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.

Jennifer Joy O’Grady | Filmmaker, Actor & Video Marketing Specialist

As an actor and filmmaker, I usually didn’t know how to focus on the business side of being an artist. Often as creatives we are striving to perfect the artistry and execution of our craft and the business aspect can come to our mind last. However, throughout my process I’ve recently discovered that it is possible to utilize my storytelling gifts through digital media to develop a thriving business. After studying film and television production in college, to getting my own cameras and making my own productions, I also grew my skills as a videographer and editor. I realized being able to film and edit videos which artistically portraying an engaging story for businesses and clients is a skill in demand. For the past few years I have worked solely full time for companies helping to build their brand through video and marketing, while feeling like I didn’t have the time to focus on my own goals, dreams and my business. Read more>>

Earlene Isaac | University Graduate & Business Owner

My thought process was to become my own boss and become successful. Not only that but my biggest aim behind having my own company is to be financially stable and give my parents the dream life they deserve!. Read more>>

Melissa Arias | Admin/Entrepreneur

We were right in the heart of Covid, we were looking for something to keep us busy on weekends since everything was shut down and that’s when our creative juices started flowing!. Read more>>

Belen De la Cruz | Argentinean Bakery – Empanadas & Pastries

From my own experience, a business usually starts with an idea, a dream, a vision or simply by accident…In our case, its a little of everything, may be the vision of one of the partners, the experience of the other one and the opportunity that was presented to me once I relocated from Argentina, I started giving cooking classes to locals, featuring empanadas and wine, with funny aprons, most of all as a hobby, and with the goal of sharing the Argentinean culture thru our traditional flavors. After more than 400 participants – the comment was always the same… “it’s fun to cook them…” but where can we buy them?. Read more>>

Simon Sliva | Pilates & Fitness Instructor

I wanted to finally pursue my dream of becoming independent, so I can share to my clientele my own personal method of teaching Pilates. Read more>>

Kristin Berry | Founder + Creative behind The Dashing Ginger

I had been in the wedding and event industry for around 6 years prior to starting my own business in 2015; I realized that photographing weddings wasn’t my passion, but wanted to stay within the industry and help the fellow industry professionals I had grown to have such strong relationships and friendships with. I brainstormed how I could best use my talents to offer services to others, and what would serve me as a person – what is something I would enjoy doing. I started The Dashing Ginger in January of 2016, my focus was to be a resource for wedding and event professionals that needed assistance with events; whether that was being an extra set of hands the day of an event, helping with deliveries, set up/tear down, prep work, even offering babysitting services – I found a way to become an extension of their brands, while growing mine. Read more>>

Zvestly Plantin | Candle Business Owner

Candle making started out as hobby while dealing with different aspects of my mental health, a global pandemic, post-grad difficulties, and other personal struggles. It quickly became an outlet for me which helped me deal with my anxiety. Despite the frustrations during the learning process, I really enjoyed making each candle. I was happy to have found something that helps me ease my anxiety and that was still fun for me. I would make candles and give them to my friends and family. After positive feedback and words of encouragement, I decided to turn this hobby into a business. Each candle is carefully crafted with love. My goal with my brand is to promote self-care, healing, and resilience. Three words that reflect the steps of my internal journey through candle-making. Read more>>

Jordan & Jenna Berman | Co-Founders of By The Berman Sisters

The thought process in the beginning was us wanting to do something that was for us, rather than for someone else. We wanted to work to build up our own dream, not someone else’s. We always knew that we wanted to “be our own boss,” but it took both of us having real-world jobs to really understand how badly we wanted that for ourselves. Read more>>

Khia Thomas | College Admissions Strategiest & Consultant

I’ve always maintained that “making a living” could involve work that was meaningful, engaged my top skills, and serves to help make someone else’s life just a little bit easier or better. I never really fancied myself as a business owner, but after many years of teaching, writing, and mentoring young adults, I saw clearly how my own expertise, skills, and experiences could help others outside of the scope of my 9-to-5. So many young people are in the middle of figuring it out – what they want to be when they grow up, which college is right fit for them, what they want to major in when they get there, how to successfully get admitted to college of choice, and how to take the best route to achieve their dreams. You see, I have navigated to and through college, graduate school, earning my Ph.D. in psychology (with 99% of my journey including no student loan debt!), and over 10+ years of full-time experience as a professor of psychology at Broward College. Read more>>

