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32 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Businesses

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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 entrepreneurship and brand.

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1) It was Time

After working for 10 years in an extremely fast-paced, stressful, nonstop work environment and facing life-altering health issues, I decided it was time to create a more strategic work/life balance. My ideal situation was to be able to work with clients and help them be the best version of themselves while I did the same for myself. I wanted to be able to work from wherever I wanted, make myself lunch, go to yoga classes and help others take ownership of their lives.

Thanks to Harper Spero!

2) Over Charged & Take Advantage of

I started my own digital marketing business after being repeatedly over charged and taken advantage of by unscrupulous people in the industry who promised the Earth and did very little. As a marketing person already I decided to learn about digital marketing a few years ago and setup in business, things have grown nicely ever since. I speak to clients in plain English without jargon and charge a fair price for our services.

Thanks to Jamie Rice, The Skill Centre!

3) My Needs as a Mother

My business was born from my needs as a mother using my skills of a graphic designer. In 2004, it was a particularly low time for me as my 18 month old son, Joseph, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. I was unsure how the future was going to develop. Not one to focus on the negatives, I designed a reward chart for him to see his daily achievements and feel good about his progress. It worked fabulously for both of us, however I soon noticed I was getting many requests from other mothers asking me to make them a reward chart. So I went into business – The Victoria Chart Company. We are 10 years down the line now, we have won many awards and we are established both in the UK and USA. I don’t think my business and its products would be the success they are if idea hadn’t come at such a shatteringly low time. Starting my business was my savior and I felt it was the only thing I had control over.

Thanks to Victoria Ballard, Victoria Chart Company!

4) Saw an Opportunity

I started a version of Pro Football Spot back several years ago. It wasn’t to make money, or even have something fun to do as a job. It was purely because there was a personal need that I had and the solution didn’t exist. I thought, if I would enjoy this I’m sure others would as well – so I set out to solve that problem. The idea of building something has always excited me, and operating my own company has allowed me to do just that.

Thanks to Jacob Hutcherson, Pro Football Spot, LLC!

5) New Ideas & Re-Working Things

I found it difficult working in structured environments where people were not interested in listening to new ideas and were generally resistant to change. I like having ideas and re-working ways of doing things and the simplest way to be able to do this easily (and in a fun way) seemed to be to start a business. If you’re running a business, you’re really running a machine to make other people happy. If people don’t like your original idea but you can make them happy in another way, then follow that route. When you start a business a lot of people can be quite negative about it, especially in the UK. A lot of people think you will fail, or that your idea isn’t good enough, or that the area of business you want to work in is too competitive. Take this with a pinch of salt. No one knows your business like you do. If you firmly believe you will be successful, you will be, just work hard!

Thanks to Ed Mellett, WikiJob!

6) To Solve the Global Garbage Crisis

After witnessing the forming of the Great Pacific Garbage patch in our lifetimes, we decided to take it upon ourselves to move the world towards zero waste. Our company, Clear Intentions, takes 100% of glass out of local waste streams, crushes it, and provides it to local manufactures to create new products like fiberglass and new glass bottles. It’s better for the waste stream, creates jobs, and helps save the planet.

Thanks to Todd Lehman and Brittany Evans, Clear Intentions!

7) To Fill a Need

Last year, a friend of mine was raving to me about a juice diet. He eventually persuaded me of the benefits and I decided to take the plunge. The next step was to go out and buy a trustworthy juicer. I began my research online, and was amazed to realize how difficult and time consuming it was to answer the simple question of which juicer to get. I found myself reading tons of reviews, articles and posts – only to realize that I was now more confused than I was before I started. I figured, there must be a trustworthy tool out there which does all this hard work for you. Once I realized there was no such tool, I began to develop what later became known as Comparaboo.

Thanks to Alon Gamzu, Comparaboo!

8) To Give Back

I started my business to give back to the community. I was the Community Assistance Coordinator for my children’s PTA. When my children left elementary school, I wanted to continue helping others. Vacation 4 A Cause is a full-service travel agency that donates 50% of our commissions to nonprofits. When a traveler books their vacation through us, they can select one of nearly 100 partner cause or any registered nonprofit to receive the donation. Since we can meet almost any price on travel, this allows socially conscious travelers to generate money for their favorite cause at absolutely no cost to themselves. Nonprofits can promote us to their supporters to generate incremental fundraising revenue.

