Every overnight success we’ve seen has been years in the making. And those overnight successes are rarely because of an amazing idea or a stroke of luck. We asked some of our favorite folks from the community about what characteristics are at the heart of their success story?

Jennifer Pishinsky | Portrait & Wedding Photographer

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is simply authenticity. I’ve loved photography since the moment I picked up a camera for the first time, but was never drawn to stiff, posed, boring images. It became my mission to tell a story through the lens. I want my clients to look back at their galleries from the most valuable days of their lives (weddings, anniversaries, those sweet, early days with their newborn babies) and truly remember how they felt in those moments. Nothing makes me feel more successful than seeing tears in their eyes! Read more>>

Tracey Thomas | Business Mindset Coach & Brand Photographer

Hands down, my mindset has been the most important factor in reaching the success for myself and my brand. It’s been a crucial foundation to all the highs and lows that I’ve experienced an entrepreneur over the past 9 years. Without a strong mindset that I continue to work on every day, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today. Read more>>

Brett Barney | Chief Collaborator

Without question, the most important success factor in our business is the energy between people. As a service provider we balance the needs and personalities of our clients with the capabilities and talents of our team members. This interaction takes place in all aspects of the client relationship from the front office during project origination through to the shop floor to bring the vision to life. American Fine Arts Foundry is known for collaborating with clients and letting them be part of the process by art directing along the way. Read more>>

Lena H | Published Model/Artist, Director of Opportunities, & Director of Quality

Determination creates a positive environment even when in vulnerable situation and embraces the “Can Do” attitude. Life is not easy but when I am determined to succeed, its only a matter of time to attain it. Determination will not be attainable if there is no positivity. Everyone’s mind think all the time, so I ensure to remind myself to think positive and keep my hopes that drives me to dream and make it reality. And lastly, Faith. My faith keeps me grounded, keeps me attached to my family and love ones, keeps me wanting to be a better person, and keeps me fulfill my mission. Read more>>

Maggie Beltran | Producer, DJ, Vocalist, Songwriter

When I first started Ghost in Real Life, I really wanted to have a brand where I can just be myself. No gimmicks, no made-up personality, just me and my goofy personality and my love for horror and spirituality. This was really important to me because it’s a huge soul crusher when you are made to feel like you can’t be yourself to be liked. Success to me comes from being happy and proud of something you did and being authentic. Another important factor in my success thus far is that I don’t let anybody mess with me, make my decisions, or tell me what to do. Read more>>

Debbie Zimmerman | Owner, On-Location Health & Beauty Services

For myself on a personal level, I really feel my success has came from my inner persistence or strength if you would to not give up or make excuses to reach my goals. After growing up in a less fortunate family in a small town in Mountain Pine, Arkansas I realized I had to rely on my own self to get even the basic needs in life. Unlike most kids of my age that took for granted having a car, college education, medical care and more. These hard times helped me master my tenacious way of thinking. Read more>>

Alida Coury | Alida Coury Interiors | Interior Design Studio

To me the most important factor that drives my business is how much I care about my clients’ and their projects. Most clients can see this and appreciate that. And therefore pass along my name. Referrals from happy clients are the biggest part of how I succeed. I am not sure if every client knows that I treat each project as if it was for my own family and it is a priority regardless of how big or small the project is. So when I see that a client does truly see themself in the final product and what my intention is in working for them, then that is the biggest reward. It is not always easy trying to crawl inside their mind to create for their style, household functions, and budget. Read more>>

Jeff Leach | Actor, Comedian, Broadcaster.

I would say that the direct connection I have with my fan base has been instrumental in the growth of both my career and ‘brand’. I broadcast, reply and even speak directly via social platforms to my audience every single day. That open dialogue has helped push my creative projects in the right direction and kept me true to my purpose as I receive constant feedback and encouragement from the men and women who so generously give me their time and energy as supporters. Read more>>

Dhyani Bella | Manifestation Wellness Coach | Sound Healer | Yoga Instructor

The most important factor behind me and my brand’s success is being mindful (read below) and MINDSET. What I think and imagine for me and my brand I manifest, from dream clients to collaborations and even money. I remain mindful (a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique) and “in the moment” so that I can not only see what is going on around me but appreciate all of the amazing ebbs and flows. Read more>>

Brandon Sax B” Monford | Professional Saxophonist”

Putting God first has been the most important factor behind my success. Without Him and me making the choice to step out on faith, none of this would be possible. Read more>>

Crystal Hawkins & Ingrid Estrada-Darley | Co-Owners of Black Girl, Brown Girl Books

Our brand is built on the belief that representation matters and the beauty that comes with pride in the color of your skin, where you’re from (city/neighborhood) and self-love. Often Black and Brown children, especially those from South Central Los Angeles, aren’t represented in children’s literature. As Black and Brown women business owners, authenticity is foundational for us. It’s important that we are honoring who we are as women of color and using our creative talents to highlight the beauty in diversity for children, families and communities. We’d have to say that our success is due to a few important factors. Read more>>

Dr. Crystal Lee | VP of Psychologists of Color, Inc.

