Readers often email us asking us for advice about new businesses they are thinking about starting and we often find that many of them don’t have a framework for thinking about a more fundamental question: why should or shouldn’t you start a business?

Below, you’ll find how successful entrepreneurs from across the city thought about this very question when they were considering whether to start their businesses.

Rondon Redford | CEO

My thought process was to create generational wealth. Growing up poor and having to make a way out of no way fueled my desire for entrepreneurship. I never wanted my kids to grow up the way I had to. Read more>>

Taylor Houston-Davis | custom t-shirt designer

when starting my own business all I thought about was generational wealth and the mark I would leave behind for my children my family and community Read more>>

Chikezie Johnson | Freelance Videographer/Editor

Originally I pursued a full time job in my field after college. But after 6 months of not finding anything I decided to use my saved up money to start my business. And ever since I made $500 from a 1 hour shoot i knew this is what I wanted to do. Plus the ability to make your own hours is great. Read more>>

Barbara McGuire | Full time law student. Part time traveler.

My thought process behind starting my own business was wanting to create a useful and effective platform for people who live life to the fullest but do not have the time to plan a VIP trip or event. In the past, I often volunteered to organize group trips with my friends because I viewed coordinating as a fun hobby and my friends claimed that did not have the time. For our trips, I would plan a detailed itinerary that would list day by day activities and preplanned reservations. I would plan from private scuba diving lessons to spa day treatments and rooftop dinners with escorted transportation. Read more>>

Chanté Henderson | Cake Artist

The thought process behind starting my own business, was simple. I needed to build a brand that was Two things. One being a business I actually enjoy working at & Two being successful. I thought to myself “What is something I truly enjoy doing, that also people love?”. Automatically Desserts came to mind. From there Dipped&DesignedByTé was born. Read more>>

Tayla Hart | Professional Facepainter 

Starting my own business wasn’t the original goal, I learned to paint while working for a facepainting company in Utah and when I moved to the Houston area I really wanted to keep facepainting a part of my life. Facepainting helps me to get to interact with my community and bring joy to others, and I realized I really needed that in my life. Starting my own facepainting business was a way to achieve that. I was also really motivated this summer to work really hard to grow my business in order to help with the cost of our fertility treatment. It has been an exciting and intimidating journey making all of the decisions you have to make when starting up your own business, and it’s also been wonderful to really be able to making it my own and have complete creative freedom with the direction I take it. Read more>>

Joshua York | Content Creator

I remember working different jobs thinking that even if I master this particular skill, I want to do more than this next year and beyond, after happening at several jobs, I realized that I want to make a living doing something that I could say is 100% mine, I make the rules, set the hours and train the new employees. Read more>>

Tyanna Hackney-Bailey | Legal Consultant & Event Planner & Travel blogger

I wanted to inspire other women tans young girls as cliche as it may sound, that is truly my passion. Women have so many great ideas and talents but we don’t always use them or we are scared to fail. I wanted to show others it can be done and yea you may fail once or even a few times, but women were built strong it’s in our genes. Read more>>

Shelly Whitley | Travel Advisor

Really the thought of starting my own business was very scary and just the whole part of not knowing where to start. So when travel agent came up I was like wow never thought of that. I had never personally knew a travel agent or used their services. I had to do some research once my mind was made up that I had to get out of the work I was doing which at one point it was three jobs I was working. I don’t know how I maintained that I couldn’t tell if I was coming or going. I just made it to a point where I felt there had to be something better for me to do. I had witnessed discrimination, bullying and so many other things that was not right working with my last employer and I was just so stressed and done so I had to find a better way. I began to research how to become a travel agent because once again I did not know where to start then I realized the best way to get in the business and how to get started quickly. Since I was still committed to two jobs at the beginning I treated my business like a hobby. Read more>>

Nickie Crow | Founder | Creative | Candle Maker

My candle journey started back in 2010 when the small hand made candle business I purchased candles from was closing. To be honest, my first thought along with a lot of panic was what will I do without these candles?!? They were my guilty pleasure. So my journey began with how a candle made me feel, which is still hard to put into words. Candles evoke emotions, memories and create ambiance. They set the mood and can literally change the atmosphere in your space. That feeling inspired me to create a beautiful quality hand made candle that smelled amazing and would create an experience! Read more>>

Kevin Sechelski | CEO/Owner

I think the biggest thing that Anthony and Myself wanted to do is create and build something different. We wanted to visually impact our surroundings and city by building unique custom homes. We lean towards the Modern, Mid-Century, and Contemporary designs due to our personal passion for that style. We strive to always think outside the box and truly enjoy opportunities to try new things. We chose “Echo” for our name because an Echo is a duplication of sound… Here we are trying to take our clients thought and ideas and create a Visual Echo of that into a Home. Read more>>

