Many books on startups and business talk about how there are right and wrong reasons for starting a business. So, we asked a handful of successful founders about their reasons and the thought-process behind starting their business.

Vanessa Roach | Sports and Portrait Photographer

Man, what a loaded question. I’m not even sure I had a thought process behind it. It kind of just started on it’s own and I ran with it! I originally bought a camera to document my own kids and the seasons in their lives when living out of state. When we moved back to Texas (Houston to be exact), and I didn’t stop documenting. I was that crazy mom at the baseball fields with a massive lens. People started asking me how much I’d charge, and honestly, I didn’t hesitate haha. Read more>>

Alicia Williams | Founder, Educator, & Visionary

As a classroom teacher, I witnessed firsthand the school policies and injustices that are at the bedrock of inequity and systemic racism in education. Every day these policies manifested in higher suspension rates for Black and Brown students, white-washed curriculum, and educators who are ill-equipped to make their classrooms culturally responsive and equitable. I wanted to change that with Teach Woke. Read more>>

Dr. Renee Gentle | Chiropractor | Owner of The Gentle Chiro

My thought process behind starting my own practice was fueled by my passion to help people. Most importantly, my passion to help transform the health of the black communities of Houston. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, I just didn’t know what kind. I stumbled across Chiropractic after sustaining an athletic injury in college and it was such a life changing experience for me. I remember the day I went in for treatment and after leaving I just kept telling myself “Wow this woman really changed my life”. Read more>>

Matt James | Vocalist of Blacktop Mojo

I never wanted a real job. I fell in love with playing music in college and decided that I wanted to give it a shot after I graduated. I had one interview for an office job, and walking out of that place, I knew that life just wasn’t for me. Shortly after that I met our drummer Nathan and we’ve spent every waking moment since trying to turn our dreams into a reality. Read more>>

Amy Kendrick | Founder & Owner

In May 2021, I graduated college with a degree in Media Production, and immediately started working for a big box store. It was really overworked and understaffed, and I wasn’t getting as much enjoyment as I thought I would out of it. It was a job, but it wasn’t a job I wanted to be doing forever. Six months later, I was let go (for reasons I won’t get into here). It forced me to really evaluate what I wanted to do for a career. I jokingly answered “I want to get paid to eat cheese”. That joke got me thinking though. Read more>>

Grace Gyemfi | CEO | Founder of The Arrivista Planner

My parents often refer to me as a busy body. They would always say to me “Grace, you just can’t sit still!” Sitting still was never my strong suit. I’ve been an avid planner user since the age of 10. A planner has been part of my back to school shopping list since the 5th grade. Daily planners have been imperative in keeping me organized from childhood to adulthood. After years of purchasing planners, I realized that there were no planners that were reflective of my vibrant culture or offered me the balance that I needed. Yes, it helped me stay busy but it never helped me sit still and reflect. Read more>>

Paula Anderson-Oliver | Reiki Master and Intuitive Healer

I am a Reiki Master and Intuitive Healer and I got started on this healing and energy work journey when my oldest son was born 6 weeks early. Through the trials we faced with him ( and myself), I was introduced to Reiki and our lives were changed for the better almost instantly. I had been diagnosed with PPD and PPA, that, coupled with his severe allergies, breathing issues, and the array of delays he faced, to say we were struggling is an understatement. Read more>>

LeShawn Walker | Founder, You’re Our Unity and Life Coach, Defining Y.O.U

The thought process I had for You’re Our Unity was how do I serve the greatest amount of people? How can I make a feeling a viable business? and what could I share with others that will inspire them to want to be more loving and compassionate? When God Blessed me with the mission of You’re Our Unity we were in a very dangerous and divisive time in the world, we still are, but at that moment I literally saw hate in the atmosphere, it was thick and suffocating. Read more>>

Ebony Thomas | Founder of The Girl Boss Blueprint & Girls Night Inn

Starting The Girl Boss Blueprint was all about impact. Years ago, when I had my first business, it was hard to get honest feedback and gain access to resources. Everybody wanted to support and motivate, but I just wanted to know what I was missing. I started The Girl Boss Blueprint with the goal of being the person I wish I had for someone else. I took my time studying and testing social media strategies, went back for a second degree, and started building genuine connections with my audience. My thought process was always simple: How can I provide honest feedback, mentor, teach business strategies, and give access to resources that could help another woman start a life-changing business? Read more>>

