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44 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Businesses

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) Lift marketing efforts

I reached the stage at which I realized that Marketing Automation was something I needed most while working as a CMO in various Polish companies. Moreover, I believed that I wasn’t not the only one there wanting to lift marketing efforts to the whole new level. Besides, there weren’t any Polish solutions of that kind, so my thought was simple: someone has to do the first step! Was it risky? Yes, it was. At that time, the sector wasn’t well established in Central Europe and there was an understandable fear whether Poland and Polish companies are ready for new marketing solutions. But you know – no pain, no gain. Four years from that time, SALESmanago established itself as Europe’s largest and – according to Datanyze, one of the world’s top 6 – marketing automation platforms, competing with such world players as Hubspot, Marketo, Act-on and Oracle Eloqua. The system is used by over 2000 companies in 30 countries, helping them to achieve better results in almost every digital marketing and sales field.

Thanks to Grzegorz Blazewicz, SALESmanago Marketing Automation!

2) It chose me

I started my business because it chose me. I have had many businesses in the past that were unfulfilling unfortunately. When pondering about starting a new business, I had a hard time finding information in one location. That was my aha moment! I figured since I had so much experience in starting businesses, why can’t I develop a model to help startups get all of the information they need in one location! Not following through with starting a business can be attributed to getting frustrated with the process. One year later, that was the best decision I’ve made. I have clients who are in tears thanking me for helping them through their journey!

Thanks to Sheena Parker, Mint Chocolate Solutions LLC!

3) I needed the product

I started my business because I personally needed the product we built. I needed a cool online support group – a safe place to talk to other women about specific issues I was having, all the while being entertained and inspired by video. I wanted to be able to give my opinion both publicly AND privately, because there are some issues I am fine talking about publicly, but most issues I want privacy. I was also sick of my own curated life on Facebook and thought, there must be a place more interesting than this to hang out online. I figured I was not alone in wanting this product, so I asked around and it turns out that lots of other women wanted it too. So my team and I built it. It’s really as simple as that – no long, dramatic story.

Thanks to Karen Cahn, VProud!

4) Fill a void

One of the main reasons why my partners and I started TopFire Media is to fill a void within the franchise arena. Many franchise systems who receive support from our sister company, iFranchise Group — a premiere franchise consulting group — would ask where could they find services in PR, SEO, and website development. And oftentimes, they would be paying for separate services at separate companies, spending more money than they should. The co-owners, including myself, put our heads together to create a first-of-its-kind integrated digital marketing and PR agency, catering to both start-up and seasoned franchise companies. And the rest is history!

Thanks to Matthew Jonas, TopFire Media

5) Became too busy

The business started because as a babysitter myself, I become too busy to work with all of my clients and referrals. Instead of saying no when I was busy, I would refer friends and or family to work with the new clients. Soon, we were getting referrals in states (outside of Phoenix, where I was at the time) and instead of telling those clients no (because I realized if I said no, they would find someone else) I flew to the different areas, reached out to my network and would hire and train sitters in those cities. Soon, we were the go to service for all of our clients babysitting needs. Whether a last minute (booking even with less than an hours notice), a travel sitter or an extra hand on vacation our clients know what we will do whatever is needed to get the job done, even literally start a business.

Thanks to Rachel Charlupski, The Babysitting Company!

6) Lack of information in an industry

I am a big advocate of transparency in business and government and believe that many injustices in our society exist because people are ill informed. Technology has helped close the information and resource gap for many vulnerable people, and I wanted to be a part of this revolution. One industry where many have fallen victim and lost large amounts of money due to lack of information is the real estate industry. I believe that by providing access to important information, my business will empower people to make informed decisions and prevent injustices by building transparency and a more level playing field in the real estate industry.

Thanks to Avishai Weiss, Apartable!

7) Helping women succeed

For years, I suffered in silence. Everyone was under the impression that I had it all together and I wanted to keep it that way. However, the urging to be open and honest about my struggles is the defining moment that prompted me to start a business. Subsequently, I launched a business that provides women with the tools and resources needed to address hidden pain, build their confidence and begin living authentically happy lives. Jessica Houston Enterprises is a women’s empowerment business that provides personal and professional development training. Our mission is to help our clients identify and address the obstacles that have been holding their success hostage.

