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

Quincy Middleton | DJ and MC

The most important lesson I have learned in my business and career is to understand your value. For a long time I used to accept what I was given. I didn’t take the time to learn how much a DJ and our services are really worth in the entertainment industry. In the beginning, I was simply happy with being wanted. I loved what i was doing so money wasn’t that important to me. To be honest i wasn’t worried too much about the finances, because I was having fun. It wasn’t until I was exposed to new heights, that i begin to see the true value in a DJ. From moment on I begin to take the time and learn about everything I was leaving on the table. Everything from Networking opportunities, to knowledge about my craft, and financing. I gained more knowledge, and with that knowledge a true understanding of my value and self worth. In any business, career, or path you decide to take, i highly recommend you learn and deeply understand you value. Read more>>

eorgina Reilly | Actor

“This too shall pass.” The good and the bad. It is about being willing to experience the ride. There are so many things in this world that don’t make sense, and it’s about focusing on what you can do about things, what you can make better and what you can control. You may only be able to control one small part of something, but if you really control that one thing, I think that eventually expands out into more and more things. Then one day you wake up and think, “Wow look how far I have come, and I did it just by taking the next step, not by thinking about the whole thing at once.” Read more>>

LaDena Chisum | Evangelist, Kingdom Citizen, Certified Spiritual Life Coach, Empowerment Speaker, Blogger, and Radio Host

The most important lesson I’ve learned in running my business is to always do things with your purpose in mind. God has a unique plan for everyone and that plan is your purpose. The intent he had to place you in this world. There are alot of people that may have the same business as you, but God did not give you all the same vision blueprint. Everyone’s blueprint is different. In business if you are not able to identify your purpose you can get distracted looking at others and operating in their lane and not your own. In order to operate your business with purpose it’s important to identify your purpose, stay in your lane, and have tunnel vision to achieve the mission of your vision. Read more>>

Alejandro Rodriguez | Entrepreneur

I would say the most important lesson my business has taught me is to remain humble and to control your emotions when things don’t go as planned because that’s around the time that will either make you or break you in business because when things aren’t going as planned the easiest way to fix that issue is to simply throw in the towel and quit on everything. Read more>>

Leire Aguilera Kelly | Artist (Mainly Visual)

“There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to art school, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.” ― Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking. I could not have said it better! Amanda, you are a genius. I know this because my career has not followed one straight path, in fact, it has wandered trhough many rocky, uneven, zig-zaging paths. That used to make me really anxious, but as I look back am I so thankful, and I would actually encourage it. As an artist, I believe it is crucial to bathe yourself in as many experiences as you can. Learn a language, a new culture, research different areas of art, of life. Be hungry for adventures, and by “adventure” I don’t mean grab a car and friends and road trip around the world (actually, do that too). Read more>>

Anne Chen | Artist & Animator

Have fun with your work! I used to stress out a lot about trying to appeal to too many audiences at once, and I’d end up with half-hearted work that didn’t appeal to anyone. Even if the result looked passable, if I personally didn’t like it, then it would feel like I wasted all the time I spent on the project. Nowadays I try to worry less about measuring up to others’ standards, and more about having fun as I work. I can always make adjustments for my clients later, but the time I spend on each project cannot be reversed. When it comes to art, I think projects that I had fun on will always look better than a project I suffered for, regardless of any technical skill involved. Read more>>

Andrew Phan | Graphic Designer / Photographer

Pay it forward and support your peers. Opportunities are much more accessible when we create a web of connections and recognize potential growth in others. To be honest I really had no idea what I was doing starting out as a young designer. That dream of being a well known creative in the industry seemed so far away, but soon enough I realized that this community is much smaller than I thought! Fortunately I have met so many designers, educators, and collaborators that have taken a chance on me, and I hope to also give others an opportunity to succeed in their dream roles. Read more>>

Christopher Carver | Artistic Director of MASQ Entertainment

The most valuable skill I have acquired since starting my company, is the ability to pivot and refocus as soon as something starts going down the wrong path. For most of my tenure as Artistic Director of MASQ, I have operated as a one man “jack of all trades”… acting as producer, director, stage manager, writer, costumer……. you name it, I’ve done it. This obviously becomes very stressful as wearing all the hats can begin to really take its toll on your health and mental well being. However, the plus side to this business model is you have the luxury of truly following your instincts. From my personal experience this has always served me very well. There have been several instances when a show was clearly not working or a project felt like it was going off the rails. Having the ability to see the warnings signs and cancel the show before financial losses is a godsend. Not having to wait for board approval, not having to run all decisions past a committee is scary, because you bear all the responsibility; but, you don’t lose that valuable time in which you are able to make those split second decisions. Read more>>

Eva García Luna | Singer/Songwriter/Actress

Be patient and persistence, everything has its own timing. Read more>>

Jianyu Li | Cinematographer & Photographer

You can always improve by doing any work, even the so called “low-end” ones. I think it’s very common in art business that a lots of artists are indeed talented but wouldn’t accept pratical jobs that may not be aligned with their taste. However from the days when i work on first-year filmmakers’ set I learned that no matter how amateur they may seem, you can always learn and improve from that experience. You could meet someone who is just a PA but could share with you deep knowledge about cinematography. You never know. Read more>>

