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43 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 entrepreneur and brand.

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1) Opportunity for Disruption

My co-founders and I saw an opportunity to disrupt an offline industry with technology, whilst satisfying a real consumer need that everyone else was ignoring – so we founded on-demand storage company SpaceWays, to shake up the storage industry. The current players in self-storage are sitting far too comfortably, and aren’t thinking about real innovation. Disruption rarely comes from within, so needs to be driven by an outside force. Our on-demand storage concept delivers superior customer value, catering to city-dwellers who have little time, space, and no access to cars, a concept which got us pretty excited.

Thanks to Rob Rebholz, SpaceWays!

2) Struggling with Behavior

We started the enterprise after struggling with the behavior of my adolescent son. Expert counseling effectively changed my parenting style and my relationship with my son. I decided to bring this approach to the masses at an affordable rate.

Thanks to Steve Anderson, EmpoweringParents.com!

3) The New Lipstick

After reading that during WWII the US entered into the “lipstick economy” – which was explained as a time when women couldn’t afford to purchase anything for themselves other than a tube of lipstick – I decided that “Nail Polish would be the New Lipstick” in our current challenging economic environment. My daughter’s were graduating from college without any career possibilities. I had been introduced to gel nail polish in Europe, and decided to introduce American women to the concept. Couture Gel Nail Polish was born. My daughters were able to bring to the business their expertise learned in college, and our family business has been booming ever since!

Thanks to Laura Jenkins, Couture Gel Nail Polish

4) Painful Process

In our case and starting SnapKnot, even though we didn’t have that wedding planning instinct or love and dream about having a business about weddings, I remembered how painful of a process it was to try to find a wedding photographer for my wife and I when we were getting married and knew I could help others in the same situation. Instead of thinking ‘Why hasn’t anyone thought of that yet?’ we wanted to be the ones that actually took that initial step to do something about it! It is a total liberating and rewarding feeling that comes with building your own business. As you see your company succeed, you are able to hire employees and have the flexibility of creating a work environment that you know you have always wanted, it makes all worth it….until we start our next company and have to start all over again!”

Thanks to Reid Warner, SnapKnot.com!

5) A Real Pain Point

In my previous positions at Palo Alto Software, Maverick Business Ventures, and as a teacher at the University of Oregon, I had observed students, non profits, and members of organizations struggling to prove that they qualified for retailers’ exclusive offers. One time, I literally watched a student try to buy a new laptop online from a company who had sent her marketing about their student discount. I saw her pull out her credit card to make the purchase, and then put it away and head to the bookstore instead when she realized she’d have to wait 24 hours to make her purchase and fax off verification paperwork to prove she qualified. I knew that I had a identified a real pain point that affected both consumers and the businesses that were trying to reach targeted audiences with special offers and failing because they were forcing customers to jump through too many hoops. Coming up with solutions to real life problems has always excited me, and when my friend and co-founder, David Shear, and I put our brains together, we mapped out a technology solution that could ask questions that would be answered with yes/no responses by authoritative databases in real time. Making the leap from coming up with an idea to actually starting SheerID was a no-brainer. One of my biggest mistakes in starting a new business was not taking the plunge sooner.

Thanks to  Jake Weatherly, SheerID!

6) Leave My Job

I founded Lauren’s Fab Finds so I could leave my corporate job with Pricewaterhouse and follow my passion of being an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. As a female, I felt that certain doors were closed to me in the corporate world. I knew that the only way to seek the advancements and professional challenges that I deserved was to take the plunge and start my own business. I didn’t know this when I started my company, but as I grew Lauren’s Fab Finds, it gave me the flexibility to spend quality time with my three sons. Looking back, that’s the best reason of all for starting my own business. There’s nothing more important than having an active role in lives of my sons.

Thanks to Lauren Lerner, Lauren’s Fab Finds!

