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What’s the Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned Along Your Journey?

Every twist in our story, challenge we face, and obstacle we overcome is an important part of our story. These difficulties make us stronger and wiser and prepare us for what’s ahead. As we grow and succeed we may imagine that soon the challenges will fade away, but in our conversations with business owners, artists, creatives, academics, and others we have learned that the most common experience is that challenges never go away – instead they get more complex as we grow and succeed. Our ability to to thrive therefore depends heavily on our ability to learn from our experiences and so we are asking some of the city’s best and brightest: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?

Ground Zero Landscape and Construction | Complete Outdoor Living Environments & Yard Rejuvenation

That every client you contract with is the most important and best advertisement you can ever imagine. No matter how big or small the job is every client needs the attention of the largest client you have had. That small job will become a referral source and what is small to you may be the big deal to them. They will talk about you and well you treated them.

Miguel Kilezi

Work on your craft every time you can, and you will succeed and be good in whatever you do.



Courtney Gilchrist | Phoenix hairstylist

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey as a hairstylist is, always be patient and never stop learning. The industry can be intimidating as well as challenging at times. I’ve learned you can never know “too much” and watching your peers, people who inspire you and taking classes is the best way to becoming successful in this industry.



Lea | Full-Time RN and Weekend Enthusiast

The destination is constantly shifting, always be on the lookout for exciting detours.


Radmila Rocky Zombie | photographer | hairstylist and burlesque dancer

My last journey was for a 3 months and it was crazy! I did many things first time in my life and the most important lesson was that you don’t need to have much money for really interesting journey! You just need to have good company, meet new friends and be ready and open for new adventures!


Carol Taylor | Director of Marketing for VIP Mortgage | spicy food aficionado and devoted fan of the Chicago Cubs

My career, and life, journey has taken me all over the world. Through many different personal and professional experiences I have learned to believe in myself, trust my gut, and make the best out of any situation!

Jenn Hanson | Candle Maker & Attorney

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your journey so far? Being patient and kind to myself as I learn and grow. As a perfectionist, I try to remember that making mistakes doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve failed. Rather, I am constantly building up my experience with each batch of products. Everybody has to start somewhere, and the process should be FUN!


Sarah McNurlin | Realtor

That life is short and you should pursue anything that makes you happy, challenges you or scares you. I lost my brother in my 20’s and my mom almost 10 years later in my 30’s. After losing someone close to you, the world looks a lot different and takes on a whole new meaning. I make it a point to say yes to the opportunities in my career and my personal life, you can bet that I’ll be up for any adventure and I’ll do it with a smile on my face. I do my best to go with the flow and adapt to my client’s needs, I want to make sure that my clients know I’ll go above and beyond for them and make sure they are not missing out on any opportunities.

It’s hard to say where this life is going to take me but I know that I have lived it to the fullest and continue to do so every minute of the day. I have always been an optimistic person, adding that ‘say yes’ component has allowed me to meet all types of people, see a lot of cool places and make memories that I share with my friends and family. Life is short, make the lemonade and add the vodka!

Scott Miller | Photographer & Pamela Miller | Photo Stylist

To collaborate with others to come up with amazing artistic concepts.



Jose Cureno | Photographer & Videographer

The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is that there is always something new to learn. There is always new cameras & lenses that makes the job easier, but it’s not always about that. You have to focus on the situation at hand, learn new angles,  be great at editing and learn all there is to know about lighting. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed once you put in the dedication.


Chase Sossamon aka “Lead The Home” |  owner Lifeguard Anesthesia

The most important lesson I have learned in my journey so far is that everything in life is about relationships. However, in order to have good relationships you must have synergy in everything you do. You will never have presence and power in your relationships until everything you do and say is synergistic to your overall cause and purpose in life… that being love.


Browsbyhaleyandkyndal | Business partners & Brow experts

Communicating with each other while running a business together is the most important aspect in being successful. Keeping an open mind and having flexible ideas is key to a healthy business relationship.



