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.

Gary Smith | Ceo/ Founder

At the time I was trying to escape my 9-5. I really needed to feel like I was being of service and helping people. Value is a word I take very serious and personal. So I created some value within my self so that I may share it with the world. Read more>>

La Jones | Confidence Coach & Image Consultant

As a full-figured woman who experienced her own struggles with body image, beauty, and confidence, I was thankful that I was provided opportunities and a space to grow and evolve and become a mature, capable, and confident woman. Many women, I have come to realize, were never afforded such opportunities nor a safe space to reflect, think, be challenged, or even just speak. Freely, with no judgement, or guilt. Read more>>

Brandon wysote Thrifter & designer | Thrift and design

My thought process at the time was that thrifting would be a easy way to make extra cash and just keep me busy Read more>>

Ali Dope | Multidisciplinary Creative

There was really no thought, it kind of just happened from continuous work and referrals and then I created a name for it because I always wanted to be able to build a team around that and not off the personal brand alone. Read more>>

Amber Brown | Fashion Designer & Entrepreneur

I actually accidentally stumbled upon this passion/talent. Read more>>

Alicia Robinson | Financial Consultant

My thought process in starting my own business was initially a part time-side gig. The idea behind being my own boss was amazing but I Never really considered the work behind it. It wasn’t until I spoke with one of my mentors and he shared how the business really changed his life. Being a Business owner is a reality of self awareness and accountability for good service. When you offer a product or service, you are required to be a activist for your community. Read more>>

Elizabeth and Katherine Ward | Charcuterie business owners

We have always been passionate about food and high quality ingredients in everything we eat. We both really enjoy charcuterie and have loved trying foods from different countries throughout our travels. During the pandemic we wanted to share our love of food in a way that was Covid friendly. Our charcuterie boxes are great for sharing good food and connecting people in a pandemic friendly way. Read more>>

Cressada Hudson | Caterer

My love for cooking! I am constantly thinking of ways to expand and supplement. I am the go-to for family dinners, occasions, even just because days. My family and friends have been raving about my cooking for years and finally decided to share my craft with the world. The thought of stepping out on faith and the thought of rejection deterred me at first, but then I had to self-reflect and cheer myself on. I am the only person that can create and share my craft so I had to believe that others would accept it the same way others have. Starting my business has been one of the best decisions I have made thus far. Read more>>

Rody Benyamen | Phaino is my artist name and I am a Music Artist!

I grew up around music so I was exposed to it a very young age but I started to take my music career more seriously around 2017. So the thought process behind starting my own business was like why not make music that can impact people and on top of that get compensated for it! Read more>>

Riley Alcock | Hair Stylist, Specializing in Color Corrections

My thought process was very simple: I wanted to do things the “right” way. I spent the first 10 years of my career working in “regular” salons. I loved the energy at the salons and the camaraderie with my work family. I loved helping my guests achieve their beauty goals and I especially loved their boost in confidence when they left my chair. What I didn’t love were some of the restrictions the salon owners placed on us (like prohibiting us from discussing prices up front) and not having control over my calendar. After having my son, my calendar became more important than ever and being in a salon environment no longer seemed right for me. However, like many stylists, I was as afraid to open my own business. I told myself it was a lot of work and it was too risky. I was afraid I would have to re-build my client base. I was afraid I would fail and not be able to support my son and that’s a scary place to be as a single mom. Read more>>

Shermaine Perry-Knights | Publisher, Learning Architect, Author and Speaker

I started my own business to create a legacy. Process is king and applied knowledge is power. With that said, my team uses books to solve pain points that are ignored by other organizations. My thought process was to change the perception of communication, project management, and learning design. I aim to help organizations maximize their existing efforts. Read more>>

Pailynn Pashelle | Serial Entrepreneur & Graduate Student

My thought process behind starting my own business was that I wanted to make an impact on people’s lives. I wanted to do something that would make people feel good as they should! I wanted to cure a problem. When I was younger, I used to be bullied in school for having short hair because my sister cut it. I began to use all these cheap products from the beauty supply store that never worked and I got so tired of it. I started researching healthy natural oils that were helpful in increasing hair growth and repairing damaged hair. I tested out a few oils and I finally came up with my Potion. Read more>>

David Washington | Professional Photographer

I wanted to establish something that had my fingerprints all over it and to show my children that you can be your own boss and be successful. Read more>>

Tykeria West | Wedding Coordinator

I originally worked at an event venue while I was completing my degree at Ga Tech. I was mostly staffed to weddings and I didn’t mind because it was something I enjoyed. Every summer, one of the senior staff members got the opportunity to plan and lead a bridal show for local brides to come meet industry vendors. My show in 2015 was a success and left a lasting impression. After I graduated, I took a job as an analyst but I missed working on events. Read more>>

Iva Elliott | Image Specialist

When I first started my business in 2012 I knew for sure that I wanted to be a business woman. I didn’t know exactly what or how. I hosted my first event in my moms closet space which was a girls playroom full of clothing and all things girly. I had 13 ladies present. It was a “closet swap” event. It was a cashless event meaning ladies literally traded or “swapped” clothing. I then asked the ladies for words of encouragement and guidance which led me to building a image brand where I shop and style the “ordinary” girl. A lot of people attempted to persuade me into being a celebrity stylist but that’s not my calling. I enjoy personalizing a variety of image services for the ordinary but no so ordinary gal! Read more>>

