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.

Chemberli LaChaille Greene | Homeschooler & Filmmaker

My thought process behind starting Homeschool with ELA was to give my son opportunities I felt were lacking in the traditional education system, from what I’d seen working as a public school teacher. Before he was old enough to ‘go to school’ we were already beginning our journey of exploring the world around us & learning as we went! It has always been about exposure – to introduce him and other kids in our program to the many people, places and things that make our world so amazing! I want to give kiddos meaningful ways to engage with the world around them – to make discoveries and really connect through experiential learning adventures! My thought process behind starting Entrepreneur Showcase Houston was to share the stories of some amazing people who are daring to follow their dreams. It evolved as I sought encouragement in my own entrepreneurial pursuits as a photographer & filmmaker. I was facing the very common challenge of gaining exposure to get customers. Not sure of the best way to go about it, I set out to tell the stories of other entrepreneurs. Read more>>

Laura Paiz | Cookie Decorator & Sweet Treat Maker

It was really never in my plans to start my own business. I knew that starting a business required a lot of time, money and dedication. And I knew that there were many risks and self doubts that would also come along with it. I always worried if I would get enough business, would my product be good enough, would I succeed, or if this was the right path for me? As there is a lot of competition out there in the baking world. Luckily I had my family, friends and loyal customers who always believed in me. And always encouraged me to keep pushing for more and to take risks because there is something bigger out there for me. Read more>>

Moniqua Sexton | Author

Being an author was something I’ve wanted since I was a child. I was always a reader, but writing was my true escape. I published my first book in 2012, however, it wasn’t until 2019 that I really became serious about doing this full-time. What prompted it was my love and passion for the craft. Nothing else has brought me as much joy as writing and publishing these stories (well, aside from my son, lol). I know I’m an amazing writer and storyteller, so I knew that working towards making this a full time career was a step in the right direction. Read more>>

Dallas Jones | Political Consultant, Lobbyist, & Media Personality

I come from a family of entrepreneuers. Ever since I was born I can remember my grandparents in rural Louisiana getting up daily and going to work for themselves everyday. When I graduated from college I went to work for a number of different legislative bodies, including members of the United States Congress, Texas House of Representatives, and Texas Senate. Working in these arenas gave me great insight into the moving parts of making public policy work and changing communities. Coming from an entrepreneurial spirit I felt there was a need for more people of color to exist in the consultant space. When we think of careers in politics we often think of running for political office. While there is never a shortage of individuals offering themselves for public service there was a clear shortage of African American political consultants and lobbyists. I thought it important to look to change that as these particular careers are an important part of the process. From there almost 15 years ago Elite Change Inc. was born and is alive and well. Read more>>

Brent Magana | Founder of Space City Lights

Freedom. Not punching a clock anymore and just being another number. The American dream. Taking control of my destiny and life. Inspiring and benefitting those around me. Read more>>

Merri Pruitt | Decorative Artist

Probably desperation ….I was living in New Orleans, late 70s early 80s, and couldn’t find an art related job . I made up one for myself.(Decorative painting). Read more>>

Donte & Robin Cherry | Cinematographers & Photographers

Initially, my husband was led/drawn to our business by God. Then, it was confirmed by Ryan Coogler; after watching the Black Panther movie. The journey pretty much started from there. Our thought process behind starting our own business was to do what we love to do while building a brand/legacy that we could call our own in a way that shows who we are and what we represent, We also thought about capturing and telling stories visually through a different lens so to speak…a different perspective. Read more>>

Paul Reid | Artist

I’ve always, even from a very young age, wanted to be an artist of some kind. My earliest ambitions were as a comic book artist or illustrator but that changed after my five years of study at Art College in Dundee, Scotland, where I discovered Fine Art and the History of painting. After graduation, I was lucky enough to be offered exhibitions of my work and so decided to pursue a career in painting. Read more>>

