Deciding to start a business is an unusual decision. It’s often considered irrational and yet for many it’s the best decision they’ve ever made. So we asked folks to think back to when they were starting their businesses and to tell us about their decision making process.

Damian Holmes | SMP Artist & Educator

Establishing New Man SMP was largely a by-product of wanting to use my gifts in the interest of others, to the glory of God. I’m on a mission of restoring confidence by reversing the appearance of hair loss. A lack of confidence severeIy inhibits a man’s willingness to take risks in virtually all areas, so my services involve much more than simply looking better for its own sake. To be a “New Man” is to become a doer and minimizing regrets. It’s about cultivating the confidence to make eye contact with a potential employer, woman he may be interested in, or even starting his own business in the interest of others to the glory of God. Read more>>

Justin Sterner | Actor, Coach & Headshot photographer

My wife Amber and I want to help influence and inspire young creatives, filmmakers, photographers and other artists. So, it was an easy choice for us when the pandemic hit to use the time we had to build our brand and launch a platform where we had the opportunity to do that. Read more>>

Elle Michelle | Online Beauty Supply Shop Owner

Love the Beaut began as a blog to celebrate Black-owned beauty brands. After researching smaller businesses and using their products, it transitioned into a beauty supply shop that featured beauty and skincare products from Black-owned and Female-owned small businesses. Each product is handpicked and sampled to ensure the ultimate pamper and self-care experience. My goal is to provide exclusive access to glamour and well-being, and allow a platform for smaller beauty business owners, with a one-stop-shop vibe. The fact that many of the brands featured in the shop are smaller businesses is what sets Love the Beaut apart. Currently, there are body products, wellness products, and lip care available, and I’m always in contact with beauty brands to expand the variety. This is truly a dream turned reality! ❤️ Read more>>

Mia Robinson | Chandelier, Found of Allumé by Simone

As long as I can remember, I have had an entrepreneurial mindset. I always knew being a business owner was my destiny, but I did not know how. Little did I know, that question would be answered in the most unexpected way possible. After I began my professional career in 2016, I began experiencing severe stress and anxiety. During this time, the most comforting thing at the end of a stressful day was coming home, pouring a glass of wine and lighting a scented candle. I loved the feeling of walking into my space and being met with a pleasant aroma. It was calming and, in a way, therapeutic for me. I knew I was not the only young professional who could use a little aromatherapy, so I made it my mission to provide the same experiences to other individuals struggling with stress and anxiety. Read more>>

Taina Brown | Career Coaching & DEI Consultant

I’ve had a very untraditional career path since I left college in 2001. I spent ten years working in ministry at a well-known megachurch in the Atlanta area before going back to finish my degree when I was in my early thirties. Since then, I’ve my path hasn’t been all that linear. That, coupled with the fact that I have a chronic disability which makes it difficult to work traditional office hours lead me to really consider what was the best move for me professionally. I knew I loved working with people 1-on-1, I loved training people, and whatever I ended up doing it needed to be mission-driven and impactful. From there it was an easy decision to go back to coaching and truly make it my profession. Read more>>

Steven Randall | Creator, Photographer, & Founder of Project Randall Media, LLC

What was the thought the process behind starting my own business? While I’ve always had an entrepreneur mindset with many small businesses that I started and left dormant; COVID made me really put my feet to the ground to start my media company. it was and still is a very traumatic and nervous era that we live in. I watched people loose their job due to COVID and unfortunately many have lost lives. I didn’t want my job or worth to be determine by this pandemic. So I started my own. Read more>>

Yanni Brown | Relationship & Intimacy Educator

The thought process behind starting Making Love Better TwoGether was to proudly connect women, wives and couples to the dots of love. Whether you are on the magnificent journey of self love, open to love or the want to experience the opportunity of loving better we decided that it was important to create a positive narrative around building healthy, loving and long lasting relationships. Read more>>

Madison Steinau | Greeting Card Designer, Owner of Shop Cardiology, & College Student

