We asked some of the brightest folks in the community to open up to us about the most important lesson their business or career has taught them. We’ve highlighted some of those responses below.

Kalliah | Songwriter / Recording artist / Visual artist

As as songwriter and artist, it is so easy to feel the need to fit the mold. To look, act. sound a certain way; but everyone that has succeeded has been unique. I’m learning to wear my quirky, uniqueness like a badge of honor. Read more>>

Nabil Mardini | Indoor Cycling & Strength Studio Owner

The most important lesson I learned is that there is no substitute nor short cuts for hard work. People who have a work ethic that is second to none, along with an obsessive passion (is what I call it) to be the best they can be, will always have more opportunities in the big game of life. Second, never be satisfied with and to always be hungry and driven. Stagnation is the enemy of progress. Good is also the enemy of great.Third, building relationships is the single most important building block of any family, company, corporation, etc.Fourth, there is no question about it that one learns from winning. However, one learns a book from failing/losing. Fifth, small job or big job, one must do it right. Read more>>

Dasia Childress | Student & Business Owner

This lesson may seem cliche but it’s so much deeper to me: NEVER GIVE UP. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost counted myself out and gave up on my dreams, but I didn’t and it has allowed me to reach heights that I never thought I would have. When you’re feeling insecure or inadequate, don’t give up. When you’re grieving or going through depression, don’t give up. If you feel like you don’t have resources, the audience, the guts to keep going…still don’t give up. Small steps lead to achieving big goals. The bible says “the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance” and I can attest to this. Read more>>

Jess Carter | Ceramic Artist

Showing up is the most important thing. Working for yourself is hard! For me, an important way to maintain enough discipline is to create structure within my day. I find the best way to hold myself accountable is to plan my entire week ahead of time. Make a schedule and stick to it!. Read more>>

Heidi Martin | Artist & Athlete

Resilience. In my career, rejection is frequent, goals not going according to plan is common, and struggles are unavoidable. It is in those moments where I am able to bounce back from that situation. It is my hunger for growth that pulls me forward. Because in those moments, I learn. I learn so that I can master that mountain. And when you do bounce back, you grow. Because when it comes down to it, I believe it is in our human nature to be resilient. Read more>>

Katie Spada | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

After being in business for almost 3 years now, the most important lesson I have learned is to embrace imperfection. I am your classic type-A perfectionist and when I first started in business, this hindered me quite a bit. It would prevent me from taking action if things weren’t “perfect”, and truthfully it held me back from advancing and growing my business in the beginning. I hired a business coach (one specifically for dietitians who knew my field intimately) and she encouraged us to take “messy action”. Anything with the word messy, I am not usually about. But I invested quite a bit into this coaching program, so I was willing to give it my all and follow her advice as best as I could. I took lots of messy action, and you know what? I saw lots of results and growth, to the point where my business is at capacity and I am starting a waitlist for my services. Read more>>

AHVE | Recording Artist

Everyone one is going to have an opinion. Through it all at least 1 person is gonna like something. Being an independent artist I drop music when I want to. Being that taste varies the world flips a coin, 1 person will like it, 1 person won’t, but you can’t be afraid, you just gotta go for it. Read more>>

Brette Waters | Non-Profit Director and Yoga Instructor

The biggest lesson my career in the foodservice and hospitality industry has taught me is how to be a problem solver. Anyone who works in this business knows that it is a constantly moving target with incredibly dynamic personalities encountered along the way. You always have to balance the needs of chefs, kitchen staff, front of the house staff, farmers, producers, you name it. Every one of these interactions carries with it unique needs and desires. You have to be adaptable, efficient, think on the spot, make quick decisions and do it all with a smile. These same lessons have served me well in my career as Program Director of the non-profit organization Chefs to End Hunger. But by far the most important lesson I have learned in this position is that even small acts can add up to make a huge difference. Often times when we’re faced with daily, incremental work, it can be difficult to see how we are moving the needle at all. But when you can take a step back and see the bigger picture it is clear that we all can contribute to the greater good of our communities. Knowing that I, that WE, can have an impact like this is such a huge motivator!. Read more>>

