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.

Amy Tallent | Owner & Lead Realtor of The Amy Tallent Realtor Team

I knew from a young age that I wanted to work for myself. Freedom is one of the most important things to me and each business we build has to represent that. If I look back at my past, I see a clear direction to our real estate firm. I was raised by a custom home builder, have moved over 30 times, have worked for multiple government organizations around Northern Colorado, and I have a huge passion for helping people find homes that help them live their best lives. Read more>>

Allie Hudson | Hairstylist & Makeup Artist

There was a couple factors that went behind starting my own business, I would say first would be creative freedom and flexibility. Being able to customize the color and product lines I use in my own space has been a game changer. I love being able to create a customized care routine based on my clients specific hair type and needs. I’m so excited I’m able to bring in product lines that I am truly passionate about. Read more>>

Kayla Fratt | Conservation detection dog handler, nonprofit founder

I did not plan to launch K9 Conservationists so early in my career, but was fired in November 2020. Finding myself jobless mid-pandemic and relatively early-career in a very small field was my worst-case scenario. I picked up freelance writing again to pay the bills while I started to launch K9 Conservationists. Now, my goal is to help shape the field of conservation detection dogs through humane dog training and a collaborative approach, both of which were largely missing in the field previously. Read more>>

Jennings Hester | Founder & Executive Director

The nonprofit is a direct reflection of my personal struggles with mental illness. Every component of our programming comes from my own life experience and wanting to help men avoid the decade plus of suffering I endured due to a lack of awareness and resources to address my challenges with Depression and Anxiety. Read more>>

Byron Kominek | Agrivoltaics Entrepreneur and Consultant

My family’s farm has been producing hay on 24 acres for 50 years. These days, haying the land doesn’t make enough money to cover our property tax plus water rights plus utilities, so nothing to go to the grocery store on. It seemed a shame to have so much land in prosperous Boulder County not doing more for our family, and for our community. I tried a few different agricultural avenues to start, but I couldn’t figure out how to scale them to be profitable. Read more>>

Mikey Forster | Photographer – DoP

To have family and work flexibility, and the opportunity to innovate my own ideas without any corporate blowback. Read more>>

Ali Adsit | Owner & Artist of Framed Visions LLC

Ultimately I believe that the way we frame our art is just as important as the art itself. The first thing that I notice when I walk into someone’s space is whether or not they have art hung on the wall, and more so how they have framed their art. Frames can accentuate the subjective beauty of art and completes the story of our interior walls. I started painting frames as a form of creative release. Read more>>

Steven Kuzmich | Photographer & Small Business Owner

Whether I am chasing around my four kids or out in the wilderness enjoying a peaceful moment with a bull moose, photography has been my creative outlet for over 30 years. However, it wasn’t until covid hit and having time at home to go back through hundreds of thousands of photos (it was a lot of photos) and I realized that I was just snapping shots rather than taking meaningful photographs. Every once in a while I would see a shot that was just amazing, the light, colors, it was a moment frozen just the way I saw in my mind, a hero shot. Read more>>

Vincent Po | Photojournalist and Writer

My freshman year at Princeton, I felt woefully inadequate. Surrounded by world-class academics, artists, and athletes, when I was none of those things, I remember feeling so curious, even awestruck, during conversations with other people, while rarely feeling that same curiosity, and certainly never the same awe, in return. (Small fish, big pond.) Read more>>

Troy Good | Rapper

Troy: My thought process was not wanting to work for another person again in my life. I bet I’ve worked 20 to 30 jobs in my life. I started working, putting trash cans on the back of a semi truck in Tampa. That was after I got kicked out of my house at 17 years old, I moved out there [Tampa] 14 days later. That was my first job ever, and from there on out I worked a lot of manual labor job. Nothing was giving me the fulfillment and achievements that I needed so I felt like I needed to do something for myself, bigger then working for someone else. Read more>>

