We’ve been fortunate to connect with so many brilliant, thoughtful entrepreneurs and creatives and we regularly ask them about the most important lessons they’ve learned over the course of their careers. We’ve shared some highlights below.

John Dreher | Actor, Singer and Teaching Artist

TAs an actor, there are so many things that are out of your control; so control the things you can. For me that extends past the nuts and bolts of preparedness, punctuality and hard work. Every successful person does that. It’s the thoughts, emotions and energy that you can control. If someone doesn’t want your business, it doesn’t devalue you as a person. There is so much ambiguous information that you are not privy to. So choose to control those thoughts, feelings and energies and channel them back into the work. There are so many people and things working against you…don’t let yourself be one of them! Read more>>

Andrew Ordway | Graphic Designer

Something that it took me a while to learn, but which is very impactful to me now that I have learned it, is that you should always be heading towards the thing that scares you. That scary thing that you’re nervous about, that you have anxiety about, or that you think you might do someday when you get the courage – that’s the thing you should do right away. I’ve learned that your fear bubbles up when you think about things that are uncomfortable, but they’re uncomfortable because they’re unfamiliar, and they’re things that will make you grow as a person once you do them. This lesson was something I learned simply starting my graphic design business since I don’t have any formal schooling or degree in it. It was scary to think that I could be a graphic designer when I didn’t have a piece of paper saying I was one, but i’ve been incredibly happy with my decision to pursue it, and now i’m happily on to bigger scarier things within the graphic design field. Read more>>

Chris Larcinese | Small Business Owner

I have spent most of my post-college working life in a corporate career, working for small employers as well as industry leading Fortune 100 industry leaders. I’ve worked within small entrepreneurial businesses as well as large bureaucracies. I’ve been an individual contributor, a department manager and an executive. Through all of these experiences, I’ve had the benefit of witnessing and experiencing the pros and cons of each environment and corporate structures. Through all of the business types and experiences I was involved in, there have been some commonality across them all that create important take-aways for me as I build my business. As cliche as it sounds, I have to say that being an effective leader is one of most difficult challenges facing any business. Read more>>

Alex Mozota | Drink for Pink Founder

Be Flexible and Pivot often. There’s a Bezos quote that says “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details”. Drink for Pink started out as an idea to harness the craft beer community to help the fight against Breast Cancer. Our vision early on had four tenets: Local, Transparent, Research, and 100% Volunteer. We also wanted to start a charity where every little bit helped, focusing on grassroots fundraising as opposed to wealthy benefactors. The initial idea was to use pink bottle caps on the product of participating breweries, where every beer sale would help us towards our goal. Early on, we ran into multiple issues including bottling logistics, distributor sales, and liquor stores willing to participate. This is where the Pivot came. Read more>>

Carin Brophy | Sewist and Fabric Curator

How to be uncomfortable and knowing when you are going through difficult changes or something new it isn’t a bad thing, it only means you are learning and growing. Getting out of your comfort zone is something you always hear and if I look back over the years the biggest growth I have had personally and professionally is when I was going through something unknown or I was scared of. In my previous career and now owning and running my own business if you don’t put yourself out there and be vulnerable to uncertainty you kind of just stay in one place. A strategy I use when I want to take a risk, is I ask myself, “what is the absolute worst thing will happen if I do …?” when I answer the question it usually is something so minor it makes me wonder why I would have even questioned myself in the first place. Read more>>

Shahadah Iman | Cosmetologist and Beauty Consultant

To be flexible and sometimes challenges will make you change direction and that is okay. Sometimes your business idea and strategy seems great at first, but when adverse situations present themselves, you need to ready to navigate around or through them. That may mean rethinking your business model and changing it. Making sure you have enough resources to pull it off is key. Read more>>

Karen Arrington | Mentor, Award-winning Author, Philanthropist, Goodwill Ambassador to Sierra Leone

Have you ever heard that you are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with? It’s time to stop hanging with people who have your problem, and hang with people who have your solution. f you want to uplevel your life + career, you’ve got to upgrade the quality of people you allow into your world. Surround yourself with grade-A encouragement, and you’ll rise to the top. Surround yourself with losers, users + abusers, and you’ll sink to the lowest common denominator. Having an attorney in my inner circle was never on my to do list. But the day I met Lisa Walker, Esq., Read more>>