The first step to starting a business is deciding to start a business. They say the first step is the hardest and in our experience this is especially true when it comes to starting a business. Getting over the mental roadblocks can be tough, often harder to overcome than the challenges you’ll face once you actually start the business. Fellow entrepreneurs share their thoughts below.

Terray Franklin | Spoken Word Poet, Head Designer of Tripodd LLC

Initially, Tripodd started out as “Tripodd Poetry” primarily focusing on projecting my love for spoken word. As a birthday gift I received a handheld tripod for my phone with a Bluetooth button for hands free capabilities to record my own performances. As time progressed I began to dip into the fashion scene as well, and that led to Tripodd becoming a multi-faceted business, hoping to offer as much creativity and content to our supporters as we can. Read more>>

Shy (Shady) Royal | Co-Host of The Rudely Honest Podcast

The idea of launching the podcast came from many deep conversations with my friends during the Pandemic. We all went through different relationship and personal struggles during this time, and used group Facetimes as a way to stay connected, and give each other advice. So I (Shady) randomly mentioned wanting to do my own “Red Table Talk” type show, and then reached out to Chelsei Rae, Nocturnal. and Ezzy, and brought the idea to them, and that’s how we became The Rudely Honest Podcast crew. Read more>>

Vic Fields | Owner of Chicken Headz

My thought process was mainly wanting to be unique. Read more>>

Zion Botanical | Interior Plant Design by Alesha Sebie & Aijeleth Boda

From the moment we met we had connected over a desire to branch out of our service industry jobs in pursuit of a more creative and holistic career path. Amidst the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the initial lockdown, we found ourselves connecting with our community through the care and gifting of houseplants. We first realized we had something when a friend asked for help with bringing plants into her newly opened cafe. People kept asking who was in charge of bringing all the plants into the space and before we knew it we were getting phone calls from others who were interested in our services for both their homes and businesses. The opportunities continued to present themselves as the interest in interior plants grew. With our knowledge of plants and their care, and interest in aesthetic- we were able to maximize on a quarantine trend to create a business model focused on design, installation and maintenance services in the Nashville area. Read more>>

Nazahah Yasin | Artist

I was really unhappy with the place I was employed at, was struggling financially, and wanted to start something of my own so that I could eventually work for myself down the line. I also wanted to be able to say something along the lines of “I made this from the ground up and I can manage this the way that I want to on my own terms” I knew it had to be something that I was passionate and had a bit of knowledge in so I decided on making crystal jewelry. Read more>>

Dria Reece | Founder & Owner of Dining With Dria LLC

In 2012, I decided I wanted to be the best version of myself, for my daughter. I needed to make a lifestyle change for the better and I started cooking healthy foods and dieting. I found that I loved this new lifestyle and could turn it into a business, thus Dining with Dria LLC was born. My support system of friends and family really helped push me into turning my new lifestyle change into a business. When transitioning from cooking for myself to cooking over 500+ meals a week, the most important thing to me was to keep #DWD unique from competitors, by putting out a new menu weekly to reframe the idea of eating healthy as being repetitive and boring. We also pride ourselves on providing meals that are LOW SODIUM and BIG FLAVOR!. Read more>>

Amber Chauntal | Boutique Owner

My thought process of my business stem from my long years of working in retail and fashion. I had an extreme passion for fashion since high school, I knew that was the path that I wanted to take in life. I started at 16 working on clothing boutiques and actually worked my way up to be a store manager of a retail location. I learned all the ins and outs of customer service and honestly running a business at store level. Over seeing employee and making important choices for that business. I soon realized this is something I knew I could do. I then pursued research and opened my own online clothing boutique. Read more>>

Karess Linzer | Author | Christian Content Creator

When it comes to ministry, I have always been very adamant about sharing the truth, love, and grace of Christ. I began my own ministry when I graduated from college and it was a rough start, just like many would assume. From creating engaging content and curriculum to teaching and mentoring women from all walks of life in downtown Houston, my driving force was never about myself. It has been and will always be Jesus Christ and His will for my life. My thought process continues to grow and shift while still being rooted in the cause of my ministry which is to see others whole – by the grace of God, healed – by the love of God, and full lives – by the freedom found in God. I started out dancing in my local church then, with a local competitive dance team and I danced throughout high school. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 12 but I refused to stop dancing. I have always believed in the power of movement and I have always loved dancing. Fast forward to my college years, I graduated from Stephen F. Austin University and I majored in Dance, Education, and minored in Spanish. Read more>>

