Deciding to start a business is an unusual decision.  It’s often considered irrational and yet for many it’s the best decision they’ve ever made.  So we asked folks to think back to when they were starting their businesses and to tell us about their decision making process.

Misty Phillip | Entrepreneur | Author | Podcaster

I wanted the freedom and flexibility to pursue my goals and vision on my own terms, the excitement of blazing a trail on my own, based on my vision, that others could enjoy, grow in and benefit from as a community. Read more>>

Justin Moore | Entrepreneur & Lawyer

Flashing back to 2016, I was working in corporate law in a job that I liked but didn’t love (other than the paycheck; still miss that part from time to time). I always saw myself starting my own business but there was always something new I felt I needed to accomplish first in order to be prepared. First, it was build up some savings. Then, it was learning enough skills so that I could find another job if the businesses failed. No matter how much I accomplished, there was always another preparation I needed to make first. Over the course of that year, by chance or serendipity, I met a number of founders who were younger than me that were thriving so I called myself out. Read more>>

Jacobe Pace | Visual artist, Fashion designer, Entrepreneur

It purely came from wanting to create for others. I wanted to turn my passion and love into a full time job. I found myself constantly dwelling and thinking about how to turn this into a business. So i went to the drawing broad of brainstorming and setting goals as it was a constant dream of mine. Those goals then turned into reality as I took the necessary steps to accomplish these tasks set forth. I absolutely love what I do and put blood, sweat and tears into my grind of making it a reality. Read more>>

AJ Gulla | Owner

With no previous business experience I was very skeptical about starting my own business. It was a scary thought but I had a ton of support and endless resources to help out. I had no idea where this would lead but I knew that I wanted to bring people together. I wanted to create an environment where people can socialize and participate in friendly competition in a fun and exhilarating space. I strongly felt that axe throwing could be a great way for people to come together in a unique way. Male or female, tall or small, young or old, it doesn’t matter. All people are welcome to try and throw! Good vibes only though. We are her to provide a good time. That is why we started the Ratchet Hatchet. Read more>>

Melissa Troncoso | Cake Artist & Accountant

I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I knew that I wanted to own something and have control over my time and talent but was not quite sure what. I did not think of owning my own baking business until a fellow church colleague suggested I rent a space during our women’s conference and sell some of my cupcakes. After realizing that people enjoyed my baked goods, I decided to take my hobby to the next level and created A Sweet Affair. I also believe my business background and accounting degree have helped me tremendously in understanding how to start and run a business. I love being creative and helping people celebrate special moments through my edible art. Read more>>

Christina Popoola | Professional Organizer & Occupational Therapist

My primary inspiration for starting my own business was wanting to work for myself. I wanted to be able to set my own hours and have the flexibility to spend time with my children. When my husband and I started expanding our family, I told myself I would be present for my children. I also think that having something you can claim as your own is when you know you are successful. My parents were also part of my inspiration; they worked so hard to have their own businesses and both were successful at the many they opened. They set a great example for me by showing me how to trust the process. Read more>>

Teresa L. Staley | Fine Artist/ muralist and Gallerist

I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. I have worked for different companies over the years earlier in my career but always was more content working for myself, directing projects and managing a team. Sales is fun to me and I believe in what I am selling. I learned a lot from working with different design firms, artists and was in graphic design for a short while but wanted to be designing my art in commercial and residential projects. And always dreamt of owning an art gallery. Read more>>

Ty Lewis | Independent movement Artist

My thought process behind starting my own business as an independent artist, choreographer, teacher, pilates instructor and inspiring movement healer stated with my love and passion for movement and dance, which has evolved into a personal urge and willingness to create more spaces for people who look like me, my family and individuals who’s life is culturally similar to mine. There needs to be more spaces and opportunities for people of color to express, create, share, learn and lead. I have been many shows, classes, organizations, schools, jobs, and spaces that are primarily ran and controlled by people who are not of color. Read more>>

Lionela Castillo | Owner of Lola’s Children’s Party Game Entertainer

My thought process behind starting my business has definitely been my son and all children who face the struggle with social interact. For some children having a disability such as autism has always made it harder to be able to socially interact like everyone else and even for children without a disability for some social interaction doesn’t just come naturally some Children are simply shy. My main focus for my children parties, events or play dates was always to get all children to interact socially in a playful way through fun games or fun activities with their friends. Read more>>

Megan Nicole | Healing Crystals Jewelry & Talisman Designer

I love every aspect of my business from the hunting for elements and creation to the photographing, packaging, and thank you notes. Because of this, it rarely feels like work. To me, that is the primary key to any successful business – to be truly in love with what you do. Within this mindset, I was quickly able to develop a general rhythm in which to work, while also allowing plenty of space for shifts whenever I’m moved to change something. Embracing this understanding of impermanence and releasing expectation plays a pivotal role in the fluidness and flow in which I run my business. A happy and balanced business owner is a successful business owner in my humble and experienced opinion. Read more>>

Yen Kieu | Dessert Table Designer & Stylist

Dessert tables have become so popular over the last few years with weddings, birthdays, baby showers, and corporate events. It takes so much time and effort to plan for an event. I found a niche that allowed for us to offer desserts, cakes, and decor so that our clients do not have to use multiple vendors. This was our main goal to capture our clients attention. We design, plan, and execute a beautiful dessert table setting along with our amazing cakes and desserts all created to coordinate with each unique theme and occasion. Our clients really appreciate the level of detail we put into each dessert table. Read more>>