We reached out to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and asked them to think back and tell us about how they decided to start a business. Check out their responses below.


Ray Allen | American Designer

Actually it was more than one reason behind starting the company. But the main reason was not wanting to work for anyone but myself. Read more>>

Derrick Thomas | XL American Bully Breeder

I would say my thought process behind starting my own business was simple but yet complicated at the same time. The first question I had to ask myself is, what is something that I genuinely love and am passionate about that could also be profitable? What is something that would put smiles on other people’s faces and could also bring joy to them and their families for years to come? I’ve always loved the bully breed and watched as it grew over the years, and then it hit me. Why not start a kennel where I can breed my most beloved dog breed, which not only allows me to achieve my goals of becoming an advocate but also being hands-on with the process from start to finish. Read more>>

Katie Pijanowski | Anti-Diet & Body Image Coach

After 3 years in the health and fitness space as a trainer, I saw how so many people, myself included, were using exercise to punish themselves for what they ate and how they would silence their bodies call for rest or more food by waving their “willpower” flag. What was often praised in that space also often led to binge eating after restriction or burnout from exercise. In 2019, I decided to create a new avenue that was more holistic in helping clients achieve overall wellbeing. What I have learned is that fitness and health is so much more complex than just how we move and what we eat. Read more>>

Dr. Kimberly Wilson | Organizational Psychologist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Author, Speaker, & Executive Coach

Experiencing the disjointed experience of being in mental health agency yet serving in a dysfunctional workplace cultures convinced me that this could be done in a better way. I witnessed myself and others giving and serving way beyond their emotional and physical capacity. Staff were fried as they tried to provide superior and ethical services to customers and have a life. This inspired me to create an agency in honor of my grandmother’s legacy to help 5500 women overcome burnout and transform the workplace culture of 100 companies. I wanted to serve people in a way that cut through the red tape and prying eyes of insurance companies. I didn’t want them to have to worry about the impact of receiving a diagnosis, asking for permission to get support, or wondering if they were covered. I wanted to work through a model of wellness rather than disease. Read more>>

Chermanda Frazier | Interior Design

I started my company (formally known as Rooms by Mandy) in 2016. At the time, I was a teacher and wanted to spend my summer break doing something I enjoyed. Initially, my business was nothing but a hobby. I made very little profit, but my goal was to perfect my crafting skills and practice designing spaces to fit the needs and functionality in homes. I wanted to take away the overwhelming concept of decorating an entire space by chunking it into bite size pieces that were more manageable for homeowners. Read more>>

Endria Hopkins | Founder & CEO of Encore Scents

My thought process behind starting Encore Scents was to create new and high quality scents for candle lovers to experience. I love how therapeutic scents are and I wanted a variety to choose from. When shopping for candles it seemed that every brand offered the same or very similar scents with few options. That motivated me to learn how to make candles and create my own fragrance recipes. I began sharing and gifting the candles to others and I received requests for more. That was the beginning of Encore Scents. Read more>>

Maria Rodriguez | Balloon Artist

My thought process on starting my own business was when the pandemic was happening last year. My kids had to stay home and so did I, which meant that we had to be home on lockdown 24/7 and have precaution if we went out. My girls and I started feeling pretty alone and very bored at home all the time. So my little girls birthday was right around the corner, so I started looking around for decorations and stuff. Out of nowhere I had seen this bouquet of the little mermaid which was the theme of the birthday party. I had asked how much the bouquet was, and when they told me the price I was like ” wow so much money for this ? I bet I can do this on my own !” Read more>>

Ciara Hunter | Licensed Cosmetologist

My thought process behind starting my own business was simple. I wanted to be able to do something that I love everyday. I also, wanted to have the freedom that comes along with being an entrepreneur. I am a single mother I have a daughter that I would love to leave a legacy. Read more>>

Rick Jr Villanueva | Small business owner & Entrepreneur

When I decided to start my very own business, it wasn’t because i had planned well and thought this through very well. I did it because a thought came, that became an idea, and I just started ordering things that came to mind. At the time I was doing this, it had been a year since the mask mandate so like everyone else, I was at a place where I didn’t really have much to do, and a relatives 15 celebration was going to be able to happen so I got onboard with helping my aunt. I put my all into creating a photobooth for that event and really that is what helped me get prepared as far as the fun part goes. I started also getting ideas from watching other businesses that do the same to get ideas, and I just molded it into what I wanted. Read more>>

Kim Jackson | Owner of Cleaning Pros Group, LLC, a professional residential house cleaning service

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always known I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I’ve never liked the idea of someone else controlling everything I do. And I know employers don’t control everything but they do have a lot of power over you. What time you wake up to get started, when you go to lunch, how long you can be gone, when you can take off, whether you can talk on your phone or not, it was just too much for me. Read more>>

Susana Cruz | Outdoor Educator

Nature was not for people from my hood. It was for others who didn’t resemble us. Fortunately, my educator parents took us often to Chickasaw National Recreation Area and to visit family in a remote town in San Salvador, Zacatecas, Mexico. These places initially sparked my interest in nature. In elementary school, I received a scholarship to attend Science Day camp at the Natural History Museum in Fair Park. Only I noticed something; I was the only Mexican American kid present. This has been a reoccurring theme of my life; being the token person of color. Playing tennis growing up in Texas, moving to Missouri for college, and working in camps only continued this reality of me being one of the only Latinas represented at any given moment. Pushing my feelings aside for decades because people called me “sensitive” for expressing myself about racial aggressions people were so comfortable with verbalizing, I quietly let it accumulate into a mountain of unresolved moments. Read more>>

Jennifer Armstrong L.E. | Owner of Girl Talk Beauty Bar & Raja Botanicals

The thought process behind starting Raja Botanicals and Girl Talk Beauty Bar started 11 years ago when i became a Esthetician. I started working at a organic day spa as a lead Esthetician where i realized i wanted to open my own spa. I had a desire to help others and i wanted to do it my way. It took me about two years of dreaming before i took that leap of faith and started both my brands. Being able to do what i love everyday while helping others was my goal. Read more>>

Matt & Jacqueline Marciante | Founders of Marciante and Company.

We both felt like we had more to contribute, both strategically and creatively, than what we were able to exercise in our corporate roles. We also both had a passion for fashion and footwear, and saw an opportunity in that space to create a little more customer conscious brand that focused on quality and craftsmanship without price gouging with luxury brand names. Those two main elements kind of came together at just the right time, and we started working on it. In a few short months, Marciante and Company was born! Read more>>

Nikki Hunter | Talent agent

I want to be resourceful to others. Help other achieve their goals and gain confidence Read more>>