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.

Dana Tufo | Small business owner & mom

Shortly after having my first child, I started taking her to indoor playgrounds. But I couldn’t find a space that catered to infants or toddlers. All the playgrounds in Houston either didn’t have an area for the littles or it was small and not regulated (e.g., big kids would play in the smaller kids’ section). After my daughter got trampled at one place, I decided I needed to do something about this void in our area. I wanted a clean, safe, and soft space for the littles to be able to play and learn, somewhere open where a mom could sit and take a break, or nurse another child, and still be able to watch her children play wherever they were in the play space. We needed a playground for just infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Read more>>

Dariann Morton-High | Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist

It’s actually crazy because I grew up as a tomboy I didn’t even wear makeup to my senior prom! I was working a dead end job and fell in love with a YouTuber who was doing hair and makeup on someone and I ran to my Bestfriends house, as soon as she opened the door I said I am going to learn how to do this as a job. Read more>>

Vanesa Olvera | Business Owner & Digital Content Producer

I think I have always had the leadership mentality in me and it was just a matter of time for me to finally take the leap of faith and actually open a business. I have always wanted to be a business owner and I have thousands of business ideas in mind but honestly it was a scary process. Nobody in my family that I am close to or surrounded by owns a business so I had nobody to lean on for help. I had absolutely no idea how to even get started. Getting let go of my job in radio during covid really gave me time to be able to sit down and think of my future, that’s kind of where the idea grew even more. Read more>>

Krishna Shorty | Owner of Kosmic Tea

While working in corporate I was faced with many challenges, that continued to show me that no matter where I go or how much money was made, I was not happy. It would start off great, however after few month the feeling would come back. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to be a business owner, I started a couple businesses while in college and after college, those did not go as planned and I just knew I had a bigger purpose. At only 28 years old, being told you will be taking medicine to control your thyroid for the rest of your life, just did not sit well. Read more>>

Eddie Middleton | CEO/Professional Skateboarder

Before I started my brand I was about 4 years deep at Pizza Hut making minimum wage. I was used to being there and tired of it. I was with a few homies at a local skatepark in ATX during Spring Break thinking about where I was at the moment and how I hated my job because it wasn’t my ideal place to be at at that age. I felt like I was missing something. I wanted to be around my skateboard community which is whom I’ve been surrounded by my whole life, being 15 years into skateboarding. I got on the phone with my job and told them I wasn’t coming back. Read more>>

Daniel Camario | Furniture Salesman

I’ve worked in the furniture industry since 2008 over the years I seen too many good people get taken advantage of especially during hurricane Harvey people needed furniture to replace their furniture that got flooded and we were told by the owner of the company I was with at the time to add 4% more to the sale because he knew a lot of people would need furniture that was pretty much the last straw I was laid off a month after that’s when I decided to open my own online furniture company to provide customers with great quality furniture at an affordable price I knew everything from sales, inventory, pricing, assembling the furniture and delivering it so my thoughts were just do it for myself Read more>>

Tiffany May | First Grade Teacher

As a teacher, you really don’t make a lot of money. It started off as letting me make a few extra dollars to support my classroom needs. Then as my business grew it started supporting my needs in the classroom and personally. Read more>>

Ashley Lenee | Cosmetologist & owner of Goddess Herbals

I started Goddess Herbals after getting sick and changing my lifestyle back in 2014. I began eating very clean alkaline vegan, traveling and studying herbal medicine. coming from a background of herbalist it was very natural for me. Shortly after that I didn’t want to put things on my skin and hair that were toxic and I naturally started making herbal mixtures for both my hair and body.Then taking them into work and using these items on my clients hair. Read more>>

Dayane Vail | Jeweler Maker

My lovely job started out as a hobby since I was really unhappy with the jobs I was working. I quit those jobs at the moment I felt like this hobby could turn into my dream job. Everything happened very fast after one of my TikTok’s went viral last year, and I sold out all of my inventory in less than 24 hours. It was a breaking point for my business since everything leading to that point was so slow and discouraging that I was even considering going back to a job I hated.
It went from taking baby steps to full-on running a small business in a matter of weeks it was a crazy time. This whole wonderful support of so many unknown people lead me to great opportunities. Read more>>

