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.

Damonica Cooper | Owner & CEO

It was many things honestly, first and foremost I was tired of choosing my job over my children. I had to decide whether my daughters high fever (102 degrees to be exact) was worth being fired over or getting written up. My manager would make certain faces, or have a certain tone when I told her something was going on with my girls. 2nd I was truly unhappy at my job and had no desire to be there, I just wanted to make enough to pay rent and go home. 3rd I already knew what business I wanted, I feared taking that risk. But I was tired and the job started to affect my health. It was time to do something I loved, to save my life and actually be here for my girls. Read more>>

Alexandra Anumudu Natalie Prosper | Owners of Eccentric Soul 1996

We were two college kids that had an idea and wanted a tangible outlet for our creativity. With us being full time students, both majoring in science, those ideas never had a chance to blossom into action. After completing our bachelor’s degrees, we finally decided to chase our dreams and live beyond a box. We decided to live our lives for ourselves instead of watching life pass us by and being too afraid to take a leap of faith on our ideas. As two black women, we wanted to build something from the ground up that we can call our own and can be passed on for generations to come. We took our interests in fashion and real estate and worked at it night and day trying to learn everything that we could possibly learn about both industries. The product of those long hours spent learning blossomed into our clothing brand Eccentric Soul 1996 and a fix and flip business in real estate. Read more>>

Lee Crawford | Celebrity Level Entertainment providers

First. As CEO of Ceewurld CMB llc., Consulting Management and Bookings, I had to find the need for the consumer, or create one. Designing my business around what I found pleasing wasn’t enough. I chose all of the environments I literally wanted to work in Miami, MiamiBeach, ie, entertainment district, high profile events, and accessible to hungry artists and performers who needed Consulting Management and Bookings. I didn’t want to provide a service of what people wanted, so I immersed myself and War almost every hat and perform every Duty. I created something tangible in relation to providing that need, displayed each service of that need by implementing it on myself and my own business during dealings. So while I was presenting my services to my clients as a provider and I was actually establishing my worth by becoming the “Product” of the services I offered. Read more>>

Greylen Hurd | Greylen Hurd | Founder + CEO / Jeff Graham + Co-Founder | Head of Creative Direction/Marketing

The process of starting the business was simple, I just woke up and said hey I’m going to start a clothing brand and it’s basically just going to be pieces I wish I had in my closet, but I’m going to allow people to buy whatever we come up with. It really felt like second nature for me, this really started out and is still a passion project. It just happens to be a plus that I + Jeff just have good business acumen due to other ventures so it works. Read more>>

Megan Billingsley | Dog training

To be my own boss and have flexibility Read more>>

Kendall Stowell | Boutique Creative Marketing

It was a necessity and a want. I had just had my first child, and we couldn’t afford for me not to work but also really wanted to have a flexible schedule. Instagram had just started, and I saw this need for helping small businesses with their digital marketing. Read more>>

Ivelisse Velasco | Mundo casting Entertainment usa llc, director

One of the most important inspiring tools I had to start my business was the professional training that supported me. I have a degree in arts, majored in performing arts, as a professional actress, an announcer and a model. Basically, I believed that my whole life would be devoted to acting, to developing my capacities for this. Certainly for several years I did TV, cinema, theater, everything was going well. However, one day, a massive layoff began in the channel where I worked for in my native country, Venezuela. Read more>>

Adriana Ordosgoite | Cooking and sales representative

My children were my main motive and my motivation to start undertaking, it has not been easy, but it has been a wonderful process and which we have enjoyed very much Read more>>

Marie-Immaculée Jessica Gbinssey | Event Decorator and Planner | Elucammi Concepts and Design

That question would take us to my childhood. I always wanted to be my own boss. I just didn’t know what area I would have launched in. I just knew it would be something related to creativity. Moreover, I have always had an eye and cultivated a passion for originality, organization, style and aesthetic.
I tend to be an introverted individual and it is that trait of my personality that was preventing me from diving into the entrepreneurial world. Until 2018, when friends and family started to encourage me in pursuing my dream. Best advice ever! Read more>>

Shanice Rooks | Photographer

I always said I didn’t want to be an entrepreneur because I loved consistency. I loved knowing how much I was getting paid, when I was getting paid, what my benefits were, and everything you can think of for a 9-5. However, that changed after I had my first child. I soon felt the desire to tap into my creative side and the need to create something that she could be proud of. This re-sparked my love for photography. Growing up I always had a disposable camera and would ask my mom to get the film developed for me to make scrapbooks filled with lots of amazing memories. Read more>>

Ariel Canady | Licensed Nail Technician

My thought process behind starting a business was knowing that I wanted to be financially happy and free doing something I truly love to do and don’t mind doing everyday. Read more>>

Dezirae Lawrence | Freelance Photographer

My thought process behind starting my own business was I love creating and I hate working for other people, so I had to find a way to make a both of them work. Read more>>

