TV, Movies, and culture in general sometimes paints a narrow, specific image of what success is, but we know from our conversations with some of the best and brightest that success can mean vastly different things to different people.

Annie Untalan | Photographer

The most important factor behind my success is passion. I know, I know… I know what your thinking so cliche right? Its as simple as that. Passion drives me to not give up when it gets slow and there’s no business, passion drives me to stay up and edit pictures, passion drives me to create new things and lastly passion helps me keep going. Its like the talented dreamer Jim Henson once said, “Life like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.” I live by this everyday. There’s ALOT of crazy things going on in the world right now, I don’t choose to ignore it but instead I choose to accept, grow and keep going. Thank goodness I grew up in the 80’s where , honestly I think every creator of cartoons and movies were on acid or shrooms haha! Read more>>

Dr. Claudia Aguirre | Neuroscientist and Mind-Body Expert

Finding the sweet spot in a grey zone. Most people think of careers as defined by a role – a lawyer, a CFO, an educator, etc. But I chose passions instead of traditional roles and found myself at the intersection of markedly different fields – neuroscience and skincare. Finding this previously unexplored niche allowed me to pursue multiple passions not in parallel but in combination. And since no one had done this before, I forged a path of my own that has proven to be fruitful and fulfilling. Read more>>

Brian & Lindsay Schlick | Photographer

One of the most important factors behind our success is finding the right people to be your advisors. Before our business became really successful we were doing everything on our own. We didn’t have anyone to lean on, ask questions of, or get answers regarding legal advice, money, valuing time, etc. It truly transformed our business to find the right people to guide us in these areas. Read more>>

AnGele Cade | CEO, Entrepreneur, Business Coach and Public Speaker

If there is one thing I know about business, it’s that the path to success is absolutely not a straight line. Rather, it’s a journey chalk-full of ups and downs that make up the richness of our business experience. So, for me the most essential factor to the success of me, my brand, and my business has been (and will continue to be) consistency. It’s all about consistency. Over the last 18 years in business, I can attribute almost every breakthrough, win, & triumph to my commitment to consistency. Even when I felt like the smallest player in the room with an even smaller offering, I stayed consistent. I showed up. I took the zoom calls. I did the work and put in the time. Even when I felt like I was running on fumes alone, I dug deep to deliver what I promised. But get this: consistent action was such much more than a benefit for my clients and bottomline. Read more>>

Miriam Jacobson | Holistic Dietitian

I genuinely want to help people feel better and nutrition is such a powerful way to do that! My whole focus is helping people feel more alive in their bodies and empowered by food. So much of the wellness industry feeds off of people’s insecurities and makes them feel ‘not enough’ – not skinny enough, not fit enough, etc. Instead, I like to help people not only customize their nutrition for their individual bodies and health goals, but also help them release the limiting beliefs that are keeping themselves from a positive relationship with themselves, their bodies and food! Read more>>

Alina Grafkina | Photographer

One of the the main reasons I wake up every morning is my passion for art. I love creating new content and showing the world the beauty they don’t see in simple things. The trust in my style and hard work are the main cause behind my success. Read more>>

Kira Alvarez | Singer and Owner of The Holiday Carolers

I think the most important factor behind our success is the quality of our brand. Your brand has to have something that’s not like everyone else and you have to understand what makes you different among your competitors. If you invest in the quality of your product (In my case my singers), you’re already way ahead and it gives you room to only go up from there! Quality across the board- in your marketing, in your customer service and in your performance- all adds up and will in turn produce more clients down the road. Read more>>

