We asked some of the city’s hidden gems to tell us about what they feel is the most important factor behind their success.

Sandra Denise | Sexual Empowerment and Liberation Coach

Desire. I live a desire led life. A really strong desire for more is my fuel, my north star. It makes me committed to stay on the path when it gets difficult, it supports me in staying on the path, desire is what makes me create, show up and to not give up. Read more>>

Erika Nicole | Owner & Founder ‘Barre + Bay Wreath’

One of the most important factors, if not THE most important factor, is creating something out of love and never choosing to act out of fear. If you are truly acting out of love, you will flourish and be able to get through the toughest times. We are here today because our main goal is to love on others always. Read more>>

See Descriptor For Both Names DeRoche | Katrina DeRoche & Heather LaForge Ph.D. Founders and Owners of Groundworks Theatre Arts @groundworks_theatre_arts

We love doing the work; this is our brand. Having Covid hit when our theatre studio was only 9 months old was a huge challenge. But we are grateful to be coming out more firmly rooted in our belief that our students are the change makers, and our job is to encourage them to challenge themselves. We have both worked in theatre for several years in administrative, educational, and artistic roles. So, lots of productions and classes under our belts! There is nothing like the incredible shared experience a production provides, however, we found many of our students want more than a chance to perform. They crave more time to dig deep and develop their skills, and they also have a huge desire to explore more diverse narratives. Thus, we are not a production company, which means we do not exist to produce theatre. Read more>>

Krissy Patterson | Jewelry Creator

This is such an interesting question, because it really depends on what success means to the individual. When I initially started LoveJames Jewelry, I was a new mother and I really wanted a creative outlet. Once I started making jewelry, it felt familiar to me and like an ease in my heart, and that was something I needed at the time. Now, as I continue to create jewelry, I feel so much joy and excitement when I finish a product that I am proud of. It doesn’t have to do with whether I will sell it or not, if I love it and it feels right, then I’ve succeeded. When I remember why I started creating, and why I continue doing it, that’s when I feel the most successful. Read more>>

Bill Griffith | IT Managed Services Provider, Consultant, Engineer

I started out doing residential and small business computer repair in Kennebunk Maine 15 years ago. At that time nobody knew anything about computers, and they were much more difficult to use. My business model was to respond to emergencies, and help people set up new computers and networks on an hourly, as needed basis. This was great, as long as all of my customers had problems all of the time. I would race around putting out fires, using the cheapest solutions – and there was never a guarantee that I’d earn a decent income every month. When I moved to Boston, and then San Francisco, I worked for several IT Agencies and managed hundreds of business clients. I learned the ways of a successful Managed Service Provider. With this model, my clients pay monthly and there are much less fires because I am fully in charge of their IT and am always monitoring everything. Read more>>

Christopher Bittner | Architect

Who we are. We’re a delicate mixture of passionate talented misfits that spend way too much time together and love design. We’ve kind of boiled our success down to talent, honesty and bafoonery (not an actual word?). Talent is self-explanatory; without it, we’d never get hired to design anything anyway. The honesty part is something that my two partners (Garrick Oliver and Anney Rosenthal-Hall) and I made a promise to one another about at the very beginning and that we’ve held each other accountable to throughout the years. We all felt that there will never be a problem we couldn’t overcome as long as we were honest with each other, our employees and our clients. The last one really is the hardest one to define, but is the one that really gets to the heart of who we are. Architecture can be a grind. It is a profession to be taken seriously with years of schooling, lots of responsibility and liability, but that absolutely doesn’t mean you have to take yourself too seriously all the time. Read more>>

Sarah Franck | Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach

The most important factor behind my success is my genuine drive and passion to help people change their lives by changing the food they eat. Educating and sharing nutrition knowledge, guiding people towards better food choices, and supporting diet shifts over a short period of time literally changes peoples health, wellness, energy, attitude, and lifestyle. When you witness small changes that change the impact of someone’s health it keeps you motivated to keep going. Read more>>

Douglas Zirbel | North America Sales Representative

I have always been a self starter, never have had a boss since the age of 26. I believe that If i am going to work, it might as well be for myself. Working for yourself, there is no one to blame for the job not getting done except yourself. When I found out about this brand from Japan called Zerofit and check it out I knew that it was a no brainer. I believe with a bit of hard work and getting the Brand out there is going to be the hardest part, once people get a chance to see and wear it the word will spread. My goal is to reap the same success that is in Japan selling over 11 Million a year in Zerofit products within the next 4-5 years. Read more>>

Lucy Williamson | Owner at Rootflage

I think the most important factor behind Rootflage’s success is our customer service and putting our customers first. Read more>>

Janet Shepherd | Owner of Ornamental Plant Boutique

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is having support from my community. Being a part of the retail cooperative at Rising Co. in Oceanside has made it possible for me to dedicate energy to my brand with the support of like-minded creative people who inspire me to do better every day. The structure we have in the cooperative model allows each small business to operate to their full potential while keeping overhead costs low and having access to the support of each brand and all their customers as well. Read more>>

