Each business has a story. No matter if the business is a Goliath like Wal-Mart, or a local business owned by a couple or family, the business has roots in an idea. For each business owner, the story of their journey can range from monetary needs or the passion for a unique project. Each story is different though the reasons may remain the same. No matter the tale, the background behind each and every business is what fuels each entrepreneurship and brand.
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To empower women worldwide about the healing powers of food for anxiety
I started my business to educate and empower women worldwide about the healing powers of food in order to find natural solutions for their anxiety, depression and sugar cravings. It all started because because I used to suffer terribly from anxiety, unexplained fears, waking with a sense of doom and even had panic attacks – and I have used gluten elimination, and the amazing healing powers of foods and nutrients to completely heal. This is why I am so am passionate about what I do! It took me years to find all the answers for myself so I wrote a book pulling together all the recent food mood research, my clinical experience and information from other mood experts. My book http://www.antianxietyfoodsolution.com (June 2011), my one-on-one and working with groups, allows me to serve as a catalyst in bringing about life enhancing mood transformations that start with eating real whole food, using some pretty amazing nutrients and making simple lifestyle changes. I also now present nationally to health practitioners on food and mood, sharing all the recent food mood research and how-to steps so they too can educate and empower their clients and patients. Thousands of women who were anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, sad, over-weight and frustrated, are now loving their lives, feeling their healthiest, looking their best, and feeling on top of the world emotionally.
Thanks to Trudy Scott, Every Woman Over 29
Because I noticed a void in the retail market
As an avid vintage shopper I noticed a void in the retail market for a full-service vintage boutique. While there were plenty of vintage/thrift stores and luxury boutiques, there was nowhere for a vintage lover to receive the amenities of a boutique. With my background in wardrobe styling and retail, it was my mission to find a place that provided customers with excellent customer service and an affordable selection of quality, unique clothes. When I couldn’t, I decided to open my own. Style Haven, my newly opened boutique in Montclair, New Jersey, offers hand-picked, affordable vintage pieces that reflect current fashion. Additionally, we offer style services such as alterations, personal shopping, and closet makeovers. All of this is offered at a reasonable price because in today’s tough economy, a woman shouldn’t have to sacrifice savings for style.. Opening Style Haven Boutique has been a dream fulfilled.
Thanks to Corin Wright, Style Haven
To finally do something I believe in
After 20 years of working long, hard hours for major corporations, I wanted to build something from the ground up. I wanted to combine my years of marketing and ecommerce experience with my passion for design and build something I really believe in, something whose primary mission is to bring joy to others. Having my own business has been my lifelong dream, so I think I was born with the desire, but needed to wait for the right time, the right opportunity, and my own readiness to take the plunge. When I started Thoughtful Presence, it was all about making gift giving simple yet meaningful for the shopper, and bringing a smile to the face of the recipient. I love to shop, I love choosing unique and meaningful gifts, I love wrapping gifts in creative ways, and I found a way to turn that into a business that could help others by simplifying their gift-giving while maintaining that personal touch. At the end of the day, the best part of having this business is hand delivering a gift myself, and seeing the surprise and delight on the face of the recipient.
Thanks to Mary Babiez, Thoughtful Presence, Inc.
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Because entrepreneurialism is in my blood
Entrepreneurialism is in my blood. I was working in my family’s restaurant before I could drive, and through my younger years I started many other ventures, from flea market crafts to tech companies. The story of my company, Batchbook, began while I was doing a consulting gig for a small, local publishing company. Their expensive and challenging customer management solution was too complicated and languishing unused. My background is in design and systems development and application development, and I knew what they needed. I spent a month searching for something, but couldn’t find a solution geared for small businesses. Then, I had the “Aha!” moment while in my garage, painting cardboard-refrigerator-box-turned-princess-castle for my daughter. I thought, “Let me go out and see if there are other people looking for something like this.” So, I pulled together a top-notch team to build an affordable, simple tool to help entrepreneurs build meaningful relationships with their customers. Now, our company helps our customers organize disparate contact information and access it from the cloud so small and growing businesses and entrepreneurs can stay on top of their world-saving agendas.
