Starting and growing a business is hard, but often deciding to start the business in the first place is even harder. We asked some successful entrepreneurs from around the community to open up to us about how they thought about starting a business.

Marquita Harris Walton | CO Owner

Well, my thought process was, ok, you’ve worked to make someone else rich far too long, you’re too smart and talented to let you’re gifts that God blessed with go to waste. It’s time to start building generational wealth for your kids and family. At the time that I started my business I had been a stay at home mom for about 3 years and I felt stuck, I felt left behind, I felt overlooked, then felt unproductive, then I had a talk with my husband and I simply told him I’ve got to do something and he said “well what is it you wanna do” I at first didn’t have a answer, then after we both thought about it for a little while he said to me what about lashes and make up? At first I was a little hesitant because EVERYONE was selling lashes, hair and makeup, but I agreed that I was good at doing my makeup and lashes and that I would give selling them a try,that same day he found a vendor and ordered 100 pair of lashes and here we are now. Read more>>

Whitney Watts | Vegan Chef & Nutritionist

I was an Accountant in the real estate industry, and after having my child, I was instantly inspired to do more for myself. I went to culinary school in 2008, but I started having dinner parties at my home in 2015 while maintaining a full time job. I’d gather people that were friends to me, but strangers to each other. Watching them bond over my food and drinks was one of the happiest moments in my life next to having my child. I started getting inquiries for meal plans shortly after this just by posting what I was eating for dinner, and my dinner party experiences. Once that accounting job started to feel like an inconvenience because I’d “rather be cooking,” I knew it was time to transition. From there I became vegan in 2016 and my business has evolved with me. Read more>>

Angel Dumas | Owner & Licensed Esthetician/Nail Tech

My thoughts behind starting my own business was that it was time ! I’ve worked in a few different salons and felt like it was time to step out on my own and truly make a name for myself. Read more>>

Tesharra Alexander | The Real Estate Specialist

I am living proof that anyone who wants to start a successful business can do it. I NEVER wanted my own business until about two years ago. I was very comfortable with working my 9-5 teaching gig, getting my check once a month, allowing the government to take most of it in taxes, and having enough to pay my bills. After all, it was what I went to college for and it was my temporary definition of success. Once Covid-19 hit, my mindset shifted immediately and my goals, dreams, achievements, and the definition of success started to look different. I began to see that becoming an entrepreneur was not a choice buy a necessity. It was time to become financially free, create generational wealth, and to use my skillset to build a successful long lasting business. Read more>>

Christi Farmer | Full Time Bling Boss and Business Coach

My thought process behind starting my business is defined by my google search that led me to the business I’ve been building for the last 9 years. I was an elementary teacher in 2012 during the heat of a recession. As a public school teacher I was being furloughed thus decreasing my pay but at the same time the school system increased my contribution to our health care benefits. Suffice to say I didn’t like needing to continuously go into my already small savings account just to make ends meet. I woke up one day and decided to google “Ways to make an extra $1,000 a month.” Read more>>

Tikara Abramson | #Ceo and #Owner, Vital Braids

My thought process behind starting Vital Braids Creations was a bit challenging yet fun. The name itself holds weight, structure, and value. Vital comes from my middle name, Vitalia which originally came from my Dad Vital. Vital is a name people used to call my dad when he was younger and carried along with him in his years as he got older. Vital can mean so many things. Vital means powerful, strong, unity, top of the throne. Braids because I love braiding hair. I’ve been braiding hair since as young as I could remember. I used to be at school(Lakeside high) on my lunch break doing hair instead of eating and having me time. Creations well it speaks for itself. Read more>>

Mercedes Braxton | Licensed Professional Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor

Let me just start by saying that I love having my own business. Despite the challenges, the good outweigh the obstacles! My thought process behind starting my own business was that I wanted to offer my clinical services in a way that was unique and specific to my values and passion. I always had the perception that you needed to be rich to start a business or have a degree in it to “really” know what you’re doing. However, thanks to an opportunity from my previous employer, I learned that it was simply a myth and that anyone is capable of starting a business with the right passion, drive, and guidance! My thought process was that I could change the lives of others in a way that I believe is most effective, while also challenging myself to learn new things. Read more>>

