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.

Rhonda Anita | Real Estate’s Leading Lady & CEO of Rose of Sharon

My thought process has always been working for myself. I have troubles with others caping my income and the optics in corporate American. Now, do I work for them from time to time. Yes, but as a contractor and I get the best situation for me and my family. I always loved the time freedom that I get for working for myself. When things don’t work for me I get angry with myself. My thoughts are the more I work for myself the more I can earn. The less I work for myself the less I earn. Read more>>

Adrian “Alex” Alexander | President/CEO of Out Your League Entertainment LLC

My love for music and the arts. I think music saved my life in so many ways and to be able to provide artists with a place to create is a joy. Of course nothing good comes without sacrifice and hard work. It’s extremely hard to be a small business owners, especially a studio owner in the city of Atlanta but I remember the reason I started this is in the first place. Read more>>

Iyana Mentor | CEO of The Only Fashionistas LLC

Before I started The Only Fashionistas LLC, I made jewelry for myself as a hobby. After a while, I began getting compliments and questions about where I bought my jewelry and accessories from. That’s when I knew I had a business on my hands. I decided to start my company and in the beginning we only sold handmade bracelets. I figured that making jewelry would be a good source of income, especially during COVID. Read more>>

Ashley Martin | Makeup Artist, Licensed Cosmetologist & CEO of The Fetching Brand

When I first started my business, I wanted something that’d make people feel beautiful and comfortable. Especially since we were in a pandemic at the time, everyone was at home, so I wanted to create a brand that would help people enjoy their time in the house with family wearing my sleepwear. That’s how I came up with the name “Fetching Sleepwear”. Then later on, I wanted to add cosmetics. I am a makeup artist and love everything makeup, so I decided to create handmade lipglosses which were added to the brand. After that I decided to add lashes, handmade body butters, and body shimmer oils. This lead me to rename my business The Fetching Brand! Read more>>

Sakinah Rahman

I have always been a connoisseur of jewelry and accessories. I started to notice many of the items were not affordable on a consistent basis and that’s where ” The Honey Collection” stemmed from. I wanted to build a brand that offered timeless, dainty, quality accessories at an affordable price. Read more>>

Catherine Beaty | Owner of TheBargainholic

Over the years I have always gotten questions about clothing and other pieces that I have purchased. The first question someone always ask is “How much did it cost”, and they are always surprised. I am a firm believer that you don’t have to spend a ton of money for quality items. Sometimes you just need to know the techniques to find the best deal. I absolutely LOVE shopping. It’s a passion of mine, but the biggest thing I enjoy about it is when I able to find bargains. So I thought, maybe, this is the knowledge I can provide to others so I’ve created a business to share it and hopefully inspire others. Read more>>

Danielle Southern, MS, RD, LD | Registered Dietitian and Certified Running Coach

After officially becoming a dietitian, there are typically three routes to take: community nutrition, clinical nutrition, or foodservice. For the majority of my career, I took the clinical route. While I enjoyed the challenge of calculating tube feeding rates and feeling like I really made a difference for some patients, the majority of the time, I felt stagnant. There was not long term follow up for most patients to see their progress, and patients frequently did not want to talk about nutrition during that vulnerable time. Read more>>

Shae Anthony | Artist and Maker

Starting She Is This was a no-brainer for me. I’ve always had small businesses selling things that I made but this was the first time I was truly passionate about what I was making. I wanted to share this art with others because I felt like it was so important. It wasn’t about making money, it was about creating girls that looked like me and seeing them in places I hadn’t before. Read more>>

Jaaion Barnes | Chef, Entrepreneur, Content Creator

I grew tired of working 50-60 hours a week for what I thought was minimum pay. I was also tired of being fired for the pettiest reasons. Ultimately, I felt that I could leverage my own abilities, which would put me in a better situation. Even if I wasn’t making much in the beginning, at least I had the freedom to seek other opportunities and build professional relationships on my own merit. Read more>>

Tasharia Burke | COVID, Medical/Surgical RN, BSN & Entrepreneur

I have always been interested in fashion and incorporated it into my lifestyle. I always believed that when you look good, you feel good. I do not mean for people to take this the wrong way, such as you will only feel good about yourself if you look good. I want people to understand it as if you are feeling down or going through a rough time in your life, you do not necessarily have to show it. Dressing up or putting a stylish outfit on can help uplift both your mood and confidence to overcome whatever challenge you are battling at the current moment in your life. Read more>>