Daquawn Andrews | Music Manager & DJ

My thought process was simple. Im done working for someone who can lay back when they please. I want to be able to move how i want. Express myself the way i want to. I want to be the one taking the beach vacations. I always told myself “i have the power to do run my own company, if i put my mind to it! Read more>>

Courtney Adele | Actress & Entrepreneur

When it came to starting Lesecrete, I was on a hiatus with my acting career but I still was trying to find my niche within the entrepreneurship world. I majored in business my first year of college but changed my major over to Theatre Arts being that acting was my first love. I had developed a lashing and hair business my sophomore year of college by literally sacrificing my sleep doing hours of research on starting a business while also working the nightlife and going to class during the day. I created my own website, business cards, flyers, creative content, as well as promoted myself. After a while, I kinda lost interest in that specific area of business and decided to wrap it up, of course, I still had customers that would still reach out to me for services but eventually, it died away. Read more>>

Sabrina Lamour | Owner | Photographer

I wanted to be able to manage time according to my own needs and not have to modify my life and need according to a preset schedule. Out of 24 hours in a day, so much of our time gets weighed down by an 8+ work day, plus commute. By the time you look up, most of your day is gone and there is not much left to do anything else that needs to be done. Read more>>

Hillary Hardin | CEO and Founder HARE by Hillary

I thought about the struggles I saw my family encounter with health. My mother’s father encoutered a humbling battle with diabetes. My great-grandmother shared the same battle as he did; resulting in the amputation of limbs being removed. To see one miss the quality of life, and no longer enjoy the things they were use to; opens ones heart to push for ways to make life a lot better for them until death. When I encountered some health conditions that werer life changing, starting with Alopecia Universilias Totalis, depression, suicide stemming from domestic violence and bullying. I began to pray and seek the Lord on what His thoughts were in reference to these things. Read more>>

Nanaekow Stiles | Artist

I’ve always wanted to be an artist growing up. As I aged I started to get exposed to different types of art like Photography and fashion. I wanted to create a business where I could do all that in one. So I created a brand that represents my inner child playing with all forms of art. Read more>>

Celi Viloria | Professional Organizer

I have loved organizing and styling for as long as I can remember. As a child, I always had a passion for organizing, decorating and styling spaces. Growing up in my parents’ house, I enjoyed finding different possibilities for how I could rearrange things to make sense and look beautiful at the same time. After graduating from a Business Administration and Accounting program, and while I was working on my Masters’ degree and working as a Tax Auditor, I realized that it was not the field I was passionate about. Then I moved to the U.S. I tried to find a career in the field that I went to school for. I found a job as an Accountant Assistant and I got convinced this was not the field for me. Read more>>

Tatiana Davis | Business owner & Professional cleaner

I’ve always know that working a 9-5 for the rest of my life was not for me. I obtained a bachelor’s degree hoping to achieve the “American Dream” in the corporate world. Snapping a great paying job in the Healthcare industry was my goal but that never happened. My resume entails numerous good jobs but I’ve always found myself getting bored with the robotic routine of doing the same thing everyday or seeking a position paying top dollars. For years I would come up with ideas of how I can free myself from the typical work force but there were so many that I never focused on just one. Finally I decided to walk out on faith and quit both my jobs so I can focus on doing the things that I enjoy. Now I’m the owner and only employee…lol for my cleaning service “She So Tidy”. One day I’ll have a team that will go out while I start another business. Read more>>

Ericka Goodwin, MD | Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist & Podcast Host

I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. I was a sick child with asthma that made frequent trips to the emergency room and went to my pediatrician’s office weekly for allergy shots. After almost drowning as a child, falling out of a moving car as a child, and having a ceiling fan fall on my head, I felt that my purpose was bigger than helping people more than one person a time. This combined with having some tragic jobs led me to truly embracing freedom and wanting to be more in control of my life and my money. Read more>>

Keonna Slater | Licensed Esthetician & C.E.O. Of Dream Lux Spa

I wanted to create a safe place for all to come and enhance their insecurities. Dream Lux Spa is a one stop shop for Men and Women rather it’s getting a wax, facial treatment, teeth whitening, or massage. We offer a variety of services for relaxation or corrective skin care services and treatments. Read more>>

Ambrianna Echols | Freelance Makeup Artist and Beauty Influencer

Honestly, It was a scary decision. I had been doing makeup as a side hustle even though it’s a hobby I have been into since a young child. I was still working my full time job which I had started in 2012, and would do makeup on my lunch break which was an hour and I would even save my 30 minute personal break for those clients I couldn’t get to on my lunch. It wasn’t something that I had ever thought about doing full time because I was raised to stick with your regular 9 to 5, but in my spirit I kept feeling like I had more in store. Read more>>

Cortlandt Minnich | Pizza Oven Entrepreneur

I have always had romantic notions about being an inventor or entrepreneur. I have been a life-long tinkerer with cars and bicycles and woodworking. I also enjoyed being that guy in the neighborhood who could grill really great food using my Big Green Egg. Then, a friend bought a wood-fired pizza-oven for his backyard and completely upstaged me. I reasoned that since my grill was ceramic, could cook at temperatures over 700F degrees, and was even dome shaped – pizza would be a breeze. Unfortunately, I could not duplicate the wonderful pizza he created and certainly not with the ease he exhibited. Read more>>

