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.

Jennifer Davis | Executive, Artistic Director, Choreographer, Dancer & Teacher

When I got the idea to start my own business, I felt like it was something that needed to be done to fill a gap. At the time, my husband and I were living in New York and were saturated in the arts culture of the city. We moved to New York because the kind of dance and work we wanted to do was not present in Atlanta. Living in New York inspired us to bring that energy back to Atlanta and open up the arts culture in here. We wanted to expand the platform here and that was our whole driving force! We moved back to Atlanta after a couple of years in New York and began to build programming for young dancers and a contemporary ballet company that would tell stories that are relevant and thought provoking. Read more>>

Chanel Jaali Marshall | Photographer & Entrepreneur

Glow Photo Series is not my first business so I feel like I didn’t have to start from scratch for this one. I wanted to create something that brings joy and directly affects people. It was important to focus on Black and Brown women and femmes specifically to create a body positive community and in a way, combat negative stereotypes placed onto them. This initially started as a project that was supposed to be a one-time photoshoot with friends. It’s now been 3 years and several cities later! Read more>>

Celeste Greene | Laughter Yoga Teacher

The idea for my business found me. In 2008 when the economy downturned it was a miserable time for me. I had worked as a project manager and I suffered from a case of over seriousness. Then one day out of the blue I was laid off from my job. I was stunned. I started googling how to laugh so as a way to bring back the laughter in my life that had depleted due to work related stress. I stumbled upon Laughter Yoga and it intrigued me. I signed up for a training, not expecting much more than a few chuckles and to feel maybe to feel a bit better. Little did I know that this 5-day training Teacher training would change my life. Read more>>

Sharon Muse | Health Coach, Culinary Nutrition Expert & Recipe Developer

Sage and Celery was created after overcoming my own health struggles. Through my own research and a lot of doctors, I learned firsthand how important quality whole foods are to our overall health. I also learned that mindfulness, staying present, and slowing down all play a vital role in our health and quality of life. It is because I spent so many years struggling with my health that I wanted to create a platform to share my knowledge, recipes, and tips in hopes to inspire people who are looking to make changes in their own life. Even small steps can make a big difference! Read more>>

Sherlon Franks | Master Cosmetologist Esthetician & Massage Therapist

So, after all, my schooling I opened a shop in my home, with Cosmetology Esthetics, Massage and I make Natural Hair & Skin Care Products I felt I was ready. At the time, I thought it was great, having a place, I was very excited! My husband gutted the basement and built me a salon waiting/makeup room and spa room, it was beautiful and all mine, all I needed was clients, and they were soon to come because I did sales at local Flea Markets. It worked for a while, the clients came but soon problems begin to arise! First, it was in small increments, I would find myself downstairs fixing up this or that, going over client files. As the client base grew I would find myself downstairs later and later! Read more>>

John Onanuga | Talk Show Host

When I started BehindtheFlash the goal was to help the younger generation find there true passion at a young age. By doing so they would be able to save time and money in the long run. Read more>>

Jasmine Diane | Branding Expert & Influencer

I started Jasmine Diane, LLC to create generational wealth for my family doing something that I loved. I wanted to create a business that my children could be proud of and benefit from. I knew that God gave me a lot of talents and aspirations and I wasn’t going to waste any of it. Read more>>

Lakeshia Williams | Founder & Homeschool Consultant

I started Real Moms Of Homeschooling because as a mom of 5 I know from first hand experience that as rewarding as homeschooling is, it can also be frustrating, overwhelming and lonely. There is a great deal of information about homeschooling with just as much misinformation as well. I wanted to provide a space that allowed newbie homeschool moms to get the correct information, resources and tools they need while also gaining a support system for themselves! In this sisterhood the focus is on “HER” first as a woman. Why? Because, when mom is spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically healthy and supported she is able to show up the way she desires. Read more>>

Jonathan Meeks | Sneaker Designer & Creative Director

The thought process behind starting my own footwear company was simple…. I wanted to design a sneaker that I could wear with different outfits and make them exclusive with that high quality look. So many sneakers today are either retros, knock-offs, have cheap materials that they take away from the art of a dope ass sneaker like how it used to be back in the day. Read more>>

Crystal Jordan | Cancer Researcher & Cancer Blogger

Oh wow…I’d say that I wanted to help people fully understand what cancer is and not just the text book answer. I wanted to share the many effects/experiences that it can have on everyone and not just the person who’s actually diagnosed. Read more>>

Danielle Marie Diggs | Natural Hair Educator

The vision behind my brand was to create an avenue for women who want to transition to natural to have professional and local resources for obtaining healthy natural hair. Read more>>

Justin Morgan | Entrepreneur

I have read and still read a lot of books about entrepreneurship, millionaires, and people that are financially free. My goal in starting my business is to create income for myself, leave a legacy for my children, and become financially self-sufficient. Starting my own business is my start to building generational wealth – something that we, in the black community, don’t often have unfortunately. Read more>>