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.

Kanisha Tillman | Owner & Educator

I never really thought I was a good employee. Sure I could get the job done, but I usually started hating the job. Finally I was tired of jobs making me choose between caring for my son and coming in. I needed the work to pay for our needs, but he also needed ME. I had always had some side hustle, I just needed to grow into full time entrepreneurship. Read more>>

Bianca Graham | President & CEO

I cant imagine another pathway than entrepreneurship! I have always been fascinated with the operations of being a Boss. The CEO is a role within an organization that bridges the gap between larger corporations and the everyday heroes in small businesses across the world. I spent years on this pursuit of greatness and serviced several larger corporations in the logistics and operations management industry. Read more>>

Amber Broder | Social Media Manager & Equestrian

My interest and skills in social media and content marketing played a significant role in what business I started, but the motivation behind starting my own business in general came from my desire to chase my equestrian dreams as fully as possible. I want to compete at an international level in showjumping, and the time and dedication it takes to do so would not be compatible with a traditional 9-5 where I do not have control over my schedule. I now have basically two full-time jobs, but the ability to shape my days exactly how I need them to be, and work primarily in areas that light me up creatively, makes it well worth it. Read more>>

Teresa Brooks | Personal Stylist & Wardrobe Imagist

It actually began from a disagreement, my husband and I were having. He had decided to pursue a hobby in photography and content creation with his friends and at the time, I felt left out. He helped me to see it was because I was unhappy with my role as an English teacher and needed to take the steps to really find the work that truly piqued my interest. Read more>>

Emily Schneider | Owner and Designer of Emily Anne Designs

I grew up with a love for accessories, jewelry, and making things. My 8th birthday party was spent learning how to make necklaces with my friends, which turned into making and selling bracelets in middle school. Eventually, when I was in college I picked it back up and started Emily Anne Designs. I started this business during the summer after my freshman year at the University of South Carolina. While it was a hobby in college, I always dreamed of it becoming my career. Read more>>

Brenna Harrison | Business Owner and Personal Trainer

My thought process behind starting my own business was very spontaneous with no real plan in the beginning. When covid first hit, I just started a small little business with minimal expectations because it was just something to get my mind off of quarantine. Despite my impulsive decision to sell these products, my goal was to make 100% natural products that works for natural hair to aid in hair growth and health. Read more>>

Jessica Estrada | Graphic Designer & Small Business Owner

Unica started in my college dorm room. I was looking for an afternoon snack, and decided to slice up some fruit as a healthy alternative. As an artist, sometimes you become blessed with a sporadic thought in the most random of times. I thought about experimenting with the fruit, so I sliced a few oranges and baked them in the oven in hopes of dehydrating them. Fruit is beautiful, delicate, and unique. I thought to myself, “how can I preserve this, so I can wear it!” Read more>>

Ray Stiles | Graphic Designer & Digital Marketer

After decades of working with Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and small owned businesses alike, I noticed the need for a more direct, hands-on approach to digital marketing and graphic design services. During this time, I also noticed the ever familiar and dreaded corporate burn-out on my horizon. Throw in the ever-changing daily landscapes due to the pandemic- I knew it was time. I wanted more creative flexibility. I wanted to be able to flex the creative muscle the way I see fit. I was tired of answering to someone and feeling like I was just another “rung on the boss-man’s ladder.” Read more>>

Zabain and Keisha Gibson | CEO and CFO

The thought process with starting our own business was not too complicated. We always were entrepreneur minded individuals. The first thing that came to mind was creating generational wealth and a legacy for our kids. With both of us being in the corporate world, we knew that owning your own was the beginning. Read more>>

Kenedra Byrd | Co-Owner of Posh Park

I decided to start my own business because I wanted to have something that was my own and displayed my talents and creativity. In doing so, I knew the best person to who would compliment and add to my creativity to start this business, which is my business partner, Tiffany. We knew we wanted a business that would bring people together, allow us to meet a plethora of different people from all over the city, and allow us to help love shine between others. We knew the luxury picnic business was missing us so we went for it! Read more>>

Micah Laplante | Photographer, Videographer, YouTuber

I always had an insatiable need to create. Most jobs I held pryer to owning my business were physical jobs that prevented me from using my imagination in a creative way. I was often distracted and dissatisfied with whatever I was doing. So I spent a lot of my free time creating either videos, pieces of art in the form of illustration and photography. Always had some sort of project going until I started getting asked to do some paid work. Eventually, I started the business so I could address my taxes properly. Then it just felt right and I quit my full-time carpet cleaning job with my wife’s support and just dove headfirst into working full-time for myself. Read more>>

