Readers often email us asking us for advice about new businesses they are thinking about starting and we often find that many of them don’t have a framework for thinking about a more fundamental question: why should or shouldn’t you start a business?

Below, you’ll find how successful entrepreneurs from across the city thought about this very question when they were considering whether to start their businesses.

Sharmaine Tate-Ross | Owner, Choreographer & Creative Director

Moxie by Maine was created for people who admire movement and want to grow and express themselves freely through daily healthy practices. I thought of the aspiring dancer who wants to refine their skills in a healthy environment, the person that wants to try something new and/or add a skill to their resume. Moxie is about FREEDOM through MOVEMENT in every aspect, it’s a point where art meets life. Read more>>

Robert D. Watts | Entrepreneur & Artist

Starting my own business started with expressing myself via writing; my vivid thoughts and feelings. My business aligns with purpose and passion to help and inspire others. We collect material things such as clothing and/or products by way of purpose. The positive message on each piece of clothing or product gives you a vivid thought to connect with. That thought gives you an instant connection to support subconsciously and collect in addition to your possession. It was that same connection that became conscious enough to create and birth Collect2Connect, which is branded on the logo design. We sell purpose, together we can collect2connect. Read more>>

Essence Roberts | Holistic Health Coach & Practitioner

It’s always been essential for me to do something that I am passionate about and that I also enjoy. I’ve worked jobs that I never truly felt spoke to my passion and purpose. My business Raw Essence Detox and Wellness was birthed during covid19 because I felt the calling and there was and still is a strong need in the black community in the United States for holistic wellness practices that will lead to breakthroughs from generational trauma and curses, lifestyle diseases, and depression. I was living abroad in Thailand at the time when I decided that I wanted to take the leap and begin my Holistic Health Business. I’ve found my own peace, healing, and joy while on my own holistic journey. Fasting has been one of the main beneficial factors in transforming my life, in regards to my way of thinking and experiencing the world, and my overall mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Read more>>

Ashanti Renise | Founder

I’ve always been into hair and beauty since I was a kid. I can humbly say it was a natural talent of mine. During my mom’s battle with cancer I saw how hair loss directly affected her self esteem. I also saw the same pattern with my grandmother, who lost her battle with cancer. So you can kinda say I merged my natural gifts with my passion to inspire and empower women. Read more>>

Will Bearyman | Creative Director & Music Artist

SilverHook Studios was birthed from my desire to help creatives create their vision. With a heavy audio and music background, it made sense to put that passion into the business. We’ve been designed from the beginning with the mindset of helping others. Read more>>

Ashley Hizer | Abstract Artist

I taught middle and high-school language arts professionally, but have been creating my entire life. I started painting abstracts when I moved to Atlanta from San Diego in 2011, and one thing lead to another. I honestly didn’t believe my art was good enough to share with others, but my husband encouraged me to start an Etsy shop in 2012, so I obliged – as an experiment. I sold a few, and then I got a call from a gallery owner in New Jersey about putting some pieces there. So, shortly after that partnership, I moved to selling off my own website, and then working local interior designers and galleries. And before I knew it, gallery owners in other states. Things were picking up and I was far more passionate about art than teaching, so I took the plunge and started making art full-time. Read more>>

Devyn Owen | Creative & Designer

Honestly, The Bee Lines was an accident! A happy accident. It was a 1AM inspirational moment after about a year of being in a creative rut – not wanting to make anything, making something and it not looking good, having absolutely zero ideas. I got out of bed and made a piece, now called The Original. From that point on, it was my art! It was everything I wanted to create and more. My work has always consisted of some sort of line ever since high school, I just never had my specific creative style. The Bee Lines is really a play on words consisting of my school’s mascot, The Savannah College of Art and Design, and of course, lines. I wanted the name to be cute and fun, something people would remember. My main goal of success is to be recognizable. Committing to being an artist that want to recognizable for the love of her work and not the love of people’s praise, or being a people pleaser. To be known for what I love. Read more>>

Tytianna Johnson | UX/UI Design Architect

Two words come to mind as I ponder on the thought process I had back in 2019 when App Strategy first made its entrance into the world – Passion and Preference. Why these two words, you might ask? Well, its because these very terms are ultimately what shaped my business formation and the successful entrepreneur that I am today. Dating back to 2017 during my undergraduate career at thee illustrious Spelman College, God had already given me signs and confirmation on several occasions that I was meant to embark upon the journey of entrepreneurship. While the glitz and glam of being a business over sounded very pleasing, I assured myself that it was too much for me and thus, just not my calling. From that point on, I cancelled the notion that that particular lifestyle/career route was for me. Read more>>

