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.

Geneses Warren | CEO

Though I already have other businesses, my thought process behind starting my own fashion business was unique. I wanted to develop a brand that is tailored to unique fashion, self-care, and image consulting. My desire was to create a space tailored to all. Read more>>

Bina Bendale | Nurse Coach

I always wanted to start my own business because I gave birth to my son eight years ago and was later diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder with high medical needs. During that journey, I struggled a lot. I longed for the goal but lost many friends, was disconnected from family, and didn’t feel like I had all the support that I needed to reach my goal. so I’ve always wanted to be a coach to help struggling parents with special needs and also to help people understand that transformation is possible, healing yourself (with) from within and how to come out with it being a better person and staying humble. Read more>>

Maria Fundora | Entrepreneur & Non-profit Founder

To be honest, it was out of utter frustration that I started my own business. After the death of my mother to pancreatic cancer, I became determined that other families should not have to face the confusion, hopelessness, and devastation we had experienced. My mother was an extraordinary woman, who had instilled in us the importance of selflessness, and it was with her in my heart and my mind that I started to fundraise to fight this horrific disease after her death. Read more>>

Stevie Salle | Digital Content Creator

I started my own business (Digital Content Creation / Creative Consulting / Social Media Marketing) based off my pure love for the digital space. When I first started doing what I do – I didn’t intend for it to turn into a business. I started sharing, posting, and creating content because I genuinely was excited to share my ideas and thoughts on things that I love. From there, with time and hard work – it transformed into a business. Read more>>

Gun Girls ATL Gun Girls ATL | Social Media Influencer & Second Amendment Enthusiast

To properly educate my community on their second amendment rights, we are our first line of defense, especially women. When I first started I didn’t know much information besides what my husband explained to me. There were not a lot of women that looked like me teaching those things. I’ve found that a lot of times women learn from women a little easier. So I decided to give back to women just like me. Read more>>

Curtis Jean | Photographer/Videographer

I never really thought about starting my own business in photography because I always felt like there was a better way to improve my work. I wanted to put out the most professional work but realized your work can be professional in your own eyes.. Some of my work I was unsatisfied about however my colleges friends and family just loved it. They seen that I had the ability to turn an image Into my own piece of art. Which pushed myself further to start a business. Read more>>

Kathleen D’Agostino | Chocolatier

I have always been in creative fields from floral design to merchandising to interior decorating and had done freelance before, but I came to a point where I wanted to create on my own terms without boundaries placed by others and the freedom that goes along with that. It was never about making more money, it was about doing something that I had a passion for and hoped would be more fulfilling from a creative standpoint and offering something to the community that it was lacking. Read more>>

Aykut (AK) Demirhat | Restauranteur & Entrepreneur

I was planning to own my business one day since i was a teenager. While i was working for cooperates for long time, i focused my development as a business owner. When the time came for me to open a business, i was confident at the same time i was leaving my comfort zone and it was kinda scary. But i knew that it was time for me to think bigger and use my own knowledge for my business,. Read more>>

Hassan El-Saddique | Storyteller, amateur filmmaker & entrepreneur

I believe the best businesses are born when these three things are combined. What you are good at, What you enjoy, and how you want to serve the world. My business was unexpectedly born when I was actually in the process of doing one of those things and that was what I enjoy. At the time I didn’t know that I was good at it nor did I know that this was something that could serve the world. Read more>>

Brandy White | Restaurant Owner & Graphic Designer

I grew up working in restaurants most of my life. Both my grandfather and my parents owned their own restaurants when I was really young and I later managed a restaurant through high school and college. After seeing how rewarding it can be to build a business and nurture its growth and outreach, I fell in love with the idea of doing something on my own. Read more>>

Danielle Smalls | Entrepreneur/Business Owner

My thought process behind starting my own business was something that happened overtime. When I worked in property management, I was in contact with many subcontractors and individuals that had their own businesses. Eventually it birthed a hunger to start my own business. I just knew it was the path for me! Read more>>

MaDiaC | Studio Owner | Pianist | Producer | Songwriter | Engineer |

When I was starting my studio I was first acting out of a sense of fulfilling a personal need for an artistic space that could serve as an incubator of sorts for my musical endeavors moving forward. I believe it is important to create a specialized space that psychologically, emotionally, and physically places you in a creation mindset. I wanted to achieve this for my greater network as I invite people from all over the world to come by and experience creating music in Atlanta through the lens of The Dojo. Read more>>

Brittany Weir | Photographer

I wanted to create a business that would allow me to do something I love, share it with others, while valuing what is most important to me in life, time. Read more>>

Claude Langley Jr. | Photographer & Creative Director

The thought process of starting my own business was organic. I was coming out of architecture school and noticed that I was not interested in staying in the field and needed to use my skillsets to figure something out. I was always good at photography but didn’t think I could make a living. After my first couple of major clients, I decided to make it official and never looked back. Read more>>

Josh Cozy | Artist & Creative Storyteller

The basis of creating and branding myself into Josh Cozy. The artist, visual storyteller and writer.. it all came from a sincerity of being myself. Getting my thoughts, ideas and feelings across creatively. I never thought of it being this, who I am today or where I am. I was just being myself and people really begin leaning into what I was doing. Explaining how it helped them and moved them to feel/process what they were going through. Read more>>

