Here’s a question you’ll get asked all the time as an entrepreneur: Why did you decide to start your own business? (Thankfully, the other part of the question – what made you crazy enough to think you could start your own business? – is usually just implied!) We’ll help you home in on your answer by sharing some of the top reasons folks in this awesome community have chosen to do their own business thing. Did we omit what motivates you to work for yourself? In the comments below, tell us what inspires you to take the entrepreneurial leap!
I want to start a business so I can:
Solve a problem:
Ben Gucciardi was earning his M.A. in global educational leadership, working in youth development for underserved families and playing a lot of soccer when he had an idea. The California native realized soccer could be a tool to help struggling kids learn to better communicate, connect and collaborate with their peers, parents and teachers. Could he build a program around his favorite sport to help disadvantaged youth? Turns out he could – and he did.
Before launching The Green Garmento reusable dry-cleaning bag company in 2008, Jennie Nigrosh worked at a Los Angeles record label. She spent her days meeting celebrities and enjoying “two-hour prosecco lunches.” But Jennie discovered she was far more passionate about plastic than prosecco. Today, her reusable bags are used in over 1000 dry-cleaning chains and by hoteliers across 25 countries, and Jennie aims to cut single-use plastic-bag waste by a whopping 300 million pounds per year.
Danielle Vincent was more than two years into a steady, well-paying job as a product manager for the Oprah Winfrey Network when she admitted she was miserable. Pining for a dusty, rugged life in the great outdoors, Danielle and her husband, Russ, developed a line of scented soaps that provided a whiff of campfires, whiskey and free-range living. Their “side hustle” culminated in a sell-out launch party. Danielle gave her notice – and Outlaw Soaps was ready to roam.
Meghan Benson started her business selling unique necklaces as a way to raise money for the adoption of her son. When it became clear that she was building a fan base, she decided to keep her side-hustle going. Now, she has two kids at home, and she's in the business of creating harmony between family life and entrepreneurship.
Before Ana and Luis Rivera opened their own HVAC company, Luis missed every one of his kids’ football games. Now he gets to coach his son’s team during the summer, and Ana leverages her volunteer work in the community as valuable networking opportunities for the business.
Sharon Coleman has undergone grueling treatments for colon cancer twice. Now she’s celebrating five years of being cancer-free by launching Lemon and Honey Gifts. Her “purposeful” online business lets customers order gift boxes packed with thoughtfully chosen products to help adults and kids going through chemotherapy.
Jill Brown and Lauren Lynn have daughters who were diagnosed with kidney disease. The families found support, resources and community through Northwest Kidney Kids – and now they’re both dedicated fundraisers for the philanthropic organization.
After a young woman was abducted and killed while on a run in her Southern California community, friends and Solana Beach-locals Kate Nowlan and Kimberly Caccavo started talking. As athletes themselves, they wanted to make running (and other activities) safer for women. Kate and Kimberly came up with GRACEDBYGRIT, a premium athletic apparel brand for women. Today, the co-founders run a multi-million dollar company with more than 50,000 loyal customers.
Jeremy Malman was three years into a highly competitive clinical psychology Ph.D. program working with at-risk adolescents when he became disillusioned. His frustration stemmed from a deep desire to support this underserved population in real, meaningful ways. Academia wasn’t cutting it, so Jeremy took a year off from school to figure out what was next. His answer appeared in a surprising form: a vintage motorcycle.
Dawn Brown is on a mission. As a CPA running her own business, she wants to make her all clients’ numbers add up. But Dawn is also deeply committed to contributing to society in a meaningful way. By staying true to those two parallel goals – growing her accounting business and doing good, both locally and beyond – Dawn has successfully carved out a novel niche for her professional financial services business.
New Orleans native Scott Wolfe, Jr. had opened a firm focused on construction law when Hurricane Katrina hit. He soon became troubled by the flood of contractors coming to him for help with getting paid. He couldn’t do much for them legally, so he took his experience building software for the family business and created a product helping with intricacies of getting paid in the construction business. Today, that software has become the company zlien, securing $1.78 billion in payments for its customers every month.
When Grace Kraaijvanger decided to join a coworking space, her only options were “very male, very tech.” So Grace did what entrepreneurs do: After identifying a gap in the shared-workspace market, she turned a problem in a business. The Hivery opened its doors nearly five years ago with 25 members. Today, more than 400 women create, explore and collaborate in the beautiful, light-filled workspace.
Cozy Friedman launched the first eversalon for kidsin New York City after a friend told her about her nephew’s bad experience at an adult salon. She calls that conversation in 1992 her “lightning bolt” moment. Since then, Cozy has opened the doors to multiple children’s salons. Her latest endeavor is the launch of her professional-grade hair care line that was created just for kids.
Fabienne Wente works for an independent advertising and social media agency in LA and devotes evenings and weekends to building her own graphic design business, The NU Creative. By all accounts, Fab’s multimedia work is fresh, fun and colorful. And sometimes, it all hangs together thanks to a few well-tied knots.
Maggi Simpkins was designing jewelry full-time for a private label when, after a few years of learning everything she could about the industry, she decided to venture out on her own. During her first year of “figuring it out,” Maggi created an engagement ring for a friend. The process was “beautiful and really powerful” -- and that’s when it clicked: Maggi Simpkins Fine Jewelry would help people tell their love story with decadent, intricate, custom-designed engagement rings.