Thanks to Dr. Jessica Houston, Jessica Houston Enterprises!

8) I found nothing

When my son was a month old, we had family visiting for an afternoon. The weather was beautiful so we were all out on the patio. It was tight quarters and I wanted my son outside with us while he napped, I thought the fresh air would do him good. I remember thinking … hmm, I will get the pack-n-play, no that is too big; it will take up too much patio space. How about I wear my baby carrier and just hold him? No, I wanted a break. Then, it dawned on me; what is needed is a portable bassinet!  That night after my family left, I looked and looked online for something I could buy, a bassinet that was compact, small, lightweight and easy to use. I found nothing! I began asking around to other mothers to see if they knew of any products that existed, the answer was a resounding No. So, I began drawing what I would want in a portable, traveling bassinet. The bassinet would need to be lightweight, close up tightly and most of all be easy to use. The mind of a mother can race and my mind didn’t stop there, I began thinking … where would the bassinet live? In its own special bag? No, that would be something else to haul around. What is the one thing that I always have besides my baby boy? Answer: His diaper bag! And that is when the light bulb truly went on!  However, I didn’t stop there, how about the ultimate diaper bag that holds a collapsible bassinet, a cooler for bottles or snacks, ample storage space for diapers, wipes, cloths, changing pad and toys.  And thus, EquiptBaby was born! This idea came about by trying to simplify my life after learning babies require so much stuff. And I was tired of packing and unpacking all the time. Getting out the door seemed time consuming and over whelming! Why not have everything in one bag? I could be all set for day-to-day use, a day at the park, the beach, traveling in airports, visiting family for extended stays or when family comes, the baby and I will be with them on the patio for nap time.  I know you will see the simplicity in the design of the bag. EquiptBaby will help families spend less time packing up and more time on the GO!

Thanks to Kristin Hatfield, EquiptBaby!

9) Cutting out corporations

I started Latterly, a digital magazine for international journalism, because most online publications aren’t serving their readers anymore. They’re serving their advertisers. So I turned the business model upside down. Instead of selling our readers to corporations, we’re cutting the corporations out and selling our stories directly to the people who read them. For Latterly’s honesty and accountability, our readers have been happy to pay.

Thanks to Ben Wolford, Latterly Magazine!

10) Solving inefficiencies

I started SnapCap after realizing that the traditional business loan model just doesn’t work for small businesses. Small businesses don’t have mass amounts of money to weather financial curveballs or hardship, nor can they afford the lengthy time it takes for banks to approve them a loan. Quickly learning this while working for a major bank, I left and founded SnapCap to help small businesses. Now, I’m helping small businesses access capital within 24-48 hours.

Thanks to Hunter Stunzi, SnapCap!

11) My son was diagnosed with autism

I was mistreated in public multiple times by employees. I was just going out with my son on every day outings or attending birthday party venues. I became hesitant and anxious to go out with him. I felt there was no solution. Then I met two women forming the exact business I (and many, many other parents like me) needed. Our company, Missing Piece Awareness, trains and certifies mainstream businesses and their staff in autism awareness and acceptance so that all children and individuals with autism and their families can participate in activities in a supportive, welcoming environment.

Thanks to Victoria Boye, Missing Piece Awareness Inc.!

12) A better moustrap

I started my business out of necessity for a better sippy cup. When my children were babies I was at wits end with traditional sippy cups. They were hard to clean and my babies had a hard time drinking their fluid because they constantly had to suck. On top of that I was always having to look for the little valve parts which got lost easily.  This inspired me to create Poli, an easy to clean sippy cup for moms to have more Ease + Fun. No more fussing over lost parts and cleaning. And babes can sip their drink easily while singing a nursery rhyme or two. Our unique solution is a patented built-in-valve which comes apart for easy cleaning and tethered parts. Poli is a lifesaver because parents save time and money. Parents won’t have to keep replacing cups because of mold or a lost part. Our sippy cup is made in Riverside, California which we are very proud of. The materials we source are from America and FDA approved (BPA and Phthalate-free). One less worry for moms. And we guarantee moms will have more time and fun with Poli!

