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.

Alyssa McNerney | Owner & Operations Manager of Vintage Embers

There’s a few things worth mentioning. First, the idea was to create something I myself was looking for. I love home decor, especially when it involves vintage shopping. I also typically have a handful of candles to burn in my home at any time. A few years ago I came across two teacups with saucers in a local shop that were filled with scentless wax and a wick, and I immediately bought them. Since then I was always on the lookout for other vintage pieces transformed into candles, but I never found anything like that again. Read more>>

Rachel Powell | Founder, BEAUTY IN THE Raw

I’ve struggled with sensitive skin since birth and understand how frustrating and demoralizing it can be. It started with psoriasis on my scalp that left temporary bald patches. Next came eczema and dermatitis. Followed by rosacea and allergic reactions in my teens and 20’s. And just when I thought there couldn’t possibly be more – the icing on the cake, cystic acne, made its unwelcomed appearance in my early 30’s. Ugh, could a girl catch a break!?! Read more>>

Valdoshia Hunt | Owner, Thumbs Up Scrubs, LLC

I am at a point in my life where I want to gain control of my own destiny and reach my full potential. Owning my own business has allowed me to use my skills and knowledge in an area I find interesting. I’ve been a manager for many years but when you manage you operate under the leadership of an organization. As a business owner I am able to control this. You can either wake up every day and support someone else’s vision or support your own vision. Read more>>

Renea Mitchell | Owner of Crustacean House Catering and Mobile Food Service. Entrepreneur, Mother, Sister, Soror (Z-Phi), Friend…

This is a pretty deep question believe it or not because I’ve always seen myself as an entrepreneur, but I did not see myself in this lane. I believed I could do it, but didn’t know when or how. So to specifically answer the question, the thought process came from understanding that ownership is key. We live in the richest country in the world and yet I did not see that I owned much of anything. I wanted to achieve something. I wanted to show my children it was possible at any age, with any flaw. Read more>>

Cari Crossley, J.D. | Philanthropist and Entrepreneur

My thought process behind starting my own business was to create an entity that solves a problem with the black community. Specifically, the high black maternal maternity rate is the problem that my business would solve by supporting women as they prepare for birth and during labor. Secondly, to impact and sustain the black community economically through entrepreneurship. Read more>>

Keji Omoboni Jones | Fashion Designer

I thought to myself it’s now or never starting my own business gives me an opportunity to follow my dreams and also help others in the process. I would ask my friends and sometimes random people I meet to take pictures in my designs and the immediate confidence it gave them, It was like magic to me. Ao that was my “Aha” moment. I started to create and create so much that I turned it into to a business at the same time it was a way to impact all different types of people. Fabric to fabric patterns to patterns the goal is to create more confidence with bold colors and patterns, and make people feel good while wearing KOJ. Read more>>

Annery Cabral | Artist, Song Writer, & Network Engineer

The process behind starting my own business wasn’t the easiest but it’s definitely the most satisfaction I’ve ever felt. It all began with a constant vision of running a tech and music business. I knew I loved to do music and I also love to work on technology. I started watching YouTube videos and reading mono blogs for upcoming music labels and mom and pop IT shops. All which took major key in creating my business plan. It took me about 4 years to finally figure out how to tie it in a knot and establish Life of DA GEEK, LLC. Read more>>

Tyrisa Burdine | Hair Loss Specialist/Natural Hair Care Owner

Starting my own business has always been my Dream! I would have Visions of a lavish salon spa with women in Robes and everyone laughing and enjoying getting pampered! That’s still the goal but greatness doesn’t happen overnight. I love the saying, if your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough. When I moved to Georgia in 2016 I had a goal to work at a great salon to build up a clientele that would sustain me to eventually open my own. Read more>>

Deanna Rice | Creative Stylist & Owner, Elva Mae Boutique

A few years ago I won a private shopping party at a local boutique here in Atlanta. I invited six of my friends to join me as we enjoyed champagne and tried on clothes. My best friend is curvy, but the sizes in the boutique only carried regular sizes from small to large. She was able to enjoy the champagne and check out the jewelry, but I felt bad that she could not try things on. That was the first time I thought, “There needs to be a boutique that offers this exact experience for all women, curvy sizes included.” Read more>>

