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.

Roderick Stillwell | Graphic Designer

I found myself to be good at something that every business needs, with that said there was no way I was going to not capitalize. So I took the leap to create a brand so that I could make money doing what I love. Read more>>

Glenn Harrell, MBA, M.Ed., BCBA | CEO/Behavior Analyst

What was my thought process? Well, I’ve spent the last decade working in Applied Behavior Analysis, providing direct therapy to people with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities. Over the years, I’ve had the immense pleasure of providing clinical services in just about every setting (i.e., hospitals, schools, residential & outpatient treatment facilities, in-home, community, virtual, etc.) and have provided behavior analytic services to Fortune 500 companies, Politicians, Universities (i.e., USC) and more! Throughout my career, I made it my mission to provide the highest quality of care to families and stakeholders alike and dedicated myself to becoming an emblem of hope for those who followed me. Read more>>

Rachael Jacques | Content Creator & Stylist

My thought process behind starting my business was to focus on doing what I love EVEN when things aren’t going how I expect them to. Even when you’re doing a career that you love there’s still obstacles that you come in contact with while on that journey; so in the process of starting ANY business it’s always best to focus on why you started it in the first place. Having that type of thought process has always kept me grounded. Read more>>

Sousan Abdul-Razzak | Artist

Like many others, my small business bloomed from a lot of extra time at home. I have a love for traveling and I began creating watercolor paintings of some of the cities I had visited. I loved the end product so much, I decided to open my little art business and share what I created with others! What I didn’t realize is all the things that go into running an art business. There were lots of big decisions to make once I decided that I would print my own art prints. I had to figure out what printer I should get, what paper I should use, how I was going to edit my paintings to be printed, etc. Read more>>

Jared Robinson | Lifestyle & Event Photographer

My original though behind starting my business was not for it to become a business, I just wanted to take cool pictures and join a community of creatives in my hometown. I wanted to try something different that I had not done before, nor have my friends or family have done. Once I started, I quickly realized that this is something I could make a career out of. If I consistently study, practice, and learn, I could become great at this skill. Rapidly growing into my craft, the hobby quickly turned into a business. Read more>>

Thomas Girard | Scholar and Author

Great question! After I gave my TEDx talk I found people were listening, and I didn’t know what to say to them. At the time I was delivering a talk/workshop at conferences, universities, and meet-ups… That’s when I began to understand my focus on people. The audience started out being mostly designers, as I had always communicated with designers. In fact that’s all I knew. Read more>>

Stephanie Bassett | Owner/Choreographer of Destiny Dance Production

My thought process in starting my own business is that I knew that I love dance and I wanted to share it with as many people as possible. Being an island girl from the Caribbean island of Haiti, I wanted to share my culture through movement. Growing up in church, I wanted to share God’s love through dance. Every aspect of my life can trace back to dance and I wanted to share that. That was the birthplace of Destiny Dance Production, my simple love for dance. Read more>>

Dianna King | Engineer and Food Maker

My name is Dianna King and I am the co-founder of Eat UNrestricted. I am an electrical engineer by trade. However, I have always been an entrepreneur and foodie. I remember founding the first physics class at my community college during my time as a high school and college student simultaneously through the dual enrollment program offered by my local college. My parents were also leaders and showcased it daily as entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry. Read more>>

Moe & Emari Mansaray | Founders

Honestly, starting a business was not the initial thought process. Being West African, Sierra Leonean, and growing up in America in the early 2000’s wasn’t easy. Our African culture wasn’t as accepted and glamorized as it is today. Due to the lack of African cultural appreciation, many young Africans disowned their African culture and blended in with their American environment. We’ve always been advocates for the preservation of our African cultures, so in 2013, while in college, we started an Instagram community. Read more>>

Firdaws | Founder & Visionarian

I started SOBA Hibiscus (formally known as Fresh Hibiscus Tea) to connect my drinkers to our shared West African roots and to create a space of belonging. In doing so, we empower our community to live a refreshing and balanced life. At SOBA Hibiscus, beverages are expressions of beautiful cultures and places. We are putting our people at the center of the story by sharing our rich histories, values, and products. It’s time for the voices of the unheard to be heard. Read more>>

Araceli Avionn | Leadership Professional, Author, Speaker, & Coach

In 2009 I graduated from the University of Houston and began my career in Operational Leadership. Being a young African American female in a predominantly male industry I found myself struggling at times to “blend” in or fit the mold of what I thought leadership should be. During that time, I desired to have a mentor or a documented guide on how to navigate through the highs and lows of leadership. Unfortunately, there was none, and it was my responsibility to learn from my experiences and determine the best course of action and solutions as adversity arose. Read more>>

Ben Gillilan | Retired soldier and business owner

After spending 20 years and retiring from the Army I knew that I didn’t want to work for another company that had control over my life. I didn’t want anymore soldiers to worry about and I wanted to be around for my family. Read more>>

Valentine Ndubuike | Creative & Social Media Coordinator

My thought process was always having the mindset to work for myself in a creative aspect. I love fashion and art so why not start a business with both ventures I am passionate about. Read more>>

Reneicia Bowen-Palmer | chandler

At the time I was dealing with anxiety & postpartum depression. As I started making candles it became my therapy and I knew there had to be others who get this way too. I really wanted to create a safe product that can actually make a difference in the way my customers are feeling. Read more>>

Jaethebaddieboss | The Virtual Entrepreneur Coach

We live in a world that is forever changing. No matter what you do, It can be done virtually too. I began to realize that the skills and education that I gained throughout my journey could be used outside of a physical building. I wanted to create a business that I could be proud of and that aligned with my natural creative and strategic vibes. So, I thought, why not start a Virtual Assistant business. I have a Master’s in HR Management and tons of administrative experience that could be used to help CEOs, Founders, and Influencers streamline their services, so I just went for It. Read more>>

