Deciding to work for yourself is often cited as the best decision folks in our community have made. Hearing the same response over and over led us to ask them about the next best decision folks have made and we’ve shared their responses with you below.

Jamie Lindholm | Independent Fine Artist & Juggler of Everything Else

I think about the decisions I’ve made over the years with regard to my studio practice, clients and business, and more than once, I have been grateful for my decision to get a Business Degree prior to studying art. I earned a Bachelors degree in Business Management and Marketing prior to spending years studying art in the atelier system, and then recently getting a MAFA at Regis University. First, it allowed me to be employed full-time while I pursued my art studies, and second, it gave me the knowledge to fully integrate professional practices into my own studio practice when the time came. That BSBA has been vital in so many ways. Ultimately, an independent artist creates, but they also have to run their studio and clients or relationships, and that is a business — one that requires the juggling the creative side with the bookkeeping, inventory, logistics, marketing, sales, promotion, etc. This balance can be daunting for most artists, who always prefer to only concentrate on the creative side. Read more>>

Jessica Lentz | REALTOR, Real Estate Coach, HOMEgirlsco Podcast Co-Founder

For me, it was a decision to get up everyday and be better than I was the day before. Whether that meant I worked an extra hour, I read an extra book, I listened to an additional podcast. Being better isn’t just about making money or being successful in your line of work. It’s ensuring your family is happy, your marriage is solid. You have good friendships and you’re taking time for yourself. So many times in this world we live in, we look at being busy as the baseline for success. We need to get back to your WHOLE life and happiness as the baseline, not just your net sheets. Read more>>

Jenny West | Massage Therapist, Co-Owner of Security/Risk Mitigation Business and Co-Owner of Custom Design and Apparel Business.

Philanthropy. Giving to our community, town, county, state, nation and globally, in a way that helps support non profits, families in need, struggling local small businesses and more has given me a drive to not just excel for success, but to excel so that we could give more to those in need. I own three businesses. One is my massage business, where i am one owner-operator of Jenny West, Certified Massage Therapist. As a massage therapist, i found a way to give to my community by facilitating a facebook page for local small businesses and community members in our rural area. This group has introduced community members to one another and we have a goal to actively support our small town businesses before we go spend at a big box store. Within this group, called The Elizabeth Networking Group, we also collect gifts to give to struggling families during the holidays, we’ve helped to get appliances repaired, fences set up, putting heat in a home that had no heat during the winter, giving to our teachers, thanking and praying for over law enforcement, and showing small but impactful random acts of kindness to service workers and each other. Read more>>

Amanda Podesta | Adventure Elopement Photographer

I allowed myself to be a beginner. I worked for free without charging clients until I could afford my liability insurance. I made mistakes, but have yet to failed because I have learned something from each experience. Read more>>

Marc Azoulay | Psychotherapist & Organizational Developer

The biggest decision that I made was to take full responsibility for my life. I had to stop blaming other people for my personal or professional failures. In this culture, we are rewarded when we complain or gossip – it builds social bonds and reinforces an in-group. We love to be critics! When launching my business I had to step down out of the stands and onto the field. I had to drop my tendency to criticize and, instead, approach others with humility. As a new psychotherapist in private practice I encountered professional growing pains; scheduling conflicts, communication delays, and insecurity. What was made clear to me is that as sole proprietorship my business was just myself. All of the problems that my business had were reflections of my own personal problems. When my life and finances were on the line I could no longer ignore my challenges and limitations. Owning a business was the call to action that I needed to tackle some of my deeper seeded issues. A big one for me was taking responsibility for my insecurity. Read more>>

CraigThe2nd | Visual Artist & Visionary Rapper

I would say beside deciding to work for myself, the single most important decision I had to make on this path that contributed to my success, was making the intense decision to commit. I know, sounds like it would be extremely easy to just say I am going to invest everything that I have into my dream… I am here to speak the truth, it is not easy, in fact it was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. Everyone told me in my earlier years (18yrs-20yrs) when going about my Business endeavors to make some sort of plan B for which if plan A (my dream) crashes into oblivion I have a safety net to rely on; heeding the warning, and concerned for my future I juggled art and music (my business) along side a college degree, multiple jobs, and forever looking on indeed for the next corporate venture. I was scared when I graduated college with my 2D-animation degree, bright eyed to the world, I struggle to make sense of my calling and societal comfort and where the balance needed to be. Read more>>