We asked some of the city’s hidden gems to tell us about what they feel is the most important factor behind their success.

Kayhla Williams | Chiropractor

The most important factor that attributes to my success is that fact that I don’t quit. I’m a pretty resilient person. I don’t let anyone or anything stop me. Not even what some people consider failures. I’ve experienced some adversity on this journey, Especially getting through graduate level schooling. But I simply did not quit. I really believe that’s the secret sauce to anyone’s success. That’s really the only thing that separates those who achieve their goals and those that don’t. When you know your purpose to have to be relentless in your pursue to live out that purpose. You can plan and try to predict but there will always be some kind of adversity. Just look at what happened in 2020. No one saw that coming and we had so many expectations for that year. You have to be able to adapt and change accordingly. Read more>>

Quanzerria Dupree | Poet / Spoken Word Artist & Encourager

I believe that the most important factor behind my success is my foundation. My foundation consists of God / Christ and the calling He has on my life. Understanding that calling, knowing who He created me to be, and trusting His plan over my own is what continues to further my success. With me living fully in my purpose, I am confident that I won’t ever run out of reason to do what I love, whether writing and sharing poetry or pushing my inspirational platform, We Grow Together. Read more>>`

Lisa Watts Thurston | DJ Peppermint Gatty

I have allowed this journey to be one of self growth and self-acceptance. I had to seriously get over my fear of failure and move to the next level. When I put my self-doubt and fear to the side, I was able to pursue my passion with no safety net and develop immense patience with myself. My confidence increases daily because of the greatness I surround myself with. My tribe makes me believe in my own magic. I have surrounded myself with people who are also striving to be better in their field and who give me the needed support. Read more>>

Carly Rae Leitner | Interior Designer

I have come to learn that individuality is crucial to success in the design world. This means to ignore what everyone else is doing and fully surrender to your instincts and your natural eye. There are so many different ways to decorate a space, and none of them are wrong. Stop trying to fit yourself into the mold of what is most well-liked at the moment. If you stay true to yourself, others will be drawn to that. In addition to being true to your style, be your most authentic self. Clients want that human connection. The more you pour yourself and your personality into your brand, the more people will connect with you and your ideas, and the more content you will be. Sometimes this means cutting the “customer service” voice and just shooting it straight with your client. I find so much liberation in being as transparent as possible. Read more>>

Sarah Busby | Publicist & Founder of B The Buzz PR

At this point in my career and my life in general, I feel like the success of my brand has come from affirmations. The events that have taken place in my life have been because I would speak things over myself and my business when it looked completely different from what I was speaking. The most important factor behind success is actually putting in the work and not giving up. You will never see success if you don’t go through the process. I’ve learned that the process allows me to grow internally and externally I’m able to grow my client’s brand and mentor those that have a desire to pursue this profession. Read more>>

Jazmyn Roberson | Owner of Heart4SuccessPhotos LLC

The most important factor behind Heart4SuccessPhotos LLC success is continuing to be determined and the ability to stay consistent. You may have great ideas but if you aren’t consistent with the planning and the execution of those ideas you will never see them being accomplished. Heart4SuccessPhotos LLC provides exceptional quality and unforgettable memories with our photography and videography services. Having a reliable and strong team also brings out the success of your brand. We are a company that has essentially turned into a brand by staying consistent and being our hearts into everything we do because it means that much to us. Read more>>

Marlana Semenza | Photographer and Visual Strategist

Getting crystal clear on the problem I solve, who I solve it for and how I solve it. Problem I solve : Anonymity Who I solve it for : People looking to take control of their image and be power players in their space How I solve it : Through stand-out personal brand photography and visual strategy. Read more>>

Madison James | Fitness and Wellness Coach & Multi-Media Personality

The most important factor behind my success and building my brand. Being 100% me! It’s so much easier to be yourself than to be anyone else! Plus go with your gut. You hear people say it all the time but it’s true. If something does not feel right, take a minute to pause before you move forward or make a decision. Lastly surround yourself with people who want to truly see you win, that might even mean reaching out to someone who you have never personally met. I have made some great connections by just sending a email. You can’t grow if you never ask questions!. Read more>>

