Through our work we have been constantly amazed at the incredible things people in every neighborhood are working on. What’s even more exciting is that they all have different stories, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses. That there isn’t a single formula for success means that everyone can take their unique set of strengths and characteristics and turn it into a success story. We recently reached out to some folks we admire and asked them what characteristics they feel are responsible for their success.

Rawan Ita-Diaz | Artist and Creative Director

The most important factor behind my success is connection. Connecting with others is key for my artistry to grow. I create artwork that is expressive of my emotions and life experiences. Painting is part of my healing process. It lets the world see a glimpse of my life. I could shut the world out and continue to paint for myself and my own journey, but what good does that do for the world? When I paint, I represent myself and others like me. I paint our pain, trauma, grief, hope, and love that we each feel. Read more>>

Kiana Cole | Mindfulness & Self-Care Educator helping people get closer to their best, most purposeful lives.

The most important factor behind my success and the success. of my brand is that my work is very authentic and relatable. Many of the self-care and mindfulness topics I teach about are things I have experienced or have had close contact with throughout the years. With every life experience, I have been able to find the lesson in the chaos and the love in the turmoil. I believe that ultimately people want to know that they aren’t alone and the practical, everyday ways they can tap into wellness and self-care. Read more>>

Isaias Hernandez | Environmental Educator & Creator of QueerBrownVegan

It’s about interweaving Indigenous wisdom, cultural-based experiences, and lived experiences that empower individuals to step into their environmental values and recognize that they, too, carry harmonious relationships with the Earth. When you can humanize people through storytelling, their own experiences are just as important as science and data. This gives them the power to step into their role as an environmentalist. I personally think that I have made QueerBrownVegan a space for collective vulnerability and accountability. To be vulnerable is an act of self-love and acknowledging of environmental injustices. Read more>>

Kryssie Tinsay | Chef

I think the most important factor behind the success of my business and brand is my authenticity, my love and passion for what I do. I think that when you are passionate about what you are doing and you are putting all your love, time and effort to whatever it is you are making, it reflects on your product and people see it. Read more>>

60 Kel | Bilingual hip hop artist

The most important factor of my brand would be the power of empowerment. Since I was a kid I was great at motivating others and pushing their limits . So when I became an artist I wanted to be clear on what my actual gift is always has been. Read more>>

Adele Chen | Portrait Artist & Live Event Painter

On the surface level, Reincarnation Paintings is a painting business, but when most of my clients come to me for a commission, what they’re really asking for is to turn a story, a feeling, an abstractness into something tangible. The pieces that come off my easel with the most ‘success’ are the ones that came to me just as a story, not as a sketch. I’ve had clients who approach me with only a story of their loss, a happy recollection of a conversation, or an appreciation for someone special; I listen to these stories and help weave their favorite elements and thoughts into a portrait, adding little ‘easter eggs’ that spark memories. Read more>>

Chris Chapman | Photographer

Be so good they can’t ignore you. This was Steve Martin’s advice for how to make it in show business, but this mindset applies to all careers and endeavors. However, people ignore this advice because it’s not what they want to hear. People want to hear “if you do steps A, B, and C your business will grow,” and while steps A, B, and C may be important to keeping a business running, they will do nothing if the product isn’t good. Read more>>

Breanne Yarbrough | Coffee Shop & Coffee Brand Owner

The most important factor in being successful or having a successful brand is belief. Belief in yourself, and belief in your product, almost to the point of delusion. You need to drink your own KoolAid. If you don’t see the value in what you are offering no one else is going to either. The confidence and passion you bring to your customers, potential investors, or potential business partners is contagious, and will guarantee your perseverance when things get tough, because success won’t happen overnight. Read more>>

Emily Cho | Production Manager for Fashion Brands

Focusing on your customers’ perspective. Whenever I greet a newcomer, I always look forward to working with them continuously and have them become my regular. I believe the key to making it possible is trying to see things on their side. Understanding possible frustrations they might have, you will be able to provide information that could benefit them and explain things as easy as possible if they are new to the industry. Also, I believe that being honest with them throughout the whole process is another significant factor. These lead to customers’ satisfaction and let me build trust and confidence for them to work with me again. Read more>>