Jessica Barton | Fashion Consultant

The idea to begin a fashion consulting company came to me in stages. Fashion has always been a major part of my life, from watching wide-eyed as a small child while my mom and aunt got dressed up for parties and concerts to sketching gowns and separates after I finished my homework. When the pandemic started, I quickly found myself without one of my regular forms of expression and release, getting dressed before leaving the house. I wasn’t leaving the house so I lost that hour or so from my day where I plan my outfit and accessories and just focus on myself. Read more>>

Jovita Johnson | Business Development Strategist

I started CreativeCo. Lab to be a service to entrepreneurs in Houston. I began in entrepreneurship over ten years ago, and I knew absolutely nothing. I researched as much as Google would allow, it wasn’t as fruitful as it is now. I was working with a small budget and could only afford free information. I stumbled my way through a few businesses over the years learning along the way. Today, I know the importance of having a strong business foundation, using business credit to fund my business, and investing in myself through continued development. Read more>>

Eliane (Lily) Adebiyi | Master Braider/Master hair stylist/Makeup Artist

I started my own business for several reasons but two of them were most important to me! 1-I wanted to service clients in an environment that was more suitable for them. I was working in a hair salon where my clients lacked privacy and so, by owning my own business I thought I could give them that privacy while servicing them. 2-I wanted to be in control of my own schedule and make my own rules. Read more>>

Penny Keo | Online Women’s Boutique

I wanted to create a business where women can feel fashionable, fun, and confident. I believe that self-expression is something we should all have the opportunity to exercise and celebrate. Our goal is not to offer trendy clothing and accessories but rather a fun pieces that is inspired by the beautiful colors of nature and traveling that will last through your wardrobe cycles. Our accessories are also a starter conversational piece that gets people asking, where did you get that earrings from. There is a piece for every season. Hence, our shop name 2 Birds Boutique. One with nature and being free, and independent. Read more>>

Natalie Finley | Spray Tan Salon Owner and Spray Tan Educator

My original thought process was to have more freedom with my time. I was so used to working 8-5 jobs without significant growth potential and a strict schedule. I knew that I wanted kids and knew that I didn’t want to constantly feel like I was on a hamster wheel, so it was important for me to do something that I loved and that made a difference to someone, anyone! As I dove deeper into my “why” when I started up my sunless business, I wanted to do something that would be geared towards women, all shapes, colors and sizes. I wanted to be able to sprinkle women with confidence to help them feel their absolute best… and that is how Evolution Tans was born! The tan room is a safe place for anyone to just be themselves, vent, laugh, cry and get their tan on. This business has opened so many doors for me and has helped me grow in ways that I never expected. Read more>>

Colton Fultz | Vice President of Operations

We wanted to create a business where we could control the culture and put people, our customers, first. Knowing that we can grow a business and the results are dependent on our efforts is a huge draw. We are highly driven to be the best in our industry. Read more>>

Cheree O’Dell | Serial Entrepreneur. Sustainability Advocate.

I’m a serial entrepreneur. I’ve been an independent hair dresser for 22 years. I started Cheree Spirit in 2017, which includes, alchemy sound bath meditations and sustainable tips to help reduce one’s personal carbon footprint. I wanted to created a company to one day have employees and sell sustainable products. I love candles, and honey, so it seemed logical to start researching beeswax candles. I have always had a passion for a cleaner and healthier earth and my companies reflect that. My new venture is formulating 100% pure beeswax candles that omit negative ions that work as a natural air purifier helping eliminate dust, pollen, mold, oder and toxins in the air. Our vision is to educate individuals on what is really sustainable and how to maintain equilibrium thus creating a harmonious earth and body. I have created Harmonious Collections to embody this. Read more>>

Venessa Vargas | Boutique Owner for Women’s Clothing

Once I decided I wanted to fulfill my dream and open my own clothing boutique for women there was no stopping me. I wanted my boutique to be unique and make a statement. You know the quote “I am woman, hear me roar” that’s exactly what I want my clothes to say when women wear them. Sometimes our outfits speak louder than words. Read more>>

Moneé Thomas-Martin, MD | Board Certified Dermatologist and Cosmeceutical Entrepreneur (Also my colleague’s info is Lauren Payne, MD Board Certified Dermatologist and Cosmeceutical Entrepreneur

Lauren and I met, worked together and became friends while completing our dermatology residency at Howard University Hospital. During residency, we encountered and treated many skin conditions in all skin types, but acquired abundant training and treatment of conditions in skin of color due to our ethnically diverse patient population. We both recognized a need for an effective product to treat a commonly encountered problem by many, but especially patients with skin of color, that being razor bumps. Read more>>

