Through our work we have been constantly amazed at the incredible things people in every neighborhood are working on. What’s even more exciting is that they all have different stories, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses. That there isn’t a single formula for success means that everyone can take their unique set of strengths and characteristics and turn it into a success story. We recently reached out to some folks we admire and asked them what characteristics they feel are responsible for their success.

Zack Hamilton | Customer Experience Leader

The most important factor behind my success has been redefining ‘winning.’ Let me explain… growing up, I was always involved with sports. I began competitively swimming at 4-years-old. My mother was a single-parent raising 4 children working double shifts in a factory and joining the local swim team became a way for our mother to see us enjoy a sport. All of my siblings were successful, and I have plastic totes full of ribbons and trophies. In junior high, I burnt out of swimming, and picked up a tennis racket. I immediately fell in love. I could play all day long. It was a new challenge for me, and I quickly began training with a pro. I had a very successful high school career which transitioned to a Division I tennis scholarship. Winning to me was about the final score. Did I win the race? Did I win the tennis match? How many trophies did I have to prove I was ‘successful?’ After college, this transitioned in to my corporate life and career. Read more>>

Vivian Azrya | Owner and Creative Talent

The most important factor behind my success as well as my brand is God and my mom. At a very young age I have always had a true passion for fashion,.. well so I thought. I begged my parents for months of how I wanted to open my own clothing store and at first they thought I was just playing around. I did my research, created a name and logo in which I designed myself and presented it to them as if I had walked into a bank to present my business proposal and that is what really showed them how serious I was about it. Thereafter, my mom has been nothing but a BIG motivation for me to strive towards my dreams. As I thought my passion was for fashion, God and my mother both opened my eyes to what I was truly preparing for. I was many roles of the clothing store, one being the photographer and one thing that seemed to always catch the customers attention was the images of the inventory I had captured. Read more>>

Daequan Rose | Sneaker Cobbler

The most successful factors of the brand are coming up with new ways to keep sneakers clean with flashy new techniques to keep people entertained throughout the world. It’s an art, and it’s a great market/culture to be part of. Read more>>

Joy Stephens | DE&I and Corporate Culture Consultant

Authenticity is absolutely the biggest factor in my success. When I host webinars and workshops for companies, they are going to get concepts and ideas presented to them in a way that rings true to who I am as an individual. The subject matter that I cover is complex and at times uncomfortable. I let my audience see the passion and vulnerability that I have when presenting it. My business has grown based on the strength of stellar reviews. Read more>>

Juwuan Tolbert | Stadium Operations Coordinator & Designer

The biggest factor behind my success as well as my brand, is being patient. The fashion industry has taught me a lot about being patient and not rushing the process. Mind you, I waited two years to come out with my brand. Not only that, I was still designing within those two years while working a full time job. I could have easily came out with the first shirt I design, but I also understood my consumers are going to want to know what’s next. So I put in two years worth of work, as well as wanted to deliver a meaning and purpose to my target audience. I believe staying patient, getting a feel of what the market need, selecting the right designs at the right time is what has contributed to our success. I remind my team every time that our biggest characteristic is that we are patient. Read more>>

Theron Merritt | Bass Player

The most important factor behind my success, believe it or not, is God. Take that how you want. I was raised in the church as a Christian, a P.k. (Preachers Kid) to some, throughout my younger years…all the way to college. Starting on drums with the youth choir and then slowly transitioning to bass while working my way up, I was able to grasp the concepts of time, rhythm, genres, playing by ear, the number system, what it meant to be cohesive, a team player, playing in front of hundreds sometimes thousands on a weekly basis and so much more, all fine tuned me into the player I am today. Read more>>

Landis Pearce | Chief Engineer / Owner of Unify Sound Lab

I think the simplest answer is here is customer service. I mean real customer service. Sculpting sound and an environment per client on a day to day basis. So much talent walks through my door and they all deserve the same respect as my signed famous clients. Nobody’s music is more valuable than the next. The amount of bad business that I see day to day in this industry is astounding. Shady business practices and just downright being rude to clients is rampant. I have so many people walk through my door that have had an atrocious experience at another studio. I just aim to please my clientele to the best of my ability. Read more>>

