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 entrepreneurship and brand.
Helping out smaller publishers
As a seasoned digital media sales executive working in corporate America, I was generating millions of dollars in ad revenue for larger publishers. But in my free time, I was meeting with smaller publishers, on a pro bono basis helping to get their advertising sales models set up. While doing so, I realized a definite need to provide smaller publishers a service that would enable them to package their content offerings in a way that engaged their target audience, all while attracting top advertisers. Since I was already talented in creating integrated on-line custom experiences for advertisers, I made the decision to walk out on faith to establish an independent company where I could deliver advertisers integrated experiences that connect with their audiences in an emotional way, all while helping smaller publisher monetize their content. As a result, Shinko Media was born.
Thanks to Imani Laners, Shinko Media LLC
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Making a better world for children
As a serial entrepreneur, I always had reasons for my businesses. My focus is always making this a better world for children. My environmentally friendly wholesale retail store was started because my daughter was crying that ‘Bambi would not have a home’ if deforestation continued in our neighborhood. My Holistic health center was started as a by-product of my searching the globe for cancer cures. I built a skateboard park so my children would stop being arrested for boarding on the mall. My current new business “Empowering Women’s Roles to guide Children’s Souls’ comes out of my frustration with school shootings and violence by and against children.
Thanks to Daria Brezinski, DocDaria
To serve parents and small business owners protect their investments and provide for their loved ones
As a new mother, I wanted the very best for my newborn son, including always having his parents around. However, in life and in business I was taught to plan for the worst and hope for the best. As an estate planning attorney going through the process of updating my own estate plan to account for everything I wanted my son to have, emotionally and financially, I realized that a typical estate plan was severely lacking for parents with young children. I stayed up late every night until I had compiled, what I now refer to as our Family Affairs Legal Manual. I soon found myself pregnant with my daughter and, like all new moms, I wanted to spend as much time with my children as possible — I felt guilty going back to work. I also felt an overwhelming desire to help other families create their own Family Affairs Legal Manual and have lifetime access to their own In-House Family Counsel to organize their affairs, share their memories and values, protect their assets, and provide for their loved ones. In that moment, Wilson, lf, a boutique law firm specializing in estate and small business planning serving parents and small business owners organize their affairs to protect their investments and provide for their loved ones, was born and is now on a mission to provide “a plan for every family.”
Thanks to Tara Wilson, Wilson, lf
Combining the skills I’ve acquired in previous jobs to serve others
I’ve reinvented myself a lot. After changing careers from teaching and performing (as a professional musician) to earning my paralegal certification in 1997, I found fulfilling work in the business transactions area of a large law firm. Then the real fun began, as my husband’s career took us through several cross-country moves. In each different setting, I had to find new ways to capitalize on my transferable skills, and found myself doing everything from stock plan administration to broker dealer compliance to volunteer coordination. The one constant in all of my prior positions was the need for top-notch organization, efficiency and time management skills. After finally settling in the Nashville area, I started brainstorming about the perfect business I could start where my skills could be combined and put to use to help other entrepreneurs and homeowners – and last fall SkillSet Organizing was born. It functions as a division of the business consulting company, SkillSet Enterprises LLC, that my husband and I own and operate. Now I draw upon my teaching and business experiences to help others get their spaces in optimal organizational shape, gain control over their rooms and their schedules, and save time and money in doing so. I believe my love of organization and my desire to help clients lower their stress levels shines through loud and clear, as I’m staying really busy and have plans to expand my services to “virtual organizing” sessions in the coming months. All of that moving around has finally paid off!
Thanks to Sara Skillen, SkillSet Organizing
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Passionate about storytelling
I have always been passionate about storytelling. I had worked in digital media and the consumer internet space for 15 years and I wanted to bring a product to market that helped people to sell themselves, build their personal brand and tell their story. Today success is largely tied to your ability to stand out and build your brand online. And people need every advantage they can get! The videoBIO is a profile in video format that helps people to tell their story and promote themselves using professional online tools at a fraction of the cost that it used to cost to create a video.
