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.

Nay Marie | Magazine Editor & Adornment Specialist

From a child, I always knew I never wanted to work for someone else. Of course, as I got older and money demanded it, I worked several sales and management positions, but I needed all of them to teach me lessons that lead to how I run my businesses today. I was laid off from my last job in 2009 due to downsizing and have been a creative entrepreneur ever since. I jumped in, unprepared (which I don’t recommend lol) eager, and determined. I knew I wanted to be my own boss, to control my own schedule, and generate income that was only controlled by my efforts. As my companies grew, so did my goals – aiding my community, contracting other Black business owners, empowering those who look like me to live their best lives. Read more>>

Maria Walcott | Entrepreneur | Mom

I decided to start my own buisness April 16th 2020. It was a celebration of me being a 23 year old young black women striving to become better. I wanted to build a brand that represent all the young beautiful women who want to be heard & seen. PrettyMLashes Brand is not only a brand it is a lifestyle! I sell Cosmetics to make women feel beautiful!! Read more>>

Kathlyn Avila | Kathlyn Avila /Multi Media Artist & Instructor

I enjoy sending greeting cards and small handmade gifts to family and friends to lift their spirits and surprise them with “love” gifts. Besides, who doesn’t like receiving mail that is not a bill? I could never find ethnic cards that expressed and looked like what I was attracted to. My concept in designing greeting cards
was to find vintage images of African American girls from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s that most likely never had the opportunity to dress in fine linens and bows. I would digitally redress them in pretty dresses and put them in new fanciful environments. Read more>>

Ramsey Sylvestre | Artist/ business owner

The thought process behind my business was I wanted something that was mine and also unique. for years I’ve had women refer to me as this big teddy bear. One day my sister’s college friend met me and called me “Teddy Rams”. From that point forward I knew I wanted to make a music project with that same name. Once I got my graphic designer to give me something that was incredible I just ran with it. I’m always reassured I did the right thing when I’m out in my merch. some people are drawn to it due to nostalgia and some just like the fact that the bear looks like me, either way I’m elated Read more>>

Diamond Jack | TV Personality, Actress, Dancer, Entrepreneur,

My thought process was to create generational wealth for me end my family. Personally, I have learned that I do not like working for other people nor a 9-5p. Figured, if I can do that for others, why not try it for yourself Read more>>

Amanda Terrell | Licensed Lash Technician

When I started my business, I wanted to start a business with something that I enjoyed. My thought process was behind my business came from my youth, and making my grandmother and my mom proud. I grew up in a hair salon that my grandmother started about 50 years ago, for her and her daughters. My grandmother’s salon had the principles of come and get your service at a reasonable price, great customer service, and also come in and enjoy the family but also become apart of the family. My grandmother’s salon lasted so long because of these key principles. So, when I started my lash business, my thought process was provide a quality service at a reason price but also creating a family like atmosphere for my clients, which I have accomplished. Read more>>

808 TWill | Music Producer , Engineer , Songwriter

I was making money out of my moms house and my gmas house charging $25 hr for studio time and artist was coming to buy beats from me as well so I felt like it was time to take that next step investing into my own studio. Read more>>

Ross Goodman | Photographer

When I first started, there wasn’t much of a thought process. I found something I loved doing and decided that’s how I want to make my living. So I just started. Over the years, through mistakes and other learnings, but at first there was a whole lot of “fake it til you make it” Read more>>

Alisha Hurt | Stay at home Mom/ Owner of Ready Set Boutique

Ready Set Boutique was started by a stay at home mother of two boys, my thought process behind starting my own business was freedom and work life balance, before I became a stay at home mother I did have a 9-5 and I knew I was not going to be able to raise my kids and go back to a full-time job. My husband having a business of his own really opened my eyes to being an entrepreneur. I started this business with the mind set that I would still be able to raise my kids while also doing a job that I loved. I would also have something for myself that was bringing in income. Read more>>

Samira Alston | Certified Personal Trainer, Registered Yoga Teacher-200hrs, & Sound Practitioner

