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.

Dale Volpe & Katy Rowley | Founders of Fox Holt, A sustainable Luxury Fashion Website

We launched Fox Holt now because of a deeply rooted belief that what we purchase directly impacts our future, the future for our children… and beyond. We are ALL in a race against the environmental clock. This is how we are doing our part to slow that race. The designers/artisans we represent are part of the ever-growing, important slow fashion and lifestyle movement, creating pieces with ethical practices in mind. These practices will change our world for the better and we need that change RIGHT NOW. Our hope is to inspire people to change their shopping mindset; to invest in quality pieces that will be cherished and to look towards craftsmanship instead of mass production. We have discovered an incredible network of amazing humans who are positively impacting and changing the world. We want to grow that network and let them shine. What they are creating deserves our support, space in our homes, and to be worn on our bodies. We want to help create real change. Read more>>

Casey Escario | Certified Personal Trainer & Texas A&M Graduate

In February 2020, my one-week spring break turned into quarantine with an undefined end date. I went from constantly being on the move between school, work, and the gym.. to watching Netflix and eating junk food all day everyday. My mental and physical health was on a rapid decline. After weeks of being stuck in my room, I decided that being inactive and sluggish was not for me. I began doing consistent at-home or outdoor workouts and cooking healthy meals. In just a couple months, I experienced a dramatic change to my body and health as I had an immense amount of time to focus on myself. I started a fitness page in hopes of encouraging others to get active in the comfort of their homes or at a nearby park. Being isolated at home was not the easiest task in the world for the majority of us, especially when we were stripped of our normal, busy life. Read more>>

Alicia Pearce | Creator of Leo + June Sensory Play

Leo + June came one day in the whirlwind year, 2020. We had a family birthday party to attend. I knew that there were many days ahead where home entertainment would play a vital role in survival for our toddler cousin and his mommy. Haha! In all honesty, I truly wanted to make a personalized gift that I thought might keep him busy learning and communicating. After the completion of this gift, my wheels started turning and my husband started asking questions like “Do you think other people would want something like this?”. Our children love messy play and as an educator, I know how important this kind of play is for their growth and development. I got online and started searching for quality products to equip each kit in order to maximize engagement and invite a desire to explore textures, smells, colors, and sounds. With his encouragement and my racing mind, Leo + June stuck around and took off. Read more>>

Rico & Altovia McNeal | Relationship & Financial Literacy Coaches

We are the founders of Love Our Love LLC, Love Our Love is a couples company, Our goal is to empower couples by teaching them affective ways to keep their relationship healthy and happy. The reason we launched Love Our Love, was to give couples a positive circle, to be surrounded with. A group of like minded people who can relate with the challenges marriage and relationship face before marriage. The divorce rates are high in our communities, It was important for us to create a platform that would help save marriages and encourage singles to date with a purpose. Read more>>

Lahoma Dade | Event Producer, Consultant, & Wedding Planner

When I started my business, I was terrified. If I am honest, I am still terrified but if I am going to bet on anyone, I may as well bet on myself. I started a business because I realize that other people were getting paid for the support and services I was offering for free. The turning point for me came when I helped a friend from church with her wedding for more than a year. She was elated and gave me the biggest hug and said “God Bless You,” but then turned to the DJ gave him a $3,000 check. That’s the moment I realized that I should start charging for the work that I do. I didn’t jump into entrepreneurship right away, I started with building my business while working my full-time job, once my side hustle started being more lucrative than my day job, I made the leap!. Read more>>

Jason Bahamundi | Endurance Sports Enthusiast & Coffee Lover

I have a passion for endurance sports along with a desire to help people exceed in those sports. I know first hand how daunting it can be to show up to a group ride or run, to your first event or even to register for an event. By starting this business, I wanted to show that getting started in endurance sports doesn’t have to be intimidating. We all started somewhere and by telling those stories, others can see that the athlete who is 5 years into these sports didn’t magically appear. There was a lot that went into making the decisions to get started. I also wanted to provide a platform for athletes that I did not see represented in media or at the start lines. Women, people of color, disabled of physically challenged and LGBT!+ athlete will have an opportunity to tell their story on our pages and on our website. This will provide inspiration and motivation for others to see and say to themselves: if they can do it, so can I. Read more>>

