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28 Entrepreneurs Discuss Why they Started Their Businesses

Being in love is great. Being in love with your business, when you’re an entrepreneur, is even better. Waking up each morning knowing you are getting to do exactly what you love is more than most people could ever say about any “job” they have had. Although there are days when tossing in your hat seems like a viable option, remembering how much you love your “job” can quickly snap an entrepreneur out of that mentality. Different business owners also have different reason why they love their business. It might be the products or the customers they deal with, or it could even be the fact that they are the ones in charge of it all. The reasons are as varied as the businesses themselves.

We asked some entrepreneurs “why they started their businesses.”

#1 – Make a Difference

dave flemming

Image Credit : Dave Fleming

I left a great job, Director of Marketing for Snapple, to start my own speaking business. Why? I wanted to make a difference at more than one company, sharing my passion for people and laughter. When I walk off a stage and know that my audience will change their behavior, or solve a business challenge differently because of something I said, or a story I told, that is so personally gratifying. And I strongly believe that when we laugh at work, we do our best work, so I do that every day and I encourage my clients to do so as well.

 

Thanks to Dave Fleming, Dave Fleming Speaks

#2 – To Help People

Image Credit : Mike Samson

Image Credit : Mike Samson

 My partner Ross Kimbarovsky and I wanted to help people from around the world access creative talent and help creative from around the world find new talent. Prior to crowdSPRING, I was producer and production manager in the film and television industry and Ross was an attorney in private practice specializing in intellectual property. We had a vision of an online platform that would bring together businesses and the best creative talent in the world. With our vision and backgrounds in both the creative industry and law crowdSPRING was born. Today, crowdSPRING is the world’s #1 online marketplace for creative services ranging from graphic, web and industrial design to copywriting services. For buyers, it is a place to post a creative project, name their own price, watch the world contribute ideas and choose the one they like best. For creatives, it is a global stage for creativity where title and experience don’t matter.

Thanks to Mike Samson, crowdSPRING

#3 – I was Fired Twice

Image Credit : Kent Lewis

Image Credit : Kent Lewis

In January of 1999, I co-founded a marketing agency with a former boss. In 18 months, we grew from $0 to $3M. I was proud of my performance and our rocket ship trajectory, but internal politics and personalities led to a division between the owner, me and a third equity partner. The week after I was fired, I incorporated Anvil. For nearly a year, I built a consulting business while looking for a full-time job. During that time, the company I left was absorbed into another agency after the economy crashed and they needed me back to run my old team. Right off the bat, I struggled to respect and connect with the old-school management team at the new agency, as they did not understand or appreciate my digital marketing prowess and value. When they fired me six months later, I immediately determined I was unemployable and needed to do my own thing. I re-ignited Anvil as consultancy, but I wasn’t quite ready to hire employees yet. After taking another year to build a second email marketing startup (with Anvil running in the background), I finally decided it was time for me to commit to building my own team and Anvil grew in earnest in 2004. Since then, Anvil has achieved Fastest Growing, Most Admired and Most Philosophic Companies in Oregon.

Thanks to Kent Lewis, Anvil Media

#4 – Meaningful and Unique

Image Credit : Michele Esposito

Image Credit : Michele Esposito

I was searching the internet for hours hoping to find the perfect gift to commemorate a special date in the life of my fiancé, Steve. I recalled a calendar charm that my grandfather (who was a jeweler) had made into a necklace and gave to my grandmother to mark their 1st wedding anniversary. She wore it every day that I can remember, and it was probably the most special treasure in her jewelry collection. Being as sentimental as I am, I wanted to find something similar that was meaningful and unique to give to the special man in my life. Everything I found online was so ordinary or not quite my taste. To solve my dilemma, I designed my own calendar charm, and had the first calendar piece made into a key ring for Steve. I loved it so much, that I had a calendar necklace made for myself with my own birthday marked on it. Every time I wore my necklace, strangers would stop and ask me about it and wanted to know where they could find one. A few of my friends asked if I could make their birthday months into a calendar necklace for them too. That was the beginning of my collection.