Feyishara Oreagba | Birth and Postpartum Doula

The most important factor behind my success is passion. I am extremely passionate about supporting marginalized women prenatal, during labor and delivery and postpartum. Passion allows me to dive deeper, think more, seek out education, be a resource to others and much more. Passion by definition is a feeling of intense enthusiasm towards or compelling desire for someone or something. The emotions I feel are very intense because the population of interest is one I am apart of. It is the population of my sisters, mother, friends, cousins and others I care about greatly. Read more>>

Aram Choe | Police Sergeant, Educator and Social Media Personality

I believe empathy is a hallmark characteristic for leadership. I think when people make a decision to follow someone on social media, their end goal is to follow someone who will provide perspective or information to help them grow personally and grow informationally. When I set out to put myself out there on social media, I knew I would encounter obstacles. Being openly Christian and open about my family isn’t necessarily a popular thing to do as a police officer. Being a police officer in of itself isn’t necessarily a popular thing to be open about. Read more>>

Seran Glanfield | CEO & Founder Spring Three Studio Consulting

Branding is my favorite topic – so many things contribute to the success of a brand. Having worked with so many boutique fitness studios to help them build their brand and brand presence, I’ve seen first hand how strong and successful brands are built. And as I reflect on my own brand, there is one factor that really stands out and that is the deep belief in the possibility of the positive impact one human can have on the happiness and wellbeing of another human. Read more>>

James Phan | Co-Owner of Ridges Churro Bar

At Ridges Churro Bar, success comes in many ways. We dedicate ourselves into making a great product which customers will continue to enjoy. We do not make any flavors which we would be a “gimmick” or something that is a one time try type of flavor. We’ve always focused on our quality of flavors and the aesthetics of our product. Its all about the churro sundae experience which involves a nice hot churro dipped in a cold ice cream. To do this the success comes from having a great team. Our team is the true success in delivering the product that Nancy and myself have built. Having a team who cares about the product as much as you do will help continue the integrity of the product itself. Read more>>

Alyson Fox | Event Designer & Producer

I believe dedication, experience, and passion have been pivotal to my success thus far. I started my company over 25 years ago and absolutely love what I do. I am able to create memorable celebrations for my clients at the most exciting times of their lives. Throughout the years I’ve learned so much from the planning and execution of each event. Every celebration brings new insight, and I am able to apply it going forward, which helps to make me more successful overall. Read more>>

Jacob Muehlhausen | Creative Design and Fabricator

My work has grown over the past few years by slowly building trusting working relationships with likeminded people who can rely on me to deliver in time for the “show.” I am not modeling my path after anyone else before, but foraging forward with what I feel in my gut to be the correct way for my time on this planet. Life is a buffet and I can have sprinkles on my spaghetti if I want, never limit yourself with traditional boundaries. Read more>>

Anna and Nick Cicone and Zerman | Owners of The Aerial House

The most important factor for the success of our school would have to be the sense of community that we have developed alongside our students since opening in October of 2016. Students choose to attend our school for the first time to learn aerial and be introduced to a new passion. They choose to return time and time again for the friendships they develop along the way and the memories they have cultivated over time while attending classes, participating in student shows, and working on a very difficult yet rewarding new skill. Read more>>

Marie Thomasson | Impact Investor for Progressive Women & Allies

The most important factor behind my success and the success of my company is that it’s completely values-aligned. I’m not being someone I’m not, or selling services that are in contradiction with who I am as a person, and that’s hard to do in financial services! Read more>>

Chris Tucker | CEO Betta With Butta

The most important factor behind our success (aside from hard work) is listening to the consumer. We are fortunate enough to be in an industry where people request things, or make their needs very well known! Listening to those needs and being able to provide the tangible items requested has always been a win/win for us. Because we are an Allergy Conscious Bakery, we often times get request for things that people enjoyed from childhood or before they noticed a certain allergy they currently have to keep top of mind. Being able to take something nostalgic and make it gluten-free or vegan, allowing clients to enjoy their favorites from the past is something we find pure joy in, while again, producing the tangible, sellable items. Read more>>

Thomas Barsoe | Founder/ executive producer of OC Hit

As cliche as it may sound, I believe the main reason OC Hit has succeeded the way it has, is because it genuinely is such a passion of mine and never a ‘job’ or ‘business’. I never sat down with a strategy or business model and planned out OC Hit, it just sort of ‘happened’ and grew naturally out of me reaching out and giving back to local high schools and communities offering my time to talk to youths about the music industry and, in particular, song writing. That led to me starting little songwriting camps out of my house and that quickly grew to a point where I realized that this was my true calling and purpose in life and decided to devote myself 110% to the discovery and development of young, talented artists…and the rest, as they say, is history. Read more>>

