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15 Entrepreneurs Discuss Why they Started Their Businesses

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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 – Sick of Corporate Life

Photo Credit: James Harper

Photo Credit: James Harper

I was sick of the corporate life. It’s that simple. I hated working for bad corporate companies on large marketing teams that breaded a horrible work culture. My initial passion to start my own business was because I saw a need for quality marketing in the small business realm, and I wanted my own freedom. I wanted to work on my own terms and create my own business with my own team, and essentially, create my very own company culture. I know focus on small to mid-sized businesses. It’s my passion. Small business live and die by great customer service and great marketing. Nothing excites me more as a business owner to know that my company had a part in another small businesses success.

Thanks to James Harper, GoEdison

#2 – To Disrupt a Slow-Changing Industry

Photo Credit: Melanie Wells

Photo Credit: Melanie Wells

After eight long years of rock-busting in conventional counseling practices, I realized that this was approach was not only boring and isolating for myself and the patient, but outdated and in need of some fresh thinking. So I decided to change the game with a creative and collaborative psychotherapy facility called the Lifeologie Institute. The concept is simple yet revolutionary for the industry – we bring therapists with multiple specialties under one roof to collaborate as a team and Boom! It became a stimulating, creative work environment with optimal client care and we grew to four locations and a franchise!

Thanks to Melanie Wells, Lifeologie Institute

#3 – Avoiding the 9 – 5

Photo Credit: Arianna DiMatteo

Photo Credit: Arianna DiMatteo

I was a 20 year old college student, sick of hearing about the monotonous 9 to 5 lifestyle everyone my age was seeking out. Along with this expectation came a slew of stress and negativity. I decided that there had to be a better way to live than waking up every day dreading the work ahead. I thought, to myself *there has to be a way to change this*. So, I sat down and started brainstorming. A few hours later, Aria Bella Candles was born. My goal is to add positivity to my customer’s day. Every time you burn an Aria Bella candle, you are radiating positivity and momentarily relieving the stress and negativity from the day. My candles serve as a reminder of the good things in life. I want to make a difference, and, with my candles, I am coming closer to reaching this goal.

Thanks to Thanks to Arianna DiMatteo, Aria Bella Candles

#4 – A Meaningful Impact

Photo Credit: Alexandra Napoli

Photo Credit: Alexandra Napoli

After working as an administrator in the finance industry for years, I kept asking myself, am I really helping anyone with the work I do? Sure I made life easier for the people I reported to, but I didn’t feel like I was making a significant positive impact on peoples lives. I started doing some serious soul searching and realized that what I really loved to talk to people about and study was health and wellness. I had spent years dealing with my own digestive issues and knew that I wanted to help people navigate their own health issues. That’s why I decided to go back to school and get certified at a Holistic Health Coach. I realized that as a Heath Coach, I could help people in a meaningful way while creating a career I am incredibly passionate about.

Thanks to Alexandra Napoli

#5 – A Love Affair With Italy

Photo Credit: Francesca Montillo

Photo Credit: Francesca Montillo

I have a love affair with Italy. I was born there, lived there for the first ten years of my life and could probably spend hours talking about Italy and it’s cuisine. When I decided I wanted to go into business for myself, it was a no-brainier to create a small company that involved frequent trips to Italy. Lazy Italian is a combination of the things I love the most; cooking, eating, wine, Italy and meeting people who also enjoy those things. I am able to bring people to Italy and introduce them to this great country and all the food it has to offer. When not in Italy leading and conducing culinary tours, I teach cooking locally in the Boston area to individuals who are new to cooking and not used to cooking at home. They face lights up when they see what they are able to do! We cook together and I provide them with instructions and recipes that they can easily make at home. I called my company Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures because the cooking lessons are somewhat “lazy” and geared toward working adults that don’t have hours on end to spend in the kitchen. My recipes and meals are doable to even someone new to cooking. The cooking classes draw in some business for the tours, so it’s a great set up.

