Deciding to start a business is an unusual decision. It’s often considered irrational and yet for many it’s the best decision they’ve ever made. So we asked folks to think back to when they were starting their businesses and to tell us about their decision making process.

Chelsea Diamond | Creative Director & Event Planner

My career path has been filled with many ups and downs. A lot of trial and error has gone into figuring out what direction I should go and what the best job for me is. I started Soirees by Diamond out of my love for planning and decorating events. I love bringing people together and celebrating life’s special moments with others. I love making people feel seen, heard, and celebrated. Community is important to me, and what better way to bring people together than by hosting events? That’s the core of why I started my business, being able to be creative with decor and design is an added bonus. This is only the beginning of my business journey, and I am learning so much and can see how much my life has changed since the beginning of this year. Read more>>

Harold Trinh Moore | Private Equity Fund Manager

I wanted to bring my financial experience to the give people the best service. I wanted to provide a level of service and knowledge that is accessible to my clients. I love to think outside the box and get creative with solutions for getting deals done. I like to get undervalue assets and turn them around to market. I wanted to start collecting some of the best businesses and keep them for long term value. Read more>>

Melissa MCGowan | Photographer

In 2020, life took an unexpected turn for me. My 16-month-old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, an overwhelming revelation that shook my world. The constant monitoring and care needed for a child with this condition quickly became apparent and my previous job, with its rigid hours and demands, no longer seemed feasible. The well-being of my son was paramount, and I needed to find a balance between supporting him emotionally and medically while also ensuring our financial stability. Photography had always been my solace, a way to capture the transient beauty of moments. Holding a camera, framing a shot, and immortalizing a memory provided both creative fulfillment and a sense of control, which I desperately needed during those turbulent times. Read more>>

Alex Tchouangwa | Founder of AccretionEngine

The decision to start my own business stemmed from a combination of passion for the industry and a strategic recognition of a market gap. In 2020, while pursuing my studies at Colorado School of Mines, I became increasingly aware of the transformative power of effective SEO in the digital landscape. Simultaneously, I observed that many businesses were not fully capitalizing on the potential of organic search in their marketing strategies. This realization prompted a critical decision: I chose to leave school to fully immerse myself in addressing this gap. Education is invaluable, but I saw a unique opportunity to contribute to the industry and meet a growing need. I understood that businesses needed a comprehensive and dedicated approach to SEO to thrive in the increasingly competitive online space. Read more>>

Greg Shepard | Founder of Emily’s Maids

The origins of Emily’s Maids started in 2011 with the ending of another maid service named Maid 2 Order. Before Emily’s Maids, I was seven years into running my first cleaning service, Dallas Maids. The philosophy there is to compete on quality, not price. Prices may be a little higher than the competition, however Dallas Maids mops up the competition in terms of quality and consistency. Anyway, when the owner of Maid 2 Order had expressed his frustration with finding business, I offered to refer leads to his business that did not have the budget for Dallas Maids. A win/win: He would have more business for his fledging service while I could save people from the trouble of finding a more affordable, reputable service. Read more>>

Christian Reinecke | Brand Designer

I started freelancing about 12 years ago. I was just growing my career and things weren’t progressing at a very fast rate, so in my impatience, I started taking on clients, as a way of challenging myself to develop. new skills, and change the way I think about business and problem-solving. Once I had a few wins behind me, I started looking into what it would take to turn my side-hustle into a business. About 5 years later, the right opportunity presented itself, and I found my clients and defined my service offering. Now, I am proud to specialize in branding services for mid-sized businesses preparing for growth. Read more>>

Alexis Davenport | Food Artist/Charcuterie & Catering

In 2020 after the midst of covid, and having a new baby girl, I really longed to have something for me. I have always been creative minded, and loved hosting and entertaining– so the thought to create what soon became, Bohemian Boards, arose! I carefully mapped out my business plan and decided to throw it online one day– within a month a hobby, that turned into a full-blown career came to life. I was actually the first charcuterie business in our county, so people really loved the idea, the support was incredible! It was then, and still is now the best job ever!! Read more>>

Hannah Williams | Esthetician, wax specialist, permanent makeup & tattoo artist

My thought process behind starting my own business was breaking free from the limits of a corporate world. I had this vision for a place that clients can come to receive the services they want without having to over pay for a less than quality service. My motto has always been to under charge and over deliver. My prices are fair and competitive, but it’s the quality and customer service my clients receive that sets everything apart. It’s so important for every single person to leave feeling their best. It was also important use products of the highest quality but also not limit clients to products. I carry multiple different types of wax and products to allow options to help find the best option for clients. Read more>>