7) A Problem without a Solution

I started my business because I had a problem and there wasn’t a viable solution. In the summer of 2012, my wife and I were expecting our first child. As most soon to be parents know, there are hundreds of items that you want/need – one of which is a stroller. My wife had her eye on one stroller in particular and I decided that the time to buy was now. I went to Amazon thinking they had the lowest price, but they didn’t as my wife politely told me. She told me where it was cheaper and I visited their website, but because she had been stalking it for months she informed me the price had recently been $100 cheaper than the current price. That is when I thought, I don’t have the time nor patience to check all 20 websites where this stroller is sold everyday, but there must be a service that will do this for me. When I couldn’t find a service to do this for me, WorthIt.co was born.

Thanks to Jason Kaminsky, WorthIt.co!

8) If You Can’t Find It, Create it

Years ago while traveling through Italy, I found myself in a picturesque hotel on the Amalfi coast. After a long day, I got to my room ready to unwind. I pulled back the duvet, arranged the pillows to my liking, crawled into bed…and found perfection that I didn’t know existed. Those sumptuous sheets were softer than anything I had ever experienced. I returned home from Italy on a quest for that perfection. It was a search that left me frustrated, confused and disappointed: would I really have to spend a month of rent to recreate my Italian sleep experience? They say if you can’t find it, create it. And so I did. Parachute was imagined as a way to deliver premium quality bedding at an accessible price. To put an end to confusing marketing gimmicks like thread count, and to create new options – such as bundles without a top sheet – that have never previously existed. I believe you shouldn’t lose sleep trying to get the best sleep. Designed in Los Angeles, and manufactured in Italy with the finest materials available, always at an affordable price. Enjoy Parachute.

Thanks to Ariel Kaye, Parachute!

9) For My Son

I started my business from a combination of my skills as a graphic designer and my needs as a mother. In 2004, when my son, was 18-months-old he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and doctors were unsure if he would ever be able to walk. So instead of thinking too much about what he wasn’t capable of, I decided I would find a way to motivate and encourage him to reach his potential. I was a graphic designer and I created a dynamic reward chart to encourage progress. It worked so well for Joseph which in turn helped me to feel positive about his progress and following many requests from other mothers to make them one I decided to go into business developing childrens’ reward charts. The Victoria Chart Company was born from what started out as simply an idea for my own family and has grown to help so many other families find a positive solution for their greatest challenges in their children’s development. We now have offices in US and UK.

Thanks to Victoria Ballard, Victoria Chart Company!

10) Spread a Positive Message

KonectIDY.com is a cause-related company started by two friends looking to help spread positive messages and ideals that are often drowned out by all the negativity in the world. We developed a platform for individuals to create or purchase their own unique, color-coded message that takes the form of a bracelet. Each bracelet/message expresses a personalized statement in support of their favorite cause – a message as unique as a fingerprint. We are thankful for the opportunity to do what we are passionate about, have the ability to give back and share our vision through our actions.

Thanks toTony Peluso, KonectIDY!

11) Doing Something I Love

I started my own Professional Organizing business, Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts because I while I wanted to spend my days doing something I love, I also wanted the flexibility to live my life without being chained to a desk. I enjoy the challenges associated with the actual running and growing my business but at the end of the day, it is being a source of hope and inspiration to those in need of my service that actually fuels my passion. If I had the chance to do it over again I would, hundreds of times.

Thanks to Jennifer Snyder, Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts!

12) Hurricane Sandy

MakeSpace was born in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I was traveling in Colombia at the time and received a call from my then-girlfriend describing the storm and the state of her apartment New York City. Flooding, extensive wreckage, the whole bit. I cut my trip short and assisted in salvaging what was left of her belongings by boxing them up and putting them into a self-storage unit. The whole experience was a nightmare. One day, shortly thereafter, she needed her winter boots and we couldn’t track them down within the storage unit disarray. It was then that I decided there had to be an easier way, a better way.

Thanks to Sam Rosen, MakeSpace!