Thanks to Gwen Keefe, USAPoli.com!

13) Better way for to shop online

It was 1994: the Internet was still in its infancy and e-commerce was still a relatively new phenomenon. During this exciting time, I crystallized a vision of a better way for businesses to shop online, which inspired me to take a huge risk by leaving my highly paid position with Goldman Sachs. Through the chaos of the early web, many players emerged and crumbled; more people told me that my vision could not succeed than could. Not deterred, and believing in myself and the vision, I moved forward. When we saw that the strongest area of our business pertained to office and business supplies, we seized the opportunity to concentrate on that and create a single source environment that specializes in providing companies with the widest and largest selection of green business & office products.

Thanks to Tony Ellison, Shoplet.com!

14) There was a better way

I knew there was a better way to do things and I knew that someone had to do it, so I asked why not me? The industry we work in is fundamentally people-driven, yet people were being completely disengaged from the equation, forced into 9-5 archaic booths, fed unprocessed garbage and falsely entertained into spitting out a selection of ‘seemingly creative’ work yet safe enough not to upset corporate big shots. I was fed up of people complaining about the lack of opportunity, the lack of the perfect client and the perfect brief and I thought it was time to develop something honest yet hungry to achieve great things with great people, whilst having fun. I think opportunities are staring at you in the face – you just need to open your eyes and listen out.

Thanks to Peter Grech, BRND WGN!

15) Finding solution to a common problem

We started Improve Presentation to find solution to people problem with preparing presentations. Everyone wants to make an awesome presentation, but no one has 10 hours to do the slides himself. Bad presentations mean bad meetings, and people hate meetings. We’re here to save the world and empower people to create awesome presentations within minutes.

Thanks to Kamil Goliszewski, Improve Presentation, Inc.!

16)A frustrating day with my children

I was having a particularly frustrating day with my children. They just weren’t being nice! I said (sarcastically), “I’m going to make a kindness award. If any of you can be nice to the others all day, you’ll get it!” I then turned to a friend and muttered, “I’ll never have to come up with that award!” Apparently God seems to have a good sense of humor. As you may have guessed, my kids surprised me. Their behavior began to improve and they kept asking what the award would be, and if they had earned it. By dinner I realized that I was going to have to follow through on my well-intentioned sarcastic whim. When we sat down to dinner, I congratulated each child for the kind things he or she had done. I singled out one in particular and served his dinner on a different plate. “Ta Da! The kindness award!” The next day, the kids kept talking about who was going to win the kindness award that evening. Something was different. They held doors, gave hugs, and carried groceries. I was onto something! In time we added different attributes to reward, and eventually I turned the concept into a business that resonates with parents and has been recognized on the Today Show, in the WSJ, on local TV, and in several parenting blogs.

Thanks to Laurie Canata, Fruit-Full Kids!

17) My passion

Have you ever met anyone saying that he wants to be a piano teacher when he grows up? I haven’t yet, and if you have, please introduce me! But I was the odd child that always knew I was going to be a piano teacher. That should tell you how passionate I feel about this instrument. Fast forward many years later, I had a busy teaching studio in NYC (teaching out of my apt!) — and a child. I was very happy, but if you know about instrumental teaching hours, it goes to 9pm daily. And with a child, I realized I was going to miss all afternoon activities, school plays and choir concerts if I kept teaching this way. So my multi-teachers studio was born. This way, I can continue to do what I love without needing to do all the teaching! It wasn’t an easy road, but it was the right road for me!

Thanks to Natalie Huang, Natalia Huang Piano Studio!