Lira Gomez | Public Figure, Business Owner, & Actor

My thought process of starting my own business was the freedom that comes with it. The recognition that I can actually do this. Instead of holding my ideas and thoughts to myself, I can actually spread it across the world. Of course there is hard work that goes into it, but in the end, you believed in yourself, and that all that matters. Read more>>

Chelley Collins-Anderson, LCSW | Mental Health Therapist

I’ve always been in helping professions and as time went on I became more and more aware of the microaggressions, stigma and lack of true concern towards minorities in the mental health space and it really encouraged me to want to be a change agent and create a space where the needs of our community could be met without shame and guilt. I was pushed to start my own business after a challenging situation in the corporate field and it really showed me that the way to make true change was to work for myself. I actually didn’t have a concrete plan of how I was going to do things but I knew that I needed to step out on faith and make it happen. Read more>>

La’Tasha Queen Lewis | Queen Of Clean

I’ve been in the hospitality industry since 2003 working with various hotels and Staffing agencies. I’ve been laid off a time or two. When the pandemic hit us in 2020 I knew that my employer would eliminate my position as Executive Housekeeper. At that particular time I had climed my way to the top of my
career path and was making a lot of money. With me remembering all of my unfortunate moments of being laid off without notice. I took it upon myself to start my own Cleaning and Staffing agency. Promising myself that no matter what no one else would ever be in control of my destiny or my children’s lively hood. I realize that not alot of people value the dedication and skills of a Housekeeper, Jantior etc. Read more>>

Mani Bhushan | Owner

For starters, I was laid off from my corporate job in 2006 and honestly was unsure if I wanted to find another gig in corporate America. I always had the itch to open my own restaurant so I went ahead and started figuring that out. I wanted to open something that was my creation, and that honestly was really hard for me. Though I had worked in the restaurant industry for decades, it’s a daunting task when you have a blank slate for menu creation, recipes, naming, restaurant design, etc. Read more>>

DABNEY POORTER | Integrative Family Nurse Practitioner

I came to the decision to start my own business due to my own personal health journey. I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes in December 2013. As I began seeking treatment for my new diagnosis, I found there was a lack of individualized care and education. My goal in starting my own businesses was to treat the individual first with the foundation being preventative and root cause analysis and therapies. Read more>>

Lacey Boerm | Wedding and couples photographer

I started photographing weddings as a second shooter or just shadowing other photographers at only sixteen years old. At first I wasn’t sure I liked it, but after doing quite a few weddings in such a short span of time, I realized that weddings are my passion! I knew that this was the path I wanted to take, and I went all in. I realized that couples deserve to have beautiful photos of themselves and their loved ones on the most special day of their lives, and I knew I could do that for them. On my eighteenth birthday this year, I launched my first ever website, and booked my first wedding on my own only weeks later. Read more>>

Lubaina Rakla | LIVA Foods inc date sugar date syrup company

Liva Foods, a date sugar and date syrup company. My journey began with gestational diabetes during my time as a mom-to-be. Like any mom, I wanted to enjoy sweets without guilt and avoid a lifetime of medication. That’s when I discovered the natural sweetness and nutritional benefits of dates. It sparked the idea of creating a more wholesome sugar alternative. And voila, Liva Foods was born! Our mission is simple: to bring a guilt-free, whole food sugar to the world. I poured my heart into making date sugar and date syrup that not only satisfies sweet cravings but also promotes a healthier lifestyle. Read more>>

Ree Brown | Nail Tech

My initial thought process behind starting my own nail business was to create a safe space for women where we can relax, relate and rejuvenate. Self care is therapeutic. As women we love a good nail session. I wanted to create something that my people could also relate to. Sometimes you find your best friend in the nail salon. It’s really where women connect the most, where we identify with each other. It’s just where the magic happens!! Read more>>

Elyssa Thompson | Baker and Small Business Owner

Starting my own business was all a blur. Baking had always been a hobby of mine, since I was about 8 years old. At the time, I was a senior in high school using baking as an outlet to better my mental health. I would give myself “baking challenges” each week and challenge myself to try something new in the kitchen every Monday. This particular week I decided to master cake balls. I made a batch of three different flavors and decorated them nicely, so I could post them on my social medias. To my surprise, so many of my friends and acquaintances were interested in buying them, they were a huge hit! That week I sold all of the cake balls and got great feedback. I was ecstatic to bring people joy through my product. Read more>>

Crystal Hancock | Charcuterie Specialist

I didn’t really set out to start a business, it just kind of happened. It all started when I made a charcuterie box as a gift for my mom’s boss that was retiring. When I delivered it to the office everyone loved it and was asking if I they order one. It went from boxes, to boards, to grazing tables, and now classes! It also all started during Covid. I was a nurse at JPS and worked in the Covid ICU. Making charcuterie creations for people was a nice distraction and also was a fun creative outlet during a rough time. Read more>>