NuhTAY The Poet | Mogul

I wanted to help women start successful businesses. Too often women don’t have the support and infrastructure they need to become entrepreneurs. So, I designed my company in such way that we could provide the tools that they need to launch a profitable enterprise. Read more>>

LaToya Jones | Professional Hairstylist & Healthy Hair Specialist

When I first thought about creating hair products, I wanted women, especially minority women, to have professional, high-quality hair products created specifically for them that they could use at home. Not everyone has the opportunity to go to a salon on a regular basis, but your hair doesn’t have to reflect that. Haircare is a part of self-care and I wanted to provide women, even those who are not natural, with products that would give them salon results even while they are in between salon visits. Read more>>

Don Jones | Owner, Director and Instructor

For 12 years at the beginning of my career, I worked as a professional pianist in NYC. I played for some Broadway shows, HBO, auditions for professional actors and taught hundreds of students. But the financial uncertainty involved in the arts ultimately led my wife and I to a career change. We moved to Atlanta where her family resided and got out MBAs. I never really found a path I was passionate about. So I decided the universe was calling me back to the arts. However, I was not going to only freelance again. Read more>>

Becky Connelly | Founder, Non Disclosure Apparel

I founded Non Disclosure Apparel in order to create my dream bra, with the hope that if successful, I would be able to provide a solution for girls and women just like me, simply wanting a comfortable, non-padded, nipple concealing bralette. Read more>>

Travis Ray | Owner of Dapper Bowtique®

The inspiration behind Dapper Bowtique® stemmed from a dream that Travis had where his ancestors appeared to him and dropped African print bow ties and fabrics onto his head and in his lap. This dream inspired him to research the origins of his ancestry. With extensive research on his family tree, which goes back to the mid 1800’s and taking three separate DNA tests, Travis discovered that he is a descendant of the Tikar Village of Cameroon (Maternal) and a descendant of the Ateke Village of Gabon (Paternal). Another DNA test concluded that 97% of his DNA comes from West Africa, including ties to Cameroon, Benin/Togo, Ghana and Nigeria. Read more>>

Fiona Millner | REALTOR®

I always knew I wanted to have a business of my own and work for myself but I had gone back and forth between what that actually looked like for me. I have always had a love for interior design and architecture, so real estate really stuck out to me. I had thought about getting into real estate right out of High School but I decided to go to college since I had received a scholarship I couldn’t pass up. Read more>>

Ashley Sanders | Dental Hygienist & Master Eyelash Specialist

By day, I’m a registered dental hygienist with aspirations of becoming a dentist, and I’ve also fallen in love with the overall health and beauty of eyelashes. What started as an idea turned into pure exploration, which led me to develop a broader knowledge of lashes and how to care for them. Once I learned more, that turned into a full-blown passion for the lash industry and the various techniques of lash application – I haven’t stopped pursuing my passion for lashes since. Read more>>

Alex | Your Favorite Cleaning Lady in Atlanta

I was tired of the “9 to 5”. I have always had to work an additional hustle to my “9 to 5” to survive. I have always been an entrepreneur and had the opportunity to learn many skills that could be utilized in diverse areas. Cleaning was something that I did as additional income as a teenager. I thought about what skills that I currently had or could increase to provide a service or products that many potential customers needed. Over time, I realized that I was making more money cleaning than I did working at my job. Read more>>

Charles wallace | mixed media artist

the ability to live, be self sufficient from your own creations is just the dream. Read more>>

La’Toyia Neal | Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

My though behind starting my Mental Health Company, is having the drive and determination to provide quality mental health services. It is very important to me to educated clients and my followers on the importance of protecting and bettering your mental health. So many people suffer in silence, I am hoping to bridge that gap and make individuals feel comfortable about receiving services and ultimately not feel alone. Read more>>

Sharekia Williams | The Queen of 7 Streams

My thought process behind starting my own business was simple. I looked for something that I enjoyed doing & was passionate about, so when I did decide to get into it full force, it wouldn’t feel like a “job” or a “hustle”, but more like a passion. I wrote up a business plan, calculated my expenses and potential profits, opened my bank account (so that I could keep my finances separate), and continued to strive for greatness. Read more>>

Shelly Thomas | Fitness Studio Owner

Growing up I have always had a heart for cheering others on, whether it be an individual or a team. The thought of personally setting a goal and having it come to fruition is what drives me. The thought of having a small intimate fitness studio that allowed for this encouragement, cheering, goal setting, and community all in one was inspirational to me. Read more>>