Taaqiy Grant | Founder & CEO of the HAPI Movement

I wanted to make a film that not only had the ability to captivate but to also motivate and inspire. The social impact component is key and crucial when it comes fostering change. There’s a term we use with the HAPI Film and that is “it’s not just a film it’s a movement.” As filmmakers I feel we have a responsibility to bring about change through our creative lens. This holds particularly true for Documentary filmmakers. The reality is those that control the images control the self esteem, self respect and development of people. Read more>>

Joi Butler | College Student & Chief Visionary Officer

My thought process was to find something that I love to do and make money off of it. I started out taking pictures of my mom when she wanted to take pictures after church or she just wanted some pictures to post on social media. I was inspired by my mom to pursue this and turn it into a business. It started out as a hobby and turned into a business. Read more>>

Rachel White | Lifestyle Photographer

I have always been a photography fiend! I caught the photo bug early in life and have been collecting moments with my camera since. This always felt very personal, but as I grew artistically and started experimenting capturing friends and family I realized the joy that comes from capturing others’ big moments was just as strong as my own! I realized I had a knack for visual and emotive storytelling and relished when others would tell me I captured their moments exactly how they pictured them. It took some soul searching to see if I could turn this once hobby into a lucrative business, but I have never looked back! What a joy it is to make a living capturing the joys of my clients’ everyday lives as well as their extra special moments! Read more>>

Levina J. | Actor & Mompreneur

The journey of Starting my own business has been about freedom. Having the opportunity to work on what fulfills me, and being able to prioritize my family, corporate America would have you believe that the only way to be successful is to get a high paying job. The truth is you can have a stable comfortable life doing things that make you happy! There are so many ways one can be successful. Starting a business is just my journey but it’s not the only other option either. Do what fulfills you. Read more>>

Shanay Walker | Candle Artisan & Creative

The thought process behind starting my own business initially started from just trying something new. I am an artist already in the traditional sense with pencil and paper, however during COVID, I just wanted to try a new medium. I think of candle-making as an art form, where my wax and oils are my medium of choice and my vessels are my canvas. I found that making candles became very therapeutic for me. I could completely zen out with some music, and make candles for hours. Read more>>

Ebony Wheaton and Shannon Teranishi | Co-Creators of Saint The Brand

The idea to launch Saint The Brand came to us during one of our “build sessions” – a time that we set aside weekly to hear from God about what we ought to build with our gifts, talents, and resources. God dropped the word “Saint” in our spirits, which inspired exploration and study of the word’s true meaning. We discovered that “Saint”, as used in the scriptures, stems from the Greek word “hagiazo.” To our surprise, the translation of the word Saint has little to do with being perfect, pious, or pure, as the world would have us think. Read more>>

Reco Edwards | Custom Car Designer

My Thought Process throughout my entire process of starting my business was simple, I decided to stay focus and determine to make it work. I know at the end of it all I wanted to be happy and successful at the same time. I was mentally prepared for the struggle in which I was about to endure, with the hopes of one day saying it was all worth it. Read more>>

Ashley Johnson | BSN, RN

I come from a family of nurses who inspired me to also become an RN and my parents have always instilled the thought of me being my own boss. More so, I recall as if it happened yesterday-I completed a shift one day and I had a moment where I wanted more in my life than just working 12 hour shifts and feeling burnout amongst also being in school pursuing my BSN degree. I wanted to have more freedom and to create a brand that focuses on representation of other pretty melanated nurses of any and all nursing specialties. Read more>>

Breyuna Irby | CEO

In 2016 the birth of Bar Queens began. Working at Twin Peaks in Augusta, GA as a bartender, I pretty much had an epiphany that I could cut out the middleman and I could learn how to create essentially an event planning/cocktail catering experience on my own. I actually pitched the idea to my former bar manager, and then I thought of just going ahead and doing it myself. It has taken me years of frustration, loneliness, loss of relationships, and late nights to get to this point honestly speaking. Read more>>

Megs Gelfgot | Founder of Keep Her Wild

Starting my own business was born out a desire to have a greater purpose and impact in an unconventional way. I believed that there was a way to create more flexibility within my schedule while tailoring a business that was life-giving to work within, instead of draining. Read more>>

