We don’t believe success is random. Over the years we have spoken with hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, artists, creatives, researchers, athletes, and more. We’ve learned from them – both through their stories and through the advice they’ve shared with us – and it’s quite evident that success is more likely when certain habits are present. So, we decided to ask folks to share their habits with us, especially those that they feel helped them succeed.

Debbie Pontikas | Associate Broker, The Brokery

I truly believe that the most important factor behind my success is that I didn’t have a plan B. When I quit my corporate career to get my real estate license, I jumped in head first. I gave myself no other option than to succeed. Some people call it “burning the boats”, or not giving yourself an out. I call it determination. The real estate industry is a grind, and if you don’t treat it like a full-time job, you won’t make it. I knew from the very beginning that I was going to succeed and that helped me plan the roadmap. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and I think many people who get their real estate license think that it does. I know that if I had brought a life vest on the journey, I would have been tempted to jump ship many times. But every business has its ups and downs, and I have found that my success has grown more from the challenges than the wins. Read more>>

Justin Villalobos | Artist/ Tattoo Artist

For me I think hard work and a good support group. I don’t know how to quit and having people close to you that support you and believe in you always helps. Read more>>

Victoria Swanson | Dog Trainer Extraordinaire

Relationships! Building strong relationships by giving my clients the sense of importance and priority they deserve and are. Over the years, working in sales and customer relations in a multitude of industries has taught me to build a road on trust, empathy, listening, and resolving in my own business. This road I have built has lead my success in growth and building solid referrals. I have not had to pay for marketing to encourage new clientele for years, as my clientele speaks and markets for me! I am truly so honored to have this in my business! My clients become family and friends. I treat them as such, because they deserve to have priority attention just as much as anyone else in my life. Why? Because they hired me to help and assist them with their fur baby struggles. My job is to be their sounding board, share my expertise guidance, and to provide 24 hour support. I hold their ‘hand’ during their journey of learning and growing with their new family member. I want to be 100% their support system until the very end. Read more>>

Karianne Munstedt | Photographer and Coach

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is authenticity. I think that the first word that anyone who knows me/my brand would use to describe it/me is authentic. But I haven’t always been that way. On the other side of authenticity is perfectionism, and for most of my life, the mask of perfectionism was firmly affixed to my face. I was always striving to have more stuff, have more success, be better. But it was unhealthy striving. It was hiding a lot of things about myself that I didn’t like and accept. A few years ago, I looked in the mirror and didn’t like the perfect version of myself that I saw, so I set out to shift the negative perfectionist thoughts to those which were more loving and kind and helped to propel me further in life, rather than hold me back. Every day, I make the choice to be as open and honest about my life – and all of its imperfections – as I can be. I share my stories on social media and with clients. Being photographed and getting coaching are very vulnerable places to be in. By me being real and authentic, it helps my clients open up to me in their photo or coaching sessions, and to accept who they are just as they are in this very moment. Read more>>

Jenn Sharon | Artist & Curator

Ironically I have the pandemic and my divorce to thank for the success I’m seeing with JennSharonArt. During the height of quarantine in March and April of 2020 I was also going through a divorce. As many of us did during that time, I felt like everything I knew was slipping like sand through my fingers. My business was only just a year old at the time and I told myself there was no way I was going to allow it to become another grain of sand to watch slip away. My pain became a fire that wouldn’t let me stop creating myself and creating art. When my emotions became too much to bear I allowed them to spill out in color to create expressive abstract pieces. When there were no art shows to apply for I created Pink House, my own Covid-friendly art show and held it in my backyard. Now I’m organizing and curating Pink House all over Orlando. It’s really quite beautiful that I can be grateful for the fire had all the potential in the world to burn my business to the ground. Read more>>