Thanks to Catharine Fennell, videoBIO
Creating my own path
The first half of my working career I sought out positions in either new small businesses or in the new departments of established companies. I enjoyed the thrill and challenge of creating something new or setting the course in a new venture. But as soon as it was established, the challenge disappeared and the work became more management and maintenance. After enduring a couple of management positions, I made the choice to create my own path and focus on the areas of business I absolutely love. So I created Vertical Business Group to help small business owners overcome obstacles, create new revenue paths and ultimately grow their business. Based on those experiences, I wrote the book Why Do My Employees Hate Me as a way to teach decision makers how to overcome the challenges to growth they face on a daily basis.
Thanks to Will Eisenbrandt, Vertical Business Group
Solving a problem for mothers
My daughter was born with a head full of black silky hair. Each time I would breastfeed her, the back of her neck along the hairline would perspire and my arm would be damp. I decided that I needed an arm cover of some kind – not just for breastfeeding, but for cradling my baby. I told my husband about an idea that I had. He and I began playing around with various versions of an arm pillow. My husband drew a rough sketch of a pillow and my aunt was able to sew a rough prototype for me. The original intent of the pillow was for cradling babies for breast or bottle feedings. We knew it would be an excellent travel pillow. The idea for adding the privacy blanket came later. It was added after I was caught in a crowded area during a rainstorm at Disney World in Orlando, FL. My husband took off his shirt and gave it to me so that I could nurse my daughter. We realized that a privacy blanket or cover would separate our pillow from any other nursing pillow on the market. The blanket turned the pillow into a multi-purpose wonder! The GoPillow! solved several problems that mothers often run into when away from home with a baby or toddler.
Thanks to Tangela Walker-Craft, Simply Necessary, Incorporated
Family circumstances set the course
In 2004 I was a sole parent of two young daughters. I needed an income that would allow me to be close for my girls, particularly my youngest, Leah, who has Aspergers and needed stability. But employment in my town in regional Victoria was limited. I had a strong admin background, good computer and decided to start a secretarial business from home, and My Beechworth Secretary was born. Fast forward to today and I have a wonderful client base, strong team of subcontractors, varied and interesting work consistently coming in and I have recently started a local chapter of entrepreneurs. I love every day and am thankful for the choices I had to make that led me here. And my daughters are young women who know they can achieve whatever they set their minds and hearts to. My oldest has recently completed Interior Design and Leah is planning on studying robotics.
Thanks to Karen Nankervis, My Beechworth Secretary
Inspiration from my daughter, Madeline
The inspiration was my daughter Madeline, who sadly contracted a bone infection as a newborn. We were lucky that the surgeon was able to save her leg during the operation but we were told that she may have trouble learning to walk. When she started to crawl I began to research what type of shoes were recommended for a first shoe. It was unanimous that soft soles were the right way to go so off I went to the shops. It was not as easy as I had thought…5 shops later I found a Canadian brand and bought a pair for $52 (gulp). I did not love the colour or design but there were no other choices. I had a friend over from England and she asked me what I really wanted to do for work, I said start a cool but affordable baby shoe business and she said well do it then! So I rang Ali and said ‘I have a business idea, and I think this one will work!’. We met at Manly beach and I showed her all the info I had gathered. She was as excited as I was, so Beautiful Soles was born!
Thanks to Lucy Jackson, Beautiful Soles
To create a community of empowered small businesses and business owners
I started Exalt Public Relations with the vision to create a community of empowered small businesses and business owners. Previously, I had been working in a much larger organisation and was a small cog in a very big wheel so I felt detached from my clients and didn’t feel like I was able to directly contribute to the success of the project. At that time I was also volunteering my communication/PR expertise to my local development group and found that there was a gap in the market and the services available to small businesses. The small business community is full of interesting people with great ideas, but I found that (like many small business owners) they were time poor and didn’t have the time or skill set to get the idea off the ground. In helping th ese businesses, I found that I could offer their businesses skills and expertise they didn’t have in house, nor did they want to bring them in full time, and that working with them was extremely motivating and inspiring! I’ve created a business that delivers practical, relevant and effective PR and communication advice and solutions to small business. We work closely with all of our clients to find out exactly what they need and tailor our services to their business. Whatever we do we also have a commitment to quality and securing results.
