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.

Jerel Anderson | Tattoo Artist. Entrepreneur. Business owner.

I never had luck with jobs. I didn’t sit well with someone telling me what I can do or how I could do it. I always noticed the people who seems to live freely had their own business. And even if they were stressed and I asked why would they do it. They always said the same thing, because it’s mine and when it’s yours no one can take it away from you. Read more>>

Jeff and Paige | Educators, Children’s Entertainers, and Community Builders

Wow, we can do this? And people will pay us? Really.. that was the thought process. Things have evolved greatly since then and we are still excited that we are able to create a life based around community building, nature, science, kids and music! Read more>>

Ashley Hattermann | Photographer

I wanted to be able to continue to do what I loved to do and be able to have the financials to support it. Read more>>

Jennifer Lustig | Portrait & Lifestyle Photographer

I picked up my passion for photography in high-school as a creative and emotional outlet for a troubled upbringing. I pursued it further in college by getting my Associates in Photographic Technologies. Since then I have worked a number of various photography related jobs, including being a Gallery Director of John Fielder’s Colorado & The Denver Photo Art Gallery. I always viewed photography as a hobby and that if I made it into a business, then I wouldn’t enjoy it as much. I know now that I had it completely backwards! Read more>>

Ted Bradley | Light Sculptor

When I was young I was passionate about art and mechanical engineering. But then I ended up working in software for a decade. I arrived in my mid-thirties and asked myself, “What do I want to do with the next ten years of my life?” Everything was set up to continue my career in software. There was momentum behind it, hard-earned experience, and financial opportunity. But it wasn’t where my heart was. I wanted to believe that I could do all the things I love the most – design, engineering, inventing, sculpture, business – in one job. This is my dream job. Read more>>

Jin Lee | Licensed clinical pediatric psychologist

I launched my private practice during the pandemic in 4/2020. Prior to that, I’ve been wanting to provide the quality care to the patients I was seeing in a hospital setting, but because of my busy schedule, I just didn’t take the action. However, the pandemic brought a whole another level of mental health needs in the community. At the same time, my work at the hospital was reduced significantly in response to the pandemic, and these two incidents drove my passion to serve the patients in the way I could. Read more>>

Matthew Ackerman | CEO – MeadKrieger Meadery

We have wanted to share our love of Norse culture for a long time. We believe that creative expression is the best way to do so. While we started by making music, we had been making mead for several years as it was very important to the Norse people and is a fantastic drink in general. Mead was a key part of creating and strengthening community and we believe that it can still bring people together in merriment. After developing our recipe and creating a following for our home-made mead, we decided it was time to take the dive and start making mead for the public. We hope to continue fostering community and spreading our love of mead and Norse culture to Colorado. Read more>>

Andrew Tran | Founder & Creative Director

I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs so I was surrounded by the mindset of working for yourself. When I started my first business, I was a high school senior with a passion for filmmaking and storytelling. I reached out to a ton of creatives and brands to learn more about the industry. I knew I had to start my own business to take on more projects to grow my craft and gain experience. In 2014, after working with a few friends for some time, we decided to start Redefined.Media – a full-service photo and video production company dedicated to providing creative storytelling and production services. Read more>>

Avery Jelinek | Brand Designer

My thought process was that I had no thought process! The summer after graduating college in 2019, I was just a broke, unemployed creative in the midst of a months-long search for a full-time job. Life moved pretty slow during that time and I found myself longing for something to fill my days with. I graduated with a degree in Advertising. Because of the specific route I chose, I missed out on the professional graphic design teaching that art students receive. But also because of the route I chose, I ended up with a specific interest in marketing and what it looks like to build a brand. Read more>>

Jenna Porter | Photographer and Business Mentor

I’ve always known I would work for myself. Travel is really important to me and I’ve always been really independent- I couldn’t stomach the idea of someone telling me when I would be allowed to take vacation or be sick or even wake up in the morning. I didn’t want to spend my life in furtherance of making money for someone else. Photography had been a hobby and I just decided to give it a shot professionally after college and ended up really liking it. Read more>>

Patti Salomon | Small business owner and floater of Salt 360 Float Studio

A few years ago when I first considered starting my own business, my very busy life in St. Louis included being a single mother, managing a small business and rehabbing a home. I worked out regularly to try to stay healthy, but I still felt the effects of the stresses of everyday life. When I spoke with my daughter, who was in college in Portland at the time, she told me she had visited a float center and had really enjoyed the physical and mental benefits of floating. She thought I might enjoy floating too, so she sent me a gift certificate for visits to a St. Louis float center. Read more>>

McKynzi Bohnen | Artist & Intuitive

I had always wanted to try painting professionally. When my daughter was a baby it was pretty much my only option! I needed a flexible schedule and I hardly had any childcare so I needed a job I could leave out on a table and start and stop when I had the chance. Having no other options was a blessing in disguise. Thanks to a few signs from the universe I gained the support of my mother (who helps me with my daugher). Things just kept falling into place. Have to say I probably do more following the universal flow; signs and feeling things out, than I do thinking things through. Taht’s when things work out the best for me anyway. Read more>>

Reyna J. Valdez | Photographer and student of life

Its when I began to see that people liked my work and that was very affirming. I thought, If I am going to offer a service I am going to do it the right way. Word of mouth has been the primary method of client referrals and I wanted to get my name out to a wider reaching audience. I did my own research and learned how to start my LLC, register a trade name etc. Fortunately, I was already skilled in building and managing websites, promoting on social media and networking so that part was fun. Nothing was easy, I learned a lot about google analytics, SEO and marketing along the way. I am still learning new things every day. Read more>>

