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15 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Business

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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 and brand.

#1 – Helping Women

Photo Credit: LaKitia Woodard

Photo Credit: LaKitia Woodard

One of the deepest roots to most women’s problems is not knowing who they really are. For years, I’ve motivated and educated women on sexual abuse and self-love in my spare time. Recently, I decided to turn my passion into a business helping women to Discover, Define, and Live their Truth in order to live a purpose driven life. Once acceptance of personal flaws happens then growth can begin and life is filled with happiness. We have to first believe that we are enough right now in this moment and can live the life we truly dream of. But first you have to discover and embrace your authentic self and AST aids women to accept change by stepping outside of their comfort zone.

Thanks to LaKitia Woodard, A Sister’s Truth

#2 – Love of Outdoors

Photo Credit: Bruce T. Moore, Sr.

Photo Credit: Bruce T. Moore, Sr.

My grandfather was a successful business owner and mentored me at an early age as we partnered in a vegetable garden/retail business during the summer months. During my senior year of college I had to write a business plan for a construction business as I had a “dream” of starting my own business in the future.The love of the outdoors, as opposed to working in an office environment, propelled me to enter the green industry as an entrepreneur, when the opportunity presented itself. The business began as is common with the mowing of residential lawns. During the 1970’s, the Fairfield County region was becoming the preferred destination as many major corporations were exiting NYC. The suburbs offered cheaper rents and increased quality of life for the employees. With my newly minted knowledge of college marketing courses, I spent the winter month’s cold calling on the new corporate office buildings. At the time, there were very few other companies focused on this new market niche. For the first ten years, I was able to compete in this market with little or no competition.

Thanks to Bruce T. Moore, Sr., ELM

#3 – Feeling Invincible

Photo Credit: Niamh Lynch

Photo Credit: Niamh Lynch

When you start your business, you’re supposed to have a burning message or passion that you want to bring to the world. Not me. I had just had a baby and survived the first 6 months – and I felt invincible. When I returned to work (thanks, generous European maternity leave laws!), I was ready for responsibility and then some…but there was none to be had. My boss left work, opening up a senior position, and I had a meeting with his boss to talk about the future. I knew from the look in his eyes that I wasn’t going to be taking my boss’ place. I knew I could do better, so I resigned there and then. 4 years later, I don’t regret a second of it – although I’m not sure that I’d recommend other would-be entrepreneurs, especially parents of young kids, take such a devil-may-care approach!

Thanks to Niamh Lynch

#4 – Laundry Pain

Photo Credit: Hilary Barr

Photo Credit: Hilary Barr

I initially started Sudzy because of my own pain doing laundry. Like 80% of New York apartments, my walkup doesn’t have a washing machine. I dreaded dragging my bags to the cleaners so much it kept me up at night! After going around talking to dozens of local cleaners, I found that there was a need for an app where customers can order pickup and delivery from local cleaners online. Knowing that they were losing business to laundry apps that bypassed local cleaners, cleaners were willing to pay for the ability to offer on-demand delivery. I thus built Sudzy not only to make laundry effortless for myself and other customers but also to help mom and pops stay in business.

Thanks to Hilary Barr, Sudzy

#5 – All About Food

Photo Credit: Meghana Moy

Photo Credit: Meghana Moy

I have always had a passion for food and connecting people. I grew up in the Middle East & am from India, so home-cooking with spices is such an integral part of my life. When first arrived in the US as a college student, I was appalled at the lack of variety in the spice section of the grocery stores. Instead of the hundreds of blends & raw spices I was used to seeing growing up, there were about 10 total options that all seemed quite bland to me. My friends would often request that I cook food from my childhood for them (with my spices lovingly shipped from back home), and that eventually turned into me mailing spices to friends across the US so that they could create those dishes in their own homes. As a passionate business student, my wheels started turning and I saw the potential of creating a business model out of what I was already doing: sharing spices, recipes & food with my friends. Food is a way to connect everyone, regardless of our world views, history, beliefs or experiences. Even when we don’t speak the same language as someone else, we can break bread with them and unite over food. That is the heart behind Spice Madam – a desire to connect people and a way to build bridges between cultures through the one thing that everybody loves: food!