13) Supporting Women

I have been a closet feminist since I was very young. Some of that comes from having strong values of fairness and equality. I was the kid that would always say: “That’s not fair!”. At school, I did metalwork and woodwork classes whilst all of my female friends were doing the cooking classes. My father made me do physics and sports as well and I was always the only girl in class so I learned about equality very early.
I was inspired by my mum. She was a stay-at-home mum and she went back to work when I was a teenager and had a very successful career. It was in the 1980s and she had those power suits and fabulous hair. I admired her a lot. However, she found it very hard to climb up the ladder and balance her career and family life. When I was 21 and in my final year of university, my mum took her own life. It was very hard for me — she was my best friend, my mother, my everything. So 9 years later, I realised I wanted to start a business that would support women and inspire them to be leaders, have a fulfilling life, and make a difference — all those things that my mum was trying really hard to do. So I started Aspire and here we are. 14 years on and still going strong.

Thanks Dr. Sam Collins,  Aspire Women!

14) Determined to Recreate Matchmaking

I am the founder and CEO of Samantha’s Table LLC, a high-end, strategic matchmaking company. I have been a Professional Matchmaker for more than 15 years and realized about 1.5 years ago that there was a void in the Dating App marketplace and I was perfectly positioned to fill that gap. As a result, I took all the dating intel that I have received in the matchmaking business and used it to tailor-make an exclusive and very strategic app called The Dating Lounge. I determined that I would essentially recreate my matchmaking business on the iPhone and give high-end people, like my clients, exactly what they want in a dating app- an invitation-only, personal and vetted community of serious daters where they can do strategic searches with the help of a real, live Matchmaker. More specifically, I also spent time really zeroing in on providing features that spoke to single peoples’ needs and desires in a dating app. In that regard, I gave them a feature where they can “play matchmaker” by referring matches to their friends. Furthermore, I created an algorithm that provides for personalized, strategic matching with 15 different settings. I also designed the app so mutual friends can “make an introduction” or “provide a reference” on a match and created a mechanism that excludes married people and people in a relationship. As I result, I have had tremendous positive feedback from many of the Members of The Dating Lounge in the short time we have been up and running. My goal as a professional Matchmaker has always been to help people find love. The Dating Lounge has allowed me to extend my knowledge and experience in the dating industry to the masses and help many more individuals find their significant other. ”

Thanks to Samantha Daniels, Samantha’s Table!

15) Balancing 2 Themes

I started Red Door Interactive as a way to balance two themes: one a personal need and the other a business need. From the personal perspective, I wanted a place where I would like to come to work every day in a city in which I love; I wasn’t able to find the balanced, creative culture that I appreciated in any agencies in San Diego. I have a passion for meaningful advertising and for working within a team-oriented culture that can consistently deliver it. From the business perspective, I saw a need that wasn’t being satisfied by bigger agencies in the industry. I felt that marketers from brick-and-mortar companies needed to operate by the same kind of metrics and discipline as e-commerce marketers had long since adopted. So, I wrote a business plan that connected those two themes together, banded together with three wonderful other people, and ultimately started Red Door in 2002.

Thanks to Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive!

16) Constant Shortage

My husband’s best friend died suddenly at age 35, he died due to complications from alcoholism. After his death he was classified as an isolated alcoholic. He never had more than a couple of drinks in public, he drank in excess while he was alone. His death was very hard on my husband, he felt guilty that he did not know about his friend’s vice and he wanted to give back by donating to and volunteering at drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation centers. We used google to find out what was needed at these facilities so that we could make the proper donations and that is how we found out about the constant shortage of new underwear at rehab centers and shelters all over the country, that is how the idea for Too Apparel was formed. Shelters constantly face underwear shortages because they rely on donations for clothing and most people donate used clothes but, for obvious reasons, shelters don’t accept used underwear. Too Apparel sells stylish and comfortable women’s underwear and we donate a pair to a women’s shelter for every pair sold, helping Survivors of addiction, domestic violence and sexual assault.

Thanks to Sara Goryl, Too Apparel!