Trish Roe | Interior Designer

Interior design is incredibly personal, and I believe that every successful project is rooted in connection and comfort. My clients are predominantly young professionals with growing families, and I work with them to create home designs that feel elevated and stylish while still serving to enhance their day-to-day lives. I love to curate spaces that are intimate and approachable, designed for each unique family I work with. Read more>>

Ashton LeCraw | Painter & Art Instructor

Consistency. During the Pandemic, I was stuck at home, like all of us were, and thought – what is the best way to utilize my time during lockdown? I began working from home and made myself paint at least 5 days out of the week. I also began to record myself painting and posting the timelapses on my Instagram account (@ashtonlecraw) several times a week. This allowed me to have a rhythm and a schedule that I could enforce using my social media as a means to hold myself accountable. I started doing this to keep myself sane during such stressful and heartbreaking times of 2020. After a few weeks and months, my client list began to grow and people began to reach out to me via Instagram to purchase my work. It is now a vital tool for me to gain clients and maintain relationships with past clients. Read more>>

Allyson Reaves | Board Member, Black Alumni Collective

THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE. After the year that our world has had, we’re ready to live life differently, and we’ve seen a shift in how people show up to this work – and to each other. Overall, our Black alumni leaders have always been committed to activism, and especially recently (i.e. the 2020 election and the Black women in GA who turned it blue), philanthropy (numerous gifts given in the wake of the George Floyd murder and Black Lives Movement), and care for family and loved ones (12 months into the pandemic!). Black alumni leaders have convened around these and other social issue areas over the decades, and this is the time for us to bolster social movements for the Black community across schools, campuses, and communities, which is an amazing opportunity! At its core, the Black Alumni Collective unifies and empowers Black alumni individuals and groups through civic engagement, economics, and advocacy. Read more>>

Viola Choice | CEO and Creator

I believe the most important factor behind my success and the success of Chosen is first God, of course, but secondly our authenticity. We are a Motivational Clothing Line that was created to inspire people while providing fashion. We are for the people with real lives, and real stories. Real people that have gone through hardships and that are trying to make it. Real people that came from the bottom and dream of the top. I think a lot of people can relate to that and I think that’s where our success comes from. Third, we work hard. Period point blank. We work every single Day. Read more>>

Zeplyn Tillman | CEO & Media Producer

The most important factor behind my success and the success of any brand I’ve every been a part of helping to build is the dedication and commitment from the team to any one common goal. It know that it’s cliche to say no one woman or man is an island, but legitimately if you are going to build anything – your ability to communicate and get other’s inspired by that vision is imperative. Even if you can’t afford to pay them in the beginning – figure out how you can add value to their lives and build something that gets people excited to want to build with you. Read more>>

Isaac Henkel | Owner/Creator/Founder of Zeek’s BBQ Sauce.

Character. Perhaps the most important of the success factors to accelerating your life is your character. Self-discipline combined with honesty will open countless doors for you. Trust is the foundation of all relationships. I stand strong on the fact that i have never burned any bridges in life because no matter who,what or where in life, you will always need to cross one of those at some point in life and it really could be as small as just a conversation about life or in need of someone to get you through a stressful time. Those are the bridges you never want to burn in life since we all know how stressful life could be at times. I have always been true to myself and everyone around me and i believe my business success has really been built on the person i am and what i have always stood for. Read more>>

Renee Locher | Owner of Renee Locher Makeup and Hair, & Health coach at Renee Locher Wellness

I love to truly connect with people; to really listen and understand who they are and what they are about, how they want to feel in their look, and really understand their essence as a person. I believe my desire and ability to see someone for who they really are, as well as combining that with the client’s desired makeup and hair style has contributed greatly to my success. When I am given an inspiration photo of a makeup or hair style from a client, I delve into the all the details and apply what I know about the client, as well as the type of event or photo shoot they are a part of. I take into consideration the entire essence of the person in order to truly bring about the look that they have dreamed of, yet that they also will feel comfortable in. I believe the magic is in the details. Read more>>

Cassieandre Jones | Founder & Creative Director

The most important factor behind my success is my creativity and my work ethic. God has truly blessed me to be a visionary. When I strongly believe in an idea, I become obsessed with it. I love to see my investments come to life. Read more>>

Jason Drumwright | Co-Founder of One Handed Bartender, Craft Cocktail Company.

