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.

Chris Swed | Cafe Owner & Coffee Roaster

When we started Swed & Co. in 2017 it started as a small roasting operation in the back of the movie theatre that we run in downtown Fort Madison, IA. It was really more of a passion project turned small business. Our town had gone through quite a rough patch with a lot of businesses closing and loss of industry, so when we moved to town to reopen the theatre we could tell that there was quite a bit of potential to be realized here. Read more>>

Katelyn Kucirek | Cake Designer + Sugar Artist

I had wanted to start my own business for several years before I finally took the leap. A big part of that decision was the desire for creative control. Working for other bakeries, I was often unable to create the type of cakes that I had longed to work on because the design was already determined. As I progressed in my skills I was left feeling unfulfilled, like I wasn’t challenging myself to grow as an artist or as a designer and that started to stifle my passion. Read more>>

Kristen Mikayla | Kristen Mikayla

It was kind of nerve wracking at first but I had to remember the purpose and vision God has laid out for me and go completely off faith and remember my why I started to pursue entrepreneurship in the first place. Read more>>

Shulamit Ber Levtov | The Entrepreneurs’ Therapist

I had become injured at my job and had to do my own occupational rehab. I was in my late 40s at the time and I thought that if I was going to start a new career, no-one would hire me so I’d have to be self-employed. For my occupational rehab, I went back to my educational roots (I had started university in social work in the early 80s) and got a Masters degree in counselling and spirituality. Read more>>

Farrar Duro | Reproductive Acupuncturist & Herbalist

When I graduated from Chinese medicine school in 2001, I knew that I wanted to focus on women’s health by opening my own acupuncture and herbal medicine practice. I studied in an integrative TCM hospital in China in school and saw firsthand how patients could reap the benefits of both Eastern and Western medicine, so I sought out advice from a reproductive endocrinologist who brought me into his fertility practice to provide acupuncture to his IVF patients. Read more>>

Mila Esté | Define YA Initiative Founder & High School Student

My thought process behind starting Define YA was that I realized there was a certain type of community I had not yet seen and felt was missing. I believed in the benefits of an open-armed community that would push young people to have thought-provoking conversations and allow them to learn about the world, others, and themselves. Read more>>

Alejandro Gonzalez Sole | CEO & Software Engineer Manager

I always wanted to start and own a business, to have an impact in the community. And being a Software Engineer, I knew that software was the industry I wanted to focus on. When COVID started, I realized that it was the perfect moment and a great opportunity to start a digital business. Read more>>

Jonathan Nelson | Fashion and Art Curator and Consultant

I started ETHOS DECORUM as a way to highlight all the overlooked and unrated artists, creatives and brands in the world. Years ago, I would come across numerous talented people and brands that just weren’t popular or people didn’t know them. When launched ETHOS DECORUM a little over five years ago I wanted to highlight talented creatives and have a platform that felt like a place of discovery. Read more>>

Keisha Butler | Owner of Lush Beauty Palm Beach

There were a few things that acted like the catalyst to me starting my own business. The first and most important was being able to own my time. Being able to spend time with my kids and family and be there for their school activities will always be number one for me. Read more>>

Chris Bolt | Distiller & Founder

Once I realized that I wanted to make rum, I knew I wanted to make a rum unlike any other using the highest quality ingredients. To do that I’d have to have full creative control over the process. Working for someone else would never allow me that, so the only option was to start my own distillery. Read more>>

Alicia Monsalve | Journalist, Writer & Publisher

I had the need to publish my writings. I had helped many clients envision their own books through my advertising company. I knew the process but I didn’t have the courage to do it myself. The pandemic changed my perspective. I felt that I didn’t have any more time to loose. I published two books in less than six months. Read more>>

Christian Nituda | Founder/Owner of SeaLife Boat Rentals

I was always a hustler growing up. In high school, I worked as a Server and purchased my own car. I interned at a car shop to increase my knowledge and skills of repairing vehicles. I did a ton of side jobs; painting cars and rims, handyman work, buy and reselling items, and up to the point, I became a licensed medical professional and still did my side hustle here and there. I had an entrepreneur mind set. Read more>>

Joerosa Davis, Ph.D. | CEO & Skincare Formulator

Having suffered from eczema for the past 20 years, I grew tired of prescription soap and lotion. As a result, I began to research the benefits of using herbs and essential oils to treat common skin issues and how I can translate that into bath and body products that would eliminate the need to use prescription medication to heal my eczema. Read more>>

Kraschanda Oliver | Fashion Stylist| Enthusiast| Creative Director

Starting my own business wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but the process behind it was me realizing that i had this gift that whenever i would put a look together it would be seamless. i would be in my element and there was something that felt very right about it. Read more>>

Emilio Armada | Illustrator, Graphic Designer

Me and my best friend Wilfredo started a clothing line called Rock-it Psyence in 2006 and despite finding moderate success we were ultimately too inexperienced in business to maintain it. Despite our failure we always inspired each other to chase greatness. Read more>>

Malka Espinel | Pastry Chef, Entrepreneur, teacher

The thought to start my own business was inspired by my parents. I was brought up in a warm and loving home and my parents are my absolute role models. My parents, having worked hard all of their lives to become educated and skilled, strived to be independent. Observing my parents work together in life and business inspired me to seek the same life by becoming an entrepreneur. Read more>>

Stephanie Dartigue | Designer

i Started Creations Dorees as a hobby. After work i would come home and would do the items myself. My first time selling at a fair was a complete success. I sold all the items. That is when the idea to make it a bussiness slowly florished. i left my job and went to follow a shoe class in italy. when i came back i opened the store and the workshop. Read more>>

Inna Shapovalov | Immigration Lawyer

I looked for jobs in immigration law in South Florida, but at the time, the market was really tight and there were few available positions for any kind of attorney. I got a few offers, but none where I felt I would be respected as a professional. Even though I had my law degree and was a member of the bar, I was working as an administrative assistant for a local immigration attorney, just to make ends meet. Read more>>

Daniel Franklin | Executive Chef / Restaurateur

I wanted to start my own business to be self sufficient. I knew at an early age I couldn’t work for an employer my entire career, but needed to attain the skills and experience necessary to hold my own. Through many years of sacrifice and networking I’m still one of the top celebrity chef’s in Miami. My company, Culinary Royalty has served thousands of guest’s both foreign and domestic over the last 10 years. Read more>>

Dericka Nekedra | CEO

I’ve always had a passion for my natural hair. I one day started maintaining it with my own hair products. The results my products created for my hair were so amazing that I begin trying them on family and friends. I knew I had something amazing in the making. In 2018 i started DerickaNaturalAbility and have not looked back not once. Read more>>

Baley “Billy” Bodden | Artist & Painter

I created “Billy” about 3 years ago when I decided to started painting full time and selling my work. Since I was a child, I have always created artwork for myself and those closest to me, but when I had more to say with my artwork and felt it time to do so, it was easy to transition into the world of a full time artist. To me, the current Billy works are a mature, raw expression of our core human desires and unseen struggles. Read more>>