Thinking through whether to start a business – whether to take the risk, whether to go out on your own – isn’t easy. So we asked some entrepreneurs we admire to tell us about how they thought through the process of starting a business.

DeMarco 275 | Executive Producer, Host of Bars & Beyond

I realized that I had a passion and extensive knowledge on three subjects, rap music, sports & relationships. I created a blogsite in 2016 called Bars & Beyond where I wrote stories and gave my opinions on these subjects. In 2018 I was able to come across an extremely talented young lady named Courtney Lavette and we took the blogsite and turned it into a podcast. In late 2018 I contacted a long time friend and producer/videographer Slyvester Darnell who agreed to take it to another level. Here we are in 2021 now as a full fledged TV Show. 5 years in the making. Read more>>

Ashley Randolph-Bennett | Paralegal by day & natural body care creator by night

My initial reason for starting my business was my son has eczema. I started off with just body butters for he and I, and a friend asked if I had lotion. The only thing I had on hand was my body butter, so I gave her some. She asked how much for a jar and although I had not intent to sell it, I gave it to her for $4. I really didn’t want to sell it because once you commit to fulfilling orders, you have to do it whether you want to or not. Six month later, I committed to making the butter for sale. Here we are a year later and I’ve added body bars, body wash, scrubs, bath teas, and my famous massaging candles. 🙂 Read more>>

Mike G | CEO/Producer MG Productions

Since a child I loved all genres of music & film. After completing high school I enrolled in college & received a degree in audio & video technology pursuing my passion. Working in local night clubs, promoting for independent artists & major label artists, & producing for many of them I recognized several talented artists & wanted to assist in getting their music heard around the world. Starting with putting Rhode Island artists & actors on the map. Read more>>

Kristin Bowser | Resin Artist

I’ve been a bit of a serial DIY-er for as long as I can remember, but nothing has ever really “stuck” so to speak. Over the years, I’ve been told, “Oh you should start a business selling” this or that, and I had never really put much credence into the thought. However, during the pandemic, like so many others, I found quite a bit of “inside time” on my hands. So I decided to start making resin jewelry! For a while it was just a hobby where I’d post on Instagram; overtime, however, people actually began asking me if I could make them custom earrings and trays, and thus, Magically Mundane Resin Creations was officially born! Read more>>

Chazmen “Mr. ALL’N” Geames | The Best Educator Alive

I grew up at the ymca. And when I got to college I had the opportunity to work for the YMCA in Tallahassee Florida. During my tenure as the fitness coordinator I realized something was missing. I loved that I can work out in praise God but I did not like that I couldn’t listen to hip hop music while conducting classes or working out. So I decided to create a program called ALL’N Fitness. I knew they were many people like myself that enjoyed sports music and God. However there were no gyms or anywhere that I can go and practice all three at the same time. This was the birth of all in Fitness in the faith Fitness in flow program where we sweat and praise the Lord at the same darn time. I knew if I could create a safe place for hip hop loving Christians we would create more birthdays along the way while also saving Souls for God! Read more>>

Liz McShane | Photographer and Story-Teller

I never dreamed my business would turn into what it has. It really started as a hobby. Something I truly loved doing, and I think that is what allowed it to become such a successful business for me. Ive worked since I was 15 years old. I have had so many different types of jobs. From stocking shelves to getting my Master’s in nursing and working as a Labor and Delivery nurse in one of the largest hospitals in the country. But deep down I have always had that entrepreneurial spirit. I was never brave enough to risk starting my own business, so I fell into the comfort and job security of collecting that steady pay check. I loved taking care of my patients, but something felt missing. Read more>>

Daton Williams | LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist)

Prior to becoming a licensed massage therapist, I worked in law enforcement for over 15 years, but policing was never my passion. I have always been interested in health and wellness, mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and other alternative forms of medicinal treatments and stress relief. In fact when I was in law enforcement I became a general instructor with a focus on health and wellness at the police academy, and I was instrumental in bringing mindfulness and meditation to my former department, so massage therapy was a natural fit. Read more>>

Alisa Thomas | Master Body Sculpting Instructor

I have had many different jobs at many different places. At every one of these jobs, I worked hard and became a trainer. I taught people the skills that I was taught and the skills that I learned on the job without a pay increase. But while working for corporate America my schedule just always seemed restricted. I was hardly able to take vacation or spend time with my kids. I felt overwhelmed with trying to maintain a corporate America job, eat healthy, maintain my weight, be a full-time mom, and a full-time sister and daughter. Read more>>

Leesa Robinson | Talent Agent, Studio Owner

My father owned his own business and instilled in my brothers and I the importance of having work ethics and to work hard for what you want. I started my first business when I was 27, a plus size clothing store. I also worked other jobs to support my business in slow periods. I knew at a young age that I too wanted to be a business owner. I took many subjects in college because of my eagerness to learn new things, one of which was an associate degree in Business. I started the talent agency in 1998 and went back to school to study media technologies and received a bachelor’s degree in film and animation and later incorporated the entertainment group into the business. Read more>>