Donqiue J | Creator, Natural Hair Retreat & Photographer

I am the most important factor. Period! I love what I do! I genuinely care about the women that I encounter in my businesses so I focus on building relationships with them. I believe that everyone I meet is for a reason and it’s bigger than one Retreat or one photography session. Out of all the people in the world there’s a reason why I encounter the women that I do. We have something to learn from each other! Rarely the lessons are hard ones, but it’s still a lesson learned. Another thing that contributes to my success is that I create an entire experience around anything I do! The experience can’t be matched! I think the most common thing I hear is that my attention to detail is amazing. So yeah, building genuine relationships with my attendees/clients and also creating a detailed experience has definitely contributed to the success of my brand. Read more>>

Christina Kanu | CEO of Christina Kanu Consulting, Mom/Mompreneur

The most important factor behind my success is that I am internally motivated. When I wake up in the morning I do not expect for anyone else to tell me to succeed. I have been intrinsically motivated since I was younger and that has made all of the difference in my life. I tell myself every single day that I am going to conquer the day. I tell my clients that you aren’t going to wake up to a pep squad. You have to wake up ready to handle your business and keep it moving. Read more>>

Catherine Fox | Principal and Senior Scientist

The most important factor for the success of my company has been to show industries and municipal governments that it is easier than they think and costs less both financially and stress to be in compliance with environmental laws than to fight the regulations. Read more>>

Cedric King | Atlanta’s Fashion Architect

When I started Paris Polo Crew it was with the drive to focus on the needs of others and building a brand that brought together timeless Parisian and classic Americana styles with a love for everyone of my customers. I saw some of the largest brands in the world like Ralph Lauren with its beautiful colors and fashions and wanted to build a family business focused on a brand with great fashions and amazing advertisements similar to the greats from Paris to New York. I grew up in a small town and I always found myself focusing on the needs of others and loving the businesses that I would frequent at home because service always came first. I respected the business owners because they were involved with the community and presented me with opportunities for expanding my skills. I always wanted to bring the same improvements for my community and a brand that offered that same level of quality. Read more>>

Onteria West | Digital Content Creator | Home Stylist | Healthcare Administrator

This will sound extremely cliché’ , but the truth is that I find staying true to myself has always been the factor behind my success in any of my endeavors, and especially behind my brand. In being true to myself, inclusive of my flaws and all the things I work every day to better about myself, I’m able to not only resonate with others who feel similarly but I become a better person for it. Plus, when I stay true to myself and who I am, I don’t have to work so hard to build my brand or live in it because it comes naturally and I enjoy it!. Read more>>

Amanda Jones | Brand Designer + Marketing Strategist For Real Estate Agents

Being myself and not being afraid. I show up authentically and in turn encourage my clients how to do the same. We spend so much of our lives working in environments where we are afraid to show up as ourselves with confidence and the last thing we should do is bring that same mentality to our business and brand. Read more>>

Phil Stevens | Creative Director | Owner Bed Head Media

I’d like think that the success of my business and brand can be directly tied to the way I value others. Whether it’s a client, vendor, contractor, co-worker, family member or stranger, I want people to feel truly valued in the time I’ve spent with them. People don’t always remember what you said, but rather, they tend to remember how you made them feel. Read more>>

Anthony Lewis | Writer, Creator, Director and Entrepreneur

I must say the most important factor to my success is something my grand aunt “Della Lewis” told me when I called back home and I was asking for some help to pay my rent in my Norcross Georgia apartment, she told me no I am not going to help you this time, “put on your thinking cap” and to some they will immediately look at that response as something negative and just give up but I looked at in a positive way, and since then I shot my first short film, negotiated deals, traveled, started my own film production business, purchased a number of promotional billboards promoting my shows “Atlanta Girl$” & “Champagne and Color Schemes” around the city of Atlanta, put out two albums “Tragedies to Melodies” and “No more error” independently on iTunes and spotify under my publishing company tragedies to Melodies records by Anthony j lewis, and now I’m looking to get in to real estate. Read more>>

