Starting a business can be terrifying. Weighing the pros and cons, the risks, and other considerations can be so overwhelming that often promising entrepreneurs stop before they even start. We asked some phenomenal entrepreneurs about their thought process behind starting their own businesses. Our hope is that by making the thought-process less intimidating we can help more folks think through whether they should take an entrepreneurial leap.

Pipe Yanguas | The Photobiographer

I graduated cum laude from business school and had been working for two years at a real estate company when I remember pausing when I was asked if I was happy in my current job and if I saw myself making a career out of it. Up until that point, I had conveniently chosen both my studies and work without putting my heart into the decision making. The question made me start meticulously thinking about my work life and my future, realizing that I was just working like a robot without a passion. After carefully analyzing my interests, I decided to pursue a completely different and more creative professional path: photography. Read more>>

Lizzy Chiappy | Casa Vinyasa Studio Co-Founder & MYP Athletes Founder

That it was time to create a yoga home similar to the one I had once experienced, but stronger. I had tried all kinds of studios in my city and nothing called to me. I knew there was an opportunity to create a yoga home where people felt seen, heard, and accepted. In addition, after 10 years of working as an independant contractor, I realized I wasn’t growing anymore and was simply comfortable. I knew it was time to take the next step. I learned so much from all the different places I worked for, from all the different bosses I’ve had, and other instructors I’ve worked alongside. Read more>>

Marie Manalo | Healer, Intuitive Business Coach & Spiritual Advisor

I wanted to create a space for spirituality and healing for others. I spent many years of my life deepening my spirituality and heal my own life and decided that I wanted to share all of my knowledge with anyone would needed it. My web courses teach people how to create the life of their dreams and change their mindset and my spiritual coaching is designed to help people heal themselves from the inside out. I hadn’t seen anything like this already made and decided I should be the one to bring it to life as I would have loved to have someone help me heal and learn to manifest. Read more>>

Dr. James Spencer | Sports Chiropractor & Athletic Trainer

I Love this Question! I read a lot… I’m a thinker, so I’ve always gravitated to a less structured lifestyle that goes against the status quo. That drive has allowed me a deep passion for helping and educating people. Education on the basics is something we don’t focus on because it isn’t sexy, but we all need more of the basics… sleep more, drink more water, and eat quality nutrients. This was my intent when working with individuals. I always felt patients who I worked with should be treated a certain way and that way was not being fulfilled through the Insurance Model. Read more>>

Jamie Hess | Owner & Hotdog/Taco Enthusiast

End of the Ave is a lifestyle brand and Restaurant. I live in Delray Beach and wanted to open a casual no-frills fun spot right by the Ocean, which is the main reason I moved to Florida from D.C. We specialize in Hotdogs, Tacos, Beer & Wine and other easy and affordable beach grab and go foods. We also have great patio that overlooks Atlantic Avenue and we do Delivery! Read more>>

Courtney Wilkins | Social Media Specialist & Owner

I decided to start my own business because I saw a hole in the swimwear industry. At the time, I was working as a stewardess on a charter yacht in the Mediterranean. We were washing crazy-expensive bikinis from luxe labels like Chanel, Feragamo, and Dior. The girls I worked with were terrified of damaging these obviously expensive pieces – and looked to me for advice. I suggested washing them with a mild Castile soap with a natural base as to not disturb the delicate fabrics. From this moment, I knew that I could develop a similar soap that could care for high-quality swimwear. Read more>>

Carolina Monteiro | Landscape Architect

My children- this was the main reason that made me leave a job, which I truly loved. Besides that, when you get to a certain age, you start to rethink many things and to also plan the second half of your life….the idea was to be more independent, earn more money, save for the future and after-all, be free to do whatever I want! Read more>>

Marcia Villiers | President & Creative Director

My vision was to carve out a space in the Event Industry as a Black female entrepreneur where I can showcase my talents and creativity, reshape thought processes, and offer exceptional client experiences. There are not a lot of Black people in this area and I felt, and still feel, that good representation is key. I am a firm believer in customer service and the principle that every touch point matters. When clients meet with us, their remarks are often, “thank you, that was refreshing, you listened, and you understood.” Read more>>

