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.

TJ Reese | Visual Artist

Me deciding to start my business was a decision based upon my unhappiness working for a corporation. I wanted to cultivate a means by which I could sustain myself financially without the necessity of punching in and out everyday. I’m still building my business to this point; however, the journey is well worth it and a huge learning experience. I was also spurred by the engagement I would get on my artwork and the amount of people that were willing to spend their money on pieces that I created. Read more>>

Spencer Stultz | Fine Artist and Creative

My thought process behind Whimsical Black Girl was a combination of self-reclamation, as well as my personal advocacy for other Black womxn. There are very few handmade boutiques that are geared towards depicting and honoring Black womxn. As a visual artist and creative, I noticed that the creative and handmade fields have very little diversity. Folks were rarely even marketing towards Black communities before this recent Civil Rights upheaval that began during the summer of 2020. It felt absolutely necessary to create a space – and products – that encourage ease, beauty and creativity for Black womxn. I wanted a business where the products that are sold are inspired by, created by and created for Black womxn specifically, and womxn of color. Although Whimsical Black Girl is mainly virtual, I wanted to create a space where Black womxn are the most important thing. Read more>>

Kenny Morgan | Co-Founder & CEO

For my wife and I, it’s always been about how can we serve people better than the day before. We are not afraid of communicating our love for others and seeing each individual, business, or organization as family, not just another name on a list. While the creative and video production industry played such a large part in shaping me as an individual and leader, it also showed us as a husband-and-wife-team where this industry, in particular, needed more light, goodness, and a revival of authentic relationships. That passion for others initially outweighed our fears of all the unknowns and challenges that come in starting your own business and still remains our fuel five years in. And while the work in which we deliver matters so much, we have this belief that the relationships we keep matter so much more. Read more>>

Danny Bevins | Actor, Singer, Dancer & Co Owner of Vibe City Entertainment LLC

Vibe City Entertainment LLC was created by Atlanta performing artist couple Danny Bevins and Monica Garcia Bradley, along with their business partner and graphic designer, Neil Jay Shastri, to raise the quality assurance in both consultation, creation, and execution for multi media type and live productions. The intention was to generate an excellent quality product along with a positive ‘good vibes’ atmosphere. With combined experience of Broadway, Off Broadway, Network Television, Feature Films, IMDB producer experience, concert dance, top regional music theatre performances, and thousands of streams from online music projects, Vibe City Entertainment LLC knew their music eclectic experience was highly valuable and necessary for the supply and demand of work in the ATL market. VCE is also diverse in that it’s one of the few if not only production companies co owned by a Native American song and dance man (Danny Bevins), a Spanish American actress and IMDB producer (Monica Garcia Bradley), and an Indian American graphic designer and artist (Neil Jay Shastri). Read more>>

JoJo Spencer | Owner at JoJo’s Photos & Studio

I knew I had the skill set to run my own business. I understood leadership from past occupations, and I knew the importance of having a team to continually get to the next level. Also, I was tired of having a boss (though all my bosses in the past were amazing). Read more>>

Jill Wener, MD | Anti-Racism Educator, Meditation Teacher and Tapping Practitioner

I spent the first 17 years of my adult life in the medical field, training to become and then working as a doctor. I never really thought I had any other talents or skills that I could do professionally! When I learned to meditate in 2011 during a period of profound burnout, it not only fixed my burnout, but it also changed my life. I never intended to leave medicine, but once I decided to become a meditation teacher and then spent 3 months in India doing my meditation teacher training, I realized I had more that I wanted to offer the world. I focused on teaching meditation for the first 2 years of my entrepreneurial career, and it was then that I got really involved in the physician wellness space. I started tapping (also called the Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT) in 2018 and loved it so much that I became a tapping practitioner in 2019. My medical, meditation, and tapping expertise all informed the work I do in the anti-racism space, through my ‘Conscious Anti-Racism’ curriculum. Read more>>

Niema Graham | Digital Content Creator & Wellness Enthusiast

I started working on Levitate last year back when the pandemic began. I went to several grocery stores trying to find water, juice, paper towels and tissue. I was both scared and frustrated because I went to several stores and was unsuccessful getting what I need. I then began to walk towards the front of the store near the produce department with the intentions of me leaving to the next store but then I stopped, looked at the produce and saw how there wasn’t a soul in sight buying produce. I then decided to buy plenty of fruits and veggies with intentions to clean and freeze for later but to also attempt to make my own juice with the produce that I have bought. I then created my first batch of strawberry lemonade. Later in the year I realized that I was struggling emotionally due to how much COVID-19 had impacted my life. Read more>>