Thank you Jennifer Gross, Vacation 4 A Cause!

9) Started When I was Young

When I was fifteen, my grandmother took my siblings and me to a treehouse resort, where zip lines were set up to connect all the treehouses. I loved riding the zip lines, and when we got home I decided I could install them in my backyard to connect treehouses that I had built in our backyard. When I received my zip line equipment, I realized that instead of buying each individual part from different sources, I could create my own kits with all the necessary hardware included, and then sell them to anyone interested. After putting an ad in the local paper and getting two responses, I made $40 and was stoked. I then started selling my zip line kits on eBay, where there was even more demand. I had always had an interest in doing things to make money (lemonade stands, yard work for neighbors, etc.), and with the zip lines I felt like I had come up with something really unique and exciting.

Thanks Nathan Sleadd, Zip Line Gear!

10) Grew From My Practice & My Dedication

Parenting is the most exhausting and humbling thing you can do. I’m thankful to have become a parent 4 times, at age 23, 25, 27, and 29. Now, I get to enjoy my two grown and two nearly grown children while I’m still young. Daychild.org grew out of my private educational therapy practice as well as my dedication to being an excellent parent. Having grown up largely unattended due to an absent father and a distracted mother, it was my mission to bring gift, art, and science to my parenting. Through my educational therapy and life coaching practice, I learned that all parents struggle to parent and to stay married, not just those with severe academic or financial disadvantages. My mission became to create resources that spoke to all families, not just to those struggling with basic needs. As a life coach and educator, I’ve seen the pain and difficulty of family life, in addition to my own experiences as a parent. While coaching families and presenting hundreds of workshops, the question is always asked, “How can I share this with my sister in Minnesota?” or some other state or country. Before now, there was no viable answer to that question. Daychild provides online instructional videos, e-books, and articles so we can do just that. Now, no matter what family someone is part of, or where they live in the world, they can become part of the Daychild family. In 2002, I bought a microphone and started recording. But those “compact discs” were never created or distributed because my children were still little and I could not pull it together. Modern social media and YouTube are now allowing me and thousands of others to share their lifework with the world in useful and interesting ways. As always, there are new and troubling challenges facing our world today. But more powerful than those challenges is the connection that we now all have to one another and what we will be able to create and accomplish because of it.

Thanks to Cara Day, Daychild.org!

11) Blend My Skills & Talents with a Desire

I started my business out of a need to blend my innate skills and talents with my desire to control my schedule and live a more fulfilling life based on a career I love. I had started a consultancy while working full-time at my first post-college job. After five months of doing both, my day job was pulled from under my feet with less than a weeks notice. I had to make a choice then – get another job to supplement my income, get a part-time job to supplement my income, or go all in with my business. I chose the latter, knowing that the pressure of having to make it work and having my full energy and focused dedicated to my venture would pay off. I attribute a lot of my success and ability to scale to making that decision.

 

Thanks to Shauna Mackenzie, Best Kept Self!

12) Freedom to Spend Time With Loved Ones

I decided to start my business 11 years ago, when I was denied PTO to see my grandmother. I couldn’t believe it, “how could someone say no to grandma?!” I began researching fields and came across Coaching as the top industry for the upcoming year. I reviewed the requirements, got certified, and started recruiting. No, it wasn’t that easy but I can only write a paragraph. Having the freedom to work on your own terms is freeing! Like Burger King says, Have it Your Way! Now I focus on leading successful yet single women through a process to be true to themselves while finding the one. It feels good to be in line with what I was destined to do.

Thanks to Dr. Casandra “Coach Cass” Henriquez, InspireMany.com!

13) Discovered Inefficiencies

I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit but when I discovered the inefficiencies in the event booking process, from inquiry to actual event, I was inspired to bring a product to the world that would make people’s lives easier. And one where there was a real market need. The events and services industry is challenged by a mix of traditional offline processes and today’s world of everything digital, putting a damper on the customer experience. Event planners are challenged to find a venue that’s available and within budget, without having to send numerous emails and wait on phone calls from venue managers. Venues are challenged with optimizing their event business, and finding new leads. I wanted to create a new software platform and an ecosystem that addresses each of these pain points while bringing professional event planners and consumers a more efficient booking process and experience.

