There are so many factors that can play a role in determining our results, performance and ultimately our success, but some factors matter more than others. We asked folks what they felt was the most important factor driving their success.

Laura Polen | Portrait and Commercial Photographer

When I first started photography I followed photographers I admired. I built my pricing and business to look like theirs. Following their lead only felt like a shell of a business to me. Over the years I’ve made my style, my editing, my pricing into my own. I keep shifting to what ‘feels’ right. Longing to give my clients what I would want in the experience. In being authentic and open with them about my life, they open up to me about theirs. This allows me to capture their souls. I love telling stories or striking conversations through our sessions to distract my clients and get genuine looks and smiles. I am constantly aiming to make them feel comfortable in front of the camera. I gently guide them in posing, angles and even what emotion I am looking for in their eyes. Authenticity is everything. Being vulnerable myself gives them a save place to be their true self. Being in front of a camera is awkward for most people…so getting that authentic self to shine through can be tricky. When people feel loved and accepted, they open like a flower allowing me to capture their soul. The best compliment I repeatedly receive from clients is that I capture their true self. Read more>>

David Ocelotl | Sculptor & Painter

What I create is 100% mine own and I believe in the energy it carries. Read more>>

Andre Gonzalez | Publisher & Author

Being four years into my writing career, I have to attribute success to consistency and education. Most people think authors just write their books and send them out into the world, but there is a lot more that goes into it. It truly is running a business on a daily basis. The consistency portion definitely focuses on the writing and editing aspects, setting daily goals for yourself is key to keeping production high, and I’m proud to have written new words for a streak of450+ consecutive days, dating back to September of 2019. The education portion is what focuses more on the marketing/business side. Aside from needing to keep up with changes in the book market (hot genres, cover designs, pricing, etc.), we also have to maintain our marketing efforts. I’m in some high-level courses designed specifically for fiction authors, and trying to master ads on Facebook and Amazon. I’ve taken huge strides, but there is still plenty of work to be done. Read more>>

Jeni Nelson-Fagan | Wellness Coach, Chef, Ayurveda Educator & Yoga and Meditation Guide

Meditation. Meditation consistently shows up for me, if I show up for it. Taking the time to sit, in either stillness or breath daily, often leads to deep feelings, clarity, awareness and a simple way to process my life and goals. Meditation is so very unique to each individual because it is YOUR own guide, YOUR own teacher. We must connect, to hear and trust our path. I try to live each day abundantly, believing in my own worth of unlimited potential. In turn offering what gifts I can to others. I have something to give, I have something to teach. Meditation has shown me this; It is almost like I have no choice. Read more>>

Christine Rapert | Owner & Principal Designer

Our success is primarily due to the emphasis we place on attention to detail and 100% client satisfaction throughout the entire process from the initial phone call to project completion. It’s so important that our clients feel an immediate connection in their newly designed spaces, or that the interior of their business represents them in even the smallest details. We often develop a close relationship with our clients to bring out their personalities, and allow their projects to reflect their lives, not just the latest design trends. Behind the scenes, our driving force is excellence in all things, from the products and brands we use, and partners we work with, to the finishing details of a space and the overall experience working with HouseHome. Read more>>

Sara Geist | Hair Stylist

The success of my business is directly related to the relationship I have with my own integrity, and how I show up to support my clients. My Brand is about understanding, honesty, consistency, and thoughtfulness. My career allows me to glimpse into other people’s lives. They trust that I will listen to them and respect my skill set. They know that I will incorporate what we talk about and apply it to their hair. A core value I bring to my work is understanding. Understanding to me means respecting my clients and each of their individual circumstances in their lives. Things come up and I want to be supportive and understanding of my clients needs. My process involves a thorough interview and understanding of their daily lives, creating a style that is versatile and easily replicated. Honesty is how I try to live my life day to day, so it makes sense that I incorporate that into my career. Open honesty allows my guest and I to be on the same page with their styling needs and wants. This also allows my guests, over time, to let their guard down and speak openly with me. Read more>>

Laura Shackles | Owner & Creative Director

In my industry, there is an abundance of talent and it’s sometimes hard to differentiate yourself from the competition based on aesthetic and pricing alone, although I do think our clients are drawn to our bountiful and romantic style! BUT I strongly believe that the most important thing that sets us apart and keeps us moving forward is that we take great care of our clients. I mean really, really great care of them! We make their lives easier and less stressful! Efficiency, responsiveness, kindness, flexibility, excitement, professionalism…all things that I appreciate and value when I’m on the client end and I think those qualities keep our clients happy and give them comfort in referring us to their loved ones, as well. I love the relationship that I have with my clients and being a large part of a huge day in their life. Most importantly, I love making the process fun and enjoyable. Read more>>

Kim Mattei | Licensed Aesthetician & Owner

Besides hard work and dedication, I believe that my success comes from the personal relationships that I build with my guests. To me, it is much more than their skin-it is the entire person. I love to get to know my guests on a more personal level to really connect with them and get to know them. I think a lot of people in the industry choose not to cross that professional line, but I don’t mind. I love that some of my guests have turned into my best friends. Read more>>

