Teresa Johnson embodies the phrase “serial entrepreneur” to a tee. Being a single mother with a passion for entrepreneurship is not a feat many choose to take on head first, but Johnson has conquered it.

Toward the end of high school, Johnson began working in court reporting, which inspired her to go to law school. She began undergrad studying political science and later started working in a law firm and received her paralegal certificate. Johnson soon realized she enjoyed going to work more than going to school and decided to shift away from law school.

It was then that Johnson began building the foundation for her entrepreneurial journey. She took a job working in the Human Resources department for a casket manufacturing company and fell in love with the people aspect of HR, and realizing this became a pivotal moment in her professional career. While working there, Johnson went back to school and received her MBA, which she later put to use working at a fiberglass boat manufacturing company. Johnson had worked at the boat company for five years and changes happening within the company led to her and a colleague starting their own boat company. At the time, Johnson was a single mother and needed a solid back up plan in order to pursue owning her own company.

Like clockwork, she received an email from the local paint your own pottery (PYOP) studio that she and her daughter frequented together, saying the owner was selling and they were looking for a new owner. Johnson leapt at the opportunity and thought it would be the perfect way to get a handle on what it takes to own a business. Johnson put the $25,000 investment of the studio on her credit card and never looked back.

By 2007, she had enough investors to open the boat company and her career within the pottery business was thriving. Every two years, from 2005 to 2011, she opened a new studio, eventually growing to four successful locations, one with her daughter, who was still in high school, as her business partner.

It was around this time in Johnson’s career that she looked toward franchising. She set out to learn everything about franchising and be knowledgeable enough to help others pursue their passions. In 2010, she began that journey with industry-leading paint and sip brand, Painting with a Twist. Johnson achieved major success and knowledge as a multi-unit franchisee under the brand – gaining enough experience to step up to the challenge of becoming the CEO of an established paint-your-own-pottery franchise brand.


In 2021, after acquisitions and leadership changes, Johnson became co-owner and CEO of Color Me Mine. She decided to embrace the responsibilities of being the CEO because she loved that Color Me Mine provided their customers the opportunity to leave their worries outside the door and have a therapeutic escape. She knew she would be able to give this brand the refresh it needed to be a powerhouse in the industry.

Since Johnson took over, she’s worked to refresh the brand for the next generation of franchisees – sales are up and new studios are opening across the country after being stagnant for the past 10 years. Johnson says her calling in life is to help more entrepreneurs realize their dreams of opening their own businesses. If she could do it with no experience, she says anyone can be successful with hard work.

Johnson’s experiences and willingness to help others achieve their dreams have inspired her leadership style of servant leadership. Her belief is if you work hard, do the right thing, and care for the people and processes of your company, everything else will care of itself.

“I lead from the front because I’m not willing to ask anyone to do something I’m not willing to do myself,” says Johnson. “I strive to put people in positions that serve their interests and strengths, always asking myself, how I can help my team achieve their dreams.” She knows that everyone has their own unique goals, and encourages every team member to pursue them. Johnson even refers to herself as a “dream manager” and instills life and business skills that her team will take with them no matter where they go next.

Johnson’s daughter inspired her to follow her own dreams, as a single mother and knew she had to show her daughter how hard work and dedication can truly pay off. Having raised her daughter at her studios, Johnson sees the value that raising kids and being a business owner offers and doesn’t underestimate teaching your kids to work hard. Her daughter, inspired by her mother’s work ethic, became an entrepreneur herself and now as a 29-year-old owns five of her own businesses.

While Johnson believes in always pursuing your dreams, she also holds the value of continuously learning. She even went back to school to get her Ph.D. back in 2019. “I am a lifelong learner, and I hope to inspire everyone around me to keep learning as well. The best thing to hear as a leader is ‘I messed up’ because 1) they’re owning up to their mistakes and that takes courage; 2) mistakes are the best learning opportunities. It’s all about what you do when you make a mistake – you can either let it discourage you from trying anything new again or it can be the thing that pushes you to learn and do better,” says Johnson.

From being a single mother to owning several of her own companies, Teresa Johnson is an inspiration to everyone thinking of becoming an entrepreneur. Through all the ups and downs of becoming a CEO of Color Me Mine, Johnson has never wavered and takes whatever life throws at her in stride, while still helping other pursue their dreams.