23 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Businesses

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 entrepreneur and brand.

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1) Locate Moms Close By

My name is Jillian Darlington and I am the creator and founder of the MomCo App. It is a new app that helps moms connect with other moms as well as the businesses that cater to them and their children. This business was truly inspired by my own life experiences. As a young mom, I worked tirelessly going to playdates and classes with my son just hoping to click with another cool mom to be friends with. A few years later I got divorced and downloaded the Tinder app. It made me think, “Why doesn’t something like this exist for moms to locate other moms that live close to them?” I was also the owner of an indoor playground trying to find ways to affordably reach my target demographic. This is how the concept for the MomCo app was formed. A GEO location based social networking app for moms to find friendship and support. Also, the perfect platform for any business that caters to women and children to be able to list themselves so all the moms in their community can easily find them. The MomCo app solves issues for moms and small business owners.

Thanks to Jillian Darlington, MomCo!

2) Help People in Unfortunate Circumstances

I’ve always had a deep attachment to the water crisis, especially because in my youth I had been transferred to underdeveloped countries with my family. I saw firsthand the effects of not having clean water, and I've wanted to do something to help people in these unfortunate circumstances. That's why I founded Do Amore Rings – a wedding ring company where every ring would also give two people access to clean water. Our company makes it so a couple can change two other lives forever on their special day. On the day a couple decides to share a life together, they are also saving lives.

Thanks to Krish Himmatramka, Do Amore!

3) Frustrated by Lack of Women Leadership

Gangly Sister was started because I was frustrated with how few women were choosing leadership positions in technology. I realized that the media was a huge influence on what girls aspire to be. What we see at ages 8, 9, and 10 dramatically influences our future. I simply was not satisfied with the games, video, and comic books available to girls, so I started to create my own. If we don't create what we want in the world, it just won't be available. My vision for new media for girls is so strong that I just can't imagine doing anything else right now. The previous business I started came from the same frustration, to tell the truth. I decided to start my own marketing agency, because I saw it was difficult to move up in technology companies as a woman. Typically, I'd be hired for a senior director position, and be promised the VP position as the company grew. Inevitably, that position was offered to a man overseas, and I had to settle for staying at a lower level, or I was laid off and he brought in his own team. Creating my own company allowed me to have economic stability rather than constantly dealing with supposedly permanent jobs that ultimately turned out to be temporary.

Thanks to Rebecca Rachmany, Gangly Sister!

4) Discovering “Why”

I started my freelance writing business back in 2007 but decided to quit my job earlier this year to focus on driving it because I discovered my ‘why’. This business exists today because I believe everyone should get the chance to live out his or her dream. By focusing on my freelance writing and writing about issues I’m passionate about such as gender diversity, I help to give anyone with a dream, a voice. And that is a privilege.

Thanks to Sarah Cannata!

5) Good Idea

I started my business because I had a good idea that could help me become a better manager for teams that I lead. I figured out a way to use technology with the “people” side of management, which is often the trickiest part. I heard great feedback from colleagues, so I decided to turn it into a service for other managers to use. I've had a great response, managers from over 1,000 companies have signed up for Awesome Boss in the past 2 months alone.
Thanks to B.J. Schone, Awesome Boss!

6) It was the Shorts

As a veteran television producer and novice athlete, I decided to train for my first marathon in the hopes of finding and funding a cure for the cancer my friend was bravely battling. I spent the 26.2 miles finding fault with the ill-fitting, dysfunctional and certainly unflattering running shorts I was wearing. Eight years, thousands of miles, and even more running ‘bottoms' later, I decided that if I couldn't find fitness fashions I liked, I'd make them myself.

Thanks to Alison O’Brien, JWalking Designs!

7) Market Need

Link Coworking came about in a way that many businesses do—a need arose in the market and no one was meeting that need. I spent 14 years working for Dell, Inc., and managed a highly successful and profitable multi-million dollar business from my home office. I often found herself jockeying for cord position at Starbucks, speaking in hushed tones and looking over my shoulder. If not at a coffee shop I was renting expensive meeting space or working in relative isolation in her home. I had a need for a professional, welcoming space that provided meeting rooms, connectivity and most importantly, human interaction. Coworking is the term that caught on to describe these new innovative spaces.

Thanks to Liz Elam, Link Coworking!

8) My Father & Wanting to Help Others

My name is Seattle Sutton, and I am the founder of Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating. I am an RD, and graduated from Jamestown College's very first Nursing class! My father weighted over 300 pounds, and died of congestive heart failure, which became my inspiration for wanting to help others. So 30 years ago, at fifty-three years old, I decided to create SSHE after one of my patients said that he would not eat healthy food unless someone prepared his meals for him. Ever since then, I've been helping people lose with the “no nonsense” way, before all the fad diets of today came along! SSHE has helping countless people achieve their weight loss goals, turned a $1,000 investment into $25 million corporate gross income, grown from 231 average weekly meal count to 220,000 and has inspired 13 family members to work for the company.
Thanks to Seattle Sutton, Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating!

