While it’s inspiring to read high level summaries of success stories, we think it’s just as important to learn about what drove the success and made it possible. We’ve asked some of the brightest folks we know to open up about what they believe was the most important factor behind their success.

Johnny Forte | Alternative DJ/Content Creator

I think the consistency of building relationships with my creative colleagues plays a vital part in my success. Networking is such an important aspect of being creative, along with the use of social media. It’s good to expand your horizons and meet different people with different backgrounds, styles and art mediums. My friend D-Fi Logic is great at networking, which inspires me to get out there and meet new people as well. My friend Bruce is a videography who shoots everything from engagement videos, weddings, and Hip-Hop music videos. He started off shooting at JDM car meets, and has footage of his own car. I started off helping him and he said I have a natural eye. When friends believe in you, it pushes you farther. I’m proud of all my friends doing their thing. It’s not easy out there being an artist, especially right now being a DJ. I feel my brand is Alternative and a little bit unorthodox to what people are usually used to. Read more>>

John Guzman | Painter

The simplest insight I ever had with myself as a painter is concentrating on the things I can control and disregarding the things I can’t. In the past I was intrigued but misunderstood by the concept of recognition, never asking myself why I thought this was important. I later realizes I romanticized the lives of artists of the past and glorified their popularity. This attitude I had with recognition did nothing beneficial toward my practice and became more of a distraction from things that are more significant to my career. I concluded that I had no control over my notoriety and what is more important are the progressive mile stones that lead up to success. My efforts had become directed toward improving in any aspect I could, such as make reading a part of my daily routine, maintain a strong work ethic and to make work with complete honesty. Read more>>

King Baby | Musician

Never being afraid to just be myself & always believing that no matter what we must keep pushing forward. Understanding that so many times falling flat on your face in failure is all a part of your success. It’s a fine line to walk being a musician but you soon learn fast that things are only what you make of them. Read more>>

Jerica Bryant | Horsemanship Instructor & Cowgirl

The most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand is honestly my wife and my dad. They are my driving force and what keep me motivated to excel to higher heights. There are days I want to quit but they find the means to keep me encouraged and going strong. Read more>>

Jannine Jack | Owner of Soul Delicioso Sweets & Self-Taught Cake Baker & Artist

I think the most important factor behind my success is my tenacity. With a full-time job and also running Soul Delicioso Sweets, life gets very hectic. Like I’ve mentioned before, there have been many days where I get off of work from my day job, go home and get straight to baking. Juggling the two has led me to many sleepless nights, but all I have to do is turn on some Gucci Mane, Future, Pop Smoke, MoneyBagg Yo, drink a Bang, and I am good to go, baby! Trust me, I have had many opportunities where I could have easily used the excuse to throw in the towel on Soul Delicioso Sweets since “I don’t have the time,” but I love doing what I do too much to let it go. Doing what I love is what makes it so easy to keep going. Read more>>

Rebecca Castillo | CEO/Owner

The Jumping Zone was created with 14 years experience in mind. My husband is the nuts and bolts of this program. His 14 years experience in the field combined with my experience in customer service and planning helped us start the foundation of this business. Read more>>

Naundi Cook | Owner of FeelNu By Naundi Skincare

The most important factor that I always relay to people behind my success, is definitely never cutting corners. I spend long hours researching. As well as long hours in the lab, perfecting the science portion of things and figuring out what works best. I really focus on setting myself apart. My business is truly my passion. I feel like when you are that passionate about something, its a must that you execute every step to the best of your ability, every time. And my customers see that. They know that. And they respect that. Read more>>

Jena’ | Owner of Jae the Don and Queen Tings

Sharing my personal healing story has been the most important factor behind the success of my brand. Due to my career and my business being somewhat sensual in its nature, I was afraid to be the face of my business. Being my own brand ambassador was the best way to reach and speak to my customers, so many women have a story similar to mine. Read more>>

Shanterria , Phoenix Jackson, Harden | Multicultural Children’s Book Authors

The most important factor behind our success is Authenticity. From the mommy and me photos to the cultural inclusion, it’s simply the essence of who we are. We are just excited that we get to share what we love with everyone else. Read more>>

