Hardwork? Luck? Good habits? What would you say is behind your success? We’ve shared some thoughtful responses below.

Madison Stein | Co-Founder & President

The most important factor behind my success truly has been the youth. When I co-founded LemonAID Warriors, my goal was to create a platform that gave kids the resources to become activists in their communities. The students at my school automatically got on board, and that instant passion and drive for change is what made LemonAID Warriors so successful. From completing over 10,000 hours of community service to raising over $150,000 for various causes, my peers proved again and again that the youth are powerful. While we may not be old enough to vote, these acts of compassion and service show that our voices are still heard. Read more>>

Christina Sandsengen | Classical Guitar Artist

I think the most important factors behind my success is hard work, discipline and persistence. I was thought from an early age to never give up no matter how difficult things might be, and to always do my best. And maybe the most important thing I was thought was to dream big. Read more>>

Steven Kean | Printmaker & Surf Artist

It sounds a bit cliche, but I have always made it a point to be true to myself in terms of what I aim to create. We all have our own unique creative voice and I feel that as an artist, it’s imperative to explore and hone in on that in order to reveal your authentic self. You have to own it and take pride in the product but also be fully present in the steps leading up to it. Confident, yet humble in all your actions. For me, it takes daily reflection, long hours in the studio and full on commitment to achieve the things I want as an artist. I also have the support of my wife who has a background in photography and plays a major role behind the scenes here at Kean Arts. She is creative in her own right and provides valuable constructive criticism to keep me on my toes and help me to stay sharp. Teamwork makes the dream work. Read more>>

Carlos Soto | CEO & Founder

One of the things that always gets to me is when other business founders call themselves “self-made.” That term is really hard for me to grasp. It makes for a good story, but at some point in our journey we all had someone who believed in us that extended a helping hand. Whether that was a co-worker, your first client who believed in you, a buyer, a lender, whatever it is, there is always someone that plays a role there. This has been a huge premise of what Nosotros has been. It takes a village, and hey, and the end of the day the brand name literally means “Us.” The collective will always be stronger than the individual, and at the core of our business this has been our main MO. I remember a few years back I read “culture trumps strategy, every time,” and that really stuck with me. The team at Nosotros has been built through friendships and like-minded individuals coming to work their butts off but that also have a good understanding of life and it’s many faces. Read more>>

Yvette Samick | Dog Photographer

I am a devoted Dog Mom and I understand the loving relationship between a pup and their Mom. Dogs give us such incredible love and to capture those special moments between a Dog Mom and their pup is best job ever. Once I show the images from their sessions and I can see the smiles I know this is what I meant to be, a dog photographer. Whether their story is just beginning, in the middle or at the end giving Dog Mom’s memories thru imagery and custom artwork is what I am all about. I would say my success of my brand comes from listening and understanding the vision of each client and ensuring I have included all the details that will make their session memorable and fun experience. Read more>>

Jessica Steinman | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

My therapy private practice as well as my work as the Director of Clinical Programming for Westwind Recovery is all about connection, trust, empathy and being authentic and genuinely loving being for all of my clients. My desk has a sign on it that says “Mama Bear” and I am proud to have many people call me that and think of me as a mother figure; someone who is loving and always there for them. That way of approaching my clients, the people that come to me and connect with me, feel valued and heard like a Mother would hear and be there for their loved one. That causes people to return, that causes people to refer me to others they love and it causes people to keep me in their lives as long they can. To me, that is the ultimate success. Read more>>

India Coombs | Musician

Definitely my friends and colleagues in the community. It’s easy to mistakenly take all the credit for achievements, but I know that I’d be adjacent to nowhere without support from my friends and family pushing me to better myself and helping me promote material throughout and beyond our community. I love them. Read more>>

Carol (Jae Eun) Choi | Makeup & Hair Artist

Reliability and integrity. Having those two character traits ingrained in me throughout my career as a makeup and hair artist has been vital to the growing success of my brand. I truly believe in the saying “you are as good as your last job” and do my absolute best to come to every job well equipped and prepared to make sure the client’s wants and needs are fulfilled to my best ability. I believe this can only be achieved by holding onto a good moral compass and practicing strong principles and values. That is not to say that I never make mistakes. I have made plenty and still do but each time I reflect on it and figure out what I can adjust to do better next time. Understanding the importance of being reliable and having integrity in my work has been the best gift I have received from my parents and my incredible mentors. Read more>>

Art Lewin | Managing Designer & Clothier

“We are not a simple company. Our customers have the highest expectations in the world. For more than 30 years I have suited up some of the most successful and powerful entrepreneurs and business people in the world. Our exclusive custom-made and ready-to-wear designs are seen on clients from the international corporate world to Hollywood Red Carpet events. The globally recognized tailored style and detailed suits & shirts of Art Lewin Bespoke fashions remain classic, timeless and elegant. Some of his loyal clients include royal family members, Hugh Hefner, Sylvester Stallone, Frank Stallone, Robert Wagner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Eric Roberts, Terry Crews, Ernie Hudson, Steve Allen, Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson, Lou Ferrigno, Bill Maher, William Landau, Antonio Sabato Jr, Jon Voight, Elliott Gould, Sofia Milos, Oscar De La Hoya, including one of the most watch commercials suiting up William Shatner in Priceline. “The most exciting day in my life as a designer happened when I met Hugh Hefner. Read more>>