Thanks to Michele Esposito, Not Just Any Old Day

#5 – Create an Opportunity

Image Credit : Pamela Ogang

Image Credit : Pamela Ogang

Before I became an entrepreneur, I was an over worked project manager whose contract was about to expire. As I prepared myself for the process of finding work, I had to question if my current path was going to take me to where I wanted to be. I decided that I wasn’t going to wait for an opportunity to showcase my talents, but I was going to create one instead and shine. My business idea was simple: a safe place for women to share their project or business ideas without being told that it was not going to work, but given solutions to turn their ideas into reality. It was through marketing my business idea that I was offered to head a new organization, Immigrant Women in Business, but my gut told me not to do it. I really asked myself, who would really benefit from it? I wanted to help people of color specifically because minorities are usually seen in a negative light. When I thought of “Minority Women in Business (MWB)”, my whole being said “YES!!!!!”. I was instantly excited and I knew that I had to create MWB even if it meant talking about a topic that many of us just want to sweep under the rug. What keeps me going is realizing that my business is much bigger than me and is necessary.

Thanks to Pamela Ogang, Minority Women in Business Inc

#6 – Self-Discovery

Image Credit : Dawn-Marie P Dalsass

Image Credit : Dawn-Marie P Dalsass

I started on a journey of self-discovery in 2009 when my marriage of 13 years took a turn in an unlikely direction. My life spiraled out of control and I went into a massive depression and wound up on anti-depressants while contemplating suicide. I was a strong woman who fought these emotions with all I had. I read many self-help books and learned to be grateful for my children and my successful career where I was a top earner and respected in my field being on the board of directors for a professional organization in my field. The journey brought me to study Zen Meditation with professionals in Manhattan and then with Buddhist Monks in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York. I learned about the Law of Attraction and many other Universal Laws and Principles through the many books I read along the way. Every day my knowledge increased. As I learned more about myself and grew more spiritual, it became more clear what I wanted to do, what I had to do in life. I wanted to help others through their life transitions when they feel lost and off track. To help others find their way and provide support while they are on their journey. To help others learn to reduce stress and relax through the process of change. This is why I started Life Coach DM.

Thanks to Dawn-Marie P Dalsass,Life Coach DM

#7 – Control of My Life

Image Credit : Pascal Culverhouse

Image Credit : Pascal Culverhouse

I started a business because I wanted control of my life. If I want to work 14 hours a day, I can. Likewise, if I want to go on holiday for a fortnight, I don’t want to fill in a form and calculating my holiday entitlement. I also want to dream of having fast cars and big houses on the south coast of France (both of which I’ll probably have no desire to purchase should I accomplish my goals!). Starting my own business has given me a freedom I never had before and a control of my destiny that no salaried job could never offer.

Thanks to Pascal Culverhouse,The Electric Tobacconist Ltd

#8 – I Saw the Struggles of My Father

Image Credit : Desmond Lim

Image Credit : Desmond Lim

My father has been a mover in Singapore for the past 35 years and I grew up helping him move his customers. Both my parents barely finished 4th grade and I was the first in my family to go to school and come to the US, where I attended Harvard. I saw the struggles of my father as a mover, and started QuikForce, an online, on-demand professional moving platform targeted at helping movers, like my father, better schedule, manage and plan their moves. I also started QuikForce to help movers like my father, and to help blue-collar workers, like my parents, access technology and to have a better chance at doing their job and getting ahead in life. I feel humbled to have this opportunity and hope to pay back and help others with similar background have the chance to get ahead.

Thanks to Desmond Lim, QuikForce

#9 – Passion

Image Credit : Laura Deutsch

Image Credit : Laura Deutsch

I started Mommybites.com 10 years ago and it is currently thriving. My next venture is Instillhealth.com as I’ve also become a certified health coach. I love the process of making a passion evolve into a profitable business.

Thanks to Laura Deutsch, Mommy Bites 

#10 – Get Back Up and Move Forward

Image Credit : Abigail Wurf

Image Credit : Abigail Wurf

I was a professional dancer, choreographer, dance teacher and studio co-owner when I became disabled due to disastrous back surgery followed by a car accident making the situation worse. I was disabled and could no longer dance and had to find work where I could lay down when I needed, not sit for long periods of time and not stand for very long. I did not qualified for disability because I had a master’s in education and apparently this disqualified me but I also believe that if I could figure a way to work I should. So I had to either find a really flexible boss or start my own business. I chose coaching people affected by ADHD because I could do the training over the phone and computer, work with clients either over the phone, computer or they could come to me. Also I am affected by ADHD myself so I could come from an authentic place. That was 6 or 7 years ago and not only do I coach people, but I have authored a book Forget Perfect: How to Succeed in Your Profession and Personal Life Even if You Have ADHD and am now able enough to give presentations and talks about my work and how chronic pain and ADHD have taught that I can pretty much do anything, face anything and manage anything because I know no matter what happens or knocks me down, I know how to get back up and move forward.

