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

Elizabeth Spitdowski | Baker

I’ve always loved baking for myself as well for friends and family. Sugar is my love language, and it makes me so happy to share my handmade treats with others. I’ll find any excuse to bake. In college, I made cookie cakes to give away as awards at my club gymnastics competitions. As an adult anytime I found a new recipe to try out I would always bring the extra to my friends. During the holidays I am always the one in charge of dessert. I started Flippin’ Sweets ‘n Treats as a way to allow myself to bake more frequently while also bringing enjoyment to others through baked goods. Read more>>

Kathy Butler | Credentialed Advocate & CSA Prevention and Awareness Training Facilitator

When we discovered our child had been sexually abused by a family member, it caused a pain that was literally stifling and it changed us in an instant. We had to look our child in the face and come to terms with our monumental failure as parents – we hadn’t protected her as well as we thought we had. We were thrust into a fight to save her life; our lives, and our family. Yet, we had way more questions than answers. And the one nagging question that was etched in our minds daily was “How did happen right under our noses?” But there was no one to talk to. There were no support groups that we knew of and nor were there any how-to manuals to help us navigate the unchartered terrain. We literally had to figure it out as we went along and in many ways, suffer silently just as our child had. Read more>>

Eric Lucas | Photographer & Owner

My though process for starting my own business was to create an extra stream of income and generational wealth. Not only did I want to bring in extra income, but eventually travel the world doing something I loved, all while building a solid foundation for my children to have as an option of career choices. I want to expose my kids to something outside of the norm to explore as a viable option for their future, because I feel media and entertainment will be around forever. Plus I just love it so much!!!. Read more>>

Krupa Kanaiya | Multi-hyphenate | Watercolor Artist, Animator, & Social Media Consultant

Building your own business sounds so much more intimidating until you realize you are already putting the work in. I realized that I needed to be an advocate for my work and there was no one to better represent me than me. Especially selling creative services such as my paintings or content for social going through a third party would have left me with such a small profit margin so it only made sense to make the jump myself. Read more>>

Alex Otway | President of NO B.A.N. WORLD LLC, Problem Solver & Creative Thinker

My thought process behind starting my business was probably similar to a lot of Entrepreneurs. I had just dropped out of college at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) and I was living in an apartment with my best friend from childhood. The reason I left SCAD was because I felt as though the classes I was taking were not teaching me anything that I could not have taught myself nor was it teaching at a pace that I preferred. On top of that it cost an Arm, Leg and a Kidney just to afford a semester, so I made the executive decision as a 19 year old to drop out and make it on my own in the world. At this point I had skills in 3D animation and experience as a Manager for a local Musical Artist, so whatever I was gonna do as a career was going to be somewhere in that field. Fast Forward to July 2020 where the world has shut down and protests are happening all over the globe. With everything going on in the world I wasn’t in the best mental space but I knew I wanted to do something to make a change. Read more>>

Jasmine Clark | Founder of Herstory Hair

There were several things that influenced me to start my own business. I am a natural caregiver and nurturer, and I knew I wanted to cater to and help women. I’ve been wearing hair extensions for over 27 years and I’ve tried a numerous number of companies. I found that there wasn’t just one company I could trust and purchase from again and again. I found it difficult to get both quality hair and the customer service I deserved. I came to the realization that the companies did not care about the woman or women who were purchasing from them, they could care less, the just wanted to make a buck off us wanting to enhance our beauty. That’s when I said I’ll start my own hair company. I’d provide a nurturing and caring environment around the whole company so that women know that we care about their self awareness, inner beauty as well as outer beauty. Read more>>

Sytiria Hawkins | Owner and Head Planner of Cailee B Events

I have always had a passion for planning events. It started with planning my children’s parties and eventually family and friends weddings. After years of receiving those requests, I made the decision to make my passion into a business. I went back to college and received my bachelors degree in Business Management and masters degree in Leadership and created my company Cailee B Events. Read more>>

Alexis Wilborn | Wellness Enthusiast & Mindset Adjuster

Pace and Pray were born out of the many struggles I have endured over the course of my adult life. I believe in Jesus Christ and felt that by sharing my testimony of how God has influenced my life, I could help others. My husband and I lost twin girls at 20 weeks gestation. It was one of the most horrific experiences that I could have gone through. However, God sent many family members and friends to keep me mentally stable. They were God-sent. In 2014 I lost vision in my eye due to optic neuritis. I was later diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I could have given up, but yet again, God intervened and kept me. I’ve lost so much, but I can’t regret anything or be upset because of my village. Pace and Pray’s message is about all those experiences that helped cultivate me into the person I am today. It was placed in my spirit to share my story and have a platform that others could share their stories and know they are not alone. We all have to pace our thoughts and pray about everything to make it through this journey called life. Read more>>

