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.

Ruwel Sarmad | Video Production

This time a year ago, I was working as an IT auditor for a large corporation (The Coca-Cola company). Although I got a lot out of my career after being in corporate America for 5 years, I was at a point where I was not using or developing all of my passions and skill sets. I was not happy or feeling fulfilled.
I always wanted to have my own business. So after a lot of careful thought, I decided to take a risk, quit my job, and dive into videography. Read more>>

Meet Kiara | Photographer

My business actually started with me taking pictures of myself… believe it or not. I would go all out and do these elaborate photoshoots because I needed pictures for Instagram since I was making YouTube videos (and still do). I’m not really sure why I decided to do these extravagant photoshoots, but I’m glad I did! At the time that I started doing this, I was working at an arts and craft store and that really fueled my creativity. Read More>>

Jennifer Austin | Photographer

From a young age, connection to people has been my main motivator. I have always loved learning the stories of the people I encounter and knew I wanted to be in a career that made that possible. My father has always had a large influence on my creative world, he encouraged me to challenge the status quo and dream beyond the limits of traditional school / career paths. Read more>>

Tityn Alexander | Brand Specialist, Life Coach, Father & Entrepreneur

As a man, going shopping with my mother and female friends, and even shopping on my own, I notice the the FUN stores were always for women. Also, I have unnatural love for underwear and looking good under my clothes and I find it attractive for men to love hygiene. I wanted to start a business that gives men a reason to be prideful in taking care of themselves. And, have everything in one place. Underwear, Activewear, Hygiene Products, Lotions, Colognes, Skincare, Supplements and it be a lifestyle to shop for these things. It’s time for men. Read more>>

Sharon Mona | Creator of Simply Sharon And Teddy

Simply Sharon And Teddy is a dog friendly lifestyle business that started as a creative outlet to share the love and relationship I have with my dog, Teddy. As a first-time dog mom, I made a lot of mistakes with my dog in the beginning. From purchasing my dog from a backyard breeder to difficulties with potty training and crate training, I sure learned a lot in the first year as a dog mom. By sharing those mistakes along with dog friendly recipes, travel guides, lifestyle tips and much more, I hoped other first-time dog parents could learn from me and strengthen the bond they have with their dog. Read more>>

Lorrie Lane | artist and gallery owner

This is the third time I’ve had my own building as an art studio/gallery. I have to be in business for myself because I’m a painter, but it’s possible to only work as a wholesaler of your own work. Having a storefront allows me to be both retailer and wholesaler, as well as the ‘manufacturer’ of art . I had a studio at an art center for several years, but when that was no longer available I decided it was time to once again look for a storefront situation. Read more>>

L.A. Brown | Founder & Creative Director

For me, the love for fashion has always been there. Growing up, I was big on two things clothing wise – sneakers because I hooped and t-shirts because I loved matching them with my kicks. That love never left so you can say it came full circle while I was in college. Like others, I was into the major clothing brands and labels, but it came to a point that I wanted something different. Read more>>

Haley Mcelwaney | Bridal Hair and Makeup Artist

I started doing hair and makeup for friends and family at fourteen years old. I started with homecomings, proms, and photo shoots, and eventually came to weddings. The funny thing is that I was actually never allowed to wear makeup when I was younger. I think that’s what made me want to do it for other people so much. A few years ago I began posting some of my work on social media and ended up having several people reach out to me to do their weddings. Read more>>

Courtney Schofield | Chief creative officer + Founder of The Cache Agency , Mompreneur , Lifestyle influencer

After finishing my undergraduate degree in 2017, I moved to a new city in hopes of finding my dream job in PR or communications-related. I received so many Nos, you are not qualified, you’re a recent college grad, you need more experience. I was quickly was faced with post-grad blues and almost gave in the towel and moved back home. But I couldn’t, I was already exposed to entrepreneurship since the age of 22 when I started a boutique out of my college apartment. Read more>>

Terrah LP | Content Strategist + Consultant

I wanted to stop making money for someone else while I was barely making enough to live. I wanted to FINALLY do what made me happy and live life and not just let life pass me by because I couldn’t get time off. Read more>>

Kacey High | Branding Guru

I have always been passionate about designing and creating, whether it’s creating paint nights for my family, or making flyers and invites for friends. When I realized I could take it and make it a business, it was a no brainer. I provide high quality branding to small businesses, from logos to websites, to social media start ups and revamps. Read more>>

Adrienne Russell | The Brand Style Cultivator®, Personal Brand Stylist, Speaker, Fashion Expert, & Boutique Owner

