Many books on startups and business talk about how there are right and wrong reasons for starting a business.  So, we asked a handful of successful founders about their reasons and the thought-process behind starting their business.

Jeff Fresh | Business/Recording Artist

I grew up listening to Kompa and Hip hop, I used to sing and rap after school. On college I recorded my first song ever since then I been in love with recording music. My 2 buddies were in the same college as I and they were in a rap group call “J n J boys” they were some of the best rap groups. They took me to my first studio session where I recorded my first song ever. Now in 2021, I make universal music and used all different type of producers all around the world whenever I am working on a project. Read more>>

Rekieshia Norton-Forrest | Candle Business Owner & Educator

During the time of the pandemic, I had all of this extra time on my hands and wanted to try something that was out of my comfort zone. I am a huge candle collector and thought “why not try to make my own candles?”. After my first successful candle, that was it!!!!! Next thing I know, I was coming up with all of these ideas from candle scents and names to brand colors, logo ideas, you name I was doing it…. nine months later here I am owning my own candle business!. Read more>>

Laura Reece | Owner & Travel Agent

My husband and I are serial entrepreneurs. We love developing businesses together that serve the greater community and offer needed services. Reece Worldwide Travel was born from our family’s love of travel. Both my husband and I have lived abroad, in Scotland and England respectively, and my parents engrained in me a love of travel at a very early age. We were taken on trips short and long everywhere – from Texas, to Illinois to California to Florida as well as to most of Western Europe. We have wonderful family memories of my sister learning to skip in Paris, to driving as a family on the autobahn in Germany to asking for directions in a small town in Italy where no one spoke English. My husband and I also take our children on trips often and instead of exchanging gifts at the holidays, our family takes a trip together. We know that memories last a lifetime. Read more>>

Shanice Traylor | CEO of Evolve2Empower

My thought process behind starting my own ministry derived from battling internally with not feeling adequate enough, growing up. I didn’t feel confident nor did I feel beautiful. As a result, it caused me to experience highs and lows, to settle for less than the best, experience depression and cry many tears but God, I realized that he makes no mistakes. God chose me. God created me in his image and likeness. His word reaffirmed that I am the head and not the tail, I am above and not beneath, I am worrthy, I am valuable, I am the daughter of a King, I am victorious in Christ, I am built for this life, I am clothed in strength and dignity, I am ENOUGH, I am Shanice Elaine Traylor. The very thing I struggled with, God used it as the fuel and foundation of my ministry, Evolve2Empower which is intended to build confidence in young ladies while enhancing self worth and self love. It ties into to my favorite verse, Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good. Read more>>

Jesus Torres | Personal Trainer & Online Coach

When I look back then I realize that I was always involved with fitness but only a few years back I turned my hobby into my profession. Throughout my teenage years I had several jobs from park cleaner, nursing home assistant, after school program counselor, Retail Sales Associate at GNC, to teaching and working with autistic children. I was not passionate about any of those jobs and I only got excited to spend my free time at the gym. I graduated college with my Bachelors in Exercise Science and started to train and advise friends and family members. Overnight I made the decision to move from New York to Miami to work at Equinox. The health and wellness lifestyle in Miami lead me to the decision to build my own brand BXJ Training. Read more>>

Arianna Lint | CEO & Founder, Arianna’s Center

As a transgender woman of color openly living with HIV, I have experienced first hand the gaps in services and resources for our community, including the lack of trans competent service providers. I knew that by using my own experiences and skills working within the community I could deliver effective trans-led leadership and support for my community. Read more>>

Matthew Perkins | Drag Queen | Crimsyn

My thought process behind creating my own business was the need to physically manifest my dreams. I work really well with deadlines and responsibilities, and having a business where you have to fulfill certain requirement works wonderfully for me. I wanted to take my art to the next level, and I want it to grow into a full-time career, so taking this step was something necessary for my dreams to come forth. Read more>>

Brandon Tobias | Soul-Purpose Astrologer, True Love Tarot Reader, Intuitive Guide

My thought process began as such…HOW…in 2021, with anyone and everyone already online, could MY material POSSIBLY get seen, as a brand-new creator? The first challenge I had to face was the hardest. Was this even possible? Was there a business model out there that I could replicate or that had proven to be successful in the same way I wanted to be? The answers, at first, unfortunately, was a hard and intimidating NO. At least to the latter question posed. Nothing out there that I could model my own business after meant I had to create something entirely new, unique, from scratch. The total process of becoming self-created. It was intimidating, to say the least. To the first question I had to face-off against…”was this even possible?” Although this took quite a bit of faith, luck, good timing, and ultimately, some inspiration from external circumstances (turns out going through a breakup can be the most powerful motivator on the planet to change your future dramatically). Read more>>

