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.

Victor Hicks | Computer Science Teacher & Step Coach

I knew there was a need for Black children to be exposed to Historially Black Colleges and Universities as well as computer science. I enjoyed teaching the content in my classroom, but I wanted to get the message and the magic out to children everywhere. The virtual learning experience was a source of inspiration of growing a once “in-person” only step team & technology ed program nationwide. Read more>>

Kési Felton | Digital Storyteller

My thought process behind starting Better to Speak was initially to address the lack of Black representation in children’s literature. As my politics and my skillset in content creation evolved, I figured I could create something that encompassed all elements of what I’m personally passionate about while filling a gap I believe exists in my industry. I believe media – from news media to social media content and everything in between – should be better used as a tool for social justice. So we’ve expanded from our book drive to a podcast featuring community leaders and a communications arm that provides digital/social media services to Black-led organizations. Cultural norms, values, and trends are all illustrated through (and often started in) the media. We often communicate our personal values and cash in to the attention economy with what we consume and share on digital platforms. In my case, I want to try and use those platforms as a tool for good and empower my own voice on and offline while helping other young leaders do the same. Read more>>

Tim FIelds | Founder and CEO OF Black Esports Network Or BESNTV for Short

I got tired of not being able to find a job in the gaming industry, so i decided go create my own and hire people that way. Read more>>

Kay Wolfersperger | Designer and Illustrator

I had a typical career trajectory after I graduated from college. I worked as a graphic designer and climbed the proverbial ranks in house and at agencies until I found myself as an art director. I had been simultaneously freelancing the whole time because the small business projects and illustration gigs I got were more experimental and offered more creative freedom than my day job. As my clients businesses grew, their creative needs grew and so the see saw tipped and I was able to leave corporate work and make a living from freelance. Even at this tipping point I wasn’t consciously starting a business, I was listening to my gut saying “this is way more fun and you can make money at it, go do that instead.” My overhead was so low because I worked from home, just me and my computer so I was able to stay out of debt. Each year I learned more and more about business from reading and talking to colleagues, and before I knew it I had grown into a business person. Read more>>

Karen Eber | CEO and Chief Storyteller of Eber Leadership Group

I had spend the first half of my career in Fortune 500 corporations helping them change the way they developed their culture and their leaders and how to use storytelling. I became a bit of a corporate anthropologist – seeing what worked and didn’t…noticing patterns that companies fell into and didn’t know how to avoid. I realized I had a different perspective and practical steps that made a big impact. I wanted to open my company to help others learn what they truly need to do to transform their culture and build their leaders. It has allowed for me to have a greater impact in the places of my deepest strengths. Read more>>

Tracey Cooke and Michele Abdul-Qawiy | Podcast Hosts

Sisters of Leisure is about Living Everyday in Seeking and Understanding Real Events through the eyes of people in business. We enjoy starting conversations with people about business, life, and family. As business owners ourselves Sisters of Leisure wanted to seek opinions of other business minded people. Tracey Cooke and Michele Abdul-Qawiy are both co-creators of the Sisters of Leisure Brand originally from Cleveland, Ohio now residing in Atlanta, Georgia. We Started to do Sisters of Leisure after facetimeing everyday adding people to our conversation.our Podcast originated October 2020. The website is We are also on instagram ,facebook, youtube. We can be watched on, every other Sunday at 7 p.m. our vision is to promote, elevate, and normalize black entrepreneurship and black owned business. Sisters of Leisure helps expose upcoming businesses. We see ourselves expanding to different locations networking, and creating new relationships. Read more>>

Mackleen Desravines | Yoni Steam Practitioner

I started my second business during the pandemic. I was using safe at home Yoni products, and the woman I would purchase my products from suggested I start my own Yoni business because I was such a fan of self care and womb care. I thought, since I was home, let me make the best of it. Read more>>

Renisha Jackson and Lakiesha Daniels | Owners

Well Renisha actually came up with the ideal for Loving Me Period. She wanted to come up with something new and something that was needed, When she told be about the idea for a period products subscription box company, I immediate loved that idea and we join forces. It was perfect timing due to covid and people not going out due to sheltering in place. So we came up with a business plan and timeline for getting started and is constantly building and learning more about the business and how to improve and be successful. Read more>>

