While it’s inspiring to read high level summaries of success stories, we think it’s just as important to learn about what drove the success and made it possible. We’ve asked some of the brightest folks we know to open up about what they believe was the most important factor behind their success.

Jenny Stokes | Dog Photographer

The most important part of my photoshoots is that the dogs and their parents are having the time of their lives together! A lot of my clients are unsure about how their dog will behave- if they will sit and stay like they do at home, if they’ll be nervous around a new person, or if they’ll even look at the camera. I reassure my clients that even if your dog seems like they aren’t being a top model, the most important thing is that we keep having fun, spoiling them, and telling them what a good dog they are! I take on the responsibility of getting the cutest pictures of their dog, and the only thing my clients need to worry about is if their dog knows how much they are loved. From the consultation call to receiving their artwork, the entire Smooches and Pooches Photography experience is about celebrating how perfect their dog is! Read more>>

Andrew Gonzalez | CrossFit Level 2 Trainer

I believe the single most important factor behind the success of our business/brand is that our pursuit has been to make Jesus known in every way possible. While we operate our gym and realize that we need members to create revenue we never made it about members or revenue. Instead, we opted to focus on how we can glorify God, and serve the people in our gym as well as the community. In doing so, I believe that we have made a bigger impact than fitness alone ever could. In addition, by keeping a Christ-first mentality we are able to see each person the way He sees them and bestow the same value/importance on each individual that He would. Read more>>

Jason Dove | Entrepreneur, Senior Sales & Marketing Executive

I choose success over failure. When you embrace failure, you’re saying that failing is an inevitable result in your endeavors. Going forward, this mentality then guides your actions—or inactions—which can increase the likelihood of failure. It has an almost cyclical effect. Your personal brand consists of a basis of values and characteristics that you want to embody and convey. In a competitive world, it is very important that individuals are able to find an edge on their competition. Personal branding allows you to show what matters to YOU. Your brand image becomes about the skills and interests you have and are interested in, not what your job or environment might have dictated. The focus of my life begins at home with family, loved ones and friends. Read more>>

Andrea Mapua | Small Business Owner & Developer

Success to me is helping better the world and/or others through the gifts and talents that God has blessed me with. I truly love when I get to meet other people through the small business realm and I especially love knowing I have left someone in a better place than where they have started. Pax + Co is focused on cultivating human kindness, normalizing being one’s true self, and inspiring and empowering others. I strive to do these things on a daily basis. I want people to feel loved, accepted, and seen. Life can be so hard already and knowing that Pax + Co has the ability to “lighten the load” makes me so happy. I just want to bring more joy and love into this world and I aim to do that through making and developing things – whether that be a doodle, a fun t-shirt, or a website. Read more>>

Matt Nestor | Singer-Songwriter/Musician/Entertainer

Expanding outside of your comfort zone. Playing music in some places that are off the beaten path. Also, to constantly be searching for new avenues to promote your music. You never know what podcast, radio station, or influencer will enjoy your tunes. Read more>>

Jordan Nix | Creative Director & Agency Owner

The biggest factors behind my personal success are grit and perseverance. I started my marketing career as a teen mom and single parent before launching The Nix Company. Building my business while raising a child showed me just how strong I really am. For The Nix Company, the most important factor behind our success is our passion. We truly work as an extension of our clients’ businesses and are passionate about helping their brands evolve alongside industry trends. We nurture our clients’ businesses as if they were our own. Read more>>

Paige Strahan | Aesthetic Nurse Injector

Discipline! I think most people hear the word discipline and they associate it with the idea of a straight-laced, no fun type of lifestyle, however it has been complete opposite for me! Success to me is about making a goal and reaching it, no matter the difficulties that present. I can truly say that I have never been able to reach a goal in my life without putting in the time and effort to get there and that is what discipline is all about. I was a walk on soccer player to a D1 school where I had a dream of being a a captain and winning the team MVP award, being the underdog told me I couldn’t but being disciplined enough to wake up early every morning and put in extra work told me that I could and I graduated my senior year there accomplish both of my goals plus many more.  Read more>>