As a kid, I reveled in the joy of dashing to the mailbox and ripping into an envelope sent from my grandparents far away in the Caribbean and Europe. Now, as a college student, I write letters less frequently, but I delight in giving thoughtful greeting cards to friends and family. Continuously resorting to creating my own cards at home, my ever-supportive mom and dad encouraged me to harness my love of artful communication and create a business. Read more>>

Bobbi Benavides | The Branding Lady

I have lived and worked in some of the trendiest cities in the US. Places like, LA, Vegas, NYC, Miami have all given me insight into the digital branding world in both the music and hospitality industries by directing brand development. When I came to Atlanta and began focusing on the small business sector, I realized that I had some of the most valuable branding techniques that were very much sought after. During my first few years in Atlanta, I was approached by many small business owners on how to help expand and build their brand. Thus, The Branding Lady was born. Read more>>

Denise McCulloch | Small Business Owner

I felt compelled to start my own business when I saw a lack of options when it came to natural, organic, straightforward self-care focused bathing products. Bathing is a form of self-care and relaxation for so many of us. We all have unique rituals surrounding self-care and I wanted to create a product that supported those rituals and elevated the bathing experience. I was inspired by the concept of soaking your whole body in something that was not only relaxing, but had additional health benefits, like drinking a cup of herbal tea would have. Read more>>

Nicola Gaitor Barber | Founder and Lead Educational Consultant

I know that as an Educational Professional with 26 year experience I had so much more to offer a wider community and stake holders interested in making education more productive. My ultimate goal is to increase life long learning in the classroom, through helping teachers and students create a more harmonious and comprehensive learning environment. The passion that I have of giving others the information they need moved me to go beyond my school house and reach to school houses across the world. In addition I want to provide professional development that is tailored made for each school. Of course we have a specific foundation for our trainings but we take that foundation a streamline or make it unique for each school. In my experience I have sat through countless professional development I had no interest in or didn’t applied to my needs. This was my though process behind starting Educational Consulting. Read more>>

Madinah Byrd | Founder, Sweatcute Brand

My thought process to start SweatCute, I reflected on several motivating factors that led me to begin a fitness journey and the one factor that resonated was my constant desire to wear a CUTE workout outfit. I was eager to get dress for the gym which transcended me to power through my workout! The overall notion for the Sweatcute Brand, is Sweat is your POWER and Cute is your CONFIDENCE regardless of fitness level, shape and or size. Read more>>

Miss G. | Entrepreneur

My thought process behind starting my own business was exciting and fulfilling. I wanted to start my own business because of my passion of the beauty industry. In starting my own business, It was not just about me, it was also about the individuals that are connected to me that will be apart of this journey of me starting my own business. When I thought of opening my own beauty Supply store and other business endeavors, it was always about inspiring others. If I can do it they can as well. I want to lead by example and show the world that you can achieve your goals if you just believe in yourself and put in the work. I wanted to show generational excellence in my family. My thought process simply is about everyone that played a role in assisting me with bringing my dreams/vision to life and we all win and become successful together. Read more>>

Cameron Whitlock | Wedding Filmmaker

I traveled a long and winding path before becoming a wedding filmmaker. I started my career in newspapers after graduating from the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism. I originally was more interested in writing than any other form of storytelling. But working as a reporter, you naturally become a jack-of-all-trades. Covering high school sports really helped me learn my way around the camera. Sports and action photography isn’t easy to master, but after a year or so I felt very confident in the quality of my photos. After working as an editor for a couple years, I decided I wanted to branch out of newspapers and try my hand at freelance journalism. Read more>>

Courtney & Devanie Lykes & Ayres | Creative Fashion Designer

Rich County originated from fashion lovers finding the perfect marriage between fashion and style. We strive to give our customers a rich feeling at an affordable price.  Everyone knows a person feels the way they look, from their head to their toe. Rich County will provide that great feeling. Our mission is to offer a variety of styles, and convenience nationwide. We are here to help customers select clothing styles that best fits their personalities. Rich County will enhance your beauty and your overall appearance, helping you to maintain a youthful look. In return, helping save time and money in one location. Read more>>

