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 be the same. No matter the tale, the background behind each and every business is what fuels each and brand.
We asked some entrepreneurs and business owners, why they started their businesses:
#1- After a disappointment on my biggest day
I started my business because I hated the way my dress shirt looked on my wedding day. After I looked like a slob on the biggest day of my life I scoured the internet to find the solution I was looking for. Nothing existed, so I started cutting away at my dress shirts and testing different materials and patterns. 3 years later I perfected it and got patented, Million Dollar Collar was born! What an incredible ride so far.
Thanks to Rob Kessler, Million Dollar Collar!
#2- Fill a huge need in the marketplace
My girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife, fell in love by going to musical festivals. What you wear and how you express yourself at these events is a key part of the overall experience. We would always customize our outfits and wear items you couldn’t find in the local mall. We got compliments and asked all the time where we got our clothing. We felt like there a was a huge need in the marketplace that no professional companies were filling and thus we started iHeartRaves. I love it because it’s something that I’m truly passionate about.
Thanks to Brian Lim, iHeartRaves!
#3- Upset with the Wall Street Mentality
When I was in business school, I was upset with the Wall Street Mentality that I encountered with some of my classmates. Everything was about profitability and earnings. Ethics and morality were only measured against regulations. I decided that I wanted to build a financial firm that put clients’ interests first.
Thanks to Chris Jarvis, JarvisTower!
#4- Provide intelligence to the government and the public
I started my company Tactical Rabbit after being the Whistleblower in the HSBC money laundering scandal where I tried to stop terrorists and drug cartels from laundering money in the U.S. Because I could not land a banker in jail or shut down HSBC bank I started Tactical Rabbit to promote justice and go after terrorists and drug cartels on our own and provide the intelligence to the U.S Government and the American public. I use the money made from my private clients to launch intelligence operations against our enemies. My company serves a purpose and promotes goodness. My business school professors always preached Maximization of shareholder wealth! I disagree, I believe it is The maximization of the human condition and the money will follow.
Thanks to Everett Stern, Tactical Rabbit!
#5- I had no choice
After taking several years away from having a normal law firm employer to help family, while working as a freelance lawyer & writer for other law firms, the job market for lawyers was terrible. So I started my own law firm, rather than going through what I feared would be a humiliating job search, filled with other candidates who had followed a more traditional path. I’m definitely glad that I took that step, because the freedom, respect, opportunity, pride, and higher pay from being a business owner has been incredible.
Thanks to Tina Willis, Tina Willis Law!
#6- Connect consumers with top chefs
Food has been a passion of mine since an early age, and as I grew up and experienced different cuisines in different cultures, one thing was always the same – people rarely have the opportunity to connect with the chef that cooks their food. On the flip side, having many friends that were chefs and worked in the industry, the struggle was the same – the chef lifestyle is a difficult one. It’s hard to have a work/life balance and it’s hard to make good money. So, using my expertise and background in e-commerce, I created Cozymeal – an online marketplace that connects consumers with some of the nation’s top chefs through cooking classes and team-building events. The platform not only allows people to interact and learn from award-winning chefs, but it also enables chefs to do what they love to do, and make money doing it.
Thanks to Samad Nasserian, Cozymeal!
#7- Partly founded out of guilt
A good friend of mine always remembered to send me a card on my birthday, and I never remembered to send her one in return. I always thought about it, and made a mental note, but that’s often as far as it went. So, I invented Signed – the first online greeting card store that lets people choose a real card, write a message – in their own handwriting – and have it hand-stamped and delivered, without having to leave the comfort of their home. And because I didn’t want to forget my friend’s birthday (again), I also created a reminder service that will send reminders about all of your upcoming important dates so that you don’t forget to send a card. All of our cards are designed by independent U.S.-based artists and are just $4.95 – that’s includes the stamp!
Thanks to Jerry McLaughlin, Signed!
#8- From both an industry void as well as personal experience
The Suburban Jungle creation stemmed from both an industry void as well as personal experience. Prior to the business launching, the real estate industry was underserving buyers, and was focused solely on listings/sellers. The buyers represent 50% of all transactions, yet they have historically received no love from the industry whatsoever. It is this group, that is ultimately facing one of life’s most significant decisions -both emotionally and financially. So why were their needs being ignored..? As for my personal experience, while at Columbia Business School and expecting our first child- we lived this exact experience —. We were trying to figure out where to go – whether or not to stay in NYC or leave… and if we were to leave— which of the over 500 potential towns would be the right one for our family? Without any direction, or ability to get answers … it was a painful and stressful process. The industry was ripe for a service to solve this problem that affects almost everyone at this particular stage in life.
