Many books on startups and business talk about how there are right and wrong reasons for starting a business. So, we asked a handful of successful founders about their reasons and the thought-process behind starting their business.

Gabi Hoflin | Allergy Friendly Baker

In Oct 2020, I was renting a room and my landlord Tracy was gluten free. She informed me that she missed all the pleasures and good things that came from eating gluten but could not due to allergies. Read more>>

Joey D’Amico | Duck Call maker and Waterfowl guide

I was working construction when I first started turning calls and I would work during the day, come home and spend time with my family then head out to the garage and work till late in the night on turning duck calls. Finally my sales started to get large enough and I wanted to spend more time with family as well as be my own boss so after praying about it and talking with my wife we decided I should go for it. Read more>>

Jake Harris | Tattoo Artist

I wanted to have personal and financial freedom, make my own hours. Read more>>

Matt Cloven | Disability consultant, advisor, and advocate

I have worked with people with various disabilities of all ages for 20 years in various professional capacities (direct care for adults, case management for youth, and professional rights advocate and systems navigator for all ages). Read more>>

Alyssa Pullekines | Owner/Operator – FOLCLAND

I started working in retail while I was in college in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was a sales associate and buying assistant for a secondhand vintage / consignment boutique throughout college, and this is what really first sparked my interest in running and operating boutiques. Shortly after graduating I moved to New York City and stayed in retail as a sales associate for some great higher-end, independently owned boutique businesses, eventually moving into front end management. Read more>>

Kelly Wilbanks | Writer, Newsletter Coach, and Speaker

After having kids I decided I needed something that helped provide for our family, but didn’t take me outside my home. Except to our local coffeeshop to get my work done on the occasion. I started an internship three years ago which allowed me to explore the inner workings of a company and receive feedback on where my skills and talents lie. Read more>>

Kyle Cockram | Residential Contractor & Business Owner

Over the years as I worked for other companies and grew in maturity and skills I realized that I had a strong desire to coach, teach, and mentor men. My passion of wanting to help others in my community and give back to them also grew. I began to formulate a vision of using my trade knowledge and skills to impact the people in my community in a positive way. Read more>>

Daniel Luna | Deejay and Business Owner

Back in 2008 in College at the University of Illinois, I started deejaying for my fraternity for fun, but enjoyed it so much that I started deejaying at other fraternity parties and eventually made my way into deejaying clubs and bars. As I gained experience with different parties and nightlife events at Illinois, I started getting inquiries for private events and weddings. With this I also joined a company in Chicago Illinois that focuses on weddings and private events. Read more>>

Leon Fanning | Woodworker

I started to think about starting my own business because I wanted to be more available for my wife who is disabled. I have always enjoyed woodworking but never had the time to fully dedicate to it because of a work/job schedule that most often was over 60 hours a week. Read more>>

Lexi Swearingen | Owner, Republic Shooting Range

My husband Zach was leaving a very successful career in the Navy. I was leaving a career in news and starting a career in political consulting. We wanted to do something that utilized my husband’s expertise but afforded us the autonomy to start a family and be close to our family in Pueblo. Read more>>

Pamela Brinker | LCSW, Author of Conscious Bravery: Caring for Someone with Addiction

I became a psychotherapist in my 20’s because I’d always been a curious helper who liked partnering with people into their greater well-being and healing. My psychotherapy practice, workshops and teachings are based around methods I learned and revised, or created as a result of my own experiences. They’re in my book, Conscious Bravery: Caring for Someone with Addiction. Read more>>

Megan, Kevin & Alana | Campthrouple – Content Creators

Our thought process behind starting our TikTok channel CampThrouple was to hopefully be able to spread more awareness of healthy polyamorous relationships and to share our personal story. We had no idea when we started what this would turn into or look like, but we have been enjoying each step of the way. Read more>>

Lea Frye | Wildlife Photographer

Both my husband and I love being outside and exploring the great outdoors. His passion is for fishing and mine for photography and we have a shared love of wildlife. Almost by accident, a magazine started publishing my work, and even put a picture on the cover. Once I realized that my photography was “good enough” to sell, the thought process was: Read more>>

Bri Witherow | Owner & Operator

As a creative individual with a passion for the arts, I have a particular affinity for crafting specialty goods. I established 3 Moons Market as an avenue to share my love for handcrafted artisanal products with the local community. My product range includes an array of moisturizing balms, soothing oils, invigorating soaps, and unique candles, all carefully created with a focus on selecting and transforming simple yet high-quality ingredients. My dedication to both wellness and environmental sustainability is reflected in every product I offer. Read more>>

Steffen Mehnert | Mushroom Farmer

Since my two boys were in the 8th grade and we toured an aquaponic garden in Denver with their school classmates, I have been fascinated with taking agriculture to a new level. When I moved to Eagle County, I became friends who some folks who have farms, and through their encouragement, decided to pursue farming. Read more>>


I have been in the trash business for close to 40 years. My father, brother, son and many close family friends worked along side me for a local company that prided itself on great service and outstanding customer relations. Unfortunately for us, the owners decided it was time to retire the business and sold to a large corporation based out of Canada. Read more>>

Paige Frisone | Subconscious Health Practitioner, Writer, & Speaker

No matter how much I’ve struggled in this lifetime, part of that struggle came from a deep longing to be of service and feeling painfully far from doing so. I longed to know that my day in, day out suffering would be worth it someday, if only I could fast-forward and get to the “good” part—where I could make a difference for someone like others had done for me. That longing kept me stuck for years, unable to honor my timeline, unable to access patience and compassion for Self. Read more>>

