Starting a business is a commitment and requires dedication, resources and sacrifice. We asked some of the rising stars in our community how they thought through the idea of starting their own businesses.

Samone Smith | Life Coach, Author, Entrepreneur

Initially it was never a thought on starting my own business, I was more focused on ministry and helping women to grow their relationship with God and to discover their purpose, which is what I’m called to do. My day job I worked as a hospice certified nurse assistant. And although it was ministry I was putting in alot of time and energy. It was then when I began to have a desire to do what I loved to do full-time. But, I was married, and my husband (now ex husband was not inagreement) so leaving my job at that point was not an option. So I continued doing it all work full time, ministry full time. Fast forward many many years later.. I divorced. And even as a single woman and mom I continued ministry and full-time work. But at this point as a single mom I HAD to work my 9-5 job. But I also begin to feel the desire to work on my own, because I realized how important time freedom was, I was responsible for doing everything with and for my children and my youngest son has down syndrome,, so having a child with special needs requires a little more time. Read more>>

Trenisha Jones | Certified Party Planner | Owner

My thought process behind starting my own business was initially, what everyone thinks; “I want to be my own boss. I don’t want to work for anyone.” Deeper than that, I wanted to start something that, later on in life, my kids could take over and manage if they wanted to. The goal is to make this a successful family business so that when my kids get older, they have the option to take it over or do their own thing. My girls really look up to me so I want to make sure I am setting a good example so when they get older and they want to start their own business, they will be confident in knowing it is possible because they saw Mommy do it. Read more>>

Vedha Vaddaraju | Executive Director Letters of Gold Organization

It was one am on April 19, 2020. I was texting Iris, as we were thinking about what we could do to help the community. With the increasing prevalence of COVID-19, Iris and I wanted to do something to help those that were struggling as the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many. That’s when Letters of Gold was created. We thought that letters were a really great avenue to connect people from all around the world to support one another because regardless of your age, your background anybody can write a letter which means everyone can uplift someone else. This prompted us to start and create a website for our organization that encourages people to write letters on the form provided that our team then packages and delivers physically or virtually as a pdf. Read more>>

Stay Fresh | Nonprofit Organization

For quite some time, we all shared the same bus stop and every morning, we saw homeless people along the sidewalks while getting onto the bus. Once COVID-19 hit, we soon realized that while we have the luxury of a clean home and sanitary supplies, many individuals, like the ones we saw, did not have access to those items. We investigated multiple homeless shelters in our area and discovered that many were in need of supplies to keep the shelters running safely and cleanly. As a result, we focused on centering our organization around both finding and distributing sanitary products to the people who needed them. Read more>>

Alexus Cooper | Mother, Student, Worker, CEO of Celeste Candles

My thought process behind creating my own business was creating something that I loved doing and other individuals would love as well…I thought if this when covid first hit and it just kinda came to my mind one day when I was at work sitting behind my desk. I love candles and I’m big on positive speaking and manifesting and wanted to incorporate the two and create a product I know people will love. Soon as the idea came to my head I knew immediately I had to start immediately and research everything to make sure I created the perfect manifestation candle. Read more>>

Vanessa Cooper | Tax Professional

I truly wanted the freedom to live my life on my own terms. But being able to work and do what I love at the same time. It was a no brainer. It took me awhile to figure it out. I love math and anything dealing with finances. Actually it came to me while sitting at my full time job. I already worked in tax/financial services. So I thought if I can build someone else business. I know I can do it for my own company. So in 2015 I founded my own tax preparation company Cooper Tax Services. Read more>>

Angel Gayle | Clothing Shop Owner & Podcast Host

In all honesty there was not much of a thought process. For years I dreamt of opening my own clothing line. However, previous circumstances prevented me from doing so. After removing negativity from my life I knew that it was the right time to open Shop Lunagayle. Starting your own business is hard. It requires a daily renewal of belief in yourself. Had I opened Shop Lunagayle when I was engulfed in negativity I can’t say that I would have stuck it out. So I suppose my thought process was simply asking myself, “Is this the right time?” and when I was finally able to say yes, I just did it. Read more>>

