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.

Yulekethia Forrest-Hankerson | Gods child, daughter, mother, founder and nonna.

There were two reasons why I always wanted my own business. One was because I grew up with parents that always had their own business. I would work as a little girl to help my parents with their business. I was six years old and remember helping my parents clean these big pretty offices. They had a cleaning service and a painting body shop. I remebred sanding the cars with my father at his paint and body shop. Read more>>

Mev The Renegade | Music Producer & Engineer

I was already an established music producer with when I first created Traks 5th Avenue, and one thing that I felt that the game was missing from the production side were the concept of strong “production houses” & production teams like BeatClub, The Neptunes, The Clutch, and many more. I decided that I would follow those principles to shape my own record company-to form a team that undeniably co-creates music at the highest level. Read more>>

Beatrice Simamane Hlongwa | Owner of Thebooweave and Grievance Coach

My thought process behind starting my own business started after losing my husband. It motivated me into doing something for myself, my kids, and my grandkids. Read more>>

AnaKaren “AK” Laplante | Freight broker and Shipping and logistics consultant-Serial entrepreneur

I never felt like I fit the mold of having a 9-5 job, I always gave my 110 percent in everything that I did in life and after being at a company for 7 years in the shipping/logistics industry, I honestly fell in love with all the moving parts of the industry. I thought if I could help build this department to the best of my ability that I could take my efforts and energy into building something amazing of my own! Read more>>

Marnye Young | SOVAS award-winning Narrator/Producer for WSJ, NY Times, USA Today Bestselling Authors and Owner of Audio Sorceress

I actually never thought I would own a business. My husband is a self made man who runs a now booming boutique architecture firm and I thought nope I will never own my own business. I grew up with parents who owned not one but two restaurants one of which sadly failed and I thought nope that will never be me. I don’t want the responsibility and I won’t be good any good at it. Nobody will want to listen to me. I began my narrator career in late 2016 and I got very lucky early on as unbeknownst to myself when I sent out my third audition I was auditioning for a production company and not an author. Read more>>

Erica Lawrence | Founder of Bodies in Motion Wellness

When I first decided to start my own business, I was a 23-year old, single mom. I had just left my first full-time corporate job after working there for only 9 months. I accepted a new position and was so eager to start, I submitted my 2-week notice before signing the official offer letter from the new company. My first job let me go ahead of my notice date and the new job ended up offering me a much lower salary than what was initially discussed. Instead of accepting their offer, I decided I was worth more and could earn a better living as my own boss. Read more>>

Meddy305 | Hairdresser & Owner La pÖ Paris

When I first decided to start my own business, I was a 23-year old, single mom. I had just left my first full-time corporate job after working there for only 9 months. I accepted a new position and was so eager to start, I submitted my 2-week notice before signing the official offer letter from the new company. My first job let me go ahead of my notice date and the new job ended up offering me a much lower salary than what was initially discussed. Instead of accepting their offer, I decided I was worth more and could earn a better living as my own boss. Read more>>

Cheyenne Rodney | Food & Fashion Blogger

The thought process behind starting my brand was creating a bridge between Food and Fashion! It is essentially a place where other fashionistas and socialites can find hidden gems in their local neighborhoods. My platform was created to be place where others could be inspired and stay in the loop of the hotspots near them! Read more>>

Amanda Ealla | Founder & CEO of Ish Dolls

There was a huge lack of multicultural toys available and when I could not find what I was looking for I was compelled to create my own. I had been working successfully in my field for 10+years at a top finance firm in New York so the decision to start at ground zero as an entrepreneur was not an easy one. I thought, why not me and went for it. I had to roll up my sleeves, get creative and figure it out, and to be honest, I’m still figuring it out everyday as I go along. That’s the beauty of the entrepreneur life, you never stop learning. I knew it was important for me to stay authentic to my roots and integrate my passion for culture and early learning into my business. My love for what I do and the impact that our products have had on consumers is what drives me and gets me through the not so easy days that small business owners often face. Read more>>

Dana Gardner | Registered Dietitian & Herbal Tea Creator

Having worked in healthcare for nearly 15 years, I encountered so many patients and clients with conditions that were related to poor nutrition due to inaccessible or decision making based on misinformation.. Too many times patients were taking advice or supplements from those with no nutritional or medical background. I wanted to change that, I wanted people to have something from someone who not only came from a similar background but also understood the love of food. So my first business idea was a mobile market that would go into underserved neighbors to help them make more informed decisions, hence the name Jax Fresh Mobile Market. But then COVID hit, and like so many other small businesses I had to pivot my business plan. Read more>>

Phelicia Dell | Artist / CEO & Creative Director at VeVe Collections

I first had the chance to work in the textile industry as an interior designer when the father of my daughter who was an Architect and businessman in the early 2000s allowed me to express myself as an artist in his architectural projects. Following his assassination in 2004 I found myself unemployed, I had a one-year-old daughter to feed and I had a lot of financial problems to solve. During that terrible time in my life I was forced to create my own doorway to new opportunities. I would definitely say that it was my survival instinct that drove me to start my own business. Read more>>