Thanks to Pamela O’Hara, Batchbook
To support my family and simplify lives
I started my business to support my family but I have continued it to simplify peoples lives. Everyone needs a job and I could take pride in working for others, but having the freedom to work on my own projects has made all of the difference. Instead of working 40 hours a week looking forward to lunch and quoting time. I now find myself working over 80 hours and wanting to work more. Be part of the internet revolution has brought great pride and satisfaction one I could not find working for another company. There is nothing more fluffing knowing that thousand of people a day are benefiting using a product I have designed. That is what keeps me working harder. If needed I would work for another company to support my family but I am grateful I can also make products that help others.
Thanks to Brendon Schenecker, Travel Vegas
To help facilitate positive changes
As he leading expert on business strategy for actors, I teach actors the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. My first job out of college was working at a talent agency that ended up being a scam company. I learned that about 3 weeks in, after seeing so many actors being taken advantage of; making decisions based on fear instead of based on what they were passionate about. I wanted to help protect actors from similar scam companies but also empower them to be as passionate about their business as they are about their art. Actors can go through grad school, receive plenty of training about their craft, and still be completely ill prepared for the industry. So I decided to share my entrepreneurial skills and knowledge with dedicated actors because I believes an actor’s artistic prowess should equal their business savvy in order to build a truly successful acting empire. I am genuinely inspired by actors who put themselves out there everyday to tell stories that make people think differently. I believe art creates change in the world and I want to help facilitate those positive changes.
Thanks to Dallas Travers, Sage Creative, Inc.
To find a new way to support myself
Basically, I was on Social Security Disability and supplementing it with doing online surveys, get paid to click ads, that sort of thing. ?In 2009 I got an ad in the mail for a monthly beading club. At first I was about to throw it in the trash, when ‘something’ stopped me. I am a Christian, and I believe it was the Holy Spirit. So I looked into it and eventually joined the club. That started a love of handcrafting, and I was soon making greeting cards and Christmas ornaments too! In 2011 I signed up with Stores Online for an e-commerce website, and also a paid Yola website. Again, the Stores Online offer was in a piece of ‘junk mail’ that I almost threw away!
Thanks to Amy Berthelet, Amy’s Handmade Jewelry
To create a “feeling” company
I began my career as a filmmaker and a playwright, so I was always focused on how essential emotion is if you want to create really powerful communication. And when I moved into the startup world, I found the same thing. Decisions by investors, customers, employees, partners — they’re all driven by their emotions. My co-founder was my cousin Jim Joyce, also a successful entrepreneur, who came from a healthcare sales background. Both of us had built our careers on our ability to connect with clients and partners in a really personal way, which had allowed us to build really enduring, rewarding relationships. So we found ourselves frustrated by the fact that business communications had moved almost entirely to email, which is so noisy and has so little capacity to convey enthusiasm, tone, warmth, humor, etc. And, as customers, we found that the more emails that businesses aimed at us, the more we disengaged. We thought video would be the solution, and we saw the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets as an opportunity to make it easy for people to record, share and measure short video messages as a way to bring back that personal layer. After all, pretty much everyone you might choose to reach via email also has a really high-quality display screen in their pocket. Why not use that as infrastructure for the return of personal and emotional communication — messages that feel human and treat us like people and not robots. What we found was that reaching customers this way yields a meaningful, measurable lift in the rate at which customers take action, and the rate at which they evangelize to their networks. And that makes sense to us, because our feelings form the basis for our decisions, and our feelings determine what we share on the social web. And that’s what Vsnap is — it’s a feeling company.