Thanks to Alison Bernstein, The Suburban Jungle!
#9- I HAD to
I started my copywriting business because I HAD to. Despite practicing law and building tech startups, there was a big part of me that was unsatisfied in each of those roles. I craved the challenge of building my own business and really couldn’t see myself doing anything else. Where others felt an external pressure to start a business, my drive was entirely internal. So when I realized how many companies were struggling to find a strong brand voice and craft copy that connects, it all came together. My first day in business felt like a sigh of relief because I finally doing what I’d been craving for years.
Thanks to Amy Lipner
#10- Passion for baby stuff
When I had my boys (born 15 months apart), I discovered a passion for all things baby. I then made the decision to quit the stability and security of my full-time job and launched myself into my own (first) business: an online baby store! One thing led to another, and my husband and I ended up getting an exclusive distribution contract in Canada for a major French brand. After being successful distributing other companies’ products, the next logical move was to create our own–bblüv baby essentials. Our mission is to become a must-have brand for families across the world. We are still relatively new, but we are definitely on track to reach our goals.
Thanks to Geneuviève Thibault, bblüv Baby Essentials!
#11- Solve reporting tools issues
After serving various sale director roles it dawned upon me that the data entered into the CRM by sales guys working out of the office, was inaccurate.. Either that or it was extremely out of date. Now I don’t blame the field sales team as the tools available at the time for reporting simply weren’t fit for the job – cumbersome, slow and difficult to navigate, there’s no way I’d have been using them either. That’s when the light bulb moment hit; now I can’t be the only one with this problem, can I? A little research and a few questions to the right people confirmed my suspicions. There was a HUGE issue here that nobody was doing anything about it. It was at this moment ForceManager was born.
Thanks to Oscar Macía, ForceManager!
#12- A service I was providing
It all started 18 years ago when I wanted to startup my own company, I preferred to work from home and provide time for my child of 9 months. One of our neighbors approached me asking if I was available to help translating 25 pages from English to Dutch which brought me directly to the idea of starting my own translation agency from home and be my own boss. I always loved languages. At that time, in the year 2000 there were no spam filters so it was pretty easy to contact other translation companies to setup cooperation. Receiving an email was quit unique at that time and was well read. I was still using a modem to connect to the internet and I can remember that it took me 40 minutes to send out a 2 mb document! 18 years have passed and lots of things have changed, thus my most important goal these days is to keep up with the technology regarding the internet. I also developed tranwise.com a project management system especially for the translation project management, setup a telephone interpreting system and expanded the business with offices in Europe and the US. Today we work with more than 500 freelance translators every month and offer mothers the ability to work from home as a translation project manager. The most motivated group consists of mothers working from home who can make a good income, being also available for their child and able to cook while sending documents and checking their emails whenever they have time. During those 18 years, our project managers gave birth to 16 babies without counting our translators.
Thanks to Anita Huisman, Universal Translation Services!
#13- After some life changes
After two decades of being a housewife, my husband returned from Iraq disabled, sparking a radical shift in our lifestyle. I had to enter the workforce after being a stay at home mom for many years. I traversed the medical ﬁeld working as a CNA, EMT and eventually within healthcare administration. Throughout this tremulous time, I, like many of us working to provide for our loved ones, struggled with ﬁnding a fulﬁlling career path. I knew I was leaving my own goals, needs and lifelong dreams on the back-burner to provide and nothing more. I enrolled in college and started on my path to behavioral health-centered work. Throughout my studies, I discovered that my place was at people’s sides helping them achieve their goals. Then it hit me. I needed to share what I have done. Assisting others in creating a positive change in their lives7 was why I was here. I was compelled to share my skills for goal setting, organization, listening and affecting positive change with others to help them find the path to their own goals.
Thanks to Catherine Obrien, Coaching by Catherine!
#14- Lack of transparency on existing products
The main reason for me starting Spoon Guru was because my wife Jeany developed multiple food allergies and struggled to shop for foods she could eat, due to lack of transparent information about products that catered to people with allergies and specific dietary preferences. This impacted our life and I wanted to do something that would not only help her but the millions of food allergy sufferers in the UK and now USA. Using a unique combination of AI, machine learning, nutritionist expertise and consumer insights, the savvy search engine delivers hundreds of thousands of food products relevant to the individual, along with 1000s of tailored recipes. Whatever the individual food requirements may be, Spoon Guru finds food for every body. When shopping, the app’s powerful barcode scanner reads a product barcode to identify what the consumer can and cannot eat, making accurate grocery shopping enjoyable instead of a chore. The same search process has created tens of thousands of recipes.
