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This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.
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140+ Inspirations for Starting a Business

 

People are inspired to start businesses for a vast array of personal, conceptual, humanitarian, financial, and/or other reasons. So, I decided to ask the CarolRoth.com contributor network of entrepreneurs and experts to share what inspired them to start their own businesses. Their answers are presented below in no particular order. Hopefully, their inspirations will inspire you!

You may notice some similar inspirations, but I kept the ideas separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.

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1. LOVE Your Work!

A friend advised me to do what I'm good at, do what is easy for me and do what I love... sounds too simple, but it actually led me to starting two businesses that make work fun for me every day!

Most of us resist doing what's easy and what we are good at - we're too busy proving ourselves... what if business could be blissful and contribute way more to our life than just money?
Thanks to: Lisa Murray of Revive Business Coaching.

2. Making a Difference

I launched because of my desire to make a difference. I wanted to work with others to help move them forward in profound ways in their lives. I knew that I could offer the perspective, structure, support, guidance and honesty others needed to make big transitions in their lives. This drive to make a difference launched "Sane Spaces", a professional consulting firm that brought my strengths, experience and skills together to help others regain sanity through clear spaces, systems, self & support.
Thanks to: Cena Block of Sane Spaces.

3. Just Around the Corner

Entrepreneurial spirit always resided in me all of my life, starting with my own paper route at 13. In 2009, with the help, direction and encouragement of a career transition counselor, Joe Schatt, my business was started in January 2009 in the midst of an economic down turn. Three years later, we are blessed and fortunate to be going and growing. What makes this amazing is Joe's office was just two blocks from my house where we have lived for 17 years.
Thanks to: Myles Miller of LeadUP.Biz.

4. The Odds Were...

I have always had the entrepreneurial mindset, but suddenly when the odds were against me, I knew in my heart it was time. The situation said "No", but my heart and mind said, "YESSSSS!" I have never regretted it.
Thanks to: Sherell Edwards of AGC Transport & Services, LLC.

5. Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

After helping bring a piece of the CITGO account to the ad agency where I worked, the agency resigned the business due to a conflict of interest.

Three days later, CITGO's Director of Marketing/Promotions (an old friend) called and said, "I just put my neck on the line for you. If you want the account, it's yours. Quit your job tomorrow, I'm flying to St. Louis." I quit my job and Left Field Creative was born. We're still going strong 15 years later. (And we'd love another gas/C-store account).
Thanks to: Bill Shelton of Left Field Creative.

6. Live Free or Die

I'm not from New Hampshire, but this saying on their license plates says it all as to why I started my own business. To simply get a paycheck or do a job I don't enjoy for the rest of my life and not have the creative freedom to choose the kind of life I want to live and the kind of business I want to be involved with, is for me, unacceptable. The freedom of creative expression is what drives me and I think many other entrepreneurs to persevere and in doing so, finding true happiness.
Thanks to: Craig Wolfe of CelebriDucks.

7. Blame it on a Car

NYS gave me a driver's license at age 38- no more buses or taxis. Two years later, a driver didn't stop at a stop sign and I spent 6 months in terrible pain. Realizing it would take me more time to recuperate, I considered what I wanted to do with the next chapter of my life. I visited a career counselor, took some tests, looked for a job and shadowed business owners. One day, I opened the NY Times there it was -- a story about Coach U and the perfect job for me -- as a business coach.
Thanks to: Maria Marsala of Elevating Your Business.

8. Sharing a Message of Peace

I've been studying meditation and mind body techniques for more than 20 years. I decided to share it within a business infrastructure in 2009, so that there is more time to spend on teaching strategies for inner peace. I wrote a book and an audio course and now offer HR seminars. Business is all about getting things done, but some companies find that stopping to rejuvenate yourself makes you more productive. I'm motivated to share the message that peace and bottom line go hand in hand.
Thanks to: Tom Von Deck of Monkey Wisdom Employee Meditation.

9. I Thought I Should Give Back

It sounds a little corny to say it (and also to say "corny,") but I've been given so many opportunities in my life, and I've learned so much from others. One of the best things I ever did in my life was hire a coach. I felt that coaching others was important. It also happened to be a real passion and something I love to do, so the convergence of those three things inspired me.
Thanks to: Angie Dixon of Discover U Life Strategy Coaching.

10. The Mirror of Desire

Desire is a powerful force that lives in the deepest part of you. Take time to know - really know - what you most desire and then get ready to find a way to offer that to the world. What you desire, others will too. And if you are passionate about that desire, then you have all the inspiration you need to make it into a thriving business. Your desire is a mirror showing you where you can create work that will make a difference in the lives of others. Look into the mirror and trust!
Thanks to: Cathleen O'Connor of The Balance Whisperer.

11. Be Ready to Learn

I am a retired physician and did not know what I was getting myself into when the idea of a novel came to me. I thought it would be very popular, sell a zillion copies and then, be made into a smash of a movie. I had the novel published and the well known truth was forced upon me that no matter how good of a product one might think one has, it will not sell if no one knows about it. I had to get into marketing, which I know little about, but I do happily dream of the movie being made.
Thanks to: Selwyn D. Goodwin of Selwyn D. Goodwin.

12. Job Loss - Guaranteed

I discovered that if you work with your husband and you ask him for a divorce, you will lose your job. I began my own business to be sure that this never again happens to me.
Thanks to: Nancy Weil of The Laugh Academy.

13. Dangerous Dreamer

I started my own business because I wanted to be a dangerous dreamer.

"Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible." -- T. E. Lawrence
Thanks to: Roy Jacobsen of Writing, Clear and Simple.

14. Raleigh

In 2007, right before I jumped ship from the corporate world, a series of stressful events at the company where I was working drove me to the brink of going postal. While that period in my life gave me a bad case of acid reflux, the ensuing burnout served as a catalyst. I finally saw that I didn't have to let someone else dictate the terms of my life, and I turned in my resignation. It's been a rocky road ever since I walked away from a steady paycheck, but I stand by my decision.
Thanks to: Dave Baldwin of Bottom Line SEO.

15. It's My Money & I Want It!

In terms of what to do, how to do, when & why to be doing whatever it was that I would choose to do to grow my business, create my working/playing time, I would and could only be limited by the limits of my very own imagination. If I chose to allow it, I would never be limited by conventional rules or thoughts of the way a business "should be run". My life, business/family/inner life would be played out as per MY choosing - there would be therefore, no choice but to be self-employed.
Thanks to: Harris Glasser of Serving The People Press .

16. Like Tupperware for Shoes

I remember the moment when I was working with a woman. I turned to her, complimented her shoes, and she said “My brother made them.” I almost stopped breathing! In that moment, though I did not know it yet, Footprints was born. My mind was whirling with possibilities from that simple moment and the idea of giving shoe parties was created. This has taken me on an incredible journey where sometimes I felt God was holding my hand and others, like I was falling off a cliff- typical for an entrepreneur!
Thanks to: Margaux Jordan of Footprints International.

17. Selfishness a Prime Motivator

After 20 years of corporate life I submitted to my selfishness, rather than toe the corporate line. All businesses are rightly selfish; fighting for their shareholders is OK!
This cornerstone of modern business eventually lead me to question why I was doing so much for them and less and less for myself and my family.
The "selfishness realization" contextualized the "value equation" managers deploy when making buying choices, helping me sell to managers- I went looking for stuff to sell.
Thanks to: Sam Hunter of First Contact.

18. Born to Publicize What I Love

Born this way. When I was a little girl, I loved a film that totally transformed my life. That film was one of the most complex and deeply symbolic films ever made. It spoke to me. The story was life, death and the universal truths that make us all human. It had classic archetypes such as 'man against machine"... what was that turning point?

Stanley Kubric's "2001: A Space Odyssey." I told anyone and everyone how much l loved that film. As a publicist today, I do this for my clients.
Thanks to: Roz Wolf of Roz Wolf PR.

