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.

Crystal Orr: Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

When I started my own business, I wanted to make sure I was providing quality services for my clients. My goal has always been to make each client feel like they were well taken care of when they sat in my chair for hair or makeup services. Providing top of the line services coupled with a genuine care for my clients has always been my goal. Read more>>

Devante Lekendrick: Artist & Author

When we hear about a business we automatically assume or envision a brick and mortar situation. Nowadays, that is not necessarily the case. Whether you are a writer, actor, model, singer, credit repair specialist etc, you are running a business. YOU ARE YOUR BUSINESS. As an author, I am running my own business being that I have to not only write the material, I have to track sales, inventory, figure out pricing and promotions. As an actor, I have to invest in training and marketing materials such as headshots, wardrobe, healthy eating, and a vehicle to get to auditions and gigs and that is required whether you book or not. As a content creator, you have to have equipment, editing software. As a model, you have to stay in shape, consistently update your photos with your look and in the entrepreneur/creative world you are 100% freelance meaning nothing is guaranteed so most of us have many gigs that we juggle if we are not completely being paid in the area we desire because this is literally 100% hustle and a high probability of rejection. Which is why you see a rise in creatives creating their own work and wear many hats. Read more>>

Dr. Trenace Richardson: Speaker, Singer, & Leadership Mentor

I have heard many people say that they started their business in order to serve others. And although my membership community, REAL Women Rock currently serves hundreds of women across the country and abroad, it started from a very selfish, place. As a leader in ministry and the marketplace, I found myself needing a safe haven to simply be myself, without worrying about what people expected of me as a leader. I couldn’t find a safe space to just BE. So I created REAL Women Rock which is a safe space for women to do personal development work on themselves through live and virtual sister circles. I knew that if I needed a non-judgmental, vulnerable place to connect with other women and get confident who I was at my core, other women needed it too. Oftentimes, our purpose is birthed out of our pain. Such was the case with me. Read more>>

Latashi Trueheart | Candle creator

My thought process was jump in with both feet. Not really understanding what that meant I started one candle at a time. Every day learning more about myself and the business. I knew my reason for starting the business was to help people feel good about themselves. I want to help release life every day stress with a candle. My thought process was how to make that happen, how do I create a candle that would accomplish that goal. I started researching fragrances and wax combinations. Next was how to reach customers, social media has done its job. At first it was complex figuring out the different tools available. After a few tries social media became a huge marketing tool. Read more>>

London Alexaundria: Owner of DIY FLY

I started DIY FLY during the pandemic. With nail shops being closed, women weren’t able to get their nails done. I’ve always enjoyed doing my own nails and I would go to the nail shop occasionally. However, a lot of my friends were really affected by something as simple as getting your nails done regularly and so I had the idea to create press-on nails. That way, women can still look and feel good even if they are experiencing hardships, depression, and other things that the pandemic brought about for many people. Read more>>

Siri Heard: CEO

My thought process behind starting my own lip line was pretty simple, I’ve had a couple of pretty bad allergic reactions to some big mainstream lip care brands in the past. I have very sensitive skin, and after have numerous reaction I decided to see my dermatologist. It was explained that some of the products they use in the gloss triggered the reaction and she suggested I should use natural, organic and perfume free products. So I decide to start my own all natural ,organic and vegan lip line which is now known as “Ri’sLip Collection”. Read more>>

Wealthi Freeman: I currently work full time as a Security Officer/Supervisor

When I thought about starting my own business, my goal in mind was that I do not want to nor do I plan on working for the rest of my life. My thought process was that I want to be successful to the point that I can create a life where I can pack and family up and we travel at the drop of a dime just because. Read more>

Ronnie O. Melvin: Certified Public Accountant (CPA) , Tax and Business Consultant

We started this company to help small businesses grow and individuals thrive. Based on the common themes noticed in our communities, we developed a passion for wanting to educate and coach others. We strive to educate our clients on proper financial management, accounting, and tax topics. Our ultimate vision is to grow as our clients grow. That means working with clients on an individual basis and coaching them through the process of starting, managing, and growing the finances of their business. My partner and I both have Big 4 public accounting and advisory experience where we have helped large public and private companies excel. We aim to provide the same thought leadership and passion to small businesses and individuals who are in need of our assistance in pushing their business to the next level. As we truly believe that accounting is the language of business and the eyes and ears of management. With over 15 years of combined experience helping clients in various industries and sizes, we are equipped to help clients with business, tax, or accounting-related problems. Read more>>

