Are you thinking about starting a business? If so, we think you’ll enjoy reading about how these seasoned entrepreneurs thought about the question when they were in your shoes.

Shayla Carlisle | Makeup Artist and Lash Dealer

Working for other people and getting ordered around didn’t sit well with me. I always would quit a job without a care in a world, that’s when I knew I had to be my own boss and start a business in something I liked and passionate about and makeup and lashes was that niche!. Read more>>

Justice Cierra | Business Mentor & Beauty Enthusiast

I’ve always been for women my entire life. Female empowerment and women supporting women is not new to me. I’ve always loved uplifting and empowering women which in turn is the reason behind both my brands. In regards to starting my own makeup and cosmetic line (NuBeauty Cosmetics). I’ve always been into makeup since a little girl. Around the age of 9 or 10, I would play in my mom’s and my sisters makeup all the time. I enjoyed how I felt when I did my makeup even at a young age. It made me feel powerful and fearless. In college is when I really got into makeup and began to try different makeup looks and really experiment. I remember me and my bestfriend would go into mac and sephora all the time and realize all of the makeup looked the same. In terms of shades and creativity, there wasn’t much difference. Everything was pretty much “the norm” when it came to makeup back then. Read more>>

Laura Dalton | Founder of Non Profit Organization, A Light Hearted Life

During the pandemic, I had a lot of time to reflect on my life and the things going on in my community and in the world. I started to wonder how I could make a positive impact on things. I noticed that there were a lot of negative discussions on social media platforms, the news was reporting about sickness and death and there was a lot of strife going on in our country. I knew that despite all the bad things happening in the world, there was one thing that was always good, and that’s our God. I decided to start sharing on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube the lessons that I had learned in life and sharing how God is the source of all hope, all grace and all love in the world. Through featuring the positive stories of myself and others on social media, I realized I could make an even greater difference by taking action. I decided I wanted to host donation drives for causes that I care about. Read more>>

Gaylan Hester | Mobile Cigar Lounge Owner & Hand Roller

I have been a creative person my whole life, my mind is always working. I always wanted to do something that made people happy, excited, energetic, emotional, because that is me all the time. While smoking a cigar and speaking to my wife (Tierra) about leaving a legacy behind for our kids, the business idea hit me. We decided to start our own cigar company. Where we can just be in our own lane, give something to the world that is ours and us. I think you have to put these things together in harmony + passion + business= success. Thinking outside the box, we decided to bring our love for cigars to the people by operating out of an 1976 Airstream, creating our own blend, and hand rolling all cigars. Read more>>

Calvin Pennick JR | Professional Headshot, Portrait and Beauty Photographer

For as long as I can remember, or at least since my early twenties, I wanted to make a living doing something I loved. I can remember vividly the first time after high school that I had to work a 8 hour shift at a job I actually hated. I was horrified. It just wasn’t for me and I knew at that moment that I was going to have to find another way. I have had many fits and start on my journey to finally finding some moderate success with the business I am in now. Read more>>

Elizabeth Humble | Jewellery Designer

I had just created my first collection when I graduated from Art School in 2010. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else other than keep going at that stage, so I just put one foot in front of the other and jumped in at the deep end. I had no idea how to run a business, so it was sink or swim. I was so passionate about making jewellery that I didn’t even see it as running a business. Now that I’m further down the line I realise I’ve learned a lot more about business from just being in it and problem solving along the way, but I now try to plan ahead too. That initial naivety made the first few years a totally rollercoaster, but it also made me really push myself which was invaluable. Read more>>

Olivia Collins | Creative Nail Artist

I started painting my own nails in middle school to stop myself from biting them, and once I started getting bored with solid colors I started experimenting with art, and people started to notice. Soon enough they started asking for me to do it for them, and I started getting used to performing this process that had always been “mine” with someone else. By the time I was in university I was taking acrylic appointments in between classes – I loved the aspect of setting up a space for an appointment and building relationships with my clients! Some people treat getting their nails done as a therapy session, or a time for gossip, or just a time to relax and rest. I found that I was good at reading what people wanted, both as a service worker and as an artist. It just came very naturally to me. I was excited to take appointments in my hometown in the summer, but the pandemic shot those plans right in the heart, and I had no idea what I was going to do. Read more>>

