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.

Eric Singular | Director of Communications & Business Development

You cannot underestimate the value of a good mentor. There’s a lot to be learned in a classroom and from an individual whose job is to teach, but in the professional world, there are so many skillsets that are never discussed in an educational setting. It’s somewhat like how people joke about not being taught about doing taxes in high school. It’s the real world – how to carry yourself, how to have a meaningful presence in a business meeting, how to speak from a place of confidence, and sometimes more importantly, when to just sit back and listen. These are tools that can be absorbed rather than taught by a good mentor. It may not be easy to find someone who you admire or someone who is willing to take you under their arm, but it’s worth seeking. In my experience, this has been a paramount secret to success. Unfortunately, many people are not fully equipped and prepared to succeed when they enter the professional world. Read more>>

Kristin Boyd | Owner- HOA Matters

In the immortal words of Zig Ziglar, “You can have everything you want if you help enough other people get what they want”. When we shifted our business model to truly focus on customer service and providing help and guidance our entire culture and client base shifted. I have learned the value of taking time to pause, have a conversation, create a relationship, and do what is best for all parties involved. Getting back to basics has been a game changer for my company and my career. Read more>>

Helen Skiba | Flower Farmer & Floral Designer

That I can’t, and don’t have to, and should not, do it all alone. And that I am not alone: there is help all around me, and beautiful people who are fighting in my corner. It is not a badge of honor to do it all alone; in fact it is destructive and hurtful. I have a strong will and exceedingly high expectations for myself, and in the past that has blinded me to the kindness, talents, and magic of other people. Once I learned to let others into my business, to become my partners and contribute their ideas and energy to our mission, my work and life became so much more fulfilling and free. This takes the form of listening deeply to my partners and employees, of hiring people to do the things I’m simply not good at (taxes!) or don’t have time to do well (social media!) and of cultivating a beginner’s mind to see what I’m doing from the outside. I’m so grateful I went through the garbage disposal of life so I could come to this new perspective. Read more>>

Katie Burgoyne | Twin Boy Mom, Yogi & Accessibility Specialist

One of the biggest lessons owning our own business has taught me is that sometimes its really better to leave some things to the professionals. For example last fall we hired a bookkeeper, until then this was something that was falling on my shoulders. I am not a bookkeeper 🙂 accounting software and I butt heads often. I had meet a women in my local Mountain Women in Business networking group that works as a bookkeepers for a bunch of smaller companies, and she worked out to be a great fit for us. By hiring someone to do something I am not good at, this frees up a lot more time for me to be working on more things that can bring money into our company, like marketing and networking. In the long run it saves us money, the things that were taking me days to do and not do well, she can do in 1/10th of the time! Sometimes its hard to bite the bullet and spend money thinking you have it handled, and in the long run, it was one of the best changes to our business in 2020. Read more>>

Amadna O’Mara | Fitness Business Coach

Pay attention and act on what makes you uncomfortable. So often we don’t do something because we’d rather stay in our comfort zones, but that is not where growth happens. It’s the messy and unsexy parts that have helped me grow exponentially. Embrace and love on fear and failure; learn to enjoy the process no matter what curve balls are thrown your way. Think of it like a slingshot…when you’re on the ‘down,’ you’re about to propelled further. The quicker you fail, the closer you are to success. Read more>>

Al & Susan Unser | Retired Race Car Driver & Business Woman

Both Al and I have been persistent in our efforts to reach goals. Putting in the time and effort, learning from mistakes and asking for advice. Read more>>

Audrey Wilson | Event Designer

The most important lesson I’ve learned is that personal growth, values, and integrity are undoubtedly aligned with business. You will be asked to face your shadows and what matters most to you–all wonderful opportunities for learning, expansion, and healing if you allow them to be so. These moments will push you to become a better version of yourself. Read more>>

Laketia Johnson | Chiropractor

The biggest lesson I have learned in the five years of owning my own business is do it your way! Getting advice from friends, family, and mentors is great but at the end of the day, this is your business. If you are trying to do what other people are doing it could come off as disingenuous. You have to be true to yourself and your vision in order for it to work out. Running a business is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it was harder when I spent more time listening to people in the background versus listening to myself and following my gut! I also spent more money doing things other people recommended. People say you can’t make money if you don’t spend money, but I do not think that is 100% true. If you are spending money on things that do not resonate with you, your brand, or your business then you are just spending money that is not going to make you money. Read more>>

Kim Gillock | Real Estate Investor/Agent & Physician Assistant

My business started as a side hustle back in 2013. It was incredibly empowering to create something of my own, knowing it could succeed or fail based on… me! At the time, I was on a linear track forward in the medical field and had really only thought about that as my future. I’d grown up in a pretty risk-averse household and to veer from my path seemed like a big risk at the time. Probably the most important lesson starting my own business taught me is that it’s okay to pivot. It’s okay to change tracks and not know exactly where it will lead. I know this may seem intuitive for a lot of people, but for those who trained to follow a prescribed path (medical school, law school, business school, etc), it’s really empowering to know that… it’s okay to switch it up and things might just work out better than you could have planned it! Now my side hustle is my main hustle and I’m open to finding paths from here!. Read more>>

Jillian Johnson | Owner

It all came together and opportunities came forward. At the very beginning it was rough. We weathered some interesting circumstances, I learned lessons, and it was hard. Be persistent and keep pushing forward. We have now ended up in an awesome new spot with a team of amazing artists. More lessons to be learned but I see nothing but flourishing happening. Read more>>

Patrick Shackley | Tattooer, Artist, Owner/Operator, Monarch Tattoo Studio

That money and financial security comes and goes. Finding a job/career that is fulfilling, challenging and inspiring will carry you through the lean times and make the struggles much more tolerable. Read more>>

Melissa Dasakis | Owner and Instructor at Psycle 9600 Spin® Studio

Be open to change! A business is not a static entity; it is a living, breathing, ever shifting being. All businesses are made up of people in the roles of either employee or patron and human beings are interesting creatures in the flux of living and not always predictable. The business needs to be prepared to flow with the changes rather than resist them. Of course, as we learned in 2020, there are also unforeseen outside forces. like a pandemic, which no one saw coming and required a lot of creative thinking and pivoting just to keep the business viable. Read more>>