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.

Tonika Matthews | Creator, radio show host, mother, & student of life

Honestly, My business was birth from me needing a product or products for my newly cut and natural crown. I cut my hair into a tapper style cut and I had no idea how to maintain my hair, or what products worked best for my coils, or hair texture. I did know, I was not interested in trying a variety of different natural hair care products until I found the right combo for me. I did what I have done my entire life, when I needed something and couldn’t find what it was I was seeking.So I created it for myself. It started as a D.I.Y recipe, that was given to me by my ancestors while standing at the kitchen counter. At the time I didn’t know what I was birthing, creating, or the seed I was planting. Read more>>

Robert Grant | Entrepreneur

I started my businesses out of necessity, I’m a terrible employee. Im terrible because I’m not good at quietly watching businesses make bad decisions and then having those decisions affect my livelihood. The last job I had came to an end because the owner of the business made some highly preventable mistakes. The day I got laid off of that job I walked to my car that I had just bought a few weeks earlier and suddenly couldn’t afford in tears feeling completely defeated. But for me, this wasn’t the first time I’d had this feeling. Read more>>

Erin Zwigart | Owner and Founder

We came up with the idea of Georgia Crafted one night in May 2013 over a glass of wine. Both my husband and I had dreams of owning our own business, and after months of discussing ideas, we started talking about my passion for shopping local & wanting to promote local makers + his warehousing/shipping & logistics background and BOOM! Georgia Crafted was born! Read more>>

Embry Rawls | Ceo of Triple K Eatz llc

My thought process behind starting my own business.. I just went for it.. Im like if i can make people happy with my food why not make it a every day thing and thats what i did.. I put a menu together promoted myself on social media platforms and staryed doing pop up shops where i am well known in 4months..!!! Read more>>

Darieus Veltri | Photographer & Visual Creator

There honestly wasn’t a true thought process behind it. I have always enjoyed taking photos as a hobby since I was young. I was constantly taking photos of things that caught my eye on my phone when I was just a young kid. My family members always said that I “had an eye for things.” In 2015, I got my first camera as a gift from my grandmother. I still consider this the best gift I’ve ever received. This truly began to turn my hobby into a passion. Read more>>

Porsha Davis | Flight Attendant & Creator of FLY COLLECTION COSMETICS

I always have been in the beauty industry and decided to take my idea and career to another level, but I wanted to be very creative with my next move. I always wanted my own cosmetic line as a makeup artist. I knew my idea had to standout amongst other lines ! A year in as a flight attendant the thought came to me as I was on break in the air on airplane mode. “Aviation themed cosmetic line” I researched day in and out, no one has done this idea and I wanted to be the first to do it. Read more>>

Claudia Diawara | Private Chef & Entrepreneur

The thought process behind starting my own business was to be my own boss. I wanted to make the decisions for how i cook my food, how i plate it and choose my own ingredients from local vendors. It was always my priority to support other local businesses and vendors. Quality over quantity Read more>>

Desiree Jones | Chief Executive Officer of Step-by-Step Behavioral Health, Founder/President of Step-by-Step 4 Help Foundation, Inc and Licensed Mental Health Counselor

I decided that I would no longer be a victim of my past pain. I decided to make my pain pay! Being a victim of abuse hinders your self-esteem and makes you fearful to move forward with your dreams and goals in life. It alters your perspective on people, life, and your overall vision of who you are and what you can achieve. After addressing my trauma I knew that I had to plant seeds in the lives of others so that they could get past their trauma, achieve their goals and have a successful life. In order to do this, one must take a step-by-step process and do the work to change their negative view of self, others, and mindset. And most importantly forgive and let go of any guilt and shame. Read more>>

Terry & Tasha Swain | Business Owners, Investors & Philanthropists

Entrepreneurship has always been a part of my DNA… what I like to call (Dividend Netting Ability). Entrepreneurship is something that is inherently designed into the fabric of my being. From birth I was exposed to entrepreneurship from family members, who all had their own businesses, including my great grand parents, my parents, uncles and aunts. Entrepreneurship for e was caught more than taught. So there wasn’t really a thought process that went into starting my own businesses. It was more so a destiny that I had already been walking in without even realizing it. Read more>>