Luinella De Freitas | Small Business Owner

After a few years of living stateside, and with our son now a tween, I started thinking of ways to invest my time and entrepreneurial skills. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of providing a service or merchandise and focusing of the customer satisfaction. Some old friends from back home had a spray tanning franchise that I thought could be a perfect match for my time availability and skills. Read more>>

Akilee Kelly-Esek | Owner and Cook of Akilee Cooks Catering

I really wanted to start my own business so that I could satisfy my desire to feed people good food. My late father always made the kitchen a place of love and deliciousness and I wanted to continue that through my food and hopefully allow others to feel the love as well. Read more>>

Felicia Shantell | CEO & Poet

My thought process behind starting my own business was I was tired of giving all of my talent to accompany that didn’t deserve it, that didn’t understand my creative sense, and how I should be doing this for myself. Read more>>

Larry Walker | Photographer/Videograper

Showing the world the vision that I’ve seen in myself for years!. Read more>>

Marin Slanina | Owner/Operator, Hostess w/ the Mostest – Star Sailor

I have always wanted to open my own business. My own space to create & provide an experience to a guest that is clearly out of this world. My entire career has been in food, beverage, hospitality, and Craft Beer. There is a whole new way that we as a community now share an experience, post a global pandemic. Everyone has a changed thought process of how a social experience should go. And it is up to me to make these new normals a reality for any style of guest experience. Read more>>

Danielle Wadih and My Co-Founder, Eleni Markantonis

Eleni and I are second-generation Americans, with parents born outside of the United States in Greece, Lebanon, and Panama. Our cultures are very similar, and we’ve thankfully grown up deeply in touch with our heritage. Over the years, we’ve spent a number of summers “back home” visiting family abroad – summers on the Mediterranean with loved ones were formative times for us. We’ve also always been entrepreneurial spirits, so starting Meli seemed like a great way to celebrate and honor our cultures, sharing them with our own modern twist on some favorite traditions. Read more>>

Alauna Curry | Dr. Alauna, Trauma Psychiatrist

As I encountered challenges to my health that forced me to retire from clinical medicine, I began to recognize a significant gap that my background in translational medicine and education could fill. It started with recognizing that psychological trauma is a hidden pandemic in our global society! Most people think of trauma as something that requires overt violence, such as war, or physical impact, such as a car wreck, yet the majority of psychological trauma occurs with no physical contact. Psychological trauma causes invisible wounds that we rarely acknowledge. The good news is that even with extensive, chronic, generational damage occurring, our brains are powerful enough to begin to recognize the predictable programming of our protective primitive systems. Read more>>

H. Daniel Murphy | Owner of Murph’s Remedy Emporium, Essential Oil Blender, Product Formulator, Sales Manager, Sales Consultant, Webmaster, Maker of Messes and Sweeper of Floors.

my Father was eventually and finally a small business owner as was my Grandfather. they both had many other types of work before settling on small business owner, independents or renegades? i consider myself both but mostly the latter. it seems i have been somewhat of an independent contractor kind of guy. i have been a professional musician, cooked pizzas in my teenage years and traded them for jack in the box food from across the street. we both got tired of eating our own food. i worked with my Father for 11 years and became quite proficient in personal computers although self taught. eventually i became an independent computer mercenary for a while. small business, home computers, fixing old ones, designing and selling new ones. so i know business, procedures, computers, i can make my own business cards, flyers, brochures, product labels, websites. Read more>>

Knittingbuddha Studio | Knittingbuddha Studio is an Art Studio Focused on Knitting, Spinning, and Weaving, But Also Aspects of Visual Art Such as Design, Drawing and Painting.

Starting our own business allowed us a creative outlet without constrictions, which is very appealing. But, we also needed a proactive approach to the possibility of losing our regular jobs. We knew the company we worked for would soon be sold, which was compounded by the fact that we are veteran workers. Age discrimination is a very real and daunting reality for many older workers. We needed to create a niche for ourselves. If no one else would hire us, the we would hire us. Read more>>

