Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Jenni Kowal | Creative Guide

I started Anytime Creative when I was traveling a lot in my life, but I always felt like creativity was necessary wherever I went. I’d tuck away watercolors and tiny moleskine notebooks to take with me when I traveled – moving away from the idea that every artist needs a studio. As my business evolved, I realized that a lot of creatives had blocks that were holding them back from being their most expressive self. Read more>>

Tony Nguyen | Owner of Nguyentography

Howdy! My name is Tony Nguyen — Vietnamese by birth, proudly raised in Texas — and I am a photographer based in Houston, Texas + surrounding areas. I am currently a junior at the University of Houston, GO COOGS!! As a child, I was always taking pictures and videos every chance I can get and was really involved in arts and crafts. Read more>>

Kathy Hsu | Photographer

I have limited photographs from my own childhood. I wanted to use my talent as a creative to provide for other families what mine lacked. As a mother, I want to remember every little moment, chubby finger, toothless grin, and milestone. Preserving time through photographs for families is my greatest aim as a business. Read more>>

Meredith Wheeler | Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Sesh Coworking

Starting a business always seemed exciting to me. In my eyes, the coolest people around were entrepreneurs bringing their ideas to market. After having my first daughter, I knew I wanted to start my own business, but I had no clue what that business should be. I tried out many ideas. Was there a market for this? What would it look like? What would my role be? Read more>>

LaSandra Collins | Author, Coach, and Transformational Speaker

I started my business because I wanted to help others! For years, I struggled with who I was as a person for fear of not being accepted. I took on the identity of the person I thought others wanted me to be instead of who Christ was calling me to be. Because of that, I had no sense of who I was as an individual or where I was going. So, I decided to write a book, “Uniquely You: Pulling Off the Mask” to encourage and help others to disrobe themselves of all of the masks they put on hiding who they really are from the world so that they can embrace that beautiful being inside. Read more>>

Keenia Simmons | Owner and Founder of Raeskin Essentials

It was odd because I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. I tried to work my way up as far as I could in my industry and when the time came,..I realized I didn’t want my bosses job. Initially, I was just trying to improve the condition of my skin and I began making things for family and close friends. Two years later I started and LLC and here I am today. Read more>>

Cynthia and Linda | Full time moms and Wood and Paint Artists

At the beginning we looked at it as a hobby Read more>>

Alexandra Cook | Branding Designer

Mostly because I was starting a family so wanted the freedom to make my own schedule. But also because I felt like I had a certain style of design that people liked and I didn’t want to be restricted to specific design styles that other companies have defined. I wanted to be the one who called the shots in terms of styling and branding a business. Read more>>

Vanity Scott | Author

I have been a writer since I was a child. I used to write short stories and poems growing up with dreams of becoming a published author. I knew that I wanted to use my books to inspire not only my readers, but other aspiring authors as well. After years and years of dreaming, one day I decided to write the book and figure out the rest. Read more>>

Vanessa Ogundare | Event Planner & Stylist

My thought process behind starting my own business was a simple question… why not? Read more>>

Made X Chilly | Duo of Chelsea Mariah and Ileana Hamilton

Honestly, we didn’t really think to much about starting our own business before it actually happened. We decided we wanted to do it and immediately dove in,. Read more>>

Trévon Dyson | Licensed Esthetician and Sugarist

Wow! I literally just sat with myself on Monday when I wanted to write out my story. The thought process for starting or behind starting my business was my desire to touch the lives of women. I began as a makeup artist. I’ve done work both domestic and internationally as well as worked as a MAC artist and the one thing I would get so often with women is that there was something they wanted to hide or cover up. Read more>>

Meg Stolt | Endurance and Multi-Sport Coach (ie: triathlon)

I am laughing at this question. There was no thought process. I just did it. You see, I did not want to work for other people anymore. I found joy when I was able to manage my own schedule. And as a result, I have a business. It started as a summer swim lesson business. Now, I have two triathlon teams. It has definitely evolved. Read more>>

Latoya Ellis, MPH, INHC | Holistic Health Coach

Preventable chronic diseases is the leading cause of death in the United States. Six in ten Americans live with at least one chronic disease, like heart disease and stroke, cancer, or diabetes. Infertility and gut issues are on the rise. I started my health coaching business to support people in taking control over their health. My phyisophy is; when you get the inside right the outside follows. I am partnering with people to make the healthy choice ,the easy one. Read more>>

Ana Lopez | Business Owner

My mother has worked for Harris County maintenance department for the last 20 years and has also cleaned houses on her spare time. I have learned from her over the years and saw how hard she worked. At the start of the pandemic in 2020, family members were out of work and I wanted to help by finding homes that that they could clean. At first it was just a way for them to find work and I did not take any financial gains. Read more>>

Charlie Billingsley | Founder of Museum For Black Girls

There aren’t very many spaces where we see black women represented , honored, recognized and/or celebrated. I wanted to change that, I wanted to tell our stories, share our journeys and highlight underrepresented artists in a unique, vibrant interactive way. Read more>>

Eliana Cochea | Learnings toys & handmade decorative items.

We wanted bring products for kids that involved learning, play, creative, decorative and safe for the environment. Read more>>

Debbi Smith Rourke | Artist and Founder/Owner of

The idea for came to me while I was on a holiday with a girlfriend visiting art galleries in the Cleveland area. While we were laying at the pool at her place in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, I started thinking about the things I love most in life. Beyond spending time with family and friends, and traveling, those favorite things include fine art and keeping up with the art scene, painting and exploring new directions in my own painting practice, and finally finding ways to give back to the community. Read more>>

Kanishak Sethi | Founder & CEO of Ksproducers

Since, 14 years old, I spent most of the time with my dad looking at how he runs a successful business. His work inspired me to pursue my dream to have my own business. While doing my undergraduate, I did various jobs such as campus management, production manager etc and even a year before my graduation I applied for full time job. Even got an interview with big 4’s but there was something missing. I was excited to get a job and make good money but then I wondered why not research on starting a business. Once, I started researching within a year or so, I had some kind of ideas of my business and what I wanted to do. Read more>>

Kevin Simpson | Education Entrepreneur

In 2007 I returned from teaching overseas in Southeast Asia and did not see opportunities in the USA that linked me to working globally. I took the leap and set up KDSL USA. The focus was to be on collaborating with schools and organization around the world who focused on learning. Read more>>

Shacolby Shentell | CEO of S.S.Entertainment, Filmmaker, Actress, Songstress, Writer

My thought process behind starting my own business came from the realization of my purpose. Having the opportunity to wake up and not only do what I love or do because it comes natural to me but in making it my business as well is truly a blessing. Read more>>

Chillz Marley | Artist/Musician

I wanted to be my own man and have a place where I could bring my visions and ideas to life without having to ask if I could. Read more>>

Kay Renee | Beaded Jewelry Designer & Creator

My thought process behind starting my own business was to provide the experience I would have loved to receive when starting my journey with waistbeads. I had an awful experience, customer service and product wise. I wanted to be inclusive, leave no one behind and ensure I provided great customer service. Read more>>

Lisa Rodarte | Wood Work Craftsmanship

Our thought process was to be able to do something we love and being able to help people create memories that will last them a lifetime. Read more>>

Alexia Reyes | Engineer & Entrepreneur

I always loved fashion and shopping was always a hobby of mine. Right after Engineering school I decided I wanted to start a side hustle that didn’t feel like a job but more of something that I enjoyed doing on my day to day. So one day i just went online and did all the research then applied for permits and next thing you know i started a business. I just took a chance and never looked back. Read more>>