Michael Shyne | Videographer & Business Owner

In 2014 I caught what many of us refer to as “the camera bug.” I purchased a Canon T3i, shortly afterwards I went on to film my first event and there was no turning back. Having a background in music production, at some point I thought I realized why this new found art form felt so familiar to me. Was it the art of story telling and expression that made it feel so familiar? Whether shooting video or still photography, it is the job of the person behind the lens to tell the subject’s story. In 2018, driven by my passion for watches, I mustered up the courage to launch my own watch brand Shyne & Co. Through all the trails and tribulations of starting a brand, the one thing that I learned immediately was that promotion and proper marketing was equally if not more essential than having a great product. With that in mind, and having used a lot of my own capital for the watch brand, I decided to assert my videography skills and started filming my own marketing ads. Read more>>

Emma Musto | Marketing Professional & Artisan Candle Maker

After working a couple “normal” 9 to 5 jobs I felt like I was trapped. I hated it so much because I felt like I was wasting away my time which is basically my life for someone else’s benefit. I believe the 8 hour work day is so antiquated, the majority of people are not productive for 8 hours straight, every single day! I decided I needed to work for myself, on my own time, so I could regain control of my life. I wanted to do something that allowed me to manage my own time even if that meant giving up a “steady” paycheck every two weeks. Read more>>

Allison & Jeffrey Matherly & Noble | Artists / Designers

Nice’n Easy was born out of a surrender. Each of us were at a place where we where considering giving up on pursuing a creative career. The agreement we made when we created our first installation was that we wouldn’t talk about art or making in the usual language we were accustomed to. Going to art school and working in museums and galleries had imbedded a certain set of ideas about art in us that left us frustrated and feeling a bit jaded. Nice’n Easy became a way for us to hit the rest button and approach the creative process with a fresh set of eyes. We still use and are grateful for the specialized knowledge garnered at school and from institutions but our ways of thinking and seeing had to be deconstructed for a moment before we could rebuild our identities and the principles we hold. Read more>>

Angelina Goodman | Creator of Fleuressence

I’ve always really loved crystals and I thought to myself, well how can I spread good positive energy to others with these crystals? By wearing them and hanging them around the house! I always knew I didn’t want to work behind a desk for 40 hours a week too. I started right at the beginning of the pandemic and opened up an Etsy shop!. Read more>>

Andreina Pradas | Founder & CEO of Inhance, LLC

I have been studying happiness since I was 11 years old. One of my great influencers and supporter is an aunt who lost 2 sons and still managed to be happy. She also does speeches about happiness. In addition to that, I have had the opportunity to work with thousands of people in different fields (non-profit, health care, hospitality, education, and mental health). Those 20+ years of experience in Human Resources gave me the opportunity to understand engagement and motivation. After having the opportunity to use my steps to get out of a depression, I realize I needed to do something better and bigger. So, I started volunteering and teaching my happiness program to different organizations and groups, until the day came and I had the courage to leave the Corporate world to focus 100% in my company: Inhance, LLC I know happiness can be learned and that is why I do what I do. Read more>>

Cee Jay Besa | Executive/Business Coach

I had a lot of fear which held me from starting and when I realized the fears were not going away, I started it afraid but started nonetheless. I realized that I was asking people to believe in me which was the wrong thing to do, so I started to just believe in myself. No one can believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Read more>>

Rasha Abdel Reda | Fashion Curator & Entrepreneur

I have been involved in fashion and home décor since I was young girl. Growing up, I always helped my mother decorate the house or play dress up with my sisters. During college my friends always sought my opinion in selecting their outfits. It took a while after I finished my Bachelor’s to make the decision to get into business for myself. Initially I started by sourcing clothes to close personal friends and family members. After getting an influx of requests, I decided to start my first online business. I mainly focused on clothing and fashion. The business was a success but then I decided to slow down to give attention to my attention. Around the end of 2017, I started @mynameisrasha as an IG page. It was initially for fun but then I started to get a large numbers of organic followers who repeatedly asked for insights and advice about home decoration and organization. When I reached around 50K followers, I decided to restart my fashion business which is primarily fashion curation. Read more>>