Thanks to Francesca Montillo, Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures

#6 – Tap into Creative Experiences

Photo Credit: Makenzie Marzluff

Photo Credit: Makenzie Marzluff

I started my business because I desired to tap into my creative abilities, to build my own financial freedom, and to live from a place of passion and continuous growth. Nothing beats waking up every day to pursue your own dreams through your own creations. I have never been a perfect long-term employee because I find that it limits my creativity and freedom. As an entrepreneur, every thing I do is out of pure desire and curiosity, rather than obligation. From experience, my belief is that starting your own business (whether it fails OR succeeds) is an incredible way to develop yourself personally. The challenges, the rewards, the ups and downs, the risk-taking and all the people you meet along the way are priceless opportunities that you wouldn’t necessarily get when working for someone else.

Thanks to Makenzie Marzluff, Delighted By Hummus

#7 – To Save Animals

Photo Credit: Kristen and Frank Pizzo

Photo Credit: Kristen and Frank Pizzo

My husband and I have always been avid animals lovers, but our love became a mission after we rescued our pitbull-mix, Daisy, from a puppy-mill. We realized the extended abuse of animals both by careless individuals and companies for testing purposes. We vowed to make the world better by never using any animal by-products in our cosmetic line. We went so far as to become cruelty-free certified by both Leaping Bunny and PETA. We decided to donate a portion of all sales to Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue, a local volunteer-run rescue group who saves animals, offers medical care, and finds foster and adoptive families. We believe that as humans we have the right to lovely luxuries, and the responsibility to ensure they never come at the cost of another life.

Thanks to Kristen and Frank Pizzo, Bath, Body, and Candle Moments

#8 – Serious Book Selling

Photo Credit: Ben Pagel

Photo Credit: Ben Pagel

When I met my wife, her interest was first piqued by my love of scouring used bookstores. She also happened to be a serious collector of books. Fast forward a few months and I was faced with a financial dilemma: I wanted to propose but I had a rather substantial credit card debt and couldn’t afford to add the price of an engagement ring to the pile. By happenstance, I came across a posting on craigslist offering to sell 2,000 books for a modest price. With encouragement from my (then) girlfriend, I purchased 51 Rubbermaid tubs of books and stacked them in my 14th floor studio apartment. That was in April of 2012 and I can confidently say that I sold the books, I bought the ring, and I got the girl.

Thanks to Ben Pagel, Buzz Bookstore

#9 – To Provide a Service Missing in the Region

Photo Credit: Drew Harden

Photo Credit: Drew Harden

I had the idea to start Blue Compass in 2007 because I saw the need for a service. While numerous agencies existed that provided web services, they also focused on print, TV, radio and other media. Many of these agencies did great work, but few had true expertise in digital because they were so busy focusing on all these different media. I saw the need for a company that focused purely on digital. I co-founded Blue Compass with the goal of creating a company that put 100 percent of its energy towards being the experts in this one area. The last nine years have been an incredible journey, and it’s been a blessing to see this initial vision serve clients and their businesses.

Thanks to Drew Harden, Blue Compass

#10 – Because No One Would Hire Me

2008 sucker punched every college student because we now have the degree, but there aren’t any jobs available within our field of study. Internships, unpaid might I add, are the only option for far to many of us that are overqualified to work for no money. After earning my Masters in Fine Arts I thought it would be different and I wouldn’t have to scratch my way to an entry level position, but again I was wrong. So I said, FORGET IT! (Well, maybe I used another word, but I’ll censor myself for this article) Upon researching forecast trends for the retail industry and taking note that subscription retail boxes are the new hot trend I envisioned a business that utilizes that excess of retail and to answer the daily question of, ‘What do I wear? In person wardrobe styling is time consuming, expensive and at times tiresome for the client. Basically, customers want instant gratification with little effort. 1st Mpressions eliminates all three of these issues by offering personal styling online using clothing the client already has hanging in their closet. Therefore, making the process of personal styling immediate, affordable and targeted precisely to the client’s direct needs. 1st Mpressions specializes in assembling new outfits with the clients existing clothing for special occasions. 1st Mpressions has been in business for a year and with our website launching at the end of April the service will be available to men nationwide! We especially welcome men who work in the technology industry to give our virtual stylists a try. Clients will utilize this service because he does not know what to wear, doesn’t have extra money to purchase a new outfit and doesn’t have the time to go shopping. Your stylist will virtually show you how to shop your closet!