Thanks to Kelsey Recht, VenueBook!

14) Solve 2 Problems

I started my business; “Wrapadoo” in a genuine need to solve two problems. First problem; my daughter at the time was about 5 years old, did not have the developmental skills to flip her head forward to wrap her wet hair in a towel. If I could get a towel on top it simply toppled over. Night after night, wet hair, wet pjs, wet pillow. From there the creation of my now patented invention, the Wrapadoo. After testing on a good hundred little girls, the moms came back wanting one for themselves. It was at that point l set out to solve problem number two; Create a business to help my family which was struggling severely from the economic crash that left us virtually without income for 3 years (It was a rough time for all of us). I thought if I could somehow harness the demand of my Wrapadoo with supply, I could help my family bridge some gaps when it came to food and gas. It was a simple start but, five years later Wrapadoo is still here! 2014 was our best year to date and 2015 is off to a great start!

Thanks to Cynthia Saito, Wrapadoo!

15) Save Lives

After retiring from medical practice around the time that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, I realized that there are situations where medical personnel might not easily reach victims in a disaster. I figured that placing one informed and equipped person in every family might prevent some unnecessary deaths and injuries. After blogging for a time, my wife (a nurse practitioner) and I went on to write a bestselling survival medicine handbook, design an entire line of medical kits and supplies for off-grid settings, and start a new business that met our goals of contributing medically to the community.

Thanks to Joe Alton, M.D., Doom and Bloom, LLC!

16) Sharing our Finds

We started our bricks-and-mortar and online small-dog supply shop, Golly Gear, in a corner of the family bookstore in about 2003. We knew the bookstore’s time was limited – all independent bookstores were disappearing; fast. As small dog owners, we also knew it was practically impossible to find suitable products (harnesses, collars, leashes, toys, treats, etc.) for dogs under 25 lbs. Everything available in the big-box-pet-stores was too big and too heavy for little dogs. Because of our decades of experience in retail, we knew how to find independent manufacturers of the products we wanted for our own dogs, and decided to start Golly Gear (named after my sister’s Brussels Griffon dog) to share our finds with other small-dog-owners and highlight the innovative products and manufacturers we found.

Thanks to Hope Saidel, Golly Gear!

17) Positive Impact

I started Stampone Group to make a positive impact in the Real Estate industry. I’ve realized that most Real Estate companies and sales people are very numbers oriented. Which is important in any sales business, because the more you sell, the more money make, etc. etc. But, that is not what we are about at Stampone Group. We are quality over quantity in everything we do and we stand by our clients 100% of the time. When working with one of our associates, you will quickly realize the difference and understand we are not a typical real estate brokerage. We all have big dreams and one common thread throughout, we absolutely love what we do.

Thanks to Zach Stampone, Stampone Group!

18) Upscale & High Level of Detail

I looked around and saw that the rubber duck industry was almost as big as the teddy bear industry worldwide. And yes, all the ducks seemed so common and the same. I was always a fan of being different so I created CelebriDucks which was a whole line of celebrity rubber ducks of the greatest icons of film, music, history, and athletics and voted one of the top 100 Gifts by Entertainment Weekly. I know that it’s true, build a better mouse trap and people will find you. We felt that making cheap ducks was not what we were about. We wanted to go upscale and create a level of detail and quality in our painting and sculpting that was unheard of and it worked. We are also now considered the top custom duck manufacturer in the world. Bottom line, I wanted to have fun and do what I love and saw an opportunity that we could maximize. I knew we would find our niche and millions of ducks later, we have!

Thanks to Craig Wolfe, CelebriDucks!

19) Better Place to Shop

Selfish reasons, of course. I wanted a better place to shop. As an avid consignment shopper I realized there were so many things lacking from the resale shopping experience. I focused my business model on cleanliness and organization, customer service, quality and an overall cohesive design. I’ve helped a lot of people realize that second hand shopping doesn’t mean your buying wrinkled, dirty clothes because you can’t afford “new” things, it means you’re a savvy and smart shopper that pays way less for brand name labels than your average mall shopper.

Thanks to Pam, Plum Consignment!

