We reached out to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and asked them to think back and tell us about how they decided to start a business. Check out their responses below.

Emily Boyd | Dog Photographer

I personally thought it would be a fun and adventurous task. I love photography and I have a passion for working with dogs – it just so happened that I found a way to mix the two! Although my “Doggo Instagram blog” is just a hobby, it allows me to let my creativity flow. Read more>>

Michelle Hougland | Fashion Blogger & Entrepreneur

Since childhood I have always wanted to model, act, and be involved in the fashion industry. As I got older I didn’t have the confidence and resources to pursue my passions. Fast forward to the pandemic. My husband who works in healthcare was one of the first people to test positive for COVID-19 at his hospital. My personal experience with suddenly being the sole parent to our twin sons and dealing with the uncertainty of my husbands outcome took me to a dark place mentally. Through healing mentally and spiritually I realized that life is too short and overnight a fire sparked inside of me to believe in myself. No matter the outcome the time to do what I truly love has become the most important thing to me. That is when LifeandStyleofShelly was born! Read more>>

Hunter Twins | Owners of Twice A s Nice Sweets

The idea to start up TWICE AS NICE SWEETS came from the twins always in the kitchen baking, mixing up desserts to create something creative for dinner almost every night starring ” food coloring.” The twins always love to be in the kitchen helping mom cook. As the years go by X’Ziyah the second born twin start selling cookies to her friends at school to make some extra earnings besides their normal allowance. It started with the twins grandma who is also a baker of the family made some teacakes told the twins to take them to school to the teachers and students to sell. needless to say she came home with a load of cash all neatly folded and the bills facing the same way. Read more>>

Shawnti Refuge | Self-care Journals & Notebooks

About two years ago, I began having these emotional outbursts out of nowhere. I’m typically a strong person who would show zero emotion so I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what. I went to my family doctor who prescribed me some antidepressants that didn’t work. She referred me to a psychiatrist. I resisted at first because when you hear the word psychiatrist, you think “crazy”. I finally went because I was tired of feeling out of control. The psychiatrist diagnosed me with severe depression & anxiety. She prescribed me stronger meds & while under her care she advised that I talk to a therapist as well. I was so against this but I went anyway. Read more>>

Courtney Garrett | Author & Bible teacher

I had been in ministry for many years but always felt there was a missing piece for people who did not grow up in the church but were curious or seeking. Many people have a lot of unanswered questions about Christianity. Without understanding basic foundational truths, it is very difficult to have a framework for understanding the Bible and how it applies to our lives. I wanted to give people a starting point–for those who are starting from ground zero, to those who need to be refreshed in the faith, to those who grew up in the church but have stepped away and want to reinvestigate Christianity. I have two simple Bible studies that give people this starting point so they can walk through the basics in a nonintimidating way. Read more>>

Umaima Plumber | Medical Licensed Esthetician

I wanted to be my own boss! I wanted to have my freedom and obviously give more time to my family. Time once gone never comes back. A minute cannot be rewinded. I wanted to have full control over my career. Hence I knew Time and Choice are my primary reasons for starting my own business. Skincare has been my hobby since I was 17. What I want the world to know about my business is that my hands are a gift to the amazing women of color that go unnoticed and undervalued on a daily basis. Read more>>

Kent & Choey Maree | Microgreens

We started our business from home after choey had a regular doctors appointment and we learned that she had pre-cancerous cells. After finding this out we decided to do extensive research on starting a home business about micro greens. Read more>>

Jeteria Edwards | Makeup artist & Entrepreneur

When i was 15, growing up in Bessemer,al i always told myself oneday I’m gonna be my own Walmart or my own Amazon. Growing up no one in my family had a business or you know everyone worked. I always had the mentality that i wanted to be my own boss someday and make my own money. Even start generational wealth. I started making my own custom highwaist shorts and jeans. It did numbers. I learned how to make them watching YouTube. I always had a hustle bone in me. I can do anything literally. Read more>>