17) Rising Dental Cost

The rising costs of dental care was preventing my family members from obtaining the treatment they needed in the US and inspired me to establish Dental Departures – an online company that hooks up trusted global dental providers with patients. My wife had not been to a dentist in years because with a chef’s salary, she couldn’t afford it. This was my motivation to explore inexpensive dental care on the internet. I found a lack of affordable dental care in the US but this was not just a problem in here but also in Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand too. The results of my research pointed to massive savings of around 70% in countries such as Mexico, Thailand and Hungary but with scant authoritative information about the quality of care and clinics in these countries. This led me to the problem that I wanted to solve and that was filling the gap between overseas Clinics and Patients. I wanted to provide patients with all the information they needed about certification of overseas dentists, quality and cleanliness of the clinics and real reviews from patients that have experienced these clinics. My wife and young family then set about researching and we ended moving to Mexico and then Thailand. Coupled with my background in technology Dental Departures was born. One of my proudest moments was helping my dad get a new smile, Changing people’s lives by providing affordable, quality dental care is one of the joys of what we do.

Thanks to Paul McTaggart, Dental Departures!

18) School Assignment

We started our business in a classroom at Harvard Business School. We were assigned to invent a business and present to our classmates at school! So one night I just sat down and pounded out the business plan. Inspiration was definitely drawn from a variety of cases and examples we had seen at HBS including InnoCentiv, Odesk, Elance and others. We were initially kicking around a bunch of other really good ideas, but in the end we decide the potential market for HourlyNerd was the biggest, and also the idea about which we were most passionate. And clearly that idea has paid off. Today, HourlyNerd supplies 10,000 MBA on-demand, freelance consultants to 5,000 companies and Mark Cuban has become a large investor. Microsoft has partnered with us. Also, General Electric, American Apparel, Omaha Steaks, Au Bon Pain and Barclay’s are just a few brand-name businesses using our consultants.

Thanks to Rob Biederman, HourlyNerd!

19) My Happiness

We are all looking for happiness in life, in one way or another. The problem I faced however was that none of the companies I worked for in the past cared about my happiness. In fact, most of the workplaces I was employed at were filled with politics and authoritative management styles that left me miserable and emotionally unfulfilled. Living in North America, we preach democracy everywhere but in reality we end up spending most of our day stuck in wage-labour slavery under a management dictatorship. So, one of the main reasons I started my business was that I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to prove to myself, and others, that it was possible to focus key elements of the business around the happiness of everyone involved. So, I founded TorontoVaporizer on the principle of “happy customers and happy employees”. I can confidently say that after 5 years of being in business, with a tightknit team of 15 and an extremely low turn-over rate, we are working at being not only happier in the environment I created, but doing so profitably. So, if you are miserable at work and can’t find a company culture that suits you in your quest to regain happiness, I highly recommend you consider making your own – it worked well for me and my team!

Thanks to Nima Noori, TorontoVaporizer!

20) Turning Passion into a Paycheck

I started my photography business because I had this inner urge to follow my passion into a paycheck. I knew I always wanted to become an entrepreneur, but I did not discover my path until I re-discovered photography through my own wedding experience. Photography allows me to be creative, work with people, and work outside. It is truly every thing I loved wrapped up into one career. I’m in my third year of business and I learn and grow every day. Starting my own business is truly the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

Thanks to Elizabeth Henson, Elizabeth Henson Photos!

21) Financial Independence

I was inspired to start my own business when I saw my childhood friend run his own construction business. He worked long hours, but made a decent living. He did not depend on a company or someone else for his financial security. The success or failure of his business were all in his hands. My curiosity was intrigued. I was stuck in a nine to five job that was going nowhere. Hard work in my company was rarely appreciated or rewarded. If I wanted to move up in my company I had to play politics. I decided to leave my job because I was slowly digging myself into depression. I was not satisfied with my job. It was a bold and risky decision, but I told myself I would do whatever I can to insure my clothing business succeed. I ate, slept and breathed my business. It was not out of the norm for me to work 15 hours a day. To see my business slowly gain success was by far the most rewarding feeling I have ever felt in my life. Confucius said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That quote resonates with me and I am so grateful I have a successful business. Start my own business was the best decision of my life.