Johnny Goodson | Owner | Operator of Arizona Custom Cycles

Its very difficult to say that one lesson is greater than another but if I was to single out one thing, It would be to treat every person that I come in contact with as if they are a friend and to give them my undivided attention. I feel its very important to make sure that every person is heard and know that what they are saying is important.

Kevin Nicholson | Fine Woodworker & Laboratory Scientist

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is that in order to succeed with my woodworking business, I was going to have to do a whole lot more than craft custom wood projects. I’ve had to learn about photography, building websites, e-commerce, shipping, tax law, marketing, 3D modeling, and much much more. I’ve had to be a jack of all trades in order to make my work be seen in its true glory. However, it is all worth it when I get to see my clients’ reaction to a finished project, knowing the absurd amount of time and energy that was spent perfecting every last detail!


Kristen Madison | Executive Chef

The most important lesson I’ve learned as a personal chef is the power of food. I’ve had the privilege of helping new parents find their rhythm after the arrival of their baby, providing comfort to cancer patients with a home-cooked meal, and have helped so many clients reach and maintain their health and wellness goals. I never thought a home-cooked meal could have such an impact and the power to make someone’s day so much brighter.

Doug Nowak | husband father and encourager

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is it’s not about me. Efforts on my part to achieve greater accomplishments or accolades only serve to boost my ego and in the end are only hollow. When I first strive to do for another whether it’s creating for someone or lending a helping hand that is the way I reach the greatest fulfillment in life. As an all wise man once said “I did not come to be served but to serve.


Kimberly Perez | Owner | Churro booth owner | Home Based Baker | Cupcake Delivery Driver

One of the greatest lessons I have learned on this wonderful journey of owning and baking for My Comadre’s Kitchen, LLC has been to always stay consistent with myself, my business and my products.  I inherited the love for cooking and baking from my Mom Santa. My mom would always tell me “if you are not going to use the best flavor of products or not make it with love, then don’t make it”.  I always knew what it meant but I never realized how important it was till I began my journey of My Comadre’s Kitchen, LLC.

Staying consistent when business is slow can be difficult. It’s easy to go days with out advertising your products when you think no one is interested. Consistently advertising pays off.

Staying consistent on the flavor of each order. Whether the order is for 1 cupcake or 100 cupcakes, making sure each one is just as great as the next.

Most importantly staying consistent with myself!  I love to cook and bake, it’s more than just a passion, it’s who I am. There were times that I felt defeated but once I step into the kitchen all those feelings vanish.

I love what I do, I love my baked goods, and I love my customers for consistently keeping me busy.


Vanessa Kelly | Owner of Function Pilates Studio

As a business owner, the most important lesson I have learned in this journey is persistence.  There are seasons we go through that may reflect negatively in our energy putting us in uncomfortable situations, but we have to remind ourselves that this is only making us stronger, wiser and patient.   If we stay persistent, and  remember why we started our dream in the first place then the journey becomes that much more rewarding.  It is important to celebrate each victory, big or small, because being a business owner never gets easier. However, with time and experience it becomes about how we handle the highs and lows.  I have had to be very honest with myself that what is meant to be will as long as I stay true to what I believe and not give up.”  – Vanessa Kelly, Founder of Function Pilates Studio 

The Hairsmith Company |  A mother-daughter owned boutique salon

The beginning of this industry can be a little scary. There are a lot of discouraging situations that can make you want to run!  We’ve learned that going through the scenario honestly and professionally with your client gains way more respect than trying to be the ‘right’ one. Clients appreciate and respect HONESTY not honestly. And when you’re open with them, they learn to trust you and can turn into forever clients. Finally getting to a place where they are some of your best friends really makes sticking it out through the hard parts really worth it!

Robbie Cannon | Professional Magician in Arizona

I’ve learned with Integrity and Hardwork anything is possible.  

Molly Nelson LE

As I’ve worked with patients, I have learned that everyone wants to look and feel their best. I can do treatments to enhance my appearance but the true beauty comes from the inside. I feel my best when I use a holistic approach to beauty which includes; exercise, good nutrition, hormone optimization, stress management, proper sleep and aesthetic treatments.   

