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.

Collins Pettaway III | Political Strategist & Communications Specialist

I have to be honest. At the beginning of all of this, I didn’t have a thought process! I had just returned to Selma in the Fall of 2018, and the candidate in the governor’s election that I worked in did not win. So, I spent a long time afterwards looking for a job. I preferred to find work in Selma, but it was honestly hard because I was consistently told that was “over-qualified.” I wasn’t sure where to turn, until I got the opportunity to help a close friend. He was raising money for a huge cause and I decided to help him by bringing some media attention his way. Those efforts helped him surpass his goal by $20,000! In that moment, a light bulb went off in my head! I realized that I had the capacity to help others achieve their goals in the same way I helped my friend achieve his. From there, I wrote down a bunch of ideas, organized them into a plan, and later in March of 2019, The Pettapull Firm was born. Read more>>

Keosha Sath | Author & President of Double Dutchess

I have the desire to be successful. The regular 9-5 was not enough for me it was not filling my cup. People say doing what you love is a part of being successful. I love spending time with my two daughters and I love teaching them new things. I took the energy and passion from both of those things and started a nail polish business for them called Double Dutchess and became a Children’s Book Author two years ago under my name. Read more>>

Jocanna Brown | Wealth Coach

Having both time & financial freedom all while Creating Generational Wealth for my children!. Read more>>

Amanda Michelle | Self-published Author and The Moonlightin Artist.

Starting my own business came solely from the idea that I was tired of being used, disregarded, and unappreciated in my career. I had worked hard for so long, and when I had gained even a little bit of success within my field, I still felt unfulfilled and dissatisfied with where I was in life and the direction I was going. In the end, I burned myself out and lacked all motivation and desire to want to continue that journey. Writing, drawing, creating it’s always something I’ve used to cope with life. It’s always something I’ve done without a second thought, even while working other jobs. Yet when it came down to doing it as a business, I found myself so overwhelmed with creating for others and receiving little to no financial gain, which at the time was all I was really interested in. Money was the motive and working at my last job helped me realize that money was no longer my motive. Peace, love, balance, and joy were all things that were of vital importance to the phase of my life I had entered. Read more>>

Chanaye Jackson | Owner

Atlantis Filmworks is primarily a production and production services company based in Atlanta. There is also some consulting done for smaller companies and their workers to generally look better on camera, especially because of the large work from home (WFH) workforce. The production services side helps producers or creators execute their idea. At Atlantis, we like to say that creators and producers need to come with an idea and a budget and we can help with the rest, including crew, equipment, payroll, insurance, and all the other things that are really hard about being in the production business. Atlantis Filmworks has been around for about three years and owned by two partners. where Chanaye comes from the corporate world with a degree in public health and spent most of her time working with health teams ensuring better patient care. Read more>>

Jay L Harris | Digital Brand Strategist

Sink or Swim! Those are thoughts that come to mind. My venture into entrepreneurship was of necessity. I lost my job in 2012 and searched for jobs for an entire year. I needed a miracle. I am thankful that someone took a chance on me to ask me to run their social media. Read more>>

Diamond Ross | Owner of Passion Over Pain Clothing & Candle Creator For Suited Scents

I always knew I wanted to own a clothing line. Whether it be just tee shirts and limited supplies. I knew it would be something dope based on my creative capabilities. As far as business I never thought about that specifically. I just knew I loved clothing and design and just wanted to create. As I got older I realized that me having a business would allow me to build my own financial freedom under my own rules and create as much as my heart desires. Read more>>

Skeet Watts | ESMG CEO

Having my own, leaving a legacy for my son. putting my friends and family on. Generational wealth. Read more>>

Miki Riley | Inspirational Entrepreneur, Author & Speaker

My mother planted the seed of entrepreneurship in my heart when I was about 15 years old. I was asked what my business would be and to provide a business plan. Because of this, I have had a small business since I was 16 years old. Although over the years my business endeavors have changed, the thought of being self employed has never. Read more>>

Linora Calloway | Beauty Instructor and Small Business Owner

I am an everyday teenager with GOALS, DREAMS and a love for the Fashion & Beauty Industry! I gave myself my first hair cut at the age of 3 years old. Needless to say, my mother was not happy at all! That is when my interest and love of hair started. I am a trained Wig Maker, Licensed Hair Braider and Natural Hair Stylist! Much like many young girls, I watched a lot of YouTube videos and makeup tutorials. I practiced many techniques, and discovered a few new ones of my own! After a while, YouTube videos became more for entertainment purposes, because the more I tapped into my creative side, I found that my techniques although in line with the latest trends, are unique to me! I love evolving in an industry that has inspired me so much, I have now become an innovator and trendsetter. I have taught many group and one on one makeup classes. Read more>>

