Readers often email us asking us for advice about new businesses they are thinking about starting and we often find that many of them don’t have a framework for thinking about a more fundamental question: why should or shouldn’t you start a business?

Below, you’ll find how successful entrepreneurs from across the city thought about this very question when they were considering whether to start their businesses.

Carlos Vincent Steele | CEO/Lead Photographer Carlos Vincent Imagery

My thought process was clear. For me it is a way of life doing Photography and doing so as a business. In order to provide for my family, have the freedom I desire for a quality of life I want, Self employment was the best option. Coming from a family of Entrepreneurs it felt as the natural thing to do. Read more>>

Brianne Johnson | Wedding Photographer

I started my business to pursue something that I was passionate about! Photography was always a hobby of mine, but life happened and my camera was collecting dust on the shelf and I wasn’t feeling very self fulfilled. Then one day when a friend asked me to second shoot a wedding for her I still remember how excited I was! It took off from there and I started taking education courses, investing in better gear, photographing anyone who would let me, and taking any photography related job that came my way! Through it all I found my true passion in photographing couples and weddings and I have never looked back! I have learned that the more I put into my business, the more joy I have found in serving my clients! Read more>>

Morgan Jackson | Yoga Instructor (500 RYT) & Nutritionist

Honestly, the thought process behind starting my own business came from feeling like it was time to take control of my professional life. I worked for a studio for 3 years, and while I had some amazing experiences, met some wonderful people, and grew not only as a teacher, but as a student as well — I realized towards the end of my tenure there that it would be in my best interest to shift out that environment. I began to crave more freedom in how I was teaching, how I was connecting with my students, and how my time and energy was being managed. I spent my 20’s working in big corporate jobs for companies like Hostess Brands and Alcon, on teams with 10 – 20 people working side-by-side, day in and day out. After stepping back to have my three children, I re-entered into the world of yoga, again working amongst a team of up to 40 other teachers. Read more>>

Alex Gilbert | Director and Videographer

I’ve always had a love for videography and the art and music scene in Austin. After I had quit my job working in video marketing and advertising, I wanted to focus on helping the art and music scene in Austin grow through video production. Once I got a hold of a cheap video camera and some lenses from a pawn shop, I started asking around for anyone looking for free video production so I could practice my craft while providing a service to a community I wanted to lift up. Eventually, I was comfortable enough to start charging clients and I was able to build a small side hustle out of something I love to do. Read more>>

Margaret Toppin Williamson | Floral Designer

I was actually living in Dallas working in Fashion PR, doing the NY/LA/Dallas circuit but was burnt out. My husband is from New Orleans and we had always talked about moving back but New Orleans is definitely not a location with any strong fashion career options. So when we moved I was looking into career changes and decided to help out in a flower shop during the Valentine’s rush (if you’re thinking about doing that-don’t, it’s insane). I worked for someone else for a period then decided to branch out on my own. My thought process was basically: I have an aesthetic and a concept, I want to share it and I want to work for myself. Working for someone else give you the opportunity to see how people run their businesses and then you can see what you think works and change what you think will work better for you. Read more>>

Kirstie Jones | Owner of Kirstie Marie Photography

I was a finance major in college — ready to enter the world of asset management — when I sat in an upper-level marketing class daydreaming. I had recently purchased a camera and was practicing taking pictures by having my friends model with their horses. During class, I realized that there was a hole in the equine photography market. As a horse lover and equestrian myself, I felt there was a place for a very boutique, high-end photography experience catering to women with their horses. Shortly after graduation, I started my business on the side of my full-time job in finance. Within several years, the side business grew at an unsustainable rate where I had to choose which career I wanted. Needless to say, I went with the job that had me playing with ponies at sunset. Read more>>

Marin Bright | Publisher/editorial director/CEO

I had worked for numerous publishers for years as a general manager and everyone thought I owned the business at each company. My parents were both entrepreneurs, so I never questioned working like I owned it, even as an employee I always went way beyond what was required of my job-like the time I climbed onto the roof to wire the telephones!. I have always made changes during major national upsets, IE: Desert Storm, the San Francisco earthquake, so when 911 hit I was ready to make a move. The crazy thing is, I started my business in travel media 2 months after 911 with the highest sales I had ever had in a launch of a magazine. The hotels were sitting tough against terrorism and many of them did not want to roll over for these attacks. Read more>>