Cecilia Nguyen | Optometrist

I can say with confidence that having the right team behind you can elevate your success. I wanted to make sure during my hiring process to find the right team members to help support me. The biggest thing overall was to make sure that they valued providing great customer service. This was very important for my business because we provide a professional service (performing comprehensive vision exams) along with a retail service (selling optical glasses and sunglasses). Besides that, I also had to find people who were similar in my core values but also different in other areas where I wasn’t as strong in. It has taken time to find the right fit but I wouldn’t be where I am at now without the support of my amazing team. I know I can be away and my patients are still well taken care of. Read more>>

Demetrius Hines | Photographer & Creative Director

Willpower and just grinding for what you believe in, Success is what you make it really. I do believe if someone wants it bad they’ll fight to obtain it. Read more>>

Jacqueline Burnett-Petite | Financial Planner & Math Tutor

I hold customer service and relations to a high level of importance. From the very start of my business I realized that having that individual connection with my clients made the difference in their experience and if they became a returning client. I’m constantly pushing myself to be better. As my business is growing, I’m always asking myself how I can remain involved in some aspect and make sure my clients still feel that sense of care when they enter into a business relationship with me. I do understand that with growth comes change, but I believe also that being genuine and true to your passions and beliefs will also continue to insinuate the growth in which you want to achieve, SUCCESS!. Read more>>

Sarah Gaines, MSN, RNC-OB | The Six Figure Travel Nurse®

The most important factor behind the success of the Six Figure Travel Nurse® is the powerful community of nurses that is constantly growing, evolving and changing the nursing industry as a whole. Many nurses assume travel nursing is about making more money but being a Six Figure Travel Nurse is about gaining the one thing that’s more valuable than money which is FREEDOM. Gaining the freedom to work wherever you want and vacation as long as you choose has proven to be a key component to improving nurse burn-out while also giving nurses the autonomy to build the life they deserve. The pandemic has taken a huge toll on most nurses and the Six Figure Travel Nurse community provides a supportive group of like-minded nurses who uplift, empower and motivate one another to reach their highest potential. So naturally, the Six Figure Travel Nurse community grew (and continues to grow) exponentially. Read more>>

Juan Reyes | Real Estate Agent & Stock Investor While in Highschool!

The most important factor behind my success is definitely the impact I have on others and myself. When I first started seeing real progress, and success coming my way I knew I would get caught up with how fast I was growing and still are. I took a moment and realized that when I was struggling, trying to find my passion I had my family, friends, and other people support me all the way through. I then continued to work towards my goals and also helping others during that process. Behind my success and brand, there is a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment. Read more>>

Grace Smith | Creator of Eco Luxe By Graced Esthetics

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is that I created my company to fix a problem, not just to make money. Of course making money is amazing but, fixing a problem creates longevity and puts purpose behind your work. Skincare products marketed to Black women are more toxic due to societal pressures to confirm to European beauty standards. Eco Luxe by Graced Esthetics products aim to motivate long term benefits and maintenance for skin without sacrificing your health. Read more>>

Sunil Kowlgi | Programmer & Startup Founder

We’ve built a software product for creating lesson videos. The question we ask ourselves everyday is are people using our product. If people are using our product it confirms we are on the right track. If people are not using our product then we have to improve the product. We learn what users need by talking to them on what they like or don’t like about the product. Communicating with users is the most important factor for our success. All our new product ideas are a result of talking to users about problems they face and coming up with an innovative product to solve them. Read more>>

Xavier Joseph | Country Music Singer

While there is still much to accomplish, the biggest thing that got me really going in the country music space, and has led to my successes thus far, was reframing my headspace and my approach. After the slow down affect 2020 had on my career, I knew 2021 had to be something epic. So starting with the first day of 2021 I approached everything related to country music with intent and a “won’t take no for an answer”/ “I will find a way” attitude. With this approach things quickly began to work out and success has been coming faster than I can almost keep up. At the end of the day to become a success in anything is not all about talent. It truly comes down to who is willing to go above and beyond, and not make excuses. Reframe your mind and you’ll be amazed at what follows. Read more>>

