Are you thinking about starting a business? If so, we think you’ll enjoy reading about how these seasoned entrepreneurs thought about the question when they were in your shoes.

James Kyles, Jr. | Founder & Executive Director

My thought process behind starting my own non-profit youth organization was to create a safe environment for young people to be mentored, develop social and life skills, empowered, and the ability to unlock their hidden potentials. When I started this, I knew that I would be putting my life on hold for the sake of this youth generation. I was committed to doing so! Starting a business can bring many pros and cons, risks that you may have to take, and other things to bring into consideration that often times can be overwhelming before you even start. Read more>>

Ronnika Warner | Beauty & Accessories

I’ve always wanted to start my own business with beauty. When the pandemic hit and I loss my job temporarily I thought to myself I should start my own business with makeup. Then I did my research and I was also inspired by two charm business entrepreneurs that are successful and I fell in love with bangles Read more>>

Authum Bertrand | Pro-Athlete & Entrepreneur

Growing up facing childhood adversities and not knowing how to deal with traumatic experiences caused me to have internal battles. Sports has always been a huge outlet for me and being told “No you can’t play football with the boys,” always bothered me. I moved to Atlanta, GA in 2012. I’ve been athletic my entire life, but once I moved here I discovered my passion for health and fitness. I decided to do something about those feelings and I now play in the women’s X League for the Atlanta Empire, which is the highest platform of women’s tackle football. Read more>>

Wizdom The Healer | Spoken Word Artist, Motivational Speaker, Podcaster , Author

“Wow I’m tired of working for other people” Lol. I really wanted to create a safe space for entrepreneurs to speak on their reality to give other entrepreneurs motivation to recycle the support. Sometimes people just needs to hear a story for motivation. After giving the name Wizdom by a Rastafarian , I noticed that I can be able to give an open mind and uplift anybody I speak to. Providing emotional consultation to people made me create Wizdom The Healer, LLC. Read more>>

ilona Shenderovich | CEO & Designer

My thought process behind starting my own business came to be in the early days of the pandemic. Before covid, I was adamant that I will never be an entrepreneur because I couldn’t risk financial instability; financial stability is too important of a factor for me. I also never thought I had a skill that was good enough to start building a business upon. Read more>>

Jasmyn Small | Certified Chef, Chocolatier, Business-Owner/ Entrepreneur

When I initially started Jazzy’s Bonbons and Confections I knew I wanted to create art from chocolate, but I also wanted people to understand the art of chocolate in itself. I wanted people to see my chocolates and be like” wow that’s too pretty to eat!. I wanted people to taste my chocolates and be amazed that these ingredients or techniques could be used with chocolate and be surprised at the flavor combinations. Chocolate is such a versatile ingredient, and the things you can create are just limitless. I love talking and teaching about chocolate and I feel like my business gives me the platform to do so. I love art in all forms and I figured what better way to express that, than through the artisan of chocolates. Read more>>

Katrina Scott | Business Coach & Speaker

I was a teenage, single mom and started my salon business on my parent’s back porch. I did not have any money or degree to start my own business. I just knew that I had to do something to provide for my children. I later on broke into the real estate and coaching/speaking industry. I wanted to reach as many women as possible, to let them know that they can start businesses, in spite of what they have been through. Read more>>

Tashara Jackson | Makeup Artist

The process behind starting my business was I love making women feel empowered and beautiful… it’s the confidence for me. I saw a green light in my head and decided that I’m going to do this and this is my baby and I will stick beside it no matter what. Read more>>

Boss Britt | Promoter / Host / MC / Entrepenuer

I started throwing parties when I was 15. I learned early that you don’t need a 9-5 to make money. Once I discovered this, this changed my outlook on how I could provide for myself. I have worked jobs since I was 14. The amount of money that I could make within 4 hours was the same amount of money I used to make for working 5 days / week for two weeks. I knew entrepreneurship was my ultimate end goal however it didn’t happen over night. Read more>>