Chris Jones | Owner of Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep

Initially, when I came up with the idea of starting my own company, I wasn’t sure what I wanted the type of business I wanted to start but I knew working in an office setting wasn’t something I could see myself doing for the next 40+ years. Furthermore, I wanted to create something that I built from the ground up and be proud to say “I did that”, Additionally, I liked the idea of having the freedom to move at your own pace while being innovative to create your own business plan for growth. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate enough to see close family and friends create small businesses that have afforded them the luxury to transition into this full time and then pivot into other opportunities because of the success of their small business and correct application of applying their profits from the business. Read more>>

Abbie Alter | Community Leader, Content Creator and Marketing Pro

I had been in the Corporate world for 20 years and had earned the ability to make my own decisions and implement my own ideas without boundaries and bureaucracy. I had moved from London, England with my husband’s job and despite a short contract job, I made a decision not to go back into that world when I moved to Plano, Texas. But it was my role as Mom that led me to start my own business. I noticed that with such a large influx of transplants, like myself, that there was a growing number of Women like myself, with Kids. They lacked solid friendships, a support network and most importantly a channel of advice and recommendations to help them make the right decisions for their family. Read more>>

Trey Chapman | Food Expert

There where so many food bloggers that I wanted to be a food blogger that cold make a real difference in the culinary world. I have over five decades of food experience and I wanted to apply that when writing about food and chefs. Trey’s Chow Down has blossomed not a TV Show, Radio Podcast Show, Website and food segments for major networks promoting creative chefs and delicious dishes. Read more>>

Jan Olavarri | Behrnes Pepper Salts, Owner

We didn’t really have a thought process so I guess it was a complete accident. We started making our salts in the kitchen, giving it to friends and family. It was their validation and praise that led us to the next step, and then the next and then the next- It just kind of snowballed. I know that some people have a plan and work the plan – and although I have a plan- to make a great product and sell it – I still adjust my plan to the validation of my customers which is why I have 6 pepper blends to match people’s preference. Read more>>

Beth Lewis | Family and relationship therapist & Writer

I expanded my small therapy practice of just me into a practice that now houses myself and eleven others. What I started in my living room is now in the Near Southside of FW in 4 small living room type offices and one big gathering office. When i was working out of my home, I was getting overbooked…and I have a strong desire to help people and to offer our community exceptional therapeutic care. So I knew I needed more excellent therapists and more cozy living rooms. And here we are now, 3 years later as the Beth Lewis Therapy Group. I’m very proud of the work, care and compassion we offer our clients. And our offices are super cozy. Read more>>

Bob Bruu | Wood Artist & Sculptor

After 32 years of being in corporate America, I’m making the bold move to finally move on, move away, move towards the dreams I’ve been keeping under wraps for so many years. I just turned 58 and I’m leaping out to focus on my art business. Some may think I’m more than crazy for leaving a really good paying and secure job. Especially with all of the unknowns right now. Maybe I’m nuts, but it’s time. It’s time to take action. Up until now I just haven’t been able to spend the necessary time to continue to refine my work, produce the amount of quality pieces I’d like to get out in front of people in the right way. I’ve been doing custom commission work for the past 5 years, keeping my backlog small intentionally. I was also in a gallery in Vail, CO, but had to pull out because I couldn’t keep inventory fresh. Read more>>

J. Kyle | Educator, Inspirational Speaker & Founder of “LifeGrooming: The Company”

I knew that I wanted to do something that would benefit the core of a person! It started over 10 years ago, in my early barbering days when I had to cut the hair of a man who had a severe developmental disability. I knew because I was worked as a caretaker overnight at the group home he lived in. He was what the industry at that time labeled “extremely behavioral” because if triggered he would become violent. The agency I worked for had training that taught us how to place violent clients in submission holds until the client calmed down, for their protection as well as those around them. However, in that training, they told me there was no “skip method” (the technical name of the takedowns/holds) that would work on this guy because he was too strong and too violent so we had to focus more on the signs that lead up to his behaviors and attempt to redirect him from those points. Read more>>

Marical Mitchell | Sock Lady

I feel like having your own platform gives you a missing piece that establishes your brand, name, and generational wealth in this world and in our community. Being a black women in business is highlighted in our culture because so many people won’t take the risk or use their resources to expand their empire. I use my platform to uplift, inspire and put people in positions to be their own boss, while maximizing on their ideas and growth mindset. Starting your own business doesn’t take a lot of work but it does take a lot of consistency, love, passion, and being able to adapt with the changing times around us. It also takes a clear vision, a little bit of money, some hustle, and networking wherever you go. We live in a right now Era and if you see it say it, write it, and believe it you will succeed in it. Read more>>

