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.

Alyson Rae Lawson | CEO & Franchisee

I worked my way up in government administration, and I absolutely loved it. I was finding my specialty and what I really wanted to focus on within the administration. I settled on accounting, earning my MBA and Master of Accounting while doing so. I thought that it would be a change for me if I went into the private sector with the knowledge that I gained. I received a great job in corporate America; however, I did not feel respected and something about it did not fit right with my soul. One day at work, I decided to look up franchising and just see where it would take me. Read more>>

Ishmael Omondi | #1 Real Estate Agent

Behind starting my Real Estate business my passion was to help people and touch lives of orphans and children. This is my biggest why on my business. I believe that if we can touch the next generation with all means we can make this world a better place indeed. As an orphan myself I had to find a way to survive and for me to do that, I had to sell popsicles in order to survive. My life growing up was tough and I made it my why to touch people lives and Real Estate has made a big impact in my career to enable me to change lives. The Real Estate Industry has also given me the ability to educate and uplift people who don’t understand the importance of investments. Buying a property in itself is a path to create wealth for the next generation. I advise clients on the buying and selling process so that they comprehend the process. Read more>>

Stevie Jackson | Spray Tan Artist

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to run my own business. It’s part of who I am, excites me, and comes naturally to me. As an adult I eventually found a passion for spray tanning. I was sick of working jobs that I didn’t love. So why not learn how to spray tan? I could make my own schedule around my family life and I knew it would be fun and something I’d be good at. It was also a simple enough of a business for me to take on by myself at first. I didn’t need employees, or a ton of money up front. Turns out it really was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. This career lights a fire in my soul and is actually something I look forward to every single day! Read more>>

The Beerded Lady | Beer Blogger & Influencer

I’ve always loved talking about beer! One day some one suggested creating a blog about it! Know after a few years I have created a brand! I love showing my new beers, new ways to drink beers, and where to go! Read more>>

Tonya Warren | Owner

The journey for BOM Gifts started for me this past summer. I’d always wanted to be more intentional about supporting small, Black-owned businesses as opposed to shopping from big box retailers. Unfortunately, I wasn’t always willing to put in the work and research that requires. This summer, I decided to step away from my full-time job to do a little bit of self-care, reflection, and invest time in projects that truly made me happy. That is how BOM Gifts was born. I wanted to put my money where my mouth was – I can talk about social and economic justice all I want, but what was I really doing to make a difference? I created BOM Gifts as a way to promote Black-owned businesses that weren’t getting enough attention but were creating great products. By using a subscription box format, customers are able to get exposure to multiple brands at the same time. Read more>>

Jared Morris | Chef & Entrepreneur

I lost my great grandmother in 2015 and there was no way I was going to miss her funeral for work. So I left Dallas to go to Chicago for the funeral. My job was aware but did not ok my time off. Upon my return I was notified that I was terminated. So, in all reality my thought process was “you just got fired, you have to do something until your new job starts!” A friend told me about an app where I can find clients and I created a website, made some promo in and used old pics and in 3 Days JaredPierre was formed. One thing I took from it all is that sometimes tragic situations occur in order to push you into the right direction. I never thought people would pay to eat my food no matter how well I cook. It’s all literally a dream come true. Read more>>

Kendu-Marquette Williams | Fashion Designer & Entrepreneur

My brother passed away June 9th 2017, his passing was the inspiration behind my determination to keep moving forward. Throughout I’ve learned to turn pain into power but also find joy and strength within my businesses. Read more>>

Nir Sela | Restaurateur

What was your thought process behind starting your own business? Great question… As a kid I never knew “what I wanted to do when I grew up” I always saw myself as an entrepreneur and wanted to create something on my own. My first job was delivering pizza on a scooter, after that I moved to the kitchen and later running the pizzeria. After serving 3 years in the Israeli navy I moved here to the US and started my journey as property manager then a law firm manager and later an hotel manger. After opening my first restaurant I knew that this is what I wanted to do. By that time I had years of experience of solving problems and I loved socializing with people ( I believe those 2 traits are a key when owning a restaurant) Thinking back now I realize that most of my previous jobs were in the service & hospitality industry so owning a restaurant it’s just something I learn and love to do. Read more>>

Jennifer Cloud Esq | Attorney & Real Estate Broker

By the time I decided I wanted to transition into real estate, I had been practicing law for over a decade. The stress and hours required as a litigator was extreme and I knew that I needed to be more available to my family. I was already in somewhat of a niche practice area as a women in construction law so I was quite certain that whatever I chose to do in real estate would also need to be unique. There was no doubt in my mind that the minute I received my real estate license that I would eventually open up a brokerage that was limited to a certain breed of agents. I had worked comfortably with architects, interior designers, lawyers and engineers for a number of years and respected the tenacity, grit, intellect and artistic abilities that these individuals possessed in their respective fields. Read more>>