9) Followed My Passion

In 2010 I was laid off from corporate America. As I looked at my job description, I realized much of what I loved about my job wasn’t even in the description! I loved networking and connecting people. I loved writing the company newsletter. Then it dawned on me – I have loved writing for as long as I can remember! I began networking with business owners, launched a blog, and began my career as a professional writer. Ultimately, I started my business because I am passionate about creating content that is of value to readers.

Thanks to Anne McAuley, McAuley Freelance Writing!

10) Struck Out on my Own

While I was still in college, I was doing freelance graphic design. When  I graduated with a BA in Studio Art I didn't want to pursue a masters, but the graphic design work was engaging and promising. Most agencies were only accepting intern level positions or required a degree in the graphic arts. So I struck out on my own, right out of college, forming  the company JV Media Design. That was in 1995 and I still have the company.
Thanks to Sherry Holub, JV Media Design!

11) Nobody Understood the Technology

While working at a global technology company 25 years ago, I realized nobody at the company's PR firm really understood the technology, so they could not effectively write about it. Consequently, I began creating, messaging and positioning the material myself and realized I really enjoyed it. It was this enthusiasm that prompted me to leave my position, pursue my passion for promoting complex technologies, and start my own PR agency.
Thanks to Ilene Adler, Vantage PR

12) Time with my Family

I'm a dad of 2 kids, so being a business owner allows me to schedule my time with my family. Plus, I understand those people with a desire to have a family, then I created Fashion Stork and now with the help of our customers we are supporting couples and families who wants to adopt a child.

Thanks to Emmanuel Ley, Fashion Stork

13) Selfish Reasons

I started my business for purely selfish reasons. I've worked in fitness my whole career. Two of my loves for my own workouts are indoor cycling and yoga, so I figured why not offer both in the same studio? I knew there would be others who would relish the chance to find their favorite boutique fitness classes under one roof, and for one price.The quick, high energy of the cycling classes offers the perfect balance for the strengthening flow of our yoga classes. Some days you want one, or the other, some days you need both. Although I love being in the service business, and taking care of the health of others, it all began by looking around and what my needs and wants were, and focusing on developing a service I thought was missing in my own life.
Thanks to Sara-Mai Conway, Resolute Fitness: Cycling & Yoga!

14) Bring Together 3 Passions

I started Rip Media Group to bring together three passions of mine: motion picture storytelling, marketing, and my ideas for a more positive, productive company culture. As a child, I was inspired by Madison Avenue storytelling and later by great cinema. My career, though, took me into technology sales and marketing, where I not only learned (through blood, sweat, and tears) marketing best practices, but also experienced some horribly toxic management styles and company cultures. After being part of successfully acquired tech companies, and spending time in large enterprise afterwards, I identified a new market opportunity that would allow me to bring together my passions for video and marketing in an enterprise in which I would own the company culture. We've been able to grow the company, do creative and effective work on marketing videos, and maintain a positive environment that attracts not only great people but also great clients who respond not just to our work, but to our culture.

Thanks to Maury Rogow, Rip Media Group!

15) I Knew as a Teenager

I knew as a teenager that I wanted to start a business. For me, I took an untraditional approach-young and ambitious, I left school at only sixteen to pursue my dream. At the time I was working at a credit-card processing company and was able to learn so much about the business and overall industry from their leadership team (in fact, the former CEO is now a close friend and mentor). During that experience I saw an opportunity to bring a new kind of payment solution to market. At a time when other companies were outsourcing support, my vision was of a processing company that brought all of the support in-house-offering it 24/7-to provide the best customer experience possible. I left that job with more business knowledge than I started with and an unwavering commitment to hard work to go out on my own. By providing customer support unlike other companies in the industry, I was seen as a differentiator and was able to scale quickly. Over the years we continued to innovate, like when we launched an industry-first integrated POS system with no up-front costs, specifically designed to meet the needs of small to medium sized businesses. Today, we're processing over $9B+ annually for more than 100K U.S. merchants. My leap of faith was successful because I knew going in that I had a unique approach to an otherwise unchanged industry.
Thanks to Jared Isaacman, Harbortouch!

16) For Today's Leaders to Connect

I started Y Scouts with the belief that today’s leaders must authentically connect to the purpose and values of the organizations they lead. If disconnected, the strength of their experience (i.e. their resume) will only compensate for so long. With more than 70% of the workforce unhappy with their work experience, and the associated half trillion loss in productivity this disconnect yields (not to mention the host of additional ripple effects), there has never been a more critical time to re-examine how we find and connect the right leaders with the right companies.

Thanks to Brian Mohr, Y Scouts!