Thanks to Abigail Wurf

#11 – A New BattleField

When a combat-vet Infantryman leaves the military things can get a little too quiet. That’s where I found myself almost two years ago. I got a series of jobs to pay the bills, but there was a massive void in my life – no fight. I was used to waking up every day and facing a challenge. Whether it was training for combat or living it, my days were filled with purpose. When I left the Army I feared I would ever find that purpose again. One morning during a Skype workout with one of my Army buddies, I realized there is one battlefield I haven’t fought on yet – business. The small business world could give me the challenge and the purpose I was so desperately craving. I decided to bring one-on-one personal training and diet coaching to the world over web-cam. I had been training over skype for a long time now and knew how well it could work and I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to get in fighting shape. Now every day I wake up with a purpose again and I feel whole. We get to help people develop healthy lives and I get to fight and win on the best battlefield of all.

Thanks to Evan Cooper, Fit Future

#12 – Out of Necessity

Image Credit : Michal Chesal

Image Credit : Michal Chesal

My business started long before it “officially” started when my son was born 16 years ago with Down syndrome. For lack of a better term, it was literally born out of necessity! I wanted to hold my son closely and carry him in a baby carrier, not only to show him the world, enhance bonding and have my hands free, but to literally just be able to do what all the other new parents were doing with their babies, wearing the baby in a baby carrier! However, at the time, I could not find one that would hold him in a developmentally appropriate way for his low muscle tone. Not being satisfied with the baby carrier options on the market at that time, I began modifying existing slings, wraps and carriers to create a unique design that combined style, ease of use and comfort. Improving and incorporating these aspects, finding a great business partner that helped push the product, and ultimately our business it even further, eventually our product, the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier, was born! Now our baby carrier is one of the leading newborn carrier brands in the market. It is sold worldwide, and we’ve added line extensions and expanded our product offering and keep growing our business every day!

Thanks to Michal Chesal, Baby K’tan, LLC

#13 – Flexibility

Image Credit : Michele Riggio

Image Credit : Michele Riggio

I am an entrepreneur and started my business in 2014. I run a brand strategy and marketing consultancy called MLR Communications. I am applying my nearly 20 years worth of experience working with a portfolio of clients who are all women led and fall within the fashion, wellness and non-profit categories. Owning my own business affords me the flexibility I need to do the work that I love and be a mom to three kids. I can manage my own schedule and work load and take on projects that I feel passionate about. Working directly with other CEOs and founders, I receive immediate feedback and appreciation for my expertise. Office politics and levels are cut out of the equation making the entire work process more efficient and gratifying.

Thanks to Michele Riggio, MLR Communications

#14 – For My Children

I started my company because I wanted to be home with and for my children. Before they were born, I was working as a salesperson for a big media company, making a lot of money. But I realized I could not be the kind of Mom I wanted to be unless I had control of my time. So, I left my corporate job and in a huge leap of faith, became an entrepreneur. I wanted to be a real-life example to my girls that you can blaze your own trail. It¹s been an amazing journey with lots of ups and down ­ and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Thanks to Amy Maurer Creel, Smart Mom LLC

#15 – Being in Control of Your Own Future

Image Credit : Chloe Smith

Image Credit : Chloe Smith

I have always known I wanted to own my own business, however when I was younger, I wanted to be a hairdresser with my own salon – so the sector and direction has changed, how the dream has remained. Being in control of your own future is also a big reason for the venture, I have always been very ambitious, and some people might even say I regularly have my head in the clouds, but apparently this serves me well in Entrepreneurship. Dream big as they say. I would also say I am hungry for knowledge, I love to learn, and as you run and grow your business, you’ll find yourself learning new things daily, also keeping my low boredom threshold in check.

Thanks to Chloe Smith, Forty8Creates

#16 – Better Life

Image Credit : Meghan Blair-Valero

Image Credit : Meghan Blair-Valero

When I was 5 months pregnant and unmarried I moved into a new apartment. After paying moving costs and rent I was left with less than $50 in my bank account. I opened up the refrigerator and had no groceries. That day I enrolled back in school and started plans for my own business. A life-long entrepreneur, starting a business came easily. Growing three businesses and a non-profit was never in the plan, but then again neither was being an unmarried mom at 21. Providing for my family was my catalyst and changing things has been the ongoing motivation. Making a better life for my family and others is always what spurs me on and inspires the next business.