Ja’Kobe Pierson | Creative

Honestly for me the Idea of working a job I didn’t truly have a burning passion for would be nothing but a waste of time. I only get to live this life once so I decided that with this life I’m going to do any and everything I can to make it a good one and working for someone else making their dreams come true when I could be working on making my own dreams come true just didn’t sit well with me. Read more>>

Charlie French | Abstract Artist

I am an artist. I call it Art for $. I want to do what I love to do. And make money!. Read more>>

Saudia Moore | Holistic Lifestyle & Style Enthusiast

The thought process behind starting my own business was first realizing that I have talents and ideas within me that weren’t meant to just remain as ideas. Though I had already been a professional in a creative industry, I took on another venture in writing, something I’ve always wanted to do, I landed a position as a style writer for a major website who, at the time, focused on “boss” women and admirable style and business moves. I would report on the current events of celebrities while giving the information behind what they wore, and sometimes interview women of interest. When the content creators were waning, I picked up covering other topics in addition to style, and people were so drawn to the content that contained my personal views. By the time that website took a different turn, I realized just how much more valuable my original content was. I then started my own website to have an outlet for content that I felt society needed. Read more>>

Roporscha Taylor | CEO & Humanitarian

Starting a business is always a risk, but I decided to look at this venture as an opportunity to do something that I enjoyed and make other people feel good in the process. I’m a “church girl” that loves makeup not only for its physical transformative properties but also for the emotional. I initially wore makeup to hide a blemish caused by a domestic violence situation but I realized after a little while that I felt good inside too. SAVD Shades was birthed from the premise that, “you can also look good from the outside in.” Read more>>

Mya Evans | Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer, Artist

I started high caliber because I saw a lack of resources in many areas that I grew up in or was currently at. I strive to build my business and use it as a to provide young artist with better resources to add longevity to their careers. I also want to give back to my community. Read more>>

Sherna Armstrong | Vocalist, Actress, Lecturer

Initially, I just wanted to help people through my talent by teaching them what they wanted to know about singing and making music. It was a natural progression from conducting choirs and teaching that it would organically turn into a business. Read more>>

Lorraine Kenlock | Privatechef and Nutrition Coach

I actually was on a sabatticsl from my career as a Information systems project manager. But i was never one to sit still . So when i decided to explore my creative side and my passion create once in a lifetime experiences started me on this journey. Read more>>

Benjamin Patel | MM Media – Videographer/Photograper

After moving to the Dallas area in 2018, I began by working a job that was slowly making me realize that I am not meant to work for someone else. I jumped into a job that pushed me out of my comfort zone managing the creation of media and spread of it via social networks to help the company I was working for grow. After about a year I found an opportunity at a local dealership that I acted upon. After several months of working at this hectic dealership, I realized that working for people that don’t appreciate your time is not worth it. I decided to take on clients full-time for weddings, automotive photography, portraits for almost any occasion shortly after coming back from visiting my family in Alabama in February 2021. Family is more important to me than working a 9-5 in any environment. They are my motivation to continually improve and make sure my quality of life only goes up from here!. Read more>>

Akea Collins | Resume Reconstruction Guru & The Branding Bandit

My thought process behind starting my business was I saw a need in my community among young adults. While I worked as a Director of Human Resources I saw that a lot of individuals suffered and lacked the basic interviewing skills necessary to succeed. I remember praying to God for guidance and I was later then equipped with the tools necessary to start my business. I always knew I would start a business, but I had no idea that The Resume Chop Shop would be such a success. I thought I would just help some individuals in my neighborhood and at the local high school. Little did I know that I would be attracting international and national clientele. Working in Human Resources has all been my passion because I love to help people, but when I see my clients receive those job offers with my assistance it let’s me know that my though process was right on point. Read more>>