Thanks to Bridget Heinemann, Exalt Public Relations
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Combining my artistic flair with restaurant management experience
Started Paramount Event Hire in 1999, when the brand new industry of Wedding decorating by professionals was in it’s infancy. Started business after seeing a potential huge niche market. Business started from the front bedroom of family home, quickly moved into purpose built showroom/warehouse premises within 12mths. Holding a Master of Art, it was a fantastic way of combining my artistic flair, and my Restaurant Management experience rolled into a business where I could actually make a living after completing a BA Visual Arts. I love the freedom of choosing when to come to work, using my creativity in the work place to it’s full potential, whom I want to work with in my workplace; watching employees skills and confidence grow, especially after they get such a great sense of achievement when they see the results of their hard work setting up a wedding or corporate event. I also love seeing the joy on people’s faces when we create their dream wedding or event – job satisfaction and being in control of that process is high on the list for starting own business. I never thought I would love coming to work so much! It is not so much work, as it is my passion.
Thanks to Jacqui Williams, Paramount Event Hire
To inspire others to live a life of health and happiness
I was a remedial massage therapist for 8 years and my greatest skills were listening and influencing positive change in my clients. I always felt compelled to ‘fix’ my clients problems and realised that musculoskeletal injuries was just one component to the lack of disharmony in someone’s life. Working in multidisciplinary clinics for years made me realise that there are so many ways to bring more health and happiness into people’s lives. I went back and studied coaching and then how to train people to ‘Do it yourself (DIY) Health and Happiness. The greatest results I ever achieved from helping others have been by teaching them to cultivate their own Health and Happiness. I love having my own business because it means I keep learning and growing as an individual all whilst spreading more health and happiness around the world. Love it!
Thanks to Deanne Brennan, Think Out Loud
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It began as a lark
It began as a lark. I had given my boyfriend Steve an iPad for his birthday. He was frustrated that he couldn’t read it outside in the sun. He began researching to see if there were any solutions, but wasn’t impressed by what was on the market. He then decided to try to make one himself. I promised to help and over a year later we finalized the product, the Hoodi. Compelled by our belief that others would want one too, we decided to start our business.
Thanks to Cindy Hodnett, Hoodivision
To help companies save money and resources on their IT programs
I’ve been in networking equipment industry my entire career. I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to sell my first company in 2000 to a global public company. After retiring in my late 30’s for a short period of time, I realized how much I missed the challenges of strategically growing and building a business as well as the camaraderie of a dynamic team. In 2004, I founded Worldwide Supply and took the experiences learned over the first 20 years in the industry, along with some of the core employees from the first organization and have been able to grow the company from less than 3 employees to more than 50 with offices throughout the U.S. as well as Mexico and South America. I enjoy the daily challenges of business, interacting and mentoring our future leaders who support and provide solutions and services to companies I’ve had close working relationships with for over 25 years.
Thanks to Jay VanOrden, Worldwide Supply
Because we couldn’t find another company that offered the services we needed
My company is Consultants 2 Go and we provide marketing and analytic consultants to Fortune 500 corporations. My business partner and I started our company in 2002 because we could not find another company that offered the services that we needed. While we were in Corporate America, we realized we needed to use marketing and analytic consultants for new product launches or to provide maternity leave coverage for marketing executives. We could not hire a staff for that short-term service. These were high level projects and we could not afford to fail and needed to use seasoned consultants who knew how to navigate in a corporate setting. The corporation for which we worked only provided administrative staffing or used the larger consulting companies to do strategy work. We hired our friends who were executives and left the workforce because they had children and corporations did not yet provide flexible working arrangements for them. When we were displaced after 9/11, we knew immediately that companies would use this type of consulting service to get their products and services to market especially in a down economy. Even though we’ve grown, the premise and foundation of our business remains the same, to provide seasoned marketing and analytic consultants to Fortune 500 corporations.