I’d have to say the most important factor in our success is our commitment to quality. It’s actually been very difficult to achieve. Producing cocktails that we hope to be of the highest quality available are very expensive and time consuming to develop. That’s the whole point for us though. We just love great cocktails. We started this company so that other people, that love great cocktails as much as we do, could have them anytime and anywhere! So really, the most important factor is our selfish love of cocktails. Wait, did you just trick me into saying I’m selfish?! Next question please. Read more>>

Katherine King | Interior Designer & Entrepreneur

I would say the most important factor behind the success of my brand would be authenticity. I truly believe that being transparent, authentic, and relatable is what makes me so appealing to most followers & potential clients. It is key that my followers know that there is a real person behind my brand and that I am genuine and approachable. I let my brand speak for itself through real moments because I know how easy it can be to get caught up in comparisons and competition. I believe communicating openly and honestly is valuable, which is why it is so important to not only share my successes, but also my failures. Not everything is perfect and owning a business is not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s hard and not for the faint of heart. I’ll be the first to tell you that it is scary and it has made me doubt myself more times than not. By sharing my imperfections, I gain the trust of my followers which is extremely important to me. Read more>>

Rell Ellis | Owner – A.V.E. (Absolute Victory Everyday)

Consistency is the key. You have to remain consistent in your message. You shouldn’t be all over the board trying to find something that will just make you money. Find a message that speaks directly to your audience and stick to it. That’s where you have to get creative in finding different ways to get your point across. Read more>>

Nichole Jack | Holelistic Healer , Dough Dealer, Life Changer

The single most important factor is quality. The consistent quality of your product and the consistent quality and level of service provided is what people will remember most and appreciate when it comes to supporting a business. Read more>>

Elle Ross | Wellness Coach & Business Strategist For Fitness Professionals

The most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand is creating a consistent routine with persistent execution. Before starting my journey toward holistic health and becoming a business owner, I had not solid routine or sense of direction for what I wanted for my life. It was not until I gained clarity on my goals and created actionable steps on how to achieve them that my life began to shift for the better. I developed a new morning routine of healthier success habits and consistent discipline to execute on those tasks daily. My mornings went from waking up 30 minutes before needing to leave out the door for work, to giving myself an extra 2-3 hours to focus on my personal well-being. That included morning prayer and meditation, reading, journaling my intentions and goals for the day, exercise, hydration and a well-balanced breakfast. Read more>>

Eli Vicks | Analog Portrait Photographer

I use the word success very loosely, as what I consider success is far beyond the monetary gains that inevitably come with it. It’s not an end goal for me, but a never ending mindset that I can be content with what I have and what I need to work on, where I am and where I need to be. There was a time back in the Summer of mid 2019 when I had just started my life as a photographer. I immediately began searching for inspiration and a direction for my work that someone else who succeeded in this field had taken. This soon became me comparing myself to other photographers who had started years ago, some before I was even born. I began questioning my results, wondering why they weren’t as good as someone I was trying to be like. I didn’t understand the true meaning, or one of the true meanings of being an artist. The art that you create is special, not because it’s nice to gaze at, follows the rules that are set in stone, and gets a lot of social media attention..the art you create is special because it comes from a place that is deep within you and your story. Read more>>

Brandon Abernathy | Owner, 3 Cent Media Ventures

The most important factor behind my success has to be my change of mindset. Some people do not feel like their inner thoughts is a good place to be but for me, it is where my life makes the biggest changes. From my injury, to graduating school, when my mindset changed my life changed. When it comes to my brand, I participate in whatever lane I pick. I tribute that to my hard work and mindset. If I do not know exactly how to do something, I go find the answer. A lot of times when we want to accomplish a goal we think we need the hottest and latest equipment. When you focus around you the answers and help are already there. When it comes to success you cannot be afraid to put in the work. The Bible says the faith is dead without the work, so apply it to your life. My father taught me to always be nice, respectable ,presentable to people and leave a lasting impression. Read more>>

