conversations that were expected and unexpected. Read more>>

Jim Burleson | Event Promoter and Film Producer

In school I was a straight C student. I worked harder to not do my work than to just breeze through. I knew college wasn’t for me. I wanted adventure. I joined the military but was injured in training. I wasn’t gonna be able to jump from airplanes or infiltrate enemy lines. So I joined that regular guy job grind. I worked fast food, retail, and even taking side hustles to earn money. I was able to make good money but I was not a “busy work” kinda guy. Read more>>

Scott Larson | Artist and Author of Notes from the Colorado Trail

I founded Blue Bear Collective in 2012 with the mission of constructing positive social change through the act of giving away art. Because… Free art makes people happy! I believe art is a vehicle for creating a better, happier society by engaging individuals on a personal level, free from any measurable value. I’ve since distributed hundreds of works of art. I give away anything from stickers and drawings, to assemblages and “gallery quality” paintings. Read more>>

Luke Anthony | Music Producer, Songwriter, and Coach

Music has always been a big part of my life; music brought me joy, self expression, and has been the catalyst I wanted to reach into the hearts of people I care about. I started “Lüke Anthøny Music” so I could help others do the same. I desired to help musicians improve themselves while providing an environment rich with creativity and emotional intelligence. I saw a need in the marketplace for the up and coming musicians and I wanted to be that safe space that could empower them to reach their full musical potential and actualize their dreams now! Read more>>

David Slade | Owner/Blends Boss – Willow Seasonings & Blends LLC

It all started with me growing tired of purchasing a product for $10 to $11 and then getting home to use the product and not being happy with the quality of the product. Products were either too salty, had to much heat (spiciness), or just were not good. I started making my own rubs at home for my personal use, I never had any intention of selling them. Read more>>

Brett Gnadt | Owner & Lead Event Planner at The Party Pretzel

I’ve been working in events – in one way, shape, or form – for almost a decade. My mind thinks in spreadsheets and timelines, and that made planning my own wedding a lot of fun! A close friend had offered to day-of coordinate for me as my wedding gift and it was the best gift anyone ever could have given. Having the support through the process was so needed, even for my organized self. After getting married and helping a few friends do the same, I realized how special it is to have someone in your corner to help make your day go beautifully. Read more>>

Dan Moyers | Passionate fly angler and Founder & Owner of Catchflo

Like many entrepreneurs and startup businesses, starting Catchflo was born from me (personally) not being able to find any fly fishy casual footwear (worth wearing) in the market and so I started Catchflo to fill that gap. I believe that the best products meet an actual need, and often that need is identified by the founder themselves who experiences it firsthand and thus is uniquely suited to meeting it from their own unique and innovative perspective. Read more>>

Hanna Stump | Photographer

When I first started doing photography, it was mainly for fun. I used it to fill a creative void that I had in my life. When I decided to make the jump to get my LLC and become a legitimate business, I was terrified! I wasn’t making very much money from photography, but I knew that I wanted to. I had fallen in love with capturing people’s stories and I wanted to continue to do so. Although I was scared and didn’t know if I would be successful, I dove head first. I invested in my business, equipment, and myself. It was the best decision I could have made for myself. Read more>>

Melissa Nelson Emily Thomas | Co-Owners

Our daughters brought our families together through soccer over a decade ago. As they grew and continued on their own journeys, they both had dreams of playing at a high level of soccer in college and beyond. There had been talk of a Women’s Premier Soccer League(WPSL) team being formed in the Sioux Falls region but nothing had come to fruition. We started to ask why not, what would it take and how could we make this happen. From these conversations, was born Sioux Falls City FC. Read more>>

Amy Morgan | Mental Health Professional / Instructor

While I was getting my Master’s in Counseling, I was working at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, seeing crime scene agents come back from terrible scenes and describing what they’ve seen, and hearing stories about the Internet Crimes Against Children team and the things they had to watch on a regular basis. I started developing mental health classes that related to their jobs, and then a few years later I started putting my classes in an online format, and that’s when I formed Academy Hour. Read more>>

Scott Carver | Founder & CEO

I am a serial entrepreneur. I’ve started 5 businesses, all of which became leaders in the markets they served. I love the process of seeing a problem, visualizing a solution and acting on bringing that solution to market. With onWater, I recognized that outdoor recreation enthusiasts were seeking and adopting technology tools to enhance their outdoor experiences. However, the fly fishing and adventure watersports communities had not been addressed. Given my tech and lodge owner experience, I felt we could address this need by starting onWater. Read more>>