I started both of my companies, Chic Essentials Boutique® and Curated Styles By Adrienne® with women in mind. I wanted to serve women and help them see the beauty in themselves the same way that I see them. I wanted to help women show up AUTHENTICALLY in this world for their brands and most importantly THEMSELVES. I wanted women to feel empowered and confident every time they wore a Chic Essentials piece. I wanted to help women CULTIVATE a Personal Brand Style that would build respect, trust, and revenue for their brands. Read more>>

Aubrey Ways | Photographer & Graphic Design | Visual Director & Content Creator

I wanted to be able to take control of what I seen for my future, and with that I wanted to apply what I learned and experienced to my progressive ideas in order to create a legacy for not only me and my family but for the always evolving art community. It is always the “ah Hah” moment that gives me joy; and knowing that some creative idea that was about to start being molded into a hopefully innovative project, came from me! Read more>>

Joseph Spencer | The Urban Scholar

I grew up without parental supervision at a young age and because of that I made decisions that led me into a negative direction as a teenager. I always said if I had an adult in my life to guide me through all of the things I was secretly going through my outcomes would have been better. Read more>>

Zeonca Roseberry | Personal Trainer

My thought process behind starting my own business was to pursue my passion for fitness. I’ve been training since 2013, and I always felt as though training women was my calling. My main mission was to help them obtain their fitness goals and live a healthier lifestyle. So, ” Fitz Girlz Rock” just came to me naturally! Read more>>

Jessica Padilla | Designer and Art Teacher, Brand: Jesslynnpadilla

It all started in August of 2018 when I graduated with my Master’s in Fine Art. My first vision was that when I graduated I would be showing my work in art galleries. But, that never came to pass. In all honesty, I have debt to pay back. I loved creating and making with my hands. Weaving together intimate stories with my collages. I needed to find a solution, an outlet quick. I didn’t want to lose the momentum, energy and spark that I built up in Grad School. Read more>>

Tamika Michelle Johnson | The Matchmaking Attorney

I launched Platinum Connections because of my own personal experience in dating and relationships as an attorney, along with other countless successful women that I knew who were struggling in their love lives. For many successful women, especially women of color, the more accomplished you are, the more challenging it becomes to find compatible partners who are on a similar professional and financial level as you. Read more>>

Lauren Ross | Founder & CEO

As an Eastside of Atlanta, native, I grew up enamoring and admiring the rich culture of this city. This fascination cultivated my mindset to be deep-rooted with everything Atlanta. That’s how I was able to develop my brand name and logo, The 404 Lab. When you look at the logo it shows you various elements that ultimately shape the city. Read more>>

Khala Simmons | The Media Host’s Media Coach

My extensive media background (PR executive, blog, newspaper editor, podcaster) paired with the positive feedback from past media collaborators and consumers helped me realize that I want to offer media training. However, I want to provide media training for media hosts specifically because they are often not prioritized. So many of them are burning bridges and producing stale content because they don’t know how to efficiently navigate media interactions and automate their platform backends. I want them to understand that media guests are a valuable resource and they don’t need to have a large following to attract them. Read more>>

Scot Clayton | Studio Owner – Producer – Engineer

Music is my Religion, and I’m a VERY Religious person, so it was a NO brainer to work in Music, and ever since I was on the ‘other side of the glass’ as a Client, I wanted to have my OWN Studio. I can pick my own hours, work with whom I decide, and just basically totally satisfy my creative juices! Read more>>

Shannon Ferguson | FanSaves Co-Founder & CEO

In 2017, my co-founder Kris and I were managing the sales and marketing of two minor professional hockey teams and while selling sponsorship (rink boards, scoreboard ads, coupons in the game-day program), businesses kept telling us they wanted more out of their sponsorship dollars, they wanted something digital, something that drove people into their business and tracked customer demographics and return on investment. We didn’t have anything like that to offer them, so we created FanSaves. Read more>>

AG Dessez | Freelance Photographer and Content Creator

I was very passionate about photography when I started in High School. My Photography teacher at the time Mr. Doyle Wallce really pushed me and told me that I could really make a career out of this if I wanted to. I really pushed myself creatively to figure out if I really wanted to do this. I did small gigs here or there but it wasn’t until I graduated that I decided this was going to actually make the jump. I did some more gigs and interned at a few places. Read more>>

Michael Behn | Edgesmith

Well the goal from the start was to create a job that afforded me the opportunity to have balance for the first time in my life. Working as a chef my entire career I lived in the kitchen. It’s a demanding field that doesn’t reflect in the pay and after the years I became demoralized and felt defeated. In August of 2020 with one whetstone and a nervous energy Moshi Moshi knife sharpening was started and in February of 2022 we are expanding in North Carolina, Denver and soon Duluth. The dream of the business right now is to have skilled, specialized sharpener in every city. Read more>>

Prepp | Serial Entrepreneur

I feel like I needed someway to brand myself without in a way that when people see hear or talk about my brand they’ll be like oh that’s Prepp’s Read more>>

