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Why Did You Start Your Business? Week of August 4th

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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 and brand.

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To encourage everyone to grow their own tree

I started ForestNation to encourage everyone to grow their own tree at home, at school and at work. We’ve developed the ForestNation tree growing kits to make it easy and interactive for people everywhere to get involved. We also plant another tree in a developing country for each one we sell – You plant one we plant one. The idea is to make growing your own tree something we should all do, and to offer companies and schools tangible benefits to their organisations too. ForestNation is endorsed by Julian Lennon and we are recruiting companies and schools to help us encourage everyone to grow their own tree. “Imagine ForestNation… Imagine a world where everyone grows their own tree”. Julian Lennon ForestNation Ambassador. Companies can use the tree kits and online campaign as a unique trade show promotional product. Schools can use the tree kits as education and a school fundraiser. Each tree contains a unique code to register online and we create tailor made marketing campaigns for our clients.

Thanks to Andrew Pothecary, ForestNation

After seeing a huge need

I saw a huge need for a marketing and communications agency that works with start-ups and emerging business’s which would like a global firm but can’t afford global prices. My firm, The Cline Group, focuses on helping Israeli and foreign companies enter foreign markets at a retainer that is doable as a bootstrap or early stage company. It is important to keep one P&L mindset when helping companies globally. We have actual offices in Tel Aviv and Philadelphia.

Thanks to Josh Cline, The Cline Group

 

Using passion to help during a recession

Jon started his business during a recession in construction as he is a Certified Landscape Architect and arborist. His other passion is cooking and he loves BBQ. Me, not so much. Because he often grilled using BBQ sauces which generally I didn’t care for, he decided to try another approach. He made a “rub” that I really liked and my complaint of “not being able to taste the actual food” because of the sauce coverings totally changed with his rub creation. One day he wrote his 15 ingredient rub blend down, turned it into a recipe, submitted it to the National BBQ Association for more confirmation if he was on the right track and Whala! won 2nd Place Nationally for his Caribbean rub. These creations made it easy for Terri & I to do a quick dish at anytime while also eliminating the question of “what to make” when we could simply pick a blend already made. Jon was inspired to start his own business in addition to his architecture business and now we have three businesses working out of 1 space. We found a space that was a former restaurant, converted the dining area to his landscape architecture business, the other kitchen side we use to create our rubs/seasonings and now sauces and also rent it out to help other small business get their license for commercial use. Now, we are pretty busy and have won more awards with Pirate Jonnys and now I love HIS barbeque, we grill all the time! Hopefully, one of these picture below will work?

Thanks to Terri and Jon Toner, Pirate Jonny’s

Related Post: Top 3 Things to Do in a Recession

 

Out of necessity

I started my business out of necessity. I was the brand manager for an international software firm. Two weeks before my maternity leave ended I was laid off. I never saw it coming. Over the previous 10 weeks I had been working remotely and everyone seemed eager to have me back. I had a 10-week old infant, no job, and no idea where to pick up the pieces. I was dazed, confused, and unsure of my skills and abilities. I channeled that frustration into starting my own business and finishing my in-progress masters degree in creative non-fiction writing. A decade and a 2nd child later my brand development and content creation company is still going strong.

Thanks to Sharon Ritchey, Home Row Editorial

 

To provide the service we looked for (and couldn’t find!) for so many years

Living abroad has always been a passion for me. Experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, even just figuring out how things work outside of the US- it’s a constant thrill! But as much as my husband and I had enjoyed our many travels outside the US, living abroad does come with it’s share of hassles. One of the real headaches we experienced was sorting out our US taxes (there are lots of special deductions/forms/rules when living abroad- and you still need to file every year as an expat!). So, we set up the company we wish we had found when we first moved away from the US! This allowed us to create a unique niche in the world of taxes- but one that we intimately understood so could really put ourselves in the mind of the customer. Our entire team is made up of CPAs and Enrolled Agents, and everyone has a specific expertise in expat taxes. That’s a given- ie that our accountants know their stuff. But what we set out to do is be the one tax company that made things easy- explained things in a way that people understood, didn’t try to bait and switch pricing (which unfortunately a lot of accountants do), treated people like /people/. And that’s what we try to do! It’s been a wonderful experience- we meet people living all over the world and get to live all over ourselves- while running a business we know people we need (because we need it too!).