Joseph Bosworth | Chef/Owner

It all started out in fun, I just wanted to create a better chicken sandwich, lo and behold I created the Firebird. Read more>>

Kamal Howard | Chef

I started Kamal’s Kuisine to bring a little extra revenue in while I was doing an unpaid internship to finish my college degree. Customers started to really like the food so I stuck with it and eventually catered my first event and pop up shop that had raving reviews. From there, I began to really enjoy seeing people’s face light up as they taste my food and being part of the reason their party was such a good time. Read more>>

Christian Saber | Chef & Owner

I grew up in the family business in Buenos Aires. My dad was an immigrant to Argentina and worked his way up making leather goods and women’s clothing. We were always helping with whatever needed to be done, but my passion was cooking. I studied to be a chef and always dreamed of owning my own restaurant. When I met my wife and we married in Argentina, we decided to start a family back in Colorado where she is from. Read more>>

Sandy Evans | Pro Photographer + Educator

Starting my own business wasn’t something that I really set out to do. I think, for those who are photographers because of the art aspect, we don’t set out saying to ourselves, “I am going to be a photographer”. You start photographing because it moves you, not because it makes you money, because trust me, it takes several years before you are making anywhere near enough to support yourself with your business alone, at least in my case. Read more>>

Kira Goff | Co-Owner of KINDLE Photo Studio & Event Space

I call myself a chronic entrepreneur because I either see hole in the market and have a huge desire to fill it or I figure out how to make a living doing the things that I love. In the case of KINDLE Photo Studio & Event Space, I saw a hole because I was experiencing a lack of options for my own photography business when it came to locations in the Springs and after doing market research, I knew others were as well! Read more>>

Brittany Belisle | Yoga Teacher & founder of Sutra Seekers Yoga School

I got sick. I went to the emergency room because I couldn’t take in a full breath and I thought something was wrong with my lungs. I left with a bottle of pills to help with anxiety. It was a big awakening. I loved being a high school eduator, but it was causing me exhaustion, personal doubt, and dis-ease. This sense of misalignment had happened before, I call it my quarter life crisis! In 2008 I was living in Jackson, WY with a loud mind and a broken heart I felt lost on what was next for my life. I took some yoga classes and found a glimpse of quiet and self acceptance. I bought a plane ticket to India. Read more>>

David Delcourt | Chief of Flavor at Seed Ranch Flavor Co.

I’ve always wanted to have a direct impact on my customers and community. As Chief of Flavor at Seed Ranch, I love seeing people’s eyes go wide and taste buds dance when they take a bite. The “wow, that’s delicious” or “dang that’s good” is so rewarding. When I started Seed Ranch, I wanted to bring the culinary experience into people’s kitchens, from farm, to our kitchen, to their table – making a flavor adventure that’s unique to each person’s taste and spice preferences, yet globally delightful. Read more>>

Kristie & Jared Miller | Creator, builder, artist

ReLoved Creations began from the love of recreating unique pieces of furniture for myself and friends. It originally began as a fun and therapeutic hobby while being a mom and care taker to my Veteran father. We realized we created quality and unique pieces that many people were interested in purchasing, and we also wanted to find a way to give back to the community…..Hence, ReLoved Creations was born! Read more>>

Ahmed Alrefaie | Illustrator & graphic designer

Launching my own career as an illustrator was not actually planned. I have been an artist for many years but mostly created as I enjoy it. Over the years I have been approached for freelancing and I never enjoyed those as they were too commercial and allowed no creative freedom. Read more>>

Megan Stringfellow | Whimsical Illustrator & Author

I decided to start my own business because I wanted to use my gifts to bring people joy and also support my family and be available for my children. I quickly relax that I loved being in control of the vision and direction of my business. I love building a business that is unique and special to me. Read more>>