Jacqueline Mcgarity | Taste Event Staffing CEO

The thought process behind starting my business came to me during a conversation with a friend over dinner. At the time I was working as a bartender and waitstaff for a staffing company and that night I told my friend that I loved what I did and discussed how amazing it would be to cut the ‘middleman’ and work directly with the clients. I run a few ideas for names and settled for Taste Event Staffing for the name of my company. I wanted to cater to events of Every Taste no matter the occasion. Read more>>

Rasha Anderson | Fashion Designer & Stylist

I had a dream one day that God had gave me and it was clothes. I continued to have these dreams but the designs were so original I knew I had to create them myself. The first thing I thought to do was go to the library and read every book possible about how to start a business and for tax purposes. Then I had a close friend of mine teach me how to sew. I was really nervous, but I didn’t want to sabotage myself, so I learned everything possible to give me the courage I needed to proceed. I started to really dress how I wanted and individuals would ask me to style them. The compliments and support that people gave me was the push I secretly needed to follow through with my business. Read more>>

Korey Finney | Award Winning Barber & Entrepreneur

The thought process behind starting my business was that there was not a lot of barbers in the area, that I lived in at the time. Some were just doing it as a hobby and a means to get by, so I felt that this was a career that I could capitalize in. So I started to develop a passion for the barbering craft. Read more>>

Anita Olokosu, Aurelie Djoumbissie, Melissa Bassa QBS | Quality Beauty Supply

Quality Beauty Supply Starting our own business …… Obviously, we started and we thank God for the journey. It all started about 4 years ago while exercising at Rock Spring Park. We started bouncing ideas about starting a business, and we talked about different ideas some of which we still plan on diversifying into at a later point. Top on that list was the beauty industry especially given that we are 3 black women, and the beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry where African Americans account for 90% of spending and boast 3% ownership within the industry. We all agreed it was a necessary space for us to venture into. Read more>>

Chris Greene | Chris Greene Productions LLC., Owner & Entertainer

The crazy thing about my thought process behind starting my own business. I actually was going to get sued them back in 2013 for using DJLG. Which stands for “don’t just live grow” I just believed in the saying so much and I was still learning the inns and outs of the business. So long story short. He made me take a song & a logo which clearly promoted DJLG. Then about a week later he reached out to me & wanted to collaborate. Apparently my music was good; even though I wasn’t making beats at that point & time. By that very situation I strongly felt offended and that is how Chris Greene productions came about. So that was literally my thought process. I’ve always been ahead of the game I’d like to think. 😤💯 Read more>>

Kas Milfort | Creator & Hip-Hip Connoisseur

There really wasn’t a thought process behind CULTRWRLD. Honestly, I started CULTRWRLD as a platform for independent artists to showcase their music, videos and other things that would expose them to the world. One day, I just decided to purchase equipment to customize items and I slowly started to my own clothing line in the process. Currently, I still customize items for clients such as shirts, cups, car decals and other items. CULTRWRLD, the clothing line is doing pretty well, My introduction of my 2020 Fall/Winter wear was taken in very well. I feel really good about this decision about starting CULTRWRLD and i am determined to give it my all. Read more>>

Shardé Jernigan | Financial Consultant & Retailer for Expecting Mothers

Starting my own business was always something I wanted to pursue since I was in middle school. Now, as an adult with two kids and a husband, I wanted to be present in my kids life as well as in my marriage. I wanted to be able to attend the events that most 9-5 parents can’t attend. I wanted to be able to cook dinner for my family and it actually be ready at 5:30 or 6pm for us to eat instead of eating dinner at 8:30 or 9pm. I wanted a way to control majority of my TIME and the most efficient way to do that was through having my own business. Read more>>

Jamecia Bowers | Esthetician & Makeup Artist

The idea to start my own business actually came as a suggestion from my dad. I had been working part time as his dental assistant and part time in the spa industry in the year after receiving by aesthetics license. At that point, I thought working full time for a spa would be the next step to take however, my dad suggested building out the back of his dental office which was just being used for storage at time. He only worked in the dental office three days each week and suggested I use the off days to establish and run the spa. Read more>>

William Brown | Aerial Photographer & Civil Engineer

My though process behind starting my own business was mostly simple. I wanted a creative outlet that both contrasted and complimented my professional career in Project Management and Construction. I started Plan View Drone Aerials, PVDA, back in February of 2020 with the intent of elevating my drone and photography hobby to commercial and professional use. There’s not much creativity in delivering engineering projects. Too much creativity could land me in hot water. Plus, it wouldn’t be artistic! So, I needed to breakout a bit! Read more>>

