Hardwork? Luck? Good habits? What would you say is behind your success? We’ve shared some thoughtful responses below.

T.C. De Witt | Writer/Director/Storyteller

As an indie filmmaker who has moved from making movies simply on love to literally making a living doing so, the only way I’ve been able to achieve anything is by collaborating with truly wonderful friends. All the success I’ve seen has come from the people I’ve aligned with – people with the same love and passion for storytelling. Years back, one of my best friends had gotten a little further down the road as a professional movie maker, and he gave me my first shot writing on a film. That first outing on a short called Dangerous Summers led to four awards. Ten years later, that friend and I have now produced 58 films together, including three features and three series. He helped me get my footing in those early years, And that trust and mutual creative fervency is what we both looked (and still look) for in those we collaborate with. We’ve formed a team that has drive and joy to devise films and stories and shifts members in and out with the deftness of the Montreal Canadiens. Read more>>

Katy Ward | StoryBrand Certified Guide and Copywriter

To me, that means that every word I say happens in reality, or reflects reality. I don’t say things I don’t do, and I don’t leave incomplete conversations. You’d be shocked how much trust and affinity builds with clients (and anyone) when you do complete work and do what you say you’re going to do every time. Combine that with listening deeply – and making sure you understand them correctly – and you have lifelong clients and personal fans. I think people long for consistency in other people more than we realize, because it’s so rare. When we treat people inconsistently, the relationship isn’t about the other person al all. And they feel that. My business has grown through referrals because I do good work, but more than that every client of mine feels heard, understood, and 100% clear about my work and our relationship. It’s really important to work with people that you respect and to choose to respect the people you work with. If I know a potential client differs too much in values or does not fit my client criteria, I have no problem finding them another copywriter or branding expert. Read more>>

Sophie Wasserman | Education Director

Focusing on the fun! Each of our programs is designed with the idea that education, especially STEM education, should be engaging and enjoyable. It’s truly magical when you walk into a classroom that’s just buzzing with creativity and energy, where both students and teachers are excited about what’s happening. Especially this past year, when all of our learning spaces have gone virtual, and the Zoom fatigue is real, our goal is always to carve out a safe space for curiosity and joy. Read more>>

Alyssa Reece | Artist, Designer, & Photographer

I believe that my success, especially the success of my brand, is strongly correlated with immersing myself in creative communities and uplifting other artists. I have found that natural growth and development as an artist is fostered best by supporting others that you look up to. It is important to me to find inspiration anywhere that I can and learn from others constantly. There is so much beauty in collaboration and success in supporting others and allowing others to support you. I believe that all great art is personal and unique and that any great artist is constantly growing, changing and adapting. I am so grateful for family, friends, and other artists who have supported me in many different creative endeavors along the way. Read more>>

Jamie Smith | Artist, Educator & Community Builder

When I decided to leave my full time teaching job to pursue my dream of being a professional artist I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had only been taught that to be an artist was to be a “starving artist”, that the competition between artists was fierce and that it was hard path. And yes some of these ideas hold some truths but what I learned was we each have a choice as creatives of how we want to navigate and participate in the art world. I went at it alone for a few years and then realized there had to be another way. As a former educator I saw the value in community learning and sharing ideas and how quickly individuals can grow together. I realized I had to create my own path and find my people. So in 2015, I started a group called THRIVE out of my art studio and hosted monthly meetups for fellow womxn artists in Vancouver. The community has grown from a group of 6 artists meeting monthly to now an online community of over 200 working artists from around the globe. I believe the reason my dream of a supportive community of working artists learning and supporting one another worked because we created a community values. Read more>>

Holly Kammier | Writer & Co-owner of Acorn Publishing, LLC

If I had to narrow our success down to one factor, I would say Acorn Publishing thrives because of our love of writing. As novelists ourselves, we are passionate about sharing good stories, our commitment shines through in every book we publish. The love for what we do inspires us to go the extra mile with every single story. Read more>>

Reyes Baca | LA/OC Influencer

In the social media industry, I believe building real relationships is what leads to success. Relationships with your followers, as well as any brands that you partner with. I have met many of the small business owners that I work and it is always great to get to know the person whose brand you’re supporting. Read more>>