Thanks to Sandi Webster, Consultants 2 Go
After seeing Salt Therapy first hand
After witnessing the beneficial effects Salt Therapy had on my fathers respiratory conditions back in Ireland, I researched to see if the Therapy was available in Australia. Upon doing my research, I could not find anyone practicing Salt Therapy in Australia, so I negotiated the distribution rights from the machine manufacturers in Estonia, got it recognised by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration Australia), and opened Australia’s first Centre in June 2010. As Salt Therapy had an impact on my fathers life, I have unstoppable energy when promoting this therapy. I introduced a new Therapy & Market into Australia, where I had only immigrated to in 2009, and through my shire believe, personal motivation, and willing to succeed, nearly 3 years on I have a Franchise model, and I have now been invested into by one of Australia’s leading Entrepreneurs, Gerry Ryan. If you have a belief, passion, motivation and a clear picture of what you want y our business to look like in the future, you are the creator of your own destiny.
Thanks to David Lindsay, Salts of the Earth Pty Ltd.
Developing my own ideas
My grandpa was an entrepreneur. He started a company outside of Detroit called Industrial Burner Systems that sold heating implements to big factories around the Midwest. When I was finishing up journalism school at Northwestern in 2008, I had a few job offers in the news industry, but also some ideas for digital products I thought people would enjoy and find valuable. I decided if I was ever going to make a go of it, that was the time. So I turned those job offers down and started developing web sites and advertising tools that eventually became Perfect Audience, the first self-service retargeting platform for Facebook and the web. My company is very different from my grandpa’s. As a digital ad company, our products exist only on the internet and don’t require a factory to assemble, but the challenges I face — hiring, finding customers, executing on a strategy, etc. — are the same ones he faced 40 years ago
Thanks to Brad Flora, Perfect Audience
Beginning as a seed planted by life’s experiences
My purpose began as a seed planted by life’s experiences and then it blossomed. After a year of living in Africa and putting on business information sessions in 10 different countries I saw something special. It was the spark in entrepreneurs that were committed to starting or growing businesses that created income and impact. I had been a small business expert and development consultant for years. From my experiences came the inspiration for two books Your Big Year and From Payne to Power.I strive to inspire individuals to take action and eliminate personal and professional roadblocks to small business success. This is how Soul Purpose Company came to be. We provide business and professional development training for entrepreneurs that want to live their purpose by building profitable impact-driven businesses. I believe that purpose actually supersedes passion. The purpose clarifies the end goal and that’s what we empower businesses to work towards. Soul Purpose Company’s make more money to serve more people and create a bigger difference in the difference in the world.
Thanks to Jamila Payne, Soul Purpose Company
Because we wanted something to do
On our third night in Bogota, my girlfriend and I found ourselves cooped up in the hotel room. Having exhausted our guide book’s recommendations, we ended up watching Anchor Man. Great movie, yes, but it’s a shame to waste a night in a new city because you’re not sure where to go. What I really wanted was a way to explore this new place by mapping it to my home. I love the East Village in New York City, so what’s the equivalent neighborhood here? It seemed like a natural evolution in location discovery, and after five years at Google, an amazingly exciting challenge. My definition of a great job is one where you’re constantly learning something new. Nine months into starting Zofari, the job is definitely passing the test.
Thanks to Nate Weinstein, Zofari
Because I couldn’t work for anyone else
When I was 17-18 years old, I realized that I didn’t really enjoy working for someone else. I was always passionate about technology but I couldn’t think of a way to convert that passion into something that provided an income. Around this time, I started working with a technology startup but quickly realize that I was wasting time. I needed to be working on my business, not someone else’s. I then started working with my Dad who had started businesses in the past, and together, we were able to create Edukaans. We started working around the online education space and how it relates to organizations. Two years later, we are providing a video platform that helps organizations deliver their educational content online. It’s been a hard journey but I don’t regret choosing it over a normal job.
Thanks to Ruben Ugarte, Edukaans