Paris Streeter | Medical Social Worker & Fitness Enthusiast

As someone who works out and likes looking good at the same time it dawned upon me to start my own line. I know what quality material I look for in workout gear and I want it to withstand the various exercises I do without any issues. It just made the most sense to start a line that others can enjoy and be versatile for causal/lounge wear as well. Read more>>

Ashley Rawlinson | Founder & Owner of HERitage Wines

The more I drank wine, the more I noticed that I was the only one in my circle, and among a handful of other people of color that I knew who drank wine. It made me begin to pay attention to what we drank and question why I was only exposed to wine when I was in the company of my white coworkers or friends. When I would enter wine spaces, it was obvious and often uncomfortable that I was often the only Black woman in there. Read more>>

Mollie Balogun | Owner of Mollie Makes Everything

I went through the most trying time of my life in February 2020. I had just given birth to my first child and lost my father a week later. Shortly after that, COVID hit and it seemed the world was turning upside down. It was a very confusing, emotional and exhausting period for a lot of people around me. I needed to focus on all that was beautiful in my life, and stay busy to keep the sad thoughts at bay. Read more>>

Amber Trejo | Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer

The thought process behind my business was not on purpose, it was something that grew with me. To be honest, a decade ago when I became a personal trainer, coaching people was a way to put myself through school to become a registered dietitian. I knew I wanted to help people live healthier and stronger lives, but I didn’t see myself doing it as an entrepreneur. Read more>>

Courtney Wedderburn | Creative Director/ Wardrobe Stylist & Designer

I realized after working in retail for over 5+ years that there was a lot more I could be offering the world of fashion. I knew that what I had to bring to the table was something that will ultimately be needed. Working with clothes always gave me a sense of purpose; watching the reactions my customers and clients would have gave me the reassurance I needed to go after my dreams. I wanted to create a lane that I felt was needed; so I decided to go into styling and have been making my way into a room that I think definitely needs more black representation. Read more>>

Wendy Golding | Community Maven

I was stuck in Florida during the beginning of the pandemic with family. My nephew and I had a harebrained idea to start a vegan friendly ice cream popsicle business. There were a few initial thoughts that drove the business. One, I wanted to show my 11 year old nephew that whatever he put his mind to he could do. Stay focused, drive forward, and stay the course. Second, I wasn’t really impressed with what options we had in Atlanta for vegan ice cream. Read more>>

Khouri Smith | Mental health advocates/ Entrepreneur

When I started Stopworrying444 i just wanted to create a brand that showed people battling with mental health issues that everything will be okay, and that no matter how hard the road is it’s always a light at the end of the tunnel! Read more>>

Leiaa Nain Morris | Owner, Worthy Woman Shop

The concept behind Worthy Woman Shop has always been there, for at least a decade; however, when Covid-19 struck, I was like, “okay, Life is way too short to sit on your dreams because of fear of failure, or others’ opinions, the excuses, it’s time to MOVE forward. I have a purpose and I’m just sitting here wasting away!!” The push to do this, and do it now was so strong. So much was and is still happening every day in our world and I have always had the heart to help others and to inspire others. Read more>>

Tierra Polite | Stylist, Salon owner, Realtor

My thought process behind starting my business was basically chasing a dream! I currently own my own beauty salon and in the process of opening a beauty school. I began fixing hair at an early age and also wanted to be a teacher. So I guess I can say my childhood dreams have collided. I was afraid like most business owners because it’s a chance we take. I prayed to God waited for the confirmation and made the move. I truly believe God wont give the vision without providing the resources. I also don’t think too long on business ideas because we sometimes think ourselves out of doing things. Read more>>

Naja Small | Director, Video Producer, Actor, & Professional Wrestler

If I can be honest and transparent, the more I worked for other companies, sat at a job for 8 hours that I hated, or struggled finding happiness working for others, it was easy to start the entrepreneur process. I already had a few clients on the side, so it just took me planning and structuring, then attempting to secure more clients. Read more>>

Sugar Preistley | Entrepreneur, Entertainer, CEO,CMO, Fitness Coach

I actually started my brand based off selling swimwear. I would promote my swimwear products by making trendy transitional videos on tiktok, pole dance videos of my favorite songs on Instagram or just sexy homemade music videos but I was doing all of this faceless. I obviously wasn’t comfortable about people I personally knew knowing about who was behind this brand. I just wanted to express myself without being judged by others or being stereotyped. It was my little secret so that’s why I named my business Sugar’s Secrets. Read more>>