Thanks to Meghana Moya, Spice Madam

#6 – Seeing Potential

Photo Credit: Dr. Lynn Lashbrook

Photo Credit: Dr. Lynn Lashbrook

As an agent I prided myself, and enjoyed the most, the one on one interaction with the players. Athlete’s truly need to be mentored and my passion was in providing undivided attention and guidance for each player I represented. After 3 years of success, I stared to gain more clients and felt conflicted as my player count went up and the individual time each player got went down. Around that time, the movie Jerry McGuire came out and let the world peek inside the life of an agent, which seemed like perfect advertisement, if I may, to get people interested in becoming an agent. Simultaneously, online education was making its appearance and gaining prominence in the education world. I had been a professor for over 30 years and I recognized that all of these components had created a special moment in time that led to the birth of Sports Management Worldwide where I was able to combine my passions for education, the agency, and helping people obtain a career they love. Quickly, I saw the potential of this idea and expanded it beyond Football into many other sports and now SMWW has over 25 courses and students from 140 different countries. I stared my business because a unique moment in time presented itself that allowed me to continue to teach, represent players, help others turn their passion into a career, and love my work every day!

Thanks to Dr. Lynn Lashbrook, Sports Management Worldwide

#7 – A Love of Lashes

Photo Credit: Courtney Buhler,

Photo Credit: Courtney Buhler,

I got into the lash extension industry after getting my own lashes done when the service was brand new to the market. The moment I heard that eyelash extensions were even a thing, I had to have them. I was always self conscious of my short lashes and frustrated with the options available. Lash extensions immediately gave me the confidence boost I needed. I was instantly obsessed. At each following appointment, I would practically interrogate my lash artist asking what she was using and why, and how she was completing each step. I was so lash obsessed that when I couldn’t afford to keep up with the fill appointments (I was 19 at the time and broke!) I literally cleaned my lash artist’s home in exchange for my fills! I quickly realized my love for lashes was something I wanted to turn into a career. I took the best course available at the time and began lashing clients from home, which within a year became a top commercial lash lounge. I was a lash artist for 8 years before starting the Sugarlash brand, which gives me a hands-on eye into the needs in the industry. I was inspired to start Sugarlash when I couldn’t find what I needed to make my lash lounge as successful as it could be in terms of product and training. I was tired of endlessly trying different brands of lashes and adhesive (which hurt my business profits) and unfortunately my clients were the Guinea pigs who were getting inconsistent results because of it (which hurt business profits even more!). I decided then to use my years of experience and discerning eye to create training programs and product that would propel my customers into the lash business being ahead of the curve. It’s my vision to play a huge part in their success by letting them focus on their skills, and business building and letting me help them with training programs and products that they can rely on and that their customers love.

Thanks to Courtney Buhler, Sugarlash

#8 – A New Career

Photo Credit: Kelly Maier

Photo Credit: Kelly Maier

After my husband passed away in April 2015, I needed to make changes fast in order to learn to survive on my own. I was an actress in TV and Film for most of my life. However, now, time was of the essence, being I was newly widowed, I needed to quickly make a career change. Learning how to support myself for the first time in my life was scary. I reached out to friends and colleagues (old, new, past and recent etc…) looking for work. My former colleague, AlfonZo Rachel reached out, and hired me to be his PR representative. He was confident I had the skills and abilities, as I had been doing PR for myself and friends for years, it was a huge part of working in the entertainment industry. This led me to starting my own Public Relations Firm! I am so happy I took him up on the opportunity. Saved my life and helped me create a new career path that I love!

Thanks to Laura Orrico, Laura Orrico Public Relations, LLC

#9 – Solving Problems

Photo Credit: Michael Krasman

Photo Credit: Michael Krasman

I always had a passion for solving problems and creating solutions that address the pain points people experience. Anyone who has experienced moving knows that while it brings exciting change, the actual act of moving is extremely stressful and overwhelming. Moving to a new city and starting a new job are two of life’s most stressful events, and when you relocate for a new job, they both happen simultaneously. 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 UrbanBound to enable companies to better support their new employees throughout the entire relocation process—from creating the right relocation policy all the way to preparing them for their first day of work.

Thanks to Michael Krasman, UrbanBound

#10 – Lack of Resources

Photo Credit: Tonya Bruin

Photo Credit: Tonya Bruin

I started my business after seeing the lack of quality resources there were available to people just like me. At the time, I had been searching for a reliable handyman to do some repairs and maintenance around the house and I couldn’t believe how difficult it was! So I decided to create my own service. I now run a successful handyman service with several full-time staff. Each member of my staff is vetted by myself – I figure, if I would feel comfortable and confident having each individual do work in my house, then others like me will too! I have continued to adapt with my clients’ needs, offering more services and special offers, like a seniors’ discount, for example. This has been a major key to my success.