Liquan Cruz | Business Owner & Photographer

My thought process behind starting my business was that I just wanted to be a business owner honestly. I didn’t think it would be easy but I also never expected it to have as much challenges as I’ve faced so far. I just thought that I would be good at managing the operations of the business and by also running my own business I could be my own boss which made me happy. Read more>>

Michael Raymond | NBA Agent and Entrepreneur

The Agent business has always been very traditional and duplicated. I have researched, followed, and learned about so many different sports agencies and agents over the years. As I continued to gain experience, build community, and connect with professional athletes, I noticed a similar trend. Massive amounts of athletes either had bad relationships with their agents/managers or were being severely underutilized compared to the star athletes. I have been highly motivated to change that and make sure that every client understands that they have a story to tell and a brand to build. Basketball or not, all athletes are human beings first and should understand the opportunities that business, entrepreneurship, finance, and lifestyle create. Athletes should not grow up thinking if basketball does not work out that their life is over, or their family won’t be cared for. Read more>>

Abby Haliti | Balayage Expert , Celebrity Master Colorist

My thought process for opening a bussnies was simply bringing my expertise helping women evolving more a natural approach to coloring their hair without jeopardizing the health of the hair. Knowing my expertise as a color director in NYC over 20 years my mission was to involve future young stylist learning my Approach. Read more>>

Lilian Dominkovics Lowe | Owner, Lilian’s Table

Back in high school I always said, “when I grow up I want to be either a pediatrician or be a CEO of a company, maybe my own company”. And though my college career started with a premed direction I switched early on to business and graduated with an accounting degree. That degree was the stepping stone to an exciting and progressive career in corporate finance working for various companies across different industries, Although my roles were all centered around numbers, I found myself quite curious about sales, marketing and customer experience. About 2 years ago, a work transition coupled with a call to action from my trainer led me to the decision to start my own business. That same trainer says that decisions take a split second, it is the excuses that we give ourselves before taking action that can seem endless or the reason we never really follow our dreams. In my case, the decision to start the business did in fact take about a second, but a successful career prepared me well for this journey. Read more>>

Patricia Warren | Owner

It was one day I sat at my kitchen table and said God what can I do that I would enjoy doing to bring in an extra stream of income and a whisper so clear said you know what you enjoy doing, instantly I thought cooking chicken and pork souse 🤗 immediately after that a spiritual sister asked me what could you put with your TLC products that you could fully profit from ? Instantly I said salads Sunshine’s Eatery it is where all my old, new and soon to be customers will be very much satisfied with the fullness and goodness of our fresh daily made salads. Read more>>

Mimi Phillips | Jewelry Designer

In my previous career, I worked as a stylist and art director and it was like a big scavenger hunt. Over time I started fantasizing about the perfect pieces of jewelry for clients and photoshoots. That was when Minnie Lane came to life. My collection is everything that I looked for, and dreamt of, but could never find. Within the industry, I saw a big gap in the market between serious investment items and fun mass-produced accessories that wouldn’t last a hand wash. My collection fills that void with fashion-forward pieces that are timeless in terms of design and quality, at an accessible price point. Read more>>

Demi, Amanda Visnick, Kennedy | Creator & Co-Founder, Teacher & Co-Founder

The thought process was founded on our personal struggles. Planning our weddings was one of the hardest things we had been faced with. There are so many decisions and considerations that have an abundance of emotions tied to them. We thought to ourselves “How can we solve this problem for others?” So we put down every single minute detail for the fellow bride to learn from. We vowed to be transparent and wanted to help others plan one of the most important days of their lives with less stress and on a budget. And this is how DIY Wedding School & The Bride Blueprint was born!. Read more>>

Bianca Cutait | Art Advisor / CBD Expert

I currently run two completely different business: an art practice and a CBD brand, and while both businesses had similar starts, they however have had very opposite trails to path. I can honestly say that I started both from the same ground up – passion! I have always known that I wanted to work with art and I just made myself emotionally available all my young life to do so. And most recently, about 7 years ago, I started using CBD to help with the chronic migraines I suffer from, and I researched so much about it that I became what you can call an expert. And coming from a medical family, studying and researching about this product that all of a sudden was miraculously helping me live without pain, was a given. I believe our passions are disguised as our hidden talents, and we should try to pursue them as much as possible. Read more>>