Thanks to Carrie McKeegan, Greenback Expat Tax Services

 

When I was downsized from a law firm during the economic downturn

I was compelled to start my business, GoatCloud Communications, when I was downsized from a law firm during the economic downturn. The change came at moment of reflection as well, as I was mid-career and not entirely satisfied with the legal industry. GoatCloud represents a return to my professional roots, I started out in the not-for-profit world focusing on communications and advocacy. I love helping people thrive at the intersection of technology and communications. And in many ways technology and communications have become one, as evidenced by our “always on” lifestyle. While there are challenges being one’s own boss (e.g., generating revenue), the freedom it offers to enjoy the personal parts of life (family and children especially) is singularly spectacular.

Thanks to Cliff Rohde, GoatCloud Communications

Related Post: Women Entrepreneurs Are The Key to The Economic Turnaround3

Make people believe in big ideas (their own)

The business started 21 years ago, without a vision or business plan, and just a rather laughable mastery of the English language as its only differentiated asset. Why? Desperation. At 23, I couldn’t get a job as an ESL public relations executive. Looking back, a small stash of tips, a typewriter and a totally distorted sense of fear were all I needed to propel that fledgling venture into a global firm. What has endured is this principle: make people believe in big ideas (their own). Our agency mission is to make people engage with brands. To partake in those experiences, they need to believe in the promises. The world starts with people believing: in a concept, a position, an opinion, a purpose, and in their personal obligation to tell and seek truth. Our clients, our team and consumers need to believe in – and have no reservation standing for – the chosen path of their beliefs and their brands. We create and take all through the journey… Running your own business is a roller coaster of exhilarating and excruciating moments. Being in the business of creating, enhancing and realizing people’s beliefs is a privilege. There is nothing more fulfilling than being part of that journey.

Thanks to Sophie Terrisse, STC Associates

Related Post: Ideas for Branding Your Business on a Budget

 

To teach corporations how to give smarter and change the world

Whenever someone asks me why I started RAISE, I go straight to the heart for the explanation. For 30 years, I focused on building businesses as a serial entrepreneur, having the two kids, the dog, the yard, and the ‘white picket fence.’ I can honestly say that even though there were times I had it all in the world’s eyes, but I was not content. It seemed like there must be something more. To the outside world, I was very successful, but on the inside I knew I was not living a life of significance.The business plan for RAISE (Responsible Alliance In Social Enterprise) is a model that both shareholders and stakeholders can be proud of. For two years I studied everything in the field of Social Innovation, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise, Cause Marketing, and Corporate Social Responsibility. I have found my purpose, my sweet spot, my significance. I have gathered experts around me to perfect the model. RAISE is prepared to lead any corporate team, no matter how large, to excellence in these areas. We have established partnerships in the government, for-profit, and non-profit sectors to build substantial strategic alliances that will together make a significant difference.

Thanks to Carol McKown, RAISE Global Services

To help business owners stay on top of their finances and give them more time to focus on what they love

My co-founder, James Lochrie, is really familiar with the small business tax space, and as someone who’s run startups, I’ve come to intimately understand the pain points small business owners feel when it comes to accounting. We wanted to make these processes easier for entrepreneurs, so we developed software built specifically for them, that speaks their language. Small business owners need to be freed from all of the difficulties of running their business that they aren’t prepared for. They go into business because they are really good at being a writer, designer, retail pro, consultant, photographer or whatever — not because they want to deal with headaches in terms of paperwork, getting paid on time, managing receipts, paying employees, taxes, etc. We’d faced these challenges first-hand and had seen many people around us experience them too. At Wave, we’ve got free invoicing, receipts and accounting, plus payments and payroll, to help business owners stay on top of their finances and give them more time to focus on what they love. The cloud, mobile and other new technologies make this more possible now than ever before.

Thanks to Kirk Simpson, Wave

 

Being able to spend full-time with my daughter

I grew up in Hickory, went to school at Appalachian and graduated with a teaching degree. After teaching school in Charlotte a couple of years, I ventured into the real estate world and eventually ended up in the mortgage industry for many years. When the housing market went downhill several years ago, I ended up at a local restaurant group working as a catering event planner. After 4 1/2 successful years there, I made a scary decision to leave with no job in sight. In my quest to build a successful career that could support my daughter and I, I lost sight of what was really important. I was working around the clock, completely burnt out, unhealthy, stressed out and failing miserably at balancing work and being a part of my daughter’s life. I made the decision that no matter what it took, I would never allow myself to get to that point again. A little over a year ago, I started reading up on the chemicals in household products. It began with seeing a DIY household cleaner recipe online that my daughter and I made, and then it became much more. Most people who decide to venture into a healthier lifestyle start by changing their food habits. For me, it started with household and beauty products. I slowly began tossing every traditional cleaning product in my house in the garbage and making my own. Then I ventured into beauty products. I had several friends and family who were pregnant so I started reading up on the toxic chemicals in baby products. I bombarded everyone I knew with information. I read blogs, e-books, library books and began building my own library of natural beauty books. For Christmas last year I bought oils, butters, salts, sugars and other supplies and made everyone handmade products. I never in a million years thought it would turn into a business. It was just something I was passionate about, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to share the knowledge. After Christmas, people started asking about getting baskets made for friends as gifts. Then it grew into a website & Etsy store and I decided to venture out into the city and see where I could begin selling items outside of my living room. I spoke to the 7th Street Public Market and things took off from there. I came on Saturdays for about a month, then started coming on Fridays and Saturdays for the next couple of months. I just moved everything into my own permanent spot and I’m now going to be at the market 6 days a week after my grand opening on June 29th. This crazy, fun hobby of mine has turned into a business and I couldn’t be happier. The very best part of this new journey is that my daughter gets to be a part of my life now. I can bring her to the market with me. She’s an excellent assistant and full of ideas. She’s a part of my life now instead of someone I barely have time for in a life full of work. That’s what makes this company of mine so special.

