Deciding to start a business is an unusual decision. It’s often considered irrational and yet for many it’s the best decision they’ve ever made. So we asked folks to think back to when they were starting their businesses and to tell us about their decision making process.

Kathleen Hall | Online Fitness Coach

Ironically, I felt like my creativity was being stifled as an art teacher. I loved working with children and educating, but I didn’t feel fulfilled. I have always had a passion for fitness, but felt the industry was lacking an education aspect. So I decided to combine my love of education with my passion for fitness and start my online coaching business. Read more>>

Lee Gutierrez | Coach

I’ve been into fitness since 1999 I had a long hard road to were I am now but it doesn’t get easier but what in life is easy everything is a challenge and I’ve been challenging myself since I started. I would be in the gym for hours working on my body my form trying to perfect my craft and people notice your hard work and the changes your body goes through from pushing yourself to the limit and people would always come to me for advice and always asking how do I get like you my reply would be hard work and consistency and that when I decided to enroll into a course to become a personal trainer in 2009 and that when I started training a bunch of great clients and it just grew from there started working at a big gym but the pay sucked lol so I decided to do bootcamps at the park for a year was going great but sometimes the weather wouldn’t let me train so I had to go work for a couple other gyms while I saved my money to open my own gym it was a long process but with the support of all my clients who became friends to me we made it happen Lee Houston Fitness was finally open on the East Side of Houston. Read more>>

Patrice Purnell | Model, Dancer, Runway Coach, Producer of Louisiana Fashion Week, & Owner of Majestic Essence Candles

The thought process behind starting my business was and still is to build a foundation that will provide generational wealth to my great great grandchildren’s children. Since I can remember I have always said that I didn’t want to work for anyone and I don’t want my children to have to work for anyone, so this is to give them the foundation they need to build wealth for their families when they get older and the cycle continues. Read more>>

Tiffany Mensing | Organizing Engineer

I came to organizing and owning a business differently than most. I never wanted to have my own business. I’m not naturally organized. But here I am, almost 11 years of doing both! It all began when I got engaged. At the time I was working as a Chemical Engineer in Los Angeles and my fiancé, Jeremy, was in Washington, D.C. The discussions on who would move were endless; we both loved our jobs and our respective coasts. My decision to move to D.C. was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made. I lived half a block from the beach (my favorite place in the world). My job was great. I was close to family. I decided to leave it all and move to D.C. The job I found in D.C. didn’t take advantage of my degree or work experience. I was well paid, and I was miserable. I liked the people, liked the money, liked working in the city, but hated the work. Read more>>

Lakeithia Walker | Certified Special Education Teacher, Certified Behavior Specialist

Like most innovative business ideas, I was faced with a dilemma and was not satisfied with the options that were available for my family. My daughter has a learning disability and I was desperately looking for a tutoring facility that could help bridge the classroom concepts WHILE presenting it in the manner that she learned. What I found was that the prices were ridiculously absorbent and they had no systems or strategies to accommodate her learning style. It was then that I knew I could not be the only parent that was faced with this issue; I set out to help my child and other parents of my community. My efforts blossomed into Hearts of Education LLC a nationwide supplemental education program that increases student academic performance, retention, and application. Hearts of Education LLC helps adults and children alike master all things learning. Read more>>

Kierra “Kay” Foster | Licensed Professional Counselor & Soul Healer

The Stiletto Files is all about recreating the feeling you get after stepping into your favorite stilettos. You admire your reflection and immediately feel powerful, sexy and victorious; like you can conquer the world. I want to recreate that feeling each and everyday. I want women across the world to feel like they are standing tall in their favorite stilettos ready to face whatever challenge that may come their way. Every chapter in life requires a new and more fierce pair of stilettos. Read more>>

Chantil Thomas | Chantil Thomas| Public Health Pretty Girl

Pretty Periods was birthed as a direct response to a divine calling from my higher power and ancestors. As a stage four endometriosis warrior, I navigated many challenges as it related to sexual and reproductive health. Prior to starting Pretty Periods, I never looked at my menstrual health, how I do now. However, once I was able to serve my highest good, I was graced with enough overflow to share my outlook and resources with others, in hopes of shaping a new narrative for Black women and how we view our bodies, our menstrual cycles, infertility, pregnancy and menopause. Pretty Periods is advocacy and activism in motion. Ultimately, Pretty Periods is here so that Black women can feel good about themselves and the sexual and reproductive healthcare services they receive. Black women and how we are cared for tends to be an afterthought in many spaces, here at Pretty Periods, all we think about are Black women, and that’s inclusive of all Black women no matter how you choose to show-up. I started Pretty Periods, because Black women matter, and that’s on PERIOD. Read more>>

