We asked some of the city’s hidden gems to tell us about what they feel is the most important factor behind their success.

Dr. Joy Gray | Author, Public Speaker, Spiritual Consultant

From the start, I decided to grow my business like a tree – not a weed that would grow fast and get pulled up because it is annoying. Trees take time to grow. Trees take time to season. Trees take time. Yes, there are a lot of “get rich fast” ideas – and maybe some of them work. I would not know because I have never tried one. But a strong business that is successful needs the support to grow through the season and the business cycle. How to grow your brand like a Tree? 1) Trees grow over time – growth through the business cycle. 2) Trees need to be planted in an environment that is conducive to its growth over the long run – targeted audience. 3) Trees grow tall – do not minimize your authenticity even if those around you aren’t growing as tall… be authentic and true to yourself. 4) Trees strengthen due to the harsh winds – when your business is getting challenged, let those challenges make you stronger. Read more>>

Caitlin Shannon | WordPress Website Designer

There are a lot of different definitions of “success” out there. Many people consider themselves successful if they have a lot of money, or a lot of notoriety/fame. When I launched my design studio full-time, I obviously wanted to grow my business, but I wanted to do it in a way that felt good. I wanted to enjoy showing up every day, build business relationships that felt sincere and respectful, and still have something left to give to my loved ones and personal life at the end of the day. It has taken a lot of trial and error to figure out what that looks like. At the end of the day, it’s about putting people before profit and, as my good friend and business inspiration Amanda McLernon says, committing to “expertise without ego.” Nowadays, my design pipeline is almost always full and I rarely have to do any outbound marketing and I make my revenue goals almost every month. Read more>>

Mariah Sun | Model, Spiritual Healer, & Psychic

Integrity and meaning. I think I find success in a lot of things because I have a purpose in everything I do. Even my business ventures, I never went into anything for the money. Modeling, I just wanted to show girls and boys who look different you can literally be whoever. When I sold clothes, I wanted to help women feel beautiful. Now that I’m embarking further into my spiritual journey and dabbling in the retail side world of metaphysics- my only goal is to help people heal. I think you get back what you give and I try to be genuine and selfless. Read more>>

Barbara Brooks & Guadalupe Hirt | Co-Founders of SecondActWomen

The success we’ve enjoyed, even through tough times, is based on the level of “realness” we both bring to this community of businesswomen 40 & 50+. We’ve ugly cried and shared things about ourselves that most women would never dare to – we’re talking struggles about marriage, finances, self-esteem, imposter syndrome, weight, dating, health, life and so many other things. We’re no different than our community because, we ARE our community of women and it’s always been important for us to show relatability vs we lead; you follow. In short, we’ve created a safe place, where women can celebrate and lean-in without judgment. Yes, as the cliché goes, we’re all in this together and unstoppable. Additionally, we’ve created a social movement that is rescripting how GEN X women are perceived. We are not what many believe a 40 & 50+ years young woman should look like, act like, live like and so much more. Read more>>

Warren Wood | Warren Wood- Founder & CMO of Elevated Seltzer

The most important factor is being in business with my brother. We compliment each other to the next level. My area of expertise is opposite of his and his is opposite of mine but we have the same vision. We are able to work together while not stepping on each other’s toes and make decisions with hardly any disagreement. We grew up with our family’s brewery that started in 2002 so we’ve technically been working with each other since I was 10 and he was 5. Read more>>

Adrian Egolf | Professional Organizer & Designer

The most important factor behind the success of my business, Clean Slate Living, is my unwavering belief in the Why. Why Clean Slate and why now? Your environment has a profound impact on your well being, both physically and spiritually. I have a fundamental desire to help others and make a difference in the world, and I truly believe that creating space for others improves their lives, livelihood, and overall happiness. I’ve seen the proof working with my clients! It is why I started my business, why it continues to be important to me, and why it continues to thrive. The impact organizing a space and creating a simple system has on my clients is profound, motivating, and life-changing. It is what keeps me going and what makes me love what I do!. Read more>>

Jolene Rheault | Marketing and Productivity Expert

Until last summer, I was not diagnosed as having ADHD. Before that moment, I was able to complete graduate school, start my own business, and do other things. Certainly, it was a struggle, but I developed my own productivity and focus strategies to help myself get through it. As such, I believe that the key to my success is how I leverage who I am and what makes me unique. ADHD is often viewed negatively, but the individuals who suffer from it are some of the most competent, creative, and innovative business owners and entrepreneurs in the world. Read more>>

