We asked some brilliant folks from the community to tell us about the most important lesson their business or career has taught them. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Miriah Stacy | CEO of MostProductions LLC.

My business has taught me to not give up in what I believe in. Starting a business is difficult; and keeping it afloat is even more of a process. Starting a business is grueling because there are days that I think negative. There will be people that will doubt or even not understand your process or why you do what you do. The feeling of not being good enough is something you must continuously overcome if you want to be successful. Sometimes you will look around and others will seemingly be doing better than you. You must be happy for them; for a true winner isn’t bothered by the success of others’. The success of others’ should actually be an encouragement for you to keep going. You have to fight everything in your being that is telling you to stop. Read more>>

Ashley Mims | Professional Makeup Artist

So many I could name. lol But the most important lesson that I’ve learned in my career as a Professional Makeup Artist, is that it is okay to fail. It’s perfectly okay if I don’t have it ALL figured out. Hell, who does? I’ve learned to allow myself space and time to learn and grow through the journey. I’m a Virgo so I’m naturally over-critical of myself, but I’ve learned to not be so harsh and just go with the flow!. Read more>>

Madison Vaughan | (She/Her/Hers) Photographer – Creator – Always Learning

I think the lesson that I have learned and will continue to learn in different ways is to not compare my work to others. This, of course, is much easier said than done. Especially with how small Pittsburgh is, it is easy to follow all of the local creatives and see all of the new work they produce – how can you not compare yourself? My mind produces these racing thoughts of “you aren’t producing enough work.”, ” you aren’t being creative enough.”, and “your pictures are not interesting”. I have been trying to shift away from these thoughts and use this energy to push myself and try new things, but I am getting ahead of myself. My name is Madison and I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photography for me is more of a side hustle/hobby that I enjoy. I would consider myself new to the photography game as I only began taking photography seriously back in March 2020 before I was aware of the severity COVID-19 would have on the world. Read more>>

Christine Cown | Co-owner Haven Yoga ATL

My business partner, Johanna and I (Christine) signed the dotted line of a love letter contract to own our yoga studio on Valentine’s Day of 2020. Little did we know that three weeks later, our entire world would be put on pause. During the following months, our build out halted as we held our breath (literally and figuratively). We watched countless yoga studios that had been firmly rooted in our community permanently shut their doors. Throughout the days that followed, we asked each other many times if we should abandon our vision for Haven Yoga and take this pandemic as a sign. Each time the doubt surfaced, Johanna and I were met with the same quiet push to keep going. As an act of faith, we moved forward building out our studio space without knowing if the pandemic would end, if people would ever feel safe again to practice yoga indoors, or when we would be able to open our doors. Read more>>

Decorey Hale | Children’s Author

To never give up. That’s the biggest, most important lesson I’ve ever learned. I had plenty of people along the way tell me they could help me out and what they could do for me. And it never came to fruition. But in hindsight, it was all bad timing. I often say it’s easy to cut off the game or take our ball home when we start to lose; next time try seeing it through. You will be amazed by the results of perseverance. Read more>>

Dani Frierson | CEO of The Land of Mirrors

I created The Land of Mirrors to be a carefully curated experience dedicated to total inner reflection and self-care. It is envisioned to be a safe space of empathy, self-introspection, and mindfulness. The Land of Mirrors is where you go to bloom unequivocally and without judgment. It is also, a place of realization that you are constantly evolving, growing, and finding peace during the journey; whatever that may look like. Earlier this year, I received my Leadership Essentials Certificate from NYU and I posted it to my social media. I was so proud, and I captioned, “Look 👀 👏🏽 I’m coming for all my blessings! I want it all 🙌🏽! How? Only GOD! #praisesgoup #blessingscomedown” Little did I know you cannot ask God for the good without a monsoon to follow, or that my world would shake in a way that I never could have imagined. I say all of this to say if you want the blessings you are going to have to go through the valleys. But you have to remember that they are temporary and necessary for attaining the lessons of life. Read more>>

LaVelle Johnson | Business Owner

One of the most important lessons I have learned about business throughout time is to never give up. If something is not working for you, it is ok to reinvent yourself. There is nothing in life that stays the same, and neither should you!. Read more>>

Rylton Thomas | Wardrobe Stylist & Marketer

The most important lesson I’ve learned throughout my career thus far has been to embrace the obstacles and the successes. A lot of times I’ve found myself discouraged or angry when something doesn’t go my way/according to plan, and happen to beat myself up about the situation. Over time I’ve learned that those exact moments contribute to shaping me into the person and business man I am supposed to be. If it weren’t for some of those down moments, I wouldn’t know what to do when facing adversity. It taught me to stay patient, trust God, and put in the work required for me to get to the next level in my career. Read more>>

Shevy Clark | Photographer, Twitch Streamer, & Entrepreneur

One of the most important lessons I have learned from being a business owner is creating boundaries. Learning to create these boundaries have been a journey within itself because of my nature and the person that I am. Being that I am kind and extremely helpful I sometimes forget that I must create boundaries to ensure that I continue to be the best version of myself It’s ok to say no, to take days off, to have office hours, to go on vacation and have a set schedule even if you are an entrepreneur.. My best piece of advice is to create the bounderious necessary for you to provide the best service possible to your customers so you do not become jaded and fall out of love with the things you are passionate about and do it unapologetically. Read more>>

Arthur Coefield | Entrepreneur

Know who is for you and who is not for you. What I mean by that you’ll have those people who will come around just because of who you are and what you do. They take the energy from you. Read more>>

Alexandria Walker | CEO of Alexandria Enterprises, LLC, Author, Creative and Realtor.