Becca Aurich | Scientist & Cookier

I actually started making cookies as gifts for my daughter’s daycare teachers. I had people telling me that I need to start selling my cookies and it sort of took off from there! I had no previous business experience nor did I have any customer service experience under my belt. I kind of just went with the flow and learned as I went. I am still learning and growing every single day! What’s one thing about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of? Good cookies aren’t cheap and cheap cookies aren’t good. A ton of work goes into each order. Every order I get, I try and collect info from the customer about the event, person, theme, ect and from there I brainstorm, sketch and design every cookie down to the tiny details. I go back and forth with the customer to plan designs, pricing, pick ups. Once the design is nailed down, I make sure I have all of the cookie cutters. If not, I print on my 3D printer or order online. I have to make sure I have all of my supplies on hand before starting to bake. Flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, powdered sugar are staples in my grocery cart when I go grocery shopping. Read more>>

Monette Sheridan | Motherhood and Family Photographer

I wanted to provide the portrait session experience I knew I would want as a mom. My personal experiences hiring a photographer were not what I had hoped for and I knew there had to be a better way. I walk my clients through every step of the process and guide them in all the decisions that have to be made. Read more>>

Kendrick Thomas | School Administrator | Media and Radio Personality | Author

I started in 2003 as a teachers aide working in special education. I graduated in 2008 and I began my career as a special education teacher, district level employee, and my current role as an Assistant Principal since 2016. Throughout these years, I focused building countless relationships with others. As I grew into my role as an administrator, I realized that the wellness of the members of community is essential to the success of the child, the school and the community itself. This is why I began my channel KT TeeV. I want to connect resources to the community which makes homes better which in turn makes schools better. Healthy home/healthy community. Read more>>

James E! Walker | Graphic Artist, Designer, Content Creator, Hip Hop Artist & Producer

Running my own business was a desire I’ve had since my early teenage years. Being from the South, Houston to be exact, I was heavily exposed to a culture of having pride about independence. Witnessing the legacies that entrepreneurs like J. Prince, Master P, Swisha House and The Screwed Up Click, independence and pride of ownership was always celebrated. Before I was old enough to work legally, I worked with my grandfather who had his own carpentry and construction business. Once I got older, I started mowing yards to make extra money for myself. Eventually, my drive evolved and I began creating mixtapes and selling them to my classmates in high school. Being able to make money from my own creative ideas as a teenager gave me the confidence in knowing I could acquire a DBA and start a creative business in anything I was passionate about. Read more>>

Jan-Mitchell Avilés | Founder and Chef of Ensemble HTX

Ensemble HTX began like most great ideas, dreaming amongst friends and family at a dinner table. It was always a dream of mine to open up a coffee shop in Paris that would be open in the mornings and at night would host private dinners. One day, sharing the story with family and friends, I was challenged to start it here in Houston. That was the moment I decided to launch Ensemble HTX. Our focus at Ensemble is getting people connected. People today are in such need of community and our heart as a business is to allow people to find a community while enjoying a carefully curated dinner. Read more>>

Charlie Ewing | Principle Photographer & Creative Director

For me, Charlie Horse Photos had started as a way to help my friend’s business grow. A weekend hobby that started taking over a few weeknights, and eventually after a few downturns and 9-5 job changes eventually my own business. It felt like I had been standing in the doorway for a while, like a dog that can’t decide if inside or outside would be better, but after the universe nudged me outside, via a layoff, I was happier. I had already built a safety net while working, and studied intensely on the business and practical side before making the jump however. This wasn’t a hasty decision but one made with intention. Read more>>

Afreen Ali | Co-Founder of Invi

Both my business partner and I are in the Architecture Profession. In the Architecture field there is a toxic idea that we must work to the extreme to be accomplished. We started our own business because we were putting in all the hard work that comes with the profession but we weren’t satisfied with the work we produced in our respective jobs. Tien and I very creative and have innovative ideas. Our company not only allows the exploration but an outlet for both of us to be satisfied with the hard work we do. We also made sure our team is international. This allows us to learn from diverse thinkers and designers. Read more>>

Angela Fabbri | Contemporary Artist

There are a few notable experiences that all combined lead me to starting my own business. I’ve always been drawn to the arts. The first time I remember feeling the joy of creating was when I was 4, and I was running through my parent’s garden in California with my mom’s polaroid camera. I loved the freedom I felt. That freedom is what kept me creating. I discovered my passion for painting in high school and fell in love with this bubble it put me in. I felt a level of joy that was like none other. I sold my first painting at 16 to my boss at the deli I worked at. He overheard me talking about something I was painting at the time and asked if I could paint a portrait of his son. My first commission, and I was addicted! I couldn’t believe someone wanted to pay me for what I loved to do. Validation. Freedom, passion, and validation were most of what I needed to take the leap. The last piece of the puzzle was fear. Seems odd, I know, but yes, fear. Read more>>

