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.

Kelly Medanich | Graphic Designer & Business Owner

After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in marketing, I had originally planned to go into sales. However with the 2008 market crash, the sales positions I coveted were few and far between. I had the idea to go to law school, but being the cautious person I am, I wanted to first work at a law firm to get a feel of the environment before I invested time and money into law school. And I’m glad I did. I ended up not having as big of an interest in law as I originally thought, so instead I worked my way up to be marketing director for the firm. As marketing director, I was able to start designing print ads and business programs. After that I knew I found what I loved to do. Print ads and business programs weren’t exactly creatively stimulating, so I started creating more enjoyable designs on my own like invitations and logos. Once I designed my first project for my own client, I realized this is was my passion. I wanted to be my own boss with my own clients doing what I love. After a transition as marketing director to another small business and just a few years later, I was able to dedicate full time to Pink Champagne Designs. Read more>>

Sara DeNorch | Graphic Designer & Creative Director

My parents have always been entrepreneurs, so I grew up with seeing the freedom starting your own business could offer an individual. That never comes without sacrifice, but building a life MY way with something I loved seemed like an absolute dream come true. I’ve started multiple businesses in the past, made good investments and bad, but understanding that it takes a few tries until you actually find something that sticks and keeps you passionate kept me motivated. I’m a total night person, so a regular 9-5 job was never on the table for me as something I felt I could excel at, which is what made the risk of starting my business a much more valuable option for me. There was a defining moment that finally pushed me to the edge of leaving my well paying job to finally devoting my full time to my own business. Over quarantine, my Dad was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Not only was I not able to work my hospitality job, but I was hit with the reality that time really is limited. I needed to focus on making ends meet in a way that allowed me to spend time with my Dad, and finally make my dreams happen. Read more>>

Rick Baraff | Adventure & Socially Conscious Content Pro

since I like doing everything alone, juggling 17 balls while wearing 11 hats, I figured why not? No, actually it was born simply from the fact that I have a pretty unique skillset as an adventure cinematographer and multimedia content creator and when I was starting out, I was getting hired for (and seeking out) pretty particular (okay, extreme) gigs and it just rolled into a business that way. And also, I was getting jobs they were for things that didn’t quite have the budget to hire more people, so it became a solo business that way, too. Read more>>

Darvis Dones | Author | HairStylist | Motivational Speaker | Recovering Shopaholic

basically I knew fresh out of high school college just wasn’t for me. I was already having a hard time trying to focus in high school, so I knew it wouldn’t function in college. So I just decided to get a job, I was filling out applications everywhere. Warehouse, wherever you name it. But my actual first job I started working for a call center which I was getting my feet wet but I had the customer service voice and I was a people person so I had the personality. That first call center took me to like 2-3 over the course of maybe five years. It was like time was going by so fast working in a call center. Don’t get me wrong the money was good but I started to drift off. It started to not be for me anymore. Again I’ve always been a people person, someone you could talk to and who wouldn’t judge or call you out or throw it back in your face. Long story short I’ve heard so many crazy stories about from what people have told me. But when I tell them mine it’s like mine was unbelievable and how could I still be keeping a smile on my face and etc. I never knew how emotionally messed up I was behind my smile that I wore so perfectly. Read more>>

Susan Gary | Owner, Top Dog Pet Sitters

After 25 years of ordained ministry, I felt that God had a different plan for me, so I retired and went to work for a nonprofit organization. I was considered “field staff” and worked from home. I quickly worked through my daily tasks and had extra time on my hands so I decided a part-time job might be fun. It would need to be a meaningful job and one that could work around my full-time position. I responded to an ad for a pet sitter and got the job. I loved it! But, the business had issues; pet sitters would leave client homes unlocked, not show up to assignments, or fail to feed animals. In addition, the business owner failed to follow labor laws, had awful customer service, etc. I would share these experiences with my husband. We decided we could do a better job. We created our business plan, researched the official paperwork kind of things we needed to do, and Top Dog Pet Sitters was created in February of 2015. We had our first client the first week we were in business and until Covid, experienced a 75% growth rate, every year. Read more>>

