Many books on startups and business talk about how there are right and wrong reasons for starting a business. So, we asked a handful of successful founders about their reasons and the thought-process behind starting their business.

Coach Michael Krumpak | Executive Career Coach & Consultant

I have been in learning and development, focusing mostly on leadership development for over thirty years. I had the privilege and opportunity to work with thousands of people. Executive Coaching, as a profession, has only been around for about 25 years. Many people are unclear about what exactly is executive coaching. I’ve always helped friends and my colleagues secure better jobs. By that, I mean, to get more personal satisfaction in not only their current role, but to prepare for bigger roles that really tap into their potential to do more, and to be more fulfilled, and have a greater impact. Read more>>

Amy Peterson | Co-Founder and CEO

I was working as an attorney in the sports industry and there were a lot of challenges being a woman in a mostly male world. I wanted to start a company that was solely dedicated to empowering women. Rebel Nell was started with the goal of creating a company that is mission first. We exist to provide employment, equitable opportunity and wraparound support for women with barriers to employment. We hire directly from local shelters and teach the women how to make unique one of a kind jewelry from repurposed and meaningful material. The goal is to teach a woman to fish. To date we have hired 34 women out of shelter living and graduated 26 into the traditional workforce. Read more>>

Lauren Thomas | Business Coach

I’ve been a bit of a serial entrepreneur through the years, but the past few years helping my husband launch his company into the world ignited a new passion. He runs Yonder Agency, a digital marketing agency and works with a lot of small businesses to get them fully seen online. I saw over and over that our clients seemed to stray from their goals or original business vision because they would get lost in the overwhelm of keeping business running. Read more>>

Tracy Slayton | Owner, One Take Creative Services & Commercial Producer, WAAY TV

Complete and total bone-crushing panic. The television station where I had been working for 25 years was sold to a company that didn’t care for keeping long term employees around. They made it very uncomfortable to say the least by putting night people on morning shifts, flat out firing people, and in my case…busting me down from a leadership role to “editor” and promoting a guy that had been there 6 months to being my boss. Read more>>

Lauren Strayhorn | Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Notedd

In 2018, I found myself balancing a full-time job and attending in-person graduate classes in Washington, DC. Each day it became more difficult to get a full summary of the day’s news from my perspective as a Black woman. I was frustrated because I had to read more than 20+ newsletters a day; four hours of my day spent reading and finding newsletters. I felt invisible because nothing was readily available in the media for me. There wasn’t an accurate representation of myself and my community in the news. Was I alone in my thinking? Read more>>

Dr. Temitope Alimi | Public Health Analyst & Entrepreneur

I’ve always had a natural affinity for combining beautiful things and colors, particularly fragrances and fabrics and have always been complemented about how I smell or how my home looks and smells for as long as I remember. So, I was not surprised when the idea of starting Àrà Household, a home décor and fragrance line came to me. Read more>>

Stephanie Cochrane | Boudoir Photographer

When I decided to become and entrepreneur and go full time into my photography, i thought about the emotion women would get by seeing themselves in another light. Sometimes as we grow our families we get lost in taking care of other and stop with ourselves. We don’t get up and get dress and feel our norm. Read more>>

Kyle Briley | Founder and President of the Georgia Police K9 Foundation / Corporal of the IMPACT K9 Team in Statesboro, Georgia

Changing the way things are just to change them never made sense to me. Neither does keeping the things the way they are just because it has always been done that way. When I created the Georgia Police K9 Foundation, it came at a time where I had a realization things needed to change because of how things had always been done. There wasn’t a lot awareness of what vital role a K9 can play in our everyday life. Along with that, there was a gap within the community and law enforcement and law enforcement K9s. Read more>>

Ellen McLean | Blog Owner

Like many entrepreneurs, I didn’t fit in well as an employee at a company. I’ve worked in multitudes of positions and in part, due to moving to different states and cities, had many, many bosses. And if I didn’t luck out with a boss who understood and appreciated my thought process, then it was an uphill battle. It was difficult for me to see how things could be done better (in my eyes) and to not express that vision. This often ended up working against me, but I’m sure it had a lot to do with my not-so-delicate way of expressing my opinion. ;o} Read more>>

Susan Nefzger | PR & Digital Diva, Writer, Creator

Initially, the motivation to start my own business was completely centered on having a flexible schedule to advocate for my young son throughout his early education. He was entering first grade, having been diagnosed with a learning disability at age 6. The advocacy was necessary and helped him and other children succeed, as I volunteered in the classroom until he was in 5th grade. At the time, I had already been working professionally for 16 years, Read more>>

