13 Wildly Successful Women Who Hustled Their Way to the Top

Updated 09/19/19

Do you have the willpower and determination to turn your great idea into a profitable business? Are you confident enough to trust your gut even when the rest of the world is telling you no? Do you have the grit it takes to be successful? Being bombarded with all of these questions can make anyone feel a little queasy with self-doubt and uncertainty, but if there's one thing we've learned about success, it's that fear that drives you. And we think it's time you found out how to bottle it and fuel your side hustle to the top.

But even if you do possess all of these qualities, sometimes we need a little motivation to push through the obstacles and help us take the high road when the naysayers are bringing us down. So we asked 13 wildly successful women (who each possess these defining personality traits) what it takes to make it big, and the results are surprising. For one, the struggle is real. And two, the hustle to the top is fraught with hardship and multiple side gigs that are less than glamorous.

But thankfully the old adage still rings true: When you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work. Ahead, Jen Atkin, Emily Henderson, Nikki Pennie, Janessa Leoné, Kate Somerville, and more give us their best side hustle advice, sharing their stories of hustle, grit, and passion. Let's do this.

Emily Henderson, Founder of Emily Henderson Design

Emily Henderson
Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson

Emily Henderson needs no introduction. With a string of accolades to her name (stylist, author, TV host—the list goes on), Henderson loves to put her hand up whenever a creative opportunity arises. She's a formidable design force with a tenacious spirit and can-do attitude we all want to possess. Here, Henderson shares her story to the top (and the dog poop she had to pick up along the way).

On the hustle:

"I was a dog walker. I literally picked up poop for a living. It was actually awesome because I love dogs and walking, but after a year, I realized it probably wasn't the reason I moved to New York. I also taught piano, and I waitressed or bartended for 11 years of my life."

On ambition:

"I knew I liked to be around pretty things, but I had no skills or schooling and honestly didn't even know what the possibilities were. I was frustrated. I started taking furniture-making classes, and I wasn't very good at it; it was too detail-oriented for me. So I figured I'd surround myself with creativity, and that's when I started working at Jonathan Adler as a shopgirl."

On breaking out:

"The more I try to build a staff, the more I realize why I got the job I did and why I succeeded. I hustled so hard and was above doing nothing. The people who have worked for me for the longest (the ones who I would die without) are the exact same way. So yeah, I could arrange pillows, but I think that working hard, being friendly and easy to work with, and showing enthusiasm and a positive attitude are what got it for me. I had no skills or experience, but at least I had that."

On the challenges:

"Most of my biggest regrets the last 12 years have been from not really knowing how to run a business financially. I don't like systems or protocol, but as you grow, you have to. So it's gotten me into trouble, and now I just outsource everything. But if I could give any advice to creatives, I'd say get your systems down early because the money part of business is so stressful, and I really wasted years being stressed out about it."

On mental toughness:

"I don't know. I guess being flexible and positive. Constantly be creative and produce work, even without clients."

On following in her footsteps:

"Produce, produce, produce. Leave your perfectionism at the door, and just put your work out there. Get feedback, adjust, move on. Create something unique and universal. Make sure you would want to buy your product or hire yourself."

On handling rejection:

"I like the quote 'I don't know the key to success, but I know the key to failure is trying to please everyone.' But also I will say that if you are constantly hearing no and being rejected, then there might be something you need to adjust. Could be the product, service, or your approach."

On her number one career tip:

"I have so many. Ask for what you want, and make sure you are worth it. Just start. Stop putting it off because your website isn't quite ready yet or your product needs a bit of tweaking. Your product won't sell if no one knows you make it. No one will hire you for your service if they don't know you can do it. Just start."

On her biggest career regret:

"I think that by not being able to find the right people when I've been desperate for more help, I've realized how much I rely on the people who are right next to me. While the hiring process has been frustrating, it makes me want to squeeze my long-term people and make sure they never leave me."

On the one word that describes it all:

"C'mon, have you ever met me? I can do nothing in one word. But I'd guess I'd say exhaustion, positivity, and flexibility."

Michelle Lee, Editor in Chief of Allure

Michelle Lee
Courtesy of Michelle Lee

Before she was the editor in chief of Allure, Michelle Lee knew her way around the art of the side hustle. For her, making it to the top of her field called for internships, 5 a.m. mornings, and freelance writing. It's these experiences, along with building confidence and a willingness to learn and grow, that have catapulted Lee to the position of leadership and power she's in today, at the helm of a major beauty magazine.

On the hustle:

"Before I got into journalism, I had plenty of retail gigs, which gave me a good work ethic. I worked in the denim department at Macy's, folding jeans. Then in college, I worked as a salesperson at a B. Dalton bookstore in a mall. Every other day, I had to work the closing shift, and I'd balance the register and sweep the floors. And my first job in journalism was during college. As an intern, one of my main duties was receiving faxes—faxes!—from local movie theaters and inputting the movie listing times into a document for the newspaper. Not exactly a glamorous job, let me tell you!

"Once I moved to New York, I had an internship at Glamour and had this fantasy that I'd land my 'dream job.' But I had a hard time and eventually got a job as an editorial assistant at Parenting magazine, which wasn't what I thought of when I thought of my ideal job. At the time, I didn't have kids and knew nothing about parenting. But it turned out to be a great learning experience because I had a lot of responsibility and worked with great editors."

On ambition:

"While I was at Parenting, I realized that there's no such thing as a dream job and that you should look at positions when you're younger for what skills you can learn and how you can grow. It was also during that time that I started freelance writing for non-competitive outlets. I asked my bosses first, of course, and then began pitching and writing for brands like Men's Health, which helped me grow my portfolio. My strategy at that point was to cast a wide net in terms of subject matter. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that I didn't want to work in parenting/kids for the rest of my career, so I wrote about everything, from nutrition to beauty to fashion to cars to sports—you name it.

"In college, my journalism professors taught us how to send a pitch letter to editors. But I realized in the workplace that what we had been taught didn't actually work in most cases. I started to reach out to midlevel staffers like associate editors, who were more likely to get back to me than, say, the editor in chief or executive editor. I actually wrote to my journalism professors to urge them to change the way they were teaching that lesson."