19. Los Angeles

As a vet Hollywood correspondent, I've interviewed over 14,000 celebrities/newsmakers. To my surprise, many were woefully unprepared to meet the media and that frustrated me. I decided I would write THE quintessential "insider's guide to giving a killer interview" so it wouldn't be like pulling teeth to get my story. I wrote "Interview Tactics! How to Survive the Media without Getting Clobbered!" which launched my media coaching and speaking business called... "Interview Tactics!"
Thanks to: Gayl Murphy of InterviewTactics.com/GaylMurphy Pro.

20. Put Passion Before Prudence

After quitting my job over 9 months ago, I realized I had a chance to step up and start my own company, where my passion would be the driving factor!

No longer was I flogging products and services that were making someone else rich...I could put all of my efforts into promoting my products and services...and I haven't looked back once!

By putting my passion before my prudence (prudence wanted me to find another job), I'm now pursuing my dreams...not someone else's dreams...
Thanks to: Curtis Chappell of Quantum SEO Solutions.

21. What Can I Achieve Today?

My motivations were straight forward. I had a successful career spanning ten years across three blue chip organizations. I enjoyed my job, but wanted to see what I could achieve on my own.

It certainly hasn't been all plain sailing, but the freedom and sense of achievement that comes from setting up your own business is worth the occasional headache.
Thanks to: Sarah Moore of Vappingo.

22. 5% Survival Chance

My main inspiration for starting my own business (inspirational speaking) is because I have a globally unique story that should motivate people (or as I term them, “Currently Unaffected People” – because nobody can predict what’s going to happen to themselves or a loved one in the future).

(I had a severe motorcycle accident when I was 17 - in 1986 - that left me in a coma for 7-months).
Thanks to: Derick Poremba-Brumer of www.5percent.co.za.

23. The Basis of Happy Marriage

Realizing the public lack of knowledge and understanding of sex, and knowing that the ignorance and the unawareness of the lack of sex knowledge is the main cause of unintended pregnancy, abortion, divorce and lack of sexual satisfaction in marriage, I decided to write and become an author of sex knowledge books. It's an altruistic attempt to help humanity.
Thanks to: Rod Quentin of Quentin Publications Ltd.

24. Moving at the Speed of Light!

Entrepreneurship is knowing how to pace others in the race to success. As a high energy person, I tend to be out-moving, out-thinking, and out-strategizing others in the workplace. This ability works to my advantage only when running my own business. As a leader, I need to visualize the road ahead and lay the groundwork for others to follow. I know someone in every business needs to be out front and I have always been that person...moving at the speed of light!
Thanks to: Vicki Donlan of VickiDonlan.

25. Life is Short!

My position was eliminated at the accounting firm where I served as mktg director when I was 5 months pregnant with twins. Since I couldn't look for a job in that condition, I decided to pursue my dream of starting my own business. Sadly, 3 and 4 weeks later, I went into early labor, and we lost both sons. I nearly died too. So, when I say life is short, I know it firsthand. I recovered as much as I could, stuck to my guns and started my firm. It was hard, but the best decision I've made. Do it!
Thanks to: Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk of BBR Marketing.

26. Misery!

We were trapped in pinstriped prison. We had secretaries and window offices, but we were miserable. We hated the stress, the unappreciative senior partners, and the whole billable-hours system.

We packed our bags, invested $30 in cookie dough, and set off do our own thing. The students ate the cookies, and with full mouths, they listened to us teach law in our signature fun style.

Best friends and former study partners were now business partners. And we've never looked back.
Thanks to: Elura Nanos of Lawyer Up.

27. Learning What Not to Do

Starting my own business came from working for others for a while & learning so much about how I didn't want to do things that I decided it was time to branch out and make a real difference on my own. Now, don't get me wrong, I learned things in every situation I was in, but my strong opinions & passion were never really fully understood in the work place. I always knew the most important thing was to make a real difference in a life & now I do that every day! It's the best decision I ever made.
Thanks to: Diane Conklin of Complete Marketing Systems.

28. Student Influence

When I was teaching at a college level, my students kept asking me why I was teaching when I had so much knowledge that could help the government, insurance carriers, and many businesses. My students gave me the push that I needed to get out there and start my own business. I had one contract before I left teaching. I had a leap of faith that I could make this work.
Thanks to: Carol Coots of Medical Consulting From A to Z, LLC.

29. My Time

I wanted to have time to volunteer and do the things I wanted to do. Although running a business is a full time entity, you can set your own hours, work late into the night or early in the morning. Being an employee, your time is someone else’s time; when you work for yourself, your time is your time.
Thanks to: Eula M. Young, COO of Griot's Roll Film Production .

30. The 3 F's

Four years ago, I lost my job. After hitting the pavement for several months with no success, I realized my partner and I were the 3 F's: Fat, Fifty, and Female. There didn't seem to be much room for us out there in the new instant world of H.R. that is run by key words, where no application is ever acknowledged. We decided to apprentice ourselves to our own selves...to learn a skill, not get a job. Slowly, we are becoming independent of the system and proud of it...able to support ourselves.
Thanks to: Diane Hawn of Get Promoted LLC.

31. What Else Could I Do?

The ugly truth is that I started my first business because no one would give me the job I wanted. At 22, I wasn't smart enough to know that I couldn't have the top job in a small company, so I just created one. It worked and I was able to build a successful first venture. Unicome Corp. of Virginia was the 1st medical records data processing service bureau in America. I went on to build other companies. Some worked some didn't. I'm thankful for my dumb luck. I tell my entrepreneur students "just do it".
Thanks to: Gerry Patnode of York College of Pennsylvania.

32. If I Didn't Do it, I'd Die

In 1988, I was in a secure but uninteresting position in a very large company. One day, I was shaving and I thought to myself, "If I'm still working here when I'm 50, I might end up killing myself."

It was then that I realized that my fear of a boring and unsatisfying career inside a large company was stronger than my fear of failing as an entrepreneur.

Within two months, I left my job and started my company. I haven't looked back.

What's holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Thanks to: Bud Bilanich of The Common Sense Guy.

33. Those Days are Over

I was most inspired to start my own firm when I figured out that the economy and world of work my grandfather and father operated in no longer exists. The Great Recession was a wake-up call...and an enticing challenge. You have to make your own luck. I've never looked back.
Thanks to: Alex Greenwood of AlexanderG Public Relations, LLC.

34. Expanded Boundaries

I have always been able to work well within boundaries set by someone else. I was even adept at infusing any position or project with my own methods and creativity. But eventually, it wasn't enough. I wanted to be able to do new, unrelated, unusual, challenging things and the boundaries set by other people/companies did not allow it. I wanted the ability to set and expand my own boundaries. Owning a business allows me to do that; there are still boundaries, but they are my boundaries.
Thanks to: Janet Christy of Leverage & Development, LLC.

35. Business for Yourself

I knew that I was unemployable, so I also knew that I had to be in business for myself and I didn't like taking orders from anyone else. And so, even though I had always created my own jobs from 13 on, I was officially in business at 21 and have been in one ever since.
Thanks to: Gayle Carson of Carson Research Center.

36. We Need Each Other!

NEED inspired my wife and I to start our business. We recognized the NEED for youth to be understood - and we recognized that we understood them. Thus came the mission - to help others understand the youth by listening to their stories - relating to them - and then influencing them.
Thanks to: Troy Campbell of TROYBOY INTERNATIONAL.

37. Archangel Michael Inspired Me

Archangel Michael appeared to me and asked me to write his new book, Wisdom of the Guardian: Treasures From Archangel Michael to Change Your Life and help him reach the masses to improve their issues with money, relationships, career, business, health and well-being through spiritual healing with his help and the gifts provided of clearing karma and past life issues negatively effecting their lives today. I changed my whole focus to accommodate this calling, which I have found very rewarding.
Thanks to: Joy Pedersen of Express Success.

38. Be Your Own Boss

I went into business for myself for the oldest reason in the world: I wanted to be my own boss.
Thanks to: Miriam Silverberg.