Josh Hill | Independent Travel Agent

I am a person that loves to travel. My family and I travel at least once a quarter. Over the years, I have either planned travel for myself or helped someone else plan their travels. I ran into an old acquaintance a couple of years ago who is in the travel business and told me how he became an agent. After talking for a while and I told him about all the trips I’ve been on, he recommended that I become an agent so that I could start getting paid for what I do for free. From there the idea of BoardingPass Plz was born. I use my platform to show the trips that I’ve been on, provide travel insights, and help people plan their own trips. The best part about what I do is that it is at no cost to the people that I work with. The cruise lines, airlines, and hotels pay me for bringing them business so it is a win-win situation for myself and the people I help. Read more>>

Justin and Monique Honaman | Curators

Oscar Wilde said, “Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” We couldn’t agree more. After one too many meetings/coffees/dinners/parties with others where we came home exhausted because the conversation was so flat, we decided to leverage our love of really great dialogue and create a series of conversation-starter get-to-know-you card games designed to get people talking, connecting, and relating. Our mantra is “BIG talk, not small talk!” Big conversations are energizing. They bring laughter, tears, reflections, learnings, and dreams. They allow people to reflect on shared past experiences and connect on shared future goals. Everyone has a story, and sharing those stories, experiences and memories is far more interesting than talking about the weather. We launched our first game, Cocktail Farty (where FART stands for Friends Admitting Real Truths). Read more>>

Heather Fusari | Actress & Filmmaker

There is definitely a lot of work in starting up and running your own business, but on my path, the pros outweighed the cons by miles!! Creating Badb Films has given me a platform to create my own roles as an Actress and films; projects I care deeply about, and ones that can shed light on subjects we rarely talk about, or people in history who’s voice has been muted for far too long. Also, starting my own business allowed for me to gain respect from my brilliant peers and filmmakers as I have been showing what I’m creatively capable of, rather than merely speaking. Which I’ve discovered a lot of people in this industry flood conversations with their talk, not their walk or the doing of the task, unfortunately. Creating Badb Films has also helped me find my tribe. Read more>>

Journeè Walker | CEO

Great question! Well I am Journeè Walker’s mom Maia Collier and Starting FashionJournee wasn’t a “wake up and do it” idea for me. In April of this year I started thinking of ways I can change the game with “Black Owned Businesses” in the city I live in. I was currently out of work because, of the pandemic and I felt like I had nothing but, time on my hand. I asked my cousin who’s currently a black business owner (Brandy Norman *owner of Bee’s Photography*) where to start looking for items to start a business. At the time I didn’t really know exactly what to sell..Should I sell this, should I sell one time I said never mind this is too stressful. I gave it up. Late May 2020 came and I opened my notebook where I had been writing out business ideas and at that moment I realized I need to keep going. Well I did just that. I found the perfect vendor for what I had in mind. I told my sister Mikala I want to sell little girl accessories & name the business after my daughter Journeè. Read more>>

Iman Brewton | Yoga Instructor

I truly just wanted to be able to make a living doing what I love and felt passionate about. My intention was to create something that was a reflection of me and my journey, even down to the name I came up with for my business. My initials are I.B. and my business is called IBDIVINE YOGA. Then, there is another spin on it. When you pronounce it, it can also sound like “I be divine yoga”. That aspect is for those that I connect with through my business. It is an extension of me but it goes beyond me and my name. When I work with people my intention is to guide them as they discover and use their own power and divinity, however that comes out or shows up for them. I found my power through utilizing the practice of yoga and I wanted to extend that to other people through my services. Read more>>

Angel Grant | Owner

Well, I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. I could fondly remember when I was a child I could see the beauty in people places and things. What some looked at as hopeless or unattractive , I could see or hear RAW beauty and or talent. At that time I didn’t know there was such a profession to assist people in these things I had a natural love for. Fast forwarding… I started to venture out of the rivers and lakes that I was use to and seek for what I felt there was a need for first myself and as I began to work / heal myself, I had a burning desire to share these findings with others and I’m still doing this to day. Healing NEVER STOPS…. Read more>>

Rose Battle | President & CEO

As a former model/actress modeling was my corporate America. I decided to use those resources to build a business and leave a legacy to my children. My colleagues at The Coca-Cola Company noticed the passion in me while modeling for the companies trade shows, publications and promotions and suggested I would make a great agent. As a model I modeled for Macys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Coca-Cola to name a few and later ventured into the film and Television Industry. Read more>>