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.

Emma Gillespie | Videographer & Creative Producer

I fell in love with all things video creation at a young age. It became a very integral part of who I was and what I wanted to do. I really liked that aspect of video, how personal it was to me and how it wasn’t just a career aspiration- it was a part of my story. Read more>>

Dr. Keisha | Founder, #goalsbrunch

I built my business for me. It didn’t start out as a business in terms of a service I wanted to provide, but more of a community I wanted to build. I wanted to build the type of community that I would want to belong to, because it didn’t exist. Read more>>

Patrice McNish | YouTuber & CEO

My thought process behind starting my own business, PerfumeswithPat, was to share my love of perfume with others and to show how perfume can affect your mood and more. I started Veretas, to prove that fashion is what you make it, and not what other people say it is. Read more>>

Ana Augustine | Female Entrepreneur/Business Owner

The thought process behind me starting my business was that after going through breast cancer twice I felt like I needed to make myself feel good & others feel good about themselves. Self care & self love is a big deal. Read more>>

Jaheem Ashby | Creative Director

My thought process was based on inspirations while younger. So as I got older I brought everything I wanted to do into real life. Read more>>

Laneatrice Martin | Record Label CEO

Dope Pens “We Are More Than Music, We Are An Experience” It all starts with a team of writers that have an endless passion for music, for voices, and for sound…. Who am I, My name is Laneatrice Martin known to many as La~La, I am the founder and CEO of Dope Pens. I am from Hartford, Connecticut but now residing in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more>>

Stareka Turner | Salon owner and entrepreneur

My thought was to help influence plus size women to become more healthy. I know how it feels to want to wear or do certain things and wanting to feel confident doing those things Read more>>

Archy Ntabona | Dj|MC & Radio Host

Diversity and Inclusion. I have been living in the USA for the past 21 years and every time I attended an African event, Congolese event to be precise. The dj/entertainer did his best to represent the culture but unfortunately because they were either Nigerian or from another African country. They didn’t understand the culture or the language. There was a lack of representation for Congolese dj/entertainers that fueled my decision. Read more>>

Trey Humphreys | Entrepreneur, coach, author, & wanderer

Very little thought. I like shiny objects and when I get interested in something, I automatically think “Why not start one”? All my businesses come from passions or activities I enjoy. If someone else can do it, well, I can do it. Read more>>

Laudia Guilao-Ames | Salon Owner

Honestly starting my business was initially the most random thing! I was 23 years old, I had just gotten out of the Navy after 5 years, and had been stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. Read more>> 

Gergely Maklari-Kis | CEO of PanIQ Escape Room Atlanta

I grew up in a family where my grandparents and parents ran their own business. So it was obvious that I would have to start my own business. I couldn’t have imagined myself as an employee, I always had bigger goals. Read more>>

Claire Landuyt | Business Owner & Handcrafter

Chez Lapin was born to fulfill a need. The need to provide cruelty-free, naturally derived skin care and luxury fragrance products at accessible prices. Read more>>

Chris Fenderson | Chef

In the beginning it wasn’t a thought at all, but while I was the Executive Chef for the UGA Football Team NFL Players would come to visit the team. On their vist they would also eat the food that i would prepare for the team. They would tell me all the time that they would love to have my food for their meal prep. Read more>>

Daniel Bjorke | Luthier, electronics engineer, music and art nerd

My reason for starting the business was and still is purely self-expression. I have been a lifelong guitar player, and in general music appreciator. I go to guitar stores, and record shops every week, sometimes more than once a week. Read more>>

Cristina Wilson | Founder & CEO

Coming from a media startup, I knew my next step would be starting a company. I was open to ideas and problems to solve and was looking for the right thing. I came into this idea from the client perspective – I was doing an okay job at managing my stress level. I love massages. I felt like there should be a brand I felt connected to for such an important self-care ritual. Read more>>

Gerika Jones | Photographer / videographer

My thought process I would say is that in the film/photography starting your own business is the norm. After film school and being back home in Saint Louis , I was getting a lot of inquires of doing photography . Once I start freelancing I soon thought to just start my own business . I just like I’m doing something I love so why not turn into a business . Read more>>

Tamara Lowe | Entrepreneur & Flight Attendant

What made me start Nicole Collection was that I LOVE fashion. I love clothes. I would spend hours in the mall trying to find something to wear, and pairing shoes and accessories together. Retail therapy is my safe space. Read more>>

Sabrena Martin | Business Coach & Content Creator

As far back as I can remember I’ve had a desire to have my own business. Much of my career was spent in sales because it gave me a glimpse into being my own boss. I decided when I was laid off from my corporate job I would take the leap and start my own business. Read more>>

Georgia McClintock | Sophya D Network, LLC

I never thought I would be an independent radio entertainer. And it was never my plan to have my own network. I was 19 years old, entering my 2nd year as an intern for 2 radio stations in Greenville, South Carolina. Read more>>

Hanna Kim | Founder, Beauty & Wellness

I have always known that I wanted to start my own business because I grew up surrounded by people who had their own businesses. I wanted to start something that is a natural extension of who I already am. Read more>>

Tia Williams | Social Worker & Outdoor Enthusiast

I wanted to provide an opportunity for other people seeking experiences in the outdoors. It can be hard to find spaces that are welcoming and encouraging when starting something new. You also don’t always want to have to depend on someone else to do something, which is why when I lead groups I don’t keep all the information to myself. I want women to be able to experience this without me if they choose to do so. Read more>>

