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.

Angelleeka Shine & Ambrosha Wimberly | Business owners

As two business owners, Angelleeka and I, we both knew that starting a business was a dream of ours. Beauty, skincare, and personal products are something we both have used throughout our lives, and it just clicked one day for us to start a brand of our own that sustained those same products. We came up with the The A&A Brand for the name and nothing but prosperity followed directly after. Read more>>

James Carr | Founder

Funny enough, we didn’t really intend to start a business. Farmers Jam began because we discovered a ton of musical talent in the local food scene. We held a show and partnered with a local jam producer Lyn Deardoff, who sold her jam and donated proceeds to help us plant fruit trees on local farms. The following year, Lyn indicated she would be retiring and encouraged us to make our own jams. It wasn’t at all what we expected and it’s been a lot more challenging than we thought, but man it is so much fun to discover new flavors and put interesting fruits together. We love buying fruit from our farm partners, vending at local markets, and telling people about the circle of jam — from planting trees to harvesting fruit to making jam and back again, all with an awesome soundtrack. Everything came full circle in November, 2019 when we threw a surprise retirement party for Lyn. It was a beautiful moment. Read more>>

Haden Rider | Actor, Director, Voice Teacher & Pedagogue

I think, for me, co-founding Play On Players was a natural progression of my artistic journey at the time. I grew up in Dahlonega, Georgia and, while I come from a family with a heavy musical background, I wasn’t exposed to live theatre until I reached highschool. At this point I was spending most of my time playing football and had convinced myself I was going to pursue a career in marine biology (probably because I was obsessed with the Jaws movie). Anyway, having the opportunity to explore the arts at such an impressionable age altered the course of my life entirely. I recognized the impact that a non-profit theatre would have on my community and wanted to give these kids the experiences that I would’ve wanted to have at their age. Through their dedication, a whole lot of teamwork, and plenty of guidance and support, we were able turn Play On Players – which initially started out as a class project in my undergrad theatre management class – into an internationally recognized organization. Read more>>

Patrina King | Business Golf Thought Leader

I have always been an out of the box thinker. So when I initially entered the workforce, I felt that it was like one big place where everyone was expected to do the same thing. No one could be creative nor have any input into how things already were. That feeling escalated and entrepreneurship became attainable when I looked around one of the companies I was working for with different lenses. The company was almost 20 years old, but it looked and operated like a startup. That’s when I knew I could do it. Read more>>

Ifie Natasha Brandon | Writer & Content Strategy

Starting my own business came as a result of necessity. I’ve been an entrepreneur in some capacity for about five years. Five years ago, I quit my job to write and realized I needed to grind if I was going to actually make money. After grad school, I decided to get a job so I applied to several – and heard from none of them. Eventually, I realized, I needed to go back to what I knew. Read more>>

Mona Kabbani | Horror Fiction Writer

I knew I wanted to be a writer. Not only that, but I wanted to be a self-sustaining writer meaning that in the future, I would be able to go full time with my writing career and be well supported by it. But along with my creative mind, I have a business mind and I wanted to run my creative career like a business. I gave my brand a theme and a name that incited interest – Morality in Horror. I write stories and create content that make people feel as though they are a part of something more than just a story – a community. And I’ve enjoyed every well-rounded moment of it. It’s my wonderfully horrific brand of horror fiction! I think it’s important to think of any creative venture as a business, especially if you wish to be fully supported by it one day. It gives you a good birds-eye-view to your work and makes your efforts more efficient. Start off with the passion, the dream, and then strengthen it with a good business backing. Read more>>

Javan Smith | Owner

This is a very good question, thank you for asking. My thought process behind starting my own business was to work hard for myself as I previously did for someone else but this time try to enjoy it. Starting your own business is not an easy task but with patience, dedication, and determination it cab be very rewarding. Read more>>