Bam Bowers | ARTreprenuer , Brand Strategist & Visual Creator

I was motivated to work my way “up the ladder” and then start my own agency once I gained enough experience. Basically, it was ingrained in our brains through Art school so I figured this was the best route to go. I quickly realized that world wasn’t for me. I had trouble connecting, simply because there weren’t enough people that looked like me or enjoyed the things I was passionate about. I’ve always been a free-spirited, urban creative and couldn’t see myself compromising that for a corporate job. Still, I found passion in marketing and branding from being in that setting. It inspired me to combine creativity and professionalism. From there I decided to create my own lane and do something different. . This is the driving force behind my business now. Read more>>

Bruce Millar | Georgia Personal Injury Attorney

I chose to start my personal injury law practice because I wanted to handle cases for regular people, not big businesses. Practicing personal injury law allows me to help everyone from all walks of life, including people who cannot always afford to hire a good lawyer. Just because you don’t make a lot of money or live in a big house shouldn’t mean you can’t afford a top lawyer. Personal injury cases allow lawyers to handle cases on a contingent fee, meaning we can help anyone who has a real case. It really is the people’s law. Read more>>

Visibly Inflight | Hip Hop Group

At first, it was necessity. All three of us lost our jobs at the same time. We did not want to work for someone else when we had the skills to work for ourselves. In doing this, we learned what it takes to run a business as well as the benefits of creating something for ourselves. We are in full control which allows us to manage our own time as well as pursue other career goals, i.e music. In the end, we want to have a strong foundation for our family and children to benefit from for generations to come. Read more>>

Alexandria ( Xanny) Mays | Loctician & Boutique Owner

I want to make people feel good. We all battle different issues on a daily but one thing is for certain “when we look good we feel good”. I enjoy cooking , fashion and doing hair . When it came down to which passions I wanted to make businesses fashion and styling hair were the top two. I love fashion , I haven’t always had the top notch things but I’ve always enjoyed watching the top celebs rock out in the hottest and latest fashions , admiring to one day be like them. I started my boutique lolstylez as a way to fully share and express my love for fashion with others . I love unique statement pieces . Outfits that don’t require much . I’m a pretty simple girl but I love to stay up to date with the latest trends , but add my own little spice on them . Hair has been a love of mines since the age of 10 . I’ve always loved to braid . I would beg my cousins and sisters to braid their hair just to practice on my skills . I even started a little braid and twist salon in my back yard with my home girl. Read more>>

Leroy Gordon | The Last Leroy

I wanted to a platform to showcase my comedic skills, and the radio stations in my area wouldn’t hire me. Granted all I had was me being funny and a good voice for radio, but they wouldn’t give me the opportunity. So when one door closes another door will open. In my case I had to first build the door to be able to walk through it. So I started The Signal 27 Show, with myself, my wife Lakita Gordon, and four other comics, David, Fabe, Big Chip, and Claudine. Read more>>

Colby Janine | Artist & Owner- GEMZY

I always let my intuition lead me–  in life & in business. I  believe our best ideas arrive as spontaneous bursts of inspiration. You hear artists, inventors, and entrepreneurs say it all the time- “it just hit me!” This is exactly how I founded my crystal company, GEMZY. Inspiration, intuition and intention. Before starting GEMZY, I was a full-time artist and songwriter. When I create music, I’m in the flow. I’m getting inspiration from something bigger than myself- it is exactly the same with GEMZY. Call it instinct, or intuition- but with lockdown and the direction our society is moving in- I knew there was a growing market for affordable,  ethically sourced crystals and gems. Thankfully I was right. Read more>>

Danovan Dean | Boudoir Photographer and Automotive Enthusiast

I got behind the lens as a means of escaping my current reality. I was injured from a car accident and out of work (I do collision repair, the irony right? ) in recovery for what seemed like forever. I needed a way to get outside of my own mind and the day to day life of being stuck at home. I have always been one to stop and take pictures with my phone so I decided to up and purchase an actual camera to create. Headed down to the closest Best Buy and the rest is history. After being freelance for a while and just shooting whatever caught my eye, I started realizing my potential was best used in Automotive and Boudoir photography. After gaining traction, and getting a good fussing out by a good friend, I actually focused on establishing my business properly and moving forward as a professional, and not just as another dude with a camera. Read more>>

