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.

Ebony Rice | Entrepreneur

I’ve always been obsessed with cosmetics but since I was always around people in the radio/television industry, that became my priority career and cosmetics took the back burner. I could never find the perfect lashes so I started shopping from vendors just for my personal self because in my mind I was thinking, “why am I paying full price for lashes that I’m not completely satisfied with when I can buy for cheaper price and really find some I can stick with.” Finally, I found a vendor that I loved and I started wearing them just for myself. When I would be out and about I would always get complimented on my lashes so after a while a lightbulb went off in my head to start my own lash business. So I started having my close friends try out my samples so I can get feedback about the lashes. Everything went good so I launched a Winx Collection by E during the pandemic and within time I added lip glosses and lip liners and made it a cosmetics line. Read more>>

Eric Devontae Russell | Entertainer, Host, Podcaster, Journalist

“The World According To Eric” is my way of opening the doors of the rooms that I’ve always wanted to be in. Breaking into the entertainment industry is tough. Whether you’re a host, journalist, dancer, singer, etc. it’s tough to navigate. So, I created my own space to not only show my talents, and brand myself but a space where I can do it being authentically me; while hopefully inspiring others to do the same. Read more>>

Melanie Halpert | Certified BodyTalk Practitioner, Human Design Living Your Design Guide

In all honesty, I never once thought about starting my own business. It’s not like it was something intentional that one day came to be. Everything that has unfolded on my professional journey over the last two decades has been totally unexpected, and yet it all worked out to be so completely aligned with my values and with who I am as a person that it’s rather breathtaking to acknowledge in retrospect. Growing up, I felt very out of place as I was repulsed by the linear life that seemed to be the norm – get a degree, get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids, buy insurance, retire and die. Read more>>

Kimani Robinson | Entrepreneur & Podcast Host

My thought process behind starting the brand is creating a platform that millennials can see themselves breaking generational barriers into becoming successful in any of their future endeavors. As the founder of Billionare Lessons “Knowledge is the New Currency”, I began a lifestyle podcast that discusses entrepreneurship, mental health, coping with loss, failure, financial literacy and how to live a fulfilled life. Everyone has a story that can inspire many; I wanted to create this platform to give young adults the ability to share their knowledge with the world. Read more>>

Samson Binutu | Director and Cinematographer.

This is a great question! I began working at a very young age. My first job was at 14 years old working at McDonald’s and that was my introduction of what it felt like to work a 9-5. Time in equals pay out. I didn’t like the idea of it initially but I knew I had to do what I had to do to make money. Working while maturing as a young man shaped how I saw my time, freedom, and flexibility. There was a lack of control of my time that I did not like at all. However, I am a firm believer of everything having a season. Although I did not like working for another person/company, it taught me so much about myself. Read more>>

BiblioGuy | founder of BiblioDate.com

My thought process behind starting BiblioDate.com was largely shaped by the Covid-19. The pandemic was raging & lockdowns forced in-person business & social interactions to online interactions. During & because of the lockdowns, people turned to indoor activities in droves, such as jigsaw puzzles & reading. The epiphany came chatting at Starbucks with some friends the week before the first hard lockdown in March of 2019. One person mentioned reading 1 book/week. Someone else said they read 1 book/month. Just then a stunningly beautiful woman walked in & my first thought was “Wow, I wonder if she reads?”. Read more>>

Natasha Marburger | Festival Director of the Los Angeles International Film Festival (LAIFF)

I thought it was important to have somewhere more casual for people to hang out in LA during AFM, so I decided with my team that we would set up the Los Angeles International Film Festival. I wanted to create a more informal environment where people can watch films, talk to the filmmakers, and attend panels and networking events where it is more of an equal playing field and a place where people can have fun after a long day of formal meetings and conferences at AFM. We also have connections with press and sales agents/distributors, so people can be immersed into the film industry on a more informal level, meeting people, learning, picking up tips, and moving forwards. Read more>>

Ana Jones | Emotional Awakening Coach

This is an answer with many answers! I honestly cannot remember exactly how it happened because I made the decision during the pandemic but I can tell you that I felt like I could not put off doing what I wanted to do the most — help people integrate all parts of themselves so they can start their process of self- acceptance and forgiveness. Read more>>

Antonika Brown | Private Contractor, Par-Tea In My Belly CEO

My thought process behind starting Partea in My Belly was that i suffer from Hypothyroidism. I suffered for years without knowing what was going on with my body.  I was tested for several auto immune diseases because my lymph nodes stayed swollen especially behind my ears. Thyroid issues cause your entire system and body to be out of wack. I suffered from hair loss, unexplainable weight gain, fatigue, insomnia,  and constipation!    I never got satisfactory answers from health care professionals and was tired of being sick and tired.  After some research I signed up and paid to be in a vegan group that followed Dr. Sebi alkaline life.  I didn’t like it and I had very little success following the diet; but learned about the power of herbs. Read more>>

Jorge Romero & Kat Avila | Business Owners

Purpose LA was first created in 2017 by my wife, Kat Avila. She thought of the name while driving and having a realization she wasn’t happy where she was currently working at and really felt no purpose while being there. At that point she decided to open a small private studio in Beverly Hills. Curated to be a private place where men could come to relax and enjoy several services in one place. The menu included Traditional Barber Services, plus Color, Mens Facials, Manicures, all while enjoying a top shelf drink. After a year of operation, I joined her and opened a new Purpose LA location in Burbank. Read more>>