Kiwani Tapper | Founder of Bush

The thought process behind my business was that I wanted to start a company that was very close to home, but also impacted peoples lives in a positive way. I am obsessed with all things natural, healing, medicine, and my culture. I created a brand that encompassed all of that in one, well in my opinion at least. Read more>>

Martha Savloff | Master Certified Health Coach, Founder of Inspire Weight Loss

Inspire Weight Loss was birthed out of my personal story. A story of being overweight, seeing my health deteriorate, feeling uncomfortable under my skin at the age of 40. I was at a crossroad and needed to make a change. I had enough with the feeling of heaviness and pain. So I entered my journey of weight loss and HEALTH GAIN. I lost the first 17 pounds and a whole lot of inches. I found myself feeling great and GRATEFUL. I was also at a crossroad in my professional career and having been in the administrative side of healthcare, I decided to go back to school, get my master certification of Health Coaching and PAY IT FORWARD. I opened Inspire Weight Loss. Being able to help and support men, women and adolescents to not only lose excess weight BUT GAIN HEALTH is the drive and passion that gets me up in the morning and not only me, but my team as well, We Inspire forward and continue to be very grateful each and every day. Read more>>

Benny E. Willikams | Artist & Entrepreneur

I wanted to dictate how my career went. Not only career but Life. Since I was 16 I said i was going to own a record label, and that was a goal, a dream even, that I had for 6 years. I never made a move towards it. I went to college, studied International Relations and had a great time. Goal never changed though, I just imagined the Record Label would just pop up into existence at some point in my thirties. So at the time I was in a rhetoric class, and we had to create a rhetorical campaign for a movement. I chose Black Lives Matter, and I created this Hoodie along with other pieces of rhetoric. The hoodie had the word B.I.A.S. (printed three times in a row) in an acronym. When I presented this hoodie, I had the class shook. I had everyone’s attention, because I just showed them power of rhetoric, and how it’s hidden in plain sight. The professor told me she was impressed, I got a C in her class, but in other words she was impressed. Read more>>

Tina Jaramillo Hillary Dougherty | Co-Hosts of The Muck Podcast

Our podcast came to fruition out of our love of politics and true crime. When we set out to start the podcast, we knew that the true crime genre was pretty saturated, and realized that we needed to find a niche. We are both political nerds and spend a lot of what little free time we have volunteering for various organizations in our communities. So, we decided to merge these two loves of ours, and we created the only true crime podcast with a political twist. Read more>>

Carlos Sarmiento | Food & Wine Writer/Influencer & Creative Cook

Having always been a food and wine aficionado and a once aspiring chef, I had found myself with more time to cook and get creative again in the kitchen since Covid hit. At first, I wanted to document what I cooked and drank (wine pairing) just to share with family and close friends. I thought a blog would be good. I realized that I, and certainly many others, could get more out of this passion project, if I also added my public relations skills an turned the blog into a website destination…that is how Carlos’ Food & Wine ( was born. It is now a passion venture. Read more>>

Jasmine Valdes | Singer/Songwriter

My business is my music. I was trying to write songs for another music project before the one I am in the process of releasing now, and somewhere along the lines I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. I didn’t feel like that first project sounded like me; so,I scrapped it and tried again. I had a few new experiences in life and hat all kick started my writing process. One song came after the other and they started feeling more solid and more like me. I also co-wrote with some new people, and I was taking myself more serious this time around. Read more>>

Carly LaFlamme | Artist/Painter

When I started Carly Rose Designs, I tried go into it with an open mind and no expectations. Painting and creating art was something I enjoyed and that I wanted to share with people, but I didn’t want turning it into a business to take away from the joy it brought me. I made a promise to myself to only create things that I found excitement and enjoyment in, because if there is none of that joy and excitement in me while creating a piece, it definitely won’t bring it any joy and excitement to the viewer!. Read more>>

Jason Funt | Artist

It’s always been in my soul to be an entrepreneur Plus I’m a bit of a weirdo and I like to do things my own way so following the regular path was not in the cards for me plus this is my passion and I’ve always been told if you do what you love the money will come. Read more>>