Thanks to Amanda Massi, 1st Mpressions

#11 – Taking a Risk

Photo Credit: Arzu Yonak

Photo Credit: Arzu Yonak

I’d spent about 10 years working in PR and a short time after starting a new job with another agency it just wasn’t working out. I was getting ready to look for another job when I got some offers from brands to work directly as their PR rep. With 2-3 clients I realized I’d have enough income to get me through a few months comfortably, and figured I’d have nothing to lose – if it didn’t work out, I could always go back to square one and look for another job. Almost immediately after launching my agency and website I had new business inquiries coming and was able to start scaling my business, adding to my team and getting office space. I’d always wanted to be my own boss and build my own brand, and realized there was a limit to how much I could achieve working for someone else; I just had to take the risk when the opportunity presented itself. It was one of the best decisions I ever made!

Thanks to Arzu Yonak, Addicted Youth Public Relations

#12 – After Increased Frustration

Photo Credit: Jody Clower

Photo Credit: Jody Clower

I began Nestiny because as a real estate agent I became so increasingly frustrated with the lack of solid advice online for my clients on how to buy a home and what to expect in the process. They were getting confused and making expensive mistakes because they didn’t know any better before they met me. And my fellow agents were suffering from the same problems as me. It wasn’t the clients or the agents’ fault but there needed to be a better way. The new online portals for real estate listings made it worse because now our clients were able to look at houses online but by doing so vaulted over critical steps of how to buy a home without even knowing what they wanted yet. And agents were struggling to connect with clients at the right time when they really needed help rather than prematurely because of the way these first websites were designed. People who were just curious about homes were now getting bombarded by multiple agents at the same time who were eager to help them because they thought they were more serious. So this lack of education, bad data and poorly organized design was causing so much wasted time and money as well as unnecessary stress. No real estate website was focused on the people first. It was all about the houses or events downstream in the process. With my software background before real estate, I found the root cause of these problems started keeping me up at night. I soul-searched long and hard before I decided to build my business because I was very happy being a real estate agent helping a few clients at a time realize their dreams. Eventually though I decided I didn’t want to have what I call ‘rocking chair regret’ one day by knowing that I could have built something to help consumers and agents and didn’t. That’s how Nestiny was born. My mission is that in one broad stroke with education, Nestiny can improve everyone’s lives.

Thanks to Jody Clower, Nestiny

#13 – Making Relocation Easier

Photo Credit: Jeff Ellman

Photo Credit: Jeff Ellman

After co-founding talent hiring platform Hireology, my business partner Michael Krasman and I recognized that when it came to relocating talent, it was a struggle for both employers and their newly hired or transferring employees. While executive-level transferees received first-class treatment when relocating, entry and mid-level employees were often left disappointed by the lack of support from their new employers. This was creating a huge missed opportunity for both companies and their transferring employees. We wanted to develop a technology solution to make the relocation process easier for both companies and their transferring employees. With this in mind, we developed Relocation Management Software to enable companies to better support their new employees throughout the entire relocation process, beginning with creating the right relocation policy all the way to preparing them for their first day in the new office. It’s amazing how much money we can save companies by leveraging our software and the IRS relocation tax guidelines simultaneously.

Thanks to Jeff Ellman, UrbanBound

#14 – Out of Necessity

Photo Credit: Alex Mann

Photo Credit: Alex Mann

In 1997 we were IT consultants. The internet was young, business was terrific, and we had all the work we wanted. Our largest client was a world-famous ad agency based in San Francisco. They asked us to find a computerized time tracking system for their employees. Like any good consultants we shopped around and found … nothing. Every product looked like a holdover from the 1980s. We were too embarrassed to admit that our search fell short, so we built something ourselves that was modern and web-based, and they bought it! Over time we realized we stumbled into a huge business opportunity and eventually spun out ClickTime as a separate company. Today we’re a multi-million dollar business with customers in over 55 countries.

Thanks to Alex Mann, ClickTime

 #15 – A Love of Building

Photo Credit: Shawn Oates

Photo Credit: Shawn Oates

From the time when I was a teenager, I’ve always loved building things. I would always look for opportunities to make my life easier, from creating a bedside vending machine to avoid the trek to the kitchen for a snack to creating a slide that I would pretend was a rollercoaster, because my parents wouldn’t take me to Disney World. Everything I built came from a believed necessity. Today, having relocated to several different cities across 4 different states in the past 5 years, I found it hard to build relationships. With that, I built Leaflets in order to easily formed connections in the offline world wherever I may be.

Thanks to Shawn Oates, Leaflets

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