Starting and growing a business is hard, but often deciding to start the business in the first place is even harder. We asked some successful entrepreneurs from around the community to open up to us about how they thought about starting a business.

Dulce and Gretchen | Co-Owners of The Hive

Starting The Hive was a way for us to connect with other local small businesses, which was especially challenging during the pandemic, and try to reinvigorate the traditional brick and mortar shopping experience. By bringing together the unique and diverse products in such a warm environment, we sought to create that special feeling not just for our customers, but also our showroom partners. We feel like we are accomplishing this in The Hive. It’s truly something magical. Read more>>

Marshall Tidrick | Freelance Photographer

I was a music major for my first year of undergrad at UT until I realized that I absolutely did not want to do that professionally. It was far too solitary a life for me, but I had no clue where to go from there! I had always had an interest in photography, but I had never really practiced it other than carrying a little point & shoot around in highschool. I ended up taking a class, falling in love with it, working for the college newspaper, and then interning at KUTX in Austin. Ultimately, I ended up majoring in journalism (and french, for some reason) and quickly found that it was a difficult field in which to find a job where I’d feel happy and fulfilled. I ended up moving home with my parents for a year while I worked at the Apple store to save up some money, a situation that I’m very thankful for and lucky to have. After I’d had enough of that job for the rest of my life, I worked at a friend’s start-up but that didn’t really feel right either. The defining moment came when I was spinning my wheels in January 2017 and wound up getting a few various photo gigs from friends. I remember realizing “Hey! that’s enough for rent! I wonder if I can do that again!” and I’ve been saying that every month for four years now. Read more>>

John Rais | Designer, Artist, Blacksmith

Starting a business was the only way I could see as a way to keep making art. I knew that if I made it my business, my way of providing a living that i would more likely succeed. After Graduate school I knew i didn’t want to teach full time immediately. Running my studio as a business practice gave me a sense of routine, rigor, and drive. Read more>>

Brian Arthur | Venue Owner

I took over my father’s Sports bar in Spring TX in 1999 and ran it for 3 years before turning it over to my sister. I also opened a small coffeeshop in the Houston Heights area in 2001 before opening Super Happy Fun Land in 2003. There was live music at the sportsbar and coffeeshop, but it was mostly singer songwriter type stuff. Which is fine but I was interested in hosting more diverse artistic endeavors. I wanted to open a place that would be open to eclectic types of performances that were not commercial, and not just musical performance but also plays, puppet shows, art shows, poetry, independent film, dance, and all kinds of creative expression. Read more>>

Maggie Noel | CEO

When I originally started MPressive Faces, it was just something I wanted to do for fun. I always had a passion and interest in beauty and cosmetics, but because my background was golf, I figured my whole life would be centered around it never thought I would completely change careers like I did. I figured I could take a few clients here and there, perhaps even just carter to close friends and family. Well, their close friends and family told their close friends and family and it just snowballed into what it is today. So when I am asked how I chose to get into Microblading and Permanent Makeup, I often laugh and say “We’ll, I really think it chose me.” Read more>>

Lauren Rubin | Illustrator and Graphic Designer

I really built up slowly into starting out on my own. For several years, I would spend all my time after work building my own side business. Jumping on any freelance opportunities I could find to build a client base – as well as entering lots of art shows and trying to promote myself as an artist and create a portfolio closer to what I really wanted to be making. And when I was finally comfortable, I made the leap to full-time freelance as well as launching Not Cool Co simultaneously. I wanted to start my own business in addition to my freelance work because it is truly what I enjoy making the most. I wanted to create an outlet where I could make all the kinds of things I would normally buy myself. Read more>>

Allison Hunter | Visual Artist

I decided to devote myself full-time to my studio practice as a fine artist in 2020. For the past 8 years, I had been in an academic position but, while that was really interesting, it wasn’t my dream. I had done it for the stability. I realized that ironically, the stability was holding me back, keeping me from spending the time I wanted on what really mattered to me. This past year put a lot of things in perspective. That’s why they say it was a year of 20/20 vision. Read more>>