James Freeman | Purveyor of Macabre Antiques

I have worked service industry and corporate jobs my entire life, 5 years ago I won full custody of my daughter and realized that I couldn’t be the kind of father she deserved working for someone else. I’ve had a lifetime interest in the macabre, starting with reading Tales from the Crypt comics as a kid in the 80s and have been collecting “oddities” for decades. With the encouragement of my wife Kate Fugate I decided to take the plunge into being a full time morbid antiques dealer. I’ve done my best to make sure that our business stands apart from other “oddities” dealers by not focusing on taxidermy and things in jars but on historically relevant artifacts. Every item tells a story, and those stories are what really keep me going. It’s was definitely the right decision to start Freeman and Fugate Oddities Co. It has lead to paid lectures on the circus sideshow, Houdini, the history of Ouija boards and spirit communication, and more. Read more>>

Courtney Acree | Flight Attendant & Chiropractor

Initially, my thought process was to answer the most common questions I kept getting from people who were interested in the flight attendant lifestyle. So I decided to create a video that answered most questions. Read more>>

Lamarr Mann | Business Coach

I am the author of “This Is Business Vol 1” and the proud owner of LJ Mann Holdings. LJ Mann Holdings specializes in business coaching, business consulting, and business development. The goal of my business is resolve issues for start up and existing businesses with challenges that we analyze through our online or onsite sessions. We help organize the ideas of our clients to help them grow and run their business most efficiently. Here are the services that we provide for our customers. Read more>>

Lacreeia Thompson | CEO| Owner Lala Bella Cosmetics

I Wanted To Create A Brand That Would Be Skin Friendly. I Was Noticing That A lot Of The Drugstore Brands I’d Wear Were Causing Severe Acne. My Thought Process Behind Starting My Brand Was Also To Have Luxury Makeup Products That Are Hard To Find In Stores. From Blinding Highlighters To Chunky Glitters That Are Cruelty Free And Vegan. Read more>>

Nashay Lorick | Mental Health Therapist & Intuitive Life Coach

As a mental health practitioner, I can and have been of service to those in need in various capacities. What drew me to starting my own business was the unlimited capacity for freedom and abundance, and not solely in terms of finances. As a mother, I longed for the freedom of creating my own schedule, which allowed me to spend more time with my family without feeling pressured or having to ask for permission to engage in a role that is my first priority. For me, being a business owner meant being control of my time, space, and energy which I deem as abundant living!. Read more>>

Shelby Tinsley | Founder, iShallBe

The thought process in starting my own business, was all in the mission of developing a mobile app to send affirmations. With this idea came the evolving revolution of my business, iShallBe. Read more>>

Laurionne and Ashley Henderson | CEO’S of Puff N Vibez

Our Thought process behind starting Puff N Vibez was helping people truly work through any darkness to be able to obtain genuine peace. After working through our own problems and gaining peace and still working to keep the peace, it changed our lives for the better and we felt it in our spirit that we are suppose to be apart of the change in the world to help others find theirs as well. Read more>>

AJ Vanek | Co-Owner

The easiest answer is that we’ve always wanted to be our own bosses and make decision on our own. There is something really cool about having full control over your future and the steps needed to reach your goals. On top of that, we felt there was a gap in the market here in Cleveland and we had the team and skills needed to fill it. While this is just the beginning, we are very proud of the progress we have made in the past few years. Read more>>

Artsley | Arts & Kraft Designer

The thought process behind quitting my job was simply, God. I was broke but no matter how much money I had, I wanted to gift something for my mom on Mother’s Day. On Mother’s Day I went to my local family dollar and looked around for something random. I Couldn’t find anything I’d think she’d like so I picked a few cool things such as marbles , an elephant statue and some vase fillers and made her something myself. I made it in the parking lot and drove to her home, and when I gave it to her, it was her reaction and following question of “Where did you buy this? It’s beautiful” that struck a nerve!. Read more>>

Tiberious Turner | Floral Designer

The thought process behind starting Jardin Dê Gris was that life is short as the pandemic has taught all of us and you have to treasure and live every moment. I always had a love for flowers. I thought what would be a better life than creating arrangements, bouquets ,and experimenting with flowers. So I started Jardin Dê Gris watching videos and TikToks learning how to be a florist. I started creating and putting things together in my head and people just liked it, I must say it’s the best feeling in the world knowing that someone’s expressing emotion through my creations. Read more>>

Marline Russell | Executive Producer, Director|

When I became an entrepreneur in 2008 it was due to the lack of interest in working 8 hours for 5 days per week building a company that I was not able to reap long term benefits from. I was in an executive position and was directly responsible for its profit increase for at least 5 years. Although I was being nicely compensated for my work I did not feel like I was growing with the company. Therefore I used the money I earned from this company to start my own venture as a business owner at that time. This was the beginning of many start up attempt and the reason I never gave up!. Read more>>

Applemania Bradford | CEO Teacher B.A.E, Inc.