Giannys McNeill | Vegan Nutrition & Fitness Coach

The thought process behind starting my own business was not a straight line at all! 5 years ago if you told me I was going to leave my corporate job, start my own business and really be my own boss, I would have said “you’re crazy!” It wasn’t until I started my own wellness journey, I realized how neglected our community is when it comes to overall health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). As I learned more and more on how to reach optimal health, I thought how great it would be to share this with others to help them reach it too. Falling in love with fitness and switching to a completely whole-food vegan lifestyle was where the thought of Hustle and Brussel emerged. Corporate world wasn’t fulfilling. It felt like my own personal goals kept getting pushed off to the side for someone else’s goal. A lot of people started reaching out for help on how to get healthy and that’s when I knew I had to do more to directly impact people in a positive way. Read more>>

Jodi Avis | Entrepreneur

Like so many others, Ready-Set-Start was born as a solution to a problem. I am sure so many others can relate to my state of mind when I dreamed up the concept behind Ready-Set-Start. Do you know that frustration you feel as a parent trying to fulfill your child’s back-to-school list? Boy, I sure do! In 2012, after leaving the 5th store in utter despair, with my daughter crying in the backseat, I remember thinking there has got to be a better way to get the school supplies my daughter’s school was requesting! You see, I was the teacher who would not always get what is on her lists from parents. That said, as a new parent I would overthink the supply lists and strive to get EXACTLY what the teachers were requesting. As I headed to the 6th stop, I was day-dreaming about what a solution might look like. I knew that the solution would have to be one that would deliver the exact items teachers are requesting straight to the parents front door. Oh, and of course, as a volunteer, I wanted a program that would give money back to my school. Read more>>

Alexis Geissler | Owner & Founder of CraftWorx

I have always wanted to own a DIY craft studio. It’s an idea I’ve always had in the back of my mind. I love creating and watching the creative process come out in others. I spent the first 20 years of my career in advertising. I’ve loved being around creative people and in an entrepreneurial environment that the advertising agency world brings. A few years ago, the stars aligned, and I really started to seriously look at whether or not I could make this dream a reality. Read more>>

Nichole Wilson | Author, Singer & Editor-in-Chief

Helping myself while helping others!. Read more>>

Mary Ann Hebrank | Owner

I was raised in a large Italian/Hungarian family where my parents owned and operated an Italian restaurant for over 40 years in Northeast Ohio. I knew at a very young age that food brought people together and that the emotional connection to food was a way I expressed myself to others. I knew our family’s spaghetti sauce was special and I learned how to make it at a very young age. I have always thought our sauce should be available to everyone, I could see the label, my mothers picture, who taught me everything I know in the kitchen and our shared name Mary Ann. When the pandemic hit and we were all home with nothing but time I thought this is it, its now or never. So I collaborated with my son John who has is own media company and he created and brought to life my vision of Mary Ann’s Products LLC. I knew the loyal customers from our former family restaurant would love to be able to purchase our sauce. Read more>>

Indira Slade | Certified Eyelash Technician & Entrepreneur

Starting your own business can be very rewarding. But it’s definitely a challenge. When I made the jump from being a corporate executive to an entrepreneur, I found my new role to be challenging but it’s also been so worth it because it enables me to make my own schedule while still doing all the things I enjoy. Here is my thought process behind starting my business… Do not quite your day job yet… Be sure to network don’t be afraid to reach out there! Build up your saving account/fatten up your emergency fund with at least enough cash to cover your living expenses for eight to 12 months and your business expenses for four to six months. Remember that it’s better to overestimate your costs rather than risk not saving enough to give your business a chance to work. Write down your business plan; it is always good to put your thoughts on paper. Finally do your research!. Read more>>

Jenny Huang | John Yang, Jun Lin and Jenny Huang. Owners of YumCha

We knew Houston had a large population of tea lovers that was continuously growing. There were a lot of tea shops in Houston, but they were all similar in one way or another. We wanted to open a tea shop where we could stand out from the others by providing quality products and a unique environment for the customers. YumCha really would not have been possible without our unique background and love for tea. The three of us went to China and studied at a famous tea shop for two months. We also visited many different shops and plantations exploring different options. We want to expand the tea culture in Texas and bring it to the next level, where tea lovers can enjoy drinks while creating long lasting memories and friendships. Read more>>

Jesi Hook | Founder, CEO

With over a decade of creative leadership experience, I’ve seen it all. Prior to starting Vallure, I worked with a variety of businesses in several different industries, each with their ups and downs. But what became crystal clear to me over time were the flagrant negatives holding companies back from pursuing a partnership with a creative or marketing agency: “We felt like just another account.” “There was no passion or energy behind generating successful campaigns.” The feedback went on. When did we start sacrificing intentionality for vicious cycles of toxic hustle culture? When did we lose our ability to connect with the people behind the brands?. Read more>

