One of the most important lessons we learned is that our lives and our businesses will teach us along the way. We don’t need to know everything on day one because the challenges we face on day will likely be ones we are already equipped to handle. As we overcome challenges we get better and better and as the challenges increase in difficulty so too does our ability to tackle them.
We asked members of the community that we admire to share important lessons their business or career has taught them and have shared some of those responses below.

Adriano Gomez | THE BLACK AMIGO | Professional DJ

Trust your instincts when it comes to the value of you! Many have a hard time trying to figure out their own worth amongst their field(s) of industry but seeing what the next person does and in nightlife especially, you do have to understand how markets work to properly price your product/services. However, don’t be afraid to stand up for and back down from what your value is and what you bring to the field of play ya know?. Read more>>

Kamryn Makenzie | Entrepreneur & Content Creator

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a business owner is to never be afraid to fail. I’m not always goings to get everything right and every failure gives me another opportunity to try again. It’s not about how many times we fall, but how many times we choose to get back up. Read more>>

Lucy Reiser | Artist & Educator

We really have very little control over just about everything. Aside from showing up and doing the work to the very best of your ability, you have no control over how it is received (for better or for worse). Take the good times as a gift and lean into what works, but don’t take the difficult times too personally. For as long as you are making work you’re proud of and are adding good and beautiful things to the world, stay the course!. Read more>>

Keshay Jeffries | Owner of Xslumpd and founder of Xslumpd Foundation

While having a business for the last 3 almost 4 years I’ve learned the thought of limitation and unrealism is purely based on the mindset. There can be a million things going wrong in your life but as long as you don’t rush it and learn to alter the negative into a positive you can achieve anything you want. I’ve had many instances where I thought going into a new venture would be better than the last or would make me less than but either way my mindset of knowing where I want to be in my life has not changed. And though in many ways to me it seemed like I was failing I was actually exceeding my expectations subconsciously. Your point of view in life whether it is defined by your business or not can automatically tell you how your outcome is going to be. Read more>>

Denishia Macon | Graphic Designer & Creative

The most important lesson that my experiences within my career and business have taught me is that patience and faith are vital for success. There were times when I didn’t necessarily know if a decision was the right move, but all I had was my faith to believe that whatever was for me would be for me. I’ve learned to not place my value in others’ opinions of me, because as a unique individual you realize that you’re not for everyone. Once you set a goal(s) for yourself, you take time to make small steps to achieve those goals. Having a support system when I set goals has been a monumental help because it positively encouraged me to continue forward at times when I needed an extra push. Over the years, I’ve worked different jobs and during that time, I got the opportunity to really learn myself and what types of environment I need to be in to thrive. What may work for someone else, I learned doesn’t work for me and that what I desired more than success, is freedom over my time. Read more>>

Bronze McGhee Lougheed | Designer, Creative Consultant & Entrepreneur

I have learned to be patient, trust the process and that what is meant for me will be for me. We have a tendency to compare ourselves with others and then become discouraged or feel behind because of where we think we should be in relation to where others appear to be. We must be committed to learning, growing and evolving organically personally and in our businesses to ensure that our final product is a true manifestation of our vision and aligns with who we are at our core and the legacy we want to leave in the world. Read more>>

Frances Atwater-Dunlap | Business Enhancement Specialist & Grant Writer

Consistency and accountability go hand in hand when it comes to achieving any goal. In fact, it is apart of my foundation as a person. I’ve made a lot of careless mistakes in my business career. Some of those mistakes could have been avoided; while other mistakes were necessary for my growth. However, I’ve been committed to learning from everything I go through and consistency and accountability has always been what keeps me focused and grounded. Growth is not always a pretty process; sometimes it hurts or it’s uncomfortable. Ultimately, growth is not intended to look or feel the same, no matter how many times we experience it. I’ve had to be very intentional about the decisions I make when it comes to conducting business. I have bypassed some great opportunities because it was not the right opportunity for me or the direction I want to take my business. See, that’s the whole point to consistency and accountability being your foundation, you know what is needed for you in spite of how great an opportunity looks. Read more>>