Thanks to Meghan Blair-Valero, Fogged In Bookkeeping, Inc

#17 – Risk

Image Credit : Steve Alten

Image Credit : Steve Alten

Being a New York Times Best-Selling Author, I shared a frustration felt by many authors who spend years writing a great book. Eighteen years, fifteen novels, seven publishers, four NY Times best-sellers, four international bestsellers, and three movie deals later, I saw that my work was underachieved due to mediocre cover art, small print runs, and a lack of marketing. Needless to say, the publishing industry has undergone major changes over the last twenty years. A few years ago, circumstances allowed me to buy back the domestic rights of one of my books that are now greenlit at Warner Bros.As studios and TV networks were circling several of my other books, I had a choice to sell the rights of my book to a major publishing house or roll the dice and set-up my own publishing house. What ultimately swayed my decision was two of my other novels. Both books had been published a year ago with horrible covers, print runs of only a few thousand, and zero publicity… and yet both titles had drawn the interest of producers. Worse, the publisher had no plans to publish the novels as mass market paperbacks. Believing 100% in the potential of these two books, I recruited a great team of key individuals and put together a business plan. When a close friend decided to put up the money and partner on the deal, A & M Publishing was born. I knew starting my own publishing house that there could be risks but I also knew the rewards could also be potentially great. As far as risks… remember you can’t eat the fruit fresh off the tree if you’re afraid to crawl out on a limb.

Thanks to Steve AltenMilktooth.com.au

#18 – Hobby

Image Credit : Alexandra Tresch

Image Credit : Alexandra Tresch

Our hobby transitioned to a business once we realized it was our opportunity to bless and be a blessing to others. We have been able to educate others on the importance of toxin-free living as well as support wonderful ministries that help men, women and children restore their lives. When you have a passion and a purpose behind your business, you have a desire to let no one and nothing stop you from success!

Thanks to Alexandra Tresch, Fragrant Elegance Soy Candle Company

#19 – Increase Confidence

Image Credit: Jordette Singleton

Image Credit: Jordette Singleton

We started UnitedFront  as an opportunity for female consumers to increase their confidence and help others through fashion while keeping their style distinctive and unpredictable. We accomplish this by focusing on three core areas: Fashion, Fit Education and Philanthropy. We don’t just want to make a sale we want to make a difference by providing women with the tools to look their best and an avenue to help others and need.

Thanks to Jordette Singleton, UnitedFront

#20 – Inspire

Image Credit : Silvia Torres

Image Credit : Silvia Torres

I started Mala with a simple goal: to provide women with flats that have classic style, lasting quality and are available at a smart price. That’s why I started Mala, but as the business develops, I continue to discover that starting your own business means so much more. It means you are able to create (in my case, the very best flats). It means that you’re able to provide income for talented people. It also means you can give back to a cause you believe in by simply selling something good. And honestly, one of the most rewarding feelings about starting your own business is that you can inspire others to take this leap and accomplish their own dreams. Starting my own business has been by far the best decision I’ve taken, and even though it can be a rocky ride at times, now that I started there’s nothing that can stop me!

Thanks to Silvia Torres, Mala

#21 – Door for Good

Image Credit : Kathleen Lynch

Image Credit : Kathleen Lynch

I own my own law practice. I was laid off in 2009 after the financial crisis hit hard the big law firm I was working for on a part time basis. I had young children at the time and wanted them to know their mom. So I opened my own practice. My boys are teenagers now but I still like being around when they come home from school and oversee their homework after school activities etc. I know sooner than later they will be out the door for good and I will never be able to get that time back. I thank my lucky stars that I was in a position to make it happen and my wish is that every parent can have that kind of arrangement if they want it.

Thanks to Kathleen Lynch, Law Office of Kathleen Lynch

#22 – Independence and Interdependence

Image Credit : Jacqueline Ardey

Image Credit : Jacqueline Ardey

I spent 25 years learning how to create a brand, how to sell and negotiate, and how to work with people. As my career progressed, I found myself doing less and less of the things I really loved – learning and creating new products. The hours I spend on my business are about the same or more, but now they are more fulfilling and flexible. I’m able to choose what I want to learn about next, where I want to spend money. It’s independence and interdependence in a neat package.