Manina Beale-Bush | Owner/CEO Legacy BookBar

I’m an avid reader of all books and I remembered as kid how books written by african americans were shelved in the back of the store under “urban literature”. At 15 years old trying to figure out why my favorite romance authors wasn’t with the other authors in romance. This infuriated me on how Blacks in literature (life really) are treated. Fast forward almost 20 years and I’m thinking on what business I wanted for myself and I remembered this feeling. I wanted to walk into a bookstore and see “ME” represented throughout the entire store. I created Legacy BookBar on the promise that black authors would have a home for their books. Read more>>

Amanda/Linda Schrembeck/McNeil | Co-Founder of OK Motion Club


We follow a couple of other animation collectives and felt like it was something we could create here in Atlanta, especially since animation is such a male driven industry. Linda: We kind of started it as a way to just get out of our comfort zone and have a space to explore and grow our animation and motion design skills outside of our normal work. Read more>>

Debra “Suzette” Brown | CEO, Foster/Adoptive Parent, Parental Coach and Trainer

My thought process behind starting my Nonprofit Each One Teach One Together was because of my mother. After my first marriage ended in a divorce and I had a young daughter my mental state of mind was not good at all. Being that I did not have family here in the Metro Atlanta Area the relationship between me and my mother was strong, but it became even stronger after the divorce. my mother knew I was not healthy mentally as well as physically the divorce had taken a harship on me so my mother reached out to me and suggested that I allow her to keep my then 4 year old daughter until I could get get my mental, physical and financial situation in tact. ONe of the hardest decision I have every had to make to separate from my daughter, Daphne, The love of my life and really during my tough times in the marriage she helped just by her presence keep what little sanity I had together. Read more>>

Coco Howe | Co-Founder (& Tani Greenspan – Co-Founder)

We were on a walk during the COVID-19 pandemic and were planning our next moves, having both been laid off from our jobs in software development and event planning. We saw all of these art galleries that were closed. Restaurants and stores were able to pivot and do takeout or go online. Art galleries, however, seemed to have shut down completely. It was really sad and striking, especially in New Orleans, where there’s so much culture. Coco had the software skills to design the website an online art gallery would need. Tani, an art history major and artist herself, had the art training to curate a gallery. We were a perfect blend. We then reached out to contacts and poured ourselves into all-night work sessions. Through several iterations of our business plan, we honed Coco’s vision for our market—young people like them, who might feel uncomfortable and intimidated in a high-end gallery but wanted to invest something more personal and upmarket than an Etsy store. Read more>>

Blanca Bustamante | Visual Artist/ Ceo/ Director

It all started as an idea inspired in memory of my mother. My mother was a purse collector, she absolutely loved her purses! Growing up she always encouraged me to carry a purse everywhere I went to represent a classy lady. I’ve been a traditional visual artist for about 3 years now, recently I decided to expand my creativity and decided to build my own brand Borsellino by Dismorphicbb. Borsellino was an idea planned and executed within two weeks. An idea meant to honor my mother’s existence and her lady like ways. The Borsellino collection is a brand meant to honor art and all types of women; it is designed to combine the street wear, luxury and art world into one. I design each Borsellino to represent a unique fashionable and stylish work of art. I decided to combine art and fashion into these purses to represent a new style as an artist a new era for Dismorphicbb but mainly to give back my audience. Read more>>

Taylor Alexander | CEO of The Brand Flourisher, LLC

The Brand Flourisher, LLC was created through a journey of self-discovery and overcoming hurdles to be unapologetically confident in my creative abilities. In elementary school, I self-taught myself how to graphic design, which led me to design social media profiles and web design. As I matriculated through high school, my creative portfolio grew, and then my computer’s hard drive died my senior year of high school. I felt defeated to the point that I briefly went “off-the-radar” from freelancing and graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. Let that sit for a minute lol. In 2013, I learned that I had a natural ability and passion for developing brands when I joined the Dance Ensemble at GSU (DEGSU) as a college freshman. Once individuals noticed my success with DEGSU’s increased brand awareness. Read more>>

Dr. Carla Copeland | Special Education Consultant

My thought process behind me starting my own business was seeing the breakdown in Instructional strategies, professional development sessions for teachers, compliance, the lack of compassion and resources for students with disabilities declining. I knew that I had to do something that would shift the mindset and the trajectory. Read more>>

Kam Williams | Broker / Owner of Kam Williams Realty Group

My thought process behind starting my own business was that If I could work 40 hours for someone else then I can work 80 hours a week for myself. After graduating from Cornell University with a Masters of Landscape Architecture, I was hired by a Civil Engineering firm in downtown Atlanta. I was a great assets because I had a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Clark Atlanta University and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from Cornell University. I was initialed hired to create the company’s landscape architecture department. I came up with systems and created landscape design plans that would be implemented by landscape contractors. After putting 100% into my designs and watching them be implemented, but not moving up in the company, started to discourage me. I started feeling lost, doubtful and depressed. Read more>>


