We asked some of the city’s rising stars about why they think they have been so successful and we’ve shared their responses below.

Kyra Addison | Owner of KyDee, Content Creator, and Mentor

I would hands up say the most important factor behind my personal success and success of my brand (KyDee) would be my faith and trust in God. I was a believer of Jesus Christ since I was a kid; however, it was not until I got older when I established my own personal relationship. Through the establishing of our relationship, I was cultivated in ways like no other. In the past, I lived a life that seemed to be as if I was going through the motions. I had yet to discover my purpose, but I knew deep down I had a strong desire to help others no matter what it looked like. It is because of Him that I am able to create and establish a brand that touches the lives of many. I do not try to box myself anymore because I serve a God who can do exceedingly abundantly above all that I can ask or think. Read more>>

Max McChesney | Co-Founder & CEO of DigitalCrafts

Integrity, defaulting to transparency, and setting expectations appropriately. It can be tempting for any business, particularly startups, to stretch the truth in their sales pitch, whether to a potential customer or an incoming hire. However well-intentioned (entrepreneurs do tend to be optimistic), over-promising can only result in disappointment and loss of trust. Set expectations realistically upfront, and the customers you do land will get the experience they paid for or better, and they’ll spread the word. Do the same with your team, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by high caliber people dedicated to the mission with eyes wide open for the challenges ahead. Read more>>

Rious | Photographer & Brand Developer

I can’t select just one important factors because there are a few that are important factors to me. Those important factors are faith, consistency, perseverance, hard work, mental, spiritual and physical balance. Read more>>

Austin Stubbs | Business Owner, Tailor, Clothing Designer

In a word, Consistency. Our business has been a clothing repair shop, a gear repair shop, an alterations shop, a custom shop, but for years it was not what I set out for it to be; a clothing brand. I set out to build a handmade, artisanal, small batch denim brand. Through fear and a lack of confidence I hedged my bets and took on every job that walked through the door and before long I wasn’t making jeans at all. I was repairing horse blankets, altering boots, making people’s suits fit perfectly. I was losing sight of my dream and my vision. My wife and I sat down and had a tough conversation about the future of the business and she gave me permission, or more aptly gave me an ultimatum, to either stop taking repairs and build jeans full time or close the business altogether. Since that day we have fastidiously and consistently moved only in the direction of our goal. We have built a small capsule clothing line and are adding designs and products to it at a rate of nearly one garment release per month. Read more>>

Joycelyn Wells | CEO, Author & Podcast Host

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is quite simply, whether or not I believe in it. You literally have to shift the thought processes of your brain and others from choosing that which is familiar and comfortable to the unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Making the shift requires, seeing your own brand everywhere, talking about it like it’s been around for years and working it with fidelity and consistency. If I’m not successful in making that shift then my brand will fail. Read more>>

Andrew Snorton | Author, host of The Conversation Corner (Status Network), Editor, Speaker, and Educator

Of the factors that are helping me grow since my author debut in 2017, just showing dedication to the craft is key to my success. Dedication shows in multiple ways, ranging from your focus, making adjustments for growth, your consistency in sharing your narrative of the work you are doing, being engaged with bookstores from all walks of life (from your “big-brand” to your independent stores), and of course, showing this same consistency and gratitude to your readers (current and future). Underlying with this is being respectful to those who have come before you (as writers), the stores and festivals you work with, and being appreciative of the opportunities presented. Doing so allows you to enter spaces and places others can’t and won’t be able to go; I am extremely fortunate to be where I am and truly looking forward to what lies ahead. Read more>>

Park Cannon | State Representative & Labor Doula

Success means learning and leading by listening. Our guiding phrase is Better Solutions for a Better Georgia and our logo features eyeglasses. The reason for this phrasing is because we are forward, thinking and looking out for our community. Without recognizing the need for elected leaders who are willing to put on different lenses and view issues from multiple perspectives, our policy making will remain stagnant and be out of focus. The current outlook of Georgia politics is polarized— complete with disparate groups only envisioning their desired outcomes as possibilities. We stand up as a team and are ready to open others’ eyes one issue at a time. Read more>>

Metrova | Paper Artist

Aside from talent, it’s Customer service. I’ve been in the retail industry for over 15 years, and genuine and pleasant service wins all the time. Think about it. Anyone selling ANYTHING NEEDS customers. Customers go where they’re wanted. I always ensure communication is clear and genuine, with a personalized flair to each potential client. Read more>>

Cortne’ Lee Smith | Grief & Loss Coach

Authenticity & Transparency As the brand, the success of the brand is connected to my ability to show up as the real Cortne’ Lee Smith and share who I am and what I go through. I allow people into an unscripted & unrehearsed version of me. On this journey, people see the pain that pushed me into my ministry marketplace. Also when choosing to be apart of the brand they have a front-row seat to witness the evolution of me walking and talking out the strategies that I share for others to have the best relationships. Ultimately the brand is a testimony that no circumstance or situation should keep you from achieving your desired outcome. That is why I continue to share my story. Read more>>

