Thinking through whether to start a business – whether to take the risk, whether to go out on your own – isn’t easy. So we asked some entrepreneurs we admire to tell us about how they thought through the process of starting a business.

Arianne “Om” Traverso | Business Coach & Wellness Consultant

Being an entrepreneur is in my blood as I’m part of over 4 generations of creators. Freedom is one of my core values and the only way to maintain that and be as successful as I want is being my own boss. I love traveling, being independent and calling my own shots so it was a natural progression to create opportunities for myself to shine and lead my life. I’ve done everything for being a freelance photo assistant and editor to having my own studio to now being a coach for those who want the same thing. Read more>>

Louis Grayson | Restaurateur

The thought process behind starting my own business was more of a “if not now, then when?” I am a very competitive person and a very ambitious person. I went through my young adult life working in a corporate company, with good pay and enjoyed what I did. However, I started to notice outside of my work life I was always looking for something more, to build myself and coming up with ideas to start a business. This has always excited me and from a young age I knew I wanted a life where I was not limited in what I could do and not limited in what I could spend, coming from a hard working family background. Eventually, I tested myself when living in Washington D.C. by entering a food competition called LaunchPAD, similar to a shark tank and top chef mixed in one. This was truly my tipping point to prove to myself if I could make it as a restaurateur. Read more>>

Sandra Szkolnik | Visual Artist

“It is never too late to be what you want to be”. At one point in my life, this was a recurring thought that came to mind. After graduating from the Toulouse-Lautrec Institute in Lima-Peru with a degree in Graphic Design, I began to work for an advertising agency. Shortly after, I met my husband and moved to Boston to continue my studies and got a degree in computer applications at the Massachusetts College of Art. We then moved to Venezuela where I dedicated most of my time to my family and raising my kids. Years later we immigrated to Miami, where I worked for an event planner for several years and pursued some freelance works here and there but ended up always scaling down because I feared not being able to find a good work-life balance. It is true, as people always say, that there is a right time for everything. Read more>>

Adrian Lores de la Pena | Tax Consultant

I like to think I had a thought process behind opening Lores & Associates but to be honest there was none. With everything going on with COVID I saw the opportunity of a lifetime. I decided to quit my job as a State and Local Tax Specialist and that’s how Lores & Associates, Corp. I mean there were some marketing and branding thoughts but other than that nothing crazy. I was unhappy at my previous job. I felt that there were a lot of unfulfilled promises and to be quite honest I was not enjoying my time there like I was at first. But in creating Lores & Associates, Corp I wanted to combined my analytical skills acquired from my Juris Doctor’s degree, and my tax knowledge from my Masters Law of Taxation. I also had some experience as a tax preparer and all those three combined make me think that I could be a tax consultant for individuals and business alike. Read more>>

Betsy Cohen | Chief Happy Officer

Nine years ago, had someone asked me if I would start a business, my answer would have been a resounding, NO. I had just started a dessert blog that I loved but did not think of it as a business, rather a hobby. Then life pivoted. I got divorced and started working outside the house for the first time in 21 years. I worked part time in the office of a very talented pastry chef and ate a frozen chocolate chip cookie dough ball for lunch every day for the three years I was there. When I took the job, which I was most thankful to have, I did not know what my long term looked like. I just knew that it would not be there. When my nieces introduced me to edible cookie dough, something clicked. Through the years, I had started a couple of cottage baking businesses but did not like being beholden to the oven even though I loved the end results. Read more>>

Captain Matt Eckert | Owner & Guide

Florida is a vacation destination for people world wide. The fishing In Southeast Florida is some of the best in the world, so when you combine the two it makes for great business opportunity. Read more>>