On the challenges:

"I had no clue early on when it came to addressing people of authority. I was either terrified of the big boss, or I totally overstepped my bounds. On the final day of my Glamour internship, I got to have a one-on-one with the editor in chief at the time, Ruth Whitney, who was an icon, and I had never even seen her once during my whole internship. I'm sure she didn't know me from anyone who walked in from the street. And at the end of our chat, I thought, okay, this is my chance. And I asked if she'd write me a letter of recommendation. She paused, looked at me, and said bluntly, 'I don't really know you, so I don't feel comfortable doing that.' I was mortified. Don't do that."

On life lessons learned:

"I see some of the young people I've worked with through the years. And I wish I had been bolder and less of what I call 'the quiet workhorse' in my earlier years. Yes, it's super important to work your tail off and to be great at your job, but it's also very important to be your biggest advocate. Be your own publicist and greatest fan, and don't be afraid of making yourself known."

On mental toughness:

"One thing I've learned about myself is that great things tend to happen after I've been miserable! If I've ever been unhappy in a job or felt like a company was on shaky ground, it's always propelled me to do something bigger. I think we can all use that little kick in the pants sometimes, but we don't do it when we're happy and comfortable. After all, those aren't the times when we're looking to upset our own apple cart. It's during those times of turmoil that we're looking for an escape hatch. I was unhappy in a job early in my career, and it propelled me to come up with a plan B. So I wrote a one-page synopsis of a book proposal, sent it to a few literary agents, and got an agent within 24 hours. He helped me craft a full book proposal, I got a great advance and left the workforce for a whole year to write. It was terrifying but also showed me that everything would be okay when I'm off on my own."

On being frugal:

"Oh my god, I remember several early days of being bank-account-zero. I had to actually dig up change in old handbags, pockets, and around my apartment to buy food."

On following in her footsteps:

"The great thing today is that having a side hustle is the norm. Back when I was starting out, you'd have to beg your boss to be able to freelance for someone else. And even as recently as a few years ago, some companies frowned on editors having personal blogs and, heaven forbid, monetizing them. I don't think some people realize how much hard work you have to put in. In my early years, when I was writing my book, for example, I would pop up at 5 a.m every day. I would work on a chapter and also pitch freelance stories all day. It was work, work, work.

"Also, be patient. There are some people who feel like they need to be at 'director-level' by the time they're 25. Yes, eating ramen and digging for loose change isn't fun, but it won't last forever. Immerse yourself in conversations about successful people who you admire, listen to podcasts, attend panels, read books."

Surround yourself with inspiring stories to open your mind in so many ways to so many new possibilities.

On handling rejection:

"Well, ultimately you have no choice but to go on, right? So why wallow in rejection? It happens, you can be upset for a while, but you need to put a cap on it. I remember interviewing for several jobs and thinking I was getting them for sure. And when they didn't work out, I was absolutely gutted. But I'm a big believer that things happen for a reason. My life would be so different if I did get those jobs. Maybe I would have settled and not been as hungry early on.

"Also, remember: Interviews are important, even if you didn't get hired. Hiring managers, recruiters, and editors all talk. If I'm looking to hire someone, I regularly ask my colleagues at other brands if they've come across anyone great. We often recommend people we've met with who weren't right for us at the moment but who might be a good fit for another role. So you never know."

On her number one career tip:

"I'm a broken record with this one, so I'll tell you all: Learn about business and marketing. A lot of creatives think that they get a pass on this one. Not true. Everyone needs to understand business fundamentals, especially as you climb the ladder. And marketing is just good to know, not only as you promote a brand but also your personal brand."

On her biggest career regret:

"In the middle of my career, the digital world was starting to take off in a major way, and my career had only centered around print. So I made a huge leap, left a big job, took a pay cut in half, and went all digital. It was terrifying, but it was exciting, and I learned so much. After about a year, it looked like I had made a huge mistake, though, when our project lost funding, and we were all laid off. I look back on that time, though, as a pivotal moment in my career. It set a lot of the wheels in motion for what my life would become today.

"It led to me starting my own agency and rediscovering my love of learning. I taught myself so much about tech and branded content and other areas of creativity like photography and video production during that time. And that added layer of creativity opened my eyes to the potential of what I could become."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Ooh, one word is tough. How about work? It's more than just hard work. You have to have lots of traditional blood, sweat, and tears, but it's also building the muscle of confidence and having an attitude that you can do it. It's hard work mixed with some learned BDE."

Nikki Pennie, DJ and Dior Beauty Ambassador

Nikki Pennie
Jenna Peffley for Who What Wear

When she arrived in L.A. from London as a fashion design graduate, Nikki Pennie thought her career as a stylist was about to take off. Little did she know that her true passion was really music, even though it was "literally the last thing I thought I would ever do in life," she told Violet Grey. "I knew what a musical note was, but I probably loved music no more than anybody else," she explained to MyDomaine. "I studied fashion, and I thought that would be my destiny." But she took a DJ gig instead, and the rest is history. Ahead, the insanely successful DJ and Dior beauty ambassador shares her journey of hard knocks to the top and why the grazed knees were totally worth it. Here's her best side hustle advice and more.

On the hustle:

"I was styling and doing different projects in fashion here, but I wasn't really loving anything I was doing. Then three years ago, when I was thinking of moving back to London, I was approached randomly by a few fashion brands to DJ. I wasn't even sure why I was asked (it isn't as if my hobby was deejaying), but I guess I was sociable, fun, and could style myself in the brand's outfits.

"I called my Brit guy friends that work with DJs here, and they put me in contact with Dave Garnish, a British music producer that was here in L.A. to teach Paris Hilton. He very kindly taught me on the side for a couple of months using European equipment. I was so determined. I lived and breathed it at the time, and I put all the money I had in the bank into my equipment. I started doing small fashion events, and then everything just grew from there. I was incredibly lucky to have the intuition to read a room and to know what song to play next. If I couldn't do that, I don't think I would have gotten anywhere.

"I have done so many different jobs along the way, from waitressing at a teddy bear shop when I was 15 to working in fashion stores while at university to earn extra money. I was still doing my fashion consulting, styling, and projects in the beginning of my DJ career so I could pay my rent."

On ambition:

"All I remember is that when I moved here, I didn't really think too much about how far I'd just moved. If I did, I probably wouldn't have done it. Moving across the Atlantic is quite a big thing. I was fortunate to have a support system here of friends (mostly consisting of Brits) who I knew from London. I don't know what I would have done without my friends. I would probably be back in London right now."

On breaking out:

"Yes, there is always hustle involved in anything competitive. I feel if you're a hard worker, reliable, passionate about what you do, and kind, people want to work with and be around you."