Monserrat Gomez | Artist

My high school art teacher at that time asked all of her art students to create a Weebly account to blog, showcase your art work, etc. Originally this website started as a school assignment, but as time goes on, I started to add more artwork. I created and improved in my art during my senior year of high school. Once I felt confident enough I started to enter in art contests and participated in an art auction. By the way, I sold an oil pastel artwork in that action back 2012. Even though I didn’t major in art during my college years, but I continue to work on the skill. It’s really after college I started to sell more of my art pieces. Its more around 2019 in my current job my coworkers saw my talent and requested me to paint something for them. That’s when my online business started to pick up. I started to add more of my artwork. That’s how my business was founded. Once a hobby became a source of income. Read more>>

Chris Williams | Clothing Designer & Entrepreneur

In high school & college I was into shoes heavy so I always wanted something cool to wear with them. One day the idea came to mind to just create my own brand to wear. I ran a few clothing names by some ppl and “Undefined Society” stood out. Now I have a name. Then I came across this site called “Custom Ink” and I designed my first two shirts and hand them printed and shipped to me. A few ppl liked and ordered the shirts. That lasted for a year in a half. I was always thinking about having nice things and wanting a better life and boom that’s when I can up with the new name “Lavish Mindz Apparel.” Read more>>

Andreia Andrade | Designer and Owner of Rosa Camará

Since early age I was had the desire of having my own business, but life is not perfect and many times we have to find solutions that will give us the stability and financial support we need to keep moving especially when we don’t come from a wealthy family. When I felt financially stable I decided to give myself the opportunity to start my own business, I always knew that will be in the fashion industry because fashion is my passion from early age, but I also needed to understand the industry and market I was considering to work, and my outlet for that was reading books from fashion entrepreneurs. to learn more the do and don’t ‘s of starting a business in fashion, have a clear idea about the risks, and then see what was possible for me to execute with the time I had and mostly with the money I had available. Read more>>

Zachary Nunn | Founder and CEO of Living Corporate

My motivation wasn’t to make a dollar, but to make an impact. I’m a first generation corporate professional and I’m a second generation reader. My grandfather was a sharecropper in Mississippi. He worked a factory job at John Deere and had to pass some factory tests that required reading, so my dad taught him to read. My dad is in the first generation in his family that learned to read. So when you think about my background, I don’t have this deep, organic network of people who can help me navigate being one of the ‘only’s’ in a majority white space. Which is why in the career journey I just articulated, I had a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, a lot of racialized trauma. The truth of the matter is I’ve been called a ‘gorilla,’ ‘monkey,’ and worse while on the job. My education, experience, and ability to think critically has been questioned (and still is). Read more>>

Aditi Koranne | Fiber Artist and Teacher

When my daughter was born I wanted to create something that is going to be cherished forever. I noticed a demand of handmade items that are one of a kind for our precious little ones. I started posting pictures of my work on different social platforms and slowly my followers started to grow. Also, I started going to vendor markets and beginning to receive orders This is where my business started reallysocute. Read more>>

Lillian Walcott | Portrait Photographer

I started off as a momtographer, a mom who takes excessive photos of her kids. After friends and family members contacted me numerous times asking if I am photographer, I decided to invest into becoming a professional photographer (part-time) by completing photography workshops and classes. Read more>>

Jasmine Franklin | Balloon Artist

Growing up I always felt that God has something special and unique for me to do on this earth, I’ve always felt that niche as you can say that there was something more for me. In my mind I figured I was going to touch people’s lives from working in the healthcare industry, but never in a million years did I predict I would have my own business. In 2019 I said I’m going to take a leap of faith and try something different. I was comfortable being a mother, working in the healthcare industry and the niche just never went away, if anything it kept growing stronger. So now I’m like “OK God I’m ready”. This feeling has only progressed and I know this has to be from you if this is growing stronger after all these years. Scared to death of failure, I had to push myself and decided to venture out into a whole new phase. I actually had the idea of starting a fashion jewelry line, and lets just say that didn’t go so well! So off to the idea to create a kids clothing line. Read more>>

Courtney Campbell | Vegan Food Blogger

I realized that health in the Black community is something that is taken lightly at times. I dealt with my own health issues and once I realized that I can take my own health into my hands by changing what I put in my body, I decided that I wanted to share my vegan journey with others by leaving reviews for vegan restaurants and creating other content around the vegan lifestyle; showing my community that being vegan doesn’t have to be “boring” and there are plenty of benefits!. Read more>>

Tijerina | Painting Company Owner

After spending years working as a project manager, I knew it was time to go out on my own. Working in residential construction I saw a lot of dishonesty and lack of communication firsthand. I wanted to create a company where honesty, communication, and the customer is valued. This lead me to start Maven Painting in July of 2020. Read more>>

Desirae Torres | Digital Artist & Moxie and Magic Boss Babe

There wasn’t really a thought process for starting Moxie and Magic. I’ve always created things for myself and my family, and eventually, I knew that one day it would lead to selling to a broader audience and that’s when I started Moxie and Magic!. It’s been a fun journey to send happy mail across the U.S. and it’s something I’m very proud and passionate about. Read more>>

Dr. James Stancil | Founder and Chief Program Officer, Intellect U Well, Inc.