Ricky Watts | Visual Artist

I spent 10 years working dead-end jobs making other people money while daydreaming of doing my own thing. I thought about working for myself everyday and began making the steps in that direction. Early 2009, the height of the recession. What a terrible time to start a business. But I was ready. I had paid down all my debt, saved a little money to float me for a few months and minimized as many bills as I could. In my mind, I could always go back to working for someone else if I didn’t make it on my own. So I made the leap and became a freelance graphic designer and artist. Making art was always the end game but the design work floated me for the first couple years until the art picked up more demand. Working for myself immediately felt right. Sure, I wasn’t making as much but I learned to live on less and did whatever I could to reduce expenses. I did what it took to ride out the first couple years of very little income and eventually, through hard work and determination, I grew my one-man-show into something I can survive on. Read more>>

Jae Jerrols | Creative and Owner, Pretty Productivity

At the inception of my business my thought process was “let me turn something I’m good at and love to do into a side hustle that can generate some extra cash flow”. Now I can say the reason I (actively) started my business was for my mental health. It was the best choice for me to start fresh and heal from an abundance of turbulence in my life and my mental state. I used to say “I don’t ever want to be a “full on” entrepreneur” because I thought it was an all encompassing life I wasn’t willing to commit to, but after a plethora of perspective shifting experiences and my amazing therapist, I realized I was already living one; it just didn’t serve me anymore. So after an eight year career in education, I reluctantly jumped off the diving board into my healing and found entrepreneurship at it’s depth, then used it push me back into myself FOR myself; and that’s how Pretty Productivity was reborn into the small business it is today. Read more>>

Carla Tanner | Owner of Garbz Boutique & Pharmacist

My thought process behind starting my own business was about having multiple sources of income. I have always been a self starter and very imaginative and was always really good at coming up with creative ideas to make additional income. It came to a point in my life where I had to create something sustainable that I can have even when my main career was in a decline. Many people don’t know but I’m a licensed Pharmacist in the state of Texas. I worked for 7 years until the birth of my son in 2017, my husband and I relocated to Jacksonville, FL for his job and I was basically a stay at home mom. We relocated back to Texas After about a year and a half because I was ready to get back into the workforce but I noticed the jobs in Pharmacy were few and far in between and the jobs that were available were paying less than the usual market rate that I had become accustomed to. The Pharmacy world had become really saturated due to the surge of pharmacy schools opening everywhere causing a surplus of pharmacist especially in big Metropolitan cities like DFW. Read more>>

John Winters | Photographer and Self-Employment Genius

I always had a hard time being motivated when working for someone else. Nothing seemed to satisfy my desire to create and manage things the way I thought would work well. Read more>>

Sharon Bridges | Fine Art Agent/Art Curator

I started bridges: art+ heart with a mission to change the paradigm of art collecting and make it more about art connecting. Since Bridges is my last name, bridges: art + heart made sense because it’s a double entendre!. Read more>>

Mary Joe Uribe | Boutique Owner & Entrepreneur

I’ve always wanted to start or have my own brick and mortar store front. As far as what I wanted I had no clue. I either wanted a salon, restaurant or a bar, and truthfully I was mentally exhausted! I would research constantly what licenses and permits I needed, or “how to” questions. There were many times I wanted to throw in the towel! But the more research I did the more knowledge I gained in the entrepreneur industry. Really my thought process began after I did my research and that’s when the real questions to myself started becoming my reality. “Am I going to profit?” “How many Employees do I need?” “Will I have enough to pay my employees?” “Can I actually make it in the retail industry?” “Will I bring in enough money to take care of my family?” To be truthful the list goes on and on! But after praying on it for a bit I began to actually start taking those leaps to get closer to starting my business and it paid off in the end. I opened a Boutique Salon so I could make double the income. Read more>>

Nash Bayoud | Designer and Co-Founder of Turning Tides

My partner, Taylor, and I were shopping online for eco friendly clothing a few years ago. Everything we found looked like…oatmeal. The endlessly bland colors and designs we kept finding inspired us to create what we wanted to see in the world: fun & colorful fashion that did not harm the planet and the people on it. Read more>>