Erica Lopez | Licensed Esthetician and Brow Artist. Owner of Fancy Faces Studio

It was step by step progression. When I first started out as an esthetician and working at the Benefit Brow Bar in Ulta, my desire was not to become an entrepreneur. As my career progressed I grew into the idea. I saw others who were in my profession beginning to start businesses of their own and then a light bulb went off in my mind and I realized that should be my next goal after establishing a loyal clientele. I also craved freedom to be my own boss. If I had not taken the risk and stepped out on my own in 2019, fast forward to 2020 and entering a whole pandemic, I would not have had the liberty to also be there for my daughter to navigate this new world of virtual learning. Read more>>

Alexandra Franzese | Artist

I started my own business, much like many others, panicking during the beginning of the pandemic. I lost my job due to lack of available work from COVID-19. Of course, I applied to as many jobs as I could, but without luck, I tried to make my own work. I have many online art shops including a Redbubble shop, TeePublic, Spoonflower, and Etsy shop. I wanted to make money to support myself. That was my main motivation in starting my own business. Read more>>

Lexi Segre | Jewelry Designer

Owning my own business is pretty much part of my DNA. My grandfather,who immigrated from Italy to Cuba during WWII to start a new life with his family, opened his own business first with a partner and after with my father when he finished college in the US. They opened together a plastics manufacturing plant in Cuba. However, after leaving everything behind in Cuba due to the Communist takeover, my father had to start over and owned a couple of different business in Puerto Rico where I grew up until he retired. After college I worked for large firms and small business before venturing out on my own with a boutique advertising agency which I co-owned for ten years. However, jewelry making was always my passion since I was a child, and pretty much my entire life I took classes in many of the amazing places life brought me – New York, Chicago, Spain. Read more>>

Destiny,Clay’nita,Victor Rebel Lounge LLC | Lounge & Event hall

My thought process behind starting Rebel consisted of a few things , such as risk , commitment , partnership and creativity. For starters the first thing was assembling the team . My partners and co-founders Clay’nita & Vick was the best decision made for it because they were ready to put in work and do it the right way. Next was the risk factor of the business and the pros and cons of going through with it , we created a power point and went over and discussed it a few times , made the necessary changes and that’s how our journey began. We committed ourselves to the steps needed paperwork wise and shortly after secured a location , right now we’re working on renovations and building our social media and plan to open in the summer . Lastly Creativity , it plays a huge part in any business , you have to figure out your consumers and dedicate consistent content to keep them engaged and keep our social media sites updated frequently with content. Read more>>

Tiomar Drummond | CEO and Founder of Drummond Home Renovations

I decided to start my own business after being placed on child support. I have lost all of my assets, and eventually got evicted from my apartment. Life quickly became a daily struggle. At the time I applied for a part time position at the City of Miramar and collected a net pay of $0.00 on my first three checks due to back up child support. I knew I couldn’t survive this way ,so I eventually applied for a full time position and got it! During this time , I met Matthew Bass and Leslie Bell SR who quickly became my work dads. Matthew, and Leslie mold me into a craftsman and taught me everything from drywall, etc… After sharing my financial struggle with Matthew he told me how I could do all of this for people on my own time and get paid. This is all I needed to hear. I went home and immediately starting working on creating my business now known as Drummond Home Renovations. Read more>>

Ashley Monique | Founder/CEO

Starting my own business was a challenging task initially. I did not know what to expect and I did not have any knowledge on how to properly start or run a productive business. However, I was definitely up for the challenge. One of my main goals for both of my businesses, is to help others grow holistically. I wanted to help myself thrive, while helping others as well. Starting my businesses, has been an amazing blessing. I have been able to help the community and help other businesses grow. Knowing that I can be an asset to others succeeding in life, is a blessing. Read more>>

Andre’ Davis | Celebrity Hair Designer

My thought process behind starting my own business started with my parents telling me to do what i love , and i truly love what i do ! So me deciding to start on my own business started right out if the gate in the fashion industry working with top models and great photographers . Then i branched out doing a collaborations with salon owners and doing the general public. Read more>>

Dorlene Pierre | CEO of Monde Swim

The thought process behind starting my own brand was realizing my niche how much I loved swimwear, my passion to create and what I could bring to the table. I’m probably the most supportive person I always encourage others to pursue their passion. I’ve always been the behind the scene person, helping model a brand, giving creative ideas and just wanting to help in any form. I realized I always there to support someone but at times felt I wasn’t getting that in return, nevertheless it never stopped me from being that person to everyone. It just sparked more of a drive to push myself and create something I can give that same energy towards. My love for swimwear started around the time I was dancing professionally for the NHL and then modeling and being a fitness brand ambassador for a sports nutrition company back in 2013. Read more>>

Cindy Huzenman | Cindyology – Organizing Expert

I wanted to make sure to work on something I really loved and enjoyed doing, as well as having my own schedule and being able to be my own boss. Read more>>

Sarah Zabel | Mediator, Arbitrator, Neutral Umpire and Special Magistrate.

