We asked some of the city’s rising stars to reflect on what made a difference in their journey. We asked them to tell us about what they think the most important factor has been behind their success.

Rachel Greiman | Copywriter

My business wasn’t even profitable until I committed to serving an extremely specific group of people. I can pinpoint the month that everything changed for me, and it was when I chose to work with photographers and photographers only. It was a little scary. I was worried about how many clients I was saying no to, how much opportunity I was walking away from. It felt like a very practical inverse of the saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” This was, “You have to say no to most people so you can say yes to the right ones.” I changed it all: my website copy, the way I referred to my clients on social media and in emails, the podcasts I pitched. I didn’t even entertain the idea of writing for anyone else. And before I knew it, I had a waitlist. I was hiring other writers. I felt confident in what I was doing rather than feeling like I was guessing. I think that business owners—specifically personality-driven solopreneurs who are service providers—are nervous to repel clients by getting specific in their messaging and copy. Read more>>

Kynsi Saye | Business Owner, Graphic Designer and Personal Fitness Trainer

The most important factor behind the success of my brand has been the consistency and persistence in building it over the 5 years that I have owned it. I feel with anything, it takes time and patience to be successful and to build something that is sustainable. The first couple years of owning Kompass, there was not as much growth as I had hoped but I kept going and kept networking. It wasn’t until year 3 or 4 that I started experiencing the success of the brand and that is because I didn’t give up, I kept working on it every day and I was determined to make it a successful business. Read more>>

Shelby Peterson | Cofounder/Sommelier of Adventures Decanted

When creating the business and brand for Adventures Decanted, our main theme was to make wine approachable. We like to say that “wine should not be pretentious, just inspiring and adventurous”. We pride ourselves in hospitality and service along with having fun. Also, our brand is about adventure: two female entrepreneurs planning experiences centered around wine. It’s about taking hikes in the mountains and finding the perfect wines and cheese to pair during or after. It’s about wine tastings and classes that inspire our guests to venture out and try new wines and pairings. It makes our day to hear how people are using wine to celebrate and enjoy life. It is our joy to share our passion for wine with others and help them to do the same. Read more>>

Kelsey Johnson | Professional Makeup Artist

From a business perspective, I believe in treating each and every person as my most important client. For many of them, it’s the most important day of their lives. And even if this is their one and only makeover, they are my absolute highest priority. From a personal perspective, I believe my success comes from expressing gratitude daily. Through the highs and the lows of being a small business owner, being grateful for my business and my talent keeps me grounded and reminds me of the impact I have on clients through making them feel beautiful. Read more>>

Tanya Lim | Founder and Head Dog Trainer at Family Pupz

If I had to pinpoint one category – it would be my willingness to take risks, to put myself out there and to embrace change. I find myself saying “yes” to projects that push me out of my comfort zone, making presentations/teaching classes in front of larger audiences than what I am used to and shifting gears when efforts are not bringing in the desirable outcomes. Read more>>

Kate Merrill | Wedding Photographer

Inclusivity. When I first started out as a wedding photographer, I just tried to do what everyone else was doing. If it made them successful, it would work for me too, right? While I did okay and booked some weddings, I wasn’t connecting with my clientele like I wanted to be. They were booking me just because the price point worked for them, but weren’t excited about my work and who I was. After working in the industry for a few years, I was starting to feel disappointed in the lack of inclusivity and diversity in wedding publications, on vendor’s websites, and even represented in the faces behind the businesses I worked with. As a bisexual woman, I felt the need to change that, and make sure my wesbite was a safe space for people to land and business was felt like a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community. From there, I just focused on including real people in my portfolio and brand. Not just the straight, white, “traditionally attractive” couples that we see on the covers of wedding magazines. I was rewarded with the most genuine, wonderful people celebrating an amazing moment in their lives. Read more>>

Alexandra Herold | Founder and CEO of Patti + Ricky

Patti + Ricky is the Adaptive Fashion Marketplace for adults and kids with disabilities, chronic conditions, patients, and caregivers. At Patti + Ricky the people with disabilities and chronic illnesses are the experts and we are listening to them on our company’s direction and what adaptive fashion products we carry. I myself have many invisible disabilities, I have POTS, dyslexia, ADHD, and anxiety. I was also my mom, Patti’s, caregiver when she was going through brain cancer and I grew up with my cousin, Ricky, who was born unable to walk or talk, and he showed me that his wheelchair was his vehicle, but could also be a fashion accessory. Every day I consider what Patti and Ricky would have considered to be cool and function products, and together they formed the lens in which I see disability and inclusion. Read more>>

Christy Cole | RN BSN Health and Wellness Promotion

Connection/putting people first is my jam. I aim to “leave people better than I found them”. This goes from small interpersonal interactions, all the way to superseding umbrella ideas of things to accomplish down the road. I am a woman of passion. I like to get my hands dirty. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Love is my anthem. I believe that there is nothing more beautiful than someone following their “spark”, their heart, their “true north”. So I seek to inspire, to empower. I work with my hands. I put pen to paper. I create sculptures. I handcraft cards. I give away little pieces of my heart. I smile at strangers. I compliment what I like. I refer to people in terms of endearment. I say “thank you” and genuinely mean it. I believe that what you put out into the world comes back to you. Kindness is magic, and grace is contagious. In order to positively impact in someone’s life, you don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t need fame, fortune or followers— you just have to care. Read more>>