L.A. SWAG 215 Lee McIntosh-Helton III | ChairMan of SWAG 100 LLC

The thought process behind SWAG 100 LLC, was to re-brand HipHop culture through tailored services and media. With the current state of our HipHop culture being lime lighted with indepth lifestyles of artist and entertainment influencers, I ve noticed a shift in the media topics in discussions. Mainstream HipHop media these days are only interested in the lifestyle of these artist and entertainment influencers leading them to speak on or highlight a lot negative and even criminal things about themselves and other they may or may not be associated with. Which eventually for most of these artist and influencers find themselves in personal danger, beefs and all sorts of law or police entrapments. Read more>>

Penny Byrd | Information Technology Professional

Kreative Dedicated Moguls (KDM) Popup is a mother (Penny) and daughter (Ashley) team. Penny and Ashley merged their retail and marketing skillsets to create KDM Popup. Ashley started her retail fashion business Mlove because she saw a need for women to be confident dressing classy and sexy in a tasteful manner as herself. To promote her brand, she attended various popups. Read more>>

Ryan White | Digital Entrepreneur & Influencer

From an early age, I always knew I wanted to be a business owner one day. I have always been drawn towards success and personal development. Being an “Achiever” personality type, I always found myself thinking “I know I can do more to help myself and others.” My background as a college athlete I am sure also played a role in my desire to be great and reach my full potential. When I met my wife back in 2016, I knew I was ready to make a change in my life from employee to business owner. You could say she was also motivation for me to want to make a difference and gave me the faith to step out into my entrepreneurial journey. Read more>>

Shontia Marshall | Lioness Logistics Owner

Starting Lioness Logistics was actually an idea initiated by my husband. We have both always wanted to build a business that was lucrative and that could also benefit our family for generations. In 2018 we were both working for corporations when we begun discussing the plan to get into the transportation industry. We did our research, educated ourselves, began networking with those who had years of experience in the industry, and ultimately made the decision to move forward with starting our own business. My husband decided to get his CDLs, because we didn’t want to just buy a truck and hire a driver with no hands on experience. While he was doing so, I learned the Freight Brokering side of things. The logic behind starting a Freight Brokerage, prior to investing in trucks, was to build relationships directly with shippers. Read more>>

Tiffany Goode | Musician/Trumpetiste

I have been a musician since I was 10 years old and it has always been my life’s purpose. Life started coming at me quickly and got off course for a while. I knew that in order to achieve my greatest reward and peace that I needed to get back to second true love, music. My one true love is my son. This is what made me leave Corporate America and start to follow my heart. Read more>>

Jamahl King | Event Planning & Marketing Firm Owner

After graduating from Morehouse College, I had a number of options in my field of study – Mass Communication. But I didn’t foresee remaining passionate on that path, and frankly, I wanted to do something I loved and still be able to sustain myself. I tried Corporate Sales for a time and the money was good, but what I ended up doing was assisting with executive events. Just a pastime at first, but I was great at what I did. Event planning, as its own entity, was still new but there was a lot of money being made and I wanted to chase a goal that challenged me. Read more>>

Rhonda Savain | Registered Nurse, Certified Teacher, Professional Life Coach, Breast Cancer Survivor

Freedom! Following has never come easy for me. From the age of 6 I always remember trying to be first in everything I did. Even 1st on the line when we played outside for recess in Catholic School and we had to “line up.” As a result, it was difficult to work at a “job” where you had to be told what to do, and what days you could be off. I remember when I first became a Registered Nurse at the age of 21 my supervisor would ask “what holiday do you want to work Christmas or New Year?” I would respond New Year but in my head I would say “none.” In order to make that a reality I knew I had to be self employed. Read more>>

Tierra Laray | Serial Entrpreneur

My thought process behind starting Kissed by Tierra Laray was simply wanting time freedom, financial freedom, and creating a legacy. I would talk about wanting to start a business for years but i never really took the time to sit down and research what i would need to do. I always assumed it would be expensive and when i ran across some money i would get the ball rolling on whatever business i was to start. Fast forward to me being pregnant and preparing to leave work to have the baby. I only had 6weeks of maternity leave so i decided to get a work from home job to be home with my baby. That was great until my son started getting older requiring more of my attention. Read more>>

Eustacia Jennings | Environmental and Safety Consultant

I first started Jennings Environmental Safety and Security (JESS) Consultants after I left a job in corporate and realized I would be getter served utilizing my skills and knowledge in the field as a consultant. The business did not take off then and I went back into corporate work. A few years later I found myself terminated and decided to put all of my energies and focus into branding, relaunching and growing my business so I would be able to receive the respect and proper compensation for my experience and expertise. I also wanted fill a void I noticed in industry and create the flexibility as freedom of the life I dreamed of. Read more>>