Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Guslene Bubak | FOUNDER

My mother left us at an early age leaving my father to raise my siblings and I by himself. The impact of my relationship with my father made me a better woman, mother, leader and partner. My father was my foundation and as a single father he brought my siblings and I from Haiti to Brooklyn, NY in hopes of giving us a better life. Being that my father was a first-generation immigrant he had no support system and was unable to speak the English language. Doing the hair of my sister and I was a constant everyday struggle, but my father did the best he could with the no skill in hairstyling. Now that I am a licensed cosmetologist, I know now the hairstyles were not appealing, but it allowed my father and I to build an unbreakable bond!! Read more>>

Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack | Mexican Food Blogger & Cookbook Author

I started my blog, as a way to journal the journey of writing and publishing my cookbook, “Muy Bueno”. I didn’t even know blogging could be a business. A few months after blogging, brands were asking to partner and sponsor me. It was sheer passion to start a blog and I know it was the passion that turned it into a successful business. Read more>>

Nikki Eisenhauer | Nikki Eisenhauer M. Ed., LPC, LCDC International Life Coach, Licensed Professional Counselor, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, and host of Emotional Badass: Where Moxie Meets Mindful

I began my business in 2009 at 29 years old after experiencing a lay off. I went back to New Orleans after a 4 month evacuation to Austin for Hurricane Katrina to help the city recover; I was a brand new baby counselor specializing in addiction and trauma. The beginning of my career was a sort of baptism by fire. I felt energized and purposeful in my work while also frustrated and stifled with management. My frustration forced getting to know myself better, to dig deeply within myself to decide what I wanted out of this one precious life. I started to see myself as a creative free-thinker who needed to become her own boss to be empowered to work with the clients I wanted in the ways I wanted. I moved to Houston after the lay off, took a yoga teacher training, and rented my very 1st office to begin my Private Practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Read more>>

Elizabeth Wellington | Psychotherapist & Founder of Kinship Collaborative

I am a psychotherapist by training and love working with people to enhance their emotional wellbeing, relationships and overall quality of life. I also am by nature a “truth seeker” and am always applying psychological thought and various philosophies to my own life and experience of being a human, and I bring this into my work. When I was engaged to be married and began planning my wedding in 2019, I was totally caught off guard by how emotionally intense and challenging the experience was. As a result, I had to do a lot of internal self-work, guided by my therapists, to understand the nature of this transition and why it felt so destabilizing for me. I realized that there is an absolute lack of normalization for how tumultuous this time can be. Read more>>

Joshua Crane | Coffee Roaster + Coffee Bicycle Courier + Owner of The Coffee Ride

Prior to starting The Coffee Ride, I had been always been searching for my place. Growing up with a father who had a small business, I saw the hard work and sacrifices that he had to make in order to be successful. Honestly, all I had wanted after seeing his struggles was a secure career, but after multiple positions in pretty much every industry possible; I ended up going for it myself. Starting The Coffee Ride was the first thing in my life that ticked all the boxes and seemed to make sense in my brain. I saw the potential to have an enormous amount of responsibility (you’re the only one who can let you down), build a system from the ground up that provided a winning scenario from farmer to end consumer, self fulfillment, the ability to help others and provide a good/service that folks truly loved and needed. The list is even longer and continues to grow as the business grows and changes. Read more>>

Amanda Pehrson | Small Business Owner and Metalsmith

Like many handmade businesses, I began Fancy Boheme in 2016 as sort of a fledgling hobby. I was newly hooked on metalsmithing (the process of soldering metal into finished work). Wearable art and clothing had always been a form of self-expressing for me and at that time, I spent a lot of time questing for new pieces, looking for deals and amassing a lot of things purchased on impulse that didn’t feel quite right. I was going for an elevated, bohemian sensibility, a sequined dream that never seemed to align practically with my real life. At the same time, minimalism was also becoming a popular concept, and a co-worker inspired me to try a capsule wardobe challenge — using a handful of foundational pieces to create a variety of different outfits. Read more>>

Jess Taylor | Founder of Native Nectar Botanicals

I started my business during a difficult time in my life. I was struggling with postpartum depression after the birth of my first child. Even though I loved being a mother, I felt I had lost my own identity and sense of purpose outside of motherhood. I think a lot of caretakers can relate to this feeling. I had been studying holistic medicine and clinical herbalism and really wanted to be able to incorporate my knowledge into a business that would allow me the freedom to be home with my baby. I started Native Nectar as more of a side hobby but quickly my ambition kicked in. I realized this was something I was passionate about and wanted to share with the world. At the core of Native Nectar is a message of self-acceptance and self-care. Read more>>

Graham Williams | Entrepreneur

We started Impart after I created a gift for my son who was entering Middle School. I was looking for a way to set him up for success in a time of growth and change. I needed a broader perspective than just my own, but I also needed trusted sources. So, I invited 50 family friends and people I admire to think back to their own middle school experience and share their most important lesson from that time. The result was an amazing book filled with authentic and insightful wisdoms, hard-earned from a broad set of experiences. My son still refers to its pages. He was able to gain foresight, which helps him navigate new experiences without having to start from scratch and just as important he knows he has a group of people invested in his success that he can rely on going forward. Read more>>