17) Keep My Kids Entertained

I wanted a way to keep my kids entertained without shelling out hundreds of dollars on amusements parks and movie tickets. I recognized how much time they were spending in front of a screen, from computer to cell phone, TV and movies. I have a passion for fitness and wanted to get kids active while they safely had fun. In 2008, I, along with my business partner, a fellow father, innovated a better engineered and safer trampoline system for indoor trampoline arenas. After fine-tuning and enjoying initial success, we launched a business opportunities for families to have fun together and enjoy getting fit together, using American-made indoor trampoline arenas. Our model is the first and only patented trampoline arena.

Thanks to Mark Gurley, Rebounderz Franchise and Development!

18) I Never Give Up

I became an entrepreneur and started my own business because I have a great disadvantage over other people which is that I never give up. There are two types of people we meet in our lives. Individuals who will build you up and individuals who will try to tear you down. The outcome is simple, you will thank both of them in the end. On average, 9 out of 10 new businesses fail, so I started my business #10. Failure is not the opposite of success. It is part of success. Knowing and living by this is the pre-requisite of being a successful entrepreneur. Failure does not scare me. My desire for intellectual stimulation coupled with an unparalleled state of mind allows me to attain the impossible. I started my own business because I realized that your potential is measured by the size of your dreams. Know this and you will always control any outcome you desire. What I am after can’t be purchased. It is the purest form of freedom. Financial independence can provide this freedom. To me, being an entrepreneur means that I can create something that is bigger than me. I can take risks and explore the horizon by stepping outside my comfort zone while I get to live my passion.

Thanks to Tulga Demir, Demir Energy, LLC!

19) Meaning & Fulfillment in my Life

It's not by chance that I founded the Right Life Project. I faced homelessness as a child and a demoralizing, pervasive sense of unfulfillment as an adult, despite having built a successful career in business. The Right Life Project grew from my efforts to cultivate meaning and fulfillment in my own life. Having spent decades researching and testing various theories and approaches, I felt compelled to leave my career behind to pursue my vision: to help as many people as possible achieve their potential, and develop more balanced, wise, compassionate, and healthy ways of relating to others, the world, and themselves. In doing so, I continue to do the same for myself.”
Thanks to Jim Hjort, Right Life Project!

20) Experimenting

I started PlumHill in my kitchen, as I was experimenting with natural oils and essences in an attempt to combat the negative effects of dry skin. In 1999, I moved to a desert climate, resulting in radically dry skin not only for me, but also for my two daughters. I started making natural moisturizing body products to counteract the effects of this new climate. The ingredients used in the PlumHill product line today are the same ingredients that I personally used for years, with positive results. After a few years, I decided I had discovered too great a skin-care secret to keep to myself. In 2005, I invited my friends and family from across the country to start using my specially formulated, all natural products. With their rave reviews, PlumHill was born.
Thanks to Jeanne Kissman, PlumHill Pure Body Essentials!

21) My Dependency on a CPA

One evening in 2007, I realized my latest small business was headed for bankruptcy. I was utterly dependent on a CPA to handle the business numbers, and had no decent financial overview myself. My frustration was growing right along with the impossible tax assessments and fees from the IRS. I also knew too many others who’d suffered through similar disasters. I decided that was it – somehow I would replace all the accounting mysteries and complexities with something I could USE, on my own and without getting an accounting degree first. And while I was at it, I’d make it something any small business owner could use, too. That was the birth of Billy’s Billing.
Thanks to Toke Kruse, Billy’s Billing!

22) No More Survival Jobs

I started my business so I would never have to do another dreaded “survival job” again. As a professional actress, I was always turning to restaurant work, personal assisting, and babysitting between gigs just to get by- but I absolutely despised those work environments. As an artist, creating and working on my terms has always been a priority for me, so I started looking for ways to channel that artistic desire into an entrepreneurial endeavor and discovered a business venture I never would have previously considered. I took my passion for storytelling and used it to inspire other artists to harness control of their money. Now I specialize in millennnial finance, working full-time as a writer, author, and speaker- but most importantly, on my own terms.

Thanks to Stefanie O'Connell, The Broke and Beautiful Life!

23) My Philosophy to Make & Build Things by Myself

My long-time desire to start my own business comes from the philosophy I have in all things to always try to make and build things by myself instead of relying on someone else to achieve them. This comes from the very clear vision I usually have about how the result of a project should look like, which is why I typically find it hard to work in large organizations where you have to submit to the visions (or lack thereof) of the people above you in the hierarchy, to their inefficiencies, poor decision-making, and so on.. I don't say that this is an inherent characteristic of large organizations, but I've suffered to see the work and efforts of my team workers and myself being completely vulnerable to whatever might come down from the hierarchy's upper levels. This is what gave me the conviction that I should start my own company where my ideas could materialize and grow without interference, and so far I can't say I regret this decision!”*

Thanks to Yann Gerardi, Fit Me So!


CBNation helps entrepreneurs and business owners succeed with visibility, resources and connections. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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