On the challenges:

"I have encountered so many hurdles to get where I am. That's the thing: I meet girls all of the time who say to me, 'Wow, I want to be a DJ and have your glamorous life,' but they do not have any clue with regard to the hard work and determination you need to put in. When I told people I was going to DJ, quite a few people laughed at me. It was tough when I first started out. I remember showing up to gigs carrying my mixer (which is half my size) in my heels and cocktail dress, and the sound guys would ask me if I was the DJ's girlfriend!

"In the beginning, I would come home from certain gigs crying with cuts and bruises all over my legs from carrying my mixer and would cry myself to sleep because the sound engineers were so mean to me. This is not the case now, as I am fortunate to work with lovely people, and it's more accepting of girls who DJ. Thank god it's the 21st century. There were times when I would think, What am I doing? Maybe I should just go and get a 9-to-5 job with stability.

"One of my best friends had a DJ mixer that her boyfriend gave her as a present. She loaned it to me to practice on early in my career, but she misplaced the plug. I drove around L.A. for an entire weekend trying to find the correct plug so it would work. Also, the job is highly dependent on my technological equipment, and I have had situations where my software and equipment has frozen. It happened once at an event with thousands of people, and the music stopped. Thankfully the sound team was so amazing, and we fixed the problem pretty quickly before anyone noticed, but the next day, I went to Guitar Center with my equipment and literally broke down in tears for an hour. None of the guys there knew what to say to me."

On life lessons learned:

"Never give up, always have faith, and feel blessed to have the most amazing family and friends to support you on your journey."

On following in her footsteps:

"Don't ever take on board anything negative that others may say."

On handling rejection:

"The amazing thing about life is that you never know what will happen. It's full of surprises, and you should always be open-minded because you just might end up surprising yourself."

On her number one career tip:

"Never give up on your dream, and always remember that you are the only person you can rely on in business. I have learned that you're the only person who is in charge of your career and your life."

Kate Somerville, Founder and CEO of Kate Somerville

Kate Somerville
Courtesy of Kate Somerville

While most of us fear failure and being told no, Kate Somerville basks in it. In fact, she sees all her career mistakes as a blessing. In her own words, the celebrity aesthetician "had a tumultuous upbringing," but she took control of her destiny and crafted a global beauty empire. Do you have what it takes? Here, Somerville shares some of her wisdom and tells us why naïveté is your friend.

On the hustle:

"I was a waitress for seven years while I was getting through school. It taught me how to multitask and deal with the public."

On ambition:

"I needed to find something that was more professional, and I lived in a small town. Growing up, I had horrible eczema, and I looked for different remedies to solve my own skin issues. I knew what it was like to feel uncomfortable in your own skin, and I always had an interest in skincare. A friend of mine, who was a dermatologist, suggested I get into esthetics."

On breaking out:

"It was a constant hustle. Thankfully I was on the forefront of paramedical esthetics. I just found a need and a niche for what I did and just started doing it. I was naive. I didn't look at anyone or anything as competition; I just did what I did. I wasn't aware of how competitive this industry is, and I'm glad I wasn't, because if I knew what I know now, I wouldn't have done it."

On the challenges:

"The biggest challenge was becoming a businessperson when I was a creator and a healer. I didn't go to business school, and I had to learn how to run a business. As the business grew, I continued to learn more—everything from how to manage cash flow to product development."

On life lessons learned:

"Don't lose sight of what you're trying to do. A business will take you over: the sales, the cash flow, etc. If you lose sight of why you're doing it, it's not fun anymore. For me, it's important to connect with clients and stay close to what motivated me to start this—to heal people. Keeping your focus on the mission of what you're doing is the biggest lesson I've learned."

On mental toughness:

"There are, unfortunately, many times I didn't handle it well, but you just get through it. There were really stressful times, and I had to focus and really lean on my family and closest friends. A great mentor helps as well. These people know your struggle and will hold you up."

On following in her footsteps:

"I know it sounds really dreamy, but you have to have the courage to follow the signs along the way. I really believe in intuition, but you have to be a certain kind of thinker to be aware and open to it. You also need the courage to take the path. When there is a no or a slammed door, go the other way. Don't give up; keep going. There are so many incredibly successful people who failed before they made it."

On handling rejection:

"I actually love when someone tells me no. I was always the rule breaker and the rebel growing up, so I always like to prove the naysayers wrong."

On her number one career tip:

"I had a tumultuous upbringing and an unstable home growing up, so as an adult, I needed control of my own destiny. For the young women out there, keep going for it. Don't rely on a man, and always be able to take care of yourself."

On a mistake that helped her career:

"One of my clients, a famous gal, was going to be away for four months. She said, 'Kate, what can you give me to make my skin look really good while I'm gone?' So I basically took my mask, and I dumped the beads in there, and I gave it to her. Two weeks later, she said, 'Oh my god, this is amazing. You have to make this a product. You should call it Kate in a Jar because it's like you're with me.'

"So I named it Kate in a Jar. A few months later, I received a letter from a big skincare brand, and we had to rename it. We chose to call it ExfoliKate. ExfoliKate went on to sell out at QVC and become our number one seller. The name ExfoliKate has become one of the most well-known exfoliators on the market."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Tenacity."

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Justina Blakeney, Interior Designer

Justina Blakeney
Courtesy of Justina Blakeney

Interior designer and author of a New York Times bestseller, Justina Blakeney has made herself synonymous with bright colors, bold patterns, and lively designs, but it took countless side hustles for her to get to where she is today. In the early days of her career, no job was too small and working for free came with the territory. "I opened doors one by one, little by little," she tells MyDomaine. Find out her best side hustle advice and the lessons she's learned along the way in her thriving career.

On the hustle:

"Oh yes, lots and lots of hustling for sure! I've had lots of different kinds of jobs; I worked for years as a restaurant hostess, cocktail waitress; I worked in retail as well. Once I started working for myself, I started as a freelance graphic designer and taught myself how to program websites. I spent many, many years designing business cards, websites, logos, and brand identities before starting my own brand."

On ambition:

"I spent most of my 20s living in Italy. I've always been about enjoying the hustle. I figured if I was gonna be a 'starving artist' type, I might as well be in Italy while doing it. I lived there for seven years and ended up starting my own business out there. I had a tiny boutique where I sold vintage clothing and objects. I've always dreamed really big, but I've also followed my heart—and pivoted quickly where necessary to keep myself afloat and to keep things fun and interesting. I didn't really have a clear plan of action, but in my late 20s/early 30s, I realized that if I could build my own audience, I could remain independent and have more creative freedom in my work. Turns out that was a good strategy."

