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.

Kazuma Tanabe | Guitar Designer & Sales Manager

First of all, I’m one of many guitar collectors and music lovers. I’ve worked for a Japanese guitar manufacturer as an overseas sales manager, product designer, and artist relations for 7 years. The guitar market is already overflowed now, but I tried to design what I want according to my favorite American vintage guitars and bizarre guitars produced in Japan in the 1960s. Read more>>

Nalaysia Cannonier | Boss Mom & Lash Tech

My thought process behind starting my own business was building generational wealth for my daughter. Giving her the ability to grow, learn and not have to hustle as hard as I did. I started working at 15 legally at 12 years old I was doing hair and babysitting just to have my own money. I have had every job you could think of after having my daughter I knew I had to push harder and become her role model. I am a strong believer in leading by example hoping she would take heed and carve her entrepreneur footprints on this planet. In 2019 I birthed Lilly Lash Extensions, now known as The Fairy Glam Mother LLC. My daughter’s name is Lillyanna also part owner of a company at the age of 3. Read more>>

Abe Ruiz | Concept Creator and Curator

Having been in the business for 30+ years and opened many restaurant concepts, created and franchised, I really wanted something very different. Something that transported you. If I was going to do this “one more time”, it needed to be a transport vehicle to a different world, supported by food and beverage Read more>>

Morris Hall | Entrepreneur

My thought process behind starting my own business was I wanted to create a avenue that would be able to support people that weren’t in a Position that I was in at the time, so I started to Plot, Plan, Strategize, Organize and Mobilize ways to generate income with the resources that I had. Read more>>

Taylor Dru Williams | Business Operations Consultant & Speaker

Since I was a little girl, I knew that I was meant to be in charge of my destiny. Some call it ‘bossy’, some call it ‘only child syndrome’. Call it what you want but I knew that I had a fire in me that led me to take control of what I do and how I do it, throughout my journey so far in this lifetime. Helping others find and live into their own pursuits and passions has always been a motivator of mine. Hearing the words “Thank you so much, Taylor. You are a lifesaver”, truly empowers me in my mission to help the world run a little more smoothly. I learned that I am most fulfilled by creating peace from chaos. Read more>>

Dominique Bourne | Small Business Owner

Originally my thought process was to start a business so that I could bring in some extra income shortly after giving birth to my daughter. Read more>>

Andy Wilson | Owner/Coach

Fitness and health has always been something that we made a priority for ourselves. We had been helping some of our friends and each other with our nutrition and strength/conditioning work and one day on a trip, a friend of ours (shoutout Beth Kinder) asked and encouraged us to start our own business of doing that for other people. At first, we thought she was crazy but the more we thought about it the more real it became. Then one weekend after a tough week at our jobs we decided we were going to make it a reality as an exit strategy for our jobs so we went to a coffee shopped and made a plan. We executed on that plan the best we could and the rest is history. Read more>>

Danielle Brent-Bownes | Business Law & Trademark Attorney; Owner of Brent Bownes Law PLLC

I graduated law school in 2012, took the bar exam Feb 2013 and failed by two points. It would then take me 5 more times to pass. I passed in 2018. After passing I was thinking about what I wanted do next. After having to take the exam so many times I had loss confidence and felt like failure even after I passed. I went back and forth about what I wanted to do. I prayed and prayed because the most logical thing to do was go and work for a law firm but something in my gut was holding me back. I didn’t put in any applications. It came to me that maybe I should start my own law firm. But the thought of failure immediately popped into my head. Read more>>

Vanessa Petersen | Grocery Store Owner

Starting your own business is very hard, there is a lot of unknown and at the begging you struggle a lot to pay the bills and sometimes wonder if it’s worth all the headache and things you have to give up when you own your own business. In my case owning a grocery store means I’m on call everyday when the supermarket is open which is 7 days a week. Even when i”m not present at the store i still have to work from home and resolve a lot of things that most people are unaware of. Vacation also means you have to have you phone on you the whole time and your laptop too so you can work from where ever you are. You never get a day off, always have to depend on employees and especially now with Covid is very hard to find good employees or even people whiling to work at all. Read more>>

