Starting and growing a business is hard, but often deciding to start the business in the first place is even harder. We asked some successful entrepreneurs from around the community to open up to us about how they thought about starting a business.

Magali Lee | Pharmacist & Self-taught Baker

Before starting Lili’s I was completely content with my career and just enjoyed baking on the side. Eventually I realized that I needed an outlet from my career and what better than a creative outlet such as creating beautiful custom cakes. At first I thought there was no way I could juggle this and a demanding career in pharmacy and then I realized I would just have to make it work! I had baked so many cakes for friends in the past and they had all told me “Maggie you need to start a business! These cakes are delicious!” So I finally took their advice, I first started with a logo and name with the help of Bee’s Knees Custom Design and absolutely fell in love with the overall look and name. Then, I started small and just figured I would work on getting things to grow. Don’t get me wrong I’m still pretty small but enjoying the journey so far! Read more>>

Merrimac Dillon | Founder & President

When I started The Pillow Bar it was because I saw a space that needed to be filled. Several years ago my husband had severe back surgery where, for a while, the surgeon wasn’t sure if he’d be able to walk again. You may ask, what does that have to do with pillows and how I got into business? Well, when the surgery concluded the surgeon said he would walk but that I would have to make sure he had everything he needed in order to do so and stay healthy. So, I did just that, I asked all the questions I could, what was the best mattress, shoes and when I asked what the best pillow for him would be, no one was able to give me a definitive answer. It was frustrating and shocking that out of everything, a pillow, something we all use every night, wasn’t able to be recommended. That’s when I decided to make my own, one that I knew would be the best for what he needed. After I made that decision, I decided to do a bit of research and found that what is inside of a normal pillow is rather alarming. Read more>>

Kayli Nicole | Cosmetologist

I always knew that working for someone else and having to listen to someone dictate when I came to work, when I left work, how long I was at work, etc. was not in the cards for me. I didn’t know until I was a manager for a restaurant that I wanted my own business. I was the YOUNGEST and only African American WOMAN in the “top dogs” of the company. I was one of the few people that the owner came to for advice and took constructive criticism from whenever it came to running his business. It really dawned on me that this man was the most powerful man of the company and everyone had to do what he said and make it happen when he wanted it to happen. He didn’t need to be in the building, he didn’t have to be there working with us, all he had to do was show his face twice a month, watch the cameras and make some phone calls and everyone knew that they had to do what the boss said to do. Read more>>

Jackie Mikesch | Custom Cookie Artist, RN & VP-Clinical Services

My husband and I purchased some land with the ultimate goal of building a house and moving to the country in a few years. We began working on the property…tractor work, weed eating, push mowing, etc. Initially it was fun and exciting, but then the Texas heat hit. I realized pretty quick, if I didn’t have something to occupy my free time, that my husband was going to occupy my time doing farm work…which meant a lot of sweat and dirt in my future! My wheels started spinning, wondering what I could do that included air conditioning.. I have always loved to bake, and my family always loved to eat my sweets, so it made sense to take something I love and make time to actually do it. I grew up with my dad owning his own businesses. I saw him pour all he had into his company, and always was full of joy. Read more>>

Marie Linne von Berg | Creative Director

Starting my own business was an accident and came from knowing what I love to do, and holding on to a problem solving, do-what-it-takes mentality. My first client was an organization that needed design help but wanted to hire me for a position where creative would not be my primary role. Knowing my passion for the creative, I turned down the offer, but suggested that I contract with them for the design work they needed since they did not have a budget for a full time designer. This arrangement worked out perfectly and I began looking for other businesses in similar situations. As my client base began to grow, I still had no vision for building a company, but, as the workload grew, I began to brainstorm about how I could continue to meet my clients’ needs. This led me to the conclusion that if I desired to serve my clients well and increase the impact that I could have, then hiring was my only option. Read more>>

Logan Grey | Photographer

Totally WRONG! I made so many mistakes and bad choices. when others ask ne how to get started in photography as a profession, I ask them all the same thing… “Do you have bills to pay?” if they say “yes” then I say “DONT!” Its a tough market. Specialization or Diversity… it is VERY difficult to get started, to get your portfolio built, work on your craft by constantly learning and upping your game, trying to be different from your peers, to stand out. For everyone out there needing your services, there are a ton of them who are better, more experience, better pricing, better product. 15 years later and it’s no easier! Without bragging, I’m good at what I do. I just suck at self promoting. Read more>>

Caleb Coleman | Video Producer

I was tired of working for studios that overpriced video production. Perhaps I just found a way to bring high quality videos to businesses for affordable prices. Video is like blogging. It requires constant uploading for businesses to get the most out of its marketing capabilities. And creative brainstorming is what I do best. Clients always say they have no potential content and that’s just incorrect. Everyone has a story. Read more>>

