We reached out to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and asked them to think back and tell us about how they decided to start a business. Check out their responses below.

Elijah Audre | Fashion Designer

I’m really into fashion and I think my contribution to it could change the outlook on it! There is more to fashion than clothes and I want to showcase all of my talents through fashion! Read more>>

Nicole Kimble | HeartOfNicole LLC

I never sought out to become an entrepreneur but knew I wanted to get back to my creative side. The journey led to me making my own products for my son, my husband and myself. It soon became an idea to start selling my products to the community and beyond. Now on the entrepreneurial journey, the satisfaction I have making products for customers down to shipping has given me such a gratification I haven’t had before. Read more>>

Dr. Calvin Green | Educator, Entrepreneur, & Content Creator

The thought process was simple. For years professionally I have worked helping others in numerous areas. Consistently exposing my students to leadership training and development, executing special projects coupled with project management and logistics, and even administrative oversight had all become areas of special interest for me. Finally one day I made the conscious decision to start my own consulting agency to work in areas that I passionately seek to support others. . Read more>>

India Meikle | Candle Maker + Creative

I decided early on in high school that when I attended college, I would major in Business Administration and Fashion Merchandise. The dream was to be my own boss one day. Ever since I was a little girl my fashion sense always stood out from others. My style has always been super eclectic and I knew the way I dressed was truly one-of-a-kind. Naturally, my fashion sense has always been a direct reflection of my personality and I really prided myself on having a style that was hard to duplicate. I knew I truly had a gift that I needed to use. Read more>>

Corey Porter | CEO of Strictly 4 Da Streets LLC

My thought process was more of an experience. I was determined as a teenager that I wanted to be my own boss after experiencing working for someone else. It was not a bad experience but my ambition was one that pictured what the owner was doing while I was working hard. Why not be that person? Therefore my mom always said ” Be a leader not a follower”, so here we are today. Read more>>

Dr. Falami Devoe | Self- Care Coach| Sound Healer |Scholar

Holistic Alchemy was birthed from my personal health challenges and the calling to embrace a holistic lifestyle which meant creating a sustainable self-care plan for my mind body and spirit. I am passionate about connecting with women and sharing my well-being journey. I found that many women related to my experiences of body dissatisfaction and challenging relationships with food. So, I wanted to utilize my Holistic coaching training and my personal experiences to educate them on nutrition, body diversity and alternative or complementary ways to take care of oneself. Instead of the traditional, Westernized ideas which treats the body with prescriptions, I share sound healing, reiki and mindful practices with my clients. Read more>>

Lillie Aviles | Esthetician & Spa owner

My thought process was being able to be my own boss. I would see things I didn’t like at other jobs. I wanted to make a difference in my life and others life. When I was in esthetician school the owner was very big on YOU owning your own business. It definitely gave me the confidence and push to make things happen. Read more>>

Imari Bleu | Business Owner & Chandler

Growing up I was homeschooled and learning for me was only about 3-4 hours a day. The remainder of my free time was always spent learning new crafts. I have always been extreamly creative and good with arts. Recently I relocated to another state and during this time I was pregnant. Being preganant during the pandemic forced me to find things to do to keep busy since we were stuck in the house. I started making candles for myself because I loved the idea of creating my own fragrances. After I filled my home with handcrafted candles I begin giving them away as gifts. Read more>>

Rachel Jones | Educator

Off and on throughout my life I have started small business ventures, but by the time I found myself teaching high school and loving the children, I only saw the need to continue serving our youth well. It took me about 7 years to truly see that the public educational system wasn’t designed for our Black and Brown youth to thrive, and I left my beloved profession because MORALLY I couldn’t continue to commit. When I left, I brought my own children out of public schools and soon learned that homeschooling actually provided the freedom to educate my own as well as the freedom of time to uncover what gifts I had. Read more>>

Erica Lassiter | Advocate.

