We asked some brilliant folks from the community to tell us about the most important lesson their business or career has taught them. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Mark Penner-Howell | Visual Artist & Musician

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my career as an artist is the importance of relationships. It’s often said that getting ahead in the arts is all about who you know, but that’s only part of the equation. The depth of your business friendships, and the enthusiasm of others in your network is equally important to creating new opportunities. Read more>>

Ashley Boden | Boutique Owner

As a first time entrepreneur, these have been my biggest lessons: Perfectionism is your enemy. Building a business is such an organic process versus a linear road. Embrace the ups and the downs and learn from the journey. Things will not always go the way you planned and I have had to learn to embrace this wholeheartedly. What others think about you/your brand, is none of your business. Being an entrepreneur means putting your heart and soul on the line. If you worry about what others think, it can be paralyzing. Part of the journey is truly being authentic to yourself and ignoring the noise around you. Read more>>

Mike Re-al | Recording Artist

Staying solid until you come up. Nothing comes overnight. Stay prayed up and consistent in your craft. Nobody will give you any handouts, you gotta go work for it .Push your business/career to people you barely know , they gonna support you the most. Because they hold no tides and no expectations. Overall do what you love the rest will take care of itself. Read more>>

Courtney Cluett-Suarez | Professional Residential Cleaning Company Business Owner and Entreprenuer.

That there is so much I don’t know! I consider myself, and I think most people consider me to be a REALLY nice person. But if I’m honest with myself, as well as I performed in my responsibilities as an employee prior to being a business owner, internally I had a bad attitude. Perhaps this is just human nature, and I’m being overly hard on myself which I typically do. But from my vantage point, I’d reflect upon what wasn’t working in whatever job I was in, and I’d be judgy. Like: they’ve been in business for 30 years, why don’t they have this figured out? Why do they seem not to care about XYZ? Why am I not paid more? Why is there such an imbalance of pay? They really come down hard on me for not staying on task. Why don’t they see or reward me for the above-and-beyond work I do? And somehow in my head, the shortcomings of these businesses gave me permission to somewhat coast. I’d master my job and as I grew to be more disgruntled, I’d coast. I’d stop trying so hard. This is what I mean about an attitude problem. Read more>>

Christine Bayles Kortsch, PhD | Author & Photographer

For those of us who like to forge our own path and are drawn to creative careers, I think there’s always a balance between risk, hard work, and adaptability. Risk because you have to be willing to take that leap, practice that new skill, fail at something then try again or choose another way, face criticism without losing faith. Hard work because without it, you won’t grow. I do believe there can be a sense of ease in the midst of effort, but that doesn’t mean that if something is hard, you should give up. It might be inconvenient but the truth is that it takes time, dedication, and humility to develop your craft and nurture your creativity. There are no shortcuts to true growth and maturity. Adaptability because life is always changing. You move to follow a partner, you have babies, a loved one dies, you get an exciting offer, a pandemic hits, you hurt someone and need to make amends. To life a creative life, you have to be both flexible and brave. You have to allow yourself to experience whatever is actually happening without numbing our or ignoring painful truths. Read more>>

Kyrey (Sikai) Bryan | Founder of Painkilling Music Group LLC

I think the most important thing that the music industry has taught me is that you’ll never be as valued for your art as you feel you should be. Keep putting your work in and building on your brand so that you can create partnerships down the line if you choose. You still want to maintain as much control and ownership as possible. Many people push to stay independent with all of the “do it yourself” tools we have today, but it can still be time consuming and financially draining. Your worth in the market might not reflect when in negotiations. It’s important to know your insights and engagements. I’ve learned to be more hands on outside of the music. Having your business in order is essential. If you’re consistent then no one can take anything from you figuratively speaking, but if you truly have your business correct then no one can take anything from you literally speaking. We work really hard to put out our personal art and creative ideas. We lose sight of how successful we can become to the masses because it’s quite hard to tap into a fan base. Read more>>

Caroline Parsons | Christ Follower | Bible Painter

My business, The Luminary Lion, has taught me the discipline of not comparing myself to others. Being an artist and a creative, it is so difficult not to look at others and compare yourself and think “they do X better than me” or “I wish I had that skill” or “I wish my marketing looked like that”. But I’ve learned that you can’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. My business has taught me to value the skill set and abilities God has given me. Read more>>

Julio Torres | Food Scientist & Entrepreneur

When working on a new product you are passionate about, you just want to release the best product ever created. But this can take you years, and there is a point where you need to tell yourself this is enough otherwise you get blind and never move to the next step that is really to sell your product. Also opinions from family/relatives and friends are very important at this point This is your best asset at the development stage. Read more>>