Ebony Antoine | Executive Director

I couldn’t imagine working the next 25+ years for only a paycheck. Life’s ups and downs made me understand how broken people are and how important healing is critical for families. I understood the injustices that black and brown people face, and I want to be a beacon of hope for families that have been broken by violence. Read more>>

Kyle Rosner | Director of Media Relations for 420interactive. Cannabis Industry Entrepreneur. Storyteller/Freelance Tycoon

I have never wanted to work for someone or dedicate myself to a vision that wasn’t my own. As I’ve grown as a business owner/entrepreneur, I learned some hard lessons along the way of properly managing my time and strategically giving my time to others, it’s THE most valuable resource after all. Read more>>

Lizzy Wolterbeek | Personal Trainer/Movement Specialist

Really, I just wanted the freedom to offer people a higher quality experience with personal training. I was working for a corporate gym where I was doing 80% of the business running, but I was getting 70% of my money taken by the company. I figured, if I could figure out how to fill in the gaps of what they were providing (the gym space, equipment, and a pool of people to work with), that I could do it all exactly the way I want to and give people a way better experience as well. Read more>>

Byeongdoo Moon | Sculptor

I enjoyed drawing this and that out of curiosity when I was young. When I was in high school, a high school art teacher, who working as a sculptor, saw my painting and recommend me to join the art circle. That was the beginning of my art activities. When expressing a meaning or image in a work, most artists have questions about themselves and their world. It is the question of existence. But how can we get to its answer? Read more>>

Kira Leffers | DIY & furniture flipping

Originally, I didn’t even intend on starting my own business. With a background in photography and a love for being crafty and creative comes the desire to always try new things. It all started when my parents were getting ready to sell their house. They needed some dead trees that were in their yard to be cut down. My partner and I decided to help them with the task and afterwards wanted to keep the beautiful aspen wood. Read more>>

Kara Kozlowski | Tattoo Artist/Studio Member

When Fair Winds Tattoo Collective became an idea, it was out of necessity to create a safe working environment for artists, and challenge the traditional tattoo studio environment. This environment is typically unsustainable. A traditional studio takes on average 30% to 50% of any one artists income per tattoo. When one studio is owned by one or two people, those two people live high on the hog as all of thier artist make them money. Read more>>

Dee Dee Vicino | Corporate and Educational Trainer

My life, like so many others, changed dramatically in 2008. When the market crashed, I lost about 75% of my net worth. I sold my house, re-entered the workforce after a 17-year sabbatical spent raising children, and moved my family into a smaller, more manageable home. I loved my new career – first as a middle school teacher and later as an Assistant Principal, but this new life did not suit my youngest child well. I knew that in order to protect her future, we had to leave that world behind. And my career along with it. Read more>>

Steve Combs | teacher, player, builder

The idea of starting a music school, and one that approached teaching from a bass and rhythm section perspective, came to me many years ago. The idea evolved, grew, shrunk, was abandoned, became an obsession, and went through every other phase that ideas go through. All the time, it was percolating in some part of my brain, nagging me, so I knew I had to do something about it or be haunted by it the rest of my life. The process began to take on a focus and visualized reality finally when I saw my son embrace an instrument and start to grow into it. Read more>>

Dan Hatch | Graphic Artist

After 7 years in the military, I think it’s safe to say I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to apply my skills towards creating things that I wanted, and on my own schedule Read more>>

Trey Madara | Founder & Editor in Chief

For me, I spent many years in the sports industry looking at and being fed the same stale and outdated marketing photos to use in the soccer branding I had been creating. I felt that the sport as a whole needed a new and grittier look. It became only natural to start that change with myself and other creatives in the industry that felt the same way. That’s where ICONIC came from. We wanted to transform that image that soccer had in North America, and we feel strongly that digital content in today’s world was the best place to do that. Read more>>