Brad Poppie | Doctor, Author, Speaker, Clothing Designer

Being impervious to change and having resilience towards unexpected roadblocks has proven to be my “secret sauce” in not only surviving through difficult times but growing my company to becoming a brand leader. I believe you have to be able to predict slower economic growth and have a game plan in place to help mitigate losses when these slower times present themselves. By doing this, you can position yourself in a growth-minded mentality while others in your field are retracting due to scarcity. The result is that when the economy turns around and becomes prosperous, your company will be positioned well above those that hibernated and retracted their business efforts. Read more>>

Dr. Katie Woodley | Holistic Veterinarian

The most important factor behind the success of my business is never stopping. My mission is to ensure pet parents know they have options for their pet care. Because of this huge mission, I have to show up, create content and be vocal about the benefits and the positive changes that pets can experience when we integrate optimal nutrition, herbs, essential oils, and acupuncture into their lives. I’ve been in a similar position to many pet parents where I was told there was nothing more I could do from a conventional perspective for my German Shepherd with a brain tumor, but I was able to give him 11 more months of an amazing quality of life due to holistic medicine. But many pet parents don’t know this is even an option for their pet. Being an advocate for pets with a different way of thinking about health is important and necessary for improving pet health and longevity. 60% of pets will develop cancer. The conventional medical system is broken. Read more>>

Aaron Hart | Real Estate Broker & Rockstar

Make everything a party! I want every part of my life to be a great time, so I’ve made a point to integrate my worlds – work, music, friends, travel – everything. Not only does this make it fun for you & others, but I have found actually makes everything and everyone around you more successful. I wake up excited every morning that I get to get a part of this wild adventure. Read more>>

Morgan Liphart | Poet & Lawyer

Without a doubt, the most important factor behind my success is not being afraid of rejection. The ability to hear the word “no” from my industry again and again and keep going has been absolutely critical for my writing career. A fear of rejection holds back so many writers or people who deep down want to be writers. They are scared to fail. They are scared to put their work out there and have it not be liked, not be chosen, not be bought. This fear is understandable because a piece of writing is like a tiny piece of your heart going out into the world. When it is rejected, it hurts. But this fear must be conquered. As a writer, you must curl up with the word “no” like a warm blanket on a snowy day. You have to get so comfortable with hearing it that it no longer phases you. It no longer has power over you. This is how you realize that you are actually stronger than the rejection and it cannot destroy you. Read more>>

Matthew Hexter | Founder & Vintner

The most important factor behind the success of the Evergood Elixirs brand is that it’s the right product at the right time. We make craft wine from lemons, not grapes. Our wines are 10% ABV, gluten-free, vegan, low in carbs, low in sulfites and most of all, delicious. Right timing #1, Industry data shows that younger drinkers are moving away from beer, into wine and spirits. We make adventurous citrus wines. Right timing #2, People care about what they put into their bodies; our wines are just 4-5 simple ingredients and suit most dietary needs. Right timing #3, Millenials and Gen Z’ers value shared experience above accumulating stuff. Our outdoor adventure wines (Skier Pee, Snow Bunny, Switch Stance and Citrus Stomp) are built for après. Right timing #4, Canned seltzers and now canned wines are all the rage. Place our single-serve cans or collapsible flasks into your backpack or cooler, then carry them home empty for recycling. Right timing #5, Due to COVID restrictions, 2020 taught us we can all be home bartenders. Read more>>

Deb Larsen Culig | From Design, Marketing, Advertising Executive To Custom Hatter

After 40 years in the advertising/marketing/creative industry, and now the addition of this new adventure as a custom hatter, I’m not sure that there is truly a “most” important factor to success. I think what’s important has changed over the years; it depended on where I was in my business and where I was in my life… I’ve always advocated the importance of networking and connection. I believe change and flexibility is essential to any long-term success. A strong work ethic and always being true to my word were the foundation of my professional (and personal) promise to my clients, friends – and myself. But probably the most important factor for me to feel successful was that “ah-ha moment” when I realized that I’m not only pretty good at what I do, I absolutely love doing it! Coming from a corporate mentality to an artist’s reality has been quite a change for me. Success in the ad industry was measured in money spent VS results obtained. It’s all pretty black and white. Read more>>

Andrea Schwartz-Dulaney | Executive Director of Dear Jack Foundation, Forbes Non Profit Council Member

As the Executive Director of the Dear Jack Foundation, the most important factor behind the success of the organization is the cohesiveness of my team. Internal staff and board communication, collaboration, empowering team members to make decisions, encouraging thought leadership within the organization are all vital to team cohesiveness and to the long-term success of the organization. Read more>>