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.

Kiana Dancie | Comedienne, TV Show Host, Actress, Media Personality and CPR CELL PHONE REPAIR Franchise Owner

For me being a business owner is literally the American dream. I have always been taught to have my own, even if it fails to be what my heart desires. There’s never been a point in my life where I didn’t have the hopes of leaving a legacy for my family or the desire for financial freedom. As an employee of another person company, you’ll always dance to their tune and you’ll never know what your full capacity can be if never step out on faith to have your own. My goal is to make an impact on all levels. Show women of color that even though we’re sometimes given less opportunities and we have less advantages, we still have a chance to excel! Having less doesn’t equal none! Read more>>

Franchesca Moultrie | Childcare Owner & Tax Professional

I have so many reasons on why I wanted to start my own business but the one reason that pushed me to move forward was my children. I was a single mother of two beautiful little boys at that time when my son was diagnose with (sickle cell).  This illness is very deadly and keeps my son in and out of the hospital and has so most of his life. As a mother it hurts that I can not help my son the way he needs me too. I remember thinking I will not be able to keep a job at this rate but my family will always come first. One day when Da’vanta was in the hospital he ask can sponge bob come and visit with him? I replied by saying baby mama is going to see what she can do. I started to think to myself where am I going to get the money and how was I going to get sponge bob to visit my baby in the hospital? Read more>>

Rebekka Whitehead | Educational Consultant

I am dedicated to ensuring students are confident problem-solvers and critical thinkers prepared to thrive in their best learning environment. My previous experience as liaison and teacher in Atlanta area private schools lends a unique insight into K-12 learning environments. I also have had the opportunity to work within state, national, and global accreditation spheres to monitor academic resource support, advisory groups, college counseling, high-quality mentoring, academic and life coaching, and accountability as well as auxiliary services to evaluate progress and overall improvement across corresponding curricular benchmarks. Overall, my time in the classroom fostered an inquiry-driven, project-based learning approach while accommodating both gifted learners and students with learning differences. Read more>>

Stephanie Knight | Martial Artist & Videographer/ Photographer

It was a natural progression. I do martial arts and I started filming myself with my phone to watch my progress. I would also film other stuff here and there until it became a request from the people around me. Then I purchased a camera and editing software. From there I’ve just been studying from other great people and filming whatever I could so I had more things to practicing editing. Read more>>

Rashad Sattaur | Videographer, Director, Creative

There were a couple of factors that led me to wanting to start my own business. The first being my frustrations with the people I worked for previously. I found myself either working for toxic people or in companies where there was no room to grow. So ultimately, starting my own company meant I could enforce the ideals I wanted and create a diverse working environment where everyone was treated with love and respect. The second factor was my family. My parents were extremely supportive and always encouraged me to pursue my passions. They emphasized happiness and well being as the main factors in success and not money. We only have one life to live so why waste any time at all not doing what you love. With that mentality, I pursed exactly what I loved, which was video production. Read more>>

Littie Brown | President, SpeedPro Marietta

My journey to own my own business was not the typical one. I spent 35 years in corporate and had planned to end my working career with a major company. But when I left my last job at Grainger, Inc., I felt I wanted to do something different, but not sure what that would be. Education, non-profit, small businesses. were ideas I pursued. Then I received a call from a franchise consultant asking did I ever think about owning my own business. Of course my answer at the time was no thank you. I started sharing the information with a good friend of mine who wanted to own a business. But as I continued to talk to them both, I thought maybe this was something we could do together. . I knew I did not want to start a business from scratch and the franchise model was a good fit in that aspect. Read more>>

Katie Mitchell | Owner, Happy Camper

I am often driven by passion and curiosity. I was so passionate about the power of healthy food, and even more curious as to how to make a business out of something you’re passionate about. My process was one of dipping my toe in the water slowly over time. I would try something that seemed scary and new, build on it, get feedback, and see if it was something I liked. I love serving food to people, so a big part of my thought process was being fulfilled every day by getting that great feeling of making someone feel good through food! Over time, my thought process became more about connection. How can I continue and build a business that’s about connecting people in life using food as our connector! Read more>>

Sue Schroeder | Artistic Director, Core Dance

“When we formed, the natural order in dance was that choreographers, most of whom were white males, were masters, and dancers were subordinates,” said Schroeder, who co founded Core Dance at the age of 23. “There was a great deal of abuse going on in the dance world, and it was simply accepted as the norm.” But Schroeder wouldn’t have it. “Core” refers to an artistic partnership, and partners have included the company Dance Artists, other choreographers, composers, musicians, visual artists, set designers, lighting designers, et al.; Schroeder believes that art is always made richer through collaboration. “Success in art making, to me, comes down to truly collaborating, which only happens when you genuinely value people, give them a voice, and give them a seat at the table,” said Schroeder. Read more>>

Katelyn LeBlanc | Photographer & Graphic Designer

For the last five years, I’ve been serving families, couples, and small businesses through photography, graphic design, and branding. I began my journey with photography in college. I learned the basics in a 35mm film camera class, and I was in love. I graduated from the University of North Georgia in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Art Marketing and a studio concentration in Photography. Along the way, I took several graphic design courses, and began offering photography and graphic design services on the side. From there, Katelyn LeBlanc Photography + Design was born! After college, I spent two years as a photographer and graphic designer in the fashion industry, which transformed the way I work. It was a crash course in content creation that taught me so incredibly much. Read more>>

