The first step to starting a business is deciding to start a business. They say the first step is the hardest and in our experience this is especially true when it comes to starting a business. Getting over the mental roadblocks can be tough, often harder to overcome than the challenges you’ll face once you actually start the business. Fellow entrepreneurs share their thoughts below.

cole Howard | Founder & CEO

When considering the question, “What was your thought process behind starting your own business?” my response is deeply rooted in a lifelong aspiration. I have dreamed of owning my own business my entire life, my family is full of entrepreneurs. This dream wasn’t just a fleeting thought; it was a goal that informed my entire career trajectory. Every step of my professional journey was taken with the intention of absorbing as much knowledge and experience as possible from the entrepreneurs who employed me. This deliberate path was all in preparation for the day I would venture out on my own. The core of my business, The Lucky Creatives, is a reflection of what I love most about business: creativity. Offering creative services to businesses allows me to channel my passion into my work, making the essence of my dream a reality. Read more>>

Jennifer McDaniel | Certified Professional Life Coach /CEO of Soul Abode LLC

In full transparency, I decided to start Soul Abode for selfish reasons. My burnout story is a quintessential narrative among Black women. Many of us have been raised to be “strong” despite the systemic factors that make such an ideal impossible to uphold. My vision for Soul Abode came to me in 2018. At that time, I was working a corporate job for a large beauty company, traveling 80 percent of the time. I was stressed, anxious, tired, and physically, mentally, and emotionally burned out from the lifestyle choices I was making at that time. As a wellness connoisseur, I was already very familiar with the wellness spaces so I had an idea of where to begin.. But when I started seeking out help, I realized that there was not a lot of inclusivity within the wellness space for women of color. Everything that was presented to me felt like a band-aid on a bullet wound. I was actively trying to pursue solutions for my mental and physical health in a safe place, but at that time those available spaces felt foreign to me. I didn’t see myself represented in the wellness landscape. I needed a community of women that I could connect with who shared my experiences. Soul Abode was birthed from my desire to have a safe place where women of color could share resources, offer support, and learn the art of radical self-care. I believed that if I needed this, then other women needed this too. Soul Abode means a place for the soul. It’s a self-care community for women of color where we learn and develop the daily practices to move from surviving to thriving. Read more>>

 Franklin Edwards | Author, book publisher, public speaker

I founded my business with a focus on creating Christian children’s books, aligning with my vision to nurture spiritual growth among young readers. This deliberate choice reflects my commitment to providing literature that integrates faith-based values into children’s educational and recreational experiences. My decision to start my own business was driven by a desire to facilitate children’s spiritual growth by fostering a closer connection to Christ while emphasizing the importance of reading in their developmental journey. This initiative stemmed from recognizing the increasing technological orientation of the world and the need to ensure a balanced focus on traditional values and essential skills. Read more>>

DJ Jess McKelvey | DJ | Entrepreneur | Educator

My though process behind starting my own business was more so of a thought itself that consistently showed up in my mind.

I kept hearing a voice inside my head say “start your own thing”. It would sound on mostly either in the morning when I woke up or in the evening. And it remained the same- “start your own thing”. Read more>>

Lana Ashby Rowder | CEO, Founder of lookingGLASS, personal stylist, and RN

When I began the journey of starting my own business, it was driven by a real need I observed, especially after becoming a mom. Dressing stylishly yet comfortably became a daily challenge, and I realized there was a gap in the market for accessible, personal styling. Despite having professionals for hair and nails, finding someone to help us navigate our wardrobes affordably and efficiently was like searching for a needle in a haystack. As a certified personal stylist from NYIAD, I still faced these issues, and often want feedback from my fellow stylists and friends. This pushed me to start this company and offer the instant styling service that really tackles this everyday issue that most people face. Read more>>

Jennifer Khoshbin | Professional Artist

As a professional artist, I knew that I would need the skills for running my own business. My work in galleries, online, murals, and in retail shops, all act as one business. Mycollege education did not train me in how to understand what running my own business would entail as an artist, so I learned along the way by trial and error. But I always felt confident in working hard for myself and using the internet as a way to really build my business. Read more>>

Jeff Bednar | Farmer Entrepreneur

Our curiosity and interest in sustainability and nutrient dense foods led us down the path of exploring where our food comes from. Through our studies and research, we discovered that the conventional food supply chains don’t support local farmers, and so we built our business to fill that gap. The mission of Profound Foods is to support local farmers, ranchers and artisans. Delivering local products to restaurants and home delivery customers benefits and strengthens the entire local food supply chain. Read more>>

Anthony and Jennifer Allen | Supply Chain Headhunters

Starting our own business stemmed from a deep desire for autonomy and a more meaningful work-life balance. After years in corporate America, I found myself yearning for an opportunity not just to spend more time with our two children but also to build something that reflected our values and leveraged our strengths. My experience in supply chain management, combined with Jennifer’s discipline and leadership skills honed in the Air Force, presented a unique synergy. We envisioned a venture where we could apply our complementary skill sets in a more flexible, fulfilling, and impactful way. It was about creating a legacy—a company that not only leads in supply chain, manufacturing, and operations recruitment but also embodies our commitment to transparency and integrity. This venture was our path to making a tangible difference in our industry while ensuring we remained present for the moments that matter most at home. Read more>>

