Readers often email us asking us for advice about new businesses they are thinking about starting and we often find that many of them don’t have a framework for thinking about a more fundamental question: why should or shouldn’t you start a business?

Below, you’ll find how successful entrepreneurs from across the city thought about this very question when they were considering whether to start their businesses.

Barbara Lipohar | Lifestyle Family and Branding Photographer

First off, I love being an entrepreneur. I can’t say I was always dreaming about it, as I am lacking so much knowledge about running a business, but there are so many things you learn on the go. There is a very tricky thing in running your own business, and that is, that oftentimes it doesn’t seem like work. I love what I do, serving my clients with beautiful images, capturing their sweet moments, either for their family or their business. But as much as I love my work, it becomes hard to shut it off. You are living and breathing your business, and when you want to take a little moment apart, you need to learn how to put your business hat down. I always had a camera nearby and I would take images of my friends and family. But it wasn’t until I became a mother, when I started taking this as a career path. Read more>>

Laura Bytheway | The Anti-Narcissism Coach

I used to think that being an entrepreneur was risky and that success was only for special types of people, and I defined myself as NOT that type of person. I remember thinking that my highest career aspiration was to hitch myself onto an established, multi-million dollar company and stay there until retirement when I would get a pension. But then I found coaching. Coaching changed my life so profoundly that I opened my mind up to the possibility that entrepreneurship could work for me. I craved being the boss of my own life and career, the freedom and flexibility of a self-run company, and especially the creativity of getting to decide and implement my own ideas. I realized that avoiding entrepreneurship was about staying safe. But safety isn’t created by other companies, it’s created in ourselves. Read more>>

Erica Corral | Owner & Cake Artist

I started Wink as a creative outlet from my 9-5 office job. As humans, we’re creative beings and I found one of my creative callings through making treats and cakes. The business part I fell into. A good friend of mine asked for a menu because she wanted to pay me for my work! Prior to that, I was making treats for my friends and family for free. Once I had my first paid order, one thing led to another and Wink came to be. I would say my thought process behind all of that was to lean into more of what excited me which lead to all these small steps and growth. Read more>>

Camille Roark | Makeup Artist

I was working a career in which I didn’t feel valued. Working a full-time professional job occupied so much of my days, I spent significant time outside my day job, trying to fit in the one thing I was most passionate about. I was running myself ragged trying to be a mover and shaker within my corporation; I’d travel cross-country for work, meetings with our partners’ group, late night reports, extended stays in different cities training new managers, and lovely dinners with my boss and his family. I thought, I was being groomed for a senior leadership position within the corporation. Instead, when the time came, they’d given that title to someone else. (I gotta admit, I ugly cried). They announced they’d placed a less qualified individual in that role on company wide conference call. Read more>>

Joseph Thompson | Executive Coach

For most of my life, I had always thought of myself as a great worker, but not an entrepreneur. But as I started earning promotions and finding myself in leadership positions, especially positions that I had similar judgments about (e.g., I’ll never want to be in charge”), the possibility crept in that I could be my own boss. So when I started to realize that I had talents and interest in coaching people with ambitious visions, it started to dawn on me that running my own business would be part of it. I was working with my own coach and we discussed different strategies: I could go and get some training, I could do apprentice-work, or I could just take the risk of setting up shop and learn by doing. Read more>>

Kalynn Evans | Co-Owner of Yoga Athletex

When I left the corporate world, I knew I was meant to do something different. I knew I was meant to follow my dreams and do everything in my power to make them come true. I had always wanted to own my own business, I just wasn’t sure what it would be until I received my yoga certification. From the day I graduated from my teacher training, I knew exactly that I wanted to bring yoga to athletes. I knew that there was a missing piece of training for athletes. I also had been to a lot of other yoga studios in Houston, that are all so wonderful, but none of them spoke specifically to me as a former athlete. And that is what I wanted to create… an environment for current and former athletes to train and practice yoga to increase their lifespan of being an athlete. Read more>>

Courtney Hall | Host & Creator of The Courtney Hall Show / Owner of Feel The Beat Dance Company

I feel if you wake up everyday with something on your heart, find out what that is and how you can use it to better yourself and those around you. Write down ideas, be intentional about everything you do and go for what you want. Read more>>