Westside Hardy | Rapper engineer & videographer

Starting off being a rapper, everyone wants what’s in your pockets, I was giving out so much financially and physically, I thought I should just purchase my own equipment and be self sufficient, that way I didn’t have to wait on anyone spend money or let someone take creative control over anything that “I create” after research and study and some what mastering videography and music recording, I thought I should help give back to creators and artist who was having the same type problems, offering services with a lower budget and hell sometimes free! Because the dream and the passion don’t pay my bills Read more>>

elise garcia | Longboard Painter + Vegan Baker

Oh man, where to begin. To put a long story short(er), I had grown up and watched my cousin, who’s a few years older than I am, work at a bakery and she always just talked about how much she loved it. But I saw how much dairy would go into those recipes so I wanted to open a bakery that was a bit healthier. Then I was about 16 or so, and watched a documentary called the “Original Skateboarders” in Costa Rica, and I was like “YO, nevermind, I want to open my own Longboard shop.” So I started joking around in high school about how they kind of rhymed, so I should just combine them and call it Bake and Skate. And here we are, about ten years later, and we’ve got a vegan bakery + hand painted longboard shop. Read more>>

Danielle Echols | CEO

I figured out how to successfully lose weight & gain weight on my own. Let me spread the word for others. Read more>>

Damon Young | Shadow Puppeteer & Teaching Artist

Well it was rather organic. I’ve always been drawn to theater and became fascinated by shadow puppetry when on one magical evening I encountered a Balinese puppet master performing stories with the gamelan orchestra on the Emory University campus. When I became a parent I saw how important this process of using the imagination and stories were for children, and how few opportunities children had just to hear stories. Read more>>

Alan Ewing | Educator, Coach, Mentor, Business Owner

When I entered youth sports, I had an interest is starting a program where I did not have any outside influences that would take away from the programs I wanted too create. I also wanted to be in control of my own schedule so being my own boss made a lot of sense for both. Read more>>

Caleb Clark | Founder & Creative Director of Exit Right Productions

In college my friends and I worked on a handful of short films for the sake of “building our own credits” as we called it. But, throughout that process I found that I truly enjoyed the concept of planning, producing, and shooting these types of low-budget, “I just want to make some content” shoots. That’s really where Exit Right Productions came from – a place of wanting to provide professional quality services with the price flexibility to work with young talent that just want a way to put their work out into the world. Read more>>

Issiah Terry | Photographer & Videographer

When I first started doing photography it was just for fun. Then as I grew and learned more about photography, I started to see a beauty in it. Then I learned that other people are doing photography as their job and then when I took a deeper dive into how I could do that myself. I started to research everything this is to become a photographer. I have learned so much and this more stuff that I still need to learn. Read more>>

Dominick Walker | Business Owner

We are a husband and wife team from Lakeland, FL. We were looking for a way to go out and give back to the community in a way that would be engaging and inspiring. We didn’t want to just write a donation check, but we actually wanted to be a part of the cause and feel a connection with the community. We believe that giving back should be an experience, not a transaction, a time to interact, engage and be a part of the cause. Simply put, we wanted a fun product people could enjoy, that brings people together and does some good. With this in mind, we founded Domi Italian Ice. We are a mobile italian ice company centered around community engagement and organizational fundraising. A percent of each sale is donated to a charity that focuses on one of our five community causes; health, education, everyday heroes, animal welfare and children and families. Read more>>

Daryn Minster | Photographer & Model

At the start of high school I knew I had a passion for photography. When I reached junior year, I met my digital photography teacher Kimberly Fleming- little did I know she was going to change my life. She pushed me to start photographing people, something I was hesitant to do at first. After my first shoot with a couple friends and a backdrop, I knew this passion of mine was not going to be just a hobby for long. I shot as many people as I could that year until my first paid shoot for one of my friend’s senior pictures. I was so thankful that someone trusted me with that special day. Read more>>

Catt Hamlin | Catt Hamlin | Photographer & Educator

Over the years, I have turned a hobby into a full-time profession. I wasn’t in it for the business; I wanted more out of my revolving nine to five. I began my professional photography journey by capturing photos on the campus of Spelman College while I was an admissions counselor for the Office of Enrollment Management. As a former campus queen and graduate of the number one public HBCU, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and now campus recruiter, I became passionate to represent all HBCU’s, especially an all-women’s HBCU. Read more>>

Brad Zawacki | Founder, GRIT Baseball Company LLC

I have always wanted to start my own business, but could not think of what I wanted to do or be good at. The idea of starting an apparel brand came when I was fighting for my life with COVID in the hospital in July of 2020. Read more>>

Sandra Butler | Real Estate Broker / Owner

After having been in business for over 15 yrs, servicing and mentoring many clients and new agents, I realized that I had a gift to give to the marketplace, which I felt I was not properly able to do by continuing to work under a brokerage that was not my own. I recently decided to open my own Real Estate firm, to provide a platform where agents and clients alike would be able to get an unparalleled real estate experience. Read more>>