Mckenna Anderson | Physical Therapist & Myofascial Release Specialist

I would say the most successful factor is that my work is heart centered and speaks for itself. The work that I do is a gift and part of my inner purpose. I was called to the work. Starting my business came with such ease because it was aligned in my true purpose. Of course, I had to work hard to start the business but things just kept falling into place. For instance, I don’t have to do any marketing and I’m able to sustain through word of mouth referrals, The people that receive my healing come to me through other heart centered people and the energy grows from there, I am truly blessed to have a business that aligns with my spirit and soul. Read more>>

Ashleigh Bergman | Founder & Jewelry Genie

As hard as a practice it is to maintain, I think one of the factors behind my success is, focusing on MY brand identity and not comparing myself to others and their success and what/how they are doing it. I have always felt there is enough business out there for everyone. There may be others out there selling the same product, or offering the same service but how YOU are doing it makes you unique, and it is all about how your audience vibes, connects, and relates to you. Two identifiable characteristics of my business are the incorporation of my personal style paired with the level of concierge service I personally offer my clients. I stay true to my personal style and sell product that way, not just as an accessory, but as a lifestyle. Developing that trust to make a customer into a repeat client, takes time and nurturing through honesty and authenticity. Read more>>

Nick Bognar | Licensed Psychotherapist

When I was going through the process of collecting 3,000 hours for licensure, I attended a talk where the speaker encouraged us to think back and remember “what made you a great therapist before you were a therapist”. What a great question! When I reflected back on it, I realized that after a childhood of feeling awkward and sometimes being bullied, I knew what it was like to walk into a room and feel like I didn’t belong there. That icky feeling we all have at some point: what if people people think I’m awful? What if no one wants me here? As a kid, the first thing I developed was the skills to make sure I could at least appear comfortable in new situations. I learned how to tell stories that were engaging, to make eye contact, to offer to help clean up- you know, the basics. Read more>>

Hilary Hartling | Brand Strategist & Business Coachv

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is listening to my audience. From the inception of my brand, developing a brand strategy and implementing it to grow my business, the top priority has always been understanding Who It’s For. As a brand strategist, that’s what I teach my clients and students as well…knowing your ideal client, narrowing your niche and tapping into who they are on a regular basis helps you deliver products, services and experiences that fulfill their greatest ambitions and goals and overcome their biggest obstacles and challenges. You cannot simply know who your target audience is – you have to get to know them, ask them questions regularly, stay in touch with them and LISTEN. When you listen you learn and when you learn you can grow. Implementing what your audience needs most into your brand and business strategy is definitely the single most important element to success. Read more>>

Niyaz Pirani | Targeted Restaurant Social Media Marketing & PR

The most important factor behind the success of Knife & Spork Public Relations, my restaurant social media and PR firm, is my desire to learn new skills and strategies continuously and tirelessly. I started my career in 2005 as a news assistant in the Home & Garden Department at the Orange County Register; later I would become a reporter and features writer there. I worked there for 5 years; 5 years doing political advocacy for working families; and now I’ve run my own business for over 5 years, which I never thought would be something that would happen, ever. Now, I’m a targeted social media marketing expert, online community builder, photographer, videographer, networker and much more. Read more>>

John Arakaki | Owner & Operator

St Felix is a destination venue for Award Winning Food & Cocktails that has evolved into Event Production ranging from Intimate Birthday Parties & Celebrations to Large Scale Event Buyouts from key partners such as Netflix, The Hollywood Fringe Festival, TV Shows & Film Wrap Parties as well as a great synergy with our neighbors Amoeba Music, The Pantages Theater, Hollywood Bowl, The LA Film School, Los Angeles LGBT Center and Palladium to name a few. For our concept the key paths to success – Consistency, Details, Execution, Pivoting, & Community Outreach St Felix consistently delivers an amazing dining & nightlife experience. We engineered a menu that equally features Cocktails and Dishes that have gone beyond trends and have become staples as we pass 12 Years of Doing Business in LA. Read more>>

Marco Pelusi | Celebrity Hairstylist, Salon Owner & Product Developer

Perseverance is the single most important factor behind my success. Knowledge and experience certainly play a big part – but the single biggest factor has been simply hanging in there. I used to think that it was fun and exciting to be ‘new’, to be a new business. But as these fifteen years of owning my own salon and producing my own products have shown me, it’s incredibly more valuable to work to develop a long term reputation. And perhaps even more important than this is the relationships I have created. Over time, people come to respect and rely on you and your expertise. I continue to look for and maintain quality and integrity in what I do – over and over – and with time – and perseverance – more continues to unfold in a positive way. Read more>>

