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.

DeAnna McIntosh | Global Retail + E-commerce Consultant

Entrepreneurship and retail have been in my heart since middle school. Growing up I was heavily involved in DECA competitions, obsessed with fashion, and was forever doodling my business ideas in my hot pink notebook (which I still have!). That led to me attending the Fashion Institute of Technology to receive my degree in International Fashion Merchandising Management. I’ve now been in the fashion and retail industry for over 14+ years having held various corporate retail roles such as a Buyer, Strategy Manager, and Merchandising Director! I founded The Affinity Group International after seeing a major knowledge gap in most small product-based businesses’ strategy – merchandising. Read more>>

Caleb Scott | Artist, Entrepreneur, Visionary

The number one motivation was to be my own boss and do something I love, of course. I grew weary from helping others recognize and meet their potential. I finally decided to invest in my own vision for the future. It took a few years to settle on opening a bar and art gallery. I probably had a hundred ideas and concepts floating around in my head but eventually settled on what felt realistic. Read more>>

Jennifer Rich | Doll Maker and Owner of Heartfelt Friends by Jen

The journey of starting my business began in October 2014. My husband and I were in the process of trying to start a family when we received news that no couple wants to hear. We were diagnosed with infertility. Naturally, I was filled with many strong emotions, and I felt as if I needed a creative outlet. Since the holidays weren’t that far away, I searched for “Christmas Crafts” on Pinterest. A lot of options popped up, but the handmade Christmas ornaments caught my eye. I took one look at those felt ornaments and thought, “This looks like fun!” I had barely sewn on a button before this, so I have no idea why I thought sewing Christmas Ornaments would be fun, but I did. The next day I bought the materials I’d need to make a few ornaments. Read more>>

Rebecca Carner | Biofield Tuner and Vibrational Therapist

Taking the leap of faith to become a solo-preneur as a single parent with three children in middle school was a giant decision. Now that everything has worked out it seems like a no- brainer, but at the time I was compelled by the belief that I could follow my passion, have the scheduling flexibility to parent my sons AND bring a much-needed service to the community. I didn’t want to accept that I had to be chained to a desk, working for someone else just to have the stability I needed. So I decided to open my own practice despite all odds and conventional wisdom. Read more>>

Dat Gurl Secrete | Musical Artist & International Restaurant Owner

I started my first business because I wanted to have the freedom of job security and the ability to have a flexible schedule so that I could increase my overall quality of life. Instead of working hard to build someone else’s company, I decided to be brave and venture out as an independent business owner. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made in life. Read more>>

Yekeiseaya Fugerson-Lowe | CEO & Founder of Impactive Experiences LLC

The thought process behind starting my own business was dictated by 3 things. I want to build generational wealth for my children and my descendants. I want to leave an inheritance for my children. And I want to start a ministry at my church that helps provide cars, appliances, car down payment assistance, rental deposit/ rental assistance, utility assistance, down payment assistance for those looking to purchase a home and mortgage assistance. I remember a time when we needed a car or our utilities paid and there weren’t any places for us to turn to for assistance, therefore, I want to provide the assistance that my family never received to other families going through the same thing we went through. Read more>>

Ryan Briskey | Owner| 2 Hands Cleaning Pro’s

I wanted to work for myself and not continue on making someone else rich. I wanted to apply my skills to create me a business that I know can stand out from other businesses, also when my kids become adults I want them to not work for someone else. I want them to continue to build wealth within the business I created. Read more>>

Angel Alexis | Teacher & CEO of BYOBossBabe

My thought process behind starting my own business was that I wanted to create something for us by us. Be Your Own Boss Babe is an online beauty bar created by a black woman for everyday working women, men, and students. BYOBossBabe provides people with the opportunity to look chic and trendy without breaking the bank. I wanted people to know that they could have a career/work a “9-5″/be a student and still chase their dreams because society is constantly telling people what they “should” be doing. You should never let other people’s limitations limit you. You can do it all! The sky is the limit! Read more>>

Love Atiya | Self Love Enthusiast, Photographer, Animal Activist, Actress, Business Owner

Starting my own business wasn’t a new concept to me thanks to my mother and grandmother, who owned their own jewelry company named Imani Jewelry. My mother allow me to sell paper fans at the age of four, to her clients at her annual customer appreciation bbq in our backyard. By the age of 13, I was able to “retire” from my business Power Girl, where I sold decorative household items such as picture frames, candles, paintings etc. You name it? I created it. Finally, around the age of 22 I was OFFICIALLY fed up with working for “the man.” I hated working in unorganized environments, I hated the lack of free time I had and it was truly taking a toll on my overall mental health and self worth. There were several “Aha” moments that drove me to create my own businesses. Read more>>

Khadeshia Beam | Holistic Wellness and Yoga Facilitator

The thought process behind starting my own business the second time around was a very self-reflective process in which I looked at everything that mattered to me, my children, my well-being, purpose, helping people and financial stability. I decided to start my own business for many reasons. My children are a tremendous reason for me starting my own business along with my need for freedom, flexible schedule, creative control, self-healing and being of service to others in a way that is in alignment with my values and morals. Being present and available for my children is of the utmost importance to me. Often times I felt as though my 9-5 was not only causing an imbalance in my family life and creative life, it was not impacting my overall well-being in a positive way. Read more>>

KaCey Venning | Founder and Curator

Initially, I wanted to find a product I could curate or make that could help me make enough money to pay off my mother’s mortgage. It is has grown into building a multi-million dollar business that can ensure that jobs and wealth creation is within our community’s reach. Read more>>

Joan P Lloyd-Granston | Education Specialist Ed.S. Teacher Trainer

JP Lloyd Learning Center evolved after I came to Georgia and was introduced to Special Education classrooms for the first time in my over twenty years of teaching. I was shocked at the lack of urgency in these classrooms and worse the poor parents had no idea that their students could truthfully do much better than they were made to believe they could. I got a job in a special education center in Athens GA, and made the decision after one month in that setting that students deserved much better than was being offered to them. The tragedy is that everyone on the campus actually believed they were doing their very best for the students. In an attempt to put some structure in the teaching and learning process I approached the program director and asked her permission to meet with the teachers. Read more>>

Shanteria Maddox | Female Photographer & Content Creator

My business name has been my nickname for over years! I have always loved to be in front of and in back of the camera.I love to create beautiful photos and videos that will leave a mark forever. I live and shoot by the quote “Aesthetic & Authentic” , because I love creating appealing to the eye content and real-life , genuine experiences. Behind and in front of the lens, I am in my element. Read more>>