Thanks to Toni South, Small Keys

 

Not your father’s financial planner…

I like to say, “I’m not your father’s financial planner, but more like your financially savvy best friend.” I’ve always loved helping people with their money and I’ve been in the financial planning industry since 2007. I became frustrated because most financial planning firms won’t work with clients who have less than a certain amount in assets, such as $500,000 or $1,000,000, yet one of the best things you can do is start working with a financial planner early on. I wanted to be able to help my peers with their financial planning questions so I started Gen Y Planning so I could offer comprehensive financial planning advice for the price of their gym membership. I charge an initial planning fee and a monthly subscription so that my clients can reach out to me throughout the year as their situation changes. Half of my business is local and the other half is nationwide. I hold skype meetings with many of my clients and I love it! It’s so much fun to work with people in their 20s and 30s from across the country and help ease their money worries and reach their goals! I have the most rewarding job in the world!

Thanks to Sophia Bera, Gen Y Planning

Related Post: Business Plan 101: Financial Plan

 

Knowing I wanted to be self-employed

I had my career mid-life crisis early in life — at the age of 26 I was a social worker, running a welfare-to-work program all by myself at the Atlanta Housing Authority. I approached my boss one day, suggesting that we really needed more resources and staff than just me, if we were ever going to help these folks break free from public housing to become financially independent and self-sufficient. I was informed that my job wasn’t so much to get anyone off of the welfare roles — I was there to get the program numbers up so that HUD would get off our backs. I politely informed my boss that she could do that without me — I went home and spent three days on the couch, eating chocolate and watching sappy chick flicks and wondering what I was going to do with my career. I knew I wanted to be self-employed, but I wasn’t sure doing what — I knew I was an excellent problem-solver and naturally anal-retentive, but how do you turn that into a business? Then I tripped over an episode of Oprah in which she featured professional organizing as a career and a light-bulb went off in my head — that was then, this is now, and I have been successfully supporting myself in this field for more than 15 years. I now spend a good deal of my time teaching freelancers and consultants how to thrive as entrepreneurs, I speak regularly on a variety of business-building topics, and am the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career.”

Thanks to Ramona Creel

 

So I have time to meet Mr. Right

I started my business because I realized that if I was going to meet someone and start a family, I would have to meet them at an airport. Since that is pretty unlikely, I left my corporate jet-setting executive position and opened my own boutique law firm. I set my own hours and am able to have a flexible lifestyle when and if Mr. Right comes into my life. If he doesn’t and I choose not to start a family (those decisions are coming soon), then I can always go back to that corporate world. That is if I can get myself motivated to work 20 hour days again.

Thanks to Jennifer L. Searfoss, Searfoss & Associates, LLC

 

Because of a dream I had

I am an author and started my authoring business because of a dream I had. The dream told me some interesting things about my personal life and I decided to put some of that information in my first book Highly Favored by Dog? God. I wasn’t sure at first about proceeding with the idea but the feeling I received to pursue it was a very strong feeling. I was laid off from a job working security and that gave me the opportunity to dive into the idea further and I’m glad I did. I am in the process of writing my next book and with Gods push I hope it will be a success.

Thanks to Natasha Carmon, Highly Favored By Dog? God

 

For very personal reasons

Amazing Age Adult Stay came about for very personal reasons. In a quest to locate quality day services for our aging parents with dementia and Alzheimer’s, we developed an acute sense for what constitutes high quality adult day services. We joined our personal experiences in caring for our aging parents with our combined fifty years of educational and business experience to create the undeniably best adult day stay facility in the area. We are an owner/operated center committed to outstanding customer service and the uniqueness of our programs. We are professional educators with broad knowledge in programming, marketing and business management skills. As educators, we are experts at planning and implementing*.* These essential skills are the backbone of a thoughtful and well-executed program. Years of observing academic and social behaviors in the classroom has honed our ability to make individualized assessments quickly and accurately to ensure that all care recipients of Amazing Age Adult Day Stay feel worthy and capable while participating in carefully planned activities and programs.