Thanks to Dave McLaughlin, Vsnap
Setting out to solve problems
When I started Bomgar, I didn’t set out to become an “entrepreneur,” I set out to solve a problem. My inspiration came from working as an IT support technician, which required me to spend hours driving from one client site to another fixing IT problems that typically only required 15 minutes of actual work. I knew there had to be a more cost-effective and efficient way to provide tech support. So I developed a piece of software that allowed me to remotely access and fix my clients’ computers without leaving my desk. We’ve made significant changes to that basic piece of software to create the robust remote support solution Bomgar offers today, but our focus remains the same: helping IT support technicians support remote systems more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Thanks to Joel Bomgar, Bomgar
To help others like me
I had a history of being pretty organized, but a few years back after I left college, my life seemed to be falling apart. I had a job I didn’t love. I was in a relationship that should have been over. I was so confused and stressed that these emotions started manifesting in my space. True tale of mental clutter = physical clutter. I knew I needed help, so I searched for a professional organizer. After struggling to find the right fit, I felt a real sense of empathy with those who’d dealt with years of disorganization. I started my business by helping people organize their homes and now, over six years later, my focus is helping business owners get organized and stay productive!
Thanks to Alaia Williams, One Organized Business
Because I wanted to do something I absolutely loved
I started my business because I wanted to do something I love and I absolutely love vegetable gardening. I have always heard, do what you love and the success will follow. Well, now that I have lived it,it is absolutely true. Because I love what I do, it never feels like work. Sure, it has its ups and downs, but that is all part of this fun ride I have been. I would not change a thing and am extremely happy that I made the decision.
Thanks to Michael C. Podlesny, Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC
To give pianists new music to play
Music is my gift, and helping others make music is one of my greatest joys in life, as well as one of my life missions. I’ve been playing the piano since I was 5 years old. I started with classical and learned jazz in college. I can’t imagine not being able to play music. Around the time I was in high school, I started to grow weary of playing the same piano repertoire that has been played for hundreds of years, as magnificent as those pieces are. I knew then that I wanted to create new music for pianists to play. I studied composition in college and got a masters degree in composition and performance. It took decades, though, before I finally found a way to reach a large number of musicians, through the internet. I’ve found that there’s a real yearning for something new. There’s a lot of traditions to draw on in creating new art music. Music lovers are open to all kinds of new sounds, new rhythms and new musical structures. This gives me a lot of artistic freedom, which I enjoy.
Thanks to Jana Cole, New Piano Music Scores
To follow our passion together
Chris and I started Mercury Labs a decade ago when we realized that no perfect path exists for filmmakers and communicators to follow their passion. There are a myriad of ways people can pursue a professional career but those paths tend to be linear and narrow. We decided we could better service clients and follow our passion for storytelling together if we just started our own company. We are experts in video production and public relations and have built a growing practice. We have found that no matter how much the market shifts, clients always appreciate creativity, strategic insight and great work. It’s easier and more fun to deliver these skills in an open and passionate environment. Being an entrepreneurial company has made us nimbler, smarter and more accountable than our behemoth competitors. We control our company’s vision, execution and culture, allowing us to truly enjoy our work, deliver great results and make a living for our employees and ourselves. We are celebrating 10 years in business and feel that now, more than ever, we are realizing our dreams for Mercury Labs. We see the difference we’re making with our clients, and they keep coming back. It’s not easy to be a business owner, but if you want to do meaningful work and make every minute of your job count, it may be time to clock out and roll up your sleeves. Not many spouses can say they enjoy working with each other all day and then coming home together at night, but Chris and I love what we do and love doing it together.
Thanks to Angie and Chris Lawing, Mercury Labs
Because I got mad and wanted to help
I am a pediatric emergency department physician and pain expert. When my 4 year old had a horrific — and completely avoidable — shot experience I got mad. As a pediatrician, if I couldn’t protect my own kid, who could? I started realizing that unless something was done, millions of kids would be affected by life long needle phobia. I invented Buzzy, a device that blocks needle pain. I refused to make it disposable, so couldn’t get any big pharma interested in something designed for moms and home use. Finally, I decided to research and make it myself. We’re now in over 500 hospitals, and hundreds of people have written how much Buzzy and not dreading needle pain helps. A 79 year old man who had decided to quit dialysis decided to use Buzzy and live; a 59 year old lady who had never gotten a flu shot now can get needed medical procedures; and people with arthritis, diabetes, or simply a needle fear keeping them from trying to get pregnant, donate blood, etc. have had their lives changed.