Devika Joglekar | Author, illustrator and animator

I started Miheika Publications in 2015 solely out of my passion for children’s books. I have always aspired to create children’s book content and animation that is fun to read/watch, and also inspires young minds to explore new things. Read more>>

Amy Lee Gonzalez | Artist and CEO

I’ve always known I wanted to be an entrepreneur. As a kid I remember starting a local newsletter where I went door to door collecting money for it. I don’t quite remember what it was about, and I think I only did it once or twice, but I’ve always been in the mindset to serve. Read more>>

Linda Murray Bullard | The Business Plug

In January 2013, I lost my 26-year career at a major healthcare insurance company. I did not want to lose what I learned during those years. I imagined repurposing what I learned to become a resource for small businesses. When testing my idea, I took notice of how people’s eyes would glaze over whenever “business plan” was mentioned. Read more>>

Mark White | Makeup Artist & Beauty Educator

I was working in the corporate world (still do) but after 15 years in the Non-profit, Human services world and feeling stagnant. I wanted to chase my passion and a new challenge by owning and operating my own beauty business. Read more>>

Jason Dean | Kombucha Brewer

I’m naturally a creative person, I need to have a creative outlet in order to be happy and feel productive. I also don’t particularly enjoy having a boss or being told what to do with my life, so I found my niche as a “freelance” graphic designer & branding consultant in the food & drink industry for nearly 20 years. Eventually I grew tired of sitting behind a desk and wanted to do something more physical. Read more>>

Wayne Scully | Creative Director & Co-CEO

When starting Puissance New York, my partner Amadou Kouyate and I sought to heed color in blackness, to embrace the intra-racial diversity yielded by our exodus and begot by our return. I wanted to develop the abstract bridge between Afrikan diasporic history and contemporary clothing. Read more>>

MoonRokk | Producer/Artist

I have been making music since I was young and I always knew I wanted to be an artist/producer. I had a lot of mutual friends in the area that needed beats to record on so naturally I started selling my beats to local artists and friends. Read more>>

Jada Norman | Nail Technician

The world hit us in a blink of an eye and everyone was forced to be quarantined because of Covid-19. A lot of businesses were starting to close down because of how rapidly the virus was spreading including hair salons, nail salons, etc. Read more>>

Billy Nash | Author/CEO & Chief Operator of NRC PublishingATL

Growing up I lived in a poverty stricken neighborhood and abusive home. I discovered poetry early as a child and it was an escape from my problems. Literature was my life. I would read the dictionary and thesaurus learning the derivatives of words. Even learning the words phonetics. Read more>>

Jamillah R. Gabriel | Librarian, Entrepreneur, and PhD Student

I happened across the idea and started to consider having a side hustle. I thought the business could also be a creative outlet while leaving a positive impact on the publishing industry. Read more>>

Quinteria Dendy | Baker & Bakery

I have always known that I was not meant or created for corporate America. I am truly a “free-spirited individual” After working for two years in the cosmetology field, I realized that my true destiny was elsewhere. In 2014, I was inspired by my husband to seek my true passion for baking. Read more>>

Justerica Angelic | Photographer, Brand Designer, & Strategist

The process of my business has defiantly fallen into my lap. My initial thought was to start an online boutique. Which I did back in 2017. I used my own skillsets to brand my boutique at the time. I did my own photoshoot, my logos, flyers, and website. Read more>>

Mercedes Wilson | Advocate, Media Personality, Producer and Entrepreneur

I really didn’t have one at first. I was working in corporate America and would have retired from it. I loved meeting new people and the hustle that came with it. Then I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer when I was 28 years old. Read more>>

Shantobia Moore | Entrepreneur

My thought process was what are some issues and concerns that the girls have when it comes to buying hair. So I wrote down everything that matters to me and things that matter to them and I decided to pin point those things. My question to myself was “how can I start a hair business to that fits every want and need that a women is looking for when buying hair?”. Read more>>

Dom Campbell | Film Producer

Working 9-5 jobs wasn’t cutting it, I knew I wanted the feeling of true freedom. Freedom to make my own decisions and freedom to make any amount of money with out a cap. After a few network marketing conferences, extensive hours of YouTube videos, and daunting hours learning how to format a business plan I got right to it. Read more>>

Julia Lang | President

In the Spring of 2021, I decided to launch my marketing company which focuses on social media management. One of the driving factors for Social Bound was being able help small businesses escalate their social media accounts. Read more>>

Catherine Lee | Co-Founder of Semaine Health

Our first product, the PMS & Period Support, came about selfishly. We both suffer from endometriosis and after multiple surgeries and decades of painful periods, we wanted something that could help our pain without being damaging to our bodies. Read more>>

Nicole Olivo | Certified Interior Director/Organizer/ Cleaner

I am and have always wanted to give back I’n some sort of way . I knew I could do that being my own boss and providing a great service at the same time. I love serving so that’s what I’m doing and loving every minute of it. Read more>>

AMILLIAN K | Music Artist / Boutique owner / Actor / Healthcare provider

Honestly, My thought process came from me always being the one in the room to stand out from my custom made dresses / pieces. Also me dressing myself with nice clothes I would find at stores. Read more>>