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?
Alicia Crisostomo | Freelance Makeup Artist
Well to start off, I’ve learned a lot of important lessons in my journey of being a freelance makeup artist. But I would say never giving up has been the most important one so far. There are times where I doubt myself but I think back to this quote “If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will.”
Becoming a freelance makeup artist wasn’t the easiest thing to do but with the help of my family I slowly started building my kit. Over the past three years I’ve dealt with people canceling last minute, no-shows and people trying to “low ball” me, which made me question if I could really do this. I think the hardest part about trying to own your own business is starting it. I was afraid of not getting clientele and about what other people had to say about my work.
YouTube was the main source that taught me all I know. I would watch makeup tutorials left and right from big influencers such as Nicole Guerriero and Jaclyn Hill. In that moment I knew that this was the path I wanted to take. I was always ready to learn more tips and tricks. Being my own boss sounded so dope to me and I told myself I really didn’t have anything to lose by just giving it a shot. Fast forward to now, seeing every one of my clients reaction is priceless to me, to be able to make someone else feel beautiful is amazing and makes it all worth while. I love what I do and I pray that God keeps blessing me with incredible people to have as clients.
Lastly, I want to personally thank my clientele. Shout out to all of y’all. Thank you for choosing me to be your MUA, help better myself as a person and for your constant love in everything I do. Without you all I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Thank you for making my dream come into reality. And to anyone out there trying to chase a dream always remember, “don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.”
As an entrepreneur, learning and lessons never ends. I’m embarking on my 12th year of entrepreneurship and each year has been filled with lessons. The most important lesson I have learned as an entrepreneurship is that everything starts with me. Thus, I must continuously develop myself both personally and professionally. Self awareness, as well as self-mastery is my super power. You have to master you, know your strengths, your weaknesses, and the “why” you do it all. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. Risks are part of the journey, but I discovered that my risks must be calculated with who I am in mind.
Often times, we tend to compartmentalize our lives. We have a work personality & our social personality. Eventually, who we are at the core will show up regardless of where we are. As an entrepreneur, you are your brand. Your beliefs and values sets the tone for your business. It’s important to work on yourself, take classes, practice good self-care, have some alone quite time and stay curious.
Also, be true to who you are and honor that even in your work. Be authentic, be transparent, it makes your work better.
Courtney Wyckoff | Owner & Designer
Running a small business comes with its own unique challenges that I didn’t anticipate at first. I took a leap of faith in doing something I loved to do, but I’ve learned a lot along the way. Handmade goods are just not even in the same realm as mass-produced goods from big box stores. Handmade items tend to cost more because we can’t afford to cut corners like huge companies with limitless resources can. There’s no factory line, there’s no boardroom making decisions, and there’s no compromising at the expense of ethical labor. The love that goes into these items won’t be found in a big box store, but this also means more time and more effort went into them. Working from home with three wonderful kiddos running around has taught me to create healthy boundaries between work and family life. I am not available for customers at all hours, and creating that boundary has brought out a beautiful work/life balance that may not be as easily found if I were in a cubicle away from home for most of the day. This healthy boundary has also made me realize that my labor and my time are inherently valuable. You’re not just paying for beautiful products when you shop with me, you’re helping to feed my kids and support my family, and you’re also paying for the peace of mind that comes with buying ethically. From start to finish, my production process is transparent and all items are made custom with love down to each stitch.
Matthew A. Carbajal | Entrepreneur & Reseller
The most important thing I’ve learned so far is to not let self-doubt stop you from your true potential. If you have the drive and dedication to fulfill something, go all in and keep grinding every step of the way. As much as support from others means a lot; believing in yourself that anything is possible will create a positive mindset which has helped me along the way of becoming successful.
Lauren Leighton | Mother & Advocate
The most important lesson I’ve learned is to trust your intuition. It’s a complete cliche, but it’s also completely true. There have been many, many times when Logan’s doctors and members of her team gave absolutes and said Logan would never insert-milestone-here. At our first audiologist, she wasn’t a candidate for cochlear implants. Now she has verbal communication and speech on par with her peers. Never walk, never eat, never whatever! Logan has proved everyone wrong. A large part is because she works hard at her therapies, but another part is because I didn’t give up. I sought second opinions and knew Logan could if she wanted to.
Jordan Te’Sean | Music Artist & Event Curator
I’ve accumulated the understanding of how much of the underground we haven’t explored & simply ignored for the longest time in Houston.