My thought process of starting Teacher B.A.E, Inc, was after a vision was given to me in a dream. God revealed to me that my purpose on this Earth would exceed the classroom doors. It was then when I started planning self-care trips for my teacher colleagues and me during our breaks. The trips consisted of a lavish itinerary to indulge in some self-care and letting our hair down whilst still giving back to the communities of the cities we were in. My colleagues, now Teacher B.A.E members told me I needed to really create something big with this and that’s exactly what I did. Teacher B.A.E, (Balanced and Educated) Inc. became established in 2019 to unify teachers whilst balancing work, home, social life. Read more>>

Lionel Jenkins | CEO of CBL aka Country Bike Life

The reason I started Country Bike Life was to showcase the bike life cultural in the Charleston area. Growing up in the country, we were raised up riding and racing dirt bikes and 4 wheelers. Now that bike life is so popular all over, my plan was to show that South Carolina is apart of the movement as well. Our YouTube channel shows the lifestyle we live centered around bikes and how it brings people from all over together for the love of riding and more. Read more>>

MICHAEL YAO KWAKUMEY | Furniture Design & Table Maker

CuspinYao Designs was born from necessity coupled with desire. It was necessary to have a dining room table, and my wife desired a nice one! Moving in with one another for the first time; our plan was to purchase entirely everything for our new home, together. When it came time to purchase a dining room table we visited multiple furniture stores but could not find one that spoke to us, or one that could not be found in our friend’s homes. We became discouraged, when my cousin asked me, “why don’t you just build a table”? I replied to him that it was not something I had done before and would not even know how to begin. My cousin, Albert Cuspin, having a background in art & design as a former graduate of SCAD University, proceeded to teach me how to build my 9 foot dining room table. I thoroughly fell in love with the process and the end result, so much so, that I wanted the opportunity to bring that same joy to others. The desire to bring the same sense of happiness I feel every time I walk past my dining room table to others is what drove me to create this business. Read more>>

Rashaun Pauleon | Fashion Designer

I had no formal training at all when it came to design it was all for fun as a hobby in between going to school for animation and working. I wanted to make 1 sweater one day based off of an H&M piece I had (in hindsight it was super ugly) but my friend Asher told me I should just make it from scratch. So he bought 2 sewing machines and we would practice every day. We weren’t very good but eventually got to the point where we were able to make a basic shirt. The pattern was extremely rough and technique wise it was all wrong but i wanted to find a way to brand myself to make it seem like it was all on purpose as I learned the proper process. I had the slogan “beautiful mistakes” to go along with it. Finding the beauty in the slight imperfections cuz perfection is boring. Read more>>

Darian Bryant | Founder of Daddyin’ Since

Daddyin’ Since started off as a search for purpose. I have always been creative and enjoy cultivating something from nothing. In my search for what I was passionate about, I discovered I was most passionate about being a Daddy. I decided to release customizable “Daddyin’ Since” shirts in time for Father’s Day 2019. The shirts featured the year men began their journey in fatherhood. This was my part in changing the narrative associated with Black Fatherhood. My thought process behind starting the business was to change the negative connotation surrounding Black men and their roles as Fathers. Generally, the media depicts the black man as being absent from the home and not fulfilling his responsibilities as a Fatherhood. The Daddyin Since’ brand is for men that take joy in being present, raising their children, and showing up (no matters what it looks like and what it takes). Read more>>

Nicol McClendon | Author, Publisher & Writing Coach

I am a self-taught, trial and error, 4x published independent author. It was my duty to start a self publishing company to help others especially women share their stories without making the costly mistakes I hav I wanted to provide a one stop shop to empower women with the tools needed to share their stories and heal their hearts.I learned by failing often and I’ve made the mistakes so now I can help others write and self publish the correct way, leaving a legacy for their families. Read more>>

Dani | Life & Relationships Coach

My key driving force to becoming an entrepreneur has always been advocacy and legacy. I have a deep passion to advocate for my people, my culture, our future as a race. I felt the best way for me to do so was by taking matters into my own hands as an entrepreneur. I continue my work with dedication to be a change agent and with the drive to create a legacy for my children. Read more>>

Marcus Stephens | Mobile Device Technician

I wanted to be independent and control my life. I have a gift with working with my hands and I love technology. I seen a problem with people paying to much to get there cellular phone repair. At time some people would have to pay the cost of the phone to get it repaired. A lot of cellular phone repair shops had high rates and they took days to return your phone. Not just that but you had to drive to a shop to get the repair. So I wanted to start a cellular phone repair shop that have low rates and same day repairs and we fix your phone anywhere. At your home, work or business, if you was out at a meeting or just getting your hair done, we could pull up and fix it while you handle your business and have your phone back to you without you having to go out your way or reschedule anything that you may have to do. Read more>>

Barbara Jones | Serial Entrepreneur

I’m a Serial entrepreneur and have been since my early 20’s. I was recruited, fresh out of college, by a very innovative startup in Austin, TX. I saw this company grow from 25 employees to over 200 and then get acquired by Oracle corporation. Therefore, I was bitten by the entrepreneur bug, very early in my career. I started Lillii RNB as a way to expand my one-woman consulting firm and wanted a way to get more women into the Retail Technology space. LILLII is an acronym that stands for Let’s Imagine Life w/Ladies In IT. We are an Enterprise Solutions company that is helping Retailers with their Point of Sale software and Store Returns Management. Read more>>

Word count: 3427 Draft saved at 8:31:19 am. Last edited by sidreddy on May 23, 2021 at 8:29 am


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