At the age of 15 I was sexually assaulted. With many awkward sexual encounters to follow and this trauma following me to a new stage of life, college I seeked healing. Diving deeper into my spirituality I learned about self healing and mindfulness practices. I really wanted to spread my awareness to other survivors suffering the same outcomes like foreiting in the act of sex because of tramuatic anixety attacks. The African Deity; “Oshun” I later discovered is a manifestation of intimacy and sexuality, beauty, and love. Read more>>

Mellonea Gleaton | Hookah Specialist

I was on my way to visit one of my best friends. Sitting in traffic on 85 near Midtown and I thought to myself, “why didn’t I pack two hookahs?” That was literally the moment I realized I had to start my business. Spending time with my friends and family is always been one of my favorite ways to past time. But when I bring out the hookahs, everything takes an even more thrilling turn! I wanted to provide that excitement for more people on a larger scale. It is my belief that flavorful hookahs have a very similar effect on social gatherings as delicious food does. It brings people together and elevates the experience. Read more>>

Lyric Abbott | Graphic & Web Designer, Owner Of Visionary Palette

After being rejected numerous times, by employers stating “I Didn’t Have Enough Experience To Qualify For The Job”, by being a recent college graduate. I decided to step back from social media & people and quit my 9-5s to create my business Graphic and web design business and become my own boss. My goal has always been reach financial freedom and change the negative narrative about graphic designers by providing consistent, honest service, with guaranteed turnaround times. Read more>>

Lauren Zgutowicz | Realtor, Founding Agent at Compass (Atlanta), Member of Team Meg G & Lauren Z

After undergrad, I got into management consulting. I enjoyed the project variety, exposure to different companies and executive teams, and the incredibly smart and talented individuals that I got to work with everyday. My husband and I both traveled 4-5 days a week, and the work/life balance became a bit difficult. I ended up going back to the University of Georgia to get my MBA, and simultaneously I got my real estate license. Read more>>

Marcus McGirt | Mentor & Youth Motivator

My thought process was in shambles. I always said who’s going to support me. Who’s going to show up? Who believes in me? Then, one night God spoke and it’s been history every since. At this point in life you’ve got to be willing to lose family, friends, and grab hold to your enemies and allow the table that is prepared in front of them, to prosper with you. Read more>>

Sonya Lane | Small Business Consultant & Artist Development Manager

Both of my brands came from recognizing a need of making sure people in the state of Arkansas would have the resources to start a business. Communities Helping A New Generation of Entrepreneurs, Inc. (CHANGE Inc) began in 2005 after trying to help my close friend Mr. Antwuane Wilbourn start his own music production company. Read more>>

Pamla DL Johnson | Nonprofit Founder | The William James & Rosa Lee Little Foundation, Inc.

What was your thought process behind starting your own business? The thought process behind starting my own business came from experiencing homelessness. It happened right before the summer of 2004. I was a single parent with a 10-year-old daughter. I’d exhausted all my savings and cashed out my 401K and we were facing homeless. Being the planner I am, I managed the situation as much as possible but there wasn’t a lane for me to get help. At least, not one that I knew of. Read more>>

Erin Williams | Owner/ Operator of Homebrew Recording, Inc. & Musician

I had been writing and producing my own music for several years, and it’s always been a dream of mine to be in the recording field without being confined to one place. One day I realized that not only was I able to travel with my equipment, I could help other musicians who didn’t have access or funds to buy their own equipment or spend thousands of dollars at a studio get their songs recorded. We live in the age of convince and we also want everything to happen yesterday. I wanted people to realize that quality can be created anywhere, come from anyone, and be done swiftly and efficiently without sacrifice. Homebrew Recording, Inc. not only brings the studio to you but delivers that studio and live quality sound all without the artist(s) leaving home. Read more>>

Melchizerdec Pemberton | Brand designer & Artist

Working independently was alway in my DNA from as a child. My Father owns his own business and I got a chance to work in all aspects of his business. Art has being a passion in all stages of my life, so getting a paid to do that is why I started my own business. Read more>>

Lyndon Winchester | Fashion & Beauty Photographer

I started photographing in 2000. I have always been inspired by my ability to create art. Being photographed most of my life made me curious about what it would be like to photograph others myself. Once i picked up my first camera i fell in love immediately. Being able to see an object behind a lens is unexplainable. It’s like an artists blank canvas and configuring in your mind what you want to create. Read more>>

