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.

Danasha Simmons | Entrepreneur

If I’m being honest, I was completely scatterbrained. I didn’t know what to do or where to start. I began to doubt myself. So many thoughts filled my mind – Can I really do this? was I going to fail? Are people going to be interested? But then I took a moment to myself. I sat down, took a deep breath, opened my journal, and started jotting down my thoughts. And from there, it all started to come together. Read more>>

Presley Dale | Portrait Photographer

I was ten when my parents got me my first camera, the camera that I used up until the fall of 2019 when I finally upgraded! I was content taking pictures of my younger siblings for a couple of years, but when I was 12, I decided that I wanted to start taking pictures of other people. Middle school me poured through blog articles, Youtube videos, and library books trying to learn as much as I could about photography and starting my own business. I was a very independent and driven kid, and the thought of having my own business where I could capture memories for people other than my own family was exciting to me! The more I got into it, the more I fell in love with capturing the smiles and personalities of other people and just never stopped! Read more>>

Tayla Reese | Photographer

My photography business started out as just a hobby for me. I received my first camera when I was in middle school and haven’t put my camera down since. The thought process behind starting my own business came from a dream of getting to do what I love for a career, to be my own boss and make my own hours. I also grew up with a father who started and ran his own successful business for many years with his business partner. It has inspired me to take the same journey, hoping to be just as successful as him. Read more>>

Jasmine Womack | Writing Consultant & Corporate Trainer

I’ve always wanted to have my own business. For years, I tried my hand at retail, MLM, and even had a non-emergency transportation company at one point. While I loved my job as an educator, I could feel deep within that I was supposed to serve outside of four walls everyday. I knew that it would be a challenge, and I was up for it. Read more>>

Marquisha Brittain | Entrepreneur & Nail Technician

Initially I started my own business because I was going to school full time and I was so close to graduation that I didn’t want to jeopardize anything by working another full time job. So I started doing nails, just because it was a creative outlet and I could do it on my own time. And most importantly, it got me through college. Read more>>

Katrice Thompson | Travel Nurse, CEO, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist & Author

I’ll never forget the night God gave me this vision. I was at a very low point in my life- mentally and financially. I know we’ve all been there before. I remember just talking to God telling him I was empty. I remember crying out asking him to make my Purpose clear to me. Through the years- I’ve attempted several different Businesses. I had some success and I had some failures. That’s one thing about being an Entrepreneur- YOU CAN’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL! I remember crying and praying and that night when I went to sleep- God showed me the vision the form of a dream. It was about 3am in the morning and I just got up and started to write ideas and a plan. I was so excited that morning that I called my daughter- who at the time was in Nursing school working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing to tell her about the vision. Read more>>

Stacee Nino | Brand, Actress & Model

My thought process through it all was starting a business that women of my skin complexion could relate too. Not saying that it’s a business dedicated just to women of color because I welcome all women and gender, but I did feel like it could be a business to expand the black market because its not many although we are on the rise. It’s always scary to start from scratch especially when money is involved but consistency and belief in what you do will make a business stronger. Read more>>

Nikkia Washington | Stylist & Blogger

Unplanned Perfection is literally the process of releasing what we thought life should and would be and embracing where we are right now. It’s the belief that everything happens for a reason. So perfection isn’t this mystical place or goal, but its right where we stand today. There is perfection in every single part of our journey if we surrender to it. Read more>>

Bridgette Martin | Model Agent & Scout

I have pursued quite a few passions in my life and have been successful in many areas, but I have never found an industry that I am more passionate about than entertainment. I started going on auditions and booking jobs when I was 15 years old and I loved it from the very beginning. After college, I got a job as a radio show host with a Top 40 station which I absolutely loved. I got to perform, entertain, interact with the community, show my personality and have FUN! It really was a dream job. The only thing I could never fully accept was the inability to choose how to spend my own time. I found myself thinking, “As an adult, I shouldn’t have to ask another adult if I can stay home to take care of my husband after surgery or take a few days off to attend my sister’s out-of-town graduation.” I thought, if I could stay in the entertainment industry and be in charge of my own schedule, that would be the PERFECT job for me. Read more>>