Darwyn Young | Realtor & Real Estate Investor

Simply put, I was tired of the corporate rat race! Also, I came to the realization that all of the work I’ve put in to build businesses within that environment, none of it is transferable and has a direct long term impact financially on my family/children Read more>>

Darrell Cole | CEO of StrongBox Music Group, LLC || Manager for Yn3

My thought process was that I could do it better. Plain and simple. I look for ways to improve on an idea, and put then in motion. When I started doing showcases, I wasn’t the 1st to do it, but I took it up a notch. When I came across Internet Radio, around 2007, I knew I that I could make it my own.
So, even though there was competition, I found a way to give my users a unique experience. Read more>>

Tonique Brown | Nonchalant Creative Designer

My thought process behind starting my own business is based on me wanting to work for myself. I’ve worked many jobs that I didn’t really enjoy doing. I just spent the last 7 years of my life working in 9-1-1. I was missing out on family time, relationships, vacations, and just self-care in general. I knew it was time for me to do something so I could gain control of my life again. I needed an outlet. Read more>>

Major Jones | Teacher & Entrepreneur (Mobile Car Detail)

I was about to become a teacher. I knew teachers did not make a lot of money and I needed a second income. I refused to work another job that refused or could not work around my schedule. I thought about what I have a passion for, which is cars. I’ve been detailing cars ever since I was kid for extra money. Having the business not only helps with bills but also allows me to have funds to buy school supplies, snacks and treats for my students. Read more>>

Kiara Robinson | Shop The Vault Co CEO

My thought process was my “why” I had to sit and really think of my purpose and reason for birthing Shop The Vault Co. My mission is to make every woman feel sexy while remaining covered, cute, and simple at the same time! I had to visualize every single thing of what I want my brand to look like from the colors, who is Shop The Vault Co targeting, what will I bring to the fashion world to set myself apart and etc! Thinking of many things from fear to faith played a big part of my thought process being that I’m in an industry amongst many clothing boutiques. The good thing is my thoughts played out for the better and Shop The Vault Co is here now! I’m so happy to have birthed a brand that many love today in the fashion world! Read more>>

Khadijah Williams | Licensed Esthetician and Makeup Artist

Initially, my focus and end goal were to carry on my late grandmother’s legacy. After her passing in 2017, I made a conscious decision to do all the things I had been putting off for so long. I have carried my esthetics license since 2011, but I was always working full-time for the Federal Government while practicing Esthetics on the side. While, still desiring to solely operate my esthetics business. But when the pandemic hit, I was fired from my government job. Thereafter, I started practicing Esthetics full-time. Immediately I was laser-focused on relaunching my business. Primarily, branding was key therefore I began working with a brand strategist and updated my logo, social media templates, and content across all social media platforms. Consequently, I enrolled in some continuing education courses to build upon my skillset in various areas such as makeup, skincare, and eyebrow training. Read more>>

Quendralyn Gooden and Charissa Walker | CEO

It has always been our desire to construct and formulate a podium, which would allow underground and independent artists, of all genre, to be unmasked and have their music dispersed and recognized by their fans, including the general public. This would allow for any potential opportunities for discovery and conceivable career advancement for these artists. Secondly, yet more importantly, Proverbs 13:22 says “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children”. With this being a tenacious, personal proclamation, as we both agreed, it drove us to initiating a family business, which we could assemble and fabricate on a quest for generational wealth. Read more>>

Brandon Black | Music Producer

Freedom! Outside of teaching, there aren’t too many ways for a musician to earn an income outside of being an entrepreneur. I’m a musician at my core, so building a brand and a business increased my chances of security. Read more>>

Bee Slaughter | Candlemaker

I started making Naked Wick Candles because paraffin wax candles were creating health issues for my son, who suffers from allergies, asthma, and skin problems. I did my research and found out that 100% soy wax candles are non-toxic; which reduces indoor air pollution. After attending a candle making class, I started to make my own candles using 100% soy wax. The candles made from soy wax did not trigger my son’s allergies and asthma. That’s when I decided to create a candle business devoted to making eco-friendly candles that are safer to burn around people and pets. Read more>>

