Starting a business can be terrifying. Weighing the pros and cons, the risks, and other considerations can be so overwhelming that often promising entrepreneurs stop before they even start. We asked some phenomenal entrepreneurs about their thought process behind starting their own businesses. Our hope is that by making the thought-process less intimidating we can help more folks think through whether they should take an entrepreneurial leap.

Tim Jones | Chiropractor

Starting a business is always a hard decision. It requires a lot of thought and prayer into it. I had doubts when I first imagined running my business. Many of those thoughts concerned me whether or not I will I be able to pay my overhead, can I afford assistance starting out, or where will I be located. I as prayed more, I realized God’s plan for me and I was able to see small steps into what it looked like visually. I remembered a pivotal point in the shaping of starting my business when I was driving home from work one day. At this point, I had only been removed from school for less than a year which I graduated in 2016. I remembered speaking to God and asking him when will i have my own business? God spoke to me and I got clarity that in 2020-2021 I will open up. In that moment, I could’ve decided that I wanted to rush the process and start beforehand, but I stayed steady fast and held on to what I’ve known God had blessed me with. It was already done at that moment Read more>>

James Smith | James Charles Smith Photography

I had a background in corporate meetings and events. When I graduated from Rocky Mountain School of Photography in 2012, I knew that I could hopefully utilize the contacts that I had in that industry to begin shooting those events as a photographer. It took a few months but I got my first corporate events job as a photographer in May of 2013, and it sort of steamrolled from there. I also do nature and wildlife photography, and one of my images was chosen to be displayed for a year in the Smithsonian Museum in the “Nature’s Best Photography” exhibition. This became a great selling point, and I was able to build my business based on that reference. Once I had a portfolio that I could share from several events, combined with a reputation of being easy to work with, I was off to the races. Read more>>

Fallon Jones | Wedding Officiant & Notary

A few years back when I was planning a wedding of my own I was able to research officiants and chapels. I noticed that no one went above and beyond as far as working after hours, traveling after hours, or offering different optiions for a couple to chose from. The prices were INSANE. I knew the type of officiant I wanted, ME. I began to do research on how to handle the business aspect of my business legally. I began working day and night on educationg myself on website building. I went to multiple courthouses to establish relationships with probate clerks. Literally, once the idea sparked in my brain – It never left. I wanted to the “Wal-Mart” of Wedding Officiants. Read more>>

Jennifer Tipton | Entrepreneur | Owner of POPSTICK Cosmetics| Inspirational Mouthpiece

In what ways do you POP in your life? Or what ways would you like to? These are the questions that popped in my mind as I began to think of starting my cosmetic line. When thinking about cosmetics, we always look for items that will make us POP- standout or shine. Various cosmetic items makes us feel confident, sophisticated, sexy, classy and beautiful. Sometimes it’s just as simple as mascara or lipgloss and a good liner. I believe that every woman has the ability to POP and POPSTICK was birthed out of that belief. POPSTICK is not just a brand, it’s also a movement. As POPSTICK is worn, I not only want women to walk in their beauty, sexiness and confidence, but I want them to be intentional about POPPIN in their life everyday!!!. Read more>>

Terrence Ford | Founder & Creative Director at Lamar Haaley Creative

I’m one of those ‘jack of all trades’ types. I can do (and have done) many different things: Music, production/performing, graphic/web design, cinematography/editing, social media management/content creation, youth ministry/public speaking. But I’d never really imagined I’d be able to launch a sustainable business with any of those things. Here’s why. I grew up in a typical single-parent middle class home. The only thing I was taught about finances was, “Get good grades, go to college, get a good job, save for retirement, and work hard so you’ll get raises.” There was no talk of increasing assets and decreasing liabilities; or diversifying your income through investments and corporations; or creating jobs and generational wealth. Shoot, I didn’t even know what an LLC was until I was in my late twenties. Read more>>

Ahkira Essien | Beauty & Tax Expert

The thought process behind starting my own business started when I was in middle school. I always had a hunger for money but not necessarily working for someone. I started selling candy and that instant gratification of earning a profit sparked something in me. As I grew up I just knew I needed to start a business of some kind. When entering college I chose to peruse a business degree because my desire to be a business owner was still so relevant. Eventually I left school and started to self educate. I wanted to know more about rich people and wealth etc. In my search of financial freedom, owning a business came up again along with other things. Starting a business was something I knew I could do now. I began strategizing what I thought was most natural for me to sell and I started from there. From that moment I dove deep into building my business out and planning. Read more>>

