We asked some of the city’s rising stars to reflect on what made a difference in their journey. We asked them to tell us about what they think the most important factor has been behind their success.

Alexis Bradby | Stand-up Comedian & Writer

I think the habits that help me succeed the most are consistency and uplifting others. Although I have a lot further to go in my career, I believe I’ve only able to amount the current level of success I have from these habits. I try to consistently work on my jokes new and old. Pre-pandemic that looked like going to open mics throughout the week in-between shows and meeting up with other comedians to talk out ideas, and things haven’t changed that drastically despite our local stay-at-home orders. I am still able to do open mics and virtually connect with other comedians in between Zoom shows. I also have been trying to post content online consistently, which is extremely hard to do since I’m a huge self-critic. Besides being consistent, I also am not shy about giving people credit where it’s due. From famous comedians to people just starting out, if something you said was funny, I will let you know. If I see a funny video, I try to comment. I treat people like I want to be treated, and somehow the good energy I put out there comes back to me one way or another. Read more>>

Eric Yee | Owner of Fitness Kickboxing Gym & Digital Marketing Agency

The habits that I feel helped me succeed range from common ones you’ll see such as persistence, working hard, etc. to not ones you’ll often see such as being nice and responsive communications. I’ll dig into these below with 10 habits that I believe have helped me succeed. 1) Hard work – I feel like this is one that is what you’ll see every time when you talk to an entrepreneur, but it’s true. The saying goes that entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours to avoid working 40 hours. It’s a true statement for me. The risk/reward goes with this. If you’re not willing to put in the 80 hours a week to grow a business with the goal of making more money than you would have if you worked a Full-Time job, then owning a business may not be for you. Yes, it is risky. Yes, you’ll be working a lot. However, the reward at the end makes all the hard work worth it! The work doesn’t just stop at your core business (product/service ) – there’s still the administrative work, legal work, advertising, logistics, etc. that goes along with all of this. 2) Being persistent – Along with hard work, this one is often seen in the early stages of being an entrepreneur. Read more>>

Dennis Sosa | Photographer & Actor

I feel that maintaining relationships has been a habit of mine that I believe has been a huge factor in the success of my business. It can be very easy for you to fall into a thought pattern of, “ok done with this client and now on to the next one.” Viewing and treating a client on a more personable level lends longevity to the business relationship. Read more>>

Brett Browning | Actor & Recording Artist

The most important factor behind my success as an artist is my ability to adapt to change. With the music industry being so competitive there are constantly people that are pushing boundaries and changing ideas with how we create, listen, and enjoy the art. I think any form of success is brought on by pushing your art beyond its boundaries. The only way to stay relevant in any part of the industry is to know what your audience wants and stay fresh with the content that you provide as an artist. Read more>>

Deven Powers | Actor/ Tv Host/ Recording Artist

1st is God 2ndly has to be my work ethic and lastly my knowledge of brand marketing. My success has a lot to do with my ability to work hard and sacrifice personal things inorder to gain longterm success. I try not to keep up with the jones but focus my energy on ways to improve my over all brand. Read more>>

Jazz Ponce | Photographer & Physical Health

I think the most important factor behind my success is consistency. Being a freelance photographer, I have experienced a lot of ups and downs with this. And what I mean by that is some months I will not hear from anyone asking for me to take their photos, then with a blink of an eye, I have gigs lined up every single weekend. So most definitely I have to say that being consistent on my brand and what I can offer to individuals. Read more>>

Steven Gonzalez | Freelance Filmmaker

I find it extremely important to always be myself. Sometimes the bad, but mostly the good. You can’t be afraid to let people see your true personality. I have found that most of the time being myself around others, especially clients, makes them more willing to open up to me creatively, creating a better piece of art, and a stronger relationship. Read more>>

Adam Fischer | Owner, Total Home WiFi & Writer/Musician

The most important factor behind the success of Total Home WiFi is our focus on enrichment—meaning the things that don’t often arise in discussions about tech: hiking, reading books, listening to music—the restorative processes. Of course productivity, education, and convenience are fundamental reasons behind a desire for technology, but a seamless and secure design & installation is what allows people to benefit from and receive value from it. Naturally, a good smart home installation increases property value along the way, but more to my point–a truly great installation means more time for our clients to do what they love, and to achieve a deeper, richer value from whatever that is. For instance, I’ve always disliked the term Audio-Visual because people think it means providing wires, screens and speakers in their homes, but really my interest is in offering a deeper experience of music and film, all in way that someone can easily access it—both reliably, and without frustration. Read more>>