Thulani Ngazimbi | Founder of The Rad Black Kids

A few years ago, I graduated from my first masters in Energy Management as the graduate speaker (valedictorian) of my class in New York, then moved to LA. It was a cataclysmic point of my life. I had read that names that “are not the norm” make job searching in America problematic. I applied to approx 500 jobs and with a name like Thulani Ngazimbi, had a struggle finding a job. At my lowest point my little sister came to visit, and I broke down in front of her. She suggested starting a company, I suggested calling it The Rad Black Kids, because I knew more people were going through exactly what I was. Read more>>

Yung $uave | Music Artist

Honestly, it’s something I’ve always thought of since I was young. In some way shape or form I wanted to entertain, having my son just made me go harder for it . Read more>>

Travanti Lipson | Executive Chef, Pitmaster & Co-Owner

Honestly I was burned out, making changes to other people’s menus. Perfecting dishes on their menu, making regulars on 3rd shift the most happy to get my food. So after coming home and talking it over with Lena, she gave it to me straight no chaser. If you’re so unhappy working for someone else, go in business for yourself. It was so powerful in that moment I’m not sure if she knew what had transpired in my mind at that moment. She lit the wick on some dynamite she thought was a candle. Read more>>

Q.D | Chef and Event Host

My thought process behind starting Rhythm and Food Events was my refusal to give up on any of my arts, passions, & talents for the sake of work stability. I had to figure out a way to build a successful career in dancing and cooking, without giving up on one for the other. My goal was to marry my talents through an event planning platform that will help connect clients with the best hospitality artists and experts in the industry. The jobs will include event planning, catering, decorating, entertainers,singers, dancers, and musicians,for events ranging from weddings and birthday parties, to anniversaries and Christmas balls. That is how Rhythm and Food was born. Read more>>

Meaghan Weisheipl | Website Developer

Starting my own business was not something that I grew up dreaming about. I did not grow up with the “entrepreneur” or “business” mindset at all. I went to college, got a degree, and started working my 9-5 job. After roughly two years of working my full-time job, I quickly realized that I had peaked in my position and that moving up the corporate ladder would require another degree, which I did not want to do. I stayed in my current position for a little while longer, while having plenty of conversations with my husband and doing a lot of soul searching. Read more>>

Jennifer Poon | Event Stylist, Creator, Mother, Wife, Finance professional

It was not my initial intention to start a business, I did not think I could ever become an entrepreneur but everyone else kept reminded me that I should share my creativity with others. It all started as a hobby to plan parties for my kids’ birthdays and milestones. The business idea gradually came after creating more mini parties for my kids and family during the quarantine. 2020 was definitely a trying year for all of us but thanks to my kids and encouragement from my family and friends, that was when I was ready to take a leap of faith and then Evla Designs was born. Read more>>

Nikki Fisher | Franchisee

Working a 9 to 5 was not making ends meet . I needed something that was going to give me more money but in less time . The freedom of time to think , create , brainstorm was vital to my happiness and success . Read more>>

Sabrina Evans | Digital Media Strategist & Brand Coach

It was around the time April 26, 2016, that I got terminated from my 9-5 and had no alternative route to make an additional income. I would send out resumes and none returned any calls. So I decided to erase all fears step out of my comfort zone and build the life that I deserved and would love. It was through this I started my Graphic Design and Branding Agency Creative Ink Studio and later on renamed the Content Bae after niching down to Beauty Brands. I wanted to help bosses start build and grow their brand without the struggles that I had a roadmap to financial freedom that I still carryout this day. Read more>>

Latricia Gaston | Homemade Vegan Baker & Owner of Tricia’s Office

My thought process behind starting my own business was to make sure my girls had a chance to experience entrepernship. I understand the importance of going to college, but I also know college isn’t for everyone. I want my girls to be able to expand their minds and understand that you can work for yourself and not always clock in to make someone else successful and the great thing about it, you will be doing something you enjoy and making money. Read more>>

Jarvis Young | Record Label Owner, Musician, Photographer/ Videographer & Grapihc Designer

My thought process for starting my business was simple because my intentions have always been good in terms of wanting to create an umbrella for myself plus my music peers alike. The motivation & inspiration has always been present so actually going forward with making the proper business choices has truly been an ongoing learning experience. Read more>>