Nick Battaglia | Vintage Clothing Seller and Prop Designer

I came up with the idea of starting a vintage clothing business by combining my passion for vintage, my love of shopping, and my strong desire to be an independent business owner. Before I opened my store, I found myself constantly drawn to vintage furniture, clothing and design. Everything I owned from my furniture to my kitchen utensils was from the 1940s to the 1970s. I had never been attracted to modern clothing, much less felt comfortable in it. After years of acquiring everything vintage that I could lay my hands on, I had made a name for myself as the “go to” person for fun and unique clothing. My friends would come to me for costumes, or things to wear for their own fun photo shoots. After a few years of collecting (and running out of space) I decided that my passion and my collection should work for me, instead of the other way around. In 2018, I made the decision to get sober and focus my energy on making the best out of my life. Read more>>

Masud Olufani | Multidisciplinary Artist/Actor and Writer

I have been trained as an artist, so the idea of having my own business was a natural outgrowth of my evolved understanding of an artistic life. I am also an actor and writer, two professions that require one to be flexible in constructing a sustainable business model. Read more>>

Deanna Wells | Millennial Insurance Broker

I started my business to prove to myself and others that I could do it. I worked for people who didn’t believe I could run my own business. I also had family members who doubted me. I am a single mother of two so I had the odds stacked against me but I just had to prove to myself that I could do this. Read more>>

Doryan Sparkman | Cinematographer/Editor/Content Creator

I wanted to work on content that I was interested in, as well as my own content. Having my own production company allows me to have more of that flexibility to control the content that I work on. Read more>>

Luis Cantos | Owner, Break New Ground

In 2016 my wife and I had our first son. During this time we were both training Jiu-jitsu and we both had our corporate jobs. I quickly realized that with my day job and extra curricular activities I wasn’t spending enough time bonding with my son. In 2017 my wife and I learned that we were expecting our second child. At this point I was determined to find a way to be able to provide for my family and at the same time spend most of my time with them. Growing up, I’ve always been fond of streetwear fashion the sneaker culture. Similarly, in Jiu-jitsu we have a community of gi collectors. To this community, Jiu-jitsu gis were more than just uniforms for martial arts. It was a representation of your style, appreciation for art and fashion. I myself had started to buy and collect gis. When I knew I wanted to start my own business, I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and something that I knew I was going to enjoy doing. In 2017 I came up with Break New Ground as a Jiu jitsu brand concept, and in March 2018 I sold my first Product. Read more>>

LaTonya MeChelle | Owner, The NLuv Group & TygerEyez 360 Media Group

I am the Owner of two companies, The NLuv Group & TygerEyez 360 Media Group. It’s interesting because The NLuv Group is catered to supporting Veterans with dealing with their PTSD and assisting them with filing their disability claims. While TygerEyez 360 Media Group is all about breaking stereotypes and teaching people the power of tapping into one self to create a unique, undeniable brand. Once we get in their heads and let them know that all things are possible if you want it to be, we focus on their strategies and media exposure. . So many people have no idea of their worth. They live their lives daily, just surviving. They have no idea of how much value & talent they hold from within. People think about the same idea or vision for years and never do anything with it. They sit back and watch other people grow ideas, knowing that their idea is just as good. They listen to the naysayers and remain in their comfort zone. People think that they have to have all the answers before they can get started. Read more>>

Kenneya Westbrook | Multi-Tasking Addict

Not only will i be able to integrate more streams of income, i also have the freedom to make my own schedule. Read more>>

Terrae Ward | CEO & Coffee Brown Boss

Every business idea I have is always about helping and adding value to people’s lives. So with Coffee Brown Face Care, it was easy since I already make and use my own facial products that I have been using for years. I am constantly mistaken for a much younger woman, and when people find out that I will be 50 in a couple years, they’re shocked! It only seems natural for me to share with people what I’ve been doing for my skin and what’s behind the research that I’ve done when I worked at the Cancer Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. Read more>>