Enisha Hutchinson | CurvyPreneur

I’ve always considered myself walking to the beat of my own drum kind of girl. Kind of a loner, quiet but never missing an opportunity to be a peacemaker or a helper to others. Willing to learn a new skill and try new things at any time. But always longed to create and work for myself. I had been employed at a Fortune 500 company for a little over 11 years. The feeling of being underwhelmed, underutilized, and unappreciated was the sentiment. Leaving this employer crossed my mind many times before, but I stayed due to fear and complacency, as many of us do. Not really sure about my next step. Read more>>

Nicole Levell | Brand Strategist & Content Creator

I wanted to have more control of my time. I wanted to be able to control the time I spent with my son and husband. And I was over having to ask permission to do something else besides work. Ultimately, I wanted to redirect my skills as a brand strategist and marketer to help women in business who did not have the knowledge or resources available to grow their brand. Read more>>

Ernest Tate | Personal Trainer, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Nutritionist & Podcast Host

I wanted to help individuals see the benefits of movement. I was extremely obese, at my heaviest I was 553 pounds. I did not even notice my extreme weight gain since my football playing days because the people around me didn’t make me feel bad about my appearance. My wake up call came when my mother told me parents shouldn’t have to bury their children; children should bury their parents. That simple statement started a shift in me. Read more>>

Alexandria Monet | Actress & Singer

My thought behind starting my business by becoming an actress is by far the best decision I made for my career. I knew I wanted to be a superstar and when the pandemic hit I knew I had to start doing something or it worldly never happen! Do or Die. So I got back to doing what I loved and I have been becoming so successful with it! Read more>>

Erica Holloman, MBA | Entrepreneur

I started working at the age 15 and when I was about 17 I decided that I did not work to work for someone all my life. I have always loved creating things and so, when I got diagnosed with Leukemia in 2016 and me having a lot of free time on my hand being home from work for almost 2 years, I got into creating heavily. A friend of mine told me “girl why are you not doing this for a living” and the rest is history. Read more>>

Nikida Bryant | BSN, RN

Alot of thought went into starting my own business. The main thought was, of course, were my children. Generational wealth and health are very important. I want them to see that you can create both of those things without jeopardizing who you are as a person. Another thought that lead me toward entrepreneurship is the fact that I am a nurse by career but I am also an individual. I was beginning to feel like nursing did not allow both to exist in the same space. As an individual I like things like tattoos, piercings, colorful hair, etc. Nursing has a set standard for what they expect nurses to look like. I personally believe you can do both which is what lead me to start my own business in which I make the rules. Read more>>

Shar Schmidt | Crystal & Gold Jewelry Designer

When I thought about starting my business, I was thinking about healing my own body from the inside out. After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my body went through a lot. I knew that if I benefited from wearing crystals, there are so many more that would also. Read more>>

Carla Mintz | Portrait Artist

I started my art business because I had family and friends – even strangers that saw my art – tell me I should be selling it. So, I started selling it and taking commissions. It’s amazing what support and encouragement can do for a person. When I first started selling I was no where close to the skill level I am at now (I’m still not all that good if you ask me, LOL). But because I had people cheering me on from the side lines, I thought, “Maybe this could actually work.” Read more>>

Shante Brooks | Artist, creator and poet

My thought process was literally about dominating the world with the mission behind my business. It was to make it where everyone only used my services only and also I wanted to be able to generate a handsome amount of wealth so I can give back to everyone who helped me on my journey Read more>>

Brittney Smith | Event Stylist & Spiritual Leader

My thought process behind starting my own business (Eventures by Brittney) was simply me trusting God’s word “our gifts will make room for us” (Proverbs 18-16). I desired to do something I LOVE and to stop taking my gifts for granted. Being an event stylist is my passion and brings me so much joy. It’s ministry in itself; being able to create beautiful everlasting memories in my clients’ lives is such an honor. When I see my clients cry or thank me repeatedly I can’t help but to give God the glory because my gift not only brings me joy but brings joy to room full of people that will remember that special day for years to come. Read more>>

Pat Horodyska | DYO+ Co-founder

Interview with VOY ATL – Susi and Pat from DYO+ 1. What was your thought process behind starting your own business? Both Susi and I are advocates of a healthy lifestyle! When we met, both living in Atlanta, Susi was studying nutrition counseling via an online course in Switzerland. With her expertise, which she shared with me on our walks, we quickly became the go-to people in our circle of friends in regard to alternative healing. Of course, we did not intend to replace medical advice from a doctor, but we did successfully help friends who were very grateful for our advice. We both wanted to create something special, something useful, beautiful, good… something that would make a difference. Read more>>