Thanks to Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco Kids Formal Wear!

22) Good Karma

After taking a business trip and talking to so many colleagues who travel all the time I quickly came to the realization that the only food I could feed my growling belly was junk food from vending machines. Because I am so conscious of what I eat and try to make sure that it’s all relatively healthy food I wanted to create a company that not only offers people wherever they are the opportunity to freely purchase healthy snacks but also give interested individuals a business landscape where they could come on board and be an independent business owner. The best part of it all is that their business efforts will ultimately benefit people in a healthy way. The KarmaBox mentality is that sharing good karma will certainly benefit everyone.

Thanks to A.J. MacQuarrie, KarmaBox!

23) Hobby into a Business

We have turned our craft/hobby into a full time business. I am a musician that has made over 50 guitars with my partner. We started with 2 guitars that I owned and painted original designs on them. Then we received great market response from musicians and art lovers. Our guitars are now in retail locations, art galleries and in the hands of musicians that play them live at shows. It’s our second year in business and things are really picking up. Currently we have 10 guitars we are working on for musicians, a well known guitar builder and US based customers. I think we are a good success story that needs to be told!

Thanks to Dwight Berg, Guitart Custom Guitars!

24) Difficulty Finding Good, Safe and Reliable Care

I started my company because of the difficulty finding good, safe, reliable home care for my parents. I know that there are so many people out there who need good, high-quality home care, so that they don’t have to worry about their loved one. The company was founded on the principle that we can take better care of our employees, by offering a 401K, Paid Time Off, and better pay, while taking better care of our clients, reducing turnover, and still have a great business. We use telephony and GPS for time-cards, instead of paper timecards. I wanted to start a company where the needs of the client come first, and are our first priority.

Thanks to Haley Gray, Extension of You Home Care!

25) A Better Way

In December of 2005, just back from vacation, I was confronted with flooded basement due to a catastrophic failure of a traditional tank water heater. After a 16-hour flight, the last thing I wanted to do was vacuum water at one o’clock in the morning. Right there I decided there must be a better way. I called on my friend and colleague Siva Akasam. Together we not only re-engineered an efficient and robust way to heat water on-demand, but also deliver it when needed, thus saving water and energy. Today, that robust design and self- learning technology is supplying hot water to hotels, hospitals, schools, and restaurants enabling them to serve their customers more reliably while simultaneously cutting costs. And, I rest easy knowing my basement won’t be flooded, ever again!

Thanks to Sridhar Deivasigamani, Intellihot Green Technologies Inc.

26) A Real Problem

My cofounder and I started iCouch because there is a real problem with mental health care access. Despite hundreds of start ups trying to solve the burning (yet trivial) questions of how to find a taxi, getting organic food delivered or finding the perfect pair of socially acceptable shoes, we wanted to make quality therapy as easy to get as ordering a pizza. At the time, we lived in Shanghai, China where we had a friend who was having a difficult time finding an English speaking therapist. We all used Skype to communicate with our friends and family back in the United States, so why couldn’t that work for mental health? Though my cofounder is a licensed therapist, between us, we had no technical ability, only some napkin sketches for how the system might work. With a single-minded determination to learn how to build this technology, a year later, we had built the system and iCouch launched to the public. We started the business because we saw an opportunity to leverage technology to help others, however we stuck with it for the past five years because despite the technical, legal and business challenges there’s nothing better than getting up each day to take one more step towards changing the world.

Thanks to Brian Dear, iCouch!

