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.

Tracy Lawson | Shaman, Yogi and Author

Once I had begun my shamanic training, I realized that I no longer wanted to be a “shaman in the closet”, instead I wanted to help people on a larger scale. I loved the work I was doing, helping others shed their past and their programming by bringing them into balance energetically. There have been different manifestations of my business, and there will continue to be. Ultimately I am here to help raise the vibration of the planet. Read more>>

Harry Hansen | Owner

Nicole and I both grew up in families that worked for themselves most of the time, and we have both been self employed all of our adult lives, this business is just the latest evolution of our craft. Read more>>

Kimberly Chmielewski | Artistic Director, Co-Collaborator, and Choreographer For Jk-Co

The thought process behind starting jk-co, my new Denver-based dance company, was that I finally felt ready and supported to take this leap. I had this sense that I was not adequately serving a community that I have been immersed in for years. After performing professionally, choreographing, and teaching in the Denver metro area for nearly a decade and the relocation of my co-collaborator, Jenny Gram, to Denver, I knew it was the right time to share our choreographic vision with the Denver Dance Community. While there is such history in the prominent companies that are staging work in Colorado, I realized that the opportunities available to me didn’t serve the artistic process that I was craving. It is one thing to dive headfirst into someone else’s creative ideas, but I had a desire to explore movement material with a deeper level of investment. A good performer tells whatever story is being asked of them, but I wanted to find a genuine truth in the art I was creating; I needed the choreography to be more personal, more truthful, and more vulnerable. Read more>>

Taylor Moore | Creative Lifestyle Photographer

Creative lifestyle photography was a passion I discovered later in life, but I have always been a dreamer and wanted something more than the typical 9-5! When I realized how much I loved creating content, I knew I wanted to make this my full time job! I wanted to wake up and do something that I love and travel the world with the man I love because my business allows me to travel and make money anywhere. Read more>>

Confidence Omenai | Poet, Playwright, Voice-Actor, Insurance Agent

I am a mother of five. My thought process was that I would no longer allow anyone to dictate when or how I showed up for my children. I created my own business because as a single mother of four, 14 years ago, I struggled to pay for daycare. My work life balance was in shambles. Without a co-parent or partner a sick child being sent home from school or daycare was catastrophic. At that point in my life I didn’t have a huge support system. If a child got sick and I couldn’t go to work there was a ripple effect. You worked less hours so the paycheck you have already stretched to the point of translucence is short. Now you don’t have the money for the payment arrangements you made. Next come the cutoff notices. Then the employer starts “coaching” you on attendance. You start wracking up points for every occurrence until eventually you max out and get fired. I remember the last time, not the first. I got a call from the daycare halfway through my work day. My daughter had a fever and I had to come pick her up. I made a few desperate phone calls to see if anyone could pick her up so I could finish the day. To no avail. I alerted my manager. Read more>>

Alexis Palmer | Metalsmith, Maker/Artist & Professional Recruiter

Initially, I was not intending to start my own business. I had taken some metalsmithing classes because I thought it would be fun to learn and to be able to create things that I hadn’t been able to find easily, and really, just as a creative outlet and challenge. I posted a few pictures on my Instagram account and people started asking where/how they could buy them! So I thought, ‘why not?!’ and boom! I am very lucky to have been able to gradually learn and sell and figure things out as I go. There is an endless amount to learn and to try with being a maker as well as running all the marketing and each aspect of operating a business. It is always evolving. Read more>>

Scott Cline | Owner & Brewmaster

My wife and I were living in Crested Butte at the time. I was brewing beer at home and she really supported what I was doing. After talking about opening a brewery for a few months, she told me, “Let’s do it!” Soon after, my wife got an opportunity to launch a pediatric OT program at our local hospital, so we moved down valley to Gunnison. About four weeks after moving to Gunnison, the former brewery that was here shut its doors. It was like the universe told me that this was my opportunity, so I took it. My wife is really the one to catalyze the effort. She is my rock. Read more>>

Cassidy Hill | Owner at Green Mountain Beer Co.

My business parter Brian Milhaupt and I are old rock climbing buddies dating back almost 20 years. His background is in professional brewing with an education in chemistry, while my professional career has centered around food and beverage service with a degree in business management. While climbing at different locations across Colorado, Utah, and California we dreamed up the idea of opening a brewery together and in 2016 made the dream a reality with Green Mountain Beer Company. Read more>>

Jennifer Ghormley | Artist and Art Educator

I have my Master’s degree in Fine Art, and have taught college level art classes as a part time Adjunct Faculty. Full time jobs for artists are scarce, so at a certain point I was forced into figuring out how to convert my skills and talents into an income. My creative work takes on many forms, and can generally be placed into 3 categories; Personal artwork (Jennifer Ghormley artist), Installation artwork (galleries, art consultants, public and private spaces), and Product artwork (Jen G Studios business, art fairs, consignment shops). Starting the Jen G Studios business in 2010 was exhilarating and scary all at once. I taught myself how to market my artwork, how to gain new clients and broaden my audience, what art I can make that people want to buy, and most importantly how to sell my artwork and products. This is something that was never discussed or encouraged in school, so I had to be resourceful and figure it out on my own. Lat year I bought my first house almost solely with income from Jen G Studios, so I feel like I have been successful thus far. I do believe in setting goals, and this has been paramount to my success and growth as a business, and as a creative. Read more>>