Sharod Watson | Podcaster/E-commerce/Music promoter

It all started from Making music and then starting a podcast for unsigned underground Artists who where like myself Trying to build a catalog of music and Hope I can gain a following of supporter.But when I took the back seat and started to look for talent in artists I found my place and My brand so I stared my website stared Creating merchandise for the podcast and the Unknown unsigned Artists to create There own Brands we are creating our first mixtape of all unsigned internet Artists and it’s still a lot more to come Read more>>

Katherine Hillis | Designer and Jewelry maker

Throughout my life I always had a fantasy of having my own business. I really didn’t put much thought or effort into it. Then about two years ago something shifted. Maybe a perfect storm of events. Working for a small leather handbag company while being a vegetarian wasn’t sitting right with my soul and lifestyle choices. I was also commuting four plus hours a day. I was missing my kids, step-kids, fiancé (now husband), my dogs, and just having time to work on anything for myself. After talking with my fiancé, I decided to go for it. Between him, our families, and our friends, the support has been pretty amazing. Read more>>

Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk | Marketing Consultant & Outsourced CMO

My company was born out of a tragic time in my life. In June of 2009, when I was 20 weeks pregnant with twins, I was told I was being laid off from my job as the marketing director of an Atlanta accounting firm. Three weeks later, I went into early labor and we lost the first of our twin boys at 23 weeks. Six days later, I went into labor again and delivered our second son, who was stillborn, and nearly died in the process myself. Needless to say, my husband and I were devastated. Read more>>

Kaleeaha Harden | Serial Entreprenuer

My thought process behind starting my own business has been a process i know so well. I have always strived to have my own business. With starting some jobs in the past I found it to be a bit challenging staying in the work force and with holding my own creativity back. The process then became clear to me to get a plan and start my own business. I first asked myself, What type of business would I want to do and that I would do for free? I looked deep into myself to understand my purpose for my business. Read more>>

Kalissa Harrison | Founder of Blackbucks, LLC, Goddess Empire LTD and participant in Holistic Healers & Creatives Collective

My thought process behind starting my own business was always family based. I noticed that no one in my family owned their own business, or even had an example to witness. My foster mother, cooked for the church, her and my brother started a BBQ business that didn’t go anywhere. I wanted my siblings to be able to even find their way and figure out what they want to do which being able to work with me in any field they wanted to try out. Have the support, the resources and the experience to make a choice and not end up working for anyone else but themselves. Read more>>

Love Atiya | Self Care Enthusiast and Animal Activist

All of my businesses are surrounded with the intention to increase the self love within everyone I reach. I created my photography business The Lens Goddess because I’d had one too many negative encounters while on set. These experiences not only took a toll on my love for modeling but they took a toll on my overall confidence. I set the goal to make sure that everyone that stepped in front of my camera left feeling comfortable, confident and with an extra dose of self love. Read more>>

Ezzah Rafique | Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Photographer

In 2020, amidst the pandemic, I wanted to gain more experience in editorial photoshoots but had no way of being able to while sitting at home. I took my cousin Iman with me to a local park to do a small photoshoot where I wanted to submit the photos to Vogue Italia’s photo submission. When I went to submit the photos, the website constantly kept crashing which frustrated me, and after not being able to find a place where I could submit my photos, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I remember texting Iman “I want to start a digital magazine, thoughts” and instantly the idea was born. I created HAZZE MEDIA with the intention of allowing creatives to grow their skills and gain professional experience by getting the chance of being published in Hazze Magazine or joining the creative team. Read more>>

Tiffani Johnson | Photographer

Starting my own business shocked me in a lot of ways, but it’s safe to say that starting my business was one of the best accomplishments I’ve had so far in my life. This didn’t form overnight. I was 16 when I fell in love with photography, I knew very little about entrepreneurship, and It wasn’t until I turned 23 when I began to have an understanding of running a business. Capturing moments, making memories, and having the ability to look back on past successes and failures is when I began to realize that photography is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My love for photography started to grow and with it, the process of starting a business became a reality. Read more>>

Angela House | Freight Broker

When I first started my own two businesses, my thought process was the autonomy of being an entrepreneur and building a legacy for my two daughters. Though, I hold an Associate’s degree in Allied Health Science, Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and a Master’s in Human Resources Management, and worked in Corporate America for over 10 years, I’ve later decided to start my own two businesses. I recognized my own talent of being my own boss, therefore, I started my trucking business, Heavy Traffic Express, while assisting other truck drivers to start their own transportation companies. Read more>>