27) Undiscovered Talents

I started my business was to create a platform and a voice for the undiscovered Talents (music artists, actors, comedians, dancers and or models ) to be discovered. My business is for the people who do not have the direct personal industry connections nor the luxury finances that will allow them to be able to push themselves to the front and fulfill their career dreams within the entertainment industry. Using myself as an example I have been an aspiring actor for many years however I have tried and exhausted all possible options available to me to be able to start my acting career. I have gone as far as paying monthly fees for agency representation with hopes to be scouted and showcased. I have tried to directly communicate seeking help and advice from industry executives and have been turned down due to my financial status and no referrals. TalentSetter was started to create a direct communication line cutting down middleman (agency) fees and allows the undiscovered Talents to be able to freely showcase themselves and promote themselves. My business attracts industry executives to them instead Industry executives attracting the Talent. TalentSetter allows those Talents who are not financially privileged enough to be able to learn and understand that everything is not handed to you but one has to work hard in order to accomplish life goals, The saying, “it’s about who you know” does not always apply there is always another way and that way is my business which allows the people to take that route and continue showcasing themselves for free with the hopes to be discovered. Currently there is no all in one online directory for music artists, actors, comedians, dancers and models and my business has created that central all in one location where you have the option to find Talent without paying to neither communicate nor conduct business.

Thanks to Cathrine Juake, TalentSetter!

28) Family Business

I used to work for my families shipping business that was started by my grandfather and his brother. Their sons, my father and cousin continued the tradition and grew the business. My father wanted to sell me his shares but since his father and uncle granted my cousin a half share more due to his college education my cousin wouldn’t allow it. My father decided to retire right after this, 6 months after that I was approached with a contract with unattainable goals. I questioned why after working there 11 years would I need to sign a contract? I was told, “everyone has to sign”. I questioned what would happen if I didn’t sign? I was told by my cousin “you could look for another job”. I shook his hand and said thank you for the opportunity. I opened up my doors a month later. May 1st will be 4 years and we have been growing at an amazing rate. We currently employ 26 people and handle 250-300 orders/deliveries per day.

Thank you to Nicholas Racioppo, NPD Logistics, LLC!

29) Nowhere Job & Recently Engaged

I started my business because I had to. I was sitting at a go nowhere job that I had for five years, was recently engaged, and had no prospects of moving forward in the company, getting a raise, or getting benefits of any kind. I put in my notice March 2013 and haven’t looked back since. I started my photography business and hit the ground running. It was a personal journey and I can to a cross roads of being miserable at a steady job or taking the unknown path to something that might not work out. I chose the latter and am happy I did.

Thanks to Rich Storm, NYPhotoNY.com!

30) Encourage Ourselves & Others

We launched TYD after a few failed businesses- we were feeling demotivated. There’s a lot of resources that help businesses but a lot of people want to see what happens when it all works out and that’s what TYD is. We started the magazine to encourage ourselves as well as others. The success of the business has definitely done that plus it forces us to be proactive. No more feeling sorry for ourselves, just working and seeing results.

Thanks to Blessing Platinum, TYD Magazine!

31) Help My Son Thrive

I invented the Ollie Swaddle as a way to help my foster son, Oliver, thrive. I designed it to help decrease my little one’s fussiness, assist in self-calming, and also help improve the quality and duration of an infant’s sleep. Now, Oliver is doing better than ever and Ollie Swaddle is praised by both parents and doctors alike for its positive impact on an infant’s neurodevelopment and sleep improvement!

Thanks to Hindi Zeidman, Ollie Swaddle!

32) Ran Out of Passion

I worked in the automotive industry for the past 11 years and just ran out of passion. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing anymore. I was with a company that paid a salary but didn’t give any raises. I gained a ton of experience but it didn’t seem like there was any value to that experience within the company. Some say you don’t leave a company, you leave a manager. That isn’t necessarily true in this case. I enjoyed working with my manager but they gave me an ultimatum. So I had to choose my own idea over theirs. The business I started is new and exciting and I love what I do now. The feedback that I get from customers makes me feel so good. I am constantly exceeding expectations in my new line of work. I started an aerial photography business named Aerial Agents.