Will Hamilton | Founder

I had just exited a small medical startup that was sold to a large hospital system, and being a part of that journey really inspired me to try it on my own. I come from a family of small-business owners, so I suppose part of that was in my blood all along. I had a background in the Health and Fitness industry, and from my recent experiences knew there was an opportunity to do it better. But the real motivator at the time that eventually lead me to pull the trigger was the birth of my first child. I knew my wife would be returning to the workplace, and I was determined to find a way to avoid having to put my son in daycare from an early age if at all possible. The best available solution to that was to be my own boss and create the kind of workplace where he could also be with me. Those two variables added together made this an easy decision. Read more>>

Joanna Pasiecnik | Producer, Writer & Director

We started J and J Productions 2 years after moving to Atlanta. It was always our plan to own and operate our own business but once we started working in the film industry full time our plan was fast tracked, we saw the lack of opportunities for women and people of color and decided to be apart of the change rather than wait for someone to give us an opportunity. We took a short script Joanna had written months before and decided to hire an all female crew and get to work. From there we just continued to network with women who were trying to break into the industry and together helped build a strong portfolio for one another. Read more>>

Annisa Morgan | Financial Educator, Accountant & Author

I created Dollarsat10, a nonprofit organization that teaches parents and their children the importance of financial literacy. The goal is to transform our children’s lives through financial education, teaching them early how important it is to be financially educated, (one child at a time). I believe that by the age of 10, children should be exposed to real topics on finances, the way I was. To help me and my organization spread the word, I authored a book titled “Teach Me How to Money Now.” It is comprised of the money-saving lessons I have learned and applied in my personal life throughout the years. These lessons will teach adults and children about how important it is to be financially literate and responsible. Read more>>

Nicole Ware Spencer | Holistic Clinical Psychologist & Yoga Teacher

I started Asili Wellness because of my own difficulty finding natural resources to support me in my wellness journey. Many wellness products claim to be pure and natural; however, when taking a closer look at their products or business practices they did not align with my values. Through Asili Wellness, I am able to share natural resources that I have found beneficial and therapeutic. Furthermore, I am able to operate within my values of responsibly loving myself, others, and the environment. Read more>>

Zack Reynolds, Jr. | Entertainment Producer

I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to help people, and do so without limitations. Becoming an entrepreneur was also about building something of value that would allow me to leave a legacy for my family. I’ve always been a driven person and I value ownership, influence, opportunity, and creativity. Like many, I took the 9 to 5 route before starting my business, and while doing so, I often envisioned the impact I could make once I took the leap to create my own reality. The opportunity to add value to others locally, nationally, and internationally simultaneously via products and services was a huge factor. To have your own business takes great faith, determination, and optimism. Each day presents new opportunities. My goal was to work hard for myself, knowing that the labor would not be in vain. I did, and still do, believe in the value of sacrificing in the immediate and short term in exchange for long term rewards. Read more>>

James B Kynes Jr | Broker

The desire to work transition into commercial real estate was a long goal of mine. The barriers to entry are challenging and the stats prove it. Upon completion of my brokers license, I had envisioned working with a commercial firm full time or developing a commercial division for a well branded residential company. I enrolled into a program call REAP (Real Estate Associates Program) whose intentional purpose is to expose more qualified minority candidates to commercial real estate industry. The program was a game changer for me. It shined a light on the staggering 2% African American who made their career in the CRE Industry. I saw this as an opportunity to first, create a firm the CRE, with nothing but growth potential. If it is only 2% Minorities in the space, then that means there is market share to gain if we believe and build a firm that meets the needs of the people. Read more>>

Chef Kimberly Houston | Pastry Chef, Blogger & Instructor

I was a single mom working really long hours in retail when my kids were in elementary school. I knew I wanted to provide a better living for them and thought that becoming my own boss would give me the freedom to do so. I started small, making from scratch pound cakes and chocolate chip cookies, things that were easy and I could do well. As I gained momentum, I went to culinary school and became a certified pastry chef, This changed my menu over to custom cakes and cupcakes, I added custom cookies a few years later, and now the bulk of my orders are custom cookies. Read more>>