On breaking out:

"I opened doors one by one, little by little. I did a lot of stuff for free to gain the experience and cache on my résumé. I've always worked really hard and tried my best to be kind to people along the way. I worked with people I admired and watched them closely, gleaning all kinds of information and ideas—from how to best photograph interiors to how to write a catchy headline to how to lead a team. I said 'yes' to every opportunity that came my way for many years. From all those opportunities, I learned something about myself—I learned about my strengths and weaknesses. I became clearer and clearer on my personal style, my voice. I learned to surround myself with people who can help fill my gaps. I am still hustling today. I'm far from achieving all my dreams and goals. I don't consider myself 'at the top of my game'; I still feel I have a ton to learn, a ton to grow—and I'll keep at it as long as it stays fun."

On the challenges:

"I've been screwed over by bad contracts. I've designed whole collections that never made it to market. I've discovered that I was paid less than others for the same job because I was too afraid/timid to negotiate. The financial side of the business has always been challenging for me. I'm working hard in that arena. I'm working on feeling more comfortable with risk and also being more assertive, feeling empowered to negotiate, take risks, and have uncomfortable conversations where need be. I love the challenges though. I look at them as growing pains."

On life lessons learned:

"I learned that I have to be my number one advocate. I learned to believe in myself, to trust myself, and to stand up for myself. I learned to pick and choose my battles, and that kindness is always a good practice—in life and in business. I learned that boundaries are important and to not sweat the small stuff. I learned not just to deal with failures, but to expect them as part of the everyday experience of being a creative and an entrepreneur. I learned that the only thing that is certain in business is that if you don't try it, you definitely won't get it."

On mental toughness:

"Honestly, I embrace change. I know that growth is on the other side of difficult times. Being flexible is so key in business. I try really hard to examine issues that come up and figure out how I could have done things differently to avoid similar issues repeating themselves. I am also working on facing issues head-on as they happen or soon thereafter. I have found that letting issues marinate or fester is not a great strategy. It's better to nip issues in the bud immediately."

On following in her footsteps:

"I'm almost 40. It took me nearly 20 years, lots of different kinds of jobs, 60- to 80-hour workweeks and some serious passion to get where I am today, and I still feel I have a long way to go. Compare yourself to others only in so far as letting it fuel you. Learn from your mistakes. Play to your strengths. Be kind. Listen. Get out of your comfort zone. Follow your heart. Be willing to put in the work. Persistence pays off."

On handling rejection:

"It's super important to remember to not take a no personally. A no could come from one person getting a parking ticket five minutes before reading your email. A no could come from a bad fit or bad timing. There are a lot of people out there. There are a lot of businesses. You have to be able to dust yourself off and get back up again. Jump over the stumbling block. See what you can learn from rejection. Tweak your proposal. Scrap it all together. You have to allow yourself to be flexible. Follow your goals and your dreams but let them morph and change where needed. Don't get too stuck in your head—don't suffer from 'analysis/paralysis'—keep on moving forward."

On her number one career tip:

"If you want to go into business for yourself, think not about the product or the idea, think about the job. What do you want to be doing every day? Will this business allow you to do that? You need to be all in 100% of the time, and if you don't love what you are doing on the day-to-day, it will be very difficult to reach your goals."

On her biggest career regret:

"I'm not sure I have any regrets as I've learned something important from every setback. I would say to get a good lawyer and a good accountant. It will make your life much easier in the long run."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Real."

Jen Atkin, Celebrity Hairstylist and Founder of Ouai Haircare

Jen Atkin
Mike-Rosenthal

With the Kardashian family as her primary clients, Jen Atkin sure has her hair work cut out for her. Tending to the tresses of Kim, Kendall, Khloé, and Kylie is a full-time job, but Atkin doesn't stop there, of course. The celebrity hairdresser is also the founder of Ouai haircare products and Mane Addicts. In this honest chat, she dishes on the cold calls and coffee runs it took to make her big break and offers some sage sound-bites to keep your motivational meter running on high.

On the hustle:

"I was an assistant for years and worked at the front desk at a salon while working at a restaurant at night. I used to grab coffees, fill up parking meters, run errands, etc. I also spent a year making cheesy bread at Little Caesars."

On ambition:

"I had just moved to L.A., so I still thought everything I was doing was so cool. I remember I had to fill up Bette Midler's parking meter one time, and I was so excited. I was always really ambitious and willing to take any opportunity."

On breaking out:

"I was lucky enough to assist under Andy LeCompte, who really believed in me. He took me on tour with Madonna, which was really like hair boot camp. I used to call all the agencies (before everything was on email) and bug them to let me assist. I went through Allure's beauty directory and called all the salons in L.A. to see if they were hiring. It took a lot, and not everything happened right away, but one opportunity led to another. You have to be proactive and not get discouraged."

On the challenges:

"Most of the agencies wouldn't give me the time of day when I started, and I used to bug The Wall Group until they finally took a meeting with me. It took about seven months for me to hear back from them. It's hard not to get discouraged when people don't respond the way you would like, but I just always kept moving forward and tried to stay positive."

On life lessons learned:

"I learned to really keep a positive attitude and not let the little things get you down. When you are first starting, it's easy to get discouraged if a client cancels or someone decides to use someone else for hair, but you have to remember that there is plenty of work to go around, and you can't take it personally.

"I also watched a lot of hairstylists start to get an ego or success and spend a lot of money. I never wanted to be a stylist with a lot of clothes in my closet and no money in my bank account."

On mental toughness:

"I think you have to take the emotion out of business. I think moving to L.A. and having rejection helped to give me a thick skin. I just always made sure I didn't get a hardened heart and tried to understand that change can lead to bigger and better things."

On following in her footsteps:

"Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Don't be afraid to take a step back to get a step ahead. Be humble, work hard, and stay positive. And don't be afraid or ashamed of being selfish. If you're with a partner or have friends who don't encourage you or take too much energy from you and your goals, distance yourself from them."

On being frugal:

"Make sure to not spend your money on furniture if you don't have the money. I've moved about 10 times in 16 years, and I cringe when I think about how broke I was because I needed a fancy coffee table."

On handling rejection:

"I keep a mood board in my office and have since day one. Every six months, I also write down my goals and see how close I have gotten. I think always being your own biggest cheerleader is key."

