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.

SSadia Ahmed | Founder, Munaari

My purpose was crystal clear when I thought about starting Munaari. As you know Munaari does varieites of themed based fashion shows & other small scale events in Houston, Texas. So, I thought to give wings to all aspiring models or any talent related with fashion industry irrespective of height, weight, ethnicity, colour or gender. Grow & let grow is the thought process. In modern lexicon, this is called empowerment. Initially started with just women, now we have males & kids too. Read more>>

Morris Malakoff | Photographer & Content Strategist

I have always been fascinated with the technology of recording life, since I was a child; when I was five years old. I took pictures using film at the time. In my mid-teens, I lived briefly in France and Germany and continued to photograph. In my early 20s, I worked in a restaurant to see if that was my “thing.” Then I got a job as a warehouse worker at a furniture and design company. By doing these and other various jobs that I was not meant to do; jobs that did not align with my purpose at all, it, strangely, drove me to my purpose. It does not seem so strange looking back now, as this seems to be a constant theme in life. I may have had ill feelings about these jobs at the time, but I do not anymore. I appreciate the experiences because they led me to my purpose. It has been a long journey of evolving myself. This continued evolution has brought me to the point I am at today. Learning and never thinking I knew it all, knowing I will never know it all. This has been my perpetual mode of thinking. Read more>>

Arias Limuel | Chief Executive Officer and Head Strategist

My inspiration for creating an agency involved looking for impactful ways to build a platform outside of myself. I was never wired for a 9-5, and can only reach a creative ceiling when working under someone else’s dreams. I did however, use those 9-5 skills to structure a few business administrative models to successfully catapult ASE. In addition, my overall objective to assist other minorities, who’d like to penetrate sports and entertainment market, would not have been fulfilled at its highest capacity if my agency was for me alone. When COVID hit, I said to myself “okay, its time to build more opportunities for professionals of color. How can I help others chase their dreams and get paid too?”. Read more>>

Bryan-Keyth Wilson | Artistic Director/ Playwright/ Producer

I moved to NYC in 1999 to finish my degree in theatre and work on Broadway aka “The Great White Way.” While studying in NYC I had the chance to learn from some of the best in the biz and I knew that once I graduated I was ready to hit the ground running. HA! What a reality check! I went on a few auditions and worked professionally but always was the token in the room and there was no one who looked liked me in management. So after the reality check of the business I had to ask myself do I want to continue to wait for the white gatekeepers to give me my shot or do I take things into my own hands. That’s what I did. I formed my first production company and produced my own written material Off-Off Broadway at The Variety Cafe’ at Rockefeller Center. I’ve been in theatre production all my life and one thing I knew how to do was put up a show, and that’s what I did. With the financial backing of my parents Lawrence & Shirley Wilson I did it and have been doing it for over 21 years. There wasn’t a lane for me so I created one for myself!. Read more>>

Symphony Webb | Owner of Urban Culture Apparel & Multimedia Professional

When I started my business, I knew I wanted it to be something that would make an impact on people’s lives, so I thought that it would be a great idea to combine my love for fashion and my communications skills into one. Sometimes the simplest thing can make the biggest statement and change a situation or your thought process. Read more>>

Sydney V Smith | Entrepreneur & Business Owner

I liked the idea of feeling empowered as a successful business woman. It took most of my life to figure out what I want to do with it. When certain things I wanted before didn’t work out, I felt lost. Tried to find success in other things that didn’t inspire me. Which caused me to bounce around and not really accomplish anything. I could tell other people saw me as unproductive, and they didn’t take me seriously. That got me angry. That’s when I decided to fight back! I thought to myself no more will I ever allow people to not take me seriously. Luckily a good idea came to me, and I have been tackling it head first making tremendous progress. Now I know I’ll be a success!. Read more>>

Amanda Klein | Health Coach

I started working quite early, when I was 15 years-old, so working itself was never a problem for me but, starting my own business was definitely a challenge. However, while my careers have changed over the years, my passion for diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle has remained steadfast. When I married my husband and moved to the United States in 2016, I truly embarked on an entirely new life – not only have we visited more than 60 countries, but we also started a beautiful family! But even though my two pregnancies were great, with no major issues, my post-partum was hard and full of pain and more so, discoveries. Discoveries which showed me that, if you have the knowledge and the ability to apply them, both, the pre- and post-partum can be carried in a much better way and full of joy and happiness. Read more>>

