Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Daniele Dalla Pola | Sophisticated Connoisseur

It has been about 3 years since the idea of an original modern tiki bar came up in my mind. The thought process behind opening Esotico in Miami is I wanted to bring something that Miami was missing at the time. Read more>>

Rita Curry | Celebrity Dj, Host & Emcee

I wanted to provide other opportunities for people, not just me. I wanted to be more serious and reach a different clientele. I wanted potential clients to see the company as trustworthy. When people are looking for event talent and production I want them to think of REmixed Events and not just DJ ReRe. Read more>>

David Finkelstein | Internet Pioneer & Tech Entrepreneur

I am on my 3rd business. My first was out of need. I started an ISP back in 1994 when it was hard to find a reliable way to get access to the internet. I was 6 months out of college and used to being online, but after leaving college the only internet that existed really was AOL. I set out to solve this problem and build a company that would enable businesses to gain access to the internet. The others came out of experience. After selling the first business, my experiences from the first, enabled the second and so on… Read more>>

Melissa Reyes | Artist & Maker

The creative gene is very strong in me. During my childhood and teenage years I spent great time taking art classes, drawing, creating fashion designs for my dolls and decorating my room. There was always a constant desire and need to make stuff, to beautify my surroundings. I was always making, making and making. In 2009, during a dark period in my life I feel the need to learn something new, to create, to heal my soul. I asked my very talented and creative mom to teach me how to sew, so she brought home a bag pattern, some fabric and her sewing machine. That’s when Stella di Mari was born. Sewing healed me and I fell in love with the craft. Since then I’ve been creating handcrafted handbags. Currently I decided to combine my passion for painting and patterns developing original textiles for my bags. Read more>>

Micheline Maalouf | Owner & Licensed Mental Health Counselor

I have always had a creative mind and I feel like I have always thought differently than most. This has helped me and hurt me in the past. It has helped me when working for others as I was able to come up with creative and innovative ideas which was helpful for jobs I held but many times I ran into some sort of wall or ceiling. I felt my hands were tied and was not able to reach individuals in the ways I wanted and believed would make an impact. I would go from being extremely exited to very disappointed and wanted to talk to my bosses and say “but can’t you see how this would be so impactful?” unfortunately when speaking up in a company there are many layers of approvals and politics at play. I either had to comply or move on my own. When it came to opening my private practice, I wanted to be able to reach the population that I knew I could help. Read more>>

Kurls & Kim | Stylist

When we launched Missy Hair Salon. We wanted to create an environment for women, men, and children to feel at home while getting their hair serviced. Where you are able to come in relax and feel at peace knowing you are in great hands. Read more>>

Shannon Wilson | Licensed Mental Health Counselor & Business Owner

My business partners and I started discussing the idea of starting our own business while working in a hospital-affiliated agency. For me, the work felt really restrictive in so many ways – I wasn’t able to pursue the aspects of mental health that I felt passionate about, and I was also restricted in the ways that I could function in that setting due to policies and procedures that often decreased the quality of care I was able to provide. We dreamt about creating a practice where the focus was on providing high quality care for our clients, and it seemed obvious to us that in order to facilitate that level of care, we had to be able to create a supportive, empowering work culture for ourselves and our team. As a mother, it was also important to me to create my own schedule for flexibility around my family’s needs. Read more>>

Dan Silverman | Matchmaker & Dating Coach

My business is unique from other dating coaching and matchmaking companies. I offer a unique service to men, where I take them out into the real world and practice approaching and flirting with women to help them overcome their social anxiety. I also personally go out into the real world at events and scout for my matchmaking clients. It took a very long time to get to where I am now. It’s not easy running your own business alone, but I’ve managed to scratch a living and in the past 2 years I have been very successful at it. I have learned that anyone can attract the person of their dreams as long as they are willing to conquer their fears and put in the effort required to make big changes. I want people to know that despite how horrible it is to date in Miami, there is hope for you. Read more>>

Ingrid Gonzalez | Therapist & Private Practice Owner

I started my private practice business, “Therapy Talk”, this year almost as a result of the pandemic. Since obtaining my Master’s degree at the University of Miami, I dreamt of owning my own business. I was licensed last year after completing the required client and supervision hours, examination, extra courses. After becoming licensed, nothing was “essentially” stopping me but fear. Fear of the unknown, of all the intricacies that come with having a business, of getting clients, and so many more. I was looking into joining a group practice when everything pretty much shut down as a result of COVID-19. I waited a few months and many places were unsure of if/when they’d return to the office. I decided not to wait any longer and launched my own business providing online therapy services. Read more>>

Michelle Lefkowitz | Owner

My husband and I wanted to build a life together where we did something everyday that we were passionate about. The philosophy being that if you do something you enjoy everyday, then you will enjoy your life more. Read more>>

Rick Medina | Arcade Owner

I grew up going to arcades with all my friends, it was a place for young people to hang out and have fun, but because of home consoles and the internet, they had all closed down. I wanted to bring back a place where everyone could hangout and enjoy themselves. Read more>>

Seth Crapp | Radiologist & Entrepreneur

The thought process behind starting my own radiology business mainly stemmed from the fact that I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. In fact, when I began medical school my initial goal was to be a family doctor with a private clinic. Since radiology tends to be dominated by hospital organizations and more recently corporations, I felt it was imperative to establish a footprint even if small to be an alternative for those who want a more personalized experience. It’s more of a concierge approach we take to provide radiology services. Our motto is “We provide professional radiology services with a personal touch.” Read more>>

Crystal Aceituno | Permanent Makeup Artist

I’ve worked for many million dollar corporations as a customer service and/or sales representative for over 10 years. I’ve always loved helping people but could not figure out how to help them in my own way, and I definitely did not want to help them in the manner the corporations wanted me to. “Sell, even if they cannot afford it.” That’s their problem and I had a big problem with that! In retail, they have this motto, “You are only as good as your last day.” I personally have always despised that statement because what it’s saying is, it doesn’t matter if you’ve invested the last 5, 10 or 20 years of your life into this company, if your results from the last month or two were not up to par, you were on the chopping block and was at risk of losing your job, even if you were around the corner from retirement. It was terribly sad to see collages older than myself being consumed by fear of losing their job if they didn’t increase their results within the next week. Read more>>