Readers often email us asking us for advice about new businesses they are thinking about starting and we often find that many of them don’t have a framework for thinking about a more fundamental question: why should or shouldn’t you start a business?

Below, you’ll find how successful entrepreneurs from across the city thought about this very question when they were considering whether to start their businesses.

Jermey Forris | Owner of JeFor Clothing

My thought process behind starting my own business was not wanting to work for anyone else. I believe God put everyone on this earth for a reason. I want to live my purpose to the fullest, and the only way I could do that is by creating my own business. The purpose behind my brand JeFor is to promote confidence, high self-esteem, and to live a purposeful life. My slogan is “Be memorable being the best you”. I am inspired to inspire people through fashion. JeFor is how I show my creativity to the world. Read more>>

Jonathan Smart | Owner & Head designer

When I was young I never thought of YGSC as a business. I found out I could put my own designs on T-shirts from a store in the colosseum mall on Jamaica ave not far from my neighborhood. So then I realized the same money I would use to buy the brand name clothes was kinda similar to what they would charge me to print my designs on shirts or air brush them. I would wear them to school my friends would like them,so would my cousins. So I guess it all started there. Since I would make these shirts for my little cousins my older cousins and friends I felt like we needed a name that would represent everybody. Read more>>

Mareesha Phillips | Paralegal- Business Coach

I wanted to be a woman business owner. I wanted to fill a void all the while helping my four daughters by setting an example. Read more>>

Tanice Lloyd | Event Cordinator

I was 17 years old working at papa johns. One Saturday a coustomer came in and was picking up his order and when I gave him his change back he decided he wanted to give me a tip. However he did not hand the money to me in my hand he threw it at me and said shake something for some change. It was in that moment that I realized that I wanted to work for myself because I can choose and refuse whom I service. Read more>>

Carina Belmonte | Personal Branding Coach & Creative Entrepreneur

I started my journey as a production assistant for CNN and Univision (while still living in Venezuela), which helped me learn about video editing and video production After finishing college, I moved to Miami and worked as a video producer for media agencies, entrepreneurs, and influencers. Video production has always been one of my passions, and it comes easy for me, but as time passed, I wanted to do something different. That is how I decided to share my story. That decision helped me to invest in myself to learn how to build a solid personal brand. Read more>>

Ayesha Alston | Postal Worker & Women’s boutique owner

My thought process was simple. I didn’t want to work for someone else for the rest of my life. It just didn’t sit right with me. Working 40+ hours a week just to get a 15 minute break and two days off…that didn’t sit right with me. Yes, as an entrepreneur you don’t have the time in the beginning because you’re working day and night to get your business on the right track, but it’s on your time. And if you have bills, which we all do, you’re going to put in that time so that you’re business can work and provide for you. And lastly, simply put I didn’t want to seem ungrateful and miserable at a job that I know someone out there so desperately wants and needs. Read more>>

Chebria Bryant | Women’s & Self-Love Advocate

I spent most of my life people pleasing, wanting to be accepted and not showing up in the world authentically myself. I used to believe the only way to be a good anything to anybody was defined by how well I served and catered to their needs. In 2019, I probably would’ve told you “this is the worst year of my life.” But, it actually was the year that changed the course of my life. My daughter’s father and I had went through a separation period that year and at first of course I was hurt. I wanted my family together and always dreamt of giving my kids a two-parent household. Read more>>

Julie Zats | Entrepreneur and Content Creator

Starting my own business was kind of second nature to me! It started with a love for graphic design and crafting that turned into me opening my first Etsy store, and I just kept leveling up from there. I taught myself social media management and influencer marketing along the way and it only felt right that I shared my knowledge with others. This led to me opening my latest business, Sparkle Social Co, where I help small businesses and influencers grow their empires. It’s extremely fulfilling sharing my knowledge with others and seeing these businesses and influencers succeed from the help and guidance I’ve provided. Read more>>

Alison Hinds | Special Education Lecturer & Visual Art Instructor

Growing up, I always did fashion design sketches for my mother who was a dressmaker. This led me to pursue a degree in visual arts majoring in painting. After completing my degree, I went to the US to work at a summer camp that catered to persons with special needs. While there, I served as the Ceramic Specialist and taught persons with varying levels of special needs. This opened my eyes to the impact of art as a therapeutic and motivating force on the special needs community. I saw how they enjoyed applying their individual artistic talents, how proud they felt that they had made something creative, and how happy they were to be able to take something tangible home to show others and have as a keepsake. Read more>>

Sagrika Sethi | Mindset mentor & Entrepreneur

If you had told me 2 years ago that one day I would be the host of The Let’s talk: Podcast, I probably would have laughed, or cried. Maybe both. But I definitely wouldn’t have believed you. But here we are! I started the Let’s talk: Podcast right after COVID-19 when I had moved back to Nigeria. The idea of starting a podcast was always in my head, I just didn’t know where to start or what to do. I was lost. I had never started something of my own like this. It was scary and now that I had all the free time at home, I knew I was going to make something out of it. Read more>>

Pauline Marinho Ulloa | Oncology Trained Esthetician, Master Medical Tattoo.

First I want to help woman with a beautiful treatments but make them feel in the own house, like friends. Second I rented a place to give a job to single mother to make money helping other women with the beautiful enchanted, I have a extra room for kids to study in my business. Read more>>

Irina Samarkina | English Speaking club facilitator / @english.irina.usa

I’ve always wanted to help recent immigrants find their voice and adapt to the new country. Being an immigrant myself, I understand how newcomers struggle to take their English to the next level and start using it in day-to-day situations. Even though, many English learners have some knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, it’s difficult for them to overcome language barrier and start talking. I created English speaking club to help learners practice English by speaking it in a safe environment. Our meetings are dynamic, fun and educational at the same time. Read more>>