We asked some brilliant folks from the community to tell us about the most important lesson their business or career has taught them. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Kevin Gregg | Producer, Director, Writer and Podcast Host

I have to make sure that whatever I create and make is of genuine service and help to my audience and client. If I am just working on a project for recognition or kudos, I’m doing it for the wrong reason. With that in mind, I have created a template of checklist questions for myself whenever I am working on a new project. Some of those questions include a refining process to make sure that I am doing something that is in line with my talents and abilities. Some of those questions make sure that I am not doing something just because it’s a “shiny bright new object.” Some of those questions make sure that I don’t pick a project that will have a negative impact on the relationship with my wife and family. Read more>>

Jocelyn Kobayashi | Small Business Owner

The most important lesson my business has taught me is how to create meaningful friendships and relationships with other small businesses and customers. I had created this business to help me pay for college and because I truly loved doing DIY’s and arts and crafts. Over time I met some amazing small business owners and customers that turned into some amazing friends! Tiny Things has taught me that it is important to help and uplift other small businesses and that there are a bunch of other people that have the same passions. It is important to create meaningful relationships and friendships with others that have the same goals and inspirations. Read more>>

Nick Mahar | Cinematographer

There are a few lessons that i try to instill in everyone that will lead to success. First is very simple, be a good person. Check your ego at the door, treat people with respect, especially PAs. Secondly work your ass off. Nothing is going to be handed to you and even if you blow up or have some great success in one moment, doesn’t mean it will last. Everything good comes to an end so don’t burn those bridges and continue working hard. Lastly its perseverance. This is one of the most important lessons i can’t emphasize enough. If you’ve ever had a boss or seen someone in charge that clearly shouldn’t be or doesn’t know what they are doing it’s because they didn’t give up. People that are talented doubt themselves too much and a lot of successful people have too much confidence that they can’t back up but that still gets them places. Read more>>

Erin Burrise | Jam Maker

I’ve learned that if you decide to take a chance on yourself and really put in the work to learn about your craft and perfect what you’re doing, then success comes naturally. I’ve been ghosted, told ‘No,’ made tons of mistakes, and I’m still learning, but I wholeheartedly believe in myself and know that building this career and company is what I’m meant to be doing. So I never worry about succeeding and taking this as far as I want it to go. Read more>>

Cee Nario | Latino R&B Sensation, Hip-Hop Artist and Entertainer

The biggest lesson in business has been the importance of building and nurturing relationships. It goes way deeper than just who you know or who knows you, and it takes time. At my first couple jobs, I was young and had more of a quick-hustle mentality. I used charm, humor, persistence and being clever to get as much out of each opportunity as possible, especially because you may never see this person again (or someone else will get to them first). Moving this way definitely worked in the short term, I was having fun and making money being a smooth criminal (LOL). Through the years, however, while working for others as well as in my own business, I learned that each opportunity to meet someone new was more about getting to know them and them getting to know you than it was about making some quick sale. When I started to expect nothing, be sincere, ask questions and remain interested in people’s stories is when I started to grow and experience success. Read more>>

Susannah Rodriguez Drissi | Poet, Writer, Playwright, Translator, Director, and Scholar,

Recently, in the “Art of Nonfiction, No. 10” for The Paris Review, one of the most celebrated thinkers of his generation, British-Ghanaian philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah confesses that “Literature is produced by writers, yes, but also by communities that shape them.” Some (many?) years ago, I may have disagreed with Appiah. I may have actually insisted that a writer’s success was entirely a product of the hours spent nurturing a line, obsessing over a scene, spooning with a dear character until you and he became one; and that a writer’s ability to fling their work out into the world was tantamount to their tenacity, their work ethic. Because when you’re young, no one tells you. They let you go on believing that it is all up to you; up to how much talent you possess; how much rigor you’ve poured into your work; how much time you’ve invested. Read more>>

Xiomara Rosa-Tedla | Co-founder + Owner of UnoEth

The most important lesson I learned in building UnoEth is to have a plan. Honestly, our business started on accident. When we first started out, we didn’t know what we were doing and what direction we were heading in. It is extremely important to have a plan before launching a business so that there are goals in place and overall structure. We didn’t have that. We literally made up plans in the moment while we were managing our own demanding careers in Merchandising and Education. Having a plan creates a strategy to get you closer to your goals and it makes them feel more real. Read more>>

Lauren LoGrasso | Singer/Songwriter & Podcast Host/Executive Producer

I would say the most important lesson my career has taught me is that sometimes the dreams you find on the way to your dreams are even more powerful than your original intention. When I first moved to LA, my singular focus was to make it as an actress. I had some success with acting early on, but the business part of it was really breaking my heart. I couldn’t handle the idea that I had to wait for someone to give me the opportunity to do what I loved the most…The rejection and longing were brutal. Born from that heartbreak was a new dream: writing and performing original music. Acting broke my heart- music healed it. Writing music is a talent I never would have discovered, had it not been for needing a coping tool to deal with the pain from the acting business. Then, as I drove to my gigs as a musician, I started listening to SiriusXM Radio. It was during a time when I was super homesick and the guy who was hosting the show was from my hometown in Detroit. Read more>>

Barrett Carroll Curtis | Actor, Content Creator & Coach

It is very important to understand the business, how things work and what is expected of you in order to have a functional relationship with others and build your resume and reputation. However, A lot of teachers, directors, managers, agents and other “authority figures” will tell you that certain things work a certain way because that is how it’s always been. The truth is that things function a certain way until people come along and choose to change it. Only you can ultimately decide the best path for your own artistic journey. As an artist you must be able to work like a sponge…take in everything you can and then filter out what doesn’t work for you. To put my answer more simply… 1) Trust your instincts 2) Learn all the rules and then learn when it’s the right time to toss those rules in the trash. Read more>>