Penny Kie | Artist/Owner, From the 550 Studio

When my husband of 50 years passed away in 2012, I decided to retire from the company I’d founded, The Events Group, and relocate to the Atlanta area. My daughter, son in law, and my two youngest grandsons (of five!) were in Sandy Springs and after many previous visits, I knew I loved the area and wanted to be there to see those two youngsters grow to adulthood. After arriving in Georgia, I dedicated the first two years to getting situated, developing a strong, supportive social circle and once again exploring my interest in art. In 2015, I purchased a home in Roswell (just off the Roswell Square) and began to paint in earnest. My ‘studio’ has fabulous light streaming in and I equipped it with all the art supplies I’ve wanted for so long. Read more>>

Albert C. Hurston Jr., CPA | Accounting Problem Solver

As I was progressing in my corporate career, I started to realize that the difference between business success and failure is highly dependent on the strength of a company’s accounting team. I would routinely meet small business owners who didn’t understand the importance of accounting, but the big successful companies that I worked for have large accounting departments. A lot of the companies that can benefit the most from the organization, planning, and the time and money savings are the companies that aren’t investing in it. I’ve learned that it’s really because they don’t understand the value that great accountants and CPAs bring. Read more>>

Khadijah Brooks | Candlemaker & Fragrance Aficionado

Being a native to Atlanta, I am surrounded by so many other creatives and I believe this city is somewhere entrepreneurs thrive. The women and men in Atlanta have dominated the beauty industry, which made me think about what I could contribute to the artistic and creative scene myself. I have always been a fan of fragrances; perfumes, incenses, candles, air sprays, wax melts, etc. Herb Season Scents is heavily based on providing peace, calmness and stress-relief (aromatherapy). I like to keep my life aligned with those traits which is why I wanted to create the same experience. The inspiration behind naming my candles and other fragrances off of cannabis strains is because cannabis can also be associated with reducing anxiety and relaxation. It also keeps the brand fun, as each fragrance name gives anticipation to its unique aroma. Read more>>

Yolanda Jacobs | Product Developer

Most mainstream deodorants I used over the years failed before day’s end. As I became more knowledgeable, I also realized that many of them weren’t all that healthy to my body or the environment. I went on a quest to find a more natural solution. I used the crystal rock with some success until one day it stopped working. I spent countless hours on the Internet researching DIY deodorant formulas. I tried a few, added my own tweaks and met with some success. But I needed more than a modicum of success. I needed to know that whatever my activity or hormonal level, my deodorant would hold up. I needed consistency. Read more>>

Plechette Walker | Celebrity Chef

I always knew I wanted to start a business since I was 11 years old and throughout the years I played with the idea but never pursued it. I had so many opportunities pass me by and I always said if an opportunity presents itself again I will never let it pass by me, and that day came and i seized the moment. Read more>>

Michelle Roberts | Private Chef and Caterer

When I started my catering business it had been years of thinking about it off and on. I knew that I really didn’t want to start with a restaurant and the responsibilities of owning or renting a building , staff etc. I still wanted to have time for the things I love to do. Read more>>

John Able Jr. | Kid Entrepreneur/Party Rentals

In the summer of 2015, when a bounce house was taken away at the end of our son JJ’s birthday party he told us he wanted his own bounce house company. He was five years old at the time. Additionally, as a military family we knew we had a few years until retirement so we saw the bounce house company as a great way to make money , create our own schedule, work together as a family and leave a profitable business to our kids and their kids. In other words, we saw building a foundation for our kids as a means of guaranteed financial security . As parents we feel that leaving them a operational business is more important than anything else . So when JJ said he wanted to do it we quickly with no hesitation formulated a plan and put the money up. Read more>>

Val Schonberg | Registered Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist & Certified Menopause Practitioner

There were two driving factors behind my decision to start my own nutrition practice. First and foremost was to find a better work/life balance. I had worked for an eating disorder treatment program in Minnesota for many years and I loved my work! I worked with some of the most brilliant and talented clinicians in the field and was grateful for the experience and expertise I gained. At the same time, my kids had always been my number one priority, and up until a certain point, I had been able to work, attend all my kids activities and functions, and most important be at home for family meals every night. While my oldest was already off at college, my youngest had only two years left of high school and I started to realize that my work obligations were preventing me from being the mom I wanted to be. Read more>>

Latasha Whyte | Business owner of Clean House Of Atlanta LLC

They are people out there who works very hard and have no time to clean there own home. So I thought it best to open my own cleaning business where I can help them along the line. We go in and do a pleasurable job for them so when they come home they feel pleased. Apart from that I love cleaning because its apart of me. I love having the opportunity to be independ ent and self-sufficient. Read more>>