39. Touching the Lives of Others

I know that this may sound "cliché" or maybe the "anticipated" thing to say, but what inspired me to start my business is the opportunity and privilege to impact, influence and touch the lives of other people. It is a true blessing to be able to fulfill my purpose as an Entrepreneur and to help people in this same process. There are many gifts in life that one can give to other people, but in my humble opinion, there is no greater gift on earth than to be able to uphold a life. This inspired me.
Thanks to: Kevin Benton of Kevin Benton Ministries.

40. Freedom-ophilia

My inspiration was freedom. Free from the 9 to 5 routine. Free from cantankerous bosses. Free from income-limitations. With indications that my sideline business could become mainline, I decided to resign from a "nice" job and seek the headiness that comes from solopreneurship.

I've never regretted my decision.
Thanks to: Marlene Caroselli of Center for Professional Development.

41. Teaching, Learning, Loving

We started to build the Pocket I.T. app as a great product for the masses who need help with technical problems. This changed as my young children watched me begin the planning. I got them involved to show them how to bring an idea to fruition and learn what is involved in the creation of a business. I'm happy to see my daughters thinking in the entrepreneurial spirit at such a young age. I say start a business with the intent of giving something back.
Thanks to: Eric Tampellini of Arizona App Design Llc.

42. Business Owned

There's something about seeing your name on the wall that beats seeing it on a business card. Unless, of course, it's the wall of the post office.
Thanks to: Stan DeVaughn of Write Angle Inc.

43. We Finally Figured it Out!

For years, both my wife and I were comfortable in the corporate world. We always wanted to be in business either together or for ourselves. For the last 6 years, my wife took the plunge; for me it has been about two years. What made us do it? Overcoming fear was our biggest hurdle. When we thought about our lives, there was something missing in our lives attributable to our work life. Being in business has been financially and emotionally rewarding, as well as stimulating.
Thanks to: Alan Ginsberg of The Entrepreneur's Source.

44. Help Women Get a Better Night

Night sweats can rob a person of a good night sleep. I found myself sleep deprived, cranky, sweaty, and miserable because of night sweats. If this was happening to me, I knew millions of other women were experiencing the same thing. I started making comfortable sleepwear from wicking fabrics and when I showed my prototype nightgown to my breast cancer support group, they went wild with enthusiasm and I knew a business of beautiful wicking sleepwear could help!
Thanks to: Haralee Weintraub of Haralee.Com Sleepwear.

45. Work Smarter Not Harder

I show people how to get into their own business, but not be alone growing it.
www.LilyWorldTravel.biz, www.PricesILove.com, Lily.vixro.com are just 3 of many web sites that will put you into your own business, give you all the training you need and pay you better than you have ever been paid, while you have a good time doing it. My inspiration is partnering with those people, making more money, enjoying life more and sharing the love.
Thanks to: Lily Steiner of American Business Gateway.

46. Passion Built the Product

The business was a means to participate in music full-time.

Oddly enough, I thought that my main advantage would be my Business Management background, but it turns out that my Martial Arts studies have had more impact (pardon the pun).

This has led me to an exciting expansion - a seminar entitled "Martial Arts In The Workplace", which focuses on turning entry-level employees into a major asset for businesses.

It wasn't miners who made money in the Gold Rush, it was the shovel salesman.
Thanks to: Tony Barker of TonyBarkerMusic.com.

47. Not Renewing Your Contract

It's about 10 days before Christmas and imagine that you and your family are going to see a Broadway show called the Miracle of Christmas. As you're driving to the theater, as any good VP of Sales would do, you check your blackberry for emails. You see an email from your boss, so you open it. What a Christmas present for you, we have decided to not renew your contract as a Vice President and we will pay you for 30 days. Merry Christmas!
So, jump in and swim. A new practice was born!
Thanks to: Todd Stofka of Philly Hypnosis Performance.

48. I am the Man!

I've always been the entrepreneurial type. I started selling homemade trinkets to my fellow 5th graders. But with two college degrees in engineering, you're supposed to work for other people. That is, until the day that you realize that you are not a good employee. When you do your best to objectively analyze the situation and still believe that YOU have the best ideas and that YOU can do it all better than they are... you have to take the plunge, and I did. That was almost 24 years ago.
Thanks to: Steve Watson of Watson's Streetworks.

49. "The Business Bug"

The main inspiration for starting my own business is my entrepreneurial spirit. There are also successful people whom I admired in my lifetime. A history of entrepreneurs in my family has been a major influence and I have a strong desire to succeed for a purpose much bigger than myself.
Thanks to: Faithe Rogers.

50. No More Team Projects

As a go-getter, there was nothing I loathed more than "team projects", which meant that if I was saddled with a lame-butt, I had to do my work and theirs to get the project out on time. If the project then succeeded to break expectations, I had to share the bonus with the slacker. Burned twice. What is the purpose of team projects? My guess? A lazy manager doesn't want to deal with deadwood. For the 'self-motivated', starting your own business is liberating. I'll eat my mistakes, but not yours!
Thanks to: Sally Franz of Geronto Communications.

51. The Need for Real Evaluations

I started my own business because I was so fed up with subjective evaluations from managers who didn't know me and often weren't familiar with the job I was doing. I felt like the only people who should review me are paying clients who will show their opinion either by rehiring me or referring me (both happen). If they don't, that says something too, and it's important for me to find out why. But my clients know what they're talking about; some of my previous bosses - not so much!
Thanks to: Philippa Gamse of Total 'Net Value, Inc.

52. Monetize Your Success

We started our business because we had so many people asking us how we had our success in selling TV shows. Once we figured out how to monetize helping those people, we had our business.

People all over the world have great ideas for TV shows but don't know what to do with their ideas. There are more opportunities now than ever before to pitch and sell a TV show. We offer our clients everything we wished we had when we started pitching our ideas.
Thanks to: Mark Simon of SellYourTvConceptNow.com.

53. Mix, Mingle & Maybe Meet

My inspiration to starting my business was my children. I am a divorced mother of two and knowing that my ex will not provide for their educational future inspired me to take my dreams and turn them into a reality. Every day, when I look at them and know that college, although not right around the corner, still needs to be addressed, it makes me work that much harder for success. It is ironic that what I have learned from my divorce will pay for their education.
Thanks to: Lee Block of Post-Divorce Dating Club.

54. Turning Tragedy into Triumph

After a divorce, bankruptcy and foreclosure back in 1989, I went on an amazing journey of self discovery which helped me put my life back together. As I rebuilt my life, I learned that I had some hidden talents which included public speaking and writing. I combined these two gifts to help me launch my publishing company called Creation Publishing Group.

My commitment is to empower men to reach their full potential and that is the driving force that inspires me to be a successful entrepreneur.
Thanks to: Michael Taylor of Creation Publishing Group.

55. Customized Stories

My son was born with medical complications in his right eye. The eye was removed 10 days following his first birthday. I wrote two stories for him, to help with his acceptance of the prosthetic eye and glasses. I used personal photos and laminated pages so the books would not be torn up. We read the stories at home and in school so that his classmates would accept and understand his unique situation. Eight years later, I founded a business making books for children with varying needs!
Thanks to: Shara Lawrence-Weiss of Personal Child Stories.

56. I'm Not JUST a Business Woman!

In 2006, I was struggling to manage my roles as wife, mom, student, ministry leader and entrepreneur. I started looking for help and found that the source was always one-sided. The business leaders or coaches focused only on business. The spiritual leaders focused only on spirituality. Where could the balance be found? Life is both spiritual and physical. Who had answers? After searching, I finally developed my Balance Approach System which takes a 360 view of the struggles women face.
Thanks to: Janis Modeste of Inspire! Us Book Chat.

