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.

Laura Aronoff | Professional Dancer and Social Media Consultant

I wanted to disprove the “starving artist” story. I am a professional dancer in the beginning stages of my career. For many dancers, it takes 4-6 years to start working consistently to the point that your art can pay all of your expenses. And we are forced to find side jobs that can be flexible with our audition and rehearsal schedules. I wanted to find a way to make money while I was sitting in an audition room waiting to be seen for 5 hours every day. One day my family friend (who owns a dry cleaning business) said to me, “You’re a millennial right? Can you do our Instagram?”. So I started taking videos and pictures of this amazing family owned dry cleaners. That was my first client. Then by referral I gained another. And another. Now I have small business clients all over the country. I do their social media every day while I wait to be seen at auditions (pre-pandemic) and in my down time when I’m not training. Read more>>

Nina Tickaradze | Founder/CEO of NADI

I realized I was working for a company that only partially resonate my ideas of what a organization are supposed to be for its customers, employees and community. Read more>>

Shalaha Hardeman | Pastry Chef

I wanted to celebrate the women in my family for my great-grandmother on down to my mom. Also wanted something that would outlive me and creates stability for generations of my family. Read more>>

Freya Fitzpatrick | Teacher & Hybrid School Director

I started my own business because I wanted three things: 1) The ability to set my own schedule and calendar so that I could play an active role in our new grandchild’s life. 2) To teach students in the Bible Belt South within an atmosphere of support for ALL religions and world views – not just Evangelic Protestantism, without any proselytizing for any given world view. Especially in this clearly polarized era, I believe that understanding of others’ points of view and tolerance is a key ingredient to being a well-adjusted participant in modern society. 3) To blend academic excellence with support for neurological and learning differences. Typically schools that specialize in these areas tend to be either all about rigorous academic standards OR about accommodating learning differences. I believe that all types of learners can excel academically if that is their interest. Read more>>

Tamika Newhouse | Creativeprenur & Event Curator

I never went into my journey with intentions to make money, I simply wanted to do things throughout the day they I wanted to do and not what I had to do. I ultimately found a way to make money off of the things that I loved doing. Once I began to have freedom in my day I research and continued to find more ways to make money through my creativity and hobbies. The rest is history as they say. Read more>>

Sekaya Harris | Self Published Author Turned Publisher

While self publishing my first couple of books, I found myself buried in research as I navigated this new world alone. In an effort to make the process “easier” for me, I opted to giving away all of my economic power as an author by publishing through a big name on demand publisher. By doing this, I found myself missing out on hundreds of dollars that I truly felt I had earned. I had put the blood sweat and tears into my book to make nickels and dimes off of it. I knew there had to be better way. So I dug deeper into research and came across an affordable printer that I could use to print my own inventory. I had decided, if I’m going to be an Independent Author, I need to really be INDEPENDENT. So, I ordered my own inventory, built my website, and started marketing and selling my books independently and never looked back. Armed with this knowledge, I was inspired to launch Sekaya’s Corner Publishing LLC as a Self Publishing Partner to other Authors who want to take this route but do not have the means or resources to find the way. Read more>>

Skylar Grayson | Creative

Honestly, there wasn’t much of a thought process; the reason I say that is because I didn’t plan on making this a business venture. I originally started sewing in high school, it was something I did to pass time that was until Summer 2020 came around. While being in quarantine I discovered my love for sewing and I decided to keep it going. I told my girls “ I’m gonna get y’all right for the summer” and that’s exactly what I did. I started playing around with different fabrics, materials, etc, and finally created a prototype. I developed my own patterns and sizing from scratch, just because I knew if I officially made it a brand, I wanted everything all inclusive. Once I finally felt comfortable, I started advertising and I did very well, to have just started. My business name stems from my middle name Azia, pronounced “Asia,” meaning: the lively and rising sun. I wanted to keep that same meaning in my work, so I translated that to my brand, so I decided to spell my brand name Ay-zhuh. Read more>>

Quinton Butler | Co-CEO of Kingdom Wealth Music & Christian Royalty Clothing

I was the type of person that always wanted to work for myself or partner with someone who was like minded. In 2019 I partnered with Cory Ricks and we started a label Kingdom Wealth Music and Christian Royalty Clothing line. Read more>>


