Thinking through whether to start a business – whether to take the risk, whether to go out on your own – isn’t easy. So we asked some entrepreneurs we admire to tell us about how they thought through the process of starting a business.

Hilary Barnett | Co-Owner of Broken & Healed

My husband Blake and I have always had a desire to do something together and incorporate our testimony and what the Lord has done in our lives both individually and in our marriage. We wanted to encourage people in the hope and restoration we had experienced while being able to provide for our family. As we continued to learn and live with our other half, the Lord began to blend our desire with theirs and so we began to seek out this journey together as a family of 7. Read more>>

J Melissa Andrade | Photographer

I think I have a very relatable story to most moms. I was going to school to be an engineer when I found out I was pregnant. I tired to push forward with school full time, working 40+ hours a week and being a new mom and wife but it became very difficult for me. I started slacking in every aspect. I had taken pictures for family and friends before so when I found out I was pregnant a second time a year later I decided I needed to focus on something that would give me the flexibility my family was needing from me. Read more>>

Courtney Harrington | CEO & Full-time Student

As most people you ask would say, I wanted to be my own boss. Work when I want, do what I want, even take a vacation when I want. For the longest time my motivation to start my own business, was me. When I started to actually see and listen to the needs and frustrations of my friends, family, and the customer base as a whole is when my motivation became selfless, There are so many beautiful people out there that feel excluded. Wether it’s due to their style preferences, body weight, orientation, lifestyle, etc… Read more>>

Benjamin Lenzen | Founder

BEN: Like many during the pandemic, my friends and I looked inward and decided that we should spend this newfound free time in lockdown more productively. The four of us have backgrounds in various engineering disciplines, which helped to narrow our search. Amazingly, we all agreed on drones as a technology to explore during our time together. After iterating through various specialized functions, we arrived at general drone services as nearly every industry can use drones in some way to elevate their operations and its potential is limitless. Read more>>

Anna Childress | Hair Stylist & Salon Owner

My thought process throughout starting my own salon was simply the word “different”. I didn’t want my clients to walk into my salon and feel like they were walking into any other salon. I wanted my clients to have an elevated experience the minute they walked in until the minute they left! I wanted their experience with me to be exceptional, over-the-top, memorable and most importantly, different. Read more>>

Janae Washington | Master Stylist

I began seeking employment before I was of legal age to even get a job. I had already called around speaking to managers to see who all were hiring before my 16th birthday. Immediately after my birthday I began applying. At this time I was a Junior in high school. I couldn’t seem to get a job anywhere, which was frustrating. It was rejection after rejection. Not enough experience, they no longer had positions open, or my school hours didn’t work for them. Read more>>

Teresa Elliott | Respiratory Therapist and Color Street Stylist

I am a Color Street stylist by day, and a registered respiratory therapist by night. I have worked nights as an RT for the last eight years, and I love my job! The mental and emotional impact of COVID over the last two years, however, took a toll on me. I realized I needed something fun and positive to keep me busy during my time off between shifts. My faith, talking to a counselor, the focus of working my “side hustle”, and promoting the business by being creative on social media have all helped to keep me balanced in this unprecedented time in health care. Read more>>

Chyna Russell | Dollhouse Cosmetics CEO

My thought process behind starting my business is solely because there was a lack of products for women of color Read more>>

Dalton Cooper | Wakeboarding Instructor

I wanted to start a business that reflected a piece of who I am today. Wakeboarding has become a big part of my life during the past 10 years. Those 10 years include countless hours of riding, competitions, and teaching. The sport casually came into my life when I was younger, but it wasn’t until 2012-2013 during my freshman year of college that I really fell in love with the sport. I grew up playing sports my entire life, but they were always the common sports that most people do – baseball, football, basketball, etc. Read more>>

Tyenesha Sloan | Licensed Massage Therapist and Owner of Sole Clinique

As a newbie to the massage therapy industry, I mainly wanted to focus on educating people on the benefits of massage therapy. I knew the best way to do that was to create the avenue that allowed me to do that in the way I wanted, on my own schedule. From the beginning, I never wanted to work for anyone else, even though circumstances at times forced me into it. I’ve had some really great experiences working for spas and massage facilities, but I’ve always wanted to have my own place. Read more>>

Camille Lee | Founder, WearEmOut Tees

If you would have asked me just a few years ago if I wanted to own my own business, the answer would have been a resounding NO. I’m not one of those amazing people who always knew that one day – they’d be their own boss. In fact – I had no desire for that life at all. To be honest, I didn’t know many entrepreneurs at the time and the whole premise behind running all aspects of your own company just seemed like way too much of an undertaking. Besides, unless you plan to go this route specifically, traditional school curricula in the U.S. Read more>>

Tamika Chambers | Anti racist Raja yoga instructor

The thought process behind starting my yoga business was inclusion. I wanted to provide a safe space where anyone could enter and feel comfortable enough to practice yoga. Folks go through enough outside of the studio/class setting and need a space to feel free to be exactly who they are in their bodies. Read more>>

Michelle Hoang | Owner, Photographer & Videographer

People used to call me naive when I said I’d find a job that I loved. And to a certain extent, I probably am. Everyone has different passions, different skills and use-cases. Never been one to compromise my own happiness for the sake of a job. What began as a hobby sprung as a business. Advice to my younger generation: be unshakeable in your pursuit, and you’ll always be successful. What defines success is always up to you. As I recognized my own talent, along with others commending me, I redirected my passion into my business. Read more>>

Chino Lucci | Owner and CEO of Poseidon’s Neptune

My thought process behind starting my own business was what could I offer to the people that would kind of stand out from the norm. What is something I could call mine that could stand the test of time and bring wealth for generations after me. Read more>>

Shontrice Maloney | Reading Tutor

As an educator, I have always strived to do my best to help students reach their full academic potential. With the onset of the pandemic and school closures across the nation, I knew a decline in academic achievement would surely follow. When national reports were released in January of 2021, student underachievement was substantially lower than I had anticipated. As I stared at the dismal numbers, I knew that I wanted to do more to help fill the gaps teachers simply could not alone. Read more>>

Amber Anderson | Social Media Influencer & Business Owner

I had worked in corporate America for nearly 10 years working on national brands with million dollar budgets. The work at times was stressful and sometimes it was fun. Regardless of what I did, I was able to find meaning in the work. Then, when my husband and I decided we would launch a Chiropractic clinic it was great because I was able to leverage so many things I had learned through the years from working for others into our own business and building our own brand. Read more>>

John DeVivo | The farmer and the chef

Entrepreneurship. To grow something from the ground up. Leading people to a common goal which was created by passion and desire. Read more>>

Lisa Mihelich | Teacher/Coach/Photographer

Everyone loves pictures and pictures can never go out of business. I want to be that person that uses their love for photography to build the business, not solely doing this for income. Photographers are capable of charging an arm and a leg which causes some families to not be able to indulge in them. I wanted to be an affordable photographer that was capable of making memories for families of all income. I love capturing the sweetest memories in my life and love looking back on pictures and I want to make sure everyone gets that same opportunity. Read more>>

Calista Elizondo | Scratch Baker | Ice Skater | Fundraiser

I started baking seven years ago when I was 10. You can say that I was inspired to bake after watching Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network. I even went through several rounds of auditions/interviews for season 3 of Kids Baking Championship on Food Network. I founded Calista Grace Bakes, a DFW-based cottage bakery, in February 2021 to share my love of baking with others and to continue honing my skills. In addition, my dessert shop is committed to creating baked from scratch desserts. Read more>>