Javiera Estrada | Artist

To answer this question, we must first define the idea of “success”. Personally, the definition of success has shifted multiple times throughout my career, thus, modifying my answer. In the past, I believed success was determined purely by the number of sales. Even though financial affluence is important in maintaining your business, it’s just the base of true creative prosperity. Today, the definition of success is the ability to create freely- without the interference of what’s in vogue, easy, or the inner critic’s dialogue. In my artistic path, I have stayed true to my inner musings, regardless of other’s opinions. There have been times when I wanted to take the “easy” route and produce more digestible art, but luckily for me, it’s physically impossible! Even though I chose a longer route, I feel content in the knowledge that everything I have produced has been inspired. I believe that if you do something long enough, with consistency and vigor, you will succeed. Read more>>

Monica Ahanonu | Illustrator

The most important thing for me was the ability to ask for and take criticism from people knowing that it’s trying to make the work better. When I started for the first few years after graduation I had to work through the hard parts where you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, or that things look bad, I would just push through and keep trying. And I was constantly asking for feedback from people. I would seek it out and work on the specific feedback. In addition, I would always do things that I was interested in at the moment and put all my energy into it. For example my first internship at DreamWorks Animation required experience from someone who had spent time assisting a photographer and I had randomly become interested in photography while at USC and assisted a photographer, so I had that experience. Read more>>

David Murillo R. | Film Composer and Music Producer

Believing in myself! I think this is perhaps the most important decision an artist must make and what sets him apart. Naturally, all artists are brave. We’ve had the courage to embark on this wild ride of making art for the world to enjoy with all the ups and downs it brings; however, it isn’t until you truly believe in yourself – and the power of your unique voice – that the world will open up and let others believe in you! It isn’t as easy as it sounds, at least for me it isn’t. Believing in yourself is something I do and believe all of us have to do, every day on every project that comes our way. Read more>>

Tina Michelle | Country Singer and Line Dance Instructor

Knowing what my product is and delivering exactly that to my clients. I don’t pretend to be something I’m not just to “get the gig”. Read more>>

Fanny and Dalida Inanga | Fashion Designer and Polychrone

The most important factor behind our success and our brand is our self believe, until today we always trust on our self, we knew we could build something big even during some hard time. When you believe on yourself you are capable of so much and feel unstoppable. That strong believe is the message of our brand. Read more>>

Mimi Nartey | Social Entrepreneur, Speaker, & Philanthropist

The most important factor of my success is that I am willing to let go of the past – including past successes! Often we hear people advise us to put the past behind us if we want to move forward, and typically they are talking about past failures. In reality, we can be held back by past successes as well because we are afraid that we won’t be as successful in our next process as we were in our last process. I have been able to move from being a World Cup soccer player to an award-winning college professor to a a successful social entrepreneur because I have had the courage to be a beginner again. I think many more people would find more happiness and purpose if they were willing to leverage what they are good at to pursue what they could be great at. Read more>>

Andrea Gutierrez | Jewelry Designer/Artist

Original design, highest standards of excellence and outstanding service. Read more>>

Bobbie Cheri Gobert | Caterer and Cookbook Author

I like to give credit to my personality to the success of my brand. The consumer market is very oversaturated. Most people you tell your idea to will ask you is a good idea since the competition seems to be endless. Everyone is a “this” Everyone sells “that”. My response is always that may be true but nobody is me and that is my ace in the hole. This is my first business where I am the face. I say, post, and blog what I want. I understand that my personality is not for everybody. I’m okay with that. I just need a million people to love what I am doing. My business is less than a year old and I am already making amazing strides, even with a virus going around killing people and a Oompa Loompa for a president running our country into the ground. Read more>> 

Anthe Wosczyna | Jewelry Designer

Connecting with my customers is key to the success of my brand. Offering unique and affordable jewelry is just the beginning. When I am at a show, I truly enjoy giving my shoppers a peek ‘behind the curtain’ into my creative process. To this purpose, I like to create a piece during an art show. In this way I can showcase my materials and tools to customers. Often, an unfinished piece allows me to explain details that would not be obvious to the casual observer. A large portion of my brand success is from the connection that I form with my customers. It is not just the selection of styles and colors, it’s that human element where we really understand each other. That’s what makes it all worth it. Read more>>