Shateria Smith | Entrepreneur, Author & Prop Builder

I have always been the “EXTRA” family member and friend that loves planning events for absolutely the simplest reasons. I was inspired to bring “larger than life” prop rentals to Chattanooga from scrolling Instagram and seeing a company in California do it. My thought process was literally what better way to combine my love for event planning & decor with generating income?! Read more>>

Davi Boyd | Owner of Davi Lea

When I started Davi Lea, I knew what I needed to ask myself: what is the purpose of my business and how do I want to make others feel? I have always had a passion for beauty and I wanted to share that passion and knowledge with others. Like most people, I deal with insecurities and it’s normal, but we don’t have to just deal with them. Davi Lea is here to offer solutions, enhance, and perfect, so you can feel your best. Read more>>

Courtney Stephens | Creator

One day I literally decided that I wanted to start my own clothing brand and I was born in 1994 . So ultimately the idea came from wanting to celebrate what I consider a great year and the year where so many others who are doing big things were born. My generation is literally the ONE ! In the midst of doing this I also wanted others to be able to represent the year that they were born as well in which the original name of my brand was year gear lol . Read more>>

Darius Wells | Model & Entrepreneur

My thought process behind starting my own business came about once I hit a moment in my life truly understanding what I am actually good at. Finding something that I generally love to do in which I can help other businesses along the way. Read more>>

Jeremiah Pitts | wholesale real estate , ecommerce, and clothing brand

My thought process of starting my own business came from me just being tired of working for other people. Waking up early on other people’s time was never my thing. I like waking up on my own time and for everyday to be pay day which is why i started working for myself. Read more>>

Malaika Adero | Adero’s Literary Tribe LLC

Adero’s Literary Tribe, LLC is a literary agency and book development studio. I pursued a business venture based on what I know best and one that compliments my work as a writer. I’ve worked in big long-established corporations such as Simon & Schuster and in start-ups such as Amistad, when it was launched in 1992 as an independent company. Read more>>

Audris Campbell | Founder & Principal Researcher

I started my own business because I wanted to create a place where I could use my research gifts to the highest potential. I’ve worked in many companies over the years, but I always felt stifled – like there was a ceiling I could never break through. In developing my own business, there are no limits to what I can achieve and that’s a feeling that I love and wouldn’t trade for anything. Read more>>

Samantha Gomez | Model & Cosplayer

My thought process behind starting my own business was I feel the same as other business owners. I knew I wasn’t made to work your typical eight hour job. I felt that I was destined to do more with my life, so I’ve dedicated the rest of my life to doing everything in my power to not be tied down to a corporate lifestyle. That was the inspiration for me stating my own business. Read more>>

David Gil | Professional Pressure Washer

• Thought process behind starting new business In 2014, I began working for a power washing company. During the time as an employee. I was on the road meeting new people, new places; while learning the tricks and trade of the business and learning how to provide exceptional customer service. As time went by, I became one of the crew leaders and had a team learning from me. At this time, both the owner of the company along with our customers/clients were inpressed by the service I was providing. Read more>>

Gymani | Singer/Songwriter

I wanted to find a way to use my gift and take care of my children. When I realized my voice would be my way out I took it and ran with it Read more>>

Angela Praylow, MSHRM | Licensed Skincare Specialist

I was afraid to quit my corporate job because it was safe, I had a definite paycheck and benefits. I had researched how it could take time to build and how often businesses fail. I had began to hate my career and didn’t feel that it fulfilled my life and wasn’t what I wanted. I had to find a resolution and stepped out on faith and pursued my dream. I had the thought process that if I didn’t try, I won’t know if I’d fail or succeed. I learned that I was tired of playing things safe. Read more>>

isobel Mills | Textile Designer and Fiber Artist

My thought process behind starting my own business was age and passion based. I was almost 27yrs old and miserable in my career(s),and up until this point, I was under utilized in my job(s). I knew I had a passion I could no longer ignore and my boss at the time had started his business in his late twenties and essentially told me that my life is as uncomplicated as it’ll ever be, so if I’m going to do what I love it needs to be now. Read more>>

donald hopkins | Short term rental host

It really wasn’t supposed to be a business. We bought the 8′ x 20′ shipping container, tinyhouse as a guest house for relatives and friends when they came to visit. We realized it stayed empty a lot of the time so my husband suggested I rent it on short term rental websites.. I didn’t even know what STR’s were back in 2017 but quickly found out. I listed it on a few different sites and had my 1st guest in March of 2017. From there, it just took off to the point that our tinyhouse/arcade was 60% booked in 2021! Read more>>

Alvin Stampley III | Licensed Esthetician & Owner of Hudson One Eleven

My thought process behind starting my own business, was honestly, more like an awakening! Hudson One Eleven is a blessing, that I like to think it saved me! I have always believed in the motto “be yourself”. At the time I was employed by Cartier in New York City at the Mansion, their United States Flagship location. Working for such a prestigious brand, globally recognized as one of the best retailers; I thought I was going to retire from that job. Read more>>

Celena-C. Serenity” Moore | Musician

Initially my thoughts were become great at what I do and then use those skills to never have to work with or for people who want me to shrink myself. However, having lupus, it turned into the NEED to have a flexible schedule and still create enough revenue to maintain the lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to. Read more>>