Dustin Taylor has been fully independent since he was 16 years old.

Dustin Taylor (Source: LinkedIn)

Yes, you read that correctly. When his family fell upon hardship in his teen years, they lost their home. However, while Dustin was on his own during this period, he refused to surrender to his circumstances. 

Determined to make something extraordinary out of his life, he threw himself into his studies while bulking up his resume with a host of extracurriculars that helped build him to be the well-rounded and talented individual he is today. 

Dustin’s path to Student Works was decorated with many twists and turns, from the restaurant industry, to studying nutrition, to even a stint in car wax sales. It was through these experiences that he gained the transferable skills he brought to his painting business. Oh, and did we mention he grew that endeavour to 130,000 in his first year?

That’s right. Dustin impresses, and we need leaders like him now more than ever. Here are the three key attributes of highly successful people, according to the formidable Dustin Taylor:


One of the first things you notice when you talk to Dustin is his warm and positive disposition. It’s no surprise that he lists having a good attitude as one of the top things that high performers are doing better. 

Having the perspective to spin every obstacle you face into a mountain you can climb, if only you just trained a little harder, is pivotal to lasting success. There’s no escaping the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. But how one overcomes the hurdles is what distinguishes a true leader from their peers.  

Work Ethic

One of Dustin’s favourite quotes comes from the motivational speaker Les Brown, “You must be willing to do things today others won’t do, in order to have the things tomorrow others won’t have.” Truer words!

The leaders who aren’t afraid to take risks, put in the at times grueling hours, and grind hard to make their dreams a reality are the ones we read about in Forbes 30 under 30. 

At the end of the day, nothing meaningful can come without hard work, and if it does, watch out! Dustin warns it’s probably not worth it. 

Willingness to Learn 

A fatal flaw many business owners possess is the false belief that they have it all figured out. If you think you’re the best and you’re holding onto that title in your head, like clockwork, your position in the market will begin to slip.

Knowing that there are always new skills to develop and things to learn is instrumental in separating top performers from others. Dustin refers to this as “The Student Mentality”, claiming that fostering a willingness to learn allows leaders to accept their failures as they come, and view them as merely “the first attempt at learning.” 

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!