Porshia Evans | Owner of Glam L’amour

I wanted to start a business doing something that I would truly love and put my all into. I’ve had lots of business ideas prior to starting Glam L’amour, but this one just felt right. Read more>>

Brittney Ezna | Photographer & Creative

I was reeling from an especially hard year. The last 4 years have been “2020” for me. A car accident, a mental hospital stay, mental illness, various family deaths, loss of jobs, sexual harassment, it was just a lot! I was working full time for the first time and I kept pushing myself despite all my trauma to prove to myself, my family and others that I was fine. But I wasn’t. So I abruptly stopped. I starting blogging and I wanted to take good photos for it so I bought a starter camera! Turned out I had a knack for it and I started posting my photos and I had DMs rolling in with people asking me what I charged! It was pretty surreal. What started as an escape turned into a business. Read more>>

Amber Brookins | Public Figure & Business and Marketing

Honestly my first thought wasn’t per say a business. I was actually in a tuff place. I was a senior in high school stressing over what I could do as an career and I had always had a passion for helping and motivating others and just doing creativity things . It honestly was just an hobby and an outlet for me . Then I developed a passion for business and motiving / helping other people and the rest is history. Read more>>

Joy Simuel | Owner of Joy Simuel Consulting LLC & Special Education Consultant

I’m a God girl! I don’t make any decisions without going to Him first. When it came to starting a business I knew it would be centered around help families but I was unclear about the specifics. I was working as a special education teacher and felt very confined by the school setting. I did not always agree the decisions being made at IEP(Individual Education Plan)meetings and felt that parents were signing consent for services without a true understanding of what they were signing. So I felt the nudge to start a business where I could help parent navigate the special education process and help them on my terms. Read more>>

Sean James | Managing Partner and Founder

I was working in Government and Politics and I enjoy the work I did and the people I served, but I felt there was more of me that I had to offer and I believe that I deserved to have a voice at the table. A voice beyond what my then job title and job description dictated. So after feeling that push for a few months, I knew it was time to forge forward as an entrepreneur and service provider. Read more>>

Brett Bartel | Chief Science Officer

My son was diagnosed with ADHD nearly five years ago. I have a background in nutritional health especially with regards to mental health and I knew that nutrition could have large impacts on mental health. My wife and I wanted to manage his ADHD with nutrition before looking to medication. I went to a nutrition store and bought all the vitamins, minerals, and lipids that I knew he needed, and before long, he was taking six or seven pills…which meant he wasn’t taking any. I’d wondered why there wasn’t one product that had all the nutrients that are commonly deficient with people with ADHD. So we decided to make one. This business was started to find a solution to help my son and other people who want to make nutrition a key therapy in their managing mental health. Read more>>

Sergio DV Robinson | Couture Womenswear Designer

When I began creating the blueprint of my business I thought about the things that mattered most to me. Those things were: Beauty, Style, and Glamour. I wanted to create a product that I could instill those important key elements into and designing Couture was my outlet. I grew up drawing gowns in the back of my notebook during class and always daydreamed about bringing those sketches to life. When I got the opportunity to design a prom gown for my friend in high school, I was instantly gravitated towards the idea of doing this for a living. While attending college I taught myself how to sew and began gaining clients. Read more>>

Byron Jamal | Love Guru & Best-Selling Author

When I was pastoring, there were so many people who would come into my office to talk about things they didn’t feel comfortable addressing anywhere else. These were things I couldn’t even preach in the pulpit. I wanted to be more relevant and accessible to everyday people who the church might shun or cast away. I decided to start my own Love Coaching business to help people connect to their highest potential in self-love, love with others, and spiritual love. Now, I help people with depression, relationship challenges, and connecting to their spiritual source. To help even more people, I used my English degree from Norfolk State University (HBCU) and began writing books about love. As I finish my sixth book, I am encouraged by how my written work can help people long after I leave this physical existence. Read more>>

Melodie Stewart | Fashion Stylist

I wanted to work for myself. Doing something that I enjoyed doing. Plus, I was sick of asking for time off. Honestly I didn’t like having to adjust my life around a job I didn’t like. Read more>>