Chelsea Twiss | Licensed Psychologist, Counselor

I currently own my own counseling practice as a licensed psychologist in Fort Collins. Both of my parents were business owners who did not obtain four year degrees. They worked from home while I was growing-up. I really appreciated having them home (well mostly my mom, my dad was gone on business trips a lot). I really wanted to find a career where I could have similar scheduling flexibility and autonomy. I’ve always liked to be in control of my schedule and to choose how much and when I work and who I work with. Having my own counseling practice affords me that freedom. It takes time to start-up and really make a decent profit but I’m getting there one step at a time. When it’s stressful or when money is tight, I just remind myself that it’s worth it for the freedom of being my own boss. Read more>>

Lynn Clark | Boudoir Photographer

I really fell into starting a boudoir photography studio. I had always flirted with starting a business, but I didn’t know what it would be. I’d done freelance writing as a side gig to working in nonprofit communications for years, but that never felt like a business. In 2009, my job bought me a DSLR to take photos for the stories I was writing. I remember as I was taking a class telling myself that this would NOT turn into a business. But then, an acquaintance asked me to do her headshots … then her engagement photos … then a “few sexy lingerie shots” as she was getting ready at her wedding. I barely charged her anything, because it was just a hobby and, to be honest, I didn’t know a whole lot about what I was doing. I had done a boudoir photoshoot for my husband, so I had an inkling about how to get at least a few cute photos for her. Read more>>

Nicole Hampton | Author of “Sugar High” and Blogger at

Starting my blog was initially just a matter of sharing my hobby of baking with others and looping in another passion, writing. Once I made the decision to really get serious about Dough-Eyed, my experience on the blog had really changed. I knew that people were struggling to bake at high-altitude, and I knew I could help solve the issues they were having. A lot of folks move from sea-level to a high-altitude area, and the recipes that they love, and are comforted by no longer work. While baking is far from the most important thing happening in the world today, it’s honestly something that affects people’s lives, and I’m really happy to make it easier for bakers. Read more>>

Betsy Lay | Co-Founder & Owner

Lady Justice Brewing was started as an answer to a fundraising problem. Kate, Jen, and I (the three founders) served in AmeriCorps together 2009-2011. We were fundraising for nonprofits right in the middle of the recession and there was virtually no money available. We used to go out for beers after work and talked a lot about how hard it was to convince people to give away the little extra money they had. On one of these nights, Jen remarked at how interesting it was that people still chose to spend their money on gathering in a taproom for a beer and she wished we could just take the money from breweries and donate it back to the community. That idea stuck with us and three years later we established Lady Justice Brewing – a philanthropic brewery that donates profits to organizations that support women and girls. Read more>>

Lane Rideout | Principal Attorney

When I opened my own law practice in 2018 I had been working for local tech startups and caught the entrepreneurial spirit from my colleagues. I was doing business work with some legal work mixed in and I missed practicing law full time. Working in business roles also expanded my perspective and gave me the confidence to open my own business. It was a big leap of faith to leave a good job but I was confident that persistence and hard work would allow me to succeed and grow. I also wanted to set an example for my elementary aged daughter that women can have their own businesses and be the boss. I believe it is important for her to have real life role models – not just myself – so that she can envision the future she wants without limiting beliefs about what is possible for her. Opening a business could never be described as easy but I absolutely made the right decision. Read more>>

Jen Cavallaro | Online Fitness Coach

I had worked at a couple of gyms in Oregon before starting my own business, including a big box gym. When I moved to Colorado, my first instinct was to look for a job at a gym and after a few interviews (one that didn’t go very well!) I decided to become a mobile trainer, essentially working for myself. I really enjoyed working with people in their homes, meeting their families and pets. One weekend, while moving some stuff out of our storage area, my husband and I walked through an empty unfinished space in our basement. I thought, what if I turned this into a gym and worked with clients here? And so we went to work putting in gym flooring and buying equipment. Upward Spiral Fitness was born. This was 2014 and so much has changed this year with me moving my business to all virtual. Read more>>

Katerina Rothman | Beflax Linen Founder

I was inspired by my mother who was always into sewing, fabrics, and knitting, so I always wanted to continue her legacy and that’s how I started Beflax Linen—a natural linen shop with a focus on home goods. I quickly realized after becoming a mother myself, the combination of natural, sustainable living in all its forms is a formula for success, not only in business, but also in life. Therefore sustainable aspect was very important to me while choosing a niche in home goods field. Choosing After researching various fabrics and their production methods, Linen was the obvious choice! Read more>>

Tim Meehan | Co-Founder of Gear Up, makers of the Gear Saver

Practicality was the reason we founded Gear Up and developed our first product, the Gear Saver.. Years ago, I like thousands of cyclists, kayakers and others who carry gear on the roof of their cars, I crashed my bikes into my garage when I forgot they were were on my roof rack. After crashing my car into the garage and destroying both my bike and my daughter’s bike I knew there was a better way to keep expensive gear safe and thus, the Gear Saver was born…out of practicality…to keep gear worth thousands of dollars safe from unnecessary breakage. If this product could help me, our team decided it could be used to help many many others. Read more>>