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.

Katia Gounou | Mechanical Engineer & CEO of Katia’s Kloset

In the beginning I did not set the expectations very high. I got the opportunity to buy trendy outfits on sale while being in Spain and I thought it would be great for me to come back with some pieces that I could easily resell to friends and post on different online platforms. While at the airport on my way back, I realized it would be expensive for me to pay for the extra suitcase I had which mainly had the clothes I wanted to resell so I was anxious thinking “what am I going to do?” when I decided to check my bank account and realized my scholarship stipend had just hit my bank account. I had the privilege of being a Terry Scholar, and at this moment I started reminiscing about my own story and how much this scholarship foundation has changed the course of my life for the best. The main question I was asking myself was “how can I show my gratefulness and bless other people the way the Terry Foundation has blessed me?”. Read more>>

Daniyal Awan | Entrepreneur

If there is one thing working in commercial real estate has taught us in the past seven years, it is that the ability to truly and effectively visualize the final shape of any blueprint is extremely challenging and mistakes in the early design phase can be very costly during construction. Whether you are a seasoned design professional or a first-time owner builder, this challenge is common across all architectural design work. My brother, Hamiz and I have always been committed to innovating around challenges we face everyday. Nothing else was commercially available in the industry that gives a one-to-one scale walkable experience of the dimensions in floor plans and blueprint designs. This led to the idea of creating a platform that easily displays any floor plan onto a large walkable screen, where users can experience true dimensions of their designs and correct any imperfections and constraints before going into construction. Read more>>

Terra Fontenot-Beard | Virtual CFO & Managing Consultant

When I started my own business, my thought was to take all of my years of experience and knowledge and fill a gap in the entrepreneur world. Based on SBA statistics, my experience in the accounting and operations field could provide a solution and improve the success rate of small business owners. So with planning, prayer, and determination, I started my business. The planning process included establishing a business name, logo, bank account, email address, website, social media profiles, and eventually a mentor to follow. However, my do-over about this process would be to establish a business plan, first. As business owners, we must generate revenue and actually have a plan based on the services and products we offer to do it. Read more>>

Colvin Prince | Graphic Designer

Initially, the thought of starting a business frightened me. I never imagined myself starting and owning a business. The thought of actually starting my business came from a moment of me waking up to my full potential. For a long time, I allowed the fear of failure to blind me of my talents and abilities. Birthing Kingdom Creations came from me taking a leap of faith and believing in what God placed inside of me which allowed the thought of starting a business to become my reality. Read more>>

Junhwan Jung | Founder and CEO of Excelerate Inc.

I wanted to make a difference in the context of differential access to quality education in the United States. This issue was brought out to me especially during the pandemic after reading articles of rich neighborhoods hiring teachers for their kids. I wanted to provide quality education for everyone and that is why I started my education nonprofit, Excelerate Inc. Read more>>

Brandy Craft | Owner of CRAFT + STYLE Wardrobe Services

While working a long retail day I had one of my favorite male clients come in to shop for an upcoming trip. While styling him, he told me that the next time he came in town to shop, he didn’t want to see me working at the store. Slightly offended, I asked him why would he say such a thing. He stared right at me and said, “go home and write down your skill set and find value in what YOU are good at.” It dawned on me at that moment that he was telling me that I needed to enlarge my own territory and take a risk on myself. I definitely went home that day and did just that. After creating my list, I gravitated towards three things on my list of skills. I am Sales driven, Relationship oriented, and a lover of all things fashion. I started thinking of a way of how to bring this trio to life in a business format. It was hard to abandon the brick and mortar retail life because it was low risk. I knew the system and it was easy for me. Read more>>

Natalie Harris | PerSoNatalie Style (styling service/Business Name)