Rashad Skinner, LCSW-S | Mental Health Therapist, Subject Matter Expert, and Non-Profit Executive Director

My inclination to start my own business stemmed from my first job out in high school and my first career job after college. My first job in high school was commission based which trained me to believe I would be rewarded based on amount of effort I put into my work. In commission sales, I never got a paycheck if I decided to not put forth any effort. With this mindset, I found it VERY difficult to work a salaried job after college. While on my first career job, I noticed many co-workers who put forth little effort and received the same compensation as those who went above and beyond. It was baffling to me. Read more>>

Jayyy P | Owner

Sooo many reasons, I realized I wanted to control the source of my income, not have the source of my income control me. It’s 2022 and most 9-5’s still do not value the employees that fuel their companies. The ability to dedicate and dictate the time and effort to build up things that are important to me, like my family and friends. I am hell bent on not living to survive nor surviving to live, I would like to just live and enjoy. Most importantly though to pour into others, I have learned that there’s sooo much love, kindness and respect missing from the lives of those who look like me, and I would like to have a hand in informing or reminding them that you deserve that! And if nobody in your life does that for you, I will. Read more>>

Erica Sanders | Entrepreneur & PreLaw Student

Growing up I never thought that I would start my own business cause I had never saw anyone do it. I always knew I wanted to work in an office, professional setting but I never exactly knew what. I started my business when I was 18 years old. I started off selling hair and lashes. The thought of starting my own business came with the growth of social media. I would get on Instagram and see so many boss women like Miss Bling and Milano and I just knew I wanted to live that lifestyle. I wanted the freedom but I also wanted to be a creative director and let all of my ideas flow and share them with the world. Read more>>

Kelly Barnhart | Founder | Vibrant

When my daughter was born, I became filled with the desire to contribute to my community, something I felt would make it a better place to nourish her. Read more>>

Ryan-Alexander Thomas | Umanity Inc. President / CEO

I didn’t want to be a computer scientist, philanthropist, or business owner growing up; I wanted to teach music. I went to college to study music theory and jazz and eventually achieved my goal as a middle school band director. Within months, I wanted to teach more students beyond my job description so I started offering lessons for free. One thing led to another and I found myself trying to figure out how to make a music education iPhone application before realizing I knew nothing about app development. Read more>>

Ray-ven Perry Entrepeneur & Creator | Online boutique owner, co-own a developing business, and co-host a youtube channel/show

At the time of starting my business, it had been a year since I graduated college and I was working full time. I wanted something more than just going to work and going out during the week. My job at that time had hundreds of employees and many of their additional streams of income was from selling their goods and services to us/co-workers. I wanted the opportunity too! I knew I was capable of selling to people what they wanted. Read more>>

Jaye Envy | Brow Wax Specialist

My thought process behind starting Brow Envy by Jaye was to help people become more confident in their brows and skin! I’m very sensitive /passionate about my brows so I can imagine the amount of people that want that crisp look each morning! Read more>>

Tanisha Manning | Founder of Engaged Voters

(Disclaimer: Engaged Voters is not a for profit business.) I believe that if you want to see real change in your community, the work begins AFTER elections. In 2020, as we were experiencing the initial stages of a worldwide pandemic along with political chaos and an explosive wave of publicized racial injustices, I recognized a missing link in America’s voting process. Elections are not promoted or deemed popular enough for major media outlets or widespread news reporting unless there is a Presidential Election. When there is a Presidential Election, the messaging is always simply, “Go Vote”. Read more>>

Sharon Jenkins | Master Communicator and Literary Midwife

I’d just been laid off from my nonprofit job as a director and was looking for a homebased business to sustain my current quality of life. I’d always been in business education, and I had a passion for writing. It just made good sense to combine the two. In doing so, my first step was to become a lifelong learner about starting, running, expanding your business. I also realized that networking and forming strategic collaborations were also key to your business success. Read more>>

Natasha Baker | Spiritual Alignment Coach

Initially, I started Bright Soul as simply a creative release. I wanted to bring attention to mental health and create a community for people to find support among like-minded individuals. Over time, it evolved from a self-healing practice into healing others. I began to learn Reiki and chakra healing, as well as working with crystals and the tarot in order to create a unique healing process now known as my “Intuitive Healing Session” which combines all of the above in order to help clients find clarity and mental peace. From the moment I took on my first one on one life coaching client, I knew that this was the path I was meant to walk. Read more>>

Kathryn Scurry | CEO/Founder

As a queer woman of color, I saw that the Minority, Hispanic and Asian LGBTQ community members had limited forms of quality media that highlight their talents and achievements. I am a woman with many talents ranging from music to film and television and wanted to contribute a positive platform that would provide an inclusive space to do so. Read more>>

Jacinth Jones | Content Creator

“Are you happy?” – Insecure, Season Five, “Out, Okay?!” Lawrence’s words to Issa in the second-to-last episode of “Insecure’s” final season took me back to my 22nd birthday. While I had just graduated from Howard University a month prior and was set to start my first “big girl” job in a few days, life felt so directionless. I constantly questioned my existence, purpose and identity, but never received any type of answer. So yes – a quarter-life crisis at 22. Consequently, this led to a year’s worth of tears, worry and frustration. Read more>>

Priscilla King | Business Owner

I want to start my own business, because I want to set my own retirement age. I also want my family to have the freedom to control their own time as well. Read more>>