On her number one career tip:

"Encourage and support the people around you. Lifting others up will only lift you up higher. Don't feel like you have to compete with everyone; there is enough to go around for all of us to be successful. And don't listen to people when they tell you no."

On her biggest career regret:

"That's hard to answer because I really don't have any regrets. Everything that happened to me happened for a reason and led me to where I am today."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Exciting."

Janessa Leoné, Founder of Janessa Leoné

Janessa Leone
Darcy Hemly

Even if you haven't met the girl, you've most certainly seen her hats adorning the heads of some of the world's biggest names. Since launching her handmade hat line in 2013, Janessa Leoné has become a favorite among celebrities and influencers. And who could blame them? Her sophisticated designs are timeless with that cool, modern twist we all crave. But being the celebrity favorite didn't come without its hurdles along the way. Leoné shares some of her sage side hustle advice and explains how she learned to overcome self-doubt.

On the hustle:

"I was a nanny for several years, which was how I supported myself in the beginning. During that time, I also interned for a designer in L.A. I had to commute from San Diego to L.A., which meant I had to get up at 5 a.m. to make the drive. I worked for free and paid my bills through nannying."

On ambition:

"I felt like I was never going to be good enough to do what I wanted to do. I felt inadequate and often felt it would be impossible. It was a very hard time starting out. I didn't feel like I had what everyone else who already made it had. My plan was always to focus on a few products and do those really well. I wanted to really do something specific at a high level."

On breaking out:

"One thing that helped was finding an area that wasn't overly saturated and starting there. I was also very fortunate to connect with people in the industry who were very kind. I did my best to be myself and be who I am, and I feel that helped me make real connections with people who were genuine and truly had the heart to help."

On the challenges:

"The biggest challenge was with myself—not feeling adequate, and not being able to feel like there was a benchmark by which I could tell if I was doing well, or doing the right thing. Persevering through that struggle with myself was the biggest obstacle to overcome."

On life lessons learned:

"A substantial lesson I learned was to sincerely believe in what I was doing. Being confident in what I was trying to accomplish and continually refocusing on my goals so that when things came up, I could always go back to them. It's important to fine-tune your vision and your objectives so you have something clear to believe in. That's what still helps me persevere through difficult times."

On mental toughness:

"Continually remembering your vision and goals and not wavering in your belief in what you're trying to do. That's the best way to stay steady through challenges. I think this is valid at every stage—it's something you always have to come back to, regardless of where you are in the process."

On following in her footsteps:

"Try not to get overwhelmed by everything you have to do to get where you want to be. There will always be a huge mountain to climb. Just take steps every day and focus on what you're capable of doing that day. Make realistic goals, and work toward them every day.

"I had a card on my refrigerator for a long time that said 'Do something.' I found that inspirational at the beginning because it can be so hard to know what to do or how to do it. The important thing is to continue taking steps toward it, even with all the uncertainty you feel."

On handling rejection:

"This ties back into having a very clear, defined vision of what you want to accomplish and how confident you are in that. It's easy to bounce back when people shut doors in your face if you have that as your foundation."

On her number one career tip:

"Streamline your goals so that when people ask you to do things that aren't in alignment, you don't get distracted. Focus all your time and energy on what you want to accomplish without getting deterred by every opportunity and distraction that comes up.

"Be confident that you have something unique to offer, and remember you're the only person who can do what you do in the way that you do it. Highlight the things about you that are unique. Otherwise, you'll end up trying to do what someone else is already doing and undermine your own value."

On her biggest career regret:

"Career-wise, I can't think of a specific mistake that ended up helping. Creatively, though, I find a lot of value in making design mistakes that can lead you to something you didn't originally intend. Being in tune with that and allowing a design to lead you somewhere you didn't plan is a great way to discover new ideas and ways of thinking that you didn't necessarily expect."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Genuineness."

Amber Lewis, Founder of Amber Interiors

Amber Lewis
Tessa Neustadt

Amber Lewis is hands down one of our favorite interior designers. Her easy, laid-back California approach is instantly stylish yet completely livable and downright cool. In this chat, the creative shares the determination it takes to build a successful business from the ground up, and why "comparison is the thief of joy" (so don't do it).

On the hustle:

"I painted houses and planned a wedding before striking it out on my own."

On ambition:

"When I first got into design, I would do anything to get into people's houses and help them decorate. This included saying yes to just about anything design-related. Paint an entire house by myself as well as decorate it? Sure! I jumped at the opportunity. I also took on a job once that had me planning and decorating their wedding as well as their house. I was able to decide rather quickly that design only was the way moving forward."

On breaking out:

"You know what? I think the key for me was not trying to open any doors. I tried to just design what I loved, accommodate what my clients asked for, and the rest grew pretty organically. My hustle can be defined as how hard I worked at building my business. I did everything by myself at first and put 100% of my time and effort into making my business the best it could be."

On the challenges:

"Comparing your beginning to other people's middle. It's often said 'comparison is the thief of joy,' and anytime I would compare my journey to someone else's, it would make me analyze what I was doing wrong or why I wasn't more successful, and it would bum me out. I basically just had to focus on what I was doing and make sure I gave it my all so my growth was authentic."

On life lessons learned:

"Man, I learned a lot. Trusting your gut is the major takeaway from that time in my life, as well as what sticks with me today. Anytime I was dubious about moving forward with a certain client, or if something felt wrong, and I did it anyway, I always regretted not listening to my initial instincts."

On mental toughness:

"Sometimes I didn't handle change well at all until I realized it was inevitable. I was flexible and learned to roll with the punches, or they will knock you down. Change doesn't have to be a bad thing."

On following in her footsteps:

"Keep hustling. I believe you get back what you put in, so if you want success, know that's what will happen to you. You have to be a unique person to really follow your dreams, and if you whine about the hard parts, that will do nothing to get you closer to your end goals."

On handling rejection:

"I don't think there's an easy answer. We are all entitled to deal with rejection and nos in our own separate ways, but what matters is how you move on from that and if you can regroup. Keep focused on your goals and the rest should fall into place."

On her number one career tip:

"Be prepared to work for what you want. Love what you do! If you love what you do, it will always shine through."

On her biggest career regret:

"I can't pinpoint a pivotal mistake that helped my career, but I think my career has been a series of lessons and trials and tribulations leading to where I am today."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Persistence."