I’m a believer. Wife and mom. Entrepreneur. I’m a lover of music, fashion, great food and all things Jesus! I think I started Per-So-Natalie Style back in the third grade, drawing paper dolls and making cut out clothes that were interchangeable & selling them to the little girls in class for 25 cents. I’ve always been intrigued with fashion. My style continues to evolve over time. I must say Jesus is my #1 personal stylist and inspiration. He gives me color combinations, design concepts & innovative expressions right out of his own creativity. I love expressing myself through fashion and helping others find their voice through it. That’s what PerSoNatalie Style is about… bringing out & enhancing your personal style. I aim to see you for you while still pushing the limits; bringing out the best NEW YOU!. Read more>>

Rachel Sims | Licensed Professional Counselor

I think my career journey is a perfect example of how development isn’t always linear. I originally wanted to be a teacher and I worked in the public school system for 9 years as a teacher and coach. I found myself counseling more students in between classes, before, and after school. I fell in love with psychology and decided to go back to school to get trained. I fell in love with counseling and therapy and the study of why we “tick”. I graduated with my Masters’s in a year and became a School Counselor in the long process of obtaining my LPC license. (which takes 3,000 intern hours in the State of Texas). So I went into education, counseling, added my professional license, and found my niche in working with couples in private practice. I’m graduating in August with my Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy. So, in a way, I’m back to my first love of psychology, just working on it from a more human approach. Read more>>

Dornella Crews | Content Creator

Truthfully, it all stemmed from me wanting to do something that I genuinely love. I’ve always been interested in natural hair, beauty, and enjoy living a fun (yet affordable) lifestyle. Sharing my knowledge and experiences with others has brought me pure joy. My YouTube and social media sites were initially for personal use, however I’ve found so much more fulfillment in using my platforms to inform and connect with others who want to learn and/or share the same interests as I do. Read more>>

Zaakirah Muhammad | Creative Strategist and Photographer

I started the creative marketing agency called Phocused Media Group because it is a play on the words Photography and Focus as originally it was going to be a media company of photographers. It later was combined to include social media advertising and photography services. I wanted a safe place for women of color to thrive creatively and make an impact in the livelihood of other small businesses. Read more>>

Kristin Kaufman | Corporate Leadership Coach and Consultant

When the idea first came to me, I was a senior leader in Corporate…..running a large global business in the technology space. As much as I loved how I had been contributing for over two decades, I realized somewhere along the way. – I had ‘lost the plot’. The daily experience was no longer fulfilling to me. I was (as I refer to this) ‘out of alignment’. I wanted to continue to do what I loved, what I am good at doing….and most importantly, I wanted to tie my contributions t to something much greater than myself. That is my definition of alignment. And…if any of these three pillars are not present in their full and optimal potential…neither is the individual. There is no question that we are at our most powerful when we are aligned to our purpose. And when our gifts, strengths, talents, desires, and intentions support that purpose – that is the recipe for fulfillment. Read more>>

Kyle Rainey | Podcast host, actor, carpenter, and BBQ enthusiast.

I’ve been listening to podcasts for years. Joe Rogan is the one that really sticks out as the first podcast I got into. Since then, I consume more podcasts than I do movies, music, television, video games or even books. Many people, including myself, are thirsty for more authentic and thought provoking content. Most TV shows and movies today are dumbed down, short, and full of political and social motifs. With podcasts, people have the ability to absorb long-form conversations that are genuine, thought provoking, and make the listener feel like part of the discourse. It’s a decentralized platform, mostly free from the reigns corporate sponsors, advertisers, censors and contracts, which allows it to be free and organic. On podcasts, people can say what they think or feel, and share their unique perspective without fear of retaliation from the network or corporate sponsor…at least that’s how it was in the beginning. Read more>>

Patricia Santana De Moura | Light worker, energy healer, spiritual teacher.