Empress of Serene Queen LLC | Natural Skincare. All Natural All the Time

The most important lesson my business has taught me, was finding a pace I could maintain. I made sure I never gave up as well!. Read more>>

Jonathan Cruz | HIIT Logic Creative Specialist

To lead with love and not with fear. You have a choice everyday to make decisions out of love or out of fear. I learned a long time ago if you love what you do, you don’t lose sight of that passion and you work daily towards growing that passion you’ll succeed. The challenge we face is being clouded by fear. The fear of not being successful, the fear of being profitable, the fear of not making the right decision. This mentality handcuffs many entrepreneurs due to the fact they make subsequent decisions based on these fears as opposed to the fire, passion and love that led them to this opportunity in the first place. If you lead with love you can’t go wrong. Doing the right thing is always the right thing! There are somethings bigger than a paycheck and the answer isn’t always found in the numbers. Read more>>

Eric Levitan | Founder + CEO of Vivo

As a leader, if you put employees first in your business and create a culture of engagement, everything else takes care of itself. A company full of engaged employees will take better care of customers, sell more, build higher quality software, be more innovative, etc, etc. It’s shocking to me that more companies don’t focus on this. Read more>>

Jeia | Music Producer, Sound Designer & Composer

There was a time in my life where my mindset was always “go go go”. I took every opportunity comes my way, regardless of whether or not it will advance me. I just wanted to work, I just wanted to do music. I don’t want to miss out on anything, so I said yes to everything. Maybe out of 10 opportunities, only 5 out of those 10 that are really beneficial for me or making me truly happy. The rest felt heavy to say yes to, and heavy to do. Whether it was with the wrong people or where I felt like I wasn’t valuing my work as much I should. No regrets, though. Those wrong choices I made helped me learn to sharpen my instinct of what is good for me in the future. Now if I can only say yes to 4 opportunities that makes me truly happy and say no to the rest, I’m good. Read more>>

ALEIA SHIPMAN | CEO

The most important lesson my business has taught me is to remain focused, stay the course and continue to hustle. As long as you live life will always throw something at you but it’s your faith and persistence that will see you through those times. Read more>>

Kalique Slack | REALTOR® & CEO of K.SlackRealty

What’s the most important lesson that K.SlackRealty has taught me? Its taught me so many that is quite hard to determine what’s the “most important”. The Real Estate business is not by any chance for the light hearted or weak minded, but that’s entrepreneurship in a whole. I look at lesson’s as rewards in a sense, with every lesson you learn something whether it may be beneficial to your business or not. One lesson that I’ve learned that has kept reoccurring and showing me its importance is consistency. Consistency plays a major role in business ownership! Marketing, services even down to your appearance has to be consistent and up to your competition’s standard, or the business you put so much into could be a memory. Read more>>

Big Dev | Producer

Deal with like minded people. Its important in the business that you’ve created to deal with people of the same mind set as you. Will they do everything as you would, no they won’t but thats the beauty in it all. People coming together like pieces to a great puzzle. In my opinion it makes it all mean so much more. Read more>>

Kristi Campbell | Travel & Business Consultant

If the price you stated doesn’t scare you, the number is not big enough. Understanding my business’s worth is one of the hardest thing I think I’ve had to learn but I’ve come to find out everyone isn’t your target customer and time is something you cannot get back. I value my time and if it is not a price that I am happy with, I will not agree to do it. Read more>>

Dewayne Bontrager | Video Producer & Product Developer

1. Its always better to have a niche so you have to be able to re-invent yourself. We have done that many times. When you hop on the latest trend, it eventually gets watered down and profits diminish. We started out as desktop publishers, then websites, then interactive, then trade shows interfaces, currently video/animation and product development. 2. As a service company, if you’re not willing to hire employees, you’re only making money when you’re working. And it is hard to make your company sellable if you are the business. We have enjoyed not being responsible for employees looking back, the business hasn’t grown like it could have. Read more>>

