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.

Caroline Fraska | Wedding + Engagement Photographer

The most important factor behind my brand and my success as a small business owner in a very saturated industry is going to sound a little cliché, but it rings true, and that’s straight up just being yourself. When you’re first starting your business in any industry there are people and brands you look up to and inevitably you try to emulate and replicate what you think their recipe for success is. It took me so long to realize the secret sauce, the magic dust, the golden ticket is actually me. As a business owner you can sell the same products and use the same platforms to promote those products but the key difference is the person behind the brand. In the photography industry, YOU are your brand. Once I started tapping into what makes me different as opposed to what makes me similar to [insert fancy successful photographer here] is when I noticed a shift in the success of my brand. No one can be you and that’s your superpower. The moment I let my personality shine through my brand is the moment everything started to change. Read more>>

Gabriella Carscadden | Lifestyle Photographer

I believe the most important factor behind the success of my brand, is my relationship with my clients. I believe it’s so important for my clients to know that they are not just another job for me. I want to get to know them and make sure I am able to provide them with a product that is catered to their needs. It’s not about me, it’s about them. I want them to not only remember the photos I took, but their experience with me. Read more>>

Lauren “Lily” Fells | Photographer & Marketing Consultant

I always bet on myself. No matter the opportunities or challenges I’m faced with, I will always choose me to get the job done, to send that email, to make that call–whatever it is, it’s up to me to rise to the occasion and win or learn. I even compete with myself when it comes to building my brand and perfecting my craft. I look at what I’ve done and then ask, how do I make this better? This is how I developed my brand. I’m inspired by many things, but I will always study my own work to ensure the quality of work I produce is authentic and tells a life story. Read more>>

Quianna Daniels-Smart, LSW | Speaker, Executive Director, Therapist, Author

The most important factor behind my success is God. I’ve prayed and dreamed for moments like this, but not to this magnitude. In less than five years things that, I’ve prayed about and worked towards have come to fruition. Marriage, Business owner, building, and creating generational wealth are all things that I knew I wanted for myself. . However, the other roles and responsibility such as non-profit executive and founder, being admitted into a Ph.D. program becoming a Therapist, and creating the life that fits my family, is something only God could have orchestrated. One thing I know to be true is that although he was blessing me in many areas, I had to give him something to bless that was inlined with his will for my life. And so there were plenty of times, where I was told “No” or that I didn’t get accepted into a program, or rewarded for my hard work. But while all that was unfolding I was working towards that which I could not see. Read more>>

Brianne Ford | Wedding & Event Planner

Consistency and Quality. Read more>>

Elizabeth Papescu | Business Owner

Offer to my clients an experience that I would love to receive myself. For that I must find key collaborators, that are excellent in their jobs and can understand and persue my goals and expectations. Motivated and talented team working together with the same purpose. When your team is involved and recognized, great suggestions, new ideas are inevitable and your business will be evolving constantly. Read more>>

Ivana Tarraza | Artist & Designer

Definitely a strong support system from my family and friends, they definitely uplift my spirits and lend a helping hand whenever it’s necessary. Read more>>


TENACITY. You have to know what you want, learn how you can get it, and then take little steps every day that will get you there. When you reach some road blocks, turn, or go around them – but never quit. Motivation doesn’t last, it’s fleeting. So you need to acquire discipline. The discipline to put in the work goes hand and hand with the determination to get there, no matter what. And that all starts by believing in yourself. That way of thinking is the way I have achieved EVERYTHING in my life. My education, my career, my success as a professional athlete – all started with believing in myself. The rest will follow, if you put in. Read more>>

Veronique Pierre | Mental Health Advocate & Mompreneur

I think the most important factor behind my success is the mindset to never give up no matter what. There have been so many times and challenges where I doubted myself and out of fear, I just wanted to give up especially when things do not go as planned. Then I realized the magic ingredients are to have the right mindset, the right goal, and self-motivation. Perseverance is key! As a black female entrepreneur, launching my business in 2019 has been a challenge and still is. Learning, adapting, and evolving is imperative in this business or any other business nowadays. Yet I turned my true passion into helping others to be my self-motivator. It has always been a priority to me to help others who deal with mental illness and distress through words of encouragement, support, and mentorship. It isn’t about the money or the fame that I’m committed to but knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life means a lot to me. Read more>>