Joe Basile | Content Marketing Strategist

Courage is the accumulation of small steps and by far, taking small steps is the most important factor behind the success of Go Humphrey. I’ve learned that not all steps require me to move forward. In my life and work, I’ve been consistently challenged with knowing when to take a step back, a side step, or a step forward. In my experience, steps often precede or are followed by a leap. Nonetheless, small steps require showing up every day and being consistent which is not the sexiest word, I know. It’s a practical way to work that requires the ability to break down a challenge and focus on one thing at a time. Finding the motivation for each step hasn’t always been easy, some steps I’ve taken have been months or years apart. Understanding and exploring where I find motivation has helped me take each step and often includes connecting with friends both new and old, travel, nature, and art. Read more>>

Erin Marton | Wedding Photographer

The most important factor behind my success is probably my drive to serve my clients well and make sure they have an incredible experience with me. As a wedding photographer, I am present for some of the most intimate moments of my clients’ wedding days. I don’t take that lightly. I’m not the kind of photographer that will just show up on a wedding day and snap some pictures. I work with my clients from start to finish to understand who they are and what they want. I reach out at multiple points to check in with them, offer helpful resources, send little surprises their way, and make sure I’m fully prepped to blow their expectations out of the water. Like my clients, I also went through engagement and wedding planning. I know how stressed I was being a bride, and I want to take a load off for them and make sure they know I’m on their team and happy to help with anything needed. Read more>>

Greg Shane | Artistic Director

The most important/significant factor behind our success is the ability to push past boundaries and advocate for inclusion in the performing arts. The different underserved populations we serve from individuals with disabilities, military veterans, and youth all have one thing in common: They don’t let their circumstances get in the way from shining on stage. Read more>>

Travis Nagle | Co-founder

The most important factors have been innovation and resilience. From day one we’ve focused on offering something unique within the world of furniture (eco-friendly, customizable), and that’s allowed us to stand out amongst much larger companies. Over time, we’ve also been very resilient through the various challenges that have come our way. being able to keep focus on ur core mission and be adaptable to evolve and meet customer needs has been essential for a company like ours that has never taken any funding. Read more>>

Ted Meyer | Artistic Patient Advocate

I had been a graphic designer since college. That was along time ago. I had gotten to the point that although I was making good money, I hated it. I each time I got a new job or client it made me more depressed and more angry. I was living in opposite world. My success was killing me. I knew I had an interesting life story and that I had unique experiences that other kept telling me were worth sharing. I spent about a year figuring out how to market my life and my experiences. What did I need to to do get the word out about this interesting life? How could I become a known expert in a field that I was developing myself based solely on my experiences as a patient and artist? So I made a plan. I was 54 and I had never made a plan before. Things had just happened and the money came. I had owned several successful business in the past but had never planned any of them. This time I planned and plotted. I created a position that would give me a good title, Artist in Residence at UCLA Medical School. Read more>>

Angel Lem | Podcast Host

The most important factor to the podcasts success is the listener and my guest. Without them there would be no reason to do the show. The fact that people give a guy that has no interview experience the opportunity to entertain them or to have faith that he will pant them in a light that people would want to support them is wonderful. I pride myself in providing a safe space for everyone to express themselves. I try very hard to be the bridge between people and it makes me happy that people are open enough to give me a chance to connect them. Read more>>

Piran Zarifian | CEO

It might be a cliché answer but I can say without a doubt that my team is the most important factor in our business succeeding. I think every business is looking to hire the best candidates for the job, but a lot goes into finding and painting the best teams possible. For me it started with my family. While there are MANY reasons one should not start a business with a family member, there certainly are many upsides to working with someone you’ve known your whole life. There is a certain trust and respect that is already built into that relationship, not to mention knowledge of what the other person’s strength and weaknesses are. When it comes to structuring your business and dividing the roles of each partner, it helps to know what each person is capable of, it makes it easier when you have known the other person your whole life. Read more>>

Barry Wehrli | Keyboardist, Composer, Author, Publisher & Piano Teacher

Innovative products and educational methods. Read more>>

Leslie McClure | CEO

Wow! That’s a hard question, but if I had to put into words what makes someone successful, I suppose I would say, having the respect of clients and peers. I am always honest and straightforward with everyone with whom I work. I say what I mean and I do what I say. I treat others as I wish to be treated. My business is personal and my clients are like family. I always rely on what I told my son when he was little: Your smile is your biggest asset. If you’re smiling, you’re most likely happy and others will be too. You can’t be mad or mean when you smile. People are attracted to, and want to around, happy and positive people. I’m not saying to be phony, just genuine. Caring and kindness leads to friendship and good business. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make it count. Meeting people and networking is a valuable tool in business. It’s the center core of my company. Read more>>