Gabriela Chavez | Owner of Jade’s Bows and More

My thought process behind starting my own business was simply doing more for our finances and saving for my daughter. I started my business when both my husband and I had been laid off due to COVID. We needed extra income, I was inspired by my daughter, she had received bows as a gift from her aunt and I decided to make them for her and extra to sell as well. Starting my business was for my family and my self. I was motivated to do more and to not quit. I didn’t want to depend on help. Read more>>

Francisco Abundiz | Designer

I have always been creative since I was young and loved to express myself through art, design, and everything in between. As I came into adulthood, I realized that I had let my creative side take a backseat so I could focus on ways to grow professionally and be able to pay the bills. Working in retail, banking, and the tech industry was fun, but there was always something missing. When I realized I wanted to truly represent who I am as a person and as a creative I decided to start a “side-hustle” for the creative outlet. I was able to still work the 9-5, but then enjoy building a brand that truly represented me. ABNDZ was born out of my passion for all things design. I studied graphic arts in school and always loved the way great design influenced how we saw the world, and what we chose to represent us. Things such as packaging design, furniture design, and branding have such an important role in our world and shape how we define or brand ourselves. Read more>>

Edna Kyei-Quayson | Entrepreneur & Therapist

The idea to start my own business actually came from a vision God gave me. My mother is a small business owner and has been one for over 40 years now. I saw how hard she worked and the endless hours she put in and have been in awe of her work ethic and compassionate spirit for her clients. Despite that, I couldn’t see myself as an entrepreneur. Had God not prompted me to, I doubt if I would ever gone through with it. If God wills, I would like to add the component of counseling to my brand. Read more>>

Brittani Murray | Owner/CEO

From an early age, my entire family knew I had a passion for cleaning. From not wanting to open or mess up my new pencil package in Kindergarten to cleaning my room for fun, I was definitely different from most kids. I was recommended by family to attend dental hygiene school after graduating high school. “Since you like to clean so much, why not clean teeth?” It seemed like a professional career path at the time. I realized very soon after starting the dental hygiene program that the profession was not what I thought it would be. I followed through with graduation and practiced for about 8 years before deciding I had to figure out what to do when I grew up! In 2015 I stopped by to visit my uncle in Magnolia, TX. He had a housekeeper who had just come to service his home that morning. His home was lets just say not up to my cleaning standards. I asked him what he was paying and told him I would do it for the same price but better!. Read more>>

Ronald Wilkins | Owner & Head Baker

So many things led up to the moment I decided this is what I wanted to do. The many days I had gone with nothing in my pockets but loose change and a couple dollar bills; hoping that it would last until my next payday. To me and my wife having a family of our own but still learning how to make ends meet with the little income we had. Then not being able to go to work everyday because of a global pandemic. To me finally realizing that my son is looking up at me and it’s up to me to figure this thing out. “Hmm I wonder if I can bake from scratch?” Is the question I asked myself while sitting at home one boring evening. So immediately I started researching different baked goods and decided on which one I wanted to make. It all started with a simple vanilla pound cake. I had watched enough YouTube videos on baking a cake from scratch I could have graduated from a professional baking school. Read more>>

Lady Kaye Jones | Comedian, Singer, Host, Entrepreneur

Well as a bossy big sister who helped raise her siblings I honestly don’t like being told what to do or being told no. When I get a no I learned how to create many of the yes moments in my life. Then I wanted to create and give yesses to people who would normally not hear it. I wanted to build an empire on what people don’t expect or see often. Everything from my comedy to singing to catering to my private clients in the kitchen I strive to make sure the people around me are satisfied. Which is the perfect recipe for being a business owner. Delighting the clientele!. Read more>>

Pamela & Tiffany Delgado | Founders

The thought of opening up our own business was something that we wanted to do because we always had a passion for swimwear from a very young age. We knew what we looked for in a swimsuit but unless they were over $200, it didn’t have the right adjustments or straps that were flattering for our bodies. That’s when we decided to create our own line and include all of the materials we felt were missing in the market, all while being affordable to the consumers. Read more>>

Ruth Watson | Boutique Owner

I had been coming up on my 10th year of teaching, and decided to leave education. I have always loved clothes, but always struggled to find clothing to depict my personality in my size. You see, I have been plus size my entire life, even at my smallest and healthiest. I was searching for another job and career. My dad, while giving me advice, said, “Why don’t you start the boutique you’ve been talking about for years?” That was all I needed to start the process of starting my own business. Read more>>

Lauren Jones | Principal Designer & Artist

I have always been a creator so it only came natural to start a business around something that truly gave me joy. Of course it took a little push from a great friend to make it official but I am so grateful that I have been given the opportunity after a layoff to pursue a career that allows me to express myself creatively. Read more>>