Devon Bray | Movie Director, filmmaker

My thought process was feeling a void in my city. I am the only Black film director in Kansas doing what I am doing, Read more>>

Ann B | Lingerie Model and Owner of Naughtyish Lingerie

My thought process behind starting my business was I wanted women to find their sensuality again. I wanted women to be comfortable in their own skin no matter shape size or walks of life. Walking and owning their sexuality. Lastly just women loving Self. Read more>>

John Acosta | Teacher, coach and cinematographer

The thought process was to have another source of income. So infigured why not have an extra source of income involved in something I love. The imagery of hip hop and sports was fascinating to me growing up. Read more>>

Cassidy Gilliam | Licensed Esthetician and Certified Lash artist, trainer and supplier

Ive always wanted to start my own business, ever since I was younger, but never did I think it would be something in the beauty industry. A few months after graduating high school in 2018 , I didn’t have any plans for my future and I was contempt with working in the deli at a small grocery store in my city, but deep down I knew I was suppose to be doing something more. I created my own lash strip line called “Cass Lash” and started to try and make a name for myself on YouTube and Instagram doing makeup all while still working 40hr+ weeks at this grocery store, this is when I really started to feel complete. Read more>>

Charyl Williams | Beauty Adornment Guide

I’ve always had a passion for beauty, so I enrolled into cosmetology school after graduating college. After being a cosmetologist for six years, I developed a chemical allergy that limits me from offering the services I’ve once offered. I discovered Paparazzi Accessories through a friend. I fell in love with the jewelry and realized that helping women unleash their beauty through designer jewelry is another avenue for me to express my passion for beautifying others. Read more>>

CCMarie | Jewelry Designer and Crystal Curator

During most of my childhood my mother was an entrepreneur, so having a business was not necessarily foreign to me. I had a business that I started after college and put it on the back burner once I became a mother. After the birth of my second child I found myself having anxiety and chronic fatigue. I was diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and it added to the mental fatigue I was already feeling as a new mother of two. I always have had an affinity for crystals and rocks and started working with them to create rustic jewelry for myself and my children. I had a surprising response from friends and family wanting me to create pieces for them. Grand Vibrations was born shortly after that. Read more>>

Astar Benjamin | Physical Fitness Instructir

In 2000 a gunshot wound to the femoral artery of my thigh landed me in the hospital fighting for my life. After a successful surgery, several doctors told me that I would never walk again and if I was able to, it would be with a pronounced limp. I had a physical therapist, Sarah, she told me to pray, trust God and that if I was willing to do the work then God would reward me with my mobility back. My thought behind starting my own business was that I wanted to be the voice and example of faith, hard work and determination Read more>>

TaffaTee Johnson | CEO and Brand Ambassador of RoyalTee Naturals

Naturally healing my son of atopic dermatitis was the beginning of my thought process behind starting my own business. Once I was able to bring relief and moisture to his itchy, dry and flaky skin with my all natural hand whipped body butter I was overwhelmed with joy. The joy that I felt when he no longer suffered from atopic dermatitis inspired me and that is when I developed a passion for skincare. My goal is to help others that may also be suffering with skin issues such as; Psoriasis Acne, Acne Scarring and of course Atopic Dermatitis. Read more>>

Desmond Stanley | CEO and Co-Founder – The Incubator CLE

When my partner, Timothy Roberts, and I decided to move forward and open The Incubator CLE it was to provide resources to other entrepreneurs. We knew there were other people out there like us who may have needed some assistance starting and/or growing their business. We wanted to be a one-stop resource center for essentially all things entrepreneurship with a focus in marketing strategy and branding. Read more>>

Simbi Animashaun | Licensed Body Sculptor & Health & Wellness Expert

I taught middle school English Language Arts (ELA) for over 10 years. I would have never thought years later I would be an entrepreneur in the health and wellness business. However, I resigned from my teaching position in February 2021 and immediately established my small businesses. Read more>>

Sharee Crawford | Miss. Proficient Hands

What was my thought process behind starting my business? To be honest it was never a thought I was born for this. I knew as a little girl that I would be a successful business Woman and I also knew how i was going to execute the plan to become one. Believe it or not i was 6 years old when i learned how to braid. I always copied my mom’s hair style on my doll head i’d practice day and night on my craft. when i was 10 i had my first client. Read more>>

Durrell Steen | Executive Director of Nonprofit Brand of a Champion

I wanted to start an organization that provided opportunities for the less fortunate. Also wanted to give you for athletes a plan of success without Sports being involved. Lastly I wanted to show the power of community support, with investing in your community against the equity to pay off her future you later. Read more>>

