Legend holds that Cornelius Vanderbilt had built a massive fortune in the steamboat shipping industry, but then realized the railroads were the way of the future and invested almost his entire net worth into railroads. The gamble paid off and made Vanderbilt one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs ever. But risks are inherently…risky. How do you think about risk and how has it affected your life and career? Some of our community favorites share their perspective below.

Ella Barnett | Owner of Graceful Tresses Organic Products LLC

That is a great question. The thought process behind my business was that I wanted to leave a legacy behind for my daughter. I wanted to start my company so that when she gets older she could run the company herself. Read more>>

Laura Mrugalski | Artisan Jeweler

During my time in college, I majored in environmental studies. Through my courses, I constantly learned about the devastation going on in the world, and as a human, I can see the devastation that is happening around us. I have always wanted to help fix these problems but felt so lost in ways I can help. But I have forgotten that doing something is a whole lot more than doing nothing. For this reason, I wanted to take steps towards being part of the solution rather than the problem. Read more>>

Chinita Menefee | Licensed Esthetician

I have always been about women empowerment. I wanted to create a Spa that was based on the everyday working woman and mom. I’m a single mom with two beautiful children. Salaya age 10 and Rhoyal Bleu age 3. It’s so hard to have that work/parent balance but women have to put in their cape and become the ultimate Superwoman. I want women to enter Nu Beaute Spa and let their hair down, relax and take their mind off the everyday worries. Read more>>

Jean-Yves Aubone | Professional Tennis Coach

It was a combination of things. First, I was trying to find more flexibility in my schedule. I spent a few years working in an environment where I had to be working at certain times, and unfortunately those certain times were from early morning til evening. It left me with no life to live. I couldn’t do anything I needed to do for myself or my family during the week. Then at night or on weekends a lot of things were closed. It was frustrating. Read more>>

Daevona Allick | Braid Specialist & Hairstylist

I never knew I’d have my own business, but when I realized my talent and put forth the hard work and effort, that’s when everything hit me! My thought process shifted on so many levels! I started to plan more, set minor and major goals that started with my image and how I projected to those who looked up to me or who I’d be working with in the near future. This was most important to me because as my clientele grew, I realized not only was it about the service, but who it was provided by and left a remark! Then, my thought process became much more clearer. I adjusted my lifestyle to “Grind Mode”. I knew I had a lot to keep up with. Priorities were always number 1 but as my business continued to flourish, I had to train myself to separate work mode and play mode. Now looking back, I’m proud I was able to manage it all to create my successful business. Read more>>

Angela Reese | Licensed Massage Therapist and Licensed Esthetician

My thought process behind starting Exec Level Massage and Beauty was being my own boss and being able to educate people on health and wellness in an Exec Level way. I have always cared about the well being of others and my own selfcare. So, I started receiving massages once a month and it was unbelievable of how balanced and stress free I felt. Also, I have worked as a Physical Therapy Technician for the past 15 years in the United States Navy and although, there is a little of Massage Therapy during sessions, I wondered what it would be like to perform Massage fulltime and educate clients that selfcare is not something that we save just for vacation. Selfcare is needed in our everyday lives to prevent illness and stress. Read more>>

Kamisha Fields | Kamisha fields CEO of Kamisha’s Skin Care LLC

I was going back and forth with myself about quitting my job because my 9 to 5 was getting more of my time then my business was…. I wanted to quit my job but I was afraid to because I didn’t won’t to fail at running my business…. But I still took that chance and stepped out on faith and I’m still learning as I grow my business. Read more>>

Sha-de’ Thomas | Published Author & Youth Advocate

My thoughts were I needed to create something of my own in which I can share with others, that will enhance and teach families and the youth. Read more>>

Cameron Butler | Rapper, Producer, Entrepreneur

Well, I started my musical journey at 14 years old and have just been improving upon the things that I’ve come to learn in the last 11 years. The business aspect didn’t catch my attention until recent years when I saw that some of my peers were making entire careers out of their creations and so it inspired me to figure out my own way as well. Read more>>

Keshara Mason | Songwriter/Artist/Entrepreneur

My thought process behind starting my own business would have to be seeing my mother as an entrepreneur for 30+ plus years as a hairstylist. I wanted to step out on faith and figure out how can I implement that same drive and ambition for my own projects. I had so many visions that I wanted to bring forth and I decided to do a podcast to show relevant topics and conversations that are a much needed conversation to have in today’s society. I also had to revamp my life as well after being misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis from a work injury for a former employer I use to work for and enduring that type of pain and trauma was a different experience for me I seen 16 doctors and went to 70 appointments applied for 300+ positions and was told that I was overqualified for positions and I’m a college graduate. Read more>>

Brandi Denyse | Financial Literacy & Wealth Building Consultant

I started my business a little unorthodoxly (if that’s a word lol). At the time, I was working at a major bank and comfortable so starting my own business was the last thing on my mind. One day I went to apply for a mortgage loan and got denied which led me to venting to my mentor about how I needed to fix my credit. He then introduced me to a platform that not only could assist me with fixing my own personal financial problems but I could also invest in a franchise opportunity and work it part-time to help the numerous of my peers and those across America who were suffering from the same issues. Read more>>