RMT | Clothing Brand

The most important factor behind the success of our brand is the fact that we are all family. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and genuinely want the best for one another whether it is with our brand or life in general. Read more>>

Paulina Szafranski | Branding Marketing Expert & Match-Maker

My success comes from really branding myself even before social media was a platform to market yourself. I was always very conscious of myself as a brand from what books I read, where I traveled to, the neighborhood I selected to buy a home, the clothes I wear all a reflection of the brand that is a mirror of the clients I want to attract and work with. Like attracts like. Just as important is my genuine love of building personal relationships. This is something that comes naturally to me. When I am at the playground with my son I am subliminally networking for a future playdate with a mom I meet. If I am at a great restaurant and my server is a real estate agent I love asking for real estate advice and so on. I pride myself on having long successful friendships both in and out of work. I also pride myself on letting relationships go that no longer serve a positive purpose, I am not scared of pruning my garden of contacts. This exercise allows for new friends and work relationships to have room to enter my life. Those are the two factors that keep my brand fresh and relevant. Read more>>

Vanessa & Wren LeVan | Boutique Owners

Our business has gone through many phases over the years and being willing to adjust and do whatever is needed in that time to make it the business work has been and continues to be the success of Blush. When selling clothes and jewelry you have to be innovative and be where your customers want to find you. Originally, that was at home shows, then that tapered away. Then it was a brick and mortar store, which morphed back into an in-home boutique and small event venue a couple of years later. Then, once Wren came on board and brought her young ingenuity several years ago, it was only natural to take everything online. She has created a mini Blush Out West empire on Facebook and IG where our customers can not only get their shopping fix, but can also follow and engage in our daily lives and shenanigans. Once again, we’ve felt the tides turning with those avenues as well, at least Facebook for sure, so true to form, we’re adapting. Read more>>

Ashley Cornelius | Spoken Word Poet & Therapist

The most important factor behind my success is authenticity. I believe there is deep power in a Black woman sharing her emotions openly, because Black women’s voices and emotions have historically been oppressed. I find that sharing the inspiration, struggles, and joys behind my poetry opens me up for deep conversations and connections. I work hard to normalize mental health and art was a modality for healing. I aim to discuss topics and themes that might make people uncomfortable but inevitable will help those who need it grow and will make those who have similar lived experiences feel seen. As much as I love to share the struggles I’ve experienced, I believe another element of my success if sharing my humor and humanity. With artists or people in the public eye, it’s easy to only see them through their art, but I love to show all sides of myself. Humor is a powerful way to build relationships and share in humanity. Read more>>

Toni Geolfos | Bakery Owner

I would say the most important factor behind my success is my attention to detail and perfection. I strive to make sure every single one of my baked creations is perfect and exactly (or as close as humanly possible), to what my client has in mind. No matter how big or small. Another big factor is probably my customer service. In a world where the internet so easily shows the ugliness of some people, I want everyone to know that there are still people out there who genuinely care and are kind. Read more>>

Dane Vickers | Barber

Complete immersion in the craft. I have found that once I had completely immersed myself in the study and lifestyle of barbering I began to evolve rapidly with plenty of room to grow still. The brand became a success because of the quality of people within the walls of the establishment. Although it is very beneficial to have refined skills as a technician it is far more valuable to have a team of like-minded individuals dedicated to curating an environment conducive to progression and happiness amongst technicians and patrons alike. Read more>>

Evette Goldstein | Calligrapher & Artist

As a calligrapher, I have a unique formula for my business in that there are very few people who write calligraphy by hand and not all that do are able to write in virtually any style from the ancient classic styles to the hip modern styles. However, I believe the single most important factor in my success is my customer service. I treat each of my clients like gold and by that, I mean…, I give them my undivided attention from their initial inquiry to delivery of the completed work. I create personal samples, usually to match the writing on their invitation or specific style of writing they request. I keep them informed of my progress as well as any difficulties that may arise. I always ‘under promise’ and ‘over deliver’ ~ in other words, if I promise to have their order complete on a specific date, I always finish before that date. When I present them with the completed work, I always include a gift ~ usually a frame-able quote. Return clients always receive ‘preferred client’ pricing ~ usually a 10% reduced price for my work. Even though there are not very many calligraphers, I believe that if I do not extend the BEST customer service, they will enlist the services of someone else. Read more>>

Beth Kelley | Coach, Consultant & Author

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is trust..trusting myself, trusting the process, and trusting my client’s wisdom. Trust has many components; for me it is the ability to know who I am, who I can help, and how to say no. Trust is foundational to the success of a coaching relationship. Early in my career, I learned some very important and painful lessons that shaped the my beliefs about my business and helped me build trust from the ground up. The first lesson I learned was: I am not for everybody. Yep, I can’t please all of the people all of the time. And I am not the right fit for every client. And actually, I don’t want to be. It’s exhausting and ineffective. The more I accepted my own strengths and growth areas, the more I continued to attract the right clients, relationships and a sense of ease into my work. This realization led me to my next lesson: it is not in anyone’s best interest for me to say “yes” when I have a sense that I am not the right fit for a client (whether their need is outside my skill set, vision, or values). Read more>>