My thought process behind starting my own business comes from the passion I have with the things I grew up liking, wanting & fantasizing about honestly. I like to say “God is in control.” Reason being because, starting a business is new, anything new that you are doing will come with some type of adversity being the fact that it’s something you’ve never done before, it’s new. Growing up, I was self employed before I ever worked for anyone. After working my first & second job I compared the pros & cons of being an entrepreneur & having a regular job. My findings propelled me to the place I am today. Read more>>

D’Andria Jackson | CEO/Senior Graphic Designer

The thought process behind me starting my own business was my passion for art. At the early age of 8, I began to draw Disney characters from the coloring book pages. My very 1st character I drew was Goofy. I then started perfecting my skills by entering the “Who Can Draw it Better Contest” in magazines. I recognized so many of my drawings looked better than the originals in the magazines. Although I never won, I didn’t let that discourage me. With the support of my parents, I knew someday art would be a very important factor in my life. Years passed and I began to incorporate the use of computers to aid in my creativity. I taught myself to design flyers, posters, business cards and more. I even landed a few projects with small graphic design companies. By the time I reached college, where I attended the Art Institute of Atlanta, I knew then this is what I wanted to do with my life and career. Read more>>

Elisha Nain | Yoni Practitioner, Director at Homebody.Live

My thought process behind starting my own business was, “I’m ready to help women with healing and loving intentions.” I founded because every day I get to use my yoni practitioner certification to show women how to reduce menstrual pain through herbal medicine. To put all of my energy into this worthy practice is beyond humbling. My thought process behind starting my own business was, “I’m ready to show women how to heal their menstrual pain through herbal medicine.” Immediately after I resigned from my position at SCAD, I devoted the next years of my life to womb wellness. I founded because every day I get to use my yoni practitioner certification to show women how to reduce menstrual pain through herbal medicine. To put all of my energy into this worthy practice is beyond humbling. Read more>>

Jenisu Romany-Ottley | Co-Owner With My Kids Xian and Liev – Xi&Liev Creations

The idea of having our own businesses has always been in our goals but that final push to get it started was driven by my oldest son, Xian. He had an idea to make bath time fun for all and he started throwing out real, solid ideas! His enthusiasm and clarity of ideas showed he clearly spent some time thinking it through – from the different products to offer, to how to make it quirky and different and all this at just 7 years old! I was excited to fuel his vision and started researching how to create soap products while I discussed starting a business with my husband. We were excited to create a platform for his entrepreneurial spirit to be showcased and for his products to come to life. As Xian and I started creating and testing the soaps, his younger brother Liev was equally excited to help and come up with ideas – at just 4 years old – and the name of the business “Xi&Liev Creations” was born. With the creation of “Xi&Liev Creations” we have been provided numerous opportunities that we didn’t initially envision. Read more>>

Claire Bronson | Actor, Director, Producer, Teacher and Co-founder/Co-Owner of Drama Inc.

Drama Inc. was the product of four friends, all working actors, having a lot in common but also complimentary strengths, being in the right place at the right time. Jason MacDonald had just sold his share in the Grant Park area restaurant Stone Soup and had always had the dream of opening a studio. Catherine Dyer, married to Jason, had plans to get into headshot photography. I was on my way home one day on the phone with Cat telling her how Scott (Poythress) and I wanted to do self-tape workshops for actors. After that, our next “Porch Winos Club” meeting, what we called our gatherings which generally involved wine and porches and lots of venting about the industry, was dedicated to the insane idea of opening an acting studio. Flash forward to today and somehow, all these years later, we’ve made it work. We not only went into business with friends, but we’ve become closer in the process. Read more>>

Ebony Hillsman | Digital Strategist and Chief Information Officer

I started my own business when I realized that my expertise wasn’t what my employers required but was actually what entrepreneurs were asking for. The innovation and unique perspectives I presented didn’t seem to be appreciated. Read more>>

Rachel Newsome | HHC, CKYT, Herbalist

The thought process behind starting Crowns On Wellness was that I wanted to be the holistic health and wellness resource that represented my community. There was no one that looked like me sharing the type of natural wellness modalities I used and needed to begin my wellness journey. So I wanted to be that resource for my community. Read more>>

