We're lucky to call a vast number of ingenious entrepreneurs Incfile customers, and that's why we're always excited to showcase their successes in our #INCspiration series.
And now that the year is coming to a close, it's time to round up all nine of the small business owners and founders we've featured in 2021. Here's more about their stories of entrepreneurship to inspire you on your own journey.
1. Emily Schromm, EmFit
Nutritional therapy practitioner and personal trainer Emily Schromm began her entrepreneurial journey after realizing that she loved personal training but wasn't a fan of working for other people.
So she decided to start EmFit, a company dedicated to helping people live healthier, more empowering lives through nutrition, exercise and overall wellness. In fact, she now owns a whopping seven LLCs as part of her growing fitness empire.
Words of wisdom: "It’s all about servicing people in a way that helps them live better, healthier lives. And it's just such an honor to be as creative as possible to take care of my employees and my customers as much as I can."
Publicist Demia Doggette saw a problem, and she wanted to fix it. Specifically, she was concerned with the unique challenges faced by Black women entrepreneurs struggling to grow, promote and secure investments for their businesses.
So, in 2017, she founded The Couture Agency, a public relations firm with services tailored to meet the needs of Black women entrepreneurs and their brands. Her efforts have paid off, and The Couture Agency now boasts a wide array of happy clients.
Words of wisdom: "My ultimate desire is to diversify the imagery and narrative of top publications and media outlets to include the voices and products of women of diverse backgrounds. This is my way of spreading Black Girl Magic one day, one story, one big win at a time."
Illustrator, designer and educator Lily Qian certainly has an impressive resume. From Adidas to Bergdorf Goodman to Louis Vuitton, Lily's clients are both numerous and prestigious.
But her talent doesn't end with commercial work — Lily also creates prints, illustrates children's books and teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. All in all, her personal brand is a stunning example of impeccable artistry.
Words of wisdom: "My advice is to be clear on who are you are as a person, and what is your purpose in this business. ... You're not always going to have a mentor, so you have to be your own mentor."
While software developer-turned-entrepreneur Andrey Mishenin was already familiar with coding and creating sophisticated products, starting his own company proved to be a different sort of challenge entirely.
But with a pragmatic approach and careful decision-making, Andrey transformed his idea for a smart time tracking software into the successful company Trackabi. It's now used by more than 1,000 companies and caters to both individuals and enterprises.
Words of wisdom: "The most essential benefit of being an entrepreneur is freedom of choice and the ability to develop your own products and ideas. It brings great satisfaction when something you create finds its customers and serves them well."
Couple Robby and Sabrina Sullivan began their path to entrepreneurship with unimaginable tragedy: the loss of their beloved infant son Callen to SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome. SIDS is unexplained by definition, but Robby and Sabrina were determined to find answers.
So they decided to use their loss to help other families by founding Callen's Cause, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that raises funds for SIDS research. For instance, the organization supports the Boston Children's Hospital, which is currently researching the link between SIDS and serotonin deficiency.
Words of wisdom: "It became our mission to keep Callen present every day, to take on what we believed his destiny to be in changing the world for the better and to identify ways to prevent other families from experiencing similar heartbreak. We believe founding Callen's Cause helped to achieve all three."
The murder of George Floyd ignited an unprecedented movement for racial equity in the U.S., and that movement included many people's increased desire to support Black-owned businesses. But it wasn't always easy for people to find such businesses, which is what inspired Danilo Batson to create Spicy Green Book.
Spicy Green Book is an easy-to-use virtual directory of Black-owned food and drink businesses across the country. It's a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and also provides a variety of professional services to help those same businesses thrive.
Words of wisdom: "Helping people is the most rewarding thing about running Spicy Green Book. When I hear the stories from business owners who have seen that jump in business after signing up with Spicy Green Book, it is further validation that I made the right decision to start this service and that this is something that is needed."
Husband-and-wife team Alex and Elise Coleman know how to cater to the needs of young professionals because, well, that's what they are. And after years of working demanding corporate jobs, they both understood the struggle of finding time to travel, sort out logistics and plan itineraries.
That's why they created Here & Now Travel, a business that offers pre-planned group vacations for young professionals between the ages of 21 and 35. From the northern lights of Iceland to the beaches of Costa Rica, Here & Now Travel helps busy people see some of the most awe-inspiring sights in the world.
Words of wisdom: "Starting a business requires hundreds of small decisions, and if you think too much about the details beforehand, it can take years to get it off the ground. Start small, learn as you go and take one step at a time."
Once a dissatisfied corporate sales professional, Chase Mitchell decided to forge his own path in 2020 by starting his own small business. That business was Upstarter Podcasts, which began as a one-man enterprise but grew to a podcast network with thousands of listeners.
Upstarter Podcasts produces and manages a variety of podcasts, all of which focus on personal development, positivity and achieving a healthy lifestyle. In the future, Chase aims to make his company the number one podcast network for personal development content.
Words of wisdom: "It’s been hugely rewarding to see the impact I can directly make on people as an entrepreneur with Upstarter Podcasts, whether that's helping a client achieve a dream of theirs, being more present and available for friends and family or changing the life of a stranger that listened to a show."
Connect with Chase and Upstarter Podcasts on: Instagram
9. Candace Ramsey, The Profit Center
Like many entrepreneurs throughout history, Candace Ramsey didn't set out to be an entrepreneur. Instead, she honed her skills at corporate jobs before deciding to use them for an entirely different purpose: helping small businesses flourish.
She did so by founding The Profit Center, a finance strategy firm that helps other business owners optimize costs, create a smart financial plan and realize their full potential.
Words of wisdom: "You won't get things perfect the first time, so you have to know when to pivot your strategy and try something different. Learn the lesson and use it to make yourself and your business better."
With 2022 just around the corner, it's the perfect time to take a cue from these nine inspirational entrepreneurs and take the plunge you've been putting off.
If their stories have taught us anything, it's that the struggles of entrepreneurship are far outweighed by the freedom, independence and fulfillment it provides. Want to have your story of entrepreneurship featured? Share it with us, and you may be the next Incfile #INCspiration!
Carrie Buchholz-Powers is a Colorado-based writer who’s been creating content since 2013. From digital marketing to ecommerce to land conservation, she has experience in a wide range of fields and loves learning about them all. Carrie is fond of history, animals and beauty in equal measure. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, playing video games and exploring Colorado's prairies and mountains with her husband.