18) There was a better way

I love the ‘why did you start your business question’. Most non business owners assume it is down to money and whilst that may be true for many businesses these likely fall into the 90% that fail in the first year. I believe most business owners have a strong sense of purpose and that is what drives us on through the early mornings, late nights and cash flow issues that are the bane of most start ups. Personally, I have always worked in and around digital marketing and website development and it just rankled me how abysmal most of the service providers were. I believed there was a better way. That digital channels like search and social need not be looked at one at a time. That I could provide an integrated, transparent service that really helped businesses understand and use digital marketing to take their businesses to the next level. I believed I could do better. And we still believe that and make that our mantra to this day.

Thanks to Marcus Miller, Bowler Hat!

19) Advertising is flawed

I started the company at 19YO when I was stretching my legs on a long flight. As I wandered up and down the aisles, I noticed everyone was on their phones playing games. I then noticed that when ads popped up in the middle of games, users looked annoyed and immediately clicked out, without even looking at what the ad content was. I decided that instead of interrupting users in the middle of their games and apps with ads they don’t care about, advertisers should provide something of value to the user. I call these “moment-based rewards”. By reaching out to people during natural breaks in in-app activity (such as after someone wins a level of a mobile game or logs a completed workout in a fitness app), you can ensure that you won’t frustrate them. Instead, you’re recognizing their achievement. If you then match the content you’re showing to the app content – by offering a free sample of Propel for a completed workout, etc. – then you’ve shown the user that you’re not just shooting random ads with a one-size-fits-all approach. You’re showing your brand’s humanity by addressing real needs in real time. When it boils down to it, I started Kiip because I believe that advertising in its current state is flawed. Brands need to alter their
approach by recognizing and rewarding loyal app behavior with content that people actually like.

Thanks to Brittany Fleit, Kiip!

20) Why not me?

I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be my own boss. My family owned one of the top independent bookstores in the US. The store started as a 3,000 sq ft bookstore and when they sold it 30 years later, it was 58,000 sq ft with a full restaurant and events held every day. We saw everyone come to the bookstore, from Jack Buck to Martha Stewart to Hillary Clinton to Colin Powell (who loves chocolate chip cookies by the way!). I learned a lot about work ethic, drive, and the thought process of running a business watching my parents run the bookstore, so when I worked in corporate America, I marched to a bit of a different drummer. My thought process was different. My mantra was “Why not me?” I had seen my parents run the bookstore and experience such exciting things. I wanted freedom and knew that I needed training and development. I sought out the skills I was lacking in corporate America so I could have the freedom I was looking for as an entrepreneur running my own business. Now my mentor is real estate mogul and TV celebrity Barbara Corcoran.

Thanks from Kelly Hager, Kelly Hager Group Real Estate Services!

21) Help his wife get a good night’s sleep

I actually started my business when my wife and I were living in Israel. I was looking for a way to allow my wife, who was expecting our first child, to get a good night’s sleep. I created a new and improved bean bag product – made with frictionless microbeads – that would completely mold to her body and allow her to sleep on her belly. A couple of years later, my job brought me to the U.S. and I found that friends and family would experience the product and ask how they could get one. I started selling them out of my house, and then soon made the leap to quit my  job and found Yogibo. Since officially launching in 2009, Yogibo now has 22 stores along the East Coast, with several more to come this year. We have also significantly expanded our product line to include outdoor bean bags, pillows and home décor, and have recently seen expansion into international markets. With the sustained and rapid growth of recent years, we expect sales to increase 30% in 2015.

Thanks to Eyal Levy, Yogibo!

22) There was a void

LittleThings.com was started because there was a real void of feel-good, uplifting content on the internet. We recognized that the media was turning more and more negative through intense sensualized headlines, topics and imagery. Our goal was to turn that trend on its head and offer the world something unique, refreshing, and inspirational. LittleThings has now accomplished that with more than 60 million people a month enjoying our content.

Thanks to Joe Speiser, LittleThings.com!