Noura Salman | CPA, Serial Entrepreneur, & Health Enthusiast

Over my life, I’ve created MANY businesses: a financial software training company, a referral network called UseMyGuy, and a real estate portfolio of just under $2 million in residential condos. Now, I create and sell nutrition bars and provide health coaching internationally, and financial services to small business owners in the DC area. What do they all have in common: ME. They are each a compilation of my education, passions, and how I like to spend my free time. So these are basically businesses I would run, even if I wasn’t paid a dime; and I believe that’s how work/business should be. IT SHOULD BE FUN! Read more>>

Jahlani O. | Creative Art Director, Graphic Designer & Fashion Designer

My initial thought process of starting my own business was to own something I can call my OWN. I was alway somebody that don’t really like to work for anybody if the pay is not right to me. My first job I was working in a Health Care agency helping with billing. I use to see the numbers that the company made and see what I get every pay week. It didn’t sit right with me. It was at that point I realized I want to own my own business.. Now it’s an even more greater purpose though. I want to inspire not only the black youth but every black human being that we have to own our own in this world. This is now my thought process. Read more>>

Nelly Sudri | NutriShrooms Co-Founder & Influencer

Anyone raised by an immigrant parent can probably confess to the amount of pressure and expectations put on them to succeed! In my case, both my parents fled their countries to provide me with opportunities they did not have, which ultimately inspired my self-starter nature and desire to push the envelope forward. Like many young people though, I often struggled with figuring out what I wanted to do and often felt daunted by the future. It wasn’t until I stumbled into a college internship that awakened my life’s greatest purpose and led me to jointly launch my own food brand, NutriShrooms , and my nonprofit, InfluenceHER. Read more>>

Monica Viamonte | Heart’s Tapestry Retreat Center Co-founder & Inner child-Holistic healer/Heart-centered hypnotherapist

The vision of creating a special place and bringing community together for healing started when I first began working in my office. But it was a few years later when I began my training at The Wellness Institute in Issaquah, Washington for Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy that I knew right away this was going to be a big part of my work. This work is based on healing your inner child by utilizing many different modalities and techniques. I began integrating this work into my own practice and 5 years ago I decided to start group retreats called Letting Go weekend and PTI ( Personal Transformation Intensive 1, 2 and 3 ) with a colleague of mine that was doing the same training. Read more>>

Aleksandr Bernhard | Founder

Before going to far I did an extensive amount of market research and even prior to that, spoke to people whom I thought could be prospective clients to get their view. I had previously launched another business where I did none of this and concentrated only on the product. It turned out that the price and timing were both off. (That business was LED lighting back in the early 2000’s before it was mainstream). Read more>>

Mike Jenkins | Cloud Architect, Project Manager & Full-Stack Developer

Last year, I was part of a reduction in force. On Friday afternoon, I sat at my desk and watched my access to systems disappear one by one, then I got a message from my boss telling me to call this number in 15 minutes. My first reaction was driven by fear and uncertainty. After a couple hours of panic, reason kicked in and my newest future was launched. I had spent the last four years working a job that was far lower than my experience and skills, but it was comfortable and I could leave it behind at the end of the day. Read more>>

Julie Saint-Fleur | Business Owner & Burn Survivor

My thought process behind starting my own business was thinking to myself I have a unique mindset that can produce something that will speak to others around the world. I have a story that many others can relate to and are waiting to see vocalized and branded. I had to go through the motions of planning out my steps and coming up with ways to make the brand a physical franchise and not just an idea in my mind. Getting something out of your head and on paper is a process many people minimize but it is definitely essential. Read more>>

Rebekah Aparicio | Chef

It’s really simple for me.. to be a blessing in other people’s lives. I feel like I’ve been blessed with a creative knack and I just love food and people! Read more>>

Woodeline St. Louis | CEO

Can I really do this? Am I really capable of operating a business, yet a successful one? What is my plan? How can I execute the plan? How can my life change by just starting? Will this be a short term or long term business? I also felt a little bit of fear, as well, because I knew nothing about business, what so ever. The best part, besides that, is I was willing to learn. I was okay with making a mistake and prepared to have a solution at the same time, because like I said I knew nothing about business and no one around me at the time had any businesses where I can say hey, teach me a thing or two.. Read more>>

Shantel Christie | Esthetician

Well I was a flight attendant. Covid -19 hit I was still working . But the person I am, I always thinking two steps ahead. I renew my skin care license and told myself I’m going to start my business back up. Just have to take my time and be cautious so that I don’t expose myself and the people around me. Then I got laid off and once Florida started slowly open back up, I slowly start taking clients. At the moment I’m working from home doing facials. My company is called Facials by shae. Read more>>