We asked rising stars from the community one of our favorite questions: other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?

Harp: Photographer & Filmmaker

I believe the most significant decision I made that contributed to my career and success was deciding to become completely vulnerable and visible to the world around me. For a long time I hid my art and things I loved to do. I felt that my ideas and creations would be too bizarre, unusual or eccentric. I didn’t know exactly how people would react or accept the things I desired to show the world that I believed were mystifying. After hiding in the shadows for so long one day I was listening to ‘Instant Destiny’ by Tame Impala and there was a few lines that really struck a nerve. Read more>>

Talayeh Banan: Owner/Wedding Designer & Planner

After many years devoted to working the corporate life for others, deciding to work for myself was definitely a huge leap of faith towards a successful new career path. However, the single most important decision that I made that contributed to my current success was to practice perseverance. Coming from my past industry in which I knew everyone because I was seasoned in experience to coming to the wedding industry as a newbie was definitely a challenge. It wasn’t always easy. As a matter of fact, being a creative introvert, it was sometimes nerve-racking! Letting go of fear and self doubt is undeniably a challenging aspect of life that we all encounter, whether we want to admit it or not. The restrictions we face in life are often self-imposed and sometimes even unnoticeable. However, with every given opportunity, I persevered. Not allowing myself to think about ‘what if’, but moving forward just accepting each new adventure. Read more>>

Kayte Demont: Artist + Community Builder

Believing in myself. Easier said than done, and trust me I have my fair share of panic attacks and break-downs, but I’ve never lost sight of my end goal and how I will feel when I reach it. On the days when everything feels out of control, choosing to believe in what I’m doing and trusting my gut are paramount. Read more>>

DeAnna Carpenter: Sound Conduit, Spiritual Doula, She Who Builds

The single most important decision I made that has and continues to contribute to my success, my overall well-being, and how I show up in the world, was choosing to see myself higher and believing that I will accomplish what I’m here to do. For a huge part of my life (mainly end of my 20s and the first half of my 30s), I approached things hesitantly. I knew I could do it, but there was always this question mark on whether I truly could or would for that matter. In early 2019, right before taking one of the most transformative trips in my life thus far to Kemet/Egypt, I kept hearing while meditating “see yourself higher.” I decided to take that on and began to remove myself from what was going on so that I could see everything happening in my life from a higher perspective, consistently. That vantage point changed things so distinctly for me. Read more>>

Bobby Flowells: Creative Artist

The single most important decision i made that contributed to my success would be moving to New York. It was about 2 years ago that i moved to the East coast , during that time my art just started taking off in California with my collective the Tiny Art Gallery. and it felt like i had to start all over again, i was scared and clueless but I’m glad i made that decision!. Read more>>

Stacey Olivas: Social Media Influencer and Host

When starting my social media pages, I made it my goal to always entertain my followers and enjoy what I was doing. I started the @90DayFianceNow Instagram page not knowing that it would significantly grow into having over 400,000 followers, I believe by not focusing on the following and making my page fun for fans is what contributed to its success. In life if you’re only chasing success then you will never have peace and your business is less likely to grow. It is extremely important to be authentic and appreciate your followers and those that supported you along the way. My vision for this page was to entertain the 90 Day Fiancé community if it’s with a funny video, photo, or meme. Also, I wanted to use my platform to promote diversity in the media and bring light to social issues occurring around the world. Read more>>

jackson lynch: Breath, Meditation & Yoga Teacher

Working for myself is actually the fruit of something I’ve cultivated and practice daily which is being as present for every moment as I possibly can. In a culture that thrives on projection and reflection [making plans, being something and ruminating on the past], that one, seemingly simple thing, is such a challenge for all of us. That one decision, to live from breath-to-breath, has made my life so much more meaningful because it allows me to be connected to my body, my mind and my environment in real-time without an ego filter. Read more>>

Natalie Kroh: Recording Artist

I’m a contemporary R&B/pop artist based in LA, and an almost graduate of Berklee College of Music! It’s hard to think about what sets me apart from others trying to do the same thing as me, because at the end of the day… I just like making music. I like writing it, I like singing it, I like performing it. And I just hope that others like what I do too. If I really had to think about it, I think what makes me stand out is that I’ve always been someone who’s fairly reserved and quiet — the type of person that you wouldn’t assume has really intense emotions and thoughts and opinions. But if you take a listen to my music, you’d see that I have a LOT to say. I’m hyper-sensitive and emotional, and I write about the things that I feel and notice in the world around me, and hope that others can relate. My music is very R&B-based, but it includes elements of pop, and my lyricism is very singer-songwriter-y. I’ve been singing all my life, and it was just always what I loved and wanted to do. Read more>>

Sophie Emma Wells: Filmmaker, Musician, & Engineer

The single most important decision I made was to collaborate with others. For my whole life, I lived by the phrase “when you don’t have work, make work for yourself”, told to me by Alisha in the Lucky Diaz band. I interpreted that as doing all the work by myself. However, as I created more and more projects, I realized that there are people that specialize in things that I needed help with. So my freshman at UCLA, I decided to collaborate with others more. I worked with John Meinert to produce a new Spotify single Tell Me You Love Me. I worked with my Film and Photography Society club at UCLA to produce a podcast where we talk about all things film-related — I’m doing episodes on Claymation with Ella Player, Directors with Rohan Bansal, and Pixar with Julia Alanis! My best advice for those aspiring to do more work, don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Collaboration is the best thing you can do to improve yourself and create work you’re proud of. Read more>>