Garland Thompson | Pastor/Founder Encountering Christ Baptist Church

As I yearned for change, God revealed to me, instead of grappling about the lack of a Black ecclesiastical presence within your community, why don’t you plant one? So as God and I wrestled over God’s declaration to me, God rejected every application to church’s I sent in addition to any applications I submitted within the accounting profession. God literally shut down every petition and appeal I made to return to the work force. Although throughout COVID-19, God didn’t let my family needs go unmet, however, the level of disdain and rejection I endured was demoralizing. As God was waiting on my yes, my lack of trust and surrender results in months of suffering when I didn’t have to. Read more>>

Jamarcus South | Jay

Just seen a void everybody was doing the same thing I felt the people needed more to choose from Read more>>

Lizeth Solis | Owner and Head Chef

1- (What was your thought process behind starting your own business?) I’ve been in my field for almost 10 years. My first occupation is a CG (Computer Graphics) artist. I create, model, and light 3D objects. I do love it, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like the idea of sitting in front of a computer for the rest of my life to make money. I went through different phases in wanting to start a business. I went through wanting to sell my own art and making piñatas since I made them for friends, but none of them really stuck with me. I was hanging out with a couple of friends at a bar, and one of my friends ordered a Michelada. I looked at it and said, “Wow, that looks delicious. Read more>>

Vonleshia Davidson | Beauty Technician

I’ve always known I wanted to work for myself! I’ve successfully launched multiple businesses and Renee’s Rejuvenation is my passion project. After my Mom passed in January of this year I decided to launch my self-care spa in her honor. I’d been working on opening a place where women and men can come and hit the refresh button. We offer body sculpting, detox body wraps and refreshing facials. Read more>>

Tiphine E Cross | Balloon Artist & Business Owner

I wanted the whole pie instead of just crumbs. The freedom to travel and move around freely is very important to me. Starting my own business gave me the ability to do that. Read more>>

Noa McMahon | Hairstylist & Wig Creator

When I was still in high school my junior year, I hadn’t applied to any colleges. I had been to a few different schools just to visit and I just honestly didn’t see myself in that environment. Once I made it to my senior year, it was very clear to me that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I wanted to start as soon as I could, I had a passion for making people feel beautiful and being their therapist along the way so, one month after graduation I enrolled and started beauty school. It wasn’t easy and the commute was over an hour everyday, to and from school. But I knew what I wanted and I knew what it would take to get me there. Also, learning to start and run my own business successfully, would allow me to independently make my own rules and treat my clients how they’re supposed to be treated. Not having to follow anyone else’s rules. Read more>>

Elizabeth Davis | Party Décor Designer

Having a creative heart is such a beautiful feeling, For many years now. I have been crafting as my hobby. It all started with my nieces 2nd birthday, I created her party centerpieces. Shortly after, I then made my own baby shower decorations of my first born; I even made my own mum. I then realized that was my passion. Ever since, I’ve designed all my children’s parties. I created all their party decorations from invites, centerpieces, piñatas, goodie bags, treats, baptisms, Halloween costumes and even my first son’s graduation. Over the years I created a lot of party arrangements for close family and friends. They would suggest for me to create for others or even open my own business. But I was afraid to lose the love I had for crafting, I didn’t want to burn or stress myself out if I did. I would say one day when God knows the time is right and when I’m ready. Read more>>

Rina Davis | Balloon Artist

When I was thinking about staring this business I was a bit nervous. At the time there was not a lot of people doing balloons like they are now. So I was always researching many pages and YouTube channels on how to make my work look beautiful but still different than others. Once I started and put it out there about being in the balloon business I gotten many messages about doing jobs! I was excited! I remember thinking about getting advertisements done and business cards lol it was so exciting starting this business. Read more>>

Dipp | Entrepreneur

As a kid I’ve always wanted to own a custom car shop. I knew I would Work for myself, but I was unsure how I would be successful. Read more>>

Hugh Smikle | Renovation Contractor

The driving factor behind entrepreneurship for me is freedom. I enjoy having the freedom and flexibility to set my own schedule. Read more>>

Xavier Bishop | Entrepreneur

Well… starting my own business this early on was certainly not my intension. I tell people it was really all by accident, and what I mean by that, is it was not in my plan to ever do anything like it, but I have always known I would start my own business. Zay’s Signature Creations all started with creating picnic dates for family and friends before it was ever thought of as a business. It was something I enjoyed doing and my family encouraged me to turn it into something more because they saw the potential of where it could go. I thought “why not?” “Something fun to do on the side while I continue to grow in my career. Read more>>