Alia Kate | Moroccan Rug Dealer & Morocco Tour Operator

I started Kantara, my Moroccan rug design business, almost 13 years ago after living in Morocco in 2006 for a year and a half. At this point– not counting our current Covid black hole moment — I travel to Morocco two to three times a year. I work directly with artisans in villages throughout Morocco to source and custom design Moroccan rugs. These Moroccan partners are close friends, and in some cases, adopted family. We’re driven by the same basic principles — a passion for Moroccan rugs, an awe for their beauty, deference in the face of their long-lasting legacy, and a desire to preserve the craft for many generations to come. Through all of this, the single factor that has been most influential in Kantara’s success is cross-cultural communication and connection. Especially now, at a time, when instant communication is at our fingertips, it’s easy to discount this level of communication and take it for granted. But when I started Kantara, technology was limited and it was much more difficult to stay in touch with the artisans. Read more>>

Nikki Hildebrand | San Diego Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer

I hope the most important factor behind my brand is my love and joy for others. I started Nikki Hildebrand Photography first to bring joy to friends and clients and secondly to be filled with joy through providing care, thoughtfulness, and intention to them. I love assisting other photographers. I was blessed to assist Cavin Elizabeth, who is also owner of The White Flower Bridal Boutique, as well as being a second. Now I am taking my own steps forward to provide that same kind of love for detail and client satisfaction to my own business. It’s all exciting! I started my wedding photography business at the start of 2020. I know a few stories like that and it’s okay that it all went crazy because I have been able to learn through on-line classes as well as one-on-one meet ups with other photographers to practice and keep my craft alive. I should add that we all followed and respected COVID guidelines during any meetups. I think the time I took to really hone my work flow and brand style was extremely positive. I am currently working on a new website that will be up in a few months (fingers crossed) and loving shooting family photoshoots. Read more>>

Timmie Standridge | Certified Personal Trainer & Wellness Coach

The most important factor behind the success of TSF is the trust I have built with my clients. When it comes to health and wellness, humans want to know they are not just a number. We are complex beings that require complex solutions. Each client deserves their own personal program and to know that I am equally invested in their success as they are. Read more>>

Jenifer Eggert | Co – Owner Regulars Wanted Beanery

Throughout my lift I’ve pursued things that others may seem strange. I was never an over achiever as a child making modest grades as a B student at best. I was born in Bangkok and moved to the US when I was 11 years old. I learned early from my mother to never take no for an answer, to always ask and push politely for what you want. When I entered High School I knew no one but quickly made friends. I had an interest in swimming so my mother suggested that I join the swim team. Not knowing back stroke from free style I said, “Ok!, sounds good”. Out with the flu, I missed tryouts so my mother called the coach and asked if he would test me on my own the following week. Most parents may not think to even ask. The coach probably thought…poor girl…she can swim for fun but what the…she’s never seen competitive swimming before (which I hadn’t). He found it in his heart to give me a chance so I joined and practiced. I practiced year round, 5am-6:30a before school then afterschool 2-4p 5 days a week. In my senior year I qualified under a few categories for finals and helped win a relay. When I left for SDSU at 18 years of age, I agreed to work for Cutco / Vector Marketing. Read more>>

Liselle DeGrave, APR | President – DeGrave Communications, Inc.

You and your team are the biggest factors of your brand and your business. Most people think of “brand” and they think “logo.” This is far from the truth. Your logo is important, but it’s only a small piece for the success of your business. Our team is is responsible for the success of DeGrave Communications. The right team is essential. Having your “dream team” in place will keep your business ethics on point, your customer service will exceed client expectations and you will build a network of repeat clients. Choose people who share your same values, work ethic and give generously. We know that strong talent is hard to find, but talent combined with attitude is even harder; when we find it we hold on tight. Our team is our brand. Read more>>

Dawn Simon | Owner & Handcrafter at Hempie Girl Organics

In my opinion the most important factor behind my success is perseverance and learning that there is a lesson in everything. I like to say put your head down and do the work. I believe that when you love what you do and you are happy it makes you more successful. Success doesn’t always equate to monetary value. Success can mean different things to everyone. I measure my success by how I feel. I’m going to tell you I feel pretty darn good and I am happy. My products are successful because I pour my love into them. I never make products when I am in a funky mood or feel “off”. Making body care and wellness products is like cooking. If you are happy when you are cooking you can taste it in the food. Same with my products. Making Hempie Girl products has truly been a dream come true. I love the way I feel while making them and the best part is seeing customers come back because they love them too. Happy people make happy things. Read more>>