We’ve been fortunate to connect with so many brilliant, thoughtful entrepreneurs and creatives and we regularly ask them about the most important lessons they’ve learned over the course of their careers. We’ve shared some highlights below.

ean Garrison | Architectural Designer & Musician

Having my own business/my career has taught me that one of the most important things you can do in building a business/brand is building your network. I have always been a people person/extroverted, and I was raised hearing my dad say things like “it’s not what you know, its who you know”. And while I could always see the logic in that, I never focused on that in my early career. I wanted to make/design/do cool things (well, things that I thought were cool and interesting and good). So the craft, the process and the finished product were the things that were most on my mind during the early years. But it wasn’t until I was several years in that I started realizing the opportunity that came from the network of people you keep around you, and put yourself into. Sure you need focus on developing skills, and knowledge. Read more>>

Belinda Bullard | Author and Founder

There are many lessons that being a small business owner can teach you. But I think the most important lesson I have learned is actually two-fold. The first part is that, if you truly believe in the power of your business idea, pour into it with all the passion and determination that you have. Sometimes your idea may be ahead of its time, or the idea might need fine-tuning or a narrower scope to become successful. That said, so many businesses end before they have truly had a chance to get off the ground because of early setbacks that can cause passion to wane. That segues into the second learning: stay the course and be willing to make adjustments as needed to keep the idea alive. Where the idea might begin sometimes has little to do with where it will ultimately go, and not being flexible or adaptable can cost you the many benefits of self-employment along with the pleasure of learning and doing something new and/or different. Read more>>

Liz Faublas | Journalist, Writer, Communications & Marketing Specialist

Business and personal do not mix. The two should never be conflated.
When I started my company, it was challenging for me to quiet my innate sense of empathy and kindness while working in a newsroom, on a set, or on a marketing or promotions campaign. I wanted to appear friendly, welcoming, engaging as if somehow this would make me a better journalist, producer, or businessperson. I thought it was critical to be endearing. That is, until I realized that perception invited a whole slew of adverse reactions, ranging from straight disrespect to not being taken seriously as a professional. As a black woman, the negative responses seemed amplified, targeted, and blatant. Keep in mind, gender bias and racism are real issues and add to perceived vulnerabilities (and yes, some deem friendliness as a vulnerability). I learned, you can be cordial, without becoming some character tantamount to a greeter a Disneyworld. I can write your book, report your news, strategize your PR campaign and still be reserved, yet approachable. Read more>>

Cathy Dewalt | UR Special Day Owner/Designer

One of the most important things I’ve learned is to not look to others to validate my dreams or goals. God has given us all gifts…no other validation is needed. Others can discourage you unintentionally because they don’t share the same dream…and that’s ok. Once I put things in perspective, I was able to focus and move forward. Read more>>

Maxine Osborn | Women’s Empowerment Coach

The most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make was resigning from my teaching career. I’ve always had a soft spot for kids, so my life-long plan was to be an elementary school teacher. I’ll be honest, I truly loved teaching my students and yet, I hated my job. Four days before the new school year, I ended up in the emergency room with heart palpitations. After wearing a heart monitor for 2 months, my doctor told me my heart was in great condition and the palpitations were caused by the work stress I was experiencing. He highly recommended I resign from teaching and find something less stressful. I was devastated! This was my only plan in life!. Read more>>

Soghra (Rubi) Hyder | Entrepreneur, Beautician, Influencer & Small bussines Owner

The most difficult decision to me was deciding not to close down my salon after juat 1 year in business. I was put in a situation where I had 2 choices either close the business or run it on my own, I’m glad I trusted my heart with that decision. Read more>>

Otis Bartlett | Executive Personal Trainer

I would honestly have to say the most difficult decision in my life came when I decided to actively live a life in which I seek discomfort. I came to realize that a life of mediocrity wasn’t that in which I desired for myself. I couldn’t visualize myself working 20 plus years doing, and living the same mundane life daily. So I’m seeking discomfort…I place myself in proactive situations and circumstances that force me to grow and advance in whatever aspects those situations are within. Read more>>