We don’t believe success is random. Over the years we have spoken with hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, artists, creatives, researchers, athletes, and more. We’ve learned from them – both through their stories and through the advice they’ve shared with us – and it’s quite evident that success is more likely when certain habits are present. So, we decided to ask folks to share their habits with us, especially those that they feel helped them succeed.

Amanda Lehan-Canto | Comedian, Writer & Host

Play. All play. Seriously, when they say we lose our imagination as adults… it is true! And for me, my success revolves around my joy, my imagination, and the goofy parts of myself that my adult brain desperately wants to control by saying, “Well, that’s not realistic, honey. That can’t happen, babycakes and that’s just weird and VERY SILLY, Amanda”. Once I agree to disagree with my mind, it’s all unexpected creative work from here on out. Because, my brand is me. That’s my work. I am the comedic relief, the ridiculous east coast character, the slightly quirky host who has no filter, the greatest eye roller anyone has ever seen and the fool. The moment I attach need/desperation/pressure to anything I do involving my art, I lose all the play and essentially my brand becomes unclear. Read more>>

Amanda Doskocil | Wedding & Family Photographer

The most important factor behind the success of my brand has been authenticity, and genuine concern for everyone I come into contact with.  I am not the best photographer in the world, and I’m not on my A-game at all times, but I am transparent with my clients, I have meaningful conversations when we are together, and I share with my followers when I’m going through something.  My dream client is not a person with a certain income or aesthetic, but is someone who is on the same path as myself: doing “the work,” cultivating healthy relationships, and seeking to become their most authentic self.  Through my journey of enlightenment, I’ve worked to stop judging others and to lead by example when it comes to being patient, understanding, and humble. I have always thought it strange when people or businesses are able but unwilling to help others when they communicate a valid need. Read more>>

Pazit BenEzri | CEO

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is my ability to see any obstacle or hardships as an opportunity to grow and work even harder. Any pressure or adversities in life in general is just a way to make you stronger. My brand is thriving because of the amount or energy and effort I put into it. It didn’t come easy and I had to learn a lot of things along the way. I also value building relationships with people I work with. I think that this is the driving force in achieving a common goal. I see every person that I work with as someone I can relate with on a human level. This is an important key in building trust and loyalty. Read more>>

Janelle Scales | Anti-Bias/Anti-Racist Consultant, Activist, Storyteller & Homeschooler

The most important factor behind my success is the continuous act of defining success for myself. Years ago, I decided that dollars were not going to be the only units by which I measured my success. When my words and actions encourage others to be more authentic, courageous, and compassionate, I feel successful. When parents say “you encouraged me to be more gentle with my children” I know, I’m DOING IT. When white folks say “you help me confront the white supremacy inside me everyday” and when Black folks say “thanks for doing the work that others won’t” I’m celebrating. When my daughters say ” I love that you give me cuddles even when I make you upset” that’s when I know all my hard work is paying off. Doing social justice work, is doing love work. Read more>>

Tyler Schuelke | Actor & Content Creator

I’d say authenticity…but then someone calling themselves authentic screams, well, inauthentic. I mean it in the sense that it took a long time to figure out that being myself is the most important aspect I can bring to acting, to creating content. In an industry of opinion, it’s easy to stray from what makes you unique to cast or work with. I have grown confident in my abilities and allowed myself to give in to what I am doing with that. It doesn’t mean I don’t take criticism or feedback, learning and growing is never ending and just as important, but I’ve tried several different peoples version of what Tyler I should be. What’s been key is being the real one because my brand is me. I reach out when I wouldn’t before, which leads to a second reason for success – other people. Friends, colleagues, industry professionals, the assistant to the assistant; it’s all about connections. Read more>>

Kay Dalton | Founder

Fresh Wata started as a small boutique company and has grown to a global event agency with a belief that it’s a group effort and that no one person can pull off that magical experience. It’s a total team effort to make a great event. There are so many folks involved in a great event from our designers, producers, partners, fabricators, warehouse managers, etc and it takes a great team to make any event successful. Read more>>

Sifu Bryan Talbot | Wing Chun Kung Fu Master Instructor

Integrity. Our West Coast Wing Chun brand is based upon the principles laid forth by the founders of the Wing Chun Kung Fu system. Honor, Discipline, Humility, and Integrity. At our Wing Chun schools, the student always comes first. We do not “dress up” and play the part of a martial art instructor, we LIVE it. The success of our “brand” is a by-product of our discipline, commitment, and love for the Art and all those who pass through our doors. Read more>>

Paul Bond | Fine Artist & Poet

There is a quote by the philosopher and theologian, Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Simply put, my success as an artist and writer is due to the fact that I write and paint the words and images words that make me come alive. And in a beautiful synchronicity, they happen to spark the same flame in my collectors. While I did study fine art, I received my degree in graphic design and commercial art, and had a successful graphic/web designer and illustration business for 20+ year.s I always painted a bit on the side – sometimes not more than one or two paintings a year. But they were paintings direct from my heart and personal experience. I was under no pressure to sell or to worry about creating images that I thought might appeal to buyers. Read more>>

