The first step to starting a business is deciding to start a business. They say the first step is the hardest and in our experience this is especially true when it comes to starting a business. Getting over the mental roadblocks can be tough, often harder to overcome than the challenges you’ll face once you actually start the business. Fellow entrepreneurs share their thoughts below.

Jermaine Meadows | Jermaine Meadows | CEO & Founder of Breaking Barriers Consulting Firm & The Neighborhood Role Model

I’ve been doing the work of advocacy, community building, youth development, strategic planning, and spending my entire life navigating and combating inequalities I felt that it was time to take a more formal approach. Read more>>

Jordan Thompson | Graffitist & Cartoonist

I wanted to be able to make a brand that’ll be talked about for hundreds of years to come. It wasn’t just about the money but it was about getting the recognition of my name and letting the whole world know this is me, this is who I am, This is what I do. Read more>>

Quintin Muldrow | Lifestyle Brand

I wanted to start a Brand that showcased black folks in a different light other than jail, sports or music. Not saying anything about an artist or athlete but we are so much more than that. A lifestyle brand that shows me doing things and events that are in the line of having fun and creating memories. Creating a brand for the activities I did, they inspire other people because we don’t normally see our own people in this envoirment. Read more>>

Paula Paes | Owner, Operator

I moved to the United States almost 2 years ago, in Brazil, I worked all day and the night I studied, so I had a very busy routine. When I got here, I started cooking for some friends who soon reported that they missed Brazilian food, and that’s when I started accepting some orders, listening to the needs and wishes of my customers, that’s how Queen’s Bites was born. Read more>>

Lara & Erin Elizabeth | Seamstress/Designers

We noticed the waste that was being thrown away in the boat & canvas shops from the left overs scraps after a job was completed, so we took them home made a bag out of some of it and once we wore it down the docks where we were living on our boat Cabin Girl, we had a lot of requests for them. We knew this was what we wanted to do. Read more>>

Juma Mounger | Photographer & Content Curator

My process behind starting my business was to just liberate myself from the idea of working to make someone else rich and to get paid for what i love to do. I finally found myself wanting to be happy with the decisions that i make in life. Ive always been a guy who was raised to work for the things you wanted it. i realize i could do something that i love and still make the money i need to provide. Read more>>

Leigh Johnson | Stylist, Creative Director, Research Scientist, Black-Owned Business Advocate

I was encouraged to start my styling business from one of my high school best friends. One day I was helping her clean her closet and she told me I should start charging for closet cleaning services. I had a habit of cleaning and organizing my friends’ closets mostly because all of my friends are always busy so heavy tasks like closet cleaning could take days and it’s easier to complete with extra pair of hands (and one of my love languages is acts of service). I would also style or have friends ask me to style them for events. Eventually, once I started my blog I was encouraged to legitimize my entire business and to charge for services that I was already doing for free – and people will always pay for convenience and quality. Read more>>

Anita Wikina | Podcaster (Mommy Oyoyo) & Blogger (Berry Dakara)

A Nigerian woman who lives in Atlanta, USA and I have the most energetic soon-to-be threenage daughter. I also happen to be the founder and host of the Mommy Oyoyo podcast. In 2016 I publicly shared (on Youtube and my lifestyle blog) that I had been trying to conceive for almost a year and a half without success – unexplained infertility. While waiting and trying, it occurred to me that there were so many other women like me who were also struggling but felt like they were alone and couldn’t speak up about their struggles – they were suffering in silence. I decided to talk openly about my TTC experience openly – and in a way, that was the beginning of the Mommy Oyoyo podcast. African women are indirectly taught by society to be quiet and not allowed to speak openly about certain topics. As they say, “we don’t air our dirty linen in public.” We are meant to be ashamed if and when we have issues surrounding marriage and motherhood. I chose to speak out and provide a platform for other African women to hear real and unfiltered conversations about motherhood. Read more>>