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Sara Sugarman, Founder of Lulu & Georgia

Sara Sugarman
Courtesy of Lulu & Georgia

Since its launch in 2012, Lulu & Georgia has gone from a startup to a multimillion-dollar powerhouse with Sara Sugarman at the helm. The passionate entrepreneur passed on investment offers to grow her company organically, and the decision paid off. Her fashion-forward designs have garnered major celebrity fans (Sofía Vergara, Shay Mitchell, and Vanessa Hudgens, to name a few), and L&G continues to be a leading force in the interior design and décor worlds. But it wasn't always smooth sailing. Here she shares the side hustle advice and grit that got her to where she is today, and why it pays to be grateful every step of the way.

On the hustle:

"My first job out of college was in consumer marketing for Hearst Publications. The department was responsible for those annoying insert cards in magazines and direct mail offers. I spent a lot of time analyzing spreadsheets. However, it taught me a ton of Excel work and how to A/B test, skills I still use today.

"I think a hustler is always striving for better. That doesn't mean they can't be grateful for the present, but whenever I reach a certain milestone, I'm thinking of the next one."

On ambition:

"At the time, my goal was to go into editorial. I wanted to be a beauty editor and felt the need to make that transition quickly. Through connections I had made in marketing, I was able to get a job working on the editorial side in less than one year. I've always trusted in my ability to get to where I wanted to go."

On breaking out:

"I knew Lulu & Georgia filled a niche in the home décor industry, so I didn't focus on my competitors. I wasn't in a winner-takes-all market, so instead, I focused on building my brand. However, I definitely hustled to make my vision come to life, to work out the logistics and be profitable."

On the challenges:

"My family is in the rug business, and I had worked with my father for a couple of years before I started Lulu & Georgia, so I knew home décor well. But I had no experience with e-commerce website development or digital marketing. There definitely was a big learning curve. I also launched with very limited resources, so I had to be very scrappy, which I'm now so thankful for."

On life lessons learned:

"I think it's important to surround yourself (whether through employees or mentors) with people who have experience where you are lacking. Then stay curious and open to learning. Also, patience. There are always a million site improvements we want to make or new products we want to develop. We constantly have to prioritize and decide what we want to work on first."

On mental toughness:

"Usually the tumultuous or uncomfortable moments are when true growth occurs. It's important not to remain stagnant and to take risks. It can be tough not to become emotionally invested, but I try to look at challenges as rationally as possible in order to come up with the best plan of action."

On following in her footsteps:

"Write down your goals, and visualize what success looks like to you. I've always been able to see what I want, and I think that's helped me create the confidence to get there."

On handling rejection:

"When I first launched Lulu & Georgia, I couldn't get certain vendors to sell to me. They didn't take me seriously, and it was frustrating. I didn't see it as rejection but was more surprised they didn't see the potential. I remember one guy at a trade show being particularly dismissive, and it stuck with me. But I knew I'd have my Pretty Woman moment, and sure enough, a couple of years later he was knocking on our door, urging us to get the product on our site. He didn't remember we had met before.

"I don't see it as courage to go on; you just move on because you have to. People are relying on you, and there really isn't time to feel bad about it or sorry for yourself. If you believe in what you're doing, other people will come around."

On her number one career tip:

"Practice being resilient. Most likely, your journey won't be linear, and it's important to learn from those setbacks. The ability to pivot or bounce back is one of the greatest skills in life. And I think a true hustler has their eye on the prize and always finds a way to get around life's problems."

On her biggest career regret:

"When we first launched, we were super conservative about inventory and were constantly sold out of our best-selling styles. It created a type of frenzy in the marketplace and demand for the product. It taught me about scarcity marketing, and while I wouldn't underbuy on best sellers again, we have used that tactic in other ways."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Perseverance."

Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, Celebrity Stylists and Co-Founders, The Great

Emily Current and Meritt Elliott
Kara Snider

When they're not styling celebrity clients like Jessica Alba and Reese Witherspoon for the red carpet, Emily Current and Meritt Elliott are the founders and designers of popular womenswear label The Great. They've also designed several in-demand collections for PB Teen and Pottery Barn Kids. The longtime best friends and creative comrades are a stylish force to be reckoned with, but their success didn't happen overnight. Here, the designer duo shares their personal tale of hard work and fearlessness.

On the hustle:

"In the years we were building our career, we basically said yes to every opportunity. We worked for free. We did favors. We asked for favors. We volunteered our time. We worked nights and weekends. We bartered our creative services for prints for our portfolios, videos for our reels, etc. Every job, big or small, taught us both a lesson in work ethic and helped form our creative worldview."

On ambition:

"We were determined and open-minded. We treasured every relationship we formed, and we showed gratitude, kept in touch, and explored possible opportunities with everyone."

On breaking out:

"Through every job, meeting, and task, we sharpened our point of view. We presented ourselves as confident, creative people who were also business-minded. We hustled endlessly, but through kindness, fearlessness, and humility."

On the challenges:

"Finding time to reset and be creative."

On life lessons learned:

"Above being good at your job, be good people. Be trustworthy and thorough. Surround yourselves with other good people."

On mental toughness:

"We would stop and remind ourselves that we are blessed to be able to create for a living. We would laugh at some of the ridiculous things we had to do. We always believed that our career would often take twists and turns to unexpected places, and we needed to embrace the journey."

On following in her footsteps:

"Don't give up. Know that you may need to find other ways to pay your bills while you learn your trade."

On handling rejection:

"We are constantly looking within to improve our process. We are sponges to both criticism and praise, both of which we use to be better. Every once in awhile, we have to revisit what inspires us and how our worldview sets us apart. We know that we must stay focused on our vision but adaptable to time and resources."

On her number one career tip:

"There is no such thing as a small job. Be willing to help with anything. Be resourceful. Have an opinion. Keep your eyes and ears open. Always offer to help. Offer an idea. See things through to the end."

On her biggest career regret:

"Bringing work home with us, which takes us away from our family time. Being your own boss means there is no beginning or end of your workday."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Fearlessness."

Jaclyn Johnson, Founder of Create & Cultivate

Jaclyn Johnson
Kelley Raye

When Jaclyn Johnson cold-emailed Garance Doré in 2012 to see if she'd speak at her then relatively unknown event, she said yes. "You never know what you're going to get if you don't put it out in the universe," she told MyDomaine. Now Create & Cultivate is a thriving online platform and conference series that travels the country empowering female entrepreneurs. Here, the Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree shows us the muscle it takes (think 80-hour weeks) and the benefit of paying it forward.