Thanks to Thomas Wasinski, Aerial Agents!

33) Sum of All Parts Didn’t Exist

I started a business because the sum of all parts of my interests didn’t exist under one roof at that particular time. I searched high and low and could not find a company that had exactly what I was looking for. When I started Digital Surgeons I had a vision to bring together Creative, Technology, and Marketing Strategy all under one roof. I saw silos existing for businesses and brands. Back then, I was a Designer/Developer hybrid in a time when most organizations were separating the two. Now, it is more common. Companies use terms like “ninja” or “unicorn” to attract and describe the role, but having hybrid creative generalists is just the beginning of what makes Digital Surgeons special.

Thanks to Peter Sena, Digital Surgeons!

34) Next Career Challenge

Roughly two years ago I had come to a point in my life where I was ready to take on my next career challenge. That didn’t necessarily mean a job change or company change but it just meant I felt I needed to re-evaluate where I was in my career and form a more detailed plan on where I wanted to go. It was during my research of different options that I obtained a desire to start a business. My dad has spent his whole life being a truck driver and about 20 years ago he decided to go into business for himself and become an independent driver. So entrepreneurship was not something new to me, I just did not what all my options were. As I began to understand all my options and further define what area I thought would work best, I was also able to understand what was most important to me in business. I was excited about the thought of being able to truly take care of my clients without going against company guidelines or budget. I would be able to build an office culture that is transparent, educational, and family focused. And lastly, I was willing to build a business that strives to make the correct choices and do the correct thing for those they service. With a BlueGrace Logistics franchise, our values align and it helped make my career change much easier.

Thanks to Brian Stutzman, BlueGrace Indianapolis North!

35) Bleeding Entrepreneurship

I was born to be an entrepreneur. I literally bleed entrepreneurship as anyone who knows me will attest. I’ve started every business I have ever had because I saw a problem that needed to be solved and I knew I had an innovative way to solve it. My greatest skills are my ability to influence and inspire others. When I believe in something I believe in it with my entire being and am never afraid to push through any challenge to make it happen. I do NOT take NO for an answer. I have worked for others in the past and found I always did things my way – generally to the benefit of my employer. However, those of us who do it “MY WAY” know we are always better off working for ourselves. I have yet to meet anyone who can keep up with me. Entrepreneurship is definitely in my DNA.

Thanks to Vicki Donlan!

36) Support Networks

Back in 2007, my best friend died of a rare bone cancer. During his treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, I met a lot of kids with different illnesses. Most of the patients and families, felt alone during their experiences. I was inspired to launch a niche social network, for the kids, families, and now non-profits. They can now build their own support networks for any illness, experience, and share experiences anonymously to build support for one another.

Thanks to Lundon Enterprises!

37) Helping My Toddler

“When I noticed that my toddler son was developing at a “delayed” rate, I wanted to bond with him and experience the joy of development and progress. After much research, I discovered that massage was the best way for my son and I to bond when the “normal” avenues of bonding were not available. When chemical-free versions were hard to find, I developed my own range of massage oils with a blend of sunflower oil, jojoba oil, calendula oil, and Vitamin E. Parker Time Potions are all-natural massage oils formulated to help nurture the parent and child bond, allowing parents to slow down and savor the precious time spent with their child. My son was since diagnosed with autism, which brought on another opportunity for Parker Time to not only provide an all-natural, chemical-free product, but a product line that also serves as a vehicle to give back some of the proceeds to fund autism research.”

Thanks to Kelly Johnson, Parker Time Potions!

38) Amazing healing Powers

I am a jewelry designer by trade and I started my business after I experienced the amazing healing powers of gemstones. I was faced with certain situations in my life that required deep healing. One day a friend of mine brought me a crystal while I couldn’t get out of bed. She told this would “help me.” Looking at her like she was nuts, I simply said, “Thank you” but was quite skeptikal. After holding the crystal for a few days I began to feel some “energy” in it and this facininated me. After witnessing the power of gemstones for my own self, I wanted to teach others about an alternative way to attract healing, therefore I created zen jewelz. I have helped thousands of people along the way and contine this incredible journey!

