Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Tyler Neal | Musician

I like to live on my own terms and do what I want to do with my life. Music has always been my passion. Luckily I sort of fell into being able to support myself financially by playing gigs. I found that when I was gigging with other musicians, I wanted to do things my way. I am naturally a leader so anytime I would get comfortable working for someone else, I get an ever-growing itch that reminds me that I want to do my own thing. I value my time and energy a lot and I want to spend as much of it as I can pursuing my own goals and dreams rather than live off of contributing to someone else’s. That’s not to say I don’t love to collaborate and work with others on their goals! At the end of the day, I want to work for myself and have independence and sovereignty with how I spend my time and energy. That’s why I started my own business. Read more>>

Chris J Wright | Actor-Model-Speaker-Writer & Entrepreneur

I realized that I had to take control of my life at an early age. I started to make decisions, which in most cases turned out to serve me well. I got myself into a private school at the age of fourteen because I wanted something better for my life. I had big dreams of becoming a professional Football player. And growing up in underprivileged communities makes you realize a lot about life. In my case I used my environment and circumstances as motivation to get out. I have always had a burning desire to succeed! I aspire to inspire by giving back to my community by helping the youth and adolescence realize their potential through sports and the importance of education. Read more>>

Ashley B aka Glam | Freelance Mua, Business owner & future Billionaire

My brand came to me due to me not being happy with the brands of products I was using to clean my makeup tools. I became frustrated and tired of spending my money on products that just did not work. This problem caused me to create a solution called Glam magic makeup brush & sponge cleaner. Read more>>

Michele Ellis-Williams | Business Coach

My thought process to become an entrepreneur came from a strong desire to uplift others, particularly underprivileged women facing difficult challenges, like poverty, gender-based violence, and other circumstances that deny them the opportunity to live happy, healthy, and debt-free (financially comfortable) lives. Having come from a poor background myself and conquered many life barriers, including teenage pregnancy, homelessness, and domestic violence, I wanted to share my knowledge and experiences to help people realize their own strengths, build their self-esteem, and live more fulfilling lives by investing in their own personal development. Read more>>

Martin Lugo | Collision Center Owner

I never really thought about starting a business while I was employed. To be honest, being a first-generation college graduate really helped me in the field I was in along with growing up helping my dad in the auto repair industry. I spent the first few years looking for a marketing job after graduating but it wasn’t panning out too well. So decided to work for my father’s employer. I applied all the knowledge I learned there. After I left that job, I went to work for a bigger shop where I quickly thrived and was doing very well. My father’s employer closed the shop down and my dad really wanted to do his own thing. It had been a dream of his ever since we moved from Long Beach, California in the late 90s. So i quit my job and said, “Let’s do it.” Read more>>

Paul Coppett III | Pastor And T Shirt Entrepreneur

The thought for starting my business came from losing my beautiful mother Sandra Gail Prince! She raised two sons on her own and she was a very strong woman. When I lost her, it was a very hard thing to deal with personally, and the phrase that constantly came to me was I Almost But God. I decided to put it on a t shirt and the business grew from there. Read more>>

HAPPY AFRICAN TROPICAL FOOD | Sole Distributors of HATF Shepherds Natural

HATF Happy African Tropical Foods, LLC, based in Alpharetta, Georgia is an online Tropical Food products retailer. We offer competitively priced, top quality tropical food items to customers in 48 states. We offer array of food products, from Semolina, Oat flour to tropical food products like Garri and stockfish. We also offer gluten free product like Cassava flour. Our mission statement, “Happiness..Guaranteed!” defines and drives us, and is what sets us apart from competitors in the tropical food industry. We are totally committed to ensuring that our customers enjoy a “beyond awesome” shopping experience. At HATF Happy African Tropical Foods, we cherish our customers, and we are constantly searching for new and exciting ways to far exceed their expectations. Read more>>

Chelsea Rushworth Cobb | Cookier + Accountant

Before I started Sugar Rush, I baked because I enjoyed it. Sugar cookies were one of those holiday family traditions I grew up with and started taking over as I got older. In college, I started baking them for occasions other than the holidays and received numerous comments about how tasteful they were! At the time, I wasn’t doing any sort of detailed decoration on the cookies. I simply flooded them with a basic icing (not royal). Many people had told me that I should start a company, but I thought no way, it takes a lot to run your own business and I’m only in college! It wasn’t until my boyfriend at the time (now husband) came along and suggested I start a company that I actually considered doing it. In my mind though, if I were to make a business out of it I would want to decorate them (and be really good at it). Read more>>

