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.

Cindy Makita-Dodd | Career Strategist & Coach

One of my all time favorite quotes is by Kahlil Gibran and it says “Work is love made visible.” I believe we were put on Earth on purpose to work, and more importantly to love our work. I remember growing up, my dad (who is a doctor) used to tell us how much he loved his job. I always grew up with the notion that loving your work was possible and very normal. I read a statistic that said that over half of the U.S. workforce was unhappy at work. This rang true when I would speak to friends and see talk on social media of how people hated their jobs, dreaded going into work, or struggled to land the jobs they actually wanted. I knew that I could help change that. I do not believe that we have to live our lives being in roles we do not enjoy or that we don’t want to be in. I knew with a strategy and a plan, job seekers could gain the guidance they needed to land jobs they truly loved. I always had a deep desire for helping people and making an impact and it was as clear as day that career coaching was the way that I could put these two into practice daily, while loving the work I did. Read more>>

Adecka Gordon | Adecka Dajuice Gordon / Art Dealer & Curator

My personal opinion is in order to be free in America you have to be a business owner. I’m not saying that you can’t have a job as well but the end goal should be to own a business and serve a community of people. Furthermore, I believe that owning a business psychologically develops a person to be more disciplined and independent. To see a problem for what it is and to find the solution is what a business is all about. I was raised with my family telling me constantly; “don’t be a follower be a leader”; those strong impressions made me consider being a business owner even before I knew what I wanted to have a business in. Read more>>

Christina Specos | 20 Year Fitness, Nutrition and Performance Strength Coach

When I started my own business, I was at a place where I was ready for and needed a change. I had been in a coaching job for 7 years and enjoyed every second, until the culture changed. In the last year of my career there, I had an unpleasant (to say the least) experience with a new supervisor. At the time, I was at the peak of my physical condition, quality of work, and life satisfaction. It’s hard to come by all three of these work/life qualities all at once, so I was literally on a personal and career high. The new supervisor questioned who and what I was — in my personal time, I competed in bodybuilding competitions, modeled in personal photo shoots, and shared my achievements publicly, while in my work time, I wore the hat of Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for some major teams and along with it comes the responsibility to be a good role model for those whom you serve and lead. When image and purpose and passion comes into question by your senior at your place of work, it becomes awkward and stifling. Read more>>

Rebecca | Metalsmith + Photographer + Healer

The decision to start my own business happened rather organically. Jewelry making and metal smithing started from a desire to engage my hands and create work that allowed me to focus on the meditative process of a task. From there it grew into a way to create work that not only adorns those in my community but helps them to consider the spiritual and divine role of adornment in their lives. I feel I have something to offer to those who are looking for more than just aesthetics when it comes to their adornment choices. Read more>>

Luz Rodriguez | Ms.roda Illustrator, Painter and Designer

I’m an illustrator, designer, and painter. Being able to do what I love is great but carries a lot of sacrifices. Working until late hours, weekends and be from the delivery to the creative team of one at the same time is sometimes a little bit overwhelmed, but at the end of the day the happiness of being able to know that someone out there loves what you do and that you can make them happy is “GLORIOUS”. Read more>

Andrew Holness | Producer

I recognized that in order to sustain any level of success, a system had to be built around the value that could be provided to ourselves and others. Building a business became the pathway to create a sustainable machine that could provide opportunities for my team and I to do what we loved to do, and get paid to help others. We decided to build multiple businesses simultaneously to build a foundation for each entity to support the other, creating a self sustained in-house revenue model for Video Production, Marketing, and Music Entertainment. The life principles learned while building these business helped me realize the true core values I stood for and could integrate into the business model to serve others. Read more>>

Maegan Calle | Resin Artist, Writer, & Influencer

When I started my own business, I did it with the intentions of expressing myself without using words. As a stay at home mom, finding work I can do at home was really important for me. When I created my first piece of resin, I knew I had a right future in the field. Read more>>

The Boys | Hosted by Taylor and Tyler Purnsley

Our thought process behind starting The Boys Podcast was opposite from what most people would expect; in fact, there was not much thought behind it at all. We’ve always been told that our dynamic was uncommon, and maybe even erratic. One night we had been enjoying libations and impulsively decided to start a podcast. Not a YouTube Channel, but a podcast. We felt as if some our most intimate conversations about interpersonal relationships should be broadcasted. Why not? Most people would relate and appreciate an insight on a woman’s perspective when it comes to such topics. We thought, “lets throw in some banter with visuals and we are set!” No, but in all honesty, there was definitely some subsequent planning after we decided to explore the idea. We wanted it to be successful, and still do! We are two successful black women with full time jobs. One is a CPA and the other is a Nurse Practitioner. With being stuck in the house due to COVID-19, we needed something creative and enjoyable; a way to interact with people without risking exposure. A podcast was our perfect idea. Read more>>

Lisa Brunette | Novelist, Blogger, and Game Storyteller

I actually run two businesses: Cat in the Flock, a lifestyle blog, and Brunette Games, a boutique game-writing studio. Neither of these gigs was a straight shot for me!  Cat in the Flock is the title of my first novel, which was released seven years ago this summer. While I continue to support the mystery series that grew out of that, the Dreamslippers, the main focus of the blog now is general lifestyle content: garden, home, travel, yoga, and health and wellness. As a former journalist, I still have ideas every day for lifestyle stories, and the blog is a great outlet for them. I founded Brunette Games after more than a decade in the game industry, working for major studios Nintendo, Cat Daddy Games, and Big Fish until I went independent in 2016. After a few grueling years as a freelancer, I had enough success and work coming in to begin hiring staff, including students I taught at a local university, and now we’re a team of 10. We work with some of the best studios in the mobile space on top-performing, genre-defining game storylines. Read more>>

Ann Cox | Interior Designer

I think from a young age I knew deep down I would someday own my own business, even though I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career. I have always been driven and self-motivated. When I was 15, I had to have an intense spinal surgery that kept me out of school for a semester. After finishing a semester’s worth of work in about 3 weeks, I begged my mom to be home schooled. I knew that if I could balance school with other things, like a job, I would be so much happier. She found a home school program that allowed me to work on my own, which, as a single mom, allowed her to work full time as she supported my brother and I. I remember being so thrilled that she was giving me a chance to prove I could do it! I homeschooled for 3 hours in the morning and then worked at Quicksilver in the mall in the afternoon, before picking my brother up from school. I loved the independence, creating my own schedule, and overseeing what I wanted to do. Coming from a family of makers and artists, I’ve always been engaged with the arts and been drawn towards creative fields. After college, I ended up working for West Elm as their Lead Stylist. Read more>>