Kristi Pohly | Floral Designer

The most important factor behind the success of Fleur Decor is relationship building with clients. In the wedding and events realm, the center of each is people. People celebrating their love for one another, a milestone, or a cause near and dear to their heart. As a business owner, it is so important for me to celebrate these events along with my clients by providing the best service in delivery and design. I mimic the personalities of my clients in their floral design so that the event has a cohesive overall feel. With this relationship building, I gain trust and accolades for my work with my clients and they in turn recommend me to their friends, coworkers, and family members. Read more>>

Jenn Cleary | Owner and founder of The Wandering 1 Adventure Apparel

I attribute greatly the success of The Wandering 1 to three things: community, flexibility, and faith. When The Wandering 1 was still just an idea, I was in a period of my life when staying in one place for too long meant I was “sitting still.” I had visions that I would continue to explore new areas and communities, and not settle in any one place. A funny thing happened soon after launching the brand though: every time I made to move locations, some new opportunity too good to ignore kept popping up that kept me stationed. With each opportunity, leaving my small town in Colorado was suddenly much more difficult because my connections were growing, and with it the recognition of my brand. I felt a pull to both stay and go (which I think many of us can relate to at times) and at first it was frustrating! But over time I realized that integrating myself into a close-knit, supportive community was much more valuable than seeing new places for the sake of “going somewhere” in life. Read more>>

Jessica Ennis | Owner, Go to Girl Communications, Where I Specialize in Writing Engaging Content For Healthcare,Health Tech, and Nonprofit Organizations

I think I’ve found success for a few reasons. First, I fully believe good things will come if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Stepping out on my own in 2015 was an effort to get back to doing what I loved the most: telling people’s stories. Re-focusing on my passion led me to wonderful opportunities and doors being opened. Second, relationships are very important to me. I have forged strong professional relationships over the years, and those are the people who have become long-term clients or who have recommended me time and time again. They are the reason I am approaching six years of being a sole proprietor. I built those relationships through open collaboration and by being a person who loves connecting people to each other. And of course, by how I conduct my business: my clients say I am reliable, easy to work with, and that I consistently produce high-quality work. Read more>>

Jen Honeycutt | Family and Child Photographer

Most people don’t love having their picture taken so I make it my goal to help everyone feel comfortable in front of my camera. I have learned what poses work well, I get people talking and opening up about themselves, and I have jokes I can say to kids to get them laughing. My greatest compliment has been when dads leave the session and say, “That was actually fun and went by fast!”. Read more>>

Jon Johnson | Founder, Artist, Professional Over-Thinker.

Curiosity. I think the single most important thing an entrepreneur can retain in their life is a spirit of curiosity. This generally leads to much more meaningful conversations, deeper connections and less ego driven choices. If we are always seeking more information, better process, broader views we will (more than likely) spend more time listening and empathizing with others. This also helps when trying to solve a problem with technology. You cannot solve a problem without understanding it and how it affects those that are dealing with it. Read more>>

Alyssa Hill | Interior Designer & Stylist

First of all, I think that to define “success” is such a unique part of each individual’s or business’ journey. I have had to really refine what I believe success means for my own brand, especially during this past year when the pandemic hit all of our businesses so hard and it caused so many of us to re-assess and re-define. So, for me, a successful brand is one that I feel fulfilled in and is bigger than myself; one that gives me a purpose and a fuel to keep going (even in the moments when I don’t understand how I’m still going). It’s also something that gives me the ability to produce a ripple effect in my community by practicing the positive force of beauty around me. It’s a business that draws me to great people and fellow small businesses, and allows me to be a better part of my community and a better mom, wife, and provider for my family. Read more>>

Nolan Brumbach | Band Manager and Drummer

The most important attribute to our success is our drive to create. Our friend once asked us “What would you do if you didn’t have music”, and we did not have an honest answer. This is just something we love to do. We love the spark of inspiration, the molding of a song, the process of practicing into insanity, and the reward of listening to a final master track! We are also just great friends, it is easy to play with each other and there is a brotherly trust between every one of us. We all have a similar goal and can’t wait to get to practice at the end of the day to relax and just play with each other. So, we just create more opportunities to share and create, which keeps us constantly moving forward. Read more>>