Noosha | Lifestyle Blogger

Life by Noosha, formerly known as Makeup Addicts Rejoice, came to life shortly after giving birth to my second son. Early motherhood is an extremely lonely time in life, and I desperately needed a way to connect with people. I decided to start an Instagram account focused primarily on beauty. Since then, I have met some incredible people, some of whom have become friends in real life. The intention was never to “start a business” but rather to connect with others by positively impacting their lives. Read more>>

Shilpi Jain | Founder & Resaerch and Development Scientist

I was working in corporate Research and Development when a personal circumstance led me to find a solution. It was in 2006 when my son was a little over a year old. He had acute eczema on his body. I was shocked that the number one product in the market for childhood eczema had petrolatum and mineral oil as primary ingredients. Being a trained Medicinal Scientist and an expert Cosmetic formulator, I went to the lab and researched for bio-identical compounds that can help alleviate eczema. My philosophy was to make something without any harsh chemicals, and without any side effects. After a couple of weeks, I created a serum for him. Within a few days, he had instant relief and within a couple of weeks, his eczema was completely healed. This led to friends and my own physician trying on their patients and asking me to make more. In 2011, after 5 years, I noticed the gap in the personal care industry where products were made more for commerce than to really solve problems. Read more>>

Brittany Blystone | Mobile Dog Groomer

I was working at a grooming salon in a big box store, the dogs were super stressed out all the time as were most of us groomers. I was like well maybe if I just do one on one it will make everything better, so I took a leap and opened my own mobile dog grooming salon. Read more>>

Miss Newrain | Cosmetologist & Eyebrow Threading Expert

I used to work for another salon back in 2011. There was no customer service, and system at all. Employees were charging variable price to the same client. The clients were not very happy with the service providers, and the quality they receive. I tried to change the system, but I was never appreciated. This really motivated to open my own little suite. I wanted to fill up the gap, and provide people of Arlington the service they deserve. At that time, I never thought that our salon would be one of the best eyebrow threading spot in whole DFW Metroplex. Read more>>

Aaron Mahlon Thomas | Documentary Producer & Professional Photographer

Our mission is to make friends, have fun, share the art of photography to accelerate healing, all are tools to help my fellow Veterans, their families cope with the symptoms of PTSD. In doing so, improve the quality of life for those who paid the cost for our freedom. I do this by guiding affected veterans through the process of therapeutic photography.. It is my mission to serve those who paid the cost for our freedom, providing a personalized process of artistic expression and camaraderie for Veterans still fighting for THEIR freedom. I am a 80% disabled veteran with PTSD. Currently I am in a University of North Texas graduate program for my Master’s degree in Documentary production. I am attempting to research veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD that would be interested in therapeutic photography. If possible would you please contact me with information on how I can help my fellow veterans with PTSD. Read more>>

Kenney”Bigskinny” Pope

I think the biggest reason for me to start my own business is the freedom to do what I love and the flexibility to create my own work schedule. That’s a pretty sweet life if you can do it. Enjoy what you do and you will never work a day in your life. Read more>>

Mike Kinder | Co-Founder & CEO

The thought process starts with an initial question “how do we usher in the next generation of manufacturing capabilities?” At the time we founded Veryable in 2016, we had already charted the landscape of industrial innovation and identified all the factors contributing to stagnation in adoption. We could not envision a scenario where the landscape congealed at the pace it should without a more compelling value proposition and more support with the solution architecture. Therefore, we founded Veryable with the intention of introducing a new option around labor management as the logical first step in the journey of next generation manufacturing. Once this initial operating model with higher labor agility and flexibility is established, the full suite of industrial technology starts to make more sense and look more compelling. Read more>>

Shannon Hart Gonzalez | Owner

My husband an I always knew we wanted to start our own business but financially we never thought we could. I opened Mums and Kisses to the public online, with $0.86 to our name. Back then we didn’t even have enough money to pay for the $0.99 domain name, it was time to search the couch cushions. Three things were going through my head, 1. We don’t have enough money, 2. Why does my son’s mum cost so much for a plastic mess, 3. My 65 year old father had just died of Alzheimer’s, after being diagnosed at just 59, and my grief was great. To say the least, I was at the lowest point in life. With 2 kids in school, a husband working 22 hours away in North Dakota, and only seeing him 4 times per year. Life wasn’t good. ‘ I had paid so much for my son’s plastic mum, that 6 months later when I found the receipt, I was mad. I sat in my office chair staring at the receipt and thought, I wonder how many parents go through this, how many pay for plastic that isn’t even a keepsake, I decided that if I put up with it, so many others had too and I had to do something. Read more>>

Wilene Dunn | Owner & Author

I had worked in a different industry for 22 years and then decided I desired a business that I could do from anywhere and not sit in traffic unless I chose to sit in traffic. I then received a book from a Speaker, Author Dayna Steele. I contacted her and we began working together. WCD Enterprises was founded in October 2008 and are about to celebrate our 12 year anniversary. WCD is the business meant for me based on my strengths Woo, Influencer, Positivity, Connector. My thought process behind starting my own business was to create a business I enjoyed and working in partnership with others to help build business together. Read more>>