Kendra Brooks | Specializing in Textiles and Handmade Quilts

I had been working at the World Trade Center in an apparel showroom, once I had my daughter I stepped back due to the long hours. Once my daughter was older and in school, I had that itch to get back in the business. This time I was more inspired by home interiors and the coziness and comfort of being at home. My husbands business partner is from India and he brought us a few quilts back from a recent trip. We used them everyday and took them everywhere (machine wash and dry!) Our friends were wanting them and so we got a few more, then their friends wanted them so we got a few more…. I then decided everyone needed them! I found a great group of girls, some I knew from my showroom days and we started having home pop up shops and the word started to get out. I then got my website up and running and started setting up more shows and wholesaling to stores. It is so fun and exciting when new opportunities are presented and you have the chance to jump on them!. Read more>>

Bria Evans | Fashion Designer + Blogger

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit even while working for other companies. So it was honestly a no-brainer when I was given the opportunity to full-time with my business (thank you COVID). I always knew that I wanted to be a clothing designer, but I always thought it had to be an “either/or” or a “not at all” decision. Either I was going to be a customs designer OR I was going to have my clothing manufactured; and now my business is a combination of both. I’m very thankful that I didn’t allow my “absolutes” to take me off the course of pursuing my dreams. Read more>>

Alexandria White | Wellness Coach

CoFit was born out of my desire to provide a solution for busy people who want to prioritize their health and fitness. As someone with experience in cooking as a Chef, nutrition and now exercise science I am able provide valuable information, strategy and services that allow people to accomplish their wellness goals. When embarking on any new journey sometimes it can be difficult to figure out where to start, who and what information to trust, and how it can fit into your already busy schedule. People need someone who can not only be a resource for trustworthy information but who is also an approachable affordable resource and that’s what you get at CoFit. Read more>>

Laura Qureshi | Founder & CEO, Mother of 5

ZAAZEY®️ mission is to produce the world’s finest, early harvest, cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil by the hands of strong and diverse women around the world. We implement equal pay for women while being socially responsible for Mother Earth. ZAAZEY®️’s pickers/rakers/packers are mostly mom’s that need an opportunity to have their voices heard. ZAAZEY®️ strives to incorporate high ethical standards and socially responsible business practices to produce the finest quality extra virgin olive oil in the world while promoting sustainable agriculture, enhanced return on investments for our farmers, and an honest transparent and open relationship with our growers. Read more>>

Elnora Foggy | Master Cosmetologist & Owner of Herphoria Collection

My thought process behind starting my business was that I was always passionate about doing hair and everything surrounding it. I was a hair stylist before I was a business owner . When clients started asking me about different hair and products to use, I decided to create my own brand with what they were asking for. I thought to myself, why keep referring them to other companies when I can create my own for them?. Read more>>

Carlos Aguilar | Writer & Producer & Chief High Priest

Coffee is one of the few products that people interact with daily, ritualistically. Coffee was an opportunity to connect with my target audience in a meaningful way, by providing a great experience (top shelf coffee) rooted in their culture. Read more>>

Carlie Kuban | Nonprofit Development Consultant

One big reason I started my business was to support people who were in similar roles and situations that I found myself in, and be able to use my experience to help them! Having served in a development role at a nonprofit myself, I knew what I needed and what would have been helpful for me. I love being able to connect with other nonprofit development professionals to help them thrive!. Read more>>

Chrissie & Tierra Robinson | Chandler

Our thought process behind starting our business came about during the pandemic after we lost everything in an apartment fire. We wanted to create a business that didn’t feel like work. Something that we could enjoy doing together as mother and daughter. We shared the love of candles so we began researching. We joined groups on Facebook, watched YouTube videos, did testing and more testing and more testing until we came up with the perfect candle for our brand. Read more>>

Anna Crelia | Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder

I wish I could say that I had a business plan and had everything figured out prior to starting Loot Rentals with my sister-in-law, but that would be a vast departure from the truth. In all honesty, there wasn’t much foresight at all because we didn’t start this business to become “business owners” as crazy as that sounds. We started our company because we were passionate about offering something different in the Event Rentals space, something that didn’t exist and there was obvious demand for. When planning my own wedding, I was discouraged by the offerings at hand and decided to collect and buy items that fit within my vision. In my hunt for unique tabletop items and decor, I encountered plenty of others looking for the same thing. By the time of my wedding, my sister in law and I already had a name picked out for our new event rental business and had planned to start marketing ourselves upon my return from my honeymoon. We had planned to do around ten events per month in our first year. Read more>>