Judy | Founder and President of Wienerspiel

I graduated from Texas A&M University in 1976, I began my chosen profession then, teaching in the public schools. I had wanted to be a teacher since I was about 5 years old. It is a profession that requires great skills, passion and empathy. Though I taught my students the skills they were required to learn in 5th grade, I learned the most from them. They taught me the imperfections in families, the community we lived in, prejudices they experienced, Read more>>

Camille Jones | Multicultural hair stylist

Honestly, there was no thought process for me. I was tired of working for a corporate/franchise, and randomly decided to go on my own. At first, I shared a business with an old co-worker Ash for a year, then we split up (on good terms), and here we are! “Hair By Millie”, riding the wave, and we’ll see where it takes me. Read more>>

Monica Wright | Owner & Licensed Esthetician

Having a luxury service doesn’t have to break the bank . I wanted to offer Affordable skin care services to everyone. Being a single mother my self I understood that self-care days are needed and sometimes not always accessible if you can’t afford it so I put myself in my consumer shoes and I thought to myself how can I deliver amazing service, results driven, and an affordable price that makes since . Fix Ya Face Studio was born. Read more>>

Alexia Mitchell | Certified Lash Technician

My thought process behind starting my business was simple. I knew I wanted to make a impact to the beauty industry because of the way that I feel after getting dolled up. I have always been the type of woman to keep herself looking presentable and I knew that if I could help other women feel beautiful after receiving a service my heart would be whole. So I started doing my research, and lashes was something that really caught my eye. Read more>>

Bresha Haskins | Licensed Professional Counselor

Mystic Piece Podcast was created during the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Working from home, seemed like an awesome idea once given the opportunity; however, while at home I began to quickly notice a difference in my mental and physical health. Extreme silence, less social interaction, reduced physical activity and limited outdoor activity. However, I am grateful for my support system (my circle of wellness and encouragement). As a result, I often wondered how many others may be experiencing a similar transition and resulting effects; most critically, those who may not have a support system? Read more>>

Shani Davis | Private Chef + Entrepreneur

Naturalle Kitchen came about during one of those middle of the night dreaming sessions. I have always had a passion for cooking and my family members and close friends have always been the ones to experience that, so I thought why not put it out in the open? Why not share this with the world? So I began working and researching names, creating a mission statement, mapping out my plans and during this time the name Naturalle Kitchen came about and the rest is history. Read more>>

TJ Johnson | President /Owner of Third Planet Comics & Houston Hall of Fame Bowler

I got laid off one too many times from oil and gas jobs, and I had been working in the comic industry on the side doing trade shows (long before they were called conventions), so I decided to pursue it full time. There was a documentary on TV about millionaires who were laid off or fired and they said it was the best thing that happened to them because they were able to go work for themselves, and I figured I’d go work for myself too. Read more>>

Somya Gupta | Director of mala market

The thought process behind mala market stemmed from years of observation and realization that we, as consumers, have a very out of sight out of mind mentality. This allows us to consume without any consequences on our conscious. I wanted to create a place where consumer behavior shifted towards a more purposeful and intentional practice. The concept behind mala market started because I believe that we, as a community above all else, can lift up our local makers and participate in a more circular economy by shopping local and handmade. By supporting local makers, mala market hopes to shift the conversation from over consumption to mindful consumption. We can’t keep living in this out of sight out of mind state. Read more>>

Yolanda Stokes | Financial Concierge

My thought process behind starting my business was to help people by showing them how to budget and become more financially stable. I wanted to show others how to budget and improve their financial statuses one step at a time. I felt it was important to assist with teaching people how to find the budget method that worked the best for them. During that process, I was able to assist people in their entrepreneurial endeavors by registering their businesses, preparing monthly accounting records and assisting with financial literacy for businesses and personal needs. Read more>>

Jourdan Jade | Cannabis Entrepreneur & Music Artist

Prior to starting my own companies, I was a corporate “slave” for over a decade. I was on a hamster wheel working over 60hrs/week, primarily in high-pressure sales. In addition, in the SF Bay Area where I live, the traffic was increasing significantly every year. I found myself eventually commuting 2 hours to work each way, working more than 8 hours, getting home frazzled and stressed and having limited time to actually enjoy my life & contribute to my personal relationships. Read more>>