My thought process behind starting my spiritual business was that I wanted to help people heal, awaken, ascend, thrive and grow. I have a double mission, to raise my own consciousness as well as to help raise the consciousness of the collective. . After my spiritual awakening it was clear what my calling was. I am a light worker, a healer, a spiritual teacher. Read more>>

Wendy Carson Wooldridge | Business owner

Me and my mother started the business in 1999. I was in my 20’s and wanted to spend as much time as I could with my mom, she was my best we started a business together so we could work together. It was our dream! We prayed hard for this. Her and I just shared so much in common and one thing we shared was wanting to open a business that helped people feel beautiful…not just the outside….we wanted them to feel beautiful within by sharing the gospel and telling them how Jesus loved them. We choose to start a Christian based Salon and Medical spa. I looked up to the women my mom was everyday. She had the biggest love for people. Just a few years of being open…. she was misdiagnosed with Cancer and quickly died of the treatment that she had received. Mom was only 50 years old when she passed. I remember the day I walked into the business after she passed….I wanted to close the doors… because the biggest part of starting my own business was to spend time with her and she was no longer there. Read more>>

Kaymon Farmer | Tech Entrepreneur

After a award winning college academic and athletic career, I came to the realization football was coming to an end and I needed to make a transition to my new life. I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur that created streams of income and then turn into an investor. I didn’t know exactly how I would do so, I just knew I wanted to be a positive force in others lives. As any 23 year old who just graduated and got married, my life had a several question marks that needed to be answered in order to provide for my family. Shortly after college I gained several skills while working at a bank, fitness gym, boys and girls club, pizza delivery and valet parking in my college town in Durant, Oklahoma. During that time, I knew I had talents and skills to do better but I was completely lost and didn’t know what would be my next move in business. Read more>>

Mollie E. Reeder | Author & Filmmaker

Both of my businesses (video production and indie publishing) were started because I wanted to maintain my own creative freedom and integrity. Especially within publishing spaces, it can be very difficult to take products that are unique all the way to market. When I write fiction I tend to like writing genre-bending stories that don’t fit the mold — kind of the opposite of “writing to market” (which is a very different approach, but still just as valid!). I feel very fortunate to be living during a golden age of new self-publishing tools that make it so accessible to publish things that wouldn’t get a chance through traditional channels. Likewise, I enjoy being able to choose video projects that excite me and align with the type of creative identity I want my body of work to have. Read more>>

Samantha Moore | Small Business Owner

I have always dreamed of starting my own personal home goods business and during the pandemic I found the courage to take the leap! I was looking for ways to spread love and happiness to friends and family during these challenging, testing times and a horseshoe felt like the perfect symbol to represent and be a physical reminder to stay happy and that good luck was on the horizon. Read more>>

Channen & Kejaun Henderson & Tate | A Creative

Honestly, to make clothes that we would want to wear. Looking around in high school everybody is the same, it’s either all designer, or thrifted clothes. But nothing that really defines us. So we decided to make clothes that define us and what we like. Read more>>

Heidi Leis | Owner/Designer of Leis Swim

My company started out of my house in San Diego. I was always in search of a bikini that fit well, so with the help of my mother I designed a a few styles. Eventually I begin making swimwear for my friends and it grew from there. I officially launched Leis Swim in 2019. Read more>>

Jake Lee | Restaurant Owner

As a child of Korean entrepreneurs that grew up with incredibly busy parents with limited directions, I’ve always been a free spirited thinker that didn’t mind making my own decisions and undertaking risks. Ever since I immigrated to US as kid, I’ve always been comfortable with the idea of fighting through life as the underdog. For me, I’ve always wanted to start my own business because it was a chance for my ideas to be free and to prove myself to be a highly valuable and competitive individual. This mindset and the drive was always within me… but I still decided to follow the path of traditional success by working hard to get into a prestigious college prep school and studying business in college. Read more>>