Thanks to Markus Stripf, Spoon Guru!
#15- Upset with various products
Made Man was founded because I started getting terrible eczema on my hands and arms, dandruff in my beard, and wrinkles and dried out skin on my face. My dermatologist insisted that if I moisturized regularly I could fight most, if not all, of these problems. I must have tried two dozen different moisturizers over several months. Nothing was fit to use on my body and face and most products left me feeling greasy and unable to touch anything for several minutes. On top of that, a lot of products left me smelling like a candle, which was less than ideal. Some products even caused me to breakout – I was so upset. Out of spite, I decided to make a better product myself. I found out that most moisturizers use ingredients that are more or less gimmicks and not actually necessary or effective. I found a US partner that could affordably source and package the most effective and safest ingredients for a versatile and effective moisturizer. Once I knew it was possible and affordable to deliver a better product for a reasonable price, I never looked back.
Thanks to Christopher Turney, Made Man Products!
#16- Declare victory over finances
I created Wealth Warriors to empower and produce generational wealth for the lives of over 1,000,000 people. My parents came from Haiti to the United States and did not have in-depth knowledge of what was required to obtain financial freedom in this country. After graduating college with a degree in Accounting and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license, I found myself with over $30,000 worth of student loan debt and poor understanding of financial management. I then realized that if someone with my educational background did not have the tools and information needed to obtain financial freedom, there are likely millions more out there in the dark. Fortunately, I was able to quickly turn my finances around and help hundreds do the same. My business provides value-based financial and business education to anyone looking to increase their income, live an abundant life, and leave a legacy.
Thanks to Michel Valbrun, Wealth Warriors!
#17- Be a light to the industry
There are over 1.2 billion people in the world without light at home when they return from a days work. Studies show those people are less educated and live in poverty. Bringing light into their homes would allow them to lift themselves out of poverty thru education and developing small businesses. Our desire as a company is to “be a light” to our industry, and use the resources developed from commercializing a new LED Light source to bring affordable lighting to many of those 1.2 billion, with a focus on updating housing and educational facilities of Christian ministries serving this population. We love seeing the impact of energy cost reductions, improved housing, and the fruit developed thru the use of this new technology. –
Thanks to Kevin Cody, AgiluxUSA!
I simply wanted to become the real master of my time. I worked in corporate roles for years, preparing market analyses, forecasts, product launches, always in a rush between meetings and planes for high level executive in multinational companies. It was great and I loved it but I simply wanted to choose where, when, with whom I work. Now an independent consultant trading as Carbonexit Consulting, I participate to the fight against climate change, at my level, I go for a run or see my children and my wife nearly whenever I choose to. It is not just fun. and becoming independent comes with its own constraints but once you try, difficult to go back.
Thanks to François Le Scornet, Carbonexit Consulting!
I wanted freedom — freedom to be creative and travel at will. I was tired of doing the corporate grind, working within strict parameters, where creativity was not encouraged and even smothered. So I started my content writing firm, and haven’t looked back. Now I get to work when I want, how I want, and with people who inspire me. I work with clients from New York to Jerusalem, and get to work on the road, most recently beachside in Cuba and Brazil. Entrepreneurship takes grit, but the rewards are definitely worth reaping.
Thanks to Rick Sloboda, Webcopyplus!
#20- Help women move up in the world
I started my business to empower female entrepreneurs around the world to grow their businesses and change lives through authentic and sparkly websites and branding. My signature branding and web design framework employs a holistic approach built upon the belief that your website is your ticket to freedom and the process of building your businesses online should spark joy, not stress. After becoming fed up with sexism and glass ceilings in the entertainment industry, I started my business to help women move up in the world on their own terms. I realized that the best way for me to do this would be to position other women for success by launching their businesses with branding and websites that give them instant credibility online. My services not only encompass design but also give women the confidence and clarity they need to charge what they are worth. I believe this is a necessary shift that must happen for women in order to truly reach equality. This deeper cause behind my business gives me the drive to get up and keep working every day.
Thanks to Mel Judson, Mel Judson Branding & Web Design!
#21- Found an opportunity
I launched Satterfield Group after seeing an opportunity to create content around the industries that I am most passionate about. Today we get paid to drive cars, tell stories, design products, and create content with some of the biggest brands in the world. Being able to merge my passions and profession was a dream come true and I am excited for what is next.
Thanks to Mike Satterfield, Satterfield Group!