Aleah Colón-Alfonso | Student Entrepreneur & Founder

Both ideas that sparked my business ventures were created out of necessity. I founded my brand new startup, Stay Safely Away, after noticing the lack of social distancing and facial coverings amidst the current pandemic in Sarasota. I have Small Fiber Neuropathy and Lyme Disease, which leaves me highly susceptible to complications if I contract Covid-19. While I fall under the category of “immunocompromised,” I don’t display any outward signs that would make it apparent to others. Within the past two years, I underwent weekly intravenous immunoglobulin treatments that lasted up to 12 hours, ended up with aseptic meningitis (swelling of the lining of the brain) from those treatments, endured a misplaced PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter)…but despite having poor health on paper- I don’t look sick at all. Read more>>

Rosemary Ravinal | Virtual Communications Coach, Public Speaker & Media Trainer

After decades leading public relations for global companies and TV networks, I followed by long-standing dream of starting a consulting practice to do what has always fascinated me—excellent public speaking. I had coached many executives who seemed hopeless at first but responded to my personalized techniques. I collected those techniques into my Master Communicator Method and launched my business in July 2019. I believe that public speaking is one of the most important tools for leadership. Read more>>

Magda Lopez | Podcaster, Coach & Fitness Enthusiast

After my divorce, and finding myself at a loss for current procedures and practices because of my age (early forties) I decided to do for myself what I had done for so many people including my former spouse. Work, build and succeed was the goal. It was scary at first. I had always built others, theirs brands, their businesses. The drive was more about proving to myself that I could do it for myself. It worked perfectly. I remember how I felt when I saw my first Google Search acknowledgment! Woot! I made it. I became a thing, a business a successful brand. I did such a job some people only know me as my brand. Being called @REVETE still makes me laugh. It’s an adventure, a rebirth and a great example of tenacity! I’m exhausted more often than not, but can’t stop and won’t stop! Read more>>

Noor Blazekovic | Chief Publisher/Editor & Independent Curator

I worked for so long in broadcasting reaching a point I was burned I felt inside I need it a change and I went for it. I remember the most strange feeling of leaving the corporate structure -10 years in it – the awkward feeling of the unknown, what my next step would be? I was 28 years old, with no job and moved to another country – big challenge ahead- finally in 2003 I got hired by Art Basel Miami Beach Show Management I worked with them for about 4 years, I can honestly say it was the best thing could ever happened to me, I worked with the most talented and inspiring professional team ever, I never felt like work, the contrary I could wait to go on absorbing knowledge and their professional passion, today 17 years later thanks to that step I took, I build my dream a successful Irreversible Projects art Platform. Read more>>

Jared Burgess | Personal Trainer & Gym Owner

UST Personal Training was created with the main goal of providing one-one-one training in a completely private training studio for each client. So every client is in an independent, fully private, upscale and modern training studio with their own brand new equipment, entertainment/media stations, and their own trainer. So much training recently has been focused on group training and small class training, and while these methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, a large market was being ignored that would enjoy training privately with no one else around. The positives of UST Personal Training is a much more effective and efficient workout. All of your equipment is centered in one training studio that is smaller which allows less down time when going from one piece of equipment to others. Read more>>

Adam Klein | Event Nerd

There is always the uncertainty and risk that one contemplates when wanting to start your own business, and this was no different for me. At the time, I was currently working for a company where a partnership between myself and the owner was being discussed but unfortunately after a year of discussions things didn’t pan out. After that year, I thought to myself do I want to continue working hard for someone else or do I put this same energy into my own company and take the risk on myself. I will always bet on myself because even if things get tough, you struggle, you have your ups and downs, but in the end, IT’S YOURS. Read more>>

Amber Benjamin | Co-Founder & Guactologist

We both believe in creation. It was clear to us that we were not fulfilling our potential working for someone else. We spent a lot of time talking about different business ideas, but Guaca Go happened organically. I bought Carson a Florida avocado- he had only seen Hass avocados growing up in Texas. He’s a creative guy and made me some guacamole and put it back in the shell serving it as a snack before we ate dinner. I didn’t like avocado at the time. I tried it and was like, “WHOA! This is so good!” A few minutes later, we were like, “this is it, this is our business.” Read more>>