Peg Koerselman-Kohl | Small run production sewing and Teacher

I believe the saying “necessity is the mother of invention” is the thought process behind starting my business. I wanted the flexibility to spend time with my kids. They came pretty late in my life. I think I wanted to be with them as much as possible, whether it was volunteering in their kindergarten classroom, or sitting in the bleachers at the high school football game to watch my daughter perform during half time on the dance team. Read more>>

Jaimie Davis | Artist & National Quilt Teacher

When I was a young mother, my father-in-law passed away and I watched as my mother-in-law had to find a job to support herself. I knew that I loved being a quilter and decided that if I developed the necessary skills, when my kids were older I would be able to use those skills to create a job for myself. I love the freedom of not having a boss so I knew that working for myself would be the ideal situation for me. Read more>>

Ryan Lawrence | Professional photographer

I wanted to turn a hobby into something that I could make money doing. I also love to travel and run, so I wanted a flexible schedule that would allow me to do what I wanted, when I wanted. Read more>>

James Grevious | Urban Farmer

The evolution to start this organization began back in 2015 when I created my first Urban Farm with my children called “Rebels In The Garden”. This was created to teach myself and my children the importance of growing food. As the children grew older our farm grew and did our need to reach our community. From there we created our own Farmers Market called “Rebel Marketplace” in the middle of the pandemic in 2020. Read more>>

Abi Horton | Founder & CEO – Beaus+Babes

As a survivor of domestic violence and having volunteered at shelters in the past, I was really hopeful to incorporate raising awareness for domestic violence into a company. I also wanted to create something, something I could call my own that could help people. The seed that started this snowballing was actually my best friend finding out she was pregnant, so I now have an adorable baby nephew Kaiden. Read more>>

Lucie Dedkova | Graphic & Web Designer

These things naturally happen with work experience and seeing potential on the market and my case wasn’t any different. I worked for over 10 years as a graphic designer/director for various agencies, employers, and specific brands. During this time I was able to identify the market gaps and issues. I listened to the clients, their problems, and challenges and because of that diversed angle of view on the same topic, I was able to come up with the solution. Read more>>

Forest Barkdoll-Weil | Photographer, Videographer and Content Creator

Ever since my dad gave me his old DSLR camera in 2017, photography has been my greatest passion. I believed that it would only ever be a hobby since it can be difficult making a living as a nature photographer. However, after a particularly frustrating situation with my job in October of last year, I decided that in 2022 I would open my own photography business. Read more>>

Kate & Jack Lennie | Independent Publisher / Designers

Jack: Kate and I run, own, eat, sleep, breathe ‘We Are Makers’. Kate works on it full time (often seven days a week), and I work on it in the evenings and weekends around my full-time job. We both graduated from Product Design with a BDes Hons at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland in 2015, where we met. Read more>>

Monika Torsell | Mindfulness Coach & Intuitive Soul Healer

Seeing how my own health and wellness journey transformed with implementing mindfulness practices. Years of my life I spent being tossed around the medical system and extremely exhausted to stand up for myself and longing to be heard and cared for. When I embraced my mindfulness practices along with the proper practitioners, it transformed my life and health. I became very passionate from my own experience to want to help others by offering thoughtful, affordable, and healing services for individuals that feel lost on where to turn next. Read more>>

Aria PettyOne | Event Producer & Drag Queen

My thought process was honestly that I was tired of working for others and making them and their businesses successful. I wanted to be the one to take full credit for the work I was doing in my community, without someone else or an organization taking credit, I was also lucky to have my supportive fiance in my corner telling me to take the jump and make drag performing and event producing my full time job. I do not think I would of been able to take that leap with their support. Read more>>

Kristopher Laskowski | Product Developer

I had no intentions to start my own business. This has been a slow progressive journey. The product I had developed gained some interest over the years. It was suggested that I get a patent on it. I then decided to start selling the product publicly using a Shopify account to handle orders. Read more>>

Undrae Fairley | Wealth & Wellness Strategist

First and foremost, I saw a huge need in my community. No one was really knowledgeable about health or finances, and I have the knowledge and ability to educate people on how to improve their physical and financial situations. I saw my business as being able to impact families’ health while also improving group economics-ultimately, moving communities forward. Read more>>

Tracie Amend | Event Designer & Rental Company

My intention with starting my business was to offer one-of-a-kind experiences and events in and around Telluride, Colorado. However, launching my business the same month covid hit meant I had to completely rethink my business. I saw we had large families coming to town and every restaurant was closed. So, I partnered with a chef and together we would deliver a restaurant experience in their home. I would arrive, set the table with beautiful linens, flowers, glassware, flatware, etc. They could then serve the chef prepared meal in the luxury of their home safely. Read more>>

Stacy Ward Lattin | Co-Owner/HBIC

In 2012, after visiting small microbreweries and taprooms in Colorado, we realized we didn’t have anything like this in Wichita, KS. I call it a coffee shop vibe, but with beer. While we had micro breweries with brew pubs, the small beer-focused taproom did not exist. My husband Torrey was really enjoying home brewing at the time, and rather than moving away to work at an existing brewery, we decided to bring the small taproom vibe home to Wichita. Read more>>

Amy Lunstra | Owner of Festive Cup Coffee & Boutique and Founder of WHIT- Working Hard Independently & Together a nonprofit.