Gleana Albritton | Producer, Writer & Director

I left my position as Head of Media & Entertainment Marketing at Twitter in November of 2016. I spent a few months (like 9 or 10 soul searching and interviewing). There were a few paths I considered, first and foremost was trying to land another senior marketing gig in entertainment, another was potentially finding a way into politics by trying to work at organizations like the ACLU or MoveOn, and the third option was finding a way to leverage my passion for TV into some sort of workable career for myself. Read more>>

Jamila DeBow | Licensed Esthetician, Esthetic Instructor and Makeup Artist

Growing up I had problem skin, I was constantly trying things to keep my skin moisturized while also trying to control acne. And was failing! The quest to understand and heal my skin led me to Esthetics school where I first decided that a huge part of my purpose was being a skin healer and therapist. From there I built my skincare knowledge and worked in just about every part of the multi-billion dollar skincare business, knowing that starting my own business was the ultimate goal. Read more>>

Brighton Thompson | Wedding Photographer & Creative Entrepreneur

I’ve always had the mind of an entrepreneur. When I was younger, I loved Harry Potter. In fact, I loved the series so much that I decided that I wanted to start my own business in making wands. I sold quite a few too! In a similar fashion but at a much higher level, I feel the same about wedding photography. I tell my clients all the time that I love love and I love photography. Being a naturally entrepreneurial mind, I was determined to find a way to incorporate both of those things into my business! I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to work a normal 9-5 to earn a living, and you can do so by following your passion whatever that may be! Read more>>

Carol Brown | Owner/CEO

“Carol, please make some of your hot sauce and coleslaw salad” that became a usual thing family and friends asked from me to prepare for their gatherings. My husband encouraged me to package this sauce and market it to the public and that’s where it all started. Read more>>

Christine Wachira | Pension Analyst, Certified Risk Manager & Business Owner

The Maasai people of East Africa are known to be amongst the best crafters in the world. Maasai beadwork is commonly sold in markets all over Kenya and Tanzania. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya and as a jewelry lover I would often spend hours at Maasai markets. I was always in awe of the beauty of the jewelry and the process behind making them. Read more>>

Corinthian Carouthers II | Beauty School Owner, Natural Hair Educator & Entrepreneur

Growing up my parents had several businesses, but it never occurred to me then, that they were entreprenuers. I use to think they were just trying to make more money. As I got older, I begin to understand the power of freedom that can come with starting your own business. When I was in high school, my parents opened a beauty school, and still, then, it did not occur to me that I could be involved in the business, in fact, I did not want to be a part of the business because of the bad stigma on hairstylist back then. Read more>>

Candice Mcrae | Natural hair blogger/podcast

I started out making my haircare brand called KandiKare. As I started growing my brand I realized that there wasn’t a platform for people like myself who had a haircare business to talk about their brand as well as educate people on their natural hair. This is why I started the Kinky Hair Kulture podcast. This podcast helps people who have haircare businesses or products talk about it as well as educate. Now, people can get to know the owner, the story of their brand,get hair tips and get the product they need to grow healthy natural hair. Read more>>

Brandon Duke | Videographer & Musician

Atlanta, Georgia and the surrounding area, is a treasure trove of diverse talent. I wanted to showcase that talent and tell the stories of the people who make this city, and the area around it, the wonderfully interesting place that it is. Read more>>

Jazmine Gipson | Fitness Coach & Nutritionist

Flexibility and freedom while doing something that I enjoy. What motivated me to start my own business? Waking up to go to work for someone else while dreading doing so, unable to maximize the hours in a day that benefit me most, unable to spend time with my daughter because I’m tired, or have to work 10 hours a day was simply enough, I just decided wasn’t for me. So with the skills and tools that I had been blessed with I decided entrepreneurship would be the road that I embark on. Read more>>

Latisha Thibodeaux | Creative extension specialist

From the age of 5 I knew what I was passionate about. I knew what I wanted to do with my life in my career field so I stuck to the plan. My mom is a hairstylist for over 30 years so I grew up in the shop. I admired her all my life and I was infatuated with hair. The looks on her clients faces and the confidence she gave them after their transformation was everything. That is what drove me into my field. The feeling that I got from being able to build other women in my own creative ways. It’s was definitely passion behind me starting my own business. Doing what I love and loving what I do. Read more>>