Orlando Arnold | CEO & Sports Agent

The thought process behind me stating my business was the desire to help others on and off the field. Ready to be an entrepreneur and having the opportunity to work in sports was a no brainer. Starting a business isn’t easy however there is something special about watching your hard work, commitment to excellence, and establishing you reputation in a new industry grow. And I wouldn’t trade how I started and why I started if I could go back and do it again. Read more>>

Olivia McFarlane | Owner & Founder of TYM Botanicals

When I began creating TYM, I had the vision to create a brand in dedication to my sister and other children diagnosed with Rett syndrome. TYM derived from my sister’s name, Tyler Mary J. This rare genetic disorder impaired her ability to walk, speak, breathe and care for herself — for life. Over the years, I’ve watched Tyler face her daily challenges with courage. Her tenacity inspired me to face my fears and pursue my inner calling with TYM Botanicals being the result. I created TYM to be more than a company that puts out products that claims to care about its environment and community, but rather to put action to our words. It’s essential for me to connect with my community through my work. All of our formulations are conduit to ensuing and harvesting that connection in an authentic and truthful way based on our means as a small company, feeling very sentimental to me. Read more>>

Ronisha Robinson | Speaker• Mentor• Author • Queen

My thought process behind starting my own business is “ every girl needs their personal cheerleader in their corner”. Read more>>

Dana D’Oench | Owner of Hair By Dana D

First off knowing myself played a big part in this. I knew I was a hard worker and appreciate clients trusting my work. I am obsessed with social media marketing it is fun to me. I knew I had two strong fundamentals that come into play. I always put my all into any job I have ever had so working for myself has been super rewarding. I am a person that is always overthinking and it can actually come in handy while owning your own business. I am always thinking of how can I grow more, learn more and constantly get better. Keeping yourself on your toes and constantly be evolving makes it exciting to me. After working at different salons and gaining a following, it was time for me to grow. I have always wanted to own my own business and knew I had to make my own dreams happen. Don’t get me wrong you will always be scared at first but getting out of your comfort zone is when you grow. Read more>>

Danielle Gordon, Danielle Thompson N/A | Designer, Artist, Entrepreneur; Beauty Influencer, Small Business Owner, Entrepreneur

YGB Collective developed as a solution to the lack of awareness of black-owned businesses in various industries. We all know, Black businesses are not given the same resources to thrive as their white counterparts. Enter COVID-19 and Black businesses are in an even more precarious position than before. Although the landscape is changing, there is still a lot of work to be done. Co-founders, Danielle G. (designer and dancer) and Danielle T. (beauty influencer), curate a bi-monthly membership box of elevated essentials in the beauty, wellness, and lifestyle space. “Our goal is to amplify Black-owned businesses to reach a wider target audience through our growing community. We’ve always been young, gifted, and Black (YGB), and the social awakening of 2020 presented an opportunity to share our passion and platform with the world.” Read more>>

Lauren Aurigemma | Founder & Creative Director of Pursuit of Paper

Pursuit of Paper began as just an idea almost a decade ago out of an overwhelming affection for invitations, with an emphasis on beautiful paper. A passion for paper — along with a love for wedding and event planning — is what drove the desire to create custom designs that did not cost a fortune. Through Pursuit of Paper, this was a chance for brides or event planners to have a timeless stationery that could work within any budget. Read more>>

Georgia Alexandra Davis | Founder

As we’re celebrating our 10th year anniversary this year. I was seeking to establish a space online where a curated collection of fine jewelry from my favorite independent fine jewelers could be purchased. At that time, no similar paltform existed. You could purchase books from Amazon, but definitely no fine jewelry. I was a fashion editor and stylist for a number of international publications and seeking to create visuals that inspired and informed. I felt that women have a very special relationship with jewelry. It’s gifted to us or purchased by us to mark milestones and celebrations. Jewelry is worn to adorn and express how we feel but also to tell our stories. My son was just born and I was looking for a special something to pass on to him along with his birth story. I wasn’t sure what that would be and after much thought and an elaborate search, I found a ring that felt like him and the perfect gift to me and him. Read more>>

Patrick Glover | Businessman, Author, Producer, Former Adjunct Professor—You Name it, Patrick Glover ’05, MBA ’06, Has Done it all.