Anais Tomlinson-Grant | Film Producer

Often in the life of a creator, we are faced with walls that seem too tall to face. We don’t fit in, we don’t fit out, and we feel unfit to explore otherwise. We were able to see that these social constructs are the foundational blocks of something new, fresh, and innovative. That pressure pushed me into combining forces with a creative soulmate, Cleavon Meabon, IV, towards a common goal, Audible Orgy, our first podcast. I have an extensive background in production coordination, casting, and what I like to call “foreman” work. Those skills paired well with Cleavon’s entrepreneurial prowess. He has produced and curated original content for over a decade in various mediums of entertainment including: theatre, film, radio, and television. Together, we launched my film production company McHyacinth Productions, LLC, named after my mother Valerie Grant and Cleavisions Multi-Medium Platform, LLC. Read more>>

Regina & Renee Hammon | Pastry Artists

Starting our own business was inspired by our mom. Her love and passion for baking was infectious. Not only did it bring her joy, but also everyone around. There’s no better feeling than laughter around the table while enjoying dessert with family and friends. Read more>>

Rachelle Houston | Executive Director

I am motivated by serving others. I believe it is my purpose. Without parents I was raised in Chicago by my Aunt. As a single parent of two she struggled but always put me in activities that we really couldn’t afford. From ballet class on Michigan Ave. to piano lessons at Merritt Music located in Chicago’s downtown loop etc. she was a big fan of Exposure! When funds got really tight I spent time with my grandfather. The first black man to own a golfing range in Selma, Al. Needless to say they made me who I am. So when people ask me why I do what I do or why I founded Excel Youth Academy the answer is simple. Someone did it for Me! Read more>>

Grant Prata | Entrepreneur

I wanted to have more of a family life. I was putting in 60-70 hours a week at my corporate job and decided that I needed a bit more life flexibility. Why sit back and use your skills to make money for someone else? Owning a business is hectic, you still have to put in the hours especially when you are starting up, but you get to manage your own time and aren’t set to a schedule and that was the freedom I was looking for. Read more>>

Chris Conner | Franchise Consultant

I started my own business out of necessity, lost a job and had family turmoil. Starting a business was really my last option when my back was against the wall and I felt like I could help family members who were also in tough spots. You hear stories and read books about people in situations like this and I never thought much about the experience until I was literally IN it. The reality is that someone like me would probably never have taken that leap into entrepreneurship. I liked working for someone else, having structure, guidelines and feeling like I was safe with a regular paycheck and 401k. When the rug was pulled out, it hit me that there wasn’t the security that I had thought was there with a W-2 job and I’ve been thankful I was pushed ever since. Read more>>

Freeman Fields I | Entrepreneur & Serial Innovator

I was born as entrepreneur. As early as I could remember, despite living in the projects of Chicago SouthSide, I’ve always said I was going to be rich when the other kids were saying they wanted to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc… At the age of 6, my mother thought it was hilarious to have her friends to ask me “what do you want to be Freeman when you grow up? Without ever skipping a beat from whatever I was doing, my response would always be, “I want to be rich”. I cut my teeth on entrepreneurship at a very early age when my mother became the neighborhood candy lady. What better way to spend your weekend than taking money from all the neighborhood kids. I was 13 yrs old and selling at my family’s snow cone stand when I first heard the word entrepreneur. Read more>>

John Garrett | Mobile LockerRoom for Active Lifestyle Enthusiasts

Thought process behind starting my own business is simple…. I’ve have work over 20 years in the Consumer Package Good in sales and mostly Marketing and I thought it would be amazing creating a product that people would find useful and necessary in there lives. To create a Brand that I could market it as I have done for Fortune 500 companies and made them millions. It allows me to have total control over Branding! Read more>>

Lana Harris | Managing Director

I started The Honey Pot Energy and Art as an outlet for my spiritual expansion. When I decided to launch I was going through this beautiful awakening, I was also working full time and trying to find ways to connect with others that were on a similar journey. I secured a super small space inside of a market in the Lil 5 Points area of Atlanta, that housed 6 other boutique type black-owned business’s, exactly 1 year later we were in a larger but still small space in the front of the market which gave us a lot more visibility, 1 more year and we are now in our very own space. Read more>>

Jason Lopez | Vice President & Director

I think starting your own business is a wonderful idea. It will come with challenges and rewards beyond your imagination. It sets the stage to really see what you are made of and what you can do with your own two and hands and know how. Read more>>

Nick Jackson | Auto Repair

When the economy fell in 2008, things got really rough. Nick was working for a large dealership (Bill Heard Chevrolet) and they closed their doors. After working for other dealerships and the county, we decided to step out on faith and do it on our own. Read more>>

Crystal Glass | CEO of BOLD Intentionz LLC

Throughout childhood and up to adulthood many things have changed for me but challenging the odds, my positive attitude, providing advice, and contributing to the self- development of others has stuck with me personally and professionally. I’m truly inspired by positivity and change. I’ve come to understand that change is strongly influenced by personal growth and development. I love to challenge myself and others to live out full potential. It brings me joy to witness others walk their journeys, live their truth, overcome their obstacles, and witness their wildest dreams come true. It was only natural that I’d find myself building and owning a personal development brand. I realized that it was time to make my passion, my paycheck and truly make a difference in this world. Read more>>