Tyshawn Miles | Owner | Lead Photographer

My thought process for starting this business wasn’t all that complex, I wanted to do something that I was passionate about. I was tired of working jobs for the purpose of just paying the bills and feeling all together unsatisfied from day to day. I also wanted to start something that my children could potentially take an interest in and one day take over and be business owners themselves. Read more>>

Ebonie Mbeteni | International Hospitality and Tour Company Owner (Tanzania)

My life has been a series of unfulfilled talents. A pattern of what I felt was a chain of missed opportunities. There have been many occasions in my life where I have been on track to ultimately blast through the door of success just to have it locked right as I turned the key to unlock it. There were several huge life events for the sake of my family or those in my life that compelled me to lay my dreams aside. It became a theme, but with rage or remorse, these choices were not taken. Since nearly all of them were intentional, well thought out and deliberate, I never doubted the choices I made. However, as I grew older, I began to notice that blooming was becoming more complicated and less frequent for me. So, the transformation of Ebonie went from a craving to express, develop, and conduct my talents to an action plan. I made the option that I would do everything and anything to put myself out there and hopefully something would stick and flourish. Read more>>

Daniel Moody | Concealed Carry Instructor & Emergency Management Specialist

When I started my business it was actually out of desperation to survive the recession. Once I started actually working the business I realized how important it was to not only have multiple streams of income but to also have something I could pass down to my children. Read more>>

Vanessa Ray | Travel Enthusiast

At one point in life I worked on a project for a company that required me and Laila to travel weekly by plane for 1.5 years and then every other weekend for another 6 months. I actually loved it and all of the tips I learned along the way made me want to create products that would make travel easier for parents. The countless number of moms I saw angry or emotional in the airport with their kids usually stemmed from the child(ren) being bored and expressing that feeling through restlessness and tantrums. I knew my experience traveling so much with a toddler could be really helpful for moms who weren’t used to the airport experience with a little one. I started off with blog posts to give tips and share some of the experiences we had in different cities around the world. That eventually grew into our product launch of travel activities for kids, which includes and activity book and 3 card games. Read more>>

Kish Clark | Inspirer (Someone Who Inspires Someone To Be Better For Themselves Instead of Influencing)

I felt like I needed to start my podcast to change the narrative behind being single. I felt like it was a purpose. Something that needed to happen to get a better understanding of ourselves and why we should start there before ever getting into a relationship with someone. Read more>>

Lovell Cox | Custom Designer

Ever since I was little I wanted to start my own business. Back in 2012 when I was a sophomore in high school I discovered Etsy and saw how other artists were able to sell their own creations. I saw high-waisted shorts were becoming in style and ventured to the thrift store and added my own unique artistic touch on denim shorts and created my own Etsy site. When word came out that I was selling high-waisted shorts, I was quickly known as the shorts girl at my high school. I loved the freedom of creating something that people wanted to pay me for. That’s where my entrepreneur spirit sparked and I knew I didn’t want to work for someone else’s dream, I wanted to work for my own. Through college, I got the opportunity to sell more of my upcycled vintage clothing at a student ran store that promoted student entrepreneurs. Read more>>

Dana Larson | Writer, Content Strategist and Marketing Mastermind

The few times that I’ve thought about formally starting a business, nothing really came of it. It’s like I became paralyzed by the planning piece of it. But the many times that I’ve put myself out there in a small way—say, taking a small contract project—I’ve found that it has grown beyond what I ever would have planned, and before I knew it, I had a thriving business on my hands. I learned that just doing what I loved for people was the best way to start my business. But it’s also not terribly surprising to me that I would own my own business. My parents owned their own business since I was 10 years old. Everyone in the family played some part in the business, and when I was 13 I began working for them on the weekends, answering phones, waiting on customers, scheduling appointments, mailing statements, and the like. That was my first legit job where my earnings were reported to the IRS, but I began picking berries when I was 10 and babysitting when was 12. I was never afraid of hard work. Read more>>