I’ve been involved with community action since I was 16 years old. Reading has been a big part of my life as long as I can remember, going back to when my father would take me to the bookstore and let me choose a book I wanted, through reading comic books heavily in middle and high school, all the way up to the work I do today in reading advocacy, media literacy, and digital citizenship. Looking at my community and how so many people have an aversion to reading, and embrace all kinds of fake news and conspiracy theories, I felt it important to use my skills, talents, and networking ability to do what I can to help. I got my family and a few good friends involved, because we all share the same interests in those areas, and also because we all have some very specific talents to bring to the table. This work also provides us another way to stay together as an extended family, and share some good work together as well. Read more>>

Jalika C. Morgan | Sincerely, Jalika Cherie

When I first thought about starting my business, I was a blogger and a crafter trying to make an impact on others. I found that through my many creative talents, I was able to make others happy. So, I figured, why not make my art available for people to receive and share with others. My goal was and is to make a big impact on people’s mind, body, and soul and use the tools and talents that were given to me to help someone else. If I can touch the heart of just one person and help them make a change then I’m happy. Read more>>

Jazzmin Hosea | Interior Designer

I have always wanted to become an entrepreneur. The trick was finding something I loved without pay. If you can do something you love without monetary value, work is not work it’s a lifestyle you just add value. Interior decor is in my blood line, I have an eye for it with my eyes closed. Due to Covid I wanted to make sure I had income from a passion that can create revenue for years to come. Read more>>

Taylor Norton | Founder

I have grown up with a love for fashion and always intrigued by the idea of owning my own boutique. After spending many years in the retail industry, I knew this was the right path. Boutiques are known for having unique fashion, but that typically comes at a price. My hope in starting my boutique was to provide fun and unique fashion, but at a price that every woman can afford. My heart is in Texas, so through my boutique, not only am I chasing my dreams, but I have also used this as opportunity to shine a light on other small businesses in Texas. Read more>>

Luz Pericchi | Luzmakitchen’s Owner

I have always been in love with the kitchen and how it allows me to express my creativity. Perhaps what I cherish most is creating dishes to share as gifts with friends and loved ones. I enjoy the process of anticipating what the recipient may like the most, that it leads me to create food that not only tastes good and looks amazing but is also beautifully wrapped. My goal is to focus on creating a joyful moment for consumers that will live on with them even after they eat whatever they selected from my menu. Therefore, the whole idea and sense of purpose of Luzmakitchen started as a company that provides an edible gift that everyone can enjoy. Read more>>

Melissa Knight | Batik Artist & Community-Based Public Artist

I began my journey working as a full-time artist in 2010. My son was 10 months old and I wanted to stay home with him while he was a young child. I had always made art and discovered batik art in my early twenties and over the years, had continued to work and play with this medium in my spare time. I loved the wax-resist dye process, always marveling at the layers of colors that emerged during the process. After almost 30 years working with batik, I am still enthralled! My husband Ethan Azarian, also an artist, encouraged me to pursue a career as an artist while staying home with our son Francis. I had a lot of trepidation going into full-time art. I had saved enough money to help me through the first year and I was pretty sure I would be returning to a more stable, “regular’ job after that first year. Read more>>

Asra Khan | Makeup and Hair Artist.

It was the response i was getting to the side gig i was doing. I was already working full time ina successful position. But there was something that gave me immense pleasure doing hair and makeup. Read more>>

Andrew Robinson | Designer

My thought process had a lot to do with creating a brand that allows me to express myself in a unique way. Designing cloths give me the platform to express all my creative ideas and innovate them simultaneously. Also being optimistic, this could be something I could pass down to my kids in the future if they embark the same drive and passion I have for art. Read more>>