Maria Cruz Watkins Bizzell | Creator and Owner

The thought process behind Tiny Intentions came from my own destruction. Out of my own chaos came my creation. In the midst of my pain and turmoil I was able to find ways to transmute that hurt energy into something healing and beautiful. It allowed me to create a world of possibilities for others to heal along with me. A tiny thought became the force for what will be my biggest intention for humanity, which is to heal it. Read more>>

Terica Pearson | Business Consultant and Insurance Specialist

The thought process of starting my own business were the opportunity and freedom to pursue my passion and purpose. I love helping entrepreneurs by imparting education, leadership, and outstanding service with integrity. Also, I wanted to make sure entrepreneurs were educated on the right insurance coverage needed to keep their business properly covered. The mission of my business is building relationships and partnerships to provide personalized high quality insurance services to our customers with integrity, efficiency, and product knowledge. Read more>>

Amanda Chambers | Bestselling Authorpreneur

I started Divine Legacy Publishing because I saw the need for a different type of publishing company. I wanted to combine the freedom and control of self-publishing with the resources and community we often see provided by traditional publishing companies. My ultimate goal was to create a community of empowered authors who learn, collaborate, and support each other and to provide them with the ever-evolving tools and resources they need to succeed. Read more>>

Mary Jennings | Singer/Songwriter & Bolo Tie Maker

Another incredible artist friend of my, Caroline Hill, gave me words that I have lived by for over 10 years now. Don’t follow trends because you will always be a step behind. Just do you and let the trend find you and you can be front and center. That has been one of the most liberating and true notions in the world to me. Instead of trying to write the perfect pop song or make the most on a trend accessory, I just do what feels right at the time. If people like it, AWESOME, and if they don’t that’s ok. At least I can sleep at night knowing that I did what artistically felt right. And who knows? Maybe they will love it 2 years from now! I have had songs get placed on TV when they were already 5 years old. I started wearing and making bolos when it was definitely not universally cool. And it still isn’t really haha! But I love being a little bit weird and operating off the beaten path. I’d rather be remembered for my uniqueness than my ability to blend in. Read more>>

Angel LeNoir | Nail Artist & Entrepreneur

I decided back in 2017 to start my business while attending school. I was in college at Savannah State and money was hard to come by. I had already tried to work off campus while maintain my daily class/social schedule, but that was extremely stressful. Since high school, I’ve always tended to my own nails. The skill came naturally and it was something I really enjoyed doing. One day I decided that since I already do my own nails, why not be an on campus nail tech? It was super convenient for me and my schoolmates. That was the very start of Le Noir Canvas. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I haven’t looked back since. Read more>>

Laurel Guimaraes | Registered Dietitian, Childbirth Educator, & Doula

A registered dietitian, doula, and childbirth educator. My business is called Zen Journey, LLC which focuses on providing medical nutrition therapy and birth & postpartum care to patients and clients. I was inspired to create a one-stop-shop for women’s health and wellness during my time getting my master’s degree in human nutrition at the University of Alabama. The program really focused on the importance of sound nutrition and health pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and postpartum in not only the parents’ long-term health and fertility, but in determining the presence of chronic illnesses (or lack thereof) of their baby into that baby’s adult years. As of now, there is little emphasis on the importance of nutrition during pregnancy and pre-conception, despite the ever-growing need for such care. My goal is to create an environment where patients and clients can feel empowered to take control of their health and help prevent and care for issues (such as obesity and gestational diabetes) during this critical stage in the life cycle. Read more>>

Markisha Jackson | Blogger & Hair Guru

Providing hair products was a no-brainer. On social media, everyone always used to compliment my hair and ask me for tips and tricks. I would literally give them a whole hair regimen to follow lol. I’d tell them what products to use, when to wash their hair, when to do a hair mask, and so on. It got to the point where I was like, this may be something special – this is something I could really do. Everyone would always tell me that I should pursue it and I would always procrastinate because stating a business is scary and intimidating. A lot of research went into my business, it was a whole trial and error process. You only want to provide the best of the best, and when I found products that I really loved – I knew I was ready to share. Read more>>