S. Elle Clark | Realtor & Business Strategist

I have known since the age of 16 that I wanted to own a diverse group of businesses that have direct impact with longevity. With this current business and non profit, it was coming out of my valley season in life that I asked God, if he blessed my current businesses in overflow that I would take a percentage of that and be an asset for the black community. Realizing that there aren’t many resources for working class men and women, to help them during financial crisis; I wanted to create an organization to do just that. Read more>>

Arttina NGOMA | Malawi Headwraps, CEO

My thought process behind starting my own business was I didn’t want to, honestly. It was my sister who brought the fabric and paid for my first photoshoot. I remember her having so much confidence in me and her confidence rubbed off it. I believe all it takes is for someone to believe in your dreams and encourage you to just step out on faith. Read more>>

Dsto Moore | Photographer

6 years ago I fell in love with Photography,After doing it for a month as a hobbyist I realized one day that I could turn my “passion into my paycheck” even though my love for Photography goes Deeper than Money,I also thought I could make in the world through Photos. Read more>>

Makayla Callaway | Makeup Artist & Beauty Influencer

The thought process behind starting my own artistry was wanting to uplift others and make them feel beautiful. I was once at a place in my life where my confidence was not where it needed to be. While go through that stage in my life at the time, it caused me to turn to the love of makeup because it made me feel good and express my creativity. Therefore when thinking about the come up of my artistry, I wanted to strive in making other women feel good about themselves even if its just for an hour, I’ve did my job. Read more>>

Dev11n | Recording Artist & Creative Consultant

When I first started my company, my goal was to create a business through which I could manage and protect my music. I also wanted to separate my personal finances from the income I began to generate as a professional artist and creating an LLC was the simplest way for me to do so. Once I founded the company, I began to curate events which led to me working with other artists and creating opportunities for them as well. Muziqly Devine Entertainment is always evolving. We currently host creative workshops, curate exhibitions, and provide one-on-one consulting to independent artists and emerging entrepreneurs. My main goal is to empower women of color to transform their gifts into successful businesses by sharing the resources they need to grow and creating spaces for them to be celebrated. Read more>>

AJ Joiner | Marketing Consultant

I understood that in my industry – I could always get a job. Even in a down economy. But as long as I have a job, I don’t own my time. That was more important. Owning my time and opening the potential for doing life my way. Read more>>

Aspen Martin | Hookah Connoisseur

I was introduced to hookah back in college and ever since I saw one for the first time I just wanted to know more. I began researching all things hookah, the history behind it, different designs and what they meant, what goes in them, etc. and purchased my first (horrible) hookah back in 2013 for $13 and things took off from there. The idea to start a hookah catering company actually came while living in Dallas in 2018. My husband and I would go to different restaurants and bars and would notice that none of the places actually had hookah, they had companies set up at their place and sell their hookah service to those dining in. We had never seen this before and when we decided to move back to Atlanta, we thought, “how cool would it be to bring something like this to ATL?” That was all it took really. I began researching the licenses I’d need, what I wanted my business to look like and of course continued learning all I could about hookahs. Read more>>

Kaleena Goldsworthy – Warnock | Cocktail Herbalist

I feel like the entrepreneurial spirit can exist in someone long before they realize it. I have often wondered why or how people got started with their own companies – and it didn’t really dawn on me until I started my own that there wasn’t necessarily a moment I had, or a calling to do so that changed everything. Before The Bitter Bottle, I don’t think I ever would have even considered myself an entrepreneur – but I knew I had this drive to find a calling or a purpose. I think that’s where the thought process really started for me. I found something that inspired and intrigued me. With The Bitter Bottle, this was creating flavors and understanding botanical elements and what they do to food and drink. Once I started creating bitters and tinctures as a hobby, it just seemed like the next logical step to start a business of it. I truly didn’t give it much thought – it just happened. One day, I just said “yes, this is what I’m going to do now” and it organically transformed (with a lot of hard work) into both a passion and a career. Read more>>

Jacob English, Ph.D. | Owner & Creative Director of For Chambers

As a higher education administrator, I have the privilege of working with a diverse group of college students. Daily, I am challenged to develop innovative strategies to find solutions to complex issues in our education system. Specifically, I coach students on their journey towards research, scholarships, study abroad, and graduate school. I thoroughly enjoy this responsibility. I am fortunate enough to work with student populations that are currently underrepresented in higher education. Every day, I strive to decrease the resource gap between minority student groups and their peers. One of the most common issues that I observe with my students; because these academic spaces are not always made for them, is imposter syndrome. As a result of this self-doubt, many of my students find themselves comparing their progress and success to other people. When I was a college student, I did the same thing. I feel that my students have it worst because of the existence of social media during such an impressionable time in their lives. Read more>>

Markie Darling | Food Curator

When I actually sat down to put my vision on paper, I thought about creating a happy and stress free environment for myself. I took a passion of mine and turned it into a successful career and or that I am grateful. Read more>>