I didn’t know from the beginning that I was actually going to start my own business. I obtained my Bachelors of Kinesiology degree from Mississippi State University with hopes of eventually becoming a Physical Therapist. After completing an internship and a couple of semesters of a Physical Therapy Assistant program, I found that this career path just wasn’t for me. I grew up an athlete, so sports and movement have always been apart of my life. When I got to college in 2010 I completely fell off when it came to exercise. I would go to the gym sometimes on campus to play basketball, but I found myself only getting in most of my movement when I was walking to my classes. Read more>>

Odette Shirley | Founder & Ceo

After 16yrs in Corporate, starting my own business wasn’t really on my radar. But, during the pandemic, with the renewed and resurgence of wellness and self-care, many friends and family were asking to make my organic, clean burning candles! The demand was such that, a fun hobby turned into a business!
The thought process behind having my business was being able to have a way to help people achieve their wellness and self-care needs. Being able to provide items that will allow them to create their home spa, their own peaceful, relaxing sanctuary. Read more>>

Chante’ Johnson | Creator of Pieces by C.lauren

My thought process behind starting my own business was really to make my own creative outlet. When its your business you can make it however you want and I honestly needed something to keep me sane and accountable. Read more>>

Joanna Tillson | Doctoral Student, Business Owner, mother, and wife

So I started my own business mostly out of fear and mistrust. I was about six months pregnant and I was reading my company maternity leave policy. I was scared to death, how am I going to manage to survive with a new born and not be a burden on my husband? I refused to depend on anyone but myself. So after thinking hard I realized the only thing I have that no one else does is myself! So I may as well pick something I enjoy and dive in! I’ve always been particular about the way thing smell so SOAP!! Then once I emerged myself in this world I was BLOWN AWAY by the depth and breath of the bath and body products available, and I knew I made the right choice! Read more>>

Kat Ballesteros | Freelance Illustrator & Designer

I’m currently pursuing a freelance career because I wanted flexibility. The idea of the 9-5 job felt so restrictive to me, and I think that’s something that most people can relate to nowadays, especially after getting a taste of what it’s like to work from home. My brain thrives in newness. I wanted to be able to change what I did on any given day. Freelance gives you the opportunity to work in whatever schedule works best for your mind and body, pursuing your own ideal clients and projects, setting your own rates. I wanted that. I wanted the freedom to work as much or as little as I desired, and to get to choose which projects I can work on. My ADHD brain sure loves it. I made it sound all dreamy. It’s not easy, it’s a lot of hard work and it might not be for everybody, but the return is worth it. Read more>>

Alyx Walker | Content Producer and CReative Curator

For my business A. BLACK Creative. I didnt see it as a business when I first started the idea. It was simply a YouTube platform to share my experiences as a black creative leveling up my life. I soon saw through response from my audience and people who first saw our content, that it was actually filling a void in the market. There was no place where black creatives could go to receive content specifically created for them. After that, I made it a business. Read more>>

Jay Smith | Clothing Designer

The thought of being a Young, Black & Successful man inspires everyday and keeps me going, I’ve always had the drive to do things above and beyond. I would consider my business journey a manifestation unfolding day by day. I dreamed of having a product being sold worldwide as a teenager but didn’t have an idea of what the product would’ve been. I imagined me waking up daily to batches of orders, making my own schedule and setting up monthly sales quotas. Read more>>

Pure Palmer | Self Care Formulator | Realtor® | Notary Public

I struggle with a chronic skin condition, which makes my skin very sensitive to products with fragrance or other unnatural additives in it. Most of the products on the market that are marketed towards people with sensitive skin don’t smell good and they don’t leave your skin feeling smooth and moisturized. I decided, “Enough is enough! I’m just going to make my own products.” The two products I first mastered handcrafting were Beard Oil and my original Brown Sugar, Honey body scrub. As I was researching I realized not only were all natural, organic, handmade products a rarity…there weren’t very many natural self care products made for people of color, specifically MEN of color. So although I make products for everyone, I started focusing more on making products for men because 1) they deserve it and 2) we women get tired of our man using all of our products (lol). Read more>>