Thanks to Louise Smith, Amazing Age Adult Day Stay

 

To fundamentally change the way we talk about and heal from sexual abuse

I started Rachel Grant Coaching and became a Sexual Abuse Recovery coach because over and over again I heard survivors share about their struggle with feeling broken and unfixable. I remembered feeling that way and my own frustration with the resources available that always helped me understand * why* I was doing something but never taught me *what to do about it*! Beyond Surviving™, my program and guidebook for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, is my answer to that question. It is the culmination of everything I have learned along the way either by experience or through completing my master’s in counseling psychology and is based on my passionate belief that we can let go of the pain of abuse and feel normal. When I reached this place of beyond surviving, I knew I had to share this work with others and begin changing the conversation about how (if) we heal from sexual abuse. Since 2007, I have been working with clients by phone and Skype and have seen them make radical and amazing changes in their lives as they begin to to take back their rights and realize their own ability to make powerful choices about who they are and how they live. Ultimately, I started my business with the vision that Beyond Surviving would become the go to program for other providers and non-profits and have had the recent opportunity to train group facilitators at a non-profit in Colorado. They are now supporting the members of their community in moving from surviving to Beyond Surviving. Knowing that my work at home and beyond is supporting survivors of sexual abuse let go of the past and step into a future connected to their genuine self is what keeps me going everyday and working harder and harder as a business owner and beyond survivor.

Thanks to Rachel Grant, Rachel Grant Coaching

 

To make video games that I could let my children play

I needed to shift away from violence based video games, to educational ones. By the time I was nearing 40, I had worked in key positions (Animation Director, Animation Lead etc) at very successful big-budget video games such as Medal of Honor, Call of Duty etc at large studios in the LA area. They were games mostly for men aged 18- 39. High action testosterone based stuff. I was unsatisfied. My calling, I felt, was games that were more educational in nature, and for a younger audience. Those were the types of games that I would feel good about letting my children play. I could either wait around till my employer chose to make such games, or I had to do it on my own. So when my second child was born, I decided that I had waited long enough. With my wife’s blessing, I took the big leap to start my own game studio. Our motto: games for young minds that Engage, Enchant, Educate.

Thanks to Sunil Thankamushy, DEEPBLUE Worlds

 

Because I have autism and sensory processing disorder

I started my business because I have autism and sensory processing disorder. A typical white collar workplace is difficult for people with SPD due to the bombardment of sensory input, which my brain is ill equipped to handle, so my work suffers or is next to impossible. At my business, I have the shop where our weighted blankets are made, where they have the TV on, sewing machines sewing, and people moving and talking. I work from home in my woman cave where I have adapted my environment to accommodate my SPD. Curtains block out light, no other people work here, lighting is muted, and it is silent, so my brain can focus on my work well.

Thanks to Eileen Parker, Cozy Calm

 

To provide vigilant, insightful finance guidance

I started this company, with my partners, because the delivery model in Canada for personal financial advice is structured so that it’s far too easy to be at cross purposes with your clients, due to the connection between advice and product sales. Our delivery model provides personal financial advice, coordinated with business advice, tax advice and long-term planning. It recognizes personal financial advice as a profession, rather than a sales career, and provides clients with greater objectivity and focus on their personal and business plans. I love working with people, getting to know people, and motivating them towards greatness. I’m my clients’ cheerleader, shoulder, and professional, objective advisor every step of the way. Our model frees our advisors from the focus on commissioned sales. We feel really strongly that our structure allows us to do a better job of what we do best: providing vigilant, insightful guidance.

Thanks to Julia Chung, Facet Advisors

 

Helping parents feel in control of their adoption journey

When I adopted my youngest daughter I was overwhelmed by the information. I was also quickly discouraged because I thought my husband and I would be unable to adopt domestically. I was told no by many agencies because of their requirements. By chance we stumbled upon our agency, which was the perfect fit. I do not want families who are looking to complete their families through adoption to become discouraged. I want them to feel calm and in control of the their adoption journey. I provide education, find the right attorneys and agencies that meet the adoptive parent’s needs, create profiles and provide coaching throughout the process. Nothing is more rewarding than watching a family become complete. It is an honor to share this journey with anyone who has the love in their heart to adopt.

Thanks to Marni Pasch, Mended Hearts Adoption Consulting

 

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About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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