Thanks to Tonya Bruin, To Do Done

#11 – Helping Animals

Photo Credit: Nora Livingstone

Photo Credit: Nora Livingstone

I started AEI because I wanted to show people no matter who they were they could help animals and they could do it by benefiting as many people as possible. I had spent years traveling and volunteering with many different placements for many different causes in many different countries. It was always a roll of the dice because everyone seemed like they really cared about the causes they needed volunteers for. Everyone seemed to be providing a safe place to volunteer. Everyone seemed to be telling me exactly what I wanted to hear when I emailed them and asked about volunteering. Most of the time the placements were pretty good but sometimes they were unsafe, unclean and didn’t even have the safety of the animals in mind. I knew there was a better way, it would be for us to start a business so we could make sure people were safe while they volunteered on awesome programs who were doing real science, conservation and of course welfare. From being frustrated with my lack of trust in the system, something really amazing happened and we met all these wonderful placement partners and of course clients to help the animals!

Thanks to Nora Livingstone, Animal Experience International

#12 – Passion for Fashion

I’ve been working in the fashion industry for about 10 years now, and believe it or not the saying is true ‘I had a passion for fashion!” but also had a passion to help others anyway I could. Mission Lane launched October 2015. After debating on whether I should save money to open up an actual store someday, I was finally convinced that an online boutique was the way to go. Not much overhead and I could learn how to run a business and build a brand without the worries of paying rent.. The name Mission Lane is derived from my families street address in Bonthe, Sierra Leone, West Africa. This store is a combination of my love of fashion and giving back to the community. We are not a non for profit, but I was raised and strongly believe that you always help others despite what you have.. My grandma who still resides on Mission Lane, was a school teacher and managed to help others on the island with food to eat, tuition, even clothing, while taking care of 4 children of her own. Although not stated a portion of my sales at the end of the day in return go to help sponsor a high school senior get prepared for prom, buy back to school supplies for students in the tristate area and keeps a handful of children warm during the winter with hats and gloves. So starting a business has been rewarding because of the excitement I get when someone purchases an item for my store, which means they like their options, and it also means I get the chance to help someone out.

Thanks to Kathy Juana, Mission Lane

#13 – A Positive Difference

I started my business as a result of a thought that provoked 10 years ago. Back then, I was driving home while listening to a radio broadcast about a police officer who was killed in line of duty. I remember that an idea sparked in my mind on the need to commemorate the officer on line. I started developing more on the idea and eventually after so many years it morphed into a social website that allows users to blog
their heart out on variety of subjects and at the same time setup some parameters to automate issues surrounding their afterlife. The site allows users to commemorate loved ones and provides a forum for exchanging ideas onprolonging life and determining the things that are more important in life while at the same time provides mechanisms to manage digital assets of users after they are passed away. My goal in establishing this business was to make a positive difference in society and provide a peace of mind for the users; and I my hope is to see it become true.

Thanks to Masoud Salehisedeh, MySolace

#14 – Helping My Parents

Photo Credit: Ashtyn Reed Chen

Photo Credit: Ashtyn Reed Chen

I started my business for three reasons. First and foremost, I wanted to get my parents out of the restaurant business that they have operated for 30+ years. This industry is not easy and I think it’s time for them to hang it up after putting my sister and I through college. Secondly, with new discoveries and innovations in aquaculture biotechnology, my company is able to produce saltwater shrimp year round for our customers. I’m lucky to have my parents because no one would I trust more with my research or would work as hard as they would to make this a success. By teaching my parents how to operate my business, it allows me to focus on my main career as a chemical engineer in industry and also give them a chance to get out of the ever tough restaurant industry. Thirdly, I wanted to provide the seafood for the world’s ever growing population but also protect the natural marine environments that have been ruined by destruction, overfishing, pollution, you name it. By farming shrimp indoor year round in a sustainable way, my company can satisfy both the market demand for seafood and protect the planet so we don’t have to choose one or the other.

Thanks to Ashtyn Reed Chen, The Ocean’s Friend Aquaculture

 #15 – Combining Passions

Photo Credit: Jess Chua

Photo Credit: Jess Chua

I started my business because it combines all of my passions, which include working from home, setting my own schedule, writing/blogging, and helping others through creative problem-solving. I used to be in the ebooks business a few years ago, but I felt it wasn’t the right niche for me when the process of writing fiction began to feel overly commoditized. With my new business, I feel better about applying my unique skills and talents to help people achieve their goals. I chose to focus on helping others navigate their career options, because I believe life has a lot more to offer than boredom or misery from a job that is not aligned to a person’s true interests and values.

Thanks to Jess Chua, Inner Life Goals

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