Ashley Nicole Bowen | Entrepreneur | Founder | Woman Enthusiast

I obtained my bachelors degrees from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Al where I majored in Geology. I became the first African American Female Geologist to be employed at the Geological Survey of Alabama. Being first generational in my family and coming from underperforming schools, there was never a mention of the natural science. So after learning the complexities of the subject, I became more and more intrigued and was excited to work as a Petroleum Geologist. Read more>>

Velmeca McCrea | Life Insurance Broker & AFLAC Agent

I wanted to help educate and empower individuals on the importance of life insurance. This is especially important in the African American community because often times we don’t talk about anything finance related growing up. However, once we reach adulthood the concept of life insurance is often thought of as an unnecessary expense versus a generational wealth creation tool. I started this journey with AFLAC supplemental insurance the first year with their accident, cancer and critical care and recovery policies. Read more>>

Jaquese Smith | Sports PR Manager

Sports has always been my passion. After my collegiate career, I knew that I wanted to be around other athletes and the game but wasn’t sure what that would look like. My drive and dedication for sports has always been present but I also know my purpose in life is to help others reach their greatest potential. Starting my business as a digital sports reporter, I was blessed to work with some of the top elite high school players while building relationships with families and sports personnel. Read more>>

Smallahaze Studio | Creative director

Our thought process was to just boss up. Through art we figured we could do whatever we wanted and through art be able to coexist. With our line of work we both put a lot of pride into our craft and we knew it would take a while to get the ball rolling because we would need for people to trust our work before they booked us for anything and to gain trust you would have to have something under your belt. We had nothing so we knew we would have to do a lot of work for little to nothing before we actually started to gain any type of clientele. Read more>>

Sam and Em Holloway | Co-owners of Wicked Hollow Way and Doodle Tarot

The events of the world have been so exhausting. Working for corporations has shown us that they do not care for you as a human. You are a cog in a machine that they would easily replace if you died the next day. We wanted to be doing something that gives us a reason to wake up in the morning. Art was our answer. We knew it was a risk, but anything worth living for is. We weren’t even sure what exactly we wanted to do, but eventually we found candlemaking, and started doing tarot at local artists markets. We are still growing, but the future we see for ourselves is bright and powerful Read more>>

La’Fanique Hamler | Chief Executive Officer

It was built out of necessity. We couldn’t get the ethnic hair care brands we needed, delivered to us. So thus birthed the idea to start our own app to provide this service. Read more>>

Brian Trapp aka Phoenix | Entertainment/production company

I’ve been performing for 20+ years and worked for many others that produced shows and never felt they were ran to their fullest potential, so i decided to start producing my own. I now produce shows all over the country and around the city of Atlanta. I also manage myself as well as represent and book other drag performers, dancers, djs, bartenders at private, corporate, nightclub, film/tv events all over. Read more>>

Marquese Quiles | Media Producer | Photographer | Cinematographer

My thought process behind starting my own business was if I can provide a product or service for my community and it has enough value then my community will provide for me in return. Read more>>

Maya Anitb | Salon owner & Hair Stylist

The Thought process behind starting my own business was I was tired of living and working in someone else’s shadow. I wanted to become my own entity. I wanted my own space where I can allow my for creative potential to flow. Read more>>

Jonathan Jubilee | CEO & Co-Founder

During the pandemic, my brother and I had numerous conversations about how we can utilize our strengths to start a company together. My brother (James) has a strong background in computer engineering and Myself (Jonathan) has a strong background in strategic operations management. After hours of conversation we realized that the world was changing right in front of our eyes and we needed to come up with a idea that would allow people to understand this digital world that we currently live in. Read more>>

Bill Burns | Owner: Gecko Overload

After I was hurt at work several years ago, I started taking care of reptiles while I was convalescing. After several months I decided that I enjoyed caring for them enough that I wanted to start a business breeding them. I spent several months researching what would be a species that I could both care for enough of them and fit them in the town home that we lived in at the time. Finally I landed on Crested Geckos and went from there. It took a few years before I had enough of them and enough experience to launch the business and start selling at reptile shows. Read more>>

Kayla Jones | Esthetician & Make Up Artist

I have been in the service industry as a waitress for many years and have always contributed to building my bosses dream they had created. I always paid attention to the drive they had to have to get to this point in their career. I always knew I would have a business of my own, just did not know what or when. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn different business strategies from being in this environment. With everyday learning experiences, I am extremely confident about going out into the world representing my business. Read more>>