Kimberly Williamson | Chef Kimbella

Starting my own business was something I’ve always wanted to do. After attending culinary school, I knew it would definitely be food. I had no idea which avenue to take, because there are so many. I worked in a few restaurants, and at one of those restaurants, I got really involved in catering. I actually fell in love with it. That job helped me realize which direction I wanted to go with my business. I knew I had to create something that, not only people loved, but something that would bring my family together. My business was going to be family run and operated. I wanted to start with providing jobs for my family, and then be able to hire other staff as we grew. I could help my family first, and then others in the community. I wanted to create a serious, yet fun atmosphere for my employees and my customers. My biggest thought were to create an experience that I would want to receive, and have a business that could provide generational wealth for my son. Read more>>

Lindsy and Andrew Haworth | Random Acts Community Founders

Living in Atlanta, GA with our two girls, our lives were wrapped up in the daily grind moving from school to work and all the many activities. When COVID-19 put everything on hold, our lives quickly slowed down. Immediately, we saw the impact this had on our friends and local community. But in the midst of the uncertainty, there was still a desire and need to help and connect. We believe that by fostering this need, we can create a community that encourages everyone to help their local neighborhoods by spreading kindness to someone in need of a smile. Read more>>

Tracy John | Doctor of Physical Therapy

I needed a change from the traditional physical therapy setting and began intermittently looking for alternative careers over the span of 2 years. I went on interviews for several staff and PT manager positons and even applied for jobs in case management and insurance authorizations eventhough they specified they were looking for nurses; I thought hey, I’m qualified for these positions as well, maybe it could be a good fit and an interesting change in life. None of the positions were a good fit because I don’t want a desk job! I love treating patients, being active with them and helping them feel better. I wanted to be able to treat my community without restrictions, without being micromanaged, without always feeling anxious about not giving my full attention to one person and wondering if my intervention was enough to get them through their issues so they can tolerate their daily activities without agony. Read more>>

Tamara Wright | Owner/Founder of Onyx Bookstore Cafe

Onyx Bookstore Cafe LLC was a vision i had for over 30 yrs. I wanted to have a space that had all the things I love ; books, coffee, baked goods and Art. My mother passed in 2017. She blessed my siblings and myself with an inheritance. That was the catalyst that allowed me to pursue my vision. When your doing something that can impact the community and make you happy! Your winning. Thank you momma for your blessings. Read more>>

Hailey Drew Culmone | Wine Educator & Consultant

I grew up working in restaurants since I was just 12 years old, so I was always surrounded by wine. It wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I began to take wine seriously. After studying and completing my Introductory exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers I was hooked, I didn’t want to stop studying and learning. It was during my studies for level two certified exam, that I had my “aha moment.” I was asked to teach a palate development class at a local coffee shop here in Atlanta. Believe it or not coffee and wine are more similar than you think! The point of the class was to discuss a systematic tasting approach, focusing on structural components of both liquids. I had never taught a class before and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Read more>>

Saquell Johnson | Mother & Candlemaker

The thought process behind starting KnoxCarterKandles was to basically empower, encourage and motivate women by sense of smell in all walks of life. I figured if I could create a scent and place it in a candle and once they light it can take the pressure of the world away just for a moment. Sometimes the smallest things have the greatest impact. The light of a wick in a candle can change your entire vibe. Read more>>

Tatianna Wells | Entrepreneur & Mentor

I’ve always been into makeup and anything that glitters since I was a child. I always knew I would have a career in the beauty industry once I grew up. For years, I practiced makeup on myself, my classmates, friends etc. Throughout high school, I began to look deeper into the back end of the makeup industry. As far as how to make the products I was wearing. I was intrigued. By the age of 17, I had made up my mind that I was going to start my own cosmetic line. I wanted to offer vegan and cruelty free cosmetics at an affordable price to women around the world. I wanted to also educate women at the same time. I had to figure out how to do both. Fast forward 6 years, I finally made Blaqe Cosmetics LLC a reality. I’ve only been in business for a year and a couple months and I have already made an impact on the beauty world. Read more>>

Niketa Crowell | Model & Owner of Succulent Cosmetics By Niketa

The thought process for me starting my own business was simple. I love makeup. Its something I never even considered until I realized how much I loved getting my make up done. That inspired me to wanna learn. So, I did….and that’s when I decided I wanted my own line ….so I researched, made connections, and created my brand. Read more>>