Hosnara Begum | Founder and CEO of Jar Masala

I grew up eating South Asian (Indian, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani) food and I always loved eating and cooking with all different types of spices. As a mother of a ten and a six-year-old I cook more now than ever before and what helped me kick start my business was the love and the enjoyment my kids showed eating the same food that I grew up eating and loving. I had this idea for a while now but always had doubts and concerns about how people will receive my products but my husband and kids gave me the push I needed during the pandemic in 2020 while we cooked and ate more than ever before and I thought “why not”. My daughter Zaara said I will be your business partner and help with whatever needed so I happily agreed and that’s how Jar Masala started in July 2020 during the pandemic. Read more>>

Gloria Ward | Entrepreneur, Author, Business Strategist

I knew I wasn’t the only one who went through a period where you start to question who you really are and what you really want out of life. I had to take a had look at myself in the mirror and when I did, I was not happy with who I was. I was abusing alcohol, working at a job I did not like, and on a brink of a divorce. I knew I had to make a change and make it fast. Most women when they’re facing this type of life changing events do not have anyone to turn to, I created the I’m Loving Me Project so they can have a community of women who will understand them and help them discover who they really are. Read more>>

Keisha Greene | Founder/Editor-in-Chief

I started Paper Planner Essentials magazine to fill a need in the planner community.. The planner community is filled with creatives. Although we are able to use the Internet to find inspiration and share our creations, there was an element that was missing. I thought back to years ago when I was an avid scrapbooker. I would look forward to picking up the latest scrapbook magazine to find inspiration, industry news, and the occasional scrapbook layout that I had submitted for publication. Thinking about the pride I felt when I saw one of my own spreads in those magazine pages, I knew what missing. I set out to create a team of women who shared the passion of creative planning with me. We did our own research, and launched the first issue in November of 2019. Today, we are busy creating a strong presence in the planner community. We have formed quality relationships with some of the top brands and creators of planning supplies, and we are growing each day to become synonymous with creative planning. Read more>>

Kimberly Lavon | Creative Director

I’ve been a creative my entire life. It’s the only thing that always made sense. Knowing that since childhood, logical next steps were to attend college. However, after attending 3 colleges and earning: 1 BFA in Fine Art Printmaking with a minor in Graphic Design, 1 MA in Advertising, 3 Mentorship programs, 2 internships, and 10 years of experience I still didn’t know what to “do”. I could do anything now but what would work best for me? How do I combine my wide range of creative experience? That’s when it hit me. I needed to start my own business because what I was looking for did not exist. And because of that insight, I found an opportunity to fill a great need. Read more>>

Sandra | Publicist & Founder of Just1PR,LLC

Honestly, it was pretty scary. its a lot of crazy thoughts that run through your head when starting a business. Not only do you immediately start stressing if it will even be successful, will it work, funding, acquiring an LLC, website, business cards, logo to represent your business, to even doubting yourself at some point, it is Truly a lot. But starting a business has been on my mind way before , but just wasn’t sure when and where to start. I went ahead and did the research, took classes and once the opportunity presented itself it was a Go!. Might i add that starting a business does cost money, please we have to remember that ” You are your first investor” which you have to also take that into account when starting a business. In all reality, if you plan it out properly, have funding , you can seamlessly start a successful business as well. Read more>>

Kevin Brown | Owner of Konscious Cigars & Maduro Marauders Cigar Lounge

My number one thought is always Representation. Am I or people that live or look like me being presented properly. With that thought I was able to open up my cigar lounge Maduro Marauders with partners which I told myself I will also create my own cigar this how Konscious Cigars was birth. Read more>>

Chameria Hightower | Hairstylist, Instructor, Master Braider

My thought process behind starting my brand was my husband, kids and being able to break generational curses. I feel as though people in this world people will fit into one of two categories, bosses or workers. I’ve always seen myself as a boss. I am the first person in my family to own my own business and I’m hoping to set the perfect example to show others that no matter where and how you started, any goal is achievable. Read more>>

Aria Craig | Integrative Wellness Coach & Consultant | Bestselling Author | Speaker