I was a teacher. I taught for 10 years in Denver Public Schools at Traylor Academy. I then used my other degree and taught high school students with special needs at ThunderRidge High School. That is when my life’s purpose changed. I had the privilege of having my high school students with IDD for 4 years. So, friendships were developed with the most amazing families. Talk about resilience! I have two sons and they do not have IDD, I thought my parenting took grace and patience. I soon realized that the families I supported were true life warriors! Read more>>

Irma I. De Jesús Rivera | Psychologist Counselor & Professional Coach

The ideas behind Mindset and Transitions comes from a necessity which I saw myself dealing with a professional during the process of moving to the United States and which I’ ve been working with during these past years in my private practice , life transitions. In my years of experience in the mental health area I identified the necessity of many professionals wanting to start new professional goals , relocated because of new job offers , start a new life in a different place and/or a new promotion , just to mention a few. Read more>>

Martin Clausen | Co-founder & Creative Director

Since before starting my studies I have been working freelance doing graphic design and websites for different brands and startups. Something I learned from watching countless of YouTube tutorials. From building that experience and skill set, it came natural for me to start something on my own. At that point it felt meaningless for me to draw a new typography or change the color of brand from one Pantone green to another, so I was seeking to brand people rather than companies. Read more>>

Colin Hornback | Taxidermist

My wife and I didn’t want to be tied to corporate America forever. We wanted to have the flexibility to pick our own schedule, work from home, and have the lifestyle we’ve dreamed about. It has also enabled me to do something I really love and has made work fun! Starting our own business has allowed us to move much closer towards those goals. When we began talking about truly pursuing our own business I had taken a great job for a major national brand that moved us out to Wisconsin. We really liked our experience there, but we wanted to get back to family and Colorado as a whole. Read more>>

Christina Hankins | Artist & Designer

I am a painter and designer currently based near Portland, Oregon. My business started organically about 20 years ago with small gallery showings of my artwork at juried shows and then progressed to gallery exhibitions in southern California. A relocation to Minnesota enabled me to re-evaluate what my business in the arts would look like. I began showing my work at out door festivals first locally and then nation wide. As time progressed, I expanded my work from 2 dimensional paintings and added functional leather work that reflected my painting asthetic to what I offered for sale. Read more>>

Terrance Harden | CEO and Founder of T-boyz Table Games & Board Game Designer

It didn’t take long after discovering the world of tabletop that I wanted to create my own boardgames. Going from just needing something to do at home as a new father and husband, painting little figures, to understanding where those figures truly come from I decided to dig deeper into the industry. I followed all the right social media pages, shook the right hands, and have done extensive research on how publishing works, finding projections for board gaming. Read more>>

Ronnie Townsend | Artist (Painter) & Event Technology Specialist

My thought process behind starting my own business was to be able to share my paintings with other people. I discovered my passion for painting six years ago, and at the time I was simply painting for enjoyment. It wasn’t until someone mentioned how much they loved looking at my paintings and that they could see the magic and intention put into them that I considered the idea of starting my own business. So I listened to the feedback that I received from others and created can Instagram art page that displayed my art work along with photographs from my travels. Read more>>

Morgan Livingston | Bookkeeper & CEO

I was working in a job that I wasn’t happy in and I remember thinking that even if I left that job I would probably end up in a similar situation. Every business has its own issues and office politics and I felt like no matter where I went, it would be the same. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the only way to avoid that would be to work for myself. Read more>>

R-mata & 6PM6PAG LowerEastsideUnderground | Media

two friends on a mission to make Lower Eastside UnderGround a special place where people come network, and hear some of the best music around the world. Growing up in the city of Cincinnati we had to figure out a way to connect artists its old fashioned, the communities don’t embrace urban art so we went digital. While on this journey of showcasing talent we’ve ran into a lot of people who inspire and motivate us to keep going. Read more>>

Dilean Rivera | Artist

Starting my business was a no brainer to me once the Covid pandemic started taking an effect on life around me. I’ve always had a go and get it attitude towards life and so I decided to take my future into my own hands. I figured if I was home all the time due to the world basically being shut down then I might as well tighten up on my craft. Read more>>