Autymne Huerta: Creator & Founder of Black Wisdom Hair Care, LLC

The thought process behind starting my natural hair care business was my own journey. I grew up being taught that in order for my hair to be beautiful, it needed to be chemically processed- that was just the generational norm at the time. Throughout my childhood & teenage years I got relaxers up until 2011, when a good friend of mine gave me a relaxer that left my hair extremely damaged. That forced me to research how to properly restore my hair. I learned what proper maintenance looked like by studying natural ingredients that would aid in healthy hair growth. I did the work on relearning my hair by reading multiple books, watching tons of YouTube videos & even experimenting with different ingredients by making my own concoctions in my kitchen. This was not an easy journey but I knew I was worth it. I became obsessed with researching natural hair care & the integrity of my hair strands became my passion. With time, not only did I learn how to perfect natural hair styles, the concoctions I made worked for my hair! I also gave samples out to family & friends and it was an instant success. Read more>>

Isaac Gibson: Business owner & Entrepreneur

The thought process behind starting my own business was really hard for me because I had so many ideas and so many things running through my head at the time. Some of the things I was thinking about while starting my business was things like what will be the name of my business, what is the main purpose of my business, what is my main target focus and the type of people I want to attract to my business in order for my business to be successful. Read more>>

Natasha LaGrande: CEO | Founder of La Grande Empire

First, for me, working under someone else for the entire span of a career has never been a desire of mine. At a young age, I discovered that leading was innate in me. As I got a little older, I then noticed that my time being dictated by an authority was not something I was fond of. I’ve had the mindset of one day being my own boss since I was younger but was not sure of how or in what capacity that would be executed. Second, the way La Grande Empire came about was me noticing the increasing amount of individuals following the trends, fads, and sounds of others, resulting in a shortage of displayed individuality. La Grande Empire allows our consumer Family to feel confident about their abilities, what they’re wearing, and the direction they are heading in life. We strive to embrace individuality and Greatness. Read more>>

Freshdew Onuzurike: Freelance Videographer and Photographer

The decision to start Silent Art Productions sprung from a place of curiosity. When I was in middle school, I started my YouTube channel and with a spurge of viewers, I got excited. I told my parents that I wanted to indulge in content creating as a career and they raised an eyebrow to this. They told me they would support my passions as long as I was willing to make it into something I could monetize. An idea came to me that instead of making solely YouTube videos, maybe I could produce videos for other people. To kickstart this, I began to take my camera everywhere. From birthday parties to prom night, I was known as the free videographer and this helped me get my name out there. Slowly, I began to be asked to shoot for people. I lowballed myself tremendously at the beginnnig and soon I began to work on increasing my prices. Here we are today, I shoot weddings, music videos, and much more for clientele of several ranges. Read more>>

Darryl Lewis: Wedding Film Maker & Photographer

When deciding to start a business, I asked myself was I using my time to accomplish all that God had for me. I had to be honest and acknowledge that there was so much more that I could do. For me, creating a business was more than an opportunity to own my time, but one to create opportunities for others. Read more>>

Jerrell Brown: Audio Engineer & Music Producer

Starting my own business made perfect sense in my situation! I inherited my entrepreneurial spirit from my family, so I always knew that I would start a business one day. Once I decided that I wanted to pursue music fully and I saw that I could make an income while doing so consistently, I researched how to start a company correctly and took action!. Read more>>

DeAndrea Byrd: DeAndrea Byrd, CEO & Founder of Tutu Maniacs

To be honest I always wanted to start a business since I was little. I got my entreprenuerial spirit from my mom. Although she was a teacher, she always keep a side hustle. I remember one time she had a babysitting service called “weekend waymakers” for those parents who were flight attendants or worked weekend type jobs. I also had a fascination with Madame CJ Walker. I did all my school projects on her. Read more>>

Dee Bowden: Revenue Recovery Specialist

The thought process behind starting BCS Solutions came from a personal experience I had working for a small IT Company. Here’s the short story. I worked for a small IT firm outside of Boston where I am from. I was a part-time collections specialist tasked with recovering $8 million dollars in outstanding invoices for sales that were on the books but not in the bank! No one at the company followed up on collecting on any of the payments for these sales. Reflecting on the seriousness of this problem and my concern for the company, I prayed this prayer: “God, I don’t know what happened to get this company this far deep into debt. I am asking for Your guidance to untangle these disconnects and recover this money”. After some quiet reflection I got the answer needed to begin recovering the money. What came to me was this: Collections is 3 things: Problem Solving, extending Customer Service and expressing Gratitude for payments received. This busts the myth of how collections in the B2B business space is seen. Read more>>

Shanequa Ross: Owner of Paisley & Company, LLC

Before I started my own online children’s clothing store I was just like every other mom who searched the internet for the cutest online boutiques. After we received our daughter’s hearing loss diagnosis, my passion of kid’s fashion was combined with my desire to create something that my daughter Paisley could educate others on the importance of diversity and inclusion. Read more>>