Richard Wygand | Darth Rirou – A conspiracy of one

When I was 23 years old I realized if I kept going to college working on a regular job I was going to kill myself. Directly or indirectly, but I had no idea what I wanted. I had a dream of being a professional athlete so I thought until I win something and get sponsors I need to survive somehow. Since I have lost 100 pounds I realized I could have my own training company, this way I would have time to train, race and pay the bills. Read more>>

Ryan Domson | CEO of RCD Construction and RCD Land & Development

Prove people wrong. In today’s society young men and women are told they will not succeed if they do not get straight A’s or go to college. It is drove into teens heads that they are making a mistake by wanting to join the work force or belittle them if they feel collage is not for them. I was one of those teens. I was that teen in high school that raise plenty of hell and honestly was not a great student. Read more>>

Shelly Agostine | Educational Advocate, Consultant and Executive Function Coach

The field of Educational Advocacy (Special Education specifically), which I work in, came out of my own family experience. I first had to step into that arena as a parent. At the time I was also a military spouse and found the system difficult to navigate and cumbersome. I had started parent support groups on two military installations and found that parents in my groups were experiencing the same struggles. Read more>>

Greg Gilpin | Composer, Conductor and Founder/Owner of Maestro Organizing

I am a choral composer and conductor. I’m also an editor for a major choral music publisher and I work as a studio musician and producer. When the pandemic began in the spring of 2020, my industry shut down. Completely. The work I had was as an editor and that wasn’t much work because publishing had shut down or at least came to a crawl. Read more>>

Nirvana Gilbert | Martial Artist & Wellness Designer

To offer something different in the Internal Martial Arts department, so to speak. I wanted the hybrid: Internal and external styles, but from a more inspiring and practical perspective instead of the usual huffs and puffs involving physicality of any type. So for me it was — still is — the breakthrough between body and mind, the right balance of the two like living in Wu Ji posture (away from polarities and excesses and more towards an empty state). Bottom line, more than a business it is a mission, a genuine movement of bringing different types of Martial Arts forces together for all sorts of people. Read more>>

Leticia Raymond | Mother, Educator, Business Owner, & Dog Lover

In 2016 I was recently divorced with two little boys full time, and also a teacher working on completing my Principal license. As you know we don’t pay our educators nearly enough, and on a single income a side hustle was necessary. I had no child support, and no help from my boys’ father, and wanting so badly to be able to stop living month to month. I wanted to be able to pay my bills without worrying, and have the freedom to hire a babysitter now and then. I needed something that worked with my teaching schedule and didn’t take time from me being at home. Read more>>

Jon Lybrook | Owner and Lead Printmaker, Intaglio Editions LLC

It was having one business already in the works as a web consultant that allowed me to start exploring making money at making fine art prints for and with other people who have a unique story to tell with their photography or illustrations, After having learned the skills myself after many years of research, trial and error, sharing them with others seemed only natural. Helping other artists publish their work in a more respected, traditional medium than simple inkjet, or “giclee” prints has become very popular in recent years due to people’s interested in their superior quality and longevity. Read more>>

Natalie Schauster | Photographer

I had always loved taking pictures it was more of a hobby and people began seeing my work and started to want to hire me and at first I was really skeptical but the more I built my clientele the more my business grew and before I knew it I was a proud business owner! Read more>>

Fred Legarda | Owner/ artist Self Made Tattoo

My thought process was that no shop I applied to would give me a chance. I was told my portfolio wasn’t good enough. I was working in a shop with a reputation at the time and no shop that I applied to would have me so, I decided I would open a shop. Hence “Self Made tattoo” I found a building I could afford on my own with what clientele I had at the time (bless them all!) and went for it! I hired some artists and a piercer and we took off. Read more>>

Mariah Ornelas | Owner & Head Trainer

I was at a cross roads of leaving my career of 10 years, because it was taking too much time away from my son and I was barely making enough money to get by. One night it hit me. A problem I saw within my career field, I had a solution to, which hit me like a ton of bricks. As I was laying in bed, I grabbed my phone, went to the notes section and started typing ideas. Read more>>