Khalara Spencer | Spiritual Healer & Writer

I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur growing up, but I could never decide on what idea I wanted to run with. During my time in the military, I experienced a lot of traumatic events that has greatly shaped who I am today. I went through a lot and I didn’t have the support I wanted. I went to a very, very dark place and it took all the strength in me to come out of it. I mean, I tapped into strength I didn’t even know I had. I am still learning, growing and healing as a spiritual being. Now I am in a heart space where I want help people and give back. I want to create a space where people do not have to hide who they are or what they are going through on their journey. I want to share with people the tools that I used to to heal and create a community where we all strive to learn, teach, heal and grow. Oh yea! And relax! Read more>>

Pastel Swade | Designer & Producer

I couldn’t work for anyone to be honest I just need the freedom and creative control. Read more>>

Channing Hawkins | Rapper, Musician & Entrepreneur

Work to me is supposed to be fun, although it can definitely be stressful at times, if you find joy in what you do, and can make money doing it…that sounds like a great life! And most importantly being able to leave something behind to the next generation, generational wealth is the key! Read more>>

Chiquita Tillman | Author & Advocate

Going through my healing process after my life in Sex Trafficking, I knew I wanted to help other people to understand their worth and how important it is to heal so they can move forward, but also educate on the dangers of human trafficking. Read more>>

Robbie Walker | Engineer & Designer

I believe my journey of becoming an entrepreneur was destiny, and it is my purpose and responsibility to positively impact our society while inspiring others to spread peace. I believe that if we spread more peace our world would be a better place. Having a sense of freedom to openly be creative without restriction is my driver. I am always asking questions and finding innovative ways to simply create. Freedom provides me the opportunity to create my own rules, and live a fulfilling life that stems from my passion. Read more>>

Kenneth Lovell | Producer, Composer & Sound Designer

The day I decided to go out on my own was one of the greatest days of my life. I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, and I had success working with another company doing the same type of work, so it was a natural fit for me to open my own music and sound design company. Read more>>

Kenneice Wilson-Smith | CEO & Publisher

I can do this… I remember when the publication I was working for at the time decided to close and go out of business. At the time the professional beauty industry only had that one publication for a true multicultural source of information. So the fact they were closing was alarming. I remember thinking what are the professionals in the industry going to do? Mainly the African-American community. The other publications in the industry had multicultural sections, not a cover to cover form of multicultural Information. Having a conversation with a stylist team one day at a photoshoot about the closing of that magazine lead me to thinking, I can do this. So, literally 18 months later after a lot of research, planning and long nights putting my ideas on paper. I launched The Beauty Consultant Magazine in the fall of 2011. Read more>>

Tyree Morrow | Animator, Karate Instructor & Business Owner

I wanted to be like my grandfather. He started his own business and raised 15 kids with my grandmother. He and my aunts and uncles have all started their own business. I’ve always thought that it was in my blood to work for myself. In college is when it hit me to start an animation studio. I was listening to Ralph Bakshi in a interview on a panel he did and he said ” you guys don’t have to go and work at a big studio to be an animator. There are enough people in this room to start one. Me and a few friends made Fritz the cat in a garage. Just a few of us. ” When I heard that, it lit a fire in me to pursue my passion even more. So I met up with a few of my friends that are now my business partners and we now have Creative Overdose Studios. Read more>>

Cheryl Louden-Kubin CSA | Casting Director

I started in the casting ‘biz’ right out of college. I was hired as an assistant to answer phones in a busy casting office in Miami. I had studied acting all of my life and so casting was definitely in my wheelhouse. I found that my acting training was of great use in directing the talent through the audition process. I worked for that same company for about 6 yrs and then went to do in-house casting for a top 10 series. After that show wrapped I opened my own casting company. It was time for me to fly. My thought process was that I felt I knew the business well enough and I was confident in what I had to offer. It took about a year to establish new contacts/clients. It’s very freeing to be your own boss. I always assumed the responsibility for all the jobs anyway…. Now, after almost 40 years in the casting business I am in Atlanta and I get to choose who I work with and for. I am at that point that I want to work with people who truly respect what I bring to the table. Read more>>