Thanks to Dr. Amy Baxter, Buzzy
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Because I got frustrated while standing in line
In a time before Amazon was a household name, and the only way you got on the internet was through a company called AOL people did most of their shopping at actual stores (gasp). One cold winter evening after work I found myself at a bookstore with my two year old son in tow. My mission;”Find romance novels to send to a sick friend in the hospital.” After wandering about and finding some books we stood in line, where temperatures and tempers were hot. Have you ever tried to keep a two year old in a line…they don’t like it! As I drove home from the store I thought, “There should be an 800 number for this!” and that was the magic moment when a little company called Book Bouquet was born. That was back in 1998, I didn’t even own a cell phone! However, we did have internet, and realized as a military family that an internet business would make the most sense so in 1999 the company incorporated and Book Bouquet became my full time career. Book Bouquet really started as the hope to send a gift that my friend would enjoy while recuperating. Every gift that has been created since then has the same goal in mind. To provide gifts people enjoy because they entertain, engage and exude thoughtfulness.
Thanks to Kim Shanahan, Book Bouquet Gifts and Baskets
Taking a leap of faith
I started my business – 1650 Wealth Management – after my old firm was sold to a larger firm. The culture changed dramatically from a “mom and pop” feel to one that was more guided by a profit and loss statement. With the culture of my old firm changing and uncertainty related to my long-term opportunities with my old company, I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own wealth management firm. It was an easy decision to make and having a supportive wife certainly made the decision much easier. There were many sleepless nights, but nearly three years after starting the business, I could not be happier with my decision. In fact, the decision was made easier with the support of many clients who began working with me or joined me from my old company. Their support has been outstanding and I could not have done it without their support and belief in our new firm. My advice for anyone starting a new business is centered around passion. You have to be passionate about your new business venture since a great deal of your resources (time and money) are going to be directed toward your new endeavor and the new business owner needs to enjoy what he or she is doing. And finally, a sense of humor is required since there will certainly be hiccups along the way. We dealt with a number of issues over the past 3 years and having a sense of humor and being able to roll with the punches has contributed significantly to our success.
Thanks to Thomas Balcom, 1650 Wealth Management
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Because I was tired of the interruptions
Because I’m tired of having to call my hair stylist to book the same hair cut appointment every month, receive annoying calls in the middle of a Sunday afternoon reminding me to show up and then waiting 15 minutes for the receptionist to take my payment when I’m done. In addition, I realized that there is no simple tools or online services that gives a service-based businesses the essential tools to just “get up and running” quickly. The industry is jam packed with one-off scheduling tools and gimmicky marketing services promising the sky and moon but really just end up costing you a pile of time and money while providing little value. So, I set out to revolutionize the service industry… Our mission is to help service-based businesses to get up and running quickly; and let the public easily find, book and pay for their services. Anywhere. Anytime.
Thanks to Mike Iwasiow, BookedIN
Because I wasn’t recession proof
For over a decade, I’d been creating advertising at a national radio network in Los Angeles. My wife, Honey, had spent her career creating advertising at some of the nation’s biggest agencies for global brands. Years ago, she went freelance for the freedom it provides. When the ax fell on my position, Honey said: “Maybe it’s time for us to start our own agency.” Which was interesting. Any time I’d floated this idea previously, she’d balked at the amount of friction involved. She’d been a gun-for-hire for over a decade. She was used to walking in, solving the problem, then walking away. None of the encumbrances of being on-staff. Owning the agency was an entirely different, high-friction proposition. And I completely understood. That said, three months after I was let go, we opened the doors at Slow Burn Marketing LLC. We specialize in big agency thinking for small business branding and marketing. We work on building a business’s marketing from the brand up. It wasn’t long before we began joking that the company specializes in turning down new business. We’ve been in the black since day one. And perhaps best of all, we get to see the direct impact of the work we do. We’ve seen people change their lives. We’ve just celebrated four years in business. It’s been a wild ride. Looking back, I know I wouldn’t trade it for the security of still being on staff. We’ve had the opportunity to do some incredible things. We’ve worked with clients from New Hampshire to Idaho to San Diego to the Philippines. We’re a tiny company that works globally. And the rewards have been immense. Here’s to being laid off and getting the opportunity to make lemonade.
