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.

Nicole Banks | Yogi, Cat Lover, Music Snob & Writer

I really didn’t have one when I started. I started publishing back in 2013 when being an indie author was still fairly new. I initially did this just to see if I could do it. We all have that one thing we want to try just to see. Writing and publishing a book was my one thing and once I did I was like, “Hey let’s do it again.” Read more>>

Jenn Sneary | Illustrator

I’ve grown up creating art in some form or another my entire life, so when a friend asked me to join her in a local art show, I accepted. I hadn’t shown my work publicly before, so I was nervous but excited about the opportunity to get my art in front of strangers. Read more>>

Nikki Tripp | Filmmaker

When I started college, I had no idea that filmmaking/videography could be a career, let alone my business! My first semester I took a class completely unrelated to my major called “The History of World Cinema.” It introduced me to a whole new world and I immediately fell in love with all aspects of film! Needless to say, I ended up changing my major to Film. Read more>>

Emma Lawler | Small Business Owner

I’ve always been a person who doodles and decorates. In school you have to have a backpack, right? So I covered mine with glitter spray and cut letters out of a magazine, and taped it over the label to spell my name. Everything had to be custom, and everything had to be cute. Read more>>

Courtney Smith | Writer, Editor & Publisher

I initially began with thought of publishing my books on my own terms as opposed to utilizing someone’s resources and being subjected to their conditions. Read more>>

Charles Helton | Architect

During the mid 80’s, my father was notified that he would be laid off at the job he had for 10 years. Luckily, he was able to find a job within the company that just happened to open up a month later. But, I remember the tension of maybe having to move, all because someone else deemed it so. Read more>>

Niko Johnson | CEO & Personal Trainer

My thought process behind starting my own business was that, I wanted total control of my destiny. I wanted to be my own boss. I didn’t want to work hard for someone else’s dreams. Read more>>

Avery Orendorf | Mural Artist & Illustrator

I started my mural business a bit backwards. I decided that I wanted to learn how to paint, but I am admittedly bad at having hobbies. I don’t have the dedication it takes to learn a new skill without an endgame or purposeful goal in sight. If I was going to dedicate hours to learning a new skill after quitting a full time job and with two babies at home. Read more>>

Olajuwon Davis | Firearms Instructor

My thought process was to first figure out what would be my product that to sale to public. Once I figured out that the knowledge and skills that I’ve learn over my 15 years of law enforcement would be the product, I formulated a business plan and put it to action. Read more>>

Melissa Harans | Founder & Lead Graphic Designer

There wasn’t one moment where I decided to start my business. It was more-so a natural progression of my side hustle taking up more and more of my time, to the point where it became clear I needed to choose between my full time job and my freelance graphic design clients. Read more>>

Ariell Ash | Owner, Socialite Mink Lash & Makeover Racism

Originally, my thought process was to find a product for my clients. Through my work in the beauty industry, I reviewed and tested almost every product on the market but I could not find a superior lash line. when I di come across a lash line that I really loved eventually the quality would shift and the consistency just wouldn’t be there. Read more>>

Maria Ferrer | Calligrapher & Wedding Stationery Designer

I really didn’t think about it very much. Everything started as a hobby when I became a mom for the first time until one day a friend asked me to help her with some things for her wedding and since then, people began to show interest in my work and it didn’t take me long to see there was a business opportunity in front of me. Read more>>

Patricia Greer | Yaya & Chronic Up-Cylcer

Creating snacks from excess co-op produce which created an abundance of snacks for friends, family, and myself. folks can just eat so much, so i package the excess and customers loved them. Read more>>

Kristen Kavander | Author & Professional Organizer

As a mom of five and a descendant of a long line of entrepreneurs, I knew that my career choice wouldn’t be on the path most traveled. Organizing and design have always been close to my heart. As I added children to my home, I realized the importance of having an well-organized space, and how it streamlined my day to create a more peaceful home. Read more>>

Demi Mixon | Macrame & Fiber Artist

Simply that I wanted to end everyday feeling that I had done something that made me happy and fulfilled. When I lost my job at the beginning of the Pandemic I of course felt a sense of loss and apprehension towards doing something different, but the idea of not at least trying to weave creating and art into my everyday career seemed wasteful. Read more>>

Omar Ochoa | Graphic Designer & Artist

owing a business rather than working for someone else runs in my family, I think growing up in a different country surrounded by family members who were all self starters was a key factor for me to start my own business as soon as I could. I knew I wanted to do creative work which I was passionate about, creating my own platform was also part of my thought process. Read more>>

Candace Griffin | Content Creator, Baker & Conversation Enthusiast

When deciding to become a content creator, my goal was to feed my need for self-expression while helping others–and earn income while doing it. I’d found joy in other creative ventures and that motivated me to begin YouTubing my hair, make-up, and baking processes. My thought process has always been the same: I’ll do it as long as it’s fun and rewarding for myself and others. Read more>>

Brice Everhart | Founder, CEO & Men’s Accessory Designer

The thought process behind me starting my own business was wanting to help my mom because she was ill for some years and it resulted in her having to close her business. I saw and felt the impact of how devasting it was for her and the household. She was trying to do everything she could while fighting for her health. Read more>>

Chelsea Williams | Artist & Holistic Coach

“How can I manifest funding for my business?” were my precise thoughts behind starting my own business. Read more>>

Chris White | Personal Trainer, Nutritionist & Chef

I always knew I would be an entrepreneur, so I just needed a little push to get there and I got it when I was working for Fitness Connection. I noticed the way they did things and I was not a fan. I didn’t want my clients to feel like just a number. I wanted more of a personal touch to my company and really take care of my clients not only with workouts, but nutrition. Read more>>

Kam Green | Life Coach & Public Speaker

I genuinely love people. I am the person that makes myself accessible to those who reach out. I wanted to start something that aligned with my values and that I could see myself waking up doing everyday. Read more>>

Maryanne Ellison Simmons | Publisher & Master Printer

I am a publisher / Master Printer of fine art prints. I began my business on the advice of my accountant. I was a “contract worker” at a research university. I was doing their work in my studio and had to find a way to write off my expenses – so I had to open my own press. Read more>>

Arletta Chambers | Owner

When I began my business my initial thoughts were, if I make my candles will someone buy them? I wasn’t sure if I could turn selling candles into a lucrative business. Read more>>