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.

Clarissa Johnson | Caterer & Food Trailer Owner

My thought process behind starting my own business was freedom. I became a parent at an early age, straight out of high school pregnant with twins. My son passed away at two months; however I couldn’t give up there, I still had a daughter to live for. A month after my son passed away we also buried my grandmother, Louise Johnson. My grandmother kept me in the kitchen with her. Read more>>

LaTonya “LadyDiva” Washington | Founder / Professional Organizer

For years  I had a passion of organization . I truly believe everything must have a home . I remember as a child  I’d sort everything out including my barbie dolls and their accessories 😂. Once I became a wife and a mother I’d found myself   organizing, decluttering and downsizing everything in our home. In 2016  I created a vision board and God gave me a name for my organization business. Read more>>

Crystal Cook | Wife, Mother, and Owner of Edyn & Skylondyn Co. L.L.C.

I’ve always wanted to have my own business and provide generational wealth for my daughter and her future children. I was an Early Childcare Teacher, and when the pandemic hit they sent us home. I had to figure out what was next. Read more>>

Eulaisha Mannings | Founder/Co-Owner/Operations Manager of McMann Outdoor Movies

During the start of the pandemic, many people were not able to go to the movies. That’s when the idea came to me, why not bring the movies to them. I then decided to gather like minded people to embark on this journey. I was fortunate enough to formulate a team where people had different but specific set of skills to launch the business. We didn’t want to stop at just a movie, we wanted to incorporate an entire movie experience. For that reason we provide a concession stand which consists of: fresh popcorn, hot dogs, assorted box candy, all to be enjoyed in our comfortable lounge chairs. Read more>>

Ellen Schuster | Artist

I honestly didn’t mean to start a business. I fell in love with painting and exploring new techniques and mediums. It was actually my husband who encouraged me to allow myself the practuce of showing up daily like it was a job. The whole philosophy of 10,000 hours…. It wasn’t for money or anything else because that would have spoiled any creativity and fear and comparison would have creeped in, killing creativity. As I started creating, friends began asking if they could buy pieces. Then I decided to begin posting my art on Instagram and that is where it took a turn to be more of a business. Read more>>

Skyler Denny | Financial Guide & CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional

I realized the majority of CFP® Professionals who specialize in comprehensive financial planning only work with current retirees or people nearing retirement. Knowing the important financial decisions that truly build wealth are made while earning an income throughout our careers. From the beginning of our careers my wife, Jordan, and I began implementing the strategies I learned in our own life. Read more>>

Rob Sykes | Photographer

If five years ago you had told me I would be running a photography business, I wouldn’t have believed you. Five years ago, photography wasn’t on my radar. At all. I’m a Registered Nurse, and I’ve been working in the ICU mostly since 2014. I got into photo taking because of coffee. On my off days, I would visit specialty coffee shops in town. Read more>>

Emily Waddell | Founder of Give a Damn Goods & The Honest Consumer

When I was in college, I started a blog The Honest Consumer ( to educate others on sustainable fashion and conscious living. I enjoyed creating resources for people to learn how they could make a positive impact. After graduating I wanted to further my impact by finding a way to take these conversations offline and have them in person. Read more>>

Laine Lyzak | Crafter & Bartender

Well it started as just a hobby and I would make things for myself and for friends. Eventually people started asking if they could buy customized items and my “hobby” grew to be a money making business and I really enjoyed doing it! When I started crafting, I never thought it would turn into my own business, but I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to see how far I could take this. I realized that if I kept my items unique, people really wanted something that no one else had! Read more>>

Jonnequia Cavett | Spirit Led Visionary Life Stylist and Online Boutique Owner

My thought process behind my brand begin officially in 2017 with the motivation from those closest to me. I have always had a love for clothing, fashion and putting things together for special occasions. I have been blessed to fail, not be consistent , afford business coaches , resourceful people , successful business owners who believed in me. I initially named my brand “Haute Shenanigans”- with the thoughts of high class ,fashionably elegant and high spirited individuals now renamed in 2019 “JHauteness” Jonnequia’s Hauteness. Designer, J.D. Read more>>