Michael Dangerfield | Licensed Professional Counselor, Mental Wellness Specialist & Author

Authenticity is the driving force behind my success and the success of my brand. All IN was birthed from my life’s experiences, not something I read, fabricated, or witnessed. I’ve never viewed myself as anything more important or special than the next person however, when I look back over my life, it was the faith that God blessed me with to go “all in” with whatever I decided to put my mind to that made the difference. I have committed my life to continuous growth and development and I want the same for each and every person I have an opportunity to touch through the All In Brand. People see that I’m transparent, positive, and always seizing opportunities to become the best version of myself and they want that for themselves. Real people recognize the real value in going. Read more>>

DJ Dholi Deep | DJ/Music Producer/Radio Host

To never give up. No matter what you do for a living, there will be struggles, but you always have to have a positive mindset and never give up. Read more>>

Fontonette Smith | Founder and Creator

The most important factor behind my success is sharing my brand story. Sharing how I became frustrated during the process of starting my first business. Even expressing my lack of knowledge on how to start, run, or manage a business. But, that was not my ending point and I refused to allow my ideas to go to waste. At that point, I knew I had to figure things out on my own. So, I searched the web, made notes for myself, and decided to push forward. In 2011, I launched my first business without any help. Once I launched, many people begin to ask, “How did you start your business”? I did not hesitate to share the information I found. From the experience of helping a hand full of people, I identified the potential growth for my future business. The thought of creating a resource business for aspiring Entrepreneurs like myself would benefit others. Just within a year, The Lady Eye-Services was born. Read more>>

Lauren Bebeau | Creator of SETXfoodies, Founder of Passion PR

The most important factor behind the success of my brand has always been to support the local business owners in my area. It was too often that I would meet business owners who did not know ways to reach new customers. Without customers, they would not survive. Through creating SETXfoodies & Passion PR, I have given these owners a person to trust with their digital marketing efforts. By supporting small business owners, we are giving our community a chance at having more options. More options make communities and areas unique and worthwhile. Read more>>

Sarina Steed | Designer & Entrepreneur

The most important factor behind my success is to allow God to lead me and follow-through. “The follow-through is key! Everything I have ever done, made, or sold first came from a vision from God. I keep reminders on my weekly calendars to pray about everything first. When I start my projects, I have “pray first” literally written on my sewing machines. God truly leads me and is the most important factor behind my business. Once I have that vision, it is very important that I see it through and believe in it. I have put things off, I have had moments of fear but God has shown me if I stay true to myself and act on what he tells me I will be successful. Read more>>

Bievienea Harry | Pretty Girl Goals, Founder

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is consistency. Being consistent allows you to establish awareness, build trust and deliver your services efficiently and profitably. Read more>>

Jordan and Aliyah Parker and Thomas | Plus-Size Podcasters

We believe that the most important factor being our success is authenticity. Personality aside, it’s no secret the core of our brand is being plus-size women. We talk about a plethora of other things. Still, as plus-size women in society, we know that it comes with many different layers from what fuels our confidence, our insecurities, dating success, woes, amongst many more. We have no issue openly discussing those topics with our supporters, and we hope they appreciate that. Read more>>

Thomas Nguyen | Retail Tenant Representation at CBRE/Co-Founder of Peli Peli South African Kitchen

I think the most important factor behind the success Peli Peli enjoyed, and also now behind the success I have personally enjoyed in my new career with CBRE, comes down to the relationships I have been able to establish. At the end of the day, the relationships we establish with our families, friends, co-workers and in Peli Peli’s case, our guests, is the only thing of real value, the only thing that really matters. I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up, so going through that experience really shaped me as a person and helped me place a tremendous value on relationships. Read more>>

KIMBERLY DEVINE | Owner-Creative Director, Uplight Digital Marketing Agency

I contribute our success to doing the job well with a dedication to serving customers with high standards of integrity and excellence. We start with fair, honest and transparent pricing that is posted publicly on our website (www.uplightdigital.com). It give clients and potential clients the comfort of knowing that pricing is the same for everyone. Then we deliver gorgeous branded graphics, spend time reaching out to our clients potential clients to convert leads, interact within online networking on their behalf and more. We offer more than any other marketing company for the price. We love what we do and are proud of the results!. Read more>>