I believe I am a diplomat at heart. My objective in starting my business was to create a statewide full-service dispute resolution practice. After serving as a Circuit Court Judge for nearly 16 years my goal was to resolve conflict outside of the court system. My vision for my practice was to help those confronted with a dispute find a way to peacefully end the dispute. It was important to create a name that specifically associated me with my business. I came up with the acronym MAZE. M is for mediation. A is for arbitration. Z is for Zabel. E is for the end. MAZE Resolutions PA will amicably navigate anyone searching to end their conflict out of the maze. Read more>>

Katie Sandler, MS, BCC | The Impact Coach

So many life experiences brought me to my business today, the biggest being a gap in the market for those who are looking to truly get their sh*t (stuff) together, for those who are looking to live with purpose without the need of being in therapy or coaching for years. Simultaneously, I also saw the need to provide those services in the format of retreats – bring the best of both worlds together for impactful experiences. Read more>>

Katia Philippeaux | Epilepsy Advocate & Philanthropist

The thought process behind starting my non-profit was in honor of my late brother, Robert. He was only 18 years old when he passed away from Epilepsy, a chronic neurological disease which causes unprovoked seizures. One morning, he awoke to multiple seizures which caused his heart to stop. For days we agonized over the hope of his recovery in ICU but unfortunately he did not survive. After his death, I became overwhelmed with so much strength to carry on his story. I began volunteering with several organizations, including Epilepsy Florida. My new purpose in life was to help families just like mine heal from the loss of a loved one from the disorder. During my journey, I discovered the lack of knowledge people in my own community, especially the Haitian-American community, had about Epilepsy. I just knew something had to be done about it. Read more>>

Daniel Argota | DIY Artist & Producer

The original thought process was very misconstrued as I started making music at 16 with the intentions to be the greatest musician which is fair and pretty normal for any teenager, after spending much time mastering my craft (which I still have a long time to go before I consider my self a master at what I do), I realized that the true reason I make music is to heal myself, after releasing my music online I noticed through personal DMs that it was also capable of healing other people, Ever since I was a child at 6 in Montreal all I could ever want to do is help others, I remember this story my mom loves to tell about me at that age. We were walking home and we both had bags to our shoulders of groceries, I noticed a blind woman trying to cross a busy street, I couldn’t for the life of me let the possibility of her being hurt because I didn’t stop what I was doing to go help, I knew ever since I was a baby that actions have consequences. Read more>>

Liandra Salles | Founder and Creative Director of Skep360

My thought process was actually trying to build a one-stop-shop for all the brand needs and being able to add value to them by consolidating multiple services within a single source provider. End to End, 360!. Read more>>

Simone Green | Ceo & Founder

The concept for Notebook Cosmetics started when I was in college. I founded a beauty committee on my college campus to support designers with makeup artists for our school’s annual fashion show. However, the committee wasn’t just that; It served as a club for members to learn tips and tricks on how to apply makeup. The idea came from me being in a similar group in high school. It was there where I discovered the pull towards the beauty industry. In our committee, I taught my club what I knew, and what I did not know we tried to learn together. What I noticed and what puzzled me were the constant questions. By no means did I consider myself a professional makeup artist, but girls still sought my help. With all of the information available online and on YouTube I figured the answers were out there. I know now that it was not just the information I provided, but the support and encouragement that was missing from those Youtube videos for instance. Read more>>

Brandy Henry-Linton | Author & CEO

The idea to start a business solely came from my book series. I figured it would be a great way for me to promote my book and allow people to get to know me as well as my process. Once I had decided that, all of these other ideas came into play for products and events too. Read more>>

Oyuki Segura | Custom Gifts + Bespoke Event Design + Online Shop

Millys Custom started because of my father. I was make shift planning events for co workers. Like their bridal/ bachorlette parties. Id help them book their event space etc but the main thing that I would do is their custom gifts such as group shirts, cups all that fun stuff. It was just for fun and my dad really pushed me to start the business because he was going to retire soon and wanted to stay busy. Now the thought process is in the 5 year plan is to be the household name for custom gifts. I’d love to have a store front in Miami. Milly’s custom is here to turn normal items into a great memory. Read more>>