Vernon P. Davis Jr. | Author, National Impact Speaker & Entrepreneur

Since I was 13, I have been enamored with the concept of working for oneself. As I got older and experienced life I came to realized that working for oneself is amazing as long as you have customers that purchase your product or service. For years I struggled with the challenge of having something to offer that would benefit those that bought it. Read more>>

Bj Cummings | Coach & Mentor

I started my business after working for the Boys and Girls club and the YMCA and seeing the areas where our youth were not being served properly. There was a need that I saw I could fill if I had the right team in place. Our youth want to be in structured environments and have opportunities to express themselves in various athletic fields and I feel they were being under-served due to different policies and procedures that were put in place by certain organizations. I also wanted to reach more female athletes who were not coming to these organizations because some had no sense of belonging or were intimidated. Read more>>

Sthefany Thomas | Owner of Bella Aura Jewelry

I’ve always wanted to start my own business and be my own boss. At the beginning of 2021, while I was 5 months pregnant, I made it my goal to finally start my own small business and take a leap of faith despite getting ready to have my second child and still going through a pandemic. I wanted it to be something that would empower women and help women feel more confident… and that’s where Bella Aura came about. Read more>>

Chelcey Farrar | Graphic and Web Design/Development

Since I was a kid, my parents have always encouraged me to follow my heart and dreams and to always remember that nothing is too far out of reach. They’ve motivated me to never fold under pressure and to always know and value my worth. Witnessing my parent’s hard work and resilience for all of these years, and following their core principles, is the true basis of who I am and why I followed all my entrepreneurial goals. Read more>>

Sandeep Ahuja | CEO and Co-Founder at cove.tool

I started cove.tool with my business and life partner Patrick Chopson, AIA, in 2017. After working at firms for a combined 14 years, we understood the impact of buildings on the environment. We’ve helped clients optimize their building performance—but we also wanted to help other design firms without the resources to develop their own in-house consulting team. I didn’t want to provide what some clients called “Lamborghini sustainability”—strategies to reduce embodied and operational energy tacked onto the end of the design process. I wanted to integrate sustainability from start to finish. To achieve this goal, Read more>>

Flosue | Entrepreneur and R&B artist

The most important factor behind starting my business is to motivate and inspire my family as well as the kids that are just like me growing up in poverty. My life goal is to show them that there’s more to life and that they deserve more/better than what they might be use to. Read more>>

Brandy Boyce | Insurance Broker and Notary Public

My interest in becoming an entrepreneur mirrored the strong black women in my family who owed businesses and/or worked in retail management for decades. My great grandmother Mrs. Frances Percy owned and operated a neighborhood convenience store for 20 plus years in Norfolk, Virginia. My grand mother Mrs. Pearl Barge owned and operated Pearl’s Record Bar in Norfolk and my mother and father were retail managers for major corporate entities in Norfolk as well, so my interest in starting my own business was based on my family’s experiences as well as my own. Read more>>

Dr. Tyneisha Douglas | Mental Health Therapist & Business Owner

My thought process behind my starting my own business was being able to reach the people that I wanted to serve, doing it my own my way. I did not want to work for a 9-5 anymore. Although, as a business owner I work my hours than that now, I take great pride in being able to bring my vision to life and serve without walls. I knew I wanted to start my own business when I kept hearing that I had this gift and that I needed to reach more people. Read more>>

Will Stylz | Life is like a bank

My thought process behind starting my own business was simple after working for different companies. I realized that as a whole your employer doesn’t really care about you. You can be early and the last one to leave work every day, along with giving a 110% effort/compliant (company policies) while doing your job and they will still find a way to terminate you once you say no. What I mean by saying no is, when they ask you to do things your not obligated to do but you did it anyway because you wanted to show loyalty etc. Read more>>

Cami Stafford | Bridal & Event Hair and Makeup Artist

Starting my business really started with Tiktok. I had some of my followers message me asking me to do their makeup for maternity pictures, photoshoots, etc. I was honestly shocked I could make money doing something I loved. I spent months trying to decide if this was something I should chase after. I was very scared to fail, but after talking with other business owners, I decide to chase after it. Read more>>