Tameka Nichole: Your Beauty Entertainer (Esthetician/Professional Eyebrow Artist and Radio Accounts Executive)

Recognizing that I needed to make moves in life that could lead to more income within my ideas of working for myself, is deciding that I needed to at least attempt at expanding my horizons within education. Growing up, understanding that the number one statement, I heard repetitively was, “Go to School, Get a Education, and make something out of yourself!” Coming from a a High School where the student body was less than 450 total, where the school ranked in the the bottom 50 percentile of the state, I knew that beyond what Northampton County Schools of Conway, NC could teach me, there was more in education to be recognized and in order to attain more, moves beyond my location were necessary, in achieving any of my aspirations and goals . I needed to put myself in a area where I could leverage off the things that I had to do, if nothing else, which was having a good education. Read more>>

Katina Kontarakis: Functional Nutritional Therapist Practitioner

To help others find the way to a holistic lifestyle through nutrition and guidance. And to break away from disordered eating or an eating disorder. To help others the way I helped myself!. Read more>>

Otis Bartlett: Executive Personal Trainer

The single most important decision of my life honestly came when I decided to actively live a life of following through with my commitments. I, like many others, find it so easy to make a decision to do something. It’s almost ‘matter of fact’ however when you actively commit to whatever goal or desire that may be…this is where the challenge begins. You don’t realize that you make be seeking level of uncomfortably that you never fathomed of. I came to realize that a life of mediocrity wasn’t that in which I desired for myself. I couldn’t visualize myself working 20 plus years doing, and living the same mundane life daily. So I fought to commit to my dreams…I placed myself in proactive situations and circumstances that forced me to grow and advance in whatever aspects those situations are within. Read more>>

Anne Marquart: owner, Sugar + Spoon a handmade caramel co.

Staying true to my product and my great-grandmother’s recipe . . . I could have grown much faster by taking shortcuts, not using quality ingredients or adding preservatives to ensure a longer shelf life, but that is not what my business is about. What it is about though, is honoring a long standing family recipe, my great-grandmother Edith and delivering a high quality, deliciously soft and buttery, small batch caramel Every.Single.Time. Read more>>

Lonnie Mintz: Realtor

First, I want to mention that I absolutely love being a Realtor! After graduating from college I was presented with the opportunity to become a Realtor. I feel very fortunate to have been a leader and top producer in the industry since I earned my license in 1998. I graduated CSUN with a degree in communications and my ability to listen to my clients allows me to consistently exceed their expectations and provide superior service. The single most important factor/decision that has contributed to my success was making the firm commitment to always support and put my clients needs, wants, desires and goals first by communicating directly with them. I work directly with my clients and never pass them to an assistant….they communicate with me directly. Most industry outsiders are unaware of the time commitment involved in Real Estate. As a small business owner, and Realtor with Rodeo Realty Fine Estates, I am always on call…7 days a week. In many cases my clients. Read more>>

Emily / Jess Ward / Hunichen: Co-Founders of Shine Talent Group

Our partnership – and an equal split at that. We both worked as independent freelancers at one point in our careers and both knew we could generate business on our own, but when we met and started working together, we quickly realized that working as partners opened up possibilities that we couldn’t nor didn’t want to reach on our own. This industry is a tough one and growing a business from the start is a steep climb. Having a partner has allowed us to navigate the ups and downs without getting stuck. You need someone to find the light in the hardest moments; and simply it’s better to celebrate the wins with someone you have achieve them with together. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Read more>>

Susie Jun: Licensed Esthetician, Skincare Curator, and The Owner and Founder of Seoulful Glam

I wanted to make my passion my career and I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I never felt passion or an authentic drive at any of my jobs. I simply was there to just clock-in/clock-out and get my pay check. But now, I hold so much joy in my work and my business. I have built amazing relationships with my clients and seeing their lives change for the better is a really an amazing feeling. Read more>>

Sahara Brownlyons: Hair Stylist/Salon Owner

The single most important decision that I have made that contribute to my success will definitely have to be staying consistent consistent work means everything in this industry the key to have a long clientele base depends on your consistency there are times that I want to give up and didn’t actually think I would make it, but I stuck through regardless of what anyone said i made it work that and along with customer service customer service in this business is key as a hairstylist you have to have great I mean great excellent customer service it comes first you can be the best hair salons in the world but if your customer service sucks you will never be successful,I live by that and stand by that, I honestly believe that is one of the keys to my success, besides “slaying hair that is” 😉. Read more>>

Jeremy Naylor: Seventh Sea Founder

Other than deciding to work for myself, the single most important decision that I’ve made and continue to make each day is Trusting The Process. Every day brings challenges that can either be seen as road blocks or pathways. Making the conscious choice to always view what’s in front of me as The Way makes it possible to stay in flow and not feel the need to force things. This has made all the difference in building my businesses and my all other aspects of my life. Read more>>