Jessica McIntee | Business Owner/ Master Cosmetologist & Instructor/ Visionary Coach

Trust God in all things Do Not Fear Believe in yourself & your abilities Always give back. Read more>>

Stacie Abdallah | Content Creator | Home DIYer | Garden Enthusiast

One of the most important lessons that my business has taught me is that it is okay to be afraid. So many times growing up as children and even as adults we are made to think that being afraid is a problem. I have learned to see my fear when it comes to business as an indication of another issue and not a problem in and of itself. One of the biggest reasons that I experience fear now is because I don’t want to fail. When I step back and realize that I am more afraid of looking like a failure than I am of actually messing up in my business I feel empowered to keep it moving and to do whatever it is afraid. Read more>>

Jalaura Huff | Entrepreneur

Throughout my business career I’ve learned so many lessons whether it was good or bad. However, the most important lesson was to pace myself and learn patience. Often times I felt like I have to do everything at once in order to be successful; but only to realize that I was putting constant pressure on myself that resulted in me feeling overwhelmed. Learning to not rush into things and slow down has helped me a lot with my business journey. Read more>>

Nicole Givens Kurtz | Owner and Publisher of Mocha Memoirs Press

One of the most important lessons the publishing business has taught me is to be true to your definition of success and to maintain patience. When I started digital publishing in 1998, ebooks were a novelty and required a chunky ereader the size of a scanner. Fast forward to now, when you can read ebooks on your cellular phone and tablets. The changes to publishing–the ease of publishing, the many pathways for writers to get published–has all taught me that patience is required and the definition of a successful business/career varies greatly from one author to another and from one publishing house to another. It’s easy to get lost in what they’re doing over there and what’s popular. Over the last 20 years in this industry, I can attest that nothing every stays the same and what is popular today will wane in a matter of moments, so defining success for myself, keeps me grounded and focused on what I want to accomplish. Read more>>

Nicholas Morgan | Artist

I would honestly say the most important lesson my career has taught me overall is to never give up on pursuing your dream no matter the time it takes you to succeed in life. Nothing in this world comes overnight. In order to reach success in life requires a huge amount of commitment, consistency, and faith always. We may often question God’s process with us, but this is only his way of preparing us for what he may have in store for us in the future. Your journey to success will always sometimes be challenging, but will forever be worth it in the long run. The process will even consists of sacrifices being made to assist in getting you where you want to be. At the end of the day, anyone is capable to do anything in the world they put their mind to. Read more>>

R.F. Tres | Artist & Brand Owner

Patience is a virtue. Before you can walk the marble, you have to walk the mud. To me, all that means is everything won’t be easy and it’s ok to take a loss as long as you can apply that to the future. Everybody is different so nobody’s business plan will take off in the exact timeframe that they want it to. Some may work earlier than expected and some may take longer. Trust the process. Read more>>

Princess Ofall | Program Director & Radio Personality

The most important lesson my businesses and career has taught me was to stay true to who I am. In this industry people will try to do everything so they can fit in, and be with the trends. No matter how hard it is, I have never been a trendy person. I would rather have 5 thousand hardcore true followers than 100K followers who don’t support me, comment or interact with me. It has also taught me dedication, stay true to your goals and dreams and when it is time, God will let you shine bright. Read more>>

Nicole Dove | Cybersecurity Leader, Podcast Host & University Lecturer

I started the Urban Girl Corporate World podcast to highlight the challenges and triumphs of modern professionals across a variety of industries including corporate, entrepreneurship, entertainment and politics. There were a lot of mistakes I made throughout my career, many of them held me back from progressing up the proverbial ladder. But once I found the secret sauce, things really took off for me. I created this podcast to share those things with people who I’ve encountered along my path, but I ended up learning through these interviews that my life is so full, rich and exciting!. Read more>>

