Starting a business can be terrifying. Weighing the pros and cons, the risks, and other considerations can be so overwhelming that often promising entrepreneurs stop before they even start. We asked some phenomenal entrepreneurs about their thought process behind starting their own businesses. Our hope is that by making the thought-process less intimidating we can help more folks think through whether they should take an entrepreneurial leap.

Sarah-Jane May | Maker, Sculptor, & Slug Enthusiast

Starting my own business has been a bit of an unexpected but very exciting and fun turn of events in my life. It honestly all started with my flower crowns and then quickly grew from there. I’ve been making flower crowns for a while now, but it wasn’t until this last summer that I really started trying to get into festivals and markets to sell them. Read more>>

Malik “Big Leak” Smith | Actor

To be honest, at first, I didn’t really have an exact plan. I just know I wanted to act at a young age (about 6) and that one day my face would/could be everywhere. Unfortunately, I didn’t acquire the support I needed and no one listened nor took me serious except my grandmother Nellie, so I chose to wait until I grew up. You know, childhood thoughts, ha! Upon graduating high school, I sought out to apply myself in anyway possible to begin my career. Read more>>

Myke Epps | Gym Owner, Trainer & Coach

It’s kinda funny and sad at the same time. When I graduated college, I got a job in my field pretty quickly. Then I had a disagreement with the Director and decided to leave. My next job wasn’t in my field and it got old fast so I left there too. Fast forward about 10-12 years and I was in a resume writing workshop. One of the facilitators was saying at that time that it looked bad on a resume if you left a job in less than 5 years. I had been in the workforce for 15 years had yet to stay at a job for more than 3 years. This was around 2005-2006. Read more>>

Jessica Wise | Co-Founder of Audacity Magazine & Events. Writer, Actress

We wanted to provide a safe space for millennials to grow and learn as they build their careers. Most media is saturated with boomers, GenXers, and even our own peers bashing our generation. Whether these completely hyperbolic accusations are true or not, how can you expect anyone to do better if you just bad mouth them? That’s what makes Audacity unique. We definitely get honest with our peers, but we also shine a light on the good things we’re doing too. Read more>>

Jeffrey Williamson | Photographer and Creative Director

I like making my own rules and not being limited creatively. I was an Art major in college and I loved being able to think outside of the box and be able create my own definition of beauty and success. When I officially began my business in 2011, I did not know what my next steps were but I stuck with it. I began developing my aesthetic style and business systems. I had a goal in mind to be able to not only support myself financially with my photography, but to also maintain a creative outlet that I didn’t have while working a 9 – 5. Read more>>

Widdi Turner | Chief Whoopie Officer

Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about starting a business. I stumbled into making whoopie pies when I had to make something for my baton twirling troupe’s bake sale. (No, this wasn’t high school – I was 49 at the time!) I resisted turning it into a business for a long time – I joke that I was dragged kicking & screaming into it. I enjoyed baking and for some reason I felt if I made money doing it, I’d be selling my soul. Finally someone had to remind me that we are always asking the universe to help us find a way to make money doing something we love! Read more>>

Destini Stacy | Singer/ Songwriter

My parents have been business owners for most of my life, so my mom has always talked to me about the freedom in being a business owner. I don’t like being told what to do so she always tells me that with my attitude, I need be willing to build. When I first began making music I really didn’t even recognize it as a business, but my boyfriend -who’s also my producer- really opened my mind to the business aspect of my art. For me, starting my own business has been a tedious but inspiring process. Read more>>

Tee Marie | Author & Web Designer

For so many years I was not living my life for me. I was living for everyone else around me. As a child and a teenager, I did what my parents wanted me to do. Not too long after graduating high school, I fell in love got married, and gave birth to my first child and lived every day for her and my husband. As the years went on, I had more children and became the main support system for all of my husband’s accomplishments. In 2018 I decided it was time for me to find my identity and live for me! Read more>>

Marliee Rose | Nail Artist

I have always wanted to own my own business. I knew I wanted to be able to have more freedom than the average person with an earning potential I control, not the hours I clock. I never enjoyed being an employee. When I got into nails and beauty it became clear to me what path I wanted to follow. I am a master cosmetologist who specializes in creative acrylic nails and I plan to get my instructors license as well. Read more>>

Shun Bankston | Event Planner and Baker

I wanted to have something I could call my own, something that would make my family proud. I wanted to have my own independence, my own freedom. Owning your own business means being your own boss, deciding when you work, how you work, and what you work on. Accomplishing tough things gives me a sense of achievement. I stepped into this business because I wanted to learn new skills. It’s a dynamic way to grow your know-how. When learning new skills, the sky is the limit. My overall drive is my passion for event planning and baking. It thrills me. Read more>>

Keanna Jones | Entrepreneur

My first thought process with starting my own business has been the most challenging process I have encountered throughout my journey but I know it will be worth it in the end. During this process, I’ve worked really hard by working a 9am-5pm job to invest and support myself and my business. One part of my thought process is that in order to become the successful business owner that I’ve always dreamed of becoming,I knew that I had to start somewhere even if it was starting off small. Read more>>

Dr. Elizabeth Rudd | Physical Therapist

I started my own business out of a desire to be the community’s resource for achieving wellness by bridging the gap between medicine, physical activity, and a healthy lifestyle. In the early years of my career, I was frustrated by our profession’s lack of presence in the community. I found that our community was not aware of what we offer as a profession. We are healthcare providers that specialize is the musculoskeletal system and we are trained to help people understand that pain is NOT normal and should be addressed. Read more>>