23 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Businesses
Sometimes the hardest part to starting a business is quite literally getting started. It’s one thing to have an idea, but it’s a completely different thing to nurture that idea, cultivate it, and help it grow. It’s much easier to make excuses and let your great idea fall by the way side. So what is it exactly that motivates entrepreneurs to get started? In this post we’ll be sharing stories from various start-ups, business owners, and entrepreneurs on why they started their own business.
To Share Our Expertise
The idea for a personalized gardening service started when Co-Founder John Toepfer, an avid self-taught gardener, shared with me stories of the numerous questions that he received from his neighbors asking for advice and help with their own gardens. We saw two common impediments that prevented people from being successful at gardening; one is having the time and the other a lack of knowledge on how to get started. Blooming Secrets’ is our solution to both of these obstacles. We saw an opportunity to provide people with the knowledge on how to garden as well as saving them time with personalized product offerings tailored to the customer’s capabilities and their local growing conditions. The Blooming Secrets website assists customers by selecting plants and flowers that are available to grow where they live and fit with their experience and interest. In addition to selling products the site also has extensive content on many topics to educate, give advice and answer questions.
Thanks to Susan Brandt, Blooming Secrets
I Loved Working for Lawyers but I Hated Working for Lawyers
After a few years of working full time as a legal technology trainer at a large Florida law firm I had become disenchanted with my job. And I wasn't really sure why. My job was interesting and I was constantly learning and teaching new things. I was part of the internal IT department so I was also always involved in technology projects that I found fascinating and fun. But the internal politics and red-tape surrounding every major technology decision, project and implementation was incredibly frustrating. And as for the lawyers themselves, well, I've never met a lawyer I don't like – but let me tell you, in a high-stress situation that is conceivably being made worse “because” of technology – you don't want to be the one in the doorway trying to help. After one-too-many exchanges with a pissed off lawyer or legal assistant, I decided I had to get out. But I had years of experience in a very niche field and didn't want to throw that away – plus I really liked what I was doing. I had started to get to know people in the greater legal technology community by writing articles for industry magazine and speaking at national conferences. I wondered could I survive as a legal technology consultant. I worried that I was too young or didn't have enough experience. I called upon some industry elders to ask them what they thought. Not only did they tell me to go for it – they told me they had some projects I would be perfect for! That was ten years ago and LawTech Partners is still going strong. I get to help lawyers and their staff, continue to learn new skills, new software and new tools that I get to share with to my clients. And the best part? They LOVE to hear from me and are always very thankful for the help I provide.
Thanks to Adriana Linares, LawTech Partners
I like being rewarded directly for my work
Without formal business training (my bachelor's degree was in vocal performance), I learned through the school of hard knocks and cool opportunities how to create successful companies. I started my current business mentoring other creative owners to share what I've learned, and continue to learn. It's all about the experiential side of growing business that even an MBA doesn't teach, nor a case study capture. I continue to develop my own ventures, particularly in the field of licensing products and business owner education, where I'm amassing still new lessons I can't wait to share with others who want more than mere money from their life in entrepreneurship.
Thanks to Dodie Jacobi, Dodie jacobi
Chrysler Asked Me To
I started: Kurman Communications Inc.; which is based in Chicago. It's a public relations agency. I started my business 31 years ago at the suggestion of Chrysler Corporation. I had been involved in the auto industry, having worked for Crain Communications' Automotive News, where I created and implemented the first three Automotive News World Congresses. The World Congress continues today, 38 years since the first. I was noticed by executives in the auto industry. I left automotive news in 1979 move to Chicago and went to work for a public relations agency. While at that agency, I was contacted by a second agency in Chicago who had secured the Chrysler business. They were looking for a new account person to manage the Chrysler business, and Chrysler told them to find me. I interviewed and was offered the position. After 3 1/2 years at that agency, Chrysler came to me and said go into business and we will give you the account. It was an offer that was hard to refuse. I set up a company to be a full-time contract employee for Chrysler Corporation. I was charged with the responsibility of managing the media relations for all Chrysler products in the Central region of the United States covering 17 states. I was also involved in the third of Chrysler's national marketing programs. Soon after forming Kurman Communications, I was called by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises to pitch the business for managing the public relations of its growing restaurant group. We won that account and now, 31 years later, we have a thriving highly respected Chicago-based public relations agency that manages consumer PR, integrated marketing programs and social media campaigns throughout the United States.