Lizzette Rebollar | Cake & Dessert Designer

I’ve always liked to bake cakes for my kid’s birthdays when they were little and would sometimes make other cakes & desserts for different family and friends. The more desserts and cakes I created, the more I fell in love with the craft. As I continued to make more intricate desserts I decided to start a social media account to showcase some of my work and have a collection of them. With a little time people in my local area found me on social media and began to request some of my desserts. One order after another and that was it! I was soon ready to help design desserts for different events and celebrations. The most important detail behind starting my own business is the freedom to be able to work from home as I continue to raise my raise kids. Read more>>

Madison Thomas | Entrepreneur Singer Beauty Contestant

From Hair Growth, lashes, fragrance, to soaps, overall I wanted to create a dream website with quality products and fast shipping. Selling things that I use everyday seemed to be a challenge until I realized the needs of others. Everyone runs out of key accessories tine after time. So I created as a an essential accessory online store with order tracking & safe purchases. Read more>>

Callie Springs | Wedding Stylist & Etsy Creator

My sister and I started MoCo Weddings just last year. We’re in basically all of the wedding Facebook groups and we started to wonder, what if there was a website that covered all of these aspects in one easy, searchable place? So we started MoCo as a place to give wedding advice to the brides and grooms of Montgomery County and to share our vintage wedding decor rental services. Read more>>

Beny Fam |  Founder of BF Custom Designs

Before I started this business,I have always enjoying making stickers and decals as a hobby. I’m an outdoor person who loves fishing and riding a motorcycle. Therefore, I always make custom stickers for my kayak and motorcycle. As an admin for a fishing group, I found out through there that I could always support my fellow fisherman with custom designs items such as logo, stickers, decals, T-shirts, hats, tumblers and much more. Never in my life have I thought that I would run my own custom business designs as before my entire life career has only been in hospitality. I guess that’s a story on how my business started. Read more>>

Kelsey Clifton | Sci-fi/Fantasy Author

Essentially, I was tired of waiting for permission. I had been querying agents on and off for six years, and I came really close to signing with a particular agent before they ultimately turned me down. Conversations with friends both in and out of the industry convinced me that self-publishing was worth a look and I’ve never looked back! Even though it comes with its own challenges and setbacks, I really enjoy the creative freedom it allows me. Read more>>

Uwade Alade | Business Owner

We really just wanted to work for ourselves as well as doing something that was more full-filling. Read more>>

Crystal Ngumezi | CEO, Entrepreneur, Influencer

I started my own business as a response to a word God put in my spirit. My background is in Corporate America, and I have a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I came from a very academic and professionally-driven household, so business operations kind of runs in my blood, however, I didn’t actually want to start a business. I was comfortable working my 9-5 job until I hit a ceiling and realized that it wasn’t really something I wanted to do long-term. So starting a business for me was a part of my purpose, and ultimate my destiny to become a Full-Time Entrepreneur with multiple 4-5 Figure brands on social media. God has used my gifts and talents in business administration, social media management, photography, copywriting, storytelling and social media marketing to not only create my own lane in the business world, but to also teach and uplift other women to do the same. As a result of my experiences, I now teach women how to create 4-5 Figure brands on social media through my business Brand Your Biz Academy ( Read more>>

Haley E. R. Cooper | Co-Artistic Director

Immersive theatre is a brand-new genre of arts entertainment that has the potential to thrill audiences like nothing else. Imagine theatre turned into a 360-degree living game that YOU get to star in. You take action, make choices, build relationships, and live in that world for an evening. That’s what Strange Bird Immersive is dedicated to delivering to Houston. My spouse and co-artistic director J. Cameron Cooper and I have long been members of the Houston theatre community, but were disheartened by how uninterested our peers were in our productions. When we attended “Sleep No More” in New York City, we saw first-hand how immersive theatre can ignite audiences. Theatre that causes your adrenaline to spike? Theatre that makes you feel like a hero? We wanted to be a part of that! When we also played our very first escape room, we saw enormous potential for bringing the tools of theatre to this popular new genre of live game. Read more>>