20) Encourage & Inspire

“Love, Nyri is a lifestyle brand that I created a little over a year ago to encourage and inspire others to live boldly through their jewelry and accessories. Another goal of mine with this brand is to incorporate Haitian culture, art and aesthetic in my work by using the jewelry making techniques I learned in Haiti. I design and hand make jewelry for women and men using brass, gold, silver, copper, precious and semi precious stones, and other various materials. I pull most of my inspiration from memories of my time spent growing up in Haiti. All of the pieces are my original designs but I also create custom made pieces.”

Thanks to Riva Nyri Precil, Love, Nyri!

21) Perfect Timing

I started my business because I knew I had the right product at the right time. I also wanted to answer that little nagging voice inside me that wondered if I had the guts to start my own business. So I answered! My friends and family loved my plant based, all natural PMS relief product that I blended for my own personal use and I saw an unfulfilled need in the marketplace for an effective product to deal with common PMS symptoms that was not another OTC medicine. Girl Uninterrupted PMS Relief Supplement is packaged in a pretty, little compact so it is available in every purse, gym bag, desk drawer or backpack for those days when bloating, cramping, fatigue and irritability from that time of the month get you down!”

Thanks to Mayling Kajiya, Girl Uninterrupted®!

22) Opportunities to Help

A few years ago, I worked at an international nonprofit in a high-stress job. The stress came from the fact that they kept telling me I was too old for my job — in my late 40s. It didn’t seem like I was going to be able to fix that issue. My life partner, Brian, and I had purchased a pair of electric bicycles at about that time, and I discovered the joy and relief that came from riding at the end of a difficult day. Once I quit my job, I realized that a lot of people could benefit from electric bikes. There were a lot of opportunities to help other people: Commuters who needed to arrive at work without sweat, Boomers who dreamed of returning to the bike path despite aging knees, anyone who needed a green, affordable alternative to cars. Their opportunities translated to our opportunities. It encouraged me to open an electric bike shop in Seal Beach, California. Now, Brian and I spend our days leading tours, sending out rentals and helping people feel young again. It’s wonderful!

Thanks to Beth Black, Pedego Greater Long Beach!

23) Accomodate My Needs

I am an entrepreneur because I’m not qualified for other jobs, and I’ll tell you why. I have autism, and the related condition, sensory processing disorder, which can be the death knell in a cube at a busy office. So, I have created my business, which accommodates my special needs. I work from home at my quiet office downstairs. Meetings can produce anxiety due to autism’s social interaction impairments and my audio processing delay with understanding speech. Fortunately, I don’t work at the shop where my weighted blankets are produced, since there is talking, sewing machines running, and a TV on. That combination causes confusion, inattention, and anxiety. Since I am the boss, I can make the accommodations I need.

Thanks to Eileen Parker, Cozy Calm

24) Nothing Existed

We created Keeper Security​ because nothing existed on mobile devices to secure and organize people’s passwords and private information. We got tired of having to remember passwords for our sites and worse, writing them on sticky notes and sheets of paper. Keeper now operates across all mobile devices, computers and web browsers – the problem has been solved and entrusted by millions of users
worldwide. Before Keeper I had been hacked. My private information was no longer private. I don’t want this happening to others. Since using Keeper, I haven’t been hacked once.

Thanks to Darren Guccione, Keeper Security!

25) Unique & Smooth Shopping Experience

I started my online retail business to reach into the vast industry of the retail and consumer electronics market and to provide a unique and smooth way through which consumers can shop and safely checkout with ease online thus experiencing the best customer satisfaction, expedited shipping and competitive pricing that for so long has been missing in the online arena. We aim at becoming the best customer friendly company where consumers can find whatever they want to purchase online at a reasonable
price as well providing job opportunities for our talented citizens because individuals given the opportunity to excel are loyal customers and employees.

Thanks to Tochukwu Mbiamnozie, Zenith-Mart Inc!

26) Better Solution

I started Sprayable Energy because I was extremely sensitive to caffeine and all the other caffeine solutions gave me jitters, anxiety and overall overwhelming sensation. My father had a phd in transdermal chemistry and I decided to follow in his footsteps at Harvard. After months of testing I developed Sprayable Energy my freshman year at Harvard.

Thanks to Ben Yu, Sprayable Inc.!