Terence Lester | Founder of Love Beyond Walls

When I started Love Beyond Walls, I was starting it as a hopeful response to a society building higher and higher walls. Our organization focuses on telling the stories of and working with those wrestling with poverty and homelessness. As an organization, we believe that tangible love overcomes these barriers. Walls exist more than ever in our current society. We looked around and saw a nation building higher and higher barriers between one another. These walls separated people in different classes, sexes, races, and everything in between. We are an organization that is not afraid to address these barriers and are committed to breaking them down. We believe in action over words and making service a part of our daily lives. Read more>>

Tameka Duncan | Founder/Owner

Having my own and being able to have the freedom when came to spending time with my kids. Read more>>

Beverly Boyd | Future Esthetician and Pharmaceutical Specialist

Being able to help my community! Introducing health and wellness to those who’re unfamiliar with it, or don’t know where to go or where to even start with becoming the best version of themselves. Read more>>

Cierra Janae Daniels | Business Owner & Stunt Actress

Being a women with sensitive skin I could relate to falling in love with products and then the formula would change or be discontinued. I also believed that products for sensitive skin should smell yummy too. With that being said, it was my missi0n to create natural skincare products that smelled amazing for sensitive skin! No short cuts and no junk! I suffered from dry skin year round…like winter itch dry. I started out making shea butters for myself, then my family, and friends. I loved the benefits of shea butter, but not the strong smell it had. So… I whipped in oils that removed the scent. These blends of essential oils smelled like treats, cookies, and tropics. Everyone fell in love, including myself. I am a mother, wife, business owner, actress, and stunt woman. The original intent was not to make Love Made Naturals a business, but when things slowed down with my acting career, the demand grew for my shea body butters. This past year things picked up with my acting career and Love Made Naturals grew significantly. Read more>>

Jack Blair | Art Director and SneakerPotter

I wanted to start my business because I recognized the opportunity. There are some competitors in the sneaker sculpture/planter space, but not very many. I knew that the sneaker community would be attracted to my business because people form emotional connections with their favorite shoes or brands. I was also in between jobs, so I needed something to pay the bills. Read more>>

Drew & Alicia | Co-Owners of The Local Aesthetic

It started with a long road trip for the first job we had received in a year filled with quarantine. I looked over at Alicia who was driving and said, “Hey, what if we started a subscription box for artists and we start it out in Georgia?” to which she replied… “wut?” Where jobs had been ripped out of our grasp or where expectations of working for free are rampant, we wanted to be different and prove that there is another way for artists to get paid for what they do. Our first obstacle was to get participation so our first goal was to reach out to artists we knew and enjoyed and tell them about our idea. We decided that we would guarantee payment up front instead of giving a portion of the proceeds after sales. Turns out, offering to pay artists to do their work, means they want to participate. 50+ artists and counting means we have an entire subscription year locked and loaded (finger guns *pew pew) and ready to send out. The more artists that apply and become contributing artists for The Local Aesthetic, the more we are driven to support them and the artist community. We know that together we can grow and thrive. Read more>>

Amon-Ra Macbeth | Designer & Entrepreneur

I started my company because I wanted to create T-shirts that interested me. T-shirts about black history, black empowerment, black pride, and pop culture. When I took a look at what was out there, many of the popular companies had a generic feel. When I search their social media & webpages it didn’t feel authentic, and they weren’t transparent about who the owners were. So when I started my company I wanted it to be authentic. I wanted people to know that BPT was created by a proud HBCU graduate and how much pride I have in my culture in my history. Read more>>