Cayla Fears

Its really unbelievable what my business has and still is becoming. I never had the goal of starting a business until it just happened! I was in my dorm room senior in college in 2017 and I was at a very low point. I was extremely overweight and just unhappy overall. When the semester came to an end I decided to move back home and I began to get my relationship with God right and I also got really into my health and fitness. I fell in love with not only the process but also myself again. I knew it was time to share my love and all I had learned from this self love, fitness and health journey. I remember taking a nap one day and God giving me the name “Becoming Fearless” I woke up with so much clarity on where and what he wanted to do with the business. All I knew was I wanted to be able to share what God had done in my life Physically, Mentally and Spiritually, and that’s How “Becoming Fearless” was born. Read more>>

Julia Pepe | Event Creator & Decorator

I have always loved a good party. Growing up, I loved putting on a great outfit and going out. My entire childhood my mom decorated our home for every single holiday along with hosting each holiday party. I grew up helping my mom decorate the house and planning our family parties. Fast forward to high school, I was the one out of my friend group who hosted our annual girls Christmas gift exchange parties and planned all of the surprise birthday parties. I loved seeing my friend’s reaction when they walked into an event I created. It made me genuinely happy to see their reactions. Of course, at the time I never thought of event planning as a future career path because for me, it was just something fun I did whenever an occasion arose. Read more>>

Mari Carrasco

I am a mother of 4 girls. I decided to stay home with them and place my personal dreams on hold. After more than 20 years of being a stay at home mum and watching my girls develop into incredible young women, I decided I wanted to show them that is never too late to go after your passion. Read more>>

Brenda Price | Registered Nurse

My thought process in creating my own business was a journey. Going through life we are all on a journey exploring and looking for direction. Weigh loss is a journey heading in a direction to losing weight and shedding those unwanted pounds. Read more>>

Kierra Gibson | Esthetician & Spa Owner

I wanted to create a safe space for women to be comfortable with taking the time off to cater to themselves. We deserve to be pampered and cared for. I want all women to know the importance of self care and enjoy the time spent dedicated to that. Read more>>

Erin Hughley | Storyseller & Exploratory Writing Instructor

My Litle Storie exists because I’ve always loved reading! I know how hard it was for me being a child who was an avid reader and having no one to share my excitement for stories and imagining my own stories with, and I would have loved and flourished with the programs that I offer to children now, who are much like I was as a child. The bonus is they get to share their creativity, get paid for it and I get to encourage and support them throughout their writing and publishing journey!. Read more>>

Taylor Miles | Founder, Choice Hair Company

I’ve been fascinated with hair for as long as I can remember. Weaves, braids, locs, wigs, you name it I’ve rocked it. Like most black women, my hair (no matter how I choose to wear it) is a huge part of my identity and it just never felt right having to compromise or settle in terms of quality. Over the past decade, the price of quality hair extensions has skyrocketed and it’s resulted in a lot of compromises for women. The thought process for Choice Hair Company was to create an ethically minded, purpose-driven company that bridges the gap between high value and affordability to reinforce my commitment to women and their confidence. Read more>>

Coco | Founder | Chandler | Creator

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and always been the “ideas guy” for different businesses or ways to market things, etc. I had just been stuck in the rat race of working for other people. But a few years ago, I had a cough for four straight months that would *not* go away. We figured out it couldn’t be medicated away, and finally my doctor said “I don’t hear infection when I listen to your lungs. I hear asthma. I think we should try a steroid.” Sure enough, the steroid worked, and I officially had asthma. Any time you have a new diagnosis, you also get new education on how you have to change your habits. The doctor said to avoid things like spray deodorants, certain perfumes, even certain flowers, keep my seasonal allergies in check, yada, yada. Then candles and other home fragrances were listed and that’s where I drew the line. I could switch deodorants from spray to solid, but I am always 100% in control of the smell of my home! I started to wonder why al these things would trigger asthma, and some of them were pretty obvious. Read more>>

Dr. Katashia Partee Kendrick | Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Health & Wellness Coach, and Integrative Health Practitioner

Honestly, I never thought about being an entrepreneur. I’ve always felt like I was complete working as a clinical pharmacy specialist in a clinic or hospital setting; however, something kept pulling at my heart strings. I started to pray more about the entrepreneurial thoughts and visions that were flooding my mind which led me to pursue entrepreneurialism. I created Celebrate Health & Wellness Consulting, LLC based on my personal health challenges of high blood pressure and obesity. I lost 100 pounds…….and still losing. I’m not taking prescription medication any longer, and I’m living a healthier lifestyle. I want to share my experiences and help other individuals to possess the freedom I enjoy with better health. I help women, more often over 30 years of age, take control of their health with chronic disease prevention or management using Integrative Health & Functional Medicine strategies, health & wellness coaching, and weight loss management to achieve optimal health. Read more>>