Helen Greenaway | Graze Creator & Entrepreneur

I’m a foodie and an organizer. Someone who likes to put things into the right places. Strange as it sounds, it’s an outlet for my creative thinking. I’ve always wanted to put my education of food and nutrition to good use. Recipes and cooking have always held my interest and fascinated me. Sticking to a tried and tested recipe is boring to me. I like to adapt and change everything and look for a way to make it different. Charcuterie gives me the opportunity to design and organize flavors in a beautiful and unusual way. To provide delicious, nutritious platters, with unique flavor combinations, with the added benefit of my English background and knowledge of more unusual cheeses, chutneys and charcuterie. Read more>>

Alex & Domonique Bouldrick | Co-Founders & Spouses

We set out to bottle our signature Rib Rub recipe and create a first-generation, family-owned spice business that used our last name as a part of the company name “BOûLD” comes from “Bouldrick”. Alex has never really liked the size of traditional spice jars because they always felt small in his hands when seasoning large proteins like a rack of ribs. Domonique wasn’t a fan of how often traditional spice jar shaker holes clogged when trying to distribute the product. Read more>>

LaShaunte Wade | Professional chef and filmmaker

Do your research! I started my catering company 11 years ago and just started my film production company in April 2021. I did tons of research, I saw who my market would be, the services I could provide to set me apart from other companies ,etc. Read more>>

Evie Fleming | Nurse, Reflexologist & Yoga Instructor

I worked years in customer service and home health care where you were tied to guidelines and schedules. I enjoyed both jobs and working in team settings. However, starting my own business would give me the room to set this for myself. It would allow me to create a work space that I felt would be in line with my energy and the energy I wanted to create for my clients. It would give me the room to use all of my talents. There were many successful women around me that had also taken the leap so I had great role models. Of course financially it was also a good time to be able to take on a new adventure. I knew it would take some hard word, but I was ready for the challenge. Read more>>

Amy McIntosh | Founder | President & Chief Mentor

I wanted to do something about the things I cared most about: community, family, education, and the arts. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to become an artist. That dream led me to many places. During a season where the arts were being defunded in the public schools in my community, I immediately jumped on an opportunity to save the arts in the public schools. Read more>>

Shanice Holmes | Full Time Traveler & Travel Business Owner

When I started my businesses within the Travel Industry, I initially started for selfish reasons. I wanted to be able to travel the world and earn from something I was already doing prior to the business, booking my personal travel. My thought process has turned from selfish to selfless. With this new shift, I now book for clients all over the world and I’ve helped so many people become Travel Business Owners. I now understand the power of the Travel Industry. Read more>>

Jeanine Hunter | Owner, CBD American Shaman of Smyrna and Meditation Coach

I’ve always had an entrepreneur desire especially while working my corporate jobs. I had several small side businesses ranging from gourmet brownies to handmade soaps and body butters. I started out in Film/TV production over 2 decades ago in Washington, DC. When I began producing for television back in 2006, I started to experience numbness on the left side of my body that didn’t go away. This led to my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis and my main triggers were a result of increased levels of stress and a lack of rest. Read more>>

Cameron Herring Trucks | Artist & Vintage furniture dealer

Growing up, I was encouraged to find my passion in life and make it a career. This was a tall order, but I’ve always aspired to this goal. Once I realized I didn’t need to settle for one single interest, this goal felt more attainable. I grew up in a very creatively driven home, from music to cooking to art to literature. As a young girl, while visiting family in rural North Carolina, I was introduced to the thrill of finding/restoring antique furniture. That nostalgia has stayed with me and those experiences were imprinted as fun. I continue to chase that fun to this day! I started Abalone Interiors just over a year ago at the family owned and locally driven business, Kudzu Antiques+Modern. Read more>>

Michaiah Israel-Crenshaw | Hairstylist

I was never really “good” at working for someone else. When I have a vision I like to execute it with swift action and the company isn’t always looking to better themselves in a way where only I seemingly am the only one to benefit. The crazy thing is, I am a great team player when amongst individuals who desire to have a team. I soon realized after working random jobs that didn’t coincide with my career and working for friends and family, that if I want the dream team I have to create it. Read more>>

Marcus Small | TV Producer

To be honest with you, I don’t think it was a thought process at all. Many people start off their professional lives working a 9-5. Their experiences vary, but for the most part, they had a moment where they leaped out of the nest to fly and start their own business. I can’t relate to that. Yes, I’ve had my fair share of structured jobs, but I never saw them as anything but temporary situations. Read more>>