Nicole Freema | Balloon Decorator and Artist

Balloon decor for me started as a hobby. I wanted to do something really cool for my daughters birthday. In my research, I found balloon columns to be something cool and different to do. I also found joy in the create of the column. After a few tries free hand, I had two cute columns that my family and guest loved. The thought to move into a business came from a good friend of mine and a favor. I went back to YouTube to sharpen my skills (lol) and went to work on some nice balloon decor for her milestone birthday. After my set up was complete, the owner of the home asked me “how long I had been in business?” My response was that this was my first actual set up. With his encouragement, and a few referrals later, i realized i could make money from something that i had grown to enjoy. Read more>>

Angela Smith, EA | Federally Licensed Tax Practitioner, Accountant & Business Consultant

My thought process behind starting my own business was to be able to make a difference in people lives. People struggle everyday with financial management and I wanted to help relieve some of that stress. My family always tell me I have a wealth of knowledge and I want to pass it on to others. Peace Financial mission is to help taxpayers resolve their tax debt and give them the peace they deserve. When people allow their financial situations to cause them to be overwhelmed, they began to make bad decisions in their everyday lives. I desire to give them the tools that they need to empower themselves financially and take their peace back. Read more>>

Precious Hannah | Founder | Essentials Curator

I wouldn’t say that there was an actual thought process around starting Mister OK’s Essentials at first. I was just honestly being a mom and wanted the best for my baby boy. After having my son, I quickly found out that the everyday products we used in our home were harmful not only to him but also to ourselves. That’s what sparked the initial idea of starting an all-natural candle business with scents that weren’t overpowering but uplifting. We believe that what is put in the air affects your mood. The way you Think, Feel and Perceive things. Read more>>

Pete Kelly | Pro Skateboarder | The Courage Brand

The Courage Brand started because of my personal need for encouragement to keep pushing doing the things I love. Supporting my family, fulfilling my responsibilities to them as well as my personal self-care, and continue my passion for skateboarding. Since 1980 skateboarding has been a huge part of my life and who I am. Courage started during a time when I was not so happy and the world was not in such a good place. I needed something positive in my life and daily routine that would remind me to keep pushing and have the courage to face the day or whatever problem I was facing at that moment. So on September 4th, 2015 The Courage Brand was born as my wife took my skateboard and applied the word COURAGE to my grip tape. Now, every time I looked down to my skateboard during sessions I would see the word courage and have that little extra push to make the trick and go about my day. Read more>>

Genevieve Harris | Yoga Practitioner & Owner KIMYB LLC studios & Special Needs Strong 501(c)3

I live in the West Suburbs of Atlanta, within an hour of the Alabama state line. I did not locate an exclusive yoga studio when I began my practice. There were definitely yoga instructors and practitioners in the area, but we didn’t have a place to gather comparable to the establishments in the city limits. I am Asian American. Throughout my early experience in the yoga “circles”, there were more times when the room was not as diverse as I desired, ethnicity wise. I have a multi-racial family. The need to gather with like-minded yogis & yoginis to move and study along with a desire to bring yoga to people of color in my community, encouraged me and my husband to open our first studio in Douglasville Georgia in 2017. Read more>>

Tanikki Jones | Florida and Georgia Licensed Real Estate Agent

I am from a small island called Key West, Florida. Where we are mainly comfortable and satisfied with where we are. It’s paradise! Why wouldn’t you be. I was a young single mom and knew that I didn’t want my dreams and goals to be limited. I’ve always wanted to become an interior designer, decorator due to my love for decor and the housing industry. I once came close to becoming an assistant to an interior designer located in Key West, but due to my schedule and my kids being so young, I had to pass up on the opportunity. I never gave up hope of my desire to be somehow involved with the art and architecture of homes. Once my kids were older and off to college. I figured what better time then now to accomplish my goals. Key West has so many beautiful homes and I was a native so I’d thought it’d be best to start here. I decided to study for my real estate license. After continuous studying, I took the exam and passed!. I felt so accomplished as I was one of the very few African American Women Realtors in Key West, ( I think there were only 2 at the time). Read more>>