Ebony Shinelle | Project Manager

The most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand would be Self Awareness and Self Love. When you are building a business it’s easy to get distracted by others, most times accidental but we tend to lose focus on our goals focused on someone else’s. In order to be successful internally and externally Self Awareness has been an important factor because no one can truly know your power and strength from the outside. You have to know who you are and what you bring to the table or people will try and tell you who you are. Self Love is another important factor because ‘hurt people, hurt people’ both in love and in business. When you lead with self love and appreciation you give off Love and Appreciation to others you encounter. Read more>>

Laura Watson | Destination Wedding Photographer

Client Experience, hands down. As a service-based business, my number one priority is to provide an enthusiastic, thoughtful, and supportive experience to my clients. When clients hire me to photograph their weddings, editorials, lifestyle or portrait sessions, their expectations are high. They’re hiring me for more than photographs. I’m their guide, additional bridesmaid and hype-woman, and more importantly, their memory keeper. I’m wearing many hats, and my execution of how I provide my service matters to them, sometimes more than the product I’m providing. Read more>>

Thomas Fountain | Country Music Artist and Singer/Songwriter

Being yourself. Trusting yourself and your creativeness. If you’re deviating from that your lying to yourself and your audience will see that. Only you know your full creativity and when you show it audiences will appreciate it more. Read more>>

Lucy Fry | Owner & Creative Director

The most important factor behind our success is definitely our relationships and our loyalty to our clients. We like to build relationships. We find people interesting and their stories more fascinating and that takes time. We enjoy the moments after the honeymoon stage, when comfort sets in and we can deep dive into the challenges, the strengths and goals, creating precisely what the client wants. Read more>>

Lisa Zeeveld | COO, CFO and Speaker

The most important factor behind my success has been my commitment creating and achieving goals. Now that may sound simple, but the majority of people (#1) don’t create goals, (#2) don’t work on completing them, and (#3) don’t actually believe that success is part of their future. Lack of intentionality and commitment derails most people into leading a mediocre life. I have been relentless in pursuing my dreams and passions. I’ve used my past adversities and experiences as fuel to propel me. I’m an avid reader and lifelong learner. As someone without the traditional credentials that others have to determine success, I have had to make my way with hard work, humility, and grace. One of my favorite quotes is “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” Tim Notke, a high school basketball coach. I think that gives hope! We can all work hard. Read more>>

JANITA K. JACKSON | Financial Strategist & Small Business Consultant

The most important aspect of the success of my business and my brand is my mindset. Most individuals get into business because it seems like a trend. Everyone in society is currently promoting entrepreneurship but before you start your journey you must first develop your mindset. Success does not come easy and it is not for the weak. Are you strong enough to be criticized by inner circle? Are you willing to continue with the vision that you have for your success even if the people who you know the best and trust the most do not support you? These are some of the aspects of entrepreneurship where your mindset matters the most. You must believe in your vision even when no one else does. You must be resilient enough to withstand the obstacles that will come your way. If you fall 7 times, then you must be willing to get up 8. You must crave success with every fiber of your being and work towards it every single day. Above all us, you must never give up on you. Read more>>

Derrick Palms | Palms Perspectives | Photographer

The most important factor of my success getting started was being able to put in the work and  creative grind for free. Many people always tell you when working in a creative field or starting  your own business to know your worth and never work for free. For me, working for free was  how I built so many relationships, and ultimately built a portfolio that I can now use as proof of  my worth to not only myself, but to those you will be working with. I am my biggest critic and  starting in photography, though I love it, I was always nervous that I was not capable of creating  those wow factor shots you see in post event social media posts of big name bands, or music  festivals. Capturing an event for the first time for free took away all the stress and allowed me  to learn on the go, try new things, and build my confidence. Read more>>

DL WARFIELD | Artist / Creative Director / Entrepreneur

Never giving up. You will always have to deal with doubt internally and externally. What you believe and decide to do is ultimately what matters. Read more>>

Jennifer McCarren | Professional Photographer/Artist

Branding is the foundation of our business. Our brand is founded on the experience our customers have when interacting with us, whether that be via the web, phone or in-person. Sure we have a lovely logo and present ourselves in a professional manner, but what gets our customers coming back is the actual experience they have with us during the photography session. We strive to make people feel at ease and create an experience that is both magical and memorable. We listen to what their needs are and deliver the best possible experience based on that. Read more>>

Stephen Kopriva | Electronic Musician

As a musician, it is imperative to be consistent. More often than not, I find myself running into writer’s block when producing music. However, every now and then, sparks of beautiful creativity pop up and an artist can only capitalize on those moments by consistently getting in the studio and trying to write something. Great ideas can only be created if you try. Even if it’s the last thing I want to do on a particular day, I have to look past all the crap and self-doubt and try to create something. That consistency and drive to create is what ultimately makes a musician successful. Read more>>

