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.

Crystal Lister | Dynamic STEM Educator, Content Creator & Community Collaborator

Mommy and Me: The Listers was birthed when my best friend pointed out how ahead of the curve our 1.5 year old, Krissy was. Krissy reached most of the 3-year-old milestones before she was 2 years old. Milestones such as alphabet recognition, letter sounds, and numbers up to 20 in both English and Spanish to name a few. Read more>>

Nina Granados | Intimate story teller

My thought process when starting my business originally was how can I provide income and be a stay at home mom. I always had a passion for photography starting around 12 years old and into high school so it was a no brainer, this career was for me. Read more>>

Socorro Villasana | Women’s Fitness Trainer

When the pandemic hit and all the public gyms were closing due to rules and regulations, I would invite a few friends and family over twice a day to workout together. Myself and other families then struggled with family members loosing their jobs etc. That’s when I started going LIVE on social media so others could workout for free and stay active from home. Read more>>

Contreece Bullard | Realtor

I would say my thought process at the time was entrepreneurship. I have always wanted my own business; I grew up in a large family. There were nine of us. I watched my father work for someone his entire life. When I was young, growing up in the country in Altheimer, Arkansas I did not see a lot of Black entrepreneurs. Read more>>

Mariah Smith Imani Cooper | Mariah Smith, Founder and Coach, Imani Cooper Co-Founder and Coach

Imani and I both competed in pageants that were in the same production company back in 2020. We eventually connected and saw the need to help girls like her and myself. We noticed an influx of women who looked like us that were competing in pageants at the time, and we wanted to put our resources together to refine their overall pageant skills. Read more>>

Franklin Rodríguez | Franklin Rodriguez / Digital Entrepreneur

The economic limitations where the life cycle coupled with the same routine events and the recurring trade system with a shortage of important results. I have always had a very strong internal energy and focused on improving my quality of life to ensure the welfare of my mother and my future offspring and marital contraction. Read more>>

Samuella Bangura | Event Designer & Planner

The reason why I started my own business is because in a way, having a “business mindset” is all I ever knew growing up. My parents owned groceries stores, my mother owned a fashion boutique in my country and they also have several real estate properties. They instilled in me that the key to financial freedom is having multiple streams of income and entrepreneurship. Read more>>

Jose Castillo | Farmers Insurance Agent

One of the many reasons why I started my own venture as an entrepreneur is to be able to leave a legacy for my children while doing something I love, and that is helping people. Read more>>

Meela Belle | CEO & Entertainer

I started my own business to create wealth outside of a “day job” for myself and my family . I wanted to create something that could later multiply and expand into multiple businesses. Read more>>

Amanda Martin | Realtor & Owner

I guess you could say fairness & freedom…..Initially when I broke out on my own it all happened so quickly, I’d love to say I had an extensive business plan, but I didn’t, I just knew that in order to build a strong business platform to bring my vision into full fruition meant I had to do something that scared the hell out of me. Read more>>

Deandria Stewart | Owner of Shop Prissy Girl

I’ve always been super creative and hungry for freedom. I knew as a teenager that I would use my gifts and I didn’t want to limit myself to a specific salary.. Read more>>


HTX Papi | Entrepreneur, YouTuber & Sing Rapper

I went straight to college full time from high school, so I had no work experience once I graduated and it seemed like no one would hire me without it. My degree was in business management which I received from Texas Southern University, but it never seemed to be enough for employers. I’ve always had my own avenues of making money since middle school so I was comfortable with entrepreneurship. I just needed to find my passion and what could produce a good amount of income for me. Read more>>

Mo Dawodu | Photographer

I started with making videos that were compilations of different animations with my voiceovers over them. After a while I wanted to create real videos so I purchased my first camera. This led me into doing videography and photography. I started doing photography more often and realized how exciting it could be. I began brainstorming names for what my photography/videography business could be called and finally created Mo Media. Read more>>

Katie Charrier | Founder of Jia Loungewear

I never really thought I’d be an entrepreneur until the day that I needed and wanted a particular kind of product that I couldn’t find on the marketplace. When I moved in with my fiancé, who has three kids, my home life changed in just about every way. Read more>>

Nickie and Amy Haine, LCSW-S, Acosta, PhD | Therapist/Owners WHCP

Nickie and I came together as, neighbors, fellow mental health professionals, and as moms with children the same age. We had much in common and we soon learned we had the same dream: to build a diversified wellness group practice that would not only serve the needs of individual clients, but also become a place of comfort, healing, and growth in our community. We are both eager to learn and grow, as the mental health needs of ourselves, our culture, our world are always changing and evolving. Read more>>

Jaiden Reid | Digital Content Producer

Revenge Visuals came to life in 2020 during a global pandemic that ended the world as we knew it. I was a senior at Florida State University with plans to accept a full-time role in digital marketing after graduation. When the lockdown first began I was excited for what I thought would just be an extra couple of days for spring break vacation. Read more>>

Cassie Haire | Home Organizer, Wife, and Mom

The home organization category is rapidly expanding. While I had the privilege of working as a designer with The Container Store, and working with another home organization company, I knew it was time to branch out on my own. Someones home is such a sacred space, and we want every person to love their home. Blending someones personal style, with organization, and finishing it off with high end customer service is our service model. We want every person to feel special, and taken care of… regardless of their budget. Read more>>

Antoine “ Light “ Wiley | Creative Director | Producer | Photographer

Freedom , Being able to independently stand on my own two. I wanted something that I could be able to enjoy, have control, and be somewhat of an inspiration to others in a long lasting way. Being able to permanently leave a positive impression on someone and the fact that photography is most of the time is a timeless thing, it’ll be something they’ll never forget. I’ve always been great at customer service, so I thought why I not do it on my own. Amazing customer service is a pillar for great long lasting businesses , I had that so I knew I could do it on my own. Read more>>