Alejandra Coney | Owner & Principal Designer

When first starting Calidad Designs, I was a full-time corporate accountant. I have always had a passion for all things decor, but I was scared to take that leap. I realized that I could not put 100% effort into both careers, and I had to make a choice. With the support of my community, I resigned from accounting and embarked on this new chapter. Within this past year, I can wholeheartedly say that I have been living my dream. I have been able to combine both of my passions, decor and helping others’ dreams come true. My vision for the business is to provide a luxury service at affordable rates. My clients never have to settle due to budget restrictions. I take pride in being able to give my clients exactly what they want. I will never say that it is easy, but it is definitely rewarding. Read more>>

Sue Pak | Jewelry maker & Art Restoration Consultant

The business started because I was looking for a Mt. Hood pendant and couldn’t find one that was simple and affordable. So I decided to create one for myself. From there, I starting thinking of all of the different landscapes that I wanted to recreate in metal. I was working full time for a restoration company and being a physically demanding job, I found the only time to create was in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. I used the process to work through my insomnia for the first few years. Read more>>


Essence Hampton | Virtual Assistant | Social Media Manager |

I’ve always had the ambition to do more for myself. Working for corporate over the past 6 years, jumping from job to job every year or so, made me realize that the “working for someone else” life wasn’t for me. I’m not against working a 9-5 at all, because it’s what has changed my mindset, and my overall goals for my future. I just knew I was made to live my life on my own terms, without punching the clock whenever I needed a break or vacation. Over the past few years, I’ve dabbled into several different industries, mostly product-based businesses such as building a clothing brand, etc. None of which turned out to be successful, and it was then, I decided to see what I could do to help others, which is what I’m passionate about. That’s when virtual assisting came to play. I’ve grown successfully in building my own agency, and plan to keep building it until I am able to run it full-time! Being a virtual assistant gives me the opportunity to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses! I help women entrepreneurs build an online presence with social media for their businesses. Read more>>

Brianna James | Owner of Dream by Allure

I’ve always known I wanted to start my own business, but with the right timing it all just came together. I graduated with my degree in Health Studies during the pandemic, so it was really hard trying to find something in my career while everything was shutting down! I had so much free time on my hands and wanted to keep my mind active, so I just pulled out an old sewing machine and taught myself how to sew! After a lot of practice I randomly wanted to make myself a bonnet lol. Being a Black woman with natural hair I know how important it is to protect our crown! Every bonnet I’ve ever owned was from a beauty supply. They always said they were “silk” or “satin”, but they definitely weren’t, or at least not quality satin. I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, and this was the perfect time to launch Dream by Allure. I was very adamant on sewing all the products myself, and I definitely make each item with love. Read more>>

Kelsey Fraley | CEO & Co-Founder

Our thought process starts like most people with an awesome idea. Think big, think outside the box, and actually be just crazy enough to follow through with it! Our story begins with three sisters, who love to give each other fun fashion jewelry at Christmas each year. A great tradition they have done for a long time. Hannah, an actual Fine Jeweler by trade, found herself never having time to shop. Especially because of the demands around Christmas time. So, she relied on purchasing her sister’s gifts online. The problem was, the jewelry she received never looked like the picture and the quality was always poor.That’s when, Christmas 2014, the idea was born. Find  a solution for women who love fashion jewelry, don’t have time to shop, don’t have time to style their constantly changing wardrobes, and need something delivered to them so they can touch and feel the product before buying. Read more>>

Chermain Jennings | CEO & Grant Writing Consultant

Being a CEO has been a thought since my collegiate days. I didn’t have a clear “how” or “what” but it was always something I envisioned for my future. Once I got older, I started to think more about becoming an entrepreneur. Having autonomy over my time and gift, feeling undervalued, under-utilized and/or seen in previous roles started to eat away at me. Knowing I could use the same skills and experience I brought to employers and packaging it up to create my own business is really how it all started. That was the process behind starting C.JENNINGS LLC. Read more>>

Lindsay Hightower | Singer/songwriter

My parents had a major influence on the decision to work for myself. They always had their own businesses. I was encouraged to put my time in making my own dreams happen as opposed to working for someone else’s dreams. Read more>>