Victoria Pynchon | Career and Negotiation Consultant

Authenticity. Let me explain. My brand – She Negotiates – is both personal and universal. The “she” refers to me – former litigator and trial attorney, turned mediator of litigated business disputes, turned negotiation consultant. These are the stages of my career life and the fuel for my consulting engine. But the “she” also refers to my clients – the professional and business women who negotiate million dollar deals for their clients and companies but have trouble negotiating a 20% raise, two-step promotion or greater human or material resources. The dual meaning of “she” suggests team work, mutual concern, and a trusting relationship. As a lawyer friend of mine said long ago, “the biggest lie in the business is ‘it’s not personal.’” Consulting is deeply personal and all of my marketing was personal, authentic, revelatory and encouraging. Read more>>

Espree Devora | Podcaster, Founder & Community Builder

Culture and compassion are the two driving elements behind my success. Competition will come and go, but building a genuine connection with my customers and audience is essential in the longevity of my company. Read more>>

Eva Lempert | Photographer & Content Creator

While I think there are many factors that contribute to my overall success, I think one of the most important is staying true to yourself and your style. Being authentic to my craft resulted in finding my ideal clients — the people who want to work with me as much as I want to work with them. And remaining true to myself allowed me to grow even more, not afraid to take risks and not letting someone determine who I needed to be as an artist but rather who I wanted to be as an artist. Read more>>

Cleon “CJ” Joseph | Fitness and Wellness Coach, Author, Talk Show Host & Public Speaker

I’ll begin with an original quote, “You know it is time to evolve when you do the thing you are passionate about with ease and comfort. This is the time to add to your platform, If you don’t move and grow, something will you move you or you’ll surely be irrelevant in your ability to influence.” CJ’s Functional Fitness has been in business for almost 14 years. Through my fitness business, I have been featured on local news and radio outlets, teamed up with non-profits like Special Needs Network and American Heart Association on community wellness projects. I’ve hosted my own community fitness program called the Fitness Syndicate vs Obesity. I have been the keynote health ambassador for numerous years for the annual KJLH Women’s Health Expo. Read more>>

Cardie Molina | Female Entrepreneur, Importer, Manufacturer & Wholesale/Retail Distributor

I think the most important factor behind the success of my brand Oilcloth International is that I created it over 25 years ago after researching and creating a business plan that verified it would be successful. The product I import and manufacture with partners was not really widely available in the USA at that time and with the internet just blowing up I was able to get the domain oilcloth.com and start plugging away at creating a market for it here. It is imported from Mexico and is such a practical and functional product that everyone can use it. Like tissues or soap or something everyone can use and needs in a home. It used to be manufactured here but as cheaper imitation vinyls starting being imported the US companies dropped out…it kind of disappeared from the domestic market. Read more>>

Josephine Villasenor | Owner & Community Activist

I wanted a place where people are welcomed, that gives back to the community, that is involved in the community and a place that was reasonably priced. This is why my business is successful for the fact I put myself out there in the community. I give back to schools, to organizations and so forth. I wanted people to be treated with the best customer service like I would want a business to do the same thing. To go above and beyond for the clients and making sure every detail is perfect. I always try to make a Wow factor so that people would be “Oh Wow you must have paid a fortune” but they did not. I work with budgets and sometimes we get to be a Sponsor for events or for the community. I think by being out there in your community the people rally behind you and they see you as a person who is doing good for the whole and not trying to be greedy. Read more>>

Joseph Munoz | Pro Wrestling Coach, Mentor, Producer & Promoter

Passion mixed with work ethic. Whenever someone asks us what the secret to your success we have simple answer, and that’s to “Put in the work”. Pro Wrestling was never supposed to be a business for me, it was something really cool to do with my uncle back in 1994 when I was 14 years old. Since then it has consumed my soul, giving me the opportunity to wrestle in 3 continents, 14 countries and in over 95 different cities around the globe. It’s given me the opportunity to coach, mentor, train, produce and promote the next generation of inspired grapplers and give back like those who did for me. My years of experience has earned me the skills to create a successful business in Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy, the #1 Pro Wrestling school on the west coast. Read more>>

Natalia Diaz | Entrepreneur, Digital Expert & Founder

My co-workers at Small Wonder Digital Agency. The factor behind our brand is taking a great idea and being able to bring their vision to life. I think we pride ourselves on ideation, creativity, effectiveness and execution. Read more>>

Ron Hernandez | Contractor & Architect

In simplest terms I believe the most important factor behind the growth I have had is the will to create an environment where the people I work with feel appreciated, they have fun, and they see potential for growth. I know I cannot do it all, but I do know that I can convince people that make up my weakness to partner up with me a create a team with higher potential than if we were on our own. Read more>>