Carlos Lowe-Smith | Custom Apparel & Brands

My Faith, I have the faith to believe that my business success will come. To be patient Nothing comes overnight and quickly, I have learned to Trust the Process to build, dream and reinvent daily. We have several brands J365 and The Black Era our brands are not about exclusion, but to bring awareness and spark conversations. J365, is our Faith based series, what we stand on daily and believe in and for our business they are a collections of our favorite phases, quotes and words of inspiration. The Black Era, we designed because black has always been associated with negativity, and in an effort to level the playing field we want to reshape the mind and thinking. We put a lot into of thought and heart into each of our brands, and want to share our messages with the world. Read more>>

Lovely Anderson | Maker of Pretty Things

My faith and walk with God is the most important factor. Read more>>

Chetta D | Creative Genius | Spoken Word & Visual Artist

I’d have to say my faith is my secret sauce, the success behind my brand. My faith allows me to be open and honest with myself which shows in my relationships with others and throughout my artwork. Being authentic, relatable and open allows for others to feel free also. With me sharing my faith with others it inspires others. Inspiration is the gift that keeps giving, so that keeps me grounded and honest when creating and sharing my story. Read more>>

Keedar Whittle | The Rockstar of Education

The most important factor behind success is finding a gap and genuinely filling it. Being owner of Educators Now, we take a genuine interest in education and providing QUALITY educators to our partnering schools. No matter what your business is, subscribe to the notion of filling a gap. It also makes scaling or analyzing your business easier. Are you filling a gap daily, monthly, annually?. Read more>>

Dr. Beatrice Small | Senior Pastor of New Birth Fellowship Of Praise, Author of “WHY NOT ME”? and Recording Artist of “IN HIS Presence”

The most important factor behind my success is the work of The Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit), my Family, and the Partners that have come along side of me to help aid in accomplishing the mission of discipleship, membership, mentorship, and sonship. There is not much that any one can do alone. It takes the help of others in all walks of life to be a part of the vision / purpose that God has given and the desires that you have from within to make a difference and impact upon the face of this earth. Having a heart to serve, the love to look beyond what you see and reach forth to that which will bless and empower others in life is my motivation. I had several persons in my childhood and young adult life that gave me a helping hand without condemnation. They prepared me through their love for me to seek to do the same with every opportunity that would be presented to me. Read more>>

Michelle Turner | Writer and Content Creator

I believe in “what you see is what you get.” The person I am on social media is the same one you will see in person. The food and places I recommend are things I love to eat and places I love to go. Brands I work with represent the values I believe in. It’s my authenticity that builds trust and allowed me to build a wonderful community. If you know me you know I hate calling people followers. I consider everyone someone I can learn and build with and I wouldn’t be here without the community. Read more>>

Madi Davis | Barista, Baker, & Entrepreneur

The most important factor behind the success of our brand is, without a doubt, the individuals that we hire. When we first began writing down our ideas and vision for Noble & Main, we decided that character, not experience, would be our top priority when choosing individuals to add to our team. I truly believe that our brand would not be what it is today without the wonderful people who have joined hands with us along the way. Each of our baristas and bakers have different educational backgrounds and career paths, but they have the qualities of integrity and genuine kindness in common. When we receive positive feedback from members of our community, it always highlights the incredible and thoughtful people that work behind the counter at Noble & Main. They truly are the best of the best. Read more>>

Koereyelle DuBose | Founder, WERK University

The most important factor behind my success is my determination to assist and support my community. Regardless of the specific program or product I may be promoting, my purpose remains the same: to elevate the black community by providing wealth and business building tools and resources. Read more>>

Chris Walters | Husband, Father, and Bourbon Enthusiast

I attribute the success of my brand to recognizing a gap in the market and developing a product specifically for that gap. My product is not the first of its kind, but other similar products are 2-3 times more expensive, which prices out many consumers. Finding a way to be profitable at 1/3 of the price has had its challenges, but it’s paid off big time, and validated a need within the marketplace. Read more>>

Tavelyn James | CEO of Tavelyn James Foundation & Published Author “Is This Basketball”

