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.

Pedro De Leon | Digital Creator | Artist

I wanted to start a brand that was based around the culture that I grew up with in Dallas, Texas. The urban views, the art, and hustle of the city. I believe in building not just a company but a brand that could one day help me change the world in a positive manner; while at the same time use the skills I’ve attained in graphic design to help people represent themselves and their companies. Read more>>

Jolie Jones | Photographer & Entrepreneur

When I started photography, I never believed that I would be running a successful photography business at seventeen years old. It started out as a hobby and before I knew it, I was creating invoices and contracts. Read more>>

Christie Vanover | owner and pitmaster of

Honestly, I didn’t realize at first that I was creating a business. I used to cater for friends and family, and they would ask me for the recipes. In 2010, I started a blog at This allowed me to catalog my recipes and provide them quickly to anyone interested. Read more>>

Debbie Latham Magee | Creative Director

It really wasn’t an option. I had created items for friends and family (free) for over 20 years. I was a newlywed I 2007 and my husband said you should start a business or stop creating. He said “you won’t continue to love what you do if you are not getting your worth.” And three years later my business was born. I took the three years to figure out what would work best for me considering I loved my corporate job and had to figure out how to get everything done. Read more>>

Keanna Price | Creative Faith Mentor

She Believed He Could – birthed from a mindset shift! In the world today you’ve seen the infamous quote, “She believed she could, so she did!” Well, I didn’t believe this and I never did a lot of things because of my old way of thinking. As a woman of faith, I begin to spiritually shift this perception into a new declaration! I decreed and declared for women in marriage, motherhood, and ministry to believe again – by embracing the struggles to empower our faith. It has now grown into a movement of women “shifting our mindsets” with a focus on relationships. All starting from a place of change. Read more>>

 Jezzeka Brown | Content Creator at JezzxShaun

Starting to think about how our business and brand JezzxShaun came to be was a lengthy road. All industries can be hard at first, but with our history of creativity and with Shaun’s background in photography and content creation, all we really needed was a clear vision on acquiring our clients. Once we had that vision and a clear mind of what we wanted, it all fell into place. Read more>>

Cherise Kahle | Home and Lifestyle Blogger

2 years ago my husband and I had bought a 30 year old home that we re-designed and renovated. I realized through the process that I had a love for all things home. Read more>>

Simone` Lewis-Pidgeon | Founder & CEO of Design Social Agency LLC & Living Benefits Educator

For several years, I wanted to start a business to increase my stream of income. It can be quite stressful working for someone else, supporting another company, pouring out to their dream, mission and goals and you go unnoticed & unrecognized for the value and quality of work you put in. Read more>>

Cristy Wise | Wedding & Portrait Photographer

Family has always been the most important thing to me. I’ve dedicated the past twenty-two years of my life to staying home with my four children and homeschooling them. Capturing moments with my camera has been a staple in our home. My sweet husband of twenty-four years provided me with a camera to capture all the milestone in our children’s lives. Read more>>

Alex Ewings | Co-Founder & Creative Director at The New Blue Collar

I wanted to create a lifestyle for the everyday working individual centered around elevated and functional staples that would allow one to transition from setting to setting confidently and comfortably. Read more>> 

Audrey El-Khoiry | Owner & Designer of Off The Grid

I always wanted to create something that was mine that I could do anything with, and share with others. During the pandemic I sat down and went through a million things I liked to do, until I got real honest with myself on what I truly love. Read more>>

Monika Watkins | Director | Producer | Lover of Life

Bird Set Free Films was born out of a desire to tell stories that were based in my lived experience. At the time I was with a production company for about 9 years and wanted to have more control over the stories and themes that I was giving my creative energy to. Read more>>

Kendrick Dunn | Marketing Professional

Colorwaave came from observation and my personal experiences. I noticed that there weren’t many safe spaces for queer creatives like me and my friends that have an eclectic vibe an aesthetic environment. After looking further into it, I also noticed how many queer people I knew that were doing dope things out here in the community but there was nothing really highlighting them. Read more>>

Mya Dao | Owner/Stylist

My thought process behind starting my own business is to create a space not only for our salon clients to enjoy our layback yet luxurious guest experience But also for my team of stylists to have a place where they could find a work life balance without sacrificing their financial needs. Read more>>

Angel Butler DIamant | CDC and Owner of Red Thread Divorce Consulting

The thought process behind starting Red Thread Divorce Consulting is very simple- I am a firm believer in the “it takes a village mentality”-I feel that as individuals it is our responsibility to pass on what we learn to others. I believe that if we can make an experience easier for someone by passing on knowledge that we have gained then it is our responsibility to do so. Family court is a very difficult arena to navigate. Read more>>

Marian Diop | CEO of Butler & Badou Portraits

I was working as a corporate business consultant in the insurance and financial services industry. My focus was small business, franchise owners. Most of these owners were men who had a lot of experience and I needed to bring something new to the table for them to trust in what I was saying. Read more>> 

Machelle Jackson | Bayou Comfort Kitchen Owner | Pastor | Author | Entrepreneur

As a mom, a woman, a wife, a child of God, a First Lady, pastor, author, a chef, and a businesswoman. I know the value of hard work and living your truth. Read more>>

Darnesha Ellis | Cosmetologists

I wanted to have something I could call my own and I wanted to make sure that I have an inheritance for my children . Financial freedom is my goal and that’s what I wanted for my children .I always had a desire to do hair and also start my own hair care line to finally see it coming to past is a real blessing for me and I truly thank God for giving me the opportunity to show the world my gifts and talents. Read more>>

Abdoulaye Ab” Ndoye | Athlete / Techpreneur”

Observation. Having a background in Tech, it was easy for me to notice the current needs of the market. Digital Marketing is sought after by everyone. From athletes, influencers to brands, everyone living in this new age has a need of working on their digital footprint. However, most do not know how to go at it, or even where to start. That’s where we come in. We do the hard work so our clients don’t while at the same time making sure they get a better understanding of the whole concept. Read more>>

Ambreen Wajid | Baker & Blogger

Ironically enough, I never really had a sweet tooth as a kid. American desserts proved to be too sweet, always focusing on sugar/appearance over flavor. Then, through creating recipes myself, I was able to bring out flavors like cardamom or coffee and realized the potential desserts truly had! For years I would make my own recipes, write them down on a crumpled piece of paper and try (and fail) to keep it safe. Read more>>

Leah Williams | Professional Organizer

We are two sisters in-law and really love to be together. We have a shared passion to keep things organized and highly functional, and realized that we could start a business doing that for others! Not every hobby needs to be a business, but this brings us great joy and we’ve realized that it brings immense joy to our clients. Read more>>

Sheena Bowman | Owner of Rose Gold Boutique

My thought process when starting my business was to start small, learn from my mistakes, and be consistent. I had absolutely no experience with running a business therefore; I taught myself by trial and error. Read more>>