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.

Jasmine Jacksom | Life Coach, Health Coach& Income Shifter

I started my business to uplift women of color to take control of their mental and physical health. I was a high school teacher and I knew teaching was my passion; however, I knew I could use my skills to help teach women through mental health and health coaching. I wanted to own my wealth and happiness. Read more>>

Juwan Harris | Clothing Designer

The thought process behind starting my business was that I always had style my mom and my dad had style. I always knew how to dress but was never popular enough to win best dressed. My biggest thing was learning how to stand out. In school every year I would pick what brand to wear for the whole year and I was going to get as much Polo or Nike as I could for the year but as years went by I ran out of brands so when I got to college I said to myself, “what can I make that’s as versatile as me when it comes to style and fashion.” Me personally I can blend in and adjust to any setting whether it be the trenches in Atlanta or a Fortune 500 company I can adapt and that was something I wanted my brand to have as well. So after I dropped out of college that whole summer I locked myself in my room and taught myself how to start a clothing line, how to create a logo, how to get shirts made, etc and I learned. It took maybe 6 months before I was confident about my logo but once I saw it I knew it was the one. Read more>>

Philly Redface | Record label CEO

With Covid changing the way the world works it also opened up awesome opportunities for new entrepreneurs and I took full advantage of it. Read more>>

Sedrick Lakpa | Writer & Director

My thought process was rooted in a emotional response of feeling like the history of black Atlanta outside of MLK Jr. was being erased through gentrification and new developments throughout the city. The marketed rebranding of neighborhoods and influx of new residents has fueled the creation of my business. Read more>>

Stormy Scott | Digital Marketing Writer

When looking at my passion and my career, starting a digital writing business made perfect sense. I love to write and more specifically, I love writing for digital spaces. Though I write daily for my ‘day job,’ those articles focus heavily on web hosting technology, web design, and other related topics. With my writing business, I have the opportunity to work on projects that are more creative and/or philanthropic. Read more>>

Sarah Miller Gelber | Gallery Owner & Art Consultant

While I enjoy a good marsh painting, I was feeling uninspired while looking for unique artwork for clients homes (and my own!). Charleston was lacking artistic diversity – big time. We still have a long way to go in the diversity department, but opening up a space that introduced innovative, contemporary art in an approachable setting was one way I knew I could contribute to the fabric of our community. The second reason I took the leap was to satisfy my desire to connect. I lOVE connecting people; seeing collaborations come to life, introducing someone to artwork that makes them swoon, or everyday, inspiring conversations — I knew I could do all of this if I had a space of my own. Read more>>

Kevin Reese | Talent Buyer/ Festival Managment/ Artist Managment

I came from a very conventional family. My father is a lawyer and my mother is in property management. The notion of creating my own business came from watching their struggles. I wanted to build a legacy of my own. I wanted to create freedom for myself and prayerfully for future generations tied to my name. The idea of working for somebody else and building their dream was never an option. I became determined to figure out how to make my business work. This was not an easy feat. I can honestly say I wanted to quit hundreds of times. However, now more than a decade in… I can not be more proud of what I have built and what I am building. Read more>>

Arha Holt | Owner & Founder of Yummy Yummi

I currently service plenty of women but I didn’t have a product to offer them. So I got to thinking about what I currently do which is massage and bodywork so it only made sense to create a product that would cater to their bodies in a way that would make them feel confident fresh and sexy all day. So I came up with the name Yummy Yummi. This is a personal and body care product line that provides a ph balance formulation by using herbal blends to help fight against harmful bacteria that cause yeast. Read more>>

Jeff Tarver | Youth Sports Expert

The reasoning behind starting my own business was because I wanted to leave a legacy for my children. I believe that our bloodlines deserve to inherit resources from the hard work that we put in while here on earth. I want my children to benefit from the fruits of my labor. Read more>>

Telisha Taylor | Creative Coach + Lifestyle & Taste Influencer

The Fashionable Traveler platform is all about experiences and events. The places I’ve gone in the clothes I put on. My thought process behind all that I do is to be of service. My underlining passion is to help people and it comes naturally to me. I offer Creative Coaching Services, to help people share their creative view. I love the concept behind sharing my experiences which turns into inspiring others to share their experience and try something new. Read more>>

Christophe Choquart | Picture Framing and Art Gallery owner

Throughout my previous career in capital markets as an institutional equity sales, I have collected art for the connection it provided to the real world. I have always been intrigued by the artist’s process and the inevitable question of when is the art piece finished and ready to be shared with the world. What is art? Is it talking to me ? Telling me something about my feelings? Connecting me with a reality that I would otherwise ignore? I also realized that art was not for everyone, at least according the Medias. Only the 1% buys art and who am I to know what a work of art is worth? Should I be interested in the appreciation potential of each painting I buy? If so, I would not have been able to purchase much and frankly, what is the point. I have always purchased art that I loved and could afford at the time. Much better investment than a TV or other gadget. Art is not and end but a beginning, says AI WEI WEI. Starting my new business was all about a new beginning, a second act. Read more>>