57. Jazz and Leadership?

A quote from saxophonist Branford Marsalis, one of my musical heroes, partly inspired me to start my own business. Marsalis said, "Humans are imperfect. That’s one of the reasons that classical and jazz music are in trouble. We’re on the quest for the perfect performance and every note has to be right. Every note is not right in life." While I can't make every note in life right, as an external consultant, I can help leaders work more harmoniously without compromising my unique vision.
Thanks to: Michael Brenner of IdeAgency.

58. Giving Them What They Want

To be honest, what inspired me to start my business was the growing realization that there was a need and a demand for my services. When, after reading my first book, people started asking me to speak and offering me excellent money to do it, that became a very strong inspiration for starting a speaking and training business.
Thanks to: Barry Maher of Barry Maher & Associates.

59. My Dating Site for Great Love

After I flew 10,000 miles to meet a man who'd contacted me online, I realized he'd posted an old photo on a top dating site- an honesty issue. I improved the online dating experience in my Dating Site for Resilient Optimists who Believe in Great Love. We meet in live video chats before we get on a plane or go to a local coffee shop to meet face-to-face--so, no more blind dates. I guide your Love Quest, so you recruit your perfect match + get the red-hot relationship you deserve in TribeOfSingles.com.
Thanks to: Hadley Finch of TribeOfSingles.com.

60. Single Determination

I got divorced 22 years ago. I had a one year old daughter and an uninvolved former spouse. One day, my daughter was ill and I took off work to take her to the doctor. It was nothing major, but when I returned the next day, my boss told me that he "understood family obligations, but he needed me at work." I knew then that I could never allow someone else to determine when I could and could not be there for my daughter. I was all she had. I left 6 months later and started my own company.
Thanks to: Dana London of Transition Teams.

61. Because No One Taught Me

I teach kids and teens about money because no one taught me. I grew up on a farm and learned how to do practically everything...except what to do with my money. At 35ish, I realized the only reason I didn't know what to do with money was that no one taught me what to do with it. So, I taught myself and then decided to create the best financial education program available on the planet...and I did!
Thanks to: Elisabeth Donati of Creative Wealth International, LLC.

62. Self-Sabotage = No Promotion!

I am inspired to help women understand the gender differences that lead to conflict, miscommunication, and misperception in the workplace that inevitably hinder and even cripple women's ability to advance to positions of influence and power in their field. Spending an entire career watching women unconsciously sabotage themselves when I know that there is an easier, less stressful, increasingly productive way to thrive and succeed impels me to help women change the way business is conducted.
Thanks to: Laura L. Brown of LotusLifeWork.

63. Inspiration - 9/11

I rode out 9/11 on the alabaster-white beaches of Playa del Carman. Not being able to fly home for an extended period, I contemplated the U.S. economic environment and industry viability in the face of company closures and massive layoffs. In identifying the colossal service gaps in the public relations industry, I founded BlabberMouth PR three weeks later. BlabberMouth PR, which became Penman PR, is now celebrated for providing 100% senior-level representation to a range of industries.
Thanks to: Patti Hill of Penman PR.

64. Send Out Cards!

Although my day job is being a Psychiatrist, I have a great side business, SendOutCards. When my daughter was in college, I sent her a greeting card every single day, so I am all over cards. This tool allows me to create cards at my computer, with photos if I want, and send them with one click. SendOutCards prints them, puts them in an envelope, stamps them and takes them to the post office for me. I can include a gift card or even brownies or caramels, which I do when thanking a referral source.
Thanks to: Susan Delphine Delaney MD, MS of SendOutCards Distributor.

65. It's All About Being Empowered

As a former teacher, I've always been about sharing knowledge and helping others to see their potential. When I later moved on to become a therapist and then a coach, I continued along that path of helping women discovering their own potential & power. After starting my own women's community, I saw how effective it can be to create a space for women to learn, share and be inspired by other women. I do what I do, so I can help others to be empowered to do what it is they were always meant to do.
Thanks to: Katy Tafoya of Success for Solopreneurs.

66. Doing the Greater Good

The main inspiration for starting my own business was I found it easier to make change happen when I was the outside expert compared to the employee. I started my business after experiencing one too many corporate upheavals. Doing my own thing was something I had entertained for a while. Having seen the power of being the expert, I felt I could do better, not to mention that I am paid better for doing the work! Most important is that I am helping others make profound change to their business.
Thanks to: Dan Paulson of InVision Business Development.

67. From Mess to Organized Success

For years, I was disorganized. Then, I got my act together & cured my cluttered ways. On occasion, I would help my friends make their homes look beautiful and organized. 15 years ago, my neighbor was selling her home AKA train wreck, so I staged it & de-cluttered it for her. The real estate agent was so thrilled with what I did, she wanted to hire me. My inspiration to start my business was based on the fact that she would not let me "NOT" start a business. I had a client before I had a business.
Thanks to: Dana Korey of Away With Clutter.

68. US Income for Overseas Life

A former executive, I’ve lived around the world from Russia to Australia, Alaska to Chile. After crunching numbers, I concluded that owning several small businesses, ones that could provide $50,000 each to me in net earnings, was the answer to my retirement plans to live overseas: US income for overseas life. So, I started three.

In three years, I will relocate to my vineyard where I will review financial reports via the internet, sip wine, and watch the cash flow into my bank account!
Thanks to: Debi Einmo of White Glove Services LLC.

69. Comeback Kid(ney)

My name is Charlie Wachtel and I have end stage kidney failure. My illness spurred me to take a pre-illness taxi business and streamline it into an errand/concierge business for the disabled. Now that I am also disabled, I find this work to be very rewarding and enriching. When you have a lemon, you make lemonade.
Thanks to: Charlie Wachtel.

70. How to Prevent Sellers Remorse

We prevent Seller's Remorse. Business Intermediaries have complained that owners who consider selling often bail out at the last minute, for no apparent reason. Our mission is to fix that. Our proven methodology solves the emotional questions of transition in a matter of weeks. Owners follow logical, step-by-step programs (surveys plus one-to-one consulting) learning to "Think", "Live" and Decide" how, why, where and when to transition from a "business" to a dynamic, purposeful life.
Thanks to: Paul Cronin of Successful Transition Planning Inst.

71. Learning for Fun and PROFIT!

I retired at 55 from a high-stress job. Rather than sit home & let my brain rot, I enrolled in graduate studies in GIS. It was quickly apparent there is a wealth of data available FREE or nearly so, and many organizations that could benefit from that data are least able to exploit it. My LLC provides basic mapping & analysis to small communities and non-profits at reasonable cost. As my studies have progressed to a Ph.D. program, I’m content to keep my client list small & my stress level low.
Thanks to: Jim Newman of CF Geographics LLC.

72. Out of the Box

Having had many jobs, one thing was always clear - I needed free reign of my creativity & inspiration. I found when working for others, they were not too interested in out-of-the-box thinking. Occasionally, an idea might make it through, but they would take credit for it. I realized that I wanted develop my own ideas. I started by jumping in and figuring it out as I went along. It has been slow going, but definitely rewarding!
Thanks to: Barbara Roehler of BR Innovations LLC.

73. Entrepreneur = Control

Being an entrepreneur was a choice to be in control of my life: control of how decisions were made, control of my hours, my work/life balance, control of the direction of my company, and ultimately, control over my income and personal wealth. I believe that as a business owner, you can be in control of these things if you develop your business intentionally in line with your values, your vision, mission and operations. Many business owners I see have been totally consumed by their own business.
Thanks to: Donna Price of Compass Rose Consulting, LLC.

74. Like Father Like Son

My father bought a failing business prior to my birth. He built that business to be highly successful and made a great living at it. I admired him for pressing on against all odds. Though I am a writer and not in the sign business, being a writer is basically like being in business for yourself and you have less chance of succeeding at it. The fact is, giving up is automatic failure.
Thanks to: Mike Saxton of Science Fiction Author.

75. Promoting Sustainable Living

I started the Culture Artist Organization because I believe that if humankind is to have a future, we must live sustainably. The Culture Artist Organization is an educational organization dedicated to promoting sustainability. We do this through educational programs and advocacy.