Lynn Puzzo | Professional Newborn & Baby Portrait Photographer

I had actually never planned on starting my own business, it just sort of happened organically when I began taking baby pictures for friends in my living room 11 years ago. One thing led to another, and suddenly I had people contacting me to take their baby’s pictures as well. When I moved to Georgia, restarting my business was imperative. After living in South Dakota for 2 years and not doing much photography because I was working a full time 9-5 job, I was exhausted and feeling low. I knew that getting back into photography was what I needed to do. I love spending time with the babies I photograph, I love the finished products I provide my clients, and I love the flexibility that it allows for my mom-life. Read more>>

Tyoderick Justice | Photographer & Videographer

This era we have been shifting into, is the era where anybody with an idea, a message, and a willingness to strive, can connect with the multitude. The era we now live in, is an era where anybody can grow their very own audience, and control the frequency and quality of the message themselves. I started my business because I wanted to make a name for myself & be someone of interest. I live in Atlanta so it’s no better place to start a media business. It’s no doubt a lot of talent in the city & they are going to need a photographer/videographer so in my head, nothing could go wrong. I’m young, good at what I do & have great business ethic. Read more>>

Robert Jones | Photographer

I started my business after some years of modeling in Atlanta. I aimed to provide quality images for individuals who wanted to get into modeling and be a trustworthy photographer in the business. Read more>>

Brittney Young | Entrepreneur & Chef

When I first started my own catering company, my primary focus was on creating my path. I wanted to have the freedom of my own business and work to establish a name for myself in the culinary industry. After graduating from culinary school and working in restaurants for four years, I knew the restaurant scene wasn’t something that I saw myself doing for the rest of my life. I needed change and the ability to be creative freely. Food has always been a passion for me! I’ve always enjoyed cooking and watching people enjoy the dishes I created. In deciding what kind of business I wanted, catering was the first thing that came to mind. After only cooking for close family and friends, I started a catering company, Sensual Kitchen, and haven’t had any regrets. Read more>>

Nick Mosley | Artist & Designer

I wanted to find a way that I could make money using my art. My main goal was to be able to work on my own time and spend my time doing things I love and enjoy and while building my business at the same time. So I started making t shirt designs and learning how to print in my apartment. My other jobs at the time were coaching soccer and substitute teaching. Then as my business grew I was able to quit those jobs and focus all of my time on making t shirts and designs. I started by selling shirts at tailgates and bars so I was making money just having a good time. There was no better feeling when I first started than going to a Braves tailgate, running around the parking lots at Turner Field and as the game started and all the fans went in the stadium, I would go back to my car with pockets full of cash. Read more>>

Latrina Cockrell | Educator

I have been an educator for nearly 20 years and have consistently seen a lack of engagement and/or low performance in African American boys writing, speaking and leadership skills and couldn’t figure out why. These elementary and middle school boys were making As and Bs in class, getting satisfactory conduct scores on the report card, and overall, the parents would say these were good kids. Many of these boys came from two parent, middle class households. So why was I seeing low standardized test scores, poorly crafted written and spoken language, and a lack of confidence when speaking? I started to ask more questions. What learning experiences are these boys getting that require them to become fluent readers, writers, and speakers in elementary and middle school? Read more>>

Heather Hutton | Director, Producer, Writer & Editor

I started Touch and Go Productions in 2016 with the sole intention to use it as a clear chain of title for a feature in development. After graduate school at Savannah College of Art & Design, I actively worked with local producers in the state of Georgia hoping to find the right tribe of collaborators who could cover all the necessary skills to build a content studio for the purpose of raising the local eco sphere for filmmakers in GA. I saw a dearth in the indie filmmaking community struggling to compete with larger productions and a desire as a community to carve out our own niche. Last year I met Taylor Owenby, founder of Imperial Savage Productions, with an incredible background in the business of showbiz; including but not limited to monetizing feature & television scripts, studio production, and talent management. After many discussions we realized our goals for our careers and Georgia were in line. Read more>>

Nieca Moore | Event Designer

I turned my passion into a business. I had always created over the top events, dinner parties and birthday parties for my kids and friends. Everyone would tell me I should do it full time, but I thought it’s just a hobby. In 2015 while pregnant with my 3rd child I was put on bedrest at 5 months. The job I worked for never checked on me and I realized I was just another number in the company and I decided to step out on faith, I quit my corporate America job and created Always Over The Top Events. It has been 5 years since starting and I have NEVER regretted the decision I made. Read more>>