23) Change corporate groupthink

Early last year, two colleagues and I headed out to Los Angeles to meet with a potential client. We worked for a marketing agency and our team was tasked with reinvigorating the company’s tired brand. The good thing is that the company recognized these issues and took them seriously. So much so, that our meetings were with the CEO, President, and every VP working at the organization. We brought them some great ideas. Some really great ones. And they all acknowledged it during our presentation. But then the top dog stood up. He started talking about doing things the way they had always been done. Telling the table why they might not want to change just yet. All of the sudden, the intelligent, type-A leaders around him who had already sent emails to their teams telling them about the cool new changes that were coming, became complete yes-men. It was easy to see why the business was in trouble! On our flight back, we talked about how there must be a way around this corporate groupthink. Surely there must be a way for smart people to share their thoughts with the boss. Something to keep extroverts from dominating the conversation and for introverts to get their actual opinions heard. Thus, Attentiv was born!

Thanks to Daniel Russell, Attentiv!

24) Embrace my story & share it with clients

I started my business to help families and to counsel parents while minimizing the trauma to children. I am a stepparent adoptee and do not know my biological Father, and I kept that very guarded and hidden for a long time. I have learned to embrace my story and share it with my clients and it has made tremendous improvements in our client’s lives.

Thanks to Alexander C. Peterson, Peterson Family Law!

25) Noticed a variety of opportunities

My journey as an entrepreneur began at N.C. State University where I pursued a degree in business. There, I ran nightlife events during my schooling and noticed a variety of entertainment business opportunities in the Triangle area. In 2006, I founded Eschelon Experiences, including six restaurants: Mura, The Oxford, Zinda, Cameron Bar and Grill, Faire, and Basan. Since Eschelon Experiences’ commencement, I have doubled the size of my company and don’t plan on slowing down any time soon. My business model focuses on the importance of people, which I believe is the root of his success.

Thanks to Guarav “G” Patel, Eschelon Experiences!

26) The Great Recession

“You can’t take the sky from me.” –Joss Whedon, “Firely” Just a line from a fictional character on a fictional show, but in 2007 when the housing bubble busted, it resonated strongly with me. Around me businesses were going under: gone, abandoned, hauled away by creditor. My clients, my colleagues, my friends, everyone was affected. I saw the Great Recession broke their spirits, and I looked at my family and decided: it wasn’t going to break mine. My best friend, Peleg Lindenberg, and I started 911 Restoration with little more than $3,500 and a Volvo for an office. We did not experience overnight success, but we did not quit. Every time I walked by a dark vacated business office, I reminded myself to look up at the sky: amidst the torn-down and the foreclosure, it stayed a clear, strong blue. Our company grew and eventually we began franchising. Now we have more than 60 branches in all major cities around the country and Canada, and we’re still expanding. If you asked me whether I knew success was going to happen: I did not. I got into the restoration business for my family, and I stayed because of all the families I got to help. I help people regain their spirit by restoring their homes. There’s nothing better than that.

Thanks to Idan Shpizear, 911 Restoration!

26) Gap in the market

As a small band large cupped woman I had always struggled to find luxury lingerie in my bra size; it was a gap in the market that wasn’t being met which was making my lingerie shopping experience miserable. The initial motivation behind the business was to meet this gap; to provide luxury lingerie in small band and large cup sizes. As the business has evolved however, I have discovered a personal motivation behind the business too; not only do I love providing women with comfortable and flattering luxury lingerie but I also enjoy the personal rewards; I enjoy the creative problem solving required to overcome diverse challenges, the self-confidence that I have developed through independence had the freedom to exercise autonomy.

Thanks to Katy Payne, Bosom Galore!

27) Retirement on my terms

I started working in the public sector directly out of high school. I’m approaching the age when retirement is on the horizon. Although I have consistently been investing in my company’s 401K equivalent, I wanted to “know” what my retirement income would be. I crunched the numbers. I even went into Santa Claus mode and checked my numbers once and twice trying to find out if I was naughty or nice! The numbers weren’t nice. The thought of possibly having to retire and still get a part time job to supplement my retirement income was depressing to say the least. After a considerable amount of contemplative prayer, meditation and a glass of Riesling, I decided I would retire on my terms. I would put feet to my faith and begin to invest in me. That investment included starting my own company to help others invest in themselves. Helping others to live a more joyful, healthy and abundant faith-filled life by identifying and kicking the limiting boxes holding them back is my business. Now I’m looking forward to retirement because I’m doing it on my terms!