The chief mission and vision of the Culture Artist Organization is to create Culture Artists.
A Culture Artist is a person who is working to reshape the culture towards a paradigm shift to a more sustainable life.
Thanks to: Charlton Hall of Culture Artist Organization.

76. Meet Ms. Fix It

After the purchase of our first home, my husband and I quickly realized how difficult it was to find reliable home improvement contractors. It occurred to me that if we were having difficulty, then other new homeowners must face the same challenge and I launched Home Remedies®, a Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) that pre-screens and refers home improvement professionals. Contractors in my network pay a commission for work secured; that means that the service is free to homeowners.
Thanks to: Debra Cohen of Home Remedies of NY, Inc.

77. Thank you, Mom

My Mother was a woman who always gave love and support to family and friends. When she passed away, I experienced "sitting Shiva" for the first time. Overwhelmed and exhausted, I conceived the idea for ShivaConnect.com - a website featuring a "Shiva Registry" system, much more than an online obituary, with answers to who, what, where, when and how many, a calendar to post food being sent, local delis for ordering Shiva food, direct links for memorial donations and an emailed Yahrzeit Reminder.
Thanks to: Sharon Rosen of ShivaConnect.com.

78. No Such Thing as a Magic Pill

I was inspired to launch the smokersdiet.com due to the lack of empowering solutions on the market to stop smoking. Dangerous chemical-based stop smoking aids on the market and society's acceptance that addiction is a disease are concepts and methods that need to be challenged at a time when North America's collective health is at an all-time critical level from 'bad habits' that range from junk food binging to pill popping.
Thanks to: Sindy Mils of The Smoker's Diet.

79. All Generations Need Computers

Do you know of anyone in our society that is not affected by computers? My passion is to provide computer instruction to children (ages 3) and adults of all ages, including senior citizens and special needs students. We have fun programs for public/private schools which provide the STEM elements. Our seniors learn to become part of our fast moving world and are able to connect to their families from around the world. Our special needs children become part of society using various programs.
Thanks to: Debra Moorer of Computer Explorers.

80. Change Your Personality!

I started my business after my former boss at the New York State Assembly told me that if I wanted to get a promotion and move up, I would have to change my personality. I'd trained all my supervisors and had been passed up for several promotions. I went back to my desk after meeting with her, said a prayer to God to direct me to what I'm supposed to be doing and the answer I got was to create a book publishing company.
Thanks to: Lishone Bowsky of ZLS Publishing.

81. A True Confession

OK, I have a confession to make. I am having a mad, passionate love affair - with my business! I started my business initially to gain freedom and flexibility. I wanted to have my work fit around my life. After having a job where I was on call seven days a week, I wanted to have some sort of "balance." As it turned out, I need to schedule time away from my business because, like any new relationship, I want to spend all of my time with my beloved.
Thanks to: Catherine Morgan of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc.

82. Clown and Wedding Officiant

I am a clown and wedding officiant. My business combines them- Jester of the Peace, ceremonies for costume and adventure weddings. I first was asked by two sets of friends in 2005 to officiate their weddings. I joyfully realized that I was using all my backgrounds to serve their love: journalism, creative writing, acting, directing, and event planning. When I moved to New York City in 2009, I registered as an officiant and realized I had one more gift to add: clowning, in the form of costumery and fun.
Thanks to: Barbara Ann Michaels of Jester of the Peace.

83. Flexibility for My Family

I started my training and coaching business 10 years ago so that I could have more flexibility for my family. The arrival of my first child put me into a new challenge; starting my own business. This included obtaining my own clients, and doing everything from overseeing the budget to writing proposals to doing the on-site client work. This new experience was worth all of the effort for the flexibility I wanted.
Thanks to: Cathi Brese Doebler of DitchThe.com.

84. Don't Give Up Control

I am tired of seeing people get ripped off! People have come to me after their websites were shut down and didn't know what to do. Some webmasters are as dishonest and lacking integrity as some car mechanics. When people don't understand something and have to rely on so-called professionals to do the work, they can get royally screwed. You wouldn't give the only key for your office to the janitor, so don't give your webmaster ultimate control over your website.
Thanks to: David Rosenhaus of Dichotomy Design.

85. From the Wounded Healer

PAIN! Plain and simple! Being in a lot of physical, emotional and spiritual pain most of my life propelled me to figure out how to use all of this pain to journey with others who are dealing with pain. As a grief coach and life transitions expert, I have companioned many people in their pain journeys, helping them to deal and to heal. It is said that the best way to help yourself heal is to help heal another. That is the mission of Spirit Women Institute.
Thanks to: Carolyn Townes of Spirit Women Institute.

86. Work Gave Me a Trophy Husband

I am the founder of matchmyspirit.com, a spiritual dating site which helps individuals find their spiritual soul-mate and live a life of harmony. Coming from an abusive marriage myself and not wanting others to make the same mistake, I decided to help them increase their magnetism to pull someone with a similar vibration. This way, they can find their soul-mate and lead a fun life. I did this to magnetize my second husband who is a 'trophy husband' (someone who does the dishes with a smile!)
Thanks to: Naini Nakagawa of MATCHMYSPIRIT.

87. Doing What I Love All Day Long

I decided to start my own business when I realized that my favorite thing about my day job had nothing to do with my day job. I loved helping my coworkers organize their spaces and streamlining office systems. I realized I could make more of an impact and be more productive as a Professional Organizer.
Thanks to: Sara Long of Sara Long Organizing.

88. Gray Matter... Not Hair!

I got tired of interviewing with 30 somethings who assumed that gray hair meant you had NO gray matter!! No one wanted to hire their dad (or mom!) I was working in the tech departments in the insurance and health sectors for a consulting company. When a project ended, they tried to get me another... but the older I got the harder it got. I found that financial product sales didn't care if you had gray hair... or no hair! So, I started my own insurance agency and didn't look back.
Thanks to: Alan Canton of A.N. Canton Insurance Services.

89. Rejection as Wallpaper

Despite my credentials as a writer, I was in the process of “wallpapering my bathroom” with literary rejections. I could not let their limited imagination stop me from sharing The Magic Strand with young readers, so I created a whiz bang web-site and illustrated the novel to match. Now, I sell e-books to kids at www.magicstrand.com. Never say “die.” I believe in my work too much to let anyone else decide my fate. Sometimes, you just have to find your own way to the mountain-top.
Thanks to: Diana Wilcox Layman of Waterview Associates.

90. Whoops!

What inspired PortaPocket?

I accidentally dropped a spare tampon on the floor at the gym & got mad. How's that for creative & unusual? True!

And it's for way more than feminine hygiene...that's just how it started. If you notice all the IDs, phones, keys, + all over the floor at the gym & elsewhere...there really IS a need. And women's clothing (especially) has so few functional pockets...
If we wait until clothing designers craft for function as much as they do fashion, we'll be waiting a LONG time!
Thanks to: Kendra Kroll of Undercover Solutions, LLC.

91. No Atrocious Boss?

My kids call him "atrocious." His error financed my business. I was a hard worker, but had 2 young children. They got very sick and I called off, using sick leave I had built up to be with them for 3 days. When I returned, my boss told me I could no longer use my leave to care for my kids. Really? Apparently, he didn't know about FMLA. HR panicked and stepped in, offering me money to go away quietly. I financed my happily ever after and laugh about Mr. Atrocious who ended my corporate servitude.
Thanks to: Shadra Bruce of Shadra L. Bruce, Writer and Editor.

92. Doing it Right the First Time

I made so many costly errors starting four businesses over the last 12 years, my inspiration was to learn from my own mistakes and build a system that would help people "DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME" as they started their businesses.

The system combines logical process, sound systems and step-by-step coaching guidance, gained via trial and a lot of error, to simplify a complicated process.

My goal is to help other people learn from my mistakes to save considerable time and money!
Thanks to: Skip Dalrymple of BIZ Start & Grow.