Darryl Bigelow | Entrepreneur

I wanted to start my own fitness brand for women to spread a positive message, instill in them that their body doesn’t define them, and to try to continuously lift them up. The whole reason why I’m actually doing this is because at the age of 12, I was bullied all the time about my size by other kids. I was called “skinny” and “frail” almost every day while I was growing up in a rough community, and the only person that kept me positive and helped me to keep my head on the right track was my mother. Today, this is why investing in women in a positive manner is so important to me. My vision for this business is to build a community of people that are committed to lifting each other up. I believe that mental health and spreading awareness to body positivity is essential to life. I designed a product that makes women feel good when they workout, and also builds an awesome experience in their fitness journey. Read more>>

Seven | Seven “TheMogul” Entrepreneur & Business Consultant

At first, I wanted my business to bridge the gap between upcoming artists, and Major music labels. My business, 7 management LLC, gave me the opportunity to work closely with upcoming artist and develop their talents. Also, teaching them the business within the music industry. 7 management LLC wants to build a healthy relationship with labels as well, in order for the developed artist to reach their full potential, and maximize in their opportunities. Read more>>

Savannah Greene | Sign Language Interpreter /Business CoaCH/Host of Atlanta

my thought process behind being a business owner was honestly i never had a fair boss. i could never take vacations when i wanted and to be able to hire deaf individuals and domestic violence survivors. The next reason was to just take a leap of faith… I said if they can do it I can too why not. Read more>>

Lyniece Wilkes | Media Outlet

I knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry but didn’t know in what way. So I thought I should go to school and learn about the business. In 2019 I went to SAE INSTITUTE for audio engineering and production and learned that trade and was able to start from there. Read more>>

Kiyarah Hamilton | Certified Lash Tech and Brow Specialist & Entrepreneur

When I first brought up my business, I didn’t think it would be challenging but I was wrong, it more than just challenging. There are a numerous amount of different ideas you have to take a part into when creating your own business. I started my business in the peak of COVID-19, with little to no money but I had the determination and motivation to go forward. Read more>>

Matt Bhamaraniyama | Restaurant Owner

Starting my own business has always been something that I wanted to do. Back in the days my parents used to own their own restaurant as well. When I was younger, I would go help out during summer break. Ever since then, growing up I have always worked in the restaurant business, I started as a busser, then eventually moved my way up to serving, bartending, kitchen manager, and eventually manager. Opening up my own place just made a lot of sense. One day my cousins and I decided that it was time for us to do something for ourselves. My cousins and I all have similar work experiences and we wanted to take a risk to build something for our family and our future generations. Read more>>

Iyare’ Mack | Founder CEO & Chef of YareCooks

Honestly, I have thought about starting my own business for years. Family and friends were encouraging me to do it as well. I always felt as if I wasn’t ready, and the timing wasn’t right. I didn’t know where to begin, what the risks were, and how time consuming it could be. However, I finally decided to step out in faith. I chose to use my God-given gift and passion to cook. I want to produce quality meals that are delicious, enjoyable, and are genuinely made with love. Read more>>

K’Ronn Cranford | Entrepreneur & Connoisseur

Since a child I’ve always been complimented on seeing the world differently. This vision is what fuels my entrepreneurial creativity, or curiosity rather. The thought process behind starting my own companies came from identifying ways that I could enhance the world we live in while also making some money along the way. I currently have the following companies finding unique ways to give back. ‘by Big Tree’ — A CBD topical brand specializing in CBD infused lotions and oils. ‘Cannacticut’ — A Connecticut based Lifestyle Brand ‘Connoisseur Kai’ — I’m a self published musician under the stage name “Connoisseur Kai” @connoisseur_kai Read more>>

Commander Brandon Hambrick | Firearms Instructor Swat Operator

I started Zeus Instructional in 2020 during the hard time of the pandemic. I wanted to offer my services as a Professional Firearms Instructor to community. The world was at a time of panic and people wanted to buy guns so I felt it was my duty to try and train the gun owners. Our motto is Your Skills and Training is Our Top Priority Read more>>