Thanks to Cindy Kurman, Kurman Communications, Inc
I Wanted to Learn Chinese, Live in China, and Do it Right!
We arrived in China using similar services that Next Step China provides (Register you in a university, provide you with a Chinese tutor, provide activities or trips to tourist areas, make sure that you have a place to stay, provide you with mobile phones and other basic items that you will need once you arrive in China). When my co-founder and I arrived separately in China, the company we chose forgot to pick us up from the airport, I had to clean my room, our Chinese tutors were just university undergraduate students who would rather practice their English than teach us Chinese, they promised me an internship but after 4 months in, I never got anything except options to just teach in China, and the list goes on. Given my background on conference or events management, I started to discuss the possibility of opening a similar company that provided an excellent Chinese language immersion program in China wherein you're provided an environment to use your time to learn the language, intern or teach and understand Chinese history and culture. We started the company knowing that we can definitely manage the services better and make sure everyone makes the most of their time in China. We started the company, Next Step China, because we know that we will be the ones who will provide better service and understanding of what clients need in China. To date, there are other companies that try to copy what we do (After all, this is China), but they still have a lot to learn when it comes to customer service. I'm very happy that we started Next Step China because I can say that we are currently the best full-serviced Immersion Program in China.
Thanks to Amethyst Wytiu, Next Step China
We Wanted to Create a Better, Safer, Cleaner Product
We knew about the aluminum and toxic chemicals present in most deodorants and antiperspirants, so we tried all of the natural deodorants on the marketplace. When we discovered that none of them really worked, we set out to create our own. We began doing intensive research and experimenting with different natural ingredients. After lots of trial and error, we finally created a natural deodorant that worked and applied just like the commercial ones – but without all of the chemicals and aluminum. When we shared it with our friends and family we got rave reviews, and word spread like wildfire. Providing a solution that is completely natural and does not disappoint in its effectiveness is extremely rewarding.
Thanks to Tim and Laura Jones, Arborstead
I Wanted More Out of Life and an Income to Pay for Our Kids College Education
I was the owner of a Print Brokering Business for over 13 years when I felt I needed and wanted more from a career. I wanted to work with people, be in charge of my time and be responsible for the amount of money I could earn. Enter my best friend who introduced me to my first Network Marketing Business. As I sat in a coffee shop listening about Ignite, powered by Stream Energy, I kept thinking, “ I could do this.” “This is great, what is the catch?” Only to find out that there was not a catch and this was the business for me! Fast forward 2 years and I have never had a moment of regret. Network Marketing is the most underestimated and most mis understood industry. I now have a business where I control my time, earn a monthly passive residual income on a energy, a life essential service, and get to choose who I work with. Life is good and in 3-5 years, I can only imagine how life will be then!
Thanks to Jodi Silverman, Jodi Silverman
I Want to Make a Difference
I never envisioned myself as working in the fashion industry, but when I went to Colombia, and found Purpuratta my life changed. It means always giving 150%, but with ambition and a goal in mind, it is worth it. I started my business because I want to make a difference. I intend to one-day start a charity for poverty and to help people, especially children. There are many powerful individuals in this world that could contribute so much more to society, but wealth and greed often blind them. I believe that we all have to learn to be a little selfless to make this world a better place.
Thanks to Saira Moosai, Purpuratta
I Wanted to Give Teenagers the Tools to Live Fulfilling Adult Lives
Fresh out of college with a newly minted degree in Classics, I landed the only job I was qualified for: teaching other people Latin. Even luckier, the former Latin teacher was now the principal of the school, and we enjoyed a great relationship. While teaching high school Latin, I found Life Coaching and became trained and certified. As I learned about Life Coaching, I wondered why I didn't learn about these concepts sooner. It seemed like there was such a gap between what was taught in schools and what was really useful in life. What if I started teaching teenagers these concepts? That led to starting Academic Life Coaching, a Life Coaching company dedicated to redesigning education and giving students the experience and skills they need to lead effective, fulfilled adult lives. Established in 2004, ALC has worked with over 300 high school students and trained over 180 Academic Life Coaches throughout the world.