93. My Very Silent Partner

My late mother, Hilda Glasgow, had been a top fashion illustrator in the 50's and early 60's. Her drawings were hidden away in a white cabinet in her NY apartment for 60 years. I decided that it was time for the world to see them, so I created an online store called The White Cabinet. There, I sell custom reproductions of her drawings as prints and notecards. Flavor Paper is now introducing them as wallpaper. This was all started as a labor of love and is fast becoming a successful business.
Thanks to: Liz Glasgow of The White Cabinet.

94. Why I Went into Business

My main inspiration for starting my business, SlimyBookworm.com, an online children's bookstore, was my love for books. I became a mom and saw that my son shared my passion for books; we spent time sourcing books for him and felt I could be a curator of some sort for children's books and be a resource for folks looking to get wholesome books for the kids in their lives.
Thanks to: Bola Ajumobi of Slimy Bookworm.

95. It's Not About the Stuff

I wanted to make a difference in people's lives and take an unusual approach to professional organizing. Instead of it being about Type A and perfection, I want to challenge people to go deeper and discover what is the clutter/disorganization really about? How can I help clients change their lives? To help clients declutter & get organized, I find that getting to the root of the problem can help facilitate change. Then, Healing through Organization truly can occur.
Thanks to: Julie Seibert of Healing through Organization.

96. Dying One Brain Cell at a Time

I was suddenly "let go" from a nursing position that I loved. Not wanting to return to floor nursing, & with no other opportunities open in dementia care in my area, I knew I had been spending more time with the families of the people with dementia than with the residents. These families watch their loved one die one brain cell at a time, with no idea how to interact with them, or how to deal with their own guilt & sadness. That is what inspired me to start a business as a dementia consultant.
Thanks to: Cindy Keith, RN, BS, CDP of M.I.N.D. in Memory Care.

97. Landfill Inspires Company

I went to a place in the Philippines called ‘Smokey Mountain,’ a shantytown on a garbage dump. There were huge columns of rubber tires stacked up in a corner. I watched a child step on glass and cut his foot. I drove to a local store, where I bought shoes and returned back to the landfill. On the way back, I saw people wearing rubber tire shoes. The opportunity to clean up the world, shoe shoeless children, and connect two stakeholders in the same community was one I could not resist.
Thanks to: Alastair Ong of GreenSoul Shoes.

98. Lost Homework, Found Calling

After losing his homework yet again, a student asked for my help in getting organized. We worked together after school on a simple system for organizing his papers. The next week, I asked a question that referenced a previous homework assignment and that student's hand shot in the air as he gleefully shouted "I have it!" The confidence he gained from knowing what he had and where to find it was evident. In that spirit, I started Organized Simplicity, helping students and families get organized.
Thanks to: Caroline Clark of Organized Simplicity.

99. Treasures from Broken Glass

My main inspiration for starting my business was the day I was digging for antique bottles for my collection and saw a baby fawn laying among the jagged remains of an antique bottle. I set out on a new mission with this antique glass, now reclaiming the broken remains and my unique line of recycled glass jewelry, Bottled Up Designs was born! Handmade in the Pennsylvania Amish Country from reclaimed antique glass in an effort to help the environment and wildlife!
Thanks to: Laura Bergman of Bottled Up Designs.

100. Expect Success!

A diagnosis of cancer can be a strong motivator to change - or it can cripple you emotionally and/or physically. I, along with two close friends, had been diagnosed with cancer many years ago, but when one of us was told the cancer had returned and she only had 2 years to live, the last thing we thought she would want to do was start a publishing company and self-publish our life stories. But life is full of surprises - she lived five years and our company is still thriving.
Thanks to: Glenda Standeven of Choosing to Smile Publications.

101. Founder

It was 1997 and I forgot how to sleep. I was officially an insomniac. And I had gotten fat. Ugh!

It was time to lose the weight. As I did, nutrition bars became a part of my diet. But, I still wasn't sleeping and now, I was eating energy bars in the middle of the night. I had an idea...a nutrition bar for better sleep, formulated to work with your body's natural sleeping metabolism.

Now, if I'm not sleeping at night, it's the business keeping me awake and not an energy bar!
Thanks to: Sean Folkson of NightFood, Inc.

102. Bitten By the Business Bug

I had my first business at the age of 25. During that time, I was bitten by the "self-employed entrepreneurship bug". I found out that I am a born entrepreneur. I love to work for myself because under employers, one is caught in a box where you cannot be creative in following your gut instincts -- you have to do what the boss says even when you have a better idea. With your own business, you do what's right, as you learn and improve every day through continuous working, training and learning.
Thanks to: Diane M. Hoffmann of Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications.

103. Misfortune Births a Business

In May of 2008, my husband lost his job with DHL. In November of that same year, I lost my job. I was six weeks pregnant with our second child. I felt like there was no hope. Well, I heard something screaming at me after the tears dried up. It kept saying YOU HAVE A SOLUTION! Not only did a baby and book come to life out the misfortunes, but a brand, movement and consulting business was created. Corporate Chics is a mindset that is unstoppable, courageous, and inspirational.
Thanks to: Tawana Necole of Corporate Chics, LLC.

104. First Periods are My Business

When my period started, I thought I was dying. I told my mom and she handed me a pad with minimal explanation. I didn’t want this same experience for my daughter. We discussed periods and I gave her a small bag of supplies in case she was away from home when her period started. She put it in her gym bag so she would be prepared. When her first period started, she told me right away and was comfortable with the experience. That small bag of supplies turned into The Dot Girl First Period Kit.
Thanks to: Kathy Pickus of Dot Girl Products.

105. Military or Business Ownership

I was a Captain in the US Air Force when I read a book that made me fall out of love with being an employee and in love with owning a business. Just before I turned 30, I read "Rich Dad Poor Dad" and I realized that true freedom for me was in being a business owner. I decided I needed to start a business that was consistent with my skill set and passions. I have created a business doing what I love for the people that I have a heart for!
Thanks to: Angela Cody-Rouget of Major Mom.

106. My Daughter Lizzie

The idea for the flip flops just sorta happened one day when my youngest daughter, Lizzie, often referred to as Lizzie Lou and I were out shopping. Lizzie showed me a pair of $200 crystal flip flops and asked me if they came in kids sizes. Right there it dawned on me. "Why isn't there a line of gorgeous flip flops for mother and daughter that don't cost a fortune? I mentioned the idea to several friends and they all loved the idea!
Thanks to: Sheena Edwards of Lizzie Lou Shoes.

107. Passion for Helping Businesses

That’s easy - my passion for helping companies and the people that work in them improve their customer service. I love to teach – to share what I’ve learned (and I’m a good teacher). Plus, I bring the benefit of being able to see holes in systems that on the surface look to be good and solid. It brings me joy to help companies grow and retain customers by improved service. I've been customer centric my whole life. Starting a business about it was a ‘no brainer’.
Thanks to: Heidi McCarthy of Toughest Customer.

108. Feed Your Mood and Lose Weight

My entrepreneurial path started when I was seeking healthier alternatives than medications after my son's diagnosis of ADD with anxiety. After revamping my family's diet, the results were astonishing both mentally and physically. My son is currently on the honor roll list with no symptoms and my husband and I lost weight and developed mental endurance and stamina. I started a business called Food4Thought with the focus on nourishing your brain and moods with the right foods to lose weight.
Thanks to: Treena Wynes of Food4Thought Wellness Services.

109. Art Has the Power to Heal

Shine On Brightly, a memorial art gallery at http://www.shineonbrightly.com launched in 2008. The idea developed from a passion for art, and people’s stories.

Fifteen months later, a most unimaginable turn of events changed my carefully navigated path. My husband of 29 years died unexpectedly. Ten months later, his sister, a dear childhood friend, also died.

At first, I felt paralyzed by the losses. I soon recognized that I had found my vocation.
Thanks to: Adrienne Crowther of Shine On Brightly.