Brian McCulley | Talent Developer and Acting Coach

I understand the difficulty of starting out as an actor and learning to navigate a notoriously fluid industry. One of the most valuable things that I have learned is that there are many ways to gather information and try to make your place in the industry, but you must also find an angle that is unique to your own skills and strengths. That’s why I opened my coaching program Read more>>

David Wilcox | Registered Representative & Agent – Financial Planning w/ New York Life & NYLIFE Securities

When I made the move to start my own financial planning practice in partnership with New York Life, it was with the intention of helping others in my community achieve greater financial independence. We focus on three broad areas: protection, accumulation and preservation of assets. We believe that when our clients have a greater level of clarity and certainty in their financial house, they gain peace of mind to pursue the other things in life that are important to them. Read more>>

Jaxen Spurs | Latin American Singer Song Writer

For me it was about making my career more than just about my music. Being on stage is truly a blessing but my heart has always been in helping other people. Saved By .Wavs was a way for me to contribute in a bigger way while still pursuing my passion and sharing my life through music. Read more>>

ALEJANDRO AZNAR ALEJO | PE and Outdoor Education Teacher. Snowboarder in my free time.

Streetwear and the importance of having a personal style is something that I was always very interested in, however I had never consider making my own creations. Read more>>

Robin DeCicco | Holistic Nutritionist

I knew I wanted to provide potential clients with the most well-rounded and integrative recommendations to improve their lives from a nutrition/lifestyle standpoint and wasn’t sure if that existed in the ‘ wellness’ space at the time I was trying to figure out what to do with my career; therefore, I kind of knew it had to be me, myself and I. Read more>>

Mike and Suzanne | Innkeepers, Bross Hotel

What was your thought process behind starting your own business?
We moved to Paonia in early 2020, just before the pandemic, to manage the Bross Hotel for the previous owners. It was a career move into hospitality – prior to that Suzanne worked as an architect and Mike worked in historic preservation for the state parks system Read more>>

Ana C. | Licensed Massage Therapist, Ayurveda Counselor In-Training, Trauma Touch Therapist, Cacao Ceremonialist.

I have always been independent. I grew up with a single mother, who also had a single mother, so I was surrounded by women who worked hard and fought hard to provide for their children. What they had to go through, not being able to rely on anyone, I was taught since I was at a very young age. I took myself to school, I cooked my own meals, I did my own work in the house. I grew up very poor, and independence is very crucial to survive. This is the root of my growth in who I am. Read more>>

Matthew Moore | Creative Director & Owner

I’ve always been a self starter and a natural leader. Working inside of a corporate hierarchy structure was frustrating because I felt stifled and unheard. Surrounded by poor leadership, I felt undervalued. When I started to realize I could channel all of my good ideas and hard work directly into my own success, I decided to purse that with all of my energy. One of my goals has always been to never need to create a resume again. It’s been 10 years and so far, with hard work and a little luck, that goal has been achieved. Read more>>

Tracey Gurley | Artist & Entrepreneur

I have always loved to create, from making clay bowls in the creek when I was a child until today and beyond. I wanted to share my colorful artwork from my point of view and to bring happiness to others. Read more>>

Russ Willacker | Owner, Switzerland Trail Bikepacking Supply

I never really had that life goal or aspiration of being a ‘business owner.’ I wasn’t raised in that kind of culture by any means, but I was also never led to believe it was out of my reach. I went to school to be an engineer, and sort of assumed I’d fall into a career position and just do that forever. Read more>>

Stacia McClain | Artist & Your Biggest Cheerleader

Like many, COVID reminded me that life is short. The thought of pursuing something I love instead of working for the man both thrilled and terrified me. During lockdown in 2020, I decided to take the advice of loved ones and open an Etsy shop despite my insecurities. Afterall, I had nothing to lose while waiting for the world to re-open! Read more>>

roger gildehaus | foundermprinciple owner and president of gild corp. and gild holdings

i started in retail with the wal mart company in 1973 worked there for over 25 years..was an assistant store manager,got my own store as manager when i was 24,them mr. sam hand picked me to be the manager of the first proto type stores designed by a company,was to be the store of the future. then i was promoted to the home office in bentonville.was a toy buyer,then sr. Read more>>

Kevin Guttman | Sr. Mortgage Broker and Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional

I grew up in a Realtors home in Orange County, CA. Helping people build wealth by owning real estate and solving problems are two things I really enjoy. A mortgage is like a rubics cube, lots of parts have to line up and every client’s situation is different. It’s an interesting career, I learn new things all the time! Read more>>

Alexis Harris | Outreach and Strategy Consultant

I started my own business in 2015 because I kept having the experience of my work being co-opted under brands of other people and I didn’t like it. When I would ask for my name to be put on my work it always seemed like a problem for the directors who wanted to slap their names on my projects and get paid for my work. Read more>> 

Dr. Kelly Swanson | Chiropractor

We wanted to make a difference in the community by providing the best chiropractic care possible that will in-turn provide long lasting results and better quality of life. Colorado Springs has a very active community that, for the most part, is very aware of their health and how to live proactive lifestyles which is why we were drawn to start our business here as compared to anywhere else. Read more>>

Tanya Tenorio | Tanya Chamain Art and Design

I’ve been working in healthcare finance for 30 years. It has been an interesting and challenging career but it has also been stressful. Creating art has always been a release for me, a way to find my peace of mind and to heal my soul. When I started to make art to sell and asked to do commissions, I realized how my art brought happiness to others as well. Read more>>

Jenn Behrmann | Fudge Maker & Follower of Dreams

I was in education for about 18 years and I was tired of feeling stuck in the grind. I was raised to be independent and, for me, that meant having a secure job with consistent income. However, I found my entire identity being wrapped up in my job and realized I had lost track of myself and what made me happy. Read more>>