Carmelle Kendall, Illustrator | Robin Stokes, Writer

Carmelle: Be flexible! It’s great to have concrete business goals and milestones in mind, but when the unexpected happens (good and bad) it’s very important to be flexible on how you attain those goals. With Robin and I, we have the same future goals for our business but how we get there is uncharted territory, so sticking to a blueprint might not always be the best idea. I love that we can stay flexible and go with the punches that come our way. Robin: I have learned to just get started. It’s true that perfect can be the enemy of good, and it is easy to want everything to be a certain way when you own a business. Instead, Carmelle and I have done what we can with what we have and made the most out of our available time and resources. I think if I kept waiting for the “perfect” moment, we would be further behind. The greatest takeaway for me has been taking action and learning lessons as we go. Read more>>

Janeen and Joi Emrld Clothing | Health and Wellness Lifestyle Brand

To just start, we often overthink our ideas, our plans, our next move. You have to just take a risk and go for it! If God gave you the idea then you better believe there is a way to bring it to fruition. Read more>>

Jay Allure | Artist, Podcast Host, Creator

The most important thing that I’ve learned as an artist is that although it’s fine to strive for more, it’s more important to be grateful for where you are. Every fan, every stream, every positive word, every great show…it all matters. Once you’re able to practice gratefulness often, it makes the journey so much sweeter!. Read more>>

Jasiel Caminante | Visual Artist

After graduating from college in Arizona, I realized I had no idea how I was going to survive with my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I took jobs at museums in Phoenix and later in Atlanta while I kept drawing and painting during my free time; having financial stability while being creative was the goal but something still felt off. It felt like I had the tools but I did not have a purpose. It was during my job at the High Museum of art that I became extremely inspired observing local artists show their work and become completely connected to the community at large through their work. I saw artists caring for their community by empowering each other through knowledge, respecting their work, and validating their visions through it. I saw artists immersed in what they did and most importantly, I saw a community that cared to learn about their artists’ visions and listened to. To experience that was to experience love where the only right thing to do was to join in by recognizing myself as being part of that blooming multicultural community. Read more>>

Hila Naus | Performing Artist, Actress & Singer

You cannot take everything personally. When I first started auditioning in NYC, fresh out of college, I remember I had such a hard time accepting that even though I had a really good audition, for example, I still didn’t get a call back. Even though in school (AMDA) I was taught very well about the process and how you’re not going to get a “yes” very often, and mostly hear a “no” (or nothing at all for that matter) it was hard to feel rejected over and over, and sure, a few times you get that “yes”. With time, I kept thinking about the things I learned in school and started practicing what I like to call “take it, nail it and leave it”, meaning, I get the audition materials, come in to the audition room, give my absolute 100%, leave the room and forget about it. Just move on from the situation. Read more>>

Mildred “Millie” LeJeune | Visionary & CEO of Millie’s Miracles Clothing Line LLC

The most important lesson I’ve learned while being in the clothing business is that you should always work hard and work hard when things are going well. But work harder when things are not, especially during the pandemic, trust the process, and go back to the drawing board to grab others’ attention, and what makes my business Millie’s Miracles stand out from other brands. Read more>>

Tori Palmer | Vintage Enthusiast

I think the most important lesson that I have learned through my business is to trust myself. Before opening Vintage Disco, it was an idea I thought about…. a lot…. like for YEARS! It took over four years of my family and friends constantly telling me it’s what I’m meant to do for me to listen. But… I was SO NERVOUS. I was nervous that I would build my inventory and never sell a single item. I was nervous that my vision/eye for decor wasn’t what anyone wanted. I was nervous that I would make a fool of myself. Despite my fears, I decided to at least TRY and opened Vintage Disco. Through opening my business, I have learned to trust myself, my vision, and my passion. I have learned not to take myself too seriously or to put too much pressure on myself. I have learned to stay genuine and authentic to myself and my brand. I have learned to step outside of my comfort zone and that vulnerability is okay. I have learned to not focus on the numbers or sells but instead on organically building connections because that’s what really matters! Read more>>