Nikki Nie | Holistic Wellness Guide

Starting my own business has taught me so much! Right now what is coming through is that when you figure out your dharma, what you were put on this earth to do, work no longer feels like a chore. It becomes something that is infused into every part of your life. This is also tricky because when the line between work and play gets real blurry. Even in my downtime, I’ll reach towards work because when I get inspired I want to share it! Being in service is my purpose and fills me up in so many ways. Although we can’t just work all the time, that’s not sustainable, even when we love it. So I surf, meditate, play my ukulele and harmonium and get out in nature to truly give myself space to just be. You should absolutely love what you do, but more importantly, make sure you love who you are beyond what you do for a living. Love your being. Read more>>

Neyva | Artist/Producer/Musician

That comparison truly is the thief of joy. Every time I’ve compared myself to an artist or xyz person with a perceived accomplishment never ended well. That self deprecating thought only hindered me at the end of the day. Read more>>

Elizabeth Freise | Experiential Creator & Producer

That no matter what, nothing goes exactly as planned. So, instead of being surprised when something shifts, be ready for it, flexible, and positive. Any event is a combination of perfect planning, styled details, and quick-flex ideas in reaction to unexpected elements. Read more>>

JEREMIAH BAKER | Creative Entrepreneur

Know your why, and be yourself.
You can’t be all things for everyone, but you can be something great for someone. If you try to move with the tides of the world you can easily lose sight of your true North. In business, especially as a creative and and entrepreneur, not knowing your point of view is expensive. After all, waves fade and tides recede. Artist’s just love to create and are usually full of ideas. I’m no exception, for me it’s like a leaky faucet I can’t shut off. We, can easily get sucked into trying to develop every Idea we imagine. This however, is not great for business success as it can equate to a lot of money spent developing things nobody sees value in. More over, it doesn’t give your brand a reason to exist. The audience you want to connect with needs to understand your focus and your intention. This is what draws them and grows your reach, eventually you reach a common wavelength with your tribe and they become your customer’s. Read more>>

Yorgi Spanos | Brand Director at Manssion

I have learned two important things during my journey with Manssion. The first being the importance of a strong team and foundation. I wouldn’t be anywhere without my two partners Feras and Torii. They are both incredibly inspiring and their worth ethic is contagious. Torii, is one of the most solutions-led people I have ever met. He will stop at nothing to get something done. Feras, Is hands down one of the smartest people I have ever met. His ability to evaluate and trust the slow process takes a special kind of person. I think people get impatient, but his maturity of patience is why he is who he is. You combine that with my creativity and vision that is a well-rounded team. The second important lesson this journey/career has taught me was to just go for it. You won’t know if you don’t try. Read more>>

Tyra Chantel Sparks | Artist & Designer

Failure isn’t failure; it’s an identifier. Before actually putting in the work to have my own business, I thought failure was the end all, be all- and embarrassing. Now, I’m realizing all failure is doing is pointing out the ‘flaw’ in our idea and letting us know where we need to improve. I fail so much that I often don’t even catch it, because I’m issuing these little identifiers as clues to get to my goal. Read more>>

Hillary Danner | Founder, Jenkins Jellies

A powerful realization for me was recognizing that business growth and personal growth go hand-in-hand. This is especially true for solopreneurs, as we navigate our own unchartered waters of building a business and trying to wear all the proverbial hats. For many years– the twists and turns of my personal life mirrored the uneven course I was experienceing in my business.
One morning I woke up– recognized that the personal narrative I was living wasn’t my truth — and that just being tenacious, in my business, wasn’t going to cut it. So, I embarked on a mindset shift and took a leap of faith, coming to the realization that I needed to invest both in myself and my business– simultaneously– and leave fear and doubt at the back door. Read more>>

Noah Haytin | Multi-Media Artist & Art Educator

The most important lesson my career has taught me is to work with dedication and passion regardless of what others think/do/say, etc. Your work is YOUR work and it should what YOU want it to be. Period. If you are not passionate, dedicated, and inspired by your work it will show and eat away at your soul over time; that’s when you need to find something different that drives you…and do that. Read more>>

Kim Gros | Founder, SteelCraft

Go into business only with those people you trust and admire! In my opinion, who you choose as your partner(s) is the most important decision you’ll make in that career. Read more>>

Kayoh LA | Music Artist

The most important thing this music career has shown me is to always be humble and keep pursuing what you love doing, because anything is possible as long as you put your heart into it and really want it. Read more>>

Matthew Bell | Fabric Artist

Be authentic. Be yourself. Trends, publicity, and styles will all come and go – life is cyclical. But, if one stays true to their unique frequency they remain at the center of the wheel and enjoy life’s wild ride. So no matter what happens, be yourself. Read more>>

Jordan Browne | Browne Films

A lesson my business/career has taught me is that you must be patient when it comes to your craft. I know they say being consistent can go a long way, which is true. But that also doesn’t mean put content out there just to have it out there. Quality over Quantity is a real thing, take your time with your work and that’s when you will produce the work you want people to see. Read more>>

Daddy Dios | Artist & Entrepreneur

This line of work exposes you and the world to who you really are. If you are not walking in your steps you are not where you’re suppose to be. It taught me if you can endure the pain you will be rewarded. Read more>>

Marcus Dawson | Photographer/ Actor

People are not paying for Marcus as a photographer, they are paying for Marcus the person to take there picture. So be you and show your personality and watch the outcome of any product change before your eyes. In photography your ability to make the people are you comfortable is a superpower. Read more>>

Sophia Lorena | Host Of The Shit Show Of My Twenties

The most important lesson my career has taught me is to never attach my identity to a title. The titles, positions, salaries might change but that doesn’t make you any less or any more. We are also allowed to evolve our job today might not be the same as your job tomorrow. We are allowed to change our mind and explore different experiences. Read more>>