110. Commitment to Your Passion

I nurtured a passion for art and writing into a full-time business in order to transform my workdays into playdays. My advice to would-be entrepreneurs: Commit to your dreams now. Be willing to do things badly until you learn to do them well. Don't quit. Understand that your passions and innate potential are valuable gifts. They are the keys to personal/professional fulfillment. Want to know the secret to happiness in just ten words? "Do what you love in a way that serves others."
Thanks to: Bruce Garrabrandt of www.artbybruce.com.

111. Give Them the Tools!

In many businesses, the adage "sink or swim" is applied to newly promoted managers. The feeling is "hey, if you can learn as you go, then you are what we are looking for. If you can't, you probably weren't the right choice for management".

The pattern was always the same. First survival, then growth and then, a few finally achieved success. My new business is supplying the tools new managers (and anyone who needs reminders) need from day one to understand their job and be successful.
Thanks to: Joel Quass of Good Management Is Not.com LLC.

112. Life Drives Needs

One Saturday morning I woke up, my 29 yr old wife does not. I was widowed with 3 kids, one in diapers. How do you earn the money, have the flexibility and personal growth to handle it all? Simple, be your own boss and have your own business! With no limit on earnings, money pressures are minimal, time, yes you can decide which half day you're going to work and what part of the 24 hours it will be. I made lots of school events, time with kids and yes, lots of early mornings and late nights. All worth it!
Thanks to: Harlan Goerger of H. Goerger & Associates.

113. From Tears to Riches!

An emotional breakdown helped me to discover the negative beliefs and insecurities (what I call 'bitches') preventing true happiness. As a result, the Shedding the Bitch™ brand and our pseudo 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' business model was born. Our first line of books, workshops, and Bitch Parties surrounding my personal story - Shedding the Corporate Bitch, established Ball of Fire, Inc. as a media and publishing company helping men and women shift from Bitch to Rich in business and in life!
Thanks to: Bernadette Boa of Ball of Fire, Inc.

114. See Your Competitive Advantage

When I was the editor-in-chief of a top trade magazine in the media and entertainment industry, I realized that I could do a better job than the PR agencies that were calling me to pitch stories. With my journalism background, I knew that I could come up with better story ideas and that I could write better press releases and customer case histories. From there, it was really having the confidence to move this idea forward and having faith in my ability to succeed.
Thanks to: Randy Savicky of Strategy+Communications.

115. Do it! Or Die!

My 'partner' of 3 years decided to change business direction. At a surprise meeting, he offered me two alternatives: A or B. I chose C.
It was 'Do it, or die!' I was frightened. I'm creative, not business minded. I chose to view business as a creative venture. I forgot about the numbers & built a business celebrating people & creativity via 'the golden rule'. It was the best decision of my life.
The inspiration: survival, the heart: people, the soul: creativity, the reward: freedom.
Thanks to: Barbara Forgione of Barbara Forgione Salon.

116. 2 Straights/Gay Publishers

I started publishing when a publisher friend died and no one wanted to take on the authors/books he left. Most were playwrights (such as Doric Wilson and Jane Chambers) I had directed or promoted. I had no capital. Actress/pal Maggie Task footed the bills. We partnered as TnT Classic Books, keeping books in print. So, two straight women became publishers of gay plays, novels and poems. When Maggie died, I added the Happy Task Series of straight books in addition to retaining gay books.
Thanks to: Francine L. Trevens of TnT Classic Books.

117. How Losing 500K Inspired Me!

Having all my life savings stolen by a financial advisor and having my self worth drop down to nothing...so much I wanted to kill myself, I started my business to help women recognize their self worth, their true worth. I help them know it is not associated to or connected to a dollar figure, their net worth, a house, an address, a husband, a job, not any of that...I teach them to recognize their true self worth and how the energy of that opens you up to have more wealth flow into your life.
Thanks to: Victoria Buckmann of ConsciouslyCreateYourIdealLife.com.

118. Movies with a Purpose

The notorious flop Gigli inspired me to make movies. If Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez could create a flick so soporific it makes critics' worst lists to this day, I knew I could, too. So I invented Film Sleepy, the genre that puts the audience to sleep. The LA Times called my first Film Sleepy, WebcamMurder.com, "The Most Boring Talky Ever Made!" while Sublime Crime: A Subliminal Mystery is revered by insiders as the first entirely subliminal mystery in history. Thanks, Bennifer!
Thanks to: Sondra Lowell of Film Sleepy.

119. I'll Do it Myself, Thank You

By the time my first novel went to press, I had done most of the cover design, the interior layout, and the bulk of marketing. In return, I received 20% royalty. If I'm doing that much, why do I need a middleman? Thriving on challenge and learning new things lead to launching a publishing company. Using part-time help, we published three titles in 2010. With controlled growth, we will release four in 2011 in electronic and print format.
Thanks to: Bill H Moore of Celtic Publications.

120. The Best Idea of Your Life!

When I was still employed as a researcher, I developed this pen-and-paper-and-toys-based network mapping method (Net-Map) to understand complex problems. A friend said: "Be serious about this. This could be the best idea you have in your life. And even if it isn't, treat it as if... because it is pretty good." And he was right. Treating your business idea as the best idea you will ever have (for now) helps you develop the passion, urgency and commitment needed to turn it into a business reality.
Thanks to: Eva Schiffer of Net-Map.

121. Roots of OUR Business

The inspiration for starting RIFT SUCCESS (Recruiting Individuals For True SUCCESS) came from the need to help fight the unemployment epidemic and the economic plunge. Staffing agencies were many, but none were sympathetic to the needs of the client. Everything was about bulk quantities, but no care was taken to actually help each client individually. We knew that with the way the economy was going, we had to provide a service that was free for job seekers and cost effective to employers.
Thanks to: Junior Sanchez of RIFT SUCCESS.

122. You Don't Need Nerds Anymore!

NSNA's mission is to help businesses create an online presence, providing robust marketing tools like websites, email marketing & social media that help make money. NSNA's passion is making sure that businesses can market themselves easily & affordably online. Businesses can tell the Nerds they don't need them anymore because our application lets them manage & maintain their own Internet applications. We took away the confusion of online marketing, providing everything for the web in 1 place.
Thanks to: Peg Emmons of Net Solutions North America, LLC.

123. Unhidden Answers!

After years in the corporate world, I knew I wanted to do my thing - my own business; be my own boss. I joined an entrepreneur group and met amazing ladies who were writers, inventors, designers - you name it.
They all were so accomplished, but were struggling to make significant sales. I pitched in and helped, since selling was the one thing I knew how to do. I mentioned that I didn't know what kind of business to start - and one of the women I had helped said "Why aren't you doing this?"
Thanks to: Phyllis Nichols of SoundAdvice Sales And Marketing.

124. The World Needs Better Leaders

Helping other leaders develop and learn to succeed is a passion. I could have worked for a large consulting firm, but I have more actual experience than many of them and that experience tells me that they aren't always right and they want to make things too complex. So, I started out on my own. I am independent and can train what I know really works. I admit, there's a bit of a selfish desire too. As a leader, I always had a good feeling when someone succeeded. Now, I can get a good feeling and a check!
Thanks to: Bob Mason of RLM Planning and Leadership.

125. Inspired by a Bike Helmet

Owning Roscoe Village Bikes and wanting to turn inventory faster is what inspired me to open LittleIndependent.com which helps give independent stores the online equivalent of having their store on Main Street- Unique Stores, Great Sales.

The dollars you spend at an independent store are more likely to be re-invested in your community. This has implications for charitable organizations, job creation and a healthy economic climate, right where you live. These benefits are my inspiration.
Thanks to: Lesley Tweedie of Little Independent.

126. Adults Don't Want to Wear Bibs

The main inspiration for my business was the comment, “Adults don’t want to wear bibs.” So, I created a dignified clothing protector. The Cravaat™ by DinerWear™ is a stain resistant, machine washable scarf that protects your clothes from food spills. Now, it’s the comments “I need that,” “My husband needs that,” “My mother needs that,” that give me the on-going inspiration. Because the market is big, the need is real, and the solution is creative, I am inspired to succeed.
Thanks to: Kathy Steck of DinerWear™ Llc.