Murphy Paschall | Fashion Designer & Activist

I wanted to get a message out to the African American community at large about the amount of money we spend in the United States economy annually. So, eventually I thought using fashion was the best way to get this message to the people. Read more>>

Telly Lattibeaudiere | Radio Personality/Life Coach/Radio Station Owner/Counselor

I have an online digital media platform. An online radio station to be exact. My thought process behind starting your own business was can I really do this. Of course I’m a strong black woman. My platform looks ok to try something new. I have support why not. There isn’t a station catering to the Caribbean community in America why not. I could feature artists that don’t get any airplay (my husband for example) so many talented artists out here that don’t get any recognition. So let me try and see. And bomb it all came together. I’m also a radio personality so this could work out for me. And here I am. Read more>>

Martinique Harden | Licensed Esthetician / Owner of BlinkwithNique LLC

When the thought came to my mind about starting my own business for lashes the first thing you think about with any thing involving work is money. I wanted more than just money. I did’nt want to start off smallI wanted a brand, a corporation, generational wealth for my son. It seemed so far fetch. It seemed too hard because of the stage in my life I was at. When I did begin to take the initial steps I needed in order to be able to start the process It became over whelming and I found myself wanting to skip or jump instead of walking. I started to write down ideas and pray for guidance and the reveal any steps he ordered for me. Once I understood that My business is as big as I want it to be and if I believe and trust God through it all I am literately unstoppable. Read more>>

Yessi Baptist | Lash artist

My thought process behind starting my own business was to have control over my life. There’s nothing like being your own boss and playing by your own rules, most importantly having something you built by yourself from the ground up is also an amazing process. Read more>>

Brittney Harrison | Esthetician

Honestly, when I decided to go full time as an Entrepreneur I thought the road would be easy. I didn’t think so much came behind actually running a business. I now know that you can never prepare yourself for these things until you have been through them. That’s the only way to master what’s coming at you. Read more>>

Rev. YaNi Davis | Pastor, Performance Artist, Disability Advocate

I started my business because I recognized there was a lot missing within the Healthcare Industry. I noticed that people were receiving care for their physical body but there was no support for their minds and their spirits. My business, My SupaNatural Life was started because I am a Kidney Transplant survivor and wanted to fill in the void for people life me with disabilities who needed a listening air, resources that were not readily available and for folks in need of spaces to be more accessible based on their personal needs. My organization was started because I wanted to be a catalyst for creating a greater culture of wholistic care in churches, organizations, family units, hospitals, and even within individuals lives. Read more>>

Dileesa Archer

My business was really born out of the need that I saw for well- educated singing teachers. YouTube was still fairly new in 2008, and I noticed that people were teaching voice, and their lessons were not only difficult to understand but many times they were antithetical to good singing. Since I was a 4th year voice major at the time I decided to give a lesson on vibrato, straight from my vocal pedagogy class notes, so that people could hear what a real voice lesson sounded like. That video and others after it became very popular, garnering hundreds of thousands of views. I got requests to teach online and at first I resisted, but eventually I gave in. After my first lesson with a Swedish young lady, I realized this was my thing! I began my business as a vocal coach. Read more>>

Brandon Ogbu Brandon Ogene | Creative Director & Content Strategist

We started BNB Studios for a few reasons. We wanted our own home base to freely express our creativity, and also welcome a fresh and growing community of creatives in Atlanta. This was just a regular idea we wanted to build into a real, meaningful project with longterm effects, that added value to the people we interact with. Read more>>

Jadayne Stephenson | Boutique Owner

I’ve always been a lover of fashion from a very tender age. I look at fashion as being something representational, it says who you are without you say anything. Women’s fashion represents their moods meaning that they will dress according to what they are feeling in the moment. Most women in this world experience self-doubt about their bodies and their beauty but nothing can make them feel more alive and beautiful like buying a piece of clothing. Read more>>