Ashley Simien | Esthetician & Makeup Artist

Growing up I always knew that I wanted a career in the arts (and now healing) which I felt it’s a field that some artists of some sort don’t hold 9-5 jobs. They build income off of their passions. I also come from a family background where we strongly believe in entrepreneurship even if it’s just something we do part time while holding a regular 9-5. However, I, for one, struggle with the mundane day to day tasks of a regular job. Freedom is a requirement for me and if I can spend more time working on my creative endeavors and create a business out of it then why not? Read more>>

Michelle Robertson | Owner/ Photographer

Growing up my father was always taking pictures and recording our family events and outings. He always said that he wanted to cherish the moments we had. When he passed away in 2007, what helped me a lot was the pictures and videos I had of him. It allowed me to remember him in the great moments that we shared, so I always cherished photos. Fast forward to 2019, I decided to buy a camera and start learning photography. A close friend of mine encouraged me to start a photography business because I was so passionate about it and he loved how the pictures came out. I wanted to share my love with others and show them that pictures are a great way to cherish memories. I decided to start Shots by Mimi to help people share those memories they have with their loved ones and the special moments in their life. Read more>>

Keisha | KDA Markets | Your Local Pop-up Shop for “K”reatives, Designers, Artisans & friends

Since the 5th grade I knew I wanted to own my own business. Therr was a huge building right in the loop of 610 and 290. Every time we passed that building I ferment telling my mom that I would one day own that building. Now that didn’t happen but it’s still on my bucket list. I fell in love with event planning during high school. Since high school, I’ve always been a part of an planning committee in some form or fashion. With my other business, I would participate in artisan markets and pop up shops almost every weekend. Not only did participating in markets give me a platform for introducing and selling my products but they were fun, educational, networking experiences I truly enjoyed. Read more>>

Tamara Bevel | Cookie Artist & Owner of D’Luxe Confection Co.

After many years in Corporate America, I was longing for a creative outlet and work/life balance. In October 2019, I turned 40 and realized that time waits for no one! I had always dreamed of being an entrepreneur but was afraid to take the leap. So in January 2020, I started my cookie business and never looked back! Starting a small business is a win-win for me because I get to be my own boss but most importantly, I get the privilege of being a part of my customers’ special occasions and that’s what is most important to me. Read more>>

Vanessa Correa | Virtual CFO & Tax Saving Wizard

• I kept seeing the same pattern unfold at every CPA firm I worked at after graduating college, the focus was NOT on helping clients do better – the focus was on reporting what’s already happened, clocking billable hours, and preparing the correct forms, putting the right numbers in the appropriate boxes to chug out an amount at the end of the year that the business owner may or may not have on hand (most often NOT on hand). It was like being a parakeet pecking the keyboard just to ruin a business owner’s day with the bad news every.single.year. Read more>>

Brandi Woods | Entrepreneur

There weren’t any apparel lines out there that spoke the true NOLA language and showcased the essence of the city. I figured, since it wasn’t out there it was up to me to create it. Read more>>

Nasiah Ross | Pastry chef &Dessert Doctor

My husband and I have always had our own business, so starting my own business was just a natural. I want to be able to run my business my way, with my ideas and values. Read more>>

Julian Anya | Fitness Trainer

My purpose. My purpose on this earth is to help others realize how great they are. Growing up, I was the guy who everybody counted on or when they needed someone to re-ignite their fire. As a trainer, my purpose is to guide and show my clients how to live a healthier, fitter life. The best way to do that is by creating a service. My personal training business for me is an obligation to give back. I’ve tried every diet and workout program you can think of. Also, with my bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and years of training clients, I have gained enough experience to help anyone to achieve their fitness goals. Read more>>

Alicia Tashiro | Theater Owner

I own a company called Blue Moon Cinemas, where we do over 300 events per year doing inflatable movie events in Texas and surrounding states for the last 13 years. At Blue Moon Cinemas, we take the screen and movie set-up out to clients, wherever they are and put on a turnkey private event for them whether it is a backyard party, non-profit event, corporate event, parks and recs event, school movie night and we have the capability to make any of those events a drive-in movie for guests to be socially distanced and safe. Read more>>