Heather Khodadadi | Educational Blogger, Homeschool Mom, and Former Public School Teacher

Last year, I remember feeling terrible for all the public school families and teachers trying to figure out distance learning. As a former teacher, I could imagine how difficult that was for all involved. I knew several parents were frustrated with the setup and were opting to homeschool instead. These parents never intended on homeschooling their children. They were doing it out of desperation. I wanted to help these struggling parents. I was acting almost like a liaison between these public school parents and homeschooling. I remembered my transition into homeschooling my children and how I struggled with it because I was trying to duplicate the public school setting at home. I was failing miserably. I wanted to share my experience with these parents to help them have a successful year. If they had a successful year, then their child was successful. It is all about the children… period. Read more>>

Sierra M. Adams | Business Coach

I’ve always desired to be the owner of my own company since I was a child after being introduced to the business marketplace and owning my own mock clothing and food vendor business in elementary school. Fast forward, the thought process behind starting my own consulting business evolved after working in the public sector over 10 years as a procurement officer and noticing how many small businesses and entrepreneurs were being turned down for government contracts because their business foundation was not properly set up and/or financially viable, especially minority businesses. Read more>>

Calvin Johnson | Holistic Health Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, Energy Medicine Practitioner , Licensed Medical Massage Therapist, Published Author

Business Owner and Operator at Mae’s Methods Holistic Health and Wellness Our mission at Mae’s Methods Holistic Health & Wellness since 2017 is simply to serve you. We provide excellent Holistic Health care to help our clients reach and exceed their health goals. We assess the clients as a whole. We want to address the main concern, but also lead you into a lifestyle of being pain free healing. We do all of this by offering an evidence-based approach to Holistic Health Eastern theory by utilizing massage and other modalities including soft-tissue techniques, therapeutic rehabilitation, energy medicine and a variety of Holistic Health Modalities services to help achieve your optimal health goals. Read more>>

Shay OmyGod | Owner of Spotlight 360 Photobooth

I wanted to have a business that wasn’t popular so I could build it up and make it popular. I also created it to help my kids learn how to become entrepreneurs. And having fun while doing it, I love doing people have a great time and knowing I helped relate that is the best feeling! Read more>>

Brittany Rosser | Protective Stylist

When I first started doing hair, I was only servicing my friends and family members. It wasn’t until I got to college where I realized that it was very expensive to keep up with getting a new style. I quickly noticed that not everyone could afford the new and upcoming prices of these new stylists. My thought process behind starting my business was to be affordable and accessible to anyone who wanted to receive a protective style. Read more>>

Olivia Davis | Christian Writer

I started my freelance writing business when I was living in Athens, Greece working as a teacher through the Fulbright program. I had some extra time on my hands and decided to google “freelance writing websites” on a whim. I found a website that had lots of opportunities for freelance writers, set up a profile, and promptly forgot about it. Read more>>

Tess McCain | Wedding & Event Planner

I wanted to have something to call my own at the end of the day. I wanted to be able to call the shots and have something I am totally proud of! Being my own boss has always been a dream of mine and now it has become my reality. Read more>>

Steven & Devan Ludke | Entrepreneurs

My husband and I started this business with freedom in mind. We were both working corporate jobs and were very unhappy in that environment. The foundation of our relationship was built on food. He is a chef and I love to cook, so we decided that we wanted to work together and do what we both love. We took a chance and then 6 months later we found out that I was pregnant which inspired us, even more, to be in control of our schedule and have financial freedom. Read more>>

Esther Joseph | Full-time Law & Society Student and Student Intern at a Black-Owned Law Firm

I started my business in June 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic thinking that would probably be out of a job for some time and that it would be good to have a couple hundred a month to tie me over with groceries and bills. I started out doing hair because all of my friends told me I should, but didn’t really like being in other peoples’ hair for hours at a time. Because of that, and covid restrictions, I decided to move towards e-commerce and hair care in October 2020. Read more>>