Thanks to L.T. Lewis, Kick Boxing Believers, L.L.C.!

28) My boss

The real turning point for me was when a company I was with was featured in a business journal for it’s award-winning strategy. MY award winning strategy. In the article they credited the boss. I asked him about it, half-jokingly, “Oh, I do the work and you take the credit?” He replied a very serious – yes. Point taken.

Thanks to Apryl DeLancey, Social Age Media!

29) Provide a solution to help small business owners

I’m a former venture capitalist/Principal at Greylock IL. I received my MBA with high honors from the University of Chicago and I’m a third-gernation small business entrepreneur. My father owned PT business in New York and saw first-hand the financial toll of having to wait on long payment cycles, often not taking a salary for months before payments arrived. This inspired me to start BlueVine to provide a solution that enabled small business owners to get paid for their services on day 1, instead of waiting to get paid on invoices 90 days later. Solving these payment gaps for small business owners allows them to spend more time building their business and less time waiting to get paid on services already provided.

Thanks to Eyal Lifshitz, BlueVine!

30) Time and financial freedom

I started my business because being a mompreneur (mom entrepreneur) gives me the time freedom and financial freedom I need to create a lifestyle on my own terms. I believe in making work fit life and not life fit work. Being an entrepreneur means that I can create joy, balance, and success as defined by my own standards.

Thanks to Elayna Fernandez, The Positive MOM!

31) Freedom coming with the position

I wanted to run my own business for the freedom that comes along with the position. I was never one for the clock-in, clock-out, get on with your life mentality, so I wanted something I could be passionate about doing while making my own schedule. Though I have to work many more hours than 9-5 on a daily basis, I also have the freedom to attend all of my boys’ school performances, soccer games, and anything else that comes up. Being a CEO comes with a lot of responsibility, but it’s also probably the most liberating position out there.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!

32) Boredom

At the age of 55, I took an early retirement from a Fortune 200 company. I stayed very active, but after about six months I became bored. My wife and I increased our activity, but something was missing. I missed the challenge and competitive nature of business. Golf is only pretend competition – business is for real. I read this quote “If we are bored with life there is something wrong” and immediately started my business. I still travel extensively, golf several times a week, and do whatever I want. I’ve learned to combine work and pleasure.

Thanks to Bob Shirilla, Custom Bags!

33) Ah-ha moment

I never thought in a million years that I would own my own business at the age of 27. I never wanted to own my own business but instead I thought I was going to have a career in the health care field. However, it wasn’t until the idea popped into my head for a cool new invention that is used to make chocolate covered strawberries came into the picture. That was my Ah-Ha moment, I instantly fell in love with the idea of one day running my own business and I developed a certain drive and passion that I’ve never felt before. I suddenly wanted to be this amazing young female entrepreneur that helped change the world. I wanted to mentor, have an influence, and make a difference in this world all at the same time. I was amazed that one idea could potentially change my life and views. I felt empowered by my own motivation. So I figured, why not, what do I have to lose? At that moment I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life and my career. Chocberry Kreations was born, a patent pending Dipping Tray that is used to make chocolate covered strawberries with the mess or hassle! After this point and figuring out my next steps, Google became my best friend! Coming from a health science background, I quickly started to research every blog and magazine related to business and took advantage of all of the free resources that the World Wide Web had to offer. I have learned so much, not only about myself but about the field of business. I’m still learning and growing a lot, personally and in my company.

Thanks to Shay Ogundiran, Chocberry Kreations!

34) Freedom

I worked my way through college and became a successful news producer, but I always knew that I wanted to have my own business. I wanted to build the American Dream. But for me that dream is a bit different. I don’t know why so many people believe that the American Dream is a white picket fence and a 9-5 job. The American Dream is truly about freedom. It’s about the ability to take a snow day with your wife and daughter and work from home. It’s about the ability to employ others here in the U.S. and watch them grow in their skills and abilities and watch their families grow as well. It’s about being able to take an idea and watch it EXPLODE – because nobody is stopping it. It’s about creating something that you are truly proud to call your own…something you can show your husband or wife or children and say ‘I BUILT THIS’.