Gala B. Hemphill | Portrait & Personal Branding Photographer

In 2013, our beautiful son was diagnosed with cancer at 3 years old. His extensive treatments would often require us to stay at the hospital for a week or more without going home. I stopped working to take care of our two boys, one of which was undergoing cancer treatments every week. My husband, Jamail, was not able to stay with us at the hospital because he had to continue to work and support our family. Unfortunately, we lost our son in 2016 and it really opened our eyes to just how precious, yet fragile life is. It really is true that time waits on no one. At this point, we made the decision to live our lives in a way that allows us to spend more time together as a family, and owning our own business would allow us to do so. Read more>>

Rodney Witherspoon | Entrepreneur

I wanted to start my own business to transition from being an employee to a business owner, and ultimately a full time investor. Read more>>

Erin Milliken | Founder/CEO of Fiercely Built Apparel & Corporate Health Management

When my father was diagnosed with type II Diabetes, I became very passionate about health & wellbeing. As I learned more about the condition, I recognized that type II Diabetes is a preventable chronic condition. I learned that almost 80% of all chronic conditions, and the symptoms, are preventable. With this new understanding, I decided to earn a Masters degree in Public Health with a focus on Health Education and Corporate Health Management. I have now been working in Corporate Health Management for almost 10 years. In addition, I earned my personal training certification to assist others in the community to build an active and fit lifestyle. My love for the field of health management, and my love for being in the gym, lead me to become Fiercely Built. I started my company Fiercely Built Apparel in August of 2018. My thought process for starting this company was to provide all women. Read more>>

Frank Zendejas | Business and Personal High-Performance Coach

I started therapy in 2015 following a breakup seeking help with some emotional barriers and non-serving reoccurring tendencies/habits. My treatment revealed that I suffered from shame trauma stemming from childhood events. My learning, understanding, and healing journey revealed how prevalent non-serving beliefs, thoughts, and unresolved/neglected emotions impacted all aspects of my life. The deeper I understood this in myself, the more I learned and recognized how others are similarly impacted by their non-serving thoughts, beliefs, and neglected unresolved/emotions. This realization led me to the decision that I must do something to help individuals: – Discover the unresolved/neglected emotions as well as non-serving thoughts/beliefs. “You can’t recover what you don’t discover.” Read more>>

HAFSA MUSTAFA | Pharmacist, Recipe Developer

I have always loved cooking. It’s as simple as that. Mixing ingredients that complimented each other to produce a dish that brought a smile to everyone’s face. Just doing that over and over again inspired me to create my Instagram page. I shared my recipes with the world where I showed them how to make delicious food in whatever they had in their pantry. Read more>>

Jonathan and Andrea Haskin | Farmers’ Market Owner

To have access to quality local foods on a weekly basis and increase healthy habits. Read more>>

Ian Buchanan | Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur

10 years ago I was a third year teacher in Jackson, Tennessee. I had 2 degrees and was a 3rd year doctoral student in K-12 educational leadership. I was getting paid $32,000 per year to work full time and I had a revelation that if I was going to only make $32,000 a year and not be in love with the job I had I might as well bet on myself and struggle in something that I love. As well as have the freedom to enjoy life on my own terms versus the 30 min lunch breaks in the school system. Read more>>

Claire Holmes | Founder, Double H Design Co. & Mama Collaborative

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a unique blend of creativity and entrepreneurship. When I was a little, I decorated rocks with painted designs and tried selling them door-to-door in my neighborhood. I’ve developed multiple convincing PowerPoint presentations that ended up persuading my parents to let me adopt a cat and later to purchase me a new Mac laptop. In high school, I started a kids soccer camp with a few friends. And since college, I’ve had a variety of jobs from Manager of a baby gift and interior design shop to Marketing Coordinator for an oil and gas-focused law firm to a corporate strategy consultant. I now know that I am what’s called a “multi-passionate” person, which means I have a lot of interests, skills, and strengths that don’t always fit into the mold of a specific job or role. When you’re interested in and energized by SO much, it can be difficult narrowing down exactly what you want out of life. Read more>>

Abby Fields, KPA-CTP | Dog Trainer

Growing up, I always had an entrepreneurial mind. I started different businesses such as a lemonade stand, baking bread and going door-to-door to in my neighborhood selling it, pet sitting/dog walking businesses and baby sitting. I think my home environment fostered this mentality. When I was around 9, my Dad started his own engineering firm so I had the privilege of watching him build a successful company and the highs and lows of owning your own company. When I started pursuing dog training as a career, it was never a question of if I would start my own business one day, it was just a question of when. Read more>>