Shar’del Haden | Content Creator

My thought process behind starting my own business was more or less, I have to make things happen. I had been a stay at home mom for a number of years, working for other people towards their dreams, without fully realizing and chasing mine. I realized that at this point in my life I needed to step my own game up to figure out what the end game for me was going to be. Read more>>

Destiny J. Thomas | CEO & Editor-In-Chief of Sage Magazine

Prior to beginning my journey as a CEO & Editor-In-Chief of Sage Magazine, as a writer and creative I was working for other indie publishing companies. And although, I was selected to be a part of their team as an Editorial writer, I wasn’t truly feeling celebrated or valued as one. I continuously felt as though my voice was not being heard as a Black woman writer and self-expressionist. So, I had to make a compelling and vital decision to end my journey in working for other indie publishing companies as I once knew it. Upon making that decision, I met my business partner, Tori B. who is the Creative Director of Sage Magazine and an amazing illustrator based in the South of France. We met via Instagram and spoke briefly on plans to work together on curating an E-book from the perspective of us being in the creative arts field; with her being an illustrator, and me being a freelance writer + website designer. Read more>>

LaCheryle Anderson | Caterer & Chef

I was completely scared!!! I new that I had to keep my job so I could pay for my dreams but then my dreams became bigger than said job. So I took a leap of faith and went for it. It’s been a rough 2 years but I’m still at it and I will not give up on me. Read more>>

Star Johnson | Licensed Esthetician, Clinical Advisor for Good Skin Tools

My thought process about Good Skin Tools came from the lack of self confidence, and self love I’ve seen in my Esthetic clients. With majority of women clients and especially women of color I’ve heard my clients speak down about themselves, and admire the “look” of someone else. During the beginning of the pandemic I would receive skin care questions via DM on IG and I wanted to place the confidence of Good Skin in the hands of women. Read more>>

Danietté Thomas | Designer, Stylist & Creative Director

I just graduated from college with a bachelor of fine arts in fashion design. I had received multiple inquiries regarding custom designs so I decided to go ahead and file my LLC and see how things go from there. I figured if it didn’t work out after a year I could always do something else in my industry. But if I was going to make money I wanted to make sure I did it right. I was essentially already branded. Savannah College of Art and design set you up where you create your own logo, business card, establish a portfolio, create a portfolio style website. Read more>>

Dominique Reedy | Celebrity Pet Stylist

I always strive to be different. So once I notice there was many pet groomers like me I decided to turn that passion into a business. Read more>>

Royce Morgan | Radio & Media Personality/Social Media & Lifestyle Influencer/ Model/ Actor/ Events Host / Panelist/ Inspiration Guru

The thing that has gotten me by, booked and opportunity is simply “being myself”. I’ve learned people love and crave that which is authentic and feels like home!. Read more>>

Daniella Doyle | Owner and Lead Designer, Salt and Stem Flower Co.

Before Salt and Stem, I had a good job, good relationship, was climbing the corporate ladder and checking all the boxes in life. My Dad passed away kind of suddenly in 2018 and it made me take an account of my life. I wanted to live one that was more full. I am very creative, a talent I got from my Dad. Up until that point I had done all very structured roles (legal, medical, Aviation) so I wouldn’t to do something that explored my capacity for creativity. When I discovered the concept of a Flower Truck I was instantly hooked. I knew I wanted to start one and I knew I wanted to start it in Charleston. I had a feeling that Charleston would be very receptive and find great value in fresh flowers. Thankfully I was correct. My boyfriend at the time, who is now my husband, gave me his support from the moment the idea came to me and it was of to the races from that point. Read more>>

Ensa Huger | CEO | Business Coach | Accountant | Author

To be frank – we got into this business to help businesses and individuals succeed. That’s it in a nutshell. As accountants and business consultants we have been exposed to almost all cross functional teams and we see how the numbers really can inform and guide decision making. We also see the choices that are sometimes made in absence of good financial metrics and coaching. Our vision is to create opportunity and cultivate a space where our team and clients grow – together. We are ushering in the future of accountancy as we offer an array of services and creative solutions through which we assist our clients in building successful businesses and accumulating wealth. We are leading the way with innovate and customized coaching solutions. With over 40 years of combined experience in companies of varying industries and sizes, in over 25 countries, we are equipped to assist with any business or financial goal or problem. Read more>>