Caitlin Cesar | Personal Trainer

In the beginning, I never sought out to start my own business, I just wanted to document my fitness journey. As people started taking interest to my page and workouts, they began asking me to train them. I started doing it for fun in college, but as I was transitioning into the world post grad, I noticed that was something I could see myself doing long term. 8 months later, I began to get certified and turn my instagram page Crunchedbycait into my personal business and brand, adding my new activewear clothing line, Crunched Athletics, to the mix. Read more>>

Ken Turner | Host

We were in the discussion of starting a podcast for quite some time. We were originally wanting more people on board for the podcast, but it ended up being just the two of us (KT and GualaMeetsWorld). We are both in separate locations, so the thought process of getting 1409 Podcast started was a little different from most. We had to do trial and error until we finally got the right recipe to our growing platform. Our podcast is mostly done virtually through a live stream platform (Streamyard). Episodes are broadcasted live on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter several times per week. We interview business owners, entrepreneurs, musicians and many other creators around the world. Read more>>

Christian DeMessa | Photographer & Founder of Hueography

My thought process behind starting wasn’t much thought at all honestly. I’ve known since I was younger that I was always going to own my own business and seeing my mom have her own businesses for basically all my life, I already knew that it was in my future. Once I started though, that’s where more of the thinking came in. I soon came to realize that it isn’t just taking pictures and editing, now there is more to the business side of a business that I had to really learn more and dig deeper into. Read more>>

DeAndre West | CEO of West Lawn Care LLC

Since I was a teenager I knew I wanted to begin my own business and work for myself but I didn’t know how I would do it or where to start. I have been passionate about, and active in, lawn care since I was 15 and worked with my uncle as a landscape technician. I got even more engulfed once I became a homeowner of a beautiful house with an ugly yard and worked for the whole year to bring it to life. Neighbors began to ask me to help them and I started servicing properties after work and on weekends. My clientele grew and in July 2019, with my wife’s support I finally began working full-time with West Lawn Care LLC. Read more>>

Chantelle Martin | THE Mahogany Hippie

I started this business because first and foremost, I have young children and I really wanted the freedom and flexibility to go on field trips with them, eat lunch with them, just be there for them without needing permission or risking not making money because I’m not physically at work. My kids are my driving force but they’re also the reason I specialize in holistic care because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in being a full time mom that you forget to take care of yourself. Mahogany Hippie allows me to take care of myself and be there for my kids. Best of all worlds. Read more>>

Marci Scott – Andes | Health and Fitness Coach, Certified Nutritionist and Indoor Cycle Instructor

The thought process started during the pandemic. As with a lot of businesses, the pandemic impacted us all. Most places shutting down with no real time line as to when we could operate as we used too. I’ve always worked in a big box gym and I felt in my soul that I wanted to do more. Help more people, impact lives in a way that I wasn’t able to do. Trading time for money was becoming an obsolete way of working. The pandemic opened my eyes and provided me an opportunity to reach more people across the globe. It also helped more people see that the way they were living was and is unhealthy. Read more>>

Roderica Rutledge | Rihmir Cooks LLC CEO & Chef

That it’s about that time lol! But honestly my thought process was to start from the ground up, remain passionate, build & most importantly never give up! Being a new Atlanta resident made it challenging because people tend to follow trends, support the businesses and people they know or heard of, so I knew it wouldn’t be a simple task with zero following. Starting my own catering/private dining business was long overdue, my fiancé has been rooting for it prior to relocating from Philly. When my family & I relocated we truly missed “Philly” food and grew tired of being adventurous and trying new places which lead to overspending, bad service & disappointments. Read more>>

Eddison Baptiste | Auto detailing specialist

Coming from a smal country trinidad and Tobago, where I saw my mother and father working hard to achieve there dreams.,I decided that I wanted build my own business. Being a person that loves working on cars, my first thought was .. “why not build business doing something i love doing Read more>>

Tiera Cuffie | Founder of Cuff Your Pearls

Entrepreneurship has always been a passion for me. My only obstacle was I didn’t know what direction to take. My father is a barber, and I would watch his hustle. His hustle mentality is one of a kind. I would always say in my head “I want to be just like him, just a female version.” Starting your own business is beyond scary. You know what you would like for the outcome to be but facing the unknown is what kills a lot of dreams. There were several times that I wanted to give up but my faith wouldn’t allow me to do so. Fear was strong but my faith was stronger. Read more>>

Chriss Mogaka | Community Evangelist & Event Coordinator

It’s not really a business, but I like to have social events for the community that is Christ-centered using my social media page on Instagram as the main platform. Despite it being Christ-centered, it doesn’t limit it to other people from various religious backgrounds. We welcome everyone and the key thing we try to bread is a strong and uplifting community during these hard times. Read more>>

Shia Barton | Creative Director

My daughter was the motivation behind me starting Shia B. Consulting. Ever since she was a little girl, I took pride in styling her for birthdays, events, etc. it was like my own personal Barbie doll, LOL. Styling became my happy place. I’ve always receive compliments for her outfits and photo shoots , which made people start asking for my help. But I never thought to turn it into a business. My daughter was apart of the Class of 2020 and I was so busy. She had numerous of events, photoshoots, birthday and a pageant. Read more>>