Jessica Denise Dickson | Enneagram | Liberation | Embodiment Coach

I love this question! My answer is simple but there are complexities behind it. The answer? Be true to yourself. Honor your own truth. As an entrepreneur, when I first started, I felt so tossed by everyone’s ideas of what I needed to do to be successful. The world was full of unlimited tactics and strategies. The “top five ways to” . . . “how to make six figures in a month” . . . so much information that turns into noise. Noise ends up becoming clutter, and that clutter can keep us disconnected from our sense of self. It can block us from being able to discern what our embodied truth is. What is our embodied truth? It’s what we know to be true about who we are, and our purpose. It lives within us. And it is a journey to get there. There is something within us that knows what’s right for us and what’s not. So many teachers and gurus and experts tell us that we need their system or tools. Those tools may support us, or help us come back to our truth. Read more>>

Shaun Uyeda | Owner & Operator of Pelican Sportfishing

Without a doubt, the most important factor in my success is my focus on customer service. I have always put customer service first, even over catching fish. I tailor the trip to ensure my clients are 100% satisfied. Some days that means feeding bait fish to pelicans and seagulls because a kid is scared or seasick to make the trip to La Jolla. Rather than forcing the fishing experience on them, we still have a great day and the family makes memories to last a lifetime. I also provide instruction and assistance to allow my customers to fully experience fishing. Read more>>

Jo-Ann LIttle | Owner of Divorce Help and The Second Saturday Workshop For Divorce for Men and Women

In the year 2006 I went through my own divorce. I realized that the divorce process was severely broken. Because I was going through that process I attracted others who were in the same situation. Most could not focus on anything else but the divorce. How the attorneys were taking all their money, how their soon to be x spouses were ugly and cruel and how their families were spinning out of control. They were confused, frustrated and broken because they really didn’t understand what was happening and they felt a loss of control. The wounds inflicted during the divorce process deepen the existing hurt and pain that was being experienced in the marriage. How goes the marriage; so goes the divorce. I thought to myself, “There has to be a better way”. This happens to so many people and it shouldn’t be. Read more>>

Alexandra & Natalia Escobedo | Co-Owners of Delixias, LLC

The most important factor behind our success has been the sourcing of product that we are proud of. We know it tastes good and it also evokes the flavor of traditional Mexican confectionary while still having that modern twist. Read more>>

Krista Clive-Smith | Personal Brand Expert, Serial Business Owner, Author, & Philanthropist

One part is understanding personal branding as a business model, because I never felt like I fit in anywhere and I couldn’t understand why I had all these different things that I wanted to do and how it all made sense. So through that misunderstanding of my own self and trying to make sense of it, I created a personal brand framework that allowed me to make sense of it all. That’s really the genesis of how everything I’ve ever done has been successful because I, as a consumer, went out looking for specific things and I couldn’t find them in the marketplace. So I created them! All of our customers love dealing with us and with me because they know how intimately I understand their challenges. I believe that people don’t just buy products and services, they actually buy experiences and solutions to their problems. And so I can solve problems for consumers, with the companies and the brands that we’ve built simply because I understand them so incredibly well. Read more>>

Cynthia Luvlee-Austin | Nonprofit Start Up Specialist

Success for me is measured by the positive impact I make in people’s lives. My career, family and personal success all vary day to day, but the underlying question I always ask myself is, “How can I improve?” The most important factors for my personal success are self-reflection and honesty. Being a social reform advocate my work involves creating innovative approaches to old world social problems. There is no roadmap for the work I do, so oftentimes I have to take a step back to evaluate how we are creating meaningful impact in the world. System changes require me to have a firm strategy on how to continually evolve. Being flexible and adaptive are what emerge through my honest self-reflection. When I am honest about what is not working, then I am able to adjust effectively to refocus on achieving my mission of creating meaningful impact in the world. Read more>>

Emily Rocha | Illustrator & Designer

Relationships. Comics is a remarkably small world, so the more people know about you, the more clients are referred to you. At Comic-Con and other small shows, I’ve made some incredible friends and business partners that have really changed my career trajectory. Read more>>

Caterina Potter | Jewelry Designer

I think the most important factor behind success for me is authenticity. If you are your true authentic self, I feel the rest just follows. I have learned a lot about myself this last year. I started going to therapy and really focusing on my mental health. Making myself a priority was a major factor in building my business and if I hadn’t done that first, I don’t think Cash + Kona would exist today. I was using bracelet making as a way to cope with my anxiety and depression and the business built from there. It happened rather organically doing something for myself first. I truly believe that a key to success is to never stop learning. Whether that is about who you are as a person or just in general. They say you learn something new every day, but they never say about what. You can take that any way you want to. That’s the beauty of success. It has its own personal meaning to everyone. Read more>>

Kurt Hines | Head Football Coach Coronado High School, 4th Grade School Teacher Christian Elementary

People! For me, life is ALL about people. Loving them, serving them, empowering them, learning from them, and growing with them!. Read more>>