Leah Ryan | Leader, Connector, Philanthropist and Director of Denver Housewives in The City

I have been throwing events since 2007… before “vendor events” were a thing. I have always had a passion for helping locally owned small businesses succeed and focused on that goal in each event I have ever thrown. I helped form a local, grassroots women based networking group with a friend of mine in 2012 and it just became part of who I was, my following and success. I learned how important “networking” is to get your business off the ground. I learned that you have to build an authentic foundation and relationship with someone before earning their business, and their referrals. So, in 2016 when I was presented with the opportunity to open the Denver Chapter of Housewives in the City, I was elated and of course I said yes. Read more>>

Hosea Rosenberg | Chef and Restaurateur

I have always loved new challenges. Working for myself is the ultimate challenge. I wanted to put myself out there and do things my way. I have not regretted a single day since. Win or lose – it’s all on me at this point. Read more>>

Michele Cardamone | Professional Portrait Photographer

My kids were getting a little older and I had always had this idea that I would start my own photography business as photography has always been a passion of mine. I spent 3 years, in my late 40’s, going back to school to study all the technical aspects of shooting as well as to learn more about business. CMC/Spring Valley offers a comprehensive associate degree program and I learned so much! I wanted to open a studio but I also wanted it to be financially successful as well as a meaningful pursuit in my life. I believe it’s important to always be growing and learning while always thinking of ways to give back to the community. A portrait photography business has allowed me to do both. Read more>>

Courtney Bohlman | Alchemist, Elementary School Teacher, Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Spiritual Retreat Leader

Wholesome Alchemy (WA) started for 2 keys reasons and one big push from my partner. I had been making organic products for family and friends for close to 7 years by the time I started my company. It all began because of a personal healing journey that I went on in my early 20’s. I had been struggling with facial rashes and sensitivity to body care products, which lead me down many paths towards healing. Ultimately landing me at the eastern practice of Ayurveda. Once I implemented the teachings, the changes within my body were incredible. This lead me to study, learn, and practice Ayurveda for myself. I moved to India and took a 3 month long immersive program, which lead to an internship at a local hospital in South India. Once I came back to the states I used my knowledge to begin crafting my own products. Over the years I have perfected my recipes and expanded my knowledge into different types of products. The most important piece behind the creation of WA is that, at the time, I saw it as a stepping stone to a dream I had been growing for years. I do a lot of work in developing countries, mostly West Africa, developing and opening schools in refugee camps and small villages. Read more>>

Dr. Jennifer Martin | Owner of Made Strong Physical Therapy & Wellness

Going into physical therapy, I never thought I would end up starting my own business. But the more experience I got in the field, the more I recognized the barriers to providing high quality care. Often times this was lack of transportation or time to get to the PT clinic, and even more impactful the rapidly decreasing amount of quality one on one time individuals were getting with their therapist. I saw individuals getting caught in a cycle of their problem getting worse over time, because the true cause was never being fully addressed. Being in pain or struggling with your mobility is a threat to your independence and livelihood, and can throw your whole world upside down. I remember thinking how things would be different if I was able to spend as much time as I needed with every person I worked with, and how much potential they had to improve if their full story was truly understood. I wanted to create an environment that put the client first, and provided them with a well rounded solution to break their cycle of pain and ensure long term results. From that vision, Made Strong was born. Read more>>

Lauren + Carly DeFilippo | Co-Founders of Cognoscenti Creative

Before launching Cognoscenti Creative, we both had worked in-house on marketing and creative teams in the food and hospitality industries and had been freelancing for several years on the side. By the time we were 10+ years into our careers, we realized that our combined skill sets of copywriting / content strategy and graphic design / photography allowed us—as a team of two—to provide agency-quality creative on a scale accessible to small business owners. We found ourselves particularly drawn to the stories of artisans, makers and other entrepreneurs—the types of clients we never could have served if we continued working for larger creative companies. Read more>>

Cavi Ornong | Barber Entrepreneur/Owner

My thought process behind starting my own business was first and foremost to be fully independent. I came from a upbringing of consistency and a relentless work ethic.. I truly thank my Father Jourdan Ornong for those amazing attributes. Barbering was a way also to be in business but at the same time give back to my community, with not only haircuts but also the ability and time to inspire confidence and positive energy and thinking within our youth and community. Read more>>

Latasha Dunston | Illustrator, Muralist and Storyteller

I have always been independent and clashed with authority haha. From a young age I knew I wanted to be my own boss because I am a natural leader. Read more>>