Justin Matthews | Massage Therapist & Lifestyle Guide

Originally, I got into Massage as a 5 year buffer while I figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I took a year off after high school and realized I didn’t have a clue, so at 18 years old I signed up for the one career path that excited me. Luckily, during those 5 years, I did figure it out. Within the opening line of my Mission Statement is “…my primary purpose in life is to be a Master Healer, Musician, Writer and Teacher of full- potentiality and Life-Mastery.” And with that intent, I was limited working at Massage Envy, where they wouldn’t let me teach people how to revolutionize their lives, but sadly only how to get more massages by signing up for a membership and “upsizing” it with an add-on. Thus, Omni Massage & Guidance was born, where I can help people with stress management, exercise and stretching routines, posture correction, nutrition, and beyond. Read more>>

Laura Alotaibi | Founder

Every year around the same time, I faced a problem: it was difficult to book a birthday party for my triplets. I wondered each year why I couldn’t book the party online. I started thinking about all the marketplaces such as Airbnb and Etsy that empowered small businesses and wondered why a marketplace didn’t exist for the party market, to make my search for the perfect birthday party easy and bookable online. I reach out to friends who all had the same problem, and no one had a solution. When I couldn’t find a solution, I built one myself! I created Venue N More to both empower small businesses and provide online booking to those in the party space. Read more>>

Chris Rawley | Founder & CEO

From an early age, I was exposed to real estate development and investment. My father was one of the early pioneers of the self storage business in Texas. My grandfather built some of the early corner pharmacies in North Dallas. When I became old enough, I began investing in real estate myself with the goal of eventually building some sort of pioneering commercial real estate company, I really like the mechanics of wealth building through equity growth in something tangible. The thing I didn’t like about real estate investing are the considerable hassles and time involved with closing a real deal. Around 2015, I discovered new real estate investment platforms that presented a variety of offerings and greatly streamlined the investment process, and I was hooked. At the same time, I grew a new appreciation for agriculture and food production. Read more>>

Josh Mills | Producer & Director

Working in entertainment, you often strive to align yourself with projects that resonate with your personality or goals. Whether it’s a comedy, drama, bio pic or historical fiction, environmental or even political. The list goes on. When you’re an independent contractor or work for a studio, there’s little, if any creative freedom with the opportunities that are made available. You go where the work is. Starting your own company isn’t easy. Especially in film and TV production. You’re faced with high risks, that hopefully produce high rewards. That being said, if you can accomplish a good reputation and a nice client base, you can stay busy with high quality productions while at the same time, developing your own internal library of inspiring projects. Read more>>

McKenna Baxter | Esthetician

FREEDOM! Although I’m still young, I’ve been working since I was 14 years old. In every job I’ve had, especially in life after college, I’ve known how I wanted to do things at work. What I mean by that is I know what works for me, how creative I can be, materials I’ve wanted to use, etc. I just knew what I wanted…. and I hated being told “No. You can’t do that.” I didn’t like the control and it began to feel like I had been pushed into a corner and handcuffed. It started to feel like I wasn’t using my full potential by being held down, so I quit my first real life career and changed my career into another passion with the intention of being my own boss. I knew exactly what services I wanted to offer, which product lines or brands I wanted to use, how much money I wanted to charge, and I could set my own schedule and take vacation when wanted. I didn’t have to answer to anyone except myself! I knew it was going to be hard starting off, and it was/is. But… It’s been worth it! Read more>>

Cindy “CJ” Jones | Career Transition Coach

I have been a Marketing Manager for the past 30 years for a variety of healthcare industries in Corporate America. I was laid off in 2013 after 18 years with the same company and realized I didn’t know how to find a new job in this new world, After brushing off the dust on my resume, learning about this new LinkedIn program and reaching out to my old network, I was able to land a long-term contract position. However, the biggest change was I also decided to start a side hustle as a Career Transition Coach, In the past seven years, I have discovered that there were so many folks like me that had to make a career pivot due to a job layoff, divorce, college graduation or other transition. I help them with their resume, LinkedIn profile, interview skills, networking, etc. I love helping people discover the best way to tell their story to find their next chapter. I am a connector of “dots” & people. Read more>>

Trevoy Pointer | Entrepreneur

Ownership. It’s very important to me to own something impactful to me, my family and valuable to others. The traditional way of thinking and living are gone. I strongly believe If a person doesn’t understand the importance of ownership, it’s incredibly difficult to have a really good quality of life. Starting a business(s) should be a normal thing to everyone these days. Read more>>

Jenkins Boyd | Record Store Owner

Me and my dad started the store together in 2006, we had been slingin records at shows for years so we already had stock and when I graduated high school I figured I’d rather start a business than go to college so here we are. Read more>>

Joshua Koder | Fitness & Music Professional

In every position I held growing up, I new I was working my way towards owning my own business. I hated having a boss, or someone telling me what to do, and I learned from an early age that you could make a lot of money doing your own thing. First, I own a private personal training facility called Joshua Koder Fitness just a few miles north of downtown Dallas in Highland Park. At this gym I specialize in golf; a sport I have played since I was six years old, as well as, implement exercise prescription and nutrition intervention. I love helping people and watching them find their full potential in health and wellness. Some say I am a healer. Second, I own a music management company called Joshua Artist Management, a successful Pop/Punk Band called Van Full of Nuns, and we are founders of Pop Punk Nite. My passion for the music industry has created a foundation for each one of these projects to become a career that I love. Read more>>