Dionne Murphy | Health & Fitness Biz Coach

I have always been an entrepreneur at heart since I was a freshman in college. I always felt as though something was tugging at me to earn additional income outside of my traditional jobs and employment. As I grew older and matured, I understood the importance of “creating your own economy”. That mindset prepared me for full time entrepreneurship which is where I am now. I created Her Virtual Gym in 2018 where I began helping busy women fit quick workouts and healthy habits and flexible eating into their busy schedules. With the success of the virtual gym, I had other health and fitness professionals reaching out to me on how I went through that process. This led me to launch my Health & Fitness Coaching arm of my business in 2020. With being a Health & Fitness Business Coach, I teach other health and fitness professionals how to grow their business via systems and digital products. Read more>>

Sarah Sharp | Photographer, Graphic Designer, Animator, & Illustrator

POPPN MAG came from a previous business I started called “The POP Awards” (Professionals of Photography Awards). It was a photography contest and award event honoring outstanding female photographers. After the success of the first event, I realized that I wanted to reward the winners of the contest with something more. As a photographer, being published in a magazine is a really big deal. So I thought, “I’m going to start a magazine.” And I did just that 100% solo. I taught myself how to do editorial layouts and graphic design and 9 months later the first print issue of POPPN was created. We are now working on the 4th issue of POPPN. I started this because I wanted to give photographers a safe space to share their work even if they are just a beginner. It is a great feeling to be recognized, feel like your talent is being seen, and to feel part of a community. Read more>>

Yung Crusay | (Charlene Cruse) Owner

My thought process behind starting my own business was that at the end of the day, I don’t want to work for anybody else. The clothing line came from music, and at the time that was my escape. I had started to become a paid artist and was ready to put out an album. As I got promo tools ready, the NOheartNOhustle hoodies took off. I paused the music and decided to continue on into fashion. Different side of the game with the same thought: I don’t want to work for anybody else. Read more>>

Mark Roberts | Graphic Artist & Designer

I never had a “thought process” nor had I never thought about starting a business like this ever, I started this totally by accident. I had always been a fan of The Walking Dead and decided one day to visit the small town of Senoia Ga which is the centerpiece of the filming for the show. I was so intrigued during my visit I decided that it would be cool to see if I could reach out to any of the actors of the show with the hopes of just getting to meet them. I had heard by the locals during my visit that there were frequently actors that would wander around the town so I thought it should be easy to catch atleast one of them. Determined, I ended up finding some of the actors on social media and started chatting with them and from there I have since forged some real bonding friendships with several of these awesome folks. Read more>>

Umamah Siddiqui | Entreprenuer

Stitchxd was founded by us two besties (Umamah Siddiqui and Naaz Shaikh) in the summer of 2019 with a simple mission: to preserve the allure of South Asian culture by blending it with our American identities and curating footwear that spoke to people like us – South Asians Americans. And of course, our obsession for fashion and shoes drove that. The purpose we wanted to fulfill by starting this brand was incorporating a fusion of both of the cultures us best friends shared. We are proud South Asian Americans and fully embrace the best of both cultures, however, sometimes the footwear that we so adore were not befitting to be worn with our western outfits or even outside of wedding events. So we thought – let’s create a timeless trend ourselves!. Read more>>

Jamie Tanner | Founder/CEO of Simple Sparrow Care Farm

Simple Sparrow began as my hobby farm. I grew up visiting family at their farms and ranches. My father has been incarcerated most of my life and my mother was a single parent for the majority of my childhood. Learning to farm and grow gardens with family had a huge impact on my life: I learned to care for land, gardens, and animals but it really helped me better care for myself and others. Furthermore, my family’s love and support carried me through hard times. My husband and I wanted to give our own kids simple farm skills but we also wanted to share our family farm with friends. Several of our friends are involved in foster/adoption ministries either as families or therapists. They would bring their children to the farm and I would show them how to hold a bunny, plant seeds, or feed chickens…just daily farm chores like I was taught growing up. Read more>>