KieraYogini Winters | Kemetic Yoga Instructor & Intuitive Diviner

The most important lesson my business has taught me is consistency and time management. I am also a stay at home mom of two toddlers as well as a teen, and there are plenty of days where I feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day, or I may want to sleep in a few extra hours but I can’t because I have to tend to the little ones, and get ready for my “work” day which starts at 2pm. I have learned the importance of making a schedule and trying my best to stick to it, because life happens–but with a schedule and planning my day, I get more of a sense of accomplishment of handling my day instead of letting my day handle me. Read more>>

Whitney Kemp | The Glam Gatzby

The most important lesson that my business has taught me is that it is more than one way to get the job done. Never let anyone tell you that there is only one road to success. I love the unconventional way!. Read more>>

Art Stroman | Owner/Designer of F-FIVE Clothing

The most important lesson my business/career has taught me is what I call the 3 p’s: presentation, production, patience. Presentation is everything. How you present yourself and your business is pivotal to whether or not someone becomes interested in what you have to offer. This is why that 1st impression is so important. 1st impression of yourself, your actual product/service and your website/marketing. Production is the product or service you offer and what drives it. Knowing your audience/customer is key. NEVER stop being productive and active as there is always something that can be done. Patience is the most important of all. Trust the process! I have what I call the 3-5 yr rule. Before you start your business understand it will probably take 3-5 yrs for that business to really be as productive as you are hoping. Most people quit between year 1 and 2 before they ever really gave there business a fair chance at success. Be patient. Read more>>

K Sarai | Music Artist

I think the most important lesson for me was to trust myself. It’s so interesting, sometimes as you’re talking about a goal of yours, people can still see their own version of it. Not necessarily in a bad way, but people can sometimes steer you in their own direction of how they think you should sound or look or move. It’s important to know yourself first and then trust yourself to make the best decision in any given moment. Read more>>

Kaiya Tucker | Full-Time Student & Solopreneur

There’s many, but persistence is at the top of the list. As a solopreneur, my business only works as much as I do. I control all the motions. A quote that Marketing by Monrae says a lot is, “You’re’ the only one who works there. If you don’t show up, who else gone do it?” This is extremely true. Therefore, I have to be persistent and continuously show up and get the job done. I can’t just give up when things get hard or are challenging, I have to be persistent, try again, and strategize to figure out solutions. Read more>>

Brandee Brown | Online Boutique Owner & Hair Stylist

One of the most important lessons my business has taught me is that I have to be the brand. In other words, I have to walk like I am the business owner of THEBARTIERBRAND. When I walk into a room, I want people to know who I am or at least know of me because of my brand. I have to talk like I am the business owner of THEBARTIERBRAND. I love professional businesses and the only way I will run my business is professional. Even though I haven’t got there yet, I eventually want to look like I am a successful 20-year-old entrepreneur. I say that because I’ll throw on sweatpants and a graphic tee over dressing up any day. Starting a business wasn’t about the money for me. It’s about networking, making lifelong connections, opening new doors and opportunities for my family & myself. I am making a difference in the world by growing and expanding my business. Read more>>

Monique Washington | Self- Published Author

Although I have been a writer for many years, I have only been published author close to 4 years. One of the major lessons I have learned in this industry is producing a quality product. I had written and published 14+ books, but the quality was not A-1. It took someone very close to me to say,” hey sis, you have a lot of errors, in your books”. I immediately removed them and begin editing, revamping, and sought out a publishing company. Sometimes, we rush in excitement to release our products, that we do not give them our full attention it deserves. I’ve since then implemented new methods of proofing my work and using valuable resources to better serve my target audience. Read more>>

Joi Jamison | Dance Director/ Choreographer and Marketing Director

Being a dance director and founder of my own team (On Pointe) has taught me patience, humility, understanding, perseverance and responsibility. I have learned to be quick to listen first but also unapologetically open to speak my mind when the “timing” is right. Starting my dance team over ten years ago has allowed me to grow in ways that I had never imagined. I am grateful for all the life lessons, sacrifices and challenges along the way that have truly prepared me for this due season of abundance that I am in currently. I am so much wiser, stronger, bolder and knowledgeable of how true business and entrepreneurship life works and all that comes with it. All the late nights and early mornings truly make sense now. Read more>>