Ruby Gordon | Owner, Scent by Kennadi

Once I became pregnant with my first child Kennadi, in 2018, I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom so I can be her 1st teacher and her first influence. I didn’t know how I was going to do this (while making money), but I knew it was a very important goal. One day, during my nesting period, I read an article about he dangers of popular paraffin candles for newborn babies due to their carcinogenic elements. I began vigorously researching an alternative when I came across soy candles. Due to the market for soy candles being so scare, I decided to start making my own. Within a year of starting Scent by Kennadi, a scented soy candle company, I was able to quit my 9-5 and begin raising my baby full-time. Read more>>

RIaland Jones | Chief Popmaster & Director of Deliciousness; Consultant

I knew I wanted to have freedom. And I knew I couldn’t have that as long as I worked for someone else. If I’m going to bust my butt working, I’m going to do it for myself. Read more>>

Elizabeth Matadly | Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship has always been a part of me since I was in high school. When I graduated with my Bachelors back in 2016; I recall applying to over 2000 jobs in my field and I was unsuccessful in gaining a position. I decided one day to take a leap of faith, follow my passion which led me opening my own business. That was the best decision I ever made. Read more>>

Ethel Emmons | Entrepreneur & Lifestyle Brand Blogger

I had been a very successful global technology executive at a top-tier Fortune 500 company. In fact, I was on a 4-year international expat assignment in the Hague, Netherlands that started on 2019. Everything was going exceptionally well, but the global pandemic cut that short and abruptly. At the height of the pandemic, I decided to come home to Houston to be with my family and abandoned my original plant to pursue a global career that required me to stay abroad. At this point in time, being home with my family was more important than anything else.. Read more>>

Jada Epps | Portrait Photographer

My photography business actually started in the beginning stages of the pandemic. But that’s not where my love for photography came from! Almost every week I would tell my friends to wear a nice outfit on Friday so and I can take pictures at school on my little old iPhone camera. And I would tell them every time I would take their pictures one day I’m going to have a professional camera and do this for a living. I started this business also as a coping mechanism. Because my granddad was suffering from a eternal illness and I needed something to take my mind off of that. And look at me now! I actually was going to start a lip gloss business before my photography business, but things just didn’t seem to work out for that so I shot for the stars and put my time and money into something that I really enjoy. Read more>>

Barbara Burns | Custom Design Jeweler

My thought process of starting your own business is first of all you have to believe in yourself. If you don’t have faith behind your business more than likely nobody else will. Starting a business requires self motivation and determination. Read more>>

Matthew Meide | Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Chattahoochee North

I had previously worked in corporate America for my entire career, and I was ready to start my own business. I wanted to be my own boss, take whatever risks I wanted to take, and run my business the way I wanted to run it. I was tired of working for managers with unrealistic expectations and companies that only cared about their bottom line. Read more>>

Bri Florence | CEO of MyHairLocker LLC

I’ve always wanted to own my own business I just didn’t know what business I would own. When I was younger I would go to the store and grab .44 cent snickers and sell them for a $1 to the kids in the neighborhood. But of course I didn’t want to flip candy all my life. So I went through a stage of hustling but still trying to find something I was passionate about. Then I found it, Hair! I realized in order for me to have a successful business I would need to find something I was passionate about so the process could be enjoyable and profitable By the time I revealed MyHairLocker LLC to my personal following I had immediate support because I naturally marketed myself and didn’t even realize it. Read more>>

Anita / Chauncey Craig/ Moore | Owners of Trvl Love Koffee

This isn’t our first rodeo. Chauncey had his own clothing brand when we met and I have had several businesses before now so this opportunity just made complete sense to the both of us. Read more>>

April Ford | Event Specialist

Honestly, the toughest part is just taking the leap and starting. I fought the idea of doing it for a long time. Once I decided I was going to go for it, I jumped right in. Read more>>

Terrell Monger | Relationship Coaches

My wife and I started TNT WORLD as a means of inspiring the hope that is needed to truly love. Whether it is loving each other, loving what you do or rekindling a love for life itself. We went through a very difficult time in our marriage. It took us being one court date away form divorce to clearly see the struggles of day to day life and the cares of this world can literally choke the fruit out of you. That lack of love makes life so much harder. Read more>>