Thanks to John Andrew Williams, Academic Life Coaching
Because I Love Music
Music was a big part of my childhood and when I started going to concerts I brought along a camera and captured some moments to re-live over and over. After awhile my photos started to get noticed and I had companies and bands using my photos in promotions. That projected me into a touring concert photographer. Once I got married I fell in love with weddings and wedding photography and transitioned my company over to wedding and portrait photography which is where it is today. I love seeing the looks on my client's faces when they see the images from their session
Thanks to Jasmine Norris-Dixson, Jasmin Norris
To Escape Corporate America's Dream
Corporate America had my life planned out for me. I would work 7a-5p in a small cubicle, earn a decent salary and set my own goals that never had a purpose. Corporate America had some nightmares, like the quarterly layoffs and mandatory non-paid overtime. Starting my own business brought me flexibility in my schedule, 100% ownership of the work I do and control of my own destiny. Most importantly, it gave me a challenge in running my own business, something Corporate America's dreams never could accomplish. Leaving Corporate America is one of the highlights of my life, and I look forward to adding more throughout my career as a small business owner.
Thanks to Lance Selgo, Tips For Real Estate Photography
To Give A Voice to the Marginalized
I started Artisans in the Andes when I moved to Ecuador. My vision was to work with local women and women's groups from the indigenous people here in Ecuador. I aimed to use my business and marketing skills to promote their handmade goods, ensure that they receive a fair price and give them access to world wide markets. I hope to break the chains of exploitation and poverty that blight the lives of these hardworking, creative people. When deciding on products to carry, I was very drawn to organic tagua and acai jewelry. Both these seeds grow in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador. Using these and other natural and sustainable products from the Rainforest helps to prevent clearcutting it for farming or mining
Thanks to Tracey Krause, Artisans in the Andes
Because I Couldn't Find a Substantial Job After Graduation
Through my scholars years I have worked as nanny/babysitters to support myself, I came to understand the needs of parent for a great nanny services therefore it had led me to start (*ONG Care*) Our Network Guided Care is an online based business providing College students p/t or f/t work as nanny and babysitter to great families. *”ONG Care”* Our Network Guided Care helps workers and employers make informed decisions regarding care of your children, family members. “*ONG Care's Angels*” foundation would be a part of ONG Care responsibilities to firmly give back to communities that are less fortunate. Our main goals are to encourage young girls to become entrepreneurs as well as self empowerment. We also want to help woman with second language to be resourceful and give them stand to continue their education. I am from Haiti. I speak a second language and I understand how hard it can be with a language barrier.
Thanks to Mildrene Volcy, Ong Care
To Stay Home with My Children
I used to be a retail store manager and as much as I loved it, the weekends and nights were never going to be ideal for being home with my kids. Once I had children, I knew I needed to change jobs but I didn't know what I could do that would give me the flexibility that I needed to work around my children's schedule. Then I found blogging and I love it. It has been a lot of hard work to build my blog audience but I love that I am always available when my kids need me. I never would have had the courage to take the entrepreneurial leap if I did not need to do so for my kids!
Thanks to Scarlet Paolicchi, Family Focus Blog
To Get in on The Ground Floor of a Burgeoning Market
There are currently over 46 million Americans that are smokers. Rising prices, limited public freedoms, and health considerations are compelling many smokers to either quite, or find some kind of alternative. So over the past several years I have witnessed the introduction of electronic cigarettes. While an e-cigarette is not approved by the FDA as a Cessation Device, many smokers now use them as alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. So for me, when I started researching the numbers, and came to realize the size of the market in the U.S. alone, it made me dig in a bit deeper. Quickly I was discovering that many financial analysts, including folks at Goldman Sachs were suggesting that ecigs could overtake traditional tobacco over the next 10 years. So the opportunity to take part in a huge, rapidly growing market was motivation to start my business. The other factor was that the brands that currently exist in the market are selling overpriced pieces of plastic with shoddy ecig juice at best, and I thought to myself, that isn't right, and I can do way better. Thus Signature E-Cigarettes was born. Since the beginning of last year, I started manufacturing my own product and have crafted a luxury e-cigarette with a World Class Vaping experience
Thanks to Justin W Boggs, Signature E-Cigarettes
To Lead the Life I Want to Live
I never really knew I wanted to be a business owner until I started a sneaker company with my father back in late 2010. We started an athletic shoe company that prevents ankle sprains, Ektio Inc. I quit a lucrative job in NYC as an accountant to take a risk on a new innovative business. I'm still in the middle of it today, and I've realized how amazing it is to be your own boss and control your own schedule. Working hard for yourself as opposed to working for someone else for a paycheck is a liberating and unbelievable feeling. It's tough, and there's a lot more volatility in my life, but hopefully the outcome will make it all worth it. This is why my girlfriend (Casey Casterline) and I started eDivv.com, to be owners of our own business and lead the life want to pursue. Casey also has a very entrepreneurial mindset that she realized about herself watching Ektio's startup experience.