Coy Kindred | Web Designer

As a Multi-Passionate Black Woman Entrepreneur, having a source of ongoing support and encouragement is the most important factor behind my success beyond the quality of my work. My financial advisor will probably laugh when she reads this, but I truly believe that relationship-building and social capital are just as important as financial capital. When you make yourself an asset to those around you and serve with a purpose, success is bound to follow. Read more>>

Nala Burton | Photographer

Versatility! You have to be in tuned with each and every client in order to achieve the look/shoot/art they are wanting! I understand and accept that being a freelance photographer means adapting to every kind of environment, whether it’s indoors/outdoors or studio. Embracing it has given me prosperity. Read more>>

Samia Burton | Hands on Sex Educator & Intimacy Coordinator

Vulnerability. My ability to lay the truth out about sex so well is because I dig deep with a lot of self realizations to truly gain the chance & the trust with every one of my customers. I’m not just talking to them, I know that I am truly talking to myself so I have to acknowledge that so I can always treat customers & clients just as I treated myself to truly grow. I see them as me. Knowing where I once was in my sex life & the things I was missing is how I know someone else out there feels it too & I gain their trust & we go through the process together of truly creating the sex life that they want. As long as I’m able to acknowledge where sex truly lacks even if that means having to admit that this used to be me then that means as long as I’m honest I will always have clientele because I can recognize those who need the help by simply looking for myself in them. Read more>>

Kelzhaunne Thornton | Songwriter , Entertainer

Staying authentic and true to myself . I never want to change something because of money or because of what’s trending. My supporters love me for my originality. Read more>>

Lisa S Jones | Founder & CEO, EyeMail Inc.

Faith in knowing the next step is front of me, even if I can not see it. Throughout my journey as an entrepreneur, there were often more failures and setbacks, than successes. While I accept many failures are needed to reach those few successes, it is still difficult to experience them. Faith is what gives me the strength to get back up and keep going, to stay the course I have outlined for myself instead of pulling the covers over my head and disappearing. Just like we have faith the sun will come tomorrow, I had faith I would be free from corporate to pursue my dreams, I had faith to get through each day, and I have faith that I will succeed in both my personal and professional endeavors. Read more>>

Kayleigh Moreland | Photographer

To me, the most important part about being successful is to trust your gut, believe in the work you’re creating, and stay true to yourself. If I’m creating art that I don’t like, then what’s the point? Creating a piece of work that I despise would not be an accurate representation of myself. Art to me is creating work that I’m passionate about and that I actually enjoy making, and if I’ve done that, then I consider it a success. Read more>>

Cara Maria Leighty | Content Creator & Comedienne

I wouldn’t say I’ve achieved said-success (yet), but I would have to say the most important factor to me is persistence. Don’t give up! Don’t quit! There have been many times when I’ve thought about giving up in terms of content creation (either based on lack of views or numbers) but I’ve pushed forward & truly discovered things about myself/my passions; ultimately gaining even more drive for what I love to do. Read more>>

Gianna Keiko | Photographer and Digital Marketer

Confidence. Flow. Time management. Internal dialogue/mindset shifts from “I don’t know how to do that” (imposter syndrome) to “gimme Youtube and 20 minutes” (resourceful). States of deep work flow are so hard to achieve these days. I used to be a fairly conciliatory person and schedule around what worked best for other people (both socially and professionally). Now, I budget in deep work days where I don’t need to stop for anything or anyone and I can really tap into a flow. It can take me a few hours to get there, so I have to know that every little DM and email can seriously wait. I schedule and automate as much as I can in order to allow for this. I do not need to be scrolling or reminding people of what to wear to a photoshoot every day. Instead, I block out a few hours where I look at the upcoming 3-4 weeks and schedule those touch points. I also work out in ways that make you present (surfing, skiing, rock climbing, yoga). Some pretty dope ideas come through if you can get out of your own way ! We cook a lot of healthy food, I drink a lot of tea, and we practice really good sleep hygiene. Read more>>