Ashley Hughes | Owner of Sipnics In The City & Nurse Practitioner

As a Registered Nurse and a new graduate Nurse Practitioner, the COVID-19 outbreak has been influential in my life from caring for patients in the hospital, constantly seeing it on the news station, and social media. It’s easy to get lost in the noise of what’s going on around us. It’s been easy for my anxiety to set in while I am on the frontline and trying to self-quarantine as much as possible, my normal has been shifted; yet; I’m thankful. My thought process behind the Sipnics In The City was to provide luxury service and indulgence for women that looked like me, for women who did not partake in self-care, and for women who needed a damn break from reality and being so strong and provide luxury to people and a sense of normalcy within this pandemic. Read more>>

Ariel Sherman | DJ ArieSpins

Initially, prior to COVID I didn’t give it much thought. During the shut down I spent time honing my DJing skills and live streaming weekly via social media. I quickly developed a fan base and as restrictions lifted people started inquiring about booking me. I decided to give it a shot and I haven’t looked back sense. I never knew I had this creative capacity that would be profitable and taken seriously. If I can spend 40 hrs a week working for others I definitely can spend time investing in myself. Fear initially inhibited me from taking my craft seriously but being isolated no longer granted me the pleasures of avoidance and being too busy to fully embrace my creativity. I realized life is short and took a chance. My brand and business has been quickly flourishing ever sense. Read more>>

Rashida Reese | Marketer & Strategist

Starting a business was completely scary for me. Being a product of corporate America, I was used to the security of working and knowing I would be compensated. My husband reminded me that the time was now, and it was perfect. I’ve always believed in owning a marketing agency, and it was not by chance that I was in a position to start ReBirth Marketing & Consulting. My thought process was to develop an agency that businesses could depend on for services, guidance and ultimately the honest truth. I have worked with so many companies that have been burned by marketers or firms. I wanted to lead with integrity and trust. That is the only way I know to do business. Read more>>

Charmaine Nziradzemhuka | Fashion Designer

When I graduated, I began looking and searching for job opportunities. I had opportunities to be interviewed, However, I never got hired. While waiting I knew I wanted to start my own business and company. Co-vid 19 being another factor, I realized companies were a lot more thorough in whom they were hiring. I decided to start my own business CharDesignz. Read more>>

Jean Fleming | Wedding/Events Coordinator & Podcaster

A few years ago, I felt God was calling me to use my gifts and talents in area of relationships. At the time, I kept meeting so many broken people trying to fix and piece themselves together with other broken people and were left wondering why they still felt incomplete. I was once one of those broken people but after a season of healing I felt prepared to start using what God taught me during that time to help others. Thus the Fullcourtpress Podcast and Sincerely, JS were born! The Fullcourtpress Podcast actually started off as a blog that I used to write about on numerous relationship topics. Overtime, I discovered that blogging just wasn’t my thing so then it gradually became a podcast. I love podcasting because I’ve had so many fun, tough, and challenging conversations with people in my community in a very organic way. Read more>>

Carolyn Riggins | Founder, Owner and Author

A great need of financial readiness was the thought process behind the starting of my own business called CDR Financial Consultant LLC. In 2020 when COVID-19 hit this entire country what I notice numerous individuals and businesses were struggling financially. A lot of them did not have the resources and tools to be successful sustaining the lifestyle or keeping their business open. There were countless individuals and businesses impacted financially from this type of pandemic that made life difficult for people to live a normal life. It was very painful for me to watch so many people suffer and not being able to survive a normal life or keep their business doors open. Many people needed funding to take care of their families as well as stay in business to serve their customers and keep their employees employed. Read more>>

TIffany Tucker | Event Stylist & Coordinator

I am naturally very detailed and organized. I also enjoy creating memorable, tangible things and experiences for others. Starting my own business was born when I decided to combine my talents and my pleasures together; however, I began designing and decorating for parties as a small hobby for friends and coworkers. Later on, my friends encouraged me to share my talents with the greater public. From there, I immediately began thinking of a name, designed my logo, created a website and so on so forth. Read more>>

Karria Lawrence | Philanthropist -Transformation & Innovation Consultant

I always knew I would be apart of the philanthropy world due to my calling to want to help young girls who have experienced trauma. I just was unsure of when and how it would happen. A few years ago I found myself forced into the world of entrepreneurship ,and never wanted to go back to building someone else’s dream. Everyday I wake up thinking what ways can I improve to reach more people & help the people who are currently my clients that I serve. Read more>>

TKeyah Gadson | Owner of Vibrant Beauty

My thought process behind starting my business I always knew wanted to be an entrepreneur. I never had an job that i actually enjoyed going to. I wanted to be able to have an flexible job so that i could still live life the way i wanted to . My extra big push on starting my business was my son . I wanted to be able to spend time with him as much as possible . I stepped out on faith and quit my job . It was the best decision that i could ever make . I now have a job that i actually enjoy doing and can enjoy time with my family. Read more>>