My career has had so many rewards and challenges. I worked for three employers in which I experienced chronic stress, anxiety, and depression that also impacted my physical and spiritual health. From the first one, there was deep systemic racism; the second was reporting to a manager who was threatened by my talent and ambition; and the third was reporting to a micromanaging bully who exhibited mental unstableness. Each encounter was worse than the one before. I found that neither Human Resources departments were much of an advocate. I made a personal decision to not allow myself to tolerate any more toxic working environments and help those who were still in that struggle. So many people suffer in silence because they need to hang on to their jobs to make ends meet or for validation of their title. In the beginning, I wanted to focus on supporting the employee in coaching them through finding relief and healing. Then I had the idea to expand to supporting organizations in improving their workplace wellness. Read more>>

Tiffany Roberts | Writer, Director, Producer, Coach, & Consultant For Theater and Independent Films & Videos

When I started, I was doing gigs as a singer/song writer and I remember hearing all the time that you have to build your brand and you are a business. It didn’t really resonate until I did my first theatrical production The Mistress Club, that it sunk in. Producing a large show forced me to put things in order. I started my business at first just to move production expenses etc. ;however, once I started increasing my knowledge and building my brand I realized I had to expand my business to cover all of my services. Read more>>

Victoria Lightfoot | Communications Coach & Consultant

My thought process behind starting my own business was because I saw the need to help women entrepreneurs successfully share their unique story behind their business. Women, especially Black Women, are starting a home-based and online business at a record rate, but are often unclear of how to communicate why they started their business and not sharing their unique story. My background includes 8 years of experience in public relations, corporate communications, writing, speaking, and storytelling. I’ve managed public perception through storytelling for major organizations as well as entrepreneurs. I saw a space for me to help and decided to start my business on that idea. Read more>>

Donavan Brooks | Filmmaker & Editor

The thought process behind starting Oneye was to create to inspire. Leaving an impact, whether big or small, through immersive visual content. Helping business owners and creatives bring their vision to life. Along with producing original content (short films, mini series, etc.). And with film/photography being a true passion of mine, it just made sense to start a business in that industry. Read more>>

Marianne Tissot | Wellness Coach, Therapist & Vintage Dealer

Six years ago, when I moved to the US, I realized that all my certifications, training and work experience were effectively worthless. I was born and raised in Colombia and before I came here I was a therapist with my own practice. Instinctively I rejected the notion that I was somehow “invalid” as a professional because my career had not happened in America and I decided to rebuild my practice in a way that felt authentic. I went back to school and got certified as a Wellness Coach. I knew my calling was to provide a financially accessible, sex positive, trauma informed space to promote mental health and I had to find a way to financially support that project. Enter my vintage store, Found Fauna. Thanks to my Vintage store, I am now able to support myself and my practice , while providing extremely low cost services to folks who otherwise would not be able to access them. When folks purchase their goods at Found Fauna, they are also helping other humans heal and thrive. Read more>>

Shawn Lee | Body Contouring Specialist

I wanted to help individuals feel good about themselves. You have alot more control of how happy you feel when your comfortable in the skin your in. Starting with developing some good personal habits, and taking care of your body and health. Also working on embracing your strengths and working on areas for improvement for your overall lifestyle. That’s why and how I came up with Vainfullyvain. Read more>>

Sarah Campbell | Owner

After working for other small businesses for the first part of my career, I was driven by the satisfaction of steering the direction of the business, it’s interactions with customers, offerings, etc. I stayed home with my kids when they were little and started a small business sewing nursery decor in my guest room. The opportunity to affect your own bottom line and make your own rules felt amazing. Once the kids were in school I knew I wanted to continue in that fashion, but on a much larger scale. I was buying a lot of fabric online and saw an opportunity in my local market to provide a retail location for people that were interested in shopping in person for the modern, quality fabrics that I was drawn to. I knew that fabric stores are hard to keep afloat in the traditional brick and mortar arena, so I decided to combine the local business with a sewing studio to teach sewing to kids and adults, thereby increasing my customer base and selection of offerings. I also put a lot of effort into selling fabrics online to further diversify the business. Read more>>