Ryan Robinson | Contemporary Artist

When I was in college in 2017, I began to paint a lot more in my free time, mostly for my mental health and to take my mind off the craze of college. I lived in a sorority house at the time and my friends and other girls in the house would see me working on a piece and be like, “Hey! I want one of those!”. So I’d sell it to them for like $20 (lol). It was really just a chain reaction from there. More and more people started reaching out for custom paintings, so I decided to take a small step forward and create social platforms for “Ryan Robinson Art”. This made it a lot easier for me to spread the word about my work, and I ended up selling about 300 paintings in my first year, which was completely unexpected. A year later, circa 2018, I really started to take myself and my business more seriously with a website, business cards – the whole works. However, even 4 years later, the word “business” is still funny to me, simply because I started painting canvases with no buyers in mind. It’s truly just a plus that people out there love what I create and want my work in their homes. Read more>>

Shay Atkins | Celebrity Chef

My thought process behind starting my own business was to create streams of income that would allow me to work for myself and build my personal brand as opposed to making my company wealthy. I realized I could control my own income and operate my own business and that would create wealth that would help my family for generations to come and corporate America wasn’t going to get me there. Read more>>

Kristina Gonzalez Sander | Founder of in Bold Company

I started in bold company because I started getting curious about how I interact with my cultural identity. I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it or know where to go to talk about. I couldn’t talk to anyone about being the only Asian in my friend group, or how I wished I could speak the language. I just wanted to feel more connected to my heritage! So I thought in bold company could be that place where WoC could embrace all parts of their identities, where they have a safe space to talk about their cultural identity and how they move through the world. Read more>>

Chef Peachez | Kitchen/Menu Consultant & Recipe Developer

Traditional corporate environments began to take a toll on me. I’d thrive for a couple of years then hit a fast decline when I went up for promotions or tried to align myself with better opportunities within the traditional structure. I would be told though I was qualified and perfect for the position, I’d be passed over That became the push I needed to turn my hobby into my passion. Though it’s not easy, it makes difficult days less difficult. It’s invigorating to wake up and do what you love everyday. Read more>>

Mo Shabazz | Brand Manager & Community Engagement

Communicate clearly and frequently. It’s important to be upfront and avoid sending mixed signals. Leading firms will communicate internally and externally often to minimize misinformation and prevent organizational paralysis: Stakeholders need to know what they should do and how the crisis could affect the business. Understand and respond to customers’ new needs. Smart businesses are reaching out to customers and distributors to find out where they’re feeling pain because of the crisis and what will help them. Live with purpose. The best companies will naturally be taking steps to help society and get the economy back on track. For instance, they may be providing services and products (not just monetary donations) to affected people. Read more>>

Gregory Moss | Seed Sower – Purpose Manifester

That was simply, I knew I couldn’t be free answering to and working for someone else’s dream. The feeling of starting my own businesses out weighted the idea of working for some company long term. Read more>>

Madilene Loosier | Certified Piano Technician/Professional Violist/ Community Leader

After pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy and a minor in piano at Sam Houston State University, I worked as a Registered Music Therapist at (TIRR) The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research at the Medical Center in Houston. The commute between Huntsville and Houston grew tiresome and my husband and I wanted to build a life in Huntsville. Over the next several years, we were blessed with 3 boys and I was fortunate to be a stay at home mom while they were little but I knew I needed to contribute to the family income and began praying for guidance as to another career choice that would be flexible while our boys were young. I had hired a piano tuner to tune my piano and did not have a great experience and it peaked my interest to begin researching piano technology. I began playing piano at the age of 8 and viola at the age of 10 and well as singing, and realized one day that even though I played piano and viola all the way through college, I knew how to do things with my viola such as cleaning, replacing strings, tuning and minor repairs but I knew nothing about the piano other than how to play it. Read more>>

Courtney Lindsay | Chef

My thought process behind starting Houston Sauce Co. was driven by my decision adopt a vegan lifestyle. I wanted to bring vegan food to life much how had done in the past with meat dishes. I wanted to hit all my major mark with my 100% vegan menu items which included presentation, smell, texture, and of course flavor. Read more>>