Caleb Knight | Entrepreneur & generational curse breaker

Growing up and seeing not only my loved ones but also the communities around me falling ill to diseases due to habits of unhealthy eating and drinking. Not to forget taking doctor prescribed medicine to treat the habit of unhealthy consumption which leads to more illness. I want to help people be healthy and not just people but the planet. Organic fruit Juice cures and heals people and I use eco friendly products to help cure our earth. Safe to say I created this business to be a healer and help everyone. Read more>>

Breonia Griffin | CEO of Risqué Intimates

Growing up I always wanted to be a model. I always wanted to work with Victoria Secrets and become an angel. However, I always knew I was meant to be my own boss. I knew what I loved to do which was model and make other women feel special. I decided to open Risqué Intimates to help bring confidence and sass to the closet of the everyday woman. We want you to own your beauty and sex appeal. We created a lingerie business that’s offers luxurious quality that fits your budget. Read more>>

Tron Banks | Georgia State University Alumni

My thoughts behind starting Pittsburgh Community Market was to help prepare black and brown entrepreneurs in South West Atlanta. While I was taking Real Estate and Development at Georgia State University in 2016 I learned about all of the new development coming to the Swats. I felt like if our small businesses weren’t prepared the people in the communities wouldn’t be the benefactors of new commercial investment in the area. Read more>>

Takisha Simmons | Wife,Mom,Boss,Teacher

The thought process behind starting my own business was to create something meaningful, profitable and fun that could get passed down for generations to come. I have three daughters and a granddaughter and I know how hard the stigma associated with looks, appearance, etc is for girls so I wanted to create a brand that supports them maintaining their childhood and character as long as they want no matter what they see and hear on social media. I’ve created a brand where they can be as creative in their look as they want and they’re able to express their own individuality without the opinions of others. Read more>>

Wendy Bradley | Artist

Ever since I was little I have enjoyed being creative. I find painting to be a process that involves problem solving and creative thinking. I had taken many painting classes as a child and young adult, but didn’t start painting on a regular basis until I took an art class with my Mom about 10 years ago. Many of the students in the class were professional artists who inspired me to start selling my paintings. Read more>>

Samantha Bailey | Caterer

The thought process behind creating my business was to create food that was beneficial to one’s body mind and soul. In understanding that what we put in our bodies heavily impact not only our physical health but also impacts our mental and more often than not our spiritual health. Therefore, I wanted to create food and products that address and improve all of these areas. Read more>>

Trae Johnson | Self Published Author and Financial Aid-College Life Speaker

My thought process when I started Campania Publishing, LLC was a joy! it’s been a goal of mine to be a Self-Published author with a publishing company. Too many times I sat on the bench, watching others complete their goals. It was my time to get my business in order to make it happen. Read more>>

Chakiese Franklin | Bartender and boutique owner

I had been speaking on starting my own business for awhile. I was nervous, and just kept putting it off. After the pandemic started, I decided to stop making excuses and go for it! I now have two businesses! I want my kids to know that you can do whatever you put your mind to, despite what you may be going through, or what others may say!! I want them to be proud of their mommy. Read more>>

Shiqueasha Harrell | Greetings From The Nookyy Slayer

My thought process behind starting The Nookyy Slayer was… Growing up I seen my mom working for this person and that person and working from this company to that company with no real stability. Now as an adult looking back at all of that I just knew I needed to have something of my own to pass down to my daughter Harmony because I do not want her growing up looking at me the way I looked at my mom. I want her to grow older learning the business and having a business mind set of wanting her own business and learning from the best which is me and her aunties. I didn’t have them kind of choses as a kid or an young adult. Read more>>

Alberto “YoManAlberto” Chavez | Multi-Creative Entrepreneur & Influencer

Since I was a kid, making money has been a constant goal. I knew from a young age what money could do for yourself and your family, and that was something I wanted to achieve in the moments now, and moments to come. Being in love with sneakers and fashion wasn’t cheap either and something I had to provide on my own, so working was always a must for myself. Read more>>

Ashanti Sumpter | Film Director, Entrepreneur & Media Journalist

My thought process behind starting my own business is similar to most I believe. For one, I no longer wanted to work under someone else. I always found myself in the same position financially and mentally when I did so I just took the risk to develop my own brand. Primarily though, I saw a lack of support for upcoming creatives and I wanted to change that. Let them know their work isn’t going unnoticed or unappreciated. Read more>>

Takoya “Koko” Cunningham | Travel Specialist

I have a great career that I love and worked hard for, but it does not compare to having my own personal business. For me, having my own business means more time for the things I love which are my family and traveling. Read more>>