On the hustle:

"Well, I probably need more therapy than I can imagine for saying this, but I have always loved working ever since I was little. I had two jobs I balanced in high school, an associate at Banana Republic and working the front desk at the gym. Same in college: I worked at a boutique in SoHo and had two internships—one at a PR firm that is no longer and the other at Condé Nast.

"Hustle has always been in my blood. A few internships I had were pushing 80 hours per week, unpaid, and I was barely sleeping, trying to survive my 20s in NYC, but it taught me so much—what I liked, what I didn't, grit, perseverance—and built so many relationships I still have to this day."

On ambition:

"I was interning in the magazine industry with my eyes firmly set on being an editor. I had worked so hard to get that internship (having literally zero connections to anyone), but when chatting with the other interns, I found out that most of them had a 'way in' through a dad's friend or mom's cousin and so on who had gotten them in the door. It was then I realized I was going to have to work extra hard to make my way in the world. And now that I have those connections, I am always working to be generous with them, to give someone a leg up where they might not have it. Paying it forward."

On breaking out:

"I've always said that a majority of my success lies in the follow-up. Doors never open on their own, and any woman who is sitting around waiting for that knob to turn, instead of reaching out and grabbing it, will be waiting a long time. You have to hustle all the time. Even once you've 'made it.' In fact, I'd say you have to hustle even harder because there is so much more riding on your success.

"Pre- or post-success, the hustle is hard, and it never stops. Once you've 'made it,' that's when the hard work really starts."

On the challenges:

"When I was first started out, there were companies that didn't want to pay me what I knew I was worth, even though I would overdeliver. It's hard to not take that personally because you start to wonder, Okay, am I really only worth what they're offering? You have to know your bottom line and when you're being undervalued. When you're the founder, no one ever tells you, 'Good job.' It's on you to tell yourself and ask for what you deserve. Your worth and worthiness go hand in hand."

On life lessons learned:

"Trust your gut, and then double down with advice from those who have gone before you. Also, get it in writing."

On mental toughness:

"Use tumult as the impetus to be better. As easy as it is to blame someone else in those moments, look at where you could have done better and do better next time. That's all anyone can do.

"And find your tribe for the moments when it's all going to hell. You can't prop yourself up when you're falling."

On following in her footsteps:

"At our last Create & Cultivate conference in Atlanta, Meghan Markle gave attendees some great advice. She said, 'Don't give it five minutes if you aren't willing to give it five years.' I think that's a great way to look at what you're doing. Because if you're eating ramen for a cause or a business that you're not entirely passionate about, you will end up resenting that endeavor. That's a lose-lose. If you're eating ramen, it better be for something that you love and you're pouring your all into. Also, I love ramen."

On handling rejection:

"No matter what industry you're in, hearing no is part of the climb. The sooner you accept that, the easier it is to bounce back after a no. I don't think that really requires courage, but the knowledge that part of success is a numbers game. For one of our first Create & Cultivate conferences, I blind-emailed Garance Doré. It worked. She spoke. It was amazing.

"There were plenty of other emails that didn't. It's important to note that blind-emailing is not the same as blanket-emailing. If you're hearing endless nos, go back to the drawing board of how you're asking for something."

On her number one career tip:

"Just do it, and don't stop. It's easy to talk about launching a company; it's easy to have a good idea. What's hard is actually putting in the workday after day to make it come to life."

On her biggest career regret:

"Not getting everything in writing early on. But I would not have Create & Cultivate today if I had gone down that other path."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Fit AF."

Rita Hazan, Celebrity Colorist and Owner of Rita Hazan Salon

Rita Hazan
Courtesy of Rita Hazan

When Rita Hazan started out, the term celebrity colorist didn't exist, but that didn't stop her from forging a name for herself as the industry go-to. Now the NYC-based colorist is a renowned expert in color and products with her own salon on Fifth Avenue and signature hair color care line. Hazan continues to innovate and pioneer new and iconic looks on celebrities like Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, and Jessica Simpson. Here, she shares her journey to the top in a male-dominated industry and the ambition it takes to get there.

On the hustle:

"I don't think of any the jobs I've done have been less glamorous or easy. I think that everything that I do, I do with purpose and from my heart. Anything I did 10 years ago, I would still do today."

On ambition:

"Before this title, when I was just starting out, there was no such thing as a celebrity colorist/stylist. There were some people who worked with celebrities. This wasn't something that was easy or something that I planned on doing. I just wanted to do good hair, and I had a different color style than anyone at the time. My work was recognized, and I just went with it. I wasn't thinking, This is what I want to do. I just wanted to do what I wanted and what I loved to do."

On breaking out:

"Colorists didn't get much love, and it wasn't about being a famous colorist, it was more of just doing the job. I think I broke barriers for people because I did what I wanted to with love, and editors and celebrities recognize that. I was open to traveling and going to celebrity houses. I was flexible and always available. I think this changed the game because it made celebrities feel special that I would go to their homes, wash their hair in the sink, and do their color. Most colorists wouldn't make house calls because it's difficult to know how much color to bring, etc., but that didn't bother me."

On the challenges:

"I think it was a boys' club mostly. I think women like to have their fun gay man around, so being a straight woman wasn't so easy. Also, as a colorist, you don't have much time to get the job done, so you have to get it right fast and keep your mouth shut. Colorists aren't on set all day for touch-ups, so you have to make sure you do a good job to keep your job."

On life lessons learned:

"I think it is important to never compare yourself to other people. Stay on your true path, and stick to what you believe in. Don't change who you are for anybody, and if you believe in something, always trust your instincts. Fight for it, and don't take no for an answer."

On mental toughness:

"I think it's all life lessons, and you have to keep moving on. I never sleep on bad things. Everything is business and not personal. It is important to keep moving and figure out your next step. You can't harp on anything that happened, but rather move on and learn to make it better."

On following in her footsteps:

"My advice is to learn how to work in a group and with people in teams. You have to be flexible and know that you have to sacrifice a lot from your personal life, such as having dinner with friends. If you get an offer, you have to drop everything and go. However, when you are doing what you love, it doesn't feel like a sacrifice because it just becomes a way of life to you."

On handling rejection:

"I always think I'm right, so if someone says no, I will never understand that and find someone who will say yes. Not everybody sees what you see, and not everybody has a gift to know their craft so well. A lot of people told me I was crazy about my root concealer and didn't want to work or create it with me, so I did it on my own, regardless of how many nos [I got]. I created a category in the beauty industry, and people copy it now. If I stopped every time someone said no, I wouldn't be in existence. I push through, keep learning. I make mistakes and keep going."