The most important lesson I’ve learned with balancing a conventional 9 to 5 and pursuing my entrepreneurial dreams is YOU CAN NOT DO IT ALL. I’ll be the first to admit that I am hesitant to delegate or even ask for help but in business you can not operate like that. I quickly learned that I’m not an expert at all things business related. While I’m a quick learn, I’m not an expert and as a business owner you need to surround yourself with experts. Read more>>

Peyton Fennell | Photographer / Content Creator / Artist with a Camera

The most important lesson I’ve been taught by pursuing a creative career is that everyones journey is timed differently. You can’t compare your timeline to someone else’s. Be patient with yourself and truly focus on getting better at whatever it is you do instead of worrying about what will come out of it. Read more>>

Darnel Harper | Graphic Designer, Photographer, and Music/Video Producer

The most important lesson of our business is understanding that all business is not always good business. We come together to determine which deals are beneficial for both parties. A few ways consist of discussing their ideas and understanding their goals. At this point, we can choose if we should close a deal with a company or respectfully decline. Read more>>

Whitney Rivers | Visual Artist

In building any business or career, there’s naturally going to be a great deal of curveballs and lessons along the way, but, if I were to narrow down to one, it’s simply trusting myself. I’m learning the value of investing time to create art for myself. The more I allow time to experiment and discover new ways to work with the mediums I enjoy, the greater the fulfillment when I switch back over to work for clients. I’m finding as the more I trust my creative intuition, the value of my work continues to transcend expectation, which has ultimately promoted confidence, inspiration, and further opportunities. Read more>>

Sarai Garcia | Photographer

The most important lesson my business has taught me is to SLOW DOWN. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in bookings, emails, social media, and personal work. Slowing down has helped me process everything that’s coming my way and prioritize how I feel. This allows me to stay in control of the vision and making sure it always aligns with me. Read more>>

Emily Gibbs | Student Ministry & Photographer

The one lesson that my business, my career, and my calling has continued to teach me is how to be an honest, genuine, and reputable leader. For years, I watched other people lead and stood on the sidelines. Part of me was torn because I wanted that for myself but always walked away feeling empty. After much growth, mentorship, and teaching, I began to internalize (even for myself) that each of us have a purpose and a skill and can be creative in some way. I have always been intrigued by design and creativity so I began to brainstorm how I would fit it all into one. That is where Eloquent Design Co. was born. I had/have this dream in my heart and knew that it had to be brought out. Eloquent Design Co. is mainly a space for my photography business but will hopefully one day become a storefront (selling an array of items) where every single person can shop and feel at home when they walk in. Read more>>

Kathryn Paull | Yoga Instructor

Ultimately, my career thus far has shown me what it means to be resilient. I started my post-undergrad career at a small non-profit working with entrepreneurs. I found myself admiring their courage, Despite small starts, their love for the mission of their small business drove them to get back up time and time again and keep on keeping on. I remember thinking, “no thanks, not for me,” but after a quitting that job and getting laid off from another – thanks COVID – starting my own thing, just felt like the right next step. I had been working at a corporate job for 6 months when March 2020 hit and my company had to lay off my team. It was then I decided I wanted to go back to school to become a Therapist and in the meantime, I applied for a 6-week virtual yoga teacher training with Malia Hilliard and Dani Crane (two phenomenal yoga teachers in Atlanta). Through the daily practice of yoga, I saw my body transform and my mental resilience grow. I did things I thought I could never do. Read more>>

Christopher Adcock | Digital Illustrator/Artist

When it came to starting my business I had to keep my expectations grounded with the speed at which it would grow. Unless you hit it big with some sponsorship or promotion, you’ll have to learn a basis in patience. I saw how people were growing so fast whenever I went onto other artist’s profiles on Instagram and other platforms, not fully thinking about how they also started out with no following and had to form it over time, and this goes for a business too. Even now I may not be perfectly happy with where I am, but it has grown alot from where I started. I’ve seen artist like myself try to start their own businesses and then Ive seen them stop as soon as they don’t sell as much or as fast as they thought they would. In business and art you have to have patience, tempered expectations and perseverance, especially when starting out. Read more>>

Teresha McMillan | Licensed Esthetician

Having Faith In Myself. At times I was questioning if this was the right decision to become an entrepreneur but I had to remind myself to trust God and the process. To be patient with myself when obstacle occurs and situations that are out of my control. Read more>>

RSVP KEVIN | Creative Artist

Learn as much as you can. The more you know, the better. One thing I learned the hard way is that depending on people will only lead to let downs. Learn to do as much as you can by yourself so you limit the number of people you have to work with & pay. Nobody can see your vision like you can. Read more>>

Kam Breeding | Independent Inspirational Recording Artist

The most important lesson my career has taught me is, you can’t accomplish your goal and move forward in your career if you walk in the path of fear. Being that I’m an independent inspirational artist, I’ve had to walk in faith to accomplish goals and overcome many fears that would have hindered me from getting this far in my career. Read more>>