Andrew Hill | Producer & Engineer

The mindset behind opening up my own business was multi-faceted, and didn’t come without a great amount of planning and foresight. To start at the beginning, I have been a musician since the age of 7, but almost exclusively as a sideman, session player and/or band member. Being in the music industry in Atlanta was difficult for me, as well as for the majority of my musician friends. This was mainly because income was hard to come by and jobs generally weren’t too reliable. So there was a general attitude of flying by the seat of our pants most of the time. As I got older and more involved in different projects, I noticed a few other things about myself and the music industry. First, I noticed that I tended to voice my own ideas for song arrangements and ideas which, as a drummer and sideman, typically resulted in some butting of heads. I was “producing” but I didn’t identify it as such until later. Read more>>

Steven Carroll | Inspirational Designs By Dre Owner and Artist

My business was developed from the mindset of inspiring my audience and clients through all abstract paintings. Some paintings was curated with the influence from personal experiences, and for others to reflect on their journey as well. Read more>>

LaTisha Guster | Owner & Creator of Blushing Black

My thought process was simple: to create a beautiful space that included the topics of fashion, beauty & lifestyle that women would love to visit and enjoy posted content. I wanted to connect with other like-minded women with similar interests. Read more>>

Christopher Hudson | Visionary/Creator

I’ve always had a passion for fashion and a heart to help and inspire others. I took the two things that I love and merged them together to create a storytelling brand that motivates and inspires others to pursue their dreams and find their purpose. Read more>>

Mia Hann, MBA | Chief Executive Officer

As a survivor of domestic violence my thought process for starting Whole Life Healing Center was to advocate and assist as many domestic violence victims as we possibly can. This journey began while I was in a domestic violence shelter (Promise Place). I noticed the need for transitional assistance and wanted to create a program to focus on the areas of opportunities that were apparent to me durring my time of transitioning. Promise Place blessed me with a grant for my startup process, they believed in my vision before I had it clearly written out. My goal is to give that same hope, healing and support to survivors transitioning out of domestic violence shelters across the world. My prayer is to one day have a facility in every city and state to ensure assistance is available for everyone. As a nonprofit we work hard to provide assistance with resumes, job placement, affordable housing options, blessing buckets, financial literacy, clothing and more. Read more>>

Lauren Rubinstein | Owner & Lead Photographer of Lauren Rubinstein Photography

I honestly didn’t think much about it in the beginning. I started my business right after Photography school and just thought this is what I am dong. full speed ahead. The intricacies of owning my own business didn’t even occur to me and I didn’t think it would be any different than just working for a living. Read more>>

Nikki Venus | Business Style Coach

I have always been passionate about fashion, but I got my start when I launched my online boutique years ago. This is when I began doing personal styling which led me to eventually create a new business venture with a completely unique concept to what I saw in the industry – a complete 360-style experience of custom closet design, closet organization, and most importantly, style coaching. The experience from branching out into this concept gave me the idea to create a program for personal stylists and style coaches which became Style Coach Academy™. Style Coach Academy™ came into fruition because I did not want other personal stylists or style coaches to experience the growing pains I did.  It took a lot of trial and error and endless nights of research when I started as a Style Coach, but with persistence, I have been able to combine strategies from my previous endeavors as a Business Risk Manager in the finance industry. Read more>>

Amy Leake | Salon Owner & Stylist

I had been in my profession for 20 years when an opportunity to purchase my grandparents property in our small downtown business district presented itself. I knew I had more to offer and wanted to help train and promote the next generation of stylist. Read more>>

Priscilla Powell | Destination Wedding & Group Travel Specialist

I always felt out of place in corporate America. I’ve held a full time job since I was 17 years old, starting off in trust banking and eventually ending up working for the government. Throughout my career I garnered a bit of success, promotions, pay increases and awards, however I realized that the environment was breaking me. I was dimming my light, wasn’t allowed to be my authentic self, and grew tired of being used to train the well compensated new hires on positions which management deemed me unworthy. The politics, corporate bullying, and the uneven playing field that comes with being a black woman in corporate America made me throw myself fully towards funding my own lifestyle. At about age 20, I made a decision that I couldn’t let any person determine if I was going to eat. This pushed me towards having a side hustle, which helped line my pockets – because even when I reached a level where I was paid well, I wasn’t paid fairly or my worth. I sold everything from lipstick, to cookies, to clothing, to girdles and noni juice, but I never saw a life in those endeavors. Ironically, I discovered the business of travel at the same time I began my government career, and built them both simultaneously. Read more>>