McKeith Cordell | Singer/Songwriter/Producer

I would honestly have to say the most important factor in my musical success has been the need to stay true to myself. Since I am independent, I don’t have any label telling me when or what to sing. I’m not forced to sing other people’s songs or write to music that I don’t like. I have made it to the point where I’m not singing about anything that isn’t authentically me. I thank God that I have been fortunate enough to work with people that I have a great relationship with and I learned a lot from those people. Since starting to record in 2006, I have been able to learn more about the business and production sides of the industry as well. The singing and writing always came naturally. Read more>>

Whitney and Ryann Frink | YouTube Creators, Sisters, and Moms

Authenticity is the short answer. The longer one is that (IF we are considered a “success”) when we set out to create something uniquely our own, that we wanted to build from the ground up as a sister duo, the only thing we really knew was that we would be as genuinely ourselves as possible. That’s why our Youtube channel name started out as “Candid as a Mother” (we are now Whit and Ry). Being able to relate to someone else is helpful for anyone — whether that be through parenting challenges, navigating womanhood, or laughing at the same moments on a favorite TV show — and we think it can be both comforting and inspiring to share ourselves with people. We also love to laugh and have found that many people share our dry and ridiculous sense of humor. Read more>>

Ryan Woods | Associate, Senior Designer

The most important thing behind my success was making myself available and staying flexible. My target goal has always been to lead great design projects so I wanted to make sure that I was available whenever I got the opportunity. As a young designer, you have to be ready to seize your opportunity. This is true in the office and with clients. Somewhere along the line I became known for being the guy that could step in and turn around a large design project pretty quick. Past being available I would say the best thing for me in my career was to surround myself with great mentors and similarly driven people. But when it comes to networking I made sure I got out of my typical comfort zone of surrounding myself with designers. I worked hard to seek out organizations and opportunities that would give me the opportunity to expand my network and meet potential clients. Read more>>

Britney (BJ) Johnson | Permanent Make Up Artist & Content Creator

The most important factor behind my success is staying consistent. Even on the hardest days, being consistent has helped me to achieve many goals and it has motivated me to continue to “show up” because there are so many women & small business owners out there that need what I have to offer. Read more>>

Lisa Morris | Fine Art Portrait and Wedding Photographer

Customer service! My heart is for my clients. Besides creating beautiful photographs of my clients, my number one goal is to create an awesome experience! I want them to walk away from their session or their event and know they had fun and that I am here to serve. Read more>>

Perry Robinson | CEO & Veteran

The most important factor behind the success of myself and my organization is being genuine, being real with people and doing things with the right energy. I tell people all the time I would do this if there was no money involved, simply because I love the ability to positive impact somebody’s life and I’m working in my purpose. So doing things for the right reason and always doing it for the Most High. Read more>>

Tonia Morris | Multi- Generation Connector

I would say two factors: Clarity. You really have to be clear on who you serve and why. Consistency. It is important to be consistent with your brand. Your brand is a reminder to those who don’t you, your brand also is a representation of your company. Read more>>

Ciera Thomas | Patient Service Specialist & Content Creator

The most important factor behind my success is remaining humble and authentic. Humility and authenticity builds great relationships with your audience. My brand and social media pages are the first thing people see, so it’s important to show them the real me. Read more>>

Christina Nicole | Model & Actress

The most important factor behind my success is and has always been my support system. There has been plenty of times that I wanted to give up and there has been plenty of moments that I didn’t feel like I was good enough. The support of my mother, my agent, and my friends motivated me to keep pushing. My mother and my agent have helped me develop tuff skin and have always pushed me to work harder, be more creative, and never give up. Read more>>

Antoine Allen | Award-Winning Filmmaker

It’s so many. But the one thing that keeps me on this incredible journey is my faith in myself. So many people don’t reach their full potential because they let their fears and insecurity’s put limitation on their dreams in life. I use to be that person until I realize that I do not want to be that’ll old man full of regrets. Read more>>