Thanks to Kyle Reyes, The Silent Partner Marketing!

35) Loss of a dear friend

I spent nearly 20 years on Wall Street as a healthcare banker prior to starting Meals to Heal. It was the loss of a dear friend of mine to a brain tumor that was the catalyst behind leaving my job on Wall Street to pursue helping people with these conditions manage their nutritional needs. I had a great job and a long career in banking but this event really was a wake up call for me. I wanted to do something that helps others and the loss of my friend presented me with an opportunity to do just that. I watched my friend and his family struggle with his nutritional issues, looking for information and resources to educate themselves and which would reduce the time and energy spent around managing these issues. They were overwhelmed, frustrated and frightened by it all but intuitively knew that nutrition was important. I thought if we can delivery meals to people who want to lose weight why can’t we do the same for people with these conditions and for which proper nutrition has been proven to improve their clinical and quality of life outcomes. And, thus, Meals to Heal was born. Fast forward to today, we are serving many people with cancer and their caregivers and we are making a huge difference in their lives. It has been incredibly rewarding!

Thanks to Susan Bratton, Meals to Heal!

36) Purposeful Work

In corporate, I felt like I didn’t have a voice or a choice. I knew I had something to offer the world, but it was clear it wasn’t happening through the career path I was taking. So I changed it and started my own business and focused on more purposeful work where I could impact more people. I also had a passion for creating a solid team – a team I could help lead and take care of and a team that could truly help our clients make their vision a reality and become more successful. And finally, I also felt as a woman that I needed to stand up for what I believed in. My business gave me an opportunity to change the way people looked at company culture and how women can lead businesses too.

Thanks to Chelsea Berler, Solamar Marketing Agency!

37) Serious problem

I started SchooLinks based on my experiences with education systems around the world. When I was 12, I left home to study abroad on my own. Having traveled to countries, such as Australia, United States, and Canada, I felt there was a serious problem with the education system for students all around the world. I had trouble figuring out the varying and complicated application processes of different schools. After figuring it all out, through the years, I was approached by my friends, family members, and other students who were seeking advice. Thus, SchooLinks solves the issues I, and many others, faced–and I’m planning to take it a step further by making sure all the resources that any student needs can be found in one place.

Thanks to Katie Fang, SchooLinks!

38) Always wanted to do it

A former television news reporter who moved into Public Relations, I always knew that I wanted to work for myself. I wanted the freedom to make my own decisions, work with clients who I wanted to work with and have the ability to take time off to spend time with my children- no questions asked, no guilty feelings. I work harder than I ever have, but if I want to take a 2 hour lunch…I can. If I want to work at 10pm…I can. It is the freedom to make your decisions and not have anyone question you and stand in your way.

Thanks to Alison Podworski, Alison May Public Relations!

39) Lifestyle freedom

I started my business primarily for lifestyle freedom. Working online allows me to be anywhere I want, and requires no set schedule. It’s been a lot of work, but the payoff is enormous. Being the owner also means that I’m responsible for the outcome. If the business grows and flourishes, I make more money and find more success. If it fails, well that’s on me too. But at least I’m in control of the situation.

Thanks to Jacob Lumby, Cashcowcouple.com!

40) No opportunities in the south

I started Tech Talent South with my cofounder, Richard Simms, in October 2013, after we both showed up to the same coding bootcamp in Chicago for and realized we were the only Southerners enrolled. We couldn’t help but wonder why coding educational opportunities didn’t exist in the South. Being from Atlanta and Charlotte, respectively, Richard and I knew that our cities were both burgeoning areas for tech development and growth and were places filled with individuals with big ideas that could benefit from adding coding to their skillsets. Since 2013, we’ve opened 6 permanent campuses across 4 southern
states (North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, and Texas), and have launched a Pop-Up Code Initiative in order to grow coding talent in areas we don’t already have a location at.

Thanks to Betsy Idilbi, Tech Talent South!