Marcos Carrillo | Personal Trainer & Yoga Teacher/ Health Enthusiast

I started teaching yoga 4 years ago and I always knew I wanted to help others the way yoga helped me at a time I felt lost, confused, and struggled with my mental health. I applied to 4 different scholarships before I received one from Black Swan Yoga. I received this scholarship the same year I graduated college from UTA. I was unsure what I wanted to do for the rest of my life but I knew teaching yoga fueled my heart. I loved the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of it. Along the way, my love for the movement grew and I have committed to always furthering my education with certifications, workshops, and my peers. I am helping facilitate Yoga Teacher Training with Black Swan, Personal Training, Group Training, and Myofascial Hypervault massages. Helping people on a more personal level has fueled my heart and I can’t to grow more in the space. Read more>>

Rachael Lomeli | I would like the names to be Rachael and Edwin Lomeli | Owners of Heritage Coffee Cart

I remember the first time I wanted to be a barista. I was 18 attending college and the campus coffee shop was hiring. I remember the coffee shop was where everyone went to hang out. I saw people become friends, couples going on first dates, students studying, parents catching up with their kids over a cup of coffee, and students make late night trips to get a cup of coffee to make it through finals week. It was here I realized that coffee cultivated conversation and relationship. This led me to work for coffee shops for the last seven years of my life and i soon realized i wanted to have a successful coffee business. This led me to today and to Heritage Coffee Cart. Mine and my husband’s dream for starting Heritage was to develop a specialty coffee experience that could be catered to virtually every space! Our cart has a LaMarzocco Gs3 which can dish out about 50 espresso-based drinks an hour. We essentially took the equipment you would find in your local coffee shop and put it on a cart so that we could go to places to serve coffee. The dream with Heritage is to be events based – think weddings, birthday parties, office spaces, conferences, expos, store openings, real estate open houses, staff appreciation, teacher appreciation, and more! If there’s a reason to celebrate, we want to be a part of it. For us, coffee is about people and making already special moments more memorable by creating an atmosphere for people to cultiave relationships while serving exceptional coffee. Read more>>

Christina Blacken | Founder, Public Speaker on Leadership and Equity

Growing up I experienced being an extreme minority – racially, politically, and religiously I was on the outside of the dominant cultures I was surrounded by on a day to day basis which meant I faced significant mental, emotional, and physical types of discrimination. This included many harmful things from being followed around in stores, to being harassed by neighbors, to being called racial slurs by classmates, and being subjected to teachers who were unsupportive or harmful because of their own bigotry. I always believed these behaviors didn’t have anything to do with my worth but they still were painful to go through.

Growing up I experienced being an extreme minority – racially, politically, and religiously I was on the outside of the dominant cultures I was surrounded by on a day to day basis which meant I faced significant mental, emotional, and physical types of discrimination. This included many harmful things from being followed around in stores, to being harassed by neighbors, to being called racial slurs by classmates, and being subjected to teachers who were unsupportive or harmful because of their own bigotry. I always believed these behaviors didn’t have anything to do with my worth but they still were painful to go through. Read more>>

Becca Waugh | Artist, Graphic Designer, Singer/Musician

After losing several jobs due to layoffs during the pandemic, I knew I had the skills, ability and ambition to go into business for myself, even if it was for a brief time before landing another job. Starting Sleepy Panther Design Co was about taking a step in a new direction and it has fortunately worked out in amazing, unexpected ways. Read more>>

Guerlyne Guercy | Communications Strategist & Coach

It was a combination of a skill set I possessed and a need in the marketplace. I saw that even though leaders knew how to lead, they struggled to find their voice and confidently lead with it and position themselves influentially at a senior level. Read more>>

Grady Spencer | Singer/Songwriter

At the time that I decided that I would try to go all-in with the music side of my life, I was burning the candle on both ends as far as my full-time construction job and also a full-time touring schedule. My wife and I kind of put our heads together and decided that for both our sanities, I wouldn’t be able to juggle both jobs forever. So we did some pretty serious budget planning, took a deep breath, and in March 2020, I quit my job and started music as my only job. It was definitely daunting and scary, but also super exciting and open. Read more>> 

Paola Ruiz | Special Events Producer

I have worked organizing events of different types for over 7 years, I originally started organizing community events at a young age when I was still in High School. I was very involved in my community and gained a lot of experience from teachers and community leaders. As the years have passed, I have had the honor to work under the supervision of and with different business owners. After each event, I always like to reflect back and see what worked for the event and what could be done different. I believe it is important to have an open mind to feedback and learn from the mistakes that are made to get better. Read more>>

Michael Watkins II | CEO of The Code Chasers Digital Marketing

I started The Code Chasers Digital Marketing to help home service businesses be seen on Google. Talking to Pressure Washers, Plumbers, and others in the industry, I found that many of them had been burned or lied to by other Digital Marketing agencies making bogus promises. I wanted to do something different and be a positive change. I’ve been in the Digital Marketing space for the last 4 fours and I wanted to bring my expertise to the Home Service industry to make waves. Ultimately as a young entrepreneur I desired to be my own boss and control my own destiny in my life, and starting a successful business would allow me to do this. Read more>>

Jessica Allen | Serial Entrepreneur

My thought process originally was can I do this? Am I equipped for it? Will I make the money? Will the clients book me? Of course you ask yourself a million questions. Once you know that it takes risk and doing it afraid you just do it! Main thing is to have faith, trust the process and trust God! Read more>>