127. From Suffering to Success

I was meant to help others find inner peace. After surviving domestic violence, I became passionate about learning about anger. What I discovered transformed my life.
My first book, published in 1994, resulted in being invited to train teachers on anger management. That ignited my career as a motivational speaker specializing in teaching others to heal anger and conflict and actively choose peace and harmony. My 7th book, The Secret Side of Anger, was just released.
Thanks to: Janet Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer Power Seminars, LLC.

128. Football and Freedom

Oddly enough, former Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Bill Cowher was my inspiration, and I am not even a Steelers fan. When I heard him announce in 2007 that he was moving on after 15 years, I had an epiphany: I realized I was about the same age as Cowher and I had been serving as a VP of Communications and Marketing for the same 15 years. I had always promised myself I would get back to writing one day, open my own small firm, and get off the corporate hamster wheel, which I did.
Thanks to: Kevin Fritz of Fritz Communications, LLC.

129. Helping Find Work-Life Balance

I founded FlexJobs in 2007 after my own frustrating search for a flexible, telecommuting job. Pregnant with my first child, I was seeking a professional-level job that was in line with my career goals and offered work-life balance, but was amazed at the overwhelming number of scams in this job niche. Frustration turned to inspiration and I decided to find this type of career for myself AND help others in the same situation find this type of work. FlexJobs is now the leading site in its field!
Thanks to: Sara Sutton Fell of FlexJobs.

130. Fragrance Designer Geir Ness

Armed with just a dream and $1000, Norwegian born Geir Ness set his sights on Los Angeles to become an actor, but fate had a different plan for him. His perseverance and commitment to excellence has earned him well-deserved success. As Norway’s first fragrance designer, he’s made his mark on the world both as an entrepreneur and humanitarian. His company, Laila, also the name of his fragrance was named after his mother, a tribute to her. The rest is an amazing story to be told.
Thanks to: Beatrice Davis of Laila, Inc.

131. "The Secret" Gift

"The Secret" inspired me. It changed my belief system and convinced me that I could be successful. After getting my first cell phone and realizing I didn't always have a good place to hold it, I got an idea from a little change purse on a string I'd bought at a yard sale for a quarter, years before. I realized how convenient it was. I decided to design something similar for my phone, have them manufactured and market it. I got my provisional patent, set up a website and here I am.
Thanks to: Pamela French of Pami Designs.

132. Taking Flight with Healing

The tragic death of my 13 year old son was definitely the catalyst for the company; to help others heal their own soul pain. In starting my business, I created a mission to let the millions around the world that have experienced trauma know that they do not have to just deal with the effects of trauma, they can have true and deep healing and live the lives they were meant to live.
Thanks to: Dr. Jane Simington of Taking Flight International Corp.

133. 6x Corporate Reject

After enduring 6 corporate layoffs in 8 years, I was no longer willing to base my livelihood on the whims of the corporate world. So, I started a coaching business and a newsletter that now has more than 2 million weekly readers. I self published two very successful books, built a solid clientele and I've never looked back.
Thanks to: Jennifer Hoffman of Enlightening Life OmniMedia, Inc.

134. Driver or Passenger?

I wanted to draft the company marketing plan, not follow someone else's. My business is Financial Planning and I wanted to be in the driver's seat to tailor my services to each individual client's needs. Big corporations tend to have quotas and mechanisms in place that encourage employees to do what is best for the company, not necessarily what is best for the clients or customers. I thrive on tailoring solutions to individual client needs and always doing what is best for the client.
Thanks to: Lisa Ditkowsky, CFP(r).

135. Business Tip of the Year 2011

My one inspiration to share is "FREEDOM"- no one to answer to such as a BOSS. YIPPY!
Being your own boss can be hard work and tedious when seeking customers or clients for your services; sometimes you may feel like giving up, but it's not worth it! Go for it!
Thanks to: Sharron Dark of Serving Your Unmet Needs.

136. Your Next Act: Having It All!

I was inspired to start my business based on one simple question: "Is this all there is?" Many highly successful professional women in their late 30's and into their 40's hit a "mid-course correction" where they want to start creating the next phase of their life, instead of just focusing on their existing career or their kids. They are ready to move into "What's next?" and need strategies and help to be able to see all of the unique and creative options to creating the life they dream of.
Thanks to: Jennifer Peek of Peek Lifestyle Coaching.

137. From Tragedies to Successes

There was never one particular event that led me to starting Keeping Us Safe. It was the result of 20-plus years of holding dying people in my arms at terrible car accidents, and delivering dozens and dozens of death notifications to families. “I would much rather work with families of older drivers to bring a peaceful resolve to this sensitive and uncomfortable issue now, rather than have them deal with it when a State Trooper is knocking on their front door".
Thanks to: Matt Gurwell of Keeping Us Safe.

138. Desperation to Triumph

As I sat in a hospital emergency ward unable to swallow anything, including my own saliva, I believed this was it; my life would be over - before I turned 39! A few months later, I had to come to terms with the fact there was nothing physically wrong with me. My mind had created it, due to my self-limiting beliefs and negative self talk. If I could create that, could I also create the life I wanted? Yes! Could I help others do the same? Absolutely. And so, my business was born.
Thanks to: Felicity Baker of From Fear to Joy.

139. City Girl + Country Boy = $$$$

As a socially-conscious U.C. Berkeley graduate who married a gearhead with a rambunctious tween in tow, I dismissed dreams of living in a loft near ethnic food and farmers markets, and compromised convenience for an isolated, suburban existence. Ten years and thousands of miles later, I realized how exhaustive it was zigzaging urban sprawl to handle basic errands, so I brainstormed a solution which combined amenity accessibility with a more efficient, safe and sustainable method of daily living.
Thanks to: Misha Garafalo of Handle My Task.

140. Fear Start-Up

For many, hanging that shingle is the result of a longtime dream realized. But sudden fear works too, when it comes to launching a new business. The 2008 market crash brought the realization that instead of simply investing in others, I had better start investing in a sure thing--me. Becoming a part of job generation and business creation has yielded a sense of empowerment, despite the challenges that starting a small business can bring. But now, I am not only an investor, I am also invested.
Thanks to: Sherrie Madia of Author, Social Media Survival Guide.

141. From Struggle to Success!

I was a Grammy-nominated but struggling songwriter...

My parents had been supporting me and my husband, but they both passed away in less than 1 year; and I had nothing to fall back on.

But, I had inherited an earthquake-damaged house. So, we fixed the house, which led to fixing houses for money. But, it wasn't satisfying and I'd always wanted to be an author. I got online, wrote an ebook, looked for an ebook coach, but there weren't any, so I became one; and the rest is history!
Thanks to: Ellen Violette of Create A Splash LLC .

142. Business Startup Inspiration

Many have asked the question, "What inspired me to start my business?" I started my business as a part-time venture prior to having my first child. During the first year after having my son, I realized I had to take the entrepreneurial concept on full-time. Having a child with Autism and ADHD, along with a kidney condition, took a lot of getting used to and working a full-time job would not work. So, having him inspired me even more to make entrepreneurship a lifestyle.
Thanks to: Karlene Sinclair-Robinson of www.smallbusinessfundingguide.com.

Do you have an inspiration for starting your business that wasn’t included? If you do, please share it below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is currently an on-air contributor for the national cable television station CNBC, the pre-eminent name in business news. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011, 2012 & 2013) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth
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  1. [...] Posted on | May 30, 2011 | No Comments If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, don't forget to download your free assessments, inviation to our webinar, "Roadmap To Greater Success: It Starts With Your Business Vision". Just enter your email address in the form to the right and you will be able to download all your goodies. Thanks for visiting! Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginCarol Roth asked her subscribers to share what inspired them to start their own businesses. You’ll find my entry below. To view the other 139 entries, click here [...]

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