Thanks to John Katz, eDivv
I Saw a Strong Need for Young Minority Students to be Exposed Entrepreneurship
After three years and a whole lot of workshops and classes taught, we've been successful in teaching students in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Hartford, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Chicago the theory and, more importantly, the application, of business startup strategies. Our age-appropriate and interactive workshops, classes, and games are highly effective in educating young people on how to start, grow, and maintain a business, all while staying in school.
Thanks to Chike Uzoka, Chike Uzoka
I Always Dreamed of Running My Own Company
When my first daughter Julia was born and my husband was laid off from his job, we saw that as an opportunity to start our own business. We wanted to spend as much time as possible with our baby and meet other parents. Since I loved dressing up my little girl in the cutest outfits, starting an online kids clothing boutique for busy moms like me was a perfect solution.
Thanks to Tatiana Tugbaeva, My Little Jules
To Help the Consumer by Offering a More Affordable and Convenient Product
I started my celebrity gifting and niche PR business, Baby Swags, back in 2006 after I attended a celebrity gifting event that was very expensive and wasn't the best experience. I wanted to come up with a way to get work-at-home mom made, inspired, or invented products to celebrity moms-to-be without having them break their banks trying to do so and doing it while staying at home. After one month of starting this new venture, word of mouth took over and it suddenly became a well-respected business within mom-entrepreneurial communities. I have had the opportunity to work with celebrities on various events, had client products spotted and used, and have worked with over 700 clients on some business level. I have always been passionate about supporting WAHM's and value the individual relationships I have been fortunate to develop as a result of doing something I love.
Thanks to Phyllis Pometta, Baby Swags
To Create My Own Path to Success
I started my company in 2009 during a time when it was very difficult to find employment as a recent college graduate. I knew it would be a difficult mountain to climb as an independent contractor; but the reward far outweighed the risk taken for Eyeclectic Media these past 5 years.
Thanks to Clifton Johnson Jr., Eyeclectic Media
I Wanted to Solve a Common Problem
My wife, Laura, was tired of carrying everything for me; but the only clothing on the market with tons of pockets was fishing or photography vests with bulky, exterior pockets. I knew there was a better way and so I received a patent for wiring headphones and batteries through clothing. We license that technology to other companies as TEC-Technology Enabled Clothing(R). While waiting for the patent, I started, the first clothing brand launched online with hidden pockets and a wiring system!
Thanks to Scott Jordan, SCOTT EVEST
I Wanted to Provide a Great Working Environment for Everyone
After just over 2 years in business, my co working space now has almost 100 members and we have probably served over 150 people in that time. It has been a crazy ride at times, but today I still come to work and enjoy it for the same reason I started the business in the first place: to provide my community with a friendly, professional work environment for anyone that needed it. Most of the co working spaces in our region are focused more narrowly on tech startups, but our open-enrollment policy caters to a more diverse population of workers. One big difference between the early days and now is that in the early days the business was a side project that I was passionate about. These days I am working on putting processes and systems in place that will make it the sustainable as a business and a fixture of our community for many years to come.
Thanks to Robert Petrusz, Bull City Coworking
To Build a Better Business Model
I had spoken with my aunt, a local florist in Southern California, who was struggling with her business after working with online flower services. After hearing about my aunt's dissatisfaction (as well as realizing customers' irritations), I realized that the two most important people part of the flower ordering process were getting the short end of the stick. The middle brokers were collecting all the money. Utilizing my experience as a mergers and acquisitions manager, I was compelled to analyze a prominent flower website company. BloomNation was created after I realized how the flower industry really worked. Now, BloomNation is disrupting the online flower industry by allowing customers to finally shop directly with top local florists all over the country and at the same time giving local businesses more success. The site provides customers with a “BloomSnap,” which is a photo of the completed arrangement before it's delivered so the customers knows that what was ordered is what will be received.
Thanks to Farbod Shoraka, BloomNation
So what have we learned here? As you can see, many of these entrepreneurs didn’t just have a great idea; they first were confronted with an obstacle, and then they created a solution. They saw a need, a hole that had to be filled, and fulfilled it. Adversity can be the greatest catalyst for positive change in someone’s life; if you let it. Now, ask yourself: What’s going to be my catalyst? When are you going say enough is enough, and get started on that great idea? Let it be now; and maybe one day someone will ask you why you started your business.