We reached out to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and asked them to think back and tell us about how they decided to start a business. Check out their responses below.

Claudia Diaz | Neuropediatric Physical Therapist and Entrepreneur

Two words: time freedom. When I graduated from Physical Therapy school and became licensed, I immediately started a typical 9-5 (except this was 9-6) salary job. In my mind, that was just the order of success: study hard, work hard, have a good 401k etc. Within just 3 months I was miserable. I remember my boyfriend surprised me with a trip for my birthday. After asking for just one day off for this trip and having it not go so well, I quit within the next week. Before I got to the point of quitting, I did my research on other options and working as an independent contractor under my own LLC worked best. Read more>>

Steven Christian | Content Creator & Designer

My thought process behind starting my own business involved a lot of planning and determination. Before, starting my own brand, “Scubah” which the Scubah YouTube channel and Scubahshop.com fall under, I was working as a full time Creative Designer at a home decor company. I loved working there, however, I knew that I wanted to do more with my life. Read more>>

Tuyen Le | Photographer

Happiness is an odd concept. I realized a couple of years ago that materials, fame, and even some achievements made me feel more empty. The happiest I have ever been is when I’m working towards something I genuinely care about then accomplishing it. For example, getting a dance move I worked on for hours or days or getting that photo you planned for weeks and had to wake up at 4am for then editing for hours. Is all of the stress, sweat, and surprise problems make it worth it? Yes. Yes it does. That’s my happiness. Read more>>

Becky Soler | Photographer

I had the idea to start my own business in 2017. My youngest child had turned one but I had no idea how I would balance child care with the long hours of the legal world that I was used to. Luckily I had just discovered a new passion in photography. I had bought a professional camera to start taking photos of all the big milestones and holidays of my daughter’s first year and thought it would be great if I would be able to capture those special moments for others as well. Read more>>

Marc Brown | Lawyer and Title Company Owner

I had worked at big law firms most of my career and it just was not very fulfilling. i was a slave to the billable hour system. My wife was due with our first son in 6 months and I was looking to have the freedom to be able to be with my family and help her while being able to only have to answer to myself. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Read more>>

Elizabeth Hughes | Dermatologist and Founder of Beyond Dermatologics

At my core, I’m someone who likes to fix problems. I’m always thinking about how things can be better, especially when the standard “solutions” aren’t really working. I also firmly believe that the body knows how to heal itself and that any medication or treatment should work with the body, rather than overpowering it. Stronger is not necessarily more effective. In my dermatology practice, I saw at least 10 people each week who were suffering from dandruff, even though they were using dandruff shampoos. After repeating my “dandruff is a chronic condition and there’s no cure” speech a few thousand times, I realized that I could find a better solution, one which worked in harmony with the skin and tackled the real cause of dandruff. Read more>>

Dave Anderson | Bestselling Author, Celebrity Business Coach and Speaker. Serial Entrepreneur & Digital Media expert

Truth be told, I was always doing business coaching. Whether it was helping talent that I was either producing or working within radio or television or comedy, I was always giving out business advice and helping people market and present themselves in a way that would allow them to earn more money and be seen in a better light. It was a natural transition for me. On top of that, I really wanted to make my own mark in the world outside of the media and entertainment. After 25 years in the business, I found that no matter how talented I was or how gifted I was, I wasn’t going to reach my full potential while working for someone else. For me, owning your own is the only true way you will ever be completely free. Read more>>

Krystal Tomlinson | Public Speaking Coach & Self Management Strategist

I spent most of my 20s in corporate PR and Marketing and I had so much fun learning, stretching, building and expanding brands, serving. The better I got at my job the demands on my time became more intense and sometimes unreasonable. I was getting better, doing more and feeling empty. I was forcing myself to see the purpose in my work and I took that as a sign to pull back, reflect and reposition. Read more>>

