Starting a business can be terrifying. Weighing the pros and cons, the risks, and other considerations can be so overwhelming that often promising entrepreneurs stop before they even start. We asked some phenomenal entrepreneurs about their thought process behind starting their own businesses. Our hope is that by making the thought-process less intimidating we can help more folks think through whether they should take an entrepreneurial leap.

Audrey Smith | Model & Real Estate Agent

I remember having an epiphany when I was about 16 years old that made me realize if I’m ever working as an employee under a company, no matter how hard I work, whatever I’m making or producing will always trickle up to the head of the company. Sometimes, this could be a person I’ll never even meet. Think about it: working at a place like Target, every dime you produce, the CEO of Target is getting a share of. How many employees of Target have met the CEO? Does the CEO even know their names? It made me say to myself, I will never work hours on end just to see a portion of what I worked for. Ever since, I’ve envisioned being an entrepreneur and working for myself. Read more>>

Nana Kobe Adjapong | Engineer, Artist & Digital Architect

I have always loved photography but I never thought to make a business out of it. I always took pictures, i actually bought a good Nikon camera just to take professional photos as a hobby when i am free from my 9/5 job. It was only when I got laid off was when I decided to make a business out of it , but in the begging I was doing it for free and posting till I started getting requests. Read more>>

Makayla Allen | CEO & Founder

The start of my business journey kind of came out of the blue. I graduated college in 2014 with a biology degree with the initial intent to go to medical school, but I changed my mind and was in this period of figuring out what was next while I worked random jobs. My dad, who is an entrepreneur and has his own successful business, approached me in 2015 to get my advice on these two different projects he was debating on doing. One was building a pet hotel or a short form video contest platform that he had been thinking about for a while. I gravitated toward the video contest website and he hired me as an intern to start helping him put the business plan together. What started as an idea turned into me being a Co-Founder of my first company, World’s Greatest Videos. A couple years later I became the CEO and Founder of my current company, Elevate. Read more>>

Sara Black | Broker Associate

I decided to start my own business, because I wanted something to show for all of my hard work and dedication. I spent many years working hard at different jobs and didn’t feel appreciated or even rewarded for these characteristics. Which is why I decided to start my own business as a real estate agent in 2007. It was not always easy but definitely rewarding. Read more>>

Adrienne Brown | Owner/Designer Rustic Lime Designs

I’ve always been a DIYer. I wanted to change up my home and when I went to big box stores to purchase wall hangings and saw the quality, I knew I could do better. I also didn’t want what everyone else had. I wanted items that were custom and represented my style and my home. I went back to my roots as a child remembering my dad doing woodwork and just took it from there. I soon started making items to give away as gifts and was quickly in demand and Rustic Lime Designs was born. Read more>>

Shohreh Davoodi | Self-Trust Coach

Back when I was an attorney, every day I dreaded going into the office. I wasn’t passionate about the work I was doing, and it felt like I had to perform a more “professional” and palatable version of myself for my colleagues and clients, rather than show up as the person I know myself to be. My thought process behind starting my business was that I wanted the freedom to show up as my whole, real self at my job, and I wanted to do creative work that made a tangible difference in people’s lives. While I knew that running a business wouldn’t be easy, I yearned for the power it would give me over my daily life and career. Read more>>

Jeanette Hill | Designer

I have always been my own boss, I wanted to be different with my approach to fashion. It gives me more freedom to create my own styles at my own pase, and use all of my creative talents. My businesses are more of a passion v’s work. I enjoy connecting with customers on a level no one else offer with, just by listening. I started “JAI” on What’s next  for me. Pushing myself to do more, to see if i could do it own my own. So, i start my own clothing line. I actually shocked myself. Coming from a background with no education in Fashion design, only running on Gracy & Mercy, and the will to push my self further. I used my own finances to start my line with no financial help. Which was best for me to keep challenging myself through all the ups & downs. I wouldn’t give up because my money was riding on it. Read more>>

Jesse Porter | T-Shirt Designer

My thought process for starting my own business was to establish a foundation to where I could not be placed in a position to ever be taken for granted by a corporation. After working for various companies and being laid off for economic and non work related reasons, I decided I would try the entrepreneur route. This would allow me to see if I had what it takes to actually go all in and believe in my own self worth. Read more>>