Miranda Petersen | Owner of Sugar RX

My thought process behind starting up my business was not an easy decision. I have been baking for many years for friends and family. I was told that I need to start my own business. I always told myself that I my baked goods were not good enough or my the don’t look as pretty. I found every excuse not to start a business many year ago. I met a my coworker Patrisia in 2017 and she has been my biggest support I wanting to start my business. In February of 2019 is when officially started my baking business it has been through a couple of name changes. Now it’s called Sugar RX. It got its current name because I work in a medical office we of course give out prescriptions (RX) and people definitely like sweets. Why not call it Sugar RX people can come to me to get there sugar fix. It literally took me over 15yrs to start my business and I owe it all to my coworker Patrisia for pushing me and not letting me give up. Read more>>

Jhane Davis | Massage Therapist & Mental Health Advocate

I have a background in mental and behavioral health with a focus on kids and teens. I’ve worked with afterschool programs, mental health facilities with a focus of autism as well as eating disorders. A quick background story: the facilities that I worked at housed many mentally ill patients with a plethora of different disorders. With working in these types of facilities, the safety of the patients and the staff was the greatest concern. As you could imagine, working with kids who may be on the autism spectrum or have behavioral disorders can be very challenging and take emotional and physical tolls on the staff who work there. Read more>>

Roland Henry | A Believer

My thought process, was more of creating personal wealth for my kids and freedom to enjoy loved ones. Read more>>

Erica Mobley | Owner Of NSane Beauty Lab Cosmetic Spa. Teeth Whitening Technician & Body Contour Specialist

I wanted to create a space that would make people feel good! A place where you could come to relax while receiving the ultimate SELF-Care Experience. We get so caught up in our daily routines, and tend to forget about our personal needs. I was so excited to combine my love for the medical field and the beauty industry. Seeing my clients leave with amazing energy and feeling good about themselves is the most rewarding feeling. Read more>>

Kemuel Williams | Fashion designer

Although it may sound cliché, I’ve already had a passion for fashion from an early age. Once I had the financial means to launch my own brand, I jumped headfirst at the opportunity to do it. Read more>>

Nadia Jeelani | Tarot Reader

I saw a lack of access to Islamic medicine, not just here in the many communities of America but all over the world. I grew up Muslim, particularly Sufi and I was raised by my Indian Grandparents who taught me a lot about the Islamic culture . I had a spiritual awakening and became very devoted to my Sufi faith during the month of Ramadan this past year, 2021. It was very unlike me at the time as I was an Atheist for a very long time, however, I felt an urge that I had a duty to provide a community with access to affordable Islamic herbal medicine. With my spiritual awakening came a decline in my mental health. My constant battle with my mental health is comparable to a roller coaster ride and often times I need to ask others to help me stop it. Read more>>

Judy Host | Photographer, Educator, Lecturer, Portrait Artist

After I graduated from college, I had a degree in Speech Communications and wasn’t quite sure where I fit into the Business World. I had to make a living so my options, I thought at the time, were limited. As much as I loved photography, which would change my life forever, I couldn’t imagine that I had the talent to make a living doing that, so I went into the banking world hoping to find my place there. Twenty years later, I still felt unfulfilled and never really fit into the Corporate mindset. Read more>>

Billy Miller | Georgia & Florida Realtor®

I wanted to break away from the corporate environment and own something that I had total control over and my growth and possibilities were all up to me. Read more>>

Jamil Hill | Husband, father, DJ, music tastemaker

As a business owner you must do it because you have a passion for it. It’s got to be something that you would do for free. Finally you should do something that you would do everyday without being forced to do it. Read more>>

Akua DeGannes | Entrepreneur, Philosopher and Host.

The thought process behind starting my own business originated with the flexibility of my time. A lot of people look at being an entrepreneur as kicking the 9-5 time frame, but when you own your own business your working 24/7, if not physically, then definitely mentally. It’s the flexibility and the self-discipline that I was after to know that even though I had the same 24 hours in my day as before, I could move on my own time and prioritize different parts of my life as I choose. Read more>>

Jerrod Williams | Entrepreneur

Having realized the direction I was going In no longer served a meaningful purpose to me. I am grateful for all of my employers which I learned a great deal of work ethic, skills, and humility. A lot of times my hard work went unnoticed and sometimes I was congratulated. Either way I kept my head down and began strategizing my purpose. It led me to the perfect name for my company back sometime towards the end of 2017. “Will Fixx It”, came to life and solidified February of 2018. Initially I started out doing side jobs in the evening time during the week and also on the weekends. Read more>>