Marvelous Marissa Daniel | The Executive Producer/Talk Show Host of Broken into Beautiful, Best Selling Author of, “From Brokenness to Marvelous,” Public Speaker/MC

I recently published my first book entitled, “From Brokenness to Marvelous.” This book is based on my life’s experiences and how God has blossomed me from a broken little girl into a marvelous woman of God. I wanted to share my personal testimony and the many challenges and traumatic experiences I endured in my childhood, college and life after college. I wanted to inspire young people all over to not give up on themselves or their dreams despite the many broken moments they may have experience. This book has blessed and inspire people all over the world. I’m grateful that God allowed me to step out on faith and published my story. My book can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Clark Atlanta University’s bookstore, Walmart and in your local bookstores and libraries. From Brokenness to Marvelous is also in my hometown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Springfield, WI and East Chicago Public Library. Read more>>

Shayla Bryant | Entrepreneur, Founder of Malawi’s House

My initial thought process was to help expecting families to experience a beautiful homebirth as I did. Before the actual Signature Birth Kit box came into existence, I also thought to just have a birthing supply business based on the treatment I received during my postpartum. Read more>>

Brandon Reed | Portrait Photographer & Videographer

My focus on becoming a entrepreneur started around the year 2016. During this time, I had just finished playing professional overseas basketball in Spain. I took a job at Amazon for about six or seven months before they let me go. It was at that point I decided to focus on creating my own lane. I wanted to build something that no one could fire me from for no good reason. During that time, my photography and videography skills were very raw and had zero direction but I knew I had a natural talent for it. Fast Forward to 2021, my brand has increased a considerable amount due to hard work and favor. Read more>>

Demetrius and Sheneika Hardy | Event Space Owners

We first took interest in event space ownership when we were planning our own wedding over 10 yrs ago. Throughout that planning process, we toured multiple venues, contacted several vendors, and spent a small fortune to create the day of our dreams. The process was overwhelming, and we began thinking of ways that we could remove some of the hassle and stress from the planning process. Our goal as event space owners is to provide an upscale space that can meet the needs of every client’s budget with a first-class customer service experience of excellence. Read more>>

Elizabeth Devine M| Writer, Actor, Producer, Independent Media Mogul.

I’m just not the best at working for other people’s motivation. I’m actually on the autistic spectrum and one of the biggest problems I had in school was essentially doing what any authority figure wanted me to do, especially if I thought I could learn the objective in a better way. I often wandered off on my own and would even skip class to stay in the library and read where I was free from distractions. As far as I was concerned I was at school to learn but the teachers were there to teach me to obey. Well, now I work with people sometimes (I hated group work in school), but I don’t have to work for anyone else’s goals unless I share them. A lot of people just have their own vision of how things should be and they shouldn’t necessarily have to conform to someone else’s, especially if they can make their vision with their own two hands. I think conformity kills the spirit, and I think our society should really normalize not guilting people into compulsively working for the rich. Read more>>

Jordan Searcy | Blogger

I believe for so long Christians were stereotyped as “perfect people,” who had to be a certain way or act a certain way. Quiet frankly, that’s not what Christians are. As a Christian, we are imperfect people striving to be the best we can be each day. While it’s not always easy, we trust the process. So, we aim for progression, not perfection. Having experienced a lot of these stereotypes myself, I wanted to create a space where young adults could freely express their faith and have open and honest conversations about their walk with God. Read more>>

Wanda Kiser | Career Strategist, Executive Resume Writer & Interview Coach

I always knew that one day I would work for myself. After nearly 22 years of personal growth and success at a major telecommunications company, I decided to launch my own business as a career strategist. The idea stemmed from my passion and desire to be of service to others. In 2008, during the economic recession, many of my employees were facing an impending layoff. To assist in securing new assignments, I helped to develop their resumes and hone their interview skills. As a result, they all moved on to higher-rated positions in progressive areas of the company, and none of them lost their job. Following their success, I received many referrals who offered to pay for similar assistance. After much prayer and months of repeated customer success, I researched the industry, acquired numerous industry certifications and decided to take a leap of faith. Read more>>