Mike Garrison | Director

Compass For Hope Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit that serves those experiencing homelessness in Augusta Ga. We are growing and seeing success in our impact and I believe that is primarily due to being intentionally different. We don’t anticipate a fix or cure for homelessness, but we see our efforts to be uniquely different as our success. I began this effort already realizing that the status quo was indeed not working. We are facing a complex problem that will have a far more complex solution. Our difference is the genuine heartfelt relationships that we have cultivated and grown with the guests that we serve. Trust, or lack thereof, is a huge barrier for those experiencing homelessness. We have been consistently present on a weekly basis by being there to serve and give away clothing and toiletry items as well as a delicious meal each Sunday and we take the time to chat and above all else. Read more>>

Jessy Vera | Worship Leader & Songwriter

Being a Christian artist, I think my definition of success is much different than others. For me it isn’t about financial metrics or notoriety. I don’t write songs for airplay I write them to hopefully make a difference in someone”s life and as a way to say thank you to a God that gave everything for me. So in the end success for me is being able to say yes to this question: Am I doing what God has asked me to do? If I can say yes to that then no matter what happens I am successful. Read more>>

Ebone’ “Naye Songz” Liggines | Owner of Sizzle Season & iDREAM Productionz

Start Strong, Stay Strong, Finish Strong. For some people starting is the hardest part of the journey but for me it is the staying strong part of the journey that is the hardest. Sometimes you endure so many test and obstacles in the middle of your journey that it makes you want to just give up. I’ve learned that you are tested the most in the middle of your journey because that’s were the growing pains occur and often times your heart and mindset changes. The growing pains are very uncomfortable but that’s what pushes you to think bigger and be stronger. Read more>>

A:M Almighty | Recording Artist

Organization, simple as that. I have a strong team who make it easy for me to just create and not have to worry about the business and how it’s being ran. Each person plays their own role and I trust their judgment and execution with each project. Read more>>

Megan Brent | Owner/Boss Lady, The Perfect Pear Catering

I feel the most important factor in my success and brand is my presence. I have always been aware, my name and face are attached to The Pear. My guests and clients know I’m in the kitchen cooking if they’re eating my food, be it at the restaurant or at a catered event. If I’m not cooking, I’m coming from the kitchen to say “hello” and/or squeeze your neck! (Pre/pro Covid). Read more>>

Dennis Beltonjr | Creative Director | Photographer

Relationships, and having a system in place. I believe System stands for Save yourself some time energy & money. Website, Social Media Marketing, and Content Creation is so important for your brand. Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from the competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice. Your brand is built to be a true representation of who you are as a business, and Branding is critical to a business because of the overall impact it makes on your company. Branding can change how people perceive your brand, it can drive new business and increase brand awareness. I feel like I have a good feel for that. Read more>>

Melissa Carter | Media Personality & Writer

Vulnerability. I think many in media are pressured to think they and their lives have to be perfect. However, the general public doesn’t trust perfect and would instead be entertained by someone they can relate to. Sharing your vulnerabilities in an honest way has been the most effective tool in connecting. Read more>>

Dajanay DTonyo | Graphic Designer & Content Creator

The most important factor behind the success of my brand and my personal success is my relationship with God. I know it has become a trendy thing to say God is my CEO, but it reigns true for me and my business. I am nothing without Him! As a creative, I am constantly pouring into my clients and making sure that I am always operating in integrity, love, and excellence. If I don’t spend time with God and make sure that I am my best self, I am not able to be effective in my business. My relationship with God has grown tremendously especially during a time where I first started my healing journey from childhood trauma amongst other things. I had to begin healing from things like rejection and abandonment. Especially as a business owner, the same way money magnifies who you really are, running a business will do the same. Some people who decide to start businesses and have no sense of identity will end up replicating someone’s else’s brand which usually results in failure. It is vital that I stay connected to God, the creator, because through Him my identity is secure. Once I am confident with who I am, success is inevitable. Read more>>

JD Estrada | Puerto Rican Author

I think that any and every bit of success I have comes from me being true to who I am and my creative vision. What you get in a BookTube/AuthorTube video is the same you’ll get at an event in real life and the same you’ll get if you know me on a personal level. I have no interest in creating an alternate persona and I let my work reflect that creative hunger. I’m also pretty curious by nature and love exploring the different soul wells I have within. Some people want to be the next Stephen King, JK Rowling, or Stephanie Meyers. I always pursue my passions and I have a varied taste so my work reflects that. So far, I’ve written urban fantasies, middle-grade fiction, short story collections, poetry collections, bilingual collections, and non-fiction. One of my greatest fears is to ever be a one-trick pony and if you see the variety in the 16 books I’ve published, I think it reflects that desire to explore and create. Read more>>

Je’wel Lucas | Visual Artist

The most important factors behind my success are practicing patience and self encouragement. Entrepreneurship is HARD. It’s not a get rich quick scheme, it requires a lot of mental and physical hard work. Nothing is overnight. I have a lot of goals I didn’t achieve when I wanted to, a lot of products that flopped, etc. Being patient enough to see these obstacles through and realizing that failure is only a redirection helped me get my head back in the game to keep working towards my vision. Read more>>