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.

Kimberly Kirt | Digital Marketing Strategist

I have always been driven by helping people and having a positive impact on others’ lives. I knew that in owning my own business, I would have full control over how well we served our clients – controlling the results they received and changes in their businesses. Second, I had a strong desire to travel – home to see my family and around the world – without having to worry about limited PTO days. So, I gave myself the ability to work and help people from anywhere! Read more>>

Keith Booth | Analyst, Entrepreneur, and Investor

I’ve always wanted to come up with a way to give back to the community and to develop generational wealth. Having a business meant I could create jobs for the people, and also establish revenue for myself and surrounding communities. After assessing my skills, I picked skills and qualities that I had, and that helped me ultimately come up with the type of business. Read more>>

Summer Smith | Small Business Owner/ CPR + 1st Aid Instructor/ Paralegal

I have worked in corporate America since I was 18 years old and when I started my business I had been laid off 3 different times. It was so frustrating to me to have to rely on my savings and unemployment to survive after I had been laid off. Once I got laid off that 3rd time, I had it set in my mind that I would no longer rely on anyone else to support myself and my family. I would never work for anyone ever again if I had it my way. It was at that time that I decided I would create my own income and not have to worry about being laid off ever again. Read more>>

Vanditha Mohan | Dancer & Portfolio manager

Having trained in Bharathnatyam (Traditional Indian classical dance ) for the last 20 years, I wanted to give back to the community. There is never a perfect time- So when i decided to start, my only motivation was to train my students in the right direction. I am very grateful to all my gurus who have been a pillar of support through out my dance education. I felt the need and duty-bound to transfer this art to the next generation with utmost sincerity. Read more>>

Matthew Newman | Serial Entrepreneur & Author

Whew! This is a loaded question, but I will do my best to answer this as best as possible. I am tremendously blessed to be the owner of several businesses; a 7-figure experiential marketing staffing agency (The Brand Pillars), real estate development company that now houses a physical coworking space (All In Coworking of Inglewood), and a residential & commercial lawn maintenance company (My Lawn Mower & Me). All started with a void in the market that I recognized. However, for the sake of this interview, I will chat through my most recent tech startup, Virtual Coworking.Community. Social distancing is a deadly concept for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and countless types of organizations. Read more>>

Shureka Ward | Shureka Ward | Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Creative

I’m convinced that at some point, we’ve all thought about being in total control of ourselves, not necessarily having to answer to anyone. At the time I initially entertained the idea of blogging, I wasn’t necessarily thinking of it as a lucrative field/profession. I only knew I loved to share fashion and beauty related content with others and blogging was a great way to do just that. Now that I have far more insight than I did before embarking on this journey, the business side of being a creative is what’s keeping me intrigued. My desire to continue building what I’ve started with Southern City Lights is something I’m extremely excited about! Read more>>

Sydney Danielle | Candle Maker, Creator & Empath

My passion is to help others. Years ago my partner suffered from depression and negative thoughts. In my effort to help on her journey towards mental clarity, I studied the benefits of holistic healing, and aromatherapy. Since I had already been making candles as a hobby I figured I could combine the two passions together and create candles that heal and promote peace and mental stability. Read more>>

Danielle Poage | Baker

It really began as a hobby, I had seen so many beautiful cookies that I dove in to see what I could create. When friends and family began asking to order, I shifted in to figuring out how to make this into a successful business venture. Read more>>

Alexandria Pankoke | Chiropractor | Child Birth Educator

Dr. Mama Bird was dreamed up when I was pregnant with my second child. Even though I was already serving a lot of women; I realized I really wanted to dedicate a majority of my energy to helping mothers. Often times as women, we try to do “all the things” but without enough or the right support, we end up pouring from an empty cup. Overwhelm becomes or normal. This is especially true once we have children. There are so many facets and complexities to motherhood and matriesence that often go unspoken, unseen, and underappreciated. When we think of the challenges new moms face, we usually pay most of our attention to the birth, and very little about raising a human. Read more>>

Alicia Nava | Filmmaker

Well, I felt it was essential! I have always wanted to be apart of the making movies and growing up the lack of people who look like me in front and behind the camera was terrifying. As Lily Tomlin quoted, “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was that somebody.”. It is my goal to create safe spaces on screen for all ladies and make sure that all ladies are able to see themselves represented in film the same way that men have had the opportunity for years. It’s time for women to write, star in , and produce diverse and authentic stories. Since I’m so early in the filmmaking process im just “doing it”. Read more>>

Chanda Okafor | Owner & Founder of Jobim Clothing

Growing up I was always looking for something to show how proud I was about my Nigerian culture besides clothing. As an adult, I began making items for myself. First it was a passport cover and then a keychain. The idea was to make small things with ankara (or African print) fabric that can be carried daily. After receiving a handful of compliments, I realized I am not the only one looking for items like these. So Jobim Clothing was created to help everyone show their love for African culture in a variety of ways. Read more>>

Alexis Shankle | Eyelash Tech

My thought process behind starting my own business was challenging in a way only because, I had so much to lose or gain. What I mean by lose is that, I have my family, my home and my future business depending on me to be successful. When starting your own business you have so much to put on the line because, it’s your job, your place of employment and your only income. What I meant by gain is that, it will all workout. I can go far with this, this will be the job I love to do and the job that will make me successful for not just me personally or my business but for my household. I had the faith that God installed in me and I went for it. Read more>>

Brandi (BMichavery) Jones | The Dallas Hope Dealer™ -Accountability Mentor

When I first began my business I didn’t even think of it as one. I just needed a space for release & through my own desire to express my thoughts, feelings, fears or experiences that I did not feel were easily translated or wouldn’t be easily understood, I began to connect with other’s who felt the space I had created for myself gave them a place to express as well. I’ve alway’s been someone who flows to the beat of my own drum per-say. I’ve never been one to try to fit in or desire to be apart of any particular crowd, because honestly when you are moving in authenticity you rarely see a mirror that reflects the truth of what that is in someone else. Read more>>

Whitney Barber | Digital Marketing & Brand Manager

My thought process behind starting my own business revolves around my aspirations in life, such as traveling, helping children around the world, and giving my future children a better life. I want them to look at life with no boundaries knowing that their mom has them covered financially. I want to use the success of all of my businesses to create events and fundraisers that will help stop hunger and work with children in foster care. I want to wake up everyday knowing I’m not just working to work, but that by doing what I love, I am helping those in need and showing my children the benefits of hard work. Read more>>

Alissa Mersman | CEO of Feroce Hair

I’m extremely passionate about hair as well as self love and really wanted to share that with women all over the world. I’ve been working with hair for 10 years and I noticed that in a saturated market so many woman were still struggling with hair. I want to make sure every woman looks on the outside as beautiful as they are on the inside! Read more>>

Kristen Locke | Personal Chef/Caterer

Owning my own business was a decision to jump, and the parachute will open. It was a sink or swim moment. A total leap of faith in something bigger than me! I have no regrets in my decision, and I am honored to be a small business owner, Personal Chef, and Caterer. Read more>>

Emily Stringfellow Mariah Ferrell | Co-Owners & Cosmetologists

Emily and I met at the beginning of our cosmetology careers, working at a reputable salon as apprentices. We immediately connected and a friendship blossomed. We quickly began to imagine what life would be like if we had our own salon and how we would brand it. After a few years of building relationships with our clients, and saying yes to any opportunities that came about, we felt ready to make the jump. We noticed a need for cleaner options when it came to hair color and hair care. That was a huge motivator for starting our business Prism Hair Loft. Read more>>