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.

Ashley Hamm | Counselor in Private Practice

I spent several years working in various mental health settings, and I found myself wanting a little more freedom over the type of work that I do. I was excited to be able to narrow my niche and focus on cultivating my professional identity outside of what a workplace needed from me. Plus I love having control over my schedule and how I work – I can really create a life that’s enjoyable and sustainable to me, while building a practice that makes sense and prioritizes the needs of my clients and myself. Read more>>

Gabrielle Evans | Sexuality Educator & Researcher

Well I guess I should start off by saying that I actually have two business – The Minority Sex Report and gabriellesemora. I co-founded The Minority Sex Report in 2017 because my co-founder and I saw a need to provide comprehensive sexuality education to Black and Native communities. Growing up in rural towns in North Carolina we did not receive comprehensive sexuality education from people who looked like us nor people who were properly trained. So, the goal of The Minority Sex Report is to ensure that adolescents receive education from people who are trained in reproductive justice and use sex positive approaches. Read more>>

Ben Bahorich | Engineer & Owner of Owl House Properties

It all started when I got “kicked off” campus before my Junior Year at Rice. I graduated from Rice University with my degree in mechanical engineering in 2010, I’m also an alumnus of Will Rice College – WILL RICE WILL SWEEP! During my time at Rice, I garnered this passion to develop and manage the best homes and apartments within walking distance of Rice. Read more>>

Maiya Guidry | Creator/Owner – Revival Candle Company

When I first began churning out ideas for Revival, it was the beginning of the pandemic, I had just moved back to Houston from NYC and I had this newly acquired free time on my hands. I had taken a candle making class a few years back and had never really put away the idea of starting a candle business. So, I started to purchase supplies and dove deep into the YouTube candle making community to refresh my memory on the process. Read more>>

Chiqui Sanchez Kennedy | Non-profit Immigration Lawyer

In 2020, I set out with my two coworkers, Liz and Vanessa, to create GHIRP, a non-profit legal services organization focused exclusively on immigration cases. We believe that all immigrants should have access to safety and autonomy, which is achieved when they have accessible, expert representation in our complex immigrant justice system. My goal is to increase free, high-quality services in Houston, and start the first organization on Galveston Island representing immigrants. As most Galvestonians will tell you, the bridge (causeway) acts as a big barrier to services on the mainland. Read more>>

Alyssa Terrazas | Personal Trainer

In 2014, I was struggling with an identity crisis and a massive lack of self-esteem. I found myself needing to find purpose that resonated with me and made me feel more comfortable in my skin, so I signed up for a membership at Planet Fitness and that’s where it all began. Weightlifting and exercise changed my life and saved me from rock bottom. As I progressed, I had family and friends referring to me for advice to help them reach their goals and needing structure to start exercising. Over the next few years, I realized how much passion I had for learning about exercise and nutrition and how much I loved helping and guiding other women beginning their journey. Read more>>

Bianca Marin | entrepreneur

The idea of starting my own business stemmed from the situation in which I found myself at the time. I was working as an elementary school teacher at the time. Then I fell ill and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I continued to work for as long as I could but my mobility was limited and the pain unbearable. This lead me to have to leave my job and with the treatment I started I was unable to commit to any employer. Read more>>

Ebony Brown | Inner Peace Enthusiast | Serial Entreprenuer

I have always wanted to find a way that I can connect self-love and healing with women and beauty. Inner Gleaux Beauty was birthed from the observations I made on my own personal healing journey. I realized in a lot of the key moments within my journey I was alone, unequipped and often times felt over-whelmed. I thought to myself that if I can create great, handmade skincare products that actually work as well as provide highly pigmented makeup products and utensils for the busy women like myself I can bridge that gap with self-care and beauty altogether. Read more>>

Melinda Dawson | Rejuvenate Bath & Body

I started as a nail technician and my goal was always to focus on the skin and nail health of my clients. It was essential for me to eliminate the use of synthetic products promoted in the industry and replace them with products that moisturize and alleviate skin-related issues. After doing research, I found the best ingredients that carried long-term benefits. Then with the feedback I received from my clients, my products went from solely being used during services to expanding to the public. Read more>>

Mina Starks | Owner of Stir And Mixxes

The thought process behind starting our business was that we wanted to provide a joyful, comforting experience to individuals who were suffering through the grieving process. I lost my Mom to cancer some years back and struggled through grief. As I walked through that journey, I always felt empathy for others who were going through the same thing. I wanted people to know they were not alone. We started creating grief boxes for hurting hurts all over the world. Read more>>

Arron Juice” Vilano | Tracking & Mix Engineer “

Be honest, their were lots of mixed thoughts about it. Fortunately i had a lot of support from friends and family without them i wouldn’t have done it .
I take it day by day and not rush the process. Starting a business in this economy isn’t the best time but i focus on my craft and find different ways to bring bring in new artist everyday. With the help of my team we come up with new ideas for marketing. Read more>>

Frances Sanchez | Pastry chef & cookie artist

Fnfsweets4u was started the first day i really fell in love with baking. However it did take almost a full year for me to give up my position as working for one of the most well known pastry chef’s in Houston. It was a great job with plenty of potential but i would never be able to become my own boss so i ventured out took a leap of faith and started posting ads online . Read more>>

Kimberly Breitenstein | Owner & Cookie decorator

My thought process behind starting Turtle Leaf was honestly a lot longer than I feel most people think. Prior to starting I had spent about a year or two seriously considering starting/launching it. Prior to that, I had thought on and off about it but hadn’t thought I could seriously do it. In the year before starting, I began reaching out to friends and family and asked if anyone would be interested in custom cookies/desserts. The response was overwhelmingly positive and so I began extensively looking into costs, permits, and just general knowledge. Read more>>