On her number one career tip:

"Work hard! Don't look at the clock. Forty hours doesn't mean anything. Stay focused, and focus on yourself. Learning your craft is the best gift to give yourself, no matter what it is."

On her biggest career regret:

"I don't believe in mistakes or regrets. Everything happens for a reason, and every situation can be a lesson."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Disruptive."

Sarah Gerber, Founder of TwentyTwenty Studios and Zero Gap

Sarah Gerber
Courtesy of Sarah Gerber

Sarah Gerber is the founder of TwentyTwenty Studios, a San Francisco–based film studio, and Zero Gap, an alliance of men and women with a mission of achieving gender parity in the workplace. Gerber's work is more relevant now than ever before thanks to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, and it's been her clear vision of what she plans to accomplish that has kept her moving forward. "I am not just focused on me succeeding, but my vision succeeding, and that has been the most compelling source of courage for me," she tells MyDomaine.

On the hustle:

"At one point, I was at a call center for focus group recruiting. And a nanny. I taught art to 3- and 4-year-olds. That was all before starting my company. And as an entrepreneur, the 'less glamorous' side is that you have to be willing to do any and all of the jobs. Sometimes that means sweeping the floor or staying up all night to make sure something is delivered to a client. Whatever it takes."

On ambition:

"I think the hardest part is those moments can feel isolating because they often go unnoticed. The long hours, the thankless jobs, the behind-the-senses work that doesn't get recognized, but success is impossible without it. So what would be going through my mind or what my plan of action was staying connected to my vision and goals. At one point along the way, I applied for a job at Anthropologie but didn't get it. I remember being really disappointed, but that pushed me to create some of my earliest work and now I am grateful I never got that job. I might never have started my company."

On breaking out:

"Continually saying yes to all of the opportunities that came my way. They weren't all great, they didn't all lead to something, but I learned more each and every time. And some of those things I said yes to created opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. But it was the faithfully saying yes time after time that led me there. Showing up. Networking. Networking some more. Saying yes again. That is the hustle. Maybe times you are at another networking event wondering if this will all pay off. Believe in you and your story. Also, one of the ways I opened doors was by not realizing they were there, to begin with. Sometimes not knowing 'the rules' allows you to break them—and open that door. When I was working on my first film, I didn't know what I was doing. But it allowed me to do things my way because I didn't know any other."

On the challenges:

"One of the biggest challenges with being an entrepreneur or starting your own thing is that you have to learn how to do everything. Not only do you need to do 'the thing' your company does or creating the thing it sells, but you have to know how to sell it, how to run a business, how to find clients, how to manage people, how to find advisors, taxes, build a vision others will follow, all while still doing 'the thing.'"

On life lessons learned:

"At first I kept thinking that if I only had X or if I could just build my business to X level, then everything would be okay. But there is always something new to learn, some area for growth, a new challenge. And as a result, sometimes that can feel like you're starting all over again, which can be defeating. But the more I pushed through those periods of change, the more I started to realize that change can be invigorating and spark so much creativity."

On mental toughness:

"Over time I've learned to hold more space for the tension. The space between where I am now and where I want to be. Not just where I want to be personally, but where I want my company to be, or the tension between a grand vision and the time it takes to build it. And I started to realize that this tension is where 90% of the work is done and time is spent. So I needed to become friends with it."

On following in her footsteps:

"Know your why. Being connected to your why on a daily basis is critical for stamina and not quitting. And the best way to stay connected to your why is for it to be clear and specific. My why kept me going while editing late into the night, drinking Charles Shaw, and wondering if the film I was making would ever see the light of day, or it was all a giant waste of time. It's a risk, but that why is 1000 times worth the risk. So another box of ramen is a small price to pay for that dream."

On handling rejection:

"There are two things that keep me moving forward, after countless nos: The first is a clear and compelling connection to my why. And the second is having a vision greater than myself. I am not just focused on me succeeding, but my vision succeeding, and that has been the most compelling source of courage for me. Because through the long days, the rejection, the moments of despair, and the moments of triumph, that vision gives me the courage to wake up every day and say, Why not me? Why not my vision? And knowing your why is a journey. A journey of continual refinement, clarity, and understanding.

"You don't need to have all the pieces to the puzzle at the beginning; you gather them along the way, and the vision becomes more clear. That journey of refinement is a key reason I decided to jump headfirst into building Zero Gap. I saw an opportunity to take my why to the next level. Because a core component of my why is that the stories we tell have the power to shape who we become. And I believe Zero Gap has an opportunity to shape the cultural narrative around gender in such a way that everyone is allowed the opportunity to be more fully themselves and more fully human. That vision gives me the courage to do whatever it takes."

On her number one career tip:

"Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. And the key to doing that is first having a grounded and clear sense of self, to begin with. Staying true to that sometimes means 'reinventing' yourself, although the reinvention is only how other people see it. For you, it's not reinvention, but staying true to yourself along the path of continual growth and transformation. Also, surround yourself with people who are also pushing forward, who are also facing rejection and long nights. Going on this journey with people makes all the difference. That is why, when I look back at pivotal moments on my journey, one that stands out so clearly was when I joined WeWork. I was days away from signing an office elsewhere, just a plain, unexciting small office, but I happened to walk past a WeWork and took a tour. And when I look back now, it's not that a pretty office space was super impactful, it was that I had a chance to build real community within that space and within a powerful network that shaped my journey. And now it's hard to imagine what my life would look like without it."

On her biggest career regret:

"As a business owner, some of my biggest mistakes have been working with clients I never should have said yes to. While I regret working with them, I know they have provided me with invaluable experience that definitely added to my work and what I was able to offer clients in the future. This is the flip side of my 'say yes' philosophy. When you grow as a business owner, or in any career, in your craft or art, you start to refine the process of saying no. Saying no to clients or projects you know won't be a good experience or saying no to a project that doesn't align with your vision or why. And sometimes the nos are even harder than the yesses because you might have to pass up a 'really good' opportunity because it doesn't fit into your vision or you know you aren't the right fit. And you will actually know you are on the right path the more you start saying no. Building that discernment is such a critical part of this whole process."

On the one word that describes it all:

"Resilience."

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This post was originally published on November 3, 2016, and has since been updated.

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