Jayla Latimer | Baker

I knew from my very first couple jobs i did not like working for anyone. I despised the idea of having to ask permission to vacate or even take a break. I preferred to answer to myself and already had a background baking since the age of 9. Throughout high school, family and friends started asking that I bake for different occasions for holidays and birthdays and they finally started paying for my services. From there the more orders I accepted, the more practice and confidence I gained. So I eventually took the leap, I applied for my LLC, created my social media and took my business to the next level. Read more>>

John Watson | Family Time

Several factors led to my decision to start my own business. I worked in Supply Chain Management and the Retail Industry for 20 plus years and never had holiday’s off to spend with family. Every time I wanted to take vacation, I had to ask permission and there was always more work to do when I got back to work. Typically, the more work you do, the more work your boss will find for you to do. I decided, if I was going to continue to work so hard, it might as well be for myself. I chose to create something that can outlive me. In the process, I have built a business that I can pass down to my kids if they decide to migrate to the real estate industry. Additionally, I now own my time. I decide when I want to work and when I want to take off. I honestly cannot even explain how great it feels to go to my kids sports or school activities and not ask someone else if its okay. Read more>>

Dion Kirksey | Personal Trainer & Nutrition

My thought process for starting my business was simply my love for fitness itself honestly. I got into fitness after a bad breakup, I initially just wanted a revenge body. However after getting into fitness, the process, information and the way it made me feel. I loved everything about it. So as time went on people would ask me if I could train them after seeing my results. So it made me then seek more information and become certified in training and nutrition. Got my first client in January 2020 and been growing since. Read more>>

Christine Hammonds | Owner – Medical Professional

𝑷𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒕 𝑴𝒊𝒏𝒅, 𝑩𝒐𝒅𝒚, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑩𝒆𝒂𝒖𝒕𝒚 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 mobile spa 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑬𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒄𝒄𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒂𝒇𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒕𝒉, 𝒘𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒄𝒐𝒔𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒊𝒄 𝒄𝒂𝒓𝒆. 𝑷𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒕 𝑴𝒊𝒏𝒅, 𝑩𝒐𝒅𝒚, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑩𝒆𝒂𝒖𝒕𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒈𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒔 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒐 𝒏𝒐𝒏 𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒈𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒂𝒍𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒔 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒄𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒍𝒐𝒐𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒊𝒓 𝒑𝒉𝒚𝒔𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆, 𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒖𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒆 𝒎𝒖𝒔𝒄𝒍𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒍𝒐𝒑𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒅𝒆𝒕𝒐𝒙 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒐𝒅𝒚 𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉 𝒂 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒃𝒊𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒎𝒐𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒏 𝒎𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒕𝒆𝒄𝒉𝒏𝒐𝒍𝒐𝒈𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒉𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒄 𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔. Read more>>

Toshia Damptey | Photographer & Graphic Designer

The process behind starting my business had started off as a hobby then progressed into a business. I started off taking photos of landscape because of a photography class I had to take for college. Then I wanted to transition over to people. I started to shoot myself then I incorporated other people in my journey. Eventually, clients started to roll in. My mission is to have everyone feel and look beautiful throughout the session and beyond. Read more>>

Horace & Carneshia Holloman | Marketing Specialist/Owners of Holloman Productions

The idea of starting our own business actually wasn’t our idea at all. In December 2019, right before the start of the pandemic, Carneshia was struggling finding a place of employment. We were starting to get behind on our bills and our mortgage. Our Bishop prophesied to us that we would start a videography company and Carneshia would not have to work for anyone else. At that point, we figured “what’s the worst that could happen?” So we began Holloman Productions and we haven’t looked back. We started our business with the hopes of creating financial freedom for ourselves and for our family. We had to learn a lot as we went but our mistakes was just a way for us to learn how to be better business owners in the future. We take pride in what we do. Our daughter Nala (9), also works for our business as a brand ambassador. We’re thankful that we took that leap of faith and we are excited about what the future holds for our company. Read more>>

MIA HATTEN | Serial Entrepreneur Coach

I was working for someone and I didn’t like the way she handled business especially with finances. She would always encourage me to become an entrepreneur so I decided to step out of my comfort zone to start my own business in 2009. I was never able to work for others for long, I would always quit my jobs. I wanted the freedom of working from home when I needed to and also taking vacations when I wanted to with my family. Read more>>

Redonkulous Entertainment | Kevin The Co-Founder Martin, Tanya “The First Lady” Fields, and Lavar “Cool Breeze” Queen

QUESTION 1: What was your thought process behind starting your own business? CO-FOUNDER: We always wanted to make Comic books FIRST LADY: This was always collectively our dream. From the time Kevin and Var were kids in elementary school, they always had aspirations of creating and publishing their own comic books, with their own characters, stories, and universe. I met these guys in Junior High, and this was all they talked about, even then. We all stayed tight knit over the years, and by the time we became adults, it just made sense to stop talking about the dream, and actually take the necessary steps to make it happen. With this being my tribe, I was committed to help out in any way possible to make their dreams a reality. Read more>>