Jessica Garcia-Abello | Craft Artist

I have always loved crafts and everything handmade. As a little girl I used to cut my clothes to sew clothes for my barbies and I would also make their furniture with Popsicle sticks. Once I had my first daughter, my interest in crafts only grew stronger as I wanted to make everything for her. I learned how to hand-knit her headbands, booties, and all sorts of things. Read more>>

Sam Peña | Leadership and Relationship Coach

I love this question. Starting a business can be hard or easy. It all depends on one’s mind-set. If I would have started my own practice 5 years ago I would have been filled with expectations for my business. Today I can say that progress is way more important than results. My thought process for starting my practice was to be able to do more of what I love to do. It seems simple and it was. I began to start my practice as a Leadership and Relationship coach part-time while I worked my full time job. I think everyone should start their own business part-time. It’s less pressure don’t you think? Read more>>

Kendriel A’sion Starks | Serial Entreprenuer & Brand Coach

I’ve always knew working wasn’t for me because I would work for a day or two and quit.. some time for a check just to buy “extra” and quit.. I felt like with a job I was limiting myself to what I knew I was capable of.. don’t get me wrong a job can take you places but YOUR business will take you places a job NEVER COULD! I knew at this point I had to be my own boss. Read more>>

Imani Akia | Make Up Artist

My thought process behind starting my own business has always been inspired my mother who started hers. I wanted to work for myself and create a business that can always elevate and specializes in creativity. A MUA is your biggest supporter and heavily depended on to make women feel beautiful in their skin. If I can offer peace of mind for women in all backgrounds to feel naturally beautiful – then I’ve felt like an asset to them and motivated to continue. Read more>>

Amanda Holmes | Co-Founder & Owner of PrayerBox4u

Our thought process behind starting PrayerBox4U was really to impact the lives of others. We believe Jesus was the intersection between Heaven and Earth. At PrayerBox4U, we want to mimic that intersection by taking tangible everyday items and pair that with planting the seed of Faith. PrayerBox4U was actually created for those who do not know Jesus- the next time you are giving a gift to someone, why not make it something that has a meaning AND the potential to change the trajectory of someone’s life? Read more>>

Jamye Clark | Relationship Expert and Enthusiast

I’m a playwright in Houston. I’ve sold out every show I’ve ever done and as I was approaching my 21st sold out show, COVID19 shut down the entire city/world. I was devastated. As I witnessed death after death (co-workers, family, friends) I suffered a deep depression along with many others around me. I asked myself, “Jamye, how do you get the city back attached to hope and laughter?” Because I was always the “go-to” person for relationship advice, I created “Dear Jamye”. “Dear Jamye” was a platform to express, vent, bond, and simply laugh through one of the hardest times life had offered most individuals. Read more>>

Shanell Goring | Art Event Curator / Bronx Enthusiast

People are raised to believe you must devote your life to a career in order to be successful. But why not devote yourself to yourself. This is the model I live by. My happiness lies within my art. Therefore I started both Canvas Culture LLC and Bronx Poetry. I wanted to create a business where I can share artistic experiences with the Bronx community and abroad. Starting mainly in The Bronx where a large percentage of the population is marginalized . Read more>>

Ayesha Hakki | Events Producer & Magazine Publisher

I first started my business as a magazine publisher. My partners and I launched the first (and longest running) bridal and fashion magazine for South Asian-Americans in 2000, At the time, there was no other publication of its kind and the South Asian-American wedding industry was in its infancy. We thought that if we were looking for this information, that others would be too. Hence, Bibi Magazine was born out of our need to find our own identity while also providing much needed information to a community that was just beginning to recognize itself. Read more>>

Dan Meaux | Restaurant Co-owner with my wife Jen

I am from Louisiana and a proud Cajun. I also love boiled crawfish & seafood. I moved to Houston to transfer to UH Hilton College of Restaurant Mgmt. It was a great decision for me. I also worked at Pappas Seafood all through college. So, I received a great education and excellent management experience. I thought I would move back to Lafayette and open a seafood restaurant but I met my wife Jen, also in rest management at UH. Read more>>

Lina Paola Parra | Air conditioning and Heating Company

I decided to start Ava’s Air Conditioning and Heating Llc last year after being in the industry more than 15 years. I had worked for many companies in and out of Houston and I saw how much of a demand it was. I decided I wanted to open my own company and bring a different perspective, customer service and representation of how a women runs in this industry. As you know men dominate Havc but I wanted that challenge and I’m up for it. Read more>>

Tina Young-Holman | Editor-n-Chief of Black 2 Black Magazine, TNJ Hous3 Enterprise, Black 2 Black Consulting

My thought process behind starting my business was to provide for my son and work for myself doing what I love. First finding out what I value and can do that add something to the world in a loving way. I thought what better way than a gift that can be giving out of love for anniversary, birthday, etc. Then I realize that not what I love that can do that I love to do daily. In 2006 I started a group to help small business network and support each other business. Read more>>

BeeJay Sisco | Clothing Line Owner

My thought process began my freshman year of college , I did not start until the end of my sophomore year . I just always felt like I had a cool way of dressing , so why not try to have my own clothing line ? I have always wanted to be my own boss ; working for somebody is just not my cup of tea . I love clothes & I love to dress weather it’s a suit , jogging pants , or shorts . I just love fashion .Read more>>