Felicia Yang | Co-Founder, Pro Athlete & Engineer

The most important factor behind the success of our brand is the way in which we engage with our community. Astra was founded on values of gender equity and promoting women in sports. While doing that, we believe we can benefit other marginalized groups regardless of whether they are underserved based on gender identity, sexuality, race, or socioeconomic status. We look to be an equitable company in how we operate and engage with everyone around us. We hope to have a positive impact on our fans, our players, our community, and our society. We are building this on a platform of lifting up women in sports, and using the benefits and engagement of sports to do social good. We hope to live our core values in a meaningful and authentic way, and we believe that doing so will draw a community of fans who feel safety and belonging with our team. Read more>>

Aj Caves and Tyler Chittick | Musicians

Our short and boring answer is that we don’t listen to what other people tell us to do. None of this “Oh man it would be so cool if you guys [insert thing]” without actually thinking about it first and deciding for ourselves if it’s right for us or not. The long answer is that we really want to emphasize what we define as success. When we started The Tragic Radicals we decided that as long as we were having fun then it was worth it. Obviously we’ve made some changes and people have come and gone, but those changes generally were made after we decided we weren’t having as much fun as we knew we could. That’s really what it comes down to. We always strive to do more and to get better, write new material, play new venues, and get our name out there. Read more>>

Jill Chong

Before offically starting @akemi.eats on Instagram, I was posting what I’d be eating—like a food journal. I’d be taking pictures and videos from my old iPhone, and just being very casual about my postings. I had a friend suggest that I should become a “foodie” and be more professional. So I whipped out my old DSLR that I haven’t touched for years and started using that to take food pictures with. I started to notice that people loved my style in food photography and how it was great quality than compared when I took pictures with my phone. I gained a lot of connections with food-lovers, foodies, restaurants and businesses and that motivated me to continue my foodie blog! From my experience, the two most important factors that lead to my success was creating quality content and be engaging with people around me! Read more>>

Alicia Garey | Owner

Three things I have adhered to from the very beginnings of AG Designs are listening, communicating and resourcefulness. From the first meeting with a client, I want them to know that I am hearing them. By the time we’ve met, most clients have been pondering a project for a while and want to know how to turn an idea for some kind of change into a reality. There can be a lot of moving parts in a renovation and this is where communication is vitally important. I consider myself an advocate for the client with all trade professionals on our team. And finally, sometimes an idea comes to light that may require thinking outside the box such as building a custom piece of furniture or reconfiguring a kitchen layout that hadn’t been considered, or adding a surprise element in lighting or color. I’m always mindful of which resources are the best to achieve our goals. Read more>>

Steven Wiideman | Senior Search Consultant

The most important success factor in my career and personal life is a combination of research, retention, and patience. Professionally, we have worked hard to develop a process for ourselves and clients that require an exhaustive amount of research, in addition to requesting support from external subject matter experts to combat the guessing game when it comes to planning. Employee and talent retention efforts are worth the cost when compared to constant procurement and training costs. Patience is critical, as I learned earlier on. It could take weeks or months to close that big account, just never give up. Personally, sticking to a calendar and schedule can make life slightly more predictable, which lends itself to positive habits, structured routines, and self-discipline. Read more>>

Kris | Jay Hibler- Smith | Funtila | CEO & Business Management | COO & Community Engagement

The most important factor behind our success is the sense of family amongst every person involved in our markets; whether a business partner, vendor, sponsor or COMMUNITY member. The success of our brand, that’s solely based on the success of our partners. Our mission aims to connect Black-owned businesses to resources in an attempt to help our community flourish, so when they win, we’re reassured we’ve done our job. At the end of it all, we engage, we support, and we show love. Read more>>

Angelo Martin | Caricature Artist

Being able to build trust with my customers is the #1 factor. If my business were not dependable, then I would not be able to build a solid reputation to bring back clients, or get any referrals. I rely heavily on word of mouth, and positive reviews to attract new and repeating business. To build that trust, I have to make sure to stay organized, communicate timely, and just be nice! All of my skills and passion for this job would drive the rest. Read more>>

Russell Brown | Filmmaker & Founder

Producer Peter Guber once told me to “think about the next hurdle and not the end of the race” and I think he was right. You need to focus on what’s in front of you, and not a career-end result. Basically he was telling me to live in the now and do the best I can with what’s right in front. I think it was great advice. Read more>>

Tracy Griffiths | Founder & Co-Owner

The most important factor in my success is that I realize a few things: Success is an ‘inside’ job. My business thrives as I actively pursue more ways to grow, learn and saying YES to opportunities that stretch me. Every 2 years I take a deep dive into some kind of healing arts/yoga training that leads to certification. Putting myself in a learning environment provides a structure that holds me accountable in-turn supports my creativity as an instructor and a practitioner. I also realize that I thrive in community and doing projects with colleagues that I can learn from. Read more>>