Andrea Fofanah | Entrepreneur

I started my business not just for the empowerment of women , but also for advocating great health, encouraging better health choices, which also attributes to feeling good about yourself while looking good at the same time. As someone who grew up in the DFW metroplex, I’ve always been committed to the fitness world and also surrounded with a great deal of positive fitness-minded individuals., which inspired me to launch the Dreafit apparel line that features comfortable workout clothings, waist trainers and resistance bands for women. My goal is to make women feel confident in my apparel while trying to achieve their fitness goals. Read more>>

Amie Adelman | Artist

I officially started Amie Adelman Art after moving to Texas in 2001. It was a way for me to keep track of my inventory and provided me with an income goal. I quickly learned about taxes and how to itemize expenses. Read more>>

Kristina Witmer | Owner

Starting your own business can simultaneously be the most exciting—and terrifying—thing a person can do in their life. The best way to approach this is to be completely honest with yourself. Forget for a minute what your friends and family are telling you. Forget the dreams of making it big. Try to remove as much emotion as possible as it can cloud your judgement and lure you into a false sense of security. Objectively look at the product or service that you’re offering and ask yourself what’s unique or different about it. Why should someone patronize your new business over the current ones already on the market? At Witmer Group, we’re a full-service marketing agency in Dallas. We regularly help potential new business owners assess the market to detemine if there’s room for competition. Our in-house data scientist calls this the “3 tier pillar” of research. Read more>>

Shelly Rosenberg | Inclusive Interior Designer

I am an interior designer, but I am also a mother of three cool kids that all struggle with various learning differences and disabilities. Advocating for them is what drew me into my current specialization: coaching similar families that need extra help to make their home as supportive as it can be. I also consult other designers on how to guide their aging or disabled clients. This new path has brought a much deeper meaning to my work. Narrowing my scope to the client base that inspires me most has made all the difference and I am so happy every day serving them. Acorn & Oak is my passion project and I excited to see it growing, slow and steady. There’s no hurry for me as long as I am helping to heal. Read more>>

Detrich Martin | Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

During the 2000 or 2001 tax season a group of people, all going to the same tax preparer, were audited by the IRS. Everyone of those people had to pay back more money than they received all due to fraudulent tax preparation. These individuals were not aware the tax returns were prepared fraudulently because the tax preparer did not explain Form 1040 to them. He simply asked if the refund amount was sufficient, then submitted. I was one of those individuals. I decided I would assist people as much as possible by educating taxpayers while preparing tax returns. It was risky but I felt it best to be honest with people and allow them to make the best decision for their household. People perish from a lack of knowledge, so why not help. Read more>>

Mary Blake | Clinical Research Associate & Small Business Owner

In April 2020 duing the beginning of the quarantine and now year long pandemic, while watching a local news braodcasting in the community about travel restrictions, and elderly woman being interviewed stated “I just dont know this sciency stuff or know what news is real and what is fake news” That stood out to me becasue being a person with a science educational backgroud as well as working within the profession for many years I didn’t realize than many practices that are common place or concepts that are perceied as simple to us might not be understood as clearly for many individuals. So I saw a huge divide and sought out a way to bridge the two. Read more>>

Darcy DeBord | Small Business Owner

What first inspired me was seeing the passion that my husband Daniel had for the plumbing trade, and how he used that to mentor and inspire young men. I was fortunate enough to witness a very small part of how those people grew personally and professionally. They took pride in their work and they were amazing at what they did. I wanted in! I knew if we combined my hospitality background and their plumbing expertise, we could create something unique. So that is what we did. We have always had a heart for community and people. As we dreamed about what we wanted our business to look like and what we wanted to stand for, community and people were the heart of those dreams. We wanted to use our influence as small business owners to position ourselves in a way that we could meet and collaborate with other local small business owners to discover gaps in the community and develop plans to fill those gaps. Read more>>

Corrisha Calvert | Purchased items From Me, But Allowed Me To Walk Her Through The Process. Ask Her Questions of What Her and Her Wife Liked Disliked, What The Occasion Was So It Would Best Suit The Mood. She Was Satisfied With Her Purchases and Left a Great Google Review.