Lauren Williams | Owner and Product Maker at LaBlu Serenity

The thought behind starting my own business was that ever since a little girl I knew I wanted to have my own business. I just thought it would be in the hair business. I always loved doing hair, went to cosmetology school, got my license, worked in the salon, and realized that was not what I wanted to do anymore. Fast forward 10 years later I was dealing with some skin issues and my son was experiencing extreme dryness with his lips. 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.  Read more>>

Brianna Love | Furniture Designer

I started fərn (pronounced fern) because I’ve always loved furniture design and couldn’t find what I wanted in the market. Ever since I was a kid, I truly loved designing furniture and home objects that were fun, interesting, and practical. When I started looking for furniture for my own apartment, I noticed a dearth of interesting, sustainable, and accessible options. Most furniture nowadays isn’t built to last and uses cheap materials and underpaid labor. I try to make ethical choices when I purchase things like food and clothes but really struggled to find creative pieces that were transparent in their manufacturing process to decorate with—thus fərn was born 2 years later. Read more>>

Deandria Owens | Owner of SNOB•ISH & Personal Stylist

As my full-time job, I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. At the beginning of my career I was required to wear business attire for court. At the time, I was not making a lot of money, but I was in need of business clothes. A close friend told me she thrifted and I decided to try it out. I was able to get a whole wardrobe for work paying little to nothing. Over the years, thrifting became a huge hobby for me! I loved sharing with other women my great finds from thrifting. When complimented on my outfit, my favorite response is “thanks it’s thrifted.” Read more>>

Dante Patterson | Business Owner

My thought process was about helping and educating guys about the beard process. Being able to provide a quality product that can beneficial to what they are trying to achieve. Read more>>

Dominique Fyffe | Luxury wig specialist

I always love beauty and hair when I was a kid but I was never really good at the popular styles. I wanted to make it easier for people like me who love the styles they see on celebs but aren’t as advanced in styling their hair. I also wanted to provide a source of luxury in someone everyday life because I feel like we don’t often allow ourselves to have luxury things. Hair is one of the easiest ways to do this because you wear it each day. Read more>>

Lundyn Carter | CEO & Co-founder, Laine London

I started Laine London with my co-founder Tiffany, not as an expert in the bridal industry, but as a woman who didn’t want others to spend thousands on their wedding dress like I did. The more Tiffany and I focused on the pressure that comes with the bridal shopping experience, the more determined we were to upend it. Unfortunately, buying the dress of your dreams can be a nightmare for many brides, especially when you’re not a size 4 or willing to spend four- figures! Read more>>

Krystle Saulsberry | Pageant Coach, Author, & Content Creator

I created Krystle Clear Pageantry in 2015 initially as a pageantry blog. I had been in the pageantry industry since the age of 17, and I believed I had wealth of knowledge and experience to share with others. As the brand grew, I decided to create a platform that encompassed pageant coaching and education. Krystle Clear Pageantry coaches and educates women and girls on how to have a winning mindset, make a good presentation, and develop self-confidence. Read more>>

Arielle Hawthorne | Co-Owner of Twisted Plants

At the time my mindset was on providing access to great tasting vegan food outside of my own kitchen. When I changed the way I eat I found myself underwhelmed with the usual options that I was presented with while dining out. Read more>>

Willie Williams | Artist & Gallery Owner

The thought process for me was threefold: first, my thought was to create something sustainable for me upon exiting college. I figured that it wouldn’t make sense for me to wait on a job opportunity or the chance to be “discovered” to come after school, like it is typically done, especially for young artists. I was fortunate enough to start my business the summer leading up to my junior year in college thanks to a move that my family business made into a new industrial warehouse space. When that happened, I decided to seize that moment, get creative with a portion of the new space, and build upon that opportunity for myself to thrive in my art career post – college. Read more>>

Charnice Crowley | Licensed Esthetician

My thought process behind starting my business started with how I can help my community. My goals are to change the concept of what perfect skin looks like. Read more>>

Brianna Blackwell | Entrepreneur & Author

Queen 2 Queen was an idea of mine for years. I tried to start it in 2018 but it didn’t go well, so I quit. Fast forward to 2020, with the pandemic going on, I had nothing but time. I also understood how working for other people just wasn’t the move. I wanted to be able to make my own moves and be my own boss. During the “rebirth” of Queen 2 Queen, my goal was to focus on my WHY. I love jewelry and accessories and I feel as if every woman should embrace the Queen that lies within. Instead of stressing about not knowing if I was ready, I decided to leap in and just make it happen… I can perfect the brand as I go. And that mindset has been the fuel that keeps Queen 2 Queen going. Read more>>