Palanda Brownlow | Founder & Executive Editor of AmPopsy

Starting a business has taught me many lessons, but one of the most important ones it has taught me is how crucial it is to build with a team and allow people to help me. As a new entrepreneur, I constantly struggle with feeling like I have to do everything on my own. And trust me when I say, that is not a good feeling. While I’m immensely proud of my self-reliance and resourcefulness, I recognize that building with other people is far more rewarding and fulfilling. Plus, in order to make my business truly successful, I have to lean on other people. Asking for and accepting help is not something that comes easily to me, so this particular lesson is one that I am continually relearning. I’ve found that the people who believe in me and what I’m doing are always willing to offer a helping hand. And slowly, but surely, I’m getting better at receiving that help. Read more>>

Mark Winkler | Platinum Awarded Jazz singer/ songwriter

I’m an artist. A singer songwriter. Like everybody who comes to Los Angeles (even us LA natives), I wanted to be the next Billy Joel or Barry Manilow- a superstar with sold out concerts, had hit records and Clive Davis as my guru. – but I never became that famous. But, what I learned along the way was my craft as a singer and songwriter- first vocal technique from a wonderful couple named the Sweetlands (who sang like Angels when they were in their 70s) and Al Kasha, who won two Oscars and taught me the art and joy of songwriting. From this, I had the basis to do many things in show Business. I started out as a singer- then a songwriter, then a writer of songs for over 250 singers including Dianne Reeves and Steve Tyrell and Liza Minnelli, then as a writer of lyrics for 6 musicals including the 2nd longest running musical in Off Broadway history- “Naked Boys Singing!”, a producer of cds for jazz singers, a teacher of lyric writing at UCLA extension and The Songwriting School of Los Angeles. Read more>>

Marc Sonnenthal | jewelry, watches and high end merchandise expert and pawnbroker

Honesty, Integrity and loyalty. Work hard however small the deal is, remember pebbles make mountains , rain starts with a drop . Emrace the hustle and work hard. The harder you work the more breaks you will get. Read more>>

Taylor Murphy-Sinclair | Actress, model, published author

To be patient. I can be such an I want what I want when I want it kind of person, and that does not fly in this industry. There’s an adage that says something to the effect of “it takes 15 years to become an overnight success,” and I am definitely in that boat. Working in a creative capacity has taught me to slow down, to wait my turn, to be gentler with myself, and to scrap the idea of a linear timeline. As it turns out, patience is useful pretty much everywhere, all the time. Read more>>

Eric Garcia | Former professional boxer and owner of The shop. Strength and Fitness. (Boxing gym)

The most important lesson I’ve learned from owning and running a business, and having a professional boxing career is not allowing anything to get behind me. Both literally and figuratively. Once you let your objectives get behind you, you can lose control of the fight. I apply this to all aspects of my life both in and out of the ring. In addition I have to stress the importance of showing up and working hard. Without effort there is no final result or success. Read more>>

Kimmy Erin Kertes | Stylist, Shopper, Pretty Maker


This is deeply personal, as it took years of therapy for other reasons to recognize that a fundamental reason I loved and was good at my job was a borderline unhealthy desire to make other people happy. Whether it’s the myriad of people on a giant, national project or that successful woman who just doesn’t have the time or headspace for fashion, all I want to do was make my love for shopping, “the hunt,” my color memory, drive and passion be useful to someone else. But until that “ah-ha” moment in therapy, my people-pleasing was debilitating. I was miserable when someone wasn’t thrilled or when I didn’t or couldn’t predict their whims and fancies. It was endlessly frustrating and I took it as a personal failure to ever tell a client, “no, I don’t have a leopard coat with more yellow in it” How could I feel anything but upset with myself after spending the few hours given to complete the shop and accumulating 10 that I found in the middle of summer that worked in the budget’s needs! I had stressed so hard for those 10 coats! And then they weren’t enough!? I wasn’t enough?!. Read more>>

Antonio Roberson | Digital Media Designer

When first having the thought of opening my own business, it was a very daunting thought, only because it was new territory for me. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to take on the pressure of own and operating my own “business.” However, now looking back and having this business for a little over three years now, I can say it has taught me many lessons and instilled a tremendous amount of confidence in my creativeness. If I had to round out my business experience to 3 of my top lessons, I would have to say this: Having a business can and will wear you down, and if you don’t find the time for balance and setting a clock for when you are at work and when you are off work, you will burn out and will leave you high stress and missing out on precious moments with friends, family, and loved ones. So setting a start time and an end time for when I work was a big game changer and allowed my mind to breathe and take breaks to recharge. Next, I would say that not to be fueled by your business’s money but by the products you provide. Read more>>

