Deciding to start a business is an unusual decision. It’s often considered irrational and yet for many it’s the best decision they’ve ever made. So we asked folks to think back to when they were starting their businesses and to tell us about their decision making process.

Sufiyah Esema | Milliner & Fashion designer

Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by hats and headpieces. Watching the Royal families wear Fascinator mesmerized me. This passion never faded, and when I discovered the craft of millinery, I knew I had to pursue it. Read more>>

Shirley Mathew | Soul Coaching Practitioner

Force vs Flow. I paid close attention to what was and wasn’t working for me. I was a teacher for 7 years and I thought it’s where I would retire, but I came to the hard realization that I was serving from an empty cup. I was teaching, leading, mentoring on fumes. But before I called it quits, I fell in love with coaching and mentoring teachers and knew there was something more to pursue there. What I found was that teachers didn’t need help running their classrooms as much as they needed the emotional support, and post COVID, the need was louder than its ever been. I started leading zoom book studies for teachers, which then led to opening up the group to parents, and something new was taking shape in me. I decided to leave the physical classroom and taught online for one school year, which made more emotional space for me to really begin thinking about how I could make a deeper impact for children. That’s when soul coaching showed up in my world. I took a deeper dive into my own healing journey and came out with the clarity I needed to launch my own coaching business, where my focus is helping parents and teachers heal their own childhood wounds, so they can show up most authentically for the children in their lives! Read more>>

Jannah Jeffries | Entrepreneur Comsetologist & Skin Care Specialist

At the age of 29 my father passed unexpectedly. I had just moved into a new place and remember thinking, “if I need anything I don’t have anyone to call on.” I made it up in my mind that I needed to have multiple streams of income. That was the start of my new journey. Read more>>

Kristen Nix | Principle of Kristen Nix Interiors

There really wasn’t a clear thought process behind starting the business…it really happened organically. I had just had my first son and thought I would stay at home with him. One of our friends asked for some advice on a house he had recently bought and since he was a close friend, I could bring my son with me to the job site. I found myself thinking about the project and pouring over old design magazines for inspiration. It brought me a lot of joy being able to have my creative outlet in addition to being a mom and I never stopped. Read more>>

Mary aka Toyin.O Obilana | Non Profit owner/Mary O Foundation

I started my non-profit because I have a strong desire to make a positive impact and bring about change in my community, no matter how small. Having personally experienced the challenges of not having much, I am driven by empathy and a sense of responsibility to extend a helping hand to those in need. My non-profit is founded on the belief that even the smallest acts of kindness and support can make a significant difference in the lives of others, and I am committed to doing my part to create a more equitable and compassionate society and at the same time we get to tell them about Jesus. Mary O Foundation is Big on Education ( we have students on scholarship in private schools, we have people been sponsored in Trade Schools) we also feed the poor and have outreaches to feed women, children widows and more. We do skill trainings and Evangelism. We are in need of sponsors and Grants so we can do more please partner with us Read more>>

Jessica Rhodes | Post Op Care & Body Sculpting

My thought process behind starting my own business was due to the opportunity I had to provide top of the line noninvasive body treatments, post-op care and knowledge to melanated women weather they decide to go under the knife or not. I also wanted to provide financial freedom for my son and I. Read more>>

Zachary Adkins | Event entertainer & insurance agent

I have always been a very conservative individual. I was with the same company for 17 years. It was just not too long ago where I realized that My success at this job was limited. When you’re a business owner, you you are the reason for the success of your business. If you are determined enough, there really is no limit to your success. Read more>>

Grethel Pavon | Photographer & Filmmaker

When I started my solopreneur adventure I asked myself all the time, what do I love to do and what do I want to do forever and not feeling I am working? It is hard and a bit of a fallacy because being an entrepreneur entails so many things that could easily turn into a disaster. However, I was super motivated and with zero fear. Read more>>

Sara Bannat Bannat | Serial Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, & Community Leader

For over a decade, I poured my heart and soul into startups and larger organizations, helping them build their brands. Yet, a dark reality lurked beneath the surface: toxic workplaces rife with male dominance. Promotions felt out of reach, harassment lingered, and speaking my mind earned me the label “aggressive.” The final blow? A layoff at 40 weeks pregnant. Read more>>

Grayson Keppler | Landscape Construction – General Contractor

I felt unfulfilled and wanted more flexibility and control over my career path. I evaluated my skillset and interests, which led me to recognize that I could leverage my architectural experience to provide consulting services to residential and commercial customers. The thought process was that working for myself, rather than a big corporation, would give me the work-life balance and sense of purpose I’d been missing. Read more>>

Hayley N. Chow | Author, Poet, and Founder of history, undressed

history, undressed started out as a passion project in hopes of finding my community. I worked as a fashion stylist for both editorial and runway for over a decade, and my time in the industry played a key role in what propelled me to eventually build my brand. Read more>>

Kaela Mitchell | Professional Makeup Artist

I decided to start my brand because I have a genuine passion to help others enhance their love for beauty. Everyone enjoys to look good, and I tend to engage people’s interest in this very thing! Read more>>