Nicole Small | CEO & Therapist

I started Inspired Journeys counseling and consultation because I noticed a need in my community for culturally competent and representative mental health services. As a counseling student, I was the only Black woman in my cohort of roughly 75 students. It showed me that as a culture we’re still not getting the care we need from people who understand a shared experience, and I wanted to change that. I want to be able to help people who look like me not only feel comfortable seeking help but also helping to create an environment where the stigma surrounding mental illness is reduced. My overall process behind me starting my business is to be of service doing something I love that can truly help people. Read more>>

Muhammed Sokhna | Owner of Black Star Resumes

My initial thought about starting my business was, “I had nothing to lose.” I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t getting paid what I’m truly worth. I was frustrated and upset that I was starting to lose my passion for helping people take control of their careers. Working for a company wasn’t not going to help me experience financial independence. Plus, I had my own style of helping my resume clients, and I could never express that by working for someone else. Starting my business was my only option to feel passionate about my craft and take my skills to the next level while helping clients succeed with their career endeavors. Read more>>

A’bril Elon | Traveling Celebrity Hairstylist

My thought process to start my own business was a simple as it could be. I never wanted to work for any other company or business. I have always like to be ” in control” over things in my life. Having the ability to work when I want to work or not and being in control over the amount of money I can make with no limitations has always been an outstanding highlight of my life and over my thought process about how things “should” be. I work in a total of three states, GA. CA, SC, and I also have traveled for work in NC, NY, IL, FL, and soon come TX. and DC. I worked at Sonic during the summer of my junior year of highschool. I knew after those 3 months of working there that I was not meant to be a regular employee at any job. The joys I have and the freedom that comes with being your own boss are limitless. Especially being young, single, with no kids. Read more>>

Ani Whitmore & Kalin Darisaw | Co-Owners & Founders

It was simple. We wanted a special place for anyone to come, forget about the outside world, and focus on themselves. It seems like that could be easy for anyone to do, but to make a concerted effort to solely focus on yourself, and your personal growth, is hard for many people. Thus, The Secret Garden Pole Fitness Boutique makes it easier for people to do that…grow in their own special way. Free from judgment and a genuine source of support. Read more>>

Benjamin Duval | Owner of Pantheon Boxing & Fitness

Starting my own business is something that I’ve had in mind for quite a long time. My parents were both entrepreneurs themselves and had me follow what is considered a typical educational journey that led me to obtain my college degree in year 2014, back in my home country France. I graduated in corporate finance not out of passion for analytics, but thinking that it would give me a solid understanding of how to run a company. I never had any intention of pursuing a corporate career in finance my whole life. In my life, I was fortunate to meet numerous smart and charismatic people that fueled my optimism and my fire for entrepreneurship. I’ve always had a keen interest in business, most likely triggered by my hard-working parents and later by my interest for making my own choices. I believe that aspiring entrepreneurs are individuals that pay a lot of attention to their environment, see issues or things that can be drastically improved and act on addressing and fixing them. Read more>>

Alysse Daniels, M.Ed. | Author and Founder

I am a former educator and school district administrator. Literacy at an early age is the biggest predictor of future success. I had the vision to use my background and experience to create an edutainment company, providing effective educational books, animated programs, and learning resources to help expose children to diverse cultures and inspire reading and exploration. It was important to me to create characters that look like my daughters and their friends. I am focused on early learners, and our book series, Adventures with Mariah will bridge cultures, infuse history, provide multi-cultural representation, foster collaboration, and promote problem-solving for children. Read more>>

Michael Watson, CLTC® | Financial Advisor

Since I was a kid growing up in the blue-collar city of Ypsilanti, MI, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset, and owning my own business was always a dream of mine. I’ve excelled in every job I’ve ever had because I’m a self-motivated, hard worker that does not like ceilings, so naturally, working a 9 to 5 would never cut it for me. I decided to bet on myself and start my own business. I was already in the financial industry as a personal banker, and while there, I realized there was a substantial need for financial education amongst minority communities. I understood that if I continued to educate myself on strategic ways to build lifelong wealth, I would make a difference in these communities by providing financial education as a financial advisor. That’s how Watson Wealth Planning LLC was born. Read more>>