Heidi Slansky | Founder and President of Cancer StrongHER

The overarching motivation behind starting my own nonprofit was “find a need and fill it.” I built the type of organization I wish I had access to when I was battling Stage 3 breast cancer and trying to rebuild after treatment. My biggest struggle post-treatment was in regaining and maintaining strength and a sense of health and wellbeing. Cancer StrongHER grew naturally from wanting to provide a place for my fellow female survivors to do just that in a fun and friendly atmosphere completely free of charge. Entrepreneurship also runs in my blood. I watched my father build his own company and was intrigued and motivated by the challenges and successes he faced. I always hoped someday to introduce something new, positive and beneficial to my community. Read more>>

DeMisha Jefferson | Chef, Entrepreneur & HR Admin. Specialist

I wanted to provide a service that most people dread having to do daily or weekly! To provide people with more time to spend doing what they want or love by doing what I love which is cooking. I also saw how my mother and grandmother would cook for their family and turn around to cook for other families with no type of financial return. At first I didn’t understand why they would take their talents and not find a way to benefit from it, not realizing that they were doing it from the heart. I too cook from the heart but I also wanted my talents to be lucrative. Read more>>


~My aunt, introduced me to the exciting medium of stones. She taught me to appreciate details of nature. Colleen, an established female sculptor taught me the rudiments of sculpting, before moving into his own style. ~She encouraged me to carve larger stones, this inspired me and later tried my hand to sculpt, consequently, began to develop my own style. ~During these early years, I carved off-cuts. ~My passion for the human figures has made me develop my own expressive style of stone sculpting, womanhood from tender ages to motherhood, and this can be seen in a wide range of gorgeous sculptures ranging from stylized to representational in the gallery. Read more>>

Delia McLinden | Founder, Archangel Animal Network

After 15+ years of being part of dog rescue in many capacities, I was constantly frustrated because I wanted to do MORE, and make more of a difference in the issue of pet overpopulation here in Texas. I started my 501c3 nonprofit, Archangel Animal Network, with the sole goal to focus on rescue transport. Moving shelter dogs from an area where they are unwanted, ie, ‘Texas throwaways’ to an area where there are waiting lists to adopt a pet! Simply by relocating shelter dogs to another area of the country, they are quickly adopted into wonderful homes, and are treated as cherished family members. Read more>>

Mike Udoessien | Realtor and Real Estate Consultant

I’ve always had the desire to be in business for myself and not have to punch a time clock with the freedom to work at my own pace and on my own time. My family is my BIGGEST motivation, hands down and I realized, in these days, having multiple streams of income is key to surviving. I knew it was going to take time to learn the ins and outs of being a realtor in a competitive market like Dallas- Fort Worth but I wanted to take my experience in Finance and sales and apply them to an industry where I would be able to provide for my family while also making a difference in people’s lives. Read more>>

Alexis Daniels | Owner & Maker at A.N.D.Made by Hand Creative Studio

My process to starting my own business has definitely evolved and grown over time. As a creative I’ve always wanted my own thing. I knew even as I was entering college that I wanted to create something for myself. Unfortunately it took me quite a while to get to that point but I don’t regret any of it. I worked in Retail Operations and Visual Merchandising for 14 years full-time. In the beginning I was elated to go to work everyday. I enjoyed the environment. The people. The work. The day to day. I even loved how hectic it was. It meant I always had something to do and time would fly by. Even though it seemed as though I was totally in love with my job, it never felt right. My spirit wasn’t settled. With every job that came, I grew more and more ready to make my exit. I was exhausted, worn down,, tired of fighting for my recognition and just beat down. Read more>>

Tarshianna Morrow | Medical Nail Technician & Certified Clinical Podiatric Medical Assistant (CCMPA)

My thought process behind starting my own business was very simple; as a creative, I wanted peace of mind by being in the driver’s seat of my own destiny. Becoming an entrepreneur meant freedom on a very basic level, which is very important to creatives. I had found, after working several years in corporate America, that the corporate environment can sometimes stifle you as a creative. Stepping into entrepreneurship meant having creative control by designing the experience I desired for every client I came into contact with. Read more>>