Savannah Stephens | Founder and CEO

I started Kindred Paper in the Spring of 2020, in the height of the pandemic, during social unrest here in the US, as I was divorcing and becoming a single, potty-training, homeschooling mom to my two daughters within a week’s time as my then husband of 10 years left, and we were quarantined from work and school. In the eye of that chaotic storm came the most perfect clarity as my comfort zones were quickly removed from me: I won’t wait another minute to live my purpose and that is Kindred Paper. Read more>>

Marchketa Smallwood | Owner of Keta the Diva’s Tees

When I started my buisness it was because I had purchased several shirts for a few different events, and after I got the t-shirts, I became very curious of the t-shirt masking process. I started doing my homework and research all the different t-shirt processes and decided to give the process of vinyl and sublimation a try. I would stay up night late night researching. Read more>>

Jacob Gunter | Music enthusiast

The idea of Moonage Record Swap came from a desire to see Atlanta’s vinyl community come together and celebrate each other through a shared love of music. Our city is fortunate to have so many stellar record stores and independent sellers supported by a diverse and thriving community of collectors. Creating a space where local shops and independent sellers can talk music, share ideas, and exchange physical media is a beautiful thing. Our programming extends beyond record swaps, we’re also hatching music-centric events that highlight pivotal moments in music history that have a ripple effect through culture. The possibilities are endless. Read more>>

Francis Maxwell | Screenwriter/Filmmaker

I think I have always worked best when answering to the man in the mirror. But that isn’t always the most sustainable, as I have bills to answer to also. So starting my own business meant first finding my path, then figuring out how to do it on my own. My first real career choice was journalism, to which I found myself at the mercy of both the story, and the outlet I was telling it for. But in 2017, I was lucky enough to be part of a Youtube program in which I was sent to Uganda to cover the refugee crisis. Read more>>

Kimberly McClearn-Snowden | Master Resilience Instructor & Life Coach

I had multiple thought veins I processed starting a business through. 1) When attending college I took a Economics class that let me in on a term and concept that was never taught to me Calle “Socioeconomic Status” and how it works. After understanding that black women were disproportionately lowest at mostly all points of status in our country I was shocked. In short, I learned that our country allows us to economically thrive if we own a business. So I knew at some point in life, I “needed” to become a business owner. Read more>>

Amanda Hamlin | Newborn and Portrait Photographer

I initially started photography to take photos of my children who were very young at the time. When my family and close friends saw some of my work, they asked me to take photos for their families and children as well. I was a stay at home mom who homeschooled and dabbled in photography as a hobby. My love for photography quickly turned into me diving into education and classes at a local college and utilizing online learning to build my craft. I saw it as an opportunity to not only help provide for my family but also as a creative outlet for myself and a gift to others. Read more>>

Julia Spraggins | Wraptician

The thought behind starting “It’s A Wrap Project, LLC” was conceived as a result of my medical diagnosis of Alopecia Areata. I had been on a three-year journey of trying various options to regrow my hair (without success). My journey had been difficult, painful, and embarrassing. I started wrapping my head with fabrics and scarves to camouflage my hair loss. This strategy wasn’t foreign to me, as I had adorned my head with fabrics since my college days. Head Wrapping was paramount in my healing and restoration of my hair challenge. Read more>>

Stuti Shah | Content Creator

I started Stutilicious as a Fashion and Lifestyle Blog in 2017. The idea came to me because one day I was looking for a skincare product on a social platform and I looked at the particular brand’s images of the skincare shots, the models, the influencers and there was not a single person on the brand page that I connected to. Someone that I can relate to. Read more>>

Janay Washington | Credit Repair Specialist

My thought process behind starting my business was to become an entrepreneur and helping people change their lives through credit repair. When I first started at times I doubted myself because I didn’t know what to except. Not wanting to make any mistakes, worrying about who was or wasn’t going to support me. Read more>>

Erica Gardner | Entrepreneur & Real Estate Agent

I have always been passionate about hair. Dealing with my own personal hair condition I was always about appearance and your hair is the main source to that. I remember when it was time for our high school senior pictures everyone was looking for me to either apply some eyeshadow or to clean up their hair and make it presentable for the pictures. Hair has always been my passion and in 2017 I finally took that major step in branded myself and my business. Read more>>

Amanda Amethyst” Nicole Tarver Turner | Life Coach

For 18 years I worked in careers where being available on your time off was expected, pulling 12 hour days were normal, and the more efficient you were at performing under these conditions the more work they expected of you. The reward for being a good worker is being over worked. I was a mother of 2 and I was exhausted and unhappy. At the end of 2017 I experienced a health scare that put my life into perspective. I was missing out on life and time with my children. After realizing that no matter how great you are at your job they will replace you, Read more>>