Lucia Xypteras | Digital Media manager, model & actress

“No” does not mean “you are not good enough”, or, “you are not worthy of this dream becoming a reality”. We seem to make the word “no” synonymous with these negative thoughts when, in actual fact, every “no” ultimately leads us down a different path and reveals to us the aspects of our inner fears and insecurities that may be holding us back from our full potential. I’ve learnt that “no” does not mean I have hit a dead end. Rather, “no” is like missing your turnoff on the GPS – you just get rerouted.And yes, maybe it will take a little bit longer than expected but you will reach your destination if you are determined to keep moving forward. Read more>>

Stephanie Ann | Wedding Decorator & Consultant

The most important lesson that my business has taught me is to not compare myself to others. I cannot compare my one year of business to someone else’s five years of business. Developing and growing takes time. I need to focus on what I can control. Read more>>

Hannah Brown | Actor | Podcast Host

The most important lesson my career has taught me thus far is what it really means to “network”. That word used to give me anxiety and chest tightness every time I heard it. I think so many of us are incorrectly taught that networking means reaching out to someone completely randomly, kissing their ass in a cringeworthy way, and hoping they’ll give you some sort of opportunity. When I thought that’s what it meant to network, I was both bad at it and completely terrified to put myself out there. Throughout the years as I’ve built my brand and worked on my acting career, I’ve realized that real networking, and (in my opinion) good networking has everything to do with making a human connection first and a business connection second. I think it means leading with your authentic self and not putting any pressure on the result of the interaction. Read more>>

Mary Brøgger | Sculptor & Designer

I have come up with an axiom for myself that summarizes one of the most important lessons I have learned about my creative endeavor. The axiom is this: “Everything you make is an alter–cation.” That is to say that everything you make is the result of an earnest intent to embody and evoke a mystery. And that by placing this work in the world it automatically stands in direct or sympathetic opposition to all other creative propositions. Read more>>

Ziyang “Lucia” Wang | Editor & Assistant Editor

I’m an editor/assistant editor. One thing being editor told me that really changed my life. The note is, there’s always a second chance to change it. I was always anxious about doing things – everything – right in the first place, expecting them to be perfect. This aspect really made me procrastinate and afraid of doing it “wrong”. However, editing is different. There’s a stage in editing process called “rough cut”, that meant to be rough and might not 100% “right”, but more as a direction to show to the director and see if we’re on the right track, thinking of the same thing. It’s a baseline for discussion, and a visual example to communicate about what are we thinking about. After that became a normal in the process, I slowly learned that you don’t have to make everything perfect in the first place, and it is not even possible. It is more important to show something and talk about it, even if it might not be that “great”; after all the communication, the cut will be polished as it goes and shines like a diamond. Read more>>


Joshua Glass | Creative Director, Editor-in-Chief, Performing Artist

Throughout my career, if I could think of one lesson that stuck with me it would be to “Trust the Process”. My business has taken me through so many twist and turns. Some that have left me feeling empty, confused, anxious, overwhelmed. At the same, the results from my journey have gifted me with many moments that made it all worth it. Everything I have endured has truly been necessary for me to grow. The second I decided to put my faith in God I became confident in the fact that everything would turn out for my good. When I graduated high school I had plans on attending college in California for the fall. A few days before I was supposed to fly out to Oakland I made the decision not to go. I simply was not ready. I cried for weeks about my decision. I had no plan b or game plan. Somehow, little by little things started to come together. I have taken the experiences, lessons, places, people, and opportunities that met me after that day and put it into the conception of my business. Read more>>

Suzi Farajiani | Realtor & Entrepreneur

The most important lessons I’ve learned in my business is that you have to have a “WHY,” and that there are no breakdowns, only breakthroughs. Of course everyone is going to tell you that It’s important to have a WHY, because that is what will fuel your reasoning to push forward, especially after a breakdown. My WHY is my mother & the fact that I want to take care of her the way she took care of me growing up. I genuinely have a passion for what I do, & it truly fulfills me; but I can honestly say there have been times I’ve wanted to throw in the towel. Maybe I would have a moment to cry or vent or journal about it to have some way of getting it out, but every single time I’ve ever hit that wall, it was usually after that I would experience a breakthrough. That’s why I also don’t believe in being attached to the outcome because being at war with myself is the worst possible thing, it’s allowing my ego to take control. Read more>>