Lou Columbus | Portrait Photographer

After spending 20 years in the military, my thought was to begin a second career doing something for myself, that I had always been interested in. I didn’t want to go back to punching a clock, working under someone else’s terms. Read more>>

Ayana Billingsley | Boutique Owner

This is a great question because till this day it’s the “why” to what I do everyday. Growing up I loved fashion, that was the way I expressed myself. It was the perfect way to show off my personality. My style would literally switch based upon my mood. But one day I was out shopping for an outfit and I realized I found myself at multiple stores. So I thought to myself, there’s not that many stores that cater to all different fashion styles. I just wanted to make the shopping experience more convenient and more diverse and unique. I wanted to give people a place where they can shop and they can be chic, sophisticated, casual, vintage and etc. Read more>>

Daria Kapitanova | Photographer

Since I was little I loved taking photos of other people and it just never clicked that maybe I should pursue photography. I always liked playing around in photoshop too. So a few years ago I’ve decided to get a good camera with an intention to take photos of myself but soon realized that I loved being behind the camera much more. That’s how it all started. I just love how I made people feel when they saw their photos. How happy they seemed during their photo sessions. That’s when I knew I want to keep doing this for as long as I can. Read more>>

Jasmine Vaughn | Hair Stylist & Entrepreneur

Honestly i was tired of working for someone. I wanted to be my own boss. Make my own hours and be able to be creative in my own space. Being able to watch my children grow and thrive has always been important to me. My mother worked all her life and still is. If I can be the one to break a cycle and or stop something new , I was and am up for that challenge. Read more>>

Desmond Jones | Real Estate & Architectural Photographer

My thought process behind starting a business was simple. I wanted to be very fast, very good and most importantly I wanted to be my own boss. So I Introduced a delightful experience to the Real Estate Industry by delivering consistently great photography, being on time, fresh and most of all honest. Read more>>

Chiquita, Destini, and Marcus | Teen Attack Clothing Brand

Our thought process behind Teen Attack was to create a clothing apparel brand for the Youth to dress in style while their attacking their goals in life to become who they are destined to be. The brand name “Teen Attack” was birth back in 2018 when me and my children were sitting having dinner discussing ways to shine a more positive light into the youth community, because we felt as a family the youth doesn’t get recognized and was overlooked. We wanted to change that by creating a clothing brand as well as getting more involved in the community by doing of pop ups, and events. Read more>>

Kevin Griggs | Photographer

We had been working under a Steve Hogben Photography for over a decade and needed to step out from his shadow. Most photographer’s name their business after themselves. We wanted to be a brand not a person, so we founded Capitol Photography Partners. Read more>>

FOH Podcast | Podcasters & Entrepreneur

Our thought process was building generation wealth for our family, not working a 9 to 5 job, and building a brand to help employ people that have the same drive and want to be in the same field. Read more>>

Suchet Pierre Louis | Fashion Designer & Business Owner

For as long as I can remember and more specifically during my undgradute studies at GSU, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The freedom from owning and operating a business is a passion that I can not describe. And I believe it’s the strongest pathway to success. When the idea of Laced Fashions came to me I envisioned a company that ecompases 5 core values. Those values are Leadership, Achievement, Consistency, Excellence and Dedication. I firmly believe that if a person, company, entity masters these core values that they will with certainty become successful. Laced Fashions and Footwear LLC helps me to achieve that vision. Read more>>

Charli Allen | Baker

I started my business as a hobby to keep me busy while quarantining in the pandemic. My daughter and I would try new recipes that we saw on Facebook or Tasty. It was really therapeutic for me to bake with my daughter and also get to eat delicious sweets. Eventually I got better and better and started doing birthday cakes for my friends. My friends are actually the ones that talked me into turning my hobby into a business. I haven’t looked back since! Read more>>

Nami Bey | Creative director, model , photographer, abstract artist., event curator

Diiviinetime was manifested because of the word, “diiviine timing” It was important for me to emphasize on how diiviinetime workings with people and experiences through art and creativity. CEO Nami Bey and CO Reen bg also wanted to inspire people for the next generations moving forward with peace and creativity Read more>>

