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.

J David Leonard | Music Producer

The value of long term relationships. When I began as a songwriter, pitching my songs to publishers and producers in Nashville, I approached things in a transactional way. I had this song that they either would like and accept, or not. Time after time I would get told that it was a good song but they couldn’t use it. And then instead of ending our meeting, they would just start making conversation with me. “So what’s happening in Atlanta?” “Do you follow sports?” I didn’t know what to say. In my mind, it was over. Yet they would talk with me for sometimes another hour – sometimes all afternoon. It would be years later before I understood that it was their way of seeing if I could just hang out and be comfortable with them as a person. It was important for them to know who I was and how it might be to work closely with me. Read more>>

Christopher Haney | Content Creator

The most important lesson that I have been taught so far from managing dishwithchris, is not to compare myself to others. I feel like social media has allowed us to question our potential & worth because we always feel like it’s a competition when it comes to getting the most likes or following. I had to learn that everybody’s journey is different, just continue to be your authentic self. Read more>>

Helene Prokesch | Executive Director

The most important lesson is to recognize what you do not know and surround yourself with lifelines who can fill in those gaps. Trust others who can provide valuable input on what the organization needs to be successful. Also, it is crucial to act on those suggestions. You can have all the best advice in the world, but it means nothing if you don’t act on it and get the job done. Read more>>

Montel Johnson | Fashion Stylist & Music Artist

The most important lesson my business/career has taught me is what’s for me is for me and what is not for me is not for me don’t give up on what’s yours if that’s what you really want you will own it and anything else you put your mind too. Read more>>

Rachel Pearson | Founder & CEO

The most important lesson I have learned running my business is to PERSEVERE and to remain flexible. If you’ve made a mistake, so long as it isn’t a mistake that is fatal to your business (usually the fatal mistake is financial mismanagement), then get creative and find a solution. It might not be the path you planned for or anticipated but if your business remains viable and opportunities continue to come your way then make it work until you can make it work how you want. Flexibility and perseverance are the most important things when it comes to running a business. Read more>>

Joe M. Turner | Professional Speaker & Corporate Magician and Mentalist

It may sound strange coming from someone who worked as an actor, a management consultant, and a magician/mentalist — all careers which are sometimes caricatured as being sort of “make believe” — but I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is actually to be true to yourself. Your outlook, your worldview, your experiences, your personality, your values, your real expertise, your real thoughts… all of these are critical to bringing a unique, authentic value to the marketplace. And in my career as a speaker and performer, I think that finding this authenticity and credibility is crucial to standing out from the crowd. One definition of acting is “to live truthfully under given circumstances.” To do this means that the actor has to deeply examine and grasp the character he or she is playing. That’s what allows them to be as honest and real as possible in the circumstances of the play. Read more>>

Katharine Miele | Visual Artist & MFA Candidate

The most important lesson I have learned over the years is that it’s not possible for me to make art for everyone. That is to say, that it’s not possible for every person in the world to own a piece of my artwork. It’s slightly embarrassing to admit this, but as a younger artist, I was jealous of other peoples successes. They were getting more commissions than me, or they were selling more objects. However, it is safe to say that I’ve always wanted everyone in the world to enjoy artwork, and buy artwork. And fortunately, unfortunately, I can’t provide for everyone. And that’s ok. Read more>>