Can you remember the moment you decided you wanted to start a business?

Were you eight and dreaming of becoming a grown-up boss? Or did you work several corporate jobs before you had your epiphany? Did you get laid off from your last company—or did you quit?

Memory can be a fuzzy, fickle thing. But even if we don’t remember the precise details, the overall feel of moments stick with us—especially when you’re taking as big a risk as putting your livelihood and security on the line to start a business from scratch.

In honor of Small Business Week this year, we invited business owners across social media to share their stories about the moment they realized they wanted to start a business. Across Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, entrepreneurs came together to recall their #SmallBizMoment.

Here’s what 11 of them said about that moment.

Jon Cox, owner of Patriot Auto Glass

“When my boss came in on a Wednesday and said, ‘Friday is our last day. I’m closing my doors.’ I started my own business and have been kicking it for the last 15 years!”

Douglas J. Wilkins, owner at Rescue Force Heating and Air

“When I went from company to company looking for advancement opportunities. They promise the world to get you to join the team and then keep you in a position that benefits themselves only. I always knew I needed more than just a job!”

Paco de Leon, founder of The Hell Yeah Group

Fabian Galaviz-Segura, owner at Galaviz Cleaning Services

“I grew up in a poor family. Every time I wanted something, my dad would say, ‘You gotta make your own money, son.’ So at the age of 8, I started washing my neighbor’s cars, doing yards, and cleaning windows. I was making good money. I started to buy myself all the things I wanted. That’s when I told myself, ‘When I grow up, I will be a businessman because those guys make more money than me.’”

Amanda Goldberg, founder and creative director of Planted Design

Jacqueline Patella, owner at Pawfect Day

“When I would return from lunch to find my boss on my computer. When my boss tapped me on the head with a folder. I knew it was making me sick and it was unhealthy to stay. I gave one month notice. It gave me the push I needed.”

April Hamm, owner at AM Linen Rental

“When my great uncle, a long-time business owner, took me to Sam’s Club during business hours to stock up his office. I was 5, and I knew that was the life for me.”

Ryan Robinson, entrepreneur at

Brittany Sweeney, owner at Sweeney Bookkeeping, LLC

“After I got fired from my last job. My boss had given me a raise for my performance. She then got promoted and a girl who was my ‘friend’ and teammate got promoted as our team manager. This new manager then fired me within two weeks. No more dealings with shady teammates!”

Sherrell T. Martin, Virtual Accountant at Nitram Financial

Kate Tilton, founder at Kate Tilton’s Author Services

“I fell into working for myself when I asked an author I loved if I could be her assistant. I was in high school and it was my first job. I never dreamed that one job would bloom into my own business but I’m so thankful it has. I can’t picture myself doing anything else!”

Small Business Week is one week every year, but we should celebrate small businesses every day—which is why we want to keep the #SmallBizMoment conversation going.

So, tell us: When did YOU know you wanted to start a business? Tweet us your #SmallBizMoment for a chance to get featured in an upcoming post!

Andrea Garcia-Vargas Andrea Garcia-Vargas is on Gusto's Communications team. Before joining the tech world, she worked at several news and journalism startups, including Upworthy and OZY Media, as both a writer and marketer. Her writing has appeared in Vice, Refinery29, The Chicago Tribune, and Bustle.
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