RJ Wright | Personal Trainer and Sports Performance Coach
When you strongly believe in something you have to keep fighting for it no matter what. People may think you’re crazy and sometimes you’re gonna feel like you’re alone, but think about how many people are out there believing in something just as strongly as you and feel the exact same separation. When we recognize a piece of ourselves in other people, build bonds, and support each other’s dreams and pursuits, we become more powerful forces. Keep your circle strong.
Ashie Brady | Furniture Painter and Blogger
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is that “”done is better than perfect””. It’s in our nature to be our own worst critic and never fully appreciate our talents the way others do. We can waist so much time trying to be perfect that we forget just to be ourselves. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Once I accepted that everything got easier, and a lot more fun.
Justin Grover | Salesman @ SYNLawn
Never get discouraged, you win some you lose some but a winners mentality will allow you to succeed.
Franklin Benjamin | Transformation Specialist
The most important thing I have learned so far in my journey as a transformation specialist is that everyone responds to motivation differently and therefore finding that sweet spot of the individual is where change can take place and where the miracle lies.
Seth Lerma | UH student
The most important lesson that I’ve learned in my journey so far is talk to as many people as possible. Everyone brings something new to the table no matter what. So many doors can open with the right people. You just have to put yourself out there and make new connections.
Gabe “Sancho” | Tattoo Artist
I had a very weird journey, and along the way it got a bit rocky. I learned to keep going no matter what. Work hard and never stop. I was very fortunate to have a friend, Peter Tats, become my teacher. He taught me a lot but he passed away half way through my apprenticeship. I met Pete when I was around 15. I used to go to this shop in my grandmothers neighborhood, and Pete would be there. I’d ask him a million questions and he’d give me answers . It wasn’t until I was asked to go buy a pack of cigarettes that I got kicked out of the shop and told to come back until I was 18. Pete kept in touch and then I turned 18 and I started getting work done. Every time I’d go in I’d ask about anything I saw needles, tubing, machines, drawing, etc. Losing him was hard and it felt like I had nobody to turn to. However I had to keep going. A few guys became my mentors at the shop and agreed to finish out my apprenticeship. So I was very fortunate to have such talented artist around me. I wanted to make Peter proud and show him he chose the right student to carry his legacy. I learned to keep working no matter what life hits you with. Everybody goes through hard times but the world, especially the tattoo world, doesn’t stop going. Stay humble, work hard, and stay focused that’s the best way to succeed and stand out from the rest. There aren’t any shortcuts to this, there’s no easy way out. It’s a lot of late nights and early mornings but you have to work hard and be willing to put in the work that others won’t. Focusing on my American Traditional style and venturing into the Japanese tattoo world has its own set of challenges. However as I enter into my 3rd year as a tattooer I remind myself of my teacher daily and the values he instilled in me. Now I work with an amazing group of talented artist in the heart of Houston and I couldn’t be more honored to work along side such wonderful individuals.
J. Daniel Escareño | Husband | Father & Artist
The most important lesson I think I’ve learned is to never expect for something you planned for to go the way you planned. At the same time because of this, you need to learn to adapt to situations and be open to change. Be ready for different outcomes. Sometimes changes or the unexpected will yield a better result and will ultimately help you grow as an individual. And sometimes you just got to say Fuck it and just go for it. You’re going to jump out of the airplane knowing the chute may or may not open.
Remember life is like a roller coaster. You are doing something you love. No matter what, you are going to enjoy the ride. There will be ups and downs but in the end you should have fun doing it.
Pauline Messina | Hair Stylist specializing in Blondes, Perms, Curly Hair
– Be kind, smile it’s free
– Educate yourself, always be in the know
– Don’t give up! Have a game plan and stick to it
– Network. Meet new people and surround yourself with successful people. People that will elevate you and make you a better person
– Dress like a MILLIONAIRE
No one will take you seriously if you’re dressed like a mess
– And the number 1 lesson..
Stay humble and hustle hard!
NeZz | Marketer | Mom & Lifestyle Blogger
I have recently moved to the United States, leaving my family, friends and beloved ones behind. The biggest lesson I have learned so far is always give yourself an opportunity to see the World from different perspectives. All boarders, distances, language barriers, cultural differences – they are just in our minds! Never let them limit yourself!
Aldine Branch | library Children’s Program Specialist LeAnn Jennings and young library patrons
Providing free and equal access to reliable sources of information is what makes public libraries more crucial today than they have ever been.
Sana Rahman | Beauty Blogger
The most important lesson that I’ve learned in my journey so far is to put God and family above all and strive to spread kindness daily.