Cora Miller | Co-Founder and CEO, Young King Hair Care

It’s funny, because if you were to ask me 5 years ago if would I ever become an entrepreneur the answer probably would have been no. I was quite comfortable in my profession and climbing the corporate ladder – working for a large, fortune 3 company leading their social responsibility and philanthropic initiatives. It wasn’t until I had my son in 2017 that my perspective and aspirations completely changed. As a first-time mom to a beautiful brown baby boy named Kade who had a head full of hair, I was surprised to discover that there were no products specifically created for curly-headed boys. I spent a good amount of time looking for clean and vegan natural hair products that were suitable for my son and weren’t female scented and designed, and to my surprise, those simply didn’t exist. In 2018, I shared my frustrations with my husband and told him I wanted to do something about it. Read more>>

Koya Grant | Owner of Koya’s Kre8tions & Kre8tions University Instructor

I knew I wanted to be DIFFERENT. Set myself apart and stand out. I started my business creating alcohol infused cupcakes. At the time, I was a bartender and server, and I figured I could market myself to a different demographics by doing what wasn’t being done. That propelled me into creating other treats, which was the gateway to cakes. My i guess, my initial process was to do something I loved and get paid for it. To pour my creativity into creating an amazing sweets experience for my clients. Read more>>

Tiffany Yvonne | Event Host & Experience Expert

I was a single, black woman in my thirties who was friends with single, black women who were also in their thirties. To say we had been there and done that with the club scene in our twenties is an understatement. We still wanted to get dressed and enjoy a night out of fun and flirting, but we didn’t want the chaotic, crowded, atmosphere that a club scene brings. Networking was not our idea of a fun way to meet new people, either. It became apparent that the options for the young and professional to have sophisticated fun were limited. So when in doubt, I always suggested we enjoy a good meal at a good restaurant. Then, my 32nd birthday came along, which caused for me to reserve a private room in a hot, new restaurant. In previous years, I would schedule dinner dates with different sets of friends, but I decided I would host one dinner under one roof. What I did not expect was for many of my friends to request that they be permitted to bring their plus one. Read more>>

Simplee Bree| CEO of The “He Said What?!” Radio Network / Online Personality

My thought process behind starting my own business was based on communication as a whole and not just as an individual. When I first created what soon branched out to become my radio network, my set goal was to create a platform where men and women would be able to come together and bridge the communication gap, once and for all. May times, do we find ourselves in relationships (friendship-only, family, romantic, or colleagues) full of misguided information or false understandings of the opposite sex. We assume we know men or women like the back of our hands, but it isn’t until we’re allowed these same assumptions to hit us dead smack in the face, do we realize not everyone is the same. Read more>>

Solely Tonia | Artist

I started my business in the beginning of 2020, which was a hard year for everyone. The pandemic effected everyone differently, but for me it definitely pushed me to bet on myself and my talents. I’ve always wanted to make money off of my art but was too scared to put myself out there because i’m sensitive about my work. But when covid hit, I felt it was the perfect time to show the world my talent, no matter how scary or intimidating it might be. Read more>>

Rich Reed | Architect, Photographer

As an architect I have worked with huge architecture firms here in Atlanta. They all had the same underlying structure issues, one person on a team was solely responsible for designing-usually the project manager and everyone else on the team was responsible for carrying out that design in some compacity. Not only that, vertical movement in firms is rare and difficult. Because of this, my thought process in starting my own studio was to make a difference and create a very intimate experience with each of my clients that impacts their lives on a personal level. I wanted to stand out by bringing my clients into the process of dreaming of what is possible with their ideas, designing those ideas through various media of drawings and sketches, and finally discovering what they have designed as final product whether its their home or business hence my mantra: Dream. Design. Discover. Read more>>

Bianca Brochu | Sommelier & Wine Educator

I kid you not… I took a nap one day, and when I woke up my fiancé (boyfriend at the time) had already made me a logo for Bee and The Bottle. He was the one who saw my passion for the world of wine and really pushed me to start my own business and brand. Read more>>