Nelson Ruiz | Creative Director

In Dreams, when I came to the United States I always thought of doing something on my own, I was in the land of opportunities, so I started looking for what to do. I went to a lot of popups and that’s where I first met the scented candles made from soy wax. My husband gave me a kit to make soy candles, and it all started there. I remember that my mother also made candles at home, and used all kinds of essences to maintain harmony in our home, I liked it a lot, so once I could learn to make my candles I felt good, and I like the idea of thinking that people can change their day with a good essence. Read more>>

Philanesia Wiley | Owner and operator of Queen Wiley Services LLC

My thought process behind starting my own business was to take control of my own financial freedom and not giving anyone else the opportunity to dictate how much money I made, how I provided for my family or determine my employment. Read more>>

Andrea Ester | Owner/Designer

My small business kind of fell into my lap…. I started my craft as help to a family member. Which turned into a hobby, an expensive hobby, so I decided to start selling my work. Read more>>

Sean Jones | Owner of JONZ 1 Original Dry Rubs

I love barbecue. It all started when I played my first college football home game. Every home game our team bus would drive by the football alumni tailgate party in front of the stadium. That was when I smelled the aroma of BBQ. The smell took me back home to when my pops used to BBQ. After we won the game, some of my teammates and I bought steaks, chicken and ribs to BBQ. I began to BBQ after every home game with my teammates. Eventually, I concocted mixes of spices that were created specifically for the right meat. No more all-purpose seasonings. Each meat had a texture and flavor that needed attention. I carefully researched spices and determined which spice mixtures went best with the meat. Spices and meats need to have a great relationship. I allowed that great relationship to happen. Read more>>

LEXIS CARTER | Entrepreneur

My first initial thoughts on starting a business was if I could be successful in a industry so big! Having those worries if people would like my brand, the concept, and the message behind really had me on the fence on jumping out there. Read more>>

Shree | Writer, Designer and Founder of Own Business.

Firstly, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to be featured in the interview of your “Shoutout Series”. The thought of starting my own business was an outcome of diverse kinds of work I was doing as a self-employer and also for the community. It followed a pretty interesting and transitional process. Formally I was an IT pro with a Masters Degree in IT. I have been associated with blue-chip companies like HP, Microsoft, Heathrow Airport (Terminal 5), Toys R Us, Powergen, to name a few. I quit my full-time career since I fell pregnant for the first time and became a writer. My writing covers multifarious genres and business. My first book was published in 2015. Since then I never looked back. I was thoroughly enjoying getting published in several renowned platforms and also receiving awards and accolades. Read more>>

Julie Valdes | Body Analysis Specialist & Certified Nutrition Coach

While I am known for being a bit impulsive at times, this was something I had put a whole lot of thought into before taking the plunge towards becoming an entrepreneur. I have two driving forces that led me to starting my own business. One being the hope and dream of having that “work/life balance” for my kiddos, you know, that thing everyone keeps talking about. The other being the constant pull in my heart to help others just feel……GOOD. I’ve spent my entire career in the health and wellness industry and it’s been such a pleasure to have the opportunity to impact the lives of my clients. Oh, and that working mom balance thingy I had been searching for finally decided to join the party after putting in the work and laying the foundation. Read more>>

Pierre Beasley | Fitness Coach

How could I turn my passion into profit and help others achieve their goals as well. So starting my own fitness training company was the fulfillment I was yearning for. It’s been extremely successful so far. Read more>>

Angel Caban | President, Match Point Recruiting Solutions

Since I retired from playing volleyball, I was looking for an opportunity to give back to the game that gave me so much. I feel the responsibility to somehow create opportunities for young athletes to learn and develop their skills. I started coaching at club level and immediately noticed areas where I can expand my scope and shared the experiences and knowledge, I gained from playing with the best players in the world, that is the beginning of Match Point Volleyball. We are laser focus strictly on development and creating opportunities for athletes that want to play at the next level while earning a college degree. Read more>>

Meka Diamond | Author, Motivational Speaker, Talk and Radio Show Host, Business Coach

In 2020 I was seeking purpose. I had to pivot with my business of over 6 years and I looked into what I love doing versus what I was blessed with the gifts to do. In this season of my life I want what God wants and when reviewing the previous years I realized I was being set up for a time such as this. With V’Zable Evidence Consulting firm, I was able to scale my business with strategic partners and build a new empire titled Meka Diamond, Inc. Read more>>