Nicole Snell | CEO, Girls Fight Back and International Speaker

My career has taught me several important lessons, but the one that stands out the most to me is the lesson that your path is not always a straight line and that you may never have all the answers. I’ve had more than one career in my life, the first being a TV Line Producer for 12 years. I never imagined that after having a successful and productive TV career that I would ever walk away from everything I knew and start fresh with sexual assault prevention training which is an entirely different industry. And yet, that is exactly what I did! And now I am the owner of Girls Fight Back which is yet another twist in my career story. If you would have asked me in college what I wanted for my life after graduation, I would have responded with a plan that started at point A and ended at point B. However, my life nor my career, took that nice straight path and I think it’s important for others to know that is the norm and not the exception. Sometimes we may not know what our true passion is, or it takes time for us to uncover it after years doing something else. Read more>>

Katie Taylor | Casting Director, Mom & Backyard Farmer

The most important and valuable lesson I have learned is that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder and the only person who’s opinion matters, is your own. People will always find something negative to say about everything you say or do. What maters most is how you feel about the work you do and that you are happy with your own decisions at the end if the day. Read more>>

ELEW | Concert Pianist, DJ, Screenwriter/Director

I’d say the most important lesson my business/career has taught me is the importance of accuracy and how it relates to endurance. It becomes rather clear over time that physics of truth, at the mathematical level, will always bear down on any endeavor. Meaning what one is trying to sell has to match up to what one claims it is or able to do. There is a type of Erosion that takes place over time which really punctuates and reveals the level or depth of truth in ones claims about the product or its capacities. No one necessarily sees everything or knows everything about their product nor can they know how the future marketplaces will evolve so this is where beyond accuracy, Endurance enters there conversation. Because the learning curve or the adaptation curve is typically frightening and rather often, astonishingly Rigorous. Read more>>

Joy R. Richardson | Model

The most important lesson I’ve learned throughout my time in modeling is one must be willing to trust their own thoughts and creative ideas. I have learned to steadily invest in myself and not let outside energies corrupt my own process.there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking out knowledge from those that have a successful storyline before you, but at the end of the day this is your story to write. A lot of times people take advice on a path that may have worked for someone else, and that’s where they go wrong. Taking to much outside advice a lot of times may steer you in the wrong direction. Believing in myself. Read more>>

Mark Carrillo | Owner & Operator Of An American Time Capsule

Ultimately if you believe in what you are selling. actually have a true passion for it, you will have an advantage over someone that believes in only a dollar value. Read more>>

Essie Yvonne Taylor | Makeup Artist and Virtual Learning Coach

The most important lesson my business has taught me is perseverance. As an Entrepreneur you will face so many challenges and it can get overwhelming if you take them personally. I have had to learn to treat each experience as a learning opportunity. We are truly experimenting in business. If this idea doesn’t work, take a step back, evaluate, then take from this experience whatever it is that you were supposed to learn from it and move forward. If you want to succeed in any business endeavor, you have to learn to persevere and learn through the process. Success in anything will not happen overnight. Sometimes you will also leave an experience and it takes months to figure out what you learned but take it and let it make you more successful. Read more>>

Seril James | Founder of Seril’s Chakka Chips

When the idea to start Seril’s Chakka Chips came about, there were so many parts of starting a CPG company that I had zero experience with. I felt completely overwhelmed and said, “I can’t do this…”. What I realized very quickly in this journey was to take that unknown variable and make it known. Any aspect of the business that I needed answers to, I would research the hell out of it, ask other entrepreneurs/business owners for advice and then I would jump into action. What happened next… well the answers ultimately revealed themselves and I was more informed and better prepared to handle that particular issue when it comes around again. When you push yourself through those challenging moments, to get closer to your goals, it gives you an amazing sense of accomplishment. Read more>>

Marisilda Garcia | Actor. Singer/Songwriter. VO Artist. Writer. Producer. Director. Human.

The most important lesson my career has taught me is that success comes in many forms and it may take different iterations along the way. Being in the entertainment industry isn’t a linear process and it’s definitely filled with disappointments, near hits and celebratory experiences. It isn’t a one size fits all formula and finding ways to celebrate even the seemingly small things is important. When I’m feeling like I haven’t been successful in all the ways I thought I would be by now, I remember the importance of resilience and the validity of play in exploring this craft I’ve chosen. Artists are the few people who take on the mantle of going into all the rooms of our emotional, physical and spiritual bodies to explore our traumas, our joys and our experiences. Being willing to do that in and of itself is a courageous journey of openness and vulnerability. If I can continue to do that, I feel I’ve attained some sort of. Read more>>

Kenny Echizen | Musician & Product Specialist

Learning that luck arrives is when opportunity meets preparation. Read more>>

Ayda Rezaimalek | Founder & Creative

The most important lesson I learned in my career is to be confident who I am and what I believe in. Read more>>

Edward Hong | Cinnabon Actor + Corgi Enthusiast

In the realm of acting, talent isn’t everything. Social media following isn’t everything. What is more important is working on craft, fostering relationships with all the industry folks you’ve come in contact with and maintain GENUINE relationships, and don’t be a dick. Read more>>

Tony Martignetti | Trusted Leadership Advisor, Author, & Podcast Host

That everything happens through courageous conversations. Whatever you want to accomplish in life requires you to have the emotional courage to say what needs to be said. The first courageous conversation you have to have is with yourself. Read more>>