When he’s not in the classroom as a computer lab manager, the Lynn University graduate stays busy overseeing a portfolio of businesses he launched over the years. “My mother and I used to visit thrift shops all the time when I was younger,” he said. The duo sought precious metals, like jewelry, coins and other high-end items, that they could refurnish and resale. As their efforts literally “paid off,” they founded Delray Beach-based Urban Scrap Metal, LLC. which consults with several South Florida organizations to buy, sell, reproduce and safely store gold products. ”Glover release his first book, Urban Scrap Metal 101 Vol. 1: #UrbanScrapMetal Kindle Edition and Virtual Educational Field Trips Vol. 101: “Look at me. Against all odds, I imagined to manifest a trifecta via education, prayer and discipline,” he said. “I put in the hours and the hard work and found a way to differentiate myself. I am thankful to Lynn for enhancing my focus on education and giving me the structure to succeed.” Read more>>

Selina Hodge | Author & CEO of Ke’Niya Speaks Foundation Inc.

My thought process behind starting my business was my daughter. My preemie princess Ke’Niya. I felt like I sat in my grief and sorrow long enough and now I need to do something about it. Read more>>

Brianna Kilcullen | Founder & CEO, Anact

I never thought I’d be a business owner. I was always taught to work for someone else and get a good salary with a 401(k) so that I had security. My dad’s family immigrated from Ireland and that was what his dad had taught him. My thought process changed in 2016 after the election. I had this realization that if anyone could run for president then I could do anything I wanted to do too! I set the intention for what would be the most impactful way to make the textile industry become more socially and environmentally responsible and came to the conclusion that creating a movement within a brand and educating the customer while creating an amazing product that solved problems was the answer! It’s been a wild ride ever since because I’m not doing it to be a business owner per se but because I believe choosing this path will result in making the biggest impact for all people and the planet, which gives me the willpower to move through any challenges that come my way. Read more>>

Jill Fox | Owner, Mah Jongg Wipes

I started Mah Jongg Wipes in honor of my parents, who passed away recently. The new venture was a combination of both of them — my mother’s love for the game of mah jongg, which can be seen through the eyes of her grandchildren, and my father, who lost his fight with cancer far too soon. I realized that for me to find the motivation to launch a business during a pandemic, it needed meaning, and I decided what that was. I found something positive to focus on during this strange time in everyone’s lives. In my father’s honor, I donate a portion of the proceeds to pancreatic cancer research in the hopes that one day, there will be a cure. Read more>>

Phillip Vivolo | Owner & Fitness Trainer

My thought process was rather simple. While working at the bank, I started my own weight loss journey. By doing lots of research and tons of trial and error, I was able to lose 80 pounds. Other gym members started noticing my weight loss and began asking me questions. It was almost as if I had developed my own little clientele. So while also working my full-time job at the bank, I started personal training as a side hustle. The more I worked as a trainer, the more I realized how tired I was of the corporate demands, and how much I loved helping other people reach their fitness goals – the same way I did. By opening my own personal training studio, I’ve been able to set the hours that are best for my clientele, as well as spend the most time possible with my family. Guiding my clients through their journeys while never missing a moment with my son, Jacob, is the best thing I could ask for. Read more>>


Raphael Federici | Paintor and Street Artist

My desire was to do something original that don’t had seen before. As an artist, I chose to do a scouting on the different styles of my competitors, in order to understand what worked best. Once I did my “sourcing” I started to create my own style and establish a long term strategy. By structuring my strategy, I was able to rely on a guideline, which allowed me to create freely without ever being too scattered. Read more>>

Jaznay Williams | Permanent Makeup & Brow Artist

Pursuit of Paper began as just an idea almost a decade ago out of an overwhelming affection for invitations, with an emphasis on beautiful paper. A passion for paper — along with a love for wedding and event planning — is what drove the desire to create custom designs that did not cost a fortune. Through Pursuit of Paper, this was a chance for brides or event planners to have a timeless stationery that could work within any budget. Read more>>