Dr. Brandiss Pearson | Coach, Consultant, Motivational Speaker & Content Creator

My thought process behind starting my business was my personal journey. My journey of bridging out of poverty was difficult, to say the least. I initially wanted to offer my support to individuals and so I earned degrees in social work, nursing and later executive leadership through an educational doctorate. But I found that my reach would be far greater if I used the tools I acquired through my various work experiences to create a system that could be accessible by anyone from anywhere at anytime, while they are on their journey. Read more>>

Jemy Mosso | Lash Artist, Instructor, Businesswoman

Like every good teenager, I got on the job market working in retail. I was never the type to keep a job for long but I would always keep a job. I loved the freedom that having money allowed me to have but hated doing the job, hated folding the clothes, being reprimanded for showing up late, having to show up when I did not feel like it but what I hated the most was having to wait for my paycheck. It just was not for me. So I got a job as a bartender at a sports/bar restaurant in Downtown Montreal, and I loved it! I was making 200$ to 400$ per night, the money was coming in every day and my co-workers were fun. Read more>>

Tamisha (MishaG) Ware | Artist

I think starting your own business is Great. It’s actually one of the best things you could do for yourself. Being your own boss gives you a certain advantage to life. Read more>>

Ebony Dowdy | Human Services Consultant

In my mind, I am a Philanthropist. Everything that I do is rooted in helping people. A long-term goal is to create a financial system of angel investors to fund Black Women. I have always walked to the beat of my own drum. Effectively managing multiple passions and projects works for managing my neurodiversity! My time in Human Services includes almost 20 years of volunteer and work experience as a disability hearing representative, mental health counselor and case manager with various populations. My consulting firm includes advocacy for Women, Doula services, Mental Health Coaching, Tantric Practices, and Medicinal Cannabis advocacy. The passion that I have comes from a history of community service and spiritual values. Read more>>

Jasmine Spann | Founder & Executive Producer

The idea of starting my own business was birthed from a deep desire for a new career challenge. After a successful 15 year career in the television network business, I decided to bet on myself, using my corporate experience in a new realm – helping business owners show themselves and their brands in the best light with quality video production. Read more>>

Rebecca Leslie | Psychologist

For a long time I have had a dream of having a wellness focused boutique psychology practice. Over the last two years, I was a psychologist part time at two different group private practices- one remotely in Chicago and one in Atlanta. When I joined both of these practices it was just one psychologist. I helped both grow to four and six person group practices. I helped hire, onboard, and grow the new therapists caseloads. Read more>>

Jimmie Davison | Owner and Chief Technology Officer

I have always had that “Entrepreneurial spirit” from a young age, but after graduating as a Mechanical Engineer and then working most of my career in Project Management, I didn’t have the conduit to start a business. But, my wife being an optometrist provided that channel for me. Being in private practice for over 11 years, we have worked close together to have a successful practice in Smyrna, Georgia. But, in working with her, I was able to understand her field and couple that with my technology background. By understanding the retail side of her business and being able to pilot the software solution in our office for over a year, I started Paradeyem (pronounced “paradigm” Software.) Read more>>

Chari Michael | Hair Stylist

I was working two jobs, going to school and doing my family and friends’ hair. I never had a social life because I was too caught up in trying to survive. Then it clicked, I need control over MY LIFE. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, some successful and some unsuccessful. Although it was scary because I didn’t want to be unsuccessful. I began my research into the niche of my community. Took what I learned in Beauty School and began doing Braids, Weaves, Custom Wigs and made it my Specialty. Read more>>

Simara Blair | Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

I have always dreamed of opening my own private practice. I was gently pushed by my mentor to turn my dream into reality when I couldn’t sustain working in a traditional work environment. I had a newborn and a 2 year old and reached the crossroads that many moms face, do I put my kids in daycare or find another way? I felt like I could be the mom I wanted while continuing my purpose as a therapist. I chose to take the leap of faith and open Strength & Serenity Counseling in 2017. Read more>>

Jessa Humanski | Licensed and Certified Genetic Counselor; Certified Life and Career Coach

I work as a genetic counselor, which many might not know what that even entails. Let me start there. As a genetic counselor you work with individuals, often giving them “bad” (and good) news about their genetics and this can take a toll on people. Another factor that comes into play in this niche field is that in this line of work it is often unclear what the trajectory your career may take. There are so many options, some even unknown today that someone will think up tomorrow, and not all career routes are linear (i.e., moving up a career ladder). Read more>>