Chelsea Goolsby | Eyebrow Expert/ Brow Educator & Entrepreneur Net-Worker

My thought process behind starting my own business, is that I had to become my own boss. I had big visions and I knew I had to leave from working for other people behind to accomplish my goals. Oh, trust me it wasn’t easy but I knew my dreams were so big that I had to start from somewhere. I started to think about generational wealth with starting my business and I knew it was bigger than me. And to become financial free!! One big thing, I thought about was supply and demand what the economy needed. Read more>>

Dre Jose | CEO, Author, & Influencer

There are two types of people throughout this world; Employees and employers. Employers grant opportunities, however employees accept those opportunities. Starting my businesses wasn’t just for myself, but for everyone who deserves an opportunity. Read more>>

VIBE BK | Latoya Skerrette and Jasmine Williams

The journey of VIBE BK really begins with a Brooklyn high school friendship that developed into a sisterhood that is housed in East Flatbush, Brooklyn NY. Our common ground: a love for all things Brooklyn and a passion for helping others. We both have years of experience working with youth, in the areas of mentorship and teaching. Little did we know that those experiences would prime us for entrepreneurship. Our goal is to offer youth what we didn’t have as adolescents growing up, a designated space for exploration. Jumping into the entrepreneurial pool later in life, we wish we had support in advancing our talents in a way that led to business. There are several safe spaces for youth but not many are using concentrated time in teaching them how to use their skills to develop as entrepreneurs. This is the void that VIBE BK fills. VIBE BK strives to engage, cultivate ideas and manifest dreams, vibing the Brooklyn way. VIBE BK is an innovative community that promotes creativity, and a feel-good-vibe for all freelancers, creatives, youthpreneurs, and entrepreneurs. Read more>>

Renee Jael Jael | Fine Art Photographer & Stylist

When I graduated from college in 2009 there weren’t many jobs available however I worked as a hostess and continued to pursue becoming a registered dietician. During that time, even though I loved the career path I chose I realized I had creative gifts that needed to be pursued. It was after leading a bible study on the parable of the talents I realized-I didn’t want to be the one that hid out of fear. Right then I decided that in the future I would build a life with three goals in mind: to build a life using my creativity, give into missions and help young women in the same things that helped me! Immediately, I went on a what I call “creative discovery” where I just tried everything! A few years, 2013, in it eventually led me to learning photography. While I was learning the skill of photography, I was also preparing to go to Mexico for six weeks to learn how to be a missionary. Read more>>

Jerod Morton | Artist, Producer, A&R, Saxophone Player, Pianist

Taking the leap and trusting GOD. Read more>>

KL Allen | Fashion Designer & Film Producer

Since I could remember, I have always wanted to have my own business. When I started my Fashion Label in 2007, I had already had a love for fashion but I really wanted to immerse myself in the Fashion World. I took a year to research the fashion industry before I officially launched my business. I knew that I have to know the not only the fundamentals of business but of the fashion world and how overtime I could make my brand a household name. I also knew that I had to adapt with the times and trends and find my target market and my core customer. My thought process was that whenever I started my business no matter what happens, I always want to be able to sustain and remain in business. Read more>>

Elisabeth Young | Stationer & Online Educator

I love having control over my day and my hours. I also didn’t love some of the pressures surrounding a corporate and/or office environment and knew that wasn’t for me in the long run. Read more>>

Brandon Lateef | Owner, Wing-A-Ling Express Catering

I didn’t want to work for anyone. Also, I wanted to make money doing something that I was passionate about. I didn’t want to be rich. I just wanted to be free to create and try new things without having a manager tell me what I could or could not do. Read more>>

Imani Vanzap | Self Care Coach

There is great importance in claiming your own voice and path in the world. One of the best ways to do that is in starting our own business or by social media standards, your own platform. I found the ownership of this voice to be incredibly helpful in how people see the world. Read more>>

Bianca Houston | Creative

I was a performer at a very early age, modeling, dancing, acting etc. As the years went by I became a student of the Arts, soaking up all of the information, processes and knowledge I could. Eventually these ideas would pop in my head and I didn’t know what to do with them or how to get them out so I began to research how to start a business. In 2008, I created BHouston Industries, INC with the sole purpose of promoting any and all of my creative ideas! To date, there are short films, stage plays and a book under its belt! And it’s just getting started. Read more>>

Natalie Hayes | Media Makeup Artist

I’ve always worked best when left to my own devices- working independently and self-directed. I made the first jump to working for myself in 1998. It was scary, leaving the secure paycheck offered with a 9-5 job but I believed in the business I’d started and was also invigorated at the idea of taking such a risk. At that time I was a single mom of a small child so the stakes were very high. But ultimately, what I told myself was “if for some reason this doesn’t work, you can always go get another job.” When thinking of it that way, the fear dissipated. I knew that, no matter what, everything would be ok. Read more>>

Sha’nique Hall | Owner of Sha’Shyne

My thought process behind starting my own business was creating a brand that I love and developing generational wealth for myself. Read more>>