Anna & Erica | Co-Owners & Visionaries of Good Life Consulting, LLC

Before opening Good Life Consulting, we were school counselors at the same high school. We have both always been extremely passionate about helping kids on their journey of self-discovery, as well as promoting authenticity and empowering kids to be themselves and we believed that by becoming school counselors we would be able to reach and impact a large population of young people. We were excited to listen and connect with students and help as many students as possible feel seen, cared for, and valued. Read more>>

Jamina Kess | Licensed Massage Therapist and Body Contourist

I wanted to have a business where I could think outside of the box, catering to the needs of people by tailoring their needs and desires with all the details in mind to make every massage session effective and successful. Read more>>

Kellie Kilgore | Graphic Designer & Creator

I have worked for companies as a graphic designer since graduating with my degree in 2010. The thought process behind starting my own business was to have more freedom to do the type of design I want. Its much more interesting and keeps me learning new design ideas. Read more>>

Mr. Stinky | Rap/ Reggae Artist

I had a ruff upbringing as a child. I only completed 10th grade in high school. The only thing I knew how to do in life was music. Read more>>

PlayMad Network | Dancers I Choreographers I Innovators I Entrepreneurs

To answer this question, it really goes back to how we met and become acquainted. We met in our hometown Louisville, KY our freshman year of high school. Yes, we have the high school sweetheart love story! We, also, both where on opposing dance company’s in the city. So when we met, on ‘Pajama Day’ during our schools spirit week wearing the same pajamas, we instantly had a connection. As we got to know each other more we realized we had way much more in common than we thought. A Vision. A Dream. Read more>>

Juana Lyles | Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor

I believe counseling is my true calling and what my purpose is in life. I have worked for community non-profit agencies for my entire career as a mental health therapist. When working for others, you have to do what they want, see the people they want you to see and provide the treatment they want you to provide. Starting my own business allowed me to provide the services that people need without the limitations or restrictions of agency work, Read more>>

Krista Carter | Founder, A Loyal Society

I created A Loyal Society, my self care lifestyle company, after becoming a mother and realizing the importance of creating time for yourself as a busy working mom. In December 2020, I began creating gift boxes to support self care and moments of relaxation for women during the pandemic. My intention for my brand is to always create inspiring relaxation gifts with a sense of elegance and a personal touch. Read more>>

India Harris | Photographer / Creative Creator

Before I actually started my business I had Graduated High School . I am Class of 2020. When I brought my first camera Cannon Eos T7, I never really had a full plan for my business I was going to treat this like a hobby. On my mind at that point was trying to go to the military but still learning about photography for I can make some extra money. I would have never guess of how my business is coming together right now than how I first Started Read more>>

Michael Deleaver | Hairstylist

My thought process was more so I was at the end point with working a 9 to 5 job I left college and was just not feeling it so I was like well I can start back doing hair or selling platter because I went to cooking school , but I fell in love more with hair then I quit my job and stepped out on faith and prayed and was doing hair full time, traveling to New York , LA , ATL now I’m a celebrity hairstylist. Read more>>

Jordan Manns and Mylynda Manns N/A | Chiropractors & Soft Wave Providers

JM: I knew in my profession I wouldn’t hit the success levels I was looking to achieve unless I worked for myself. So being able to provide for my family on my terms and the way I wanted to practice was important to me. I preferred to work for myself, find a great location that I could draw in patients from our area and surrounding areas in order for our business to take off. Read more>>

Sarah Jules | Creative Director and Photographer

My thought process behind starting my business was ” Can I do this? and is this meant for me?”. When I first purchased my camera, my intentions weren’t to build a photography business but casually capture my life adventures. I had a few years of experience working at a Walmart Portrait Studio in 2013, that is where I learned the corporate/business side of it. The thought of running a business seemed absurd because it is so much more than capturing photos. Read more>>

Camille Mckinnie | Licensed Master Cosmetologist & MUA

My thought process behind starting my own business was getting to share my talents in beauty to help others look and feel great about themselves. As a stylist and MUA it’s important to me to be able to educate my clients on self care and confidence in walking boldly in their skin and personal style. No matter your background everyone deserves to know that they are beautiful and unique in their own way. Read more>>

Saba Fulford | Founder & Owner of Global Kids United (GKU)

The thought process behind starting my own business honestly came from my work experience and educational background. I graduated with a degree in elementary education, and family and consumer science (child development). And honestly speaking, I knew right away what I wanted to do when I was young. And I never deviated from that idea. My background in childcare and the professional positions I upheld, prepared me for this business. Read more>>

D’Long Pankey | Artist / locksmith

I’ve always been very passionate about art in general and I just had an unexplainable feeling like I was meant to succeed in this so I took some business classes at the college and I just went for broke , but I have to say I learned more from experience all in all Read more>>