Racquel Parker | Founder of Rose Orleans

After working in high-end retail for over 10 years—where I sold products on commission—I knew I wanted to sell my own products one day, and the skills I’d learned would help me. In my friend group, I’ve always been considered the beauty junkie and the one who is constantly experimenting with new products. When it comes to nutrition, I’m very health-conscious and need to know exactly what’s in my food. I learned about the clean beauty movement, and it occurred to me that I should care as much about what I’m putting on my body as I do about what I put in it. After thoroughly researching and trying numerous products, I decided to make my own brand without harsh chemicals and with exclusively vegan ingredients to raise awareness and show the importance of clean beauty. Read more>>

Kessey Cham | Organic Chemistry Tutor and Mentor

I started my business because I recognized the struggle with Organic Chemistry and saw a way to provide a service to others to help build their confidence and get them the grades they needed for their premedical program. However, it wasn’t through my confidence but the recommendation of my mentor how I started my business venture. I remember failing my first exam, and she said, ” how did you fail when I saw you teach your friends the concepts? Read more>>

Bre J | Business Owner, Influencer, Revolutionist & Degreed

My thought process behind starting my own business was “doing something I love and incorporating it with things I am passionate about” . Legally Swim Co. was thought of because I absolutely love swimwear, I love myself and women embracing their bodies in whatever style and color. I believe having a message behind every story is important and sells so I definitely wanted to think about that when starting my own business. I thought of how to inspire myself, young and old “bees”, because a business is bigger than you, it’s about your audience and community. What do you bring differently to the table that many sit at with the same products. Moral of my process was how to stand out while inspiring. Read more>>

Chelsea Brandy | Hairstylist & Entrepreneur

I started Pretty Peacock in the beginning of Covid because I lost my job. I worked in a barbershop and when the city shutdown I had to figure out another source of income. Candle making has always been a hobby of mine so I decided to take it serious and voilá. Read more>>

Chamayne Reid Joshua Jordan | Peach City Customs

We have always been entrepreneurs at heart! Even while working our corporate jobs we have always had side hustles. So starting our own business was not anything new, but being a full time entrepreneur was. I must say we love it here. Read more>>

Debrayta Salley | Author, Clarity & Accountability Coach and Wellness Advocate

The thought process behind starting my Business was to support Women along their Life’s Journey specifically through Life Transitions like changes in Career, Identifying their Purpose, Gaining Clarity around desired results and Accountability in Goal Setting and Accomplishment. My desired methods of accomplishing this has been through Coaching, Mentoring, Inspirational and Empowering writings via Books, Blogs, Newsletters, Podcasts, Gatherings, etc. Read more>>

ANN WOOD | Musician and Music Retail

My partner, Jeff Perkins and I had been pursuing a career as artists/musicians in an instrumental band for about 10 years. A variety of events ended the band and we were at a cross roads. His father was looking at Play It Again Sports as an investment and found Music Go Round in 1997. At that time MGR was a very new franchisee and promoted the us to put our individual stamp on this new concept. Read more>>

Mario Quinn Lyles | Executive Director & Creative Entrepreneur

I started off as an art student majoring in media arts but I also was really into dancing and making music. While in school I had an opportunity to work for Big Brothers Big Sisters as a mentor and soon realized how much I loved being a support system for young people. After graduating and not getting my dream job at Disney I struggled to find my way until I started teaching dance and other creative arts. After a few years, I wanted to have something specific to my interests but where I could be a platform for African American (BIPOC) youth. Read more>>

Shandriqua Coley Gordon | Nurse & Koko Butter Owner

Honestly, I just could not sleep one night. I was sleep but my mind was going on 100. The next day I got up & went to the store & bought everything I needed to start. I just did it. I think it was pretty easy for me because I was already mixing & making things for my son who had eczema. Read more>>