The most important factor behind the success of Psychologists of Color, Inc. is being able to team up and collaborate with like minded individuals from different walks of life and backgrounds. Read more>>

Samuel Oppong | Actor, Producer, Investor, Philanthropist, Sport Broadcaster, Speaker

As an Investor and Actor, your personal brand is how others connects with you. In addition, your personal brand is your reputation. And your reputation in perpetuity is the foundation of your career. When creating your brand, it’s essential to be you. Here are three tips that helped me get started in my life and with my personal brand. 1. When you choose a career, first ask yourself what career you want to have? (Who career do you want to pattern after, get to the gym, start exercise, and put your best foot forward even though you are figuring out). Read more>>

Walter Hurst | DJ Disc Jockey

First off I will say God is the main leader behind my success of my brand and business. I keep God first and after that I just write the vision down, pray over it, and go for whatever I want in life. Read more>>

Helen Meissner | Music Producer

Starting it! Anything can be a great idea, while it languishes in your head, but until you’ve had a go, you’ll never know! And to get over the fear or failure and actually start it, I think there’s the acceptance (and personal forgiveness to myself) that whatever I am thinking about launching might not be a ‘success’, and balancing this with being aware that the fear of not trying would be more difficult to stomach over time. This helps me overcome the fear of ‘what if it doesn’t work out and is a waste of everyone’s time?. Read more>>

Afton Quast Saler | Writer/Director

The most important factor behind any success I’ve had in the entertainment industry (or my life in general) has been learning to speak up. Like many directors and writers, I’ve dealt with bouts of intense imposter syndrome, and in the past, I’ve let it get in the way of what I wanted to do. As a woman in a significantly male-dominated career, it can be easy to feel that people around you will think you’re uptight or mean if you ask for what you want. I was raised to make sure everyone was taken care of before addressing my own needs. Read more>>

Gabriel Duran | Recording Artist

Over the years it has become very clear to me that the success of my music and brand is the result of staying consistent with my sound and representing my community in a positive way. In some ways the two coincide because I firmly believe that my sound reflects the culture of my neighborhood. Several of the genres, instruments, and voices that inspired me to create have played a role in many of our lives, which allows my music to feel familiar, yet new, for those in my neighborhood or someone from a community similar to ours here in Southwest Detroit. Read more>>

Catherine A. Moore | Illustrator

I think the most importance factor behind my success is only accepting projects that are a good fit for my interests and skills. Projects that are not a good fit (and a good fit includes having a responsible client that is enjoyable to work with!) may not reflect well on your portfolio, and can take your energy away from better projects. I was lucky that some of my early “good fit” projects were widely shared and attracted enough attention that I was able to get future work from them. Good work begets good work. Read more>>

Laura Brennan | Pitch Consultant

The most critical factor in my success has been niching down. When I first started my business, I was happy to do anything people wanted, from working with their sales teams to consulting on their social media outreach. It wasn’t that I wasn’t successful; in fact, the marketing copy I wrote for one client ended up getting me so many referrals, my income doubled in a year just from that. But writing marketing copy is not my zone of genius. Read more>>

Sylvie Damargi | Photographer

I believe that the most important factor behind my success/the success of my brand is to be nice, respectful, and professional. I took a class in college and one thing that stood out to me the difference between a professional versus an amateur photographer is how they behave towards their clients and not just about the age, degree, or level of experience. I feel that a lot of people underestimate me because I am only 22 that just graduated from college and think that I don’t have a lot of experience. Read more>>

Evan Chan | Filmmaker | Director & DP

Hmmm what a great question. If I had to pinpoint the most significant factor behind some of my favorite (and most successful?) projects and relationships from my time in the production world, I’d start and end with my COMMUNITY. In an industry built upon creative collaboration, our friends, family, and peers are exceptionally important. Read more>>

Natalie Simonian | author

The single most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand is one word: authenticity. I began this page in 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic. The purpose of my page was to create a space for myself where I could put my thoughts into the world, hopefully create connection, in a world that was growing increasingly virtual. My approach was meaningful and intentional. Everything that I write, and post, comes from a place of authenticity.
Through my brand, I have opened up conversations about mental health, gained meaningful friendships, and published my first poetry collection. Read more>>

Ethan Schiff | Founder & Integrative Health Coach @ Optimized Health

We have a “no client left behind” policy and mentality at Optimized Health. The most important factor behind the success we have had is that we genuinely care, and nothing we do is inauthentic. This means doing whatever it takes to make sure that every person in our community knows they are seen and supported. Our goal is to be a solution and an alternative to the typical health, fitness and diet culture that has plagued peoples’ relationship with food and their body for decades. Instead of selling supplements and promoting six-pack abs, we think from a personalized, 1:1 perspective, one human at a time, and it has made a big difference. Read more>>

Tamra Coviello | Interior Designer

The success behind the brand of my sustainable Timeless Modern design is the core values I bring to every client’s home or business. I am a vegan, sustainable interior design firm. The pillars of my designs begin with choosing products and processes that provide a healthy space that is community-based with local trades whom I partner with to infuse custom, one-of-a-kind pieces for my clients. Then followed by midcentury patterns and textiles with modern colorways to carry the design into several decades to come. Read more>>

Marcus Quick | Music Producer

In my opinion, the most important factor in my success is having a solid group of individuals with similar mindsets. As a Music Producer, I can only do so much and go so far by myself. I have to have several talented people around me to help me take my vision and make it a reality. Read more>>