E L Chisolm | Fine Artist, Muralist, Designer & Art Activist

I always said I ha no desire to be anyone’s boss. I was young and I ha no faith in myself, because I had watched so many people close to me have a hard time running their businesses. One day I was servicing a client, and telling her my desires, and how I had no clue on how to start, and she told me “If God planted that seed in you and you can’t shake it, it is not there for no reason.” So I started to make plans to shift. I had no intentions on startinhg my own business, although i had been making and selling art for about 9 years prior. An artisian business incubator encouraged me to get started. They helped me realize that I had a business inside of me. Read more>>

Erin Lofton | Travel Agent

I started my travel business because my friends always told me I was really good at planning trips. Every trip I ever put together and invited others on, they would be in awe at the things I was able to put together and find-from the food to the excursions or even just the accommodations itself. I figured, why not put my talent to use and help others plan the BEST vacations? I always felt like…people struggled putting trips together for groups or even just couple getaways. I wanted to be able to help with that. Read more>>

Alexis Hall | Small nostalgic business owner

My first thought about my brand was self love. As a young black female that suffers horrible anxiety, trauma, etc I had a hard time trying to feel good about myself and getting back into the things that made me happy. I wanted to sell/create things that would make EVERYONE feel good inside and out , from our bath teas and make up items to our fun nostalgia themed resin accessories. Read more>>

Jamesha Bazemore | Digital Artist | Certified Therapeutic Art Coach | USMC Veteran

The thought process behind starting my business was to create digital art for my twins to use on their school supplies. During one of our back to school shopping trips my twins fell in love with the school supplies that had art on them, but they wanted school supplies with pictures on them that looked like them. Instead of getting upset. They turned to me and ask me to draw on their notebooks and folders. Read more>>

Tyler Chenault | Real Estate Agent

If you had told me 5 years ago, I would be a business owner, I would have laughed and told you you were nuts. I was well on my way to becoming a psychologist and wanted nothing to do with business. I had no aspiration for entrepreneurship but when I had kids, that all changed. Read more>>

De’Trice J. Fox | Career & Confidence Coach | Purposepreneur

I’ve always admired individuals who had the mindset of entrepreneurship. I love how people see a problem, find a solution, and see the opportunity to start a business around that problem. That was the basis around my starting CoCoa by De’Trice. It has always been a theme in my life to play the background and help uplift others in the best way that I can. I get to do that with my business. I pride myself on communicating my value to others, and I want others to be able to do the same. CoCoa by De’Trice is all about exhibiting your superpower by aligning your life and career goals to your purpose. I have helped people discover and explore their job search, including resume coaching, LinkedIn optimization, and interview coaching. In addition, I work closely with Ph.D. students to review their thesis by ensuring that they meet all the guidelines of formatting, copyediting, and all-around perfection of this life-changing document. Read more>>

Darrick Fisher | Marketing & Technology Professional

I started my own business for three reasons: 1. Freedom & Flexibility – I wanted to be able to select my hours, choose my own projects, & have complete control of my life so I could live within my purpose while fulfilling my mission on this Earth. In my first job after school, I was told that I was going to have to spend 5 years in a cubicle before I would be able to work in outside sales. They didn’t know just how ready I was to hit the ground running. 2. Unlimited Income & Equity – Once upon a time, I was figuratively caught in the crosshairs of another man’s business problems. I never wanted to go through this situation again & knew that if I started my own business then the ball would be in my court in terms of earnings Read more>>

Maria Jackson | Entrepreneur & Skincare Formulator

After hitting what I thought was the lowest point in my life back in 2019. I had a complete epiphany that took me back to my childhood when I was always teased about the complexion of my dark skin. While thinking about all the teasing, bullying, and low self-esteem I gained; I also thought about how much in my adult years I receive compliments on how beautiful my skin is and how clear it is. Read more>>