Thanks to Blaine Parker, Slow Burn Marketing
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To help others buy American
I started my business to help people buy from American retailers, no matter where they live, travel or are stationed. My father was in the military, and I grew up moving all around the world. My family and friends wanted our familiar and high-quality products from the USA, but we couldn’t get them while we were out of the country. In 1996, I borrowed $30,000 from my mom, leased an office and started selling U.S. addresses to people living overseas. Customers could place orders with American merchants, the merchants sent the products to the US address, and I forwarded the product along to the customer. American ex-pats found the service helpful, but I quickly found that international customers also wanted to buy everything from car parts to apparel and electronics from the United States. Today, we have helped more than 200,000 customers in 220 countries order from U.S. merchants, have helped hundreds of U.S. merchants serve international customers, and have moved from a strip mall suite to a 60,000 square-foot warehouse.
Thanks to Eric Baird, MyUS
Because I had a healthier option to offer
To be completely honest, my business started itself. After purchasing a dairy goat for my family (a seemingly impulsive decision), I began to research the benefits beyond that of consuming raw goats’ milk. With my 20 years experience as an esthetician, I started Tierra Mia Organics with the single intention of making natural healthy products, unadulterated by synthetic chemicals. I’ve combined my love for natural goods and my skin care knowledge to offer these raw goat milk products to people, who like me, truly want natural products, and want to take care of themselves in the healthiest way. Fast forward two years later, Tierra Mia Organics partners with health focused stores and popular holistic online merchants.
Thanks to Sylvia Melendez, Tierra Mia Organics
To help others like me
I started my business when I was in my final month of an Executive MBA program at Marquette University. Like all the boys and men in my family, I am severely dyslexic and all the passwords I had to remember for classes and for personal access was cluttering my brain while I was trying to memorize formulas for our quantitative analysis course. This was the same period when the Y2K issue (Millennium Bug) was going on and I came to wonder if software has “memory” limitations why is it that they feel our minds have unlimited memory capacity for passwords that are becoming longer and more complex each year. So I funded research to explore options to alpha-numeric passwords and voila, we developed audio-visual passwords in 2001! I filed patents for the work and when the patents started to be issued like the US in 2009, I hired a software company again to update the work to accommodate mobile devices and touchscreens. I worked with the programmers to develop Apple iOS platform products and we filed new patent applications for the new work. Then I jointly formed the company, Avimir Limited, with my previous business partners from the US and now we are in full fund-raising mode. We have several iOS products and now we are working with commercial partners to develop B2B products as the iOS products were essential functional demos that we released as a B2C solution and it has been downloaded in over 15 countries. Now we need to work with the legacy authentication firms to show how we can transition to the new world order of multimedia, multi-sensory non-alpha-numeric solutions as Avimir products.
Thanks to Thomas R. Ruddy, Avimir Ltd.