Alex Schreer | Founding Partner & Creative Director at Reelbros Media

As a creative director, working primarily in the film and photo commercial space, I tend to work on a variety project ranging across many industries and products. I strongly believe that one of the most important factors behind finding success and in my own case, has been curiosity. Curiosity as in my desire to seek out knowledge on what ever topic or subject I am working around, in both macro and micro context. You have to understand that everyone you come across in your life has their own perspective and knowledge and in many cases they are open to sharing that with you, you just have to ask the right questions, thats were curiosity comes into play. In fact some of my projects that I thought I wouldn’t have any interest for have become some of my favorite pieces because I’ve taken away new insight from them. Each and every experience we have can build up our toolkit for the next one. My own curiosity has led me to meet amazing people to add to my network, learn new skillsets, and find inspiration in just about anything. Success is not something that is earned overnight, and to be truthful I don’t know if I have fully manifested what I would consider success, as its a constant progression to improve. Read more>>

Blaise Danio | Owner and Designer of Buhlaixe Studio

My brand would not exist without a strong community supporting me. I got my start through a local boutique called Gather in downtown Phoenix. With their encouragement, I started a line of scarves that grew into the brand that I run today. Every connection I have made with another business owner, entrepreneur and creative has expanded my network for collaborations. Most of the work that I get comes through recommendation or being a friendly face in the local small business scene. I could not ask for a greater community and they have been the biggest asset in my success. Read more>>

Travis “Jucebox” Meisenzahl | Tattoo Artist

I’d say the biggest and most important factor behind my success as a tattoo artist is motivation and drive. in any art industry self-sufficiency and motivation are definitely important. I don’t have a boss making my schedule or making sure I get things done, it’s all me, and it’s definitely a lot easier to relax and not do as much as I could than it is to stay motivated. to own your own brand and ensure its success is more than a full-time job, it’s a constant day and night endeavor. I’m answering calls, texts, emails… every hour of the day. I have to stay motivated to do the best I can whether is drawing or doing the actual tattoo for a client, every step of the process is just as important as the others and sometimes it’s easy to forget that so it’s important to remain focused and motivated for the entire process without losing sight of the end goal. if I start losing motivation then I start losing clients. Read more>>

Jackie Sterna | Photographer

I’ve always had a passion for fashion, adventure, and freedom of expression. Although family and friends often asked why not do traditional weddings, real estate, or traditional headshot photography, I knew that I wanted something else that would allow me to explore my passions. It is so rewarding to put in all the time with a client to discover what they are about, to plan with them in great detail the images they want captured. I think sticking with my gut and following my passion is the most important factor behind my brand, because without it my brand wouldn’t exist and I would be in a completely different industry. Read more>>

Kimberly “Tenacious T” Tocco | Author, Realtor, Producer, Director, Show Host and Suicide Eradicator

When I set out to actually pursue real estate, it was with no more then the money that filled my change jar. I had to come up with ways to stand out and show who I was above and beyond just another face in the Sea of Realtors. I began to get creative and use ideas from Super bowl Commercials and my favorite movies to post on SM and my ADs. I stuck to who I was as a person and showed my creativity and personality all while offering a portion of my commission back towards closing costs for specific groups. Teachers, First Responders, VA etc all received rebates from my commission and I stayed consistent, even when I felt it wasn’t working! After a while I began to notice people calling me Tenacious T. Once I realized my “brand” was becoming a recognized name and never looked back. Read more>>

Kim Richardson | Business Services

I think the most important factor behind the success of my business and my brand has been being authentically myself, honorable, trustworthy, having integrity, and being tenacious. It is important to be true to who are, and you will attract those that love you and want to work with you. Next, it is essential to build relationships and provide the best possible service while staying flexible to learn and meet the needs of each specific client. I genuinely care about every one of my clients and the growth of their businesses. These days there are a lot of shiny new things put in front of us every day. We can be enticed so easily to only find out it that shiny things were a waste of time and money. My reputation means the world to mean, therefore being honest and having integrity is the pillar of my brand. I would never entice a client to pay for anything more than they need or can afford. I do a lot of coaching when providing services to my clients to ensure they are getting the biggest bang for their buck. Lastly, being tenacious is how I built my business. You can never give up on your dreams, even if it feels out of reach. Read more>>