KEISHA MURPHY | Owner/Operator of JMG Vending LLC

My thought process behind starting my own business, was really having the mindset to elevate. I looked at my life and was like “its going great, but it could be better.” I’ve worked a 9-5 my entire adult life which was working out great, but I wanted something of my own, something that I can actually say I own. A business that one day my daughter (if she wants that is), can take over, it boils down to leaving a legacy and building generational wealth. Read more>>

Amber Walker | Modati- Mother Daughter Time

My friend Keisha and I would never have thought that our phone conversation one random day would lead to us creating and starting our business. Chatting on the phone, we realized we were both frustrated with the lack of options to spend quality time with our daughters-and our mothers. We found ourselves doing the same activities over and over, going to the same playgrounds and events drained by the dull days. There was nothing available to help us vibrantly connect and grow closer with our daughters, only activities to numbly fill the time. So, wanting to fill that need, we created Modati and we are devoted to providing intimate experiences for Mothers & Daughters around the world- helping you connect in meaningful and intentional ways. Read more>>

Wil Lewis III | Film Producer, Director and Writer

I’m a filmmaker so for me opening my own production company to make the type of films that I wanted to make made more sense than trying to move to LA or New York. with out any resources or connections. My father ran his own home modernization business and I had an uncle who was a millionaire from his own construction company so I grew up around men who owned their own businesses and that played a big part in my thinking of doing it myself. Read more>>

Matt Lunalover | Co-founder

As health conscious individuals, we’ve always been mindful of the food we eat. We try to eat local, whole foods that are as fresh as possible. Many years ago it occurred to us that our cats and dogs, who are family to us, also deserved fresh, healthy, real food. It made sense that if they were in the wild and had a choice, they would be eating freshly caught prey and would never in their lifetimes eat the dry, processed foods we had been feeding them. Until then, we had been buying what we thought was the very best dry food on the market. Read more>>

Elyse Stokes | Luxury Wedding Stationery Designer, Specializing in Calligraphy and Watercolor Art

I have always been an extremely creatively-driven person, beginning in my childhood. When my husband and I were married in June of 2018, I chose to create my own wedding stationery to send out to my guests. The entire experience was truly the definition of DIY, and there are SO MANY things I wish I could do differently now that I know what I know now. But I still absolutely fell in love with the entire creative process and when our wedding day came and went, I felt like there was an element of that creativity that I wasn’t ready to let go of yet. Read more>>

D.A. Alston | Author & Creative

My business/brand came to be in an unconventional way. On the back of an IHOP paper placemat I began sketching out the plan for my book series with just a random thought that blossomed into more. The book series opened doors for me to create multiple streams of income in ways that I never could have imagined. Read more>>

Shakeyla Shinholster | Artist

I didn’t even know that I was starting a business. I was just having fun creating, and people became interested in my art. My passion for art somehow turned into a business. Read more>>

Maryann Johnson | RN,MSN, Caregiver Life Coach

I was caregiver early in my life, helping my mother give her insulin injections at the age of 12 due to her poor vision. a caregiver for my sister in 1991-1994, she was diagnosed, with breast cancer on her first mammogram, both of her breast was removed within three days. A caregiver for my dad, for over 12 years, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease with complication had a stroke. He died in 2008. It was difficult obtaining informing about my loved ones care and a lot of the task I had to perform at home was things nurses would do in the hospital. My first book was dedicated to my dad, mom and sister, I learned a lot as a caregiver. Even though I am a professional RN,MSN. Read more>>

Johni Demeatri | Singer/Songwriter

For me, it’s definitely self-sufficiency. As an artist, you are the face of the music industry, the star. However, in most cases, the artists ends up with the shortest end of the stick if not properly represented by their record company that holds all rights to their work. By starting my own record company, I can delegate my own endeavors my way on my time. Of course it’ll take much education and growth and I’m sure it won’t be the easiest task on my list, but end the end I’ll be established independently, so I know it’s worth it. Read more>>

Leslie C. Leal | Social Media & Paid Ads Manager

It all. started when a business owner approached me about providing Social Media Services for his business. He took notice that I was managing a couple of my family’s accounts already and liked my work. I declined the job offer at first, thinking, I was not cut out to be a freelancer, but then a friend asked me to partner up with her to provide Digital Marketing Services. Read more>>

Rachel Oliver | Holistic living

So ever since I could remember I’ve always had a entrepreneurial spirit. At the age of 7 my parents started taking me to the local flea market every weekday to sell my handmade crafts, that soon turned into selling handmade necklaces and candy…you name it I sold it. I even sold Avon in high school. So entrepreneurship has always been in my DNA. I’ve started many businesses in the past but,, what makes Sea moss & co. so different is that I actually stuck with it. I followed through. I showed up everyday and did the work. Read more>>

Kip Patton | Owner of PVO Kennels LLC

Well in regards to my career I always felt like I wanted to be doing some thing that I love.So I decided to start up a kennel/dog training business I’ve always loved animals so this is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The best feeling in the world is being able to not feel like you’re working while you actually are. Read more>>