I wanted the ability to have a voice within a industry that is marked “taboo.” So many times when we think of a adult pleasure toy store, we automictically think of over sexual individuals, someone extremely kinky etc. Yet we never think of the people that are in relationship that are looking of ways to spice up the intimacy within their relationships, women that have yet to find their own voices to be vocal with their partners about how they liked to be pleased, also women that have never taken time to understand their own bodies but set high expectations on their significant other to please them. No one can please you, if you don’t understand how you like your body to be pleased. Singles that take a stance and don’t want to be sexual active in a sense but still want to create their own sexual love heaven for themselves. That is why I started a pleasure toy store, not only to give all walks of life ways to please but also believe that fulfilling your sexual desires and pleasures is an important self-affirmation and overall great self-balance. Read more>>

Deezil Greezil | Professional Comedian & Entrepreneur

It’s all about Escaping The Cubicle. I just want to own my own time and not be at the mercy of corporate America concerning my resources. A career or job is not willable to my children, but a LLC is. When it comes to any business it should be about filling a void or solving a problem. My business is about making people smile through the art of comedy. Read more>>

Evan Smith | Dj/ Engineer

My thought process behind starting my own business is what does the customer want. And how can I bring Christ into the mix of everything that I do. Read more>>

Ama Moore | Cosmetic Guru & Spiritualist

Around the age of 12 I went through a traumatic experience which changed me life forever, that experience led me to self harm. From the age of 12-24 I cut, I know this isn’t the best way to start my story but this is how everything happened. What I went through ruined my self esteem and I had multiple scars to prove it. I started wearing make-up to try and hide the fact that I was insecure and as well as to cover my scars. Back in 2017 I came up with the idea to start my own cosmetics line, however I didn’t know where to start or what to name it. After brainstorming and thinking of all the things I’ve been through (multiple suicide attempts and self harm) I came up with Mawusi Cosmetics. Mawusi is my middle name which is Ghanaian and means “in the hands of God” looking back on my life I realized that God has helped me through everything I’ve been through and that’s why I chose to self name my brand. Read more>>

Tania Hussain | Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Social Media Marketing, Philanthropist,

“Basically Steve Wozniak and I invented the Apple because we wanted a personal computer. Not only couldn’t we afford the computers that were on the market, those computers were impractical for us to use. We needed a Volkswagen.” Steve Jobs said in an interview when talking about why he started Apple. I wanted to provide business owners with Volkswagen. When doing research into companies that provided social media marketing there was a vast chasm between those that were providing services at a premium and those that were volume-based. I wanted Blue Seed Solutions to provide personalized boutique service to small and medium-sized businesses to fill the gap in our industry. I’m happy to say that we are doing just that! We take the time to sit down with the client, work out a marketing strategy and work towards their goals. Read more>>

Alpa sharma | Co Owner of Wize Academy of Frisco/ Plano and a Lead Instructor

My thought process behind starting my business was “I love education and I love teaching kids. I have been involved with community and kids development programs in various geographies. Professionally and academically trained in Computer Science (Bachelor of Science) and mathematics. Starting my own franchise with Wize Academy was the best decision ever. My Bussiness have been focusing on bringing the power of fun, logic, creativity to develop future leaders in the growing and exciting world of coding and robotics. Personally, I have a passion for working with kids and bringing about their holistic development which is both reliable and practical. Read more>>

Felicia and Caleb Butler | CEOs of Son Kissed Products

Actually my 7 year son pitched the idea one night while sitting on the sofa. We talked about it. Then I started researching. His desire was to start his lip balm line so he could purchase a “mansion for us”. Read more>>

Braunda Smith | Chef/Owner

I knew that I always wanted to be a business owner. I had ideas all over the place on what that might be. I believe you have to have an entrepreneurial spirit to be a business owner and add a dash of insanity to that to be a Food & Beverage business owner. My husband and I had been in the service industry and grown to the point we were busting at the seams to do our own project. We knew we wanted a female forward “barstauraunt” that was bar centric but also very chef driven. When we started the Lucy Cooper’s journey we decided together to really give the public something that isn’t really seen in the bar industry and that was to quote my sweet husband, “You are marketable honey!” In that moment Lucy was born and we put a name to the face of our company. What I wanted was a place that was for everyone and I think we did that well. To fully answer your question though, the thought process behind starting my own business was pretty straight forward. Read more>

Niki Williams | Owner of Niki Shaw Boutique & Personal Stylist

The thought process behind starting my business was helping women find their voice and confidence through personal style and clothing. I truly wanted women to be able to find and express her true self through the medium of personal style and clothing. Read more>>