Ali Goldman | SplayTray Founder & CEO

The number one factor that has contributed to the success of SplayTray is the unwavering confidence I have had in the product. After studying design in college, I knew I wanted to use my creativity to invent a product that would be a simple solution to an everyday problem with an overarching goal of making people’s lives easier. From the moment I came up with the idea for SplayTray, I not only knew in my gut that this was the product to accomplish that goal, but that it was truly an item people needed. Despite a difficult Kickstarter campaign and proceeding to run SplayTray on the side of a full-time job, my belief in the product itself never faltered. SplayTray is unique in that it’s a completely novel and innovative product that allows for such a wide range of uses. When I started receiving comments from customers like “I don’t know how I ever functioned without it” and that “it’s an absolute necessity”, it validated the usefulness of SplayTray and the challenge became how I was going to spread the word about it. Read more>>

Niki Borger | Actress, Screenwriter, Producer

Everybody wins. It’s as simple as that. Everybody involved in my projects considers their participation to be a net-win for them. Whether it’s the people in front of the camera, behind the camera, or those watching the show – everybody feels like they benefitted from their participation. And that’s what is most important to me. You don’t just trade one thing for another. You’re making a win out of it, because what we create together is so much bigger than what everyone could do by themselves. Read more>>

Cordaro Davis | Father, Chef & Creative

I believe the most important factor behind my success thus far is authenticity. When you order from Cordaro’s, you’re not just getting a regular ole pizza from around the corner or subpar service. You are getting a piece of me, my family, my history, my story! Making pizza was one of my favorite past times growing up, an experience not only did my father create and share me with, but I was also able to create and share that same experience with my daughter when she was younger. My daughter(Jordyn) is actually the inspiration behind the brand, she’s my why, and every pizza that I make puts me in that happy place, remembering the times we shared in the kitchen. Authenticity is the key! My pizzas, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts are all recipes that were created and inspired by members of my family, and passed down to me. Love goes into every order, and it’s an ingredient that you can’t buy nor see, but you can taste it, because I’m authentically me. Read more>>

Molly Suber Thorpe | Lettering Artist & Designer

I am a calligrapher and hand lettering artist who is mostly self-taught. Since starting my business in 2010, I have worked with many clients on custom projects, but most of what I do now is making educational resources for other artists and creative freelancers. This includes my three books about calligraphy, a YouTube channel of free video tutorials, in-depth Skillshare classes, and in-person workshops. I also design tools for other calligraphers, which range from digital lettering brushes to downloadable practice sheets. I believe that the most important factor behind my success has been that I design for myself rather than try to predict what others want. Whenever I set out to create a new resource or tool, I always start by asking myself: What resource would have benefitted me when I was learning calligraphy? What tools do I wish existed today for my own art? I then set about creating the products, writing the books, and filming the tutorials that I personally would want to have. This means that I follow my gut, rather than try too hard to figure out what others want. Read more>>

Matt Mayberry | Cofounder & COO of Temper | All the Benefits of fasting, None of the Hunger.

I genuinely enjoy working with my cofounders and remain driven and challenged by them to this day. We all bring low-ego no drama attitudes to the challenging and complex problems we work on together and also make sure we have a high degree of mission alignment. Those things working in harmony make having hard conversations a lot easier when things get tough. The people you do business with are often more important than the actual business you do. Read more>>

Stephanie Entin | Photographer

I would have to say what has helped me build, grow and sustain my photography business is nurturing relationships and bringing personalization to every job and photo session. Yes, I do have a vision of what I would like to create but what is most important is what my client visualizes and wants. This is at the heart of what I do. As a creative, it’s so easy to compare yourself to others and to have doubts about your own work. I have studied and followed many artists and take and implement different ideas that inspire me. And at the same time, I have to remind myself to stay true to who I am and my own style that makes my work my own. Read more>>

Kate Neligan | Equine-Partnered Life/Career Coach

The most important factor behind my success is knowing my WHY. Being a voice for the horses and sharing their gifts, as well as serving as a bridge between humans and equines, is my why. When things get hard in my business or I don’t feel like doing something, I return to the importance of this and it motivates me, helping me to get over resistance and fear. I will reach out to anyone just because I want to support the horses and shine a light on why they are here on the planet and how they can help humanity transform. My success is also linked directly to my values. I have found that freedom, love, and transformation are some of the core values that have made me a successful heart- centered, service-based, conscious entrepreneur. Having a flexible schedule so I can be outside in nature almost every day to spend personal time with my goats and horses was one of the top reasons I needed to succeed as an equine-partnered life/career coach. Read more>>

Allen Ashouri | CEO of EMRG, Author & World-Renowned Authority in Digital Marketing

Execution. I feel like this gets overlooked the most, especially recently with the whole entrepreneur trend. I’ve learned how common great ideas are, but how rare it is to see someone take an idea and execute it to hit their goal. I credit a lot of EMRG’s success to execution. Our company culture is rare; we have like-minded and passionate individuals who are assertive in nature. We highly appreciate the “take initiative” behavior as everyone knows what they need to do, so we always acknowledge and reward when people are doing a great job of getting the important things done. It always starts with a great idea, but success needs action. And, how effective your actions are lead to a higher quality of execution. Read more>>