41) Create a passionate team

I started my corporation because I wanted to create a team of therapists that were as passionate on helping adults and children with developmental and intellectual disabilities achieve a better quality of life, as I was. My adventure started with Inspiration Physical Therapy Inc., which was established in 2009. My next inspiration came from watching my children move and grow. I was frustrated by the children’s toy walkers on the market. These products were unsafe and limited the opportunity to practice balance and walking skills. This is when the concept of the Little Balance Box™ was born! From there, I went to my garage and started to brainstorm and eventually design what was to become the Little Balance Box™. After a lot of trial and error, I created the perfect children’s product in every perspective. A product that provides stability and mobility for a child to practice their balance, transition and walking skills. Next, I wanted to ensure I used materials that were safe for our children and the environment. I decided to make my product using a green approach. The frame is made from sustainable bamboo and with no BPA or PVC materials. Lastly, the Little Balance Box™ can also function as a toddler table, two great ideas for one! As Little Balance Box™ started to take shape, I developed Inspire Create LLC. and the brand Inspira Spark™. As you can see I love the word INSPIRE!!! This word has inspired me on all these amazing opportunities to try and make the world a better place for others.

Thanks to Shannon Davis, Inspiration Physical Therapy LLC.!

42) Born entrepreneur

Some individuals are born to be entrepreneurs; let’s say it is in our DNA. Having grown up in a family owned retail business and starting many “lemonade stands”, being an entrepreneur is in my blood. What’s in that DNA: the typical Type A driven personality mixed with a strategic focus and an eye to “what’s next. Plus, we all want to do what we love ALL the time, being our own boss, flexibility, and control. When I was given the opportunity to start my own HR consulting business, it was as though the stars were aligned and the writing was on the wall. I jumped feet first and now after 20 years haven’t looked back once.

Thanks to Robin Throckmorton, strategic HR, inc.!

 

43) Discovering our true sense of self

We met during grad school in South Florida and became fast friends, which quickly developed into becoming soul sisters. After graduating, one of us got a job at a Fortune 100 corporation and within a matter of months referred the other to come work for the same company. After a couple of months on the job, we felt that the corporate lifestyle did not authentically reflect our true aspirations both personally and professionally. We realized for a long time that many individuals are seeking ways to destress, decompress and simply embark on their spiritual journey. We also understood the importance of each person’s beauty regimen and basic hygenic upkeep and decided to converge these two experiences to offer what we originally coined as Spiritual Hygiene. We learned how to handmake soaps, bath fizzles, body scrubs, bath salts and candles and added natural ingredients to the bath line such as essential oils. We also decided to add an exclusive item that no other company has used before inside their products which is genuine gemstones for a natural, holistic healing. Crystals have been used since the beginning of mankind for their metaphysical properties and the wave of demand and interest for alternative approaches to a healthy lifestyle is continuing to grow exponentially. Therefore, we decided to apply for two patents and became patent holders for Celestial Light Crystal Candles and are patent pending for our Crystal Cleanse soap. Truly You’s slogan is “Infinite Possibilities in Discovering Your True Sense of Self.” Our products provide an invigorating cleanse of the mind, body and soul in the privacy of your own home, without having to go to a holistic or wellness spa. The best part is that you get to keep the gemstone after using a Truly You product so there is always a reminder to introspect and value your self worth because you deserve it.

Thanks to Lorena Monde and Diana Karpowicz, Truly You!

44) Fills a need

We co-founded the Jamberly Group, which markets the ciao! baby® portable high chair and is dedicated to bringing unique products to life! Jamberly’s mission for ciao! baby® is to offer solutions for families on the go with small children who want to enjoy a meal outside the comforts of their own home. After five years of intense work on getting it right, we have created a product that fills a need for families on the go with small children. The ciao! baby® portable high chair makes life convenient and you can carry it with you anywhere! ciao! baby® easily unfolds, locks into place and folds back up in seconds with no attachments or assembly required. ciao! baby® is ideal for personal use in travel, tailgating, camping, picnics, grandma’s house and gift giving for families with children up to three years old.

Thanks to Kim Strong and Jamye Baker, ciao! baby!

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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