Rico & Stefanie Paschal | Owners of Yard Party ATL by 2Gink

It really wasn’t a thought lol We were already been established as a t-shirt business but once covid-19 hit. Our business took a pivot. Our little cousin was graduating high school in New Orleans but the world was shut down. I had this vision of creating a jumbo message that read “Congrats Aliyah….Class of 2020”. I printed the letters and applied to to corrugated plastic signs. I hand cut each letter which was probably the worse part! Purchased some stakes and that was the start. Our immediate family took a picture standing around the words and that was the birth of “YardPartyATL” ! We had neighbors and motorist stop us to ask if we could do the same from their 2020 graduate. Then we began booking like crazy. Read more>>

Myah Freeman | Artist and Creator

I have always been artistically inclined, entering in art shows in both elementary and middle school. When I reached high school, I’d become very aware that this was in fact my gift. My mother sought it appropriate that I begin sharing it with the world. So in 2015, I established an Instagram page for my art brand, MyahnArt. From here, I was doing free portraits and after a while began charging for them. This grew in consistency and I began doing commission work. Today, my overall goal for my brand is to represent and uplift my Black community. I provide creative services and products such as paintings, graphite drawings, digital designs, paint classes, and murals. I will always have my brand no matter what. Read more>>

John Morris Aka J.Morris | Soul Psalmist, Philanthropist, Serial Entrepreneur

When I first started Last Supper Club, my primary thought was, “How can I make sure everybody eats?” I mean that literally and figuratively. I wanted to create a platform for musicians, myself included, that would foster inspiration, creation, and allow for networking and consulting. The idea was and continues to be one of financial sustainability through the arts, particularly with music. Read more>>

Alencia Knight | Event Planner and Stylist

I honestly enjoyed seeing the full picture after working on mini projects for my kids parties. My guests who came encouraged me to consider it and get paid for it. Little did I know how much money was required to put into a business. Finally it clicked and I accepted my first paid event for a 1st birthday and I had a ball and to see my client happy made me realize I could get paid to do something else besides nursing that brought me joy. Read more>>

Tremaine Weir-Gaines | Photographer

Since the age of 16, I have worked in the medical field. I knew my niche in life was to help people whether I was on the forefront or working behind the scenes. Helping people is what I love to do. Whenever I was out, and about, attending events or running errands, someone would always ask me to take their picture. I always found enjoyment in seeing their reaction! Before snapping the photo, I would make sure that I was not just capturing the people on camera, but their overall moment. I wanted to make sure the background, angle, and lighting was right, and this was all with just a cell phone LOL. Even though people said I should start doing photography professionally, I always got nervous and didn’t know where to start. My mom gave me one of her cameras and I started shooting any and everything possible. In 2018, I decided to pursue my passion. This is when TWPhotography came into fruition. Read more>>

Coach Marion Boyd | Millenial Transformation Coach

My thought process behind starting your own business is first off, that this world is big enough for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs so don’t let someone deter you away from your aspirations. People shy away from starting their own business because they feel like something has already been done, that their products/services aren’t unique enough, or that it’s just complicated. Your business is already unique because you’re the owner of it. There’s always a need for your product or service even if that means, starting out, being attractive to a handful of people. Something that comes easy will never last, but something that takes sweat, blood, and tears will last a lifetime. You have to motivate yourself on days when nobody is rooting for you. You have to want your business to be a success just as much as you work your 9-5 and want to perform at a high level to get a raise. The start of a business is not for the weak and the faint. Read more>>

YaAdam Fye | Author, Content Creator and Literacy Advocate

We dreamt it up more than 13 years ago, and have finally brought it to life. The idea came from our frustration with the lack of diversity in children’s media: the depiction of African characters as only animals and no princess to call our own… It made it hard for the children born into our family, far from our birthplace to connect with the beauty and magic of Africa. Fye Network, known as Fyen is a diverse, media and content creation company. We curate African inspired content for children between the ages of 2-12; telling stories about African history, culture, traditions and its people. Read more>>