Gabriela Linares | Business Owner

We all measure success differently, for us, success is having unconditional support from the communities who surround us. We have been blessed by receiving support from minority groups such as the queer community, the Latina community, the women community and so many others that have received​ us with open arms. We can confidently say that without them we wouldn’t be here today. Read more>>

Derek Baird | Composer for Film and New Media

Staying true to my own voice has been a critical factor in everything I’ve achieved thus far. While film music is a field where trend is often valued more than originality, if you are lucky enough to work with the right people, your creativity will be trusted and rewarded—and that’s on top of the satisfaction of exploring your own ideas and seeing your art come to fruition. This is central to how I work and how I think. I’ve noticed that allowing creativity to be the primary objective tends to elevate the project to interesting new heights. When that happens, it is a win for everyone and has the benefit of adding new ideas to the culture at large. Read more>>

Mary Flynn | Host of Tampon Talk with Mary the Podcast

I think speaking generally, one of the most important factors of what I consider my own personal success or the success of our podcast is authenticity. If you don’t thoroughly believe with all your being in the thing that you are pushing for, if you’re not passionate about it just won’t thrive. And through authenticity comes the humility of just doing something you love without striving for any particular outcome. The podcast that I host called Tampon Talk with Mary has been an excuse for me to meet new people and elevate their voices for a common goal. It’s something that I’ve always been passionate about and would do for free for the rest of my life. Opening dialogue and removing negative stigma around the discussion of menstruation, reproductive health, feminism, gender identity and the like, is something that we all should feel encouraged to have conversations about with each other. Read more>>

Livio Ramondelli | Artist and Designer

Working hard is obviously key. But more specifically, I’d say making your deadlines and being excellent at communication is crucial. If people contact you about projects, you have to reply back and stay in communication in a timely manner- I am stunned how many artists have trouble with this. Likewise with deadlines- you absolutely have to make sure you hit them. It ensures you get future opportunities, and word of mouth travels around an industry about how reliable you are. Lastly, I’d say being pleasant to work with. When I look to collaborate with someone, a key factor is also how much time I’d like to spend dealing with the person. If you’re an enjoyable collaborator to be around, the work becomes a blast. Read more>>

Cameron Ward | Animator

My reputation. we all have one. it’s way out there in front of us. it has already had a conversation with everyone in the interview long before I show up and introduce myself. my reputation is something that, for the most part, I’m responsible for cultivating and tending to and protecting. I’m the one who polishes it and makes it shine or neglects it and allows it to dull. Read more>>

John Campbell | Real Estate Agent and Team Leader of John Campbell Estates a Top Producing Team at Corcoran Global Living

I think the most important factor behind being successful in business or anything in life is work ethic, consistency, zigging when everyone else is zagging.and enjoying what you do. To elaborate… 1. Work Ethic So I’m a workaholic by nature and generally am (in my mind ;)) the hardest working guy in the room. First to start, last to leave and 100% focus. 2. Consistency Persistence will take you there but consistency will keep you there.. The same effort 24/7, 365 both professionally and personally. 3. Not listening to the crowd and. not being afraid to go against common opinion. 4. I’m always striving for excellence in everything I do. In real estate I always remind myself to enjoy the journey, it’s not just about the destination. I believe that buying or selling your home is the most personal and important decision you are ever going to make so it’s important that you understand the stresses your clients are going through and celebrate the small wins along the way so you can guide them to a great result which is very rewarding. Read more>>

Angelia Han | Cupcake Bae / Creator of Not Yo Mama’s Cupcakes

Authenticity and genuineness. I created this brand as an effort to represent my cultural background as an Asian/Pacific Islander who loves hip hop. Incorporating parts of my story into my branding is what makes it unique, relatable and rooted which is a big part of my why. I want others, especially the younger generation to stay innovative and creative within our cultures to beyond our cultures. Read more>>

Benjamin Doktor | Photographer

If I have learned anything about success over the years, it is that everyone has their own definition and metrics of how they define “success” in their lives or careers. The most important factors that I feel have contributed to the successful longevity of my photography career are my core values rooted in passion, authenticity, and longevity. Being passionate about what you love to do will always shine through in your work. I was fortunate to have found my passion, identity, and purpose with photography early on in my adolescent years. Being authentic and genuine in how you conduct yourself has always been imperative to me when it comes to establishing rapport, networking, and landing future opportunities. Longevity is something I value because it is a testament to someone’s level of commitment, consistency, putting in the time, and continuing to learn. Read more>>