Sam Vargas | Content Creator

I have worked dead end jobs since I was 13 years old. Working for someone else was always a bother to me, I just didn’t know it till I was in my 30’s. Sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours a day, not making enough to live a life outside of going home to get ready for the next day was causing me to have depression and anxiety. When I bought my first camera everything changed. When I got paid for my first shoot, the light bulb started blinking. Read more>>

jayvon johnson | CEO of OFP / designer, crytpo / day trade

Me and group of previous associates from high school made up the saying OFP . Out for Power , Only for Profit, Only for preogression , Only the family prospers in 2009. Once Instagram came out around 2011 I still ran with to the name . I used To throw parties as well so I ran with the name von OFP . Fast toward to mid 2018 i just Decided to put it in a t shirt . Didn’t actually begging to start production until 2019 though . Far as starting the business just had people anticipating it for a while then finally released and just use design that appeal to me . always been told I was a fashionable guy over the year so it came easy to me . Read more>>

Tina Scariano | Musician – Makeup Artist – Podcast Host

Growing up, my dad always told me to “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I started my first business at age 10 creating decorated glass bottles filled with various candies and selling them at craft fairs. Since then, I’ve had nearly every job you could imagine from flipping burgers at a hockey rink concession stand to performing Let It Go as Elsa in Frozen the musical on Disney Cruise Line. I’ve constantly chased that high of creating something that people love and want to consume – whether that be bottles of candy or my own one woman show. About 4 years ago I was performing off-broadway while juggling 3 other survival jobs and barely making ends meet. Read more>>

Kesha Henderson | Boutique Owner

Growing up plus size sometimes could be rough. When I started modeling my confidence became bigger than ever. I knew other women felt the same way I did, so I decided to make a change. I opened up Lace Kouture Boutique. Which stands for Love Acceptance Conquers Everything!! Read more>>

Jeff Michaels | Filmmaker & founder Pathos Entertainment Group

Growing up I always wanted to be in the entertainment industry. I always had a big interest in music, and eventually ended up producing some underground mixtapes in my early 20’s. I loved creating and collaborating with people. Around the same time, my uncle gave me a little HD Flipcam. I started doing short skate video edits, things like that, and started to really enjoy the process of editing video as well. This ultimately led to the idea of creating Pathos Entertainment. I wanted to start my own production company that did it all. From producing feature films and music videos to producing LP’s. Read more>>

Kasandra Marbury | Guided Journal Author

I have a private practice and noticed a large number of new clients ambivalent about services but interested in services. I created Innher Peace LLC to help women work on their healing process through journaling. The journals have prompts for those who don’t know where to start and need some guidance, so our journals have questions to help women reflect. Read more>>

Lana Yazmeen Colon | Business Owner, Youtuber, & Rapper

Funny enough, I actually didn’t get a choice when it came to starting my own business. When I was 9, My mom and I lived in a Budget Inn and Suites in Austell Ga, and I had very idle hands and an idle mind to match it. I was bored one day and I wanted to know if the ceiling would melt or catch on fire if I tried to burn it (It melted btw). My mother later discovered a spray painted burn hole in the ceiling and freaked out. Read more>>

Ori Zohar | Entrepreneur

I’d always had entrepreneurial projects throughout my life – from using a 3-CD boombox to (poorly) DJ parties when I was a teenager to a graduation cap and gown business when I was in college to a venture-backed financial services company that made the process of getting your mortgage simpler, lower cost, and fair. I honed my skills as an entrepreneur with each project. I think of it like I’m working out my entrepreneurship muscles. Sure, each of these businesses is in a totally different area, but I got better at running a business with each one. I got better at working with limited resources, getting to know my customers, and switching my focus based on what the business needed that day. Read more>>

Jeremy Richburg | Visual artist

It all stems from me drawing when i was younger I used to draw random things i thought like clothes designs, random characters, etc. But I wanted to know how to do it on a computer so I can actually make those things more official, and early on into trying to teach myself how to make graphics, I ended up with a job at a print shop. My work there made me get a better understanding of photoshop, shirt printing, and film Due to having to do something related to it everyday and having no choice but to figure it out. That lead me to getting curious about music videos and I got a camera shot videos of my brother and friends and then I started to branch out more, and that lead me to where I am today. Read more>>

Jaden McDaniel | Photographer

Honestly growing up I would have never thought that I would end up wanting to take pictures for a career path. But as I got older and really tuned into what my skills were, the big picture started to roll in. My business SubGalaxy Photography was officially created in August of 2019. The name comes from some old vine account I had back when vine was popular and it just stuck with me ever since. I’ve been taking pictures for some years now but I didn’t get really serious about it until after I graduated high school. I’m already a memory hoarder so being able to capture those moments people would want to see for possibly the rest of their life seemed so fitting. Read more>>