C.K. Mulfort | Author & Board game Creator

For me, there wasn’t much a thought process behind starting the business. It just happened naturally. There was more of thought process of how I could build that business. My business started from simply knowing I have something I love to do, which is create, and others believe so too. Being super creative has always been a part of me. From filming, to designing, to writing. It’s just me! It’s what I am known for by my peers and it’s what I love to do. The more I did it, the more it became profitable. From there, I was able to structure my creative into a business. I think starting a business should start from a place where it is natural. Doing it because it is your gift, talent, or passion should be the goal instead of simply starting a business cause you need money. Read more>>

Billboard Chaz | CEO & Creative Director

The thought process behind starting my own business was “ Nothing else makes you feel as happy and as fulfilled than when you’re doing what you know God has put you on this earth to do. Me continuing to invest countless hours into a 9 to 5 that doesn’t care anything about me or my life’s purpose is simply just a waste of my time and energy. And with me knowing that tomorrow isn’t promised I have none of that to waste. So the “starting a business” part wasn’t really the main focus but more so following my passion. Read more>>

Tamara V Lucas | Co-Founder and COO of My Panda

Being a single, working mom, I am acutely aware of the struggle many of us have in trying to juggle it all. Throughout history, humans have lived in communities where they were surrounded by others who could support them. Today, most of us live more isolated lives away from extended family and our social support systems are strained. The adage of “it takes a village” resonates with us but few of us have that village to lean upon. It is a widespread problem with no affordable, convenient, trusted solution. The idea of connecting people to others who live right in their local community who have the time and desire to help seemed to be a logical solution. I knew that it was a solution that would help me, and the more people I talked to, I realized it was a solution that could help so many. Once we started to build My Panda and we saw the impact on our communities there was no going back!. Read more>>

Mr. Houze | Record Label CEO| Mentor| Public Speaker | Writer | Freelance Creative Enthusiast

Moving forward, the reason why it is a great question is because many think about it but very few execute. With me, it really started when turned 17 years old. As I was growing up where I lived, it was really more about the conventional jobs like your typical blue collar positions or Corporate America. I tried them all! Not only did I try them all, I tried both industries on many conventional levels thinking that was what I was suppose to do because I was worried about making sure I fit in even though I knew I was different from the climate that was presented to the city. The feeling I possessed during that I knew I was not built to be in that specific environment. I was just not for me! So, my hardheadedness or insubordination, if you will, came from me knowing the fact that I was not that type of person. Mind you I was only 15 or 16 at the time. I was very young but I knew. Read more>>

Paige Rankine | Student & Entrepreneur

The thought process behind starting my own business was to learn how to make my own source of income in a short period of time without having to work an 8 hour shift due to my heavy schedule. Read more>>

Tory Navarro | Certified Optician & Optical Staffing Agent

I wanted to start my own business doing something I loved without taking me away from the responsibilities I enjoyed doing for someone else’s business. I love being an optician, and I love connecting people to each other to help form a symbiotic relationship in business. Getting jobs for people is something that brings me joy and so does helping people see so I had to think of the perfect solution to form both of those in relation to each other. Read more>>

Shan & Christian | Body Butter Mixologists

We started in 2019 but officially launched during the pandemic in 2020. We knew we wanted to start a business as a way to secure a better future for our family but we struggled with coming up with a business idea. After brainstorming, the obvious thing to do was solve our own problems. One of our children suffered with eczema since he was a few months old. It was this issue that we were already passionate about that helped bloom our beautiful business today. We have not only started a legacy for our children to enjoy, we are also helping so many families, just like ours, have better skin. Read more>>

Tornica Chaney | Cake & Treat Maker | Teacher

My thought process began I believe 10 years ago. I started getting tired of working for corporate America and wanted to do something that I’d enjoy. I would get up every single day hating to go to work, so I said to myself that I had to figure out what I could do that would make me happy. I learned how to bake from my grandmother, mom and aunts. I used to bake cakes whenever my girlfriends and I would get together for our Sunday diners. They’d always say who was bringing what and told me to always bring a cake because they were so good. So I sat down one day and was talking to a friend of mine and he said, “Why not start your own cake business?” In my head I’m like hey maybe that would be something that I could do. I started taking a few classes to learn different techniques as well as learning on YouTube and next thing you know that’s how Cakes by the Pound and More, LLC began. Read more>>

Rebecca Norgaisse | Fitness Trainer/Coach & Affiliate Marketer

I was Pregnant. So my thought process was how am I going to be a full time mom , have flexible hours, be home by dinner and never miss any of my son’s major milestones! I couldn’t think of my business as a side hustle anymore. Read more>>