Jessica Dunham | Writer and Editor

I’d love to be able to say that I’m the best writer or the best editor in the industry, but that would be a lie. There are plenty of creatives out there who are more talented than I am, but what I strive for in my business is building genuine relationships with my clients. I listen to them. I try to understand their needs. I problem-solve. I stay nimble and flexible. I’m upbeat. I’m reliable. I turn in projects ahead of deadlines and I double-check and triple-check for errors and mistakes. I’ve found that this approach keeps clients returning again and again to work with me. They trust me and, more importantly, they trust that I’ll deliver on what I’ve promised. Read more>>

Katherine Dwight | Owner / Baker

In regards to opening up a restaurant – which has always been what we where working towards-the most important factor to getting us here would be following what we are passionate about and sweat equity. We are very passionate about good food, made from scratch, with good ingredients from local farms. And there is no other way for us, so we where always determined to make this kind of food no matter what. Starting our business from scratch with absolutely nothing takes a lot, a lot of hard work. A lot of set backs. A lot of doors shut in our faces. A lot of very long hours. Tears. Obstacles. But we always keep moving forward, keeping getting back up, and keep pushing. Never giving up has got us to where we are. Read more>>

Rocio Valenzuela | Model & Artist

Most important factor I would say would be hard work, consistency, and dedication. Modeling was something I only thought of as a fun hobby when I first started, but the further I dived into it, the more I realize the creativity and artistry that goes into it. After realizing that modeling was the career I wanted, I started practicing my posing and facial expressions determined to become better then I was the day before. Working with different models who were more experienced then I was has definitely helped me improve in the last year. Read more>>

Colleen Biggs | Pioneer of Change for Women

The most important factor behind my success is other supportive women. The success of Lead Up for Women has solely been in my drive and passion to lift all women by being the example and in return having them lift me. We can walk through life ignoring the fact that women judge, compete, and downright fight over some of the most trivial topics, or we can agree t own the truth and take charge to make a significant change to how women work together. lad Up for Women was born with this in mind How can we create a world, disrupt the current landscape, and create lasting change for women to dominate the entrepreneurial market? That’s where my journey began. Read more>>

Stacie Lang | Alice + Ames Founder & Mother to 4 Girls

I’ve had a graphic saved on my camera roll for the last 5 years with one of my favorite Bob Dylan quotes, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” One of the biggest reasons I started my own business was so that I could truly enjoy the work I was doing. If there has ever been a time in my career where my work felt like a drag, I knew it was time to reevaluate something. Whether that meant growing our team or setting clearer boundaries for myself, I knew if I wasn’t passionate about my work, I couldn’t really call myself my version of a success. Read more>>

Jessie Corder | Photographer

I owe all of my success with Jessie Lee Photography to kind people. For most small businesses, success is determined by word-of-mouth reviews. Without people first trusting me to capture an event or milestone, then telling others about their experience, I would not be where I am today. Read more>>

Mckenna Bailey | Writer & Strategist

I don’t think people talk about luck as much as they should. It doesn’t always feel good to know that the career you built could be attributed mostly to lucky breaks you got. But as soon as I focused on that, every accomplishment felt more fun. Of course focused work, treating coworkers and colleagues with kindness and learning how to take responsibility for your mistakes are helpful for advancing a career. But finding success, that’s mostly about luck. A lot of the opportunities I’ve had wouldn’t have happened at all without luck. The people I’ve met, the resources I’ve had access to, the support I’ve leaned on — all of that is luck. There were plenty of moments where I could have lost everything or ended up in the wrong rooms and my career would have stalled before it got started. Remembering that luck helps me stay grateful for every day I get to enjoy my career. It also keeps me humble, which is probably the most important aspect to anyone’s success. Just ask Kendrick Lamar. Read more>>

Parshe Johnson | Owner and Head Baker of Sugar Star Sweet Treats

The most important factor behind my success thus far has got to be consistency. I take pride in making sure that the cookies you purchase from me today, taste just like the ones you purchased and fell in love with 3 months ago. I have always been the type of person who keeps my word and upholds integrity consistently. Hard work plus consistency is a winning combination. Read more>>