Lesley-Ann Wanliss | Writer, Editor and Creative Consultant

Since I was a child, I have dreamt of being a writer. I wrote my first poem to my mother on blue cartridge paper when I was 5 or 6. And as I got older, writing and theatre bugs bit pulling me into teaching, directing, and performance. As the years progressed I realized that I was being asked questions about processes by creatives and that my responses added value to the work that was being created. While in St Augustine, doing my Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing I edited a financial document, Read more>>

Liana Werner-Gray | Best-Selling Author of one of the Top 100 Cancer books of all time, Founder of The Earth Diet, CEO of Liana’s Organics and Certified Nutritionist

My business started as an accident that organically evolved. In 2009 I started a blog that ended up going viral, which in turn had me discover my passion and purpose and then had me think “How can I do this forever? How can I turn this into a business and make a career out of it?” I believe we have all been given particular gifts and talents to share with the world, and when we are sharing these gifts and it’s helping the world we have an opportunity to start a business that will continue to be successful. My blog started from pure passion, Read more>> 

Liz Morales | Runner and Veterinary Surgery Nurse

Staying true to myself is a value that means a lot to me. Quite often we lose ourselves in life. Whether it’s in a relationship, in the hardships of life or just by simply comparing ourselves to others and wanting to keep up with them. It’s ok to want more for yourself. What’s important is that you are doing things for yourself and your quality of life. Everyone will always have an opinion about what you do or don’t do but it’s your own opinion that matters most. Read more>>

Yael Perez | makeup artist

As cliche as it sounds, doing what I love and being surrounded by the people I love makes me happy. I’ve worked for as long as I could remember. I have been a cashier, a waitress, a manager, sales rep, you name it, I’ve done it. However, I find myself happiest when I am applying makeup on myself or others and boosting their confidence after they take a look in the mirror. Being creative is a part of me and I get to share it with the world through makeup and beauty. Read more>>

Arnaud Gibersztajn | Painter

The principle that matters most to me is to be true to myself. This means that I should never go against my true nature if I wish to succeed in my life and my work. This rule applies especially to my painting. If I ever try to emulate the style of another artist, the painting is doomed from the start. I always feel a stronger connection to paintings I create organically than those that have been commissioned. It is absolutely impossible for me to “cheat,” meaning rushing the work or not being fully focused while creating a piece. If I do not express my true feelings on the canvas, the results are mediocre at best. It is only by truly understanding and living by this value that I will be able to leave a proper trace in this world through my work. Read more>>

Emily Landers | Host of ‘How’d She Do That?’ Podcast

Since starting ‘How’d She Do That?’ during quarantine we have shifted from it being a hobby to a business that is blossoming every week. I began hoping that we would be able to make some kind of income from the podcast but have had to build listenership to have the ability to bring on sponsors and highlight brands all around the world. Read more>>

Yvana Romelus | Influencer, Host, Content Creator & Social Media Strategist

Since childhood, I wanted to work for myself and be the force behind my own growth, power, and success. I never liked the idea of working for other people. I also always loved the arts, and media and was a natural creative. Read more>>

Arjanae Harrell-Watts | Lash Artist + Hair Stylist

My thought process behind starting my own business has always been finding something I love to do so that I can work for myself & be my own boss. I’ want to show young women that we all have a gift from God & when you find out what that is take full advantage of it. Never limit yourself or let people discourage you. Take risks , be open minded , surround yourself with people that are not afraid to pour positive things into you , speak positivity over yourself & your business. Read more>>

Juan Cano | Adventure Seeker, Photographer and Entrepreneur

Having grown up with two immigrant parents I saw how much they struggled. My father was research & development chemist for some big companies and I saw how much he suffered. How much they took and how little they gave. He always told me never work for anyone and although as a kid you really don’t pay it any mind it was always there in the back of my mind. When we started we went into this thinking that this was our future. We started making products for other companies and growing slowly but surely but as in any business success breeds envy. Some of those same companies that helped us grow would be the ones that would try to keep us down, but we didnt let that deter us. Read more>>