Porsche’ Shanell | Beauty Connoisseur

Growing up African American proper skincare is not something that is commonly taught. A typical routine was grabbing your bar soap and vaseline which is wrong on so many levels. Now skincare has become a trend but, the information and product that trend is not always what is best. Skincare is not one size fits all and many suggestions and products that are out there are damaging. The real issue boiled down to a lack of knowledge in the community, so I decided to invest in my Esthetics License and I’ve created a Skincare line that caters to the Woman of Color looking to gain confidence in taking control of their skincare journey with proper knowledge and clean products. Read more>>

Tiffany Purnell | Licensed Clinical Social Worker by Trade, Community Activist at Heart

I would have to say my thought process behind starting my business was discovering I had more to offer than my trade allowed; and this me pushed me to want more. Though I’d truly enjoyed my 9-5 oftentimes found myself being called on inquiring my insight and experience regarding various things all social services related. I mean seriously you name it I’ve likely received a call inquiring about it. Not long after I begin to think ‘hey people must really value what I have to say”. This prompted me to believe if the people call inquiring found value in my insight just imagine what I could bring to others that don’t have my contact info. Thereafter I began my podcast by discussing from own experience bullying in schools and I here I am three years in and not one time have I looked back. Read more>>

Christal Crockett | Educator, Youth Mentor, and Public Speaker

I purpose behind my business is simply to make an impact. For so long I have hid in the back ground because I was afraid to use my voice. Now, I realize my voice is important and I am determined to change lives through mentorship, prayer, public speaking and my lifestyle. Read more>>

Mani Patel | Co-founder of LuluCartoons

LuluCartoons is a custom art company focusing on 100% personalized hand-drawn illustrations for our global community. Mike, my business partner, and I have always been big art enthusiasts and fans of personalized gifts and experiences. We wanted to create art pieces that were individually unique and one-of-a-kind for our customers. Founded in the peak of the pandemic in June 2020, LuluCartoons started as a side-hustle with big ambitions. Today, it stands strong with a 100 team members globally, surpassing its 40,000th order, and serving hundreds of customers worldwide daily. We continue to focus on our mission statement and providing personalized experiences for our customers, and we cannot wait to see what’s ahead. -Mani Patel Custom Art, Curated Just For You. Read more>>

Sylvester Cobb | Videographer & Music Artist

I knew that I wanted to be my own boss and do something that I’m passionate about. I was tired of going to a 9-5 and having a cap on my income. I knew that if I worked hard on my own business, it would pay off. Read more>>

Andrea Elliott | Personal Trainer | Nutrition Coach

After I lost almost 100 lbs while battling Lupus and Hypothyroidism, I wanted to share what fitness and nutrition was able to do for me. I felt like who better to help women lose weight than someone who has been in their shoes. My mission is to show women how to live their a healthier, bolder life. I started Bold Body Fitness in 2019 as a side job. A few months later I was laid off from my full time corporate job and decided to pursue personal training full time. Read more>>

Ariel (ArieltheCreator) McMahon | Graphic Designer + Illustrator + CREATIVE

It has always been my dream to do what I love and get paid for it, enough that I don’t have to work for anyone else. Because I value my freedom above most other things. To date, I’ve had at least 4 businesses, and I realized that the process is not a straight line forward. You have to go through a lot of trial and error to get to a place that works, and even then, that still may not be the final destination. My past businesses are the reason my current business is thriving. ATC Studios is my graphic design company, and it has done the best out of all the businesses I’ve attempted to start. Growth and progress doesn’t come without its frustrations, though, and while on my journey, I’ve learned that keeping your goal in front of you is key. I realized that not only did I want fulfillment and freedom, but I also want that same thing for my friends and family as well as any other hardworking human being out there. Read more>>

Elise Gray | Mixed Media Artist & Writer

I’m not entirely sure if there was a thought process. It feels like something that was just naturally waiting to happen whenever I was ready to allow it. I think I sort of fell into starting my business as an artist by saying, “No,” to a few opportunities. Instead of saying yes to everyone else’s idea of what I should do, I decided to carve out a little space for myself to exist professionally. Read more>>