Thanks to Jackie Ardrey, Cold Brew Kitchen

#23 – Scratch Your Own Itch

Image Credit : David Schneider

Image Credit : David Schneider

I have an interesting story as to how I started my business. Firstly I had been traveling the world and running blogs online, earning money by selling advertising. I was working in digital marketing. However, after 18 months of doing that it all came crashing down one day when Google changed their algorithm. Essentially my whole business went up in smoke. I started thinking about other types of businesses I could run, and I thought software was really appealing. It was the exact opposite of what I had been doing, which was month to month client work. This was, instead, monthly recurring revenue and a real product. I decided to go with the “Scratch Your Own Itch” approach and find a problem I had, ask others, and turn it into a business, which is now NinjaOutreach – a blogger outreach
software.

Thanks to Dave Schneider, NinjaOutreach

#24 – 100% In Charge

Image Credit : Frederique Murphy

Image Credit : Frederique Murphy

I started my own business as I wanted to be the one 100% in charge of the impact I have when serving my clients. As much as I’ve loved being a consultant, as an employee, you drive somebody else’s vision and help them achieve their mission and their goals. Having my own business gives me the control to drive my own vision, achieving my own mission and my own goals to fully serve my audiences.

Thanks to Frederique Murphy, Mountain Moving Mindset Ltd.

#25 – Right Timing

Image Credit : Jude Morton

Image Credit : Jude Morton

I started my business Property Concierge Queensland which helps families and clients who have properties that need preparing for the market to sell or to lease. Having investment properties of my own I saw that dealing with a lot of various tradesman for renovating and preparing a property for the sales market was confusing and I was being let down by various tradespeople, therefore it is made easier when only having to deal with one person with all work that is required at any property. I wanted the best tradespeople doing the work, that were experts in their field and wanted quick turnaround and quality service. Therefore PCQ came into fruition and helps people from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast with their properties. Also the timing was right for me as my triplets just turned 15 and I had more time on my hands to start the business that I had always dreamt of helping those clients in the property sector.

Thanks to Jude Morton, Property Concierge Queensland

#26 – Empower and Educate

stacey

Image Credit : Stacey Price

I started my business out of desperation. I was made redundant and had two small children. Numbers was all I knew how to do – plus I was sick of hearing of other mums struggling to make money in their business and that they were not taken seriously as business owners. I wanted to empower and educate people to ensure their businesses survived, and I wanted to have fun doing it. I love what I do, and just because I have children and I don’t wear a suit and heels doesn’t mean my business is not successful. It is time to rethink the expectations on success.

Thanks to Stacey Price, Healthy Business Finances

#27 – Big Opportunity

Image Credit : Dean Ramler

Image Credit : Dean Ramler

Furniture has always been my absolute passion, and lifelong interest. I started my business, Milan Direct, a pure play online furniture retailer in Australia and the UK close to a decade ago because at the time nobody was selling furniture online in Australia, and I spotted a big opportunity and gap in the market. Pioneering this concept, at the time everyone told us that we were crazy, and that nobody would ever buy furniture online (including my family, who had been making furniture in Australia for over 50 years at that stage). We thought otherwise, and at just 24 years of age thought it was the perfect age to start a business, without a care in the world.

Thanks to Dean Ramler, Milan Direct

#28 – Stay Home

Image Credit : Katherine Vaughn

Image Credit : Katherine Vaughn

I started Milk Tooth to allow me to stay home with my then one-year-old daughter. I wasn’t ready to put her into childcare and miss spending the time with her while she was so young. Looking back, I realise starting my online store also fulfilled some other needs for me: I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial streak, so this has been my way of exploring that. After a year of an identity of “Mum”, it was also fantastic to expand my mind and learn about website design, search engine optimisation, social media marketing, and all the other complexities that come with running an ecommerce business. Finally, Milk Tooth has been a wonderful creative outlet. I’ve been able to work on design elements and shop for and collate beautiful decor and toys to my heart’s content. It hasn’t been an easy ride, but it’s been rewarding in many ways.

Thanks to Katherine Vaughn, Milktooth

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.
  • This is amazing!!

    • ceoblognation

      Yes, it is!

  • Thank YOU for including me Gresham!

    • ceoblognation

      Thanks for contributing Frederique!

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