Dr. Ashlei Evans | Author, Speaker, Christian Spiritual & Interpersonal Leadership Coach, Educational Consultant, & Founder of The Ash Exchange International LLC

The most important factor behind my success is God, having an understanding of his will for my life, and choosing to have faith and obey him beyond what I do or do not see happening. I recognize that without him The Ash Exchange International LLC would not exist. It takes me knowing God to have the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding needed to be a vessel that helps bring awareness of God’s love and beauty in Christian women and educational institutions. It is God who embraces, educates, and empowers me so that I can do the same for. Read more>>

Emily Ufer | Artist

As an artist, you are your brand. The person people see interviews, on Instagram, or in person is genuinely me. There is no filter or paraphrasing involved. When someone decides to hang a piece of my art in their home or business, I know that they’re not just hanging something pretty – they’re hanging something that inspires them, evokes a memory or feeling. I cannot plan for the way my art makes people feel, nor should I. I can only plan for my art to be a genuine expression of what inspires me. Read more>>

Tyree Leopold | Founder of MVE

Just being consistent. Success doesn’t happen over night, and as corny as that sounds it’s true! You have to work, fail , and try over and over again. Giving up is the ultimate failure and that’s not what we’re about. Read more>>

Runyaro Brilliant | Entrepreneur & Fashion Designer

The most important factor behind my success is making sure that I stay consistent, staying true to myself, believing in myself, and never taking closed doors as the final making decision. Read more>>

Grant Mitterlehner | President & CEO of MittGroup

The most important factor in my personal success has been my dedication to improving myself and developing my skills in business. Early on, I started spending anywhere between 15-30 minutes a day studying and learning skills that would elevate me in the business world. Houston has one of the most competitive economies, so it is extremely important to constantly evolve yourself and your business. One of the best realizations is that your business will never grow unless you grow with it. Everything flows from the top, therefore it is the leader’s job to guide and direct the organization in a path that will create success. Creating a successful brand always starts with its people. Having great people within an organization is a fast track to success. In just the last year, MittGroup has grown to every major city in Texas and became one of the fastest-growing solar companies in the nation. Read more>>

Joshua Okonye | Physical Therapy Student & Food Enthusiast

I would say the most important factor is just being authentic with myself and to those around me. Read more>>

Julie Richard | Vice President

What makes our brand, services, and products better than those provided by our competitors are simply following these three statements: “State of the Art”, “Cutting Edge”, and “Competitive Advantage”. Our 20-year-old showroom, which is the largest showroom in Texas, has always been “State of the Art”, but in 2017 it got a make-over. We renovated our entire 10,000 sq. ft. showroom with the latest kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor trends that other pool companies would not even consider. We offer our clients a full-service in-house consultation experience where they can see, touch, hear and test out anything and everything they desire to have built-in in their backyard. We also offer a virtual experience for our clients where they can design their idea virtually on our website or at our store on our touch-screen computer. This virtual experience allows the client to truly see their storyboard come to life with products we already have on display in our showroom. Read more>>

Heather Keller | Founder + Travel Advisor for Perfect Landing Travel

Our number one goal with every client is hitting a home run on what they’re dreaming of and would like out of their vacation. In getting to know them and their preferences, we’re able to curate experiences that are on their wish list, as well as anticipate moments they may not have thought of. We pride ourselves on taking care of all the logistics, especially moving forward coming out of a pandemic, and making sure they have everything they need, it’s all arranged and lined out for them, so they don’t have to worry about the details and they can just do exactly what they’re supposed to do- enjoy their vacation. We carefully select our partnerships and suppliers to work with so that we can trust our clients are well taken care of and VIP’d all the way through their travels. Being a part of the Virtuoso network, as well as our Host Agency, Departure Lounge, means strong relationships which translates to perks, additional amenities, and VIP treatment during their vacation. These partnerships also translate to mean that our client’s investment in their vacation is well tended to with an extremely high-touch experience. Read more>>