Christine Pepe | Creative Artist

Voted most artistic in my graduating high school class, I have always craved a creative outlet. However, life lead me to a career in the corporate world until fate stepped in. After becoming ill with an extremely rare disease in 2012, I found myself unable to function to complete the simplest of tasks. Going from neurologist to neurologist with no answer to what what was causing severe fatigue, pain, sensitivity to light and noise, balance and coordination issues, weakness, visual disturbance, tremors, visual disturbance, inability to use my limbs and falls, I was left without a diagnosis or treatment. Time became a blur and I was no longer the person I once was. I was physically and mentally unable to participate in life. Finally, five months later a Neurologist in the Houston Medical Center. Reviewing all previous testing and labs; he ordered a few additional tests, labs and consulted with the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Read more>>

Kaleigh Vaughn | Hairdresser & Founder

My time in the beauty industry taught me that I was built for more. I love everything about what I do, but I was noticing a lack of self service in my clients and even myself. Welcome to the Lifelong Romance with Yourself started in the midst of COVID. I was going through one of the most challenging times of my life as a woman (I also didn’t know if I would be able to do hair again with the state the world was in). My mother is who actually introduced the idea of creating a product and from there I started researching, experimenting, testing. Finally ‘The Mask’ stuck and I just ran with it. Read more>>

Shatora Everage | Business Consultant

My thought process behind starting my own business was the freedom to be able to do so. The freedom to be able to live your life on your own terms. It is also the passion for what I do and being able to be of service on a daily basis. Although, being an entrepreneur it requires much discipline, determination, and sacrifices to excel in your business and personal development growth. It’s the freedom for me!. Read more>>

Violeta Witte | Baker

My little one is the inspiration for my business. Every dessert I make is approved by her. Since her first birthday everyone has been pleased with my desserts. I enjoy baking and creating gluten free and keto baked goods. The ingredients I use are natural, organic, gluten free and use plant-based colorings. I also enjoy creating sugar fee desserts such as cookies and cakes. Read more>>

Anamaris Cousins Price | Chef & Hostess

My mother was a great cook and hostess. We probably hosted a dinner party every week and she was always coming up with elaborate dinner party ideas and bringing friends and loved ones together. Cooking and entertaining is my happy place and after extensive travel through Latin America, experiencing different cuisines and cultures and wanted to find a way to combine those passions and introduce locals to flavors they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. My first meal featured the flavors of Panama; I prepared elevated versions of 5 of my favorite dishes and served it to a group of friends and acquaintances to test out my idea. I’ve been hosting monthly events since, sometimes a brunch or a dinner. After being laid off last year, I decided to take the opportunity to pursue my passion full time and formally set up my company last August. Read more>>

BrandonKaybee Smith | Entrepreneur/Entertain

My thought process was basic to be honest with you. People who work for other people will always make someone else rich. This old idea that has become out dated has made its ugly head rear its self up in this Covid-19 crisis. Covid-19 has forced us to take a look at and revaluate all old ways of thinking and being. To continue to think a corporation or a government will take care of you is no longer the way be. Most of the money that was given out went to business . This let me see and know that owing a business is more valuable to this country than anything. To not have a business or some type of side hustle is not the way to play this game. In order to win in this country you need multiply streams of income not one. Read more>>

Erinne Lester | Founder of Twootie Tarte

Ever since I was young I had a knack for smell. From humble beginnings of mixing my mother’s perfumes, to owning a business that supports my family, the only major stepping stones were a single suggestion, and giving up all my spare time! The business began for me just out in college and fresh from my seasonal job at Lush Cosmetics. They hired me on the spot because I did my homework, studying the industry inside and out before even attending their job fair. Even though I had all of this knowledge about the cosmetics industry, making my own bath bombs never occurred as an option to me. That is, until good friend of mine suggested in passing that I should try to make my own bath bombs. With that suggestion, I had an idea just crazy enough to work. My idea was to mix my knowledge of the cosmetics industry with my passion for video games, pop culture and Japanese animation. Read more>>

Alexis & J’Quala Love | Creators

Starting our own business would allow us freedom to do more living and less working. We can be a platform to help others have more freedom. Read more>>