We asked rising stars from the community one of our favorite questions: other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?

Amber Lopez & Brandi Boers | Co-Owners

Each of us had built a career in corporate America, spending 50+ hours each week working in high-stress roles. While working full-time we had the opportunity to open Elevate Yoga and at the time it was simply a hobby and an escape from our own stressors, our happy place. When we did this, it wasn’t to “work for ourself” and there was no goal to eventually transition our careers from the only thing we knew to being entrepreneurs. But it wasn’t long before that vision changed. At first, we envisioned creating an environment that was a safe, welcoming, warm and accepting place for all; not just a yoga studio, but a true community. And that’s exactly what we did. We not only met so many new people, and were witnessing our students becoming friends with one another, but we began seeing that the space we had created was not only our happy place and our escape from our day-to-day high stress jobs, but it was that same thing to every person that walked through the door. Read more>>

Rachel Wasserstrom | Owner & Senior Resource Specialist

Assisted Living Locators is a senior placement and resource company. We help find the perfect place for people to call home when they can no longer live alone. When deciding to start this business, the single most important decision that I made, was to act as if each person that I work with is my own family member. Whether it be my grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin etc. Every family that I work with, I act as a resource to. I hand hold as much or as little as the family would like and I follow up on the person that I help for life. This decision has allowed me to become successful as both a business owner and as a community partner to many other companies along the way. Read more>>

Shannon Wallace | Jazz Vocalist, Certified Dementia Practitioner, International Advocate & Speaker

I did not decide to work for myself. For several years, it was decided for me, until it ultimately became my choice. In 2008 I was laid off from a relatively new job due to the economy completely tanking in 2007/08. After many years, I had left a wonderful government job in 2007 for a career move that would take my marketing and public policy professional life in the direction I thought I wanted it to go. But as we humans likely (hopefully) find out, life never gives us what we want; but rather, it ALWAYS gives us what we need. So evidently and as a director of public affairs for a 501c6 trade association, I needed to be laid off in order to start my own journey of being self-employed. The single most important decision I ever made to-date and relative to remaining self-employed is….remaining self-employed while finally realizing that the world does not revolve around me – but rather, that I can be of service and a great contributor to the world and to those who can benefit from what I have to offer. Read more>>

Krista Hill | Designer & Illustrator

The single most important decision I made to contribute to my success as an entrepreneur was to consciously decide what my personal definition of success truly was. When I first set out to build my new life and business, financial stability was my main goal. I saw others around me buying houses and fancy cars and, for just a moment, I thought this was success. It took me a few months to crawl out of that distorted perspective and define my own future. After some reflection, I realized my definition of success is living a life I’m passionate about. I am successful because I am living a life full of creativity, fruitful relationships, extreme flexibility and learning through travel and new experiences. Trying to cling to financial stability or a traditional definition of success as a freelance illustrator is maddening. Read more>>

Carolina Billings | Founder & CEO

Empowerment & the Awakening of my own Internal Economy. As long as I work for somebody else my potential would always be capped in more ways than financial. The wage gap for women begins with accepting it. The second we take responsibility for our won destiny the wage & Income gap disappear. Breaking the wage gape also means shattering the investment gap ultimate leading to the end of wealth gap for women. Read more>>