Thanks to ZenJen, Zen Jewelz!

39) Steady Income

In 1996 I was the staff photographer for a weekly newspaper, The Taos News. I loved the job and as I grew as a photojournalist I wanted to move on from weekly papers to freelance for national daily newspapers. Fortunately, I was successful as a freelancer but even being successful  does not guarantee a steady income. In 1997 I got engaged and wanted to hire a wedding photographer who could shoot my wedding the way I would, as a journalist. I had a very hard time finding someone – which gave me the idea that there must be other brides out there like me who did not want traditional studio wedding photography. And so I partnered with another colleague and started Shoot The Cake as a way for us to have steady incomes while we also pursued our journalism careers. It turned out to be a very wise decision, as we were ahead of the trend of documentary wedding photography and secured a market for ourselves in New Mexico. I have relocated to New York and there is a lot more competition here. But being a working photojournalist who knows my next assignments depends on the quality of the work I turn in, is the best training for being a wedding photographer. At weddings there are no do-overs, no excuses and it goes without saying that my next wedding booking depends on the quality of work I deliver to my client. And as it turns out some of my wedding photography clients has led me to interesting journalism assignments. To sum it up, I started this business as a way to continue being a photojournalist and the duality of being both a journalist and an event photographer has served me well.

Thanks to Dorie Hagler, ShoottheCake.com!

40) Safety for Kids

As a mother of two, my primary goal was to offer travelers a safe way to transport their kids. I was frequently traveling between my native Ireland and England to visit a sick relative, and I always had to transport cumbersome fixed booster seats back and forth on the plane due to the lack of car booster seats available from car rental desks. I invented BubbleBum as an affordable, lightweight car booster seat that could travel easier than a child does. It weighs less than one pound and can deflate in minutes, making it easy to throw in a backpack when not in use. BubbleBum also includes belt positioning clips in place of arm rests, so it’s possible to fit three boosters across the back seat of a car! Parents can take BubbleBum along for car-pools, cab rides, and fly ins with car rentals.

Thanks to Grainne Kelly, BubbleBum.us!

41) A Community for Women

I have made Women’s Radio Network (WRNW1) a community for all women to share trials, tribulations and successes. Through this medium WRNW1 gives opportunity to enhance career goals and promote strength in women professionals and entrepreneurs nationwide.

Thanks to Jeffery Burton, Women’s Radio Network!

42) Noodleneck Problem

My brother-in-law, Will Regan, and I invented the Cardiff Travel Headrest to help solve the ‘noodleneck’ problem our kids got whenever they fell asleep in the car. After countless trips in the car, whether after a soccer game or heading up to grandma’s house, once the kids fell asleep, it was an unsettling feeling to say the least. My twin boys would slide out of their seat belts with their heads bobbing left and right, which my wife and I called ‘noodleneck.’ We invented the Cardiff Travel Headrest to prevent ‘noodleneck’ and ensure that all kids can sleep upright and properly aligned in the car. All kiddos can get plenty of rest during during all road trip and carpools!

Thanks to Jason Arriola, Cardiff Travel Headrest!

43) Raise Public Awareness

I had a house party and a guest who was going to leave her car overnight suddenly decided she wanted to drive home. Thankfully we were able to stop her but she actually threatened to hit me in the head if we did not give her the keys! This triggered a cascade of emotions in me because I had almost been killed before as a teenager, in an accident caused by a drunk driver. To work through my feelings I came up with the idea to do some public speaking and start a non-profit to help raise public awareness about making responsible choices in life. I thought up the idea to have a beautiful piano music CD created. This music is now the soundtrack for two books I wrote telling my story, one is for adults and the other is for children age 6 to 9. I am selling all these things to raise money as I share my story for the advancement of education.

Thanks to Samantha Michael, An Aid to Help Foundation!

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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