Dominique Montano | Graduate Researcher and Artist

I think the past (and hopefully continued!) success has definitely been my ability to be adaptable and approachable with my art. Straying away from just prints and originals and breaking out into different types of products like chalk bags, stickers and hats has allowed me to access more diverse audiences and allow my art to emerge in unconventional settings. By exploring new avenues and activities I have been able to bring my art to new audiences where the market isn’t super saturated. I would always hear comments like ‘i don’t have the wall space’ and that sort of pushed me to make things independent of walls. Making products folks really like and can put anywhere has really helped my work to flourish. Particularly emerging in a college town and being a college student, I understand the financial strains, and wanted to create products that wouldn’t break the bank and be affordable for any person. Read more>>

Caren Martinez | Content Creator and Influencer

Consistency and continual education. No one is truly an expert. I think that there is always so much can we can continue to learn on our practice. Staying up to date in your profession is so so important. Also consistency, in the marketing and influencer space, you have to stay on top of trends and what your audiences wants to see from you. People often struggle in social media that they are not growing but they need to understand they need to continually push through and create consistent content. That has helped me to grow a community online. Read more>>

Erin Hutchison | Car Collector, Museum Founder & CEO

I believe that passion is the single most important factor to not only success, but to life in general. I think that when an individual’s passion is able to shine through, it allows everything they do to embody a little bit of their life and happiness. That joy not only makes each task and day more enjoyable, it also creates an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. I’m so incredibly fortunate to be able to imbue every day and undertaking with not only my passion for cars and everything automotive, but also with my passion for helping the community where and when I am able to. I so enjoy any chance that I have to be involved in the communities that I look to serve, from Parker specifically, to local car groups, to the non-profit organizations that I’m privileged to work with. I love having the opportunity to combine the aspects when possible to create an incredible impact for good. Read more>>

Kathryn Yoder | Business Owner and Artist

Relationships are everything in my business. This became especially clear when COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect last year and my wholesale orders were cancelled or downsized. I had to maintain flexibility, understanding, and compassion for my customers even when my profits were severely impacted. This has paid off and this year customers who had to cut orders last year in some cases doubled their orders for this year. Relationships with my customers are quantified in reorders and reviews on direct to consumer platforms like Amazon Handmade and Etsy. Read more>>

Megan Lundstrom | Co-Founder and Director of Research at The Avery Center

The most important factor behind my success to date has hands down been understanding the importance of relationships. As a complex trauma survivor, I have struggled greatly with learning how to trust anyone, and initially it was a significant hinderance to getting The Avery Center off the ground. I believed that no one was capable of seeing my vision or helping carry any part of it – I was convinced that they were going to let me down at some point, or that it would take longer to explain things to them than if I just did it myself. The reality is that “fierce independence” can be a trauma response, and while it is admired in our society, it can actually be really detrimental. When I was in my graduate program at UNCO, I took a sociological theory course where we learned about Pierre Bourdieu and his theory on the different types of capital. Read more>>

Erin Early | Director of Steamboat Shorty’s (Toddler Soccer Program)

As a teacher, a coach, and founder of Steamboat Shorty’s, I think the most important factor behind my success is entirely attributed to my belief that I can always be better, I can always learn something new, and maintaining a positive attitude is what drives my success entirely. Shorty’s has definitely evolved over the years and it is because I seek out new ways to teach and coach and I surround myself with others that share my same passion. Lastly, I have the best staff. I use my high school players and former players to help coach in the toddler program. They have such a fantastic energy. The kids love them so much and we keep our numbers small to aid in management and better instruction overall. Read more>>

Ashlee Crowden | Wedding & Elopement Photographer

I believe as a wedding photographer the biggest thing that has pushed my business so the next level is ALWAYS pushing myself creatively. ALWAYS. I believe I’m never done growing as an artist. I’m never done connecting with other wedding vendors and making new connections. I use to pour a lot of my energy into what I was doing wrong, how I wasn’t booking as much as another photographer, how I was charging too much, how I was charging too little, I wasn’t traveling as much as another photographer, comparing gear, presets, Instagram grids, the list goes on. I’ve worked really hard to shift my focus away from things I cannot control, to things that I can control. I can’t control who books other photographers, but I can control the content I post to attract my ideal client. Doing things like styled shoots has been a game changer for my business. Read more>>

Patric Matysiewski | Co-Founder / Winemaker

Authenticity. Unashamedly pursuing what we want, doing it our own way. The ability to have creative freedom allows us to think outside the box, while staying clear of replicating anyone else’s success, and staying true to ourselves. Read more>>