Daedrea Fenwick | Attorney and Owner of Kulture Karaoke

Authenticity. I created a game that I actually enjoy playing. My customers are people who are like me, so they relate to me. When I advertise my product, it’s not a hard sell because I genuinely created something that people enjoy. Read more>>

Brittany Floyd | CEO/ Founder of B’Led Women Boutique

The most important factor behind my business is to keep God at the forefront. It’s important to me for God to remain the anchor of my business. To be anchored is to remain grounded and secure in faith. It was faith that encouraged me to operate in my gifts. Therefore, I cannot entirely take credit for the success of my business without acknowledging where the idea originated from. The blueprint of B’Led Women boutique is God’s plan, and I am just here to operate accordingly. Read more>>

Erica Dias | Publicist & Serial Entrepreneur

I would say being discipline and having a consistent prayer life, has been the most important factor behind my success. Read more>>

Jasmine Bacon | Digital Marketer & Founder of OM & Essence

I was purposeful in pursuing my “why”. My “why” for this app is to pair Black women with Black yoga instructors because Black women deserve to thrive too. I was frustrated with the insensitivity to the difference in my body type compared to the predominately White women participants in the yoga studios that I visited. Because of this, I became purposeful in seeking out Black-owned yoga studios. Once I created my own database I began working on an app to share with other women who had experienced the same insensitivities as me and who wanted to practice yoga in a community that resembled them. Through the creation of the app, it lead me to become purposeful with highlighting Black-owned studios. If it was difficult for me to find them then I’m sure it was difficult for other Black women to find them as well. This simple idea continues to garner positive feedback because it speaks to Black women, who are oftentimes the most marginalized and disrespected, and provides solutions that leave them with joy. Read more>>

Ryan Righteous, Seantana and DJ Jeremaya of Trackstarz

Our biggest factor of success is our ability to believe that through faith and hard work we can achieve anything. Read more>>

Tiane Hamler | Thrift & LifeStyle Specialist

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is focusing on the God-given gifts I have been blessed with to share with others. We all have special gifts and talents, really leaning into those capabilities we have will help make us successful. Distractions are something that we all deal with and practicing how and when to give attention to the necessary matters versus inessential matters is significant to a successful brand. The Tiane Nicole brand encompasses everything I enjoy: thrifting, styling, and uplifting women – something that has always been a piece of me. Engaging with women who want to give back to the earth by expanding the life cycle of clothing (the average total life cycle of a piece of clothing is 5.4 years); helping them curate stylish affordable outfits; and encouraging them to live boldly while cheering them on as their self-confidence and self-love begins to flourish – all of which I believe are the most important factors behind the success of my brand. Read more>>

Terence “Skinny” Divinci | Song writer, Entrepreneur

I’d have to say originality and artistic expression combined with my passion, the meaning and cause. Why I do it and who I do it for. Because I do it for YOU! When I say you, I mean everybody. In everything I do I try to ensure it has meaning, as a result, I find ways to give back to minorities and others in my community. I find success through authentic positive intentions. When you intend to do positive things, you intend to be successful. Among my business ventures is a Coffee Shop that will be a landmark and dedication to the great city of Atlanta. It will also provide after school programs for the youth, specifically our young black kings. Read more>>

John Mack | Digital Artist & Creator of Syrup.WorldWide

I’m originally from a small town that’s in a very rural part of Massachusetts and was always surrounded by creative people. Now I’m a Junior at Georgia State University, where I’m majoring in Studio Art with a concentration in digital art. I also run my own streetwear brand, Syrup.WorldWide, which I was 17 when I started. I feel that motivation and determination are two of the most important factors behind my success so far. My freshman year of college, I was at the University of Vermont. I met four dudes that really motivated me to pursue Syrup.WorldWide. I spent a good chunk of my time at UVM developing the brand. After my freshman year of college, I transferred to GSU to take my creativity and art practices more seriously. If I never came to Atlanta, I would’ve never been fully motivated to continue doing art and Syrup.WorldWide. I would say the third biggest factor behind my success are the people in my life that believe in me and believe in Syrup.WorldWide. I moved to one of the most creative cities and wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my friends and family. Read more>>