Richard Miller | Luxury Builder & Public Servant

I decided it was time to take starting my own business seriously when I was asked in more than one interview, “Why haven’t you started your own business?” I guess I thought if more than one business owner was asking me the question, maybe they see something in me that I don’t fully recognize. Maybe it’s time. Read more>>

London Brown | Private Chef & Caterer

It all started with a cheesecake. My parents were celebrating their anniversary and I just wanted to do something sweet for them so I planned to prepare them dinner & dessert. I made cheesecake for dessert because it was my moms favorite. I had so much fun preparing everything and the reaction was priceless it really filled my heart with so much joy. That moment had just unlocked something I never knew I had in me. I use my social media a lot so I would post what I was doing or step by step processes just posting never thinking anything of it. As time passed people started inquiring so it kind of just jumped off from there and as I grew my ideas and goals expanded to creating The London Experience. Read more>>


Drika Jacobs | Faith-based Business Owner & Nonprofit Professional

I’ve always been business oriented. My degree is in business management so I’ve always desired to own my own business, I just wasn’t sure what type of business. Fast forward to 2018, I began to get more serious about my faith and had a growing desire to want to play a meaningful role in others’ lives. I started trying to figure out how to go about doing so by tossing around idea after idea but it wasn’t until August 2020 (during a global pandemic) that God slowed me down, spoke to me and gave me a clear vision for my business. He wanted me to start a faith based brand that would remind individuals of their value and self-worth that He has given all of us through fashion. That’s when BeWorthy was birthed. Read more>>

Jourie Dyer | Artisan Soap Crafter

In 2018, I battled acne for the first time ever in my life. I tried every product imaginable but nothing seemed to work. I began reading books about the amazing benefits of herbs/plants and decided I would make my own soap. I was able to clear up my hormonal acne and even get rid of dark spots by the end of 2019. After seeing my results I decided to turn my hobby into a hustle and I created Jourie Natural Soap Co. Read more>>

Juline Mathe | Owner of Renee’s Jerk Chicken & Flight Attendant

I always dreamed about opening up my own food establishment. I come from a family of chefs and my mom setting the trend with our family restaurant in Jamaica. I had to take a leave of absence from my airline job as a Flight Attendant during the pandemic because I am medically high risk for COVID and so I thought about the fact that most restaurants were forced to close their doors. This was my motivation to launch Renee’s Jerk chicken in a mobile manner with our food truck. Read more>>

Amanda Beat | Agency Owner

Ever since I was a child I have always wanted to own my own business, but it wasn’t until I started working in insurance that I knew exactly what business I wanted to own. In 2011 I started working at Allstate and fell in love with insurance (weird to most, I know)!! Not only do I understand insurance, but I am also pretty fantastic at selling insurance, so why not own a business that I absolutely love doing everyday? My thought process started when I considered buying an office or two from the first agent I worked for at Allstate, but after almost 7 years of working there, I decided that was NOT at all the direction I wanted to go for the agency that I wanted to own. Owning part of a franchise or being told what to do by a captive agency was not at all what I was looking to do. About a month before I left Allstate, I was approached by Goosehead Insurance to start a Franchise and decided to go and work for a local agent for a few short months before deciding that was definitely not what I wanted either. Read more>>

Shay Banks | Social Media Strategist

I’d always wanted to be an entrepreneur. In the first grade I tried network marketing and would try to sell my products to any adult that would listen to me. Fast forward a few decades and that entrepreneurial bug was still gnawing at me. I started my business in 2008 at first as a hobby. When I started out online I was a dating coach for single women. After my first 18 months or so of generating a pretty solid client base, steady sales, and a decent email list, I started researching on ways to scale up. Meanwhile, my job as a teacher was becoming more and more stressful and I was quickly falling out of love with it. So my intention to scale up was really so I could quit my job. It was through the process of scaling up that I discovered social media marketing and online advertising. A whole new world opened up for me. Read more>>