Ana Beaven | Restauranteur in love with Mexico

I wanted to showcase the authentic Mexico City dining experience to the people of Houston so I opened Cuchara Restaurant. Growing up in Mexico City, I was able to taste and understand many flavors and traditions. Fresh ingredients are an integral part of our cuisine as well as authenticity. My absolute favorite Mexican food is the one cooked by my grandmother and I wanted to reproduce her kitchen’s flavors in Houston. I opted for an all female kitchen, which is my pride and joy! Our cooks are incredible. All of them are moms from Mexico that cook with passion and love and it reflects on our food. Being able to help them get the recognition they deserve for their traditional cooking has been very important for them. Presenting the traditional Mexican holidays is an important part for us as well, we take pride into not just selling food but the whole cultural experience. Read more>>

Ruth Spradley | Balloon Creator and Artist

It was almost 4 years ago now and we had seen a company creating yard balloons in Dallas and in Austin so we started to research what it might take to start the concept in Houston and we are so glad we did. Creating these gigantic yard balloons to celebrate birthdays has been so much fun. We recently started to create more themed balloons and this has allowed us to be creative and bring more life to the balloons. Its truly been an amazing experience. Read more>>

Zeli Rodriguez | Painter & Jewelry Artisan

The thought process behind starting my own business was a combination of necessity because of my lifestyle and health problems. Living overseas as a military wife who has to pick up and move often created an environment for me to think outside of the box when it came to my career. I needed something that I could take with me and not necessarily have to star all over again. Using my gift of craftsmanship has come so naturally throughout the years so the business has to involve handmade items such as art and clay jewelry. I never thought I could turn it into a career, but I have never been happier. Read more>>

Tanesha Pitt | String Artist

When I decided to start my own business, I simply wanted to be happy, spend more time with my daughter, and have control of my time. I started String Hart during maternity leave, as a first time mom. After being home with my daughter for 6 months, I never missed a milestone, a doctor appointment, a coo, a smile, or a roll, and I knew I never wanted to. Returning to work meant missing all the things I loved most about being a mom. I started to consider what the best business ideas were that would make me happy, make a difference, and allow me to be a full-time stay at home mom. My natural talent is in art, so without relying on any certifications, degrees or a third party, I started my business on my natural talent with a mission become household name and well respected for my work. Read more>>

Kristi Ruthless | Silversmith & Jewelry Designer

When I first started out making jewelry, I was wire wrapping bones/toys/trash I found around and wearing them as Earrings! I took my first basic Silversmithing class many years later as a way to expand my knowledge around jewelry design and make lasting heirloom pieces, completely fell head over heels with the process. At the time I was working full time as a Cosmetologist, but started making adornments and selling them at markets to keep purchasing the tools needed and materials to make things in the garage out of my house. I also was working door at venues and saving anything extra I was making to buy the tools to expand my studio and eventually have a fully functional at home studio. As someone who has worked for others since the age of 12. Read more>>

Yemi Falae | Sustainability Accessorized

I’ve always excelled and challenged myself artistically. I’ve even had my art sold in high school. Art teachers would try to get me to pursue it as a career but as a Nigerian pursuing art is never an option. I made it my mission to find loopholes— uphold my family’s expectations, fulfill my artistic needs and make an imprint on the world. I found Supply Chain. The desirability of those who pursue the degree, the ability to work closely with designers/creators/manufacturers & making choices that will decrease carbon footprints. The materials I use fit my handbags are 100% renewable resourced cotton & majority of my bags can be thrown in with regular loads of laundry while maintaining its form and reducing consumption. Most handbags aren’t known for its longevity, whether it be style or material, but my handbag’s geometric shape allows for versatility. Read more>>

Catherine Kruppa | Registered Dietitian and Owner of Advice for Eating

I grew up in an active family and realized as a teenager how nutrition impacted sports performance either in a positive or negative way. This intrigued me and I wanted to know more. I studied nutrition at Texas A&M University and became a registered dietitian. I started my own business because I saw the importance of helping people eat healthier in Houston and worldwide so that they can live healthier lives. My passion is to help people fuel themselves for success is business, sports and life. Read more>>

Kristina Uriegas-Reyes | Owner

In my wildest dreams, I never thought I could own my own business, much less create my dream shop. After spending 7 years in NYC as a sporadically successful fashion writer, I decided to move on to a new dream. I took the necessary steps to change my mindset from impossible to knowledgable. I took a ton of free seminars and classes. I knew moving back to my hometown would give me a better chance of success. The city of San Antonio embraced me as they’ve embraced so many new and innovative small businesses. I wanted to be my own boss and share my personal style with the world through a vintage boutique. That is how Hello Tallulah came together and we we are now in our third year. Read more>>