Nicole Ward | C0-Founder of Capital Freight LLC DBA Capital Freight Trucking and logistics

My thought process behind starting my own business was, that i can be a rock star in the trucking industry! Making this decision did not come lightly, as I put a lot of time and hard work into insurance. I’m a former insurance executive with 18 years in the insurance industry. I literally worked my way up, starting as a call center representative, then transitioned to a Field adjuster “climbing roofs”, insurance regional trainer, Claims manager, Director of insurance, and last was Head of Insurance for my prior company. Read more>>

Chinnyere McPherson | Fashion Designer & Content Creator

The thought of starting a business didn’t come first. After I graduated from Fisher College, I just went full force making collections and designing whatever came to my mind. The business somewhat developed over time. The more eyes I got on my garments, the more custom order requests started coming in. There is definitely a fine line between being a creative and being a business owner. When you’re first starting out, you think just because you’re passionate about something it won’t be hard. It’s actually the complete opposite. There are many hard days but like they say, “no risk no reward”. Read more>>

Marjani Aladin | CEO of Boards & Platters / Public Speaker

Boards & Platters was genuinely the product of being surrounded by a tribe that supports your authentic self. My girl friends and I would have wine nights and get togethers and I would bring charcuterie boards on occasion. My friend is an amazing hostess and would invite us over so I always loved bringing something different and that everyone could enjoy. Plus were were entering a stage in our 20’s where we we leaning into elevating our experiences and curating moments with our friends. Read more>>

Jasmine Austin | #ajassygirl

I started my business in October 2019, and decided I wanted to step into my passion/purpose. I’ve always enjoyed anything fashion. When people think of fashion, clothing comes to mind, but why not the icing on the cake, ACCESSORIES. Read more>>

Amy Lawrence | Business Owner & Fitness Influencer

It started shortly after I was diagnosed with Lupus which is an Autoimmune Disease. After being diagnosed i gained over 40lbs and fell into a deep depression. I was in a really dark place in my life and knew I needed to change. I became super passionate with health and wellness. I always had the mindset to help others and I started to make it my goal to help others that was going through what I was going through. I want to help motivate and inspire as many women as possible to start taking their mental and physical health more serious. Read more>>

Nyhr.a | Writer, Poet, Author, and Owner of Paryah Publishing House, LLC.

I started Paryah Publishing House because I wanted to create a unique space to express myself freely, artistically, and authentically. Self-publishing my work through my own company was more appealing to me than seeking a traditional publishing deal for many reasons, including the importance of having complete creative control over my work. I feel that art in all its forms is intuitive. For it to truly be art, it must remain pure and true to the artist’s vision; it must not be tainted by outside influence or by those who don’t understand it and just want to alter it to mimic the current trends that will make it more salable. Read more>>

Mia-Obie Murzynsky-Obiekwe | Janitorial Technician

The thought process was actually inspired by someone else! I was working at LA Fitness as a janitor and a gym member walked up to me and compliment how well I keep up the gym. She asked if I was interested in cleaning one of her franchises. She supplied me with all the cleaning equipment for her store and told me I could make more cleaning on my own than at LA Fitness. She gave me instructions for getting my LLC and hiring a business consultant and I took off running from there. Read more>>

Saneisha Roberts | Children’s Book Author & Doctor

I wrote my debut children’s book, Amari Goes to the Doctor, to alleviate the anxiety children feel when they visit their healthcare provider’s office. Many times, children sit in these offices unsure about the procedures that will take place. And some children are unaware of which questions they should ask about their health. As an aspiring pediatrician, I aim to create a safe space where children and their guardians feel encouraged and excited when seeking care. I am a children’s book writer that will continue to create literature where children feel represented and eager to care for their bodies and mental health. Read more>>

Daniel Parker | Entrepreneur x Embroidery Artist x Fashion Designer

I really wanted to make a living off my passions and creativity. Ive been working jobs since I was 15, my work ethic has always been very good, I never had no problems moving up and being promoted with a company. I’ve had a lot of jobs and one of them being Walmart, I was with them for damn near 10 years on and off. Eventually though I realized working for a company wasn’t doing it for me. Read more>>