Keo Valentino | Photographer

Growing up I saw my mother working two and three jobs sometimes, and even though we always got what we wanted it still took time from me and my sister being with her. Of course she would be tired and try her best to catch up on the time she missed, but we would never try to bother her because we knew how tired she was. My mother inspired me to open my own business, because I saw how working for someone else wore her out, and I said that I would want my own business to create my own schedule, and have time with the ones I loved. Read more>>

Willie Daniels | Photographer

My thought process when I started my photography business was I knew this wasn’t going to be easy but this is my passion and I have to put my all in this business. I knew this would be an extremely challenging process for me because I have never started or ran a business as well as I am starting from scratch but I love photography and I knew this is what I wanted to do as a career. Read more>>

Keaton Greene | DJ

In one of my intro marketing classes at UNG, we were leaning about websites. I thought screw it, I’ll just make a website for my DJ hobby. After throwing money into a website, I decided to invest a little more money into digital advertising and business cards. This is when the gears of Be Live Entertainment finally started to move and I could make some money doing what I enjoy. Read more>>

Kevin Jerome | World travel & serial entrepreneur

I wanted to be in control of my options and separate myself from 99% of the people in my life. Where I grew up family wise, my siblings and I were looked down upon and not considered as studious as our cousins. I knew that at some point when we were all adults thinking outside of the mindset of a follower, it would help me elevate myself to a point where I was accustomed to adjusting to new things over time while they were stuck considering why they weren’t succeeding. So I took that thought process and used it to begin taking my time back meaning now longer trading hours for dollars and simply trading better for better Read more>>

Brian Hutton | Educator and Creative

My thought process for starting my clothing brand inˈjēnyəs was to remind people the value of being themselves. I’ve observed overtime as trends came and went, people were constantly adjust to fit what society deemed as norm. Social media was causing people to negatively reflect inward as they saw people “living their best lives.” It was constantly telling people how they should look, how they should dress, what they should eat, what their bank account should look like, or how they should carry themselves. This created tons of anxiety and depression for those that felt they didn’t fit under that umbrella. Inˈjēnyəs clothing wants to make individuality the norm again. It wants to encourage people to share their differences. It wants to inspire people feel good about standing out. We were created to be 1:1’s. Read more>>

Natalie Harden | NNH Wellness Owner & Health and Wellness Enthusiast

I have been in the health and fitness world for over 25 years. After discovering sea moss and learning more about it, I began consistently taking it myself, as well as getting family members to try it. Sea moss has so many health benefits and it is such an easy way make sure you’re replenishing your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs. I knew it was a product I wanted to make accessible to more people so that they could make their wellness a priority. I like to say our sea moss gel is “sea moss done right!” We’ve mastered our fruit infused flavored gels which makes taking sea moss easy and tasty! Read more>>

James Archer | Medical Animator and Illustrator

Years ago, I worked in a research and development position, one that offered amazing benefits, a great salary and with little to no chance of ever being laid off. Jackpot, right? There was just one problem. I am not very good at research. 🙂 Two problems, really. Deep down inside, I always wanted to be an artist. And while I have never truly thought of myself as an artist, I am grateful for my gifts as an illustrator. Read more>>

Adrea Quintessa Curry | Creator of Curly Quintessa, Herbalist, Spiritualist, Registered Nurse

Throughout my life, I struggled to be comfortable in my own skin for many different reasons. I finally I reached a point in my life where I embraced that my skin is rich in melanin and sought out ways to better manage my natural curl pattern. My natural hair journey not only changed my perspective on the beauty industry, it also gave me permission to be my most authentic self, feel free to express myself and to take up space. During this transition, I gained knowledge about the benefit of using natural products on my skin and hair instead of exposing myself to harmful chemicals and carcinogens. I learned that being curly, curvy, melanin rich and spiritual is not a hindrance to my life but my super power. Thus, Curly Quintessa was born. My goal is to continue to create natural oils to provide nourishment and jewelry made with crystals or stones to help us to have peace while navigating this journey we call life. Read more>>