Alicia Brooks | Cosmetologist : owner of Her Royal Hair Salon

My thought process behind starting my own business if I can be transparent was three different emotions. I was scared, fearful, but also determined. I was determined that no matter what happened I would give it my best, even when I felt like giving up I would put my best foot forward! A wise man once told me “If you fail to plan, plan to fail” ~Lawrence Brooks~ Being your own boss takes self discipline as well as thoughtful planning! We are our biggest obstacles and once we face ourselves and face the fear of failing ourselves, that’s when we unlock the keys to success! I’m only trying to out do myself each and every day, I’m my biggest competition not anyone else. Read more>>

Briquel Robinson | serial entrepreneur

The thought process behind starting this brand was simple. I’m a single mom of 4 beautiful children and I started to notice with myself was that no matter what my children activities were, I made sure that I was able to make it and support them in anyway that I could. I made sure that they were getting my full attention. I made sure that they understood when mommy couldn’t make it, and that I would make it up to them. Even with being tired and drained from working and other duties, as well as dealing with my own personal issue and mental health, I always showed up for my children. Read more>>

Bill Woods | Owner of Triple Crown Bingo

My thought process in the business of bingo since day one is to change the perspective of the fun cash paying game of bingo that is fun for the whole family. The team and I of Triple Crown Bingo accomplish this by creating the Ultimate Bingo Experience for our customers to be amazed by.. We accomplish Ultimate Bingo Experience with great detail of attention to service for our customers. Read more>>

Ruchi Sharma | Success Coach, Influencer and Serial Entrepreneur

To inspire people to live life to the fullest and not give in to mediocrity. Our everyday struggles are not meant to define us or to trap us, rather they are a way to the direction of your heart. Listen to your heart and let it lead the way. You may just find out you are limitless. Read more>>

Natalie Ramchandani | Owner & Head Baker of Batch! Please Bakery

I have my degree in the medical field and absolutely loved what I was doing. After working in that field for almost nine years, I made the switch to be a stay-at-home mother to our two children. That was a more challenging transition than I originally expected because I felt as though I had lost a piece of what defined my identity. A few months of staying home and caring for our newborn son full time, the importance and gratification in my new role became clearer. Fast forward five years and he is now in school full time while our daughter is participating in athletics. So, I began to ask myself, what should I do now? Read more>>

G.R.I.T.S. and the City | Girls Raised in the South: A Southern bred and East Coast fed duo

When G.R.I.T.S. and the City Podcast was originally conceived, our thought process was two fold. The brainchild of creator and cohost, Andrea Hill aka Drea G, —the goal was to bring a group of dynamic southern belles together and tap into an under served market of transplants living and thriving in New York City. As we’ve both lived in NYC for the past 10 plus years, we understand the type of “grit” it takes to survive in the city and chart our own course. As such, we felt compelled to create a platform where we could share with listeners our unique perspectives, and coming of age stories as southern women who spent the whole of our adulthood in the big apple. Read more>>

Tia Green | Small Business Owner

I needed to get a product on the market that introduces plant-based foods to minority communities in Houston. Many minorities shy away from healthy food because healthy food items usually do not have the richness of flavors traditionally loved in our communities’ foods. Healthwise, this avoidance of healthy foods is such a profound hindrance to our minority communities. This misconception is what birthed Crown’s Plant-Based Ice Cream. I thought, what better way to introduce tasty plant-based food items to our minority communities than to recreate everyone’s childhood favorite, Ice Cream! I made it a part of my mission not to remove richness in flavor in our ice cream but still find a way that incorporates both nutrition and those beloved flavors. Read more>>

Richard Loew | CEO

Soon after the beginning of the pandemic, I was examining my future and debating what a change in my professional trajectory would look like. I have a background of more than 30 years experience in management of large complex problems that have an underlying tech component and a previous colleague approached me about setting up a U.S. entity to support the company he started in Europe. The vision was to support the development of a larger commercial distribution footprint. Read more>>