The most important factor behind my success is that I have built a good reputation with my peers. I am authentic in what I do and also very transparent. I do not lead from the corner office or the top seat in a boardroom, instead I guide people through a life of struggles that have ended with great triumph. I am a strong, intelligent, compassionate individual that did not allow failures to determine my success. All that I hav overcome has aided me in be able to be a mentor to my community and a leader for my city. Read more>>

Christopher Powell | Physicist & Blockchain Enthusiast

The most important factor behind my success is being able to ‘roll with the punches’. Sometimes, there will be many obstacles that will stun or halt progress, but it takes perseverance and determination to be able to overcome the challenges. Read more>>

Ariel G. Chen | Owner & Interior Designer

The most important factor behind The Crafted Chen’s success is to highlight that we are a quality home and lifestyle and interior design crafted service business. Our mission is to share our craft, creativity, and passion with others while highlighting how to do this while living everyday life. Our home + lifestyle accents are handcrafted with quality and uphold beautiful designs. I’ve nurtured my craftsmanship by teaching myself a lot of what I know today. Researching the appropriate things and surrounding myself with the best fitting people. This is a major key! Your network is your net worth. Meet new people, DM that person you find inspirational, connect with other creatives, and be authentic throughout the entirety of it all. Read more>>

Jemerris Giles | CEO & Certified Master Trainer & Doctored In Physical Science

Staying consistent with my work ethic and having a mindset to never be content or pleased with my current position that I am in. But most of all stay true to myself and god and most of all my brand and my morals. Read more>>

Raven Reid | Dancer/ Choreographer/ Model/ Card Reader

I love this question because I think my definition of success has changed immensely over the course of the year. Success to me used to look like what it looks like to most people. The house, the car, the money, the clothes, the instagram followers. Whatever it looks like in a material based world, that’s what I thought. But I have the house, I have the car, I moved to a new state in the middle of a pandemic, I am successful by society’s standards, however it wasn’t until I set up the dance studio in my basement that I felt real success. Success comes from happiness. From the ability to keep going, the ability to find that thing that keeps you going. I remember having to work 12-14 hour days just to afford my rent and my car note, and yea I was exhausted but coming home and knowing I had the space to create, and to share my art with the world, the space to be my natural honest me. Read more>>

Autumn Johnson | NBA 2K League and NCAA Reporter

My success thrives off of my incredible support system. My mom is my biggest cheerleader, and I have the most genuine friends who want to see me win. I have mentors who push me to be the best they know I can be. I have many people in my corner who believe in me, pray for me and even pick me up when I’m down or doubting myself. In addition to my own work ethic and passion, their genuine love and support fuels me. Most importantly, I just want to make my mom proud. She always tells me “the sky is the limit”, and every day that’s what I aim for. Read more>>

Justin Drummond | “The Inspirationist” (Serial Entrepreneur, Creative, & Mentor)

The main factor that I contribute to my success would be my willingness to take risks, whether it’s financially or for business development purposes. Whether its investing in cyber-security technologies to propel my business to the next level without 100% that I will see a return. Through extensive research, there is high probability for that outcome but nothing is guaranteed in business. Understanding that there are windows of opportunity, and as a business owner you must be able to make crucial decisions and live with the consequences. In 2020, I had to take many risks to ensure my employees were able to remain on payroll, whether its applying for PPP money or paying them off of overdraft. Taking a step back was not an option, and now we have hired more employees than ever and growing at a fast rate. It’s all about staying the course. Read more>>

Jason “The Architect” Tolbert | National Public Figure, Event Keynote/Emcee, Radio Personality, Branding Mogul, Community Leader

The most important factor that has helped me is CONSISTENCY! Me being a Certified Branding Coach and a Branding Mogul, in my own right, consistency is ultimately what creates your brand. Anything that you do consistently is what people will say about or call you behind your back. If you are consistently late, then you’ll become branded as the one who is always late, If you are consistently dressed well, then you’ll become branded as the one who always dresses well. If you are consistently putting on great events, innovatively creating opportunities for others, influencing the city to follow you in making effective change, or giving it all that you have when speaking or emceeing an event, then you’ll be Branded as “The Architect.” I was affectionately coined as “The Architect” because I have been consistent with building businesses, events, talent, brands, dreams, and visions. Read more>>