Latorra Garland | Chef

My thought process behind starting my own business was to create a brand tdoing something that I truly enjoyed and a business that I could pass on to my children and build generational wealth for my family to pass on for many generations and to break generational curses. Read more>>

B Alan Bourgeois | Author Advocate & Consultant

In the early stages of the Print on Demand and Self-Publishing revolution, it was clear that Indie authors like myself were in need of help to better understand how to market themselves and their books. At the same time, like myself, most authors did not have million-dollar budgets to promote their book, let alone a budget at all. Through this experience and the experience of publishing books for other authors over a five years, I knew that something had to change to help authors succeed and to be noticed. In 2011, I created the Texas Authors Association which added the Indie Beacon organization in 2018, and then merged them to go international as the Authors Marketing Guild, LLC. An author owned, membership-based businesses with the sole purpose of educating author on marketing, and supporting them through events, programs, and educational services so they can succeed just like those that have traditional publishing contracts with the big 4 publishing companies. Read more>>

Chelsea Lockhart | Author, Editor, Book Consultant, Independent Publisher

I started my own business because I didn’t see what I wanted in the world. I’ve always had a passion for reading and writing, but as I became older and more self-aware, I realized just how many books didn’t have characters who looked like me. And if it did, it was either as a side character or it was story of pain, trauma, and struggle. I wanted more than that. I wanted to see myself represented in stories of magic and fantasy and romance — and not as a best friend, sidekick, or as someone who needed saving. I wanted multi-faceted Black girls who went on adventures, fell in love, and were allowed to be angry about more than the world mistreating them. So, instead of just being irritated I didn’t have those books, I focused that energy into creating my business — Written in Melanin Publishing. It’s a publishing house for Black authors so that we can tell our stories of love and magic without the worry of being gatekept by the world of traditional publishing or catering to the white gaze. I started my business so that we would have a place to tell our stories. Read more>>

Ali Mirza | Social Media Strategist

When I was in my 9-5 job, I did not want to be like my manager in 10 years. I wanted to create a platform where I can be creative and not trade hours for dollars. I wanted to leverage the growing trend of internet and social media. Starting my own social media consulting business has been the most rewarding journey of my life. Read more>>

Anette Sandoval | Painter

Creating was always something I was able to do, but I never realized it was something I want my whole life to be consumed by. I just thought it was a hobby like all my family members told me. Now I’m content with how it unfolded because I’m able to do something that drives me to do more. Read more>>

Paulina Magdaleno | Healthy Lifestyle Instigator and Gratitude Promoter

The economic fallout of the pandemic. Future has always being uncertain, but after 2020, I learned to be better prepared for unexpected events. Also, after the presidential elections I felt so burned out, exhausted and frustrated. The intolerance, the tensions, the frustrations, everybody angry and on edge. I have always been a positive, hopeful person, so I woke up one day and decided to recover my energy and focus it on my passion for health, wellness, and personal growth. This is how 24.7 Healthy was born. A social platform, a community to lift each other up and share the goodness of a healthy lifestyle based on gratitude and self-respect. Read more>>

Bashar Almudhafar | Chef

From when I was a little kid , I’ve always dreamed of being a chef. When I was a child I would help my mother cook and clean. The first meal I cooked for my family was when I was in 7th grade and that helped motivate me. Read more>>

Paola Hernandez | Nail Artist

Ever since I was younger, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. As a child my mom and dad always had a small side business to make extra money, so it’s always stuck to me to want to always have a backup! I just never knew what exactly I was good at or wanted to do. I started doing press on nails for my family and close friends. I would sit and research for hours trying to figure out how to make this perfect, and then after all the search and practice I decided to start my own business. I remember starting with plain colors and being so scared to do designs or any crazy art on nails, but now I truly enjoy the art of it and love doing it. Read more>>

Kevin Syed | Chief and President at Integrity 1st Automotive

You know when i first started, i couldn’t see myself working for anyone. I mostly never took directions too well. I also got terminated from most jobs that i had as a young kid. That is when i knew that i will have to be my own boss, Plus my father was always an entrepreneur . When i first started my own business, very first thing that i had learned was that i also LOVED helping people. Read more>>