Livvy List | Photographer

I believe the most important factor behind the success of my brand is creating a comfortable, personable and welcoming atmosphere. As a photographer, I believe that making sure my client is comfortable while shooting with me, leads to better content. I value making connections, no matter who you are or what you to. By doing this, this allows me to get to know my subject, which in turn leads to photos they feel most like themselves in. Read more>>

Hannah Kinderlehrer | Holistic Life Coach & Dance Facilitator

I do everything from the inside out! I share what I’m learning, I am open with my process of growth, pain, evolution, and discovery. I am vulnerable and authentic in my coaching and teaching, I don’t pretend to have it all figure out- when we’ve figured it all out we may as well be dead! I am in the learning/discovery process alongside everyone I work with- that keeps the process alive and juicy and co-creative! I am a life long student of myself, interdependence, and all beings around me, and I invite others into the process with me, so we are all on this wild ride journey together- I just happen to be sharing what I’ve learned and what has helped me, along the way. Because I’ve been through A LOT and I have a lot to share. Read more>>

Sandi Wilson | Music Educator, Clinician, & Musician

The most important factor for me is creating a safe and loving environment so my students can be their most successful selves and feel free to explore new ideas. Making this my focus has allowed me to develop a meaningful relationship with my students and their families. I have become “the music mama” to many of my students, and I love it and them. I want my students to feel supported even when they aren’t practicing musicians. Many of my students do not necessarily want to pursue music as a career, and thats okay! You don’t have to be a musician to appreciate and respect the arts. The fact that these kiddos are opening their minds to the multifaceted world that is music is the first step. My goal isn’t to produce the next Mozart, it’s to help my students develop a love for the art of music. Read more>>

Michelle Talarico | Founder and Co owner of Picnic Basket Catering Collective

The most important factor behind our success is integrity. We have core values; take care of your customers, your employees and your vendors as if they are your family. We have deep relationships with our clients who have become friends. In tandem we have always given back to our community. We believe we are a stronger company when our community is strong and thriving. Read more>>

Haley Bartlett | Your Aussie Agent – Realtor

Relationships – It took me a few years to work out what my super power was. Super power being something that I was good at but that also made my heart happy. My super power is relationships. I love building them, growing them and nurturing them. I tell my clients that our relationship doesn’t end at the closing table, they can’t get rid of me that easily. Read more>>

Erin Lemmons | HR Strategist and Founding Partner of Eolàs HR

I think the most important factor behind my success is the ability to be nimble; to flex and adapt as I go along. Nothing in life stays the same and I believe we must always be looking at where we are and how what we are doing today is driving us towards where we want to go. When the world in which we live shifts, we have to be ready and able to shift with it. COVID and the year we’ve all been through is a perfect spotlight to that. Being able to look authentically at current processes and strategies and to make appropriate adjustments, whether big or small, have kept me moving forward. I may not always get it right, but as long as I’m able to react and adjust, the momentum I create continues to propel me forward. Read more>>

Karen Dorfman | Realtor

I believe the most important factor behind the success of my business has been my ability to connect with people on a personal level. This ability to relate and build rapport is so important to me, so that when I express my knowledge of the real estate industry and the current market conditions to help guide my clients in a certain direction, they know I have their best interests in mind. It is important to me to be authentic, empathetic, and compassionate throughout the transaction. I recognize this process is emotional and often times overwhelming, so being able to identify my clients’ needs, concerns, and desires allows me to take control of the situation to avoid further unnecessary stressors. Read more>>

Jamie Pendleton | Biotech Rep/Mother of Child With Rare Disease – Raising Money To Develop a Cure

There is a child behind my need to succeed. I have worked in the biotech industry for 15 years, putting patients first. I have always been pro pharmaceutical industry, but I didn’t realize just how this system fails, until my my daughter, Miren, was diagnosed with an ultra rare genetic disease, for which there is no cure. With fewer than 100 patients diagnosed with CACNA1A, there is no incentive for pharmaceutical companies to develop a treatment. Therefore, I am raising capital to develop one myself with the goal of treating Miren and helping other kids with CACANA1A reach their highest potential, Along the way, I’ve learned that rare diseases aren’t that rare. More than 7,000 rare diseases have been identified, and 10% of the population will be diagnosed with a rare disease. More and more parents are starting to drive research and development of drugs for these conditions through personal initiatives. Read more>>