Nia Michelle Hawkins: Founder of VIBEZ GA

My process to entrepreneurship started from childhood. My father owned a very successful courier service in Albany, Georgia, and my sisters and I had a daily obligation to the business. I remember waking up at 4 am before school to sort the books and packages, then catching the bus by 6:00 am for school. That lasted until the business grew to having employees and contractors work under him. My mother also owned several businesses including a fitness studio, girls empowerment coaching, and currently runs a life and mindset coaching business. Needless to say I grew up in an entrepreneurship household. It wasn’t until I got to college that really opened my mind up to the possibilities of business and entrepreneurship. My first mentor, Sherrell Byrd took me under her wing and made me chair of Albany N.E.X.T ( New Entrepreneurs Exceeding Together), the youth sector of her non profit Albany Business League. During that experience and my studies at Albany State University I was able to understand the time and effort that it takes to have and operate a successful business. Read more>>

Karlin Perez Kari Pieniazek: Karlin and Kari Interiors

Both Karlin and I have worked separately in other industries and then in the interior design industry before we reunited and discussed the opportunity of creating our own interior design business. We both have our reasons…but mainly it was the noisey subconscious saying “do it for ME”. We were sorority sisters first, followed each other’s journey through the years, reunited over mexican food and ultimately trusted our guts and abilities to do it for the “ME” inside. Designing beautiful functional interiors for people may seem like a hobby but for our clients it’s more like therapy. If we’ve learned nothing this year, our homes are sacred places and deserve the time and attention to make it a haven…especially when the world falls apart. Read more>>

Tina Hobbs: Creator of the Side Pocket

My son was my inspiration. He was constantly losing his wallet. I would constantly tell him that he would lose his head if it wasn’t attached to his body. That is where the concept of the Side Pocket was born. I wanted to create a trendy, stylish accessory that would help people keep up with important items like money, keys, phone chargers and debit cards. Read more>>

John Jigg$: Hip-hop Artist, CEO, Father, Husband

I had been through a couple of record deals and while I was thankful for those opportunities I saw where mistakes were made that maybe could’ve been avoided had I been more in control. So I figured from now on I should always be in the driver’s seat when it comes to my vision. I started to gather like-minded individuals and formed Mxnxpxly Music LLC. Read more>>

Jazmine Robinson: CEO & FOUNDER/N2SKIN BY 4K

The thought process behind starting N2Skin by 4K was a bit different from the my other business ventures as this one fell somewhat out of nowhere! I had no intentions of beginning a skincare line. I began developing the products which I now sell, for my own sensitive skin, and when Covid hit, my children had the assignment to have an act of service, for their Bible activity for the week. They helped me prepare the scrubs, we baked muffins, and hand wrote cards and created cute little goodie bags. That was where it began to take shape through vessels God chose to use. (Ashley Heaton, such a sweetheart inside and out true beauty.) We kept getting asked if we sold this stuff. Of course not. At the time my Educational Development Business was doing well, I had my routine with my little ones homeschooling, which was their norm, prior to Covid. So absolutely no intentions. However, as a woman of faith, I did not want to miss out on a blessing God was trying to give me so I prayed and he answered. Read more>>

Tiffani and David Bryant and Bryant Jr. | Co-founders

My brother and I, Brync co-founder David Bryant, Jr., have always worked well together and we figured that it would translate well if we decided to go into business together. We had been wanting to do SOMETHING for years, but we hadn’t settled on any one thing. David has an affinity for beaded jewelry and Tiffani adores the arts/crafts. Eventually we settled on an accessories business featuring beaded jewelry. Beaded jewelry is an avenue that’s rather popular right now and we don’t see that changing anytime in the near or foreseeable future. Read more>>

Kendrick Gatewood, PT, DPT: Manager of Recover Physical Therapy

Recover Physical Therapy was birthed out of state of being tired and fed up with a system approach to healthcare and not an individualize approach to healthcare. Read more>>

Chef Esco: Host & Chef

I was born to be an entrepreneur. In middle school, I sold Big Texas cinnamon rolls to make money. During this time, I was able to build key skills and a level of hustle that every entrepreneur needs to survive in this hyper competitive world. Such as the sales skilI where I sold a stick of gum for $1.00. With both my parents being business owners, I understood that freedom means entrepreneurship. I always lusted after the idea of controlling my own destiny and time. As I got older, I worked jobs where I saw people coming into work miserable and I never wanted to live that way. This showed me, whatever you do with your time make sure you love doing it. This is the reason why I started Esco Eats. It is important to build an environment where people love coming to work and their creativity is embraced. It is reflected in our mission to bring joy and happiness through media and art. Through business, I’m able to impact lives through content creation centered around food as my canvas. Read more>>

Charde’ Wise: Beauty Connoisseur & New Startup Business Consultant

My thought process behind starting my own business was to begin a journey in life that genuinely makes me happy. Sometimes life can be filled with so many obstacles that you may not necessarily want to take or do which can make you unhappy. I was tiered of being unhappy in my day to day job making someone else dreams come true.. I wanted to build a brand that represents me and who I am to share with the world meanwhile being happy while doing it. I am an avid advocate for women empowerment and my brand represents every bit of it. Read more>>