Ondrey & Mia Lawson | Co-Founders of Phrostbite Italian Ice

We’ve always been kind of “serial entrepreneurs” in the sense that we have had several business ideas in the past that we’ve either paused or let go because of time restrictions and other life moments. This particular idea came along during a simple trip to an outlet mall when my wife purchased herself a cup of Italian Ice from a booth and I tasted some for the first time ever. I was blown away by the flavor and consistency, which she tried to tell me about up front, but I was reluctant on initially. I asked her rhetorically, “Why haven’t I ever had or heard of this dessert before?!?” The fact that Italian Ice is not a popular concept down South like it is in the Eastern parts of the US, and that it is always hot/humid in Houston, seemed like the perfect making for a great business opportunity! Read more>>

Christina Terry | CEO/Founder

Texas Artisan Markets was designed to achieve the following for the maker, artist and creative community through our thoughtfully curated artisan markets: develop, empower, enable and sustain. When I left the corporate world, I started a small business called The Crunchy Cactus | Elderberry + Tea which turned into a very successful business for the last 4 years. During 2020 when people were losing their jobs and taking up their hobbies to help supplement income, I was trying to come up with a solution to help these folks make a success out of their “side hustle” and make it a real small company. Read more>>

FaLishia C. Walker | Business Owner, Tax Office & New Business Consultant

I have never been an Employee. I started selling my library books out of my window for $0.25 when I was in 4th grade. I want to build a legacy, while helping other people and having the freedom to enjoy my way. Read more>>

Vachelle Mason | CEO Blu’byNeneVachelle

My thought process behind starting my own business was my work ethics. Long story short i was an employee at Old Navy over 20 plus years, I have worked almost every position at Old Navy starting at the age 17. My last position was Assistant Merchandising Manager, when i say i was so proud of having this position is was everything to me. I will work over 12 hour shifts to make sure all my departments stayed up to par. After parting ways with the company , i realize all the hard work and drive i put into working Old Navy i can use to push my own brand out there. All the work ethics i have gracefully learned over the years have push me and i know its not even to my full potential yet. Read more>>

Angela Oltmanns | Online Retailer & Author

I want to contribute something good to society. As I looked around and asked myself what I can offer as products in the marketplace, I kept returning to what I am drawn to as a way of living. As long as I can remember, I have pretty much tried to create simple joys in my daily living. It is a way of life for me – living in simple daily joy helps me become a better human being. It’s stood the test of time for me (I’m counting decades here!) and I love being part of that movement that seeks to appreciate simple joys in the daily. In other words, my online shop, Simple Daily Joy ( is not just a shop offering journals, mugs, canvas prints or stickers. It’s more than that. It’s a message and a lifestyle I am advocating. Read more>>

Ruby Roman | Event planner/ Balloon Artist

I knew I wanted a better life when it came to proving for my family. After realizing I was not happy working in corporate America. long hours, mistreatment, people looking down on me, I felt like a failure. after several failures throughout my teen years, I knew I wanted both my kids to be proud of their mom. I was tired of being depressed and I knew there were more people feeling the same way I did too. That’s when I realized that if I can touch people’s hearts with beautiful balloons, decorations, and gift arrangements. Read more>>

Diamond Hadley | Owner/Interior Designer

I believe that I was at a point in my life where I felt hindered by my career. I was torn between the time devoted there and the passion that I had for Interior Design. I knew that if I were to pour into my passion the same way I poured into someone else’s business, I would eventually benefit from it. Read more>>

Laina Hardges | Owner & Designer of Tycoon Denim

I believe in going for it! Who wants to look back on life wondering “what if?” I live a carefree life I made a promise to myself after leaving my hometown Detroit, Michigan and going to college out of state to always go for what I want in life. If it doesn’t work out fine but I’ll never look back wondering what if I took that leap of faith. I believe in going for whatever your heart desires and thats exactly what I did with my brand Tycoon Denim. Growing up while in middle school and high school before leggings became a wave of fashion every girl wanted to wear apple bottoms and true religion. Read more>>

Shane Bradford | Sancus Productions Owners, Writer, Director

It all just developed from wanting to create a movie. The movie was a blast to create and I decided I wanted to make a go at producing other movies, videos, etc. Once the filming was over, I got with my partners and we agreed we wanted to continue on and created Sancus Productions. Read more>>