Semyon Segal | Dentist & philanthropist

I really wanted a practice that was more than just a dental office. I wanted my patients to feel like family members rather than just numbers. Having worked in several offices, I did not agree on how patients were treated and did not have a say in how things were operated since I was just an associate. This was a major factor and motivation behind starting my own business. I love people and dentistry, it is my passion and my joy. Being able to give patient’s an amazing experience is what I strive towards every day and hopefully will continue until my hands are too old and wiggle too much to work in people’s mouths. Read more>>

Derrell Smith | Chef & Entrepreneur

When I started my catering company 99EATS, I didn’t know much about food. I was a retired NFL player turned advertising professional who just so happened to have a delicious meatball recipe and even stronger purpose. I started 99EATS in 2016, shortly after Philando Castile and Alton Brown were murdered by the police. I was working at a very prestigious and white advertising agency in NYC at the time and I remember the hurt I felt every morning going into work but having to put up a front and act “normal” during meetings with my coworkers because no one else understood or even knew black men had been killed that week. Read more>>

Rose Morris | Founder & President Abrams Nation

I didn’t start out thinking I’d like to be a business owner in a traditional way if there is such a thing. I didn’t take any business classes in college….
I didn’t form an idea and then do research…. I didn’t have a business plan and investors….. I didn’t network and find a business to buy….. What I had was a strong spiritual moment where I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I had this amazing product that was literally helping me keep my child alive, my family functioning, and my sanity. Read more>>

Shayla Lange | Owner/Creative Director

Ever since I was a small child I have dreamed of being a business owner. My thought process behind starting my own business is powered by a sense of accomplishment I feel. I see being a business owner as an opportunity to innovate, create jobs, and bring something refreshing to my community. I have always been drawn to being an entrepreneur and being creative. This is one of the reasons why I began my Luxury Picnic business, to share my creativity with the world. Creativity to me is so important because it can make others experience with your work beautiful and memorable. I have always had this overwhelming feeling that I was meant to be a business owner, and sometimes it is hard to explain how I can literally feel it in my soul. My main goal is to create a positive work environment and most importantly to serve my community. Read more>>

Aaron Kelly | CEO & Executive Producer

My thought process behind starting my own business on the set of a FOX TV Production named Rosewood starring Morris Chestnut and Jaina Lee Ortiz. Nicknamed AK because of the multiple people named Aaron onset is what inspired AK Entertainments’ existence. Read more>>

Ashley Gardner | Nutrition Cunsultant, Herbalist in Training, & Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Training

The mind-body connection has always driven a lot of what I do. I am currently a clinical mental health student, so I tend to tie that into a lot of my herbal recipes. One that comes to mind is my “De-Stress” blend. The herbs in this blend work with the nervous system (nervine herbs) and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (adaptogenic herbs). In other words, when the body recognizes stress (via hypothalamus) it signals the pituitary gland and then the adrenal glands to release stress hormones. When we are chronically stressed, our HPA axis is constantly engaged and the body is flooded with an unhealthy amount of stress hormones. Read more>>

Francesca Garcia | Mother and Entrepreneur

The quest for true freedom. Being in control of my destiny was at the center of my entrepreneurial pursuits. In most cases, working for others limits one’s ability to achieve personal financial freedom and independence since the owner of most every company is seeking to achieve the greatest benefit from their business for themselves. .That’s to be expected. As such, being in the owner’s seat is the place to be. It’s also important to recognize that in a capitalistic society ownership not only comes with privilege but great respect. Read more>>

Amber Wilcox | Podcaster & Content Creator

I wanted to be a radio host, but figured I was “too country” for any radio station to hire me. So when I was transitioning out of the army, I was looking for ways to learn how to record myself and create my own show. I went to LA Film School for Audio Engineering and learned how to do my own thing and it was up from there. Read more>>

Tiannah Birdsong | A Creative: Photographer, Cinematographer, Artist + Writer

Making a substantial amount of money as a creative has its challenges. I’ve been freelancing for the past 7 years as a producer, videographer, video editor, and photographer. I’ve worked under contract for corporations, small businesses, and start-ups, where I had to learn everyone’s unique brand. I started to get clients of my own and eventually, my clientele grew. When the pandemic hit, the restrictions proved it difficult to lock in contracts with corporations. So in a way, I was pushed towards creating and legitimizing my business to continue working with private clients. I am so grateful that I was able to cultivate important business relationships throughout my life. Read more>>

Dwayne Gathers | Government Affairs Strategist and Podcast Host

My consulting practice was launched in September 2008, as the last big downturn was happening and many thought I was a bit crazy. But in an odd way, I find that I’m sometimes better in more challenging times….and am grateful to still be standing 13 years later. But, most important to making the decision to do this (having failed a previous time launching a consulting practice when I was in the Bay Area), was the belief that I had the benefit of maturity, wisdom gained from having tried and failed before, a depth and breadth of positive business relationships in this region that would enable me to generate clients, and the knowledge that if I couldn’t make it go of it this time (Round Two), then I was fairly sure I’d be able to get a suitable job. Read more>>