Jacquelyn Phillips | photographer | venue owner | author and magic maker

Most important lesson: it’s all what you make of it. Want it to be good, have a good attitude, want to grow- make yourself uncomfortable, want to make change- get involved, want to help others- ask. Your  impact is more than just the carbon you are, if you make something of it.

Simple Massage | Mobile Massage,  Phoenix, AZ

Simple Massage, LLC

Since the beginning, we have approached each session with professionalism, empathy, and compassion, which our clients appreciate. By making it part of our business model, we’ve learned we can bring each client a unique experience by providing a great service and improving their way of life.

@simplemassagellc @SMPLMassage  

Alyvia Ferrel | owner and CEO of Wish Entertainment LLC

Jana Ferrel

Follow your dreams no matter how impossible they seem and share your dream with the supportive people around you.  When I was young, I always dreamed of being a princess and as I got older I kept notes of ideas I had to create my own entertainment company.  I shared this with my mother and she said, “Why not start your business now?” I thought I would have to wait until I was older to start my own business.  Road blocks will always exist,  don’t wait for the perfect moment to start. Start today, no matter how small your effort and share your passion with the supportive people around you.  Keep doing this and one day your dreams will become reality like mine did. 

Rosa Montiel | Artist | owner We Facepaint LLC

Barbara Gallado

So far I have learned to keep my head up and to try my best every day. I love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for anything, but after years of experience you learn the important to have a system in place and to follow your own rules. When you work for yourself is easier to get lost in the tasks of the home and trying to juggle both can be a struggle following your own rules can make such a difference. making time for your business as well as your family is key to success. Another thing I have learned over the years is the importance of teamwork. I have a team of artist and I’m blessed to have such support from all of them, they make my life easier and I wished I had learned earlier in my career to surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed and drive you to be better. 

Jordan Anderson | Father | certified surgical technician

The most important lesson I have learned so far? That life isn’t fair. And it’s not just unfair to me but to everyone. Everyone has a story, a battle, a lesson to be learned. Through my fitness journey I have seen first-hand the benefits of dedication and commitment through hard work and discipline. Which is something we can apply to all aspects of life. I would want nothing more then to encourage and help people with there journey hopefully I can incorporate my passion and love for fitness in to a career one day .


Nikki Earlee | Model and Esthetician

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far….Just be yourself. No matter how people may view you or judge you. No matter how weird or awkward, unconventional or alternative. Just be you. Because it’s honestly too much of an emotional and mental strain, to try and be anything else. People will see your authenticity, your silly smile, your anxiety induced awkward dancing, questionably humorous jokes and they will either love you or laugh at you or let’s be real, both! But they’ll see you as your true self, and in a world full of very unapologetically fraudulent folks, that’s one of the greatest gifts you can give.


Dallas Bobryk | Miller High-end custom trim carpenter and woodworker

The most important thing I’ve learned on my journey is with patience and practice comes perfection. You need to be patient for things to come together and practice to have the skills necessary to bring everything together how you want.


Jenny Kaufman | Photographer  Fashion | Music | Events and Awesome People

XPOSED CAPTURE Model Credit: @mr__booger Event Host: @reimaginemestudios

The most important lesson thus far into my photography adventure is to consistently surround myself with creative and supportive people. The industry is saturated and standing out can be a challenge so I approach each subject/client as a work of art , Collaborations are important.

NEVER underestimate CreativitY because it always shows up with a handful of “what-ifs”


Christina Schofield | Doctor of Physical Therapy | Certified sports and Conditioning Specialist and fitness enthusiast

The most important thing I have learned in my journey so far is to be flexible and to expect continual change! Just like flexibility in the body helps build resiliency, so does flexibility in business.  I have never been “business minded” nor was it a goal of mine until recently to have my own business. I have had to learn from the ground up and flexibility has helped me to build, and continue to build my business so I can do what I love. The most important part of my business is treating patients the way they should be treated, not being afraid to break the mold of standard treatment, and to fight for what is best for the patient.

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