A while back, I asked my colleagues at the magazine and website to tell me what kind of company they would start if they were to start one. A few days later, I sent them an e-mail with all their names in Column A and their various start-up ideas in Column B and asked them to match one with the other. Some matches were pretty obvious -- drawing a line from best-dressed deputy editor Dan Ferrara to "haberdashery," for instance. But only a few knew that reporter Jason Del Rey had already put some thought into the Spud Hut, a French fries/Tater Tots joint, or that senior editor Rick Schine saw promise in a travel firm specializing in safaris to the exact locations featured in the dioramas at New York's American Museum of Natural History. We had a lot of fun with this contest. For one thing, it revealed hidden interests and entrepreneurial ambitions.

The cover story this month features a group of entrepreneurs who've put their passions to work: the grad-school dropout who launched a beauty company, the inveterate traveler who figured out how to capitalize on his love of discovery, the beverage maker who brews up batches of sweet tea using his grandmother's recipe. Each profile includes helpful information about getting started in such businesses -- costs, legal considerations, marketing strategies, and the like. We hope these stories will act as inspiration to the aspiring and reality checks for the already engaged.

We write often about start-ups in Inc., because the decision, or impulse, to launch a company rather than work for someone else is at the heart of the entrepreneurial life. Obviously, we work for someone else, but we appreciate and laud the drive, hard work, intelligence, passion, optimism, and commitment needed to start and run a company.

Which brings me to Meg Hirshberg's column, "Balancing Acts." Her first effort, in May, touched a chord with many, many readers. I think this month's will too. It starts on here.

I hope your summer brings joy.