Tiffani Jordan | Baker and Model

My thoughts behind starting up Jordan Cakes was to start my foundation for my boys and I. I also wanted to make money doing something I enjoy. Baking and cooking has always been a love and craft I’ve had since I was 10 yrs old. I love to make people smile and seeing the happiness that comes over their faces when they take that first bite is everything! Read more>>

Tim Thomas | Outdoor Hobbyist & Pescador Expeditions

My Business was created based off of my personal search and need for adventure and excitement. I have always found enjoyment getting up and going out the door. The older I have grown the more my journey expands to find adventures less ventured. Through the years my close friends have become accustomed to joining me on new and exciting experiences. Overtime I realized there was real value in curating and making these experiences easily available. Read more>>

Valerie Wright | Serial Entrepreneur

I am a serial entrepreneur, When I saw this concept; i thought that it was an excellent opportunity to bring to my city. I’ like many other people do not want to drive to the city for an “experience” all of the time. I wanted to bring a city activity to the suburbs. Read more>>

Sharmalyn Lord | Financial Consultant and Event Planner

I had recently got a divorce and embarking on my journey as a new single mom and in the middle of a pandemic that caused me to be furloughed, I need a second source of income and I loved the idea of helping other people while I made a way for myself. Read more>>

Jamilah Horton | Founder Of House Of Pages Bookstore

I’ve always been a voracious reader – I actually consider myself to be somewhat of a bibliophile. I started reading when I was three years old and I started collecting books in elementary school. My parents would take me to library sales and thrift stores where I would use my allowance to purchase books. I had so many that my mom decided to create an actual library in our storage house! I have continued to collect books and I always knew that I would transition to opening my own bookstore. Read more>>

Queen Mizz Sable | Model, Influencer, Makeup Artist, & Entreprenuer

At the point of me starting my business, I had already been doing makeup a few years and had received my certification. I wanted to start my business of providing makeup services, have my own eyelash line and products so I could be able to use my own products on my clientele. I worked so hard on everything down to creating my own logo and with one of my best friends help we came up with the name Cake Lashes by Mizz Sable’s Beauty Lounge. Read more>>

Paris Pierce | Makeup Artist

As a young girl, I was shown the importance of having and owning your own business. As I grew older I knew that I wanted something for myself with my name attached. I was a cheerleader so I would do my makeup before every single game and pep rally and people began to notice. I would do my friends makeup just to practice and then I realized this was a passion. Being able allow women to see themselves at their best and feel the confidence that is within gave me the drive to continue in this profession. Now I am a growing MUA working everyday to show each and every women that sits in my chair their inner and outer beauty. Read more>>

Rachel White | Photographer & Film-maker

When I became a photographer almost 10 years ago, it was just another extension of my artistic nature. Fast-forward to now, and I have been able to take this full-time and be successful. That ultimately became the goal around the that I was 18 years old. I have always loved being an artist, and being able to give my clients their memories in photograph form is so fulfilling! Read more>>

Nikko and Dri Love | Chefs

Dri and Nikko: Well the thought process was fairly easy. We spent a fair amount of time in the service industry, that’s how we got our insight into the behind the scenes of this. The two of us met on our last job (super popular restaurant in Atlanta) where the environment was super questionable and toxic. We both love to cook and realizing that people will be willing to pay us to cook for them and help cater their small events, we decided to make a small business for ourselves. We are both extremely talented in our crafts so we thought we should work for ourselves instead of clocking in everyday for someone else who doesn’t even appreciate the work we do for them. Read more>>

Taylor & Christina Hedgspeth | CEOs/ AudioEngineer/Production/ExecutiveProducer/Director/Film/Music/Photography/Videographer/Creator

Our thought process behind starting our production company rooted from our musical background. We were raised by a family that absolutely loves music a lot. We both started our musical journeys at a very young age. I, (Sheray) fell in love with being behind the boards creating the music, audio engineering, and executive producing side of music. My younger brother (Tay) has also felt the exact same way about from a very young age as well. We both took up music in school following in our mothers footsteps. Read more>>