Carlyle Grant | Creative Marketer & Entrepreneur

I had to first assess my position in life and weigh the opportunity cost. I always had an ‘itch’ for entrepreneurship but never fully pursued due to the risks associated and my humble background. Over time, as I was progressing in my career and job, more and more persons started reaching out to me with opportunities on the side. I said to myself: Read more>>

Kathie Kreh | President & Founder of African Orphan Educational Foundation

We wanted to help turn the tide for orphans and disadvantaged children in Africa through education — a staggering 97 million children don’t go to school. The lack of resources and funding to educate children has perpetuated an unforgiving cycle of poverty. In the areas we serve. Africa has a median age of 19.7, and only about 25% of young people receive the equivalent of a high school education. Read more>>

Keith Willard | Wedding and Event Planner

They say that entrepreneurs are born that way. I believe that wholeheartedly. Throughout my career, I have always leaned towards positions that allowed me a lot of freedom. In my twenties, I was the Executive Director of a small not for profit. I made my own hours and had few limitations. The success of the organization was totally dependent on whether or not I was successful. When I moved into the world of event planning, I aligned myself with a company that provided the same foundation. My hours and my success was totally of my own making. Read more>>

Igor & Eka Eka Things | Happy Dreamers

Igor: The decision to open our business did not come immediately.
My friend Eka, with whom we opened our company, has long dreamed of her own business related to ecology. She dreamed about it since childhood when the whole eco topic was not so popular.
Two years ago, she was determined to give it a try and persuaded me to create a company together. Read more>>

Rich Richardson | CEO of Rovproductions

There really wasn’t much of a thought process behind starting my own business; it is something I consider as second nature being able to cultivate something from nothing is always exciting. Read more>>

Lindsey Becker | Chef & Founder

I’ve been a health chef for over a decade and have always made crave-worthy comfort foods infused with superfoods. About a year ago, my two little girls were diagnosed with gluten and dairy sensitivities. Having kids with allergies is no joke and can be a very serious time commitment for parents. Read more>>

Xavier Bryant | Mr. Xcyte Fitness

My thought process was to do something that will help change people lives and me being able to have a fulfillment of happiest about it. Not only that but I would be able to be my own boss, make my own decisions, and most importantly invest time into myself. I’ve been in the sales and marketing industry for over 15 years providing some type of services with helping others. Read more>>

Leah McLeod | Pre-Med Student and Founder of 501 (c)(3)Nonprofit organization, MASKMission

As a current pre-med student, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to dive deep into medical research, and a better understanding of the science around me. With this being said, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 and I had to return back home from where I currently resided for school, I noticed a significant change in emotions when seeing how the medical field and society itself was impacted. A rise in political, racial, and scientific conflict occurred to an extent that I’ve never experienced before, and as a black woman in the STEM field, I knew I wanted to bring something to my community that would bring a sense of unity within all the chaos.  Read more>>

Thea D. Parker | Mom’s Lifestyle Real Estate Advisor

I was appointed by my husband Norman, who saw me as a business woman perfect for his property management division. I fell face first into managing over 150 single family homes all under the Section 8 (Housing Choice Voucher) government program. Surprisingly, I was in love with the business!! I remained in the profession acquiring a license as an agent in 3 states, serving as a tenant consultant, property manager, and even working for a housing authority as a landlord liaison. Read more>>

Brianna Robinson | Certified & Licensed Athletic Trainer

I want to work for myself. I grew assisting my parents at the family business and it’s definitely tough, but worth knowing what to expect on a day-to-day basis. As an entrepreneur, I am in control. Read more>>

Evelyn Theresias | Eve Realtor

Starting your own business can very terrifying, however I am a risk taker. I have always been a people person, I always knew in I wanted to own my own business. I opened an Amazon store so far everything has been going great. I’m extremely busy seems like I have no time to myself at all. As a business owner and real estate agent I get to make my own scheduled. I really thought that I’ll be able to spend more time with my family I was wrong. As of today, I don’t think I’m managing my time wisely especially I’m also a Real estate agent. Read more>>

Jojo Nessim | Brand owner at Halotied

I find that creating art is a form of self-expression and something that I love putting my time and effort into, and tie-dye was the one that kicked off into a business. I began tie dyeing clothes as a hobby and started gifting them to family and friends and quickly more people started to ask me to make for them so I opened up a shop on Depop. I saw that my sales were rising and I decided to create an instagram account dedicated to tie-dye and named it Halotied. From there, My direct message numbers were increasing day by day and I soon realized that I had to make a website to get myself organized. Ever since the creation of my website, I have been releasing a lot more clothing and continue to work on upcoming collections. Read more>>

Annelee Dunkley | 3rd Generation Herbalist & Health Insurance Advisor.

Before actually starting the business, the business idea has always been a dream, but before even thinking of it becoming a business idea, I always thought of my purpose. I have always felt like My purpose in life was to HELP. Whether it was to help myself, help my parents, help a child learn how to read or just helping my community as a whole. One of my favorite sayings is “Each One, Teach One”, I believe that if you can help one person, you can help an entire village! If we all have a drive to help one another, I believe that we can help solve a lot of the issues we face in todays society. Read more>>