27) Void in the Marketplace

Running a vacation eco spa, my sister noticed a void in the marketplace for wholesome clean sun care products. She thought there was an opportunity and asked if I was interested in joining her (my wife joined as well). I felt there was a need for these products plus with the company I could achieve a dream of financial and time independence. Previously I had largely worked for companies or startups run by others. Both of these gave me great experience. Experience that made transitioning to working for myself much easier. They also opened my eyes to the possibility of being my own boss. This appeals to me and has gotten even more important as I’ve gotten older. I’d like to spend more time with my parents as they age and have the flexibility to be with family and friends in general. Running a business gives me this flexibility in a way that working for someone else cannot.

Thanks to Will von Bernuth, Block Island Organics!

28) Getting to Where We Wanted

In 2009 I met my business partner Beau Hale. His life situation and ambition were identical to mine, so we partnered up. We developed some very effective ways to generate business together (he was in commercial insurance), but after endless brainstorming and calculation we determined our current career paths, although successful, were not enough. I have a very vivid memory of a meeting we had over a weekend in a conference room, which ended up being the most significant meeting of my life to date. We mapped out our future all over the white board and the result was a paradigm shift for me. We recognized that the only way to get where we wanted to go was to create our own company. Several meetings later the business we decided to pursue lead us to our business partner Eric Nordyke. Eric started giving us advice and in the process we came to learn about the affiliate marketing industry he was in. We recognized that the potential in this industry was far greater than any we had entertained previously, so within a few months we quit our careers, closed our business, moved down to San Diego to partner with Eric, and AdBoom Group was born.

Thanks to Corey Baggett, AdBoom Group, Inc.!

29) Fill a Void

While there seems to have been a boom of trendy high-end specialty natural pet food and supply stores popping up within the last year, I founded Protein For Pets in early 2014 to fill a void in the retail landscape for an independent pet food and supply store that is strictly driven by customers’ needs and convenience. I also wanted to make the increasingly-important natural pet food and supply concept more accessible to people regardless of their income levels. Having opened my first store in March of last year, Protein For Pets has now turned into an eight-store-strong company with no plans of slowing down. To grow a business this quickly is challenging but my recipe for success is simple. Offer only the guaranteed best products at the best prices in the best, most convenient, way possible. That is why, unlike most pet supply stores that organize product by brands, I designed Protein For Pets with a no-nonsense, less than 1500 square foot, set up that mirrors that of a supermarket with foods organized by protein and product type….The Protein For Pets business model also allows for giving back while moving forward which is extremely important to me. Protein For Pets makes an impact in each community it is part of by donating to local animal shelters and schools.

Thanks to Marco Gianni, Protein for Pets!

30) Make What You Want to See in Life

I live in a small town in Southern California, and if you want something in town, you have to make it yourself. I wanted to live in a town where there was a yoga festival with music, the most amazing yoga teachers, and bringing the community together. I realized no one else was going to do a yoga festival unless I did! So, I started the Big Bear Yoga Festival. We are going into year 3 of the festival and it is an amazing experience. So many people have tried new classes, food and activities like a zipline, that they wouldn’t have tried otherwise. It is rewarding and contributes to creating a community I love living in!

Thanks to Annalisa Berns, Big Bear Yoga Festival!

31) Raise Money & Disrupt an Industry

I started barring to raise money for cancer research and disrupt the eyewear market by making eyewear out of innovative material and using cutting edge technology to market our products. We were frustrated by the fact it was hard to find a high end pair of wooden frames or even granite frames at a affordable price. I think we hit a sweet spot because we are growing fast and it is getting difficult to control the growth. For more details on our story you can check out our website.

Thanks to Joseph Hwang, Barring Store!

32) A Mission

I am on a mission to completely eliminate the pushy, smarmy salesperson…forever. I have worked in sales for close to 2 decades and I have always been embarrassed at the lengths people will go to put a buck in their pocket. From working too many hours and losing their families to saying and doing things that are no less than a scam. I started my business as a twofold mission. The first is to help others take back the power they have surrendered to their customers for the sake of a buck. The second is to use this mission to ensure that I can dedicate my most valuable time for my family instead of giving it to a corporation.

Thanks to Matt Hallisy, The Negotiator’s Playbook!

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of 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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