Rose Lounsbury | Simplicity Coach, Author, Speaker

I had taken a child-care leave from my teaching job and found myself craving a professional outlet. I’d written a hobby blog on minimalism and simplicity for a couple years and thought, “Hey, maybe I can turn this into a business!” I interviewed some friends who had their own businesses and just went from there. I didn’t have a business plan, but just felt things out as I went along. (This is still how I often run my business.) Read more>>

NijaAshley Dalton | Beauty Business Mentor, Salon Owner & Master Hairstylist

Honestly there was very little thought when it came starting my business; since a kid all I have ever wanted to do was to do hair. I won’t make the statement and say that I was never good at anything else but hair been my passion since I can remember literally. It was only natural that I opened a beauty salon and expand on my birth purpose. Read more>>

Iris Daniels | Full Time Mom, Wife, MUA & RDA

My thought process behind starting my own business simply just came from me doing my friend’s makeup, my makeup, and family makeup. When I would do their makeup I always enjoyed how they felt after. Then I went through a period of not working and I decided to turn that into a form of income. Read more>>

Kyle McClue | Event Producer

We started Mad Nice because we felt that our experience at events in the city was becoming repetitive and not all the time very welcoming. Thus, we made it a point to craft together events that were not only unique and original but also gave people a feeling of inclusiveness. We wanted you to feel that no matter who you are or where you’re from, that you’re welcome to come and that you should get ready for a fun time. Read more>>

Kevieonta Chester | CTRS & Financial Consultant & Travel Planner

My thought process behind starting my business was solely to educate everyone on financial independence, credit building and saving. Read more>>

Annie Castleberry | Exclusively Designed Handwoven Textiles

As a young child, I was introduced to the textile world through my mother who grew up in Bolivia. These colorful weavings were displayed throughout our home. It wasn’t until I was older that I truly began to appreciate the intricacy and beauty of these weavers’ designs and the stories they told. Their beauty and originality inspired me to launch a line of unique exclusively designed handmade products while providing a new market for Guatemalan textile artisans. Read more>>

Helen Swiff-Goodman | Balloon Designer & ASL Interpreter

Ever since i was little I have always been involved with some sort of creative activities. Sometimes they were for pleasure only and other times they were also as a business enterprise. i have used all kinds of materials to express myself creatively throughout the years. During the fall of 2019 I helped my friend make several balloon garlands for a party and I was hooked. Read more>>

Dr. Lester | Psychotherapist & Professor

My thought process behind starting my own business is that “I am tired of working for other people”. “I am vexed every time I have minimize my skillset to fit in to an environment”. I got mad enough to change the trajectory of my life and do what I love. Read more>>

Itzy Solano | Gym Owner & Certified Personal Trainer

I went to school for architecture, a completely different field from the fitness realm. I was extremely passionate for it until I wasn’t. Health and fitness became the love of my life, and before the pandemic I was slowly making my way towards creating that a second income. However, when the pandemic hit, I knew this was my chance to pursue what I really loved in life. Read more>>

Parveen Charania | Founder of Sofizi Trio

Me and my daughters’ thought process behind starting our own business came from our passion of making handcrafted bath and body care products. It all started 14 years ago when my oldest daughter, Saara, was struggling with very bad eczema as a child. The doctor told me not to bathe her with soap because the harsh chemicals and fillers it contains can make eczema worse by irritating the skin. That wasn’t a solution for me because children can be very messy and need to be bathed with soap. Read more>>

Kevin Solomon | Founder/Owner of SlaughtaHouze-Newmann Distributions LLC

In the beginning it was about the social shine. About being SEEN instead of being HEARD. Wasn’t even about the money… That’s crazy right but when you’re young you don’t really see the big picture. Guess I’m only speaking for me lol. But as time progress I became more business savvy and more focused on building the SlaughtaHouze brand into something larger and extremely profitable. More important leaving a LEGACY behind for my family which I hope they will continue to run long after I’m gone. Read more>>