Ramon Balderrama | Photographer & Creative Director

I’ve had an entrepreneurial and creative mindset since I was young. Ever since I can remember I’ve been putting pen to paper and drawing something. The older I got the better I got but realized it wasn’t as fun anymore so I switched to photography and fell in love with it. To buy my first camera what I did was I started mowing neighbors yards at 13 years old. I saved up and got the camera I wanted, which was a canon t3i at the time, but what I learned from doing so was that I loved working for my self and it was possible to do so. Read more>>

Jon Chaiet | Designer

After 15+ years as a designer and studying/working within various disciplines, I found myself at a place in my career and confidence in my work that pushed me through that threshold into starting my own design practice. Essentially after working so long for large companies, which I enjoyed at the time, I realized how much money our teams were spending on outside design and decided to try staking out on my own. I had somehow built one of those fabled networks of connections across the past companies I worked at, and before leaving behind my steady 9-5 I worked towards accumulating an increasing amount of freelance jobs. I think it probably took about six months to get to the point where the time I was spending in the cubicle was becoming the lower-paying job. Thinking back on it now 6 years later it feels like it was a pretty gradual transition. Read more>>

Jan Pratt | Yoga Instructor and Studio Owner

I completed my first yoga training in Manitou Springs in 2008 with Joy Williams and as many 20-hour trainings do for folks, I became completely engrossed in all things yoga had to offer. I took this initial training to dive deeper into yoga philosophy and found that this was only a gateway to so much more. We have those moments in our lives where we are changed forever and this was one such moment. From that time on, I became a training junkie. Read more>>

Brenda Fuller | Co-owner

The idea for Outworld Brewing began from our desire to offer a defiantly different brewpub experience, one that would fuse beer, food and a unique dining experience using Sci-fi/ Fantasy themes and events. Our goal is four fold 1) to brew two lines of Belgian and American-style craft ales and lagers that enlighten and transport the drinker, 2) to contribute exceptional quality culinary offerings and unique food and beer pairings to Colorado’s gastronomic landscape; 3) to purvey rare goods and to enlighten with rare knowledge; and 4) to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the people of, and visitors to, Weld county, Longmont, Boulder, Denver and surrounding areas. exceptional quality culinary offerings and unique food and beer pairings to Colorado’s gastronomic landscape. Read more>>

Alyssa Glock | Artist and Animal Lover

It took years for me to even contemplate starting my own business. Like many other artists, I never thought that I was up to par with what others could bring to the table or that I could make something that others wanted. Lots of time passed before I really sat down and looked at what my hands could make. For years I would create pieces for others as gifts, from tattoo ideas to pet portraits. The pet portraits were the key that unlocked my ‘why’. I was taking someones best friend and immortalizing them with pencil and paper, creating a piece that would live on, or memorialize a beloved pet. After that I truly discovered my love for the medium of sculpting and the idea of creating trinkets of pets was born. Animals have always been a passion of mine and to be able to combine that with art is what drove me to start Art by AlyssaJoy. Read more>>

Heather Byrd | Baker, recipe developer, and entrepreneur

I wanted to have the option for good gluten free baked goods. Often, the breads and cookies at the grocery store are stale, crumbly, and expensive. I wanted to have options for those, like me, who wanted to eat and enjoy what they were eating.  After being diagnosed with celiac disease 8 years ago, I have adjusted recipes and made gluten free food taste like normal food. Read more>>

Marta Sulima | Elopement and Portrait Photographer

My journey to starting my photography business was probably a bit more unconventional than most. It was not something that I had planned for when I first started thinking about my career while in college. I have a PhD in Chemistry and was working as a Research Scientist after graduate school when I was unfortunately laid off. While working for the company, I had already started toying with the idea of turning my passion for photography into a part-time job that I could have fun doing on the weekends, but the layoff was actually my biggest push to completely jump into the business and turn this dream into a reality. As someone who has always loved being outside, with hobbies like hiking and skiing, I really wanted to be able to bring that into my business and help couples who love those activities so much that they want to make them part of their wedding day! Read more>>

Woodie Neiss | CFO, Gámos Ring

Find a product or service that fills a need in the market. Many times, as in our case, this occurs by happenstance. When I proposed to my husband, I purchased a ring off of Amazon. I planned a surprise at the performed the act at the Miami Beach Symphony. Afterwards we asked someone to take a photo of us holding up the ring finger and I posted that to social media. My best friend Tom called me promptly and said, “You got married without telling me?!?!” Read more>>

Thomas Welch, Psy.D. | Child and family clinical psychologist, Author

When I was a boy I had dreams of being a major league baseball player, superhero, veterinarian, “train-driver”, astronaut, and firefighter. The great thing about each of these dreams was that they were possible; All things were possible. One minute I would be hitting a game winning home-run, and the next I would be flying around the world or saving someone from a burning building. The future seemed limitless. Each day provided new opportunities for me to play, to try new roles, to imagine who I would become. Most importantly, it was fun! Read more>>

Mikayla Robertson | Colorado Elopement & Intimate Wedding Photographer & Space Force Officer

Whenever someone asks me this, I always giggle a little bit. Growing up, I never had the dream of starting my own business. In fact, I never grew up wanting to be a professional photographer! I know that many photographers first picked up a camera when they were much younger, but I was gifted a camera when I was 21 solely to document views on awesome hikes and my dogs in pretty places ha! Everything really started from there. One of my best friends got engaged and I was the only person she knew with a “nice camera” so we went for it. I wasn’t very good because I was used to taking photos of dogs and mountains but I had a lot of fun. So I took a chance on myself and I’m so glad that I did. Read more>>