Jayde Harville | Teacher, Tutor, and Entrepreneur

Before the pandemic, I worked primarily as an elementary teacher, math tutor, and church choir director. My purpose in life was to serve people; provide them with something of value or something to make them better or even just smile. When the world shut down in March of 2020, I felt useless. It started to weigh on my heart and affected my mental stability. I had to get busy and be useful again, so I made a few shirts and masks for my immediate family. Everyone wore them to church one Sunday and the rest is history. I felt needed again. In the middle of the pandemic, I found a way to bring some joy to those around me and ultimately some who were farther away. Read more>>

Erin Champion | Owner, Posie Fields – A Flower Farm

Since I was a child, my passion, and what I believe is my purpose on this earth- is making things beautiful. Flowers are, of course, beautiful on their own, but what I wanted from my business is to make not only beautiful bouquets of flowers but a beautiful shopping experience for our customers. This idea of making an experience out of shopping for flowers pushed me to take a chance and start a business where that was the main goal. Read more>>

Tucold Seazon | Recording Artist & Actor

i had ideas of clothes I wanted to wear that’s hadn’t been made so I felt the best approach was to do it myself and share my interest with the world. To profit from it is just a bonus Read more>>

Amanda Nikki” Haynes | Relationship Coach”

I struggled on the dating scene. I wasn’t getting the outcome I wanted, which was a loving, fulfilling relationship with the love of my life. I was in and out of relationships with people who weren’t right for me and I didn’t understand the source of the problem. A book was introduced to me that opened my eyes to things I was doing to sabotage myself in the love and relationship department. I thought to myself, Read more>>

YIEN TRUONG | Concrete Artist

The idea of having my own business is actually still daunting and foreign to me – I never thought that I would have my own business. Even now, it’s more about the craft than it is about the money. I was always a maker. From cooking to sewing, I loved being able to think of something and produce it with my own hands. About 8 years ago, I was watching a contractor working in my backyard creating a walkway with concrete. Read more>>

John Mills | Master Barber/Owner

Literally to make a positive impact on how people in our community view the black barbershop to make persons who come in the shop enjoy their atmosphere and energy leaving behind an experience of feeling built up. Read more>>

Jacqueline Scandrett | Treat Maker

Actually I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. The idea came from my annual Sip n Sleigh Christmas Party in 2019. I made treats for my guest & they loved them! They asked me to make some for purchase & I was elated. I self taught myself by watching various videos & trying numerous new things. Read more>>

Fatima Balde | The perfect fitness attire for women of all shapes and sizes

Hello! My name is Fatima Balde, the owner, and creator of AMARAFIT.
I am from Guinea (West Africa). I love traveling, spending time with my family, brunching with my girlfriends. I started my business to help women around the world feel confident and sexy in their fitness attire. Read more>>

Aminah Diaz-Thomas | Fitness & Wellness Enthusiast- Entrepreneur

At heart, I have always been an entrepreneur. I found myself never really acclimating to the design of corporate industries. I have a strong passion for people and helping them achieve their best selves. One day, I really took the time and asked myself questions such as “What is something that comes naturally to me? How can I better serve the human race? Then it hit me. I need to start my own business. I have always found that no matter what position I obtained, I always found myself having conversations of pushing others to believe in themselves, giving advice, and motivating others to attain the things they ultimately want. Read more>>

Kwame Innis | Director of field operations, Team member.

Lowe Imports, LLC was not my brain child, it was the dream of our founder Rayshawn Lowe in 2009. The original intent and purpose of the company was to act as an independent and exclusive distributor of a yet to be introduced cognac into the U.S. market. However, after years of research and soul searching, we ultimately decided to follow our hearts and deep desire to focus on opening the minds, experiences and opportunities through premium cognac offerings. We decided to find the best French cognac producer, master cellar and operations that meet our values, quality expectations, customer focus and our company vision. Read more>>

Jerome King | CEO & Founder of AudioDope

My thought process really just came from realizing there was a problem needed to be solved and I wanted to solve that problem. I became obsessed with finding an easier way to help music creators find a studio to create. How could something that seemed so simple yet be hard to accomplish for a musician? Read more>>

Alicia Browne | Health Coach & Personal Trainer

When I mention being fit; most people would think about aesthetics. As I developed F.I.T. Me In Fitness LLC. The word fit is an acronym for: Foundations. of Incorruptible. Thinking. My business, is my calling to help individuals see themselves differently, not only in a physical sense, but in a mental, and spiritual perspective; knowing we were called for a greater purpose in life. Read more>>