Ashland Jamison | Clothing Store

My though process behind my business ventures are how can I make the lives of my peers better as well as highlight and enhance the culture at the same time. Read more>>

Pamela Thompson | Career Coach | Resume Writer

I have over 14 years of professional experience—on both the seeking and hiring sides—in sectors such as sales and marketing, international homeland security, engineering, legal, and oil and gas. Over the years, I’ve combined my learning experiences from Corporate America with my undeniable passion for helping others succeed, which led me to become an expert resume writer and career coach. Also, I had decided to start PCT Consulting Solutions, a company that prides itself on helping professionals and students overcome the evolving challenges of career development and goal setting in a sustained way. PCT Consulting Solutions is all about self-empowerment and truly learning the skills to take charge of your career path. I believe that everyone is coachable. Whether your resume isn’t getting the results you desire, struggling with getting out of your shell during interviews, or if you don’t know where to start your next job search. Read more>>

Lolita Guarin | Stress Management Expert & Author

I didn’t wake up one day and thought to myself – ” I will start a business!” I was working a full-time job; stress impacted my health to the point that I got physically sick. After finding natural ways to manage my anxiety, I was very eager to share my experiences with others. I did a lot of free coaching at first, until one day, I decided to monetize it. Charging for my services was not only a way of earning extra money but one way how to help others to help themselves. Just think, if someone gives you a book as a gift and then you buy another book. Which one will you read it first? I noticed that my paying clients had a better success rate in changing their habits than those who got coaching at no cost. Read more>>

Mayra Chavez | Charcuterie Board & Box Designer

At first, there was much uncertainty with all the business aspects, but what I did know was that I wanted to provide a service for customers that was unique and of course very tasty. I also thought it would be amazing to be part of special moments for them, Weddings, Holidays, Birthdays, etc. Started by making sample boxes and gifting them and received great feedback. A week later I bought 200 boxes and gave myself the goal to sell them all in 6 months, from that moment there was no turning back it was going to take hard work but I knew I was ready. Very happy I started this journey and thankful to be a part of so many life events of my customers, it is great to see the joy when they receive their order. Read more>>

Laura Poshard | Boutique Boss

I started with a simple idea of sharing what I love…fashion, accessories and shoes, lots of shoes! I am full time working mom with two beautiful kiddos, Addy & Ryan, a loving hubby and three, yes…three fur babies! To say the least we are always on the move. As a mom, I wanted to leave a legacy for my kids they could be proud of and one they have been a part of since the beginning. Addy + Ry Boutique profits are reinvested into Addy & Ryan’s futures! Our boutique is truly a family business. We wanted a brand that combined affordable fashion trends with comfort and style to help everyone look and feel their best. Read more>>

Kyra Brown | Small Business Owner

I started Resilient Grace to tell the untold stories of the African-American heroines that we should have learned about in history class. I’ve always had a love for fashion and history but unfortunately, I didn’t learn much black history in school. Everything I knew came from my parents and their desire to make sure I knew the resilience of the people I came from. When the movie Hidden Figures came out, I was inspired to create something to remind people that there were many more black women’s stories who were hidden. I decided to create a clothing line dedicate to telling black herstory as my way of letting women know that these stories matter. My hope and prayer is that these stories inspire the woman who wears then and she is reminded that her own purpose and story are just as valuable and she could be the next woman to change the world. Read more>>

Mary Hafford Dearmon | A Lil Taste of Heaven

My thought process was to continue a legacy that my late mom founded and humbly serve God. I admire the joy that I bring my customers when they take a bite of their teacakes. I remember watching my mom in the kitchen and enjoying herself and now here I am aspiring and doing exactly what she did. Read more>>

Sneha Dama | Founder & Wedding Dance Coach of Sunrise Dance

Starting my own business was an idea I found fascinating while growing up. I always had this feeling that I knew I was going to start one day but just didn’t know when that would be or what it would look like! All I knew was that the special ‘aha’ day will come and things will slowly start to make sense and fall into place. During my years of education, I looked into many career options trying to find the perfect, stable 9-5 job; however, in each of those roles I always saw myself coming back to the one thing that I was passionate about – dance. I have been a dancer in the Houston, TX area for over 20 years and can never imagine a day without it! Throughout life’s highs and lows, dance has been the one constant and what has got me to where I am today. I then thought to myself – if this art can have such a positive impact in my life, there surely must be a way for me to pass it on to others! I decided to take the leap of faith and simply START. Once I adapted that mindset, all the creative juices started flowing and voila, we have Sunrise Dance!. Read more>>