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Because every cent counts
My business partner, Ricky Johnson, and I are 24 years old and Co-Founders of PledgeCents. PledgeCents is an online crowdfunding platform that is solely focused on maximizing school fundraising capabilities! Ricky and I more than passionate about this issue because we see the dire need for funding in schools. Children are not able to receive the best educational opportunity because their school simply can’t afford it. The government is cutting back on educational funding and it is effecting thousands of children today, and millions to come. Ricky and I were more than blessed to have a great education and never had to worry about if we will be able to learn algebra because we may not have the right supplies. We want to make sure that EVERY child, all over the world, does not have to go through that worry either! If we keep taking money out of schools and shutting schools down, then what kind of message are we sending our kids? That education is too expensive and we are not willing to spend money and INVEST in schools and teachers? We started PledgeCents because we think that we MUST INVEST in our schools and our teachers the way they have invested and continue to invest in our children.
Thanks to Andyshea Saberioon, PledgeCents
To bridge the disconnect between distributors and designers
I started out selling interior finishing products to architecture and design firms with my husband, Ron, acting as the suppliers to meet their needs. Realizing that there was a staggering disconnect between manufacturers in their factories, distributors and their large volumes of inventory and designers who were constantly sourcing for the best materials, we decided to establish our own company, Architectural Systems, Inc. (ASI) to bridge the gap. ASI acts as a strategic materials partner. Today, no one in the world is doing what we’re doing. We’ve built a catalog of materials in a 5,000 square foot showroom displaying products in real-life applications. Our ASI team has a gift of spotting material trends before they’re on the radar or even in the marketplace. Our distinctive interior finishes are hence specified by designers for global retail stores like Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Godiva.
Thanks to Nancy Jackson, Architectural Systems, Inc.
To inspire people to follow their dreams
I grew up in Malta, a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean which is beautiful to visit but extremely small to live in (it’s 19 miles long!). After finishing my first degree in psychology my big dream was to move to London, do my masters in Business Psychology and eventually work there. For many years I assumed that this was just a pipe dream, never to be realized. I didn’t have the £10,000 in fees, I wasn’t sure my first degree would be accepted by the British Psychological Society and I knew no one. One day, as I was talking about my big dream for the umpteenth time someone ask me ‘why don’t you do it?’ As I listed my reasons I had a bit of a revelation. I realized these were all things I could overcome and at that moment I made the decision to move to London. 2 years later I was working with the BBC as a Business Psychologist and then later started consulting for large companies all over the world. In the past decade I’ve been systematically following every big dream I’ve had – from traveling round the world for 18 months, to starting my own business, to escaping London winter to live in Asia for 3 months. It’s led me to believe that our big dreams are the clues about the path we are meant to take in life and by following them we become alive. I started the1bigthing because I want to encourage people to believe that their dreams are not only possible but an important calling to be followed. I hope to use my coaching skills to help others turn them to reality because with the right frame of mind and a heavy dose of persistence we can all create what we really want in life.
Thanks to Karen Sargent, 1bigthing
To provide the detailed guidance I sought when I first started
I started my photography mentoring business to provide the type of detailed guidance I sought when first starting my career. Budding artists and passionate photographers are constantly targeted by camera companies and ads which falsely claim that more megapixels and expensive equipment are a requirement for great photography. This type of widespread misinformation has created a culture that glorifies gear rather than technical knowledge. Through private lessons and group travel workshops I show clients how to take full control over their cameras and create work that expresses their own unique perspective. The results have been truly inspiring with many clients going on to start their own photography businesses in various fields like portraiture, photojournalism, and travel.
Thanks to Chris Corradino, Chris Corradino Photography LLC
Because doing what you love isn’t a load of fairy dust
I started my copywriting business because I actually take the phrase ‘do what you love’ seriously—it’s not just a load of fairy dust perfect for typography prints and graphics. I’ve written since I was twelve years old but also had the drive to work for myself and found that in every job or business venture, writing is what I enjoyed the most. Making a living from writing seems to be a foreign concept to many, but skills are skills—creative or otherwise—and I intend to use mine. My goal is to use copywriting and editing to help other women start careers based on their talents, and also as a platform to build my career as a novelist. I have completed a novel that I am currently editing in preparation to query literary agents while I write and edit web copy for women entrepreneurs.
Thanks to Tiffany Clarke Harrison, Blah Cubed