Belinda Longoria | Cookie Baker & Artistic Creator

The most important success factor behind my business is customer service. Listening to my customers, investing time in the process from ordering to delivering my final product to them has to be 100% attention to detail in providing great customer service. I to like to support businesses and as a customer I look for great customer service provided to me. I will highly continue to support others when they respect me as a person. So, in turn I want that same support from my customers and if I treat them well, value them, honor their time, then my business will continue to grow successfully and my brand will be a success. After all, I follow the golden rule “treat others how you would like to be treated” this holds truth and value. Read more>>

Laura Perez | Owner of Balloon Luxe Events. A Mom, a Wife, and a Hustler.

HARD WORK. There is no other way around it. You get what you put in. Many sleepless nights, many 4/5am mornings. You have to wrap yourself around your goals, and be relentless when it comes to them. Nobody is going to hand you anything, you have to grind. I am a person of determination, once I am determined to achieve something, I become tenacious. Read more>>

Thien-An Nguyen | Houston Unity Lions Club President – District 2S2 Hunger Chairperson

As you probably know, behind every success there is a great team. It applies equally to a family, a workplace, a club, and your local community. Creating and building a great team is a challenge. It requires skill, great leadership, and some luck. Although no club is the same, but high performing clubs all have one thing in common – outstanding team members. When you have an outstanding team behind you, you can do the impossible. Read more>>

Christy Drake | Baker and Owner, Baked By Drake

The most important factor in the success of Baked by Drake is the connections I’ve made with customers. We have been vendors at the Memorial Villages Farmers Market for three years, and we have built relationships with customers who stop by each weekend for a “market cookie.” I’ve been lucky enough to make cookies for customers as they celebrate important moments in their lives and then continue those relationships as they celebrate the or next big event. Read more>>

Will Ervin | Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Investor

After the Most High, I would say the support of my family. Being the owner of 2 businesses, requires a lot focus and time. I need the support of my family. For them to understand my job does not have set work hours or a consistent schedule is very important. It allows me to do what needs to be done. To me they are the most important factor behind any success I experience. For my brand, I would attribute to my communication skills. Being able to talk to people and build rapport has allowed me to grow the brand. Read more>>

Kaya Lovell | Singer Songwriter

You can’t worry about what others think of you. You can’t let fear of rejection or embarrassment stop you from reaching your true potential. The people who hate you, will probably continue to hate you no matter what you do. The people who love you, will continue to love you no matter what you do. Read more>>

Jazimane Maryland | Business Owner/ Plus Size Model/ Brand Ambassador

The most important factor and success behind my business Is that I absolutely love what I do my business is incorporated with the things of thee Jazzy way which is my way. I have a passion for lip gloss lashes and lipstick, I also have a passion for fashion so I want to basically sell confidence the goal was to make a Women feel Beautiful & JAZZY and to show women that you don’t need much to be beautiful and so basically be yourself. Read more>>

Dan Nwosuh | Venture Capitalist & Software Engineer

The most important factor of Ghosted Ventures is the relationships with people. Every business or person we have done business with, we treat them like family. We handle Ghosted Ventures more like a brand than a venture capital firm. We want the people that we interact with to feel like they are a part of the family culture we have here and not just business partners. But, the underlying reason for all of it, is the way we treat people. We have seen so many people at levels higher than us, as far as venture capital success, act as if they are better than others because they have reached a higher level of “success”. But, we want to maintain the culture of treating people like family whether we are at 1 million or 100 million. Read more>>

Ken’Nadi Broussard | Model

There are many factors that impact my success, including organization, focus, dedication, discernment, and creativity; however, the most important is authenticity. The modeling industry can be very superficial and full of opportunities that seem glamorous but do nothing for your fulfillment. It’s important for me to remember to participate in projects that actually resonate with my being and not just anything that is presented to me. Ultimately, Modeling is my artform of choice at this time and I want it to be an authentic expression of who I am. I find plenty of success when I work with this principle in mind. Read more>>