I’ve always hated a traditional 9 to 5 job. Don’t get me wrong, it’s needed. But deep down I knew in my heart that I can be successful creating my own source of income using God-given talents. So in 2018, I started my own business and began the growth of my brand. Read more>>

Desmond Ross | MACT. Founder & Owner

I wanted to create a business to pass down to my son. It started with me writing my first children’s book titled “My Superpowers” where my son is the main character. It is about a boy who will use his superpowers to make the world a better place to live. I wanted show my son that anything is possible and that you can do anything that you put your mind to. I created my company MACT. (Make A Change Today.) to publish the book and also sell apparel. The company’s mission is to inspire and champion positive change in everyday lives. Read more>>

NaDasia C-White | Designer , Online Boutique Owner, Computer Technician, Author and Wardrobe Stylist

The thought process behind my business came solely from my passion for all things creativity. I had to carefully decide by researching and using the knowledge I had already acquired. Read more>>

Elle Nielsen | Professional Dancer and Choreographer

I wanted my passion to inspire the masses. Read more>>

Angelica Collins | Camera Operator & Vessel

I started my own business because I WILL NOT CONFORM to please the descendants of my ancestor’s slave masters! Starting my own business meant telling white and white-washed black people who wanted to change me into a cookie-cutter, perfectly laid hair “Oreo” that I AM NOT YOUR MODERN SLAVE and I am not your toy! When I left my corporate job a little over three years ago I told myself “I will not work for the approval of those who don’t understand my calling, but I will work for the freedom that I deserve”. Starting my business meant that I defeated modern slavery, taking back my power and giving me the chance to live free because where I’m from you can feel the suppression in the air. Charleston, SC, is notoriously known for its role during slavery. The markets where slaves were sold still standing while young boys stand, waiting and begging to sell those who walk by a ross made from sweetgrass, the same grass my ancestors wove. My son will not practice acts of suppression and the generations that proceed me will be free. Read more>>

Paula Ilochi | Intuitive Transformation Coach

I have not always wanted to work for myself. In fact, I thought it was super scary to leave a 9-5 to go into the unknown. However, one day the thought of owning my own business became almost like an obsession! I remember going to bed thinking of it and waking up thinking of it. I started speaking to other entrepreneurs to get a better understanding of what I could expect my path to become but I did all of this while still maintaining my 9-5. I continued like this until a change in my family dynamic forced me to leave my position and I ended up unemployed. It was in this moment I told myself I had to sink or swim and I made a decision in that moment to go full steam ahead and pursue my own business and haven’t looked back. Read more>>

Michele Sorkin | Jennifer Scott – Visionary and Cheerleader, Michele Sorkin – Chief Butt Scratcher and Big Ideas

We really wanted to be in control of our future. We both have marketing backgrounds and passion for dogs – this was a way to marry our talents and passions, and we love every minute of it!. Read more>>

Briana J | Beauty Boss & Bartender

Ever since I can remember, my parents would always stress the importance of working for myself. Even before I was old enough to understand. It wasn’t really until I was graduating high school before I fully understood why I needed to start a business. I’ve always loved Beauty, so doing something that I love was the thought process behind my business Vixxen Vanity. Later on, I became a Bartender and fell in love with the Hospitality & Nightlife Industry, which is the basis of my second business Vanity Bar Collection. Read more>>

Rashai Jones | Media Correspondent | Talk Show Host

Due to a failed internship as a media correspondent, and working jobs that I didn’t like. I decided to be my own boss, and get into entrepreneurship. ShaibabyTV is a media outlet ran by a dope Christain boss chic (me.) My platform is not just for celebrities but for underdogs like myself, with a passion, and dream that they’re chasing but might not have enough funds, connections, or whatever the case may be to be in the limelight, but still would like to share their story and what they have to offer to the world. Read more>>

Adele Ledet | Owner

My thought process behind starting Creole Vegan was initially to share allergen-free, vegan and Creole inspired recipes through my own published cookbook. When I visited with a printing company for price quotes. the manager recommended that I create a buzz by setting up a food table at a popular event in Atlanta; being new to the culinary industry, I was unaware of the requirements needed to become a food vendor. I really wanted to share this new way to eat plant-based, so I started researching other venues that were more lenient to new vendors and that’s how Creole Vegan started as a catering/personal chef business. To date, I have built over 50 recipes, 3 vegan products including spices, sauce and breadcrumbs, community education programs for healthy meal plans, 3 annual Masquerade dinners, recipe sharing and will launch a grand opening restaurant on March 13. Read more>>