Tyler Eason | Photographer & Clothing brand owner

My thought process behind starting my own business was that I really loved fashion and designing my own custom things. Also I have a very creative thought process and starting my clothing brand was a way to express my creativity. Read more>>

DatChic | DatChic PR & Marketing

Ironically, I never had any desire to do anything in the music industry. My career had always been in sales and I had earned decent money. When I moved from Florida to Atlanta, I was fortunate enough to keep my position with the company and work from home. This lasted until around 2012 and I was devastated, I now had to find a job but that also meant I would probably have to commute. This led me to working for a couple of smaller companies which ended almost as quickly as they began. Then one day, I came across an ad for a radio station that was hiring. I submitted my resume, scheduled for an interview and was offered the job during the phone call. Read more>>

Allison Henning | Owner of Wanderlust Reads Traveling Bookstore

Growing up in a family-owned business is what inspired me to become a business owner. I wanted something of my own, built by me, to hand down to future generations. Honestly, at that time, I wasn’t sure what the business would be. Although, I had several ideas and the wheels are still turning inside my head of the future businesses that I’ll have. My love for reading pushed me to start my own bookstore and share that love with others. I wanted to pursue something that I absolutely loved and make it my full-time job. Read more>>

Falina Long | HR Professional & Creative Director of ForMil Designs LLC

For years my mom would tell me ” You need to work for yourself”, I have always been the person who everyone knows I am either personally connected or I know of someone who can make their vision for event planning and décor come to life. I love to customize the idea to the person. Then I started thinking maybe I can do this but then doubt and fear took over. Being a lover of people, planning, and beautiful surprises, event planning has been a long-time dream that came to fruition and ForMil Designs LLC was born . The business was affectionately named after my late mother and father who adopted her at the age of 5. Read more>>

Bernard Baker | CEO/Founder, The BIGG B Foundation, INC

I’ve always enjoyed serving my community, whether in ministry by leading youth programs and mentoring young adults. Starting this business is my way of giving back to all who I have contact with over the years. Meeting the needs of our youth is my goal. Read more>>

Monique Wingard | Doctoral Student & Digital Consultant

I decided it was time to create my own opportunities instead of hoping one day they would magically appear if I worked hard enough for someone else. The moment I stopped equating my job title with success and started to define that for myself, my life changed–in an amazing way. I entered entrepreneurship with a level of enthusiasm that developed from a constant desire to do impactful work, collaborate with other women in business, and, win. Read more>>

P. Jax | Creative Entrepreneur

My thought process was that this was the natural next step. If I wanted to be creative as a career, I would have had to start taking my entrepreneurial side more seriously. When people do business, they don’t like sending money to personal accounts, no matter how it’s transferred. Starting a business and opening a business account allowed me to truly see for the 1st time how much I was spending and making. Which allowed me to budget better, and take further steps to being an entrepreneur, like people paying me for my work. Read more>>

Lakeisha DePeyster | CEO

I always wanted to have my own business since I was a kid. As I got older the feelings of having my own got stronger especially seeing people around me going for it. I decided in 2017, I was going to go for it and start my own business but I didn’t know what business I wanted to start all I knew is that I wanted to start something that could be passed down from my child to her child when she has one. I thought about what business would be sustainable through any downturn and then I thought about the beauty industry and how much I loved beauty and fashion. I did my research for over a year and then started building from there. I also started my fragrance line for men and women this year. “Regal” for Men and “Unchained” for Women. Read more>>

Taijuan | Artists and Label Owner of Y.B.S. Ent

I wanted to be in position to employ people in a way where they dont feel like they are working for me but instead investing into themselves. I wanted to bridge the gap in my family between generational wealth and just being someone who has a good 9 to 5 job working for someone else. I wanted to build a umbrella that covered all the grounds of creating a foundation and building upward. Read more>>

Jessica Hinesman | Founder and CEO of Eshé Apparel. Co

When starting my own business, I felt that it wasn’t up to me. I felt like I had a greater calling to pursue something I loved doing. I enjoy learning about others’ cultures and being creative. By turning that into a business, I allow myself to do what I love as an occupation. Helping my community through art and outreach was very important to me and I wanted to guide my community to learn about their own heritage through seeing my apparel. Read more>>