Brian Levin | Film Editor

One of the things that I’m most proud of is that I’ve been able to be successful without doing any marketing. All of my success is word of mouth and repeat clients. I believe that being a valuable asset to your clients is an important part of retaining clients. Finding a good vendor is hard when you are client side, so if you do find a good vendor, you stick with them. Read more>>

Zoe Gavina | Singer, Songwriter & Artist

I have always saw the concept of ‘success’ as subjective and could never have the same definition for every person. Most recently I have discovered many new aspects to my definition of success, but the one that stands out the most is ‘authenticity’. Once I acknowledged I wasn’t being completely true to my needs and intuition and started working towards shifting that perspective, I noticed immediate and massive growth and elevation. Read more>>

Kacie Lehner | Film & Television Producer

Staying true to my core ideals. It sounds trite, I know. My producing partner and I have a production company called The Good Soil Collective. Our foundation is based off of the idea that we know a lot of good seeds, whether they are people or stories, and with nurturing those seeds we can help grow something special. We aim at making the world a better place than when we found it, aiming at saying something important and improving lives through art. So when a project comes across our desk, we ask ourselves: Is this a good seed? Is this something that is inherently us? Read more>>

James Balazs | NeuroMuscular Therapist, Functional Nutritionist, Strength Coach, Mindset/Lifestyle Coach

Helping people reach their potential has always been the reason why I started my company. The Integrative Training Institute is a multidisciplinary practice, comprised of: Functional Nutrition, Neuromuscular Therapy (M.A.T.), Strength Coaching and Mindset/Lifestyle Coaching. By approaching clients holistically and not just with a single area of focus, I can treat the “whole” person, which in turn allows me to get to the root cause of many issues that plague people on a daily basis. People are integrated systems, and a treatment methodology that embraces the relationships and interdependency of these systems generates results—whether that is weight loss, treating inflammatory and gut related disorders, chronic mobility ailments, or preparing for the athletic demands of a professional athlete. Read more>>

Alexa Harris | Artist and Cannabis Advocate

Hey Blaxicana is about my identity. My identity is the brand. It’s simply me telling a story about my journey and remaining true to that. Authenticity is my number one goal. Whenever I have tried anything that is not true to who I am, I was always unhappy with the results. Fear stopped me in the beginning. I kept starting and stopping because I kept trying to be something I was not. Finally when I authentically expressed myself, my community began to grow. For anyone that is starting a brand or wanting to do more self-expression on social media, get comfortable with yourself. All of a sudden, you will notice things easily falling into place. I am reminded of a quote from The Mastery of Love by Miguel Ruiz: “Trying to be what you are not expends all your energy. Being what you are doesn’t require any effort.” Read more>>

George Sayah | Filmmaker

Enjoying the work I do. Whether I am making a movie, or an informational corporate video, I enjoy the process of creating videos and hope it helps the people around me enjoy the process as well. Read more>>

Amanda Tran | Singer, Songwriter & Creative Producer

Success is a weird word to me. As a creative, I am always trying to one-up myself and I’m always my biggest critic; I’m sure many fellow creatives can relate. The endless cycle of creating and releasing can be exhausting and scary when you’re constantly trying to be better than the last time. At the end of the day, I remind myself that art will always be subjective and as long as it feels authentic to me, that’s all that matters. Read more>>

Amanda Knehans | Production Designer & Stage Designer

As a designer my success is often judged by what is seen on a stage or in the final cut of a film and is credited to my individual efforts, but success is a process that can’t be defined by a single event or accomplishment. Rather, it is many smaller moments crafted by a community of people that come together to create a positive outcome. The most important factor behind my success is the team of people that support me in executing a design and all of the other collaborators who are involved in the practice of storytelling. When I succeed it is because the people around me are also succeeding, and it the care that we give to and take from our community that lifts us all up. Read more>>