Olympia LePoint | Rocket Scientist & Executive Producer of Answers Unleashed

When I asked about the one important factor behind my Answers Unleashed company success and brand, I have one word: Explosive. When I worked in rocket science launching NASA engines in the early 2000’s, my job was to make things explode. My thought process was simple. I asked myself: What has to go into this operation for there to be the most explosive outcome for breakthrough success? When I left rocket science and formed my own company in 2007, I kept that mindset. When I performed my first TED talk as an author, I asked, what content will make this information explosive? I devised a speech opening that drew in 1 Million viewers. When I wanted to buy something outside of my budget, I asked myself one key question. “How is this purchase going to help me hire staff, publish books and create TV shows that I will 100% own and distribute? If I could not find an answer, I saved my money. I let it grow for another opportunity. Read more>>

Tracy Capisce | Brand Strategist | Graphic and Web Design / Programming

I feel that passion is the most important factor behind my success. Passion gives you energy and allows you to run at full speed. When you are working endlessly around the clock through many sleepless nights, during holidays and weekends – you don’t feel exhausted. Time just flows by quickly when you are passionate as you love every bit of what you do. It clears your mind so you don’t see obstacles. Obstacles become motivation for finding new creative solutions and trying something new becomes exciting. When a creative project is completed it feels amazing and passion motivates you to jump higher and further than the next each time. It allows you to feel rewarded by smaller details like when you see client’s smile and show sincere appreciation for the work you had done. Passion also heightens your curiosity which are vitamins for success and helps you see more and achieve more. Read more>>

Shireen Jaffer | Entrepreneur, Investor & Educator

Thinking for myself–that has been, hands-down, the most important factor behind my success, and the success of my work. As an entrepreneur, especially a young one, you are given so much advice. Even if you aren’t an entrepreneur, you’re likely bombarded with people telling you what you should do, and how you should do it, and when you should do it by. And if you grew up in the traditional education system like most of us, you are used to being told what comes next. I had to break out of this conditioning. Instead of relying on mentors and experts, startup veterans and successful entrepreneurs, to tell me what to do and how to build my business, I had to learn to think for myself. I valued opinions for sure, but when things get hard, it’s really easy to blindly follow someone else’s path because they found success with it. Read more>>

Cody Jimenez | Professional Artist

Having a solid group of supportive friends has been an important factor in how far I’ve been able to get. I can never see any level of success as a completely solo thing. There is always, at the very least, a few people that I can bounce ideas off of and talk about various things. As a visual artist, it is great to have various voices you can trust for critiques and 2nd opinions. That is so invaluable. Read more>>

Natalia Aldacour-La Borie | Coffee Roasters

We are a small family owned coffee roaster, trained by Italians, where our main focus is dark roast. With 28 years of experience, we have the unique privilege to source our beans from different parts of the world. This allows us to explore different varieties and share some very unique fields while still reaching a broad audience. We continue to hand roast our beans are deliver them nation wide several times a week. Since we are own middle man as buyer and roaster this translates into price value while delivering our customer a incredible product. The costs we are able to save allows us to be a liaison with the animal rescued world bring them much need attention and funds. Read more>>

Stephanie Tombrello, LCSW, CPSTI | Advocate & Executive Director

SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. focuses on accuracy and attention to detail on the one hand and has reached for the sky on the other. Our mission, to reduce the death and injury of children and their families by the correct, consistent use of safety seats and safety belts, means we touted rear-facing travel past age 1 early on and developed and shared the 5-Step Test for belt fit in 2001 (now part of Louisiana law) but also, in 1984, our work inspired the late Congressman Glenn Anderson to carry a bill to provide funding for safety seats nationwide and in 1989, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration accepted our petition to require rear-seat shoulder-lap belts in vehicles. We also were part of the Congressional push that filled in the shoulder belts in the center rear seat. which had been denied in 1989, to become standard 20 years later. Read more>>