Sammie Haynes | Pastor of Vision Los Angeles | Brand Strategist

My first thought process was that I did not naturally fit in the 9-5pm work routine because I am at the core hugely creative. Read more>>

Mai Nguyen | Dental Hygienist

I wanted to create a business that included every aspect of who I am. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and I am currently a dental hygiene student. I wanted to create a business that relates to self-esteem and the importance of having a beautiful smile. I started Skyelux Smiles laser teeth whitening to help boost up smiles, mood, and confidence. I named my teeth whitening business after my mixed chihuahua, Skye, because she is a part of my life that I wanted to incorporate into my business. I also created a space from painting the walls and changing the house floors to make it a calming, relaxing vibe every time a person walks through the door. I didn’t want to make my space similar to a dental office because I want everyone to enter a place that reflected me and my personal interest. Growing up, I didn’t have the best teeth. I was very insecure with my smile, which reflected my whole mood. Read more>>

Cynthia Omekam | Certified Holistic Life Coach & Accredited Spiritual Healer

I was raised with many of the spiritual practices I use with my clients as a normal part of my household culture and I always wanted to help others through the process of healing. So the foundation of my business began way before I even knew this would be my path. However, my career started out in the field of psychology. I received my Bachelors in Psychology in 2012 & a Masters in Forensic Psychology in 2016. After graduating with my second degree I had plans to continue my work as a counselor at a local correctional facility until my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. After finding out about my moms diagnoses, I dropped everything to become her full time caregiver. And during that time I was able to dive deep into my own transformational healing & began to realize my true healing potential. Not only was I able to be of service to my mom as a healer during her fight with cancer but I was also able to heal myself through the process. Read more>>

Joan Karpeles | Producer. Writer.

Growing up I can’t say I ever thought about starting my own business because what I saw and what I was told was you get a job with a company and stay there. What I did know, though, was that I wanted to make commercials. So when I started my career I began the way most women started their careers in the 1970’s — as a secretary. Years later I had a 2-day temp job at BBDO and turned that into seven years where I ultimately became a producer working on million dollar TV commercials. It was a great job in a great agency, however, I was approaching 40 and getting restless. I realized that if I didn’t make a change soon I would never leave the comfort of working for a company. So I made the leap and started my company, Joan Produces. It was terrifying at first not having the security of that steady paycheck but also extremely liberating. I was able to use my connections to pick up small productions which led to larger ones. Read more>>

Kaiya Hamilton | Singer/Songwriter

It was an easy decision to make because this is a passion of mine. I’ve been singing since I was a kid so making this m y career was not task. Read more>>

Missy Stocks | Owner, Beast Little Cannery

Funny enough, I hadn’t planned on starting my own business. We needed a fence for our mastiffs, and friends would give us a few bucks here and there for our jams, jellies, salsas, etc. I had an envelope in our kitchen silverware drawer that I would tuck it away in. Eventually people outside of family and close friends started asking. Five years and a lot of paperwork later…here we are! Canning is something I have always really enjoyed. Once we started building a business everything just felt natural. It’s kind of cool to turn something you’ve always done into a way to earn some money for your family. Read more>>

Nichelle J. | Unapologetic & Intentional

I’ve always been one to beat to the rhythm of my own drum, but somewhere down the line I lost myself. I lost myself to failed endeavors, social media standards, surface level relationships, and broken dreams. I eventually got caught up in the day to day and rat race of trying to be “seen” on social media, but in reality I was unhappy where I was. I always knew I had a calling on my life to be influential, but I couldn’t do it working a job with obvious hidden glass ceilings. Working in the creative field, you quickly realize how easy it is to get boxed in and your content or creativity can start feeling like work rather than passion, and for me, when I’m not passionate about it I can’t maintain it. I’ve been trying my hand at entrepreneurship for over 5 years now, but I found myself always “rebranding” because I grew and gained knowledge through experiences and realized I had boxed myself in within my “brand” that I wasn’t able to expand. Read more>>

Oprah “Zip” Bradford | Author & Lifestyle Blogger

I just started. Honestly, I believe in organic branding and believing that your audience will find you. I will be the first to say 2020 wasn’t my best year in my brand. I rarely posted on my website and I was very uninspired, but I was stunned by the numbers and views I did. My readers held me down even when I was down, and I’m forever grateful. Read more>>