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.

Lucretia Estelle | Owner of Estelle Lux Collection

I was constantly getting compliments on my skin and lips. Being asked what products do I use and what are my secrets, I would continually promote other brand products that I was using. One day I decided to research what it took to start my own beauty brand. Read more>>

Justin Klocke | Jeweler, Silversmith, and Designer

I’ve worked for entrepreneurs, artists, family owned businesses, and self-employed types all of my life. The closest thing I’ve had to a ‘corporate job’ teaching for universities. I was teaching in California when I started Nishnabotna, and the business grew out of the desire to not rely on academia to make a living. I love teaching, and academic is a wonderful environment to be in, but it can also be a bubble. Read more>>

Elise Raney | Owner of Pups & Peaks LLC

I was not happy at my stressful office job, so I quit to take some time off to hike the Colorado Trail with a friend. During my time on the Colorado Trail, I had plenty of time to reflect on what I wanted out of life. I realized that a traditional 9 to 5 job was never going to be the answer for me and that I should put my degree in animal behavior and background in dog & cat behavior to good use. After completing the Colorado Trail, I got the ball rolling and opened Pups & Peaks a month later. Read more>>

Josh Martin | Digital Marketing Expert & CEO of Denver Marketing Solutions

I realized that I was missing out on irreplaceable time with my family. My thought process was that I could start my own company, work mostly from home, have more flexibility with my time, as well as provide that for my employees. I also saw efficiencies and ways in the old system that could be done differently with better outcomes. With that in mind, I knew that I had the skills and experience to start and succeed with my own digital marketing firm. Read more>>

Miller and Debbie (MAD) Harrell | Photographers and Outdoor Enthusiasts

We want to share, inspire and motivate people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. There are so many wonderful places to visit and experience the beauty of nature and the positive physical, as much the physiological and spiritual, impact the natural world has on us. Living an active lifestyle is a great part of a healthy lifestyle in so many ways. Read more>>

DJ Bridwell | Singer/Songwriter & Third and James Recording artist

Growing up a 3rd generation musician, and watching both my Mother and Father playing country music in their own band. It seemed liked the right thing to do. For most of my early childhood and teenage years although I enjoyed listening to my parents band, I had no real interest in being a part of the music scene. That would change about the age of 18 when I taught myself how to play drums and joined my first band. Fast forward 3 or 4 years and a couple bands later, one as a drummer and one as a bass player, I then taught myself how to play guitar. Read more>>

Jennifer McCray Rincon | Founding Artistic Director, Visionbox Studio

The National Theatre Conservatory at the DCPA was the only MFA in Acting in the state of Colorado. I was there for 18 years and when it closed I saw major hole in Denver Arts. Actors and other theatre artists need training at a professional level regardless of their age or backgrounds. I come from the highest level of theatre training in the US. I went to Yale undergrad and then the Yale School of Drama. I wanted to give back what has been given to me. And in a community where I am a rarity. And I knew this training would continue to help improve the overall quality of the theatre work in Denver and Colorado. I also wanted to continue my own producing work and development of new plays. This was a continuation of my decades of work with actor Bill Pullman. Read more>>

Trinity Albertson | Self-Mastery Business Coach

As a researcher, educator, and administrator, I strongly stand for being able to “have it all” — As a veteran of the United States Army, and a still serving spouse of an active-duty service member, I have experienced my own journey of struggle to freedom, fulfillment, and joy. I started my business in 2017 as a means to end the gaps in my resume. As a military spouse, I was part of the vicious cycle of ending my career each time we were put on orders to relocate. In fact, I have spent my entire life MOVING!!! My “life happens” situation was something that reoccurred every couple of months (weeks sometimes, especially in my youth), to years, and I had NO control! Read more>>

Truman Adams | Artist

Working for someone else helps their dream come true. I prefer to work on my own dreams. When I graduated art school in 2000 I was a mural assistant getting paid $8 an hour and my boss was charging $100 an hour for the work I did. I learned quite a bit before quitting after 6 months. I then started my own projects mostly high-end oil portraits where I was making $50 an hour at my own schedule. I am now up to $150-$250 an hour. Read more>>

Jess Rice | President & Director of Media Relations, wildHERness

As a woman who’s been passionate about The Great Outdoors her whole life, I was always among the minority at outdoor functions, hunts and conservation organization events. Often, I was the only woman in the room. After locating a group that catered to fostering connections to nature and the outdoors for women, I realized I wasn’t alone. There were other women out there, clamoring to overcome barriers to explore what has traditionally been a male-dominated area. Daring, smart, fearless women. After one Women In The Outdoors event with the National Wild Turkey Federation, I was hooked. The confidence I felt was extraordinary, and I was absolutely sick with a desire to pass that self-reliant feeling on to other women. Read more>>

Jeff Hindman | Founder/CEO of Cottonwood Custom Builders

What was your thought process behind starting your own business? I’ve always loved the outdoors. Born and raised in Colorado, I put that love into action early, building trails for my Eagle Scout project. As a young professional, I dove into citizen activism, working on grassroots consumer and environmental protection campaigns. Eventually, that led me to Washington D.C., where I worked as a lobbyist & campaign organizer. While I thrived on the purpose of the work, the stress began to take a toll on me physically. I knew something needed to change, so I took a leap and traded in my suit and tie for a tool belt. Read more>>

Erika Ryon | Dreadlock Loctician

I’m sure I’m not the first to say that starting your own business is one of the scariest embarkments…but it was and has been the MOST REWARDING decision I’ve ever made. I am a single parent and everything I was doing (up to the point of starting my business) just didn’t make sense. I was trying to find my place in corporate America. I was in Nursing School and being a mother to two children…extremely exhausted. I thought it was what I wanted to do, so I worked my ass off to get accepted into this program, and when I was finally there…it didn’t make sense. Read more>>

Hiroaki Takeda | Chef / Food Truck owner

I felling love with beauty of Colorado. I wanted to live here. I loved cooking. So Ramen and winter season of Colorado will be perfect. Read more>>

Tim Hankins | BMX Brand Owner, Founder, Event Organizer & Host, etc.

Well, I was 13 at the time I made my mind up about starting a BMX company. If I recall correctly, the only thing on my mind at that time was owning a rad BMX brand and manufacturing my own BMX Bikes and Parts. There wasn’t much thought outside of that haha. Flash forward to now and actually pursuing those childhood dreams, my main goal is to use my business to give back to the BMX community in all the ways that got me stoked on BMX as a kid (videos, events, mail ordered bikes and parts, etc.!) Read more>>