Sophia McGovern | Founding Editor & Teacher

Little Somethings Press: A Collection of Small Writings, or LSP for short, is a handmade publication somewhere between a zine and a literary journal. Flash fiction, flash memoir, poetry, and visual art from around the world are housed in its pages. The most important factor behind LSP’s success is the power of handmade literature. The intensive process brings craft and care into every step, creating a community of roughly a hundred creatives across seven countries. Of the hundreds of heartfelt submissions, the 30 most reflective of the themes of identity, family, grief, and resilience are selected for each issue. Every book is made with upcycled materials, like Trader Joe’s bags, used cardboard, and old wrapping paper. After being sewn by hand, packaged, and stamped, they are sent out to readers and brought to life through readings. Read more>>

Tori Martin | Owner

I feel that there is nothing more important to running your own business than hard work and hustle. Every successful business has an owner that is willing to do anything to succeed. They are willing to do anything from staying up all night doing paperwork to scrubbing the business floor on their hands and knees. Running your own business is an around the clock job, but it is also extremely rewarding to see the benefits of your hard work and determination. Another factor that plays an extremely important role is the way you treat your customers. Your customers determine whether your business will fail or succeed. I believe that you should treat your customers just like you treat your closest friends and family and be willing to do anything to meet their needs. We strive to make every Studio 223 customer leave happier than when they walked in. A happy customer is your biggest cheerleader and if they enjoy their experience they will share your business with others. Read more>>

Phuong Kubacki | Actress

The most important factor behind my success is TENACITY. Consistent hard work has been the key for me. It’s not about being the most talented or having the most connections. Just that everyday Im putting effort into my goals and moving that needle along. Achieving those small goals to help accomplish the big ones. Dreaming big is wonderful, but you can’t make them a reality until you put the work in. Read more>>

Nicole Ellis | Vegan Food Culinarian & Travel Blogger

There are many factors that have contributed to my success, but the most important factor behind my success is ‘Passion.’ Having passion to create fun and interesting content for my vegan food and travel brands. Passion is what allows me to persevere in meeting my weekly goals and to stay focus, despite whatever kind of week life throws my way. Even with maintaining my professional career as a Certified Career Consultant by day (Which I’m also passionate about), I’m able to work on my brands as a vegan food culinarian and YouTubber by creating savory vegan dishes that are appealing to the eye. I recently went vegan eight months ago during the global pandemic for personal and spiritual reasons. In addition; my passion also consists of blogging and sharing my travels domestically and internationally. I have visited 25 countries across six continents and 48 states. From Fiji to Morocco to Australia to Vancouver, British Columbia to Idaho to solo-roadtripping to all six New England states within four days. Read more>>

Mattisyn Brown | COZYS Owner

At COZYS, we believe the most important factor behind our success is our thousands of customers who support us and keep us going. They are the reason we are here today. Read more>>

Shawnte Hernton | Fashion Stylist/ Creative Director/ Published Author

I feel that it is my customer service background. I have over 20 years of experience from working at various call centers. When you work at a call center, you go through weeks of extensive training to learn how to engage with customers and use empathy. You also learn how to build rapport and connect. I use the same training and processes that i have adapted over the years and apply them in my own personal business. Read more>>

Karen L. May | Event Architect & Creator of Events and Experiences

Have I ever thought that one day I would be able to share my story with the rest of the world? I would never think so, not even for a second. But here I am ready to write a few words about myself and that thing that made me the successful person I am today. It certainly did not happen overnight, and it was not just one person. It started with parents who said I could do anything even though I did not want college on my plate. My Mom who I called crying from my car while living in Houston Texas at age 21 while I was supposed to be at my first ever cold call. She convinced me to go in and I made the sale! It was my softball coach who held my foot down in the batter’s box while I batted balls into the outfield. It was many good bosses and many not so good bosses through the years. They taught me the ability to adapt and adopting change as well as viewing it all as opportunities were vital! If you are fearless, you’ll be able to make decisions against all obstacles – “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” I have always focused on the people and the team behind me. Read more>>

Denise Cherrington | Human Resources/Content Creator/Wine Maker

I don’t believe in the word no. Being resilient and focused is the way to accomplish your goals and be successful. I always figure out a way when there seems to be no way to accomplish something. There are always other avenues. The key is not giving up. Read more>>