Jules Weissman | Editor | VORTEX magazine

It is Ojai. Because it is a small community, we all know each other. Our friend circles are multi-generational and transcend class. We are conscious of our neighbors’ joys, challenges, passions, and aspirations. VORTEX taps into that; it celebrates existing creative projects and nudges budding ideas forward. I created VORTEX — selfishly — to allow myself the chance to collaborate with and learn from some of the most talented and generous people I have ever known. Read more>>

Marshe Huang | Personal Chef & Entrepreneur

The most important factor behind my success and success of my brand is that as I try to figure things out, I just keep going! Growing up with anything I’ve ever wanted to do, tried to do and or did my dad would always tell me, “figure it out, you gotta figure it out”. In every aspect of every situation whether it’s school, motherhood, entrepreneurship, livelihood, adulting, family, friends & simply character and respect; I keep going. Read more>>

Saquoia Cox | MBA, MSA, Staff accountant & Entrepreneur

The most important factors behind my success are authenticity and vulnerability. I show my authentic self to my audience, and they can connect with my team on a personal level and with me. Read more>>

Brandon Demchak | Writer | Director | Veteran

The most essential factor in my success has been the act of helping others. 99% of the good things in my life had stemmed from saying yes to people when they asked for help. Early on, I worked on many films for fun and for free. I’m not suggesting you work for free; please, know your worth. But if you help people along the way, more people will answer your phone call when the time comes to be helped. When I finally garnered the courage to produce and direct my own projects, getting a crew together took less than a day. Read more>>

Quentin Fears | Fashion Stylist

The most important factor behind my success is consistency. Consistency is about believing in yourself and never giving up. Also, trying to find new opportunities to grow and learn. I’ve always been that person to put myself out there and to create work. Even when work wasn’t coming to me initially, I’ve found ways to produce my own. Read more>>

ricky jaime | Dancer, RIPPEDW/RICK Spin Coach, CAMP LA Sculpt Trainer

GRATITUDE! Gratitude in everything you do and in everything you are given. W/ that you will be able to not judge yourself/ compare yourself to other businesses, people, or things! And you will continue to show up W/ 100% pure effort in whatever you are working at. Having gratitude everyday for me is also a practice so its not something that magically popped up in the morning. The failures, the trials, all of those times I thought I wasn’t going to make it helped me see and feel gratitude differently. Read more>>

Paige Wesley | Writer, Podcaster, Comedian

We get asked about how we got our show and our brand to the place it is today. The truth is, we got lucky with a lot of the early business decisions we made. Launching with a block of episodes to binge, having a specific vibe and structure to the show, and committing to learning the industry all worked in our favor. We didn’t know what we were doing, we definitely made mistakes, but ultimately it panned out. Read more>>

Rich Ting | Actor

Throughout my early life, I was always searching for something that would “wake me up in the morning and get me out of bed.” In college, I heard all of my classmates discuss their future plans and career goals but I still had not pinpointed exactly what I wanted to do. I always knew regardless of what I chose as a future career that I would need to absolutely love it, be it, and live it everyday of my life. From being a history major at Yale while completing all of my pre-med requirements to earning a joint J.D./M.B.A. dual degree in graduate school, I still did not know what I wanted to do with my life. Read more>>

Alaina Stanley | Mental Health Therapist/Advocate

The most important factor behind my success / the success of my brand is my authenticity. My ability to use past experiences and feelings to relate with my clients keeps my business growing and thriving. In mental health you can’t mask your true self so I represent that with my clients from day 1. Read more>>

Donny Dizzy Flores | Executive Producer | Artists Manager | A&R

I think that the most important factor behind my success is that I was consistent since the moment I entered the music industry. I had a vision and I wanted to make it happen no matter what. I believe that you have to see exactly what you want in front of you before you can start planning on what your future will be, and that’s exactly what happened. When I first started learning of the music industry in my early 20s, I put everything on the table for me to learn not just the business aspect but the artists relations, media relations, what an A&R does and how I can be successful so the people that I work with are also successful. I totally believe in the fact if one makes it, all of us makes it and that’s my motto with my artists and with my career. Read more>>

Megan Lyman | Modern Day Alchemist

don’t sweat the small stuff! as an entrepreneur, you also have the pressure of making ALL the decisions. It can be extremely overwhelming if you allow the pressure of decision making rule your life, but something I have consistently worked towards is simplifying everything; making decision making quick and easy without focusing on perfection but more or less progress. this outlook has without a doubt been the main contributing factor to my success. Read more>>