Ritzy Chester | Serial Entrepreneur

When I first started High Class Society I was 23 and a new mother. I wanted to create a safe place for motivate women to focus on self care. Honestly, I didn’t have any money to put behind this big vision of mine. I knew I wanted to create something that made me and women like myself feel better about themselves. Black women have a tendency to forget about themselves but take care of everyone around them and I wanted to create a place where it was cool to handle business but not forget yourself in the process. We as black women have to normalize putting ourselves first. So I created High Class Society – a place where beautiful women on the inside feel and look beautiful on the outside. Read more>>

Jakecia White | Owner/Master Braider of StylesByKeys Braiding Studio

What was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process was I had to get away from begin harassed at my 3rd shift job. I was mentally and physically over my life. Nothing seen to be going right after my job hired this new supervisor for my department on my shift. I had to choose to take a different way cause this was not going to work anymore. I went from working 8 1/2hrs shift to 12hrs shifts, and painting my studio and doing the floors for a week. Going off of 2hrs of sleep every day until I was wrongfully let go. I was confused, scared, and lost, but I knew God was in control at that moment. I knew something had to change for me. Read more>>

Tracy Johnson | Magazine Publisher, Photographer, Philanthropist & Change Agent

hen I first started Haute Pink Mustard Seed, a quarterly magazine honoring resilient women, I was just a freelance photographer. Getting to know some of the women I’ve photographed, I honestly never would have guessed that some had overcome such heightened adversity simply because they did not wear what they had been through on their faces. They were already beautiful but learning of their stories made me love and appreciate strong women even more. I wanted to create a platform where I could highlight these women by allowing them to share their triumphs with the world and motivate others while doing it. Thus, Haute Pink Mustard Seed Magazine was born. Read more>>

Marlana Smedley | Boutique Owner

I was working in Human Resources for a software development company when covid happened and like most people at the time, I was unsure if I was going to keep my job. I started Alexa Reece Boutique to have something of my own that I knew I could do from home with my kids and as a backup plan in case I lost my job due to the pandemic. Thank God that didnt happen but I wanted to keep going and see where it would take me. Fastforward a year later and lots of prayer, we decided it was time to leave my full time HR position to go all in with the business. Read more>>

Sheena Parker | Business Owner | Army Warrant Officer | Matriarch

I’ve always been an entrepreneur. However, it’s good to note, there is a difference between being an entrepreneur and running a business. I had been dabbling in Real Estate for a few years when I was approached a few times regarding government contracting. I had to research what government contracting actually was. I wanted to stay in the real estate/ renovation space. I discovered the closest transition from my favorite part of real estate renovations was Facility Support Services. 4SYT Industries was then born. Read more>>

Roro Williams | Wig maker & Online retailer

I remember getting out the Navy and the 1st thing I thought was “ I want to do my hair in all the styles and colors I wasn’t allowed to). I was stationed in Bremerton Wa, where salons and hair products for kinky/curly hair were hard to come by, which made the prices for these products/services super expensive. I decided to purchase the products at wholesale price and do my hair myself in order to save money. I was so satisfied with my end results and got the bright idea💡of meeting the demand that I knew existed in the community. This is what lead to me getting an LLC and starting a online hair business. Read more>>

NaSaysha Cheatham | Candle Creator | Esscential Flame Candle Co

In my immediate friend circle, every one is an entrepreneur. I was inspired by their motivation and hustle and I began brainstorming what type of business venture I could take on. I am a woman of faith, so I also prayed and asked God to help me with my business idea. One day I was browsing on youtube and saw a video about D.I.Y candles. I honestly cannot explain the feeling that came over me, but it was instant confirmation. Literally 45 seconds into the video, I told myself “I am doing this, this is it.” I love candles and the variety of scents there are to offer. I did not know anyone who had a candle business and I wanted to be the first to introduce it as a small business in my town. Read more>>

Rita Pardo | CEO of Pardo Naturals

I basically was a mother who was frustrated when I couldn’t find anything to improve the condition of my daughter’s skin. Read more>>

TeLisa Bearden | Mobile Dog Groomer and Gymnastics Mom

Honestly, it was a friend who said, TeLisa you should just go to people’s houses to groom their dogs. I said “WHAT?” at this time Covid was in the news but not in the states. She gave me a name, I registered it, and did nothing with it because I had zero confidence in my skills as a groomer at the time. Then Ga shut down for 3 weeks and people were canceling appointments at the shop I was working at so my pocket was being affected (I get paid per dog, not per hour). Now at this point, I’m like, “okay there’s a problem in the industry how do I solve it?” I go back to the “groom at people’s houses” idea. Read more>>

Dr. LaVerne Ware, CPCS | Licensed Professional Counselor

I started my own business to provide more accessible mental healthcare to women. Also to take control of my schedule and lifestyle. Read more>>