Jeruanna Alvarado | Graphic Designer & Freelancer

My thought process behind starting my own business was to be successful! Of course, you can’t start off successful without hard work. I started with a business plan. I made sure I researched and gathered information to narrow down what target market I wanted, what product I knew people wanted/needed and sourced materials and vendors that also kept startup cost within budget. Read more>>

Zac Seewald | Photographer

My thought process when it comes to starting and maintaining Zac Seewald Photography is simple. I ask myself this question, “What do I want to spend most of my time doing?”. My answer has never once been “I would like to play it safe and work for somebody else doing something I don’t care about.” I am a creator, that is what my soul longs for. It is my purpose for being. It’s something I know without a shadow of a doubt. When I get up in the morning its the first thing I think about. I often have trouble going to sleep at night for thinking of all the things I can try tomorrow. I’m not a big fan of showing my work because it gets in the way of creating more, so even that has to become a creative process. The only thing I enjoy more is collaborating with others and creating things more amazing than anything I could have conceived on my own. That is the driving purpose behind ZSP. Read more>>

Alexandria Hollowell | Owner of LE Meals™ & LE Meals™ Prep

LE Meals is “a Gullah-Geechee scratch kitchen with a whole lot of NOLA’” inspired by the rich cultural heritage of Chef Alexandria. She decided to take an entrepreneurial leap of faith after being laid off during the peak of her career, as a direct result of Covid19. Her intent with LE Meals was to have something fun to do on the side. Ironically, the day she was laid off is the day all of her supplies arrived at her doorstep. Without looking back, Alexandria received the news she was jobless and that same day she set up a table curbside of her home on Red River St selling her desserts. Within her first hour, she completely SOLD OUT. Every day following, she was outside in the rain, heat or cold selling endlessly, 7 days a week. She created a local notoriety and is now known as the “Red River st food gem.” Selling out at least two to three times in a week. Chef Alexandria realized she had a golden product and went into business full-time for herself. She has been cooking her family’s authentic dishes since childhood, for siblings and loved ones. Throughout the years she has fine-tuned and sharpened her skills to create the now, local phenom, LE Meals. Read more>>

Amanda Weil | Soul Stylist & Confidence Catalyst

Something in my soul knew that I was meant for more… meant to help women in a deeper way. I’ve always loved clothing and accessories and creating outfits, and it wasn’t until I fully realized the correlation between style, confidence and self growth that I had a full body yes to create a business. Style is so much deeper than the clothes. Style is an opportunity to express your inner essence in the physical world. Style is an opportunity to elevate into the best version of yourself…the woman you are becoming. Style becomes the physical vision board for the life you are creating. As I realized this deeper connection has been missing in the fashion world, it became clear to me that my role as a Soul Stylist is to merge fashion, spirituality and self growth. It became clear that fashion and style is my tool to awaken women. To open their eyes to what’s truly possible for their life. To excite them to move forward with their true desires in life. To let them know that fashion and style is accessible to ALL women. And from that point forward I started taking one step at a time to create a business. Read more>>

Nicolai Mitchell | Photographer and Filmmaker

When I started this business, my initial thought was, wouldn’t it be cool to get paid to do what I love. I believe that if we do what we love for a living there is an excitement that comes when new opportunities arise. I do what I enjoyed, the business side just kind of made sense once the request for pricing starting pouring in. Right now it is continued growth and learning as I expand. Read more>>

Diane Gelman | Diane Gelman Studio | Artist Specializing in Artwork About Food, People and Nature

Having my own studio is a winning combination. I have a place to make art, to keep all of my supplies, and a great space to showcase and sell my work. Read more>>

Dr. Myeshi Briley | Designer Of High End Shoes

I created my new shoe line to start the year of 2021 with the mindset to walk in your purpose while you are walking to create your wealth & destiny. The Limited Edition shoe was designed for the purpose driven person in the universe. It’s a platform pump, very stylish, for women who love to be noticed in this world. This stiletto features a round toe, with a striped detail up front, rocking genuine Italian leather, and a 12 cm (4.8 inches) heel. You should always want to be the stiletto in the room that can stand out in a crowd. It’s remembering everyday your feet get you their. Read more>>