Promo Diva Tip | CEO of PDT ENT

I always had a passion for music, helping people, and a niche for admin; so why not combine what I’m good at with what I love. I was offered and opportunity to intern in social media marketing with an indie label Super Entertainment and Promo Diva Tip was born. After 3 years of learning, I was ready to jump.! I parted ways and started on my own CEO of PDT ENT. Read more>>

Bee Johnson | Personal Trainer and Boxing Instructor

My thought process was two-fold. First I wanted to control my own destiny and take control of my job security and give myself a pay raise by gaining more skills. And secondly I wanted to start my own business to pursue my passion full-time. Lucky for me my passion is fitness and I’m able to make a living doing what I love. Read more>>

Betsy Hunter Hughes | Pilates Instructor and Studio owner / Nutritionist & holistic enthusiast combined with entrepreneur

I’ve wanted to start my own business for many years. I’ve always dreamed of having my own space and being my own boss. For years I looked at various opportunities, collaborations, and partnerships but each one would have a draw back or something that just “didn’t feel right”. I chose to be patient and be 100% sure that it was the right time, place, and opportunity for me. It had to fit the demands of my family and other factors to be right. Read more>>

Dejah Thomas | Entrepreneur

Hi Guys, I’m Dejah Thomas. The Owner Of The Online Beauty Supply Store, “The Glacier Experience”. My thought process behind starting my own online beauty supply store was how could I make my brand the most affordable and different type of beauty supply store. I started writing down the things I love most about beauty supply stores. Growing up I always loved to go there to purchase makeup, combs , brushes, you name it. Read more>>

Nina Palmieri | Photographer

I’ve always been interested in film and photography, so I went for a degree in Film and Media, minoring in Journalism, at Georgia State University. At the time, I had the hopes of working behind the scenes in news broadcasting, film, or social media. In my sophomore year of college, my parents gifted me with my first real camera for Christmas and through practicing outdoor photography I realized I loved it. Soon after, I started asking friends to be models for me so I could get practice shooting portraits. Read more>>

Nichole Langford | Personal Chef & Entrepreneur

My thought process was pretty simple, I have never liked working for people. We are raised to go to school, get a great education and then find a good job. While I agree with this system to a degree, I do not think that it is for everyone. After graduating culinary school, I worked for several hotels, restaurants, and country clubs but I was never happy. When I began working in the private sector with more creative freedom, and the ability to make more money I knew then that I would eventually began to work for myself. Read more>>

Deuce Benson | Clothing Brand Owner

I have been into fashion since I was a kid. My mother preached coordination and looking your best every time you step outside. As I grew older I explored more into the technical aspects of fashion and decided I wanted to start my own brand. I also became very intrigued with learning graphic design and once I taught myself and got better I knew having a brand was meant. This skill allows me to have 100% creative control and flexibility. The pandemic led to me becoming more serious and take a leap of faith with getting all the legal things officiated and start selling. Of course like anything its been a rocky experience but I have completely enjoyed it and learning a lot along the way. Read more>>

Ariana Tolka | CEO and Co-Founder

I am a first generation American, however I grew up with strong ties to my Balkan heritage, with my Croatian mother and Albanian father bringing me to Europe almost every summer to visit family and feast on multi-course, homemade meals. My favorite memories are of my grandmother, Magbule, bringing hot burek straight from the oven with its golden-brown crust and unmistakable aroma filling the room with anticipation while we fought over who would get the first piece. Read more>>

Clarence Brown | Body works specialist

I wanted to help people feel better. I wanted them to feel like I felt or better. Read more>>

Taijaun Reshard | 20 yr. old Website Designer

Honestly, I’ve always been into entrepreneurship and finding ways to make money online. My journey first started with ecommerce 4 years ago when I was 15 years old – I use to work at Kroger and had very little money. With the money I was earning I decided to start a clothing line that eventually failed. However during this, I learned several things – one, how to create a website. Secondly, I learned how to advertise through social media. Read more>>