Katie Lynn + Laura Grace Sears | Co-Founders of a Creative Agency

We both started jobs after college. They didn’t last long because we were getting paid too little and we weren’t being given the creative opportunities we wanted. We were lucky to be surrounded by women who were starting businesses who put the idea into our heads. Starting a business was a huge commitment and a risk, but we loved the idea of having creative freedom, being able to choose who we worked with and even just making our own rules for work culture. Now if we work overtime, it’s because we choose to. Finally, one of the more important factors in deciding to start a business for us was that we got to work creatively together and that we weren’t starting a business alone. Read more>>

Adam Sanford | Illustrator

I reached a point in my life where I realized that I would not be content if I did not at least attempt to do something with my love of drawing. I think I loved it so much that I assumed, for years of my life, that it was not a possibility. Many people I know don’t do what they love as their job, so I thought that I had to find something that seemed like a “real job”. I started going to DragonCon as a yearly event, and that’s where I visited an artist alley for the first time. Meeting real live artists making a living with their art was a big eye opener. Something about seeing the people behind the work and how they connected with other people through their work really struck a chord with me. I just had to give it a shot. I would regret never trying. So I invested enough to start a convention table, and that was when I really felt like I went from hobbyist to professional. Read more>>

Bena Klier | Creative Fashion Designer

The thought process behind starting my own creative fashion line and storefront was how will my gifts and talents affect people when they; 1. Come into my store 2. How do will they feel trying on and even purchase my creative looks. Also it was never so much about being rich yet the process of staying in business in the mist of the pandemic without getting loans. Read more>>

Merle Wynter | Make Artist

Coming from a family full of creatives I knew that I had to put my skills to good use. Starting my business was a no brainer I wanted to create a legacy have something of my own. Read more>>

Tonja L Davis | Master Teacher/Author/Poet

My thought process behind starting my own business was to leave a legacy. Read more>>

Vanessa Rios | Cook

My initial intentions on starting my business was to have a big restaurant right off the bat. During this pandemic, many of us small business owners had to think on our toes and be creative with how we sell our food and interact with our customers. I saw a boom happen with the support of small business and knew that a pop up at different locations was the thing to do. I couldn’t have done it without the help of local food bloggers and local breweries. My business has skyrocketed and the demand is getting bigger. I am currently shopping for a permanent location but will keep doing pop ups for as long as I can. Read more>>

Terry Ware Sr | Book Publisher

Starting my own business was a God given idea. I can remember looking for publishers to publish my first book, I found that a lot publishing companies charge quite a bit. I didn’t know anything about the publishing process but I knew I couldn’t afford the prices I was coming I was introduced to a lady that said she would help me publish my book and the price she gave me was a really good price compared to everything I’d seen. However, she ended up just taking my money and I was left with a Google document full of my poetry and could no longer get in contact with her. That experience left me discouraged. Not long after that I was introduced to a publisher with great prices and actually worked with me through the publishing process to make sure it was just what I wanted. After publishing my first book I felt like I had accomplished something great. Read more>>

Temika Boucaud | Creator and Owner of My Own Kind of Beautiful LLC

My thought process behind My Own Kind of Beautiful (M.O.K.O.B.) was to create a community where women are celebrated for their inner beauty and all the defines them. A group of women not afraid to standout and represent their OWN kind of beautiful. We live in a society where everything is based on likes but the truth is that most women don’t even like themselves. Creating a community where women have the freedom to encourage and empower each other was crucial to me. There’s nothing more powerful than a woman that has rebuilt herself. MOKOB serves as a constant reminder to always show up as your best self and encourage the women next to you. Issa is movement!. Read more>>

Stephanie Saddler | Entrepreneur

I’ve always been a girl who lived against the norm. I have always looked forward to new adventures daily, so a 9-5 desk job was not for me (believe me. I tried it!) lol. I also strongly believe in small businesses and investing in them. I also an strongly for investing in yourself! As a mom, and a wife I needed something for me. So i made the jump. Read more>>

Akira Brown | Comic Publisher, Freelance Editor, Comic Creator

I started WildStar Press because indie publishing is a vast ocean of untapped potential. Being surrounded by friends with great stories and great art that couldn’t get published into the more “mainstream” publishing companies pushed me into wanting to help them. Even in my own experience, when I pitched to publishers, only to be rejected didn’t discourage me. Instead, it motivated me to do it myself. Not to mention with the lack of genuine diversity in so many large companies, it was just time to step up and be one of the ones to make that change. If someone else could make a successful comic book publisher, what was stopping me from making one too?. Read more>>

I’sis Eikner | Owner of p.h. Apparel, Dance Teacher, Actress, Producer

My first thought process behind starting this business was to create a brand and legacy for my son to have. Secondly , I took into consideration the new wave of style and culture which led me to a modern style of clothing for the precious little ones. Lastly, I knew balance was a topic that I would definitely need to dig deeper into with motherhood approaching. What better way to encourage balance I thought ? Let’s make it a brand. Read more>>