Jaana Simula | Marie Kondo of Messy Processes

Could I just say that starting a business was my destiny? I am a third-generation entrepreneur and have always felt like starting and running a business is in my blood. My head has always been filled with business ideas, sometimes so many that I felt I’m eating business ideas for breakfast! I still got three or four new business ideas in my back pocket for my old days, so you can tell I truly love being an entrepreneur and will likely continue the journey till the day I die. I started Mostly Design around what I do best: efficiency and organization. I do to your business what Marie Kondo does to your closet: 1. Remove the things that don’t bring joy = don’t add business value 2. Organize remaining things so that everything is easily found = redesign the processes to be efficient 3. Enjoy the harmony in your surroundings. Read more>>

Johnny Rhodes | Office Solutions Operations Manager

Time is your greatest asset. Being under someone else’s time is the most stressful and anxious feeling I think I get. Starting a business I knew would give me the ability to master my time and take of the invincible ceiling the working world provides, while being able to test my abilities. Read more>>

Trevor Cochran | Creator

I am a terrible employee was my first thought when building my business. I like to work smart and without limitations, meaning without having a ceiling. Read more>>

Kaysha Wilson | Makeup Artist

When I first started my business, I was just a freshman in College needing a job sustain. So I came across Ulta beauty, never heard of it but I knew it was holiday season and I need it to work. While working there it opened up my eyes to the beauty community, and I wanted to be a part to make a difference in woman’s life, so I decided to get my aesthetician license, and expand my knowledge in the world of beauty . After I graduated from beauty school I worked for NYX cosmetics, Bocia , IT cosmetics, Blushington, and have now have expanded my services with freelancing doing house calls for makeup , doing photoshoots , and working on TV and Film. Read more>>

Kelly & Caleb Geer | Sawyer & Custom Woodworker

After working at Tree Shepherds for a few years and seeing all of the trees that get removed and end up chipped up and/or in a landfill, Caleb built a mill to start converting logs into usable slabs. He started out by making small benches coat racks and cutting boards and selling them at local craft fairs. When he started getting requests to build custom pieces for people’s homes, Urban Tree Merchants was born. Caleb worked part-time developing the company while also getting his degree and working part-time with the tree care company, Treehuggers, in Tarrant County. After graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in December of 2018, Caleb took the business full time. For the past few years, we have seen steady growth as Caleb has enhanced his skill set and increased his experience. Read more>>

Dazore Bradford | Chef & Entrepreneur

To be honest there wasn’t really one. It was always something I talked about in passing with my friends here and there, but I hadn’t acted on it. Then last summer I was at a job that I didn’t really like. What everything boiled down to was I began to understand my value and my worth. The place I worked at didn’t have my best interest and I decided I was going to stand up for myself and really own “Nah this ain’t it”. I went into business knowing that I was passionate about food and I wanted to see my community eat well. I remember people always asking me about my lunch at work and I just thought I would start there. I have always enjoyed cooking and using my friends and maybe I can cook for other people too. Starting this business was a giant leap of faith but I decided that taking a chance on myself was worth it. Read more>>

Dr. Terri Howard-Hughes | Writer of children’s books

Help Or Motivate Everybody exists to raise the self-esteem and confidence of children with special needs or differences by having “hero” characters sharing their situation showing they can do more than they think; and to teach other children inclusion and acceptance of those with differences and disabilities and showing that all people have feelings and can be great friends. Read more>>

Michelle Lemmons-Poscente | CEO/Founder of Global Leaders Organization (GLO)

If you’re an entrepreneur long enough, you see the through-line of how one business leads to the rationale for the next. Global Leaders Organization, (my fifth company) was born out of a deep desire to help entrepreneurs grow. In the US, we have half the number of entrepreneurs today than we did in 1975. The number one reason is a lack of access to capital. Not that there is not capital. It is the access to it. One example; if you are a female located in Dallas, TX and you are looking for funding, you have less than 3% chance of it happening. If you are minority, your chances are even worse. To democratize capital, no matter what demographic someone belongs to, GLO is a platform to give anyone the same advantage. Read more>>

Ed Hall | Fine Artist/ Abstract Painter

“If you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to build theirs! ” After spending many years in a corporate environment, I knew that I had to find something different to make me happy. This meant following a dream – to become a fine art painter. My life was revolved around what other people wanted and their needs. A lot of my energy was put into making those dreams for them. The tables needed to turn. I love the above quote. It made me understand a world of new possibilities. To be an artist, the only option was to work for myself and make my own creative decisions and choices. There have been many bumps in the road but very few regrets! Read more>>