Christopher Greer | Owner/line Cook Forever

Freedom, Mobility, Money. The Hospitality industry is brutal considering how many hours you put in everyday, week, month, year. Day after day, grinding for someone else to take a vacation, sending someone else’s child to collage, at some point you realize..WOW if I can work this hard for someone else, I can do this for my family. The work load isn’t for everyone but I can endure and embrace it, I actually really enjoy working…a lot. Factoring in my salary working for other people, I scaled down the overhead and turn around to make it work for myself. Yes I’m not doing 500 covers a night, I’m not turning 2 million in revenue a year, but I don’t have too. Being the main labor force and scaling down the amount of seats to turn on a daily schedule, I can basically bring in what I was formally earning being employed by someone else, with the freedom to create new menu items and execute them the way I see fit. Read more>>

Travis Wilder | Serial Entrepreneur, Owner/Creator of God Got Me and Spiritual Sports Socks

My thought process was utilizing my mix of creativity, coupled with my Faith to create a unique brand that glorifies God, but also create fashionable everyday pieces that you can wear with your wardrobe. My partner and I both grew up as Preacher’s kid’s, so God has always been a part of our lives. We put God first in everything we do, so the actual formation of the business was fairly easy. Lastly, we’re real big on ownership and leaving a legacy for our kids. Ownership is key. Read more>>

Tosh Lahy | Business Development

Since we were already a GMP, Organic and Food Certified manufacturer, it was a logical step to do private label manufacturing. Since we saw that most of the private labelers out there were not actual manufacturers and just brokers who couldn’t turn orders sooner than 4 weeks or longer, we felt that we could fill that demand in the market. Read more>>

Ariana Waller | Technologist & Global Tech Podcast Host

As a technologist and a business owner, I understand how important it is for founders and small business owners to use tech to be efficient and scale in their business. Specifically, I am very passionate about helping black women and men, and underrepresented founders with becoming digitally relevant and efficient. I am a software developer and technologist, which basically means I can build anything, and through my company, Wallway Technologies, I aim to do just that. We currently are servicing clients across the U.S. and plan to expand to other countries in the near future. Read more>>

Jameson, Travis, Shannon, Angelina Curnick, Phillips, Thrift, Varagona | Pre-Gamers

The Pre-Gamers were originally just a creative idea, one we came up with while drinking beers on a business rooftop. The initial goal was simple: provide entertainment and humor via a skit based YouTube channel. We were just a group of friends with similar geeky interests, and we wanted to take our collection of different skill sets and make something that was both unique and fun. Over the years that idea expanded to multiple formats, and we refined The Pre-Gamers into a dedicated brand. Eventually, making The Pre-Gamers into an official business just made sense. It was an opportunity to make ourselves accountable to the dream we imagined 5 years ago. We figured that if we committed ourselves to this passion, then at the very least we could generate enough revenue to fund the very passions that brought us here. If we can continue to grow from there, then all the better. Read more>>

Daniela Malkowski | STOTT Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer

Starting my own business has always been my long-term goal and dream but the pandemic is what gave me the push I needed to jump-start my business and build-out my website, I always imagined starting my business later in life, when my children were older and in school. With that said, I am so happy I didn’t wait and went for it. At the start of COVID, I was about 3 months postpartum with my second daughter and very nervous about starting my own business or committing to more than I could. I started slowly by offering my clients virtual private sessions, which they were extremely happy about! Once I became comfortable adding those sessions, I started offering community classes (outside while the weather was nice) and I donated the proceeds to various organizations suffering due to COVID. Over time, I added in more small group classes such as prenatal and postnatal pilates, which I offered twice a week. Read more>>

Black Girls’ Eat | Food Bloggers

We wanted to shine a light on local restaurants in the Golden Triangle Area in Mississippi to give reviews on our food experiences. From that we wanted to create a line of apparel to uplift and support black culture. Read more>>