Rudi & Dan Taylor | Entrepreneurs & World Travelers

That’s easy! We love to travel! It started over 35 years ago. We were independent people and we needed to earn money, so we developed a business that allowed us to travel. But it wasn’t just traveling – it was about many things … world cultures, working in third world countries, interacting with indigenous people, buying handcrafted goods, ethnic food, giving back by developing co-ops …. there is so much! But ultimately, it’s about loving and feeling good about what we are doing, and enjoying our lives. Read more>>

Mundi Ross | Co-Owner, ALMAGRE Venue and Bar

I have been in entrepreneurship for six years now. My concepts have coincided with seasons and or needs within my community. My current effort, ALMAGRE Venue and Bar was birthed from a desire to create a beautiful space in the heart of Colorado Springs that brings together community, celebration, and collaboration. In everything I do, I challenge myself to think differently and stretch myself beyond what is expected. The bar’s mission is to welcome you in like family and I believe we do just that. We have created a welcoming environment that encourages your to stick around for a while. Our menu is designed to be shared as we celebrate regions from around the world. Our venue is just as elevated and thoughtful as our bar. We didn’t skip on any of the details. Our hope is the same, that by choosing to celebrate inside our venue you feel welcomed like family and the freedom to create a beautiful experience within our versatile space. Read more>>

Koren Worley | Designer and Founder, Wellrounded Design LLC

I’ve never thought of myself as an entrepreneur; in fact, I always pride myself on being an amazing employee! But, after having our first son, I made the decision to quit my job to stay home and parent full time. It was pretty soon after that that I had a bit of an identity crisis. Nothing major but I was definitely questioning my decision to leave full time work; frankly, I was feeling a bit unfulfilled at home. Did I love spending time with this little human? Of course. But, did I have a creative itch that needed to be scratched? Yes, yes I did. Then, rather quickly, we got pregnant with our second son! So, just as I was mustering the energy to launch into something for myself, I got a bit derailed by pregnancy hormones and fatigue. Luckily my momentum wasn’t all lost; soon after having my second son, I felt more determined to launch into the unknown! I wasn’t quite sure what it would all look like but I knew I needed to pursue things that satisfied my soul. And, more than that, I wanted my sons to see me, know me; I wanted them to grow up and be able to say, “My mom loves to make stuff. Read more>>

Candayce Abney | Photographer

I’ve always enjoyed photography growing up, taking family and landscape photos. Back then, I only used disposable cameras and cellphones. I didn’t decide to invest in an interchangeable lens camera until my fiancé (boyfriend at the time) encouraged me to buy my first camera and lenses. Using better equipment during our fall photo trip back in 2016 opened up a whole new creative outlet for me. I instantly got addicted to chasing the next best shot! We even took our first trip to Iceland a few months later. Talk about a photographer’s paradise! I exclusively posted my photos on my Instagram account that I created back in September of 2016. Eventually, I decided to start posting my photography on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. I got more involved with the Colorado based photography groups on Facebook. That’s when I started getting more exposure and even started getting questions like, “How can I purchase a print?” That’s what got me motivated to get my website and online store up and running. Since I am out there all the time taking photos already, I thought to myself, why not? Photography is not my hobby, It’s my passion. Read more>>

Pauline Fortuna | Portrait Photographer

I wanted to start my own portrait studio to creatively photograph people, make large prints and sell them to discerning clients. Just as many other people who start their business, I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted more control of what I was producing. Read more>>

Bridget Molloy | Founder, CEO, Herbalist, & Sexual Wellness Expert

I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship, and long before that, herbal teas and gardening, which I grew up with. After graduate school and having studied herbalism around the world, I began teaching community health classes and soon found that many people also didn’t know how to or where to look for reliable high quality botanical products that met their needs. After teaching for the first 2 years of my business, saw an opportunity and I decided to begin working on a product line addressing basic wellness…as well as develop cocktail bitters! During my R&D, I realized that my niche was in women’s health and in sexual wellness. I have been working in women’s sexual health & wellness for nearly 15 years, and after hearing so many women’s stories, I was inspired to combine that knowledge with my herbalism background, and studies in molecular biology and pharmacology. Overall, at first I thought I would only be teaching classes and seeing clients, and the business has grown over the years into an area that I continue to be passionate about. Read more>>

Heather Clift | Owner and Float Facilitator

When Paul and I decided that we wanted to create Samana, we had already had a few businesses that we owned. Paul was a relator for over 20 years in Colorado, and I started a small interior design business. Our thoughts on the Float business was being of service. We were in the service industry already as a Realtor and designer, but we wanted to be more involved in helping others feel better, and the personal aspects that floating brings. Paul had lost a dear friend of his to Cancer at a very young age, and it was a catalyst to create a business that would help people and support our community on the terms that we wanted. So that is how Samana was created, Everything we do at Samana is coming from a place of service. Read more>>

W. Max Thomason | Artist

The impetus for returning to art full time as a career was a conversation with my parents. We were on a family vacation in Phoenix, at dinner one night, and they told me they thought it was time for me to return to creating art full time. So, in 2011 I sold my half of a company I owned with my little brother to him, rented a studio above an antique store on the northeast corner of Santa Fe Dr & 8th Ave and went back to painting full time. Read more>>