I think the most important thing I’ve learned so far in my journey is to take time to try everything new about new places – food, cultures, architecture, customs, and events!
Elizabeth Geeslin | Author and Artist
The most important thing I’ve learned in my journey so far is to truly listen to and be true to myself. It took me a long time to learn that it wasn’t selfish — it is the kindest thing I can do because from that self love, I can do a much better job of caring for others. That was a missing link in my life for a long time. I learned that we really do create our own happiness.
Tien Duong | Aspiring Entrepreneur & Mindset Enthusiast
What’s the most important lesson I’ve learned on my journey so far? That’s a tough one… It’s a bit hard to say what the one most important lesson is. However, one of my biggest takeaways so far is that the key to accomplishing whatever we want is to execute one what we already know. Stop trying to learn everything and thinking that it’s possible for you to get ALL your ducks in a row. When you take action, you will eventually lead yourself to new learning opportunities, and THAT is when you’ll learn what you need for your next few steps. 👊
Antonia Gonzalez | Bookkeeper | Insurance Agent | Christian Entrepreneur
Starting over is easier when you realize what your purpose is for your life. I have learned how to put God first in all I do. I look up to God to find help and strength to keep going. I love myself just as much as others. I know I will conquer all of my fears and live a fulfilled life by following my God-Given purpose because, without Him, I fail every time. We are co-creators with God. As an entrepreneur, I strive to emulate God’s character in all aspects of the business while putting people over profits. God, first in business, equals success.
Marliyn Quiterio | Makeup Enthusiast & Lancôme Beauty Advisor
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is dale tiempo al tiempo, which translates give time , time. This quote appeared just days before I got my first job at 21 and took it as a sign. I had applied to Ulta, Sephora and Morphe but no prevail. I knew I was meant to be in the beauty industry and I wanted to have a great start relating to what I love. Sure enough, days later I got the job but not for what I expected. As being my first job I figured Dillards would put me in the fragrance, shoe, or clothes department but I landed the opportunity to work for the Lancôme beauty counter! Lancôme just happened to be one of my favorite makeup brands and to be working for them is such a huge step in the right direction for me. I was given the opportunity to go to New York for training and it was the best few days of my life! I met great people, learned many things, and was able to visit a destination I only saw in movies! So now, when things seem to not be going in my favor, I like to look back at the quote and think that god knows what he’s doing. I hope to be able to start freelancing in makeup soon & finally start a YouTube channel that anyone can visit and learn something new.
Paula Fridkin | Artist
The most important lesson I have learned in my journey so far, is that for me, the process is what matters.
I do what I love, I follow my passion, and I enjoy turning my failures into successes. (I don’t give up!) After that I enjoy sharing what I have done.
Pricilla Delatorre | Vintage Collector and Curato
There are way too many things I would like to say but I think this one is the most important one I learned overall.
–Being receptive to change. Whether it’s getting a new job or a new career entirely, moving to a new city, state or even country. In the process, I found passions I never knew I had. I know I won’t always be selling vintage but it will forever remain a love of mine and become a stepping stone for my next adventure. Embrace the present and look forward to the unknowns in the future!
Ghettotheologist & Motivational Speaker/Hardworking Father
I’ve learned to be patient and also very selective of who I share my space and time with while alive on earth .
Chih-Chien Chou | Immuno | oncology scientist & Amateur fitness trainer
As a scientist dedicating to research of cancer immunology, I know how devastating cancer diseases wreck people’s lives. It not just drags you into a low quality of life but also affects your family, friends, and who you love. So having a good quality of life to prevent cancers is extreme important to my lifestyle. I work out every single day to keep my body strength as well as mental health. I eat clean to improve my digestion and keep low body fat. Because my life quotes are “exercise is cheaper than therapy” and “food is the best medicine.
Brent & Angel Rhodes | Master Relationship Coaches & Coach Trainers
That you gain nothing out of arguing, but you can gain everything with effective communication.
Marisa Heymach | street and nature photographer
I have become a more prolific photographer in the past few years by focusing on seeing, exploring and responding to whatever environment I happen to be in rather than looking for particular types of photographs to take in order to build upon a certain style. I find the latter approach to be artificially constraining. There is so much to see and respond to on any given day and knowing this keeps me eyes and heart open.
Caitlin Cunningham | Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger
The most important lesson I’ve learned is that the blogging industry is a marathon,not a sprint. I used to get so caught up in being just like everyone else in that exact moment or not being satisfied with instant results. I’ve since learned that growth truly takes time.